48 Hours a Day - chapter-19
Zhang Heng’s missed shot caught the attention of the jaguar. The latter quickly turned its attention to him.
Bell was still wrestling the other jaguar, which meant that Zhang Heng would have to face this king of the rainforest on his own. If he had this encounter when he first came to the island, he would have been dead meat.
He probably would not even be able to fight a goose, much less a jaguar.
But was not his entire year of archery practice for this moment?
Quickly, Zhang Heng drew another arrow, and placed it on the bowstring. He was not in a hurry to shoot because he and the beast were still quite far from each other.
At this distance, he did not have the full confidence to be able to hit the target. So, he had to rein in the fear he was experiencing and wait for the jaguar to attack first.
This might sound simple but actually doing it was not easy.
Because for a long-range profession, the further the range, the safer it would be. Every shooter should know the kiting  technique.
All the same, reality is cruel. Zhang Heng knew for a fact that in terms of agility and speed, his own two legs could never outrun the creature with four. He could kite but what if the jaguar chooses to join its partner and attack the explorer instead?
Then when the two jaguars had him surrounded, Zhang Heng would never be able to leave this forest.
So, both man and cat came into a confrontational stance. Zhang Heng maintained his aim and an upright position as his instructor had taught him, regulating his breathing.
Opposite him, the jaguar’s patience finally ran out, so it arced its body and prepared to pounce.
Panic rose inside of Zhang Heng. This was a completely different situation from hunting a Dodo bird. Even if he missed his target, the consequence would just be not being able to eat meat. But if his arrow misses, with the jaguar’s fleet-foot, he would not even have another chance to reload his bow.
The one who would be eaten was him.
Zhang Heng quickly chased all this jumble of thoughts away, and anchored his emotions. In that split second, the jaguar made a move. It was much faster than Zhang Heng had imagined it to be. Kicking the ground with its hindlegs provided the creature with a frighteningly explosive force.
The distance between them was rapidly shrinking. At less than seven meters, finally came the sound of bowstrings being released.
You could say that this shot was Zhang Heng’s most satisfactory shot so far. After an extended period of preparing and gauging, his mind went into a sort of Zen state, where the world before him seemed to be moving in slow-motion and he could see the motion of the jaguar’s whiskers.
Be it strength, angle or calculation—everything was perfect.
As soon as the arrow left his hand, Zhang Heng knew that it would hit the target.
And he was right.
At such a close distance, and running at a full sprint, the jaguar was unable to elude and could only watch as the incoming wood arrow hit its head.
But what happened next was completely out of Zhang Heng’s expectation. He did not know if it was because the carbonized arrowhead was not lethal enough because he had terrible luck, the arrow hit the cat’s skull but did not go any deeper.
The jaguar let out a shrill cry of pain but the injury to its head was not enough to kill. Instead, it provoked the beast which then proceeded to charge towards Zhang Heng, knocking him to the ground.
Zhang Heng pushed the bow up against the jaguar’s neck to keep it from ripping his throat out but the jaguar was pinning the lower half of his body to the ground and was clawing madly at his shoulder, boring bloody holes into it.
But the harrowing pain provided Zhang Heng with a surge of strength that he had never experienced before.
With death just around the corner, he momentarily forgot his fears. He knew that no one could save him at this time. If he wanted to live, he would have to rely on himself.
Keeping one hand on the bow, Zhang Heng allowed his free hand to flail about the ground. Sensing the pressure against its neck weakening, the look in the jaguar’s turned savage. The beast stretched out its neck to reach Zhang Heng’s neck, the saliva from its razor-sharp teeth dripping down onto his victim’s face. The stench nearly knocked Zhang Heng unconscious.
He was now in much more danger than before.
But at that very moment, Zhang Heng’s free hand managed to reach the spear he had dropped on the ground.
The putrid, hungry mouth was about to tear down on his neck when he plunged the spear into the jaguar’s neck. The creature’s eyes went blank. But Zhang Heng did not let go; instead he pushed harder, twisting the weapon deeper into the cat’s neck.
He had tossed his wooden bow aside, and reached for the arrow that was lodged in the jaguar and thrust both hands with all his might.
All that whirlwind adrenaline had him forget about the pain all over his body. This was battle of life and death. There was no such thing as mercy here. Zhang Heng did everything he could to inflict damage on the wild beast before him until a voice announced in his ear:
[Successfully exterminated an adult jaguar single-handedly. Game Points +10. You may view your character panel for further information…]
Only then, could Zhang Heng confirm that he was the winner of this bloodbath.
Pushing the breathless piece of dead meat off of himself, Zhang Heng saw that Bell’s fight with the other jaguar was also drawing to an end.
The explorer had punctured the jaguar’s lower abdomen with his knife, and the creature was losing a lot of blood. Its movement was also more labored and leaden. It looked like it was going to follow after its partner’s footsteps.
“Heh, you alright, Zhang?” Bell asked, concerned. He had seen that Zhang Heng was in danger but had been unable to help.
“… I’ve always wanted to own a piece of tiger-skin skirt, but I guess jaguar skin works too,” Zhang Heng huffed, and then dropped to the ground with his arms and legs spread out. Having verified that he was absolutely safe, all the energy in his body suddenly drained away. He did not even want to lift a single finger.
When he thought about how insane everything that had just happened was, his beating heart could not seem to calm down.
He had never thought that one day he would have to fight such a large beast up close and personal. According to the time count back in reality, just an hour ago, he had just been drinking lemon water at the bar.
But now, he was a man who had just killed a jaguar.
It was pretty cool if you think about it. But it was still better if something like this never happens again.
“The stone on the altar broke during the struggle, and I found this.” The explorer walked up to his companion once he had taken care of his opponent.
“What is that?” Zhang Heng looked at the furry thing in Bell’s hand. It looked like some sort of tail. The strange thing was if the aboriginals did hide this thing under the stone, it would not be in such a good condition after such a long time.
He was about to tell Bell to keep then changed his mind the last minute and asked the explorer, “Can I have it?”
“Of course, you saved me. Twice now.” Bell was just a generous guy.
“Thank you. This thing might just be useful for me.”
Zhang Heng changed his mind because when he picked up the furry thing, a voice notified him,
[Found game item—Rabbit’s foot (unidentified)]
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