Chapter 12: Intelligent Beasts
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His eyes went wide when he read the skills description, the ability to freeze time? For a full second? 

He sent a sideways glance at the corpse of the Reptilian Deer and realised what had happened, when he made eye contact with the beast the ability had activated giving him the chance to kill the beast without much of an issue.

"But... I didn't activate it?"

He took another look at his status page trying to figure out what was going on only to see a new bar hovering just above his talent, he hadn't noticed it the first time because of the excitement that had come from finally being able to use his talent but the word caused his joy to sink to rock bottom almost instantly.

[Passive]

"Fuck." 

'So it's either avoid eye contact with everything or face the consequences? What the hell even are the consequences?' He questioned as he read through the details again, 'Compensate... time that has been lost... don't tell me.' His face went as white as a sheet as an idea came to mind almost immediately the second time he read through it.

"My lifespan?!" He blurted out in horror.

If it really was his lifespan that was consumed then it was best he used the ability as little as possible, who knew how much it took as compensation? It might take only a single second or a whole month, there was no way for him to tell and that was the scariest part of this power.

"Calm down, just calm down." He muttered to himself as he collapsed next to the corpse, "You have two more times before you have to pay a price anyway you idiot, isn't it just avoiding eye contact with things? Couldn't be easier." He reassured himself.

It seemed to work as he gathered his thoughts without a problem, he took a deep breath and focused on what was important now. He was hungry and there was a Beast Crystal he had to gather, both were things he could do right now without much thought. 

The second time round it was much cleaner and easier to find the Crystal as he pulled out a resplendently red jewel that had a fiery red glow around its body as he held it in his hand. It felt warm to the touch as he crushed it in his hand and felt the surge of energy from within rush out.

Another Enhancement Crystal. 

He took a quick glance at his status as he moved to start clumsily skinning the Deer as best as he could.

[Class: Hunter]

[Level: 1]

[Talent: Gaze of the King] 

[Strength: F] (+ 2)

[Intelligence: E+]

[Endurance: E+] 

[Agility: F] (+1)

[Vitality: F] 

[Mana: E]

Unfortunately only his Strength had been boosted this time, he could now at least display Strength at E- Rating which unofficially placed him on the level of an E Rank Hunter based solely on the technicality of Enhancements. 'Look at me, an official celebrity now huh?' He chuckled as he remembered how E Rank Hunters were important figures to regular civilians, people who they could only look up to. 

What about D Rank and above? They were the sort of people that ordinary people that didn't work for the City Government would never have the chance to interact with normally as they had their own exclusive residences in the best parts of Mayson.

It took him about a full hour to skin the animal, something that had been made even harder due to the fact that it had scales all over its body that almost entirely covered its skin. Jackson was soon a bloody mess with a wreckage of scales and skin all around him as he finally removed all of them after breaking two of the knives he had with him and that was even with him using the gash it'd used to fell the beast in the first place as his starting point.

"Lucky I'm not eating the skin." He mumbled in embarrassment as he looked down at his bloodied hands in disgust, he looked down at the corpse that was just meat and fat remaining and then at his surroundings in caution. He was already fortunate enough that something hadn't come to disturb him while he was skinning the thing so he quickly sliced off as much meat as he could carry and fashioned small packages out of the remaining rags he had not caring for whether it was hygienic or not.

The wound on his back was still hurting somewhat but it had become almost negligible at this point after absorbing the Beast Crystal, it must have passively boosted his Vitality but just hadn't been enough to increase its rating unfortunately. He quickly gathered his things and ran off into the forest leaving the corpse behind.

He didn't notice that as soon as he had left hearing distance did a pack of wolves emerge from the trees, they were raven black with red eyes as the largest one, who also seemed to be the leader of the pack, stared in the direction that Jackson had gone and then back at the corpse on the ground.

Its eyes grazed past the ruined pelt on the ground with disdain before it stomped one of its front paws on a scale.

Bang!

The scale became embedded in the ground but despite that there wasn't even a scratch on it, "Howl!" The pack members around it instantly dug into the corpse as they ripped chunks from it viciously, some even beginning to fight amongst themselves for more meat only to be disciplined by the leader who was watching from the side.

They'd simply been waiting for Jackson to prepare their meal for them this entire time yet he hadn't even detected a hint of their present, unfortunately he had scurried off faster than the Pack Leader had anticipated as it began to emit a low growl came from its muzzle while it stared hungrily in the direction that Jackson had disappeared in, the thick scent of the blood on him still hanging in the air like a beacon as it held itself back from charging after him.

 As soon as the pack had finished devouring the corpse to the bone... the hunt would begin.

Hope you enjoyed! Cya tomorrow! :)

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