Chapter 7:

End of A Terror (Part 1)

The Symphonia of Erde (DISCONTINUED) (ARCHIVED)

"Oh how lovely that my son's friends could join us for breakfast!" Isaac's mother cheered as she brought with her a tray of porcelain tea set to the dining table, pouring one by one a cup of freshly brewed tea for everyone there.
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"Aye Ms Nikola, we could not thank you enough for invitin' us durin' this wonderful mornin'," Ryleigh replied, sipping his cup of tea, "I do want ter apologize for not showin' up last night."Bookmark here

"It's okay, a knight like you must be busy with important stuff."Bookmark here

"Aye..." Ryleigh eyes slowly moved sideways knowing all too well that he was not busy with 'important stuff' that night.Bookmark here

"Well, if any of you needed a refill just let me know. I'll be there at the kitchen," Ms Nikola claimed before retreating back to the kitchen.Bookmark here

Isaac looked at her wheelchair bound mother pushing the wooden tires of the contraption that gave her mobility even with her non-functioning legs. Despite her condition, Isaac knew his mother was one of the most independent person he ever met in this town. After all, he grew up under the care of his mother, without any man in the house to help. Bookmark here

His father had long passed without a chance to witness his son's birth and as far as Isaac concerned, his mother had always been paraplegic since his first memory of her. There comes a time where Isaac would question the reason for his mother's state but she refused to reveal any answer. For better or worse, Isaac guessed it was better to keep it like, at least for now.Bookmark here

Seeing her mother like that drove Isaac's determination to catch the serial killer that had been terrorizing Smillia from within the shadows even more. He could not let people like William to roam around freely while his mother was still around.Bookmark here

"Say-" Isaac turned to his only two friends that were currently present at the table; Ryleigh and Marie- "where's Jakob?"Bookmark here

"He's got business to attend to."Bookmark here

"Haha, jist like me that night," Ryleigh joked after taking a big sip from his cup.Bookmark here

Marie shook her head in disagreement, "Oh no. I've known Jakob long enough. If he says he has business to attend to he really means it."Bookmark here

"We best be prepared," she added, shifting in her seat, "every time he does this kind of thing it always lead to something huge."Bookmark here

Ryleigh and Isaac looked at her wondering what she meant by that. But whatever it was, they ought to take her advice. Especially Isaac who's determined to end William Shadford's terror once and for all.Bookmark here

"Who wants biscuits!" Isaac's mother suddenly popped out from the kitchen carrying a tray of freshly baked biscuits. The aromatic scent of the bakery goods caught everyone's senses.Bookmark here

"Ho 'o! I like biscuits!" Ryleigh cheered childishly.Bookmark here

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"Fi' Ngui Phtga!!"Bookmark here

The forest ground shook violently as the voice finished his chant. William Shadford stood in front of a cliff side, a huge boulder laid in front of him. Several seconds later, the boulder moved sideways revealing a hidden cave behind it.Bookmark here

Will looked around making sure he was not stalked by anyone before entering the cave. Unknowingly for him, there was one individual hiding behind one of the many trees that surrounded the area.Bookmark here

Jakob waited until he could no longer hear any footsteps, all the while polishing both of his pistols. Once the coast was clear, he followed the murderer's trail and went straight into the cavern.Bookmark here

There was nothing special in that cave save for some skulls and bones of creatures of all sorts, most notably humans or humanoid skeletons. The path was straightforward, no confusing labyrinth or hidden traps here and there. Due to that, Jakob proceeded carefully making sure to not go too fast or too slow. It was easy for him to catch anyone who tried to ambush him with this kind of surrounding, yet the same could be said for William Shadford. Jakob carefully followed his target allowing him to disappear from his line of sight from time to time.Bookmark here

The cave grew more delirious as they both journeyed deeper into it. The crescent symbol began to show up more abundantly on the walls of the cave, painted red by who knows what. The path grew smaller and narrower, more skulls left and right as the hunter squinted his eyes trying to grasp the minimal light present in this route of madness. Eventually, Jakob completely lost William from his sight. He hoped that his target would remain unaware of his presence and the cavern's path remained straight and trap-less.Bookmark here

Some time passed and finally, Jakob caught sight of a glimpse of light. He could hear voices coming from that place thus the hunter intuitively went straight to that direction where a man-made chamber awaited him. The hunter crouched behind a rock near the entrance, relying on his sharp ears to eavesdrop the conversation of the voices without being seen. From there, he saw his target, kneeling to a shadowy background.Bookmark here

"My child, you have done a lot to atone for your sins," a voice came from the background, speaking in a deep, almost inhuman-like voice, "you are indeed worthy of the miracle I was blessed upon in which I bless upon you."Bookmark here

"I am deeply humbled, Father," William Shadford replied.Bookmark here

"Clearly The Graced Ones are on your side my child-" the voice paused- "which is why I am disappointed."Bookmark here

"What could have possibly let you down o' Father?'Bookmark here

"I have heard- no, I have witnessed it, my child. You are slowly straying away from The Grace's path."Bookmark here

"I apologize Father for I do not understand what you meant by that?"Bookmark here

"You began seeking alternatives, you've been meeting the doctor, didn't you!?"Bookmark here

Both William and Jakob shook upon hearing the statement. Its voice changed from calm to threatening in a matter of seconds.Bookmark here

"You seek the doctor! You began following his way hoping for a cure for your problem!" its voice grew louder.Bookmark here

"Are you not satisfied with The Grace child!? Are you not grateful for the satisfying taste it gave to you every time you spill blood to purify this unholy world!?"Bookmark here

William's tongue froze. There were many things he wanted to say to defend himself from the voice's accusation. He wanted to tell it that he did not want to kill anymore. He wanted to tell it that he no longer felt joy on spilling others blood compared to all those times before. He wanted to tell it that he grew tired of being angry for no absolute a reason; a dreadful trait he grew up with since his childhood times. He wanted to tell it that "The Graced Ones" did not help him, that he had found help, that he wanted to end his ways of terror once and for all.Bookmark here

But in the end, he did not tell it anything. His mouth remained silent.Bookmark here

"Perhaps you have forgotten why you came seeking me in the first place o' pitiful child," The voice suddenly spoke softly. "Perhaps you have forgotten the treatment your old folks gave you."Bookmark here

William's eyebrow raised when he heard the sentence.Bookmark here

"Do you remember? The soft touch of their fingers, the sensations of their restless tongues-"Bookmark here

William clenched his shaking fist, silently demanding for it to stop.Bookmark here

"The unending beating within you, the warm climax that ensues, as you fell to the ground stained by the people of the same line of blood-"Bookmark here

"SHUT UP!!" William roared as he punched the ground in anger. The cave shook from his rage.Bookmark here

Jakob nearly fell from the tremor and gave himself away, but he managed to regain his footing. He leaned closer to the chamber's entrance where he could hear a faint cry from William.Bookmark here

"Hmph. I hope you remember now the reason of your vows, the purpose of your servitude towards The Grace."Bookmark here

William, who was on his knees, looked up towards the voice, "I am sorry Father..." he spoke weakly.Bookmark here

"The Graced Ones is merciful o' stray child, and thus, so must I. Your sins will be forgiven, provided..."Bookmark here

Jakob leaned closer as he could not make anything from the voice's faint whisper. He slowly stood up, trying to take a peek. But instead of an answer, what greeted him was a crimson light-bolt heading straight for his face. He managed to dodge it barely as the light-bolt brushed through his cheek, leaving a small burn scar before obliterating the walls behind him.Bookmark here

Jakob turned back to William, smoke coming out of his crescent-tattooed palm that was pointed towards the hunter.Bookmark here

"Take him out o' Graceful child."Bookmark here

William's tattooed palm began to glow bright red. Both of his eyes turned black as his pupils transformed into the red crescent mark.Bookmark here

"Leave no witness!!"Bookmark here

"SHIT!"Bookmark here

A tremendous explosion filled the man-made chamber, its flame surged through the entire narrow path leading to the place. Jakob managed to hide himself behind a rock protecting him from the fire, but his luck was cut short as said rock immediately turned to ashes moments after. He looked back to see an enraged William Shadford pointing his glowing palms towards him. Bookmark here

William carelessly blasted strobes of magical bolt towards Jakob. Lasers of pure energy surged through his palm as he tried to take down the swift hunter who dodged all of it in a nick of time.Bookmark here

Jakob evaded yet another of William's magic bolt before throwing a smoke bomb towards him, creating enough time for the hunter to retreat. The distraction was cut short though as William, using one of his many powers, absorbed the smoke towards one of his palm. He swung his arms side to side as he blasted beams of high-pressured gas coming from both of his hands. Jakob ducked and jumped as the beam sliced through everything including the hard rocky walls around them.Bookmark here

The entire cave shook violently from William's tantrum. Rocks and stalactites fall from the ceiling adding more danger for poor Jakob to evade. It was only a matter of time before the whole place collapse, in which the hunter was more than happy to acknowledge.Bookmark here

After taking a glimpse of the blindly enraged sorcerer-cultist-murderer or whatever the hell William was, Jakob quickly pulled out a dynamite stick, lit it up, and threw it over William. The hunter quickly drew out his right pistol and hip fired two shots.Bookmark here

One shot went straight for William's head but the magic-wielding murderer was fast to block it with his magic. The other shot however hit William's right hip, momentarily incapacitating him but not enough to kill. It did not matter though as the dynamite above him exploded. Huge chunks of rocks and stalactites fell from above crashing towards William.Bookmark here

Ashes and smoke covered the place as the cave shook even harder than before. Jakob immediately sprinted towards the exit and jumped out of the place, right before the entire place collapsed, crushing everything and everyone in it. He succeeded in making it out alive.Bookmark here

The hunter looked back at the cave; now nothing more but a hole covered with boulders. Normally, one would think of celebrating the victory of today's conflict but Jakob did not feel satisfied after all that he went through. Bookmark here

Dozens of new questions went through his mind. 'Who was this Father William talked to?' , 'What is this "Grace" they were talking about?' . But those questions weren't the only thing preventing his mind from ease.Bookmark here

Years of experience told him that magic-wielders of William's caliber were more than capable of surviving collapsed cave. He must immediately get back to his friends to warn them about this.Bookmark here

However, it seemed he did not need to do such things.Bookmark here

A tremendous crimson beam surged upwards from the cliff side of the cave, piercing through the heavenly clouds above. Ryleigh, Marie and Isaac got out from the house astonished by what their eyes perceived. The same goes for Claude who noticed the red light from his office's window and took a peek from it. Horses panicked, children ran away screaming, everyone retreated into their houses as all of Smillia were made aware of this terrible omen.Bookmark here

"Ah crap. Guessed I've kicked the hornet's nest," Jakob spoke to himself as he stared at the beam, while lighting up a piece of cigarette.Bookmark here

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"I don't like people being near me."Bookmark here

Claude's mind recalled those words as he sprinted through the forest.Bookmark here

"I hate it when someone touches my body."Bookmark here

A huge tremor shook the ground causing Claude to almost trip. He quickly regained his footing and stepped away from a falling tree. Claude jumped, ducked and dodged as one by one the trees surrounding him fell. He sprinted onwards not wanting to waste any more time.Bookmark here

Finally, he arrived at the cliff side where the red light beamed brightly up and into the sky. He saw Jakob nearby, staring at the beam with a cigar locked between his lips.Bookmark here

"Ah! there you are Clau- *AGHK*" Jakob's dialogue was cut short as Claude grabbed him by his neck.Bookmark here

"WHAT HAVE YOU DONE!?"Bookmark here

"aAHe- wHa- leh gO-" Jakob pointed towards Claude's hand as he was gasping for air.Bookmark here

The Behemoth let go of Jakob who instantly fell to the ground, coughing dryly as he recovered his breath.Bookmark here

"What have you done Jakob!" Claude asked again in a less stern and angry voice.Bookmark here

"I tried to kill him isn't that obvious?"Bookmark here

The cliff side shook violently once more as chunks of rocks and dirt slid to the ground. Instantly, the top of the cliff side exploded like a volcano, and the red beam began to subside.Bookmark here

A man emerged from the hole where the red beam originally came from. He floated up to the sky, red aura glowed around his body as he looked down towards the two individuals below.Bookmark here

That man was William Shadford.Bookmark here

He looked at Jakob and could feel rage building up in his heart. But then he looked at the person beside the hunter. His mind tried to deny what he just saw.Bookmark here

"D-doctor?" his voice cracked.Bookmark here

"William listen! You are better than this!" Claude shouted from below, trying to talk him down, "I don't know how, but I don't care what led you to this. There's no need for bloodshed!"Bookmark here

William clenched his fist angrily, slowly raising it towards them. His eyes became watery as he prepared to blast them to ashes with his magic. Seeing this, Jakob quickly pulled out his gun but was stopped by Claude.Bookmark here

"I thought you could help me doctor!" William shouted, his hands shaking as he hesitated to shoot.Bookmark here

"I am here to help!" Claude assured but was quickly denied.Bookmark here

"NO! YOU'RE JUST LIKE THE REST OF THEM!" William immediately fired his magic towards them. The two quickly evaded the blast that exploded the ground, leaving a crater quite the size.Bookmark here

After that, William flew away from the place without a word, but not before gazing at the Behemoth doctor who noticed the tears flowing from his pitch black eyes.Bookmark here

"Will..."Bookmark here

Jakob looked at his large friend. He could see the disappointment coming from that stoic helm-faced of the Behemoth doctor. However, this was not the time to grief.Bookmark here

"Come on you big bucket-" Jakob helped Claude get back to his feet- "lets hurry back to town before things get any worse."Bookmark here

Unfortunately for them, things did got worse.Bookmark here

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"Out of the way! Out of the way! Everyone return to your houses!" a town guard yelled as he and three others rode through the fleeing crowd on their horses.Bookmark here

The quartet stopped at the town square right in front of the entrance of Notte del Circo. They quickly got down from their horses and marched inside to meet up with the other guards who also rode and marched through the town in groups of four. The head guard, who was still on his horse, got down and made his way in front of the others.Bookmark here

"Why are we here captain, when the red light thing is over there?" one of them asked, pointing towards the direction of the cliff where the red light once beamed.Bookmark here

A terrifying monster-like roar sounded out of nowhere, coming from the Big Top.Bookmark here

"That," the captain simply replied, "that is why we're here."Bookmark here

The Big Top shook violently as its ropes tied to the stakes on the ground snapped one by one. Seeing this, the captain immediately commanded:Bookmark here

"On your feet!"Bookmark here

All the guards instantly pointed their spears towards the Big Top.Bookmark here

"Wait!!!" a voice shouted, coming from inside the circus tent.Bookmark here

"Hold it!" The captain lifted his hand as his troops pulled back their weapons.Bookmark here

With that, a plump man emerged from the Big Top, his clothes torn and his hair messy. It was one of the Dario brothers, Philip Dario.Bookmark here

"Please, I don't want you to hurt my brother," he begged.Bookmark here

"Brother or not, we cannot let the safety of the people be in peril," the captain replied, "besides, did we not tell you to leave last week?"Bookmark here

Philip cringed upon hearing that statement. Indeed the authorities tried kicking him out ever since the incident with the Beast-master, but he had struck quite a fortune during his stay here. He managed to convince the town chief to prolong his stay although there were extra fees he had to pay. He did not regret spending some of his earnings though as the profit he earned the following days covered it and even doubled.Bookmark here

But as to now, there was a little sense of regret in his heart for not listening to the captain's warning. He did not expect that the latest victim of whatever curse that had fallen in this land was none other than his little brother; Benson Dario, the only person he cared more than his greed for gold.Bookmark here


A monstrous reptilian hand appeared suddenly from the roof of the Big Top. It teared and slashed the red and yellow canvases with its razor-sharp claws. The guard captain pushed away Philip and ordered his men to get ready with their spears.Bookmark here

Slish, slash, the reptilian arm teared, until the magnificent tent was reduced to torn pieces of canvases laying on the ground. Finally, the guards and their captain witnessed the monster under the tent, the thing Philip claimed to be his brother.Bookmark here

Standing at a tremendous 12 feet height, the Dario monster looked down on the dozens of guards pointing their spears at him. His black hair grew down all the way to his waist, his skin was scaly and reptilian just like his hand, and his face thinned till it looked like it was a fearsome skull covered in scales. The monster stared at them for a while before taking a step forward. Seeing this, half of the group of guards charged at him without hesitation.Bookmark here

"No! don't hurt Benson!" Philip shouted as they stabbed the monster with their spears. However, the Dario monster did not flinched at all and with one swipe of his backhand, he sent all the guards flying.Bookmark here

"F*ck! That thing is killing us all!" the guard captain complained.Bookmark here

"That 'thing' is my brother!"Bookmark here

"Well f*ck your brother then. Look!" The captain pointed towards the monster who appeared to be howling for some reason.Bookmark here

The ground shook again for the umpteenth time. However, the clouds above them began to scatter and move randomly before gathering above the howling monster. A silhouette of a floating man could be hardly seen within those clouds, moving its arms as if trying to cast a curse towards the earth below. The silhouette raised its arms, and the clouds exploded till it's no more.Bookmark here

Immediately after, all the guards that had fell after being swiped by the monster got back up, standing in an unnatural manner like a puppet controlled by an unskilled puppeteer. They began growling like beasts, turning their faces towards their allies and charged towards them relentlessly. The whole place turned into a war zone. Philip and the captain could only watch in horror.Bookmark here

"BROOOTHEEEER!!" the Dario monster roared, reminding the two about his presence as he charged towards them at full speed.Bookmark here

The guard captain immediately pointed his spear towards the reptilian monstrosity while Philip hid behind him. As the monster got closer and closer, the captain gripped his weapon harder realizing the impending doom he was about to face. Despite that fact, he simply brushed it off and charged back.Bookmark here

With one swift move the captain threw his spear skillfully and managed to hit the monster's throat. It roared in pain, but far from being harmed. The monster ripped off the spear from its throat and turned towards the captain. It lifted its arms and hammered it towards the captain, who could only look at the gargantuan fists appearing bigger and bigger. He closed his eyes as he embraced his final moments before disappearing into a cloud of concrete ash.Bookmark here

Philip watched in horror, to see his once feeble brother murdering someone all so easily.Bookmark here

The cloud of concrete ash began to subside. But instead of a pool of blood and crushed flesh, what greeted them was a brightly glowing transparent sphere. And inside it was the guard captain seemingly unharmed, and another peculiar individual.Bookmark here

It was Ryleigh, donned in his full not-so-shining armour. He held tightly onto his ivory-white sword, left hand on the handle, right hand on the blade, resisting the crushing weight of the monster's fists. He pushed back his sword along with the monster who lost its footing and fell to the ground.Bookmark here

"Good afternoon captain, it seems you're in nade av a wee 'elp."Bookmark here

"Heh." The captain smiled. "I have no idea who you are or how you did that but we sure as hell need people like you right now."Bookmark here

The monster got back up looking as angry as ever. Ryleigh and the captain prepared their weapons to fight back before being abruptly interrupted.Bookmark here

"Wait!" Philip shouted at them. "Please do not kill him! He is still my brother!"Bookmark here

"You've told me that for the hundredth time Philip!"Bookmark here

"Well if that's so-" Ryleigh sheathed his sword back much to everyone's surprise- "I'll put 'imself down wi' jist me fists then!" He put up his fists and immediately charged at the monster as shouted.Bookmark here

"You crazy bastard! You're gonna get yourself killed!"Bookmark here

"I doubt the monster understands yer warnin' sir!" Ryleigh replied as he delivered a powerful uppercut towards the Dario monster's jaw.Bookmark here

The beast fell down to the floor hard. But before it could even do anything, Ryleigh jumped to the sky and elbow dropped the poor thing's head, burying it through the concrete ground. Without a second to waste, Ryleigh grabbed the monster's tail and suplexed it back to the floor.Bookmark here

The guard captain and Philip watched in awe as the knight continued to wrestle the monster, him being the dominant one.Bookmark here

"Well, I guess he didn't need my help," the guard captain remarked, diverting his attention to the other problem. He quickly rallied the remainder of his free-willed men before leading them to battle the other tranced guards.Bookmark here

Meanwhile, the people of Smillia who fled from the town square found themselves caught in a crossfire between the Storm Revenant and several mystical powered folks. The poor townsfolk scrambled here and there, hiding behind barrels and crates as they took cover from the violent battle up above the sky.Bookmark here

Isaac blasted lightning bolts after another, trying to maim those magic wielders whose foreheads glowed brightly with the accursed crescent mark. One two managed to be taken down immediately, but several were still swiftly flying through the air, returning fire with whatever powers were granted to them. Bookmark here

Fireballs, energy bolts, icicles galore. The pale cloudy sky were filled with colourful display of magic bullets and supernatural powers.Bookmark here

"Everybody! Over here!" a female voice suddenly called out amidst the thunderous battle.Bookmark here

Her voice managed to attract the attention of the folks there who were greeted by the sight of none other than Marie Budgerigar, waving her arms up high to gain even more attention.Bookmark here

"This way people!" she showed them the path that will lead them to safety.Bookmark here

The path led to the northeast hills of Smillia, currently free from mystic-powered terrorists. Immediately, the people hurried towards the path pointed by her. They demonstrated a great deal of cooperation as they pulled out those who got stuck underneath fallen rubbles and carriages, carried the injured ones into safety and prioritizing women and children to leave the area first.Bookmark here

"Alright... You're good... Is there anyone left!?" Marie asked loudly after assisting a family into leaving the vicinity.Bookmark here

"Lady! Here! My papa's stuck underneath this block!" a little boy cried out several feet away.Bookmark here

Marie turned towards the child and saw a hand coming out from beneath a huge rubble of concrete, waving as if trying to call for help. Two men were seen joining forces as they attempted to lift the concrete up but it was no use. It was simply too huge and heavy for them.Bookmark here

"Move aside." Marie approached the rubble, pushing both men away.Bookmark here

She squatted down, slipped her hands beneath the rubble, and simply lifted the huge chunk of concrete up. The father quickly crawled out from that place and hugged his worried little son, while the two men were shocked to see such display of strength coming from a woman much smaller than them.Bookmark here

"Thank you so much kind lady."Bookmark here

"Yeah it's nothing. Now go, leave this place before things got worse."Bookmark here

And with that, the last remaining townsfolk fled that place without looking back. Marie released a sigh of relief which were almost instantly cut short as she noticed a shadow in front of her growing bigger and bigger. She quickly jumped sideways, evading a crashing human being.Bookmark here

"Woah there! Watch where your throwing them!" Marie scolded Isaac who slowly landed from the sky.Bookmark here

"Sorry Marie, but there's only much attention I could give when battling like a dozen or so magical people-" Isaac brushed off some dust from his clothing while his eyes scanned the surrounding- "at least I've got all of them though."Bookmark here

"Nope, you missed one."Bookmark here

Marie picked up a stone and threw it towards Isaac, who instinctively dodged it and saw the stone hitting a person's face. Said person was about to stab the revenant's back before being knocked out by said stone.Bookmark here

"Well, I guess we should get going and help Ryleigh at the circus," Isaac remarked.Bookmark here

"Sure, but where are all the remaining guards? Did they just deployed every men they have to the circus?"Bookmark here

"Yeah, the authorities here aren't exactly the brightest-" Isaac scratched the back of his head, knowing all too well the questionable system of his hometown- "that's why we need to get to Ryleigh fast, before things go south."Bookmark here

And so, the two of them sprinted towards the fairground at the town square.Bookmark here

On the other side, Jakob and Claude were also heading towards that place, running through the woods. It was only a matter of time before the gang reunite once more to finish off the terror caused by the mysteriously powered terrorist that is William Shadford.Bookmark here

"Dang it! if I had known today would end up like this I would've bring along my pickaxe this morning," Marie remarked.Bookmark here

"Your what now?"Bookmark here

To Be Continued...|/|

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