Chapter 20 – Conviction
Alex looked at the Stalker, and the Stalker looked back.
Only the cold wind could be heard.
Alex slowly retrieved his sword and held it in his right hand. He no longer needed to carry it with both of his hands.
Then, Alex slowly stepped forward.
The Stalker looked at him from a distance, silently evaluating him.
In its mind, this animal was small, far smaller than it.
It had seen these kinds of animals before, and they always hunted in groups.
Yet, this one was alone.
From what the Stalker had seen, these animals weren ’t very powerful. They could only be a real danger in a group.
They were slow.
Their bodies were weak.
Yet, this particular specimen felt different to the Stalker.
However, the more dangerous this specimen felt, the better its meat would taste.
Such creatures as the Stalkers were drawn to powerful prey. The more powerful the prey, the better.
On earth, predators avoided dangerous prey unless they were really desperate.
But here, things were different.
The more powerful something was, the more Mana it had stored in its body. After all, physical power without Mana took a being only so far. At some point, Mana was necessary to become more powerful.
Because of that, the predators that took more risks and survived had become more powerful and had fathered more offspring.
After many, many years, every animal and creature in this world had the instinct of hunting powerful prey.
This was also why the wolves hadn ’t retreated when they had been attacked by the lizard.
The lizard had killed two of the four wolves, but the remaining two wolves had still charged at it in a frenzy.
This was how powerful the draw of power was for the creatures and animals of this world.
Alex slowly walked closer as he kept his sword ready, never taking his eyes off the creature.
This was no longer the same Alex that had appeared in this world.
The old Alex had thought about many things.
Family, love, success, money, justice.
However, all of these desires had been replaced with a thirst for power.
People changed over the course of their life, but was such a drastic change in attitude and personality in only a single month normal?
Could he still be considered as Alex?
Or had he already become Shang?
Alex didn ’t think about these things, but he had long decided that he would only walk forward, never looking backward.
The old world of Alex was slowly left behind as he walked into the darkness before him.
How long would it take until Alex looked back?
Would he have already walked so far that he couldn ’t see his starting point anymore?
If that happened, Alex would have nothing left to orient himself on.
Then, he would only walk forward blindly, in the darkness, in a random direction.
Chances were that he would end up walking in a direction the old Alex would have never chosen.
Alex arrived below the tree, and the Stalker was still looking at him.
It was still debating if it should attack him or not.
Dangerous prey tasted incredibly delicious, but if the prey was too dangerous, the Stalker would die.
Right now, this being in front of the creature felt very dangerous.
Should it attack?
Alex jumped upward and swung with his sword at the Stalker!
The Stalker immediately jumped back!
The huge branch the Stalker had just been on was easily cut in two.
Alex swung his sword to the left, burying it horizontally in the trunk of the tree. The sword got stuck, and Alex used it to reposition his body, putting his feet on the trunk.
Alex shot away from the tree, pulling his sword out while doing so.
The first Stalker had used a similar move back then.
Fight or not fight?
The choice had been taken from the Stalker.
Alex flew at the Stalker as it just landed on another branch.
Another branch was cut apart as the Stalker quickly moved along the tree towards the ground.
The Stalker barely evaded another attack as Alex ’s sword cut through two-thirds of the tree ’s massive trunk.
Alex shot towards the ground at the Stalker.
Alex hit the ground, his sword creating a cut in the earth. The sound of Alex hitting the ground thundered throughout the forest.
The Stalker immediately made its decision.
It turned around and ran into the distance.
Alex chased after it with explosive power.
However, the Stalker was faster than Alex.
Alex made a split-second decision.
Something seemingly passed the Stalker and hit the tree in front of it. The Stalker looked over and saw the dangerous weapon of the human being stuck in a tree.
The Stalker stopped.
It wasn ’t dumb.
It knew that these kinds of beings needed to use these sharp things.
Maybe it could win?
The Stalker turned around to look at Alex.
It had made its decision!
It would kill this human!
The human had lost his most powerful weapon!
Hunger and greed took over the Stalker ’s mind as it saw Alex.
However, just when the Stalker saw Alex, it was already too late.
Alex hadn ’t stopped running, and the short moment of hesitation of the Stalker had given him enough time to catch up with it.
Alex had reached the Stalker and hit it to the side of the head with an elbow.
The Stalker was stunned for a bit, and Alex jumped on its back.
Then, he grabbed its chest from behind, put his arms through its armpit, and clamped his hands together on the Stalker ’s neck.
It was a full nelson!
It sounded ridiculous. Alex was using an MMA-move on a gigantic, cat-like creature in a dark forest.
However, it was the best and most effective move.
The thin, stealthy, and fast frame of the Stalker had become its undoing. If it were bulkier, Alex couldn ’t have used that move.
Even though Alex ’s weapon was now the sword, it didn ’t mean that he couldn ’t use other weapons as well.
Alex was a trained MMA-fighter, and as long as he had enough time to study his opponent ’s body, he could glean the body ’s weaknesses.
Alex had deliberately thrown his sword forward in an attempt to bait the Stalker into attacking him.
It was risky, but Alex preferred a more dangerous, direct fight to a lurking danger.
Who knew if the Stalker decided to lurk around some more and strike when Alex didn ’t pay attention?
He couldn ’t risk that.
The Stalker flopped to the ground as its forelegs moved to the side, out of its control.
The Stalker hissed in a threatening manner and jumped on its back with its hindlegs.
pᴀɴdᴀ nᴏveʟ Alex fell to the ground with his back, the entire weight of the Stalker pressing down on him.
However, Alex was used to falling to the ground by now!
Something like this couldn ’t stun him anymore!
The Stalker hissed, but hissing wasn ’t enough. Its limbs couldn ’t reach its back, and Alex ’s hands were pushing down on its neck, stopping it from turning its head and biting him.
After some seconds, the Stalker ’s hisses were replaced with screeches.
CRK! CRK! CRK!
The Stalker ’s body was powerful, even more powerful than Alex ’s body, but it couldn ’t use any strength in this position, while Alex could use the gathered power of his arms, chest, and back.
The Stalker ’s left shoulder broke, and Alex lost his grip due to the loss of resistance.
Usually, breaking bone with a full nelson wasn ’t feasible when professional fighters fought, but Alex ’s body had become powerful enough to pull something like that off.
Alex let go and pushed the Stalker away, throwing it to the side.
When he had just come to this world, such a feat would have seemed impossible.
The Stalker quickly tried to get to its feet and scampered away.
However, it couldn ’t get far in its slowed-down speed.
Alex had retrieved his sword and cut through the Stalker ’s left thigh, severing its leg.
Alex ’s sword was insanely sharp.
The Stalker fell over, and Alex ran to its head.
The fight was over.
Alex calmed down as he looked at his kill.
It was so much easier than he had anticipated.
The Stalker ’s power and speed were far superior to him.
If the Stalker had directly fought Alex, the fight would have been far more dangerous.
It could have simply jumped around Alex, baiting him into striking with his sword. Then, if he made a mistake, it could have bit Alex ’s arm.
Alex ’s arm had been able to survive the bite of a panther, but a Stalker was on an entirely different level.
Such a bite would have torn Alex ’s arm off.
At that point, he could only wait for his death.
The fight could have gone either way.
Yet, it hadn ’t.
From the very first moment of the fight, Alex had been in control.
Their powers were about equal, but the Stalker hadn ’t been able to use its power.
’Initiative and intimidation, ’ Alex concluded as he looked at the corpse. ’My attacks made it lose its resolve. From the very beginning, it believed that it couldn ’t win, and its lack of conviction made it unable to properly fight. ’
Alex ’s eyes narrowed. ’I learned a valuable lesson today. If I don ’t remember this lesson, I might be in the same place as the Stalker in the future. ’
’I must always fight with my life on the line or flee without looking back when I ’m faster. It doesn ’t matter what I choose, but when I make my choice, I have to put my all into it without any second thoughts. ’
Alex put his sword away and grabbed the severed leg.
After that, Alex grabbed one of the legs of the Stalker and pulled it.
The sound of something heavy being dragged along the ground could be heard in the forest tonight.
Alex had killed many animals in the past month.
However, today, he had killed his first creature!
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