338 Teaching Material
There weren't many arrows that missed their target. That was a surprise to me. There was nothing more I could teach them.
But while that's true for shooting at target.
That's not the truly what's important in hunting. No, it's how to conduct oneself in the forest.
(It's not simple after all. A forest is a collection of many complex systems. What you need to have if you want to read them is vague stuff like intuition and experience.)
Having the kids retrieve the arrows is partly my way to make them understand that it will be tough from here on.
"Well then, we'll now enter the forest where I'll teach you how to look for prey. I'm not experienced enough to hold the authority on this subject, mind. I'm only gonna teach you the basics, each of you gonna need to hone your own skills."
The kids attentively listened to me, completely still.
They're looking at me with a very serious expression trying not to miss a single word or a beat, eyes full of motivation.
(Man they're getting way too much into this... Give me a break... How lucky do you think you gotta be to actually get a prey on your first day... Well guess they wouldn't know.)
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There were times we couldn't hunt anything for two or three days during my village life days.
Finding prey in a forest is far more difficult than knowing how to shoot a bow.
"Whether we'll find our prey or not today depends solely on luck. You've got to know how to focus, search and never letting your guard down if you want to have a better chance. You also need to brace yourself and know when to give up if you can't find a prey in the end. Otherwise... You might pay with your life."
That was how it went during my last hunt before leaving my village. Trying to hunt for a second game ended up with us encountering a magic beast.
If I don't warn these kids here, they might get desperate and find themselves in a twilight zone.
"Alright, let's go in. Follow me. Make sure to minimize making any sound. Pay attention to the surrounding shrubs. Look out for twigs and bumps below your feet."
I was surprised as we entered the forest. It's full of trees with edible fruits.
(What a rich forest... Yet I don't see a sign of anyone gathering here.)
Must be because the risks outweigh the prizes.
A forest this bountiful lacking traces of human hands could be due to the existence of dangerous beasts, or magic beasts.
(Wolves, or perhaps venomous snakes? Slimes... goblins, kobolds? Giant bloodsucking bats, or bizarre toads, man-eating plants... yeah, as if.)
We pushed through the forest while my mind was making fun of fantasy.
The lowest on the food chain must exist here to support such beasts or magic beasts.
And that's not exclusively small animals but also include insects and fruits.
The forest in my village was relatively safe. That can't be said for this forest, I have to keep their wariness level high.
(The plan hasn't changed. But we mustn't overlook danger. Gotta raise their alertness.)
Getting the wrong impression could directly lead to their death here.
"Look at this. On the ground. Footprints, and dung. These belong to a carnivorous beast. Stinky isn't it? It must have peed at a tree to mark its turf. Memorize what it's called. This is still fresh. Proof that a life threatening danger is nearby."
It's not a problem at all to me, but these kids would be helpless if they came across it.
Dying is a real possibility. They still yet to have the power or experience to stave off this kind of risk.
Thus, I consider finding this 'life-threatening danger' before our prey is a good thing.
"Do not overlook traces such as this if you don't want to die. Failing to do so might result in you getting eaten alive."
The kids went on to maximum alert level as they started to observe the surroundings.
"You feel how un-special you are inside a forest, don't you? The weak and the tardy make for a fodder to the strong here. Carve that fact in your heart."
Afterward, we took the opposite direction from where the footprint went.
Then after a while, I found very familiar-looking footprints down the ground.