CH : 22 – DISCOVERY PART 2F
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DISCOVERY PART 2F

Day 53; 1047 (Morning)
Focus: 513

*FWISHH*

The sound of 513's horizontal slash could be heard from underneath the grub, as several of its hind legs were cleanly cut-away in an instant.

During his charge, he cleverly hid his frame behind his fur cloak, causing the grub's eyes to fixate on the cloak rather than his body. The moment 513 saw the grub lift its scythe-like legs into the air, he threw the cloak forward -- while his body was still obstructed by it -- and dashed under the grub's body, just like before. 

Thus, what the grub had attacked with its legs was a fur cloak without its wearer.

513 emerged from grub’s underside after clearing a path with his painless slash. 

While moving away, he grabbed several of the legs that had been severed by his attack, turned around, then threw them at the grub's undefended backside. 

Although not all of the thrown legs hit their marks, the ones that did buried themselves deep into the grub's body, causing more injuries to form as the grub squirmed and moved about.

If the grub has been cautious and made use of the eyes on its hind legs, it would never have suffered such embarrassing injuries. 

*SCREECH*

The grub screamed in pain as it finally realized what had just happened. It had clearly been deceived by the prey it hunted. 

The grub had assumed 513 would run around its large body in fear of being cut to pieces by its legs. But instead, 513 chose to run-through.

A grin emerged on 513's face as he sprinted towards the opposite end of the clearing. 

He strangely felt alive in the midst of all the tension.

However, before reaching his destination, he briefly stopped by a few corpse mounds and dug-out obsidian colored bones that he had eyed earlier.

513: "Lucky."

He said with a smile, before disappearing from the site and reappearing next to another corpse mound.

This activity continued until he had filled his supply pack with obsidian colored blood bones. 

Afterwards, he sat down a good distance away from the mounds and patiently waited for the grub to return.

At this point, his plan to sprint to the opposite end of the clearing had become obsolete. 

After noticing how sluggish and haggard the grub moved, 513 decided to revise his objectives. He planned to speed-up the timetable of the battle by using the location of the corpse mounds as a platform for launching his final attack. 

From where he sat, he calmly watched the grub as it slowly gravitated towards him. Even after spending all that time digging-out blood bones, the grub had still barely moved away from the location he had deceived it -- where he had sacrificed his fur cloak.

[Although I've accelerated my battle plan, it would be a mistake to lose focus and become complacent. My hit-and-run tactics have worked thus far. There is no need to alter what is working. If this next attack does not end the monster's life, I will fall-back to the original plan. There is no need to act hasty.] He calmly mused.

Frankly speaking, he could have ended the fight earlier, but he was convinced the grub still had plenty of fight left in it; he did not want to make the mistake of underestimating his opponent again.

As he continued to wait, 513 modified the blood bones he had collected into javelins, shaping one end into a sharp tip.

By the time the grub reached the corpse mounds, it was already on death's door. On the other hand, 513 was quite rested.

Grub: (high-pitch noise) "DIE!!!"

The grub opened its mouth and unleashed a pitiful scream. When the scream ended, hundreds of snake-like tongues burst-out from its mouth and darted towards 513. 

513's eyes narrowed as the conical tipped tongues raced towards him like a wall of lances.

With his legs rested, he casually leapt backwards and led the snake-like tongues on a short, but futile chase. He weaved in and around the corpse mounds as the tongues fervently followed from behind. 

Eventually, the tongues ran out of slack and could no longer give chase. They hissed in anger as they found themselves tangled with one another due to 513's clever weaving.

Satisfied with his work, 513 moved onto the next phase of his attack and climbed the nearest corpse mound.

Upon reaching the summit, he rained-down blood bone javelins from the top of the mound like he was Zeus throwing lightning. Each throw did not lack any power, as they buried themselves deep into the grub's body.

His intentions for the blood bone javelins were two-fold: [1] to deliver devastating wounds to his target; and [2] to further weaken the target by removing / absorbing its blood.

When the last javelin was thrown, 513 immediately ran-down the mound without bothering to confirm the damage he had inflicted.

*THUUNK* *THUUNK* *THUUNK* 

The sounds of blood bone javelins hitting their marks echoed in the air. 

They were quickly followed by the hellish screams of live creatures still struggling inside the grub's vast stomach.

Their pained faces protruded-out from the grub's marbled skin as they tried their best to escape their inevitable fates. Some saw the situation as a godsend, clawing their way out through the injuries that 513 had inflicted on the grub.

The scene was like watching a parasitic exodus, where parasites flee from their host body in droves.

More and more holes opened-up all over the grub's massive body, all releasing half-dead and gravely injured creatures.

All these creatures had one thing in common: a refusal to die until vengeance was carried-out.

Meanwhile, 513 was positioning himself to flank the grub's sides. 

After planting himself in the ideal location, he dashed towards the grub's side and swung his short spear. The rising slash of his attack targeted the grub's scythe-like legs.

*FWISHH*

Over a dozen legs were severed from the grub's body in a single stroke. 

*FWISHH*

Another swing, and even more legs fell.

*FWISHH* *FWISHH* *FWISHH*

513 rampaged and cut-up everything in his path, including the half-dead creatures that had clawed their way out from the grub's stomach.

[They were bound to die a slow death, might as well speed-up the process.] He coolly thought.

By the time, the snake-like tongues of the grub had returned to its body, it had become too weak to move, let alone unleash a retaliatory attack.

It was over. It had lost.

*FWISHH* *THUMP*

With another swing of his spear, 513 severed the remaining legs that held-up the last segment of the grub's body, causing its collapse.

*FHOOMP*

The crisis had ended. The grub could no longer move or speak. All it could do was let-out miserable whimpers.

*FHOOMP*

513 walked around the grub, casually stabbing the severed legs he had collected into random locations on the grub's body. As he walked, he dispatched the rest of the half-dead creatures he had missed earlier, with his short spear.

*FHOOMP*

This process went-on for quite some time until 513 had stabbed every single scythe-like leg into the grub's body; from afar, one could mistake the grub's body for a massive pin cushion.

When he had done everything he wanted to do, he distanced himself from both the grub and the corpse mounds, and found a stone boulder to sit-on. He gazed at the swirling sphere -- the origin of the mist -- located directly above the grub, as it shrank little-by-little.

513: "It will die soon."

He spoke with a feeling of relief.

A few moments later and the sphere completely disappeared. 

The mist surrounding the clearing began to dissipate.

While waiting for the mist to clear completely, 513 meditated. Although he had already rested before the final assault, his right leg had still not completely healed.

Unlike Trauma Healing, which basically prevented certain death, his passive regenerative abilities could quickly heal minor and moderate injuries within several hours or days. He found that the trade-off for this miracle ability was high-calorie consumption, but this did not mean he was unkillable.

Since he had little fat left on his body -- when compared to when he first arrived -- his muscles were broken down and used as fuel instead.

In essence, his body consumed itself in order to heal itself. Unfortunately, this was an ability he could not actively control, so he had to bulk-up to prevent future issues.

◊◊◊◊◊◊

Day 53; 1603 (Afternoon)
Focus: 513

The mist was finally gone.

Although his injuries hadn't completely healed, 513 began dismantling the grub minutes after its death.

513: "Why are there so many undigested bodies?"

He mumbled aloud.

Scores of corpses poked-out from the grub's massive body. The grub itself had deflated like a balloon -- the corpses looked as-if they were covered by a thin blanket.

Thanks to the many blood bone javelins embedded in its body, all of the grub's blood had been sucked dry.

[Just how much blood did this thing have?] 513 questioned, bewildered by the aftermath.

While recovering the javelins, a peculiar change in their color piqued his interest. 

Streaks of crimson fractures covered the majority of the blood bones' structure. Their pattern looked similar to spider-web fractures on broken glass.

When he stabbed one of the javelins into a nearby rock, it gave-off a metallic hum.

After pondering a moment, he took-out his short spear and compared the color of the spearhead with the javelins. Since they were basically the same material, he thought it would be a useful tool for comparison.

To his surprise, the spearhead had also changed in color. However, instead of just fractures, the entire spearhead made-of blood bone had been dyed crimson.

513: "When did this happen?"

He wondered out loud.

He had assumed the reddish color of the spearhead was due to frozen blood that had accumulated from combat. As such, he didn't pay much attention to it at the time. But now, the situation has changed.

Just like the javelin, he stabbed the spear into a rock. This time, a distinct metallic ping of iron rang from the spearhead, and the rock that was used as a test surface broke cleanly into two parts.

513: "..."

Unsure what to make of the results, he repeated the test, leisurely thrusting the short spear into a different rock. Like the first, the repeat test generated the sound of a metallic ping, as well a rock cleaved in two.

513: "...heh...ehehe…ehehehe...interesting."

He cackled in amusement.

A few ideas floated in his mind regarding further experimentation, but he put them aside for the moment. Gathering materials to take back to base camp before nightfall was the more important task.

◊◊◊◊◊◊

513 managed to complete two full trips from the site of battle to his base camp before nightfall. 

Aside from passing through a sea of frozen bodies littering the ground, he met no issues -- likely because the creatures of the forest had left the general location out of fear.

During his second trip back to the battle site, he sighted a total of eight strange looking, shrivelled-up trees that encircled the central clear zone where the grub was encamped. 

They were all arranged in an octagonal formation, and were likely the culprits behind the tentacle attacks. This was the deduction 513 had formulated upon noticing a distinct feature on each of eight trees: one extremely long, rope-like branch.

[Did the grub and trees have a symbiotic relationship? One provides shelter and sustenance via mist, while the other gathers food for its provider.]

After a few quick thoughts, 513 left the matter alone. The trees appeared to have died in the absence of mist, so further contemplation was unneeded.

Back at his base camp, 513 organized his spoils of war. 

He had purposefully hauled a large sled with him on his second trip to maximize his gains. By doing so, he ended-up collecting a lot more loot than expected.

Among the loot were the blood bone javelins he made, several undamaged scythe-like legs, jewelstones, hides, leather, and miscellaneous items like metal weapons and armors.

Out of all the loot, the weapons and armor confused 513 the most. The jewelstones were one thing, but undamaged armor parts…

He found them after dismantling a small portion of the grub's insides.

[Surely these things were consumed by the grub, right? It's not like these are random item drops from a game...I mean...this shit feels pretty fucking real.] 513 thought.

After pretending that he hadn't found anything suspicious, he removed his tattered armor, cleaned himself up, redressed his injuries, ate his fill of food and drink, and finally rested near the fire.

513: "There's still plenty of material to extract  I wonder...how many days...it will…" *snore*

Under the gaze of the cold dark sky, 513 fell into deep sleep, bundled under layers of warm animal hides.

---Chapter End

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