The Primal Hunter



Chapter 338 - Treasure Hunt: A Final Fight


A note from Zogarth

Been a bit since I posted this thing: - clicky, clicky!

”Iskar, I pass on the responsibility to you,” the leader of Yalsten said as the vampire handed him the necklace in his cupped hands. “Know that even if Yalsten is to fall, the Legacy cannot enter the hands of the Church or the undead. No matter what.”

Iskar nodded as he accepted it. He stared at the beautiful item with the Legacy Blood of the True Ancestor within. An item more valuable than his entire world and the lives of all of them combined. Iskar closed his eyes in reverence, storing the Legacy as he prepared to send it somewhere safe. Even back then, he felt its influence on him, but he accepted it. No, he welcomed it.

The leader never returned after that, slain by the Holy Church in battle. All of the other Kings fell one by one, too, leaving only Iskar left as he desperately tried to save his world. They starved. The Bloodless Night left them all starving as they were now forced to feed to survive. He tried to fix it… but the ritual failed. In the end, he was forced to seal off his own world and kill his own kin to keep them hidden.

All to protect the necklace.

He was brought back to the present, the memories flashing through his mind. Reminding him of why he was there.

Iskar, the Monarch of Blood, stood in what had once been Yalsten, a massive world filled with billions of proud and powerful vampires, now crumbling to nothingness all around him. He stared up at the bloody moon. He felt his own weak body breaking like the world around him. Iskar wasn’t sure if there was much sense in struggling… but he had a task. A final mission entrusted to him by the True Ancestor. Or was it simply the system that made him think so?

He didn’t know, and it didn’t matter. The Monarch smiled as pain ravaged his body, and he spoke. Not a single trace of regret in his mind.

“Color of Night.”

Jake had felt it before. For a brief moment, an aura dominated the entire Treasure Hunt, one so powerful none of them could resist. Below, the Earthlings fell to their knees against their will, the pressure not allowing them to fight back in any way.

He saw Jacob fall down, all of the members of the Noboru clan, the surviving fighters. Only two humans stood standing from the pressure – the Thayne brothers. Jake felt the aura was similar because he had felt it many times before.

It was the aura of a god.

Yet as soon as it appeared, it was gone again. But the echoes of what had been remained. Also, while the aura had disappeared… the true effect of the skill had not. A dark red color hung over everything as they bathed in the sanguine light of the moon.

Then, Jake felt something was off. His scales absorbed mana, despite him not feeling like anything attacked him. He wondered what was happening until he heard screams from below. Looking down, he saw several of the weaker people in the larger camps fall to the ground as blood seeped out of their skin.

Within a few seconds, it multiplied as the humans began bleeding from every orifice and even out of their skin, sending tens of thousands of tiny droplets flow upwards. Even the undead began letting out black blood.

It wasn’t only the humans and Risen who were affected. The remaining Vampiric Blood Elementals also began dissolving as they floated upwards, all of them heading partly towards the moon and another part towards the Monarch of Blood.

As if hundreds of rivers of blood formed, it all funneled into him and the moon. Humans below began making barriers, and the Holy Church activated some magic to try and defend themselves, but it was far from enough.

In less than a minute, hundreds of D-grade humans died or fled the Treasure Hunt – more than 80% of those who remained. Jake looked down and saw Neil and his party together with Sultan, and he hurried over to them as he saw Silas struggle.

He had a strong feeling attacking the Monarch or the moon would be completely useless right now, so he chose to help those from Haven instead. Jake touched down as he spread out his hands and infused a bit of mana into his presence as he erected an arcane barrier in the area. It was a bubble more than ten meters across, and in not that long, it was entirely filled with people who took refuge under it – courtesy of Neil teleporting them in to save them.

Caleb had flown down to the rest of the Court and protected them, but soon enough, Neil also teleported them over. Reika also activated a powerful barrier as she defended herself and others. People everywhere around the Mistless Plains did what they could to survive, but the death toll was still high.

Jake sent a message to Sylphie and got confirmation that she and everyone else at the Abomination were fine. The Abomination had apparently gone into some berserker rage as the red light hit it, and the Sword Saint, she and Eron, were handling it. Honestly, it was expected as all of them were powerful enough to fight the magic currently deployed by the Blood Moon. Especially Sylphie and her overpowered Green Shield thing.

Seconds passed by as the Treasure Hunters on Earth simply tried to survive. On the other hand, the Monarch was having the blood channeled into him as his broken body began regenerating at a rapid pace. If Jake’s guess was correct, then the moon absorbed the blood to keep the spell going, and with the supply cut off, it would be forced to end in not that long.

The only problem with this was the many blood elementals still being absorbed even after all the affected humans were either protected, dead, or teleported out. A few humans here and there still failed to keep up their defenses and found themselves exposed, but it was few and far between, and they often just teleported out right away using the Hunter Insignia.

Jake just looked on as he maintained the barrier. He didn’t need it himself, but he was fine keeping others safe. Could he have perhaps interrupted the regeneration or something like that? Potentially… but he didn’t want to. He wanted to see what this final skill or ritual or whatever it was called was all about.

Finally, after the entire thing had been going on for over five minutes, the Blood Moon began dimming slightly, and the constant funnel of blood from the elemental finished as there was nothing more to feast on. The forces of Earth were in shambles, and just when Jake thought it was over, the eye on the Blood Moon opened as wide as it could and the iris became a narrow slit.

A new kind of pressure appeared, pressing down on everyone within Yalsten. A mix of magic and the same god-like presence before.

Jake dispelled his arcane barrier, and those around him looked sluggish and barely able to move, many even falling to their knees once again. He exchanged a glance with Caleb, who stood beside him, his brother breathing heavily as his boosting skill had long expired.

“I’m spent,” he said with a smile.

Nodding, Jake stepped forward and summoned his wings. The pressure didn’t affect him, and even if it could, his scales would have kept it out. He felt the blood magic inherent in the pressure and how it was almost physical. It was almost as if people’s own blood made everyone heavier, making only a handful of humans able to move. Even Jacob was completely downed.

Jake jumped and flew upwards. He stopped in the air not far from the Monarch. The vampire stared up at the Blood Moon and didn’t even look his way as he spoke to Jake.

“I made a lot of mistakes, you know?” he said, and for the first time, his voice was not infused with willpower. Instead, he just spoke normally, and his voice sounded far less imposing than before.

He finally turned to Jake, continuing. “Some parts of me think that the True Ancestor knew a day like this would come. Everything I have done, I did to fulfill the mission I had been given. It took far longer than anyone could expect back then… but I believe that today I will finally complete that mission.”

At the same time, Jake got the message that the Sword Saint was coming back towards the Mistless Plains together with Sylphie. The Abomination had collapsed along with Eron the moment the pressure appeared, with only Sylphie and the old man able to keep moving.

It was odd. Jake was completely unaffected, and below he saw Carmen sitting up unbothered with a sweat-covered Sven right beside her, unable to do anything. Reika also managed to stay upright, but everyone around her couldn’t. It wasn’t a scale of suppression… it was either-or. Jake felt absolutely nothing.

“What is this pressure?” Jake asked the Monarch, genuinely curious.

The Monarch smiled as he gladly explained. “Judgement. Only those deemed worthy can stand and are allowed to keep participating.”

Jake looked up at the moon. “A test of some sort related to the Legacy of Sanguine?”

“Exactly,” the vampire confirmed. The two of them stood there a bit longer, just staring up the moon, neither in a rush to begin what would no doubt be the final battle.

“All those unaffected are worthy, and I must say I am surprised there are so many. You being worthy is obviously no surprise, but for three more to be too? Truly a surprise. Ah, with two more coming, it seems.”

Jake had obviously already felt them. The Sword Saint and Sylphie reached his side not long after, the Monarch not making any moves. He looked wholly healed, with not a single wound left from their fight… but Jake felt he was weaker. Everything had taken a toll. Jake and the Sword Saint weren’t at full power either, but they weren’t that weakened, just a bit tired and potentially low on resources. However…

“Sylphie,” Jake said to the bird.

She looked at him and understood. At this point, she was only posturing, and Jake knew she was barely running on fumes. Sure, she had a few good attacks left in her, but he would rather not risk it. Sylphie, a bit reluctantly, jumped off his shoulder as she flew down to where Carmen was. Caleb had also joined her, as pretty much all the surviving humans had sought to the same area. None of them could fight, and even those who could stand knew they couldn’t truly interfere.

Jake saw the Sword Saint throw a glance down to Reika. Jake agreed. While she was strong, this wasn’t a fight she could join.

The Monarch approved of their decision as he summoned his blade and took a defensive position. “Come. Let us finish this.”

Both humans took a step at that moment. One of them flew forward, his sword brandished and ready, with the other drawing a bow as he teleported backward and nocked an arrow. Jake took aim and fired, the Monarch ready as blood magic condensed in front of him to block it, as he also moved his blade.

The Sword Saint and vampire exchanged several blows, seemingly even. Jake broke the balance as his arrows flew in, hitting the Monarch or forcing him to divert his attention and block. Black curse magic began revolving around the Monarch as he summoned the otherwise mostly unfused school of magic.

Black tendrils spread all around him, aiming to infect both Jake and the Sword Saint. The old man spun his blade as planes of water appeared and functioned like shields. When the tendrils touched the water, they simply sunk into it like the thickness of the water was far more than it was.

Jake, on the other hand, just teleported away from them, and those he didn’t view as worth dodging, he tanked with Scales of the Malefic Viper. He had feared for a moment the scales wouldn’t block curses, but that didn’t appear to be a problem with the legendary version.

Blood clones then appeared, followed by a lot of the other usual tricks. Some of them flew for Jake while some stayed at the Sword Saint. Shooting them down one by one, Jake also assisted the old man as he bombarded the clones around him.

Their teamwork didn’t rely on them knowing how to work together but on trusting the strength of the other one. Jake felt like he understood the Sword Saint well enough despite them having interacted so little. Because even if the old man talked about responsibility and how he did everything for his clan… Jake knew.

The old man enjoyed it. Perhaps not as much as Jake, but the Sword Saint just loved fighting.

That gleam in his eye whenever he clashed with the Monarch, the faint smile that he failed to suppress when the vampire managed to block his blow and counterattack… it was unmistakable. He could swear up and down how everything was for others, but Jake would call bullshit on that any day of the week. The old geezer was a battle junkie, pure and simple.

Jake also grinned as the two clones made it to him, both wielding their weapons. Jake’s danger sense activated as one of the clones exploded, while the other one dove through the explosion to attack Jake. In the distance, another clone exploded too. This time it included a teleport as the Monarch appeared right in front of Jake, his blade gone and claws at the ready.

Back at the Sword Saint, the old man had been ready and, unlike last time, managed to cover his body in a faint layer of water, taking the brunt of the impact. Another clone came for him, making him unable to keep up his assault on the true Monarch right away.

Not that Jake needed it. The claw of the Monarch tried to pierce Jake’s chest, but he blocked it with his scimitar as he quickly deposited his bow. With the other hand, the Monarch grasped Jake by the shoulder, with Jake also grasping the vampire in kind.

Leaning in, the Monarch tried to bite Jake, and he blocked as he raised his arm, allowing the vampire to bite down on it. Jake, without thinking, did the same as bit into the arm holding him. He felt pure vital energy be drained out of him along with his blood, but he swiftly responded as he channeled mana into Blood of the Malefic Viper.

At the same time, he pumped in venom with his own canines, courtesy of Fangs of the Malefic Viper. Jake had to admit, at that very moment, it would be hard to say who was the vampire and who was the human. However, one thing was clear… the Monarch was the first one to stop. Not because Jake was winning out, but because an old man with a sword tried to cut off his head from behind.

Jake tried to keep him still, even using Gaze of the Apex Hunter, but the Monarch still managed to wrest himself free through a combination of pure physical power and blood magic. Jake was sent tumbling back as the Monarch barely managed to duck as a sword flew overhead, cutting a bit of his hair off.

Using the given space, Jake reequipped his bow and continued his ranged assault. The Sword Saint was now pushing the Monarch again as their melee brawl continued. Jake and the old man exchanged a quick glance, as it was clear they were both enjoying themselves, and amazingly enough, even the losing Monarch didn’t seem the least bothered.

Below, everyone just stared on as the two most powerful people on Earth battled the Monarch with a clear advantage. Jake was tired, so was the Sword Saint, but the Monarch was far from healthy either. The humans had spent a long-ass time with boosting skills active, and the Monarch had taken enough blows to kill someone like Jake tens of times over.

In the end, the three monsters battled as Yalsten crumbled around them, all of them having the times of their lives.

Twenty minutes after the final phase began, deciding the winning side couldn’t be more straightforward as Jake and the Sword Saint truly proved themselves the two most powerful humans on Earth.

A note from Zogarth

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