Junior walked tentatively through Moga Woods, on edge. Normally, walking through Moga Woods wasn't a task he enjoyed particularly, but it was often necessary in order to get the Herbs, Blue Mushrooms, and other wild plants that helped the village.
Moga Village needed such help - with a population of just over 10 and being made out of flimsy wooden planks that floated on an often tumultous sea, it was amazing that the village had survived for so long. Some years back, it had indeed been destroyed by a massive Elder Dragon, but the villagers had survived and since rebuilt.
But now, the woods were even more dangerous to traverse, according to the rumors.
The villagers had been hearing deep, guttural roars in Moga Woods - too deep to be a Great Jaggi, which was no problem, or even a Rathalos, which was a sign to evacuate. The war was growing fiercer by the day, and Junior didn't want any new kinds of monsters making themselves at home in the woods. In their woods.
Junior dismissed the rumors, saying that it was indeed just an ordinary monster. Moga villagers often got nervous, and when they got nervous, they tended to exaggerate. He met each claim with a smile and a shake of his head. But as he walked, he thought as he had many times before, It's always a good idea to be cautious, just in case.
He entered the Jaggi nest with the same level of caution as he always did. The Jaggis were very protective of their nest, but also very cowardly. If their boss wasn't around, there wasn't any younglings to protect, they weren't likely to attack. Junior knew that it wasn't breeding season, and he also hadn't heard any reports of a Great Jaggi in the area.
Oddly enough, the nest was deserted. Junior frowned - that was indeed odd. The only sound was the wind whistling through the canyons. Other than that, it was quiet. Too quiet.
Suddenly, a howl split the silent atmosphere. Junior whipped around and gasped - a Great Jaggi was loping toward him, long strings of drool hanging from its maw. Instantly, at least twenty smaller Jaggi appeared, answering their leader's calls with yelps and barks of their own.
What is going on here?! Junior thought as he fled the Bird Wyvern pack, which was gaining quickly. There wasn't supposed to be a Great Jaggi in the woods today! Where did this one come from?
But there was no time for questions. Junior ran from the little Jaggis that nipped at his heels and ran across his path, trying to cut him off. The Great Jaggi followed behind its minions, barking angrily. Junior saw a small, narrow path that wound deeper into Moga Woods, and took it without hesitation. He knew that the Jaggis wouldn't dare follow down the path, too small for even the skinniest Jaggi to traverse easily.
He burst out of the path into a large, shaded area, bordered by a spring that fed into the sea. Glancing around for any sign of trouble, Junior's eyes widened as he spotted the huge beast staring him down with undisguised hunger in its eyes.
It was like a massive serpent, a creamy white in color, with two huge frills adorning its proud head. Junior knew it to be called an Agsolestea, but there was one problem - Agsolesteas didn't live anywhere near the Moga region. These things live only in the faraway Central World! Junior thought desperately. What is this thing doing so far from its home?
The Agsolestea hissed softly, frills glowing as it absorbed the dim rays of sunlight that dotted the shaded clearing. Junior turned to run as light began to build in the Wyrm's mouth. He knew little of Agsolesteas, but he did know that if it fired its light beam, he'd be burnt to a crunchy morsel for the serpent to eat at its leisure.
Just then, a noise shook the clearing, astonishingly loud and enough to break off the Agsolestea's attack. The Wyrm looked around for the source of the disturbance, when the noise came again - a loud, deep roar. Junior's eyes widened again, this time in pure horror. The villagers weren't exaggerating after all, he realized. A shape moved in the deepest shadows of the clearing - it was huge, bigger than a Lagiacrus.
The Agsolestea screamed and dove into the spring, rapidly swimming for safety. The beast would not follow it there, and unless Junior found such wisdom, he would become its new target.
And I thought the Moga Woods were bad a few days ago, he thought, as the shadowy monster moved closer...
Far, far away from Junior and the Moga Woods, the light of the full moon revealed a village - a village in which people screamed in terror and ran from the flickering fires that consumed their houses. It was just like that fateful night eighteen years ago, except this time it was not one foe, but many foes that were attacking.
A trio of sleek blue creatures ran through the streets, the moonlight causing their radiant scales to shine. They were Velociprey, creatures thought to have gone extinct in the early years of the human-monster war. And they weren't alone - Genprey, Ioprey, Wroggi, Baggi, and Jaggi all swarmed the village, seeming to come out from the depths of extinction and back into the world.
The Bird Wyverns were everywhere, and the villagers desperately began to evacuate. There was no saving the village this time - the monsters were too many, and the village would have to be abandoned if the people were to live.
The swarms knew this, and ran after the fleeing humans. But they didn't get far - the sound of a Hunting Horn pierced the night, and two hunters ran to meet the Bird Wyvern packs. One attacked with her Raven Tessen Dual Swords, and the other struck with his Wyvern Jawblade Greatsword. In the space of a minute, ten Bird Wyverns of varying sizes and colors had fallen dead at their feet. But more were coming every second.Back in the center of the village, a young woman fled undetected by the Bird Wyverns, a small bundle in her arms. She was followed closely from the air by a circling Aruserutasu, the huge beetle-like Neopteron eyeing her constantly and making sure she was safe.
All of a sudden, she was cornered by five Genprey. The wyverns shrieked at her, halting her progress. A far larger one joined its pack, its great crests signifying it as the leader. With a growl, the Gendrome pounced, its sickle claws extended and fangs glistening with poison. The girl screamed and ducked her head, waiting for the pain to start - when there was a screech and a huge shower of blood.
The young woman looked up cautiously to see the five Genprey running in fear, and the Aruserutasu throwing both halves of the Gendrome's body on the ground. It buzzed at her, and she got the message. She ran once more, the massive insect following.
But the woman tripped, falling to the ground and throwing her bundle in front of her. She instantly reached for it, but a clawed foot seized it before she could retrieve it. She looked up into the snarling face of an Iodrome.
The ugly salamander-like Bird Wyvern hissed at her, daring her to make a move. But she didn't have to, not when her guardian in the skies was looking out for her. The Aruserutasu dove like a torpedo, slashing out with its claws. The Iodrome's head went spinning off a short distance, and the rest of the beast fell to the ground, already lifeless.
The Neopteron landed, waiting for the woman to retrieve the bundle from the Iodrome's claws and climb on. She did so after a few seconds, and the Aruserutasu launched itself into the air, fleeing the carnage behind it.
The woman glanced behind her and saw two Flying Wyverns coming to protect the village. It's a lost cause, she realized. Vulcan and Reia need to flee before they endanger themselves, and their children.
As the Aruserutasu tucked in its claws and legs, and flew off into the night, Relcia solemnly turned away from her village and tightened her grip on her only child.
To be Continued...