The Fake King leads the Lamb
Ela’s cooking could be smelled from outside the tent. But Hisoka’s mouth didn’t water. His heart bet fast like a war drum. His Ren flared up and he struggled to regain control of himself.
‘Not yet, not yet,’ he had to remind himself. Too late to convince his lower half. His billowing pants hid his erection well enough. Not that he cared at the time. But he did need the secrecy.
“Hisoka?” Too late. Ela’s voice resounded loud compared to the crickets’ sounds. “Is that you?”
Hisoka let himself in. “Yes, Ela. I am sorry if I startled you,” he said in his best apologetic tone. He shifted his gaze just enough to appear ashamed. Ela put the pie in the oven and came over to the teenager. She caressed his cheek with the love of a mother.
“Do not worry dear,” she cooed. “You are always welcome here.” Her eyes looked beyond him.
“Where is Karn? He’s not usually late for dinner,” she asked. Hisoka sighed.
“He was drinking some wine when I left.” He widened his smile and made his best happy-schoolboy face.
“Training was awesome today. Your husband is a great teacher.” His insides cringed but he kept his face straight. All he needed was to shift her attention to him. A hook.
“Really?” she said with a bright smile. Hisoka met her expression with an equal beam. From the outside they seemed like every normal happy family. Almost.
‘And there goes the bait’ thought Hisoka.
“What did my dear husband teach you?” she asked.
“Actually today I developed a Hatsu,” exclaimed Hisoka. Her eyebrows shot up.
“Oh how exciting. You must show me,” she replied genuinely. Hisoka’s widened. He got her where he wanted.
“Play poker with me first,” he said. “I’ll show you then.”
Ela was used to his games. Where others saw a bad habit, she saw a playful nature. She produced a deck of cards and motioned for Hisoka to join her at the table.
“I have a little time before the pie is done,” she said. Hisoka sat opposite her.
She dealt the cards. “Need I watch out for anything?”
“Only your life,” he replied playfully. His voice was drenched in humor.
Minutes passed quickly as cards flicked from one position to another.
“Looks like I will be winning this one, Hisoka,” she said lovingly. She set her cards. A jack, a pair of queens and two kings. On the table were two other kings.
“Four of a kind with the kings. That is hard to beat,” she said.
“But I still win,” replied Hisoka as he showed his cards. “Royal Straight Flush.”
“A fifth king! How is that possible?” Ela’s eyes darted from king to king. Hisoka handed her his.
“Use Gyo,” he instructed. She complied. Under the vision on her aura the king’s printed image slowly peeled off to reveal a three of spades.
“I can apply my aura on certain surfaces and changed their appearance,” explained Hisoka.
“That’s incredible,” said Ela softly. She released the aura from her eyes. The card once again showed the fake king. Hisoka’s hand reached over and he took the card. Releasing his aura from it, the card’s true image showed.
“I got the idea from the mask performances,” he said enthusiastically. “Maybe someday I could actually perform for the troupe. I could make an entire play, complete with changing costumes and faces right in front of everybody. With just marionettes!”
Ela smiled at his enthusiasm. “I’m sure that in a year or two, Mr. One-man-show Hisoka will be the star of our troupe.”
“But until then, keep working hard.”
“So who won?” asked Hisoka, pointing at the discarded cards.
Ela placed her hands on her hips. “Well this is a nen troupe, so the use on nen is not cheating. So I guess you win, Hisoka dear.”
“Good,” said Hisoka, beaming. “In that case will you please do me a favor?”
“Anything dear,” she replied.
“Will you please help me bring back Karn? I’m afraid I’m not strong enough to carry him by myself and he might listen to you if you yell at him a bit.”
Ela let out a laugh. “I just might to that.”
They soon arrived at where Karn lay unconscious.
“Oh dear. He’ll catch a cold like this,” said Hisoka. Ela said nothing and, for a second, the magician thought that he had oversold his pitch. But Ela knelt down beside her husband and smelt his breath.
“This wine has a different smell,” she muttered. She groped for the discarded bottle and examined it. There seemed no tampering with it of any kind.
“Is there something wrong?” asked Hisoka. He stood behind her, quiet and observant.
Ela kept staring at the bottle and only the boy’s voice shook her out her daze. A thought tugged at her mind and she remembered Hisoka’s trick. She remembered her own training. The basic training when facing the unknown was simple: use Gyo and look for clues. She tentatively focused her aura on her eyes.
The label of the bottle shifted. The bottle displayed a label for absentine and beneath it, scrawled with an ink marker was a smiley face and crossbones.
“What the..” She questioned how this was possible. No one in the troupe had this type of ability.
Then she remembered earlier. One person could do this.
“Hisoka?” she whispered.
He didn’t answer. His aura flared so much that it toppled her over. In the darkness he was hidden.
All save a giggle.