Episode 58: Hunter and The Hunted (4)

“‘When there are sows, there are no shortage of bulls.’

Vikir understood now why Aiyen had said this.

Vikir and Aiyen are currently lurking in front of a den deep in the jungle.

The den they are watching closely contains a large female oxbear and a small male oxbear.

The two oxbears have been mating nonstop for three days.

The female’s strength and desire were immense.

She blocked the entrance to the nest with her huge beak and pushed down on the exhausted male to prevent him from escaping.

He, too, had good seeds and was able to satisfy her intense thirst for a couple of days, but by the third day he was running out of strength and often made dying noises.

Females are the strongest of their kind, and their appetites are unusually voracious.

She had a long hibernation ahead of her, so she didn’t let go of him for a moment to make sure she was going to get pregnant and hibernate.

When he gives it all out and spreads out, she climbs on top of him, grooms him all over, and brings him back to his feet.

And then she’d do it all over again, over and over again.

Vikir sighed softly.

“I don’t know what I’m doing.”

Vikir’s arms are filled with the carp, salmon, berries, mushrooms, and other things he’s just caught.

Aiyen, too, had gathered up various supplies and laid them out in front of the cave.

These were not for Vikir and Aiyen to eat. They were for the oxbears mating in that den.

They had been helping the oxbears mate for the past three days.

When a hungry female came out to forage for food, Aiyen and Vikir would provide her with these small bits of food so that she could mate as quickly and as often as possible.

The female oxbear would carefully examine them for poison, then take them back to the males and feed them to restore their strength.

Aiyen smiled wryly.

“Those berries and mushrooms are a short-term boost. But in the long run, they’re terrible for you. They raise the body’s heat rapidly and then drop it rapidly again.”

Vikir knew the benefits of those ingredients.

Taking them makes you temporarily stronger, but it saps and burns your life force, which is not good for your health.

And the female Oxbear seemed to know this and still take them.

The male Oxbear also seems to recognize the benefits of these mushrooms and berries, but he can’t do much to satisfy her needs right now.

He can only eat.

Sometimes during the feeding, if Vikir accidentally left a scent or a trail, the female oxbear would come out of her den, alert and wary.

She was old and had poor eyesight, but her ears seemed to make up for it.


She tore at the thick logs around her with her claws and pulled rocks apart.

A giant tree that must have been hundreds of years old was snapped in half, and the rocks that supported the small hill were shattered.

After ravaging the area for a while, the female, satisfied that there were no more signs of intruders around her, went back into the den and climbed on top of the exhausted male.

Vikir, hiding behind a bush, muttered quietly.

“I don’t know if it’s a warning to the intruder or the male.”

Such a display of strength would scare off the intruder, but it would also make it impossible for a cowardly male to escape.

Vikir now understood why Aiyen had chosen a large, powerful female to pursue first.

The stronger and larger the female, the more likely she was to be able to keep the male at a distance.


Lurking hunters need to eat, too.

Aiyen calculated the direction of the wind and set about making a meal that would not carry the scent to the oxbears.

Clear water boiled in a coconut shell with crayfish from the waterfall. The only other additions were a handful of salt and a bunch of dried seaweed.

Aiyen offered Vikir some of his clear water.

He pushed all the lobsters, even the plump ones, in front of Vikir.

It was a sight that made it hard to tell who was the master and who was the slave.

“Eat a lot, so you can feel better.”

Aiyen shoved a considerable amount of food in front of Vikir’s nose.

Vikir thought she looked a bit like a camel.


The red lobster’s body snaps in half.

The hard shell cracked open, revealing plump white flesh.

The yellow and blue guts were steaming hot.

Vikir chewed on the crayfish’s head.

“By the way, they mate like crazy.”

For three days, the oxbears barely left their burrows.

The constant vibrations of the burrow and the mingled moans of the males and females inside must have been exhausting for those who had been watching for three days.

Aiyen’s eyes light up with mischief at Vikir.

“Isn’t that what you deserve?”


“I thought all Balak men were supposed to do that, but not Imperial men?”

Vikir frowned.

Aiyen’s words were so unreliable after what had happened.

Hadn’t he once taken her word for it and pissed in the middle of nowhere and been humiliated by his tribe?

But Aiyen continues to tease Vikir.

“You can’t do that?”


“Well, maybe you can’t because you come from the land of the sandman.”

“Who’s a sandman.”

“Then can you do that?”


“Can you do it? Can you do it?”

Aiyen was getting annoying.

Vikir knew that getting caught up in her pace would be a headache, so he chose to ignore her completely.

What a cheeky slave.

…… Just then.


A cry unlike any other erupted.


The playfulness drained from Aiyen’s face.

She bounced to her feet, quickly grabbed her bow and arrow, and began to peer over the bush.

The playful seventeen-year-old girl of just moments ago was nowhere to be seen.

Only the sharp-shooting hunter remained.


Baqira, Aiyen’s partner wolf, had bared her teeth as well.

Vikir, too, dropped his lobster claws and rose to his feet, crouching beside Aiyen.

A commotion was from the den containing the two oxbears.

[Gwooow! Gwooow! Gwooow!]

The female, who had been gentle with the male up until this point, gagged a few times and suddenly changed her demeanor.

She bared her teeth at him and threatened him with her hidden nails.

The male was taken aback by her sudden change in demeanor, but remained lying on the ground, apparently trusting his bond with her.

He seems to want to stay in his big, cozy nest for a while longer.

But she wasn’t about to let him keep squirming and pressing against her.


A dull noise.

The female slammed her front paw with the force of several tons.

Teeth snapped and blood spurted.

A slap on the ear jolted the male to his feet.

He scrambled out of the den on shaky legs.

Aiyen called out in triumph.

“Looks like the female is convinced that she’s fertile.”

Now that she’s successfully conceived, she doesn’t need to squeeze the male’s seeds.

It’s a world of carnivorous bears.

After mating, the opposite sex is simply a competing predator that has invaded their territory.


The female roared once more at the fleeing male. The male is confused and scrambling for his life.

The male scurries away from the female’s lair in a daze.

To avoid being eaten, he had to run away as fast as he could while she wasn’t in a bad mood.

His legs are shaking and his movements are slurred and slippery.

Her fur was matted and had lost much of its shine.

His nose and eyes were dry, and all the fat that had once been plump on his back, belly, flanks, and thighs had been burned away.

His cheeks were already visibly puffy from the slap he had just received.

And at the sight of such a male oxbear, the eyes of Aiyen, the hunter of the Balak, glittered.

“Follow me, slave.”


Aiyen, a male oxbearer, and Vikir, a slave to his mistress.

This was the beginning of the real hunt.