Chapter 1: Unintended Invasion
Tracking. Hunting. And, now that he had the chance, trapping. These were the basics of hunting, yet something all hunters, including him, could improve upon in his own, special way. In this case, it was purely personal tastes that drew him to hunt this day. Curiosity, however, drew him to hunt in this particular area of the Kumungu Jungle. He was craving the taste of venison, choice cuts from a deer. With the trap set, all that was left to do was wait, and so he did. Crouching and hiding himself within a bush, Rengar waited downwind so as to not give away his scent.
Secretly, to himself, the pride stalker wondered how long he'd have to wait for his quarry to become ensnared, then he would pounce and deliver the killing blow. If only his greatest prey, Kha'Zix, whom had first scarred his pride by escaping him, could be so easily lured into a trap such as this. Then again, that's what made the alien creature such a worthy prey to hunt. He had to force the foe from his mind, lest he lose the prey he already sought here and now. Now, he heard the sounds of something approaching... It was not a causal approach...
It had started out as a normal hunting routine. Find a herd, begin stalking it, and look for a straggler. It was a common way of hunting prey, yet one that always produced a kill, either by claw or spear. Claw and teeth would be the most effective, and preferred as it allowed her to take a bite out of her prey, and spear would be used if a lone straggler could not be found. Her aim was more than enough to pin a leg to the ground, if not its neck. Still, it was most natural for her to hunt this way, stalking in animal form, as it was how her feline family taught her.
One of the deer of the herd, a buck not quite into maturity yet, began grazing a little too far from the rest. Nidalee, the bestial huntress as she was known, began making her way, in cougar form, into position, preparing to pounce on the unwary animal. She stayed to the tall grass, eyes watching her prey as it continued to graze.
However, it would not be so simple as in most cases.
A loud sound, a bang, echoed through the jungle, causing the herd to stop their grazing and look in the direction it had come from. Nidalee, as well, turned to see what was happening. It was another treasure hunter, a group of them in fact, come to seek riches they would likely die trying to find if the dangers, herself included, did not scare them away. Speaking of scaring, one of them had a gun, a small trail of smoke escaping from the end of its barrel. With only a few moments hesitation, he pointed and shot at the largest within the herd. The shot missed, whistling just above its body, but it did frighten the herd, the one she was stalking included, and all of them bolted to the safety and cover of the jungle. Thankfully, her prey remained away from the rest. She bolted after it, the brush whipping against her fur as she pursed.
Finally, after nearly an hour, something was coming, the sound mismatched as though in fear. Rengar, having remained still for most of that time, moved very slightly to keep his bones and joints from popping and giving away his location and presence. He had crouched nearly as still as stone for the longest time, his eyes closed so as to focus his senses of smell and hearing. There had been a loud, sharp sound, like the guns he had seen the ones called Gangplank, Miss Fortune, and Graves use. This unnatural sound had unnerved and startled him for a moment, but only a moment.
A scent finally drifted into his nostrils. Prey was close, deer even. Also, there was something else: A predator, perhaps? In addition to venison, it appeared he'd also have a new trophy, if this other prey was worth the hunt.
Silently, he waited, until the deer, a young buck by the look of it, approached. It was then that he saw a cougar, its fur a light brown so as to camouflage it in the tall grass in the surroundings he had seen when he first arrived. There was something... familiar about this one, yet he could not place it. He had hunted large cats before, and had found them worthy prey, yet, for reasons unknown to him, he felt this one was a prize worth more than any of the others. Some of those others having been much larger.
The young buck, galloping with fear, ran right into his snare trap. The buck's front right leg was caught, the strong vines snapping and wrenching its leg back, snapping bone as the green rope whipped through the air. The buck could no longer flee, immobilized with a broken leg and the vine. The cougar slowed, jumping over the crippled animal, and spun to a stop, looking at it, then the snare trap. That was all he needed to pounce.
With practiced precise, Rengar drew his knife and let his savagery go, letting out a roar as he dove for his dangerous prey. Just in case, his other hand went to his waist...
Her prey had become anothers, snared and crippled with ruthless brutality. The sound of sudden movement, branches being pushed aside followed by a fierce roar, caught her attention. She turned in time to see a large mass of leather and fur, sunlight reflecting off a freshly drawn knife, the ring of it being released sending an almost silent song through the afternoon air. The attacker was flying straight for her with deadly intent. Intent to kill.
She reeled back on her hind legs, then jumped backward. Her attacker hit the ground as she landed in a bush, concealing herself. A bola appeared in the predator's other hand, which was then released with shocking reaction speed.
Nidalee ducked under it, the rope and balls grazing her back but catching her tail, knocking against itself. Quickly, she shed the failed binding off her tail as though it were nothing, before switching from evasion to dodging, jumping to a low tree just as her attacker lunged into the bush. He stabbed at only air, completely missing her. If he kept only his right hand with a knife, and the other empty save for those bolas, she could easily evade him by jumping to the left.
She climbed the tree, resting in a higher branch to watch. Another bola was coming right at her. She nearly collided with the tree's trunk as she leaped backward to avoid the projectile, her eyes then turning to the attacker. It seemed her evasion tactics had made the beast man angry. She now recognized him as Rengar, a hunter of great talent from what she had seen on the Fields of Justice. He had, however, made a mistake by hunting in her territory.
Backing further into the tree, hidden in the branches, her attacker was forced to approach. While he did, she changed into her human form, spear in hand, arm going back, prepared to throw...
Rengar almost didn't see it until it was too late. He had approached the tree the cougar had fled to, thinking his bola had entangled the beast. What he was not expecting was spear. Luckily, he managed to dodge, though not without cost. The tip grazed the side of his torso, cutting into flesh and drawing first blood. Another step forward would have landed it in his gut. A step back a second later would have kept the spear from traveling through him, but left inside his body. A cut, or a gash by the feel of blood running down his side, was not enough to make him retreat.
He knew this spear, the tip with its leather wrappings and teeth to tear at the insides of its target, and who its owner was. A grin came to his face.
Now knowing that he had a worthy prey to hunt, Rengar let out a roar of battle, challenging his foe, then drew his second knife. The hunt, the battle, was on. He could feel the thrill of the hunt overtaking him.
One moment he was there, her spear grazing him, then he was gone. Nidalee tracked him by the scent of fresh blood, knowing she had at least wounded him with her her spear toss. The beast appeared to materialize out of the air, only the scent of his blood giving her warning as to where he was and where she should dodge. Twin flashes of steel appeared, one mere inches from her eye and the other only just missing her lower abdomen. With a fluid movement, she dodged backward, just avoiding, but now she was falling toward the ground.
As soon as she landed, turning in mid-air to land on a food and a knee, she dove to the side, toward her spear. Rengar, only a half second behind, nearly pouncing on her from above.
Spear in hand, against his two knives, she waved it in an arc, forcing him back out of close combat and into her extended range. At least she had that advantage.
They were on equal footing for the moment, and both knew it. Nidalee took up her spear in a more comfortable position, Rengar doing the same with his knives. The only sound between the two was their own breathing and the thrashing, frantic deer.
The stalemate was broken with a drop of blood from Rengar's wound.
Nidalee brought her spear up vertically toward his center, prepared for a counter attack and to strike again no matter which one way he went. Rengar dodged left, protecting his wounded right side, as he quickly closed the distance, his left hand bringing the knife it held closer toward her.
She bent backwards to evade, then grabbed his arm, twisting it back as she came around behind him. He let out a grunt, releasing the knife, then tried to stab her side with his right knife. She leaped back, taking his left knife with her as she also grabbed her spear, with the front of her boot. She rolled on her back, coming to a knee with his knife in her left hand and her spear in her right.
Rengar was back in the air, his ability to pounce astonishing by itself. This time, she could not evade.
He crashed down on top of her, his free left hand gripping her by her throat and his right hand holding his knife inches from the center of her chest, right over her heart. His left foot was on top of her right hand, keeping the spear from being of use, and his right knee pressed on her stomach to prevent her from pushing herself away. She could not move, nor get away.
Nidalee, unable to dodge, tried to bring her spear up to use his own momentum against him, but it was too late. His weight crashing to her, knocking her from her feet and onto the ground, the middle portion of her spear painfully pressed against her right shoulder blade. A moment later, her right hand was in pain both from the spear's shaft against her palm and Rengar's foot on it. She was able to bring the knife in her left hand up, pressing it against his throat, and not a moment too soon. His knee on her stomach was painful, but the fear kept her from blacking out. She panted. She could not get away, but neither could he do anything else to her.
The both of them panted, both trying to think of what to do. Blood dripped from Rengar's right side onto Nidalee's chest, then slid off onto the ground. The knife at her chest had lowered to her skin, the point creating a drop of blood between her breasts. In response, she put the knife she had closer to his throat, a horizontal line of crimson appearing.
In one fluid motion, Rengar pushed himself back. Nidalee, thinking he would try to attack, swept the knife, trying to cut his throat. Instead, he jumped backward, then placed his knife into its sheath. Nidalee quickly got to her feet, staying in a low crouch, ready to attack. He held up his hands, as though to say he meant no further harm.
She placed his knife on the ground, taking spear in one hand, ready to throw it, and slid the knife across the ground. It went halfway toward him. "Is this peace?" She demanded, her eyes as hard as steel and as fierce as any predator he had seen.
Slowly, he nodded. "For now." He gestured to the panicked deer with a motion of his eyes. Nidalee glanced a moment, then back to him. "That is my snare." He said.
"This is my territory. The deer my prey." She growled. Her knuckled hand was white where she gripped her spear.
Rengar stood in silence, weighing her words to himself it appeared. "Your territory? Or just out of its borders?" He asked. He knew her territory, and this was not it. It was close to her hunting grounds, but it was not hers.
Nidalee's glare was as deadly as her spear. After a long moment of silence, she spoke. "Take it and leave. Do not return." She growled, this time with far more warning than before.
"It would seem we both played a part in this prey." He said, keeping his hands in sight of her. "I set the snare, but you brought it to me. I assume you were hunting for the same reason as I?" He asked.
"What of it?" She asked.
He took a deep breath before speaking again. "Shaw we share it, then?" He asked.
At that moment, both their stomachs growled in hunger, yet each continued to stare at the other. Rengar, hands in the air to show he meant no harm, and Nidalee, spear in hand ready to act on a moment's notice. Finally, she gestured with her spear to his knife. Once it was back in its sheath, she lowered her weapon, but her muscles stayed tense. "Any sudden movements, and I will not hesitated remove your head." She warned.