True to Londa’s fear, another beast did arrive to take advantage of Rhonda after her first successful hunt.
Moments prior to the ambush, the amber light of sunset was darkening into a deep shade of indigo and merlot. There were sounds of a trickling stream hundreds of feet ahead of Rhonda, exciting her.
When the ground turned muddy, it lent to Rhonda an idea that the stream had a wider range depending on the weather. Having her boots slurped down ankle-deep by mud soured the anticipation to reach the running water source.
Rhonda crinkled her nose. She hefted the boar up behind her shoulder and planned to tell Londa how sorry her boots would look coming here, although she wouldn’t be sure if she would prefer to walk through mud barefoot.
It would’ve been a delightful conversation if a furry beast with large claws and teeth didn’t tackle her into the mud!
The giantess raised her arms and protected her neck, her instincts firing off instantly before Londa said a word. She was right to do so when she felt a savage pain rip into her forearm. It originated from a monster attempting to crush her limb with the sheer force of its bite.
There was mud in Rhonda’s eyes. Mud in her mouth. She could barely scream or get a sense of what was happening. The damp earth was pulling her down. A furry monster kept her pressed on her back from above, its claws tearing into her torso.
Her free hand slapped around desperately for something to help her. She couldn’t get to her knife because it was pinned under her. The next nearest thing was the boar carcass.
Desperation rising, Rhonda smacked against the monster’s body. Her hand went up along its neck and over its face. Her fingers hooked inside the monster’s cheek to hopefully yank it off, but it shook its head violently to thwart the effort.
Hideous, stomach-lurching pain shot through her ensnared arm. That stopped her from trying to pull the monster off.
Rhonda screeched, her free arm slapping around her again before it found something hard. It was a stone the size of her hand from the feel of it. She snatched it out of the mud and swung it around to the beast’s head.
The crushing force latched around her injured arm went away. She was given a short reprieve that was made even shorter with Londa’s directions.
Don’t let that Giant Stalker slink off! It might be the type that’ll keep hunting you no matter what.
“No!” Rhonda threw herself up off her back, splashing heaps of mud everywhere. The Lvl 26 Giant Stalker was still shaking off the hit from Rhonda’s impromptu weapon as she faced it on better terms now.
The oversize feline was at least nine feet tall at the shoulders. Its fur was similar to the shadows' dark indigo colors during sunset, which suggested that it was an opportunistic hunter during the twilight. One of its fangs was nearly as large as the giantess’s knife.
Rhonda aimed for the teeth anyway with her new stone weapon. She bashed those chompers bloody loose, fracturing part of its face.
The monster cat replied by jumping up and dishing out a ferocious series of swipes to her face. Its paw speed was incredibly fast, smacking Rhonda around good.
Fiery lines of pain streaked across Rhonda’s cheeks and dripped wet with the essence of her life. It was damaging, but it was not enough to dissuade the mad giantess’s returned offensive—a kick!
The toe of her boot struck the Stalker’s bosom. Despite the gloom of sunset, Rhonda clearly saw all the air in the beast’s chest rush out its maw in one big whoop. She felt rib bones fracture like branches crackling under the giantess’s step. Then there was the sheer force of the push transferred from Rhonda’s leg to the punted monster.
She sent the stalker backflipping into a tree trunk. THWACK. The tree was a big old one, so it only shuddered a little while the feline crumpled onto its roots.
Frothing blood strangled the stalker's attempted cries, forcing it to gargle. It tried to roll back on its feet only to stop when Rhonda stalked over to it.
“I’m all muddy and bloody and a mess on my first outing!” Rhonda planted her boot on the Stalker’s neck and pinned it against a root. “And I don’t even know if I like these clothes, but my parents left them for me. They shouldn’t be ruined yet!”
She stomped down and broke more of the stalker’s ribs. She stomped again and shattered its jaw. Its body spasmed weakly, the limbs and tail flailing before Rhonda brought her heel down on its neck again and pummeled that into oblivion—a certified death blow.
She kicked the carcass for the fourth time just because, wetting more of the mucky ground with its blood.
Rhonda inhaled ragged breaths. She reached up to comb through her curls and found them caked with icky mud. Her arm was hurting from the Stalker’s bite, reminding her of that terrible time with the Ferocious Rats.
The memory triggered her savageness, and she could no longer be responsible for holding back her cravings.
I’m so sorry you’re suffering all of this by yourself, mistress. I was barely any help back there.
Rhonda grunted an unintelligible response. She dropped onto both knees with a loud plop. She reached for the Stalker when a notification flashed in front of her eyes.
You earned good experience for defeating a greater enemy.
Do you wish to loot the body? Yes or no?
“No,” she snarled. She had no idea what looting would do, and it was a mere inconvenience right now.
Once the prompt disappeared, Rhonda’s teeth found purchase on the Stalker’s neck. The fur barely bothered her. The flesh was easy to tear into like freshly baked bread. Unlike bread, the meat was warm, and the blood was hot; its zesty metallic flavor sent Rhonda into a euphoric high.
She did not stop at the Stalker. The boar was cold when she got to it, but she was undeterred by that little detail. It was not long ago that she ate a necrotic arm. Cold meat was child’s play in comparison, so Rhonda fully delighted herself upon the occasion.
It mattered not how unsanitary her feasting in the mud would seem; the giantess was fully in the throes of her passion. By the time she finished the boar, it was well into the nighttime. The darkness surrounding her was thicker than the forest itself.
Like a true monstress, Rhonda rose back to her feet after she had cleaned the forest of the two carcasses her survivalism had amounted. All of her wounds were healed from what she could tell, and her hunger had been dimmed to being almost negligible. There was a slight swelling to her belly, but Rhonda knew very well it was nothing more than for show.
She considered her stomach to be akin to a bottomless pit. She would always have room for more. But the feasting was done with, and she was now growing tired. It was time to settle down with her content belly, shut her eyes, and forget the difficulties of the day.
“Londa,” she called softly.
“Can you help me source the stream, so I don’t veer off in the wrong direction?”
I will do my best!
The night seemed to be a moonless one. It might be due to heavy cloud cover. Rhonda was forced to wander blind, kicking her way through little forest obstacles at her feet. Her hands felt ahead of her to keep her from walking into a big tree. She nearly tripped over some tall roots a couple of times before she picked up the habit of raising her knees higher than normal. That helped step over most trip hazards.
Finally, Rhonda broke through the forest with Londa’s aid.
Okay, it sounds like we’re right on top of it, so don’t take another—
Rhonda’s next step landed on ice-cold water and sank downward. She windmilled her arms in an attempt to hold her balance—little good that did her. She hit the water belly first with a loud slap and soaked her threads completely in the stream.
Ohhhhhh, that has to be cold!
It is… but it’s nice. Rhonda purred.
She stayed put, letting herself sink until she was touching the stream’s bed. It was not very deep, maybe five feet at most, but it was deep enough to cover most of her.
Her body responded well to the chill, probably because of her mother being a Frost Giantess. At the same time, all that mud gunk that clung to her was being washed off.
I just want to say that I’m sorry for being a mess of a servant. I feel like I keep letting you down.
You’re always helpful, Londa, Rhonda thought, pushing out of the water. She could feel some added weight to her threads now. “It’s to my belief that we do not have a high enough Perception. Even with absolute focus, it’ll be a challenge to sense everything around us correctly.”
She reached down, cupped water between her hands, and took a long sip. Mmm, delicious and fresh.
There’s a lot to consider, isn’t there? Like, we’ve briefly touched on what these attributes mean for our survival, y’know? We understand Strength, Vitality, Stamina, Agility pretty well since it transfers over to attack power, health and health Regen, fatigue management, and speed and dexterity.
“Yes, indeed.” Rhonda nodded.
Then Intellect is an interesting gamble on our minds that may need more exploring later. I think it might’ve helped us with our memories.
“I concur.” It was probably why Rhonda had relived the memory with the baker boy, especially their kiss on the knoll under a sunset.
The giantess bit the edge of her lips as Londa continued speaking.
Perception is a necessity since we’re constantly reacting to stuff. We understand Faith better, too.
But when will we truly use Charisma? Will that come into play against actual people rather than these beasts? Or could we Pied Piper these animals into being our friends before we chop them up and serve them up with a side of fries to the queen? Or at least make friends with the more chillax ones like that King Butterfly and be our own Disney Princess.
“This knee princess?” Rhonda tilted her head. Then she shook her head. “You’ve been considering my attributes quite deeply, I see. Certainly, more than I have.”
It’s one of the few things I can actually do to help you.
Rhonda clapped her hands together. “Well, I’m very open to suggestions for sleeping comfortably.”
Oh! Oh! We can finally use the fire belt.
Rhonda quirked her eyebrow. “You mean the [Belt of the Soft Blaze]?”
Yeah, of course, fire belt. It was easy to imagine Londa flashing a cheeky smile. But first, we’ll have to look for a solid, dry surface. Gather some dry kindling. Then light the sucker up. I think that’s how it works.
“What you’re basically saying is I have to work to sleep?” Rhonda’s mouth fell open. She was flabbergasted by the notion of working more just after having a filling meal and drink of water.
Well… yeah? You gotta dry your clothes somehow. And the fire will keep away beasts… I think.
“But do I really have to work moooooore?”
I don’t want to be that gal, but I’m gonna have to be a little tough here and say yes. This is part of being all woodswoman now, mistress.
Hi, I'm Epikos!
I've been writing since I was 13, and I've kept at it for 14 years so far. I like to write about unlikely heroes faced against terrible odds. I like to genre-bend and write speculative fiction. I'm new to LitRPG and gamelit, so please forgive me as I write and grow.