Chapter 4: Tragic Losses
"Illegal hunting and/or poaching of any kind is strictly forbidden and any attempts in doing so will result in the permanent removal of your hunter status."-Guild's No. 1 Rule
The sounds of the village alarms caused Azroth to wake up and investigate the situation. After exiting his room, he made his way towards the center of the village where a large crowd was gathered. Various members of the guild stood guard around them while watching for any signs of trouble lurking around. Standing in front of the crowd was the Guild Manager and the Village Elder. He then scanned around the crowd looking for any familiar faces and found Mars standing not too far away from him. He then hurried over to her just as the Village Elder cleared his throat.
"We're sorry for disturbing your rest by gathering you all here. As you all know, there has been a recent incident that had claimed the life of a beloved hunter in our community," said the Village Elder, who paused, along with the whole village, for a brief moment. "And we all know that the culprit of his death was the lone Rajang. However, just a few minutes ago, we had received various reports of an attack on our gate guards. The culprit is unknown as of now but we need to be prepared for the next attack."
"And so, the Guild's central branch has now issued a manhunt order on the culprit. We know that this was caused by a human because of these knives found on the scene," said the Guild Manager, who then showed them all one of the throwing knives. "We have a reason to believe that this was done by a rogue hunter. As we all know, rogue hunters have caused a lot of trouble in the past and if it weren't for a certain hunter, our village would have been overrun by them. So now, all those who are found as a traitor to our village will be dealt with swiftly."
Hmm… Rogue hunters, huh? Could it be that they were responsible for-, Azroth's thoughts were interrupted by a sudden roar from just outside the village. All of the villagers then began scrambling towards their homes and locking themselves as the rest of the village, mostly hunters of the Guild, hurried to the source of the noise. There, just outside the village, stood a reptilian creature that stood on its hind legs. It was wrapped in an aura of dark red energy. Its eyes were a striking red covered with dark red haze. It had drool dripping from its jaws, which formed a large puddle below it. Upon seeing all the hunters gathered before it, it let out a loud roar and proceeded to attack them.
At the exact same time, a cloaked figure was climbing the snowy mountain. As he reached the top of the mountain, he heard a scream coming from the cave in front of him. The figure hurried towards the source of the noise and upon arriving, he found a young lady bound by ropes. There were four men laughing beside her while they took turns prodding her. One of them attempted to give her a kiss, only to receive a head-butt from the lady. The man's other friends laughed as the man continued his drunken antics in futility. After deciding that he had seen enough, the cloaked figure leapt off from the very spot he was on, reaching the ground in a matter of seconds. Taking a throwing knife, he flung it towards the drunken man, who fell asleep upon getting struck. The other three men immediately drew their weapons at the sight of their attacker.
"Who the hell are you?" asked their leader, a man with a gray beard and a scarred face. He wielded a green great sword made of various monster bones and fangs. The weapon was dubbed by blacksmiths as the "Valkyrie Blade" and was commonly used by most of the beginners. He wore an armor that seemed to resemble a beetle. This armor was dubbed as the "Obituary Armor".
"He doesn't seem like talking. Maybe we should pry out his vocal cords!" said the man next to the ringleader. The man was awfully thin who wielded a lance that was made with various insect parts. The weapon was commonly used by most G-Level lancers and was dubbed as "Darkness". He wore an armor that covered his entire body and it seemed to be made of various piscine parts. The armor was dubbed as the "Plesioth X Armor".
"Kevin's knocked out cold. We should be careful around this guy. Who knows what he could do," said the man who was tending to his sleeping friend. He carried a bowgun that seemed to be made from the Elder Dragon, the Kirin, which was dubbed as "Quickcaster". He wore an armor made from various parts of another Elder Dragon, the Yama Tsukami. The armor was dubbed as the "Carnage Shin Armor".
"I don't care whether or not he is dangerous! All I care about is why this guy is still standing here! Let's finish him off and get this over with! The boss won't like it if we fail to send him a new pet!" yelled the ringleader, who began making his way towards the cloaked figure.
As he prepared to slash at the figure with his great sword, the figure swiftly rolled out of the way before delivering a kick to his back, which sent him stumbling forwards onto a bone pile. The lancer then charged towards him, hoping that he would run the man through. However, the figure merely stepped out of the way, causing the charging man to run past his target and into a wall. He managed to stop himself short and was about to thrust his lance at his opponent when the figure brought his fist onto the man's jaw, sending many of his teeth flying, before following up his attack with a roundhouse kick. The man slammed his back onto the wall before slumping onto the ground unconscious. The gunner, after acquiring his target's range, proceeded to fire rounds of bullets towards the figure, who nimbly evaded every single bullet. As the gunner quickly reloaded his weapon, he fired towards the figure again, only to miss each shot. The figure then flung a knife towards the gunner, who swiftly dodged the move. He then realized his mistake a bit too late the "knife" turned out to be a plain stone and the real knife was hurtling towards him at blinding speed. With a whole lot of effort, the man managed to move out of the way, only for the weapon to make a cut on his cheek. Suddenly feeling the effects of the weapon caused him to slowly become drowsy. A few seconds later, the man fell unconscious on the ground. The ringleader then got back up and was about to bash the figure with his weapon when the figure noticed him and swiftly rolled to the side before drawing his hunting knife and stabbing the man on his leg. The man let out a cry of pain as he tried to remove the weapon lodged into his leg. Just when he was able to dislodge the object, he was met with the figure's fists, which knocked him unconscious.
"Please don't hurt me!" screamed the lady as the cloaked figure approached her, his bloody knife on his hand. He then cut the ropes that bound the lady before retrieving her equipment from the unconscious men's bags. He then looked away as she began putting on her armor.
A loud roar from above caused both of them to draw their weapons as they began to scan their surroundings. Suddenly, a huge beast dropped from the sky onto the area beside them. The newcomer was huge and bulky with a hair that spiked on the tip of its tail. Its body was surging with electrical energy and its angry eyes glowed with a reddish hue. It had landed on the first fallen man, crushing the victim's skull and body, killing him instantly. Upon seeing the duo, the creature let out a loud roar, which made the both of them stagger backwards. The cloaked figure's hood had come off, revealing him to be Jerox. Of all the places that it could have gone into, it chose to head into this small area, he thought to himself.
"Rajang!" shouted the lady as the creature proceeded to swing its fist while rushing towards them. The duo leapt out of the way as the creature punched the spot that they were on.
Seeing that they had escaped its attack, the Rajang proceed to charge towards Jerox, who dodged out of the way as the creature attempted to pierce him with its horns. The lady then began to glow red before striking the creature's leg with an invisible sword. The creature roared in pain as the young woman unleashed a combination of attacks at the creature. It then hopped backwards and after planting its limbs onto the ground, it fired a yellow ball of electricity from its mouth towards the lady, who dodged it at the nick of time. Jerox then brought his newly-made switch axe onto the creature's back, which caused sparks of dark red energy surging on the creature. This caused the creature to stumble before facing its next threat, the cloaked figure that had attacked it.
"His tail's cut!" announced one of the Guild hunters as he swung his long sword on the Deviljho's tail. Azroth saw this as an opportunity to strike the fallen creature. Suddenly, the creature quickly rose up and let out a loud, menacing roar, causing all of the hunters nearby to cover their ears, even Azroth. Only those with high-graded earplugs in their armor stood unflinching.
Seeing the nearby hunters who were covering their ears, the creature lowered its head and upon lifting his head, sent a massive boulder hurtling towards the hunters. Those who were able to recover were able to get out of the way but the unlucky ones were crushed by the boulders. It then jumped onto a nearby hunter and as the poor victim attempted to escape the jaws of the creature, he was killed as soon as the creature bit onto his throat, sending blood gushing out in all directions. It then sent the corpse flying before turning to face the next set of hunters. Wasting no time in its attacks, the creature proceeded to throw its body at the nearby hunters, sending all of them flying except for Azroth, who had rolled just at the nick of time. He then jumped backwards while slashing his sword on the creature's legs, sending it stumbling. The other hunters wasted no time in attacking the creature. Many lance-wielding hunters began to charge towards its legs, causing it to scar in many places. All of the range attackers began to let loose a hail of bullets and a rain of arrows onto the creature, wounding it even further. Realizing that it was losing the battle, it entered its rage mode and released a dark red energy at the nearby lancers, causing many of them to suffer the effects of its attack. Seeing the other hunters advancing towards it, the creature threw its body onto the advancing hunters, causing all of the hunters to either block its attack or roll out of the way.
"It's getting away!" yelled Jackson as the creature began to flee from the scene. Many of the hunters gave chase while the rest of them began treating the injured and retrieving the corpses of the gruesome battle. Azroth himself had stayed behind as he too was injured from getting struck by the creature's tail earlier. As he examined his sword, he noticed that there were cracks that had formed on the sword's blade. Sighing, he returned the sword onto its sheath, hoping that he would be able to make a new longsword for the time being.
It was not long after that the battle had finally ended with defeat. The creature had successfully managed to escape, which caused various confusion among the very ranks of the Guild. Many had wondered how the others couldn't have been able to chase after the large, bulky creature. However, this was soon forgotten after the village learnt of the losses of a majority of their own. The village was soon filled with the cries of mourning while the Guild had cancelled all quests until the creature would depart the vicinity. Upon hearing of the terrible news, many of the hunters began finding ways to make a living until then. Some had resorted to helping out with the rebuilding of the village gates, while others took on more simple jobs. It would be a few weeks later before the Guild would grant all hunters with the permission to hunt once again.
Back at the snowy mountains, the pair had managed to escape the creature and were taking a short breath when the Rajang burst out of the ground below them, causing them to stumble backwards. Upon landing back on the snowy ground, the creature let a menacing roar, which was followed with its hair turning golden and its body surging with electricity. It then turned to face Jerox, who had managed to recover from its earlier attack. It then began charging towards him and would have impaled him with its horns if he had not dodged the attack by rolling to the side. The creature then leapt backwards and planted its limbs on the ground before firing a large beam of energy at Jerox, who watched in horror as the beam struck him and sent him flying off the mountain into the darkness below.
"NO!" yelled the lady as she watched the young man's body plummet to the ground below. A loud sound alerted and as she turned around, she found the creature facing her with its arms stretched towards the sky. There was a ball of orange light forming on its hands and as soon as the light began pulsating, the creature released the ball and watched as the ball slowly descended onto the ground. Realizing the hopelessness of the situation, the lady decided to jump off the mountain and while falling, she asked the souls of her parents for forgiveness. She then closed her eyes and waited for the gods of death to claim her. As she continued to plummet towards the ground, she felt a cold breeze blow past her before she finally blacked out.
A/N: I'll just leave the ending like that. You might as well use your imagination to guess what would happen next. Anyways, I've always wondered when someone would actually leave me a suggestion! After all, I've become utterly clueless about what I'm actually writing! So please leave me a suggestion and/or reviews! See ya next week and take care!