The Symphonia of Erde (DISCONTINUED) (ARCHIVED)
That evening, Claude and the village men marched home proudly, dragging with them the corpse of the wyvern the Behemoth had slain. They were welcomed as heroes by women, children and the elders that stayed. Had the place they returned to was a rich city they would have been showered with confetti and gold by the people around them. Alas, their cheers was more than enough to give pride for all those involved.
The wyvern's corpse was not let to waste. Its bones and scales were of high demand among alchemists, mages, nobles and collectors alike. When the next wave of traders stop by in this village, they would profit greatly by selling off the corpse. Who knows? Maybe they could even upgrade the infrastructure of the village to become a small town.
Nevertheless, the corpse was stored in an empty warehouse for later use. That night, the people whipped out their finest drink from the cellars, slaughtered the fattest, healthiest cows and baked the freshest breads from their clay ovens.
The night became a night of feast, fest and dance, in celebration of the heroic Behemoth that had slain the terrible winged beast.
"You know, when the wyvern showed up everyone cowered in fear. But not me! I stood my ground and took control of the situation! I guided everyone to safety while the Behemoth battled the beast!" Buck's friend boasted to a group of women, all of them were impressed by his made-up story.
Buck rolled his eyes hearing his friend's tale. He left his friend who were busy wooing the ladies and approached Claude who sat quietly, enjoying the bread and meat.
"I know you've heard it like a thousand times now Mister Claude, but once again, I couldn't express how grateful we are towards ya!" Buck initiated their dialogue.
"I am thankful to hear that," Claude replied, "truth be told, I don't know how I could pull it off without you all's support."
"Oh come on, stop humbling yourself-" Buck slapped Claude's back and laughed- "what the hell did we even do? We were simply there to run away and cheer you when you killed it! You deserve all the credit big man."
"Papa! Papa! Is that the man that kill the monster?" a little girl, not older than five, appeared out of nowhere, pointing towards Claude.
"Sarah! How many times must I tell you, its rude to point on others-" Buck lifted the child up- "but yes, he is the one who killed the monster."
"This is my daughter, Sarah," Buck introduced the child to Claude.
"Nice to meet you Sarah. I am Claude." The Behemoth offered his hand as Buck lifted his daughter above his head so the two could shake hands. Sarah giggled softly and was put back down.
"You sure are big, Mister Claude!"
"It seems I am."
"Will I grow as big you, Mister Claude?"
"I don't think that's possible."
"Now now Sarah, Mister Claude is tired from the fight. So let him celebrate tonight, yes?" Buck interrupted. "Go play with the rest of the kids or something."
"Awww- Fine then! Hmph-" Sarah pouted and left the scene stomping.
"Sigh- She sure is a handful sometimes," Buck commented.
"I wouldn't mind conversing with her you know?"
"Heh, that's what they all say. She could last hours you know? Most adults would break at the third hour," Buck explained.
"Hmm, I assume she got it from one of her parents."
"Definitely her mother," Buck immediately replied, "her attitude, her looks, from the hair to eyes to everything up and down. You'd think my wife would be some virgin saint for giving birth to a child with literally no trait from her father," the man joked.
"In fact, she was the only thing I had left of her-" Buck's expression suddenly change. His bright eyes that once represented an energetic young man transformed into a dark sorrowful one.
"... My condolences," Claude replied, placing his hand on Buck's shoulder to comfort him.
"Heh, what the hell am I doing. We're supposed to celebrate your victor! Drink up now Mister Claude!" Buck stood up and lifted his mug of ale.
"For our heroic Behemoth and the prosperous future!!!"
The crowd cheered in celebration, lifting their mugs up as well before chugging the strong drink in it. Claude also participated in their merry drinking and decided to loosen up that night. Rarely did he get this kind of celebration, and truth be told he still felt undeserving of it. After all, even the 'Smillia incident' didn't get this kind jollification after the whole thing had blown over.
Meanwhile, a man was seen hanging around near the warehouse where the wyvern corpse was kept. He had finished drinking with his friends and out of drunken curiosity, wanted to give the corpse a closer look.
"Paaah- It'll be fine... It's not like I'd eat that damn thing- *hick* " the man hiccupped mid sentence- "hahaha! Come to think of it, I wonder how wyvern meat *hick* tastes like?"
The warehouse door creaked loudly as the man slowly pushed it open. It was pitch-black inside the building, and the man knew that the corpse was placed far deep into the warehouse.
"Hello mister wyvern! Where the hell are youuuuu!~" the drunken man lurched onwards, laughing alone as he called the corpse out.
"Come on Mister wyvern! Where are you hiding~ Hahahahaaa-"
"Right behind you."
The drunken man suddenly became sober upon hearing those words. He immediately turned around where a huge leathery tail whipped him with full force. The drunkard was sent flying across the warehouse, smashing through the wooden wall of the building before crashing to a nearby shed. Those nearby were caught off-guard by the sight, but what came next destroyed what little courage they had in their souls.
A terrible roar thundered the whole village as the warehouse's walls exploded into millions of wooden shreds.
"What in the-"
"By the Brothers!" One of the villagers pointed as two dreadful wings emerged from the warehouse. The fog of dust cleared out, revealing a horrifying sight.
The wyvern, no longer wounded, was alive and enraged. Dead set to scorch everything below.
The merry fest quickly became a nightmare as children scrambled to their parents, crying and terrified. The villagers were in utter shambles as they tried to flee and hide, but the wyvern made quick work at burning every homes and shelters with its dreadful fiery breathe.
Claude was simply speechless. What ensued in front of him was beyond his understanding and experience. Wyverns possess no regenerative capabilities beyond that of their limbs. The wounds inflicted during their battle was simply too fatal for it to come back. But more importantly-
"WHERE ARE YOU BEHEMOTH!! I WILL DEVOUR YOU IN MY FLAMES!!!"
The winged beast spoke.
It was not a dragon. It should not have the capability for speech.
"SARAAAH!!! WHERE ARE YOU!!" Buck shouted, his voice snapped Claude back from his confused paralysis.
"PAPAAA!!" The girl called out, running frantically towards her father terrified by the discord of tonight.
Buck immediately embraced her daughter as she reached his arms, "Thank lord you're still here-"
It was then however, the wyvern spotted Claude amidst the ruins it made. It wasted no time charging towards the Behemoth, ramming through houses and shed with its gargantuan body.
"You two! Get out of here now!" Claude shouted as he noticed Buck and his daughter was still near him. The two left the Behemoth without a time to waste.
At this point, he realized the wyvern held a personal grudge against himself. He should use this to stall the monster long enough for everyone to evacuate. However, only one problem came with this newfound fact.
"Shit! Where the hell did I put my Greatbow!-" Claude scrambled away, trying to get his hand on his weapon as soon as possible all the while having a 40-feet monster hot on his trail.
"YOU SHALL NOT GET AWAY THIS TIMEEE!!!!"
The wyvern unleashed an enormous stream of fire that scorched everything in front. Claude jumped away just in time, hiding behind the remains of a destroyed house, now reduced further to ashes from the stream of flame. He looked back from his cover and was greeted with a terrible whip from the monster's tail causing the Behemoth to fly a dozen or so feet away before crashing into the remains of a burnt shed.
"Dammit..." Claude resisted his urge to succumb to the pain. He got up as fast as he could when he noticed something amidst the ruined building.
The terrible tail whip became a blessing in disguise as buried slightly within the ashes and splinters of wood was none other than The Wyvern Slayer Greatbow.
Claude wasted no time pulling the bow out from the pile of ash and wood. He was prepared to face the wyvern head on when he realized another problem.
His quiver and bow was nowhere to be found.
"One step forward two steps back!-" Claude mumbled to himself as he dodged the wyvern's fiery breath yet again.
Claude managed to get his hand on a rather long wooden pole. He kneed the pole into two and used one of it as an arrow. He fired the pole with his Greatbow right between the wyvern eyes, inflicting pain and agitation towards the beast, but far from penetrating its skin let alone deal a fatal blow.
In response, the wyvern slapped Claude away with the back of its left wing. The force dealt was much more than the tail, but due to wing's bigger surface area its damage was not as severe. But that did not stop it from sending the eight-feet, nigh 200 kilogram Behemoth crashing to the village's chapel.
Having earned satisfaction from bullying his enemy, the wyvern soared up to the air. It flew and circled the entire village, gushing down an unspeakable amount of flames burning all that is on the earth below.
The evacuating villagers was caught within the circle of fire created by the monster, some even scorched to death right as the wyvern passed above them. Children cried in terror, the adults were left helpless as their only way out was blocked by a wall of fire.
"Papa... I- I'm scared-" Sarah clutched his father tightly.
Like the rest of the men, Buck was helpless in this situation. He could not even guarantee protection to his dear daughter who had nothing to hold onto but him.
"Where the hell is Claude?" Buck thought to himself. It was in this moment, he noticed something peculiar within a grasp away from him.
Merely a few inches away from Buck's right foot, lied a huge quiver filled with arrows with drill-shaped tips. Buck realized that there was no way Claude could ever wish to combat the wyvern without its specialized weapon, thus a new dilemma took place inside the villager's heart.
Buck looked at his daughter, clutching tightly to him with terrified tears running down her face. He looked at the other villagers, also the same as him with their children, wives and loved ones. Having witnessed all of this, Buck now felt justified of what he was about to do next.
"Sarah, listen-" Buck got down to his knees- "whatever happens to me, whatever comes next, I love you no matter what."
"You are a strong big girl you know that? Your mother and I always wanted you to be happy before all else-" Buck got up from his knees and let go of Sarah's clutch- "be a good girl Sarah. Be a strong kind girl like your mother."
Buck signaled one of his friends nearby to come pick Sarah up. His friend was shocked by his decision but obeyed without question. Buck quickly left the scene and went straight back into the village with the quiver and wyvern-slaying arrows in his hand. He could hear his daughter's cry as he left her, begging him to return. The pain of ignoring it was much worse than the day he lost his wife, but if all things went smoothly, he'll return to his daughter with a smile.
"Mister Claude! Mister Claude where are you!" Buck shouted at the top his lungs. He ran across what was now a mere vestige of his village, barely recognizable from the ruins of destroyed houses and burning buildings.
Buck noticed the wyvern still flying here and there above the place, spewing fire as if the ground was not already scorched enough. Any sensible man would've concluded that there will be no survivors here, but Buck's faith towards Claude remained strong. The Behemoth must be alive! Else his suicidal return would be naught but in vain.
It was then Buck heard crumbling noises coming from a pile of concrete and wood. One by one, body parts began to emerge from the pile. First a fist, then an entire arm, then a body, until all that was seen was a wounded and charred but otherwise a fine healthy Behemoth.
"Claude! Oh thank god you are still alive!"
"Buck? What are you doing here?" Claude was confused at first when he noticed the quiver carried on Buck's shoulders.
He was overjoyed to see the weapon brought to him by this man, but his joy quickly turned to dread when the Behemoth noticed something approaching them from above.
"BUCK LOOK OUT!!" Buck turned around as Claude shouted and pointed right behind him.
A stream of fire poured down from above as the wyvern flew towards them in high speed. Huge and wide was the stream of flame as it engulfed the entire road and the two houses on its left and right. No normal man could possibly escape this impending doom, so Buck did what he could only do.
He tossed the quiver towards Claude, gave him a nod and a smile, then embraced his fiery end.
The villager exited the stage and left the world in ashes. Claude, horrified by the sight that occurred in front of him, realized that the stream of fire was also approaching him. He quickly grabbed the quiver laid in front and hid himself in the pile of rubber that once buried him.
The abrupt cover, though protected him from direct contact with the fire, did little at reducing the pain of the searing heat. Claude felt the skin of his backside peeling rapidly from the heat, and by the time it's over, he realized that his cape was burnt for the most part. He quickly took off the cape and got out from cover.
Battling a wyvern during night-time would be foolish, as its dark-coloured skin and nocturnal senses made it a one-sided battle during the night. However, this night called for an exception for both sides. Not only did the burning village lit up the place so the whole world could bore witness to the winged-beast, but the wyvern itself, stopped and landed several feet in front of the Behemoth.
"I WAS FOOLISH FOR NOT SEEING THIS COMING. I SHOULD'VE KNOWN THAT ONE DAY, THEY WOULD SEND A BEHEMOTH AFTER ME," the wyvern spoke, its voice as deep and as terrible as the abyss of the sea.
"THE GOOD FATHER GAVE ME MY DEEP DESIRED WISH. I SOUGHT TO BECOME A TERROR AMONGST MEN, WITH MIGHT GREATER THAN 20 BRAVE KNIGHTS-"
"Wait- father..." The reference reminded Claude of something, but his brain couldn't exactly click where. He decided to shrug off the thought for a while and fired an arrow towards the wyvern. It simply deflected it with its tail.
"ONCE I TOO WAS MAN LIKE THEM, FRIGHTENED AND PUNY-" The wyvern crawled ever closer towards Claude, deflecting any projectiles shot by the Behemoth using its tail- "THEY DID NOT HEED MY WARNING! BECAUSE I WAS A FEEBLE BOY, CRIPPLED SINCE BIRTH!"
The monster charged out of nowhere with its jaws wide opened. It tried to devour Claude whole but the Behemoth jumped away just in time, causing the wyvern to slam head first destroying the remainder of the chapel.
"I ADMIRE THE WYVERN THAT DESTROYED THE VILLAGE THAT SHUNNED ME! KILLED THE FAMILY THAT NEVER LOVED ME! NO MORE SHALL I BE HATED FOR MY WEAKNESS! NOW I AM FEARED FOR MY MIGHT!!!"
The wyvern suddenly stood up, its wings stretched wide open as it looked up to the sky above. Claude took this opportunity and aimed his bow towards the wyvern's unprotected chest, but what came next stunned him completely.
"HEAR ME OLD GRACED ONES!! TONIGHT I PAY MY BLOOD TRIBUTE FOR THIS MIGHTY FORM YOU GIVETH ME!"
A bright crimson light glowed violently from the wyvern's eyes and mouth as a strange runic symbol began to take form on its chest. Claude immediately fired an arrow towards the wyvern's chest, but it was too late as the creature had finished charging up whatever terrible power it had called upon him.
The wyvern unleashed a terrible concentrated laser of black-purple colour. It was thinner than the usual stream of flame it normally spew out, but the laser travelled much faster as Claude barely dodged it in a nick of time, and the destructive power it held was much more horrendous.
A gruesome high-pitched noise fill the air as the wyvern's jaw opened wide spitting out every ounce of its rage in the form of an all-destroying beam of power. The arrow Claude fired immediately disintegrated. Every building, every tree, every wild beasts and all the hills in front of the wyvern were reduced to literal ash as the laser passed through it. Everything half a dozen leagues in front were decimated.
"WHERE ARE YOU BEHEMOTH!! I WILL END OUR FIGHT TONIGHT! I WILL LEAVE NOTHING OF YOU BUT DUST!!!"
Unbeknownst to the wyvern, Claude sneaked behind it while the monster was busy firing its laser beam. He climbed up a pile of rubble and pulled out two arrows from his quiver with both hands.
"URAAAAHH!!" Claude jumped up high and towards the wyvern's head. He landed and stabbed both arrows right between the wyvern's eyes.
The monster roared, more to annoyance then pain as the Behemoth had the audacity to pull off the same trick he had done just this morning.
"YOU THINK YOU COULD DEFEAT ME LIKE THIS AGAIN BEHEMOTH!!?"
However, the stab of Claude's arrows buried much deeper into its skin than the one before. It was a stab not out of desperation, but out of rage. Claude forced both arrows deeper and deeper as the wyvern winced, this time in great pain.
The wyvern tried thrashing around to get the pesky Behemoth off from his head, but Claude's vice grip refused to let go as he's determined to end it once and for all. In desperation, the wyvern tried laying its back to the ground hoping to crush Claude, but he responded by jerking the arrows forward causing the wyvern to unwillingly bow to the front.
Claude jerked both arrows to the left causing the wyvern to crash on its left side. Claude jerked the arrows to the right and the same thing occurred on its right. Realizing that the Behemoth somehow had minor control of its body, the wyvern spread open its wings and instantly soared the skies.
Like the morning face-off, the wyvern shook and spun in desperation. But unlike the daytime battle, Claude refused to let go. Instead, he stood tall on his feet, stomping the wyvern manically as both his hands remained its vice grip onto the arrows.
Claude showed no mercy, stomping and shoving the arrows deeper into the monster every time it tried to pull off an aerial stunt to shake him off. Both titans struggled at the sky for quite some time, having travelled a significant distance from the village. It was then something caught Claude's eyes.
The Behemoth suddenly jerked the arrows backwards causing the wyvern to fly higher and higher.
"WHAT ARE YOU DOING BEHEMOTH!!"
Claude didn't bother to answer the question. He abruptly jerked the arrows forward causing the wyvern to divebomb rapidly to the ground.
As their altitude descended lower and lower, strange mist started to pass by both of them. More and more the mists appeared before the wyvern finally realized the Behemoth's plan.
"YOU IDIOOOTTT!!! YOU'RE GONNA TAKE OUR FIGHT THERE!?!?"
"IF IT MEANS I COULD KILL YOU! THEN YES!!" Claude shouted proudly.
For the first time, the wyvern was scared of its opponent. Long had it not felt fear towards any other being ever since it took this monstrous form, but seeing- no, FEELING the Behemoth this hellbent at destroying his opponent-
Finally, both of them crashed to the ground. An explosion of dirt followed as the forest floor rumbled as if hundreds of cannonballs were fired towards it. The explosion settled and the woods became quiet once more. Mists started to engulf the place as if nothing had ever changed the ancient terrain.
For tonight, the Misty Woods had welcomed yet two more unexpected guests.