K: So for various reasons (aka Ghost-nii’s laptop joining him in passing on), I’ll be helping Ghost-nii make his next post! Enjoy~ (P.S. Ghost-nii x Old Man FTW!! *smiles brightly*)
*Note: The author of the post has been modified to Ghost so that he can receive all~ your reader~ love~
Edit: Kiriko….next time I see you, it’s gonna be punishment time.
Ghost – Third Grave: Monster Hunting
I jumped above the Snow Wolf, landing in front of it and effectively cutting off its escape route. The wolf looked at me and snarled, killing intent oozing out of its body. Apparently, it had chosen to stop running and fight. It assumed a low posture, seemingly ready to lunge at me at any second. I, as well, took a stance with my sword drawn back towards the right side of my body, putting up my left hand in front of my body in the shape of a fist to guard for an attack.
We stared at each other like that for a few seconds, then the combat started.
The first one to move was me. I gave out a low, horizontal swing towards the Snow Wolf while dashing directly towards it. The wolf reacted to that and jumped above the trajectory of my blade, aiming to bite my head when it came down.
(Looks like it took the bait.)
I immediately stopped my charge and changed my attack, turning the low, horizontal swing into a slanted, upwards stab.
Unable to change kill its momentum mid air, the wolf bit down on my thrust out blade and ended up impaled on it.
(That was messier than I thought it’d be.)
I let my newly made wolf skewer fall down to the floor; without letting go of the sword, of course. Then, I pulled the weapon out of the body of the dead wolf and turned around to face the other wolf that had tried to sneak up on me while I fought with its companion.
(Man, this radar is way too useful.)
As I thought so, I activated the other function of my Perceive Soul skill.
(Not full health? Weird. Maybe it’s hungry, or got a small injury somehow. Either way, I can expect it to react a bit slower than normal…..I think.)
If my experience had taught me anything, it was that if I ever thought things were starting to go my way, something was about to go horribly wrong.
As if looking to prove that my premonition of danger was right, a bunch of small red dots began appearing all around my position on the radar. It seems I had gotten myself surrounded.
[Just my luck.]
A few seconds later, I was surrounded by a pack of Snow Wolves. There were 16 of them. My chances of escape seemed rather slim.
Then, as if taking the role of a walking punchline, a bigger Snow Wolf appeared.
I used Perceive Soul once again, and was met with this.
(Well, it seems my luck is still as bad as ever. Goddamn 《Unlucky》 title. Such a pain in my ass.)
As I cursed under my breath, the Snow Alpha took a position next to its companions in the encirclement and, as befits the leader of a pack of wild animals, was the first one to charge at me, baring its fangs.
I sidestepped and swung my sword at the Snow Alpha, aiming for its neck. As much as I would have liked for it to die right then and there, it seems it had the intelligence to move out of the way and got off with just an injury. Three wolves took the chance to lunge at me at the same time from three different directions. Seeing as this was a particularly narrow space, with all the pine trees hindering movement, it made sense that they would attack with few members at a time.
(But still, only three?)
I stuck my sword into the ground in the way of one of the wolves. It stopped its charge so that it wouldn’t run directly into the sharp side of the blade, and jumped back to get out of range. I then sprung up and held onto the sword’s handle, using it as a pivot to swing around and deliver a strong kick onto another wolf’s head. The last wolf didn’t miss the chance my landing created to attack me, and promptly sunk its fangs into my shoulder. As blood oozed out of the wound, I felt pain assault my bitten shoulder. The wolf had made a deep gash that probably went all the way to my bone. In short, it hurt. It hurt a lot. It hurt really bad and I wanted it to end. And so, seeing as Poochie over here was still stabbing its fangs into my shoulder, I took out the knife the old man had given me from its scabbard and stabbed it into the wolf’s eye. The animal’s eye socket began to spout warm blood onto my body, covering it with the foul odor of its bodily fluids. The warm sensation slowly got colder, until it got so cold I could feel it stealing my body heat little by little.
I looked around.
The wolf I kicked had an indentation on its head, so it was safe to assume it was dead. The one I had stabbed was spewing blood from its eye socket. The snow was painted red in no time at all.
The knife embedded in its eye did not seem like it would move. I had stabbed it all the way into the orbital cavity after all. It was lodged deeply in the thing’s brain and skull.
The dying wolf snarled at me until the very end. It growled menacingly until the blood loss was too much for it to handle, or until the blood accumulated in its cranial cavity had finally put too much pressure on its brain. Either way, it died, falling down to the snow with a soft thud.
I looked for the leader of the bunch, whom I had graced with my sword. It had already retreated to the rear of the pack.
(15 left huh? Man, that bite hurt! I guess this is what happens when I get cocky.)
As much as I wanted to apply first aid treatment to the wound, another group of three wolves attacked. Only, this time, the Alpha joined them and it became a four wolf attack.
The Snow Wolves launched their assault, kicking off the ground with great speed. Their open jaws showing terrifyingly sharp fangs and an excess amount of saliva that was falling out of their mouths. Each one of them looked at me as nothing more than their dinner.
(Goddamn white puppies! It’s the fourth time this week! And it’s only Flammenia!)
Ah, that’s Tuesday for the Non-Paletians.
I used my still impaled to the ground sword as a boost, putting my right foot onto the dull part of the blade that was just above the handle and kicking with all my strength, and jumped up high into the air. The four wolves crashed into each other in a rather comical way. I spun around vertically and used the momentum of my fall to land an axe kick on the Alpha’s head.
(Uwah. Did I seriously just pull that off? Rather, it was freaking hard! Why do guys in movies do this? Well, it did add quite a bit of power to the kick.)
(I might need to train more if I want to use that move more frequently. The old man would get pretty excited if he heard the word “training” from my mouth though, so it would probably be dangerous in a different sense.)
(Well, regarding the wolf, this should take care of him for good. Now, for the other three idiots.)
The other three idiots were knocked out.
There were still eleven wolves left, but, for some reason, some of them didn’t look very eager to attack. I guess that, without the Alpha, they lost their morale.
I was not about to let this chance go, so I took the opportunity to take out the knife I had stabbed into the wolf’s eye and threw it at the eye of another one. The accuracy of my shot was less attributed to luck and more due to the fact that I had spent around three days practicing this trick over and over again. Without stopping. That old man was a true demon.
I pulled out the sword from the ground and used it to slash at the open mouths of the two that had charged at me, baring their fangs. The sword cut through them like a hot knife through butter. Liquid butter.
I’m bad at comparisons.
Their lower jaw was now missing, and together with that visage came a sideshow of blood spraying all over the snow, my sword, my jacket and the nearby wolves.
(I guess they really have no other attack. It’s good that these two were stupid enough to come at me from the same side.)
I stood in the middle of the remaining eight wolves. It seemed that they were not about to take their chances and decided to attack me all at once.
Honestly, it was a pain, spare me from this kind of thing.
I put my sword over my shoulder and let out an aura of intimidation towards them.
(If you think I’m gonna pass up on the chance to grind skills, you are sorely mistaken!)
The wolves flinched and, taking advantage of that, I lunged at the nearest one and cut off its head with my sword. The head made two full spins in the air and then landed on a fresh patch of snow, making blood splatter on it and painting it red.
(I wonder if all these bloodstains on the snow could pass as modern art. Might fetch a couple million bucks if I took a picture and sold it back in the other world.)
Well, I never really understood modern art, so I didn’t really know.
The other seven wolves seemed to snap out of a trance when that happened and sprung into action to attack me. They jumped and showed their fangs, those sharp and terrifying fangs that seem like they’d come out from a horror story. They came at me with the intention of taking me apart with those pointy teeth of theirs.
But it was too late.
Their encirclement had been broken.
I dashed into the space the death of the last wolf had opened up, putting all my strength into my legs, and began running into the forest, evading the trees that crossed my path. If a tree appeared in front of my path I had to side-step quickly so that I wouldn’t crash into it. I could feel the adrenaline coursing through my body as my mind focused on where I had to step next and which direction I should take a second after my foot had hit the ground. The wolves gave chase, running after me in a single line. I could feel my heart beating wildly. My breathing was out of order. My legs had begun to hurt and the wound on my shoulder still throbbed.
But I couldn’t stop. If I did, I would be killed by those monsters following after me like I was a mother duck with its ducklings in tow.
Did I mention I’m bad at comparisons?
Two of the wolves separated from the line and started running parallel to it.
(So they intend to flank me. Are these puppies smarter than I thought? Shit! Underestimating the enemy is a quick way to get yourself killed in any world!)
This was rather bad. The illusion of my body being ripped to shreds by the pack of wolves entered my mind. I imagined my flesh being ripped apart by their fangs while I screamed in pain. It made me afraid. Deeply afraid.
It was no good. I had to calm down and try to think of a way out of this.
Trying to make a calm decision while I was in such a state of panic was hopeless, but I still had to try. If I didn’t properly analyze the situation and decide on the best course of action, I would surely die.
(Focus, Ghost. Focus. Your life depends on it…..err….I mean…..your death? Not the point! Focus!)
It seemed I couldn’t stay serious, even if I was about to die.
What an idiot.
The internal tsukkomi seemed to work, and I was able to cool my head, even if only a little.
(I could probably take the one on the right, but my left shoulder still has the bite wound from earlier, making it difficult to move my left arm.)
I tried moving my arm a little as a test.
(Goddamn shit fucking fuck! Fuck! Fuck! It still hurts like all hell! Even trying to raise it a little hurts! What the hell? Did Poochie really reach the bone? Did he?!)
The wolves on the sides started to catch up. I could try to take on the one on the right, but the one on the left would then help itself to my wide open back. If the other five caught up in that situation, I wouldn’t get off with just an injury. I’d seriously die.
I don’t wanna die again. It’s painful and not fun. It’s dark, and uncomfortable, and then there’s this stupid silver haired loli that tells you to conquer the world! Then she goes and ignores you when you say no! EVEN IF THAT WASN’T ENOUGH, SHE FORCIBLY SHUTS YOU UP WHEN YOU TRY TO ARGUE! AND THEN SHE GOES AS FAR AS FUCKING SHOVING YOU INTO A GODDAMNED NEW BODY AND SENDING YOU ON YOUR MERRY WAY EVEN AFTER YOU SAY NO!
GODDAMN I HATE THAT BITCH!
Ah, sorry, my trauma came out.
Focusing back on my situation, where I had murderous wolves after my neck, I tried to think of a way of not dying at the hands….err…paws, of the ones that flanked me.
(Guess it’s time to improvise.)
I killed my momentum and started running in the opposite direction as fast as I possibly could.
I ran straight towards the line of five wolves.
The wolves that were running in a line were surprised by me turning and charging straight at them, so they flinched. This gave me enough time to accelerate past the puppies and swing my sword at one of them when I passed next to it.
I could feel its skull giving way to the sword. I felt tiny changes in resistance. From the skin, to the arteries and veins, to the muscle, to the bones, to the gray matter of the brain. Each one offering different levels of hardness that could be felt through the sword.
After what seemed like an eternity, but was actually less than a second, I finished cutting off the wolf’s head.
(Uwah. Its head is missing the part above the jaw. Rather, that means it’s missing its whole head now. This sword is really ridiculous.)
The wolf’s headless body fell down with a pathetic thud, spraying blood all over the place. The wolves watched their now headless comrade and did something I didn’t know was possible for monsters like these.
I took advantage of their confusion and hid behind the nearest tree. I held my breath and made as little sound as possible. Betraying my own intentions, my heart was beating hard enough to jump out of my chest. I could feel my arteries pulsating. Each small movement sounding like a goddamn bomb exploding to my ears.
Even then, I still had a chance to overturn this.
Their overall movement was getting slower. They were probably feeling intimidated. I had killed more than half of them already (and in rather gruesome ways to boot). That, combined with the skill I had used earlier on, probably made them feel I was truly a force to be reckoned with. They seemed hesitant to attack. Hell, they seemed unwilling to even approach me. They stood there for a bit, surrounding the corpse of their comrade. At this point in time, I wondered why they were still chasing after me. So I figured: “Give them a chance to run away.”
Well, if I were them, I would take it.
The idiotic puppies gave chase after a while, running to the direction they had last seen me at. After I confirmed their positions using Perceive Soul, I waited for the right timing and moved my sword from behind the tree.
A wolf’s head separated cleanly off its body and landed on the snowy ground.
I didn’t know if it was a desire to avenge their fallen comrades or if they really were on the verge of starving and I was the only thing they had found that they could possibly feed off of. Either way, it seemed like they would fight to the last, even if they were actually wishing to run away at full speed.
(Well, if they want a fight, I’ll give them one.)
I swung down my sword on the nearest wolf, aiming for its neck. This one actually managed to dodge, and retaliated with a bite aimed at my foot. I jumped back, evading the bite, but this little exchange had given them time to surround me once again.
(See? I thought I could deal with one of them, but they ended up surrounding me instead. How many times must I tell you not to get cocky, Ghost? Let’s just get this over with as quickly as possible.)
After thinking so, I actioned the small button on the grip of my sword. The sword’s blade slid through the support and, after sliding past a certain point, turned on its back using the tip of the supporting rod as an axis. The blade was now hanging in a perpendicular position to the rod in question as said rod also extended. Finally, from the the bottom of the blade appeared a red colored stream of glowing light that took a shape similar to a curved blade.
I swung the sword, now transformed into what was basically a scythe, down onto the neck of the nearest wolf again. Thanks to my now longer range, I had no reason to fear a counterattack.
This time, I was faster than the wolf, and so I ended up cutting off its head.
Two wolves jumped me simultaneously, while the other two waited an extra second to jump. I swung the scythe from right to left, impaling the first two puppies. Afterwards, I used my momentum to do a spinning throw, hitting the third one with my released weapon.
I ducked and rolled as fast as I could, barely evading the last wolf’s attack. It immediately turned around, just to find me charging at it. I thrust out a right jab towards the wolf’s head. It, of course, tried to use this chance to bite off my hand. I pulled back my fist and kicked the puppy’s head upwards as strongly as I could. Its head made a disturbing cracking sound, then fell down lifelessly.
[Haa haa haa.]
I was panting after taking down the last one of the pack of Snow Wolves. I took a few seconds to regain my breath, then-
(Man, that was tough. Time to finish off the unconscious ones.)
-started walking towards where my weapon was with those thoughts in my mind.
I took the scythe out of the skulls of the two wolves I had impaled with it, then proceeded to cut off the head of the one that was being squashed by their bodies. Afterwards, I backtracked to the place where I had been surrounded and finished off the remaining Snow Wolves by cutting off their heads as well.
After I had made sure that the last one of the Snow Wolves was dead, I started absorbing their souls, leaving the Alpha’s for last.
When I absorbed the Alpha’s soul, a message popped into my view.
You have leveled up!
I stood there in a daze for a moment before snapping back into reality and noticing the message that had just popped up.
(It would appear I have, once again, accumulated enough experience to level up!)
(Thanks, captain obvious. What’s your next statement going to be? “It would appear that the sky is, indeed, blue”?)
While bantering with no one in particular inside my mind, I went to retrieve my knife from the wolf who still had it lodged in its eye socket. I wiped off the blood with the snow and put it back in its sheath.
When I was wondering how I would manage to bring sixteen wolf corpses back for dinner, I heard a strange, thundering sound in the distance.
(……..I have a really bad feeling about this……)
I slowly turned my head towards the direction the sound had come from.
The top of the mountain.
Just below its summit, a giant chunk of snow had begun to fall with ludicrous speed.
[Oh, for fuck’s sake. Give me a damn break already!]
After muttering my words of contempt towards whatever entity, be it a god or a system or whatever, that came up with the 《Unlucky》 title, I ran as fast as I could, making my way out of the forest.
The snow was falling rapidly down the mountain slope, leaving several uprooted trees in its wake. It roared loudly as it mowed down everything in its path. I pushed my tired body forward with all my might. I could feel my muscles give voiceless complaints as the pain in them began to steadily escalate. My back was filled with sweat, my breathing ragged, my heart pumping blood faster than what I thought was possible. The wound on my left arm still sent sharp signals of pains all the way to my brain.
My whole body burned.
But I didn’t stop.
Stopping meant certain death.
(This is bad! I don’t know if I can make it with this speed!)
The rapidly approaching snow was catching up to me. I could hear trees snapping under the tremendous weight of that huge mass that continued to pursue me relentlessly. I could see animals running here and there. Each one of them was surely as afraid as I was, running as fast as they could for their dear life. Some of them were not able to keep going, and fell down tiredly to the ground. They were buried in the snow seconds after their fall. If they made any sound when they died, it was drowned out by the roars of the avalanche.
In the distance, I could see my objective.
A cave that was small, but had an even smaller entrance, which faced the base of the mountain. That cave had been my home for the past three weeks. It became so after I accepted the old man’s offer. I wish I could give it a better description, but it was a cave like any other. There were stalactites hanging from the ceiling and stalagmites protruding from the floor. It had no kitchen, no bedroom, no TV, no living room and certainly no bathroom.
Just a regular cave like the ones humanity’s ancestors used in the stone age.
The slight elevation on the ground next to the tree with the huge X signalled where the entrance would surely be.
I could almost feel the snow touching my skin by this point. The blood on my body reached an even colder temperature because of this, making me feel like I was already half frozen. If I made it to the cave in time, it’d be a really close call.
Just as I was thinking this, an idiot came out of the cave.
[What’s with all the ruckus?]
‘Twas the old man.
Needless to say, I wasn’t in the mood to politely ask him to please get out of the way. So, I chose to say the next best thing.
[Oi, you senile old fool! Get back inside unless you wanna die!]
[Haaah?! What kind of shit are you spou- OI THAT’S A FREAKING AVALANCHE BEHIND YOU!]
[NO SHIT SHERLOCK!]
I jumped over the slight elevation of terrain that was made by the cave’s opening and landed right next to where the old man was standing. Seeing as the gigantic mass of snow was about to crush both of us, we both lunged at the cave entrance at the same time.
And became stuck in the process.
The snow quickly fell over us and buried the lower half of our bodies, still protruding from the cave entrance.
[………..I fucking hate you, old man.]