Chapter 5:

The Beast-Master

The Symphonia of Erde (DISCONTINUED) (ARCHIVED)

"So, ye manage ter git a place for yer clinic?" Ryleigh asked as he saw his friend exiting The Big Top. Claude shook his head much to everyone's disappointment. Bookmark here

"Aw, don't worry friend, we'll jist station it outside the circus jist like de other stall owners," he assured his friend.Bookmark here

"Yeah, I guess you're right," Claude replied.Bookmark here

As they were about to leave the place, the ground seemingly shook out of nowhere. The two of them turned around as their eyes were greeted with a rather chaotic sight.Bookmark here

All five of the circus elephants broke loose, running rampart around the area. The elephants stampeded around, crashing into other tents and stalls causing utter mayhem to the place. The animal tamers rushed to secure the elephants but they don't have enough manpower to handle all of it at once.Bookmark here

The turmoil caused by the elephants forced the Dario brothers out of their office to witness the current mayhem going on at their place of business.Bookmark here

"Mamma Mia! How did this happen!" Philip Dario exclaimed, demanding an explanation in which there was no one to answer.Bookmark here

He looked around and saw Claude and Ryleigh, who were equally baffled by the sudden pandemonium. Bookmark here

"Hey you!" Philip pointed at the two, "Help me secure these elephants and I'll grant you permission to do your business at my place, for free."Bookmark here

"Well, talk about blessin' in disguise" Ryleigh remarked, "I'll 'andle the ones at left an' yer 'andle the bigger ones at right."Bookmark here

Without a time to waste, they both separate their ways to recapture the elephants on the loose. Bookmark here

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Ryleigh struggled to capture the loose elephant as the animal ran side to side, left and right, and suspiciously swift despite its huge body.Bookmark here

"I'm no expert but I don't think an elephant should be this nimble," Ryleigh thought to himself.Bookmark here

"Oh well, guess I'll have to be swifter."Bookmark here

The knight quickly re-routed his path to intercept the elephant from the front. He managed to overtake it and found himself standing right in front of a charging elephant.Bookmark here

"Aight, give me al' you've got," Ryleigh said with his arms wide open, preparing to grapple the six ton creature with all his might.Bookmark here

His body began to emit a strange white light, exponentially increasing his strength. The distance between the two grew closer and closer before finally, Ryleigh's hands reached for the elephant's tusk. Bookmark here

Ryleigh grabbed the tusks with all his might when suddenly a bright red light illuminated in front of him, stunning the knight momentarily.Bookmark here

"What in Erde?" The knight cursed and by the time he recovered, the elephant was gone.Bookmark here

Ryleigh looked around in confusion when he felt a sudden tug under his pants. He looked down and there it was, a cute little mouse nibbling the fabric of his pants. Bookmark here

He noticed something peculiar about the mouse; its back bore a familiar looking symbol. It was an upward crescent, similar to the ones showed by Isaac the night before. Bookmark here

Ryleigh decided to meet up with Claude to tell him about the mark he saw. However, not sooner had he moved an inch a lone monkey lounged straight onto his face.Bookmark here

"GAAH!!" Ryleigh screamed in terror. The knight ran around in circles waving his hands wildly as he tried to grab the pesky monkey clinging onto his face.Bookmark here

The monkey crawled all over his body, in and out of his clothes as the knight frantically tried to grab the bothersome creature. Because of this, Ryleigh began losing his balance and crashed into a nearby tent.
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On the other hand, Claude did a splendid job redirecting the elephants back to their cages. Thanks to his behemoth strength, he managed to single-handedly wrestle some of the elephants when it started to violently resist.Bookmark here

"Is that all of them?" Claude asked as he closed a cage door.Bookmark here

"Let me see. One...two... there's two more on the loose," one of the circus worker replied.Bookmark here

"Ah there's one of it! And its heading for the-" the worker pointed before realizing something.Bookmark here

"Dear god! Its heading for the lions cage!"Bookmark here

Claude turned around and saw the said elephant and cage. With one jump, he leaped from his current place and cling tightly on the elephant. He steered the elephant away from the den like a bull rider in a rodeo. As he tried to control the elephant back to the cage, he passed through several other animal cages, in which he noticed something peculiar.Bookmark here

Within a short few seconds, he caught glimpse of five huge cages, each having an elephant in it. Bookmark here

Suddenly, a bright crimson light glowed underneath the Behemoth. The elephant disappeared leaving Claude floating several feet above ground before falling face-first immediately after.Bookmark here

Claude was recovering from the fall when he noticed a small mouse passing by, moving at the same direction as the elephant before. The mouse abruptly stopped as a young but relatively ugly-looking man suddenly appeared into the scene. His uniform suggested that he is one of the circus personnel.Bookmark here

"You people always say that I am useless, the most worthless member of the troop," the man spoke as he gently picked up the mouse and stroked its head. Bookmark here

"Yet if it weren't for me, these beasts would have teared your guts apart!" he lashed out suddenly, much to Claude's confusion.Bookmark here

The Behemoth noticed something and was caught off-guard when he saw a noticeable mark on the man's neck; the same red crescent shown by Isaac the night before.Bookmark here

"All this years I've been the one feeding these animals, cleaning their shit stained cages, risking my lives making sure they are bounded by chains. I should at least receive some respect now right?"Bookmark here

Claude just nodded to whatever ramblings the man did in his monologue. Nevertheless, he knew that the man was responsible for this turmoil and he must be stopped as soon as possible.Bookmark here

"I understand your struggle young man-" Claude tried reasoning the fellow in front of him- "your role as the animal keeper deserves more recognition. Alas, they did not understand the true importance of your work and instead discriminated you for it."Bookmark here

"But-" he got up from the ground and slowly approached the man- "this is not the way to demand justice. Your actions are putting innocent lives at risk. Those who are not involved are in danger because of it."Bookmark here

The man smiled upon hearing Claude's dialogue.Bookmark here

"Oh I know how much risk I'm putting on others, and I don't care at all! Besides-" the man pulled out a cage of squirrels he kept hidden inside his huge clothing-"I am no longer an animal trainer! I'm the motherfu**ing 『Beast-master』! "Bookmark here

He opened the cage's door as a bright red light glowed violently in it. As the glowing ended, the squirrels inhabiting the cage had already transformed into a group of violent grizzly bears, all charging towards the Behemoth doctor at full speed.Bookmark here

"Crap-" it was all that Claude could say as one of the bears leaped towards the 8-foot fellow. Not long after, he found himself wrestling with six angry grizzlies, a feat deemed impossible for a human but no more than a mere challenge for a Behemoth.Bookmark here

"Well, I'll let you have fun with the 'squirrels' while I wreck havoc with my other animal friends," the man taunted before making his way out of the place.Bookmark here

However, as he was about to make his exit a bear's body came crashing down right in front of him. Surprised, he turned back to Claude's place and saw that the Behemoth had already bested all six bears. Although it's hard to tell a Behemoth's emotions due to their stoic helm-like face, it's pretty clear Claude was not satisfied by what the man just did.Bookmark here

"You need to stop this, NOW!"Bookmark here

"Oh-ho! You'd think the squirrels are all I had do you?"Bookmark here

The man took out a wooden whistle and blew it as hard as he could. Out of nowhere, a swarm of gerbils appeared amidst the tents and jumped towards Claude. The force of getting jumped on by those gerbils caused him to crash into a nearby tent.Bookmark here

"How does it feel o'Behemoth? Fighting off a dozen gerbils that are actually wolves transformed into it? Must be quite confusing doesn't it?" The man laughed maniacally at Claude's struggle.Bookmark here

"That is the power of the 『Beast-master』! Transforming small animals into large powerful beasts, or turning huge beasts into harmless little ones, all the while retaining their deadly traits!"Bookmark here

"How troublesome!" Claude thought to himself as he fought all 12 gerbils that are much stronger than they look.Bookmark here

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Meanwhile, Ryleigh still struggled with the monkey that suddenly attacked him. Although, the monkey did not exactly damage him, but more like stealing everything he had in his pockets. And now, they are participating in a cat and mouse chase across the circus ground. Bookmark here

"C'mere you li' rascal!" Ryleigh shouted, "Gimme back my money!! "Bookmark here

Soon, the two found themselves outside the fairground. The monkey make quick work climbing up a bell tower and taunted the poor knight once it reached the top.Bookmark here

"Hah! Yer think a wee tower would save yer from me!" Bookmark here

Ryleigh began charging up his powers as bright light started to emit from his body. With one push from his feet, he jumped up all the way to the top of the 30 feet tower. Ryleigh grabbed the monkey with his colossal grip and snatched back his coin-filled pouch it stole, all the while still being airborne. Moments later, gravity took action. Bookmark here

Coincidentally, the trio; Marie, Jakob and Isaac, were passing by when the knight crash-landed near them. Nevertheless, they were awestruck to see an ironclad six-foot six man crashing onto the concrete floor right beside them, with a monkey in his grip.Bookmark here

"Dear god! What the hell was that?" Isaac asked Ryleigh, who was lying down in the hole he made upon impact.Bookmark here

"Is the monkey okay though?" Jakob added.Bookmark here

"Ah, dis wee fella is gran' alright." Ryleigh got up, still gripping the monkey tightly. "More importantly, I saw the symbol that Isaac showed last night on some of the animals. Somebody was messin' wi' them!"Bookmark here

"And that somebody is probably the killer or someone affiliated to him!" Isaac excitingly interrupted.Bookmark here

"Aye, an' I'm probably handling' one right now."Bookmark here

"Actually, that's just a normal monkey," Marie pointed out as the monkey bit the knight's hand. Ryleigh winced as he released the monkey who scrambled away, never to be seen again. The three couldn't help but chuckle at the knight's misfortune.Bookmark here

"Screw that, let's get back to the circus," Ryleigh quickly changed the topic, "Claude's still there capturin' animals. He's probably wi' the person responsible for this mess."Bookmark here

And indeed the knight was right. Bookmark here

While the other four made there way to the circus, Claude was busy fending himself against endless hordes of hexed beasts. First he defeated the 12 gerbils that are actually wolves. Then, the Beast-Master bombarded him with lizards that are actually crocodiles. After that, he summoned five huge hawks whose talons were strong enough to hurt the poor Behemoth when in fact, they were formerly pigeons.Bookmark here

"Enough with this!" Claude raged, upper-cutting the last hawk all the way to kingdom come.Bookmark here

"Wow, I'm impressed. I've always heard legends about a Behemoth's strength but I never expected them to be this tough."Bookmark here

"Nevertheless, I have one more trump card to be used." The Beast-Master pulled out a millipede from his pocket and threw it to the air.Bookmark here

"Behold-" he raised his right hand proudly- "A GIANT SNAKE!"Bookmark here

Just like he said, the harmless millipede transformed into a terrifying monstrous serpent. Half of its body was standing as it looked down the puny Behemoth that would soon be its meal. Deadly green venom drooled from its mouth, corroding the floor as drips of it fell to the ground.Bookmark here

"Let's see how well you handle this beast!" the Beast-Master taunted.Bookmark here

Claude, already fed up with his nonsense, ripped off the concrete floor and blocked the snake's strike with it, stuffing the monster's mouth with cold hard cement. As the snake's fangs were stuck onto the concrete, Claude yanked it back ripping off the snake's precious fangs. Bookmark here

Infuriated and in pain, the snake quickly re-grew its fangs and strike the Behemoth once more but this time from the side. Claude was quick to counter by throwing the same piece of concrete to the snake's face at full force, shattering the snake's skull. Bookmark here

The snake, now in more pain, whipped its tail to and fro trying to hit the cursed Behemoth that damaged it greatly. Despite his huge figure, Claude was swift to dodge it all except for one. A slight misstep sent him flying by the powerful whip of the monster's tail. Bookmark here

While all of this was happening, the Beast-Master who was watching from afar, realized that he should get out sooner or later. As much as he hates to admit, the Behemoth proved superior in their conflict which means he had to retreat for now and terrorize the town another day. Hence, he quickly made his way out of the fairground.Bookmark here

Unfortunately for him, out of the hundreds of people inhabiting Smillia he ended up stumbled upon the rest of Claude's friends. He ran and knocked right into Isaac as they both fell to the ground.Bookmark here

"Woah there buddy! Watch where your going!" Bookmark here

"I-I'm sorry sir, but there's a huge monster at the circus," the Beast-Master apologized, pretending to be frightened by the snake he summoned. Bookmark here

"Look! There it is!" he pointed back to the circus where the giant snake was seen battling intensely against Claude.Bookmark here

"Ah sh*t! Claude's in trouble! We need to 'elp 'im!" Bookmark here

The Beast-Master smiled as he saw the four ran towards the circus after being tricked by his lies. He turned around to continue his flee when he felt a sudden stab at his right heel. Immediately he fell down, turned around and witnessed a knife sticking out from his heel. He looked up and saw one of them staring right into his soul. That person was none other than Jakob Fowlhunter.Bookmark here

"Jakob! What are you doing!?" Isaac was surprised by the hunter's sudden action.Bookmark here

"Look at his neck. There's the upward crescent symbol on it," Jakob answered, "He's responsible for this mess."Bookmark here

"Oh this? I believe you're mistaken sir, I had this tattooed since last ye-" Jakob interrupted the Beast-Master's reply by throwing another knife towards his knee.Bookmark here

"The three of you go ahead, I'll take care of him," Jakob ordered his friends.Bookmark here

"Be careful not to kill him. We might want to interrogate him later," Marie reminded before joining the rest of the crew into the circus. Bookmark here

"Yeah yeah I won't."Bookmark here

With that, the two of them were left alone. The Beast-Master pulled out the knives that was stuck in his knee and heel.Bookmark here

"Not bad. You got quite a sharp eye to quickly notice such detail-" The Beast-Master got up from the ground- "but your glory ends right now!"Bookmark here

The Beast-Master threw a handful of cockroaches towards Jakob and casted his spell. However, before the bugs could even began their transformation, Jakob quickly pulled out one of his gun and shot down all of the cockroaches.Bookmark here

"What the hell? What kind of pistol is that?!" the Beast-Master was surprised to see such odd weapon. Never before had he witnessed a pistol having that kind of deadly precision and efficiency.Bookmark here

"One that will take you down," Jakob replied, blowing the smoke off his gun's barrel.Bookmark here

Infuriated, the Beast-Master cast his magic once more. He fired a red beam light towards the sky hitting a flock of birds, transforming them into eagles with razor-sharp talons. The eagles dove towards Jakob who did not move an inch.Bookmark here

Instead, he whipped out another one of his pistol from his coat and began firing both of his guns towards the flock. All eight bullets hit their targets, leaving only five birds left. The eagles swooped here and there, trying to claw the bounty hunter but he was too swift for them to catch up.Bookmark here

Jakob quickly reloaded amidst dodging all of the attacks. He picked up a pebble and threw it towards the flock with great force. The pebble hit one of the eagles and ricochet to the next. Upon inserting a bullet into the last empty chamber of his guns, Jakob immediately fired both of it killing the last three birds of prey.Bookmark here

At this point, the Beast-Master was already halfway in his escape. He snatched a horse from a random passerby and tried to ride his way out. However, he made a grave mistake while doing of still being within the bounty hunter's sight.Bookmark here

Calmly, the bounty hunter pulled out a shoulder stock from his duster and attached it to one of his gun. He carefully pointed his gun towards the fleeing target, calculating the increasing distance between them, predicted the target's next move-Bookmark here

-and fired.Bookmark here

"GAAAH!" Bookmark here

The bullet hit right at the Beast-Master's shoulder blade, just like the hunter intended. He immediately fell from the horse and could only wince in pain as the bounty hunter made his way towards him.Bookmark here

"You've got nowhere to run now," Jakob spoke, but the Beast-Master had already lost his consciousness due to blood loss. Bookmark here

Hence, the terror of the Beast-Master was over, and all that's left was to clean his mess up.
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