Gum and Fire
Her voice held a tremor. Fear, primal and predatory, consumed her. Ela, with her eyes still covered in aura, searched the darkness. The boy was nowhere to be found.
“Why?” she questioned. “Why did you do this?” Karn groaned. Ela caressed his face, the sinking feeling gone. She felt his breath, moist and foul, on her pal, and murmured a quick prayer.
“It’s not like I tried to kill him. Yet.” Hisoka’s voice echoed softly, his playful tone riding along the soft evening breeze.
“Then why? Why, Hisoka?” cried Ela.
“Because I am BORED.” Ela’s senses went on overdrive. She instinctively shielded her face. Hisoka’s Ren flared, bigger and stronger than ever, so much that birds fled from trees, mammals scampered in fear and the very air pressure dropped.
“Hisoka,” she whimpered. “How are you so strong?”
“I hid my power. It was the only way I could tolerate living with you people. But now it’s over. Because now. . .” he said.
“I. . .” The pressure disappeared and she lifted her gaze.
“See. . .” The voice was close to her. She felt as if she could reach out and touch it. It was so close.
“You.” Hisoka’s silky voice sounded inches away from her face, on the other side of Karn’s lain body. The magician stopped using In and Ela found herself staring into his eyes. The eyes of a monster.
He let out a chuckle and swiped at her. She saw the label of the bottle between his fingers, no doubt enhanced with Shu. The razor sharp edge caressed the skin of her neck for a millisecond before crumbling to dust. Hisoka’s eyebrows shot up.
“How. . ?” Before he could ponder any further, he felt her aura rise and he quickly leapt away with cat-like agility. He saw her aura glow and shift to her hands. Aura shot out and the spot he had occupied mere seconds ago stood burnt to a crisp.
“Hmm,” moaned Hisoka from the other side of the field.
“It seems like you are indeed strong.” He let out a bark of laughter. “Haha hah. I was right.”
“Is that what this is about? You wish to challenge me, a helpless old woman?” yelled Ela. Hisoka let out a growl and launched towards her. His fist crashed into her abdomen, doubling her over.
“Never call a magnificent creature like you ‘helpless’,” he yelled. “You are truly beautiful.” He swung at her face. But an instant, he saw her pupils dilate and held himself back, moving farther away.
Ela’s form was burning bright amber and smoke rose from her skin. “If it’s power you want, I’ll burn you.”
“Ah. Giving your aura the properties of fire. I believe that’s called Transmutation, correct?” asked Hisoka playfully.
“You rotten child. I loved and cared for you. Why, why?” she screamed.
Behind her, Karn managed to regain consciousness. “What’s with all the noise?” he croaked. Then he felt it. His wife’s fiery aura. He hadn’t felt that power for nearly twenty years, yet he remembered perfectly well it’s intensity. Fighting against it was another aura: just like Hisoka’s. But it couldn’t be his. This aura enveloped an entire area. It was blood thirsty and murderous. Chaotic and god-like. The boy never displayed such power. No human ever did.
But he saw him. The boy he had beat up just a few hours ago. The boy whose only talent was hiding and playing childish games.
Yet there he stood and Karn understood. The lack of progress and the suspicion that the boy was hiding a lot more than he was letting on. It was all painfully clear now.
He noticed a trickle of blood on his wife’s neck.
“Ela,” he called.
“Karn. Hisoka is trying to kill us,” she replied, never taking her eyes off the magician.
“I felt it. I’ll kill him before he touches you,” spat out Karn. A knife appeared in each of his hands, the blades catching the moonlight.
“Correction,” said Hisoka. “I am only trying to kill her,” he said pointing at Ela. “And what makes you think you can stop me?” he asked softly.
“Master.” His voice was drenched in sarcasm and mockery.
“Don’t fuck with me, boy,” yelled Karn.
The old man charged at the magician holding his two knives aloft. Hisoka smiled. They had fallen into his trap. He couldn’t fight both of them together, so he had to form a plan of action based on what he knew so far.
Ela, a transmuter, has almost a perfect defense. If he attacked her, he’d be burnt to a crisp. But she was no fighter. Hisoka had figured out that she could attack using only two methods. She could scorch him at a close distance using Transmutation. Or she throw fire like she did earlier. Hisoka recalled the mechanics of her ability; how her aura travelled down her arms, out of her palm and out in the open space. An Emission ability. If she relied on Emission powers, using it consecutively would leave her drained very quickly. Emission was nearly the opposite of Transmutation after all. Hisoka had to make her use her fire throwing as much as possible. He needed to provide her with enough distance and a reason not to get close.
And that’s where Karn came into his plan. The old fool was a fighter albeit a weak and crippled one. Hisoka would engage him far away from Ela, and give her enough openings to shoot at him. She would avoid coming close to them for fear of hurting her husband. Hisoka would use her own care and kindness against her.
Karn was armed with a virtually infinite supply of knives. Bu Conjuring abilities required a lot of concentration; and it is hard to do so when you have a couple of broken bones.
Hisoka saw him coming and held his ground. He wanted to separate them. He avoided the first strikes, letting the knives flash by and ducked as a lance of fire sailed past his head. Karn doubled for another attack and Hisoka blocked and flipped over him. Fire soon burst where he had stood. He spun and kicked Karn behind the knee, cracking something. The man fell with a cry of pain. His knives evaporated. With a yell of frustration, Ela took a step closer and held herself back. She couldn’t risk hurting her husband. She had to believe in him. All she could do was buy him some time to recover. Twin lances of flame chased Hisoka into the tree line. Karn got to his feet and summoned his daggers once more, which he promptly threw at the magician’s direction.
‘It’s almost time for the finale,’ though Hisoka. He exhaled and checked to the see if all the preparations were in order.
Hisoka leapt out from the cover of the trees and zigzagged towards Karn. Fire followed his path, scorching the earth bare millimeters from where he stood. Hisoka made his pattern easy to predict. And Karn predicted it.
With great skill, Karn summoned knife after knife and threw them with dexterity and accuracy that can only be described as ‘beyond human.’ All eight knives sank into Hisoka, stopping him in his tracks. The magician slumped on his knees and let out a choked moan. He toppled to the side, dead.
Ela relaxed her stance and hunched over. Using her powers like this had left her drained. It took her considerable effort to stand upright. Karn glared at his student’s corpse and spat in its direction. He left the knives in the body, just to make sure the boy remained dead.
“Kukukuku.” His chuckle was cold. Both husband and wife spun, their eyes wide open, and stared in his direction.
“Now,” said Hisoka. The knives forcefully wrenched out of his body and rocketed straight into Ela’s abdomen.
“NO,” screamed Karn. Too late the knives vanished into thin air, leaving behind eight gaping holes in his wife’s stomach. Ela let out a rasped breath before the darkness claimed her. Karn cradled her in his arms as Hisoka stood up.
“I call it Bungee Gum. My Hatsu that is,” said Hisoka. It all started with the initial punch to Ela’s stomach. He had attached his gum-like aura to her and hid it. He then waited for Karn to throw his knives. He had purposefully hid a wooden plate under his shirt and directed the knives there. Using Texture Surprise he created the illusion of blood on his shirt. As he ‘died’ he attached Bungee Gum to every knife tip in his body and, when the time was right, he simply placed the thread leading to Ela’s body on the knives and let them go. The blades flew towards the only path they could. Ela.
Karn roared and charged at him. In his anger, he hadn’t even summoned his Nen knives. Hisoka swung a fist in his face, sending the man sprawling.
“I should have never taught you,” yelled Karn. Hisoka extracted something from his pocket and held it between his fingers. The tarot card depicting the Joker was covered in blood stains.
“I would have learnt it either way,” replied Hisoka. “I recall you once mentioning to your wife that you though I as some sort of genius or natural talent.”
Karn’s eyes widened. “How do you know that? My wife and I spoke in private.”
Hisoka shrugged. “I learnt Zetsu by simply not wanting to the found. It was only a matter of time before I mastered In, it’s advanced form.” He covered the Joker with his palm and, when he removed his hand, the card had vanished. He separated his fingers and Karn cried out in pain. The Joker was stuck in the back of his knee. Right where Hisoka had kicked him earlier.
“My gift to you,” said Hisoka. A feeling of satisfaction washed over him. He let out a soft moan. That ‘feeling’ still clung to him and he laughed in euphoria.
“I won’t ruin the mood now. You’ll just ruin my pleasure. So grow stronger or something, Ok? Make my killing you fun, yes?” said Hisoka.
The magician spread his arms, bowed with a flourish and disappeared into the darkness.