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The Hunter and The Bear


This is a bit of a tribute in style to an old folklore story by the same name. It was a short tale about the hunter who had seen everything. He'd been everywhere. He'd done everything. But... never hunted bear.

He'd hunted the Wyvern though. For you see, Tales of Phantasia had many monsters within it; birds, beasts, fauna of all kinds. And among them, there was one that stood at the top of the coliseum, the mighty wyvern. He knew the wyvern well; it was a good friend he had fought many times before.

Then the man acquired the remake for the PlayStation. He fought to the coliseum and challenged the eight beasts, and when they were gone, he prepared to face...the wyvern. He had polished his sword; he had readied his technique. He was prepared.

The gates opened slowly, with an ominous rumble. Out stepped... The Bear.

It was mighty, toweringly tall. Its fangs shone in the sunlight as it stepped forward. The crowd cheered as the bear moved with swift, graceful strides towards the hunter. He reached out with an arm a mile long, grabbed him, swung him around and around, and then flung him off into the sky.

So the hunter left and he trained. He trained hard. He went to each and every master in the land and he studied their ways and their moves. He challenged the gods and had a blade forged so mighty and fine that it could cut through space and warp the fabric of time with its motion. He went and purchased the finest armor money could buy.

Finally, he was ready. He marched into the arena, his armor polished, his sword held high. He stood, watched by hundreds as he smashed through the eight beasts and then stood, waiting, the sun at high noon above.

The gates opened slowly, with an ominous rumble. Out stepped... The Bear.

It gave a tremendous roar that shook the arena. It stepped forward, its black eyes looking deep into him. It lifted its paws, gigantic and bearing the claws each the size of a sword and smashed them into the ground, tearing it apart as stone blasted up off the ground. The hunter was unafraid. He brandished his training, his blade shining in the sunlight as he leaped forward, bringing the jewel that was his skills to bear. He swung and he slashed and he leaped up high. Crimson liquid flew through the air. The screams and roars echoed through the arena.

Then it reached out with a mighty paw and took a hold of him and smashed him into the ground and picked him up again and gave the mightiest of swings, flinging him clear out of the arena.

The hunter was furious, shown up again by The Bear. It was personal now. All things had to bend to this. He went deep under the earth, fighting horrific demons and acquiring a blade legend had forgotten. He outfitted himself in the armor of the gods. He studied the way of bears, every last tidbit he could learn. He prayed in the dojo of his forefathers.

Finally, the time was ripe. He again marched into the arena. His sword shone as he cut down the eight beasts in his way with nary a thought. They were a distraction, a delay. He was here for one thing and one thing only. Finally, it came.

The gates opened slowly, with an ominous rumble. Out stepped... The Bear.

The two stared at each other across the sands of the arena floor. The sun was hot, beating down upon them and shining off the bright armor of the hunter. The two rushed at it each other and the ground shook with the thunder of their blows.

Finally, the hunter stood atop the bear, his sword in its back, the beast on the ground. The bear roared no more...

Okay, not the best end, and it doesn't really have the sort of long lasting appeal of the original hunter and the bear, but thumbs up to Namco, that bear was pretty cool.

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