Disclaimer: I don't own Monster Hunter. But I wish I did.

The hunter stepped out of the frozen cave and into the open air. All around him the cold expanse stared back at him blankly. This was the High Mountain. A mount which bore no true name but was perhaps as famous as any landmark or hunting ground known to man. Or perhaps "infamous" would be a better term to describe this frozen peak. For there were few humans who dared to scale its icy summit, and even fewer to return home alive.

The mountain stood as an obstacle for man; a giant taunt in the face of all, holding its own against even the fiercest of adventurers. On this mountain, survival was one's primary goal. Little more than life itself mattered to most who found themselves in its cold, petrified clutches.

Yet this one man stood looking at the snow as if it were his friend. The scowling face of this atrocity to man smiled only at him, it seemed. The biting wind formed a cool blanket of comfort to this lone hunter; it had, he thought, almost a kind, fatherly embrace.

Nevertheless, he shook these ponderings out of his head and took off at full sprint. He knew his goal was close at hand; he could feel it. Something about the thrill of the hunt, the honor of duty, or perhaps simply the innate desire to overcome excited him to the fullest. His lips formed a thin smile.

Clad in his specially designed gear, the hunter was truly a skilled tracker. The armor that encased his body seemed to sharpen his senses; and as ridicules as it sounded, he had realized that whenever he wore this armor, he had an uncanny idea where his prey was lurking.

The gear was also unusually light, as sturdy as its frame was, and it in no way restricted his movements. The overall fluid design of the armor and lightness of the material allowed him easier access to his assortment of potions and medicines. He estimated that while wearing this armor, he could grab and administer medical treatment to himself or another in half the time he could while wearing any other suit of armor.

This ability to heal rapidly had narrowly saved his life many times, and his comrades declared that he must have been the luckiest warrior alive.

Well-made armor such as he wore had not fallen into his hands out of luck, however; far from it. Only through sweat and struggle had he gained this armor. Piece by piece he had pulled it from bodies of the monsters that he had slain with his own hands.

The tyrant of the snow and sand is not a forgiving foe. He is merciless in his tyranny and his jaws constantly crave flesh to devour. But the hunter had been equally merciless in his pursuit of the tyrant, and he had pealed the scales and claws from his victims one by one; until at last, he was clad in some of the finest armor he knew of.

Its golden scales were offset by blue highlights, and a pair of custom-made carving daggers hung from his belt. His armor was flawlessly polished, from his helm all the way down to the bottom of his greaves. It was not polished out of any sense of vanity, but simply out of the desire to maintain the high quality of the armor in spite of the most hostile weather.

He was armed with a long-sword that hung gracefully from his back, even in all of its deadliness. The long-sword flowed and pulsed gently with static electricity. It was infused with lethal charges of raw electrical power which, for the moment, lay dormant in its well designed scabbard. The warrior had attained it in much the same manner as he had the armor. Countless monsters had been slain to create this powerful weapon. He had evaded many swamps and caves and had slain an innumerable amount of blind wyverns on his quest for this weapon. He wore it on his back with pride, and he wielded it with a sense of honor.

The hunter slowed when he reached the area where he knew his quarry lay. Searching the ground for markings, he spied the tracks he was looking for. Big ones, he mused. And they're fresh. There was an eerie silence in the air as the hunter inched forward.

Carefully making his way past the edge of the mountain's cliff, and slowly peeking around the edge of a large, snow covered bolder, the hunter spied a small group of Blangos stood in the snow. They sat in a large opening with a few standing guard, while the rest groomed or slept. Two, four, six… the count ended at nine. Nine Blangos in an area this small. The Blangonga can't be far.

Suddenly, a loud roar from the cliff above instantly caught the attention of all, but most of all the hunter's. A hundred feet above, standing on a rocky overhang was an enormous white ape. It stood the height of approximately three Blangos, and was longer than two. Its long tail hung around its feet, and its muscles flexed with every move. This was indeed the King of the Blangos.

With another mighty roar, the Blangonga leapt from the precipice and hit the ground with a shuttering thud, its tail whipping about majestically. The Blangos about it seemed to back away from it in admiration and fear. There were no doubts to be had; it was lord of its pack.

The hunter could feel his anticipation rising; his prey was now in his grasp. He slowly pulled his sword from its sheath. It made a soft scraping sound as it was being drawn.

The sound made was below even the softest whisper. But as the razor edge of the sword cleared its covering, the Blangonga snorted and looked in the direction of the hunter. The beast sniffed the air cautiously. It stared intently at the rock that the human was hiding behind.

From behind the boulder the man stayed as still as the frozen stone which hid his position. His heart pounded wildly. He wished he could slow its heavy jolting, but excitement and fear would not let it slow down its thumping.

The Blangonga sniffed once more and then turned, as if to acknowledge that it was quite assured that no one would dare enter its territory. The warrior breathed a soft sigh of relief.

He peaked over the rock again to find that the Blangonga had left the area. He looked about franticly, but the king of the Blangos was no where in sight. Scanning the spot where the Blangonga had stood he saw no footprints leading away. For a moment his mind went blank. Where could that beast have gone? He pondered, quietly to himself.

Suddenly the ground began to tremble from beneath him. Oh my God! He took three great strides to his right, and dove headlong into the snow. As he did, the Blangonga tore from the ground beneath where he has stood, spewing snow and frozen soil in all directions. It let out a mighty roar and came back pounding onto the ground.

The fighter scrambled to his feet and turned to face his foe. He spoke to the creature as if it could understand him. "Nice try, you worthless animal." He taunted, "Thought you had me, didn't you?"

Unaware of the taunt's meaning, the Blangonga simply growled in reply. The two stared at each other in cold defiance. They circled slowly with eyes locked; they faced one another like wild dogs before a fight to the death.

The warrior tightened his grip on his blade and growled back, "Well you failed! You had your chance to kill me before I was ready, but I swear to you that it won't happen again!"

Again the Blangonga growled, this time even louder and more threatening. It bared its enormous white fangs, staring him down, waiting for him to make his move.

The human stared at his foe with an unbroken gaze. He searched the beast for any sign of weakness, any open window of attack that might give him the upper hand. As he looked at the monster, he noticed a series of slashed burns on the side of its muzzle. The broken shafts of arrows still lay buried within its flesh.

This Blangonga has fought with hunters before. The man mused, never taking his eyes from his prey. It knows how dangerous we are; that's why it's being so cautious. Most monsters would have charged me already, but this one holds back. It's battled with humans before, and from the look of things, it has prevailed.

He stared at the massive Pelagus and calculated his next maneuver. He let the deadly tip of his blade drop the frozen ground. It melted every inch of the snow it touched with a warm electrical glow. As soon as the sword was lifted again, the arctic wind instantly chilled the water back into ice.

As the two paced about each other in a circle, the hunter noticed that the Blangonga had an arrow head lodged into the joint of its right knee joint. It was an old wound, but the arrow still seemed to cause the limb discomfort with every movement.

Far off in the distance, on some other lonely crag of the mountain a monster's roar echoed, reaching the ears of the Blangonga and his assailant. The Blangonga pricked up its ears for a moment and looked in the direction of the scream.

This was the opening the warrior had been looking for. With a burst of speed the hunter leapt at the monster, bringing his razor sharp long sword down on his quarry's face. A crackle of electricity shot across the face of the beast causing it to recoil in anger and pain. It lifted itself onto its hind legs and clawed at its fresh wound. The blade had cut open a wide gash, while the pulsing electricity had cauterized the same opening, further burning the soft surrounding tissue.

Still on the attack, the human wielded his blade with amazing precision, this time striking the soft underbelly of the ape. Huge bolts of electricity ran thorough its skin with every strike. Dropping its enormous front paws to the ground, it pushed with all fours and pounced backward.

A small violet-colored ball was hurled from the hand of the hunter. It hit the creature on its neck and popped, spreading a gooey, purple tented film onto its fur. The goo was held a strong smell, an odd smell which was easy to identify, yet hard to describe. It had a heavy smell, but not so strong that it was disgusting to the human nose.

Blangongas however, detested the smell, and out of all the known beasts of Minegarde, they were the only ones to have such distaste for it. The gook tended to smell much like a highly concentrated sap, mixed with a second unrecognizable scent, which gave it its characteristic odor. It was unmistakable.

This Pelagus, like most, clawed at the goop, which only succeeded in smearing it onto his clawed hands. The warrior pelted him with a second paintball for good measure and again, drew his weapon.

Without a moments notice, the Blangonga charged directly at the human, diving toward him, and extending its large claws to sever his spinal cord. He skillfully rolled out of the way, missing the impact by mere inches.

In a moment, however, he was back on his feet, raining slashes and strikes down on the monsters exposed back. Lightning raced through its veins, causing its smaller muscles to seize up, and its heart throbbed uncontrollably.

Nevertheless, its bulk and its brawn were still as massive and powerful as ever, and it had no intention of giving up before it had breathed its last. It prepared itself for another charge. It sprinted unexpectedly at the hunter, flinging his smaller form around like a doll.

His body rattled within his armor, but the soft inner padding that was common in most armor kept him from being too seriously injured. Nonetheless, his body ached from the blow, and he struggled to his feet.

As quickly as he could manage, he pulled a powerful healing medicine from his kit, and held it to his mouth to consume its soothing contents. The liquid had barely touched his lips when the Blangonga plowed over him again.

The vial containing the healing potion sprang from his hand, dumping its contents all over the frozen ground. Once again, his body was sent spiraling across the ground, and he landed in a deep snowdrift.

He let out an inaudible curse and turned to make sure that the Blangonga was not facing him this time. Faster than before, he drew out another first-aid vial and held it to his lips.

The fact that he had unrestricting armor no doubt saved his life, for no sooner had he finished half of his container of drug, than the mighty Pelagus leapt backward at him, pushing off with its powerful front legs, and kicking him squarely in the face with its sharp rear claws.

The powerful kick sent his body flying. It was still flying when it collided with a frozen boulder. The impact knocked the breath out of his lungs, and he landed haphazardly in the snow. Every muscle in his body screamed. Blood dripped slowly into his eyes, obscuring his vision and making it impossible to get his bearings.

He drew his fingers into a fist only to find that the last blow had sent his blade flying from his hand and landing somewhere nearby in the snow.

The mighty Blangonga rushed over to where he lay and lifted its massive form above him; standing on its hind legs and raising its fore-arms into the air, preparing to slam its body down onto him with every ounce of strength it had left.

For the hunter, time seemed to slow to a snails pace. He looked up at the Blangonga with a dull sense of regret. So this is the end. He thought. Just one more hunter for this damned beast to destroy. I'll be one more nameless life that this mountain has claimed. Oh well. Everyone dies. It was me, or it, or some other hunter. Damn it all. I won't cower from death; I'll accept its cold grip when it's ready for me. I'll be like my father, a warrior who faced death without fear of cowardice. And I'll be forgotten just like he was. Damn it all again, I'm ready to die.