“You mean for me to kill this thing?!” He rose to his feet quickly from where he crouched and un-slung his pack to retrieve the ancient knife. He had thought that he was somehow meant to tame the creature, not fight it.
“Is the Great One afraid?” mocked the macrobe as its invisible pattern flowed through the environment, “It must be done and done with skill and speed. Trust the knife; it knows. He cannot escape wounded. Do not waste his precious lifeblood with more than one blow. You will need every ounce of his strength in the future. One strike to the heart will do fine. I must go try to bring him to you, but I will be there to assist you with the ritual once he is down.”
The macrobe’s trace vanished, and Lucien was alone with nothing but a bone knife with which to hunt a giant bear. (Keep Reading!)
The blade was thin and slender but long. Its once white color had been stained with blood from days long ago and ages of disuse. He looked at it in his hand and wondered what use it would be against such a beast as he now hunted.
The bear wasn’t far and Lucien knew it. He followed the tracks through the maze of alleys and abandoned streets. As he went he moved silently in the shadows, using his CAIN to show him the most quiet and hidden paths.
The tracks ambled along for a ways, but soon Lucien noticed their pattern shift.
“This must be the point where Artos started leading it,” he thought to himself silently. Ahead of him was a large dumpster abandoned for years, and beyond that a dimly lit intersection. Lucien peered cautiously around the dumpster.
Suddenl,y Lucien’s implant brought to his mind a subtle sound that came from behind him. He could see in his mind without turning that less than 10 paces behind him a very heavy foot had crunched a leaf that he himself had earlier avoided stepping on.
“Shit!” the hair on the back of his neck stood on end as he spoke under his breath, “I didn’t think about how they can smell! The damn things must have been tracking me the last quarter mile!”
There was a loud huff of breath and Lucien leapt to the other side of the street. An instant later there was a deafening snap as enormous jaws closed around the empty air where his head had been. Before Lucien could regain himself, his CAIN was nearly forcing him to jump as the dumpster he had stood beside a moment before came hurtling towards him.
Lucien’s agility had increased almost as much as his senses thanks to his cybernetic implant and the tools he had gained through the natural substructures. His strength also had increased with his other skills. He could now control each muscle individually, using them at the perfect time to maximize his strength and speed. But even with all of this he knew that he was hardly a match for this great beast.
He caught a quick glimpse of the monster as he landed gracefully on top of the now overturned dumpster. It was much larger than he had even imagined and its rippling muscles could be seen even through its thick dark fur.
The beast lunged again and missed. This time Lucien landed behind it and had a moment to focus while the bear roared in rage and sent the metal dumpster further down the alley with a swipe that left a large dent and deep gouges in the hard steel. The bear had missed him three times now. It was clear now that though the beast could see equally well during night and day, its vision was still the poorest of his senses.
Knowing that his only chance was to exploit this weakness and somehow strike deep into the murderous flesh to the bear’s heart, Lucien quickly came up with a plan. He dodged another snap and a lunge. Leaping and rolling down the alley he made his way towards the streetlight at intersection ahead. One swipe caught Lucien off guard and sent him flying to the ground at the base of the alley wall.
On the ground beside him Lucien found an old broom. He snatched it as he rolled away from another deadly swipe and stood up to find himself staring into the small black eyes of the beast. He could feel its hot breath on him. He swung quickly and cracked the end of the broom off across the creature’s nose.
This infuriated the bear, which roared and charged again snapping its jaws and spitting foam in rage. Lucien ducked and dodged again; he managed to remove his overcoat as he fled. One last roll and he found himself crouched directly beneath the light; his coat and the broken broomstick in one hand in front of him and the bone knife in the other.
The beast charged quickly at the man that it finally could see clearly in the lamplight. As it drew within range the bear saw the man’s coat leap high into the air. It rose to its feet and snapped at the garment. As the bear’s teeth closed around the empty coat the broom handle concealed inside struck the streetlight creating a sudden darkness. At the same time the bear felt a white-hot pain in its abdomen and a sudden ache in its chest.
Lucien’s up-raised arm was buried up to the shoulder into the rib cage of the beast. Using his unique skills he had cut the bear’s abdomen vertically as it rose and used all of the strength of his legs and his cybernetic vision to thrust and direct the knife tip straight into the heart of the mountainous beast.
Lucien stood for a split second with his face pressed against the ribs of the animal. The knife was clearly empowered, as its seemingly dull blade had no problem piercing the flesh of the beast. He could smell the dirty hide and feel the blood running down his shoulder. He heard its beating heart falter.
As quickly as he had made the strike Lucien withdrew his arm and rolled away as the bear fell clawing at the burning pain in its stomach. Its body hit the ground thrashing, but when its head followed, it struck the earth heavily and the bear moved no more.
“Quickly, son of men,” came the voice of Artos, generated from the reflections of the warm blood pooling on the ground, “dress him, take his hide and repeat these words as you draw…”