Taahnn ran for his life, charging through the thick foliage of the Wet Rainforest. His Bone armor was dripping wet from the water and streaked with mud and dead plant matter. He was covered in swamp water and sweat, and his patience was wearing thin. After all, Taahnn had been running for the past ten minutes through the muddy earth trying to reach the safety of what lied beyond the forest.
The incessant buzzing in the distance behind him didn't help. The constant noise, which felt like it was getting closer every second, goaded Taahnn to run even faster. It sounded like a hundred angry Bnahabra, and even though Taahnn didn't know what was making the terrible sound, he knew that it was far from pleasant.
Finally, the foliage began to thin and he burst out of the trees, nearly stumbling on the new, grassy terrain. Just half a kilometer away, straight ahead, lay Mediatas Village. The sight of his home and his waiting friends made Taahnn double his effort to put distance between him and his pursuers.
Suddenly, he tripped on the slightly uneven ground and fell flat on his face. His right knee, the same one that had been injured in a battle a year ago, burst with pain as it struck the hard earth. Then, almost immediately, whatever it was that was chasing him caught up and surrounded him.Taahnn struggled to get up. He looked up into the face of his adversary - well, faces. Before him were at least ten Vespoid, forming a wall between him and Mediatas Village. Behind him, another ten of the yellow Neopterons had blocked off his escape back into the Wet Rainforest. Why don't they just finish me? Taahnn wondered through his pain and fatigue. What are they waiting for? Then he saw, and he muttered, "Oh, stinking Conga fur."
The gigantic insect that had arrived was none other than the Vespoid Queen herself. The droning hum emanating from her wings sounded like it was coming from everywhere it once. She advanced agonizingly slowly on Taahnn, extending a tail stinger longer than his arm and chittering to her Vespoid attendants. When the Queen had finished giving her orders, the twenty or so Vespoid sped off and were nowhere to be seen within seconds.
Of course, Taahnn didn't waste time asking himself why the Vespoid Queen would chase away her subjects before making the kill. He reached a hand behind him, groping for the handle of his Hunting Horn, the Volcanic Rock, upgraded from his old Basarios Rock. Taahnn found it and swung the Fire-element weapon with all of his might, ready to bash Her Royal Peskiness in the head.
The weapon struck home with the force of a Gravios's tackle (appropriate, considering the weapon's origins). However, it simply bounced off. Taahnn looked at the Hunting Horn in shock - it wasn't supposed to do that. Then he looked up, and saw that the insectoid monstrosity in front of him had, in the blink of an eye, become a hard-headed Uragaan.Shock turned to exasperation, which quickly became rage. "TAKA!" Taahnn roared louder than a Barroth. "WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT?! KEEP YOUR SHAPESHIFTING TO YOURSELF NEXT TIME!" The big-chinned Brute Wyvern's tiny eyes twinkled - then it was gone, replaced with a grinning seventeen-year old wearing Qurupeco armor and a prosthetic left arm. He wore a Jhen Mohran Longsword, the Guan Dao, on his back, often referred to him as "Guan".
"That's it, Taahnn," Taka teased him. "Don't keep your anger bottled up like that, just let it all out." He swore that he saw steam erupt from Taahnn's ears. "THIS ISN'T FUNNY!" his friend yelled, then seemed to make an effort to calm down. In a quieter voice that had an undercurrent of barely contained fury, "Don't you have something better to do? Like, say, I don't know... Oh! How about picking a more good-looking set of armor for your big night tonight?"
Taka's cheery expression darkened faster than the Frozen Wastes at twilight. "Things between me and Relcia are strictly private. As in, not to be mentioned around others." he growled. Indeed, his friend Relcia had just this morning asked him out while he was having breakfast with his other friends, Illeera and Mylie. Thanks to Mylie, this had rapidly become public news. Taka had been swamped with advice for his first date all day, and he wasn't in the best of moods.
With a snort of annoyance, Taahnn stalked off, throwing over his shoulder, "Oh, and you might want to look behind you." Taka's nose wrinkled in confusion, and he turned around. Then he jumped back as if scalded; he was staring into the wide-open jaws of a Nargacuga. Despite his best efforts to remain silent, a startled shriek escaped his lips, and the Nargacuga began to laugh.
Oh, that was priceless! Syrie giggled hysterically. You should have seen the look on your pale, scale-less little face! Taka quickly recovered when he realized that it was only Relcia's monster companion. As he was about to say something smart to her, the snappy retort died mutely in his throat as he saw Relcia herself slide down from Syrie's back.
It wasn't as if he was uncomfortable in her presence, as he had been a little over a year ago just before they began their relationship. Taka was simply stunned speechless by the armor she was wearing. Instead of her usual Rathian armor, Relcia was wearing Gold Rathian armor, which had been polished until you could see your face in it. The helm was tucked under her right arm, allowing her long, shining hair to fall down to her waist. On top of all that, she had a dazzling smile on her pretty face that made Taka's heart absolutely flutter.
"Hello, Taka," Relcia greeted him warmly. "Ready to head out in a few hours?" After a few nervous swallows, Taka forced himself to speak. "Y-yes, of c-course," he stampered. "I-I've got a special a-armor set picked out, and -" He was cut short when Relcia stepped forward and wrapped her free arm around him.
"Come on, there's no need to be nervous," she soothed. "It's just me. I don't bite, you know." She giggled, and Syrie joined in behind her. "Sorry," Taka apologized, regaining some of his composure. "I just... find you stunningly beautiful. More so than usual, I mean," he added hastily. Relcia simply grinned and gave him a quick kiss on the cheek. "I'll meet you at the village gates at sunset, OK?" Without waiting for an answer, she left with Syrie. The Nargacuga winked over her shoulder and said kindly, Good luck, Taka.
Far from the Central World, in a small village tightly wedged into a tiny canyon, a seer gave his news. "I have found out something of great importance," he said cryptically. "The scouts who have come back from the Central World only thirty minutes ago report that the war there has ended, a year ago, apparently. Humans and monsters are living in peace."
There were mutterings of approval from the gathered crowd. The Chieftain stepped forward and cut directly to the chase. "This is very good news," she said to the seer. "But how is this relavent to the predictions that we have called you to make?" The seer nodded his head politely and replied, "I have seen that people from the Central World will soon find out about us, and attempt to make peaceful contact." The mutterings increased in volume. This WAS good news of great importance.
"However," the seer continued in a darker tone, "I don't know if this event is related to the coming travelers... But soon after that, the Misfortune Raven - Renalimas - will appear and doom us all." Now, the assembled villagers began shouting loudly in a panic.
The Chieftain silenced them with a wave of her hand. "You dare speak the creature's name?" she asked, voice shaking with anger. "Nothing could be more unlucky! For bringing this terrible news, and speaking of this vile Elder Dragon, I banish you from this village."
The seer nodded and turned to leave. "You can do so," he said mysteriously, "but you cannot turn the tides of fate. Renalimas will come, and there is nothing you or I can do to stop it."
To be Continued...