The Primal Hunter



Chapter 377 - Jake vs the King (Rematch?)


A question Jake had asked himself many times since the tutorial was how powerful the King of the Forest truly was. A part of him feared that he had almost deified the being and made the King out to be stronger than he actually was.

Jake had only ever felt the aura of the King. He had never felt his full power. He had been played around with until he cursed the King with a black bead and then stabbed him with the Tusk to weaken him further. Jake had used so many items and done so much just to get a fighting chance.

Of course, the current Jake was incomparably stronger compared to back then. He had evolved, gained levels, skills, his arcane affinity… so many things. His power had grown more than tenfold. The current Jake could have killed himself from back then with a single arrow… but… the King back then could also have killed him with a single attack.

However, today, all of these questions would be answered. Had Jake overestimated the King? Had his constant comparisons of every other D-grade and his conclusions the King was stronger been wrong? The answer to that was simple…

It was a resounding no.


The fight began with an explosion as the entire area around them for over a hundred meters was leveled as Jake was forced to teleport back. He had barely landed as a wave of force made him teleport again, exploding the area he had just appeared at.

Jake snickered as he took another step and drew the string of his bow, feeling time slow down. He took aim as he fired the arrow as it split into five. The King held up his ivory claw as a wall of force appeared and was pushed forward, blocking all of the arrows and making them explode.

Refusing to be outdone, Jake drew again as arcane energy whirled around him. An Arcane Powershot was released as he took a step and circled the King, as he channeled another and fired.

The first was blocked by a blast of force, making both explode on impact, as the second one was dodged by the King moving to the side with unnatural movements. He manipulated his own body with telekinesis.

In that case, Jake would just kick it up a notch. Pride activated as mana began condensing all around him, dozens of arcane bolts appearing. He also continued his assault with his bow, not giving the King a chance to counter without exposing himself.

Or at least he thought he did.

The King pointed his ivory claw towards Jake and blasted a wave of force out as the arcane bolts landed upon him, only to encounter a small transparent shield. The same one that had stopped his other attacks during the tutorial and had been broken by the Tusk.

They were both far more evenly matched than Jake had believed, making holding back useless.

Jake’s body exploded with Arcane Awakening in the balanced mode, boosting all his stats by 30% in an instant. With it, he had believed he would be superior… only to see the King respond in kind as a golden mist surrounded him.

“Back then, I could not control my energy at all… this time is different.”

Another wave of force was released. Jake quickly teleported but saw where it had hit as the ground was cleaved up. The moment the blast hit anything, it was as if golden dust was mixed in, as a mist of gold appeared and disappeared in a moment.

“You have new tricks, too,” Jake commented.

“Even in sleep, when deep within my soul, I learned. I had never had a desire or seen a need to improve. Why bother when none could challenge me?”

“Always strive to improve!” Jake yelled as he fired back arrow after arrow, seeing them all blocked or dodged as he also avoided the blows of the King.

“A sentiment I have grown to embrace,” the King answered as the two of them slowly began closing in on one another.

Arcane energy and the golden energy of the King mixed as their attacks clashed and explosions sounded out on the otherwise peaceful area as they soon found themselves on the Insect Plains.

Jake began testing out some new methods as he focused on the inner space of his quiver. Inside, he already had over a dozen previously summoned stable arcane arrows soaked in poison made before he even left Haven. With a mere thought, he could summon them as he wanted, but what was more was the control he had in there.

He attempted to begin to summon an Arrow of the Ambitious Hunter not on his palm but within the space of the quiver. Attempt… because he failed. Not because his idea of summoning it within the quiver didn’t work, but because he realized… he didn’t understand the King well enough to.

The Unique Lifeform was something he truly didn’t comprehend. It was a mask but also the weird tree-looking creature before him. He wore a mask on his face, yet the body of the King was the same mask, meaning it now existed two places at once. The weird black flesh of the King was not any biology he had ever seen before, and the bark-like skin was of a material he didn’t know. Same for the hands and feet… they were made of an ivory bone-like material but were not bone.

A part of him already knew the explanation… because there was no comparison. Comprehending the King well enough was not something he could study in a book or understand within a short while. It was a Unique Lifeform. There was one Fallen King, truly unique, to comprehend.

Something he would gladly strive to do.

Jake began pulling out the poisoned arrows and trying to mix them in but quickly found an issue… getting a direct hit was hard.

Jake also discovered another issue really fast. As he channeled and fired an Arcane Powershot from a good angle, he used Gaze of the Apex Hunter as he usually did to freeze the King. Yet the moment he did, he felt a backlash as if he was smashed with a hammer in his face, making him groan as he fired.

The King had still been frozen and was forced to block with the shield, but Jake had no desire to use Gaze again. Maybe it had been a bit optimistic using a soul attack on a Unique Lifeform whose most powerful skill was soul-related.

Luckily for Jake, he had way more methods to attempt. The King primarily used his telekinesis to fire waves of force and his passive shield, but Jake also knew he had more to show for himself. Both were feeling out the other party as they finally got within less than a hundred meters of each other again.

Jake stepped down once more as he appeared at the side of the King. The shield around the Unique Lifeform reminded him of the mana shield on the Altmar Census Golem, so he tried a similar tactic as back then.

His hand began glowing with Touch of the Malefic Viper as he tried to make contact with the shield but found himself blasted back by an omnidirectional wave of force – one he had predicted. He had barely been blasted back as two strings of mana stabilized him, and one more step brought him behind the King as he touched the barrier.

Instantly it began sizzling and corroding, and Jake knew he only needed a bit more time. Something he wouldn’t get as his danger sense exploded in warning, making Jake back away as the King turned as he cleaved a golden claw upwards.

Jake’s eyes opened wide as the warning remained even as he flew backward, and he landed on a hastily constructed platform teleporting him to the side just in time.

A bright explosion of gold enveloped the Insect Plains as five scars now marked the surface, each of them several kilometers long and dozens of meters deep. Jake had no doubt hundreds if not thousands of E-grades insects had died from that one attack, and Jake was completely certain he had no desire to tank it.

Back in the tutorial… the Golden Claw had been the attack that triggered his Moment of the Primal Hunter, and while he believed he would be able to take it without that happening again, he wouldn’t come out unscathed.

Jake stepped down again as he repeated his attack and stayed close to the King, his scimitar in one hand and the other with Touch constantly active as he whittled away at the shield ever-so-slowly.

He was forced to teleport, again and again, finding his mobility higher than the Kings by a good bit. Yet as time passed, Jake’s dodges got narrower and narrower, as he soon found it difficult to land anything more than a quick touch or a swing of his poisoned blade.

Finally, he saw an opening and took it as he attacked with his palm. The King blasted at him, but Jake managed to jump and avoid it, twisting his wrist and arm to stay in contact as finally, he got through. His hand landed on the bark-like body of the King as his poison was infused. The barrier could not repair itself with his arm inside it, giving him an ample opportunity to-

“I have been with you since you became a D-grade… I have been sleeping, but I dreamed. I know you, hunter.”

A pressure suddenly fell upon him as Jake felt himself be pressed down towards the ground. He struggled as he dodged the swipe of a second Golden Claw, leaving another disastrous scar on the environment.

“Last time I held back… this time, I shall not.”

That is when Jake noticed… his feet weren’t pressed down. The pressure was not physical but something entirely else. His head began hurting as his vision began blurring. A constant headache grew as Jake began feeling like he was half-asleep or drunk. His body was heavy… slow… unresponsive. His health was dropping… his mana… his stamina… everything was being drained out of him.

Soul attack.

Jake’s survival instinct triggered as he stepped down and teleported back. He had only done it once as a blast of force hit him in the chest, sending him flying through the air as blood entered his mouth. He spat it out as he landed on the ground, rolling.

He was a good two or three kilometers away from the King when he fully stabilized himself. The effect of the soul attack was gone as quickly as it came, and the remnant effects disappeared within moments the second he was out of it. What was eerier was that he didn’t see any indication of it being there.

Fucking soul attacks, Jake cursed under his breath as he decided that melee wasn’t the way to go if that is what he had to deal with. Luckily for him, he was fine with not being in melee… it just meant he would play the long game.

Looking at the King, he now had a black imprint on his bark-like armor, and Jake felt that a bit of poison had entered the Unique Lifeform’s body… but he had not come out on top in that exchange. While he didn’t feel like he had taken any damage from the soul attack, the loss of mana, stamina, and health was unquestionable.

Jake pulled out an arrow as he switched to the good old tactic of arrow bombardment. He mixed in explosive arrows, poisoned arrows, stable arrows, and all sorts of magical arcane attacks. The King began giving chase as it tried to get closer, with Jake backing away.

With his danger sense, he could dodge all the blasts of force, but with the blasts of force, he couldn’t get a good chance to channel his Arcane Powershot for more than a brief period. Their bout ripped apart the Insect Plains as neither held back, explosions abound.

“Are you ready to go all out?” Jake asked as he prepared himself.

“Come,” the King answered.

Jake smiled as purple veins began covering his body. A fragment of skin flaked off as the energy burned beneath, and a small barrier covered his skin as he fully entered Arcane Awakening, boosting all of his skills by a massive 60% as his health began dropping.

He covered his his body in scales, Pride activated fully, and Jake took a stance and nocked an arrow as he took aim. At the same time, the golden energy revolving around the King began glowing more, and to his surprise, the mask itself began shining as the veins in the wood began burning golden.

Arcane barriers formed in front of Jake in preparation for what was to come as he charged the Arcane Powershot. The King lifted a golden claw and pointed it towards Jake as it began burning with intense golden power.

“This one is new… gained at level 140. I would be careful.”

Jake simply smiled. Same to you.

The King would make his move first. For a moment, the area dozens of kilometers around them except just around Jake gained a golden hue that soon gathered as an orb appeared in the palm of the King. It echoed with power as if filled with lightning within, crackling in an almost unstable manner. The King lifted it and aimed it towards Jake as he sunk his claws into it, crushing the orb.


A golden wave of energy was released in all directions, but more than ninety percent was sent in a focused beam towards Jake.

The King had taken five or so seconds to gather the orb, and it moved faster than a wave of force by a considerable margin. But Jake had just enough time to not only channel his Arcane Powershot to perfection but dozens of highly condensed bolts of arcane mana ready for release.

When the golden beam hit the area of Pride, Jake instantly felt the soul component of the attack. A component he found was partly blocked by the many arcane barriers as they were torn apart like wet toilet paper one after another.

Jake waited till the very last moment before he let go of the string, and at the same time, commanded the bolts to move.

The arrow encountered the beam immediately. Part of the beam was absorbed by his scales, while the rest clashed with the power of the Arcane Powershot and the many arcane bolts.

In a display that mimicked the fight during the tutorial, an eclipse of golden energy and purple arcane energy was born, mixing and fighting each other as no victor was found. Soon, however, it became clear no balance would be found, and all trace of stability disappeared from Jake’s mana as only destruction remained.

A second explosion dominated the Insect Plains mere seconds after the first, as the power of both of their strongest attacks was released.

For nearly ten kilometers in all directions, the ground was scorched bare as destruction tore through. Yet, in the center of the explosion, two figures had never stopped clashing. Even as the energy died down and all that was left was what could only be described as a massive crater, the arrows kept flying, and the blasts of force kept tearing up the ground even more.

Every ability was pulled out of his arsenal as Jake and the King kept clashing with all their might. Jake kept at a distance at all times as he was clear of the limited range of the soul magic and the golden claw attack, while the King clearly knew all of Jake’s skills and dodged the necessary ones while taking the weak with his barrier.

Neither had been injured by the huge explosion due to their respective defenses. Jake had his passive shield from Arcane Awakening, could summon a few extra barriers if needed, and what did get through his legendary scales absorbed and nullified.

Jake had learned that the King could easily blast apart arrows and even uses of Splitting Arrow, so most of his landed attacks were Arcane Bolts and condensed Arcane Orbs that he fired from all directions and manipulated using Pride and his sphere.

With neither able to land solid blows, it just turned into a battle of endurance. Both had used their best boosting skills, Jake assumed, and unless one party pulled out another new powerful attack, nothing would change till one party ran out of mana.

They both knew it as they stopped their bout, standing with several kilometers between them. The area more than fifteen kilometers in all directions was just a crater filled with smaller craters, arcane energy, and golden energy pulsing on the ground here and there.

“I wonder who will become unable to keep up first,” the King questioned aloud.

Jake just smiled. “You know, as someone who has studied me for so long… you should know that I don’t tend to lose a battle of attrition. Especially not with these.”

He pulled out a mana bottle and chugged it down where he stood, almost tauntingly.

The King responded by laughing. “And I still have a mask to drop.”

Jake remembered that final attack of the King very clearly… but he also remembered how slow it had been. “I can flee faster than it moves.”

“Doubtful. As doubtful as it is something in the interest of either of us to try,” the King said. The boosting skill he was using faded, as Jake saw the mask still look somewhat damaged, though it was already repairing itself. “Let us end this second bout here. There shall be opportunities aplenty in the future.”

Jake responded in kind as he deactivated his Arcane Awakening and instantly felt a wave of weakness. His entire body was aching and hurting, but he just gritted his teeth and pushed through. Pushed through long enough to summon a chair and take a seat as he leaned back on it.

The King had also stopped floating and now just stood on the ground, seemingly inspecting his body.

“You enjoy being alive, huh?” Jake commented jokingly.

“Existence outside of a confined soul realm where I am forced to spend all my time on recovering and hanging onto a shred of consciousness is indeed a desirable state of being.”

“I can imagine,” Jake smirked. “Anyway… time for some battle evaluation.”

It would be foolish not to reflect on things, right?

A note from Zogarth

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