A Hunter's Life

by SummerGem


Sunrise came, and with it Wind's training. She yawned as we walked toward the edge of the village. A thin fog hung above the ground as we passed through the village. Wind's voice disturbed the silence. "Where are we headed?"

I gestured ahead of us. "To a clearing that borders, the woods." We arrived just as the sun peaked above the tree line. "All right time to start your training. Fly around the village once as fast as you can."


"No questions. Fly now!" Wind took off and started her lap around the village. One. Two. Three. Once my count reached one hundred and twenty she landed next to me panting. Her mane and tail were slightly disheveled. "Tired already kid? We're just getting started."

"No, I just need to catch my breath."

"Good, because now you need to do as many wing-ups as possible." Wind only was able to do twelve before collapsing. "Okay, now hover as long as you can." She slowly rose into the air, but was only able to hover about a minute before falling to the ground. The rest of her exercises had similar results. I had to resist the urge to face-hoof. Oh boy. She's in worst shape then I thought. I looked up to see the sun at its highest point in the sky.

"All right that's enough for now. Take a break for lunch then return to my house to continue your training."

Back in my kitchen I enjoyed my own lunch of a simple daisy sandwich. I reflected on what I had learned. Her physical skill wasn't as good as it could be. Perhaps her mind will be better. Once she arrived, I motioned for her to sit at the table. For the rest of the afternoon, I questioned her on what she knew like Equestrian history, mathematics and most importantly her knowledge of hunting. While her general knowledge was good, her hunting knowledge was sorely lacking.

Toward the end of the session, she interrupted me. "When will you give me a weapon? And what's the point of all these questions?"

"The answer to your first question," I replied my voice rising. "Is that you will get one when you're ready, not a moment sooner. For your second question it's so I can figure out what you need to learn. Thirdly, I'm your teacher. You should always address me as such or sir. Am I clear?"

Wind looked at the floor. "Yes sir."

"Good." My harsh tone softened. "Now I've decided on a curriculum for you. Meet me at the same clearing we did today, same time. Do you understand?"

"Yes sir."

"Dismissed." After Wind left, I thought about what I had learned. Her mind was as sharp as any blade. She also has the same curiosity when I was that age. I need to keep a close eye on her. That could get her hurt or worse, killed. My eyes went down to the scar on my chest.

The next morning found both of us back in the clearing. "All right yesterday I noticed you lacked both speed and endurance. We're going to change that. Start by hovering above the ground as long as you can." Wind rose off the ground a couple of feet. She started flagging about the same time it did yesterday.

"Giving up kid?"

"I can't do it any longer!"

I walked right up next to her. "Yes, you can. Don't quit. Keep going until you reach your limit, then push past that." She managed to stay in the air a little longer then a minute before she collapsed panting. "Not bad kid. Now do as many wing-ups as you can." She merely nodded. She got to fifteen this time.

"Can I take a short rest teacher?"

"Why? You out of steam already?"

"No teacher."

"Good. Now I need you to complete five laps around the village." She started to trot off. "No. Flying." As she started, I bellowed after her, "Faster! This Isn't a leisurely stroll through the woods."

After the fifth lap she collapsed back on the ground again. "Not bad kid. Take five." Once her five minutes were up, I gently nudged her with my hoof. "Get back up. I want you sitting for this." She gave no reply, but got up and sat down. "Now what is a hunter's most important tool?"

"His weapon."

"Wrong!" I pointed to Wind's head. "That is your most important tool. Without it everything else is useless. That's the purpose of this part of you training.

"Now there are four rules that every hunter needs to know. They are: know your target, always be prepared, be cautious, and master your weapon. Learn these rules and you will always succeed.

"Now we'll start with the first rule. Knowing your target means memorizing its strengths, weakness, and attack patterns. By learning this you'll know how to best prepare for a hunt." I launched into my lecture about the various monsters. This included their names, classifications, and mostly importantly how to fight them. I would occasionally stop and ask her a question. I continued until the sun had reached its highest point in the sky. "Right that's enough. Go have lunch and rest for a while. Come back here when you're done."

She returned from lunch to find me gripping a wooden quarterstaff. "Now I'm going to teach you an important lesson." I tied her wings so she couldn't fly.

"Wait, what are you-"

"DODGE!" My quarterstaff nailed Wind in the side.

"Ow, that really hurt!" She rubbed her side. "What was that for? And why did you tie my wings?"

"You think that hurt? Imagine if that was a monster's claw or bite. You'd be in worst off. You have to learn how avoid attacks without using your wings. "Again. Now dodge!" Wind evaded it this time, but her eyes were closed. "No! Keep your eyes open! Roll. Dive. Do whatever it takes to avoid my strikes. Again."

We continued until the sun set. "Right that's enough for today. We'll continue tomorrow, same time same place." I watched her go. She demonstrates great potential as a hunter, but she has a long way to go.

Her training continued swiftly. Days turned to weeks then months. I watched as her speed, agility and endurance increased. Her knowledge of monsters and hunting tactics grew. She learned how to properly dodge. She's ready for the next step.

"What's that sir?" Wind asked one morning, pointing to the vest on the ground.

"This is a weight vest. Put it on."

"All right." Her legs buckled slightly under the weight. "Ugh feels heavy."

"It's as heavy as all the gear you would be typically carrying during a hunt. Get used to it, because you're going to be wearing it during you're training from now on. Same exercises as before." Wind's training continued as before. While the increased weight slowed her down at first, but she adjusted to it after a few months. "Okay," I told her one day. "You're ready."

"Ready for what sir?"

"For your own weapon." Wind's eyes lit up and she started prancing.

"You really mean it? I'm finally getting my own weapon?" She quickly composed herself. "Thank you so much sir. Which one do I get?"

"Follow me back to my house and we'll see." Back at my house I pointed at several weapons lined up against the wall. "Based on what I've seen during your training, these are the best choices for you. Pick one."

Wind grabbed a simple sword and shield. She gave the sword a few test swings. "No, it feels wrong. Plus the reach is too short." A longbow was her next choice. She gave the string a test pull. "No, too awkward. What's that?" She pointed at a large contraption that was meant to be worn like a saddle.

"That's a light bowgun battle saddle. Here, let me help you with that." Wind gave a grunt as soon as I put it on.

"Too cumbersome and heavy. No way I can move fast enough in this." She gestured at the last one. In front of her sat a pair of wooden curved blades. "What about that?"

"Those are called duel blades. They're meant to attach to your wings. Give then a shot." Wind strapped them on and gave her wings a few test flaps. "How do they feel?"

"They don't seem to impede my wings in any way. But how do I fight with these?"

"That's what this is for." I gestured to a large log stuck in the nearby ground. "This is what you'll be practicing on. Strike it." Wind struck the log clumsily with her left wing. "Too slow. You need to strike quickly and fiercely. You're also getting too close. Your wings have a longer reach then that. Use it." She struck again. "Much better. Now I want you to strike the log a hundred times with each blade."

"A hundred times?" Her face was filled with disbelief.

"You want me to make it a thousand?"

"No sir."

"Good. After you finish that, strike with both of your blades at once a hundred times. You can go home once that's finished. Understand?"

"Yes sir."

"Good. Now get to it." After Wind had finished and walked home, I called after her, "You had better get used to this. You're going to be doing every day for a while."


One month later

I carefully watched Wind as she struck the target. Her face bore an intense look of concentration. Each of her strikes flowed seamlessly into the next. She's ready for the next step. "Right that's enough." She stopped and turned to face me. I pulled out my wooden quarterstaff. "Strike me."

A look of concern crossed her face, but she swung one of the blades at me. The sound of wood hitting wood echoed through the village. "Is that the best you can do? More ferocity! Don't worry about hurting me." She resumed her attacks, but with an increase in speed and ferocity. Sweat began to pour down my brow as I fought to hold her off. Her final attack consisted of a strike with both blades that I barely parried. "Enough!"

"Are you okay teacher?" Wind wore a look of concern. "I didn't realize what happened."

"I'm fine kid, it takes more then that to hurt me. You acted on instinct. That was precisely what made your attack so effective. Well done. You're ready for your first hunt." I tossed her some leather armor along with duel blades made of real steel. "Put these on then we'll head for the forest."

Wind's face lit up eagerly. "What are we hunting? Zinogre? Rathian? Ooh, maybe an Elder Dragon?"

"No nothing like that. We're starting you out with something simple. The villagers have reported an increased number of small monsters roaming the forest. We're going to cull them."

"Oh." She hid her disappointment and said, "Lead on teacher." Once we entered the forest, it wasn't long before we spotted the first pack.

A crouched low and motioned for her to do the same. "Let's she how well you recall your lessons." I gestured toward the pack. "What are those called?"

"Jaggi. I recognize them by the mostly orange color on their hide. They tend to hang in small groups of no more then four."

"Good. Now kill them. Remember, be cautious not reckless."

She rolled her eyes. "I know." She swiftly moved with striking range. Once she was there, she took all four out with a series of rapid strikes.

"Not bad kid. Now let's take care of the rest." We moved out and in short order took out a few more packs. "Right, that looks like the last of them. Let's head back." We walked back toward the village.

"Teacher?" Wind's voice disturbed the silence.


"I was wondering. Am I a full-fledged hunter yet? My training has been going on for a while now."

"Not yet. You've come far since we started out, but I still have much to teach you. Your training will continue until that's no longer the case. Then and only then will you be a true hunter. Understand?"

She sighed. "Yes."

"I understand your impatience. I was the same at your age. Here, let me tell you a story. I stopped and carefully removed my chest piece, showing her my large scar. Do you know how I got this?"

"No you never told me and I didn't want to pry."

"It was years ago during one of my first hunts. I was with my master at the time. We had received reports of a Rathalos near one of the villages. We went out to deal with him. We quickly found him and went to work. During the hunt he took to the air in an effort to avoid us. I was too eager and launched myself into the air to bring him back down. My master shouted a warning, but it was too late.

"He somersaulted in the air, and his tail stuck me in the chest like a club. I was the one that ended up on the ground. My master barely saved me from being incinerated by its fire. There were no healing potions back then. I was fortunate that a village was nearby else I would have died."

Wind's eyes were wide. "What happened next?"

"I had to be carted back to the neighboring village to recover, and master slew the Rathalos himself. When he got back, he gave me a very long and stern lecture about my foolishness. He then told me to never do anything like that again, or else I would no longer be his student. I took his threat very seriously, and eventually I became the hunter you see today.

"Remember this story the next time you get the urge to rush into something." She merely nodded. I looked up and saw the sun was setting. "It's getting late. We should get home." Once we got back to the village, I turned to her and said, "Meet me back here tomorrow with your gear."

We met at dawn. Both of us were clad in armor and carried our weapons. "So are we doing some more hunting today teacher?"

"No, I have something else in mind. The weapons are just a precaution. What's the first rule of hunting?"

"Always be prepared."

"Right. Now this includes carrying your own gear. Sometimes your hunts will be in remote areas where you'll be unable to purchase the supplies you need. When that happens, you need to be able to make your own. To do so requires knowledge of which fauna is useful."

I pointed out a nearby plant that resembled a fern. "This is a healing herb. If you take it by itself, it will heal minor injuries. However, if you mix it with other ingredients, its medicinal properties will increase tenfold. I added the herb to a flask with water and gave it a quick swirl. The flask filled up with a green liquid. "Now this is a simple healing potion. I added some honey from a nearby hive. This increases the healing power even more. Use this when an ordinary potion isn't enough."

I devoted the rest of the day instructing her how to make the rest of the items she would need. Once that was done, we returned to the village for the night.