Chapter 15:

Farewell O' Dreary Woods

The Symphonia of Erde (DISCONTINUED) (ARCHIVED)

"Mister! Mister!" a six year-old Anna called out happily, as she ran across the forest grounds of the Misty Woods.Bookmark here

The Mist, who had taken the silhouette shape of a man, embraced the child in its arms, lifted her up and spun her around as the child's joyful laugh merry the otherwise gloomy lands of the dreaded woods. The misty figure placed Anna back to her feet when it noticed the girl was holding something gently within both her hands.Bookmark here

"Mister look! I found this when I went to the lake!" Anna showed the content she had been holding. It was a nightingale, its wings injured and incapable of flight. Bookmark here

"Poor bird, she must've hurt herself while trying to fly here," Anna commented, "we should do something to help her!"Bookmark here

The Mist took the nightingale from her hands and carried it back to their cave-house, while Anna followed from behind. Inside, Anna waited quietly at the living room with the injured bird on a stone-table. Apparently, The Mist went to fetch something to help the nightingale, or at least that's what Anna thought.Bookmark here

Unsurprisingly, Anna was caught off guard when The Mist returned with a knife and a pan from the kitchen.Bookmark here

"Mister! What are you doing!?"Bookmark here

"..Food?.."Bookmark here

"No! We can't eat her!" Anna defended the injured bird. "We must heal her, feed her, until she gets better."Bookmark here

"Do you know how to make a cage, Mister? We probably need things like medicine, some seeds, and water..."Bookmark here

"...Cage...seeds..." those words rang inside The Mist's mind, reminding it of something it had seen before. Bookmark here

Immediately after, The Mist dematerialized itself into a cloud of smoke and disappeared from the scene. Some time later, The Mist returned (in its silhouette-body form) at the front door, holding a crate it had found inside a long abandoned carriage somewhere in the woods. Inside the crate was a small wooden cage, sacks of bird feed and an ointment for treating small wounds. It was as if the crate was a starter kit for domestic bird care, and perhaps it was considering the owner of the carriage was a trader for exotic pets. His fate however, remained unknown.Bookmark here

"This is very good Mister! We can take care of the bird now with all of this! Let's go place her inside the cage."Bookmark here

And so, they both did what the little girl just said. Anna and The Mist's life went on as usual in the Misty Woods, but with a new addition to their little family. Every morning, the nightingale's chirp filled the cave-house with peaceful music of nature. Anna took joy seating around at the living room, doing nothing but admiring the one-bird symphony of the nightingale. Bookmark here

Everyday, Anna would refill the bird feed, change the cup of water, and apply ointment to the nightingale's injured wings. Cleaning duty was on The Mist though, who simply enshrouded the cage with its mists while the nightingale was still in it. As the mists faded away, everything became spotless clean, including the bird.Bookmark here

Three weeks passed, and Anna noticed something of the nightingale. Bookmark here

"Mister look! I think she's all healed already." Anna pointed as the nightingale kept on flapping its wings and knocking the cage's bar.Bookmark here

"I think it's time we let her go."Bookmark here

"...Why?..." The Mist pondered.Bookmark here

"...No bird... no song..."Bookmark here

From The Mist's perspective, the nightingale had brought so much joy to Anna, chirping its wonderful little music every morn. It was baffled when Anna wanted to let go of the thing that made her so happy.Bookmark here

"Well, birds don't belong in cages. They should fly happily in the skies," Anna replied simply.Bookmark here

"Papa once said that when you love something, sometimes you have to let it go. I don't know what he meant to be exact, but I think he was talking about birds."Bookmark here

They both got out from the house as Anna brought the bird cage with her. She reached for the cage's door and opened it without hesitation.Bookmark here

"I love this bird, and because I love it-" the nightingale flew away and soared the blue skies above- "I decide to let it go."Bookmark here

The nightingale soon vanished from sight, freed from its cage as it flew to who knows where. The Mist was still confused by Anna's decision, but seeing her waving goodbye happily to the bird- guess it'll just have to accept it and move on.Bookmark here

Moments later though, Anna suddenly burst into tears.Bookmark here

"Mister, I- I miss heeerrr!!"Bookmark here

The child hugged her surrogate father as The Mist comforted her. It lifted her up and carried her back to the house where she could calm herself back down.Bookmark here

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"DOORAAA!!!" Bookmark here

Isaac's bony-fist connected right at the wyvern's forehead, sending a powerful blow that sent the creature crashing to the ground. The wyvern was surprised, not expecting such powerful strike coming from a being that small. Charges of electricity was seen pulsing all over Isaac as the floating skeleton looked down at the monster below, his fist clenched tightly as he prepared himself for yet another strike.Bookmark here

There was no sign of hesitation as Isaac flew towards the beast once more, this time turning himself into a ball lightning that rolled towards his target in speed that put sound and lightning to shame. Despite this though, the wyvern reacted just in time as it managed to hit Isaac with a tail swipe, but great was the force of Isaac's ball lightning charge that its tail was instantly cleaved as the two connected. Bookmark here

Though in pain, the wyvern used this opportunity to dodge sideways just in time before the ball lightning damaged it even further. However, the ball lightning managed to brush through a great portion of its side body. Its stony scales rendered meaningless against the ball lightning as it peeled through and ripped apart the skin of the body it had brushed.Bookmark here

"WRUAAAAAAHHH!!!"Bookmark here

As Isaac landed onto the ground, he was immediately greeted by the wyvern's monstrous mouth. It caught Isaac whole with its infernal jaws, had its neck back up and attempted to close its mouth, chomping the Storm Revenant down. Isaac resisted as both his arms held and pushed back the wyvern's upper jaw. The two of them were now locked in a jaw-crushing tug of war, with no signs of advantage against each other from both parties. Bookmark here

Meanwhile, Jakob was still searching for his pistol belt within the ruined remains of the cave-house in which he took it off early on before the disastrous 'tea party'. He didn't have time to retrieve it back when the father-daughter fight broke out. Bookmark here

"Found it!" Jakob exclaimed, pulling out his pistol belt which was tugged safely within a pile crumbled rocks. He wasted no time wearing it back onto his hips.Bookmark here

Now properly equipped, Jakob walked back to the field where he saw the wyvern's mouth glowed brightly with pulsing electricity.Bookmark here

"Yeah, he's doing fine. Besides, what's the best I could do against that thing with these pea-shooters?" Jakob turned away from the wyvern-Isaac fight and instead had his attention diverted towards another individual there.Bookmark here

"Are you okay, lady?" Jakob asked at the seemingly paralyzed Anna.Bookmark here

The red-haired maiden was utterly speechless by the chain of events that suddenly played out in front of her eyes. First, she saw her father disintegrated in an attempt to protect her and now, a great battle between two titans of nature, one literally and the other metaphorically. So much chaos occurred in such little time, at her home that was otherwise serene, still and devoid of disparity.Bookmark here

"This... this..." there's simply too much information to take in for Anna. Her gray home became so vibrant of colour, heat and death. A thousand conflicting emotions surged within her; despair, excitement, fear, surprise, enjoyment, grief-Bookmark here

"Hey lady!" Jakob shook Anna back to reality, literally. Bookmark here

"Jakob! I'm sorry- I.."Bookmark here

"I know. A lot of bullshit is going on all of a sudden and you're still trying to process what's happening, but right now we have to get out of here!" Jakob commented.Bookmark here

The hunter helped Anna get back to her feet as he offered his hand to pull herself back up. Meanwhile in the background, Isaac's electrocution within the wyvern's jaws was cut short as the monster retaliated by unleashing its flaming breath. Isaac zipped out just in time as the surge of flame soared out to the sky. Bookmark here

As the battle waged on, Jakob and Anna retreated to a hill quite some distance away from the scene. They could observe the battle from there without much worry of their own safety.Bookmark here

"So, Anna, I guess you could consider this a first taste of the world outside," Jakob commented. Bookmark here

Anna watched as out of nowhere, several coiled-tip arrows made its way into the scene, flying right past Isaac at mach speed. The arrows struck the wyvern's left eye and all the skin around it, distracting it with immense pain. Isaac took this opportunity and charged a huge amount of lightning within himself, and speared the wyvern headfirst, sending them both crashing back to the ground hard.Bookmark here

"The world outside... Is it always this chaotic?" Anna asked.Bookmark here

"Well, not on this level of destruction, but point is there's always gonna be dangers here and there," Jakob replied. "You might've guessed already that the world isn't grey and still like this forest, but the colours ain't just rainbows and flowers either-"Bookmark here

"That being said, do you still want to leave this woods and see the world after this?"Bookmark here

"If you think this monster could deter my dreams of going outside, then you are dead wrong Jakob," Anna replied, as she turned her gaze towards Jakob with determined eyes.Bookmark here

"In a way, I am glad that this creature came to this woods. At least I know now what to prepare for when the day I leave this forest comes," Anna continued.Bookmark here

Jakob smiled before lighting up a cigar to take a quick puff, all the while the clash between the Storm Revenant and the wyvern waged on in the background. Bookmark here

"Welp, good for you lady. Though just a heads up, this kind of 'violence' you see, though ain't common, still happen from time to time. Some, even far worse than this."Bookmark here

"Worry not, I'll manage myself when that time comes. Even if I don't at least I have a home to return to once all is said and done."Bookmark here

"Yeah about that-" Jakob released a puff of smoke before continuing his dialogue- "that wyvern did quite the damage to this place. Hell, the Misty Woods right now ain't so misty in case you don't notice."Bookmark here

As Jakob pointed out, the mists in the surrounding was somehow much thinner than usual. The woods did not appeared as ominous as it used to, and the sky, whose drizzling weather had long ended, stood out proudly with its endless ocean-blue canvas, daisy-white clouds and the radiance of the mighty sun. In other words, it felt not like they were on the dreaded Misty Woods, but at some random forest of withered trees instead.Bookmark here

"I wouldn't be so worried about it," Anna replied, "it's only a matter of time before Mister retaliate at such an unwanted guest. Look-"Bookmark here

Anna pointed at the fight, where Jakob noticed a thick layer of mists started to gather on the ground below the two flying adversaries. The mists grew bigger and bigger, swirling ever so violently in a vortex of smoke. Bookmark here

It appeared Isaac noticed the mists below which led him to flee from the fight, much to the wyvern's confusion. Moment's later, it too realized the sudden accumulation of mists below them, and much to its horror, had grown so much so that the wyvern was literally staring at a cyclone of fog. Bookmark here

The wyvern tried to flee, but the cyclone unleashed dozens after dozen of clawed arms, grabbing and piercing the stony scales of the wyvern ever so effortlessly. The claws dug deep into its fortress-like scales and ripped the creature apart flesh-by-flesh. Bookmark here

The wyvern released a loud roar, a cry for its unspeakable pain. Even so, it tried to fight back, unleashing a stream of fire right at the center of the cyclone. The cyclone however, simply dispersed itself partially upon contact with the flame, making the matters worse even for the wyvern who watched in horror as the dispersed mists turned into hundreds of tentacular limbs. Bookmark here

In its last ditch effort of escape, the wyvern's eyes and mouth started to glow a bright crimson colour, as a runic symbol glowed from its chest. It was about to unleash its most terrifying power yet. Bookmark here

Yes, it was the black-purple laser that atomized everything it touched, the one it had previously unleashed towards Claude back at the village. The wyvern's jaws now pointed at the center of the cyclone of mists once more, merely seconds away from unleashing its ultimate attack.Bookmark here

Yet, those 'seconds' away were all that was needed to seal the wyvern's fate. Two huge tentacular-mists wrapped around the creature's neck, and right before the wyvern unveil its terrible attack-Bookmark here

*C R A C K* Bookmark here

The tentacles twisted the wyvern's neck, its head turned a full 180, facing the opposite direction it had previously before. The wyvern instantly lost its conscious, and just like that, its ultimatum for escape was rejected. With its wings now motionless, the monster went crashing to the ground, but The Mist was far from done with it.Bookmark here

The Mist knew that this wyvern was not that of nature, and whatever curse that formed this monstrosity also gave it a sort of resurrection immortality. Henceforth, The Mist took back its humanoid form. Bookmark here

With a single gesture of hand, The Mist engulfed the unconscious wyvern's body with swirling mists. With another gesture, the mists vanished, and all that's left was the wyvern's bones, and a single beating organ; its heart.Bookmark here

Strangely enough, the heart was the size of a human's. It should not suffice in circulating the blood of a creature that massive. But even stranger was the appearance of the heart. It was carved with runic symbols all over it, similar to the one that glowed on the wyvern's chest. The carved surface glowed in deep violet colour. There was no question that this heart was the source of the wyvern's unnatural powers.Bookmark here

And so, The Mist walked into the bones and approached the heart. It grasped the heart firmly within its palm, and squeezed it with all its might. The heart exploded in a glorious release of purple arcane energy, disintegrating itself completely-Bookmark here

disintegrating The Mist's humanoid body entirely, Bookmark here

disintegrating the bones of the wyvern each and every one of it,
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disintegrating the thin layer of mists surrounding their area,Bookmark here

disintegrating every tree, stone and insectoids of a quarter league radius,
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until finally, the wave of pure arcane was no more. All that's left was a strong gust of wind that blew through and shook everyone and every tree within the thousand-acre Misty Woods.Bookmark here

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How does one end a story?Bookmark here

Many writers and storytellers acknowledge the struggles of starting a story, but an equally difficult challenge tend to be ignored by most simply because it was dismissed to be thought of later in the future. Bookmark here

This leads to stories that span endlessly to an uncountable number of series. Stories that had divert from its original direction and theme, for better or worse. Stories that grew too repetitive, stale to the eyes of its audience, after being denied a finality and conclusion for all the build-up it had made.Bookmark here

Thus it is important for stories to come to an end, let it be a good, a bad, or even a bittersweet end. Bookmark here

The tale of the crew and their hullabaloo in the Misty Woods was, in all truthfulness, long overdue. Hence I, The Phantom Blacksmith, take great pleasure of concluding this far-stretched story for all of you dear readers to behold.Bookmark here

Let's start with Anna, the Maiden of the Mists, she who desired to leave her lifeless home to explore the great colourful world outside. Bookmark here

Oh such cliché was her dream! But what else could she be yearning for when all that was around her were the dead, the lost and the non-mortal father who barely grasped the needs and wants of a human-kin. Bookmark here

The chain of events that led to the battle against the cursed wyvern left a great impact for The Living Mist, the very being that made the Misty Woods the dreary woods it is. For years it had thought that the woods was the safest sanctuary for its beloved little daughter, but its clear to it now that there was no such thing as an impenetrable fortress. Bookmark here

Even worse was the realization that it itself could be a threat to its dearest child, just like a cage that was meant to protect a bird from threats outside, damages the bird who knocked on it as it simply tried to fly. Bookmark here

And because The Mist loved Anna more than anything else in the world- Bookmark here

-it had decided to let her go.Bookmark here

As for the band of misfit 'adventurers', apparently they welcomed yet another member of their wandering party. Bookmark here

You guessed it. Anna had now become a part of their nameless band of six, much to Ryleigh's delight and surprisingly, the Behemoth Doctor, Claude as well. Bookmark here

There was too much for Anna to learn of the world outside thus it's best to take it in all slowly and gradually. And what better way could she learn within that ground by offering herself to become Doctor Claude's apprentice. Bookmark here

Yep, she became the Behemoth's apprentice. So the next time you visit the Behemoth Doctor for a checkup of your upset stomach, not only will you be greeted by an eight-foot figure looking down at you even when he's seating, but behind him, you'll see a fair scarlet-haired maiden reaching for the bottles of medicine on top of the tens of feet shelf with a long misty arm. A product of her long years and close relationship with The Living Mist.Bookmark here

Speaking of Claude, he had yet a self-imposed debt to fulfill after all was said and done. Bookmark here

By words of fellow wanderers and traders alike, the party of six tracked down and found the remaining villagers that survived the flaming massacre of the cursed wyvern during that one horrible night. They now reside on an empty ground near a river stream, living in tents of leather and sticks while houses of wood and straw were still halfway built.Bookmark here

The Behemoth's arrival wasn't exactly welcomed warmly, as his appearance was immediately greeted with pitchforks and throwing rocks. They all demand his blood in return for their lost loved ones, and it seemed the news of the dead wyvern did not interest them much even though they were justifiably avenged. Bookmark here

But within the discord of angry mobs came an unexpected friend that talked them all down and defend the guilt-ridden giant. No, it was not Jakob, despite his well-known bitter temper, relatively great negotiating skills and cannon-like weaponry holstered on his hips. Bookmark here

Rather, it was Ryleigh, the knight in not-so-shining-armour, showing them all a side of him even his fellow party members had never seen before. Bookmark here

He talked down the mob in a voice as stern and asserting as a military commander. He defended his friend's actions but didn't deny the sins he had committed against the good people of the burnt down village. Thus the knight offered a compromise, in return for forgiveness or at the very least, a move on from the bittersweet relationship both sides had made.Bookmark here

Just like that, everything was resolved. However, the matter of compromise requires the party of six to help rebuild the village, a task that would take weeks to complete even with the help of fellow village men. However, when your party has a mist-maiden and a skeleton midget that could rip trees, lift tons of timber and assemble parts of houses like children's toy, the job finished easily in a matter of days.Bookmark here

With his debt fulfilled and final farewell in due, Claude visited a little girl; child of the man who gave Claude the resolve to drive the wyvern into the Misty Woods which led to its demise. Bookmark here

Sarah, child of Buck, was pleased to meet the Behemoth even though her current guardian; her aunt, did not feel the same.Bookmark here

Claude told Sarah of the brave deed of her father, and had it not been for him the Behemoth himself wasn't sure if he would still be walking amongst the living today. He gave her his final goodbyes and blessings so that she would grow up as a woman even braver than her father.Bookmark here

And with that, the party of six went off to wander Europia once more. Who knows what adventures might lie ahead of them to take part of, or what peculiar individuals will they meet and perhaps, join them in their bizarre wander of undetermined destination.Bookmark here

Either way, this is how their story at The Misty Woods end. And now, Jakob Fowlhunter has to write all of this down inside Ryleigh's adventure journal because he was still the only person there with comprehensible handwriting.Bookmark here

|/| Misty Woods arc, END |/|
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