After a couple days travel the group arrived at there first destination, the Lewwen Mountain range. The sky was clear as they climbed up the footpaths of the mountains, keeping an eye out for there target, a large flying monster that had been terrorizing the roads for months. Minerva and Leo where leading, however, Shelly and Freeda where lagging behind out of fatigue.
"So what exactly are we looking for?" Freeda asked, tired from the long hike.
"According to the information on the request, there are three beasts to hunt down, each one as powerful as the next and within a certain element. The first one is a bird beast that is said to be terrorizing travel's whenever they come to this neck of the words" Minerva said as she readjusted her pack.
"Ugh, well I hope we find it soon, this is very tiring" Freeda replied wiping her brow with the back of her hand.
Stopping to look back at the path behind them, Sheely got an idea, "Maybe we could try luring it here." Quickly dropping her bag, she took out a pencil and a sketchbook. After a minuet of drawing she turned her picture around to show a flock of small flying pigs "Pict Magic- Sketch" she said as the picture began to glow, and the same flock of pigs took off from the paper and began to circle overhead.
"Shelly, although it would be a wise idea, I don't believe we can fight against an opponent we have no knowledge of" Minvera said as she grabbed the map Leo had in his pack. "According to this map, there is a small village in a nearby pass through these trees. We find some information about this enemy, then we will use a best tactic to draw it" Minerva said as Sheely nodded and canceled her spell.
"Brillant idea Ms. Minerva, truly the rumors about your intellegence is more than people expect" Freeda shouted in a fan girl way, making the three of them look at her with a strange look before she regained her composure.
Leo was the first to say somthing, "Well, if your done being weird, I think I know where to go to get the information where looking for." Pointing at the map he drew his finger on a path to a hospital, "If this thing's been going after people, I bet we can find someone with a first hand account of it there."
"Yes, we'll head for the hospital, but keep your wits about you we still have no idea where and when this beast will strike" Minerva said as she folded the map, handing it to Leo as the group began it's long walk to the village, not realizing that far behind them something was tracking their movements with big yellow eyes as it spread it's wings and flew away.
After about an hour's walk, the group finally arrived at the village where they found shock, the entire village was nearly deserted, with only a few people still around. "This place... I can feel the empty hollow feeling in this place, something I wish I never had to feel again" Freeda said as she clutched her heart.
Shelly looked over to her concerned, "Again? Have you been here before?" both Leo and Minerva turned as well, only just catching on to the meaning of her words.
"No, but I've felt this sort of emptiness before, when something happened in my past, I'd rather not talk about it" Freeda said adjusting her pack.
"You don't have to if you don't want to Freeda, just know that we can help each other through anything on this mission, but for right now we must find that hospital" Minerva said giving Freeda a reassuring smile, which made Freeda blush to know that her idol cares about her well-being.
Once the group reached a hospital, they found it to be just as empty as the rest of the town. only a handful of people where there, and none of them seemed to be patients. Sighing, Leo said, "Well, we're here, might as well ask." Stepping up to one of the squatters Leo asked, "Do you know anything about the monster attacking people in the mountains?"
Everyone in the building seemed to choke for a second, seemingly remembering some unpleasant memories, then the man Leo spoke to said, "Yea, I got some info for you, travel light and stay the hell out of it's way." Turning to look at him, Leo saw he had a long claw mark along his face, "It can claw through a horse with one swing, and isn't out to make friends. What do you think you're going to do?" Then he noticed the three girls standing behind Leo, "You're not seriously going after the thing, are you?"
"We were sent here by Blazing Soul to take care of this problem, trust us, we will make sure the beasts never harm another person again. However, we need more information, is there anyone who recently had a run in with this beast?" Minerva asked.
"Why? If we already know what this beast can do, why do we need more information?" Freeda said wondering what her hero was up to.
"We may have determined it's strength, but we still don't know what exactly we're looking for, and we need to know if there's anyone who had a recent encounter to determine what kind of beast we face" She replied looking back at the man.
"Well, i don't know if he's an expert, but the last guy who made it through is on the next level. He lost an entire caravan to the thing about 2 days ago." he said, pointing to a set of stairs.
"Alright, thanks." Leo said as he headed off to the upper level.
The next level looked like the lobby, only with less people. the only one in sight was standing by the window smoking a cigarette. Leo called out, "Excuse me, are you the one who came here 2 days ago?"
The man turned to look at the group, "What's it to you?" he asked somewhat agitated.
"We're here on an assignment to hunt down the beast that attacked your caravan, and we wanted to know if there was anything about the creature's appearance that you remember" Minerva said as she sat down on an empty chair in front of him.
Looking at her ant the others, the man said "Well if that's the case," Flicking his cigarette butt out a broken window, "It looked like a human crossed with a bird. It has talons, claws, and stood about 7 feet tall." Looking back out the window he noticed a group of dark clouds coming over the mountains. "Oh, yeah, and it seems to only attack in stormy weather."
Seeing the weather over the mountain Shelly said "Then we have to get going. Thanks Mister." And the 4 of them quickly headed out to the mountain.
Though it didn't look it from far off, the storm quickly made traveling difficult. heavy rainfall and lightning made vision and hearing difficult. Shelly had created raincoats with her magic, so none of them where cold, but there was nothing that they could do about the rain.
"How are we suppose to find this bird in all this?" Leo asked, shielding his face from the rain.
"Ugh, according to the man, we should be nearing the spot where he was last attacked, and if I'm correct, it must be his territory or else it wouldn't be attacking anyone at all" Minerva said yelling over the storm as she kept walking.
"Even if we do find it, how exactly will we be able to fight in this weather? Freeda yelled trying to make sure she didn't fall behind of the group in the storm.
"Yeah, I can't use my Pict Magic in this rain." Shelly added.
Looking back Leo shouted, "Just don't get caught alone, it's had to deal with these conditions to so it probubly knows how to deal with them. It could try to pick you off if you stand out." Just as he finished talking a flash of lightning appeared and a loud screech echoed through the mountains, putting all 4 on high alert. Backing up against each other, they all looked out in different directions for there target.
"It would seem that we have found the beast" Minerva said focusing herself as she tried to feel the magic around and sense where the beast might be.
"Shikuro, can you track it's movement?" Freeda thought in her mind as the spirit looked around, trying to pinpoint it's location.
"Not in this rain, I can't hear anything." Shikuro responded. Freeda scanned the surroundings, looking for any trace of it. Then another flash of lightning lit up the mountain, and she thought she saw something dart behind the rocks. Quickly pointing she said "Over there."
Leo reacted first, sending a beam of light towards the spot Freeda was pointing. it impacted but there was no sign of the monster. "Are you sure?" he asked.
Just then another flash of lightning it up the rocks again, and all 4 of the mages saw it, standing over them on a rock not 10 feet away, far to close for comfort. Starring for a second, it then roared and lunged at them with large claws on it's wings.
"SHOOT!!" Minerva yelled as she summoned her War God Magic to surround herself and her group while she aimed it at some rocks, switching positions as the beast attacked the rocks while she and the others were put out of harm's way.
"This thing is fast as well as strong, we need to find someway to be able to fight in this weather!!" Freeda thought as the beast looked over and went on the attack again.
"Strato Burst" Leo said, as a magic circle appeared before him, shooting small orbs of light. The beast dogged under the attack and ran on all four limbs around the group, looking for an opening.
"I have an idea, Leo you need to keep him distracted!" Minerva said as she ran towards the beast to try and get around him, but was caught in it's sight and got slammed into a tree by it's tail.
"Minerva! That's it! Shikuro, merge!" Freeda said as her wolf took physical form and bonded with Freeda, giving her a new light look with tails popping out from behind her. She then stuck them into the earth as her entire body turned into earth and went on the assault with the beast as they matched each other's attack.
in the midst of the fight, the Beast lowered it's head and slammed it into Freeda's, stunning her for a moment. As it razed it's claws Leo called "Meteor." and flew towards the beasts stomach surrounded by light, knocking it back a ways. Grabbing it, Leo looked skywards and shot into the sky, lifting the Beast with him, clawing all the way.
Once in the air, Leo let go of the monster, which quickly took to flying on it's own, and called down to his sister. "Get him Shelly."
"Solid Script - Anvil" Shelly said, pointing above the Beast. A large word made of metal appeared above it and fell onto it's head, causing it to screech as it fell back to earth.
As the beast came into the ground, Freeda focused her tails into the earth, causing three pillars to come up towards the beast to grab it and keep it still. However, the beast shook off the anvil from his head and swung his tail to break the pillars, but before he could flap his wings, weight began to push his body down.
The beast looked around to find that Minerva was on his back, having gotten on by using another pillar that Freeda made just before he destroyed them all. She was using her magic to make the gravity around her double in wait to keep the beast from being able to fly away from her.
Hovering above everyone, Leo looked down and shouted "Sagitta" and a pair of spears made of light formed in his hands, he threw both down and they impaled the wings of the Beast, causing it to scream in pain. Minerva jumped off it's back as Leo threw his arms downwards and said "Strato Burst" as tiny shards of light rained down on the monster.
As it roared, the dust kicked up by Leo's attacks obscured the monster from there vision. Leo stopped attacking and descended to the ground, still not making out any sign that the monster had survived.
After the smoke cleared, the group saw the beast lying there as it was breathing heavily, the sides of it's body bleeding out as he growled at them.
"It would seem that this beast's life is reaching it's end" Minerva said as she slowly walked up to it, making sure not to make any sudden movements.
Just as she was sure it was traped, the beast tore away from the spears holding it in place, ripping its wings apart, and lunged at Minerva. Leo reacted quickest, diving at her to get her out of harms way, however he received a gash on his arm from one of the Beast's claws. Clutching his arm, Leo quickly looked around spot the bird monster again.
It landed hard, rolling along the ground, and lunged again, this time at Freeda and Shelly. However in mid air, another bold of lightning came down and struck the Beast. It seamed to remain in the air for a second, held there by the lightning, but soon fell to toe ground at Shelly and Freeda's feet. It was completely charred black, there was no question it was dead now.
"Are you alright Leo?" Minerva said worryingly as she ripped part of her dress and grabbed some herbs from her bag before rubbing it on the gash, causing Leo to wince as she wrapped the make-shift bandage on his arm. "There, it's only till we can find a spot to rest" She said helping him to his feet and walking towards the others.
Embarrassed by her actions, Leo quickly tried to act like everythong was ok "Yeah, it's ok. Thanks for the help."
"Where did that lightning come from? It couldn't have been natural, the impact and timing was too convinent" Freeda said looking at the beast's impact wound.
"Maybe we just got lucky."Shelly said, running over to her brother. "It's possible right? The right place at the right time." She said while checking Minerva's bandages.
"Maybe, but right now it doesn't seem to matter, the first beast has been defeated and we can celebrate this victory" Minerva said smiling as they all began to cheer and the sun began to break through the clouds to shine on the wet battlefield.
"So where to next?" Freeda asked, taking off the rain coat Shelly made.
Retrieving the notebook from his father, Leo flipped through some pages before finding the answer. "TelMire Swamp, probably a weeks travel from here." He said.
With that, the 4 mages quickly left the mountain, riding the high of completing the first part of the job. Not long after Jaina stepped out of her hiding place to inspect the corps of the bird monster. Poking at it with her peg leg she muttered, "Sorry Shelly, luck like that just doesn't exist." Looking down the trail the group had departed on, she seemed content. "But I think they can handle this." And she began down the same road as the others.
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