Disclaimer: I do not own Soul Eater or the Monster Hunter franchise
The Queen of Disaster
Would you like to buy a Hunting Horn?
"A hunting horn? Really, Sid?" Maka deadpanned, not expecting nor wanting an answer.
Meanwhile, the tall, muscular shop-keep behind the counter only widened his already huge grin. In his hands before him, a strange, metallic weapon that Maka had never seen before, not that it interested her in the least. For Sid however, it was a thing of beauty. Few appreciated the elegance that hunting horns uniquely held, but being the only weapon smith within miles of this rinky-dink village they were stuck in only increased Sid's appreciation for the hard-to-come-by. The only problem was trying to convince hunters to purchase the things he found interesting; most of them didn't.
"And what's wrong with that?" Sid countered, still glowing with excitement. "You of all people should know not to judge a book by its cover!"
"Books are one thing, weapons are another," the young hunter huffed. She brushed the hair out of her face anxiously, as if trying to silently convey her dismay.
Sid was a much needed asset in this Guild Post. Being so far away from the mainland, the Hunters Guild didn't find it necessary to equip the village with anything more than food and a few crap weapons. If it weren't for Sid lending his services for a small fee, the monster hunters of the region would've found themselves swinging around sticks to slay Jaggis, or worse, dragons. And of the dozen or so hunters who were unlucky enough to be suckered into coming here, Maka was by far the closest with Sid. She was an excellent hunter, so when he needed the materials, she'd be the one to bring them to him. Ergo, she got the best equipment, and likewise the cycle continued. They had a good relationship, which is why it puzzled her why he'd try to sell her this.
A hunting horn was basically like a hammer, although it didn't have to be one. Essentially, it is a tall, heavy weapon that one swings around in order for wind to pass by it. And depending on the kind of musical attachment on it, the weapon creates either a wind or drum-based sound that when strung together creates music. This music then proceeds to have various effects on the battlefield, depending on the weapon itself and the monster whose parts was used to create it. For all intents and purposes, they were show pieces with no real legitimacy in a warzone. They were jokes.
"Sid, you know I use Switch Axes! Do you know how long it took me to make this one?"
The shop-keep's grin wavered slightly, "Well, of course I do. I'm the one who forge it for you, remember?"
"Right, so why would you try to sucker me into buying this junk?" Maka ground out, almost hurt. "Well? I'm listening."
Sid took a step back, put off by her agitation towards him. But seeing as how he didn't want to offend her, he grumbled, "Fine, gimme a second."
He turned around and disappeared behind an open doorway, leaving Maka there to simmer by herself. She knew Sid must have had a good reason for it, but that didn't matter at the moment. She had a reputation, and if the other hunters saw she had traded a Switch Axe for a Hunting Horn, she'd never hear the end of it. There was no way she'd give up the elegant piece of high-tech equipment on her back for a trombone or whatever it was before her...not that she'd even bothered to look at it while Sid was trying to give his sales pitch.
Against her better judgment, Maka looked down at the piece of steel on the counter and gave it a proper look over. She was surprised by what she found; no windpipes or drums, no openings of any kind, really. It was a smooth, solid rod of steel that ended in a huge, intimidating sickle. Never before had she seen a scythe-type weapon before, because quite frankly there were none. And what was even stranger were the ivory keys on the butt of the blade, sprawled out like teeth ready to chomp at would-be monsters. It was a fricken piano. A scythe with a keyboard on it!
"...Cool," she muttered, running her hand over the shaft. The metal was pristine, worked by a real pro. Even Sid couldn't make weapons of this quality.
Speaking of which, the man took her by surprise. He fumbled in with something in his hands, while at the same time she awed over the piece she mocked moments ago. He caught her red-handed, when she lifted her eyes up to meet his and immediately retracted her hands in embarrassment. Sid smiled, but said not a word about it. That didn't stop Maka's face from blushing red, but at least he didn't give her crap about it. His attention was instead devoted to the thing in his hands, which was wrapped in cloth. He placed it on the table and threw off the wrappings, revealing what looked like a claw.
Sid stepped back and folded his arms in satisfaction, "That came with the weapon. Neither were on my shipment list. They both just sort of appeared."
"What's it a claw of? Rathian?" Maka threw her head in to examine the relic; far too big to be a Rathian's claw. The piece looked like it weight nearly five pounds on its own.
"From what I can tell, it's off an elder dragon." Sid smiled when Maka looked up at him, dumbstruck. "If my hunch is right, that claw's just leftover material. The brunt of it went into making that scythe."
That was a bold assumption. Elder dragons were creatures that lived for an indefinite amount of time and the longer they live, the stronger they become. Not all of them were dragons, but for classification's sake, it was better to group them all together. Each one was insanely powerful, so a hunter killing one without dying himself was rare. And for that hunter to make it back with enough materials to forge equipment out of them was almost unheard of. The Hunter Guild condemned anyone below rank fifty from going after them, meaning few had the privilege.
So to have something like this in front of her was like a gift from heaven. All of a sudden, it didn't matter to Maka that this weapon was technically a hunting horn. Simply by being carved from the likes of an elder dragon was enough reason to throw all her money at it. Besides, Sid wouldn't lie to her...at least, not over something this important. He was a shop-keep, his goal was to make money, but he was still her friend and the ultimate hookup when it came to rare equipment. On top of that, this weapon was awesome; whoever heard of a hunter using a scythe to slay monsters?
Maka didn't hesitate to throw out her price. "I'll give you ten thousand zeni for it!"
"Wha-?" Sid stared at her, before throwing his head back to laugh. "As if I'd let it go for that much!"
"Twenty thousand! And I'll even throw in some amber tusks I got off a Barioth!" She reached into her pocket and pulled out the cash.
Throwing it down on the table, Maka stared down her friend-turned-merchant and prayed to god he'd accept the bid. It was all of her money, though even she knew it wasn't nearly enough money for a weapon like that. With hardened determination however, she waited for Sid's reply. At first he didn't seem to bite, his shoulders slunk low as if to tell her that he'd have to refuse. But after a little bit of coaxing, with Maka reminding him he'd get some rare resources out of the deal too, it didn't take long for him to sigh deeply before reaching for her hand and shaking it vigorously.
"You've got a deal, Maka," Sid revealed, admitting defeat. "But I expect those tusks in by tomorrow!"
Unable to contain herself, Maka squealed with joy as she reached over the counter and hugged him, "Thank you, Sid!"
Without hesitation, she grabbed the weapon off the counter and immediately gave it a test swing. The air parted to create a whistle sound as the blade sliced through empty space, giving the girl a satisfied tickle in her chest at just how amazing the weapon handled. Again thanking the merchant, she made a b-line for the door. Out in a flash, Sid watched her leave in a hurry, no doubt to take up a quest with the local liaison to test out her weapon against live prey. With a sigh, his eyes lingered on the closing door before eventually falling to the money before him. He shrugged.
"She's a sweet girl, an amazing hunter...if only she'd have known I'd have taken the ten thousand."
Jaggis fricken sucked.
To be fair, they weren't very strong. Technically speaking, they are some of the lowest level carnivores in a given environment. Resembling raptors, their strength lies in numbers and the larger females that accompany them, Jaggia. For most communities they're a nuisance and real danger, so every once in a while it falls on a hunter to come in and help level off the population. In such cases, it's the perfect opportunity to test new equipment and practice battle strategies, something that seemed of great importance to Maka, who had never held a hunting horn in her life.
The scythe was a cumbersome piece of crap. Unlike a Switch Axe, which utilized elegant, flowing motions to carve away at monsters, Hunting Horns had all the grace of a pile of Aptanoth dung. Its weight limited Maka to basically swinging it around and praying that she'd hit something before getting hit herself, something that didn't always happen, unfortunately. She growled in pain as a Jaggi swooped around from behind her, its whip-like tail slamming into her thigh before she could spin around to meet it. Immediately the hunter exacted her revenge on it, slamming the scythe into the creature's skull on a downward swing, killing it instantly. The only problem was, the blade now stuck firmly inside the beast's head, as other Jaggi swarmed around her.
"Dammit!" Maka screamed, putting her foot against the corpse's shoulder in order to get some leverage. She pulled with all her might, but no go.
Growling again with frustration, she took matters into her own hands. Like hell she'd die from a bunch of lizards, but if her weapon wasn't going to cooperate she'd do things herself. Ditching the still-stuck scythe, Maka reached behind her for the carving knife that all hunters carried and prepared to fight. Immediately the Jaggis obliged, lunging their tiny frames at her all at once in a bid to overwhelm her. They were slow though, and Maka had killed enough to know what to do. Bobbing in and out as each one landed before her, she took tiny steps back. Just enough space to get within range.
And when they did, she struck. Straight for the throat, the giant lizards hissed as she came and split them open one by one. Relentless, she made sure that any creature stupid enough to challenge her would get the same treatment. And after a half dozen fell before her, the rest of them got the picture. Tired, bloody, and sore, Maka panted as the remaining Jaggis scurried away into a hole somewhere. They didn't look back, and neither did Maka. She knew they were gone for good now, meaning now her frustrations could be taken out on that pile of junk behind her.
How could she have been such an idiot? An elder dragon...as if! Like anybody would have been dumb enough to accidentally send Sid a weapon that rare. He probably made it himself and passed it off as the real thing, it certainly fooled her after all. That scythe was nothing more than a pile of junk with piano keys on it. Come to think of it, they probably weren't even real! More than likely painted on after the fact, god, how could she be so stupid! Angrily, Maka spun around and found the scythe still there, sticking out of the Jaggi's remains. The piano keys peeked out, as if grinning at her.
"Even the weapon's laughing at me..." Maka ground out, her annoyance reaching its peak. "...Now I'm broke, without even a weapon to show for it!"
In her frustration, she tiredly kicked at the weapon before her. Having had the worst day ever, it gave her a little consolation to find out that the keys on the scythe were real after all. She nicked one of them with her foot, causing it to generate a pleasant noise that radiated throughout the wooded area where she stood. It was soothing; a single note that rose above the background noises of birds and insects, silencing everything around her except for that one little note. And once it ended, things were still quiet. Her heartbeat remained, but save for that, nothing.
"Well, I guess it's not totally useless," she admitted aloud. Feeling slightly at ease, she closed her eyes to calm herself further.
Absently, she kicked the scythe again. It was a different key this time, one that resonated with her on a much deeper level than the last. Maka didn't really know what that meant per say, but she felt it in her chest. It was almost as if the note was herself, boiled down into raw music. Thoughts, feelings, emotions, all of them summed up through this key. More than just air vibrations, but she couldn't quite place it. Regardless, Maka found herself swept up in the moment, and long after the scythe had silenced, she was still standing there, listening to something that no longer existed.
Goosebumps swept over her arms; suddenly it had gotten much colder. The sun was still high in the sky, at least the last time she checked, and there was no explanation for the drop in temperature. Still she didn't find it necessary to open her eyes however, not until it finally dawned on her that the background noises hadn't returned yet. It was still absurdly quiet and the lack of audio was slowly starting to become unnerving, so finally she opened her eyes. In a matter of seconds, the corners of her mouth turned upside down into a horrified gape.
The trees had suddenly disappeared. In fact, the entire floor beneath her had given way to absent nothingness. She was floating, but not really.
It was dark. Pitch black. Nothing around her on either side, above or below, front or behind. Maka found herself in a void of darkness that seemed endless, with her immediate reaction being that she had fallen asleep. It was dream-like, the way she moved her arm and a faint after-image trailed after her movements. That music must have gotten to her worse than she thought...and yet, she'd never had a dream this vivid before. It was like she could actually feel the chill of having no source of heat and her ears rung, as if the void had a real effect on her hearing.
Was this a nightmare? It certainly wasn't a dream. There was nothing pleasant about this, a sense of something looming just beyond the dark that got under her skin and rattled Maka like nothing else. She'd hunted all kinds of monsters, never being scared of any of them. And yet here she was, finding herself taking a few steps back from the unknown because of a feeling. There was no warrant for it, no signs of anything in the void besides herself, but Maka knew she wasn't alone. Call it instinct or simply intuition; whatever the cause, it didn't take long for fate to prove her right.
"I could've had some giant, burly dude swinging me around. Instead I'm stuck with you?...Guess I should be grateful."
Maka immediately crouched to the floor and went for her blade, "Whoever's there, I've got a knife!"
Or at least, she did. To Maka's horror, she quickly discovered that there no weapons in this nightmare. Now with no weapon, her options were extremely limited. There were was someone there with her and even though it was just a dream, she didn't like this feeling of helplessness. She'd fight in her own head if she had to, so getting back to her feet, Maka took up a defensive stance and waited for whoever it was to show his face, because she knew it was a man. The voice was distinct, velvety, like a demon ready to strike a deal with any would-be sucker.
"I'm shaking in my boots," the voice called back to her, much clearer than before. "For a human, you've got some fire to you."
Maybe it was a demon. The closer he came, the more it became apparent to Maka that this person certainly wasn't human. He revealed himself slowly from the darkness, only bits and pieces of him coming into light one at a time. First his feet, donned in black dress shoes. The legs, draped with pinstriped leggings, a matching torso and arms to match. Then finally, came the feature that struck Maka the most; his face wasn't normal. Eyes redder than blood, teeth sharp as razor blades lay neatly in two rows. It suited him, his tall frame, and the messy hair atop his head...
...The man's hair was white. Not an elderly shade, but like bleached snow. Something unnaturally beautiful and terrifying at the same time.
Maka dropped her guard for a moment, awe struck by the man walking towards her. She quickly snapped back to her senses, but watched him closely as the distance between them quickly disappeared. Already he was right there within a foot of her, hands tucked inside his pockets as he politely waited for her to say something. But she wouldn't, or at the very least couldn't. She was too busy looking him over, trying to figure out if there was a point in time which she'd met this person in real life. No matter how hard she tried however, Maka couldn't place it. She' never met him before.
"This isn't a dream," the man told her flatly, as if reading her mind. "But we are inside your head right now...or my head, I'm not entirely sure myself."
Maka raised her brow as she took a cautious step backwards, "What the hell's going on here? Answer me before I pound your skull in!"
"Shit, you're violent. This'll be a pleasant experience..." the man trailed off. He reached for the back of his head and scratched.
"...It'll be a painful one if you don't start right now," Maka deadpanned, suddenly not that much afraid of him.
The man gave an exaggerated sigh. It became immediately apparent to Maka that whoever this person was, he wasn't a threat to her. If anything, she could probably take him with no trouble. That is, if he decided to turn on her, of course. For the moment, the bizarre man in white hair seemed to be compliant. The most he did was have one of his hands in the air. A passing second later brought with it the appearance of an antiquated red chair, draped in velvet. To Maka, the sight wasn't terribly surprising. She still had it in her head that this was all a dream, though even she began to doubt herself when the suited man took his seat and offered her one as well. Before she could even ask what chair, there was one already behind her.
Going with her better judgment, she refused the offer. "So who are you? And if this isn't a dream, tell me how we got here."
"A demand and a loaded question...I'll start with the latter," the man smirked, folding both his arms and legs. "I go by Soul Eater. Nice to meet you."
"Soul Eater," Maka repeated, slowly letting the words sink into her lips. "Is that supposed to scare me? What are you trying to get at with a fake name like that?"
The man continued, "When I was still alive, the other monsters gave me that title. Names are nothing in the wild, but power is. Even humans recognize it, which is why I'm here talking to you."
Maka's eyes widened. The little part in his sentence that stood out, the one she heard above all else, "Other monsters? Are you trying to tell me that you're not human?"
The man, Soul Eater, grinned in satisfaction. Immediately Maka became horrified; had she been attacked by something and made to fall asleep? Was it a Baggi? Had a Baggi come and used its sleep-venom on her when she wasn't looking? Or was it something else? Either way, Maka realized just how vulnerable she was in this place. If it was a monster doing this, she was at the creature's mercy before she woke up. The terror swept across her face, much more obvious than she should have let on. But instead of taking advantage of it, Soul Eater did the exact opposite. He soothed her.
"I didn't attack you or anything, so just calm down." He let his head fall to the side lazily, "To answer your other question, I'm the soul of the monster whose parts were used to forge this scythe."
Upon hearing his words, Maka's tension lifted slightly. Filling in the void it left was awe and confusion. "...Are you serious? I mean, it sounds like complete bullshit to me. "
Giving a sigh, Soul Eater nodded. "For any other monster it would be, but nature always bends the rules when there's an elder dragon involved. We get all the perks-"
"-Did you say elder dragon?" Cutting in rudely, Maka waited with anticipation for his response. To her jubilation and overwhelming relief, the man nodded yes.
She jumped. As embarrassing as it was to do it in front of a complete stranger, Maka couldn't hold in her joy over the fact that she hadn't been ripped off. That indeed, her money had been used for the real thing. An elder dragon weapon. The strongest of the strong. And not only that, but she had got a two for one deal; not just the weapon, but the fricken soul of the monster used to create it, whatever the hell that meant! All she knew was she'd been vindicated, and apparently it amused Soul Eater to see her in such a state. A lazy grin tugged low on his lips.
"Okay!" Maka breathed, still gushing over her new scythe. "Okay, you're like the spirit of the scythe now. So tell me what kind of monster you were before being hunted-!"
And just like that, she pulled herself together. That last part of her sentence was uncalled for, as even she knew that would be a touchy subject. Go ahead, talk about your death casually to a total stranger. Maka wanted to smack herself, especially when she saw Soul Eater's reaction. His grin disappeared, shoulders slunk, the man's entire demeanor changing right before her eyes. It killed her to see him like that, especially knowing that she was the cause for it. The space became silent between them for a few minutes, with Maka not knowing what to say to cheer him up.
"I wasn't killed by a hunter, so don't feel bad." Closing his eyes, Soul Eater shrugged off his dismay. "Another monster off'd me in a fight. Humans came by afterwards and picked off my remains."
"They scavenged you...like vultures. I'm so sorry," Maka replied quietly, looking down in shame at being in the same category as the people who did this. It had to have been hunters.
The man became silent once more, but after a moment to collect himself he kicked his dismay for good. "I don't hate humans, but I want the bastard who killed me to suffer."
"...Speaking of which, what kind of monster could kill an elder dragon? Was it another dragon?" Despite being a sound conclusion, Soul Eater shook his head no.
"It was a fanged wyvern, the only other monster I know that can control the same red lightning as I can. With his strength, he'd mine as well be an elder dragon."
Red lightning? The power to control lightning wasn't unheard of among monsters, in fact, colored lightning was common among the stronger species. But never had Maka heard of a monster being able to control that particular hue of energy before, certainly not the two that Soul Eater were implying. Despite herself, she tried to think of all the pages of monster text she'd studied long ago, in an effort to help him figure out the name of the monster that'd killed him. Fanged wyverns, however, were a fairly new species; they were like hybrids of mammals and dragons, terrestrial creatures that were very territorial. She'd heard of several species using combustive gas, snowballs, even paralyzing toxins, but lightning? She was drawing a complete blank.
Meanwhile, Soul Eater reminisced to himself, "You humans are fickle as hell. One minute you're calling me the King of Disaster, next think you know, I'm up to my dead body in scheming hunters. Where's the respect?"
"Wait a minute," Maka stopped, cocking her head to the side suspiciously. "You're telling me that people called you the King of Disaster, as in, that was your title before you died...am I right?"
"Pretty much, yeah." He looked up at her and smiled, "You know for someone who strikes me as an intelligent individual, you sure do repeat things a lot. You're like one of those talking birds."
The woman huffed, but shook her head and continued, "But there's no way! If that was the case, you'd have to be a Fatalis! And not just any Fatalis, but a subspecies, a-!"
"-White." Soul Eater stood up and walked towards her, closing the gap between the two of them. He brandished his hair and showed it to her. "I'm a White Fatalis."
Wide eyed and dumbstruck, Maka was left paralyzed. She couldn't move of her own accord, meaning she couldn't oblige when he ordered her to feel his hair. He wanted to prove to her it was real, that it truly was the mane of a Fatalis. When Maka wouldn't raise her hands to touch him, he did the work for her. Grabbing the woman's hand, he pulled it to his scalp and ran her fingers through it himself. Despite being silent, Maka could feel the soft, luxuriousness all too clearly. It was more like fur than hair and it was at this point where she considered believing his story. But she couldn't.
Of the elder dragons, a Fatalis is the pinnacle. The apex predator. The perfect dragon. But even among the Fatalis, there are levels; black, then crimson, and finally, the white subspecies. They were like gods, their very presence able to change the weather itself. That's where the name came from; King of Disaster, able to destroy anything in their wake. It's been said that all dragons are descended from the White Fatalis, that the species is so ancient and the individual fatali so old, even other elder dragons bow before them. They flee for their lives when a Fatalis draws near.
So this man...was he the real deal? A god? A monster? Something else? She couldn't say anything, no matter how hard she tried. The words piled in the back of her throat, unable to escape in the face of Soul Eater's presence. Her fingers still found themselves in his hair, feeling the soft mane that once belonged to a proud dragon. She balled the white hair in her hand and knew right then and there he was telling the truth. This wasn't a dream, Soul Eater was real. And the way he smirked at just how silent she was before him, Maka knew that he was enjoying himself. He was okay.
"...What do you want with me?" It was another loaded question, one she prayed he would answer. Immediately he did, but it wasn't one she was expecting.
"Nothing right now," Soul Eater replied, nudging his head away from her. She obliged by retracting her hand quickly. "I'm stuck in this scythe. You're my hunter. It's as simple as that."
Maka squirmed, thinking there was a catch. "You don't want to like...take over my body or something? Or kill the people who scavenged you? I don't know, it seems like something a spirit might do..."
"The hell do you think I am? A poltergeist?" Soul Eater raised a brow. "I'm a dead dragon. Not to say I'm a nice person, but you're in charge right now. I'd rather not go back on a store shelf, so how about I give you a reason to keep me?"
With a raised brow, he held out his hand for her to take. Immediately Maka hesitated, not sure if she should throw her trust out into the open. He might do something, pull a stunt that she'd pay the price for later. The smart thing to do would be to refuse and run, but where would she go? According to him, they were stuck inside her head. Maka had no way of knowing how to get out even if she wanted to, and to be completely honest she didn't. This man, Soul Eater, really was like a demon; the suit, the handshake, everything about this scene screamed of signing her life away.
And even knowing all that, she still threw her hand out. Despite all the hesitation and fear, her courage and curiosity won out in the end. The moment their fingers touched and they shook on it, Maka knew that there was no going back. Whatever it was he planned on showing her, she was now stuck with him. The grin on his face was intimidating, but not scary; the air around him powerful, but not overwhelming. If there was a person to put some faith in it would be this man and if he really did plan on betraying her in the end, well then she'd just pound him like she said she would.
"Let's have some fun," he chuckled darkly.
A hunting horn completely in sync with its wielder was like watching a one-person symphony.
The truly gifted 'players' were able to fight monsters and create music at the same time. Doing damage to the chords of their own creation, they could create literal sonnets as blood and gore swept across the battlefield. All this as the horn itself augmented the wielders fighting ability through mysterious notes, with each weapon having a unique set of frequencies all their own. Depending on the musical number and amount of time per piece, any number of effects could be utilized it battle. Most of the time they were small, like minimal increases in strength and perception.
But this. To have this feeling of walking on air...Maka'd never experienced anything like it. She danced along the ground as Jaggis assaulted her on all sides, their sluggish movements being no match for the speed of her footwork. This time her blade-work matched the elegance of her movements, with the scythe responding to every twitch, every subtle movement of her fingers. She twirled along the ground, in and out of oncoming monsters, cart wheeling with weapon it tow. Then came the shrills and spouting blood of falling bodies. It was a morbidly beautiful sight for any hunter.
All this as the piano-scythe played. On its own, with no input from her whatsoever. It played complex pieces that wafted sweetly to her ears, relaxing all the muscles in her body to a point that no tension or doubt resided in them. Complete clarity and focus kept the woman's body limber, every twitch reflex being pushed to their utmost limits in a way that pressed the very boundaries of what a hunter could accomplish. Raw strength was not her forte to begin with, Maka was known for quick movements and intelligence. But now her specialties were near superhuman in their levels, as even her ability to read the opponents movements were so far above the rest. The Jaggis looked like they were caught in slow motion, unable to put up any sort of fight.
To any regular person watching the scene play out from afar, they would've watched Maka dash across the forest clearing like lightning. Dozens of lizards fell before the blur of metal, with none of them able to land a single blow before falling before the deadly mix of steel and music. Despite being pleasant to Maka, the notes themselves were haunting, suitably complimenting the death and destruction before the huntress as she finally ceased her slaughter. By the time she stayed still long enough to examiner her handiwork, they were all dead. Almost a hundred Jaggis slain in mere minutes.
"Heads up, pig-tails," a voice called out to her from the scythe. "You messed with the little ones, now it's time to mess with daddy."
She could see it come out from behind the trees. A Jaggi she had seen many times before, back when she was just starting out as a hunter. It was the first true test for would-be adventurers, an alpha male of the lizard herd; a Great Jaggi. Unlike the little ones, this was stood four times larger. The tail was thick as a tree stump and just as hardly, as a large frill of skin adorned the creature's head like a lion mane. They were aggressive but quite stupid, meaning that at this point in her career these things were nothing more than target practice.
This particular Great Jaggi wasted no time in jumping out from the brush and getting on with its attack. Although easily handled, they could still pack a punch with their body charges and claw-bearing lunges. Maka waited patiently as the thing came at her full charge, its mouth snapping open and shut in an angry uproar. Within several feet of its prey, the beast made its move by jumping into the air, ready to pounce. It was at this point Maka made the appropriate counter-measure; she stepped back with inhuman precision, barely giving herself enough room to dodge.
When the beast landed, she was right there waiting for it. With fierce eyes, the woman roared as she reared her scythe up. Spinning it around in her hands, the shaft came back around to meet with the Jaggi in its throat. With a roaring sputter it jumped back, its ability to vocalize severely hindered. Maka did this on purpose; if it wasn't taken care of quickly, the beast would call in for reinforcements. By cutting off its backup, she could focus all her attention on fighting the beast one-on-one. In this case though it was two-against-one, since she still had Soul Eater giving her support.
"You're the one who wants to prove himself," she spoke tersely, her attention completely on the writhing beast in front of her. "Show me what you've got, Soul Eater."
Almost like the scythe itself was chuckling, a few keys went off in a row; as if someone ran a phantom hand along them. "Hold onto your ass, hunter!"
Maka took her stance. The Great Jaggi recovered. Everyone in this concert of three played their parts to the teeth, most of all the fallen dragon turned pianist. From the confines of a spot so dark that no light could breach it, he stood there by his lonesome. Hands inside his pockets, he hung his head low as a demonic grin pulled it towards the ground. By his will, the scythe started to play on its own. The melody this time wasn't meant to increase the hunter's abilities; it was meant to destroy the opponent, reduce it to nothing more than a sniveling lizard ripe for the killing.
The haunting chords started off melodic. Creepy, delicate, like a spider walking across her web. This was the beginning, the portion in which Maka discovered her role in the concert. She started off into a walk without thinking, her movements erratic. Her shoulders swung in whichever direction they liked, as if she were a puppet being pulled along by a marionette. In her mind she didn't question it, again putting blind faith in Soul Eater as he masterminded the fight from a safe spot. Meanwhile the Jaggi took back up its offense, breaking off into a mad dash towards her.
Distance closing between them quickly, Soul Eater waited for the perfect moment. The music was fading quickly, the notes on his keyboard left almost completely untouched. But just as the Jaggi reached a certain threshold, that's when the main event started. When the Great Jaggi brought his foot down, that's when the keys suddenly came back with a roar. Thunderous crashes rang out and bounced off all the trees, created an amplified sound that overwhelmed every living thing in the clearing. Bugs fell from the sky. Birds ceased chirping. The Jaggi became stunned.
And Maka roared to life. As if the marionette had released her strings, she threw her head up; eyes burning and a dark sneer marring her face, Maka sprang to finish the show. Music fueled her every movement; like a ballroom dancer, the woman kissed the earth with her feet. Her heels never touched ground, instead her body almost became airborne, gliding along the dragon that supported her once did. Prey in sight and blood pumping, she didn't let up. Every ounce of adrenaline and excitement poured through her up until the final moment, when she came to the Great Jaggi head on.
She slid around it. Went up underneath it. Popped back up the other side, scythe swinging behind her gracefully. It stuck in. The beast lurched.
One moment the Jaggi had its head and the next it didn't. Maka didn't have the opportunity to watch the body behind her fall, following after its upper half. She was too busy holding herself up with the scythe, sweat pouring from every pore in her body. She panted as if never having breathed air before, as suddenly all the work she'd done till now hit her like a thousand bricks. Exhausted, thrilled, unable to speak, Maka just stood there. All senses failed, save for the ability to think. And in the forefront of her thoughts, he was there. Sitting down in that velvety red chair, crossing his arms and legs like he had before. On his face there rested a confident smirk, as if to silently tell her she was welcome.