Episode 57 The Hunter and the Hunted (3)

Ahun. He spat once on the ground and crossed his arms with a confident expression.

In front of him now was a large dead boar.

At first glance, it looked like it weighed over 300 kilograms.

The Balak warriors gathered around Ahun and praised his feat with one accord.

“Wow, a piece of meat this size would feed the entire tribe!”

“I only caught three hares.”

“Ahun’s boar must be the best of the hunt.”

The warriors spoke, each offering up their catch.

Ahun’s boar was the largest of the bunch so far.

A hunt of this size, with almost every member of the tribe participating, was a game and a contest in itself.

And within the village, aside from the chief, the greatest authority goes to the hunter who brings in the biggest and fiercest catch.

Ahun shrugged.

“Even Captain Aiyen wouldn’t be able to kill something bigger than that.”

“So you’ll be the hunting leader from now on?”

“Hmph. By the rules, I should say.”

Ahun gave a grim smile and blushed.

But the man he was supposed to be bragging about hadn’t returned to town yet.

Only Aiyen, the hunting leader of the younger Balak, had not returned.

Ahun waved his hand as if there was nothing more to see.

“Even a captain can only hunt so much on his own. I don’t think he’ll be able to catch anything bigger than this.”

“But the captain didn’t go alone, did he take a slave with him, what’s his name?”

“You fool, how is that going to help when he can’t even walk on his own!”

Ahun snapped at his other friend.

His face fell as he remembered the humiliation he had suffered before the hunt.

Ahun thumped his fist on his chest, as if to emphasize his point.

“I’ll see you later, you won’t catch a single rabbit! That slave bastard will grab you by the ankles!”

The young warriors of Balak stood open-mouthed, nodding at Ahun’s words.

Whether he was right or wrong, it didn’t matter.

In any case, the man who had brought in the big catch had the last word.

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A large waterfall cascades down into a gorge.

Below it was a sharp rocky, and far below that was a wide expanse of white sand.

The water in the valley was crystal clear. If it weren’t for the foam and the sound of the water, you wouldn’t even know there was water there.


Several fat carp swam up the falls.

Unable to overcome the turbulent waters, they plunge downward, impaling themselves on the jagged rocks below.

Aiyen and Vikir hid in the bushes by the waterfall and watched the scene unfold.

“…… It’s coming.”

Aiyen said under his breath.

Sure enough, the large female oxbear they had first spotted approached the mouth of the waterfall.

Thick horns with countless scars, a thick pelt, and muscles packed to the gills.

This is no ordinary oxbear.

He is the product of a superior bloodline, one that has survived through countless generations.

He doesn’t even bother to hunt, simply pulling fish from the sharp rocks and devouring them in a single bite.

He doesn’t drink the water, only the fish.

The river’s waters are salty, and much of what accumulates on the white sandbars is salt, which doesn’t suit Oxbear’s taste for freshness.

“This is where the river meets the sea, which is why we have a salt river.”

Vikir nodded at Aiyen’s words.

Now that he thought about it, the crayfish that had been crawling in the stream downstream were unusually large.

They were lobsters, not freshwater crayfish.


Even at this moment, the carp wanted to go over the waterfall and into the ocean.

“They say that if a carp succeeds in making it back here, it can evolve into a big beast. That’s what my grandmother said.”

Aiyen explained again. Vikir merely nodded, not particularly curious or asking.

Regardless of whether the legend she told was true or not, the carp, some as big as her forearm, are still working their way up the falls, and most of them fail to make the climb and fall to the bottom.

A few lucky ones, even if they fail to climb the falls, are able to land on the surface of the water or on land close to the water as they fall and make their way back to the water, but most of the unlucky ones just get impaled on the sharp rocks and flounder and die.

And Oxbear is clever enough to pick out only those carp and eat them.

It was as if he didn’t need to move his body to hunt.

Maybe it’s because this place is so famous for hunting?

In addition to the female oxbear, several other oxbears began to approach.

They watch the first female, then settle down at the mouth of the stream to feed on the carp.

There were no rocks downstream, so there were no carp stuck to the rocks, so they had to use their bodies to hunt.

The giant female oxbear turns her head and looks down at her poor competitors with a pathetic expression.

It was a mixture of contempt and superiority.

Aiyen glared at the oxbear with a determined expression.

He growled lowly to warn off other predators that might approach, but he was exceptionally tolerant of the smallest and youngest members of his species.

Several oxbears the size of puppies approach fearlessly and bite the carp on the head before fleeing.

The female oxbear glances at the little ones, who she doesn’t recognize, and ignores them.

It was Vikir’s first time seeing an oxbear cub, and he was somewhat intrigued.

Aiyen quickly realized the object of Vikir’s attention and spoke up.

“Is this your first time seeing an Oxbear cub?”

“I have. They’re much smaller than I thought.”

“Newborn oxbear cubs are even smaller. They’re only mice. They hibernate, so there’s no way to nourish them if they’re too big. She carries them for twelve months and finally gives birth to them at that size.”

“The mother must be terribly protective of her young.”

“Of course. Anyone within a hundred-meter radius of the cub will be attacked. Even Balak hunters don’t mess with pregnant females with cubs.”

Oxbears are heartless creatures who will eat their own kind if they’re hungry, but their maternal instincts are admirable.


A male oxbear approached the female.

It was a male oxbear, and he was quite large.

He wasn’t quite as big as her, but he was well-built for his age.

His nostrils flared as he followed her scent.

Her ears perked up as he approached, perhaps due to her old age and poor eyesight.

Her hearing must be as acute as her eyesight.


The female oxbear lets out an unexpected roar.

The large male, who had been slowly approaching her, was startled and took a few steps backwards, eventually letting go.

He didn’t think he could win an all-out battle with a female oxbear.

Bikir said, puzzled.

“She keeps refusing to mate?”

In fact, the number of males she’s chased away so far is more than five.

Some of them were really big and strong, but none of them seemed to appeal to her.

“How strong are they looking for?”

Vikir muttered, and Aiyen chuckled.

“You’re thinking about something wrong.”


“That female is not looking for a strong male, quite the contrary.”

Aiyen was right.

Soon enough, a male oxbear began to lumber toward her.

He is a small, young male who was the first to approach the female oxbear and was chased away for being too small.

She was about 8 meters tall and weighed about 2 tons, while he was about 4 meters tall and barely over a ton.

The male sneaks up on her and sniffs her fur. Then he started rubbing her chest and waist.

The female oxbear didn’t seem to mind, so she let him smell her.

Vikir crossed his arms in confusion.

“What is it, why did you pick the weakest male?”

“Because he wants a mate he can completely dominate.”

Aiyen answered.

In Oxbear society, strong, older mates are surprisingly unpopular.

Strong, experienced males often tried to kill their mates when they became agitated.

And the opposite was also true.

That’s why oxbears preferred mates that were younger and smaller.

That way they wouldn’t be attacked after the mating was over.

“Of course, we can’t use someone with poor seeds. Those with good seeds, but still young and small, are the most popular mates. Male or female.”

Aiyen was right.

The female oxbear seemed to like the male oxbear.

It was evident by the way she gently gave up her spot at the top of the carp pond.

Aiyen smirked at the sight.

“Balak’s warriors have a lot in common with the Oxbears when it comes to choosing mates.”


“On that note, do you know what kind of mate is most popular?”

Vikir wasn’t particularly curious, but Aiyen stuck to his point.

“An individual with excellent seed, but young, and if he is wounded and weak, all the better.”

This was why when Balak’s warriors went out hunting for husbands and wives, they would often leave the other half dead and hanging in a rope.

Once you’ve created an idiot, they can’t run away and they can’t fight back, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to have reproductive problems.

In short, just pull the seeds out.


Vikir was silent for a moment.

Believing that the sparkle in Aiyen’s eyes staring back at him must be a mood thing.

Just then.


A strange sound came from the falls.

Aiyen and Vikir quickly turned their heads.

The female oxbear was making a strange noise, unlike anything they had ever heard before.

The male oxbear stopped eating carp and lunged at her, nuzzling his nose into the back of her neck.

She bit down on the nape of his neck, almost dragging him away.

With that, the two oxbears left the salted sandbar and began to make their way through the bushes and into the jungle beyond.

Aiyen urged Vikir along.

“We should go.”

Aiyen’s gaze, which had been fixed on the female oxbear, now shifted to the male.

Aiyen glanced back at Vikir with an amused smile.

“That male is about to lose a lot of his strength. Then…….”

Aiyen picks up his bow and arrows, and Vikir nods in agreement.

It would soon be hunting time.

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