The Bald Tattooist of Maskerville

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The Gray Wolf (Part II)

“Goodness Heavens, did you just see that beautiful butterfly get ripped to pieces by the Nothodon? Oh, that was some spectacular scene!” Gimofel roared.

“Spectacular? That was horrible. The Nothodon kept on shredding it’s wings apart until there was nothing left but it’s body. Then as if that was not enough, he had to drag it on the ground and hit it to the rock repeatedly until it was all bloodied,” Catherine said aghast.

“It’s the only way to officially remove it from the race. Besides, it wasn’t going to die,” Prince Hanariel chirped.

“So, just because they were going to get revived anyway that makes it alright to brutally injure these animals?!” Catherine couldn’t believe what she just heard. “That’s crazy! This behemoth wars is very bizarre.”

“We feel the same way with your mask tradition,” Elmator added.

“This is a necessity”-Catherine pointed at her mask-“you on the other hand is doing this for pure fun.”

“Perhaps Elves just have a different perspective. The blood lost in the games is not wasted but recycled to new life. If anything else, it only makes the creature stronger. Perhaps that’s the reason why your kind could never surpass ours because you shed away from pain and distress, which in their absence is also the absence of growth,” Prince Hanariel addressed. “That’s something for you to think about.”

Catherine was quiet and so was Elmator. He looked at the Prince in an entirely new light. “You have grown so much, dear Prince. I am truly proud of the elf you have become,” he said tearfully.

“Oh, don’t be sentimental on me old Elmator,” the Prince joked.

Catherine now watched the Guntheri jump and catch the Bee that was flying over it. The elf riders performed magic as vines dangling in the trees wrapped around its body and held it immobile in the ground just in time for the dashing Dimetrodon to come hammering its way through. It clamped it’s teeth hard unto the Guntheri’s body ripping it apart with such a force that sent blood splattering all over it’s sail. It continued to trudged along as the dying body of the Guntheri vanished from the site.

“And there we have the first kill of the Mighty Dimetrodon!” Frinamdel announced into the cheering crowd. “It was a fast clean rip thanks to the Bee riders that held the Guntheri down. We are sensing some sort of alliance forming here, aren’t we?”

“Did you tell your riders to cooperate with the Bee?” Avrat asked the Prince curiously.

“Not at all, but I told them to make every opportunity count. And that opportunity presented itself,” the Prince replied.

“Oh, what do we have here? Isn’t that the Dragonfly the Snake knocked out of the way from the start? It’s up and running once again!” Frinamdel echoed. “Oh, and look, it’s fast approaching the Scorpion that has been lagging behind the group.”

The attention of the crowd was now drawn to the Dragonfly that was catching up pretty quickly. It flew right overhead that the Scorpion didn’t even see it overtaking.

“There you have it! It’s official! The Dragonfly is back in the race. That is why to you do not aim to disable friends, you aim to kill if you want to eliminate your opponents.”

The Dragonfly was gliding smoothly now, making up for the time that it lost. It was now getting darker and the orange flecks of the sun was getting chased away by the darkness. The Bison slowed its pace as exhaustion creeped in, making the Scorpion catch up to it.

As the thudding footsteps of the Scorpion neared, the Bison halted in its track and faced the opposite way, readying itself to take on the beast that was heading towards it. It tapped it’s legs getting impatient. When the Scorpion broke through the bushes, it ran a lumbering gallop with it’s horn forward as a weapon. The Scorpion was caught offguard by the sudden attack and tumbled towards the trunk of a tree with a loud clunk. It got up and used it’s pincer to grab the leg of the Bison. But, the rider elves casted a spell that brought a strong gust of wind with sand, blinding the Scorpion. It moved wildly, slashing it’s tail in the hopes that it might by chance hit the Bison with it’s poison. Unfortunately, it missed.

Once the wind spell was over, the Bison used it’s massive head as battering rams, and violently attacked it’s carapace leaving a dent and eventually, crushing the whole thing with a resounding crack. The elf riders of the Scorpion tried to cut down the huge trees and bury the Bison but the other elves used a counter spell and deflected the attack. As the Scorpion was spent from the repeated attacks, the Bison used it’s horn to tear through it’s head, effectively removing the Scorpion from the race.

“Oh, yes, just as the night draws near, we got another beast off our list. Are your stakes still doing well? Or were they already eliminated?” Frinamdel asked. “We still have a lot to watch out for!”

It was already night time. Rebecca and the group didn’t decide to rest until they cover another five kilometres forward. They have no idea what time it was or what place they were in, at the competition. They simply knew that a lot of terrible sounds had been heard from the front and back a few hours ago. If their assumptions were right, then that would mean at least two or three behemoths were already killed and eliminated.

“I hope this continues,” Marty said.

“What continues?” Ink asked.

“That the rest of the creatures fight it out until no one is left but us?” he supplied. “That would guarantee us the winning spot.”

Ink pondered the thought for a moment. Even if they did fight it out, there would still be one left that they’d have to face.

Demelov scoffed upon hearing his comment. “You are really such a coward, you know that? You are going to skulk around while the rest of the beasts fight to death. You have no sense of fight in you at all.”

“Sense of fight? What is that? You mean, I’m not like you who craves bloodlust. I have some sense of self preservation. This is what a wise person would do,” he argued.

“Guys, come on. Will you please just start to get along already?” Rebecca begged.

“I’m trying Becca. Really I am,” Marty replied. Ink sat frozen when he heard Marty call Rebecca by her nickname and so did the rest of the guys. “I thought we’ll be getting along well just fine after he saved my life. But he just doesn’t stop picking at me.”

“What did you just call her?” Ink asked.

“Yeah, I think, I misheard you,” Sebastian pried.


“What makes you think you can call her Becca?!” Demelov said enraged.

“Um, she did.”

The guys looked Rebecca like she just lost her mind. As you can see, most of them really hold propriety over that nickname, especially Sebastian and Demelov.

“What?!” she said staring back at the guys. “I consider all of you my friends here. I don’t want to place any boundaries between any of us. Not because they are common people, not because I just met them. I want all of us to get along really,” she reasoned.

“Becca, you do not understand. We gave you that pet name. It is ours,” Sebastian complained.

“It is my name. So, it is mine,” she finished.

Ink rubbed his bald head back and forth. He can’t believe that Marty just called her that. “Am I the only one who doesn’t call her Becca here?” Ink asked.

Rebecca shook her head and pointed at Eris who was busy tending to the Wolf, Il. “I wish Eris wouldn’t be so formal with me, really. I’ve asked him again and again to call me Becca but he just wouldn’t listen,” she said shaking her head. “He’s amazing you know. I don’t know how he does it. But he could handle the Wolf so well. As if, it wasn’t the first time they met each other.”

The Wolf was now drinking water on the small pond where they plan to rest for the night. Rebecca noticed it standing on it’s tiptoes as if it smelled something in the air. Sensing danger nearby, she alerted the guys.

“Are you sure it’s safe for us to stay here?” she asked no one in particular. “Elmator did warn us about other creatures that might be lurking.”

“It isn’t safe for us to stay here, obviously, Rebecca,” Ink answered, using her full name much to his annoyance. “The whole canyon is filled with creatures we haven’t even known existed until a few days ago. In every part of this deep valley, there will be danger. But this is the best that we’ve got.”

Just then the Wolf howled into the night, startling every one in the group.

“What is it doing?!” Sebastian panicked. “It’s going to lead the others right to us!”

“Eris, what’s happening? Make him stop,” Claus said.

But before Eris could stop him, a large lizard appeared out of the dark trees. The light of the moon reflected on the pond water rippled as it rapidly swung it’s feet towards them. It looked exactly like one of the participating creatures but there were no elf riders mounted on it.

“I don’t think it’s an opponent,” Frank said.

Claus hurriedly grabbed his blade. “No, it isn’t. It’s come here looking for dinner. Arm yourselves!”

Demelov was the first one to run and charge at the beast. As the creature got out of the pond, he leapt and landed on it’s face. He drew out his sword to pierce it’s eyes but it shook it’s head wildly, throwing Demelov off to the side. Frank shot bolts as it ran forward. Eris mounted Il and went to their aid. He pushed the lizard aside with the head of the Wolf. It tried to bite the its leg while sprawled on the grass but Il managed to evade it. Rebecca took advantage of it’s helpless position and aimed at the left eye which she hit splendidly. The creature howled in pain. But it managed to stand up.

Ink grabbed hold of the blade strapped around his waist. He charged at the beast aiming for it’s other eye to blind it completely, but dark clouds suddenly covered the light of the moon, making it too dark for the humans to see. Ink halted in his tracks.

This didn’t affect the lizard though since it had visual cells for night vision. The main reason why they were most active at nights.

It charged forward once again. It was about to rip off Sebastian’s head who was wandering about when the Wolf bumped into it once more sending it lying on its back.

Claus listened intently to the thudding sounds to figure out the exact place of the beast. And when he did, he jumped into it’s belly and he sliced through it’s stomach. When the moon, finally came out of the clouds. The guntheri layed under the light lifeless.

“Well, that was quick,” Marty commented.

“You were of no use at all,” Demelov quipped.

Just then another thudding sound came from the back, they all looked at each other. Out of the forest came the Bison, with four elf riders mounting it.

“Oh, great here they come!” Ink groaned. “Quickly, to the Wolf. We need to mount it.”

But it was too late, the elves had already casted a spell and vines came out from the ground wrapping their bodies in place.

Rebecca protested. “This is against the rule!” she said as she struggled to break free.

“Oh, in case you forgot. It’s called the no direct harm rule. We aren’t harming you, are we? We are simply immobilizing you while we rip your beast apart,” the elf rider said.

“Eris run!” Rebecca shouted.

“I’m sorry, Miss. It’s simply not in my nature to run away while my friends are held captive,” Eris replied.

The Bison charged. It’s horn pointed towards Il to cause more damage. The Wolf evaded it and ran around as the Bison followed it’s movement. It was faster and more agile. Therefore, it could easily avoid direct impact. It ran around in circles trying to wear the Bison out. Once exhausted, the Wolf charged while avoiding collision with it’s head. Instead, it focused on the rear of the Bison. It bit hard on the side causing a rampage. Kicking using it’s hind legs with so much force, it sent Eris and the Wolf to the other side of the pond.

“No! Eris!” Rebecca shouted.

Il staggered to get up and shook it’s head as if clearing it’s mind. The Bison was now bleeding profusely, and it started to get dizzy. The Wolf seized this moment and leapt the whole span of the pond landing on top of the Bison, displacing the elf riders. One got up and made a move to use another spell, but Ink cut lose from the tangled vines with his blade and threw it passing by the elf’s face.

“Are you crazy? What are you doing? You aren’t supposed to hit him!” Rebecca shouted.

“Oh, in case you forgot. It’s called the no direct harm rule. I didn’t harm him, did I? I was simply distracting him while Eris rip their beast apart,” Ink said cheekily copying the words of the elf just a few moments ago.

Il immobilized the beast with it’s forepaws and bit the throat of the bison, severing it’s nerve tracks. It ripped and tugged in all directions, removing large chunks of flesh from it’s body before it turned into fine grains and vanished into the night sky.

The elves were at a loss as their beast faded; they uncasted the spell freeing them from the vines. Rebecca and the rest of the group crowded over Eris. The rider elves of the Bison did too.

“Eris, are you okay?” she asked worriedly.

“Don’t worry, my lady. I am fine,” he replied.

Rebecca hugged him without adieu which led Eris to protest. But she didn’t let go until she had her fill. The guys couldn’t complain either because if it wasn’t for him. They would’ve already lost the fight.

“It seems like there’s more to your group than meets the eye,” the elf mused.

The elves watching from the stadium were quiet, star struck as the Bison slowly vanished before their eyes. They were all surprised at how it lost in a one on one fight with newbie riders, and not just any newbie, but mortals at that.

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