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“Ah, I feel like I’m dying.”
Joonbum breathed heavily as he slumped down on the ground. Ainos warriors glanced around and started preparing their camp. Soon, there were seven campfires that the Ainos gathered around.
‘I thought I gained some endurance, but this is something else.’
Joonbum had been confident about himself these days. He had no more body fat as they were replaced with muscles. Additionally, he grew much stronger and a bit taller at the same time.
‘Even then I can’t keep up with them. Well, I guess they spent their entire lives doing this. Let’s do what I can do first.’
Joonbum discarded his thoughts and started moving. He took out a portable generator and switched it on. The quick freezer started making sounds as it was fed with electricity. Joonbum felt the attention gathering as he worked on it.
People were served food. It was the porridge he tried before. It seemed like they were more relaxed than before since there were more warriors this time. The porridge was good.
When he was done, Joonbum took out a disposable bowl, placed cold strawberries in it, and handed it to them. They burst with excitement.
“This is so delicious!”
“Is this why he brought that heavy-looking box?”
“This is the best.”
“Amazing fruit! It’s so sweet!”
The dessert was beyond what words could describe. The coldness that filled them in this heat was astonishing. Even those who were not happy about having to haul extra stuff seemed to be satisfied.
“Joonbum, what is that?” Howen asked after his showing thanks, eyeing the generator and the freezer.
Doral answered instead. “That’s a generator and a quick freezer. It freezes the water. You just need thirty minutes for the water to turn into ice. Joonbum brought it so warriors can cool down with some cold water.”
Howen seemed to be amazed by his explanation. The main problem in this area was the heat and the fact that there was nothing to make it dissipate.
Doral asked proudly, “It’s amazing, isn’t it?”
Howen nodded. “Yes. This will make it easier for us to hunt.”
Howen was a little annoyed about the noisy generator that released the awful smell of burning fuel, but the outcome was worth the trouble.
The heat was something they couldn’t deal with. It would become even more severe towards the end of their hunt. The humidity and stickiness irritated them to the point that the usually calm Ainos people couldn’t stay still in this area.
“We can have strawberry, milk, and honey desserts quite often also.”
Doral pointed at the cooler. This was also the center of attention during their journey.
“That box carries it?”
“Yes. It’s frozen and I heard that the box prevents it from melting. Or it makes it melt very, very slowly.”
Doral continued, “I heard we can put a bag of ice in there and put the meat we hunted in there to preserve it on our way back. It will allow us to bring fresh meat.”
“Yes, it is. I heard Joonbum’s world is full of stuff like that. They also use electricity a lot. However, all of those machines smell terrible, like that generator.”
“Has he gotten better at the language?”
“Yes, he is learning quick. I think he can understand most of our language now. There are some words that he still doesn’t know… Oh, and I think his mother knows more than him now.”
“Is that so? I heard from Agelie that she’s very friendly.”
“Oh, Agelie did?”
Doral nodded. Howen glanced Joonbum for a moment and turned away.
“Doral, we’re going to hunt Zyeloks tomorrow. Explain it to him.”
Joonbum stared at Doral as he heard a word that he could not understand. Doral grinned.
The swamp was dark because of the dense branches that blocked the sunlight. There were all kinds of weird noises coming from all directions. Pretty soon, a splashing sound was heard and the Ainos who went out to scout the area came back.
One man reported to Howen and raised his arm high as the warriors who were hiding shifted their eyes to one location.
There were three lizards with their heads cut off. It was about four feet long.
Joonbum felt nervous, but it wasn’t because he was scared. He seemed to be excited also – his arm shivered for a second, but he soon regained his strength. Joonbum remembered Doral’s explanation of Zyeloks.
A bush shook and a monster’s head poked out from it. Astonishment flashed across Joonbum’s eyes. If he wasn’t looking at the spot, he would’ve missed it. Even after hearing the explanation, it was not something he expected.
Like an ostrich, the Zyelok was a bird that could not fly. It would have been a sad sight to see a bird that could not fly, but the monster’s appearance was nothing to laugh at. It was about twelve feet tall from top to bottom. If he was standing in front of it, he definitely wouldn’t be able to see its head.
Its eyes, resembling that of a reptile, rolled around, watching its surroundings. Its beak was filled with a countless number of sharp teeth. It was easy to understand how dangerous this monster was. It gave a menacing look as it made hissing sounds while its tongue moved in and out of its beak.
‘Is it using its tongue to sense things?’
The beak had small nostrils and green flesh sloped down from its forehead like a chicken. The head itself was about three times bigger than the average human head. Its neck was long and its body was located in the middle with two small wings. Two legs protruded from the body that was like a log. There were also three claws on each of its feet that had the thickness of human thighs. The tail was so long that it dragged on the ground.
‘We are hunting THIS?’
Joonbum was more surprised at the warriors who didn’t seem to fear the sight of such a monster.
‘I think they’re the ones who are the most feared in this area.’
At that moment, the sound of crushed bones and flesh being ripped apart echoed. The Zyelok screamed as it started eating the lizard. Howen silently raised his hand.
Lassos were thrown from all directions. Five out of eight lassos managed to score the Zyelok’s neck.
The Ainos began pulling on the lassos as Howen shouted and the Zyelok started howling with a loud, high-pitched scream. Joonbum felt his ears ringing and scowled.
Doral was already plugging his ears. The Zyelok started to move frantically as the Ainos started tying the ropes to the trees. The five ropes that held the Zyelook swayed as about ten Ainos warriors held onto each of the ropes – a total of fifty of them held it down to restrict its movement.
Joonbum raised his rifle, but Doral stopped him.
Joonbum turned to where Doral was looking at and one of the Ainos warriors was preparing to shoot.
‘Is that Gazlow?’
Doral spoke out as Joonbum recognized his name.
“He’s the sharpest one out of our huntsmen. He gets it 99 times out of a 100.”
Doral grinned as Joonbum looked surprised.
“At least for this year. We pick out the sharpest shooter every year. I think there’s more than a hundred people who are trying to win that title back from Gazlow.”
Joonbum watched silently.
Gazlow fired. His arrow pierced through the wind toward the Zyelok’s neck.
Joonbum plugged his ears quickly as he saw Doral doing the same. The arrow penetrated the Zyelok’s neck.
“We just have to wait out. It’s a poisoned arrow. Bering’s poison. We can kill it off after it’s paralyzed.”
It was a lizard that Doral brought a while ago. Its poison was so dangerous that even monsters avoided it. One bite resulted in full paralysis before becoming the lizard’s feast.
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