Episode 59 Hunter and the Hunted (5)

Aiyen and Vikir tracked the oxbear male with caution.

It was obvious that his nerves were as sharp as his body was weakened. This was evident by the water scattered in his path.

“You have to take advantage of the moment when your target is as weak as possible.”

Vikir nodded as Aiyen applied frog venom to his arrowhead.

……When is the enemy most fragile?

It’s when they’re sleeping, especially after several vigorous copulations.

Aiyen looked at the oxbear feces on the floor and nodded.

“Judging by the viscosity and consistency, he’s in very bad shape.”

“He’ll probably sleep soundly tonight.”

“Of course he will, he hasn’t slept a wink for the past three days and is drained of energy. He’ll probably retreat to a dark, deep corner where he doesn’t normally go.”

Aiyen was right.

The oxbear was aware of its condition, and it was heading deeper and deeper into the dense floodwaters.

Dense jungle. Fallen trees hung between the living, creating a maze of trees.

The leaves were turning red and yellow, making it difficult to discern direction.

Tracking the animals was made even more difficult by the fact that their tracks could be washed away in as little as half a day if it rained.

But Aiyen never loses sight of his target.

The way the branches bend, the way the grass is trampled, the depth of the soil, the chirping of the grasshoppers around him.

To a seasoned hunter, these are all signposts.

“Where an oxbear has passed, you won’t hear a mouse or insect for a while.”

As if in agreement, the wolf Bakira lets out a low howl.

Bakira had been tracking a scent from earlier, the faint scent of sweet-smelling berries, a faint scent that the human nose could not detect.

The scented berries had been stuffed into the stomachs of carp and salmon by the Aiyen and tossed to Oxbear as food.

So that Oxbear would breathe it in and carry it with him everywhere he went.


Meanwhile, Vikir had watched the Aayen’s skillful tracking from start to finish.

Some parts he didn’t know, some parts he did.

What he knew, he would review; what he didn’t know, he would learn.


Up in the trees, Aiyen looked down at the forest at the bottom of the hill and stretched out a finger.

Sure enough, there it was, a male oxbear stumbling along.

He could probably catch it if he pounced on it right now, but he was cautious nonetheless.

“Well, we’ll have to put off the hunt for a while.”

“Why is that?”

Vikir asked, and Aiyen grunted and frowned.

“That oxbear has crossed the borders of the swamp. There are scary creatures that live in the swamp, so we can’t go in there.”

” Scary creatures?”

Vikir was about to ask what it was.


Aiyen’s two palms flew out and slapped Vikir on both cheeks.

The cheeks flushed red in an instant. As Vikir stood there dazed, Aiyen smirked.

“This is the creature.”

Aiyen held out one palm in front of Bikir.

In the center of his palm was a dead mosquito.

Bakira, the wolf, growled lowly and pawed at the mosquito’s corpse in warning.

Aiyen warned with a serious expression.

“There are three types of mosquitoes in that swamp. One is the blood-sucking mosquito. These are not very threatening. But…… bone-sucking mosquitoes and flesh-sucking mosquitoes, you have to be careful.”

This was something Vikir knew as well.

Of all the mosquitoes in the waters of the Red and Black Mountains, the bone-suckers were the most dangerous.

They swarm over anything that moves, turning the body of a living creature into a leather bag of blood and guts in an instant.

In fact, Vikir had seen what the bone-sucking mosquitoes had done to a colleague a few times before, so he understood the gravity of Aiyen’s situation.

……But there’s one thing he doesn’t understand.

“But. Why won’t you take your hand away from your cheek?”

Aiyen’s other hand was still on Bikir’s cheek.

Aiyen flinched slightly at Bikir’s question, but then answered in a brusque manner.

“Do I have to take it off?”

Aiyen was now openly pinching the flesh of Bikir’s cheek.

Bikir frowned.

“……What are you doing?”

“Why, I’m the master. Do you have a problem with me touching mine?”

Bikir’s mouth was half open in disbelief.

But it would be futile to rebel against Aiyen now, not when he was so ill.

“You’re so soft.”


So I’ll just have to put up with this humiliating childish treatment for a while.

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On the night.

Aiyen settled down on the cliffside directly overlooking Oxbear’s burrow.

“They’ll strike at first light tomorrow.”

Oxbear is nocturnal, so fighting him now would be a disadvantage.

It was wisest to strike when the sun rose and he fell asleep.

Aiyen and Vikir built a simple hut on a solid rocky area.

A few branches, a leather cloth, and some broad leaves made a tent large enough for three or four people.

Blow into it and white smoke billows out.

This is what the indigenous people of Balak call the “cold valley,” a valley where even in May, the snow still hasn’t melted.

“It’s so cold here, even the mosquitoes can’t come.”

Aiyen climbed into the tent and lay down.

He lifted his leathers and turned to Bikir, who stood outside the tent.

“Come in here.”


Bikir was silent for a moment.

He looked around and saw the harshness of the environment.

The ground is cold and the soil is bad.

Trees couldn’t grow much, so where they had grown and died, only bushes and weeds sprouted in their place.

With short shrubs rising up like a grate, it was not a bad place to camp for the night, as long as you were careful of the cold.


Vikir stepped inside the tent.

Aiyen had dug a shallow pit in the new floor and piled leaves and swordfire in it.


A small fire blossomed.

The light from the teepee warmed the confined space.

True to its name, the valley became very cold at night.

His face and arms were hot in front of the fire, but his back, head, legs, and toes were immediately icy.

Beyond the crackling embers, Vikir thought of many things.

The friends and companions he’d left behind in the Age of Destruction, all those faces.

People he could see again whenever he chose, people he would never see again.

Meanwhile, in the sea of fog outside the tent, dead trees, like human bones, rose and sank.

Vikir is lost in thought over the dying embers of the fire.


A sound breaks his reverie.

He turns to find Aiyen buried in Bakira’s fur, inhaling something.

It was a strong liquor, so strong that you could tell its strength by the smell alone.

From a leather pouch, Aiyen smoked a wide slice of jerky, slathered in white fat, and ate it as a late-night snack.

It looked like buttered bread, but the flavor and calorie count would be far different.

After a long pause, Aiyen looked back at Vikir.

“You should eat it, it’s good for you.”

“……I don’t have jerky.”

Vikir replied, and Aiyen waved his hand dismissively.

“Oh well. Don’t worry. It is a master’s virtue to provide for his slaves. I’ve even brought you your share.”


Vikir cocked his head.

Aiyen’s leather pouch had contained only one piece of jerky.

It had just gone into her mouth.

Just in time.


Aiyen cupped both of Vikir’s cheeks in her palms.

Then she shoved her face into his.


Vikir didn’t even have time to protest.

Aiyen kissed Vikir on the mouth, spilling the liquor and jerky in his mouth.


Vikir swallowed the liquor and meat in one gulp.


Only then did Aiyen pull her face away from Vikir’s.

She stroked his chin with the back of her hand and smirked.

“You can’t chew this jerky with your current jaw. It’s very tough.”

“……I’m sure it is.”

Vikir frowns.

The jerky that remained in his mouth was so tough that he had to draw on his mana to chew it.

With Ahun’s beating, Vikir hadn’t been able to eat anything other than porridge or tree berries, so this was a nice (?) nourishment.


Aiyen’s eyes widened.

Somehow, she had ended up sitting on top of Vikir.

In the cramped confines of the tent, Vikir could do little more than struggle beneath her.

Aiyen’s face is flushed red from the firelight.

She stares down at Vikir with an oddly heated smile.

“You can’t even rebel, can you?”

“Because it’s heavy.”

“It’s not heavy.”

“I said it’s heavy.”

“I’m not heavy.”

“I said I’m heavy.”

Aiyen was silent for a moment, thinking hard about something, and then he said.

“It’s not that I’m heavy, it’s that you’re weak.”

With that, Aiyen smiled a smile that seemed strangely pleased.

Vikir saw it and gave up on the conversation.

Maybe it’s the language, but he can’t read her emotions right now.

“The first thing I need to do is recover quickly.

He had to if he didn’t want to be manipulated.

If I could regain my strength, I could easily subdue this little fellow and leave the jungle.

And the best way to do that was to sleep.

Vikir closed his eyes.

Aiyen leaned in close enough to touch his face with the tip of her nose.

“Are you itchy? Put your hand here. It’s the place with the most heat. In return, I’ll put my hand on yours…….”

As Bikir’s hand slid between my chest and armpit, Aiyen paused to drape her body over his.

Aiyen’s expression quickly turns to bewilderment.

“……are you asleep?”

The answer came back, too scared to speak.


Vikir had fallen asleep in that brief moment.

He can fall asleep in less than a second when he lies down, a skill that has been practiced by martial artists throughout the Age of Destruction.


Aiyen pouted her lips in disbelief.

She slid off Vikir’s body as if offended and lay down beside him.

Then she rolled over and crossed her arms, her own hands trapped between his chest and armpits.

“Hmph. How dare you be insolent. A dull slave, inconsiderate of his master.”

Aiyen continued to grumble.

Only Bakira, the wolf with her ears to the ground, is looking at Aiyen with a pitying gaze.

“What is it, why are your eyes open like that?”


“What! What! I was just cold, I wasn’t trying to do anything else…….”

Just as Aiyen and Bakira were about to argue.


Vikir, who thought he was sleeping, instantly jumped up.

The momentum was enough to make even Aiyen and Bakira flinch in surprise.

“Uh, uh, you didn’t sleep……?”

Before Aiyen could open her mouth, Vikir spoke.

“It’s coming.”

Something clicked in his senses that hadn’t been there for a moment.

Suddenly, Aiyen’s and Bakira’s expressions stiffened.

Suddenly, an inexplicable wail rips through the night.


The oxbear male had attacked this way first.

Revenge of Iron Blooded Sword Hound