They heard the gunfire first. Little pops at first, like the beginning of a rain storm, and then a full on down pour of arms. Gilbert could make out the differences in sound and knew generally how badly Vasilly's men were doing with the Ursa. To Clarissa it just sounded loud, all sound and scaryness. She clutched the bow tight as they moved toward the gunfire which seemed like a bad idea. As they approached the gun fire the sound stopped, and it got eerily quiet. Gilbert held out a hand telling Clarissa to stop, she almost hoped he'd tell her to turn around and forget this whole thing, but he then waved her forward and they moved ever closer to where the sound had been coming from. They eventually came to what had become a clearing. The battle had cost several men their lives, their broken bodies were arranged in a rough half circle around the Ursa. It was standing in the middle of the clearing, one of the mercenaries bodies held loosely from its jaw. When Clarissa and Gilbert emerged it spit the man out and collapsed to all fours.
"We come in peace." Gilbert had his hands up, Clarissa kept her bow in her hands she was too afraid to let it go.
"You smell of dragon." The creature snarled, it kind of surprised Clarissa it spoke.
"I'd imagine I smell of a lot of things."
"The girl with her bow, she thinks it will protect her, it will not. I have killed many men today, why should I not kill you?"
"Because I don't want you to." The ursa laughed, the laugh shook the ground.
"And I should listen to you why?"
"Men will not allow a monster to live here, you know this, you know you have to leave, what you have killed today will not stop them, the man who leads these men has others, they are coming for you and eventually they will win and you will be dead."
"Maybe I want to be dead, maybe I want to kill as many of you disgusting creatures before coming to my death, a glorious death against you filth, rather than a slow one as you eliminate my home and choke my skys." Gilbert could see the sadness in the Ursa's eyes. He had run across monsters like this in the past, and they were some of the most dangerous.
"If death is what you want, I can bring you to that." This caused the creature to laugh again.
"One man and a scared woman? You see the destruction around you? Only a fraction of my power."
"We are exterminators by trade creature, and you are no more deadly than any other I have faced and slayed." Gilbert had taken out his pistol. Clarissa followed his lead and notched an arrow even though her hands were shaking and she doubted she'd be able to hit the Ursa despite its size. The ursa rose up on its hind legs and roared.
"ENOUGH!" The new voice was an older woman, Gilbert and Clarissa turned to look at her. Behind her was Chief and Ted Brightwater. "I revoke your invitation creature, back to whence you came."
"You have no power over me woman." But the creatures snarl was lowered, its ferocity subdued.
"I REVOKE YOUR INVITATION!" She punctuated it by slamming her foot in the ground and the Ursa was gone. Clarissa relaxed and then accidentally shot her arrow, which lead to a nervous laugh from everyone present. Chief Brightwater and the woman walked back from wherever they had come from. Ted remained looking smug with himself.
"So that debt I owe you is over right?" Gilbert had taken his pipe out.
"Nope, Ted saving me once does not wipe out all the times I saved your ass."
"That was an Ursa!"
"Yep big and scary, but still doesn't count for more than one Ted."
"Should have let it eat you Gilbert."
"Maybe you should have Ted, I'll be seeing you." Gilbert walked back to the van with Clarissa leading the way happy to be leaving Montana.
"I'm sure I can find another job here, one that actually..."
"Ok ok I got it I got it." Gilbert smiled for the first time in what felt like a long time and Clarissa leaned her seat back hoping to wake up back in Washington and put this whole trek behind her.