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Monster Hunter Legends: Rathalos Red

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Monster Hunter Legends
MHLTitle Card General
Description and Information
Fan Fiction Name: Monster Hunter Legends
Author/s: User:TigrexJeff
User:Plexioth- xD
First Debut: 12th of April 2010
Number of Chapters: 63
Current Status: Ongoing
Chapters

Prologue
The Tigrex Samurai
Knights of the Tundra
The Tigrex's Rage
Requiem of Fire
The Grand Trio
Rathalos Red
Fates Legend
The Guardian
Hunters of Valor

Secrets Shaded Black


Monster Hunter Legends: Rathalos Red

Author:Plexioth- xD

Date Started: 9 July 2010
Date Finished: 19 January 2012

Rathalos Red - Chapter 1

The year 171, modern times, after the separation of Monsters and Humans

Alex stared out onto the Sandy plains that were so close to his home village of Diablos Spires. Known for its twisted, cone shaped houses shaped like a Blos' horn. His full set of Rathalos+ armor gleamed in the early morning sun. Ever since his father had shown him an artist's impression of a Rathalos he had wanted to hunt one. His first Rathalos kill was at age 14 and he had hunted another 16 from then. He was now 21 years old and almost in his hunting prime.

He had originally gone down to the Deserted Isle to hunt a Rathalos so he could finally upgrade his WyvernBlade "Flame" into WyvernBlade "Flare". He had tracked the fleeing Rathalos after it had been injured by a local Lagiacrus to the Sandy Plains. As Alex began to jog after the Rathalos that was almost disappearing into the horizon he spotted a stranger dressed in an armor he had never seen before. His armor looked like wood but shone with a brilliant green. Many people from the lands to the west of the Moga region came here to holiday or hunt monsters that were only found in these lands. This man looked like a hunter. He had strong muscles and a longsword attached to his armor. He seemed to shielding his body from the sun by standing under one of the Plains many rocks. "Hello there" Alex greeted the foreign man. "I was just wondering what type of armor you have there? I've never seen anything like it before. How can wood protect you from the fierce talons of monsters?"Alex called standing behind the rock with the man.
"Well" the stranger began but the rest became a distant whisper to Alex as his finely tuned Hunter's senses detected something was wrong. He heard a slight rustling of sand behind him and instinctively pulled out his longsword. He turned around and swung his sword in an arc cutting a stunned Jaggi in two. He looked around, eyes peeled for danger. He was just in time to see a much larger chunk of orange and purple jump from the top of the rocks and pin the unsuspecting stranger to the ground. The easily recognised alpha leader of a Jaggi pack - the Great Jaggi had pinned the stranger's arms with its bulky legs not allowing him to reach for his longsword. The stranger was trying desperately to get free but to no avail. Alex took one glance towards the stranger then broke into a full sprint toward him. After about ten steps he was surrounded by a pack of Jaggi, blocking him off from the man.

Alex readied his mind and sword alike, preparing for battle. The Jaggi were taunting at him, their frills bared waiting for an opportunity to attack him. Alex even noticed a few Jaggia hanging around the back eager to give their young a share of the spoils. Alex took one last look at the stranger. He had managed to free his hands but was now using them to hold the Great Jaggi's face as it was trying to bite him. The Jaggi directly in front of him went in for the attack. It jumped up trying to give Alex a nasty bite. Alex swung his free arm fast and punched the Jaggi in the face, knocking it out cold. The other arm which held the longsword went slicing through the next attacking Jaggi ripping it open from head to tail. Alex continued to fight brutally with the Jaggi. There was now only one left and it was a bit disorientated being the only one there. It looked to the Jaggia for help, fear in its eyes. This gave Alex the perfect opportunity to attack. He brought his WyvernBlade "Flame" above his head and sliced down with power putting an end to the pack of Jaggi.
"Easy" he said to himself. Jaggi are the first carnivore most new hunters face in the Moga region. According to the Guilds handbook on monsters Jaggi taunted almost as much as they attacked making them an easy target. Although weak they find strength in numbers and new hunters often are overwhelmed by this.

Alex strode toward the Great Jaggi, his longsword glowing with a fierce red with his spirit energy. The Great Jaggi was still tangling with the stranger; annoyed it hadn't been able to kill him. Alex swung his sword with an arc from two directions giving the Great Jaggi minor injuries. He swung it side to side, then over his head and back down on the Great Jaggi making it whimper. Alex then spun around backwards. He did a 360 his sword trailing at waist height behind him. As he faced the Great Jaggi again he finished his vicious spin-cycle. The Great Jaggi fell away, eyes glazed over. At the same time a look of pure surprise was all over the stranger's face.
"How did you do that?" The stranger asked.
"Do what?" Replied Alex.
"That spin-attack. I thought you could only back slice after a spirit combo" said the stranger.
"Well, you obviously don't come from the Moga region do you" said Alex, a smile crossing his face.
"No, I don't" replied the man. "I come from the Minegarde region, to the west".
"The longswords from Minegarde are heavier and slower but have more attack power. In Moga they are made lighter, allowing for quick and more fluent attacks and that spin-cycle I just did. Back slices are also a bit different" explained Alex.
"Okay, that would explain it" replied the man.
"So? Alex asked "which way are ye heading?"
"Down south" said the man "Seeing the sights of Moga. Started up north at the Tundra. Now only got the Flooded Forest and the Volcano to go"
. "I'm going that way as well" said Alex "hunting a Rathalos. "Let's join forces for the journey. I'm sure you don't want another encounter with a Great Jaggi without weapon in hand".
"It is settled then" the man announced, "We will go together. Your knowledge and company will be a great asset in my trip".
"Oh, so I'm an asset now" joked Alex.
"Yes, sorry" said the man laughing. "I didn't catch your name"
"It's Alex" said Alex and put out his hand "and yours?"
The man took his hand and said, "I am simply known as the Guardian."

Rathalos Red - Chapter 2

After killing the Great Jaggi Alex and the Guardian made camp and rested there till night, exhausted. Both men slept in their armor and had unequipped their longswords which they kept close in case of monster attack. They had built a fire to keep them warm during the freezing nights in the Sandy Plains. Alex couldn't sleep. A combination of the cold and the Guardian's snores kept him up.
"I wonder who this man really is" Alex thought. "Is he famous?" Alex was tired and he couldn't think straight and he figured he could just ask the Guardian in the morning.

Alex woke with a start, hand instantly clenching the hilt of his WyvernBlade "Flame". He saw no immediate danger and with a quick glance of the area laughed his nervousness off. He wiped the sleep from his eyes and noticed the Guardian applying a liquid coating from a small bottle to his longsword.
"What are you doing my friend?" Alex inquired
"I am applying a paralysis coating to my longsword, the Ancient Dragonwood Longsword, which is derived from the Queen Vespoid's neurotoxin and the Great Thunderbug's jelly" replied the Guardian
"Oh…nice. Monsters from Minegarde, right?" replied Alex "hey and speaking about your equipment, before that tussle with the Great Jaggi I was asking about your armor and how it could protect you?"
"I remember" said the Guardian and broke into the story. "My armor is made of Dragonwood just like my sword. Dragonwood is carved off the back of an Elder Dragon in Minegarde called Yama Tsukami and is in fact stronger than most armor your Rathalos+ armor included".
"No way!" exclaimed Alex
"Yes, it's true" said the Guardian.
"Don't suppose you have an extra set then?" Alex joked.
"Anyway, shall we move on" asked the Guardian "We don't want that Rathalos getting to far do we?"
"No sir!" Alex shouted happy to be moving on. The pair both ate some rations then proceeded south toward the Flooded Forest.

After two hours of jogging the pair took a break, sweat dripping from their bodies. They were famished after jogging through the relentless sun for two hours and both sat down under a palm tree and ate some more rations. The Guardian got up and without Alex noticing casually walked down to what appeared to be a body of water wanting to refill his almost empty canteen. About halfway between the water and the palm tree the Guardian called back "Hey Alex, I found some water over here. Come fill up your canteen."
"Better not be a bloody mirage" mumbled Alex getting up slowly. The Guardian, noticing that Alex was coming turned around and continued toward the water. As he got closer the Guardian noticed the water was a dark shade of brown.
"Damn" he said "must be all this cursed sand infecting it." He was about to turn around when he noticed a jet of steam erupt from beneath the surface. "That's odd" the Guardian said quietly. He jogged towards the water out of interest and as he got closer realised it was mud.

Alex got his canteen from his pack then left it under the tree and started to walk towards the water. He noticed the Guardian jog towards the water.
"Must be thirsty" thought Alex. Alex continued to walk at a leisurely pace. Getting closer he saw the water turn a deep brown and then saw a second jet of steam erupt from beneath the surface.
"Oh shit!" Alex shouted. Alex broke into a sprint dropping his water canteen on the way, spilling the meagre drops of precious water that he had left that were sucked up by the sand immediately. Alex ran as fast as he could but was low on stamina after the jog.

The Guardian looked behind himself to check were Alex was. The Guardian thought it was strange that he was running but shrugged it off. He turned back around. He was just inches away from the pool of mud. The Guardian looked for another jet stream to appear and was about to give up when he spotted one go up straight in front of him. He took a step back and covered his face with his arm. When the steam had dissipated the Guardian took his hand away and saw the steam was coming from a rock in the mud.
"That's odder," he said as he bent down to get a closer look. Then he felt powerful arms wrap around his body and someone tackle him to the side as a huge body thick with mud erupted from beneath the surface, it's solid rotunda shaped head slam in to the ground where he had been not a second before.
"Thanks" the Guardian said turning around to his saviour "thanks, Alex"
. "That's okay" Alex replied as the dark shape lowered its head towards them "but let's get going!" he said and picked the Guardian up by the armpits. Alex broke out into a sprint continuing their southern bearing. The mud lathered monster began to pick up speed straight toward the stationary Guardian. The Guardian looked at Alex sprinting off then back to the charging monster.
"Ah, what the hell" the Guardian said and he began to chase after Alex.

Rathalos Red - Chapter 3

The Guardian rushed after Alex the muddy monster right on his tail. Alex stopped, hands on knees puffing in huge gasps. He turned around to assess the situation as the Guardian pulled up just in front of him, out of stamina as well. They were in a bit of a situation here!
"What is that thing?" the Guardian barely puffed out.
"A Barroth" replied Alex "a local brute wyvern that makes muddy pools its home."
"So, it was the one doing the steam then?" Asked the Guardian.
"Yes" Alex said "That's how it breaths under the mud."
"Okay" nodded the Guardian "But we can't avoid that thing forever, how do we get away?"
"Well" Alex said as they both began to run and evade the Barroth "Hey! I got it! We'll go to my home, it's not too far from here and the Barroth won't like being around too many people. I was planning to restock there anyway but I think we'll be getting there a little earlier than I expected".
"It is settled" said the Guardian "I didn't even have a plan myself!"
"Okay, let's go" said Alex as he went on the jog. Alex and the Guardian went on dodging the Barroth and when low found an opening to eat a ration or two. They both got hit a few times but nothing major. The Guardian took most of his hits early but as time went on got used to the Barroth's attack patterns. This continued for a few hours until, after what seemed like an age to the two men the tips of what looked horns growing out of the sand appeared just on the horizon, not even 500 meters away.

Alex and the Guardian looked out from the village. The Barroth was quite far away now. It was walking away from the village turning back now and then to give an odd roar or taunt to the pair of hunters that had eluded it. They were surrounded by seven hunters from the village. As soon as the watchmen had seen the charging Barroth then the two hunters he had raced back into the village and gathered some help. The nine on one odds did not suit the Barroth because as soon as the seven hunters had come bursting out of the village it instantly pulled up and began its slow walk away.
"Hey, Alex?" one of the hunters said. He was wearing a brand new set of chainmail armor and had the shield and sword Commander's dagger equipped.
"Yes? What do you want Sanchez?" replied Alex
"I thought you were hunting a Rathalos, not a Barroth" said Sanchez.
"It flew away to the volcano" said Alex wearily. A wide grin appeared on Sanchez's face.
"You're losing your touch, my friend" he chuckled.
"Well" said Alex "I'm doing better than hunting a handful of Great Jaggi like you, Sanchez. I could kill them in my sleep". Sanchez's smirk changed to a look of anger but before he could reply he was cut off by another of the seven hunters. This hunter was older, more experienced and wore much better equipment than Sanchez and even better than Alex's Rathalos+. He was dressed in the Diablo Z armor from Minegarde.
"This is not the time for your jokes Sanchez" He said.
"Uncle?" Alex said "What is it?" Alex's uncle took his pitch black helmet off revealing the weathered face of a 43 year old man.
"It's your father Alex. He's grievously ill" he said in a dejected tone. Alex became frantic.
"What! What's wrong with him? I must see him right away. How could this happen and in such little time." Alex started to run quickly towards his father's house or stone horn.
"Can't even leave the old bugger for three days" Alex shouted, almost in tears. The Guardian gave Alex some space and began to talk with some of the hunters and asked for some refreshments

He came to the horn and entered through the hole in the rock where a thick sheet was draped over the opening to keep out the elements. Alex burst through the sheet and immediately saw his father spread out on the bed, sleeping and barely alive.
"Dad!" Alex cried and knelt down next to his bed. Alex's father Simon, the village chief and elder woke from the restless sleep he was in and slowly turned his head to the side.
"My son" Simon croaked "did you kill the Rathalos?"
"No Dad. I stopped by here to resupply. It fled to the volcano" Alex said in a soft and soothing voice "but it doesn't matter. How did you end up like this?"
"I don't know" Simon said, barely audible "It just happened but I don't have long left"
"No Dad, don't say that" Alex said, gripping his father's hand and crying freely "don't say that".
"Son" Simon gasped, also in tears "There's something I want you to have. You see that blue chest over there? Bring it to me". Alex got up, removing the grip on his father's hand. He walked over to the chest and picked it up. It was quite heavy and Alex could make out the sound of metal chinking together inside. He placed the chest on the floor with a dull thud next to his father's bed.
"The contents of that chest are all yours" Simon said weakly, now almost gasping for breath. "I want you to use them well and for me to hunt down that Rathalos and..." He was cut off by the sounds of the townspeople shouting and a child screaming. Alex rushed outside to see what the commotion was all about. He looked around in all directions until he noticed to the west entrance the seven hunters were fending off three large monsters. Alex run forward to get a better look It seemed the Barroth had gone and found a few of his buddies and had come back to destroy the humans that had defied him. Alex was delighted to see Sanchez get hit full in the guts by a charging Barroth. Alex surveyed the battle for a few more seconds noticing the Guardian also was in the fray then realised what was more important. He rushed back to the horn holding his father inside. Alex opened the flap on the door and looked inside. A glittering black shadow was standing over the now, Alex realised, dead body of his father. It seemed to be sniffing him.
"What the..?" Alex muttered drawing his longsword. The monster's keen senses heard the grinding of metal as Alex had unsheathed his longsword. Its head jerked up and spun around. It was staring Alex straight in the face. Alex took a step forward and prepared his mind for combat. The creature was too quick for him. It rushed forward towards the exit knocking Alex off his feet in the process. His longsword clattered to the floor and Alex rolled over winded by the incredible impact. He got up as fast as he could and retrieved his longsword. Alex ran out the door mad with rage, eager to avenge what he thought was his father's killer and the bringer of his sickness. The dark monster was already racing away, its wings spread wide. It took the ground, ascended quickly and flew even faster than Rathalos, the so-called king of the skies. Alex gave up hope and went back into his father's horn. He sat down on the edge of his father's bed and cried in short sobs. He suddenly stopped and noticed the blue chest to the right of his feet. He remembered his father's last words and knelt down. He carefully lifted the lid of the chest. His eyes widened in disbelief. In the chest was a dull but glittering silver set of equipment.

Rathalos Red - Chapter 4

Alex looked up to his dead father who was sprawled on the bed then back to blue chest.
"How did he acquire this?" Alex asked himself. "Silver..? Is that even real?" Alex picked up the headpiece with two hands. The helmet gleamed dull silver and had black veins running through it. Alex took off his Rathalos Helm+ and tried on his father's helmet. It was a perfect fit. Alex took off the rest of his armor and stuffed it into his pack which he dropped next to his father's bed. He proceeded to equip the rest of the silver armor and finally the matching silver longsword. Alex looked down at the back of his hands then turned them over.
"This is some impressive armor" Alex thought "I wonder what its statistics are? I guess I'll never know".

Alex stepped out of the horn, brushing the thick rug on the opening aside. He sprinted to the battle his father's highly polished armor reflecting the hot desert sun. He surveyed the battle, getting closer with every step. They were getting hammered. Of the eight original combatants only four remained standing. The Guardian, Alex's uncle, another man who Alex recognised by the equipment he was wearing was Josh and to Alex's great disbelief Sanchez was still fighting. Alex also saw there was only two of the original three Barroth's remaining.
"Good" Alex thought "that's at least one less to deal with". Alex jumped into the fray, his mind entering a hunting mode. He quickly rolled to one side as one of the Barroth's tried to charge him. Alex ended up next to Sanchez. "Good of you to join us" said Sanchez smirking.
"Sorry to keep you waiting" Alex said with a fire in his eyes. A Barroth swung towards him and Alex swung his sword a little too hastily. He realised he was about to bounce off the Barroth's thick scalp too late but the sword cut straight though and Alex, bracing for impact was thrown off balance. A sword straight through the brain killed the unsuspecting Barroth who thought its head was well protected.
"Now how did you do that?" Alex said, curiously glancing at his new silver longsword. He quickly regained his composure after falling down and focused him attention on the single Barroth remaining. Alex looked up in time to see the Barroth charging to a position left of him. Alex swung around and built up a sprint. Sanchez had chosen the worst opportunity to carve the Barroth. His back was tuned and he was unaware of the danger coming right at him. Alex had no chance making it to Sanchez in time so he went for the Barroth hoping to meet it halfway. As much as Alex hated Sanchez he couldn't just let him be killed. Alex ran as fast as he could but the monster was too quick. He gave up frustrated. The Barroth charged blocking Alex's view of Sanchez. Then something strange happened. A dark shape zipped past out of the corner of Alex's eye.
"Huh? Alex said trying to follow the now nowhere to be seen shape. The Barroth met no resistance and kept charging. It went straight into the other Barroth and tripped up. The unscathed Sanchez spun his sword around casually, grinning as if it had all been his plan all along. He walked up to the flailing Barroth and killed with a blow to the heart. "How did he not see that?" Alex wondered. The remaining hunters cheered and gave hi-fives all round. Then they began to round up the wounded and unconscious men and proceeded to bring them to the first-aid horn.
"Uncle!" Alex called. Alex's uncle rushed over.
"Yes? What is it me boy?" he asked. Alex just looked at the ground with a solemn face.
"Ah," he said noticing the armor for the first time and the way Alex was acting. He embraced Alex in a hug. "I'm sorry boy." With a tear-streaked face Alex looked up at his Uncle.
"His last request was that I finish the Rathalos hunt," Alex managed to say "And I would be honoured if you came for this as he was as much to you as he is to me."
"Well boy," his uncle said, "we better get packing then."

The next morning Alex, his uncle and the Guardian set out from the village and immediately went south towards the flooded forest which separated them from the volcano. The Guardian and Alex's uncle greeted.
"Sorry," the Guardian said, "but we never had the chance to introduce ourselves. I'm the Guardian.
"The name's Brak" said Brak "And what kind of name is the Guardian?"
"For me to know and for you to never find out" the Guardian replied cheekily. Brak just grunted and kept walking.
"So uncle?" Alex inquired, "What type of armor is this?" Brak looked down at Alex's armor still shining as if it had just been forged.
"It's called Silver Sol Z," Brak said, "Armour crafted from a top rank and extremely rare Silver Rathalos in Minegarde. The longsword is called WyvernBlade "Camellia" and is also crafted from top rank Silver Rathalos materials".
"But uncle you and my father never went to Minegarde."
"Then how did I get this armor boy? Oh yes we went. We found out about rare species of our favourite monster and hunted them down. And boy, have you ever seen Moga's Diablos armor. It only has three pieces and this one... " Brak replied
"Has five," Alex finished off for him. "I thought you just painted it black" Alex said uncertainly
"We did go to Minegarde. Your father, me and...and..."
"And who?" Alex asked. Brak looked at his feet and sighed.
"Wait," said the Guardian, "Silver Sol... Diablo Z... Oh shit!"

Rathalos Red - Chapter 5

Brak looked up at the Guardian in disbelief "You know of this? But how?"
"I was there," replied the Guardian, the trio still walking along towards the flooded Forest.
"No, no one was there. It was in the middle of the Great Desert," said Brak as if to reassure himself.
"You are mistaken my friend" said the Guardian "I was there, hunting a Gendrome in fact. Its valuable toxins give the paralysis on my longsword more power. You and two other young hunters were hunting the terrible Black Diablos."
"I thought... That out there no one had seen us."
"Well I saw it all," said the Guardian turning to Alex to tell him the story, "Three of you were jogging through the desert. All of you were keeping your eyes peeled for a sign of something. Just then a huge Black Diablos burst out of the hot sand not even 100 meters away. It was your father, Alex who first noticed it. He was wearing the Silver Sol armor. Your father shouted out to his companions, one of which was you Brak and the other man with them. They both turned around just in time to see the beast dig back under," The Guardian paused for breath.
"Keep going," Alex prompted.
"Okay, the three men kept looking around each drawing their weapons, ready to fight. They walked slowly to where the Diablos had disappeared to. Then, suddenly it emerged from the sand unheard behind them. I tried shouting out to them, but I was too far away. The Diablos lowered its head and charged. Your father and Brak were lucky and heard it coming. They dived out of the way at the last second. The third man was clad in an armor that was deep blue, one that I had never seen before."
"Lagiacrus armour," Brak supplied, "It was always his favourite"
"Anyway," the Guardian said, "The third man. He was not so lucky. He turned around just in time to see an enormous black horn sticking though his gut. Your father and Brak saw an opening. Using their combined strength they severed the Diablos' head from its body and killed the beast while its horn was stuck inside the third mans body. The man died in his friends arms a few minutes later.
"Uncle," Alex said, "Who was the man that died out there?"
"I hoped I would never have to tell you this Alex." Brak said sadly, "But that man in the Lagiacrus armor. That was your father Alex. Your real father." Alex looked at his uncle.
"What do you mean...? No... No way. My father is Simon!" he shouted in Brak's face. Alex continued to walk, turning away, a look of pure disbelief on his face. He turned back to Brak.
"Why did you not tell me of this?"Alex asked.
"You weren't even born yet Alex," Brak said, "Your mother was six months pregnant. After you were born she entrusted you to Simon and I. Simon being the eldest of all three of us and closest to your mother took the responsibility. The story is true that your mother left shortly after you were born. Went to Minegarde, Simon used to say."
"One truth in a web of lies," Alex snickered, "Is that supposed to make me feel better? And how come you said the oldest of the three of you as if you were... brothers?"
"Alex, Brak said, "Simon and I only made that web of lies to protect you, and so you wouldn't have any added burdens in life. And yes the three of us are... were brothers."
"What was his name?" Alex asked quietly.
"His name was Altes and he was the master of the underwater hunt."
The Guardian cut in"Speaking of underwater hunts," he said looking straight ahead. In the distance, visible as a tangled green mass was the Flooded Forest.

The wet ground started to squelch under the men's feet as soon as they entered. It was eerie silent. The only sounds that could be heard were trees dripping with rain and shapes moving through the murky water. Bnahabra glided effortlessly though the trees and the local Ludroth didn't give the men many problems. A few sliced Ludroth wouldn't be greatly missed. The thought of Alex's father was on the backburner as the trio focused all their energy on their surroundings, waiting for danger to bundle out of the trees at any minute.
Brak waded through the knee high water his hammer, the Chaotic Order prime for battle. A giant but completely smooth purple shape surrounded densely by trees unseen by the men towered on one side of the path.
"Hey, guys," Brak said, "I'm gonna try and get a better look at the surroundings," whilst starting to climb a large rock in the middle of their path, putting away his hammer. A yellow eye peeked out of the purple shape. Alex turned to a noise on his left side bringing his WyvernBlade "Camellia" around with him. The monster turned towards Brak who was unaware of the danger.
"Brak! Watch out!" Alex shouted but too late. Brak fell limply off the rock, impaled by at least 20 spikes.

Rathalos Red - Chapter 6

"Brak! Watch out!" Alex shouted. The Guardian turned around to see what the commotion was and gasped when he saw a monster knock Brak off the rock. Brak went crashing into the dense jungle until a thick tree stopped him. Back at the fight the Guardian drew his Ancient Dragonwood Longsword.
"A Gobul," the Guardian muttered to himself, "I've heard of these, their paralysis toxins are supposed to be the best around." He rushed forward bringing his longsword over his head. The Gobul had its back to him and the Guardian hoped to attack the monster from behind while it was unaware of his presence. Too bad it was. The Gobul swished its tail and it caught the Guardian in the leg. The Guardian almost laughed at the weak power of the attack, bringing his longsword down in a vicious arc. The Guardian's eyes widened as his sword stopped millimetres from the Gobul's hide. The Guardian fell onto his knees, his body writhing in spasms. His longsword cluttered to the ground, dropped by a limp hand. The Guardian blacked out.

Alex held the Gobul's attention hoping the Guardian would carve it up from behind. Alex was as surprised as the Guardian when the tail flick had such a huge effect.
"No!" Alex shouted at the Gobul "No more of my family or friends are going to die." Alex took up a battle stance and circled the Gobul. Alex suddenly rushed forward taking the Gobul by surprise, but he didn't rush at the Gobul, rather the Guardian's limp body. Alex picked up the Guardian's longsword with his free hand, back stepped and faced the Gobul brandishing two powerful longswords. Alex eyed the Gobul and grinned."How do you like me now?"
Alex charged at the Gobul holding both weapons at arm's length. Alex jumped over the Gobul's bite and slashed both longswords down on the Gobul's hide and managed to get two deep cuts on its back. Alex rolled out of its range as it tried to tail whip him. Alex turned his WyvernBlade "Camellia" into a backhand grip and taunted the Gobul to come at him. It took the bait and charged after him, its tiny purple flippers working overtime to carry its huge body. Alex easily sidestepped and as it passed, stabbed it in the eye and then let go of his longsword. The Gobul gargled in pain as the fire element longsword melted the flesh around its eye socket, the hilt of the longsword bouncing around with the monsters movements. Alex brought the heavier Ancient Dragonwood Longsword over his head in a double handed grip and sliced down ferociously on the still writhing Gobul, slicing its tail clean off. Alex picked up the tail and tossed it next to the Guardians body.
"That one's for you," Alex said and charged at the Gobul. He jabbed the Gobul in the belly and sliced upward tearing a deep hole. The paralysis toxins did their job and the Gobul's eternal system was quickly affected. Alex saw his opportunity and ran around to the Gobul's face. He pulled his WyvernBlade "Camellia" free from the Gobul's eye socket then twisted both longswords it his hands and stabbed both deep into the Gobul's brain, killing it instantly.

Alex sheathed his longsword and was about to walk over to the Guardian who was still unconscious when Brak stumbled out of the trees, his armor and equipment all held in his arms. Brak dropped them to the wet ground with a large squelch and noticed Alex.
"Brak! I'm glad you're still alive," Alex said elated.
"It will take a lot more than that to kill your uncle," Brak explained showing Alex his wounds. The bare chest man had taken his undershirt off and used it as bandages. The strips of shirt were now partially red but had effectively stopped the bleeding already.
"Those wounds don't even look very bad," Alex said examining the wounds more closely.
"Yes," Brak announced dramatically "My priceless armor saved me once again." Alex looked up from the wounds at the wide smile on Brak's face.
"Get over yourself," Alex said diverting his attention to the Guardian. Alex walked over, his armour clanking away. Alex knelt down beside the Guardian and gently shook his shoulder.
"Hey? Hey mate, are you okay?" Alex got no response and after a few more seconds looked up at Brak.
"Guess the old man needs some more time to rest" Alex said sympathetically.
"I'm not old," replied a faint and hoarse voice. Alex spun around.
"Oh, so you're still with us?" Alex said disappointed. Then after a moment of hesitation, "Just kidding old man."
"I am not old," the Guardian says angrily and rips off his mask showing the face of a man not yet greying and really not very old at all. "Only 33."
"Been wondering what's under that mask," Alex said curiously, "And quite frankly it's nothing special".
"Oh, Thanks," said the Guardian sarcastically.
"No problem," replied Alex, "Anytime"
"I don't know about you guys," Brak cut, in who had re donned his armor, "But those guys over there sure don't look like they heading this way for a friendly chat." Alex and the Guardian looked behind them to where Brak was pointing to see five dripping wet yellow bodies coming towards them from out of the murky green water.

Rathalos Red - Chapter 7

Five dripping wet yellow bodies emerged from the murky water just five meters to their left. The Guardian took a step back."Whoa, who are those guys?" he whispered with a fearful undertone. Alex looked at Brak then the Guardian and smiled underneath his helmet.
"You guys seriously aren't scared of a few Ludroth are you, come on!" Alex asked. The Guardian took another step back.
"Well, I'm not from around here" he stammered shyly.
"And you too Brak?" Alex grinned.
"No way, I just..." but he was cut short
"Good" Alex said evilly and drew his longsword "then they're for dinner...hehe". Alex let out a roar and charged at the Ludroth. Taken by surprise the monsters hadn't even moved when the first one found Alex's fire element longsword deep in its brain. Alex ripped the longsword out with splash of blood and swung his WyvernBlade "Camellia" sideways slicing another Ludroth in two. The third Ludroth took the offensive attempting to bite Alex with its sharp fangs. Alex jumped left and as soon as he landed sprang back at the Ludroth, his movements kicking up water from the soggy ground. Alex cleaved the Ludroth in two from above and landed nimbly on his feet. Alex grinned under his helmet, enjoying the heat of battle.
"Oh yeah, come to papa... wha?!" Two arms tightened around his waist and hauled him back away from the two remaining Ludroth.
"Hey, come on Brak, what did you do that for I was owning them!" Alex shouted at his uncle.
"We must get to safety Alex, hurry" Brak said anxiously.
"Hurry from what?" Alex pestered angrily sheathing his longsword and walking over to the closest Ludroth.
"Have to make do with this one" Alex said slinging the Ludroth over his shoulder. Alex began to walk casually back to Brak who was almost trembling in fear.
"Brak," Alex said flatly, "why are you shaking so... huh". A giant shadow appeared over Alex's body. Alex turned his head slowly but fearfully around. Alex began to see the beginning of a broad chest of blue and white scales, gulping as sparks fizzed around the monsters body. He turned back to Brak.
"Run!" he shouted springing to his feet. The Guardian who hung about 30 metres back the entire time was way ahead of him, running before Alex even said the word, carrying the lopped off Gobul tail with one hand. Brak needed no further encouragement and scooted away. Alex rolled out of the monsters range and sprinted away, dodging a sharp claw.
"Damn Lagia" Alex muttered under his breath. "How did it manage to sneak up on me like that?" Alex was bought out of his thoughts and back to reality when the tree next to him exploded in a huge ball of brilliant blue lightning. The shockwaves took Alex off his feet and he crashed to the ground, his arms and legs flying everywhere. The Ludroth skidded across the wet ground and into a bush. Alex clutched his now aching head and got gingerly to his feet only to fall back down again from a wave of nausea. When his head finally cleared a few seconds later the Lagiacrus had caught up to him and was preparing to attack. Alex jumped back and pulled out his WyvernBlade "Camellia". The Lagiacrus charged. Alex waited for it to come closer and closer. Until, at the last second he swished his sword down and across cutting off the Lagiacrus' left claw. The Lagiacrus tripped up, its momentum carrying it forward. The massive monster crashed down on top of Alex, pinning the hunter under its weight.

The sound of the Lagiacrus falling caused Brak to look backwards.
"What the..." He gasped seeing the fallen and pained Lagiacrus. His eyes then widened in shock. "Where's Alex?" Brak stopped running and called out "Hey! Guardian" The Guardian turned his head.
"Hey, what's wrong," he said coming to a stop and then jogging back. As the Guardian pulled up next to him Brak asked. "Do you see Alex?" The Guardian squinted into the distance.
"No, only that great big scary monster thingy" he replied.
"Scary monster thingy? Okaaay. Anyway let's get a closer look"

I'm being trapped, Alex thought to himself. What can I do? The Lagiacrus hauled itself up suddenly giving Alex the chance to roll sideways on his back and belly. The Lagiacrus couldn't keep up its balance with only three limbs and as soon as it tried to put weight on the stump which was still thick with its blood the monster toppled over again. "Damn!" Alex cried as the Lagiacrus' shell shockers fell into him. He tried to protect himself by throwing up his arms in front of his face. It worked momentarily as two shell shockers fell right on top of his arms. Then another two landed on the other side of his body. Another landed between his legs and dug into the earth.

Brak and the Guardian ran at a sprint, their weapons drawn.
"Come on, where is he?" Brak pleaded desperately. Just then the Lagiacrus got up, revealing a crushed, but very much alive, Alex, who began rolling sideways.
"There!" The Guardian called. The two men both roared a battle cry and charged with renewed resolve to save their comrade. The Lagiacrus fell back over. Brak and the Guardian came to Alex's side. The Guardian drove his Ancient Dragonwood Longsword into the Lagiacrus' belly. He then flipped open a pouch at his waist and took out a glass bottle filled with the Queen Vespoid's neurotoxin and let go of his longsword. He popped the lid, threw the cap away and took back the handle of his longsword. He ripped the blade free and sheathed it. While doing this he shouted,"At my signal lift that hammer with all your might, Brak!"
Brak had pulled out his hammer and had wedged it between the Lagiacrus' sixth and final shell shocker and Alex's chest saving him from a most horrible death. Brak held the hammer lightly waiting for the Guardians word, the weight of the monster on top still causing the hammer to dig painfully into Alex's chest.
"Now!" the Guardian shouted widening the deep wound with one hand and emptying a full bottle of the Queen Vespoid's neurotoxin into it with the other.
The toxins went straight into the Lagiacrus' nervous system causing an almost instantaneous paralysing effect. Brak tightened his grip on his hammer, took a deep breath and heaved, grunting with effort, making about a ten centimetre gap between Alex and the Lagiacrus' shell shockers. The paralysis took effect and the Lagiacrus wailed in distress. It stood bolt upright ignoring the pain in its left claw, feeling the neurotoxin sap its own strength. Alex crawled free and got hauled to his feet by Brak. The Guardian stashed away the empty bottle in one of his pouches and looked up wearily.
"Let's get out of here before we get attacked again," he said, his eyes darting around the forest suspiciously.
"Okay," Alex said with a smile, "but let me get my Ludroth"
"That bloody Ludroth is what got us into this situation in the first place," the Guardian huffed angrily.
"Be a shame to waste it then," Alex replied cheekily.
"Argh," said the Guardian, "I'll never win with you". Brak, who had diverted his gaze to the sky during their conversation, looked deep in thought.
"It's getting dark," he said finally, "we should get out of here quickly."
"Damn straight," the Guardian said, "I don't like this place during the day. Imagine what I'd be like a night."
"A complete mental wreck!" Alex chirped in, the dead Ludroth slung over his shoulder. The three hunters walked away from the still paralysed Lagiacrus.
"Well, um..." The Guardian replied .
"You're such a wimp," Alex said looking back at the monster, "He won't be going anywhere soon, don't worry too much."
"Thanks," the Guardian replied sarcastically as the trio continued onwards.

Night had just settled when the hunters emerged from the Flooded Forest, their boots soaked.
"Wahoo!" Alex shouted running away from the forest "Dinner time!"
They found a fairly dry patch of land about 200 meters away and camped for the night, enjoying their roast Ludroth. Flashes of red and thick steam could be seen on the horizon indicating they were very near their goal.
"Tomorrow," Alex announced, "We'll hunt that Rathalos down and fulfil my father's last wishes," he finished solemnly. And who knows, he thought, seeing another burst of red in the distance. That black monster flew this way as well and I'm hoping that we might run into it. Alex pulled his makeshift bed covers over him and fell asleep with those thoughts.

Rathalos Red - Chapter 8

The next morning Alex, the Guardian and Brak woke up to the sound of one hundred feet stampeding towards them. Cutting across the grasslands between the Flooded Forest and the Volcano were a giant herd of Aptonoth.
"Come on guys" Alex said stretching his arms and yawning "pack your stuff and come with me. I know a place we can go for supplies. A little town that's situated on the outskirts of the Volcano, it's called Azuren."
"Yup," the Guardian said quickly shoving his stuff in his pack, "I sure don't want death by stampeding Aptonoth."
"Hey," Alex said, a thought suddenly occurring, "Do they have these guys in the Minegarde region as well?"
"Aptonoth? Oh, sure" said the Guardian, then "But I didn't know that they inhabited the Moga region." He said pointing behind the large herd. Alex followed the Guardian's finger and found what he was on about. A yellow beast was chasing madly after the herd, saliva dripping from its hungry mouth. Alex turned back to face the Guardian.
"Um, what the hell is that thing?" Alex asked. Before the Guardian could answer him a man in blood red armor who appeared to be pursuing the monster called out to the three men.
"Stop that beast!" he yelled as the monster came upon them. Alex ran over and stood between the Aptonoth and the tailing monster. He drew his WyvernBlade "Camellia as he faced the monster.
"Oh yeah, this is gonna be fun" he said to himself.
"Wait" the Guardian called "run, get out of there"
"Why?"
"Because you have no experience in fighting Tigrex." the Guardian replied."It will tear you to bits."
"I wouldn't be so sure of that," said Alex, a cocky edge to his voice, "This guy might be big but it sure doesn't look too smart." The Tigrex came to a halt ten meters away and began to roar and growl deeply at Alex.
"Oooooh," Alex said mocking fear "Yeah, you're so tough." The Tigrex charged at a massive speed, much faster than it had been before. Alex was caught off guard and as he tried to evade the attack, was hit in the leg by the Tigrex's right claw. Alex tripped up, and as the pain hit his leg the confidence all ebbed out of him.
"Damn," the Guardian cursed and drew his longsword but he was too far away to help.
Alex clutched his leg in immense pain. Blood was pouring from the three claw shaped gashes. As the Tigrex rounded for Alex, he noticed that its body was pulsing with red veins and its eyes were the same blood red. As the monster charged again Alex knew it was all over, knew he should have listened to the Guardians warning and knew that his friends were too far away to help.

The sword appeared from nowhere, slicing through the Tigrex's left claw, causing it to fall over. Alex looked at the monster in disbelief then up to the man who sliced it off.
"What?" Alex said quietly. "That guy was at least fifty meters away when I faced the beast. How could he possibly...?" The monster whimpered in pain and roared at the man in front of Alex. It jumped high into the air and flew off in a north easterly direction back over the Flooded Forest. Alex got to his feet as the man turned to face him. Alex saw two blazing red eyes inside the helm in front of him. He took a step back.
"Are you okay?" he asked. The red drained from the man's eyes and they turned to normal as he took his helmet off and tucked it under his arm. His eyes were now a bright green.
"Hello stranger, and I think that I should be asking you that question" He replied.
"Yeah, I'm good, thanks for saving my butt back there, I appreciate it and why were your eyes red just now?"
"Well I wouldn't be the Tigrex Warrior if I couldn't perform its rage would I?"
"Um, Tigrex Warrior?"
"I, The Tigrex Warrior am one of the last remaining Monster Warriors. I train with the Tigrex Samurai who live in the Snowy Mountains in the Minegarde region. I'm blessed with the three major strengths of the Tigrex: Power, Speed and Rage. Through training I have basically become a human embodiment of the Tigrex."
"Cool" Alex said as the Guardian and Brak came to his side "Is that like your standard response because it sounded like you've said that many times."
"Yeah, pretty much" the man replied.
"Hiya" the Guardian said "thanks for saving our friends life back there."
"No worries" the man replied.
"Hey, um, who exactly are you?" inquired the Guardian "Tigrex X. That's some pretty impressive armour." The man sighed and began...
"I, The Tigrex Warrior am one of the last remaining Monster... Alex cut in.
"You don't need to say it again, I'll tell them later. Anyway what's your name?
"Ryouji". He said holding out his hand. Alex took it.
"I'm Alex" he said
"You're from Minegarde with that Silver Sol armor? Ryouji asked.
"No way" Alex replied "Born and bred in the Sandy Plains. I inherited this armor from my fath... I mean uncle. Ryouji turned to Brak and they shook hands.
"The name's Brak, Alex's other uncle. Same sorta story with the Minegarde region equipment"
"Cool" said Ryouji "And you?" to the Guardian.
"The Guardian" the Guardian replied.
"Ah" said Ryouji "with that armor you'd be Guardian of the Tower, right?"
"Yes, how did you know?"
"It's part of my profession" he said and grinned "and because I read it in some book".
"Yes our armor and name are trademarks I guess" the Guardian said.
"Anyway" said Alex "It was nice meeting you Ryouji, hopefully our paths will cross again sometime but we've gotta go. We're restocking at Azuren, a village near here and hunting a Rathalos"
"Yeah and I gotta go get that rouge Tigrex. The Azuren villagers were saying their Aptonoth herds had been declining and that a strange yellow monster with the exact description of a Tigrex had been seen in the area. The Tigrex Samurai got word of this and I came to Investigate. Sure enough, there it was."
"Okay then" Alex said "until next time" and they went their separate ways. Ryouji through the Flooded Forest and after the Tigrex. Alex, Brak and the Guardian towards Azuren and the Rathalos.

Rathalos Red - Chapter 9

Ryouji crashed through the first layer of trees in the Flooded Forest, sending mud and leaves flying everywhere. After his brief meeting with Alex, Brak and the Guardian he had headed in a north-easterly direction straight after the rouge Tigrex. His stomach rumbled and he stopped running. Ryouji put his hand on the belly of his Tigrex X armor, realising how hungry he was.
"Man, I'm hungry" He said out loud to only the damp trees. "When was the last time I ate?" Ryouji thought back. Well I had that beautiful hot meal of Jaggi's breast back in Moga village's docklands four days ago, and then the next day I cooked up some raw meat from my pack and did the same the day after that. Wow! I haven't eaten in two days. Ryouji slung his pack off his back and looked inside.
"I know it's in here somewhere" he said to himself as he tossed a pickaxe and a ball of string out of his pack. After much digging around he finally found what he was looking for.
"Ah ha," he said triumphantly as he pulled his last piece of raw meat out of his pack. An Altaroth crawled around on top of it.
"Disgusting…" Ryouji cringed before he picked it up and threw it on the ground. Before long the spider like creature was just a squished smear on his boot. Great, Ryouji thought, now I've got the meat all I need is a fire. This was problematic. The forest offered nothing as far as firewood was concerned. Everything was soaking wet and as if to justify his inability to create fire the heavens opened and rain came down hard. Ryouji slumped his shoulders in defeat. He then proceeded to toss the raw meat into the trees as hard as he could. The meat flew through the air and finally landed in a river with a satisfying plop. Ryouji turned, put everything back in his pack and re shouldered it. He righted his course and headed deeper into the forest on his north-east bearing.
"Ah stuff it," he said as he continued his journey, once again clutching his empty stomach.

Alex, Brak and the Guardian saw the last of Ryouji jump into the Flooded Forest. "Nice guy" the Guardian said.
"I do hope he's able to kill that awful monster" Alex said worried. Brak just grunted
"You don't talk much do you?" the Guardian addressed Brak. He just grunted again in his rough, old voice.
"Didn't think so" the Guardian said. The three hunters turned around and began to walk towards Azuren. Alex had applied bandages to the flesh wounds inflicted by the Tigrex's claw. The wounds were not as bad as he first thought and he was walking at a steady pace, keeping up with Brak and the Guardian with only minor pains.

By the time they reached Azuren the sun was beginning to set. They were greeted by the sight of the village hunter who was leaning on the side of a house, about thirty meters away.
"Hello there Artemis!" Alex shouted waving his hand and taking his helmet off. A tanned woman, no older than 25 years old, turned her head towards the group. She gave them a dazzling smile and pulled away from the house she was leaning her back on.
"Damn, she's hot" said the Guardian in awe.
"And she's way outta your league" Alex replied grinning mischievously "And about ten years younger than you".
"Well...Um" muttered the Guardian
"Alex," she said reaching the group "Another Rathalos hunt I presume?"
"Yeah" Alex said "I need the usual stuff but for three people this time."
"For your friends here?" said Artemis.
"Right, this is my uncle Brak on my right and on my left is the Guardian"
"The Guardian..?" Artemis said sceptically.
"I guard the Tower in the Minegarde region" he said self-importantly.
"Then why aren't you guarding away?" Artemis asked.
"It's not Yama season" the Guardian replied putting an end to the conversation.
"So then" Artemis said "Cool drinks for three and..."
"Excuse me, um Artemis was it?" Brak cut in, "I don't need em cool dinks, living my whole live in the Sandy Plains and all. I am used to extreme heat, trust me."
"No, trust me," Artemis replied, "The Volcano's heat is a different kind to the plains. It's way more intense. You'll need those drinks."
"Okay then, thanks I guess" Brak said. Artemis turned around and went to get the three hunters their Volcano supplies.
"Even the way she walks is hot" the Guardian grinned when she was out of earshot.
"Shut up mate" Alex said as they walked into Azuren's inn.
"Three beds for the night thanks" Alex asked the innkeeper.
"Sure, no problem" he replied.

The next morning Alex, Brak and the Guardian set out from Azuren, their packs stocked up by Artemis. "Good luck in your hunt boys" she said as the left.
"Against a Rathalos?" Alex questioned, "I don't need luck."
"Suit yourself then, hero" Artemis replied, winked and walked back into Azuren.
"Hey, how come you get girls" the Guardian complained.
"Isn't it obvious" Alex said "I'm a handsome, intelligent, dashing, brave..."
"Yeah, yeah, get over yourself". The Guardian replied. The three hunters began walking towards the looming volcano. The land was rocky and barren of vegetation. After about 20 minutes of walking they came into the Volcano proper, forcing them to down their cool drinks. The rock was now a hot red and lava flowed in rivers through the volcano side.
"Be careful not to step in that" Alex told Brak and the Guardian.
"I'm not stupid" the Guardian sniped back.
"Well, I don't know" Alex replied with sarcastic wit.
"Haha, you're very funny" The Guardian replied. "You know this place is just like the Minegarde region's volcano. Same heat, the need for cool drinks and the flowing lava, I can handle myself very well thank you."
"Suit yourself then, hero" Alex said mimicking Artemis' words. He even gave the Guardian a wink, for good measure. The Guardian changed the subject, a glint of anger in his eyes.
"So, um, where do you think it is?" He asked them. As soon as he said it a wild, piercing screech came from just behind him. The Guardian turned around, a fearful look now in his eyes just in time to see a taloned foot hurtle towards him. The Guardian pulled out his Ancient Dragonwood Longsword and sidestepped – way too slowly. The taloned foot cut deep into his sword arm, the force of the blow causing him to let go of his longsword. It went skitting across the rock surface and out of his reach. The Guardian wasn't finished yet. He took out his carving knife with uninjured hand and expertly threw it at the monster he now realised, as he threw, was the Rathalos they had been searching for. It was a lucky throw. It pierced the monster's right wing causing the monster to roar in pain as the small knife cut through the many exposed nerves in its wings webbing. The Rathalos crashed to Earth ungracefully, the pain in its wing stopping it mid flight. It shakily got to its feet letting out another roar at those who dare challenge it. The Guardian clutched his wounded arm in fear, knowing all too well that a Rathalos' talons were poison laced. Alex and Brak, their weapons drawn came to stand between him and the Rathalos.
"There's and antidote in your pack, I suggest you apply it to the wound and drink it before the poison spreads," Alex ordered him, "We'll handle things here." Alex nodded at Brak and they charged head on at the Rathalos. Naturally it took flight, ignoring the pain of its right wing. As soon as its feet left the ground it attacked Brak, pinning him down with its talons. Brak tried desperately to defend using his hammer as a shield as the Rathalos bit at him. Alex took the opportunity to attack the Rathalos' exposed behind, his WyvernBlade "Camellia" slicing through its tail and cutting it off. The Rathalos dived forward out of harm's way, instantly forgetting Brak. It roared again at the two hunters, going into rage, fire blazing around its mouth. Alex and Brak dodged a fireball as the Guardian came back undetected into the fray, the poison expelled from his arm. He slashed at the Rathalos' left leg, causing a painful flesh wound. It staggered back from the blow. Alex took the opportunity to throw a flash bomb at the Rathalos.
"Flash bomb!" He shouted. The shout instinctively made the Guardian and Brak shield their eyes. The Rathalos wasn't so lucky. The flash bomb disorientated it quickly. It managed to fly up through many whimpers and a lot of pain. It thought it was safe this high in the air, at least from hunters. A massive black body coming from the inner Volcano region crashed into the blinded Rathalos. The black monster used its body weight to propel the Rathalos into the rocky face of a cliff, killing it instantly. The Rathalos' body crashed in a massive heap as the three hunters gaped at the beast in awe.
"That damned beast again..." Alex paused as he noticed a human figure on the monsters back. The figure grinned at Alex as the black monster perched itself atop the edge of the cliff and gave him a wave as if to say "catch me... If you can."

Rathalos Red - Chapter 10

Ryouji woke with a start. He cautiously peered around the dark cave looking for any sign of a large monster. He had ventured into the cave the night before, looking for shelter from the unrelenting rains of the Flooded Forest. As he had entered he looked for and found an alcove, thinking that the place may well be home to one of the forests larger monsters. Turns out he was correct. His heightened, alert senses became aware of a deep breathing. Ryouji carefully stood up, his Tigrex X armor only making the slightest of noises. He came to the edge of the alcove and stole a glance around the corner before quickly turning his head back out of the monsters sight. Ryouji was afraid that he might run into one of the Moga regions monsters. Ryouji breathed a huge sigh of relief. He recognised the deep green scales of the dragon like Rathian straight away.
"Damn good thing they're in Minegarde as well" he muttered to himself as he began to quietly tip-toe towards the caves entrance. The sleeping Rathian snorted in its sleep and Ryouji stopped. If the beast came awake now he'd be right out open. Luckily it just moved its tail slightly and stayed fast asleep. As Ryouji reached the mouth of the cave he forced himself to slow down. Anyone else might have bolted out of the cave to get away but Ryouji's training and knowledge told him otherwise. From the relative darkness of the cave he peered out into the morning light of the Flooded Forest looking for any sign of red among the green trees. If there were Rathian here there were sure to be Rathalos as well. Ryouji waited for another couple of minutes then satisfied there was no Rathalos, ventured out into the bright morning sunshine and of course rain of the Flooded Forest about the same time Alex, Brak and the Guardian set out from Azuren into the Volcano.

Nothing much happened that day for Ryouji. It was getting on in the day, maybe an hour till dark.
"Tracking this rouge Tigrex is becoming annoying" he said angrily under his breath. In fact Ryouji was so caught up in his thoughts that he didn't realise where he was walking, and he walked straight into a muddy ditch.
"Damn!" He cursed and tired to move back the way he came. As soon as he moved the mud pulled him deeper. He stopped moving instantly. Ryouji was now up to his waist in mud. He calculated the distances. He was only a meter from the edge but, if he was pulled down at the same rate he had just experienced he would be under about three quarters of the way out. He decided to stay still, the mud only dragging him slightly down with each passing minute.
"Help!" He shouted into the forest which only resulted in a few small birds catapulting out of their trees and into the dimming sky. As the night wore on Ryouji settled into a routine of calling for help approximately every two minutes, it was well after midnight before someone answered that call.

Ryouji heard them before he saw them, a group of maybe four or five running through the eerily moonlit trees of the Flooded Forest towards his increasingly desperate situation. He was now almost up to his shoulders in the slimy mud. "Help! Help! Help!" Ryouji constantly called to them, making sure the new group didn't miss him. The men came out of the tree line and into his field of view. There were four of them in all. Two of them were hunters; both were bearing arms and armor of the Minegarde region. The other two were wearing plain leather and cloth garments which, Ryouji noted, were the expensive clothes favoured by the richer of Minegarde.
"Get me outta here!" Ryouji yelled at them. One of the men in the expensive clothes signalled to one of the hunters.
"Danny, find a large tree branch would you" the man ordered the hunter. They were obviously the hired muscle Ryouji thought to himself. Danny quickly came back with a decent sized tree branch and stood idle, just behind the expensively dressed man.
"Well, get on with it," he said turning to Danny "can't you see this man needs our help." Danny just grunted back and walked up to the edge of the mud ditch. He got down low on his belly and slid the long but sturdy stick up to where Ryouji struggled, submerged up to his shoulders in the runny mud. Ryouji grabbed hold of the stick with his left hand and he felt the hunter, Danny, begin to pull him back in. Ryouji began to emerge from the muddy pool and as he did so grasped the stick with right hand for extra support. After a minute or so Ryouji bounced thankfully out of the mud and with all the grace of a pig, slumped gratefully onto the ever present dampness of the Flooded Forest floor.
"Thank you," Ryouji said to the four men. "You just saved my life."
"All in a day's work," said the other finely dressed man. Then, "Shall we meet the crew? I believe you've already met Danny." Ryouji shook hands with the hunter who hauled him out. This man was attired in full Khezu armor.
"Thank you again." Ryouji said.
"The other hunter we have with us is Harry," The man continued on. Ryouji then shook hands with the hunter clad in full Velociprey armor.
"Harry," Ryouji said, "how do you do?"
"Not as bad as you at the moment." Harry replied with a grin.
"Yes, yes, all very funny Harry," the man said plainly, "Anyways my good friend here is Kevin." Ryouji looked for the first time at the man, who was younger than his voice sounded, that was ordering Danny around as he shook hands with him.
"Do I know you" Ryouji asked. The face coupled with name sparked a faint memory in him. He was positive he knew this man from somewhere.
"No, I don't think so" Kevin said "We've never met before and I'm not famous or anything". Ryouji dismissed the matter and turned to the final of the four men.
"And you are?"
"I'm Justin," the man who introduced the others said. "Pleased to meet you."
"Likewise, I'm Ryouji." Ryouji said with a shiver.
"Why yes," Justin announced, "You must be cold after a few hours in the mud. Let's make camp here boys, it's getting dark. A good fire does the trick to get the old bones warm"
"Old?" Ryouji queried, giving Justin a glare.
"Oh, you know what I mean" Justin replied. Ryouji let it go and cast a casual glance at Kevin.
"I'm sure I know that guy" Ryouji thought to himself "And what really bothers me was that bit about 'I'm not famous'. That was a bit suspicious as he really didn't need to say that to re-enforce the matter. It was as if he was scared for a second that I knew who he was..."

Rathalos Red - Chapter 11

Ryouji settled into his warm blankets around the campfire with Justin, Kevin, Danny and Harry. Luckily they had kept decently dry after the mud ditch encounter. He had thrown his pack off when he fell in knowing that the weight would drag him down and, if he were to survive, he wanted some good warm blankets to settle into just as he was doing now. "Goodnight all" Ryouji said with a big yawn. The other four voiced their replies of goodnight. Ryouji was out like a light, completely zonked after the stressful day.

Ryouji woke sometime later, his hand instinctively grabbing the hilt of his longsword, the Wailing Cleaver Shin while making no discernable movement or sound. It was still the middle of the night and he was surprised to hear voices carrying on a conversation to the back of him. He was still wondering who these guys and especially Kevin, were and why they would be travelling through a hunting ground packed with dangerous monsters. Danny and Harry were hunters but obviously the hired muscle but he couldn't see Justin and Kevin taking this trek. Sure, it was a few days quicker but it gave up luxuries such as dryness and safety.
"These guys are obviously from the Minegarde region" thought Ryouji "Kevin and Justin are Guild types. High ranking officers used to those luxuries. Maybe that's where I know Kevin from. They must be on an important mission to give up those luxuries" Attempting to appear asleep Ryouji muttered to himself and tossed over to get a better view. The conversation stopped briefly, then, thinking Ryouji was still asleep Justin and Kevin continued. Through slitted eyes and pricked ears Ryouji listened and watched intently.
"Damn mess that was in Azuren." said Kevin.
"Yeah, can't believe that idiot, Thox went betrayed the Order like that." Justin replied
"And what's worse, now we have to report it to our superiors. They won't be happy to hear the Crimson Fatalis egg's been cracked, in fact they'll have our darn heads for it." Kevin said seriously.
"Thox got scared. We've nearly perfected our techniques; he didn't want to see the destruction our three eggs could have caused." Justin remarked
Kevin looked at Justin thoughtfully "We should just be lucky that he cracked it, not broke it. Good thing those Fatalis eggs are though nuts"
"Hmm... Never a dull moment in the Order of the Black Dragon is there?" asked Justin
Kevin laughed "Ha! You can say that again". The Pair of OBD members then settled into their own makeshift 'beds'.

Ryouji slipped away quietly when the others were all fast asleep. He'd heard enough and didn't want to hang around these guys anymore. They would obviously be suspicious in the morning but at least he hadn't told them he was the Tigrex Warrior.
"Thank god for that" Ryouji whispered to himself now that he was far enough away. He ditched stealth and jogged through the Flooded Forest for a few hours, crashing his way through trees and undergrowth, eager to put distance between himself and the OBD members.

As day broke Ryouji slowed down to a stop. He was fit, but three hours or so of running had still tired him out. He took his pack off and leant against a tree, taking a long guzzle of water from his water skin.
"Ahhh" Ryouji gasped, finally taking the water from his lips. He then put the water skin away, re-shouldered his pack and continued towards the end of the Flooded Forest, and towards the Sandy Plains. Ryouji wanted to get back to Minegarde as quickly as possible and inform someone trustworthy of the OBD's plot to resurrect the Fatalis but first, he needed to get rid of the rouge Tigrex. The sound of footsteps, other than his own bought him out of his thoughts and back to reality.
"Damn, how could they have followed me so quickly?" Ryouji cursed. He looked around for a hiding place, and found one. Ryouji quickly scrambled up the wet braches of a fairly large tree and waited for the danger to pass.

Alex, Brak and the Guardian sprinted full pelt through the Flooded Forest. The Guardian punched Alex in the shoulder, "What the HELL were you thinking, you idiot. I can't believe you... Well actually yes I can believe it. Why would try to steal meat out of a monsters nest?"
"Hey, that hurt" Alex whined, rubbing his shoulder "And we needed something to eat"
"We got a whole bunch of supplies from Artemis, you idiot." Brak growled.
"Yeah but nothing beats real, juicy, cooked Ludroth" Alex said dreamily.
"Stop foaming at the mouth and run or we'll be that ugly things next meal" Brak urgently replied. Just then a familiar figure jumped out of one of the trees up ahead.
"Man, am I glad to see you guys" Ryouji said as the trio momentarily slowed down. Alex grabbed Ryouji by the arm and made him sprint after them.
"Ryouji, this is no time for talk, save your breath for running." Ryouji looked behind him to see what they were running away from.
"What in Blango's name is that!?" Ryouji shouted at them, for lumbering behind them, was a massive monster. Walking on two feet, with tiny hands, a massive body and a drooling mouth was a monster nothing like he'd ever seen before.
"It's called Deviljho" Alex replied "And I've really pissed this one off

Rathalos Red - Chapter 12

Alex, Brak, Ryouji and the Guardian ran for their lives through the humid air and lush, wet greenery of the Flooded Forest. In pursuit of them lumbered the giant brute wyvern Deviljho. It toppled trees, flattened shrubs and shook the earth as it chased the hunters. Ryouji began to veer towards the densely packed trees to the left, running on a north-easterly bearing. "Where...are you...going...Ryouji?" Alex puffed out through gulping breaths.
"You seriously...don't want to stay on...the main path...do you? Ryouji replied "It won't be able to follow us...through the tightly packed trees...and plus, the Tigrex went this way". Alex nodded to the others and they followed Ryouji north-east. "So...you still...haven't caught the bastard?" Alex asked.
"Save your breath" Ryouji said "I'll tell you why...later"

The four of them dodged and weaved between the tight trees while the Deviljho just crashed through, inching ever closer. "Will this thing ever give up?" Alex voiced, frustrated.
"It will now," the Guardian said "follow me". The Guardian veered right and everyone followed.
"Was that your grand plan?" Brak growled.
"Just watch..." the Guardian grinned turning around, stopping and crossing his arms in full confidence.
"If you want to get yourself killed, fine but I'm outta here" Ryouji pitched in. Ryouji took one last look at the monster..."What!?" he shouted.

The Deviljho roared at its prey that had eluded it, the pray that had it caught it in this trap. For the Deviljho had slammed head first into a clump of thick trees. Its head was now stuck between two stout trunks. It was struggling to free itself. The Guardian casually strolled up to the monster, releasing his longsword. Deviljho eyed the Guardian, a look of pure anger in its eyes. It gnashed its teeth and struggled to get free once again but to no avail. The Guardian's longsword pierced the Deviljho's brain, killing it instantly.
"Well that was easy" the Guardian said, beginning to walk towards the forest's exit.
When the Guardian was a safe distance away Alex muttered "think you're a hero, don't ya?" before walking after him.

After another, uneventful, two to three hours the four hunters found their way out of the Flooded Forest. The Sandy Plains could be seen, shimmering, in the distance.
"That's one thing about the Moga region I fail to understand" Ryouji said, shaking his head. "How can the land change so quickly? I mean, we're all damp and miserable a second ago and in half an hour's walk we're almost at a desert."
"I have to agree" the Guardian said. "I know they call this place exotic, but..."
"The Moga region's the best" Alex said.
"Much better than the Minegarde region" Brak voiced.
"Grrr" Ryouji growled "speaking of exotic...What's that? He pointed.
"Alex learned forward to get a better look at the monster. "I don't know, let's get a closer look.

"No! Don't get any closer" the Guardian yelled.
"You know what that thing is?" Alex asked eyeing the monster. "I've lived in Moga all my life and have never seen one of them before." The monster was a brownish-yellow colour and had orange spikes running the length of its back. "Looks kinda like a 'Blos"
"It's part of a very rare and powerful group of monsters that are known to the Guild as the 'unmentionables'. This particular monster is known as the Orange Espinas. Now back away, very slowly. " An ear spitting roar erupted from the monster and it turned, stalking the four hunters.
"Aww crap, it noticed us" Alex said pulling his longsword out. "Guardian, got any intel on how it fights?"
"It uses poison attacks. Not sure on weaknesses. As you now know, these monsters are extremely rare and hard to beat. The Guild only sends the best hunters to fight them. Not much is known about them."
"That's just great" Alex said "get ready, here it comes."

The Orange Espinas stood before the four hunters, waiting for one of them to make the first move. Alex used some well known hunting hand signals and it began. Ryouji made the first move, a feint. It gave the Guardian the chance to get behind the monster. Brak then moved slightly left and Alex slightly right. The monster was now boxed in. Alex nodded at the Guardian. The Guardian let out a war cry and moved forward a few paces. The monster quickly flipped around a let out a ball of sonic poison. The Guardian dodged it easily.
"Ryouji, now!" Alex yelled.
"Okay" Ryouji said, his eyes glowing red. "This...Is it". Ryouji charged forward at an inhuman speed, barraging the Orange Espinas with a series of dazzling yet devastating attacks. Ryouji proceeded to quickly jump backwards, out of the monster's range. Alex moved in and hacked at the monster's tail. It was still attached, only now hanging by a few strands of muscle tissue. The Orange Espinas whimpered in pain a Brak delivered it a quick blow to the head with his hammer.
"That should do it" Alex said. The monster was hurt but certainly not dead.
"Did I not mention they are very powerful and hard to defeat" the Guardian said sarcastically. The Orange Espinas took flight, roared at the four hunters whom had wounded it and began to fly away.
"Damn" Alex cursed "that would have looked soooo good on my record."
"Tough lu..." Ryouji began then "Oh, hungry are we? The Tigrex swooped down from above, catching the Orange Espinas unawares, tackling it to the ground and tearing a great chunk out of its neck. The Tigrex roared, blood dripping from its fangs.
"Looks like I finally found you" Ryouji said, a smile dancing across his lips.

Rathalos Red - Chapter 13

The Tigrex stepped over the still body of the Orange Espinas, striding confidently towards the four hunters. They were standing at arm’s length apart, a good thirty meters away from the Tigrex. Alex eyed Brak, Ryouji and the Guardian. They watched attentively, while keeping one eye on the beast as Alex moved his hand forward once, sharply back in a closed first and forward again, opening his fist. The four hunters instantly understood the common signalling. The four hunters waited patiently for the Tigrex to make the first move.

“Now!” Alex ordered as the monster charged. Courtesy of the signalling, the four hunters reached to their side, pulled out their carving knife and threw. The crude technique of the inexperienced throwers, coupled with the bad balance of the knives made this well taught manoeuvre reliably unreliable, used as a way to chance the upper hand early in the battle. The four carving knives sailed through the air at the charging Tigrex. The first bounced hilt first off the monster’s skull, barely phasing it. The second stuck in its shoulder limply for a second or two, before dropping to the sand. The third and fourth knives had slightly more of an effect. One wedging itself inside an arm and the other in a shoulder. The four hunters dived out of the way as the Tigrex continued to charge them. Brak ended up just behind the beast. Shrugging of his hammer, he slammed it down into the Tigrex’s tail, making it yelp in pain as the bone inside shattered.

Alex, Ryouji and the Guardian all joined Brak in releasing their weapons. The Guardian attacked the Tigrex’s left claw and overbalanced himself as the monster dodged. The Tigrex retaliated quickly, lashing out with a 360 tail spin. The Guardian legs were taken from under him and he fell hard into the soft sand. Sensing an opening, the beast bounded over and pinned the Guardian to the ground with its well muscled arms.
“Dammit” Alex cursed and ran into the fray, plunging his Wyvern Blade “Camellia” deep into the distracted Tigrex’s hind leg. The Tigrex roared in pain, forgetting about the Guardian and clumsily clawing Alex off balance. Stepping back the Tigrex’s eyes flared red and the veins in its arms pulsated.
“Watch out!” Ryouji frantically shouted from the sidelines. All Ryouji could do was watch as the monster reared up and let out powerful roar, causing Alex to go flying into a nearby rock head first, rendering him unconscious. The Guardian was also thrown back but was lucky enough to land on solid ground. The Guardian attempted to get up, but fell back down, dazed.

“That’s it!” Ryouji yelled at the rampaging Tigrex “Nobody hurts my friends”. As the monster rounded on Brak, who was still behind it, Ryouji closed his eyes focused his energy, shoving the tip of his sword into the sand. Cutting out the sound of battle he opened his eyes. They glowed a supernatural, blood red. In the meantime Brak dodged out of the way of a poor charge from the Tigrex. The Tigrex began to turn around and Ryouji sent all the power of the Tigrex’s rage to his legs and jumped high into the air and sailed towards the Tigrex, lifting his longsword above his head. Just the Tigrex began to move toward Brak Ryouji plated his feet square in the monsters back and, using his momentum thrust his longsword deep into the Tigrex’s hide. Not stopping, he flipped off the back of the beast to a point in front of it. Pulling his arm back he put all of his pent up rage into the top of his fist.
“Arrghhhh” yelled Ryouji slamming his fist into the Tigrex’s face, crushing its skull. The monster roared and fumbled back several meters. Brak watched in complete awe as Ryouji, at an unimaginable speed, rushed forward, jumping on the Tigrex’s back once again and pulled his Wailing Cleaver Shin free which earned him a whimper of pain from the dying beast. Ryouji bought his longsword up to administer the finishing blow but the Tigrex used its last ounces of strength to buck him off. The loss of blood and the cruising of the skull were beginning to take their toll and the Tigrex’s eyes glazed over. It reared up before falling over, dead.

Ryouji picked himself off the soft sand, rubbing his bum were it had hit the deck. He walked over to Brak whilst pulling a cloth out of a pocket in his armor and swiped the deep crimson blood of the Tigrex off his longsword.
“You all right?” he asked Brak.
“Err... Me, uh, yeah fine” Brak replied still getting over the fact that Ryouji had hunted the Tigrex almost single handed in under five minutes. Satisfied with the answer he walked over to the Guardian, who was still a bit woozy, and offered him a hand up.
“Thanks” the Guardian stammered, gaining his footing. “No problem” Ryouji said walking over Alex. “Hey, Alex” Ryouji said, softly shaking his shoulder. “Nope, he’s out cold”
“Who’s out cold?” said a small voice.
“Alex,” Ryouji said “thank god you’re all right”
“Here” the Guardian announced holding out two carving knives. “I retrieved these for ya”
“Thanks Guardian” Ryouji said, sheathing his own knife and handing Alex his.
“Ah” Alex voiced, getting up shakily “I see you killed the Tigrex.” Alex walked over, his carving knife in hand. “Never got any Tigrex materials before”
“Wait!” Ryouji shouted pleadingly “Not just yet” Ryouji said pulling out his own carving knife. Analysing the dead monster he looked for something. “Ah, here we are.” Ryouji cut carefully into the hide of the monster, cautious not to cut in too quickly.
“Uh, what are you doing?” Alex inquired, a bit peeved that Ryouji butted in on his carves.
“Some monsters in the Minegarde region are exponentially strong and are classified as ‘G’ class by the Guild. It is essentially a level above the ‘high’ rank you have here for hunters. This Tigrex is one of those monsters, which is why I wasn’t surprised at its immense strength when it quickly knocked you out. Anyway, there is an exceedingly rare item that these monsters can potentially carry” Ryouji explained cutting deeper into the Tigrex. “Most hunters come across them by luck, but, being the Tigrex Warrior, I know exactly where to carve them”. Ryouji put his carving knife away as a faint glow peeked out of the hole he made in the monster. Ryouji reached his hand in and pulled out a brilliant, shining yellow scale.
“Wow... What is that?” Alex asked, dumbfounded.
“A Tigrex Heavenly Scale” Ryouji announced to the group.

Rathalos Red - Chapter 14

The phantasmal scale in Ryouji’s hand reflected the light of the hot desert sun. The scale was amazingly smooth. There didn’t seem to be a single scratch on it and, there was a faint yellow-gold aura, glowing around it.
Alex eyed the scale in disbelief. He walked up to Ryouji, his eyes transfixed on the object in his hand. Ryouji offered him the scale and he took it with both hands, careful not to drop it, as if it were a priceless glass object. He flipped it over. The back of the scale still had bits of sinew attached to it and was nowhere near as shiny as the front. He admired it once more before handed it to Brak, who was impatiently trying to look at it over Alex’s shoulder. After Brak had looked over every inch at the Tigrex Heavenly Scale he offered it to the Guardian who shook his head.
“No need to hand it to me,” he told them “I’ve seen plenty of them in my time in Minegarde though their brilliance never ceases to amaze me”.
Brak handed the scale back to Ryouji who put in safely in a pouch, away from prying eyes.
“So...” Alex began “Where to now?” Alex certainly had no destination in mind. Everything seemed to be taken care of...
“Home,” said Ryouji “back home across the seas.”
“What an excellent idea,” stated the Guardian “look, I mean this journey has been fun and all, but I don’t want to face imminent death around every corner.”
“Fair enough,” Brak said “there’s been enough excitement in this adventure to last a lifetime.”
Alex eyed the Guardian “You are such a wuss”
“Ease off” replied the Guardian “I want to die of old age, not monster inflicted injuries.”
Alex shrugged then addressed Ryouji “I’ll see you guys off at Moga port then I’ll head home.”
“All right.”

The four hunters headed northeast from the southernmost part of the Sandy Plains, taking the most direct route to Moga. There were no major hunting grounds in between apart from the short way they had to travel through Moga Woods to get to Moga itself. With nothing much happening, over the next two days the group talked about themselves, hunts they had undertaken and had a good laugh.
“The Samurai have two temples,” Ryouji was explaining to Alex whilst Brak and the Guardian discussed the finer points of strategy on how best to hunt a Shogun Ceanataur “one in the Snowy Mountains and one in the Desert. You see, we follow the path of the monster, so we have to be where it is, live where it is...”
The conversations were much like this until about halfway through the third day.

The four hunters walked at a brisk pace, their dazzling armor chinking as they moved. They were in an open grass plain, with the odd tree or two here and there. A pack of Jaggi attempted to engage a few Rhenoplos far to their left.
“Not too long to Moga now” Alex said noticing the green mass of Moga Woods on the horizon.
“Great!” exclaimed the Guardian “It’ll be good to get back on Minegarde shores.”
“You got that right” said Ryouji.
“Why, is there something wrong with the Moga region?” Alex asked.
“No, it’s just... what the hell is that!?”
The hunters were buffeted by a strong wind. They shielded themselves with their arms and planted their feet firmly in the dirt. The world became dark as the sunlight was enveloped by a giant figure. A deafening roar pierced its lips and the hunters were forced to cover their ears. Alex knelt on one knee and tried to make out the giant beast silhouetted by the sun. When it landed the earth shook around them and the Jaggi and Rhenoplos previously engaged, fled in terror.
“Oh bugger,” Alex cursed for, standing before him, was the glittering black monster that had killed his Rathalos at the Volcano. “what do you want?”
The person mounted upon the beast glared at Alex through the slits in their helmet. Alex glared back with all the hatred he had.
“Wait,” Ryouji stuttered “You know this person and animal”
“Not exactly...” Alex replied before being interrupted.
“She’s not an animal” replied a voice.
“What was that?” Alex spat, seething with anger.
“My Ala, she’s not an animal, much more than that” said a voice that was obviously female. She and Alex engaged in another staring contest.
“Err, Ala?” the Guardian said, uncomprehending.
“The official Guild name is Alatreon. It is an ancient Elder Dragon that controls all elements” she told him.
“An Elder Dragon?” exclaimed Ryouji “How did you manage to tame one of those?”
“I found her just before she hatched, in the Volcano, ten years back. There’s a place there called the ‘Sacred Land’ where the Alatreon have dwelled for centuries. Her mother died in childbirth;” she patted her armor “her loss didn’t go to waste though.
Her mother was the last of her race, after being almost completely wiped out, by hunters trying to make a name for themselves. I watched her die. Then I raised this one by myself.” She patted the monster who sighed with pleasure at her touch.
“I see. Then why did your animal,” Alex said, stressing the word “kill my father?” He said still in the mindset the Simon was his father, not uncle.
The rider of the Alatreon narrowed her eyes “Don’t play dumb with me. You know exactly why he was killed.”
“No, I don’t,” he said through gritted teeth “feel free to fill me in”
“You’re not a very good liar,” she told him “I know your father told you everything.”
“Everything about what?” Alex replied.
The rider sighed “This is getting tiresome.”
“Just get to the point”
“You and your father,” she said “are transpiring against us. Isn’t that why you went to Volcano?”
“I went there to hunt a Rathalos” he said bluntly.
A smile escaped her lips. “I see you won’t relent. Well then, let me spell it out for you. You went for the egg, didn’t you Alex? In a vain attempt to destroy it and foil the Order’s plans.”
Ryouji flinched at the name. The rider’s eyes shot towards him “I see this one knows what I’m talking about.”
“You’re damn right I do,” Ryouji said “you work for the Order of the Black Dragon don’t you?”
“That’s right... I see my trip here wasn’t wasted after all” she claimed, pulling a sword out. She used a sword and shield. It was same make as her armor, deep purple, with white talons as decoration.
Wait a sec,” Alex said, in deep thought “how do you know my name?”
“Come one Alex,” she said mockingly “don’t you recognise me?”
Alex thought he heard something familiar in her voice. He hadn’t noticed it before due to his anger. He surveyed her figure, it was... familiar.
“Hmph, no need to hide behind that helmet anymore, is there Artemis.

Rathalos Red - Chapter 15

Artemis gripped the bottom of her helmet and carefully removed it from her head. She used the same hand to ruffle her long, luscious black hair into a more comfortable position. "Took you long enough," she snickered and pointed her sword at the group.
Alex seethed with anger as he beheld the woman that he had once trusted and now knew to be the one that had caused Simon's death.
The Guardian sighed. "The lookers are always the ones with the most venom."
Brak, as usual, grunted gruffly in response.
"So," Alex began, "you had Sanchez spying on us didn't you?"
"Oh, you figured that one out did you?"
"Of course, your trusty pet saved him when he was about to get smashed by a rampaging Barroth. An Elder Dragon wouldn't save anyone, especially a weasel like Sanchez."
"He played his part," Artemis concluded, "now, enough with these games. The Order can't have you lot throwing this information around everywhere."
"Ryouji," Alex whispered, "just who are these Order guys"
Ryouji responded, equally as quiet "From what I've overheard, they're planning to hatch some Fatalis eggs somehow and that certainly can't be a good thing. They've also majorly corrupted the Guild in Minegarde and may have well done in Moga too." Alex nodded, his anger for Artemis, the Order and the manner of his father's death with each passing word.
"Trying to fool me again," Artemis said, obviously overhearing their conversation "I know you know of the Order from Simon."
"I didn't" Alex shot back "And if he was working against you he had very good reason to. How can the egg of a monster that once terrorised the land be more important than an old man's life?"
"It would take too long to explain to your feeble mind but I will tell you, the prophecy is clear. The dragons must be reborn"
Alex clenched his fist painfully tight "So, you... idiots would go to all this trouble and cruelty all for some bumbling prophet's predictions? What the hell is wrong with you people?" Alex shouted at the top of his voice, dangerously close to tears.
Brak put an arm around his nephew and gazed sternly at Artemis. "I think it's time you payed for your crimes" he said shifting the grip on his hammer. Alex parted from his uncle's grip and readied his own arsenal, as did Ryouji and Artemis.
Just as the heightened tension was about to break and the opposing sides flung into battle the Guardian stepped forward, a thought suddenly occurring to him.
"Wait, there's just one thing I want you to tell me before we kill you" he addressed Artemis "You were protecting the Moga Volcano because one of those eggs is hidden there isn't it?"
Artemis grinned and spurred her giant steed into action "There's no point in telling a dead man, is there?" she cried as she and the Alatreon charged at the four hunters.

The men dived out of the way as the massive black beast thundered past. Artemis wasn't going to be attacking anything with the poor reach of her short sword so she jumped of the Alatreon's back as soon as it grinded to a halt after its charge. She strode over to where Ryouji was picking himself up after the dive because he was, incidentally, the closest to where Artemis had hopped down.

Ryouji barely had enough time to bring around his Wailing Cleaver Shin to stop Artemis' vicious opening move. Ryouji jumped back and the two circled each other, watching for an opening. The Guardian stepped forward to lend Ryouji assistance.
"Stop!" Ryouji ordered, "You three deal with the Elder Dragon, I'll handle things here."
"Oh," Artemis prompted, "You think you can handle me do you?"
"Without a doubt," Ryouji replied.
"You're overly confident, hunter."
"I'm not just any hunter," Ryouji spat, his eyes a deep crimson, "I'm the Tigrex Warrior you bitch."

Meanwhile Brak, the Guardian and Alex faced off against the Alatreon. Brak moved first, charging left. The Alatreon ignored him and threw a fireball at the Guardian. He dodged as it erupted on impact. The eruption of fire grazed Alex, burning his left arm. The monster then swiped at Brak with its front claw as he was beginning to get too close.
The Guardian ran at it, with a loud battle cry and managed to scratch the Alatreon's neck. The distraction allowed Brak to slam his hammer down into its front claw, shattering the bone and allowed Alex the opportunity to pour water over his burn.
The monster's reddish aura suddenly turned blue and a bolt of lightning cracked out of nowhere and seared the dirt, inches from where the Guardian was standing. "Wha... I thought it was fire type" breathed the Guardian.
Brak joined the Guardian "The old Moga folk lore speaks of a black dragon that controls all elements."
"Damn" Alex cursed, running past. He sidestepped another jolt of lightning then another and one more, ending up behind the great beast.
"Guardian, Brak, get on it!" he ordered. The two hunters complied and tactfully charged the Alatreon.

There was a pure metallic ring as Ryouji's longsword relentlessly smacked down on Artemis' shield. There was no doubt she was an exceptional fighter but she was no match for the Rage, Speed and Power of the Tigrex. She was having enormous trouble blocking Ryouji's magnificent strikes and already had multiple nicks on her body. There was a loud crack as her shield snapped in two. Artemis cried out in pain as a massive welt began to form on her wrist. She gingery flung the shield away.
"Not so cocky now are we?" taunted Ryouji. Artemis said nothing as she turned on Ryouji, dashed quickly and sliced... thin air. Artemis' eyes widened, no way he could have dodged... "Aarrghh!"
It felt like a shard of ice had been deposited in her body and she fell onto her stomach. Artemis couldn't move her back. Her spine had been severed.

The Alatreon heard its master's anguished cry and was momentarily distracted from its attackers. The monster's head flinched in the direction of Artemis. This minor distraction was all the trio of experienced hunters needed to gain the upper hand. The Guardian created multiple wounds as he wildly slashed the Alatreon's side. The paralyses toxin in his Ancient Dragonwood Longsword taking root in the monsters bloodstream caused it to seize up.
Brak took the opening to break one of the dragon's back feet, tripping it up. With the monster's head now in range of their weapons, Alex shoved his longsword with all his might into the beast's brain.
With a final squeal, the Alatreon went limp.

Hot blood splashed into Ryouji's face as he removed his longsword from Artemis' back, earning him another wail of pain from her.
Her back may have been paralysed but her ears worked fine, enough to make out the squeals of her dying partner.
"No..." Artemis croaked seeing the limp body of the Alatreon through blurry vision. Artemis tried once again to move but her body would not obey.
"Now, unlike you, I'm guessing, ruthless bastards in the Order of the Black Dragon," Ryouji said softly "I'll be merciful and end it quick."
Artemis saw a dagger flash in front of her face. Her eyes widened in fear but it was already too late. The blade had pierced her heart. Ryouji looked up from her and spied Alex, Brak and the Guardian making their way over to him. He pulled off his helm, wiped his brow and gave them the thumbs-up.

The smell of burning flesh and seared wood could still be faintly smelt as the four hunters made their way towards the port of Moga. The bodies of the dead cremated on a makeshift sort of pyre.
"Jeez," the Guardian chuckled, stretching his arms "guess we're now finally going back to Minegarde."
"Yeah," replied Ryouji "too many bloody interruptions if you ask me."
"Well at least those interruptions meant you got to see more of our beautiful country." Alex sent back.
"Excuse me, but I had a hard time admiring anything with all those monsters attacking us left, right and centre," said the Guardian.
They all laughed heartily as the buildings of Moga came into sight.


The year 209, modern times, after the separation of Monsters and Humans.

Alex was sitting outside his horn in his home village of Diablos spires. His skin was so massively tanned after a lifetime in the desert and he now sported a grey moustache. He sat in the shade, out of the hot plains sun reading a book. A man stopped in front of him and Alex peered over the top of his book.
"Well I'll be" cried Alex embracing the man. "If it isn't the ol' Guardian. What are you doing here? Oh, I see you bought a friend."
The Guardian removed his mask and the other man gasped in surprise. "Don't worry," said the Guardian to him, "He's trustworthy enough to see my face." The man dressed in the yellow armor nodded on acceptance.
"Alex," the Guardian uttered, "I want you to meet Tenma, a Tigrex Samurai." Alex shook hands with the young man.
"We need your help..." began the Guardian.


MHL Timeline

Year 1 - Fates Legend
Year 171 - Rathalos Red
Year 173 - Requiem of Fire
Year 183 - Knights of the Tundra
Year 197 - Secrets Shaded Black
Year 198 - The Tigrex Samurai
Year 208 - The Tigrex's Rage
Year 208 - The Guardian
Year 210 - The Grand Trio
Year 210 - Hunters of Valor

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