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Mungun surged through the undergrowth and dove away from the maws of the alpha wolf. Its teeth snapped shut around nothing but thistle and Mungun spun to savagely clobber it in the face with his stone axe. The wolf whelped and stumbled away as Mungun righted himself and bellowed at the dozens of glinting eyes in the depths of the night, reflecting the blazing fire from his torch.


The alpha recovered in the brush and released and low, pained howl. The glinting eyes disappeared further into the woods as the wolves retreated. The alpha shot one last snarl at Mungun before hobbling off.

Mungun bellowed a victorious roar, beating his chest before getting woozy and stumbling himself. “Not yet,” he gasped, “Not yet.”

He gripped his wounded arm—not from the wolves—but a rash that burned more with each passing day and had propelled him along his quest to find the apothecary on the mountain top.

After a restless and cold night, Mungun continued his journey up the slopes. He battled bears, dragons and foul, slinking lizards. After a week of toil he reached the top where the air was thin and suffered the chest to breathe. He found the apothecary’s hut nestled within a grove of pine trees. The hut was simple at a glance, constructed from mud and log and seemed hardy enough. The grove grew along a rocky ridge that overlooked the mountain range.

It was beautiful, but Mungun had no time for that.

He limped through the fur flap at the entrance and found a young man in heavy furs sitting behind a large flat boulder with clay tablets stacked upon it. The rest of the hut behind him was hidden by a partition of thin slats of wood.

“Good morning sir, do you have an appointment?” The young man asked.

“No,” Mungun panted, “I need to see the apothecary though.”

“Have a seat,” the young man pointed to some furs along the wall, where an assortment of different patients suffering from varying ailments and injuries were waiting. “It might be a bit of a wait.”

“Thank you.” Mungun nodded politely at the other patients and slumped down onto one of the furs.

After several hours of watching the other patients circulate he was finally called around to see the apothecary. He went behind the partition and found an old woman in worn furs working at a flat boulder with a mortar and pestle. He was assailed by the pungent scent from gathered herbs and potions in clay pots, they lined the walls on stone shelves and there was a small cot lined with hay by her workbench.

“Hello,” she said without looking up from grinding away at her mortar and pestle. “How can I help you today?”

Mungun sat awkwardly on the cot as the apothecary turned to look at him. “Um, I got his rash last week, and decided I needed to see someone about it. I spent that time journeying up the mountain and battling beasts just to get to you.”

“Hmmm,” The apothecary took Mungun’s arm and inspected the rash. “It’s probably just an infection. Go home and get plenty of water and rest, and if it hasn’t gone down in two weeks you should come back because it’s probably something worse.” The apothecary patted Mungun’s arm and smiled, before gesturing to the exit.

Mungun trudged out into the cold mountain air, taking in the vista of snow and forest laid out before him, “Well that was a waste of fucking time.”

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