Chapter 1:

The Big and The Iron

The Symphonia of Erde (DISCONTINUED) (ARCHIVED)

Jakob Fowlhunter and Marie Budgerigar are freelancing bounty hunters that travelled across many lands to find new contracts and criminals to hunt. Apparently, they too had records of engaging in criminal activities, mostly consisting of murders and assassinations among nobels and 'untouchable' people.Bookmark here

Because of that, their nomadic lifestyle was due to running away and not getting caught by authorities and past enemies rather than for the sake of finding more contracts. Although bounty hunters of their caliber would have fortuned higher than the middle class, the duo's ever 'on the run' lifestyle forced them to spend as much as they earned.Bookmark here

It's been a week since their last hunt. Every town and village they visited did not have any wanted criminals nor useful information regarding the whereabouts of Robert De Philips; their next big target. It was as if everyone was behaving well lately which would certainly impact the bounty hunting economy that are depended on people screwing up the law.Bookmark here

One lucky day however, someone spoiled De Philips location towards the duo. Jakob and Marie were making their way to a nearby village when out of the blue, they were ambushed by half a dozen armed men. Those men were assassins, hired by De Philips himself to dispose those on his trails, in which they failed miserably.Bookmark here

From there, Jakob and Marie forced them to cough up some informations through series of "aggressive" interrogation.Bookmark here

Apparently, it was a mistake on Robert's side for not paying his assassins luxuriously as they were more than happy to cough out many important informations of him in return for their freedom (and some gold).Bookmark here

Now that they have acknowledged Robert's current whereabouts, the duo prepared their equipments that night and set out to hunt the ex-mercenary tomorrow morning.Bookmark here

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"While we're at it, wanna play I spy?" Marie asked while observing the base camp of Robert De Philip from a distance.Bookmark here

"Be serious Marie! We've been tracking this guy for god knows how long and our finance are worse than that of a serf! We can't miss this shot!"Bookmark here

"Sheesh, I'm just asking."Bookmark here

The two hunters were currently on top of a tree several hundred feet away from their target's hideout. Jakob was busy polishing his rifle, making sure it is on tip-top condition for their current assassination.Bookmark here

On the other hand, Marie, who's eyes are sharper than that of an eagle, observed the movements of the bandits inhabiting the camp without the need of a telescope. Although they planned to take out De Philips from afar, they still need to fight their way through in order to collect his body.Bookmark here

"You done rubbing your musket yet?"Bookmark here

"For the last time Marie, this is a rifle not a musket," Jakob replied, wiping the last dirt from his firearm, "there's a huge difference between the two."Bookmark here

"Well, whatever that thing is I saw someone's about to leave the huge camp." Marie pointed towards said camp where an individual was seen moving out from it followed by a group of men.Bookmark here

Hearing her statement, Jakob immediately loaded and cocked his breechblock single shot rifle.Bookmark here

"You sure its him?" Jakob asked, as he took aim at the man his friend pointed.Bookmark here

"Since when does my sight ever failed you?"Bookmark here

"The guy in the front right?"Bookmark here

"Yep. He's all yours."Bookmark here

With one pull of a trigger, the bullet was fired. The thundrous sound of the rifle shook the silent vicinity.Bookmark here

Not even a fraction of a second passed when a small red mist exploded as seen from afar.Bookmark here

*SPLAT*Bookmark here

The bullet went through Robert's head, killing him instantly. The other bandits of the camp were startled by the splatter of their leader's brain. From there on, everything spiraled into chaos.Bookmark here

The bandit commander quickly ordered his men to find their leader's killer. They quickly grabbed their swords and spears and rushed into the forest where their leader's assassin might lie. Hence, it did not take long for Marie to spot them approaching the very tree she and Jakob were currently in.Bookmark here

"So, should we proceed to phase two?" Marie looked at Jakob who simply nodded.Bookmark here

"Well you heard him fellas, its showtime!"Bookmark here

In an instant, dozens and dozens of little critters ranging from squirrels to small birds appeared from the bushes surrounding the bandits. The critters attacked ferociously, climbing into their clothes biting and scratching whatever piece of human flesh they could find. The bandits helplessly scream as they were ambushed mercilessly by such unexpected adversaries.Bookmark here

Seeing this, Jakob and Marie quickly seized the opportunity created by their little furry friends and made their way to the camp. They jumped from tree to tree in order to avoid contact with anyone below.Bookmark here

Halfway through, the two split up. Marie snuck her way to the back while Jakob on the other hand, casually landed right in front of the camp's entrance. More than a dozen half bandits awaited him, protecting whatever possession they had there. It did not take long for them to notice Jakob's presence and immediately all dozen half pointed their crossbow towards him.Bookmark here

"Surrender while you still can hunter, and your torture will be a little less painful," the bandit commander snarked.Bookmark here

"Sorry fellas, but I'm a bit on a rush today," Jakob responded, unfazed by the crossbows pointed at him.Bookmark here

He continued walking towards the camp without a second of pause. His action baffled and infuriated the commander whom without hesitation, drew out his sword and shouted his command.Bookmark here

"SHOOT HIM!!"Bookmark here

All dozen and a half bandits pulled the triggers of their crossbows. In this split second moment, Jakob unveiled his next action.Bookmark here

Two pistols were drawn from his hips, previously hidden by the duster he wore. But the pistols was not like anything the bandits have seen.Bookmark here

They were two revolvers, six chambered, .44 single action. It was nothing like the flintlocks and matchlocks normally used throughout Europia.Bookmark here

The gun thundered like small cannons as Jakob fired his guns in rapid succession.Bookmark here

*BANG*Bookmark here

*PEW* Bookmark here

*POOM*Bookmark here

All 10 bullets are emptied in one tenth of a second, and all 10 hit its targets before they could even fire theirs.Bookmark here

But his problems was far from over. The other half managed to shoot the bolts of their crossbow in which Jakob dodged ever so swiftly. The hunter rushed onwards revealing his hidden blades tucked within his sleeves. The group of bandits pulled out their swords and finally both sides clashed, a battle of eight against one.Bookmark here

In the meantime, Marie managed to snuck into the camp from behind, sneaking past several men who eagerly grabbed their weapons to fight the mad intruder. She saw an open crate and hid inside it. From there she spotted the dead body of Robert de Philips and crawled her way towards it with the crate like a turtle in its shell.Bookmark here

"Hey, is that crate moving?" one of the bandits pointed.Bookmark here

Marie stopped and hid herself inside.Bookmark here

"I told you not to drink too much last night mate, now MOVE IT!"Bookmark here

The two bandits left their position and Marie continued crawling towards her objective. As she arrived near the corpse, she saw a person's feet standing near it. She heard the owner of the feet yelling orders at his men, calling in reinforcementa to stop their lone adversary.Bookmark here

Hence, she got out of the crate and-Bookmark here

*BONK*Bookmark here

The commander was knocked out cold with her crate.Bookmark here

With him out of the way, Marie stuffed Robert's corpse inside the crate and fled the place unseen. Jakob saw his partner's escape and left the scene as well, shooting and stabbing some unfortunate folks who interfered his escape along the way.Bookmark here

Although this was not the quietest nor the most efficient the two had ever performed but that day's hunt was considered a success. All that's left was for them to cash in Robert's body and leave the town they currently reside in for good.Bookmark here

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"...198...199... aaaand 200 gold for De Philips capture, dead or alive." The counter attended handed a sack of gold to Jakob. "Though he might as well be dead when you two delivered him like that."Bookmark here

"Hey, it's not my fault his body got folded in two. She's the one who stuffed it inside the small crate," Jakob defended himself, pointing at Marie who was busy looking at the bounty board where all the wanted posters of criminals were pinned.Bookmark here

"Yeah well its not like I care or anything," the attended spoke lazily, chugging down a bottle of ale as she left her workplace.Bookmark here

The sun had long set by the time the duo arrived in town. After receiving their reward, the two retreated back to Migar's Inn, where they currently reside.Bookmark here

The inn was no different compared to the other places the two had accommodated aside from actually having rooms with two beds. Otherwise, the two always had to discuss on who gets to sleep on the bed, a process resolved by a quick game of rock-papers-scissors in which Jakob always lost.Bookmark here

It had been a tiring day for the two and they both immediately went straight to bed. While Marie was busy adjusting the blanket to make herself comfortable, she suddenly smelled a familiar scent albeit one that she did not enjoy.Bookmark here

"Jakob! How many times should I tell you to not smoke on bed!" she snarled at Jakob who had a cigarette softly bitten between his teeth.Bookmark here

"Ah! You're still awake. Want some too?" Bookmark here

"I don't care if you want to smoke a hundred packs a day but please do it anywhere but here."Bookmark here

"But I'm too tired to move anywhere. Besides-" Jakob moved closer to Marie- "what'ya gonna do about it."Bookmark here

Jakob was greeted with a splash of water straight to his face. How convenient that there's a glass of water on a table right beside Marie's bed.Bookmark here

"I will do that." Marie placed the glass of water back on the table and laid back to sleep.Bookmark here

Jakob, whose face was now wet and his cigarette extinguished, giggled to himslef and head back to bed as well. He rarely got the chance to annoy his friend like that while the vice-versa always occur. Bookmark here

"Goodnight love," Jakob spoke blatantly as he closed his eyes shut.Bookmark here

Several hours past as the two lay peacefully in their slumber. Unfortunately for them, their rest was cut short as both were woken up by the sounds of footsteps approaching the room's front door.Bookmark here

"Ye sure the two are in 'ere?" a voice whispered from outside the two hunter's room.Bookmark here

"Yep. We paid the innkeeper to kick out everyone staying here except for this room," another voice, deeper than the one before, replied quietly. Bookmark here

Despite the two strangers attempting to converse as quietly as they could, Jakob and Marie were woken up from the first person's voice. Laying still on their beds, Marie turned to Jakob gesturing him on what to do next. He gestured back, pointing at the nearest window.Bookmark here

"Gran' so, we'll burst into this room in the count av three," the outside voice spoke.Bookmark here

"One... Two..."Bookmark here

*BOOOM*Bookmark here

The walls around the door exploded into a million pieces, while the door itself remained closed.Bookmark here

"How *cough* ye manage ter destroy everythin' but *cough* the door?"Bookmark here

"Guess it's made from strong wood?" Bookmark here

As the clouds of dust and ashes started to settle down, the figures of both intruders became clear. The first one, the one with an accent, was a knight, sporting sharply in a light steel-plated armour, tainted and scratched due to countless battles. The emblem of the kingdom he once served was fading and hardly visible. He a carried a shield on his back and a longsword sheathed on his left hip.Bookmark here

The other one is an inhumanly tall eight feet fellow. His face resembled that of a helm. The reason for this was simply that he was not human, and instead a Behemoth; a type of dwarf giant. He was responsible for punching the door which led to such an explosive entrance.Bookmark here

"Look." The giant pointed at an opened window right next to the two empty beds.Bookmark here

They head to the window and saw a horse carriage leaving the area, already on its way to exit the town.Bookmark here

"Ah 'ell, looks like we 'ave ter chucker this the 'ard way then, aye Claude?" the knight spoke.Bookmark here

Meanwhile, the two hunters exited the town with a carriage they had stolen, heading directly into the woods. It was past midnight but the bright moonlight was enough to illuminate the forest trails as the two rode across it.Bookmark here

"Welp, if there's any good from this is that we get to arrive to our next destination much sooner," Marie remarked.Bookmark here

"Yeah about that, we might want to go somewhere else. I fear those two might already know about our next whereabouts as well."Bookmark here

"Ah hell." Marie leaned back, looking up the night sky. "No rest for the wicked eh?"Bookmark here

"At least we had a goodnight's sleep though, even if it's just for a few hour-"Bookmark here

Something far up in the sky caught Marie's eyes.Bookmark here

"Oh shit! Jakob go right!"Bookmark here

"Go wha-"Bookmark here

The figure in the sky slammed and crashed down to the ground with the force of a dozen cannons, merely inches away from them.Bookmark here

The sheer impact from the crash sent the carriage and everyone inside it flying. The horses immediately fled as their harnesses snapped from the cart.Bookmark here

"Nigh that's what I call an entry!"Bookmark here

Jakob and Marie looked up to see their assaulter. It was the Behemoth and the knight! The latter being piggybacked by the other who seemed unfazed despite landing several meters from the sky.Bookmark here

"Anyways, allow us ter introduce ourselves," the knight got down from his huge friend, "Me name's Ryleigh-"Bookmark here

His sentence was cut short as Jakob threw a smoke bomb right at his face. The two quickly escaped as the knight and the behemoth coughed from all the smoke.Bookmark here

"Don't you think we should've let him finish his introduction?" Marie looked at Jakob.Bookmark here

"And let them capture us immediately after? Hell no!"Bookmark here

As they ran through the woods, scaling trees and leaping from one branch to another, the two hunters heard a loud booming sound. They looked back and saw the behemoth jumping all the way back up to the sky.Bookmark here

"Split up now!" Jakob ordered as the behemoth started to descend.Bookmark here

"Oi Claude, toss me at that bird-hat wearin' fella. Yer 'andle the lassy seein' that you're more gentle ter girls."Bookmark here

As ordered, Claude threw the knight towards Jakob right before landing. The bounty hunter's heart skipped a beat as he turned and saw a six foot ironclad maniac diving face first towards him in mach speed.Bookmark here

"HOLY F#$%-"Bookmark here

An explosion of light erupted at their place. The explosion was seen by Marie who was standing on top of a tree distances away.Bookmark here

"Chirp chirp."Bookmark here

"Nah he'll be fine," Marie answered the concerned bird.Bookmark here

Without a moment's waste, she went back to leaping tree to tree, pausing briefly to glimpse the surroundings below for any possible threats before making her way to the next. She immediately stopped her advances as she spotted Claude walking past below her. Seeing that the Behemoth was still oblivious towards her presence, she decided to continue her fleeing. But then-Bookmark here

"I know you're right above me lady," Claude remarked, his statement catching her off guard.Bookmark here

"Please come down, we come here in pea-" a huge explosion of light followed by a battle cry was heard distances away-"I come in peace."Bookmark here

"Fine. But don't move and don't look up!" Marie replied from atop.Bookmark here

The Behemoth obeyed her instruction and remained still. He stared at the ground where he could see Marie's shadow slowly increasing in size as she descended from the tree. Bookmark here

But then, he noticed something peculiar about the shadow. Something was poking above her head. Some sort of... stick... pick... pick-axe!? Bookmark here

Claude quickly moved away right before Marie hit the ground slamming her pick-axe with full force. Bookmark here

"Lady, what are you doing?" the Behemoth asked in an unimpressed voice.Bookmark here

"What do you think I'm doing?" Marie pointed her pick-axe towards Claude. "This ain't the first time I've fought someone your size. Hell! I've faced bigger!"Bookmark here

Marie leaped at Claude trying to hit his head with her pick-axe, but the Behemoth was quick to dodge. She swung her weapon once more but Claude intercepted and caught the pick-axe with his right hand. The eight feet giant lifted said pick-axe along with its owner still hanging on to it.Bookmark here

"Listen lady, we are not here to hunt you-"Bookmark here

Suddenly, a voice from afar interrupted.Bookmark here


*blades clashing*Bookmark here

*gunshots*Bookmark here

*inaudible cursing from both sides*Bookmark here

Claude sighed in frustration not realizing that Marie just released her grip from her pick-axe. She then proceeded to kick the behemoth's groin with full force.Bookmark here

*CLANG*Bookmark here

"AAAAAAH!!" they both screamed in pain.Bookmark here

This was not the first time Claude was kicked in the nuts. However, he noticed that whatever strength the girl managed to garner it was noticeably stronger than that of an average man. In fact, he had never been hit by a human with that much strength before. But as strong as it was, Claude quickly recovered due to the Behemoth's natural high strength and endurance.Bookmark here

Marie on the other hand had never kicked a pair that hard before. It was as if she had kicked a ball of iron. Bookmark here

"What is your balls even made of?" Bookmark here

"Your leg!" Claude pointed out of nowhere.Bookmark here

Marie looked at her leg and noticed that she had manage to sprained her ankle.Bookmark here

"Let me help," Claude offered as he approached Marie all so suddenly.Bookmark here

Marie tried limping away at first but the Behemoth caught her leg first. Seeing that escape is futile, she decided to let him help her first. Bookmark here

"May I?" Claude asked before taking off her shoes in which Marie replied with a nod.Bookmark here

With that, he began inspecting her feet to see if there's any other damage inflicted on to it. Seeing that there are no further injuries aside from the sprained ankle, he proceed to rest her feet and touch the sprained part with his hand. A small whisper was heard coming from his mouth as the hand suddenly glowed blue, and a cool feeling was felt from the surface of his palm. This went on for several minutes before Claude proceeded to wrap lightly Marie's feet with a bandage he had kept in his pocket.Bookmark here

"Apply ice to your ankle every two to three hours for the first two days, or if you can't just avoid working your feet too vigorously," Claude advised, "also, elevate your ankle higher than your heart whenever you're lying down."Bookmark here

"Yeah I know. I've been through worse." Marie got up and stretched. "But thanks for the help though. Guess you really do come in peace."Bookmark here

"That's what I've been trying to say all this while."Bookmark here

"Soooo-" Marie approached the behemoth and offered a handshake-"I guess we're good now?"Bookmark here

Claude immediately accepted the handshake without much hesitation.Bookmark here

The friendly atmosphere was cut short however by the sounds of gunshots, swinging blades and screaming scoming from a distance away.Bookmark here

"I'm sorry for my friend's behaviour. Jakob has trust issues with strangers."Bookmark here

"It's okay. Ryleigh is sometimes too aggressive with his approach on others."Bookmark here

Another incoherent screaming was heard followed by a bright explosion of magical light of some sort.Bookmark here

"We should stop them from killing each other," Marie suggested as Claude nodded in agreement.Bookmark here

And so, the new friends made their way to their old partners before things started to get even worse.Bookmark here

"By the way, why are you two searching for us?"Bookmark here

"About that..."Bookmark here

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*BANG BANG*Bookmark here

The sounds of gunshots broke the serenity of the forest that night as Jakob attempted to maim the knight that was chasing after him. He fired his gun towards every non vital point of the knight yet not only did he swiftly dodged all of it, he even blocked and sliced some of the bullets fired with his sword. Bookmark here

On the other hand, the knight had never dealt with someone this troublesome before despite having experienced the strength of an angry orc and the swiftness of a mischievous goblin. For each of the hunter's strike, Ryleigh responded. Bookmark here

He pulled out his ivory-white sword which immediately glowed the moment it was unsheathed. The glow grew brighter and brighter as the knight charged up his attack. Immediately after, the sword unleashed waves of blinding light that exploded harmoniously through the surrounding. Flowers bloomed, weeds grew and withering trees revived as the lights brushes through it swiftly. Any wounds the knight had suffered before were immediately healed and his stamina restored every time he unleashes the wave of light from his sword. Jakob, noticed this as his mind quickly came up with a next plan of attack.Bookmark here

"*pant* *pant* Y'know, we ain't going anywhere if we keep this up."Bookmark here

"Aye, an' judgin' from where you're shootin', tis juicy clear yer don't want me dead either."Bookmark here

"Either?" Jakob raised his eyebrows, "You're not here to kill me?"Bookmark here

"That's what ah've been tryin' ter tell yer lad!"Bookmark here

"Heh, of course you wanted me alive. They'll pay extra if you send me in like that."Bookmark here

"Ye- wait what?"Bookmark here

*BANG*Bookmark here

A powerful force hit Ryleigh's face which knocked him off his feet. The knight fell down face first, his body lying on the ground unconscious.Bookmark here

"Sorry I had to kill you buddy, but one could stand being chase long enough within a single night," Jakob spoke in a cold emotionless manner.Bookmark here

Without a second thought, he turned his back and walked away. However, not a few steps in Jakob suddenly heard the sound of someone getting up. He turned around and lo and behold, the knight was up standing proudly with his armour shined by the bright moonlight. The knight took off his helmet revealing his handsome face with ocean blue eyes and dark blonde hair.Bookmark here

But amidst the glorious face was an angry expression, a bullet locked in his bite. He spat out the bullet and drew out his sword.Bookmark here

"Gran' so mister, ah've been 'eadin' soft on yer for a while but yer tried ter kill me jist nigh!"Bookmark here

"Yep! And I'll make sure you won't get up the second time!" Jakob drew out both of his guns and pointed it towards the knight.Bookmark here

"YOU TWO! STOP!!"Bookmark here

Two loud voices interrupted. The two looked at their side and saw their partners, Marie and Claude, the latter piggybacking the other. Jakob noticed Marie's bandaged feet and immediately went after her.Bookmark here

"What the hell happened to you?"Bookmark here

"I kicked on a stone too hard," Marie lied, getting down from Claude's back. "Anyways, you should put your gun down Jakob. They're not here for our heads."Bookmark here

"That's what ah've been trying ter tell yer lad!" Ryleigh interrupted.Bookmark here

"Yeah right, cuz' swinging your sword round and round while casting weird lights everywhere definitely translates to 'I don't want to kill you' ."Bookmark here

"I apologize for my friend's approach." Claude glanced sharply at Ryleigh. "He is sometimes too aggressive during first meetings."Bookmark here

"Well now that's out of the way, I guess we're all good now right?"Bookmark here

Jakob simply sighed after hearing his friend's statement.Bookmark here

"Fine, lets start over," he said, withdrawing his revolvers back into its holsters, "who are you two and what do you want from us?"Bookmark here

"Me name's Sir Ryleigh, former knight av the great Kingdom of Swetzia," Ryleigh introduced himself proudly.Bookmark here

"My name is Claude. I'm a Behemoth doctor," Claude followed with his usual stoic voice.Bookmark here

"Doctor you say?" Jakob looked at him curiously.Bookmark here

"We're looking for yer both because we 'eard many stories regardin' yer two. We 'eard that yer two are one av the finest 'unters in Europia!"Bookmark here

"And how's that relevant to your situation?" Jakob asked, unsatisfied by the answer given. Bookmark here

"They wanted to find someone with experience," Marie butted in suddenly, "someone to help them in their adventures, someone strong, smart, wise in the ins and outs of-"Bookmark here

"So basically you wanted to form a party."Bookmark here

"Aye, yer could say that," Ryleigh confirmed, "jist the two av us isn't enough ter venture Europia let alone al' av Erde."Bookmark here

"Not to mention he lacks experience," Claude added.Bookmark here

After hearing their answer, Jakob signaled to Marie for a private discussion. Marie was more than happy to participate in the two's party but Jakob still had his doubts towards them. Bookmark here

"If y'all heard so much about us you two should've known about our criminal history as well right?"Bookmark here

"Aye, an' as far as we're concerned its not that brutal. Even if thar's worse, I believe we could deal wi' that later."Bookmark here

Jakob signaled to Marie once more for another discussion. He was still not convinced while Marie was eager to join them. She reasoned that this might help them cut the cost of their transport, food and shelter. Bookmark here

"You'll provide us shelter and transportation right?" Marie asked for confirmation.Bookmark here

"Yes. As much as we could afford," Claude confirmed.Bookmark here

"Then it's settled!" Marie declared suddenly without waiting for her friend's approval, "Bring us to your place now and we are officially part of your team!"Bookmark here

And just like that, the bounty hunting duo were now part of an adventuring party featuring a former knight and a behemoth doctor. Jakob did not approve of this idea but who needs his approval anyway?Bookmark here

That being said, the four of them went back to Ryleigh and Claude's place where hot stew awaited them to conclude the tiring night. After everything that happened, one could say that all's well that end's well for now.Bookmark here

"Hold on, where's our stuff?" Jakob asked out of nowhere.Bookmark here

"I thought its with you?"Bookmark here

"Me? I've been chased by a light-barfing ironclad maniac the whole night! I thought it should be with you!"Bookmark here

"Ah hell." Hearing that, Marie proceeded to whistle loudly which summoned quite a number of birds and squirrels around them.Bookmark here

"Find our stuff and bring it to us," Marie ordered the critters who immediately left them to do as told.Bookmark here

"What in Erde wus that?"Bookmark here

"She could talk to animals," Jakob answered briefly. The two nodded, amazed by her abilities. Bookmark here

That being said, they all went back peacefully that night.

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