A Different Species

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Chapter 4

Kargon stepped out of a cave. It had been his crash pad for the night. With only the things he'd brought with him from the start, he wandered into the jungle to resume his mission.

His gaze was sharp as his guard remained high. Although he was too big of a prey for many of the jungle's creatures, one could never be too cautious—especially after traveling this far.

The sac that hung from his shoulder clashed with his back and sheathed sword as it swung from side to side. Kargon knew he had to hunt soon. He knew that rabs were still out, collecting as much food as possible for them and their young—if they had any—before the hail storm hit. Kargon knew how to hunt them and how to prepare their skin, and meat. Skills he had learned when he was a youngling.

His steps came to a halt when his eyes caught a frol to his right. The four-legged creature remained low on the ground as it walked on. However, it's eyes were not set on him. His forehead creased slightly, eyes narrowed. He wondered how it didn't detect him. From a distance, Kargon watched as its three tails lowered. Its claws extended and mouth opened, ropes of saliva clinging onto its fangs.

He shifted his gaze to whatever the frol would prey upon. A body laid in front of a bush of miks. He could not see the young boy's face, but their messy copper bob hair and pale thin hands gave them away.

As soon as the frol pounced, Kargon ran forward.

With his body, Kargon knocked the creature mid-air and then positioned himself before the unmoving boy. Kargon quickly drew his sword and growled at the frol. It was a warning to stay away, or else.

The frol snarled but did not move from its place.

"Goddesses," he mumbled. He didn't expect to find himself in such a critical situation. Kargon wasn't weak. He was built with muscle. He knew how to defend himself, but he hated having unnecessary blood in his hands.

He took a step beside the boy. He didn't glance down at him. The frol could use it as an opportunity to strike.

Kargon placed his weight on his feet. He would not allow the frol to get past him. He clicked his tongue. This time the frol moved, but it did not run away. It lunged at him.

Kargon struck the side of the beast's face with the butt of his sword. It spun twice on the ground before throwing itself at him once again. This time the frol managed to knock Kargon down. It's claws dug into his biceps before it descended its canines, aiming at Kargon's neck.

Kargon placed a hand on the animal's throat, holding it up and away from him. His veins became prominent with every second that passed. Kargon hissed when the frol elongated its claws, digging them deeper into his flesh and causing more blood to flow out. He delivered a final blow by planting the sword into the frol's neck. Scarlet oozed out, traveling down his sword and onto his hand.

He pushed the beast off of him, pulling his sword out from it's flesh, and sat up. A low growl escaped from its mouth before it was replaced with the sound of its clogged air passage. The sound of it chocking on its own blood was unsettling.

Kargon removed a blade from his belt and drove it into the frol's brain. It immediately became limp and no more sounds left it's mouth. He sheathed his sword and blade. With a hand, he closed it's eyelids and connected his forehead with the side of the beast's temple. "May the Goddesses allow you to rest in the afterlife," he mumbled.

Ignoring the red traveling down his arms, he moved towards the boy and examined his state. As he suspected, the boy had eaten a mik—half of one to be exact. The fruit was poisonous if not cooked correctly. It was a hassle to do so, so most simply avoided miks. Kargon knew he had to remove as much of it from out of the boy as possible before he could do anything else.

He turned the boy to his side after laying faced down and gently brushed his copper hair away from his face. Shock masked Kargon's face when he realized he wasn't hovering over a boy. He was a she.

A woman.

He immediately removed himself from her. How did she—

She had a soft and smooth complexion as opposed to his. Small round nose covered in speaks of brown as well as part of her cheeks. Her lips were glossed with what he assumed were the juices from the mik, dirt clung in size varying patches both on her lips and on the side of her face. Her hair was sprawled around her head, a few strands sticked against the side of her face. Kargon noticed that while her hair was a mess, it's natural state was in waves. He wondered what the color of her irises were. Despite her current state, she was beautiful to say the least.

She needs help, he reminded himself.

Kargon kneeled at her side. "Forgive me," he silently pleaded.

With two fingers, he pushed through her lips and past her teeth. He quickly took them out just before her stomach contents escaped her mouth. He kept an eye on her, making sure she didn't choke herself.

When her body had nothing else to release, he pulled her away and sat her upright, the side of her temple laid on his bare chest. He pulled a rag from his sack and wiped her face clean.

She was tiny in his arms. Delicate. He was afraid he'd crush her if he tightened his hold on her.

She was different. Not different in the sense that he had no idea what a woman looked like—he knew—but different in the sense where he had never seen one like her. From what planet was she from? He asked himself. Was she also from Nepune?

Her attire seemed unfamiliar to him. It was more concealing than what his people wore.

Kargon scanned the rest of her body, looking for any injuries. He sighed in relief when he saw nothing major, only a few marks and scratches. But what about underneath her clothing? He asked himself. There weren't any blood stains, but bruising could still occur. She could also be injured beneath her skin. Something he'd never know unless she told him.

He hated the position he was in. The least he wanted to do was invade her privacy.

He stood and carried her back to the cave he had slept through the night. If she woke by then, he could give her what she needed to heal any wounds that his eyes could not currently see. But if — if she didn't — he'd do it himself.

He swallowed the heavy lump in his throat. The odds weren't in his favors. Kargon would most likely have to do the job himself. Goddesses, forgive me.

Upon entering the cave, Kargon gently placed the female down beside the campfire he had built just before nightfall. He removed his sac and sheath from his back, placing them on the ground beside her.

He pulled out his wooden bowl and the ingredients he needed to prepare an antidote. He sliced a vera leaf in half before scraping its insides into the bowl. Next was grey nite powder and finally, a bit of water. He mixed until the consistency was thin liquid.

Kargon kneeled beside the female. He used his right hand to lift her up into a sitting position. With his left, he opened her lips and brought the bowl up to them. He slowly tilted it, waiting the substance to trickle down her throat before placing more of the fluid into her mouth. Once the bowl was empty, he laid her on her back.

Kargon lit the fire and sat beside the unconscious female. He knew he had to go out soon and find food for the both of them, but he didn't want to leave the female unprotected. He couldn't. He still had his mission to complete before he would return home. Traveling with the female would bring unwanted problems. While many men would do anything for females, there were still those who would use them for their selfish needs. This made Kargon draw in a sharp breath.

No. He shook his head. He wouldn't allow anyone to lay their hands on her. Not unless it was what she wanted.

He glanced at the unconscious female. Questions surfaced his mind about her home planet and how she ended up in Helon. He felt grateful to the Godesses that he was able to find and save her. Now, with his mind was made up, he made a promise.

I will protect you.

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