Chapter 5: Harvest

Stephen groaned, courtesy of a searing pain that shot through his temples. His lips parted, unveiling two small protruding fangs as his eyes suddenly snapped open, allowing the crimson orbs within to scan over the silent cave, disrupted only by Frank’s loud snoring. His head bent sideways with a sickening cracking sound, but his brain registered no pain.

There it was, that unquenchable hunger that plagued him multiple times the previous night, but he had managed to stifle it somehow. This time it stroke back anew, fiercer, unforgivable, demanding.

Wasting no time, he picked the rusty-edged sword up with him as he sneakily tiptoed out of the cave, his nose wagging in the morning air. Looking up, dark clouds littered the sky, allowing no room for the sun to shine through. He could only find solace in the fact that the rain had stopped, but he doubted it would have kept this way throughout the rest of the day. Knowing that it was the best time to hunt, he set off.

He dashed through the trees, zigzagging left and right as he explored the land. Considering what he had been through, he knew it was dangerous, but he couldn’t help the thrill pumping in his veins. That alchemy between danger and adventure stimulated something inside him.

His ears suddenly perked up, perceiving a small presence encroaching in, hopping around the grassland. Taking a quick glimpse to the side, a smile marred his features, his red eyes completely engrossed on the white fluffy creature. If he remembered correctly, the name of its species was One-Horned Rabbit, though this one was way smaller, even its horn was still in its growing stage. Stephen’s pupils narrowed into slits as he readied himself to pounce anytime.

[One-Horned Rabbit, Age: 2 Months, Rank: None, Encore Power: 0]

However, it seemed the rabbit noticed him for its long ears tensed, and just as it was about to quickly hop away, Stephen darted towards it. Despite the starting advantage, the small thing was surprisingly quick, scurrying away with jumps that covered sizeable chunks of the terrain. Knowing that competing with it in a race was a lost cause, he used his free hand to grab a handful of rocks from the ground, and then proceeded to clumsily fling them towards the small animal.

The rabbit didn’t seem perturbed by his underhanded tactics as it managed to evade all of his throws with unruffled grace. He never knew he’d have to struggle so much to catch a rabbit, but he couldn’t deny that he enjoyed chasing it through the thickets. He kept throwing whatever he found on the soil at the rabbit, hoping to exhaust it faster by forcing it to make unwanted swerves.

His efforts were soon rewarded when he noticed its speed drastically slackening. Nonetheless, he was also heaving from the fatigue, victim of his own straining efforts to slow it down, hence his legs were burning from the continuous burden he was imposing onto them.

Yet he didn’t want to give up in light of this. Unconsciously growling, he sped up, startling the rabbit as it noticed its pursuer closing in with a last burst of speed. Stephen gripped tightly his sword, his knuckles whitening from the pressure as he swung it down towards the rabbit who promptly leaped out of the way, but its balance was broken and it stumbled down as a consequence.

Not bothering to correct his aim, he used the sword as a blunt weapon, bringing it down right on the rabbit’s defenseless head, instantly killing it as its skull caved in, blood sprinkling out from the wound.

[Basic Sword Arts has reached Lv.2]

Licking his lips, he grinned in satisfaction – waving the sudden screen off – before he seized the rabbit by its ears, and sunk his sharpened canines into its soft flesh. Its neck broke with a crunch as Stephen delighted himself on the flavor of blood that lit up his taste buds in a dance of pleasures. Ripping a chunk of flesh off, he chewed on it with gusto before biting off another slab.

Swallowing the last piece of meat, he released a contented burp before sitting down in satisfaction, his back leaning against a tree’s trunk, scanning the three new messages that overlapped each other.

[You have gained 1 point in Dexterity.]

[You have gained the skill Light Step, Lv.1]

[You have gained 1% in Evolution.]

Stephen blinked as he felt his legs twitch a bit. It was his second time already entering in that ravenous state, and each time, his hunger mercilessly took control of his body. Frowning, he processed through the memories that came with the skill. It was about the rabbit he killed hopping around with nimble and fast leaps.

Standing up, he tried to emulate the rabbit. Taking a step forward, he started running at a faster speed than he was previously capable of whilst randomly jumping and steering. Thanks to the memories, he was able to understand and test the skill to its fullest potential, albeit from what he discerned, he had a long way to go if the skill level was anything to go by.

[Light Step has reached Lv.2]

He stopped, slightly panting, but happy nonetheless. Also, it seemed that leveling up a skill didn’t bring memories anymore, probably it was something that came only with the acquiring of a skill or so he deduced in his slightly excited state.

Stephen went hunting for small preys to carry back to the group, and given his newfound speed and skill, he easily harvested two more rabbits, though that was everything he could find in a feasible timespan. He didn’t dare to venture further in the forest, his instincts screamed at him to stop each time he was about to take a step forward out the border that he assumed was a safe zone for the group, something was nesting there, and it reeked of danger.

Turning around, he threaded back to the cave.

“Stephen?” Natasha called out when she spotted the handsome young man ambling back, “What are you–” the rest of her question died out in her mouth as her eyesight fell on the two plump rabbits he was gripping on, “Did you…” her stomach rumbled in happiness, which dusted her cheeks in a reddish hue as she averted her gaze, abashed.

“Yes, Natasha, I went hunting, and this is what I got, hopefully, it’ll be enough for everyone.”

“That was very nice of you!” she beamed, “We finally have some meat to eat.” although she was reluctant to eat a rabbit, she was literally starving, so she couldn’t – nor would she – bring herself to care at that moment, “Wait a moment…” she narrowed her eyes, staring intently at the recipients of her appetite before she gasped in surprise, “Horns!?”

“That… yes.” he didn’t hide it, in his opinion, the more they knew, the better. It would certainly cause panic, but it would at least make them aware of the dire situation they were swimming in.

“That’s… no… a mutation, maybe?” she sounded unsure, her eyes revealing cautiousness coupled with unbridled childish curiosity.

Only allowed on

“No idea,” he shrugged, “But they’re not dangerous, of that I assure you.” he smiled, which seemed to appease her a bit.

Footsteps echoed out, and shortly after a tall and burly man showed up. It was John, who was sporting an almost indetectable grin on his face as he hurled the content on his hand onto the ground. Two rabbits. While with the other hand he held a bottle of water, provided by Sarah to whom he was grateful; it was empty though, so he had to fill it up.

The older man then noticed what was clasped in Stephen’s hands, “You too?” he raised an eyebrow.


He nodded, not the least surprised by it. They both knew the reason they were able to catch those elusive and pesky furry bastards anyway, but to Natasha, it was quite a feat, something that put her mind at ease regarding their future need of rations.

“Good! Very good!” she clapped her hands, an ear-splitting smile etched on her beautiful face, “Today we will have a small feast!”

Returning back inside the cave, everyone was happy about their sudden harvest, and thus put more energy into gathering twigs and leaves to start a fire with. John proved his knowledge and skills in the field as it took him only a scanty few minutes to light up a fire.

Of course, they were weirded out by the rabbits’ outlandish appearance, but considering everything that had happened thus far, they were slowly developing immunity to stuff like that.

Natasha volunteered herself to cook the meat, she had to gut the rabbits and remove their insides before cleaning them, something Sarah didn’t seem capable of, and Daphne averted her gaze when she saw the copious amount of blood dripping off, so the older woman was quite satisfied with herself at finally showing her worth in the group.

A bunch of twigs pierced through slabs of meat over a crackling fire. The fragrance wafted around, eliciting eager gulps from the group. Stephen and John had already eaten, so they didn’t serve themselves.

“This is so good!” Frank praised, his cheeks stuffed with meat, his hands moving skillfully back and forth to place more of it in his mouth.

“Anything tastes good when you’re hungry,” Stephen chuckled, “Hey, be careful, don’t eat so fast, the food won’t run away.” he smiled amusingly as he stared at a deeply ashamed Natasha who was struggling to swallow a lump of meat stuck in her throat before successfully gulping it down after he patted her back soothingly.

She exhaled before curling her small nose arrogantly, “I had everything under control.” however, it didn’t seem that she believed her own words for she cracked up in giggles right after, earning an even more amused look from Stephen.

“Aren’t you going to eat? There’s plenty of it,” she asked, tucking an unruly lock of red hair behind her flushed ear, her piercing green eyes locked in his blue ones, “Don’t tell me you’re sacrificing yourself for the group’s welfare, a noble image is not fit for you, Stephen.” she smirked, seemingly diverted.

“I’ve already eaten something earlier, so don’t worry,” he replied, adding more wood to the fire, “And it tasted better,” he finished with a mysterious smile that mesmerized her for a moment.

“Seriously, Natasha. He’s like… 20 years younger than you, to think you were that kind of woman.” Frank chimed in, sighing in disappointment, as if he had just discovered another side of the red-haired beauty, “It seems I have no chance, alas.” nevertheless, he promptly shut up when he noticed the glare he was getting from her.

“You wouldn’t have a chance regardless.” she rolled her eyes, not bothering to pay him any more attention, “Daphne? Eat more, you’ll need any energy you can get.” she looked at the black-haired young woman who was reluctantly nibbling on her food.

“I… I’m not fond of meat…” she frowned.

“What?” Frank was astonished, his mouth hung open, “Meat is literally the greatest thing God ever made! Oh… and bacon, oh lord, bacon…”

“You should still eat it.” John suggested, “It may be the only thing we’ll have to eat for a while.”

Daphne nodded hesitatingly.

“To think you were a veggie.” the potbellied man shook his head mournfully, “No wonder you have such great figure, still… women are better with a bit of fat, not overly so, but… ya know what I mean, right?” he cackled as he gesticulated.

“Oh gosh…” Natasha pinched the bridge of her nose, “You’re truly… agh!” she threw her hands up in the air, ignoring him once again.

“By the way, when are we getting out of here?” Sarah suddenly asked.

“We need more time.” John assumed a serious pose, “This forest is way more dangerous than we thought, and… weird things are happening… it would not be wise to abruptly depart with no exact direction and preparation.”

Dear Readers. Scrapers have recently been devasting our views. At this rate, the site (creativenovels .com) might...let's just hope it doesn't come to that. If you are reading on a scraper site. Please don't.

Sarah dropped her with strained sight, but there was nothing they could do. The rainstorms were very violent, and they hadn’t seen any sign of helicopters or others sort of vehicles passing by, not that they had high expectation anyway.

Snuffing out the fire, they leaned on the rocky walls of the cave, it was not night yet, but they were already a bit tired. The time seemed to flow by at a very slow pace. There was no signal, no internet, no battery, nothing to distract them with. Thunders intermittently rang out, its lights filtering through the cave. Everybody had different thoughts whirling in their heads. With a lot of time at hand, they mostly spent it chatting, and when they were not, they tried to get entertained in the most stupid ways, sometimes chuckles and giggles would fill the place.

That place was ever so slowly becoming hell.

- my thoughts:
Okay, Imma take the opportutinity so say that these chapters I'm currently dishing out were written a couple of months ago, thus they may seem a bit cringy with a jagged grammar. For that, I apologize. I tried editing them to the best of my skills, but without an overall rewrite - which I don't want to try my luck on - the best I can do is to improve your reading experience by fixing up mistakes here and there. Anyhow, the from chapter 10 onwards things should be way better, especially from chapter 20. Nonetheless, I'll make sure that by then those shitty chapters will be less shittier... - Thank you for reading.
You may also like: