Episode 55 The Hunter and the Hunted (1)


The Balak are a very warlike people by nature.

It was clear that if you took war and hunting out of their lives, there probably wouldn’t be much left.

As Vikir followed Aiyen to the entrance of the clan, he reviewed what he knew about the Balak.

‘Their language has only about three hundred words, and most of them are nouns. Verbs are gestural, and there is no distinction between them and us when it comes to possession. Men are ambo, women are akouati, love is aauki, death is utika……’

The people of Balak viewed the empires as rude, devious, and pretentious.

Conversely, the Imperials viewed the Balak as barbarians who screamed and punched at the slightest hint of anger.

The people of Baskerville seemed to be somewhere in the middle, Vikir thought, between the civilized people of the Empire and the barbarians of the jungle.

“I wonder if they’re vaguely resembling both sides of the border, never fully belonging to either.

As Vikir pondered this to himself, the hunters of Balak gathered in a circle.

Hunters, young and old, gathered in groups of three and four.

Several mounted on the backs of wolves, bows and spears dangling.

Only Aiyen had no companions, just a wolf to ride and his slave, Vikir.

“Gather round, hunters, it’s time for the ceremony.”

A crooked-looking old man came forward with a bowl of black charcoal, which he smeared on the faces of the hunter-warriors.

A series of tattoos peeked out from beneath his black robes, suggesting he might be a shaman.

“Go, all of you, with my blessing, or I will strike you down.”

The old shaman dipped a bowl of tan into the bowl and smeared it over the faces of all the hunters.

The hunters of Balak feel guilty about killing their prey.

So they smeared their faces with tar before killing, so as not to show their faces to the God of Death.

But the younger hunters, including Aiyen, don’t seem to appreciate the ritual.

“There you go again, that annoying b*tch.”

“Leave him alone. The shaman needs to make his mark.”

“By the way, don’t you think your fortune-telling is a little off?”

“That’s why all they do nowadays are earrings for ears and nose rings for noses.”

All young people, regardless of time and place, dislike and despise old customs and superstitions.

With a look of annoyance, Aiyen stuck out her face and accepted the old shaman’s charcoal-black makeup.

The old shaman rubbed the black paint on Aiyen’s face a few times before moving on, which was quite sloppy compared to what he did for the other warriors, and it was clear that he didn’t like her.

Next, Aiyen slipped the spiked collar around his neck and handed it to Vikir.

“Wear this to keep them from biting your neck.”

Vikir nodded.

One by one, the hunters began to leave the village.

Knives sheathed, spears drawn, bows drawn, wolves herded, the tribe’s hunters departed.

Vikir, the slave, made his own preparations.

“While I’m here, I’ll have to blend in with them.

He needed to renew his mindset.

Vikir finally felt the urge and pulled down his pants to pee.

He was going to start with something as basic as this and blend into the culture.


When the people of Balak saw Bikir peeing, they began to freak out.

The women covered their eyes and watched through their spread fingers, while the men gave him openly competitive glances.

Vikir was puzzled and asked.

“What’s with all the stares? Isn’t everyone doing this?”

Answers came from all over the place.

“……What are you talking about, who pisses in the middle of nowhere like that?”

“Is that how they do it in the Empire? That’s barbaric.”

“We use separate restrooms.”

“Men over there, women over here.”

“You’re so ignorant, you should cover up.”

“How barbaric!”

“What happened?”


Vikir turned his head to look at Aiyen.

Aiyen smirked, then quickly averted her gaze.

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Aiyen climbed onto the wolf’s back.

“Hold on tight.”

On her back, of course, was Vikir.

Vikir hesitated for a moment, unsure of where to hold on, then squeezed the wolf’s fur.

Then Aiyen reached back and pulled Vikir’s arm around her waist.

“You have to hold on here. Tight. If you don’t, you’ll fall and break your neck.”

Vikir grasped Aiyen’s thighs with his hands. It was certainly wide enough to be comfortable to hold.



The wolf took a single leap, and Vikir was sent tumbling to the ground.

In agony, Vikir almost screamed.

His bones, barely held together by Murcielago’s regenerative powers, twisted again.

Riding a wolf was quite different from riding a horse.

For one thing, there was no saddle and no mount.

Furthermore, wolves had a much narrower waist than horses, and they moved more dynamically.

Aiyen stopped the wolf and lowered himself to the ground.

“Tsk, tsk, you should have wrapped your arms around my waist like that and held on with both hands. It’ll fall off if you hold it that gently.”

She smirked and patted her own waist, as if to say, “How am I supposed to vent without you holding it?

Vikir was just about to rise from his seat.


A figure stepped in between Vikir and Aiyen.

Ahun. He was riding a wolf, looking down at Vikir.

The atmosphere immediately turns chilly.

Aiyen crossed her arms in a look of displeasure.

Balak’s hunters compete for every moment.

Ahun is a warrior who has always been fond of Aiyen, and he will challenge her in this hunt.

“This time,” he says, “I’ll bring home the bigger prey. I’m going to be the captain of the next joint hunt, in my grandfather’s honor.”

“Why would you risk your grandfather’s honor on a hunt when all you know how to do is witchcraft? It’s your prerogative to do whatever you want.”

Aiyen didn’t confront Ahun.

He merely jerked his chin toward Vikir across the way, urging him to come quickly.

Vikir had just gotten to his feet and was about to make his way toward Aiyen.


Vikir’s head snapped back.

Ahun, riding on top of the wolf, had kicked him in the face with his foot.

Vikir was still wounded, so he had no choice but to take the blow even though he knew it was coming.

Thank goodness it wasn’t an attack of great force.

The next moment, Aiyen was furious.

“You bastard, what the……!?”

Aiyen stepped forward, but she froze in place.

She glanced back and forth between Vikir, who had fallen to the ground with a strange look in his eyes, and Ahun, who had gained momentum.

Ahun flinched for a moment at Aiyen’s reaction, then breathed a sigh of relief.

Then he looked at the fallen Vikir and sneered.

“You’re using this weakling as a hunting aid. Get a grip, Captain. You’ll only get yourself in trouble.”

“You should look at your own backside before you say that …….”

At Aiyen’s sarcastic remark, Ahun looked down at his waist.

There was nothing there. Where there should have been a quiver full of arrows.


Ahun whipped his head around, furious.

Vikir had somehow gotten up with his quiver and arrows.

He had just swiped it from Ahun before he collapsed.

“‘I owe the Age of Destruction again.’

Before his regression, Vikir hadn’t really had a job he hadn’t done.

The art of pickpocketing comes in handy, too.

“Weapons are like lovers. You use them when they’re taken away.”

Bikir’s grave comment made Aiyen burst out laughing and Ahun blush.

“……you, you insolent slave!”

Ahun drew his bowstring and struck Vikir in the shoulder.


With a loud crack, Vikir fell to the ground.

As if that wasn’t enough, Ahun climbed off the wolf’s back.


The bowstring swung out once more.


Ahun’s bow had to stop in midair.

Aiyen had drawn an arrow and blocked Ahun’s bowstring.

“That’s enough. Whose slave do you think you’re punishing?”

Aiyen’s words were as cold and hard as frost.

Ah Hun stammered out a retort.

“He’s a slave, how dare he insult a Balak warrior!”

“You showed your pathetic self first.”

“Nevertheless, he’s a slave, and a slave can never insult a warrior!”

Ahun protested, citing the rules of the tribe.


Aiyen thought for a moment, then nodded.

“Very well, a slave is a slave, and if he does something wrong, he must be punished.”

“Yes, Captain. That’s what I’m saying.”

“But you have no right to punish him, he’s my slave.”


The concept of private property is rare on Balak, but when it comes to slaves, the lines of ownership are pretty strict.

When Ahun shook his head, Aiyen drove a wedge.

“If there is to be a punishment, it will be mine.”

With that, Aiyen slid off the wolf’s back and stood in front of Vikir.

And then.


Aiyen’s hand slapped Vikir across the cheek.

As Vikir fell to the ground, Aiyen continued to beat him.

His fists curled like snakes, targeting his abdomen, waist, and legs.

Vikir curled into a circle and endured Aiyen’s fists in silence.

After a few minutes of this, Aiyen pulled back, breathing heavily.

Then she glared at Ahun with a cold stare.

“Are we done?”


Ahun held his breath, as if he was embarrassed by Aiyen’s spanking, and then nodded in disbelief.

Aiyen looked Ahun straight in the eyes.

“I know you have a lot of personal grievances with my slave, falling off the wolf’s back, not being able to catch Saxi…….”


“After this time, if you do anything to my slave in private, you will be beaten like this. Do you understand?”

Aiyen’s fist dripped with blood.

His eyes were dark and flesh-colored.

Ahun nodded his head a few times in confusion, then turned his bored gaze to Vikir on the floor.

Vikir, who hadn’t screamed up until that point, was simply writhing quietly in place.

With that, Ahun climbed onto the wolf’s back and quickly disappeared.

Only Aiyen and Vikir were left here again.


Aiyen creeped over and squatted down in front of Vikir.

Vikir pushed himself to his feet.

She stroked Vikir’s reddened cheeks with an unfathomable, complicated gaze.

“……Were you hurt?”

His tone had changed slightly, but maybe it was just his mood.