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Spem Habe (Have Hope)
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Description and Information
Fan Fiction Name: Spem Habe (Have Hope)
Author/s: HypnoHunter
First Debut: March 2, 2011
Number of Chapters: 6
Current Status: Ongoing (sort of)
Chapters
  1. The Very Beginning
  2. The New Hunter in Town
  3. Proving our Mettle


Hello there, curious reader. Just wanted to say something before you start reading this fanfic. It's been a long while since i payed a visit to the MH wiki, or the Fanon wiki, so i almost completely forgot about my fanfic. I had worked on remastering it a while back, but never posted it here. All three original chapters have been remastered, and i'll soon post the other chapters for your enjoyment. Thank you :)

Sincerely, the Hypno Hunter


Chapter 1: The Very Beginning

"Dad, hey Dad, do you think there's life out there in the big blue sky?" asked the little boy.

"Hmm, I don't know son, but it would be quite interesting to find out" replied the man. Yep, I remember that conversation. It was night in the Moga woods. The young boy, 8 years old, was energetic, and had a wide imagination. The man was strong willed, and although he was racking up the years, he could still pull off hard labor.

"Dad, when I grow up, I want to go out there, and discover everything!"

"Haha, ok son, if you say so... but first think about the people here who need your help. Never forget that!" said the man while poking his son's nose. Both of them contemplated the wilderness.

"Ok, son lets head back to the village. It’s late."

"Ok Dad. Race ya' there! Last one there's an ugly Khezu!" The father, reluctant to run, replied: "Haha.... yeah, you go on ahead, I’ll catch up... that boy can't sit still... reminds me of myself."

The man slowly walked toward the village, which was still a long way, when he heard a screech from far away. The man gasped, and started running toward the village. The little boy, who had run into a kelbi, was unaware of the screech. Suddenly, a shadow flied over the boy. The boy looked up, and saw a pair of wings. The shadow slowly hurried down unto the earth. When the moonlight shone on the shadow, it was beyond recognizable: who else could it be than the infamous King of the Skies? The Rathalos eyed the boy, and the boy learned a new emotion that day: fear. Just as the Rath approached the boy, the man came out of nowhere and stood between the boy and the Rath. "Don't come any closer!!!" shouted the man. "You won't hurt MY son!!!" Then he slowly looked at the boy: "Run." The boy was reluctant, but the man shouted harder: "Run!!!”. The boy ran as fast as he could. He tried to look back, but the man kept shouting "Run!!!". Just as he arrived at the wooden bridge leading to Moga village, the last thing he heard was a loud scream. The boy was safe, but one villager was missing...

The little boy went to his house, in a small island some distance from the Moga village, crying. He learned another emotion that day: sadness. His mother was concerned.

"Come on, stop crying and tell me what happened".

The boy explained the best way he could. The mother's face quickly changed. Her eyes started to fill with tears. She couldn't hold that emotion for long; she wept greatly. But then, she went running toward the village. A tragic story, but even more tragic, the little boy....... was me. Shortly after arriving, mom quickly went into the village chief's house. She quickly cried out: "Rathalos in the woods!" The chief was awe stricken. Rathalos were uncommon in the island, and hearing the mother's story, he thought it was an omen. He warned the villagers to watch out for Flying Wyverns in the area.

"Be cautious, people. Be cautious" said the chief. He turned to Mom.

“I'm sorry... for what happened..."

"Don't be." she replied, wiping the last tear of her face. She WAS sad, but she saw the world from a different point of view; she thought that everything had a purpose in life. She went to the house; I was still crying on the bed. She took me in her hands, and said: "Spem Habe". Later on, I would realize what that meant: "Spem Habe" is "have hope" in the language of our ancestors. I was confused. "Have hope"? How? I had lost my father forever, and I was supposed to have hope? I never understood what she meant, until I became who I am today.

I grew up sad, but got over it quicker than I imagined. Let's talk more about myself. The name’s Oran, just so you didn’t know. Well, life in the village was simple. Everyone gathered resources for the village, each helping the other survive. For some reason, we lived in an island some distance from the village. I didn't know why, but in the future, it would come in handy. More on that later. Actually, I don't remember much about my childhood days... after the incident. I remember that there was an aquatic monster wreaking havoc over the island. Something called... uh... La.. agi... ah! Lagiacrus, that's the one. The chief had called a hunter to aid in the village, and to take down that Lagiacrus. I was shy around him; he looked all tough and scary. But later on, he seemed to be kind with the villagers. I remember lending him some whetstones when he had arrived, and he kindly thanked me. That's when it hit me. Dad said "...but first, think about the people here who need your help." A cool way I could help people: hunting savage beasts that ran amok in the wilderness. I thought monsters where really cool. Once, when I was 11 years old, I had a pet Kut-Ku in the farm. You can imagine the havoc it caused, but actually, it was a “Phantom” sized wyvern. It was rather playful and friendly, but the chief was concerned over the safety of the village, so I had to release it in the jungle. Since then, monsters where my kind of thing. I prepared mentally to begin hunting as early as I could, practicing with swords that the old smithy lent to me. My hope was starting to come out into the open.

Chapter 2: The New Hunter In Town

Much time had passed since the incident. I learned to put the past behind me, but still missed Dad. Once I ‘mastered’ the ways of the sword, I headed towards the city of Loc Lac (I’ll have to thank the Hunting Fleet for taking me there). Upon arriving at the outskirts, I was sent towards a harbor where there were many boats stuck in the sand. I spotted a man working on the ship.

“Um, what happened to those boats back then?” I asked.

“‘What happened’? ‘Back then’? What, it’s not like they’re broken or something. I’ve been using this skiff my whole life.”

“Then…how’d it get stuck out here?”

“Stuck here?... Ah, you must be new around Loc Lac. Well sorry to bust your bubble, but these are Sand skiffs, not boats. They were born to sail the dunes.”

“…Sail...the dunes? Awesome!”

“I can say it gets exhilarating at times. Good thing Jhen season’s passed; I’d be in a heap of trouble.”

“What’s a Jhe…you know what? I’m gonna’ find out for myself.”

“I like your attitude, kid!”

We sailed in the dunes, which was pretty much the most epic thing man has ever invented, in my opinion. Once arriving at the city itself, which was more crowded than I could possibly imagine, I made my way towards the Hunter’s Guild Headquarters. I was sent towards this large building where they would inscribe me in the Guild. Upon entering, I could see and old man with pointy ears sitting in a tall chair. Definitely Wyverian. I crept closer to him (or it, whatever) and asked lightly, not to scare him off.

“Hey. Do you know where I can find the Guildmaster?” He started to laugh loudly.

“Haha! You're right in front of him! You must be a new hunter, right?”

“Uh…… Yeah! That’s right.”

“Well then, let me start writing the application form. Name?”

“Oran.”

“Ok… residence?”

“The Moga Archipelago.”

“Ah, groovy. Always wanted to go there. Well, just sign here, and you’re in! Just like that.” I didn’t know much about literacy, so I tried my best on writing my name. I could see the Guildmaster smirking.

“Now that that’s settled, you should be able to start quests. Happy hunting! Oh, but first a haiku: The road to hunting success / starts at this very moment / don’t forget your sword!”

“…Thanks?”

I got out of there quick. That Guildmaster gave me the chills. Weird looking…thing. But at least that was taken care of. I thanked the gods that I was finally a hunter. I was wondering what kind of weapons I would use. "Swords, well duh, that's a piece of cake to use." I said to myself. "Great swords... hmmm, too heavy. Hammers, also heavy. Long swords, good. Axe... you bet! Guns..... guns?? Awesome!" I stocked up on supplies, my favorite weapons, and decent armor. At first, the quests where easy, and I was quickly kickin' Jaggi, Peco and Kut-Ku butt. But once I got to 2* quests, I needed a good team. And I was lucky to find one; I’ll describe those guys for you: Pallaton, or Pal for short, who prefers Long swords. He has a strong heart and sense of justice, just like me, but he tends to slack off sometimes. Second, was Hi. Yeah, really weird nickname, I know. He knew how to use every weapon, but preferred Lances. He was a little full of himself, and was a "smart-aleck". He's saved me a bunch of times, and vice-versa. The three of us where nigh inseparable. We were a pretty good team among many hunters in Loc Lac, and slowly but steadily ranked up. Still, we needed one more member, and started to look for potential recruits, in vain. We realized that all we needed where ourselves, so moved along in a "trio" for a long time, until one day.

I was recalling all of the stories I’ve heard about famous hunters and the stuff the Guild held secret. I learned about the Elder Dragon Observation Center, since a friend of mine, whose name is Isabel, was working with them. She said that many things where kept top secret, but she still told me about many Dragon secrets; for example, the Fatalite crystals, which gave uncontrollable power to any monster who touches them; the fearsome Aurex, a Tigrex unlucky enough to touch these crystals, growing two extra wings in the process, among other things. I remember hearing about a guy named Hummel; they said that he and his friend where the first to obtain the 4* G-rank quests. I never imagined it to be possible, since I had only gotten to 5* High-rank quests (for the moment anyways). Learning about this new achievement, I decided to go look for him. But on the way to Hummel's village in the Furahiya mountains, I saw... her. A girl about the same age as me, only shorter, and cuter. She wore Rathalos armor except for the helm, letting down her brown hair. She had a Long Sword made of Diablos materials strapped to her back. She had blue eyes and seemed to be strong willed, by the look of her face. She seemed different from the rest of the people there. Eager to know more about her, I walked up to her.

“Hi there.”

“Oh, hi. Something the matter?” She had a sweet voice, and her eyes went to your very soul, and......and..... yeah, I’m talking a lot. Let's just focus on the more important stuff. I asked her where she was from, and was astonished to hear she was from Moga too.

"Funny.... I never saw you in the village....." I said. "Well, my parents lived in a part of the island far from the village" she replied. "Wait, aren't you the kid who's dad..... Uh........."

"Yeah, I’m that kid. Thanks for reminding me." "Oh, I’m sorry... my dad knew him. He said he was funny, in a good way." "Well, that's one thing he and I have in common. Say, you have any friends here?" I asked.

"Well, not any hunter friends. Why?”

I sighed in relief: "Well, I was hoping if you would join my team of hunters. We needed a new member, and..."

She quickly replied: "Really!? Then, I’ll be glad to join you!"

"Uh... well, great! Follow me; I’ll take you to "headquarters". Oh but first…”

“I know, I’ll tell my Dad. He and most of my family moved to Pokke a while back.”

She went to her house, and after a few minutes exited, following me happily as if she wanted someone like me to come along. Yeah, now the team was complete.

Chapter 3: Proving Our Mettle

Part 1:

We arrived at headquarters, which was my house at Moga woods (remember when I said that "in the future, it would come in handy"?). Hi and Pal were sitting there, resting from the twin Daimyo quest. They had told me they were to split up, taking one Daimyo each. Knowing them, they might have bet something for whoever took down his Hermitaur first. As we entered the house, Hi quickly noticed a new face.

"Hey, looks like you've found some Los bait." he said.

I gave him the look; it meant that the matter was serious, and he always obeyed. Both Hi and Pal saluted the new member. They were a bit astonished to find that I recruited a girl, out of all things.

"So, you think you have what it takes to join us?" said Hi while laughing. "I thought a new member was bullfango shit, but a girl? Haha, no offense, dude... errr, dudette."

"I’m no ordinary girl." Kira replied (yeah, forgot to tell you her name). “I can tell I’m better at wielding a Long Sword just by looking at you.”

"Really?” replied Hi. "Let's see what you’ve got!"

We went outside to test our skill with the blade.

"I’m out." Pal said. "Really tired here. Have fun, you three".

Hi took out his Dragonwood Long sword, Kira took out her Devil Sword, while I used the Death Scythe (made from sharp Ceanataur materials). A number of large tree stumps dotted the area, perfect for practice sessions. We all took our own stump and began attacking. Hi sent a one-sided all out on his stump. Kira, on the other hand, circled the tree stump without losing balance, and Hi was frustrated.

"There’s no way a girl can be better than me! That's impossible!" I let down my sword and patted Hi’s shoulder.

"Dude, it’s ok. Don't go all Tigrex on her." I said. "And remember, you're still the best Lancer anywhere." Hi calmed down.

"Well, you're right there."

After some time, we sat down and ate. Pal was especially curious about Kira.

“So where you from, Kira?” Pal asked.

“Oh, I was born right here in Moga. You see that island in the distance?” She pointed at an island far away from the mainland. “That’s where I used to live, until we moved to Pokke not long ago. I can still make out the small boat that took us to the Village every time we wanted to pay a visit.”

“Really? Hi said. “I bet I could swim over there in a flash…”

“You’ll get a cramp.” I affirmed.

“… Meh.” Hi said, shrugging.

“…Now that that’s settled, let us resume eating.” Pal said.

Some time had passed, and the group was getting more and more united. At first, our quests often ended in discussions between Hi and Kira. It was always “Get out of my way!” here, and “Watch where you’re slashing!” there. But now we kept those to a minimum. One day, after a good rest at HQ, a messenger hawk came to the house, screeching tirelessly. I took the message in its foot, and read it aloud to my friends: "Greetings from the Guild. We have heard of your talents, and are asking for help... no, a favor. We have received word of a Lao Shan Lung approaching the Fortress. To prove your mettle among hunters, you have been requested to repel or slay the beast. Please arrive at the Elder Dragon Observation Center as soon as possible for further information. Tardiness will not be accepted."

Sincerely, the Guild master.

We were given the chance to hunt a Lao Shan, and were very, VERY excited. But I was a bit uneasy, too; Laos aren't push-overs, and we were going to find out the hard way.

We arrived at the Elder Dragon Observation Center, where they would explain the quest requirements, dangers, yadda, yadda, yadda.

"The Lao Shan Lung are giant dragons that have no real habitat; they just keep moving." said Isabel, the friend of mine that had joined the dragon center. "They're not that aggressive, but they will squish you if you stand close to their feet." "Here that, Pal? Wouldn’t want to get owned by another dragon again, now would we?" Hi said, snickering.

"Oh come on, that Kushala ganged up on me, and you didn't do diddly-squat!!" Pal replied angrily.

I stepped in: "Ok, guys, enough. Less fighting, more listening!"

"Oh, here comes lover boy to talk about world peace". I swear, if Hi wasn't my best buddy, I would have cut his head in half; but I resisted the temptation, and replied back.

'Hey, we're "buds", right? Let's just calm down." Fortunately, they heeded my words. "Ok, moving on..." Isabel said, awkwardly.

“You guys have to bring plenty of supplies, maybe some Max potions, Lifepowder..."

"Wait, why?" Hi replied. "Those things move slower than an elder! I bet I could kill it with my eyes closed."

"But have YOU even seen a Lao Shan? These dragons are enormous… no, gigantic! You’ll wet your pants just by looking at them."

"...Ok. Ok, I get it."

"You'll need weapons with good sharpness, too.”

"I'll use my bowgun" I said. "Hi, you can borrow my Long Sword, and Pal… well, bring your Rusty Claymore."

"It’s Grind Claymore, I just upgraded it!"

"Ok, team, look for some Lifecrystals and Nutrients, we'll need 'em." Before I could leave the building, Isabel called me.

“Wait! Oran!”

“Huh? What’s the haps?”

“Uh… I just wanted to wish you good luck.”

“Well, thank you. It’s not every day a nice girl wishes me luck.” She grinned and hugged me. I stroked her hair lightly. We knew each other since I started hunting. She was beginning to inscribe herself in the E.D.O. when we first met. The group went about and agreed to meet at the quest counter when we were ready. I went towards Kira to talk.

"Seems like you’re a little quiet."

"Yeah, I’m a still little shy around Hi and Pal after the..."

'Don't worry, they probably forgot about that Conga scare... I hope, for their sake." We laughed for a moment, and parted ways to look for supplies.

Part 2:

I took my Shakalaka Prized Bow, which fired Dragon S, useful against dragons (duh), and put on my Death Stench armor (yeah, really creepy stuff), which gave me the Auto-reload skill; all except for the helm. I used a special earring that gave me control over the recoil of the gun. Pal used his Rathalos Soul armor, while Hi used his Agnaktor set. Kira used her Rathalos armor set. We finally met at the quest counter. Pal was the first to speak.

"Well, gents, it’s been nice knowing you all".

Kira responded: "Yeah, because you'll be the first one to be knocked out". Hi and Pal "oooohed" at Kira and congratulated her for "talking tuff". We began to mount the Guild balloon, but before I could set foot on it a cloaked man stopped me. "Here. You just might need it" he said.

He gave me a strange container. I thanked him, but quickly mounted the balloon. I saw him dart off quickly.

"Who was that?" asked Hi.

“That was your mama’.”

We laughed while the balloon took us to the Fort. We saw most of the land surrounding the Fort, which was pretty impressive. Arriving at the massive building, we went inside and prepared ourselves for the fight ahead. We checked for our materials, combined a few; put them in their respective places, etc. All the while, after he had finished, Pal jumped into the bed and took a quick snooze. Meanwhile, we felt a large thud. The whole fort moved.

"Hm... I do believe Lao Shan's here".

“Aw come on, I just got comfy in this bed…” Pal protested.

“Save the beauty sleep for later.” I replied.

We quickly went outside, only to find the Lao Shan already at the fort's gate. Hi was amazed.

"My Gods, that thing is HUGE!"

We readied our weapons, and the Lao Shan let out a deafening roar.

"Watch out, everybody!" I said.

Hi and Pal went down and attacked the feet, while Kira and I fired at it from above, me, with my trusty bowgun, and her, with the Ballista. The Lao Shan took notice of the guys attacking it, and swiped them off with its tail. They landed way off the dragon's way. I laughed at their faces.

"Come on guys, he's just a Lao Shan!" They both replied: "Easy for you, you're way up there!”

They got on their feet and continued attacking its legs. Once or twice it fell on the ground, leaving its belly defenseless and allowing Hi and Gil to attack its weak point. The battle was a bit boring, aside from the tail swipes and the ramming. After a while, I was almost all out of bullets. And surprisingly, the Lao Shan didn't seem weakened. I took my last Dragon shot, and fired at the beast's damaged back. As it penetrated the shell, the giant dragon let out a LOUD roar of pain. He flailed its head from side to side. I could safely say that it was really having a bad day. And just like that, the Lao Shan was toppled over. We actually defeated the Lao Shan! We were screaming our heads off.

"WOOOO, we did it!"

"I told you I could.... I mean, we could kill it".

The guys where quickly carving the beast's body, and Kira and I were descending the ladder when I noticed something. The Lao Shan was...... moving. He got on its feet, leaving my friends dumbfounded. Some of its scales now had a greenish tint, and its body spikes grew slightly sharper.

“What the hell just happened?” I thought. I scanned the dragon and noticed a strange crystal on the it's back. It had a green tinge to it. That's when it hit me; Isabel had told me that Hummel, the first 4* G-rank hunter, had seen a peculiar crystal from a fight with a Teostra who had gone wild. It ALSO had a green tinge. One thing came to mind: Fatalite. The Lao Shan was drawing power from the Fatalite! I screamed to my friends to take cover, in vain. The Lao Shan sprayed the guys with a weird Dragon element breath attack, and they were tossed aside like little rocks. The dragon, now with ten-fold strength to spare, targeted Kira. He rammed her with its head, and swept her far away. When she landed, the Lao Shan was already preparing its dragon breath. Just in the nick of time, I fired a shot at its horn. The horn broke, and the giant dragon roared in agony. I felt a little dominance over the beast, but not for long, as it quickly recovered and targeted the Fort. He moved surprisingly quick.

"Oh Gods, with that new strength, he could destroy the whole building with one hit! Think, think, think..."

At that moment, I remembered the cloaked man. I took the container he had given me; it had a special-looking shot inside. As I touched it, it filled me with indescribable sensation.

"Well, he did say I would need it, so..."

I took the bullet, cocked the gun, and fired at the Lao Shan's back. Once it hit, there was a big flash. I heard a powerful screech; I had to cover my ears. I opened my eyes, and the Lao Shan was falling on the ground yet again. This time, however, the deed was done for good. I felt a strange feeling inside. We had killed a Lao Shan, and not just any Lao Shan: a Fatalite-infused Lao Shan! But first things first; I went to my friends to help. They were all unconscious. I dragged them together and used a lifepowder. As they breathed it in, they regained consciousness.

"Whoa, I’m gonna’ feel that in the morning'" Pal said, with pain. “Whoa, did you... did you kill it!? Awesome!! You're going to be famous!"

"Well, you did a pretty good job too. My shots weren't that powerful against it".

We finally carved the body of the defeated dragon. I quickly and secretly took the peculiar crystal and hid it in my bag, along with some of the green tinted scales and shells. After carving what we could, we took everything to the balloon, and lifted off. Everyone was inside, healing, except me and Kira. We watched the Sun set over the Fort. Very big building, by the way.

"...Thanks for saving me back there." she said.

"Well, I couldn't just let you get done in by that thing. And technically I...."

Before I could end, she gave me a kiss. Man, those lips of her were so good.

"Uh, never mind... Oh, one more thing: remind never to heed the Guildmaster's requests for as long as I live." We laughed, and watched the horizon. I felt a new feeling that day: love.

Chapter 4: Chillin' Out, Flaming In

"Oh, man, my stomach. I shouldn't have eaten that last Kut-Ku wing.... oomph, well, might as well wake up......." I was just getting off of bed from a "party" celebrating the defeat of our first Lao Shan, no problems....... Wait, is that a Rathalos!!?? Woah!! Its gonna' eat me!!! Gotta’ move fast, gotta’ move..... OW! My stomach… I fell over, and the Rath jumped on top of me. "No… NOOOOOO!!" It opened its dreadful mouth!

"Oran!!! Wake up!!" "Huh!?" The Rath disappeared, and Kira magically stood where it once was. "Gee, it seems you had quite a nightmare.... Good thing I woke you up."

'Well, thanks! Man I was gonna' get eaten by a Los! Whew, glad that's over....."

"Well, since you overslept, Pal headed towards Loc Lac to inscribe us on the dual Tigrex quest. He asked if I could wake you up once a certain time passed… so here we are. Don’t know about Hi, though.”

“Well then, let’s waste no time.”

I got prepped up and quickly went to Loc Lac to fulfill yet another quest with the guys. But before that, I went to the E.D.O. outpost in Loc Lac, where Isabel worked. Not the Observation Center, just so you get confused. Both very different buildings. The outpost was this large, dome shaped building with a part of the roof open, where this large machine poked out. I was told that was a ‘telescope’, something used to gaze at the stars. I knocked at the big door, and Isabel answered with a faint voice.

“Who comes knocking at the door?”

“Uh… Hey, I forgot the pass code, Isabel. Listen, I’m carrying a piece of Fatalite in my hands, so let me in!”

“Fine.” She said, giggling as she opened the door. I went inside this large room with a lot of instruments for studying… stuff. A lot of workers used the instruments and handled weird looking liquids. Isabel greeted me, and I gave her the piece of Fatalite.

“Whoa, this will help our research greatly. Thanks again, Onen!”

“Cough…Oran…cough...”

“Oh sorry!” she said, laughing. I was getting ready to leave, but before I could step outside she hugged me tight. I hugged back, admiring her beauty. She had striking, short black hair and brown eyes. She was a bit younger than me, but she seemed like a little girl, in a good way. Actually, she was like a younger sister to me. I gently nudged her off and went on my way towards the quest counter, preparing myself mentally for the task at hand. This time, it was a dual Tigrex hunt. I’ve only hunted them once or twice, since they’re prone to extreme violence. But they were causing trouble, so we needed to risk ourselves for the good of humanity… or something like that. We arrived at the quest counter, and Pal was there, resting on a chair. I tried to creep towards him to spook him, but he quickly spoke.

“Oversleeping, are we?” Pal said.

“Huh? Weren’t you… uh, never mind. Man, you will not believe what I just dreamt last night…”

“Bah, save it for later. We’ve gotta’ find someone to help us hunt those Tigrex.”

“Wait… where’s Hi?”

“He told me he was pretty sick, so he left towards Kokoto Village.”

“Oh… well then, let’s find us a good hunter.”

What seemed like hours had passed, and still no one good or willing to help. We were (a little) desperate to find someone to help us…… until HE came. A young man with long, black and spiky hair. He wore Akantor armor, a monster we didn’t know much about. He used a hammer that looked like a creepy monster’s face.

"Hehe, you need help with that?” The young man said.

“Yeah, would you kindly join us?” Kira asked with an innocent voice.

“I'll help, if you promise to help me afterwards" he said, snickering while eyeing Kira.

“The name’s Axel. Who might you be?”

“Uh, I’m Kira. These are Oran and Pallaton, or Pal for short.”

“Nice to meet you, Kira.” He said, ignoring us completely. We were about to head towards the Guild balloon when quite suddenly he pulled a fast one.

"Whoa, are you seriously going to hunt two Tigrex with THAT armor? Pffft, what a waste. I might as well put on a Popo disguise."

I replied angrily: "Well, what armor did YOU have when you fought them?" He just stood there, snickering.

"I don't have to tell you noobs diddly squat".

"What did you say!?" said Pal, even angrier than me.

"Do I have to repeat myself? I said NOOBS".

"Well, you can forget about us helping you, jerk!!!" cried Kira.

“Whoa, you don’t have to be that harsh, missy.” Axel left us, snickering.

"Sigh…Good thing Hi wasn't here, he'd have skewered the guy with his lance" Pal said. "Haha, looks like Kira is showing her inner Bulldrome, 'eh Oran?"

We found a much nicer hunter to help. I’m not gonna’ explain the details… some parts of the battle were a bit… brutal, to say the least. After a grueling battle with the two Tigrex (which was rather hard, especially when both were in the same stretch of mountain) and standing victorious, we went to HQ only to find Hi sitting in the floor. "Well, ain't you a fast healer?" said Pal, amazed that Hi recovered so fast. “I wish I could recover from wounds that easily. That Tigrex left a dent on me.”

"Well, it doesn't hurt when your armor does the healing for you. Good thing I held on to the Jhen set; recovery is improved then. The people in the village helped out with some potions and antidotes, too."

"Hey, where's this village everyone's talking about?" asked Kira. "I'd love to see it!" Hi stood frozen on the floor, not moving a muscle.

"Hi doesn't like to talk much about his past life, Kira." I replied.

"It's important that my past life stays secret, even to you guys...."

"Sorry..."

“No problem, missy. Oran was as curious as you when we first met.”

“Haha, yeah. I kept asking and asking, until he just threw a fit.” I said whilst laughing.

Hi calmed down a bit, chuckling with us. We dared not to talk about Axel with him, fearing he would go all Tigrex on him. Although, now that I think of it that was a pretty good idea...

Chapter 5: The Great Forest Surprise

Since that day, we have improved greatly, both in materials (weapons, armors) and in intellect. But, as we all know, so did Axel. He now uses a new armor set. I don't really know what materials are used, and I do NOT want to ask him. Hi and Pal where out on a quest, yet again. I decided to stay to rest (I didn't feel exhausted, anyways...) when suddenly a black hawk came flying across the "front-yard" of HQ. It had a message strapped to its leg. I took it and read it:

"Sincere greetings from the Guild. We ask for another request from your team. A Hypnocatrice has appeared in the Great Forest. I know you're level of quests far exceeds the limitations of this quest, but believe me, this is one heck of a Hypnock".

Sincerely, the Guildmaster

Yet another quest to fulfill. As I readied myself for the hunt, Kira entered the house. "What's up?"

"I’m just going out on a quest. Some Hypnock that appeared in the Forest. I'm sure I can take it down on my own".

"Well, I’d love to join you, but I have a request too. Not a hunt, but a family reunion. My dad wants to see me after the long time I’ve been hunting with you guys. Are you sure you can pull this quest off on your own?"

"Of course! Hypnocks are easy pickings!"

We parted ways, and I said good-bye to Kira as she made her way to Pokke Village. Taking my trusty Devil Scythe, I mounted the balloon solo, the first time in..... Almost forever.

I arrived at the Forest, grabbed my blade and looked for the Hypnocatrice. The Great Forest is huge, so I spent what seemed like hours searching. I kept walking and walking, through vines and trees, swatting away Neopterons. I saw many creatures in a state of panic, especially Kelbis. Even Bullfangoes were wary.

"Hmm, Hypnocatrice aren’t likely to cause so much ruckus..." I thought.

After walking some more, I made it to the nest; I looked up and saw a glimmer of light coming from the canopy.

“Hm… worth a shot.” I threw a rope towards a branch, and started climbing all the way up to the forest canopy. Once up there, I held on to a branch and gazed at the immense forest below and around me. It was a beautiful sight. I was about to climb down when I managed to spot a large castle far away into the distance.

“Hmm... Looks like a nice place to visit. Now’s not the time though…”

I climbed all the way down to the forest floor, and spotted a single egg in the center of the nest.

"Ahh, an egg. Naturally, Wyverns are aggressive when protecting their young."

And I was right; a giant Hypnock stumbled down from the trees on top of me. Its claws almost gored me! Thinking fast, I took my blade and attacked the Bird Wyvern. It was in an abnormal state of rage (well, I’d be too, if someone tried to take my kids away from me). Managing to land a few hits on its beak, I eventually broke its ‘fangs’. The Hypnock kicked me hard, sending me flying several meters away. It then spat a blob of sleep-inducing saliva in my direction. I quickly darted away, just inches away from the blast radius.

"Whoa, that was a close one." I thought. "If I had stood there for a few more seconds, I’d be dreaming!"

My blade cut through feathers and hide, spilling blood on the soil. The Hypnock, having had enough, started to stretch its wings, ready to fly. I threw a paintball at it just before it flew off. I followed the trail left by the paste-like paint to a less forested area. There it stood; ready to kick the daylights out of me. It suddenly started to run at me, its feet at the ready. I managed to dodge and landed some extra hits on its tail, wounding it greatly. It swiped me with its tail, screeching a bit due to the damage dealt to it. After some more hits to its back, it fell on the floor, almost dead. As I took my sword to finish the job, it looked me in the eyes, as if pleading for mercy. I can't explain what I felt. I took its place in my mind: about to die, without hope. And there I remembered what my Mother told me, way back when. I couldn't kill that Hypnock, I just couldn't. I learned one more thing in life: how to show mercy. I sheathed my blade, and tried my best to heal the dying Hypnock. After I did what I could, it flew off, as if it knew it was lucky to survive. I went back to the nest; it was deserted... except for that egg.

"What to do, what to do..." I thought.

Suddenly, the egg started to move. It kept moving wildly, until a beak popped up from inside. A Hypnock had hatched! I was astonished.

“Oh, nelly. That is one for the journal." I thought. “Hmm, the guild won't want a live Hypnock...... what if... I took it to HQ?"

So, I carried the egg back to base camp, with the baby bird still inside trying to get out. I popped a flare into the air and waited till the Balloon came. Apparently it wasnear the area, as no more than half an hour passed when it landed. As I set foot on the balloon, one of the men working on the balloon saw me and the egg.

“Uh... What you gonna’ do with that? Make scrambled eggs or something?”

“Who knows?” I said. The man went off to his duties as the balloon gained height and headed towards Moga. Yeah, that was weird...

Chapter 6: Wyvern Parenthood

I arrived at HQ, and the baby Hypnock was already out of the egg. It kept chirping and chirping. I knew it was hungry, but what was I supposed to feed it?

"Well, let's see.... birds normally feed on insects, or fruit..."

But as I thought, the Hypnock started walking toward an Aptonoth nearby. It pecked the herbivore, trying to "kill" it.

"Wow, monsters aren't as stupid as I thought. This thing's already up and at 'em!”

It is there that I knew that Hypnocks are omnivores, so I took some meat being preserved inside the house and gave it to the Hypnock. It ate happily while i took off most of my armor, except the torso and vambraces, and got more comfortable.

"Ok, the guys don't know about this, and I’m sure they won't be happy when they discover I have a monster in the house... I'll have to keep it secret, but how?"

Just as I said this the Hypnock started to fly away.

"Wait!! Don't go! Man, he'll be Rathalos fodder for sure."

I went through all of Moga woods, searching for the baby. I looked through the caves, the cliffs (and almost fell once!), and the beach, everywhere! I felt like a mother when she loses her child in a crowded space, except this place is beyond solitary (except for the monsters). There was one place I didn't check, however: The Rath nest. I slowly and cautiously crept unto the nest, and the baby Hypnock was eating some insects right where the Rath eggs where. As I snuck over to the baby and grabbed him, an unusually powerful wind pushed me slightly as a big and rather familiar shadow appeared.

"Oh, great, Ian's here".

I ran with the baby in my arms as the Rathian let out a loud roar and pursued me.

"Shoot! This baby's heavier than it looks!"

I kept running and hiding through all of Moga. The Rathian was persistent, even trying to get us whilst in the crevices near the Jaggi nest. My feet were killing me; if i had kept my greaves i would have protected myself from all the things the landscape "threw" at me. Still, I kept running and running till I made it to HQ, without the Rathian following me. As I hid the baby and myself, the Rath's shadow passed over the ground. It didn't seem to see us, due to HQ being below a cliff. It slowly returned to its nest, while I painfully thought of the Hypnock's fate.

"Hmm, I have to train this thing, otherwise its lunch".

The baby looked at me, as if it understood what I said. Over a few weeks, I trained the baby to stay here. Since I gave it its food, it slowly learned that without me, it would probably starve in this unforgiving island. I called the 'newborn' "Hypno"; fitting name, I know. After a while things started to come together, until one day, when they arrived…

"Oran! We're ba- OH SHIT! WHAT IS THAT!?" cried Pal, astonished.

"It's a Hypnocatrice, stupid". Hi replied.

"Well…What's it doing here!? Aren’t Hypnocks found only in the Great Forest?"

"Well, it was all alone in the forest, so I took him with me." I said.

"But.... how..."

"It’s a long story, I’ll tell you later. I think having a monster as a "pet" would help us learn more about it, so....”

""Wait... Since when did YOU become a scholar? That's it; from now on, I’m not leaving on a quest without you in it".

"What a touching moment" cried an unknown voice.

"Who said that?" Pal asked.

"You mean you don't remember? It's me......Axel."

"AXEL!?" both me and Pal cried.

"Axel...?” Hi murmured.

"Sorry to disturb you noobs, but I couldn't help but wonder what my dear old Oran was doing. Wow, so you raised a Hypnock by yourself? I'm sure the Guildmaster would be pleased with those news................... hehehe. See ya', noobs!" Axel jumped off into the sea, only to land on a small airship and fly off. We had no idea how Axel found us here, or even how he got that airship here without us noticing. Hi suddenly stood up and grabbed his Lance.

“Yo Hi, what are you doing?” Pal asked.

"....I'm going to kill him." Hi whispered to himself, and darted towards the harbor to follow Axel, Lance in hand. Pal and I were puzzled.

“What’s he going to do?...”

"I don’t know, but we have to catch up to Axel. The Guildmaster is going to be furious if he learns that I have a Wyvern at home.”

"Then let's move!"

We urgently asked the Hunting Fleet to escort us over to Loc Lac. We did this in vain, however. We arrived at the quest counter, where the Guildmaster was sitting on the table due to his not-so-tall demeanor. Axel already talked to him, and so he gave us a scary look.

"SOOO, you've been raising a Hypnock, eh!?" He stared at me, one eye closed.

"Uh... yes, sir..." I replied.

"Hmph, first time anyone's done this...”

I was waiting for the punishment of a lifetime, when suddenly the Guildmaster started to laugh.

"HAHAHA, wow, that's "awesome", as you hunters say it. How did you pull it off!?" Axel's smirk turned into astonishment.

"Well, nothing really, I just........"

"Aw forget it; I want to see it with my own two eyes!"

"I…Uh... Ok."

We hurried over to the docks, while Axel stood with his mouth wide open. "Ha, we showed him!" Pal exclaimed. I had to agree with him. We laughed all the way on the trip back to Moga. Arriving at HQ, the Guildmaster examined Hypno, half-expecting it to pounce on him.

"Wow, I’ll have to send my best scholars to study this magnificent specimen. Good job, Oran!" A lot of people came and went to HQ, studying Hypno’s behavior, plucking a few feathers now and then, which he did not like. We were payed with a hefty reward for capturing and taming a Wyvern. After that, every time we saw Axel, we yelled: "Hey Axel! Thanks again!" He didn’t mess with us in a LONG time.

Let’s take a few steps back, shall we? So, after we were rewarded with all those zennies (half of which had to be stored in a bank of sorts due to the large sum), we were greeted with a familiar voice.

“Guys! Hey!”

“Huh?” Both me and Pal turned around to find Kira, who had returned from her family’s reunion.

“Oran! Pal! I missed you guys!” she said, a happy air flowing around her.

“We’re all reunited, then... except for Hi.” Pal said. “Where did he run off to?”

“Right behind you!” A familiar voice answered. Pal jumped out of fright, followed by laughter.

“Dude! You know I hate it when you get me from behind! I can’t recall how many times you’ve scared me to death!”

“Almost 60 times. I keep track of each and every one.” Hi said triumphantly.

“Say, where did you go after Axel left Moga?” I asked Hi. “I swear I heard… you were going to kill him or something.”

“What? Pfft no! I’m not gonna’ kill… anyone!”

“Then what where you doing here?” Pal asked him. “Uh… I was… buying… stuff. You know, potions, whetstones, that kinda’ stuff. Nothing major.” Pal stared at him intently, but I didn’t want to force the truth out of Hi. He’s been my buddy from the beginning, so I trust him. We all headed over to the docks, hoping to catch a ride home. While Hi and Pal walked at fast pace, me and Kira stayed close behind.

“Uh… what was that all about?” she asked me, confused over the whole affair. “Well, long story short, I found a baby Hypnock and brought it with…”

“A baby Hypnock? Awwww that’s so cute!” I continued to explain to Kira what had taken place during the week while we waited at the docks for our ride home.

Chapter 7: A Deserted Encounter

Part 1 *This Chapter was made with help from Hummel*

"Dude, stop shoving!"

"I'm not shoving, you are!!"

"Guys, shhh! It's gonna’ spot us before we spot it!"

"Right. Scootch over, Pal."

We were sent on a quest to look for an unknown Elder Dragon spotted in the deserted areas of the Sandy Plains. We were eager to go, mostly because we would be honored with finding a new species. We got our best weapons, and headed out. I carried my Soulbreaker axe and wore a new armor made of the Fatal Lao-Shan’s materials. Hi brought his Hidden Stinger lance and wore an improved Agnaktor armor. Pal used his powerful Gaelic Flame and Rathalos Soul U armor. And finally, Kira was carrying her Wyvern Blade Maple long sword, along with the improved Rathalos armor. We were on a cliff, searching for the Dragon.

"Hmm... it's taking too long. C'mon, let's head out there!" Pal said, eager to move out.

"No, our best strategy is to lie and wait. No one has ever seen this thing's behavior, so we could be running into certain death."

"Since when did you become lead.... never mind. Oh wait! I see something! See it, over those dunes?"

"Dude, there are thousands of dunes in this desert.” Hi replied. “Please specify which exactly..... sheesh."

"Ok, you see that big rock?"

"Yeah...... oh! There it is! I mean, it must be it..... Uh..."

"Hmm, ok guys, don't freak out if that thing comes running at you".

"Oh great, here comes Miss Know it all, or whatever."

"Uh.... guys?”

"Oh please, as if YOU know it all...." "I do, just not all at once".

".......guys?”

"Don't make me take out my sword..." "Ha! You can't touch this!"

"Guys!!!"

"Huh?" "What?"

"It's here...."

"What's he.... OH MY GODS!!!"

This thing comes out of nowhere and attacks us as quick as a Nargacuga. It was the Elder Dragon we were told of!

"Woah!! Battle stations!" I cried. "Watch its behavior and attacks first, then stri... OOMPH!"

I was blown away by the thing's tail. My chest felt like a Diablos just rammed it. As Hi, Pal and Kira continued attacking, and while I got up, the Dragon attacked swiftly and ruthlessly. It seemed extra careful while attacking. Looks like it already knows about human hunters. As the battle raged, me and my allies were getting owned, and the Dragon, not showing any weakness, kept on the assault. Hi was especially troubled; while he did have a shield, the Lance’s weight didn’t allow him to turn quickly, so the Dragon swooped to his back and rammed him a bunch of times. Kira and Pal managed to land a few hits, but most bounced off, hinting at the Dragon’s sturdy hide. My Soulbreaker managed to hit without bouncing, but didn’t do much work. We were forced to draw back, and went to a nearby cave to hide ourselves.

"It's too fast! When I try to hit it with my Lance, it jumps behind me and attacks!" cried Hi.

"Everytime I’m about to do my Spirit Roundslash, it dodges it!"

"ROAAARRR"

"Ackk! That thing's scary as hell!" cried Kira.

"..... Yeah.... for once I agree with Kira" Hi said. The Dragon rammed the entrance to the cave, hoping to fell some rocks and crush us. But suddenly, it stopped moving. "Wait a second.... look at it."

"Oh, don't go all Mr. Scholar on me, Oran. Were in a bit of a pickle as it is" Hi said. "No, I’m serious! Look at it!" The Dragon stopped trying to attack us, and just stood there, showing its right flank, and staring at us. It looked...... courteous.

"It looks like he's... letting us off the hook?" Pal was confused.

"No, if I’ve learned anything from monsters, it's that they never let you off the hook" Hi replied.

"It must have a reason.... wait... Pal, what are you sitting on?"

"This? Uh... I dunno’.... a rock?"

"That's no rock.... it's an egg! We're standing on the Dragon's nest!" I cried.

"Hmm, why didn't I think of it before?" said Hi.

"That's why it's not attacking.... it fears we'll attack its eggs!"

"Pal, put your sword down" Hi said quickly.

"Wait, what? Oh... right...... darn".

"Well, I’d say I speak for all of you when I say that we're not prepared to fight this thing. Who wants to use the Farcaster this time?"

"Ooooh, me!" said Kira. We were always confounded by the Farcaster, asking ourselves how it does what it those. I opened the bag, and......

"Damn! It isn't here!"

"Oran, please tell me you're joking...or don't say anything at all." Hi was extremely dumbfounded.

"Guys, I think we're in a lot of trouble" Pal said, watching the Dragon slowly disappearing into the dunes. "We can't run out there, it'll gore us to death!"

"Wehell, what do we do know, Mr. Scholar?"

"Wait.....maybe, pray..."

"Ok, Kira, whatever you do, stay on your guard. Look out for any threats in that part of the cave. And please watch before you strike. I'd hate to see one of us with his forehead cleaned off...."

"Gotcha!"

Even though we were safe now, we still needed to find a way out of the desert. The back cave had an opening, but it was too high. Just when all hope seemed lost...

"EEEEK! I see something over there!" cried Kira.

"Kira, don't! Damn it!"

We heard some footsteps, and the sound of something blunt hitting what seemed like a hollow object. We heard Kira shriek, but also heard another from someone I didn't know. It wasn't Pal or Hi (please, they're guys, guys don't shriek.....do they?). We rushed to where Kira was standing and found an unconscious guy, wearing Monodevil V Gunner armor and with a cool-looking bow I couldn’t recognize, and a young girl, wearing an armor similar to Kushala's, but with some coloration differences, and a Khezu Switch Axe (didn't know it existed...).

"Hell, Kira! I told you to look out for threats and not to strike down everything you see. Dang it..." shouted Hi.

"I..I.I.. I didn't want to.”

"Hi, that's enough. Calm down Kira, it’s ok. Pal, help me get that guy somewhere else" I said, stretching my arm to help him up.

"Sorry about this, she can be a bit clumsy sometimes. I'm Oran, pleased to meet you. May I know who you guys are?" We set him down on a plain expanse of the cave. He was still a bit unconscious (man, Kira packs quite a punch).

"Uhh, what's going on here? Where am I?” he replied. Pal explained.

"You got knocked down by Oran's "little dear" here. She thought you were some sort of monster entering our hiding place."

"Hiding place? Hiding from what?"

"Almost everything. Everything that could endanger us. We are in a pretty dumb situation."

"Bah explain it to me later, I need to get a clear head again."

"Sorry... I didn't want to hit you, I just overreacted a bit" Kira confessed.

"It's ok, totally ok. Everybody can freak out. Anyways, I'm Hummel", he said while rubbing his forehead. "Hummel Greenpaw, Hunter Rank 10. I'm around here to search for a few stranded hunters. And I see you're already introduced yourself to Lucie, HR 4 but worth an 11."

"Stop it, ok?” the girl blushed.

"Why should I, you are worth an 11 for sure."

“It's him! Hummel, the G-rank hunter!" I thought. Calming myself down (and dismissing the fact that I met with my "hero") I replied calmly.

"Well, you've found them. I'm glad the guild didn't forget about us. These are Hi, Pal, and Kira. As I said before, I'm Oran. We've been after an Elder Dragon but that thing owned us into the dust like Vespoids. We had no chance, but silly as we are, nobody had a Farcaster handy. So we ended up in these caves in order to hide from anything big that could be dangerous. Nobody knows of our position and location. If it wasn't my motto, I would have lost all hope."

"Your motto?" the girl named Lucie asked.

"Yeah, 'Spem Habe'. It means 'Have hope' in some ancient language. My mother told it to me the day my father got killed by a Rathalos. And since then I've always been thinking about those words when I was in misery."

"Your mother knows a lot about life. Those were the right words to teach you."

"I know." Now Hi opened his big mouth.

"Hummel Greenpaw, eh? Pal, isn’t that the guy Isabel was talking about? The Aurex hunter dude?"

Pal looked up confused, but then he seemed to remember: "Yeaaah. That guy." He turned to face Hummel. "Oran here is a huge fan of your hunting prowess. He even went out to meet you in person, but meanwhile something else caught up his business."

"Aw Pal, shut up. I'm no fan of nobody. Sorry, they talk a lot of trash sometimes, but hey, they're my "bestest" buddies. You can count on them" I said.

"It's ok. You can't imagine the bustle around me the morning I became G*4. It's no fun if everybody wants to touch your hand in order to never wash it again, just to tell everyone he touched the greatest hunter ever. Who, I must admit, isn't so great at all."

Kira began to talk in an unimaginable speed.

"Now you're the one talking trash. You killed an Aurex, a White Narga, heck, even a Fatalite infused Teostra! You're wearing an armor made from monsters I don't even know exist and you nail a Vespoid's eye from a mile away. You are plain awesome. I can't believe I'm seeing you right now."

"Whoa, Kira remembers a lot about him from my stories.” I thought.

"Now that sounds like a real fan. But no, I wasn't alone. FlaP's the one doing most of the work. He's the true hunting ace in my party."

"And who's that?" Hi intervened.

"Don't tell me you know me, but haven't even heard of his name! HE is what I call the greatest hunter ever."

"Say's nothing to me. Isabel didn't mention a FlaP at all. Strange name too." "'Hi' isn’t that usual too, or is it?"

"Uh……Whatever. Glad we have someone who can take us out of here."

"By the way, how do you know about the Fatalite incidents? You don't look like E.D.O agents. They wouldn't be stuck somewhere in mid desert." Pal continued the story.

"We made some painful contact with it. First of all, we have a good friend working for the E.D.O. named Isabel, she's in the research facility. She told us about the whole Fatalite thing and about you. You are some sort of hero in their ranks."

"Now that's something new for me. But where's the painful part?"

I raised my voice: "Lao Shan. Lao Shan and Fatalite. No good mixture. Not good at all." "And you killed one of those sorts, then? Must have been a hard job, huh?” asked Lucie. "Bah. We had luck. That thing would have totally owned us if this cloaked guy didn't give me this special shot."

"Cloaked guy? One question, was there a Gunlance on his back?"

"Might be, I don't remember. Why?"

"That guy is the real hero in the ranks of the Observatory. He's the absolute top agent. He was the one saving me from a mad Aurex, and he was the one killing the Teostra. I just repelled it. But hey, I think that's enough storytelling for now, we should think up a plan to get out of here."

And so we gathered around, discussing what we were gonna' do about a certain Dragon.

"That thing is still out there, and we don't have a Farcaster working for 6 people. That means we have to make our way to base camp by foot. And that dragon... what was it called?"

"Rangachitora" Kira said silently. Everybody turned around and looked at Kira, her face making that 'I'm not here' expression.

"What? I didn't hear you." said Lucie.

Kira looked like she was going to die of nervousness. "Rangachi..." she took a deep breath. "Rangachitora. It's called Rangachitora." She made a quick sigh of relief.

"Right. Ranga is still around here somewhere and Elder Dragons are pretty unforgiving. We should avoid being spotted as we have only three people with proper defense and a fight is the last thing we want." Pal looked curious.

"Three? I only see you and Lucie with the awesome stuff. Who has the third G-rank armor?"

"Oran. See the black patches and green sprinkles all over the shell?" Hummel pointed on a few spots on my armor. "That's Fatalite influence. Believe me, that thing is worth being called a G*4 armor."

"Uh, yeah, I was told this was no ordinary Lao Shan armor. The old smithy in Moga called it Auroros Tamashi. I didn't expect it to be so powerful. Where did you learn that from?"

"Intuition. I learned a bit about Fatalite in time."

Hi laughed: "You see, dumbo? That's someone with knowledge!"

Both Hummel and I answered almost simultaneously: "Hi, shut up. You know far less."

Hummel grinned while Hi was clearly pissed off. Hummel continued: "If I recall correctly, we should need to walk about two hours in south-west direction to reach the camp. If nothing disturbs us, of course. The dumb head at the quest counter sent you to fight a G-ranked species by accident, no doubt, so no wonder you are not prepared much. If we can't avoid contact stay back and only attack when it's safe, like when it's toppled over or stunned. We will take care of it, won't we sweetheart?"

After a little while, she answered: "Of course we will, that thing has no chance against a team like us. But hey, I'm hungry. Who thinks eating is best now?"

The others agreed, so for a moment we calmed down a bit and sat back, Lucie joining Kira on the campfire, igniting it again. Hummel went over to the campfire to help with the girls, but Pal looked at him with astonishment.

"What the... cooking is a girl's job, but you're gonna' help them with it? Uh, yeah, I've got the food in my bag, so at least that should be done quick, right?"

"Uh, Sure... Whatever."

Pal took a bunch of different meats and herbs out of his bag. Lucie ignited the flames again, but Hummel kissed her in the cheek.

"Girls, get a bit rest. I'm going to make us the right meal for tomorrow." Kira was a bit indecisive on what to answer. Before she could react, Lucie talked to her: "Come on, you need the rest. You must be tired sitting around in the dark with those three all the time, come on. And don't mind the food; he's a pretty good cook."

Then she grabbed her by the arm and brought her to the other side of the cave. I do believe they went to discuss things about girls......... or was it?

After a while Hummel interrupted them. "Hey people, food is ready. Nothing compared to the work of five Felyne Chefs, sure, but I hope it's enough to make the walk a bit better."

"Come on, let's grab a bite."

Back in the circle, the guys (including me) swallowed their food in a hurry. Kira shouted: "MAN, can't you eat anything other than a Mosswine? That's disgusting." Again, Hummel and I shared the same thought: "But I'm hungry!"

Lucie shook her head: "That's not what I've been expecting from you. I should be saving my kisses until you learn manners."

"Hey, we're huntin', not sittin' in a restaurant or something."

"That's no reason to go all Bullfango on your meal."

Patting his stomach, Pal laughed. "Dude, where did you learn to cook that good? I feel like I’ve had a fresh Felyne meal."

"I've learned it from Felynes. Might not be that great, but it should show some effects."

"You want to tell me how you can cook like one of those Felyne chefs?"

"My mum's one."

"Wha......What?"

"Not my real mum. The mum that raised me."

"Yeah.....whatever, I'm ready. Let's go, I need to get outta here!" Both he and Hi jumped up and grabbed their weapons. "Time to get moving!"

After a few minutes, everybody was ready. Holding our belongings tight, the group marched out into the afternoon sun.

Part 2

"I'm tired of this stupid desert heat..."

"I prefer desert heat over desert cold" I replied.

It was hot and the wind kept constantly blowing sand through the air. After some moaning, though, we quieted down. It was only a two and a half hour walk, nothing big by itself. Only the heat...

"Damn, why do we have to walk right through the sun? Couldn't we wait until it gets a bit cooler?” Hi muttered while wiping away the sweat on his forehead.

"You’d think the same if you were a Tigrex or Diablos. The large predators, as well as the prey, keep resting until the temperature settles to a lower degree. Moving in this heat is exhausting of course, and that's why it is the safest time of day out here. Come on; see that rock formation up there?"

"Uhhh, that's the one where the plateaus start, right?"

"What does that mean?"

"Uh…I don't know?"

Kira, being silent most of the walk as opposed to the rest of the team, finally said something: "Hi, you aren't hunting around here the first time, are you? Those are the newbie grounds near the base camp! That's the place everyone should know. We’re almost there!"

"GET DOWN!" I screamed. Instinctively the group got down on the ground. A huge boulder missed them and crashed into the sand behind them.

"What was that!? Where did that come from?" asked Hummel while scanning the area.

"That's the problem; it came from the newbie grounds” I replied. “Something huge is going on there."

We moved closer and closer to the area from where the rock came flying. A Desert Barioth (I had heard of it, but had never seen one) and another creature circled each other, the fresh carcass of an Aptonoth nearby. The second beast, which I knew right from the start that it was the Dragon from earlier, moved in and smashed its tail against a near rock, flinging it around with impressive force. The Barioth dodged, took a deep breath and spat out a ball of sand, creating a vortex of sand near the Dragon. The Pseudowyvern didn't lose time; it glided up in the wind, only to suddenly crash down again. The Dragon barely flapped its two slim, brown wings, and yet it interrupted the attack. Now it unfolded them once again, rising them higher until they reached their peak. Roaring in anger, the Barioth prepared its next strike. Just as it turned, the wings of the Dragon sailed down violently, and a cloud of sand completely cloaked the Barioth. Without a sign, the Dragon rapidly attacked the confused Pseudowyvern. Just as it struggled free, the wounded Barioth moved away as fast as possible. Hummel quietly asked: "That's it, right? The Rangachitora?” Pal nodded, his face pale as a Khezu.

"Just don't move. Wait for it to finish the meal; it will most likely retreat to its nest then. No more sounds, nobody." Nobody moved, nobody even tried to move. The dragon took its time to eat, slowly chewing the flesh of the bones, then the bones themselves.

"Uh guys... we have a problem." Kira didn't even dare to point at the brown nostrils coming out of the mud pit behind us. A Barroth emerged and moved further towards the rock pillar we were hiding at. Rangachitora and the brute took a look at each other, but they had no interest in each other as the Barroth had no interest in a dead Aptonoth. Shaking mud down from the body, it took a few steps backwards and lowered its head.

"GO, MOVE!"

We barely dodged the pillar crashing down on us as the Barroth charged it down and began feeding on the Altaroth beneath. Distressed by the sound of falling stone, Rangachitora turned around and noticed us, now scattered around the Brute and without any cover. It stopped eating altogether. Barroth roared with might, but the loud bellow was drowned in an even deeper and louder roar, courtesy of the Elder Dragon. It seemed to notice how the Barroth became aggressive, and was now sure how to judge the little, strange shapes in the desert sun: The major threat......Humans.

Hummel and Pal separated from the girls while Hi and me were already far away, having had to sprint in order not to be crushed by the pillar. Hi turned around and managed to stop a tail swipe, not unlike the one used by Nargacuga, with his shield. Even though his Agnaktor+ armor was perfectly designed to reduce blocking recoil, the heavy mace-like spikes at the end of the tail still drove him a meter or two away. Seeing an opening, I unsheathed my trusty Soulbreaker on the Dragon’s back, black energy spreading out from the axe’s tip. The swing was quite worthless; the Elder Dragon flicked the wings again and catapulted itself backwards into the air before landing again. Annoyed, it spread its seemingly small wings. Vanishing in a cloud of sand the dragon prepared to strike. Nobody could tell when and in which direction it would charge. I ran pretty fast, but Ranga jumped out of the sandy curtain in front of me. Hi's lance quickly striked its legs, forcing it to the ground.

"Wanna’ play the hard game, huh? Come and get it!"

Meanwhile, the others got rid of the Barroth with a barrage of dung bombs and a few cuts and arrows.

The Dragon unfolded its wings again, now rising into the air. The giant wingspan created another wall of sand, blocking our sight. In a split-second, I heard a shout. As the sand drew away from us, I saw Hi in a pretty bad situation. Though he had pierced the Dragon's right flank, one of its claws pierced through the shield and unto Hi. Ranga pulled itself away from the lance, and Hi fell down. We used the opening and started striking at the Ranga’s feet and tail, though the swords mostly bounced from the body, and Hummel’s arrows didn't pierce very deep. The dragon turned around, the dorsal fins on its back flailing out. A loud roar stunned the group while the true sandstorm was about to begin. Quickly raising yet another cloud of sand, the Dragon hid itself. I rested Hi in a rocky area, secluded from the Dragon’s sight.

“Don’t worry, I’ll be right back.” I assured a delirious Hi. I took my Axe in hand, and prepared to slash at the beast’s wings, hoping to prevent it from using the sand to its advantage. However, the Dragon had other plans; it targeted Pal and prepared to swing its tail. I thrust my blade in front of me, trying to hit the tail to prevent yet another fatality. I saw black sparks flying from the tip of the blade. Fortunately, my plan worked…sort of. I damaged the tail, cutting some of its spines. The Dragon hissed at me and pushed me away with its claws. Its limbs are very powerful; I was swept with tremendous force. As I got up, it loomed over me, preparing to crush my head with its claws. However, it was stopped in its tracks. I could see electricity coursing through its body. A small arrow was stuck in its body.

“Paralysis coating, works wonders!” Hummel said.

I took the time to attack its wings directly. I slashed with all my might and cut through the delicate webbing, spilling blood unto the sand. The Dragon let out a loud roar, its wings now heavily damaged. It whisked me off with another claw swipe, although this time it was a bit less energetic. Ranga was losing his strength. Hummel picked me up, and motioned me to get Hi safe.

“We’ll take it from here, Ranga’s getting tired, I know it. Get your friend somewhere safer.”

I wasted no time; I threw my weapon into the sand and tried to carry Hi away from the field of battle while the others stood on their guard. Hi was pretty bruised: His chest was bleeding a lot; I figured his ribs might have been broken. He was still conscious, but a bit woozy.

“Oh man, don’t tell me I’m out…” he said faintly.

“I’m afraid so, buddy. Come on, don’t give me that look, you’re in a pretty bad shape. Let’s get you to base camp…”

I looked back, and saw the battle progressing. Kira, Pal and Lucie continued attacking the beast head on, while Hummel fired arrows from different angles. From a distance, I could notice Kira’s eyes; they were focused, glowing bright… and beautiful. The guys were landing more and more hits, but the Dragon, although tired, was getting more enraged. It could still exhibit powerful attacks and movements. I feared for her….for Kira. If anything happened to her, I would be decimated. I quickly carried Hi towards the direction of the camp, relieved from the stress of battle. Not for long, anyway….

“Oran! Look out!!”

I stood frozen in place. A large shadow passed over me. Obviously that was the Dragon. Its wings were practically destroyed, but it could still leap a great distance. Seeing Hi in a bad state and eager to sink teeth into flesh, it sprinted towards us, its head lowered showing its small but stout horn. I was helpless: the Dragon approaching quickly, and me and Hi defenseless. The group tried to get as close to us a possible, but they wouldn’t get here in time. The Dragon was already a few meters from me. One of us had to take the blow, and I did not want Hi to get even more beat up. What I did was purely out of heart. I threw Hi away from the Dragon’s path, in which I stood to take the blow almost instantly. I knew I couldn’t dodge it, and I didn’t have my weapon. In a split-second, I could hear someone screaming my name, but I payed no heed. I took the blow head-on. My chest… it felt like it was going to explode. I assumed the Dragon’s horn penetrated my armor and body. I looked into its eyes. It was staring into me, filled with anger. I was thrown a long way back. And then…well… at the moment I was blank. Lost between my conscious and subconscious mind. I could still see what was going on, but it was blurry. I saw Kira and Pal attacking the Dragon, now even more tired. Kira, which I saw was filled with anger, sunk her sword into the beast’s tail, slicing it off. The Dragon roared in pain. Its back fins were drooping. Out of nowhere, a long arrow pierced the Dragon’s skull. Hummel’s work, of course. With a few more hits, the dragon slowly and steadily fell to the ground. It gave out one last muffled roar, and stood still. I, too, stood still, losing consciousness, probably forever. But I could hear a faint voice…

“Oran! Please! Hang on! Hang on…… Han… on…...”

Then and there, the world just disappeared from view…

“Don’t worry; it’s not your time yet.” A voice told me. I might have been hallucinating. Still, it sounded so powerful. I tried to respond.

“Wh….who... are you?” My vision was clearing up, and I noticed I was in some sort of calm plains. It reminded me of Moga; large mountains, deep seas, and blue skies all around. Having my vision again, I searched for the voice. I heard someone behind me, and turned to face. I stood there, frozen in place once more. I thought I was dreaming. It was Dad. He was standing there, smiling at me. Tears hurried through my face. My knees were trembling. I was awestricken. So much time without seeing my father… I cried so much. I was about to embrace him when suddenly the earth shook. I looked around me; the mountains were crumbling, the grassy plains dried up, and the sea followed suit. The blue skies disappeared. Everything was disappearing. I yelled at my father, harder than I’ve ever yelled before.

“Please!!! Please, don’t go!! Don’t leave!!” I cried.

“Don’t worry; it’s not your time yet.”

“NO!! Please, no!!...”

“Oran!! Please, wake up!!” cried another voice.

I gasped for air. I was back in the desert, sand all over me. That voice…it was Kira. She was holding me in her arms. A balloon was behind her, and everyone, including Hi, was mounted in it.

“Don’t worry, you’re gonna’ be OK. You hear me? I'm here.”

I stared at her eyes. Those blue, glowing eyes stared back. Tears started to appear. The sand around me became wet with my tears. I embraced Kira firmly. I didn’t want to let go. I embraced her as if it was the last time I would do so. She held me in her arms, emotion filling her face. She then kissed me, a feeling I cannot explain. She carried me towards the balloon, taking off as I set foot on it. I reclined at the balloon’s edge, exhausted and weak, watching as a group of people mounting Aptonoths carried the defeated Dragon’s body. I fell on the floor, tired. And then, I slept.

Months after that incident, I found myself stuck at H.Q. with Kira and Hypno while the others went to find materials to help me cure faster. Medics described me being alive a miracle. My ribcage was completely broken, but the Ranga’s horn luckily didn’t pass through my heart. My wounds were severe, but I was to recover completely in approximately two more months. Right there, the word ‘retirement’ was popping into my head.

“Hm…. I don’t know if I should retire or not….”

“Hey, it’s ok. Those wounds can heal in…”

“The wounds aren’t everything I’m worried about...…”

“If you keep talking about this, I’m gonna’ hit you.”

“Pffft you wouldn’t….. Would you?”

“Squawk!”

“I know, Hypno, you’re hungry right? Here you go, fresh Aptonoth meat.” To this, Hypno started to screech in delight as it ate the meat quickly. He had grown a lot in the past months; I think a fully armored hunter could mount it and head out on a quest. “I can see you’re really fond of that bird.”

“C’mon, I raised since it was a baby!”

“Yeah you did…… listen. Whatever you decide, I’m ok with it. Ok?”

“Yeah…. I gotcha.” To this, she gave me a kiss in the forehead.

“Ok, I’m gonna’ go out for a while. Do you mind?”

“Not at all, sweetheart.”

As Kira left the house, I started to think more and more. I mean, this wounds could heal easily sure, but it’s not the physical state that’s the problem, it’s the mental state. I was literally, mentally scarred. That huge dragon left a dent on me. “Hm, I like hunting and all, but I’m not that into it like Pal and Hi are. Maybe…. Maybe I can join the EDO!... Nah, that’s not my field. Forget about it. ” As I thought more and more, I went outside and looked at Hypno. I remember the time it hatched from its shell, and when I took it here for the first time. I protected it from major threats. If it had come out of that egg before or after I got there, it would have died for sure. Hypnocks are known to leave their nests if their attacked, so the parent wouldn’t be there to protect it.

“Hmm, protection… I want to protect those that I love… I have to. That’s it.” So I decided: I would only hunt monsters if they were to directly attack human society. Only that. Monsters are part of this world, too. You don’t need to kill them if they don’t pose any harm towards society, right? People need to learn that. I remember hearing about a request from a princess of a far away kingdom about hunting two Diablos just to cure her boredom. What a spoiled princess. Spoiled indeed. I would never do that. I think I would let myself be killed before doing that. And so, having my mind made up, I waited ‘till all the guys arrived at H.Q. to announce my decision.

“Well, guys, I have come to the conclusion that…”

“Oh, don’t tell me. You’re gonna’ retire now, am I right?” Pal said.

“What the... No. I’m not retiring, just loosening up the hunt.”

“Hmm… never thought you’d get bored of hunting. I knew it. I knew you were a scholar by the time you brought that big feather duster here.”

“Squawk!”

“Ok, first I am NOT bored of hunting and I am NOT a scholar… full time anyway… I’m just gonna’ be out of some quests for a while. I’ll probably be hunting with other people too…”

“Oh… you were scaring me there. I guess you’d need time to recover from… said incident….Well, whatever you decide, we’ll always be here. H.Q. will never get old” Pal affirmed.

“Thanks guys, I’ll never forget each and every one of you.”

“Heh, I HOPE you don’t.” Hi grunted.

The night was slowly taking over the land. The guys slept in their rooms, but I went outside and traveled….traveled to that one hill… that one hill were my life was changed forever…

“…Dad, I miss you… so much…”

Almost magically, a shadow darker than the night itself came and landed nearby. As it moved toward the moonlight, it made its appearance known. Good old Los was here. I eyed the Wyvern as it slowly noted my presence. It stared at me for a long while. I stared back, showing no fear.

“If you take one step closer, you can say good-bye to this world.” The wyvern stood there, staring at me intently. And just like that, as if it understood what I had said, the Rath began to stretch its wings, and with a powerful movement, it flew away towards the night sky. That’s where I realized that monsters did share things with us. I believe that they somehow possess emotions, lesser than ours, but emotions all the same. They care for their young (most) and they’re packs or flocks. They survive… they survive, just like we do. I prayed my respects and slowly went towards H.Q. I had scarcely entered the house when Kira appeared. She gave me that “where were you” look.

“Hey, I was out and about. You know, personal stuff.” She gave me a kiss and went away towards her room. Needless to say, after the desert incident, I learned much about the world. I learned to respect animals and monsters alike. I hunted less and less after that night. Far less than the guys. But there were still some things that were about to undertake. The hunt would never be the same again.

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