The herbivore bristled, not caring for whoever was interrupting its meal. A vague memory flashed in front of my mind, a faint recollection of how the animal was called, but I was too busy to concentrate on it. Instead, I dashed to the animal's side as it turned towards the racket my approaching pursuer created.
It flicked at me with its snout, but did nothing more when I sat down at its neck. An opportunity to rest my wings felt like a pure bliss. I inwardly groaned in relief as I tucked my wings under their protective lids.
Then, of course, that damned mouse had to rush into the clearing and spoil everything. The herbivore I chose as my resting perch and my protector grunted threateningly, but the mouse didn't even hesitate.
It darted towards me without a second thought.
I pushed through my pain and exhaustion to spread my wings again, but before I left off the herbivore, I dug my stinger past its bristle and deep into its skin. After that, I dashed away from the mouse's path.
Not a moment too late. The herbivore grunted in pain, its small eyes filling with blood, and turned to meet the mouse, but the monster was faster. It clawed at the place where I just sat, leaving deep welts where I already put in my stinger. Good thing I wasn't sitting there anymore.
After the miss, the mouse turned towards me, folding its legs for a jump—but this time, it has other things to worry about besides me. The herbivore, irritated with the mouse's presence, pained by my sting and now frothing from its mouth from the mouse's attack, charged at it.
It dug at the mouse like it was a tree to uproot. Its curved tusks weren't the sharpest weapon I've ever seen, but the creature itself was a mountain of muscle and fat. It was many times the mouse's size, and I could only imagine how much EXP it was worth.
The damned mouse squealed as the herbivore's tusks caught its side, but nimbly twisted its body, dodging a harm bigger than a scratch at the last moment. For a moment, it appeared torn between trying to get at me (who happily hovered in the air in the safe distance) or at its newest offender.
Its hatred for me won. The mouse dashed to me, its legs throwing aside layers of forest dirt, leaving the herbivore to grunt at the dust left in its wake. I, though, wasn't intent on giving the mouse a choice. Each second of staying in the air right now cost me EXP.
The mouse's movements were more sluggish than ever, and with the distance between us, I dodged her with ease, only to fly to the herbivore again. This time, I sat right on its head. It flicked at me with its ears, but appeared to be much more concentrated on the mouse.
I didn't even need to sting the herbivore again—it charged at the mouse anyway with a thunderous trumping of its hooves. With me sitting right on the herbivore's head, the mouse didn't even try to dodge.
It approached this fight just like it approached our previous chase—attacked it, and the herbivore, head-first. Foolish creature, driven only by its mindless rage… This was going to be its undoing.
In the last moment before the mouse and the herbivore met again, I flew up. I was cutting it closer this time, but when the herbivore's tusks tore at the mouse, I knew it was well worth it.
It wasn't all the herbivore's win, though. The mouse's claws left six deep gashes on the herbivore's snout. Two kinds of blood splattered in the air. Two creatures cried out in pain at the same time.
There was only one winner, though, and it was neither of them.
The herbivore let out a high-pitched, furious squeal, lifting the mouse on its tusk and shaking it left and right. I saw the red glow of the monster's body dissipate and its body size return to that of what it was before that strange transformation.
Blood covered most of the herbivore's face, and more blood flowed down its side. With one last shake, it threw the mouse's body aside, where it twitched several more times before stilling. Forever, I hoped.
I flew to it and sat down on one of the mouse's tiny horns. My eyes kept watching the herbivore warily. Would it try to attack me? Would it try to claim my spoils? I assumed it was a herbivore, but it was entirely possible for me to be wrong.
I also watched for weakness. Did the mouse made enough damage to kill the creature? It was there. So big. So strong. So delicious… and so wounded. The smell of blood would attract predators other than me soon, and it would be awfully frustrating to let out a piece like that to go.
I couldn't find in myself strength to lift my wings, though. At the moment, I wanted to just eat that mouse and find a burrow to sleep in for a day.
The herbivore shook its head again, and with a grunt, walked away. I gave it one last wistful look, and took care to remember the direction it walked in before digging into the mouse's flesh.
I took my time eating. Even chewing felt like too much effort. The meat was way too sinewy and rubber-like for my taste, but I didn't leave a single piece of hair and was rewarded with a notification from my ability.
[Creature devoured. Gained 1218 EXP. Gained new evolution options.]
Now off to find a burrow, evolve and rest—and if I still have some of that luck that saved me left, the herbivore will still be uneaten when I find it.
Can you guess right what animal that was? Write in the comments and vote for me with power stones!