The Big Top
Kid watched as Patty leaped on top the chard corpse of what was once the massive baby, collecting its soul and returned to him and Liz.
"Well at least we have Beelzebub back," Kid commented.
"Yeah, that should make things a bit easier," Liz replied.
"I wonder how long it'll be before we're —" but before Kid could finish, they were teleported back to the shooting gallery.
"I'll never get used to that," Liz groaned.
"Don't worry, sis, that was the last one before the Big Top, it should be over soon," Patty reassured as Kid nodded.
"You're right, Patty," Kid said, walking up to the shooting gallery. "Guess we should see if its changed."
The curtains of the shooting gallery drew back to reveal that all three of the miniatures had disappeared. Kid stood there for a moment of confusion before a wooden cutout slowly began to rise out of the gallery. The cutout was painted and shaped to look like the upper-half of a clown — a gaunt white head, sunken eyes peering out, a red nose, and a blue pointed had tilted to the side. The words Get Ready! were painted red on the clown's forehead. Before Kid could comment, the group found themselves drifting in the black and purple void again.
The jester's skull appeared once more, floating around the void and never breaking eye contact.
"You've made it to our main attraction,
The three-ring circus in the Big Top tent.
We hope our clowns will entertain you
Before making you the main event!" he said, his maniacal laughter filled the air before they were dumped at the Big Top's entrance.
At the entrance, Kid stood in front of a large, yellow wooden box with a window and small table mounted within. Above it the words Box Office were written in a variety of colored letters and styles while below was another sign which read Pay with Your Life!
"Guess you can't beat those prices," Liz joked.
"Well at least it looks like no one's here," Kid said before peering inside the box office.
Suddenly a very short clown jumped onto the box office's table. The clown was no more than 3 ft. tall and wore a little white clown suit with blue buttons along with a blue-rimmed collar. He donned a pointed blue hat, which was tilted to the left, atop his gaunt white head. His eyes were sunken and he wore a red nose just like the cut out in the shooting gallery. Beneath his nose was a pair of ruby lips, baring a set of sharp teeth. The little clown attempted to slash at Kid with his large butcher's knife.
Kid immediately shot several rounds at the little clown until he fell onto the table, blood trickling out his wounds and dripping off as his Kishin egg emerged.
"He wasn't a very funny clown," Patty remarked as she collected the soul before returning to Kid.
Past the box office was a wide open area outside a doorway which led into the Big Top itself. The only thing of note was a large, lit-up sign depicting a gorilla on a green background. Above the gorilla the word Tonight! and below it was a stylized APE with the words Final Appearance! written beneath.
"I really hope we're not going to be fighting an undead gorilla," Kid mumbled, heading through the doorway.
Just past the doorway was a row of red curtains, the ones immediately facing Kid had writing on them. The center most one had the words The Next Big Star! written on it with a star containing a question mark in the center. The two curtains opposite both had hands pointing in the opposite direction, both of them with the words This Way! written on them.
Kid looked right and saw a short hall that led to red curtain with the word Entrance written in yellow letters above it while to the left was a long hall that appeared to lead to another part of the circus. Feeling curious, Kid decided to head left and see where the hall led.
Upon heading to the right, Kid immediately encountered three outhouse-sized structures of descending size standing next to each other. All three of them were white with blue roofs and doors — each door had a single star on it. As Kid walked past them, the first one — which was the largest — opened to reveal another small clown. The small clown jumped and tried to tackle Kid, but he quickly shot him and dodged his corpse.
The second, which was of medium size, opened and revealed it was empty. Finally, the last and shortest one burst open revealing a large clown. The large clown wore a purple outfit with black jack-o-lantern silhouettes on it and a white collar. The clown's face was in a perpetual angry expression with a green outline around its eyes and clenched teeth. The clown wielded a large red and white hammer which it swung at Kid.
Kid ducked and began shooting at the clown but strangely, every bullet that hit the clown caused it to produce a loud squeaking noise as if he were shooting a large rubber duck. Patty couldn't help but laugh as Kid shot the squeaking clown until it fell over and died.
"I did not see that coming…" Kid said, a little befuddled.
"That was great! Let's find more of them," Patty suggested enthusiastically as she collected the large clown's soul.
"I think this place might be getting to her, let's keep going," Liz said as she collected the little clown's soul before they both returned to Kid and moved onward.
The rest of the hall was mostly empty up until Kid came upon an empty concession stand and a sign that read Performers Only! Beyond This Point! in stylized font.
"Do you think we should turn back, Kid?" Liz asked.
"No, if this is where the performers go, then Tökkentäkker must be somewhere in there," he replied before running past the sign and through some purple curtains.
Past the purple curtains and up a few steps was the underside of the seating stands which contained three outhouses. Kid was promptly attacked by two small clowns while a larger clown approached. The two small clowns latched onto Kid's legs and attempted to stab at them before he kicked them off and shot both of them in the face, killing them. Kid then focused on the large clown, who was already upon him. The large clown slammed its hammer into the side of Kid's head, knocking him onto his side and making him to lose consciousness.
"Kid!" Liz and Patty shouted before Liz transformed into her human form and used Patty to kill the large clown. Liz then tried to wake Kid up while Patty collected the three clowns' souls.
"Kid! Kid wake up!" Liz cried as she shook Kid and smacked him across the face. Eventually, after about five minutes or so, he began to stir.
"Ugh goddamn it, what happened?" Kid asked as he rubbed his head.
"That big clown hit you in the head but we got him," Patty explained before changing back into her weapon form.
"I see. Are you crying, Liz?" Kid asked as he stood up and shook a bit before turning to her.
"Um…no, let's just get going," Liz replied, quickly wiping her tears away and changing back. Kid picked her up and continued past the out houses.
Upon passing the outhouses, going up a small flight of stairs and through a blue curtain, Kid was able to get a good view of the circus. Just as the jester's skull had said it was a three ring circus, each with their own unique attraction. The right ring featured a cannon and a ring of fire, the central ring was empty but was strangely white with a blue star in the center, and the left ring featured three rings of fire with razors within them and long stools. The left ring also had what appeared to be three dogs in them that kid hoped he wouldn't have to fight. The three rings themselves were surround by empty stands filled with seats.
Upon looking up, Kid saw five long poles which appeared to act as both supports and platforms for the trapeze stunts. Kid could also see some vague figures flying near the poles but he couldn't quite make them out. At the center of the Big Top's ceiling was a giant airship with folded wings and three propellers attached to what looked like a boat which seemed to serve as the gondola.
"He must be in there," Kid said to himself, summoning Beelzebub and flying towards the airship.
Suddenly, Kid heard the sound of a cannon firing and was knocked off the skateboard by a small clown, who appeared to have been launched by the cannon from the right ring. Kid grunted as he hit the ground while Beelzebub flew off and out of the Big Top. Kid shot off the clown's head before standing up and realizing he was in the left ring, surrounded by the three dogs.
The dogs were about the size of German Shepherds except they looked like deranged poodles. Their fur was pink and they wore large, frilly blue collars although despite their looks, their mouths were equipped with dangerously sharp teeth. The dogs growled and started approaching Kid, getting ready to strike while Kid determined readied himself for the attack.
After several seconds, one of the dogs pounced and Kid shot it down before the other two began their attack. Kid managed to kill the second dog but the third managed to knock him down, the dog then tried to maul Kid's face. Kid barely managed to shove Patty into the dog's drooling maw and fire three times, killing it.
"Ewwww, why'd you have to do that Kid?" Patty whined as Kid wiped off the saliva.
"It was either that or get my face bitten off," Kid responded.
"Fair enough," Patty said, a bit of discomfort in her tone.
Past the dogs and the ring, Kid noticed another cannon which was aimed at the poles. Curious, he walked up and examined it before looking back at where it was aimed.
"Kid, what are you thinking?" Liz asked with concern.
"Well, we've lost Beelzebub — again— and I don't think we can really climb those poles…" Kid said, trailing off.
"Oooooo, yeah! Do it! Do it! Do it!" Patty cheered excitedly.
"I guess if there isn't another way," Liz sighed as Kid nodded and climbed into the large cannon, which mysteriously fired and launched him onto the first platform.
Immediately in front of Kid was a trapeze which led to the next platform but before he could grab it, he was assaulted by two flying bat people. The bat people were of a short, muscular build and had hairy bat-like faces with wings on their backs. They wore tight red pants and wielded red pronged pitchforks.
"Hola!" one of the bat people said in a high-pitched voice with a Spanish accent before they started flying towards Kid with their pitchforks aimed at him.
Kid fired each of his guns at the two, hitting them and causing them to fall to their deaths.
"Well they didn't put up much of a fight," Kid commented before taking the trapeze and swinging to the next platform.
The second platform was attached to the third via a tight rope which was currently occupied by two large clowns heading towards him though they seemed to be having difficulty staying balanced. Kid smirked, amused by the clowns' plight as he carefully made his way across the tight rope. Upon getting close to the first clown, he shot it in the foot, causing it to squeak and fall off. He then did the same to the second clown before making his way to the third platform.
The third platform featured a rope ladder leading to the next platform and a large net a few feet in front of it. Kid holstered his weapons in his pockets before he began climbing the rope ladder. On his way up, he encountered a short clown dangling from the ladder, who tried to slash at him but Kid simply loosened the clown's grip, causing the clown to fall. Reaching the top of the fourth platform, Kid looked and saw the fifth platform across from the fourth though it seemed there was no way to reach it. The only other thing of note was that the net was beneath both platforms. After a few moments of thinking, Kid decided to take a risk and jumped from the platform and onto the net, which bounced downward when he hit it, but then launched him back up and onto the fifth platform.
"Never thought that would actually work," Kid said.
"What? What did you think would happen?" Liz yelled.
"I thought I would just land on the net and have to find another route," he replied.
Suddenly, a bat person appeared and shouted: "You die!" before pushing Kid off the platform, causing him to fall and hit the ground.
"Kid! Are you alright?" Liz asked as Kid slowly stood up.
"Yeah I'm fine, damn bat," he replied before seeing a small ambulance with no driver pull up.
The back of the ambulance opened up and six little clowns began pouring out, all of them heading towards Kid, their knives at the ready. Kid backed up towards the center ring as he shot all the clowns, keeping some of them just barely out of reach. After clearing them out, Liz and Patty quickly collected their souls before returning to Kid's side.
"So, what do you think's coming next?" Liz asked.
"I'm not sure, but it can't be good," Kid replied before turning to face the central ring.
The lights in the circus then went out, save for a large spotlight over the central ring. The central ring's rim then started shooting sparks as the floor within the ring opened up and a platform rose from the center. The platform looked like a medical center with tiled flooring, various medical-looking devices, diagrams and large overhead lamps. At the center of the platform were two raised operating table with restraints, one with what looked to be an unconscious gorilla with a mini-gun attached to its left hand and another which was empty. Next to the operating tables was a sign which read We Need Your Brain!
Behind the tables and raised above the equipment was a huge circular monitor with the image of a balding man with hair sticking out of his temples like devil horns. He seemed to be a middle-aged man with a mustache and goatee but his most striking feature was the large token over his left eye which seemed to be the to be the token Kid had inserted into the tombstone.
"My name is Professor Ludwig von Tökkentäkker and you shall be my masterpiece!" the man declared in a thick German accent.