Chapter 69 - Season of Hunting (4)
Shakan looked at Crockta and Tiyo, who were asleep, and went outside.
It was nighttime. He looked up at the night sky where countless stars were shining up high. The constellations could still be seen in this cursed place. The hunter was looking at a dragon in the sky.
Shakan gathered branches and started cutting arrows. One stroke, another stroke, his head cleared every time he carved the tree branches.
He couldn’t distinguish between yesterday, today, or tomorrow, due to the long time he spent here. The memories of those who had already left him mixed up with the upcoming hunt. His body was already broken from the inside after eating countless creatures. His brain and spinal cord were already that of a creature.
So there was only one chance left.
He aimed at the dark forest while gauging the proportions of the newly created arrows. A good hunter only needed one shot. He had to penetrate the core of the darkness.
He muttered, "A Shakan never leaves his enemies alive.”
His head was clear. The confusion in his head was no longer important as he recalled the darkness. He shrugged everything off until only one thought passed through his head. It was as clear as day.
Kill the ‘beast.’ The day would soon come.
The last hunt was like this. Once the day became bright, he would leave for the hunt with two outsiders. They would be his hounds.
Kill it or die. There were no alternatives. He always sought the enemy. The beast would be aware that Shakan was moving in the darkness while it came time for hunting season.
He opened his eyes and looked up at the sky again. The constellations were growing dark. The evil nature of the forest dyed the moon red, into a capricious and wicked demon. He would cut at the middle of that moon.
"I believe in fate,” Shakan said.
Crockta cocked his head at the sudden words.
They had left the fortress early in the morning. Shakan stared at the cows for a while before leaving. However, Shakan didn’t treat the cows as his sons. He had the cold appearance of a hunter, just like when they first met.
Tension could be seen in his whole body. Shakan never made mistakes when he hunted.
"I don’t believe in fate.” Crockta replied.
"Just like an orc.”
"Do you know orcs?”
"The Shakan hunt anything.”
Shakan chuckled. Crockta’s eyes sharpened. Shakan smiled and shook his head, “It is a joke. I knew an orc hunter.”
“Yes. A hunter I acknowledge.”
Crockta hadn’t seen many orc hunters. Orcs were usually warriors or shamans. But he met one powerful hunter before leaving Orcrox. The hunter Zankus, who shot down the sun. The hunter’s eyes had glanced at Crockta like he was prey.
Shakan said, “It was someone called Zankus.”
"At the time, he was a fledgling, but he must’ve become quite good by now.”
Zankus was one of the praised orcs. All of Orcrox had been surprised when Zankus had arrived for Lenox’s funeral. Shakan treated that Zankus as a novice. He looked different.
He was a hunter who could handle a Wyvern and Manticore instantly. Crockta glanced at Shakan’s movements. His mind was a little anxious but there was always something to be learned from those who have reached a certain level.
Their strength was the culmination of endless discipline.
Shakan felt Crockta’s gaze and asked, “Do you have anything to say?”
Then he pulled back his bowstring.
His arrow penetrated the forest at dawn. Something collapsed in the distance, a creature that Crockta and Tiyo hadn’t noticed.
"Hunters depend on each other. No communication will put our lives at risk.”
That was why Shakan started talking. As they walked through the darkness, the corpse of the creature Shakan killed appeared. Troll. But the whole body was decayed and the bones exposed. It looked like it had died a long time ago.
“An undead troll.”
As they headed deeper into the forest, the stronger the creatures became. It was a cursed land where creatures and dead monsters fought together.
“This is the strength of that bastard.”
Shakan seemed to know the ‘beast.’ Crockta opened his mouth, "Why do you want to hunt that beast?”
It was a question he had wanted to ask before. Crockta had a vague idea.
‘A Shakan can’t let their enemies live.’ Shakan was like a madman when he talked about his dead sons. He had looked towards the darkness of the forest when talking about the enemy. There had to be a story.
“It is as you have guessed.”
Shakan pulled out the arrow from the undead troll. The arrowhead was tinged black.
"My son wanted to hunt it and died. My other two sons entered the Forest of Creatures to get revenge for their brother and died. I lost my wife in the aftermath.”
His voice was detached as he recounted the story, "I am here for revenge, but they were Shakan. More Shakan than me.”
“I’m sorry I asked.”
"No.” Shakan stared into the darkness. Despite it being dawn, the dense vegetation of the forest blocked the sun. "I believe in fate. All Shakan believe in fate to a certain extent.”
Suddenly, something was felt in the darkness. Tiyo aimed his muzzle from where he had been quietly following behind them. Crockta also pulled out Ogre Slayer and prepared for battle.
“Maybe we were destined to meet.”
What appeared was a group of ogres. The three ogres’ eyes flashed as the group was spotted. A battle cry shook the tranquil forest. It was from Crockta, not the ogres. His momentum overwhelmed the ogres. He rushed towards the ogres with his big greatsword.
Colorful magic power supported Crockta’s charge. ‘Ogre Slayer’ tore through the forest.
Shakan had traveled across the continent and hunted everything. Sometimes he fought with orcs.
However, he had never seen a true orc warrior. He narrowly avoided the enemy’s attacks using his battle senses and then overwhelmed the enemy with his greatsword. He seemed like a human machine that suppressed his enemies with his swordsmanship. At the necessary moment, his power would burst out against the enemy.
"Only this much──────!”
Crockta shouted as he was kicked by an ogre. He stabbed the greatsword into the ogre’s abdomen, causing blood to pour out. Crockta swung his greatsword madly at the ogre. Blood dripped down. The ogre collapsed, blood foaming at its mouth.
The bloody Crockta glared at the remaining enemies. The ogres were caught by that momentum. A fighting spirit that never broke.
Was it a coincidence that a warrior appeared for his last hunt? If that wasn’t fate, then what was?
Shakan smiled and pulled back his bowstring. The orc wasn’t there yet, but he would be great in the future. The image of the hunter Zankus, whom he had met a long time ago, was superimposed over this orc warrior.
It was the duty of a veteran to give advice to the young and inexperienced.
Shakan kept pulling back his bowstring.
The two remaining ogres were forcing Crockta to be on the defensive. Tiyo’s magic bullets struck one ogre while the other one aimed its huge fist at Crockta.
Shakan let go.
Shakan had the bloodline of a dragon hunter who hunted a dragon and drank its blood. The bodies of the ogres stiffened as his arrow became invisible and pierced through the two ogres at the same time.
There was no fuss as the two ogres fell to the ground like they were asleep. Crockta stared at him.
Tiyo also felt admiration. Shakan just shrugged. He had just pierced the required spot with as much force as necessary. If he did that, the enemy’s breath would stop.
Hunting was a tranquil task.
"Do you know why the Forest of Creatures is like this?” Crockta panted as he looked up.
They advanced while killing many creatures.
Before, they had still been at the entrance of the Forest of Creatures. Once they arrived at the center, creatures such as trolls, ogres, and wyverns endlessly attacked. Crockta’s greatsword cut their necks without resting, but the creatures didn’t die as they were resurrected and caught by the party again. They attacked the trio of monsters who died, resurrected, and died again.
It was a scene like hell.
"How can a crazy place like this exist? Is it really because of the legend?”
Crockta asked. It was something that Dr. Gnome from Quantes had said in passing. There was a legend that demonic power flowed out from a wicked creature buried here. To find out more, he needed to speak to the theology professor but she was missing from Quantes.
“That’s right,” Shakan spoke while picking up the arrows.
The number of arrows was gradually diminishing due to the repeated battles.
"Is there really an ancient demon buried here?” Tiyo asked as he flopped down to the ground, holding ‘General’ with a weary expression.
"Not exactly, there is a beast that has digested the body of something buried here and became a monster.”
"At one time, the Shakans were interested in the Forest of Creatures as a hunting ground. They wanted to know the cause of the endless creatures emerging. They eventually failed, but in turn discovered what type of monster it was.
Shaken pulled Tiyo up. Tiyo grabbed his hand and rubbed away the dirt from his ass. It was time to move again.
"I call it the behemoth.”
"It ate the legend and became a monster; however, because of that, it can’t leave this place. I’m glad. It has regular periods of hibernation. Once a year, there is a season where it will wake up. Now is that season. The north won’t open until you finally kill it."
They headed towards the center of the forest. The sun was up but the horizon was dark due to the lush greenery.
"You appeared in the season of its awakening.”
“Fate.” Shakan smiled. He could feel fate’s hand pushing his back.
Both of them had excellent skills. Apart from the orc warrior, the gnome also skillfully handled his artifact. This was the last season of hunting and these people would open the north.
“This time I won’t miss it.”
An enemy he couldn’t run from.
He could smell it. Shakan’s body became tense, but there was a smile on his face. They finally got to meet again.
Last year, he had pierced its eyes, but had been forced back. He reached the point of death but it hadn’t killed him. The fight between the two had gone on for a long time. For the ‘beast’ stuck here, he was its only entertainment.
But this was the end of a bad relationship. Either way, today, one of the two would die.
“It’s coming,” Shakan said.
Something was raising its body.
"Kill that guy if you want to open up the north.”
Crockta and Tiyo stared at it. The two eyes of the ‘beast’ shone. It slowly raised its head. The behemoth looked down at them from a very high place.
"Oh my god..."
A giant monster. Thick limbs. It looked a hippopotamus and was much bigger than an ogre. It was a big monster that seemed the size of several elephants combined together.
It looked down at them and laughed.
Tiyo was overwhelmed by its huge appearance. "Something so large...”
Crockta forcibly moved his stiff body and grasped his greatsword. The enemy’s size wasn’t important. “Shakan. Are you willing to hunt that thing? Kulkulkul.”
His old habit of laughing in front of seemingly impossible missions popped up.
“Of course.” Shakan’s voice was determined.
Crockta declared, "Then let's go."
“Yes.” Shakan pulled his big bow. He pressed his mouth against the bow. "Show me that orc warriors aren’t loud and fragile.”
Crockta joked, "Is it true that the Shakan aren’t just bluffing rabbits?”
Shakan laughed,"I’ll show you.”
"I will do the same.”
Just as they prepared to launch their attacks...
Bright flashes of light flew from behind them towards the behemoth.
Tiyo fired ‘General’ and shouted, "There’s too much talking. The most courageous one here is a gnome dot!”
Crockta burst out laughing. Then they rushed towards the behemoth.
Praise the Orc: Glossary Link.
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