At dawn, all the warriors in the cave recovered their energy after a night’s rest, and were taking inventory of the equipment they planned to take for hunting later.
They all brought a lot of stone tools from the tribe, and there were some spare stone tools stored in the cave. However, they could never take all the things when hunting, so they needed to select only a part of them.
Aside from old Ke’s sabre, Shao Xuan brought a long spear, and carried three short spears on his back. Compared with the others, Shao Xuan did not bring much equipment. After all, it was only his first hunting mission, and the first thing he should do was to adjust and observe.
After they ate something for breakfast, Mai pushed away the giant stone that blocked the entrance of the cave.
The sun had not risen completely, and moist wind mixed with the fresh cool air from outside blew into the cave, which felt brisk and invigorating.
The location of the cave was relatively remote. Not far ahead there was a steep slope, where one could probably reach the mountain foot directly if he rolled down from there. There were not many trees around, nor were there any animals.
Outside the cave, Shao Xuan could see the mountain surrounded by clouds, and the basin down there. If you ignored the hidden threats and ferocious animals, the forest was pretty beautiful.
“Before hunting, you have to know the preys’ habits. For example, small preys like rabbits mostly come out for food at night, and they tend to hide themselves during daylight.” Lang Ga said to Shao Xuan as they went down the mountain. In the meantime, he pointed out at some weeds and plants with bite marks left by wild rabbits which were active at night.
“Wild sheep normally are barely seen around this mountain, and they only exist in the other mountains. But sometimes one or two of them would come here. During wintertime, they come out for food in the daylight, while in summer, they tend to come out in the mornings and evenings, and hide in the valley at noon to rest. I will show you after a few days when we get to the basin. Also there are other small-sized preys that prefer to live in the edges of the forest. During daylight they would hide in the bushes, or under trees, resting, and come out in the mornings and evenings…”
Shao Xuan carefully listened to Lang Ga’s words, and he tried to memorize all of them by heart. That was the knowledge that one needed to know if they wanted to survive in here. Only by learning about all the preys’ habits could a hunting warrior know when to chase and when to stop, so as to improve the efficiency.
“Aside from that, when in search of prey, you should first take a close look at the trails, such as the fresh scratches on the trees and clear footprints on the ground. They all mean that lately the prey was in that particular area. In general, animals may still use this old path as long as you do not wantonly destroy or damage the surrounding environment… If they sense your presence, you should just hold your breath and be still, just as when you met that tree civet yesterday. Perhaps the animals haven’t seen humans before, and their curiosity would be stronger than their fear. By the way, for newly-awakened warriors like yourself, you are not strong enough to hunt down those large-sized beasts. You’d better avoid those ones, especially ferocious beasts, or else you would become the prey instead of the hunter.”
Just then, Lang Ga became quiet and observed the traces on the ground and the grass nearby closely, “A wild boar had been here.”
Along the path there were a lot of traces, Lang Ga collected them all, and went to Mai for discussion, “There’s a little boar nearby. Since we have not entered the center of the hunting area, can I take Ah-Xuan and the others for a warm-up exercise?”
“Alright.” Mai said to Lang Ga and then discussed a few words with Qiao beside him.
Qiao and Mai were wife and husband. When Shao Xuan first heard Qiao’s name, he joked with Lang Ga that they were doomed to be a couple, however, it was a shame that Lang Ga could not get Shao Xuan’s joke at all. [EN: Mai means wheat and Qiao means buckwheat]
In their hunting group there were only seven female warriors, and Qiao was the strongest among them. Qiao and Mai were both mid-level totem warriors, and in the past they would always separately lead a dozen warriors and go hunting. After, they would then meet up with each other.
According to the strategy that she worked out with Mai before, Qiao led a group of warriors and they left to chase the giant-antler deer.
Mai continued on the original path with the others.
“Lang Ga, you take Ang and the others to find that boar, while I take the rest to check out the other side. Do not go too deep into the forest.”
There were a lot of traps that Lang Ga set on the mountain, from rope traps, falling stone traps, to other kinds like sharp knife traps. Lang Ga pointed them out to Shao Xuan so that he did not fall in any of them.
Soon, Lang Ga discovered that wild boar’s tracks, so he told Shao Xuan and Mao to wait here, as he went to drive out that boar.
Shao Xuan stood on a tree while watching the surroundings vigorously. Even though Mai and Lang Ga both said there were no giant ferocious beasts nearby, he still had to be cautious of the worms and snakes.
Not afar, there came roars of the boar, and the sound got nearer as time went by. Apparently Lang Ga’s driving worked, and that boar did not run towards other directions.
While paying attention to the approaching sound, Shao Xuan carried his long spear with his left hand, then pulled out a short spear and held it in his right hand for later use.
“Later you can see what I do to hunt it down. For some preys, you could just trap them down, and then take their lives with a long spear.” Mao said, standing on another tree. In his tone there was obvious pride. Since there was no one else here, that fellow tore down his mask and behaved like an experienced hunting warrior.
Shao Xuan glanced at him while still paying attention to the approaching sound.
Lang Ga and Mai both said that it was only a little wild boar, but judging from the sound it created, Shao Xuan did not think it was little at all. The wild boar rushing out from the bushes weighed at least two hundred kilos! It seemed like a bear at first look!
But apparently, that size could only be considered as a small one in the eyes of Lang Ga.
That wild boar was running fast.
Also, it seemed to sense the ambush ahead, so it turned to another direction. Shao Xuan hurriedly ran after it, while Mao from the other tree ran ahead of Shao Xuan.
A short spear flew at the wild boar like an arrow.
The spearhead went into the ground, while it missed the wild boar by centimeters.
Mao reacted quickly, as the second spear arrived there right after the first spear. Suddenly a loud roar came out from the boar’s throat.
The second short spear went into its neck and the spearhead had half entered its skin.
The wild boar roared loudly, and rushed towards a tall tree beside him with the short spear in its neck. When it got near the tree, it rubbed down the spear in its neck on the trunk.
There was only a little blood on the spearhead, and obviously, Mao’s earlier throw did not cause much harm to that wild boar.
He threw twice yet neither of them worked. Mao felt pretty upset, for earlier, he was too eager to act, which cost him the best timing to throw. He couldn’t even complete his third throw, so he just continued chasing the wild boar with a short spear grasped in his hand. He did not find that Shao Xuan had any intention to act, so he figured that as long as he did not miss the third throw, he could still be better than Shao Xuan.
For the hunting warriors on their first hunting mission, even when they had heard plenty of hunting stories and they were quite solid in theory, they would find that during the real hunting mission, there was little time to think. So either would they be too hasty to miss the best timing, or would they be too cautious and waste the best timing to strike. They would wait until the last minute and only in the last minute would they find that the opportunity had slipped away.
Because of that, in the eyes of Mao, even though he missed the best opportunity, he still had one shot on the boar. Unlike Shao Xuan, who did not act during the whole process.
Instead of slowing down after it had been pierced by that short spear, the wild boar speeded up, as if it was his way of life.
At the time Mao was about to strike for the third time, there was a slight sound coming from behind him. The next moment, there was a spear pinned on the ground. The spear almost hit the boar’s hoof, and its shaft stopped in front of the boar’s paws. Obviously that wild boar also did not expect to be blocked like that, so it was tripped by it. Before it could have a second to react, a second short spear arrived and this time it was right behind its raised foreleg!
The wooden shaft broke as the wild boar struggled to rush forward, while the wild boar got tripped down because of the two short spears in a row. It rolled over on the ground, and just when it was about to get up, a figure from the tree beside him jumped out and rushed down to shoot.
The long spear was like a shooting star and fell down from the air directly into the wild boar’s neck. That was just where the first wound was!
Shrill screeching sounds, even more shrill than before, pricked people’s ears.
With the long spear inside the boar’s neck, Shao Xuan did not pull it out immediately. Instead, he pushed the spear deeper inside!
The spearhead nearly pierced through the wild boar’s neck, while its roar suddenly stopped. Only its four limbs struggled, but it was doomed already, and the strength of its struggle was fading.
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