As I expected, we found a small area surrounded by rocky crags and low growing vegetation. Both were good signs of spawns being somewhere in the vicinity. Sylus placed the jug of water down where we decided to set up camp.
“So who’s hunting?” I asked as I poked at the flames in my makeshift fire pit.
“I am.” Sylus stood up.
“With your shrively little tentacles?” I snorted.
“I’ll go.” I stood up. “I haven’t hunted in a while. You relax for a minute.”
Sylus ground his jaw.
“Don’t do that. You’ll have trouble chewing if you do.”
“I don’t have muscles.” He grumbled.
“Still.” I put my hands on his shoulder and pushed him back down onto the ground. “You shouldn’t grind your teeth like that.” I leaned down and kissed him on the forehead. “I’ll be back.”
I picked up my guitar and headed out of camp.
It had been a while since I’d actually gone out on a hunt alone. Sylus was always worried about me wandering out on my own. I was a mere mortal while he was immortal, yet if we tallied up who got roughed up more, he’d beat me by a mile. Immortality somehow meant he was allowed to be more reckless. After all these years, I still panicked when he sustained severe injuries. To me, he was still my mortal friend. I never really let it sink in that he was anything more than the same person I always knew.
I brought my guitar around front and pulled my crystalline pick out from under my shirt. I crept along the low growth slowly and quietly. My hope was to catch some smaller spawns to maybe use to bait some larger ones out of the stony crags that surrounded us.
After a long, drawn-out period of silence, I finally heard something rustling in the tendril plants nearby. I turned toward it and crouched down. It sounded like echlaines, small rodent-like spawns, but it was unlike them to be out in the open.
I watched the tuft of tendrils carefully, waiting to see what came out of it. Sure enough, it was a single echlaine. Also uncharacteristic as they tended to travel in packs. Confused, I stood up and prepared to open up my attack. My focus was so trained on the tiny thing that I didn’t notice something else nearby until it hit the ground with a thud. I immediately looked up to find myself standing before a grak. Spawns came in all shapes and sizes all of which were all somewhat unsettling in their own way, but a giant furry spider with scorpion claws standing up on thin grasshopper legs had to be my least favorite of the Void’s mutant children.
The echlaine scurried away between my legs as the grak’s attention was now focused on me. For as big as they were, their ability to jump incredible heights and spit acid made them an utter nightmare to fight. Its mandibles rubbed together as it sized me up. Countless glassy eyes pierced its furry body. They blinked at different rates so at no point would it ever be completely blinded.
I slowly tuned my guitar for the fight. I’d learned over the years that every spawn had its own frequency it was weak to. My weapon was a guitar in name only. In combat, it was a weapon capable of turning sound into spells. Out of combat, yeah, I could sit by the fire and play kumbaya without blowing anything up, but that wasn’t the situation I was currently in.
The grak lowered its body, clearly poising itself to jump over me. I dug my boots into the earth and readied myself to open fire. It shrieked before leaping into the air. I spun around expecting it to land behind me, but when it didn’t I looked up to find it skittering across the rock formations that surrounded me. My spells were powerful, but they were relatively slow. I’d need to track its movements until it showed a clear pattern or sign of slowing down. But that never happened. Instead, it lunged off the rocky surface and slammed back down behind me. Spinning back around, I struck the chord I had prepared for it. It strafed my attack as one of its pincers tried to catch me from the side. I leapt back and struck the chord again this time hitting my mark. It reeled back and screeched a bit. This was my opening. I stuck the chord as many times as I could, sending wave after wave of brilliant light shooting toward my target at the speed of my spells. The grak cried out as it began writing from my barrage of assaults. It made one last desperate lunge, claws outstretched, but all it took was one more strike of my crystalline strings to ground it permanently.
“Still got it.” I breathed.