- Job Description:
- Job Title: Thinning the herd
Job Location: Sakuramori
Solo Word Count: 1500
Group Word Count: 3000
Additional Requirements: Legal alignment
Job Description: As is the case with all living things, a balance must be maintained so the eco-system remains intact. When one native species gets overcrowded, vegetation might altogether disappear. If a dominant species gets overcrowded, the local herbivores might die out, causing vegetation to grow unchecked. When vegetation grows unchecked, other species of flora and fauna might not be able to thrive. All things considered, a careful balance must be maintained, and nature might not always be able to take care of it by herself. This is where you come in, a trained hunter or capable magus. Taking on the job means one has to hunt down and kill a certain amount of animals for the good of the forest. Safety is advised, and above all else, be respectful of the lives you take.
Enemies: Depending on the species that needs thinning out, one might find the job to be more dangerous than it might have been for others that have done it in the past. Make no mistake though, even a rat can pose a threat when cornered, as there is no telling what it might do when it sees no way out. Every living creature wants to live above all other things, so be careful with whatever it is that you might need to hunt.
Reward: 20k Jewels and Rank exp
Sakuramori was pleasant as always, colorful as usual. Zachariah arrived in the heart of the afternoon, when the sun was blaring through the rosy canopy. He’d picked up an odd, though intriguing job for this area specifically. There were a few too many beasts in the forest, and he needed to be the limiter in order to maintain the fragile balance in the ecosystem. While the job didn’t describe what kind of beast he would have to slay, he had an idea. The last time he was here, he was training with a guildmate named Victoria. Though, they were interrupted by an eight-headed serpent that nearly claimed his life. Not to mention the golem that had attacked him while he was setting up camp; the ten foot tall monster that took control of wood and stone. He fared well in a place like this, appreciating the challenge of a strong monster.
Though, the moment he crossed the creek into the dark of the forest, he didn’t expect to hear a manticore snarl at him from across the clearing. Out of instinct, he tossed a Morning Star into the shadow, but the gleaming burst revealed only an empty space. He squinted to see if he had truly missed, but the lion suddenly lurched from the left and slashed at his arm. Its claws snagged onto his jacket and tore his sleeve from the elbow down. The manticore hissed and pounced at him. Zachariah swung his fist out in front of him, aiming to crackle a Morning Star against its body, but the beast flew overhead and struck downwards with its scorpion tail. Zachariah dodged with remarkable agility, triggering the Lightspeed Beatdown. He leapt from the ground and planted his palms into the beast’s chest, bursting with two scorching Morning Stars. His legs deftly grabbed and immobilized its wings, and he suplexed it into the ground. A cloud of dust billowed from the ground, and Zachariah wiped his hands clean of the dirt.
“Not fast enough, kitty cat,” he joked, only a moment too soon. The beast’s tail nicked his chin and stung with acid. Zachariah grunted in pain, but used a spell called the Ultraviolent Flash to put it back into its place. It writhed, blinded by the indigo light, and Zachariah took the chance to put it out of its misery. A bright red Prismatic Dart penetrated the beast’s skull and ended its writhing. Zachariah fanned the dust away with his hands and checked the beast’s pulse, then produced a wrinkled paper from his jacket pocket. While the quest didn’t explain the beast in detail, there was a silhouette of a lion imprinted on the back. “Of course,” he scoffed. “And here I thought it was just an emblem.”
He tucked the paper away and made his way deeper into the forest. Needless to say, Sakuramori had the most interesting creatures and breathtaking views. A small herd of shining rabbits ran underfoot, nearly toppling Zachariah by the ankles. They seemed harmless for the most part, but seemed to be fleeing from something. He shot around, searching for something in the brush. Nothing but dark red leaves and thorns met his gaze. He looked up and briefly saw movement in the trees. A small black figure darted around the branches, avoiding Zachariah’s attacks. Prismatic Darts lined the branches like holiday lights, but couldn’t nail anything down. He twirled until his neck became sore, trying to locate the source of the rustling.
Briefly, he shut out the harsh colors of Sakuramori and channeled magic into his extremities. His touch expanded into the photons around him and resonated, triggering the Ultraviolent Flash. Indigo flared in every direction, singing the dry brush and evaporating any dew still left over from the morning. A loud mewl echoed from the trees as well as an aching thump on the ground. Four paws skittered across the forest floor and into the crevasses when Zachariah opened his eyes. The wind picked up speed in inconsistent waves, as if something large was flapping its wings. A lion-shaped silhouette soared overhead, shadowing everything below. Zachariah walked farther into the forest, holding light in his hand to explore. Slaughtered game and shattered branches lined the forest floor, hideously complementing the lively sakura forest. Animal bones and fresh carcasses remained in the clearings, too. Zachariah found himself counting and analyzing and thought out loud, “there are too many manticores…”
He climbed into the trees and made his way to the top. Despite the roaring beauty of Sakuramori, Zachariah duly noted that it would be devoid of life if he couldn’t regulate the manticore population. The feisty creatures would mow down every other species available, eventually draining the forest of its life. Though he couldn’t find the creature he was searching for, he could hear its gargantuan bat wings winding up. When he looked overhead, he saw the vicious beast harassing a flock of birds and decided to follow. While he was too late to save the birds, their feathers raining down into the forest, he closely watched the creature make its way back to its den.
Traveling on the Starlight Surfer, he was able to track it without being noticed nor left behind. The creature’s den was on the edge of Sakuramori, in a burrow by a dry creek. He flew in and lowered himself behind a boulder. The entrance was large enough to fit three and a half Zachs stacked on top of each other and quite wide. The rest of the pride was missing, save for the one Zachariah assumed as the alpha. The largest manticore hid in the shadows, dispersing her freshly caught poultry to the cubs. Zachariah hesitated. After all, it was still a mother providing for her children, but he reminded himself of the greater good. Less manticores would relieve the stress on prey, and there would be more prey available to regulate the plants and feed smaller predators. It was baffling to Zachariah, how frail the system was. It was delicate, but efficient, and Zachariah needed to ensure it maintained its efficiency.
He strolled up to the cave just as more of the older manticores flew in. They perched on the large rocks, grooming themselves and sniffing the air. The beasts were all aware of his presence, but have not yet perceived him as a threat. He psyched himself up, doing a little dance to get his blood flowing before going in. At the moment, six were guarding the cave. He would have to slay four to balance the ecosystem; leaving at least two to raise the young without totally annihilating their population here. With a deep breath, Zachariah turned from his position behind the rock and formed a glassy bubble around them. The Spatial Reflector glowed and refracted the gleaming sunlight. Zachariah fired the Spectral Drill, flying through the enchantment unimpeded, glowing brighter as it soared towards the creatures. Two of them fell victim to the drill, but the remaining wised up and dodged. Zachariah flew in on the Starlight Surfer and trapped one with the Void Division, searing it like a steak.
Maimed, it struggled to fly, and Zachariah used golden Prismatic Dart to relieve it of its pain. Four manticores flanked him from below, attacking him from every possible direction. Zachariah used the Ultraviolent Flash and scorched them, but their hides were thick and durable. He shifted in the air quickly, dizzying himself as he tried to fend off each of them. He hit one with a Morning Star to the mouth and sent it recoiling, then finished it off with the Void Division. Though, the piercing tail of another pinned his leg and deconstructed the Starlight Surfer, sending him barreling to the earth. Before crackling against the ground, he cushioned himself with another and rolled into the dirt. The surviving surrounded, him but his main goal now was to escape, and so blinded them with an Ultraviolent Flash and sprinting away.
His foot got caught in the dirt, and looking down he noticed a slain manticore with his eyes wide open. While the other two were writhing and pawing at their eyeballs, Zachariah knelt down and gently shut the beast’s eyes. It was the least he could do, given the circumstances, and surfed away on his board of light. He soared, repeatedly looking behind him to see if he was being followed, but none came after him. Down below, he noticed the first manticore that attacked him and slowed down, then lowered himself and attempted to bury the beast. It was much heavier than he thought, as were the rocks in Sakuramori, but he was able to get the job done before the sun set. Before covering the makeshift tomb with dirt, he tossed a handful of sakura petals inside and mumbled a short prayer. The rocks and dirt fell the easiest, dirtying but immortalizing the creature for as long as he would remember. Animals gathered at his feet, watching him do so, confused as to why he would bury their predator.