"Ughh..." Jackson moaned, at the rate he was going he was going to lose track of how many times he'd ended up on his back in the last two days. His joints crackled as he pulled himself up from the grass, he started to move only to feel a sharp stabbing pain from his lower back that caused him to cringe in pain.
He turned his head to see the grass around him slowly being dyed blood red as one of the knives in the backpack had been pushed through the fabric and straight through his skin, he could faintly see the metal gleam of the blade as it poked out from the wound it'd left. Luckily his endurance allowed him to think clearly as he carefully manoeuvred the hilt of the knife through the hole that'd been made in the backpack and placed the backpack down next to him.
"Dammit..." He mumbled as he pulled out the rags he'd packed and started tying them together around his waist, it took him a little over two minutes too fashion a make-shift tourniquet around his waist that was applying constant pressure to the wound on his back. Due to his awakening the wound was far from life-threatening but it would definitely be inconvenient for a while until it healed, the process would be much faster if he managed to level-up but he didn't like his odds against a beast while already at a disadvantage.
With the pieces of fabric he had left over he pulled over the backpack and stuffed where the hole had been made, with any luck he wouldn't get stabbed by another blade. He held the knife covered in his blood in his hand and wiped it clean on the grass around him before placing it back into the backpack.
"Mmm.." With a agonising grunt he pulled himself up off of the grass. He was half-tempted to climb up one of the trees again to see if the Dragon was still there but it wasn't worth the risk, if anything it would be better if he got as far away from it as he could as he faintly recalled the words the planet-sized Dragon had told him before, "Avoid the descendant." He said to himself as he looked in the direction of the mountain despite it being almost completely obscured.
A beast with that sort of power was impossible for him to stop, it'd only take a single one of its roars to knock him to the ground. That sort of power wasn't something he could imagine any human being able to stand up to...
'But... what if?' An idea crossed his mind that made him shudder, if that Dragon could grow to the same size as the one he'd seen before then wasn't Humanity as good as dead? 'No, that's impossible.' He tried to reassure himself but it lingered in his mind as he stared blankly into space.
He grit his teeth as he thought back to the planet that he'd seen when he'd met the Dragon, it'd been completely overrun by beasts. His mind drifted to the countless corpses of a single species that were trodden over by the beasts, their corpses were simply left to rot as the smaller beasts picked them apart for food.
If something like that happened to Earth...
He gulped as he shook his head, the more he thought about it the more it seemed like that could really be the future they were heading towards. Humans were still forced to hide in cities as beasts roamed the world freely, they were fighting back but not fast enough, day by day there were no beasts born that'd become threats for new Hunters.
"Lets just focus on surviving first huh?" He muttered jokingly as he put those thoughts to the back of his mind, for now he was too weak for any of that to be his concern. What use was worrying when you didn't know if you were going to keep living anyway? A soft chuckle escaped his lips as he began to walk with a small limp from the rhythmic agony from his wound every time he took a step forward.
Finally after having no encounters with anything larger than a cat was he now face to face with a true beast, it was smaller than the Panther but not by much. It looked very much like a Deer, if a deer had scaled reptilian skin covering its body and a single row of jagged teeth covered in blood stains.
It stared him down with a snarl as it observed even the slightest movement with caution.
He slowly put his hand to his waist as he gripped the hilt of the knife, his sudden movement caused the beast to grow more agitated as it stomped its foot into the ground causing dirt and grass to fly.
As soon as he began to slide the knife out the Reptilian Deer reared its legs in anger and began its charge towards him with its head lowered, its antlers aimed to impale him where he stood.
Jackson bit his lip as he quickly held the knife firmly in his hand and waited, he showed no indication of moving so he didn't alert the beast. Luckily although it was fast it wasn't so fast that he couldn't time its movement as it closed in on him rapidly, two meters... then one.
Jackson hurled himself to the side just in time to avoid the arrival of the antlers at his previous position so that it couldn't suddenly change direction towards him. It didn't notice however, as it charged straight into a tree with its antlers piercing through the bark as easily as a hot knife through butter.
"Grrrrrrrrr" It's snarling grew more intense as it pulled itself free to turn and face him again but Jackson didn't miss the opportunity to get in close and stab it several times in its hind before jumping back, just barely being swiped by the pointed tips of its antlers as it lightly grazed the side of his arm and caused him to bleed.
The moment he jumped back however, he felt the tourniquet around his waist snap suddenly as a surge of agonising pain coursed through his body, he gritted his teeth as he endured it but the Reptilian Deer didn't give him any opportunity to recover. The distance he'd jumped back was easily covered by it as it started towards him without any hesitation.
There was too little distance for him to avoid a second chair as antlers filled his vision, at that moment however his eyes made contact with the Reptilian Deer for a split second. But that was all it took, the moment their eyes made contact it simply froze, Jackson didn't question it as he saw the antlers a mere few inches away from his torso and quickly stepped to its side, not knowing how long it'd be frozen for, pulled his knife up and held it against its body.
This was all done in a single second, the moment that second was over the Reptilian Deer was greeted to Jacksons' knife suddenly being held against the side of its stomach as its own momentum was used against it to allow the knife to easily slice it open. Blood began to gush out as it weakly fell to the floor from the large wound in its side.
It obviously wasn't as powerful as the Panther had been and couldn't shrug off such a large injury.
Jackson didn't hesitate as he limped next to it and plunged his knife into its skull without hesitation, finally ending his encounter with the animal.
"What the hell was that?" Were the first words he said as he looked at the corpse, it would've been his corpse on the ground now if it hadn't been for it suddenly stopping without explanation.
It didn't take him long to check his status on a hunch to see something replacing where the unreadable text of his talent was before.
[Talent: Gaze of the King]
[Nothing moves freely under the gaze of the King; any creature who makes eye contact with you will be frozen in time for a single second. This ability may be used three times a day without a cost, anymore and the King must provide compensation for time that has been lost...]