It was the dead of night, the skies were clear and the stars shone brightly in the near black sky. The air, cold but crisp and the faint hooting of an owl could be heard far in the distance. At this time the Tavern began close and intoxicated hunters were returning to their residences from their night out. Much laughter and chatter could be heard as individuals said farewells until the Next day or whenever they'd meet up and socialise again.
At the foot of a bed a small wyvern lay curled up, gently snoring, his body rising and falling with each breath. His snout and hind leg twitching, he was dreaming of a hunt. A nice fat juicy kelbi was the thing he was chasing. His mouth watering and small droplets of drool dripped onto to the solid oak flooring. And little Puru wasn't the only one dreaming. In the bed lay a wounded hunter with bandaging wrapped round his head and covering his eyes. His body twitching and tensing, he mumbled. Words which had no apparent coherence tumbled from his mouth. He looked in pain also, a great deal of pain. A half empty bottle of whiskey and a shot glass stat on a side table. His chest was unclothed but partly wrapped in bandaging to give some support to the bones. It was impossible to tell if they were broken or not but there was a substantial amount of bruising, all over his toned physique. His breathing was fast and shallow; with each rapid breach the star light hit his muscles illuminating every dip and rise with a blue artistic flair. His dreams however were full of nightmarish content and chilling memories.
"What's the plan Seth?" quizzed the excited foreign hunter.
"Hold your horses" Seth said raising both hands in a peaceful gesture. "Have either of you fought a Great Jaggi before?" He looked down at the two, both shaking their heads.
"But I have fought a few Giadrome before" Piped up the foreign hunter "They can't be too different from what I've heard"
"Ok, good start SkyClad" Seth nodded. "Raven how about you?"
The boy hung his head; his dark blue fringe covered his eyes. "I uhm
Saw one once but I
I just ran." He answered sheepishly. "I get scared every time I see a big monster like that."
Seth smiled warmly and placed one hand on Raven's shoulder "Fear is nothing to be ashamed of, all hunters feel it. It's natural"
The newbie hunter looked up at Seth, the experienced man was about half a foot taller than himself, he had a bird wing tattoo over his right eye and many old scars. But these scars did not detract from his attractiveness. And another thing about Seth which was impossible to overlook was his hair. Shoulder length, combed back and hot pink in colour. Raven guessed it was this way so that Seth stood out from the other hunters, it certainly didn't fail but the attention wasn't always positive. A few spiteful words were spoken, but Seth appeared to take it strongly and always laughed and shrugged it off. Raven had always looked up to Seth and was thrilled the hunter accepted his request to hunt with him.
Raven smiled "what was it like hunting your first Great Jaggi?"
Seth paused and thought back for a moment "Truthfully
I was terrified!" Then seeing the look on Raven's face hurriedly added "But my weapon was terrible and I was fighting alone. You and SkyClad will be fine and if you're in any danger I'll intervene."
"Now then" Seth began again "Some tactics. SkyClad you aim for the head and try to stun-"
"-Yes yes I know" The foreign hunter interrupted eager to commence with the hunting.
"Raven, try an attack sequence with your sword on the main body, about five hits or so the defend with your shield. Try to predict his movements."
"Ok" Raven confirmed, and then added "what will you be doing Seth?"
The experienced hunter folded his arms "keeping an eye on you two, I'll jump in if you're having any bother though." Then seeing the slight disappointment on Ravens face explained "I'd love to fight with you but I'd kill it too quickly, you both need to experience. Later we can hunt something stronger together like a Rathian" He grinned.
"Good reason." SkyClad put in, though he was sceptic to believe Seth could kill the Monster that quickly.
"Also before I forget let me make this clear. Both of you are under my care and watch whilst we're out here." Seth was deadly serious and all trace of smile had evaporated from his face. "If I say run you'd better run. Doesn't matter if you leave your weapon behind it can be replaced. Your life on the other hand
" He trailed off "
lets go then."
The foreign hunter punched the air with his fist the shouted "Lets do this!" before running off in search of claw marks or other signs of the beast.
The trio had managed to track the wyvern to its den, where it and dozens of Jaggi and Jaggia slept and brought in kills. They spotted it sleeping amongst piles of bone and scattered dung. The two inexperienced hunters looked to Seth for guidance.
"Charge up a super pound then" Seth said in a matter of fact tone gesturing to SkyClad's hammer. "Raven, unsheathe your weapon and strike after he does".
The foreign hunter drew back his iron hammer, aimed lifting it above his head with both hands and brought it down hard onto the bird wyvern's skull. The Great Jaggi yelped and scrambled quickly to its feet. Looking round at the humans who had intruded and interrupted its slumber it roared in anger and braced itself to fight. Swinging its tail round like a whip the wyvern tried to knock the hunters off their feet. Raven raised his shield just in time but still stumbled back a few paces from the force of the blow. SkyClad who was preparing for another big attack couldn't dodge in time and was struck by the full force of the tail. He was flung back ten feet or so, his hands dug into the earth as he tried steady himself. Pushing with the palms of his hands he leapt up and drawing back his weapon readied himself for another hit. With the beast's focus now on SkyClad Raven seized his chance, letting loose a number of lightning fast slashes and stabs. The monster turned to him and snarled, snapping its jaws it ran at him. But sharp pointed teeth met with the rubbery hide upon Raven's shield not soft flesh.
Seth continued to watch the two newbies from afar. SkyClad was dealing some good solid blows and did manage to avoid most attacks. Raven however was defending almost all the time, like he was afraid to attack and risk getting hit. Hunting was all about risks, perhaps he just needed a word or two of guidance.
"SkyClad!" He called "you alright on your own for a minute or two?"
"I am!" The foreign hunter shouted in reply.
"Raven!" Seth called "come over here".
The young hunter sheathed his sword and jogged over, giving Seth a questioning look.
"I want you to watch the Great Jaggi, see if you can read his movements" Seth instructed. He watched Raven's eyes dart about taking in every last detail. He was constantly thinking. The good makings of a hunter Seth thought to himself.
Raven noticed the experienced hunter watching him. He smiled, it was like having an older brother. He continued to watch the Wyvern, and then became confused. "Seth, what's it doing" he pointed to the Great Jaggi. It was stretching its neck out furthering its sight distance and sniffing the air. Then the earth began to tremble increasing in magnitude.
"Oh shit!" Seth cursed.
SkyClad, too absorbed in bludgeoning the great Jaggi did not notice a thing. He didn't notice the ground shaking, nor the distress the wyvern was in. Not until a droplet of dirty green translucent saliva dripped upon his shoulder plate and began to fizz. Slowly he turned and eyes were met with razor sharp rows of teeth, many tons of muscle and piercing demonic eyes peering down at him.
Seth began to shout "Run! SkyClad are you stupid or what?! RUN!"
But he just stood there, transfixed by the Deviljho's powerful gaze. Rearing upwards with its head the Jho stabbed downwards with its massive jaw. There was only time to scream as the massive mouth surrounded him, then bit him clean in two. Swallowing and swinging its head violently to the side a pair of legs were tossed to the ground. Blood poured from the staining the earth crimson.
The Great Jaggi bravely tried to defend its territory, biting down as hard as it was able onto one of its chunky legs. Mildly irritated the Deviljho swung its colossal tail round knocking the smaller wyvern to the ground. Before it could rise a mighty clawed foot slammed down onto and into the poor monster. Like razor sharp weapons the claws punctured through the hide and flesh with frightening ease. Hungry the Jho chomped at the wyvern's belly spewing guts and blood out. The once Great Jaggi sighed deeply as it exhaled its final breath.
In the panic and heat of the moment Raven charged at the beast, short sword raider ready to strike.
" Seth muttered and sprinted towards him.
The Deviljho had begun its swinging attack, thrashing its head and tail from side to side whilst taking massive steps. Taking his switch axe out from the fastening on his back he up swung the young hunter sending him up many feet in the air and out of reach from the frantic monstrosity that was heading this way. Hastily putting his weapon away Seth, ran and threw his body forwards into a dive just managing to escape the Jho's powerful jaws.
"Raven!" he shouted "run now!"
"But I-" the young hunter tried to protest.
"Now!" Seth shouted louder. "I'll hold him for a few minutes, you go back and get help. I'll be fine, don't worry" he assured though he began to doubt himself.
There was slight hesitation before Raven agreed "ok" he called "be careful" then turned and sprinted off in the direction of the town. The monster began to give chase, Seth took out his axe again and began to hack at anything he could reach on the Deviljho's body. It was far larger than any he'd seen before. This meant Seth had to up swing to reach the wyverns softer under belly leaving him venerable to hits himself. He'd managed to keep it preoccupied for half an hour or so but now he was becoming tired. He paused briefly and tried to catch his breath. The Jho was a few meters away and Seth decided to take a risk. Shifting his axe into sword mode he readied himself for a powerful charged attack. The beast bounded over the ground quaking with each step, swift Seth rolled underneath the Deviljho, aimed his weapon upwards and released the powerful energy stored in the blade. Fire exploded out from the tip of the broad blade, Seth turned his head away even with it far above his head the heat still burnt a little. The monster yelped and flinched and Seth stumbled from the force of his own blast, it was difficult to control when he was this exhausted. A huge tail swung round, he couldn't avoid it. It struck his upper body and he was hurled rearward, weapon slipped out of his grasp and his helmet flew off crashing to the ground. Seth landed hard and awkwardly on his back, the air punched out from his lungs. There was no time to roll or get out of the way. One taloned foot came down, trapping the hunter in its digits. He looked behind and stretched his arm out; his switch axe was tantalisingly out of reach if he could just- the Deviljho struck his chest hard and received a mouthful of armour. Again and again it struck ripping away more and more of Seth's defence. But without armour his arm could more over freely. He reached out behind again his fingers brushed against the hilt, a little more, finally! He grasped it hastily swinging it at the Jho face with as much force as he could muster. He struck it solidly across the eye. It roared in anger and in pain flinching backwards but not releasing Seth from its firm hold. He tried again but second time didn't work, the Jho was expecting it. Grabbing the weapon in its brutal jaws it flung the axe far, it landed with a dull metallic ring. Seth struggled but to no avail, it just entertained the beast. He stopped moving realising it was useless, he looked up at those big menacing eyes. One was bleeding where Seth had struck it, the other priced into his soul. Seth felt nothing but fear now as he gazed upwards sensing immanent death. It roared again throwing its head up into the air Seth hurriedly covered his ears to lessen the deafening blast of noise.
The Deviljho leant up close, so close in fact Seth could smell its rancid breath. It smiled bearing all its stained teeth, and its green tinged saliva. Seth remembered a while back in training, they'd say something about Jho saliva
he couldn't remember it but he knew it was important. Even as he thought about it drool dripped down. Shit! Now he remembered and desperately tried to cover his eyes. But he wasn't quick enough. Both eyes were splattered with saliva
the sudden pain was so intense! He screamed in agony as it burned his eyes. He'd never experienced anything this torturous before, tears mixed with blood streamed from the corners of his eyes and his body writhed around uncontrollably. His cries out became weaker and weaker as he started to lose consciousness.
And all the Deviljho did was watch, it chuckled darkly and deeply. Growing bored it released Seth from its grip, to see if that would make him anymore entertaining. It didn't. Now it motioned to finish off the hunter. The Jho was about to consume Seth when it heard shouts and raised voices of numerous hunters. Thinking better of finishing off the semi-conscious hunter the monster gathered up the remains of the Great Jaggi in its huge jaws and plodded off quite content.
"This way this way!" sounded a familiar voice followed by over a dozen running foot steps. He sensed someone grab his hand and squeeze it "Seth? Seth!" Raven cried
Another ran up beside him "Out of the way" he told the young hunter hastily, then lifted up Seth's eye lids one after the other. The whites had turned pinky red and looked terribly blood shot. "We have to get him back as fast as possible" Rye instructed his voice calm but inside he was panicking. The two lifted Seth each placed an arm behind his back. The others ran off in pursuit of the abnormally large brute wyvern.
When the three returned a large crowed awaited them, eager to hear of Seth's battle with the giant Deviljho sighting, they followed them all the way to Seth's house then patiently waited outside. Raven and Rye carried him up the stairs and to his bed. A boy ran up the stairs with Rye's medical bags then ran back down with a message from Rye to the crowd: 'Disperse and go back to your usual business, Seth is in no fit state to talk about his ordeal. He needed treatment and rest.' With that the mass sighed and all walked off in different directions.
Seth was mostly conscious now, but still in a great deal of pain. Rye had rinsed his eyes several times with a mixture of life powder and water, then bandaged over his eyes to prevent the light and more germs getting in. He had also administered several shots of whiskey to ease Seth's pain and help him sleep.
"Come" Rye said to Raven "let him rest"
"No" Seth murmured.
Rye sighed "Alright then, he can stay" then walked from the room.
Seth reached out with his hand and Raven took it in his own and squeezed a little. His lip trembled a slightly as he tried to speak "I-I'm scared" a single tear made it's way from his eye and trickled down his cheek without being absorbed by the cloth bandaging.
"Oi" Raven tried to smile "remember what you told me? It's alright to be afraid. You'll pull though I know you will". He gently squeezed again.
The Alcohol was starting to take effect, Seth was relaxing more and his pain was dulling. But he was becoming gloomier. Raven sensing he was saddened climbed into his bed wrapped his arms round the injured hunter's bare chest and rested his head on top of it. Seth sniffed and welcomed the comforting hug wrapped his arms round in return and drifted into sleep.