Chapter 85 The Hundred Years – Ten Years (Part 2)
After an entire year of searching Hannah had finally attained the first bit of insight.
In her grief, she’d lost herself and allowed herself to simply endure while doing the necessary with her goals to the side. She was barely living, she was enduring. Now suddenly she felt as if she’d gained an obvious insight she’d ignored.
‘If I want to increase my strength, I can’t just go through the motions… I need to do what Daichi did. I need to meditate, I need to look at myself and try and be objective.’
Hannah had become cold and devoid of feeling, but only due to her desire in wanting to numb herself to the pain and indignities she’d experienced. It wasn’t objective and it wasn’t useful, and now she was finally realizing that was no way to achieve her goals.
After coming to this realization, she had entered a state of meditation that had endured for 9 days. Within these 9 days her mind analyzed every single death, every single life she had taken. She slowly worked her way backwards, being objective in what she had done and how she had done it. Towards the end, she was even able to touch upon how she’d felt while she had taken life. She had not been able to face her own emotions for over a year but now, with this new insight came a courage she hadn’t felt in a very long time.
She steeled herself and allowed herself to feel and understand the coldness she felt when she took life. Unable to understand any further and instead of dwelling on what she couldn’t understand, she prepared herself to go hunting.
After meditating for days on end with no water or food, a normal human would have died but somehow all the plant life in the vicinity of where she’d been sitting had died out while she meditated. Even Hannah herself didn’t notice this, as she gazed off into the distance looking past what was in front of her, a serene smile covered her face as she thought about how hungry she was.
Hannah spent the next six years doing nothing but slaughtering her way through the forest. No longer consumed with desire to leave or with any destination in mind. Hannah would hunt, kill, eat, meditate. This was her daily routine… Even more disturbing was her choice of food, in wanting to pursue a greater understanding of her own abilities and herself. Hannah no longer looked for any specific source of food… Anything she killed, she tried to eat.
Naturally she wouldn’t eat these monsters and beasts raw… In fact she took pleasure in the disorderly routine of learning how to skin a variety of monsters. Then dissecting their bones and muscles while taking care to bleed them out and remove the useless organs.
She had killed every type of monster that their former group had encountered by now and a large variety of monsters they hadn’t before.
Hannah opened her status window after eating a passably cooked troll bicep.
| -Status- |
| Name: | Hannah Guresu |
| Level: | 91 |
| Race: | Human | Evolutionary Path: | ??? |
| Title(s): | Lucky Survivor, Death’s Harbinger |
| Divine Protection: | Moonlight Reaper | Attribute(s): | Death |
| Health: | 100/100 |
| Mana: | 890/890 |
| Strength: | 31 | Agility: | 86 |
| Vitality: | 63 | Spirit: | 10 |
| Intelligence: | 79(+10) | Wisdom: | 40 |—————————————————————————————————————
| Aptitude: | 23(+25+5) | Ability: | 91/500 |
| Skill(s): |
| None |
| Ability: |
| Death Follows |
| Inheritance: |
| None |
Unlike before, she rarely used her status window anymore. She had come to realize how useless it really was to her at this point. Looking at her her strengths and weaknesses in a quantified way only made her wonder why her any of it could be quantified in the first place. After coming to understand how important meditating and understanding herself and her own abilities she came to understand that the information she saw in the status window was a lie.
It was an illusion that only helped the weak. The stronger she became she the less she could be quantified. When the realization first struck her, she finally came to realize what a small world she’d previously been living in.
Just as Hannah was about to start a fire she heard a loud bellow that reverberated throughout the forest. Hannah’s heart stilled. This was the first time she’d heard this noise in 6 years. This was a sound she could never forget, a sound that was deeply etched into her heart.
Turning to look in that direction, Hannah felt insecure, and afraid as she took her first step in that direction. Shocked at her own movement, her fear hovering on the surface she realized she’d taken another step.
Before realizing it, Hannah was sprinting at full speed in the direction of the loud bellow. She was scared and her nerves were frayed as anticipation and anxiety ate away at her every moment that passed but she couldn’t stop herself from running towards that sound.
A feeling that she had all but forgotten seeped back in as she realized how badly she wanted to kill the beast making that sound… If they were the divine beasts she remembered… Then killing them would make her heart fill with joy. The opportunity to take away something that meant so very much, to the being she hated so very much… The desire overwhelmed her every other emotion.
‘I can kill them! I can do what Daichi couldn’t do all those years ago and kill them!’
A small smile spread across Hannah’s face as her features twisted, her hatred evident on her expression making her look even more sinister then the monsters whom she passed as she sprinted through the forest with haste.
In these past few years every time she’d killed she’d gained a bit of that monster or beast’s essence. Even without realizing it, Hannah had become much more agile and gained the stamina that could only be achieved by living a life of constant roaming through treacherous surroundings. She was stronger than any other human she’d ever met in every aspect except strength. She’d learned long ago that strength was the one trait her body’s constitution was vastly inept at nurturing.
‘I’m strong enough now… I’m strong enough…’
Hannah ran past the brush and surrounding trees as if they weren’t even there, her speed increasing more and more until she was running at a full sprint. She would move in and out of the trees as if running through the forest had become second nature to her. She followed the sound and ran in the direction she heard it.
‘Damn it! Why aren’t I getting closer!?’
After running a few minutes she heard the same bellowing, the sound causing the ground to tremble and she changed directions yet again following the sound from where she thought it was coming.
‘You aren’t getting away!’
The sounds of the bellowing continued through the night and Hannah ran, changing directions at every chance she got trying to accurately track the origin of the sounds. She knew the beasts who were making these sounds had to be the beasts that belonged to Tael. She’d tried her best to forget about him, to not think of him, but it was impossible for her.
‘Damn it!!! STOP TAUNTING ME!’
No matter how much time had passed, whenever she touched her ring on her finger (which had become a habit) she could feel Kaden’s body inside. Still the same as the day he’d died, and the feelings she’d had… The pain, loss and longing would flare up for a moment before she was numb again. Every single time, without fail, her thoughts would drift to Tael and the hatred she had for him. Even numb, her hatred wouldn’t dissipate.
‘I’m going to kill you! I’m going to kill you!’
Running for the entire night fueled by the fire of getting some form of satisfaction from killing his pets Hannah could only stop an stare at the morning sun peaking into the sky. The moons fading from sight.
Staring at the rising sun, Hannah was breathing in deeply as sweat poured down her brow onto her face. Gasping for air after running for hours at her fastest speed. She’d changed directions overtime she thought she was getting closer only to feel like she’d turned in the opposite directions only minutes later.
Each bellow a taunt in her mind, the first glimpse of hope for revenge finally peaking through. After a night of running that slight glimmer of hope had faded away, after each step she took only to feel no closer to her prey. Instead of the numbness she was accustomed too she was instead left with a deep piercing pain in her chest.
‘Failed. I failed. Am I still so weak that I couldn’t even reach them?’
Falling on her knees, the exhaustion and feeling of failure getting the best of her Hannah stayed on the ground kneeling. In pain and lost, feeling so close to what she had all those years ago.
Feeling that familiar sense of despair looming over her heart, Hannah stared at herself in a daze. Looking at her body which was cut up repeatedly as she ran through the forest with reckless abandon. She had managed to avoid any fights, trees or serious injuries. That still didn’t allow her to avoid the thorns, the branches, the wild bushes and the thick leaves of some of the more dangerous trees which had leaves as sharp as knives.
Hannah stared at her cut and bruised body in a daze ‘Worthless so worthless…’
‘I can take life but I don’t even understand it. I don’t even understand pain despite its adamant desire to keep me company.’
Staring at her wounds she began wondering how long they would take to heal, until for the first time in years she made another small break through.
‘Heal… Ah… I want to bring Kaden back, that’s why I’ve struggled to move forward. To understand death and myself. How can I understand life when I don’t even understand the things closest to me or about me?’
Her eyes began to shine with a luster that had been gone for a very long time.
‘Why have I been so stupid!? Stuck on trying to understand something so large, so vast and so complicated without even trying to find a stepping stone! I’m such a stupid idiot!!!’
Cursing at herself, her mind reeled as she thought about her failures as she felt a slight excitement coursing through her.
‘Healing. I should learn something basic, understand something easier. I should start small, small but in the vein of what I want to learn… If I can do that then I can eventually reach my goal. This entire time I’ve been trying to do everything in one go instead of taking baby steps towards my goal!’
A light was shining in Hannah’s eyes as she closed her eyes and started to feel her wounds. Unable to understand anything about healing, Hannah didn’t rush herself or try to find any knowledge inside of herself regarding something she knew nothing about. Instead for the first time in years she exercised the patience she had once had an entire lifetime ago. She closed her eyes and focused on the wounds and cuts on her body and stayed still.
Hannah stayed still, focusing on her wounds as the blood started to coagulate and scabs started to form over the wounds. Hannah did not move a muscle for an entire week doing nothing but focusing on her wounds, and how her body healed itself. Inside of this meditative trance, her bodily needs disappeared as her entire focus patiently watched this process unfold.