Chapter 8 The Lair
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Alex sat there exhausted and sighed as he looked at the disappearing Redhog's back. He ate the two yellow fruits he picked earlier.  As his energy started to recover slowly, Alex thought about the previous fight.

The blue aura which covered his whole body should be the Mana. It's like all of his energy burst out without any reserve. Alex named it Burst state.

In the Burst state, his power was multiplied by at least three times. However, it can be only maintained only for few seconds. But Alex was still excited.

After some time, he recovered most of his energy. He gathered all his belongings. He looked at the empty scabbard, feeling dejected. The machete was still stuck on the redhog's head.

Alex looked at the setting sun while hesitating slightly. He can track the redhog to its location using the footprints, but it will be dark soon. Alex was in a dilemma.

In the end, he decided to track the Redhog to recover his machete.

Alex scrutinized the hoof prints and found some drops of blood on the ground. After memorizing the pattern, he started tracking the beast. After a few hundred meters, there was no more blood. Alex had to follow based on the hoof prints and the crumbled grass.

Soon, Alex discovered the tracks led to the other side of the lake far from his location, 

Alex clenched his teeth and followed the tracks. In the end, the trail led to an underground cave. 

Alex carefully observed the ground near the cave entrance and found only one set of hoof prints. There shouldn't be many beasts inside.

The small entrance opened to be a large rocky cave, which was dimly lit. Alex slowly walked on the uneven ground while observing the shadows of the rocks.

This dark and strange environment made his nerves tense. But soon, in the middle of the cave, Alex saw the redhog lying on the ground. As he walked closer, he noticed the Redhog did not stir.

The blow to the head should have made it unconscious, analyzed Alex.

Alex trained his gun at the redhog while slowly moving closer. He was at the hand's reach, yet there was no movement. As he looked at the Redhog, he once again marveled at its size.

Alex saw the machete still stuck on its head. There was no bleeding as the wound had clogged. It was less than an hour its wounds started recovering.

What a terrifying vitality, Alex marveled.

If the machete was not stuck on its head, the wound might have started healing. Alex felt lucky. Now he had to finish the job.

Alex looked around and found a large rock. He raised the large rock and hammered it on the machete handle. The machete penetrated few more inches inside as the Redhog shrieked while trying to roll away.

Without pausing, he once again struck the handle. This time the blade penetrated much deeper, and there was no more sound. Finally, the cave returned to the silence.

Alex sat down, sighing in his heart. If he did not focus his whole strength on one point, he might not have penetrated its skull. He was lucky to defeat this beast.

Suddenly, his watch beeped, indicating it's twilight. He had to get ready for the night.

He was far away from his own cave, and he had no plan to return. There was no time to rush back. This underground cave was well hidden, so this must-do for tonight.

In Alex's observations, the wolf cubs are the ones hunting, while the big wolves just act as protectors and do not take any action.

Since the Redhog stayed safe till now. The Wolf cubs either did not find the Redhog or was not his match. So technically, he should not be in any danger. But he still had to take some action.

First, He needed to check the cave for any other animals. Alex checked every inch and found nothing.

Second, Alex cleaned the blood around the redhog. The smell of the blood makes those wolves excited. Luckily, there was not much blood as it was a clean cut. Alex also did not remove the machete, fearing the blood splash.

After all the work was done, Alex ate the remaining fruits and drank the water while waiting for the night. Inevitably the night came, and without missing a beat, the wolf howls echoed in the night.

Alex sat in the dark flustered, just like his first day on this planet.

Without anything to do, Alex meditated to calm his nerves. But it took him a long time to enter the meditative state. With every breath, Mana gathered in his body. Time passed, Alex woke up after a long time.

I must have fallen asleep while meditating, thought Alex.

Looking at his watch, it was already 5'o clock in the morning. Alex noticed that it was still dark outside, but there were no more wolf howls.

They must have gone for the day, Alex concluded.

Alex came to the opening and watched his surroundings using the heat vision binoculars. No more wolf silhouettes were flashing in the woods.

Alex sighed in relief. Just as he was about to go back inside. He saw a shining red object in the bushes nearby with his heat vision goggles.

Is that a small animal? Alex questioned himself. 

But soon, Alex rejected the guess. The object was hanging from the branch like a fruit. 

With curiosity, he approached the bush and took a look at it. Alex saw a bunch of blue fruits in the shape of a strawberry and was taken back.

He picked the blue fruits but did not eat them rashly. He had to test them with a small animal first. So he placed them in his backpack.

Now he had to deal with the dead Redhog. Alex now had two concerns, dealing with the remains and preserving the meat.

Alex, without any options, decided to bury the remains in this cave. There was very little loose soil, so Alex had to bring some mud from outside.

As for preserving the meat, he decided to use the hot smoking method.  It was a time-consuming method, but it's worth it. 

The Redhog's weight should be around 150Kg. With its meat, there was no need to worry about food for a while

But he had to make a lot of preparations. First, he had to make a hollow cylindrical stove using stones. He found a natural hollow rock in the cave, which should be suitable. The hollow rock was huge but with some gaps.

Alex gathered some stones to fill the gaps in the hollow rock and the dry branches for fuel.

On the top of the hollow stove, he arranged some sticks to place the fresh meat. In the end, he made an odd stove.

Once the sun was up, Alex was sure that the wolves were back in the den, he started to deal with the Red hog. He drained the blood and then peeled the skin and removed the organs. He chopped all the best meat from the Redhog: Sirloin, Ham, Neck, Jowl..etc.

Alex obtained around 100kg of the best meat and two meters of fine leather. Alex put the fresh meat on top of the stove while igniting the dry branches at the bottom.

A thick smoke started rising from the bottom. The raw meat was slowly exposed to the smoke. It will take a long time for the whole meat to be smoked, so Alex went out for fresh air.

Once outside, Alex noticed there was a pillar of smoke from the underground cave. He was worried, it may attract some beast. So, he found a tree to hide while observing the situation from a distance.

Luckily only a few small animals were attracted, and there were no incidents.  Alex ate the fruits for breakfast and grilled a small amount of meat for lunch.

It took him 12 hours to smoke all the meat. Fortunately, he started in the early morning, so there was still time to go back to his cave.

Although he buried the remains, he was not sure if the wolves were attracted to the smell. So he had to get out of here before the wolves become active.

In the evening, Alex carried the smoked meat and the leather to his cave. The smoked meat should be good for at least a week while the leather can be used to make a good bed.

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