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Suddenly he remembered something important. He now had a working trap, but he did not have a knife or anything to kill and dismantle the monster if he caught one. When Vanroc thought about using the sharp-edged stone, he heard the bushes rustling behind him.

He turned slowly and tried to see what was in the bushes.

Since it was already evening, it was not easy to see in the forest.

After a moment, Vanroc saw several silhouettes running from the bushes. When one of them stepped into a spot with more light, Vanroc could see a pig-like body with a long, blunt snout, small ears, and long, sharp tusks. The entire body was purple and had an erect mane that stretched the entire length of the body.

Vanroc did not know what kind of monster it was, but he knew there were too many of them for his trap and him to deal with. It would be dangerous if they discovered him. To avoid that, he tried not to move an inch and slowed his breath.

As Vanroc watched the monsters, he thought about a way out. He could stay there and continue to hide. However, this would be too dangerous, as he already had enough luck that they did not run through his bush. Vanroc did not want to take this risk any longer, as the return path of the monsters was still approaching and other monsters could be lured to this place by his bait.

Another option would be climbing a tree to avoid the tusks, but then he would be stuck there.

Before he could think about another solution, he noticed that one of the monsters was moving in his direction. Vanroc prepared to run and reached for his bag.

At that moment, he remembered that he had more rations inside. It seemed the monster that came to him smelled it. Without wasting a second longer, Vanroc started to run.

The moment he left his hiding place, the monster that was walking toward him startled and screamed. This alerted the other monsters that were near the trap.

At the outcry, one of the monsters knocked the stick out of the holder and activated the trap.

Two of the monsters were hanged in the air with one leg in the sling. They started screaming.

A moment later, the thin, pliant tree gave way under the weight of two monsters, freeing them from the trap.

When Vanroc heard this, he started to run faster, although he was already reaching his speed limit.

A moment later he heard the footsteps of the group of monsters that started to pursue him.

Vanroc ran and ran as fast as he could. He did not know which direction he was running, nor did he realize what was around him.

He had only one thought: run!

To lose his pursuers and prevent them from catching up, he zigzagged through narrow passages between trees.

Despite his attempts to get rid of them, they began to catch up after some time.

In front of Vanroc suddenly appeared a high shrubbery, which he wanted to avoid because he could not see what is behind. He tried to change direction to the left.

Just before he could, one of the monsters caught up with him and brought him down. Due to the speed, he had built up during the race, he stumbled a few meters forward, straight through the tall and closely interlaced shrubs.

Behind the bushes was a deep, sloping slope that Vanroc rolled down. When he hit something, he was unconscious.

After an indefinite time, Vanroc woke up. He felt his whole body aching as he tried to get up.

After a while, he managed to get to his feet and looked around.

Behind him were a big, thick tree, against which he was pitched and unconscious. In front of him, Vanroc could see the slope he had rolled down. Based on the depth of the slope, several trees, as well as sharp branches and stones on the slope, Vanroc knew he had been very lucky to have survived this fall without serious injury.

In fact, he had suffered only a few scratches and bruises, as far as he could tell at first glance.

After Vanroc realized that he had rolled down the slope, he remembered that he was being followed by the monsters.

He looked and heard if he could detect any nearby monsters. Fortunately for him, they did not seem to have followed him to the end of the slope, otherwise he would probably have lost his life while unconscious.

Relieved that he was in no immediate danger, he began searching for his bag in his vicinity. Vanroc remembered that he still had it in his hand as he fell down the slope. This was especially memorable as he let go of it to better protect his face.

After some time, he found his bag a few meters from where he hit the tree.

The bag lay on a shrubbery. When picking up the bag, Vanroc noticed that it had a big tear and some of his belongings were missing. He continued to search the area but found nothing.

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GFW Dohle

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