Title: Cruel Ties
DISCLAIMER: Inuyasha belongs to Rumiko Takahashi and Hunter x Hunter belongs to Togashi Yoshihiro. Two highly respected mangaka! I do not own the characters in any way nor the story plot. Only the idea of this fanfiction!
MizukixTsukiyomi's Notes: My first time going into a Hunter x Hunter and Inuyasha crossover. I know I shouldn't start a new story, but...here it is. Enjoy!
Chapter 01: A Year Gone
Her body ached; her head felt heavy.
Even unconscious, she could feel her body yearning for cure. The darkness surrounding her felt cold; she wanted light and warmth. With all the strength she could muster, blue eyes slowly cracked open from their confinement of darkness. Bright fluorescent lights made her squint for the darkness once again.
Slowly coming adjusting to the brightness above her, her view slowly focused on the many long white bars of lights decorating the ceiling.
Lights? Ceiling? Where was she?
Turning her head to the side, she felt the comfort of the pillow underneath. 'A bed?' she questioned tiredly. Her view glued itself on the monitors and cords that connected to the medical equipment. Since when did the feudal era have this type of technology?
A sudden gasp from her other side made her blink before slowly turning to woman dressed in light pink with a small hat having a green cross in the middle.
"Y-You're awake?" the woman asked, a smile coming to her lips. "Oh, thank the heavens! I must let the doctor know!"
Given no time to react or ask questions, the black haired miko watched her (what she assumed to be a nurse) run towards the exit of the room. 'W-What…?' Cautiously, she sat up on her bed, finally given a full view of the area she occupied. A normal and clean white room with only the sounds of her monitors being heard. "Is this a hospital?" she whispered, voice hoarse from dehydration.
Her eyes dropped to her lap; white sheets draped over her legs as a few cords were tapped to the needles sticking into her wrist. What had happened? Trying to pull memories forward only created a pulse in her head, making her wince from the pain. Memories were hazy and her body slightly trembled in fear of knowing what had made her end up here.
Bringing her hand up to her head for support, she closed her eyes and took a deep breath in. She dug for the answers in her head, hoping to get a few puzzle pieces together.
'I remember being with…Inuyasha and the others,' she gulped, remembering the scene of her companions wounded, yet determined as they faced their common enemy. Her memory shifted to an image of certain inuyoukai and a wolf demon also holding their defensive stance against the black haired hanyou. 'Inuyasha. Sango. Miroku…,' her eyelids slowly curtained open. 'Shippo. Sesshomaru-sama, and Koga. That's right, we were fighting against Naraku.' She stared at her hand, feeling the emptiness on her palm.
Something was missing.
Another flash of images clicked back: the jewel.
The miko's pupils shook, remembering having placed the last shard onto the jewel the moment her friends defended her from Naraku attacking. Desperate and tired, she wanted all the chaos to win and –
"-I made a wish…," she whispered, dropping both her hands onto her lap.
The sudden slide of her door brought her out of her shock. Turning her head to the side, she remained still a doctor and two other nurses came rushing in. All of them were taken back as they saw her sitting up and staring back. As the doctor took a step forward, he looked over his shoulder and gave one of the nurses a nod, "go and call the Hunter Association and inform Netero-san."
A simple blink was made from the miko as she watched one of the nurses hurriedly made her way out of the room.
The unnamed doctor came forth and checked the monitors for the number to reassure of his patient's health. Only hearing the others converse between each other made the miko impatient. Who were these people? Where was she?
"Ano…," she whispered, "where am I exactly?"
Facing her with a questionable look, the doctor's expression dropped with worry. "You're in a hospital, miss. Do…you remember what happened before this?"
The question took her by surprise. Feeling her stomach drop with nerves, she was unsure if she should even answer. She could not give her whole story when her current location made no sense to her. Was she in her era?
"Miss?" he asked, hoping to get some kind of reply from her.
"Um…," she took a deep breath in, "bits and pieces."
A sigh escaped from the doctor as he observed her expression. No doubt she was lost in her own thoughts and that itself alerted him of her current condition. "Miss," he called out, "you have been in a coma for a year."
Eyes widened; heart raced. Coma? For a year? That had to be a lie, right? There was no way she spent a year of her life laying on a hospital bed, right? Right…? "A year?" she asked, hoping to the Kamis she had heard wrong.
The nod of the doctor only made the nerves in her stomach finally weigh her down.
A year had passed? Shoulders slumped; eyes dropped to her lap. 'Does this mean I am in my era? Was I taken back after making the wish…?'
"Ah, she has awaken, has she?"
The chuckle that accompanied the voice caught everyone's attention over to the door. Blinking through her shock, she noticed the old man with a curved white beard with the tip dyed black smiling at her with closed eyes. A traditional white male's kimono with blue stripes at the sleeves covered his person along with the sleeves completely blocking sight of his hands. Stretched out earlobes caught the miko's attention before noticing him wearing a pair of Geta shoes with only one ha for support. Immediately after he took a step forward, Kagome's senses picked up on his aura. Although he was pulling some of it back, whatever oozed out of him made her feel unease.
'He has so much aura…,' she gulped, noticing the doctor and nurses moving to the side to let him pass through.
"I am afraid she has gained memory loss," the doctor spoke as the older male continued to stare at the still female. "She cannot remember what came of her before coming here."
"Is that so?" he hummed, grooming his beard downwards. As he observed the young girl, he could see her defensiveness with just one look, but the aura she slowly emitted out only piqued his interest. Bringing his arms to the back, he gave the medical team a smile over his shoulder. "Do you mind leaving us alone for a bit? I am afraid the Hunter Association will have to ask her some questions."
"Oh, but we must proceed with some testing to make sure she is-"
"She is fine," the older male spoke; his eyes returned to the girl. "It won't take long."
Although she wanted to stop the doctor and the nurses from leaving her along with the mysterious grandpa, she was quite curious herself to know of him. Aside from her small headache and her soreness, her health was perfectly fine, but how did he know that? She followed his steps towards the end of the bed as his eyes remained to the window presenting the view of a city.
"Who…are you?" she asked. She had to get answers somehow or at least gain some trust if she was stuck here without a clear memory.
Another chuckle escaped from him as he continued to look out the window. "An old man who is ready to retire from his job." He looked over his shoulder, "you can call me Netero, young lady." The now-identified male slightly turned to face the patient, keeping his smile glued on his lips. "I am surprised to see you alive. After a year of being unconscious, I was sure you would be kept that way."
"I really was in a coma for a year?" she asked.
"I am afraid so," Netero sighed, turning his head to the side to look outside once again. "You were found in an old worn-out well. Who knew wells were dug so deep? Landscapers that were hired for a nearby job found your limp body at the bottom." He snickered, scratching the side of his head. "They would have helped you up if it were not for the mysterious pink glow surrounding your body."
'Glow?' her eyes reacted to the last bit of information.
"Usually police would handle this sort of stuff, but the glowing part is something they don't handle on a daily basis." His eyes drifted to the corner, getting a glance of the silent miko having dropped her own view to her lap once more. "The Hunter Association was called."
She raised her eyes once more: "Hunter…Association?"
Netero gave her a nod as he turned to face her. Matters such as these had little to no importance to him, but a human glowing even while unconscious was something out of the norm. "I work for the association," he continued, taking small steps towards her. "I came personally to see the scene and I was astonished to find that even while unconscious your body remained embraced by this pink glow. Don't worry," he chuckled, what seemed like the hundredth time, "I kept this matter private with only one doctor, a few nurses, and myself with another assistant of mine."
"The glow…," the miko whispered, "did it ever go away?"
He shook his head.
"It remained," Netero replied with a smile. "The pink glow was bright and it seemed like it was protecting you."
'Pink…pink…,' her chest heaved as the image of a certain pink sphere flashed in her mind. Patting her chest, lap, and anywhere on her body, her worries began to panic her as she came out empty. 'Where is it? I know I had it! Where is the Shikon no Tama!?'
Netero tilted his head to the side, wondering about her sudden behavior. If he knew any better, he could tell she was beginning to fret over something she just remembered. "Is something the matter?" he asked.
She released a heavy sigh realizing the patting was not going to make the jewel appear. Quickly turning her attention to the older man, Kagome hoped he could bring down her worry. "N-Netero-san, are any of my belongings around her? Anything?"
"Belongings?" he questioned with a blink. Grooming his beard once again, his eyes wandered upwards in thought. "Hmm, I did hear that only a bow and a quiver were found beside your body. Are those the objects you are looking for? Don't worry they are being kept safe." He watched her slump back into the pillows on the backboard of her bed. Taking in her reaction he knew that it was something else she was missing. "Is there something you are missing?"
The miko looked away.
Taking in her expression, Netero could see her anxiousness beginning to take over. A year in a coma could do a lot, but he imagined her worried over her health instead of an object she might have lost. Clearing his throat, the Hunter caught her attention. "Do you remember anything else? Perhaps we might have found it around the well."
Her eyes met his once more before dropping them again. "I just remember being with…my friends and we came across," her eyebrow furrowed at the hazy image of a black haired hanyou, "an enemy."
"Enemy?" Netero repeated.
'Where could they have gone?' she sighed, the memory of the fight they waited for over two years having finally come and in the end of almost putting the jewel together – 'did the jewel bring me here after that wish?' Her fingers curled over her bed sheets, gripping them as she tried to dig for her own answers. 'If so, where is the jewel? It had to be near me, right?'
Narrowing his focus on the girl, Netero could see her aura slightly wavering over her body. Although now invisible to the naked eye, he had a feeling this woman was not just a regular human. 'Aura, huh?' The public was unaware of her identity and he made sure those who had initially found her to keep it a secret. A human glowing where regular humans could see it was not something normal, but in the world of Hunters, it was an interest to him. Taking a closer step, he softened his expression. "Well, let us not fret over the things we cannot control. Do not force your memories – they will come at their own pace."
Her eyes met his.
"Let us start from the basics," he smiled, "do you remember your name?"
"I see," Netero nodded. "Well, that is a good sign if you are able to remember your name after a year. Are you from around here?"
Deciding it was safer to keep her true home a secret for the meantime, Kagome slowly shook her head. She was going to take the wild guess that this was not her home nor the feudal era. She was alone in this world and ultimately confused. All she wanted to do at the moment was to find her friends, know of their current conditions, and most importantly the jewel. But how was she going to do that? A year had gone by and who knew what events occurred.
"Hmm, perhaps we should start how you can to be dropped in the bottom of the well-"
"Sumimazen," she cut in, bringing in Netero's attention on her, "but could you help me find my friends and…my treasure."
"Treasure?" he raised a brow.
Kagome nodded back, "I am not really worried about how I came to be in the well or where I currently I am at," she gulped, thinking of the jewel being lost all over again, "but if my treasure is found by the wrong people…"
He scratched his chin; he continued to send blinks at the girl. A treasure? The last thing in her mind was to return home? Well, he definitely did not expect that. Humming to himself, Netero rested his hands behind his back as he tried to put the right words together. He was not as warm hearted as everyone thought him to be, but he was not cold either. Helping a mysterious girl to find an unknown treasure and friends was a risky thing – even for him.
"I can't do much," he replied, "but perhaps there is a way for you to find them."
Kagome waited for him to continue.
"There is only one group of people who are able to obtain information normal people cannot. You are going to need money and connections to find the people and things you are looking for." Netero's smile made a comeback after noticing her confusion being painted over her face. "Hunters are able to get secret information, even on people."
"Ah!" Netero quickly snapped his fingers as an idea struck him. Turning to face the door, he called out for his assistant. "Beans, come in!"
The miko waited for some kind of reply or person, but as soon as the door slid open she jolted slightly at the sight of a petite green faced creature making his way into the room. "Yes, Netero-san?"
"Ah, yes, Beans, when is the next Hunter Exam?" he asked.
"Sir…," Beans blinked with a sweat drop looming over his head, "it begins tomorrow. You know that-"
"Right! Right! How could you be so forgetful, Beans?" Netero emitted a laugh, patting his abdomen at the same time. Calming down from his own mistake (which he would not admit to), he turned to face the silent miko. "Becoming a Hunter means passing the Hunter Exam. It is a recommendation for you to think about. Of course, it is unfortunate you have less than a day to agree or disagree to the offer. For a patient who has barely woken up after a year in a coma and being thrown into such events can be a bit much, but…," his eyes narrowed, "if you are committed to looking for what is important to you, then take the risk."
"Netero-san!" Beans exclaimed in mid-whisper. "She is a patient-!"
"I do hope you consider it, Kagome-san," Netero cut in, bowing his head. "A year of being in here gave your other friends a different path and perhaps that treasure, I hope for your sake, has not been in the wrong hands."
She continued to stare at him, slowly taking in everything he was informing her with. A Hunter Exam? What exactly was that?
"Oh! Since it has come at short notice, I will even offer to take you directly to the first phase of the exam." Netero sent her a wink, "not a lot of people get this opportunity."
Waking up after a year had now sent her to take a Hunter Exam? Everything was happening in a rush and she had to still process her current situation. She felt no ill intent from Netero, nor did she get a hint of a lie in his words. Of course strangers would not help her to find what was important to her, but he was offering some assistance.
Assistance not everyone would give: big or small.
Hearing the wooden clank of his shoes make their way towards the door, Kagome raised her eyelevel to see Beans and Netero already heading for the exit. "I will be waiting outside the hospital at seven in the morning. I do hope you decide to take this offer."
Before she could question his motive or reasoning for helping her, she noticed Beans giving her a respectful bow before blinking at the sight of Netero leaving the room. The beeping from the monitors overtook the area; Kagome remained still as she heard the equipment do their job.
Where exactly was she?
Who was Netero?
And…the Shikon no Tama was lost.
A sigh passed her lips before bringing her focus to the window. Noticing a few billboards, she narrowed her eyes to the weird lettering.
This was not Japan.
"A year of being in here gave your other friends a different path and perhaps that treasure, I hope for your sake, has not been in the wrong hands."
Netero's words echoed in her head; worry seeped into her as she thought of the jewel already being used in the wrong way. Perhaps she would be lucky and people believed it was just a regular jewel. Exhaling tiredly, Kagome ran her fingers through her hair.
'A Hunter, huh?'
Adjusting the brown shorts, the miko huffed from the heat of the room. The long black sleeve turtleneck was definitely suffocating her early in the morning. Was this the only clothing they could offer her on a sunny day? It was morning, but it was blanketed with warmth. Shaking her head, Kagome sighed and tapped her foot over the tile to make sure the brown ankle boots fitted right. It felt weird wearing something outside her uniform – something she had grown accustom to over the years.
'Then again,' she chuckled to herself, 'at twenty years old I should already get used to it.'
Kagome walked over to the table at the corner of her room and grabbed the wooden bow that had been delivered to her the night before. Her fingers grazed over the scratches that had occurred due to the many times she had dropped it. A small smile decorated her former frown as she thought of the years she had used it. A journey that had started at her fifteenth birthday had almost come to an end at her eighteenth, but now?
Her eyes landed on the quiver with a few arrows resting inside. Grabbing it, the miko's expression dropped to sorrow at the memory of her friends bathed in blood and dirt from Naraku's attacks. How could she have been so stupid and make that wish?
Brought out of her beating, Kagome looked towards the door and quickly allowed a smile to take over her expression upon seeing one of the nurses. "Ah, hai?"
"The paperwork for your release has been completed," the nurse took a bow while directing her to the exit with her arm extended outwards. "Everything else seems to be well and the doctor has given his permission to let you go."
"Arigatou," Kagome nodded, placing the quiver around her shoulders and making her way towards the exit. Walking through the halls of never ending tragedies, deaths, and miracles, Kagome began to notice the endless need for help. Hospitals were something that she never liked, but it was ironic to think her skills were about helping others.
Finally seeing the double automatic doors leading to her exit, she took a deep breath in before moving forward. The brightness of the outdoors made her squint almost as if her body felt the sun as a foreign feel. No doubt it was after being inside of a room for a whole year.
"Ho, ho, ho~."
The miko's focus was brought to the older male walking towards her.
"I see you have decided to come."
"Netero-san," Kagome whispered.
The Hunter gave her a smile for a greeting before stopping a few feet away from the miko. Even he had been unsure what her decision would have been, but his gut told him she was not one to back out from an opportunity to find answers if she truly was determined to find them. The moment he looked into her eyes the day before, he was waiting to find fear and worry, but what he found was a fire slowly flaring.
She had Hunter eyes.
"Ohayo," he spoke, "I believe you have decided to take this risk." Receiving her nod, Netero turned around and began to walk with the sound of his wooden shoes clanking against the concrete path. Netero looked over his shoulder, watching as she looked left and right both awed and confused by the city sights. "You have never been here, Kagome-san?"
"No…," she whispered, "this is my first time, Netero-san."
"Well, that makes me even more curious to know where you come from," he snickered as he took a turn on a corner street while searching for a particular area.
'Not that anyone would believe me,' she gave herself a mental scoff. The whole time-traveling story was something even her feudal eras has a hard time believing. No one in this world – where she was – would believe it. Placing her sight on Netero's back she noticed his aura calmly surround his person. This was not a regular aura most people had; Netero aura was different and it felt unique. "Netero-san?"
"What exactly does a…Hunter do?"
Stopping at the crosswalk's red light, Netero felt her eyes glued onto his back waiting for an answer. He tilted his head back to view the clear sky with a flock of pigeons making their way to rest over a billboard. It amused him to know she was willing to take the Hunter Exam before even knowing the role of a Hunter.
She was truly a mystery.
"What does a Hunter do, huh?" he repeated the question under his breath. "That is a good question, Kagome-san. In fact, after so many years of being a Hunter I have yet to figure out what exactly a Hunter is to do. There are many Hunters in this world; some hunt treasures and some hunt beasts. Others hunt for knowledge while other may hunt for fame. Upon receiving the title of 'Hunter' it is up to you to decide what you want to…well, hunt."
Kagome blinked as she noticed Netero beginning to cross the street with the rest of the pedestrians following. Taking quicker steps to catch up, her eyes landed on the small restaurant sitting beside two larger corporate buildings. Lowering her view, she noticed her guide having continued his path towards the entrance of the restaurant.
Was he hungry?
"Ano…," she whispered, "are you hungry, Netero-san?"
"Hmm," he tapped his chin, "I wouldn't mind getting a bowl. Would you care to join me for a meal? On me!"
Hesitant to follow (thinking she had been fooled), she was given a smile by him before he opened the door himself. The smells of the food watered her lips and intoxicated her senses. The miko slowly followed behind Netero and took in her new surroundings.
A normal restaurant with what she hoped were normal people eating.
"Is the back room available?" Netero asked, giving his signature smile to the chef occupied with his frying.
The chef took a glance towards his entrance only to widen his eyes at the sight of the well-known man. Before he could greet the Hunter, Netero secretly placed his finger in front of his lips while giving a wink.
Kagome immediately heard the cough from the chef, making her take a glance over at the counter where he stood and back to Netero. She raised a brow, noticing the old man slowly avoiding her questioning gaze.
"W-What will you have?" the chef asked, saving Netero from Kagome's questioning.
"Hmm," Netero hummed, looking around the small space, "the steak combo that opens your eyes to the light. For one person, please."
'Steak?' Kagome blinked, taken back by his meal choice for the morning. Steak? Her expression soured at the thought of having steak for breakfast. Then again, what was up with that weird order? 'Steak combo that opens your eyes to the light? What the heck is that?'
"For one…how would you like it?" the chef asked, eyes narrowing, noticing the female behind the Hunter looking around for a possible menu hanging on the walls or some kind of special.
Netero chuckled under his breath, raising his finger to give his answer. "Grilled over a low flame, until cooked."
The cook joined in with his own soft laugh before returning his focus onto the fryer. Giving Netero a nod, he allowed the two to pass through. "Got it. Let yourself into the back room."
Continuing to look around for a few seconds, Kagome slightly jumped at her own mistake for staring into space. As her eyes glided forward, she blinked a few times at the sight of Netero making his way past the main dining room and into a hall. Where was the old man going? Deciding it was best to follow than to leave with no help, Kagome hurriedly made her way past the other customers. They turned to their right, coming face-to-face with a door. Watching Netero open the door for her, Kagome tilted her head to the side as she saw the large round table with only one chair prepared.
"After you, Kagome-san," Netero smiled, extending his arm for her to go in.
A bit hesitant to go in first, Kagome gulped and checked the room with her eyes. Nothing but the table and chair.
"Have a seat," he spoke.
"Ano," she turned around, facing the older male, "there is only one chair."
Kagome took another look at the one chair, "are you not going to eat?"
"Eat?" he laughed. "Oh, my dear, this is for you. I am afraid this is where we part ways. You will be taken to the first phase of the Hunter Exam."
She turned back, looking at him with wide eyes. She took a step forward; her lips parted to speak. Netero's palm facing her stopped her from voicing any questions. Shoulders slumping down, the smile from the Hunter had changed. Almost as if his smile was a message of trust. A part of her was afraid. Who would not be? Thrown into a whole different world, strangers coming left and right, and alone?
Of course she was scared, but…
"I wish you the best of luck, Kagome-san," Netero gave her a bow with her head. "It won't be easy, but I can sense something from you. Do take care of yourself, and I do hope we see other soon."
Unable to say anything, Kagome could only muster a smile of her own. A total stranger had helped her, perhaps not in a way she hoped, but there was always a reason for something. If she was here alive then the others must have followed. The quest was hers alone, but that could not discourage her, especially not knowing of the jewel's whereabouts.
She was the sole protector of the Shikon no Tama.
Netero's smile stretched as he heard her 'thank you' and receiving a respectful bow of her own. Slowly closing the door, he continued to stare at the wood carvings of the door before finally hearing the sound of the floor shaking and wires beginning to move the room on the other side. He was not a man with a warm heart, no, and he did admit to himself it was selfish of him to put her out there into the most dangerous exam in the world, but…her eyes said something else.
The girl was anything but normal.
'That girl has gone through obstacles of her own,' he chuckled to himself, turning around to take his leave. 'I do hope to meet her at the end.'
Fingers slid over the flat wooden surface of the table as she walked towards the chair. Eyes scanned the vacant walls until she came to see the small monitor resting over two double doors on her right. She felt another headache pulse, making her rest her head over her palm.
"Uhh, guess my body and head are still on the weak side of things." Feeling the floor gently shake, she felt herself being taken down. Her eyes went over the monitor once again and noticed the numbers that appeared increasing one by one. 'An elevator? Perhaps a basement?' What was she even doing? Sure, it was a bit late to take a step back from this decision, but her own conscious was the one to push her.
No one in this world was going to give her answers just for free nor assist her to find them. Whatever this 'Hunter' thing was, she figured it was the only way to gain the information she needed to find her friends and the lost jewel.
She sighed before a small 'ding' called her attention to the small monitor over the double doors. Kagome remained still as the doors curtained open to her destination. Taking cautious steps forward, Kagome was surprised to see a dark tunnel illuminated by the red lights on the walls filled with unique people. The second she took a step outside the elevator room, Kagome gulped at all the heads turning to her. The looks she was given were anything but nice and that only made her worries heighten.
Her eyebrow twitched as she continued her way forward. 'Is this really the…Hunter Exam?' And here she was picturing a room with desk and chairs. An exam meant paper and classroom, but a tunnel with people holding deadly weapons.
'Everyone's auras are really making me feel uncomfortable…'
Looking down, Kagome blinked upon meeting Beans' eyes. The memory of the day before finally clicked in: he was Netero's assistant. "Ah, Beans-san, right?"
"Hai," he nodded with a smile. "I have to say I am surprised you listened to Netero-san about this."
She chuckled nervously with an image of Netero's wide smile coming into her head. She really must be an idiot to trust this easily. "Well…I was out of options."
"Well, I welcome you to the Hunter Exam," Beans smiled as he dug into his pocket. Bringing out a circle tag, he handed it over to the miko. "This is your number, Higurashi-san. Please be sure to wear it on your chest at all times. Be careful not to lose it, Higurashi-san. I wish you luck."
Grabbing the tag from Beans' hand, she turned around and noticed the number '406'. Did that mean there were four-hundred and five applicants? As she pinned the tag over her chest, she watched Beans beginning to walk away, giving her now the alone time to observe the people around her. From a coma to a tunnel…she was beginning to question the Kamis if they were doing this on purpose.
"This is a rare sight! Welcome to the Hunter Exam!"
Hearing a voice directed for her attention, the miko turned her head to the side. A chubby brown haired male with a round nose greeted her with a wave. Keeping her expression unchanged, she noticed on his chest his own tag.
'Number sixteen, huh?' she blinked.
"Hello there," a wide smile appeared over the brunette. "You're new, huh?"
"How do you know that?" she questioned. "Isn't everyone here?"
"Nope," he chuckled. "This is actually my thirty-fifth time entering the exam!"
Her eyes widened, not because of the number, but of the pride in his tone. He took an exam thirty-five times!? Who would even try after the tenth or fifth!? The corner of her lips twitch, unsure how to reply to that statement. "I-I see…," she whispered.
"The name is Tonpa," he introduced himself. "You can consider me to be an exam veteran."
'No kidding…,' she sweat dropped.
"Not many females come and apply for the Hunter Exam. If we do get them, they are usually the stronger ones," Tonpa laughed. "What's your name, rookie?"
"Kagome…," she trailed off, unsure about the smile glued on his lips.
Tonpa's smile widened as he offered a handshake. As he was given the gesture back, he adjusted the strap to his bag. "So what do you know about the exam, Kagome?"
She scratched her cheek, not wanting to answer a blank 'nothing'. Avoiding eye contact, she started to feel the outcast boundary. She guessed most people in the tunnel were well-knowledge about the exam. Then again, she had thought this Hunter Exam was about a piece of paper with simple questions.
"Well, don't worry," Tonpa spoke, "rookies aren't a bad thing. Here," extending his arm out and offering her a can of orange juice, his smile remained, "relax. There are actually many rookies this year so you aren't the only one."
Lowering her view to the offered drink, she raised a brow. She raised her palm and shook her head with a nervous smile. "Uh, arigatou, but I'm fine."
Tonpa blinked at the rejection, "you sure? Here, take it as a welcoming."
"No, really, it's fine…"
The vein on her forehead pulsed out the more Tonpa began to push for her to take it. If she did not want it, she did not want it! Kagome took a step back as he took one forward. This guy was definitely asking for a beating. Fingers tightening around her bow, she blinked out of shock from the sudden shout of another male.
"Oi! Old man! Stop pretending to be the nice guy!"
"Dammit…," Tonpa whispered with a glare; his eyes glued themselves on the oncoming tall slender black haired male wearing a blue suit. In a blink of an eye, the drink from his hand was pulled away and thrown towards the closed elevator.
Kagome remained silent and confused even as Tonpa was grabbed from the collar of his shirt and brought to a front-row seat of the tall male's glare. By the looks of it, his relationship with Tonpa was not a good one.
"Still have a bunch of those, huh!?" he shouted.
"Ma, ma, calm down," Tonpa chuckled nervously, "I was just trying to make her feel at ease."
"You think your 'special' drink is going to help!?"
"Leorio! Stop making a scene!"
The miko's attention was pulled to the third voice joining the argument. A blonde male with black eyes wearing a blue tabard with red marked designs made small steps towards them. The aura from the two unknown men made her wary of their skills, but it also seemed like they were unpolished.
"Don't stop me from kicking his ass, Kurapika!" the man identified as Leorio shook Tonpa in his grasp. "He was about to give this girl the drink!"
Tonpa raised his hands defensively in front of him, "s-she rejected it okay!?"
"Didn't seem like you got the message, buddy," Leorio growled.
"Leorio, she's fine, see?"
Kagome jumped from the sudden voice beside her. Looking down to her right, she blinked upon noticing the spiky black haired boy wearing a green jacket and shorts holding a fish pole. Had her senses turned off? How did she not sense him coming?
"But Gon…," Leorio's eyes dropped into a glare, "a pretty woman shouldn't fall victim to this bastard."
"Victim?" Kagome repeated, finally voicing out something.
A gentle pull at her sleeve made her look down at the young boy once again. Blinking again, she took in his sincere smile before finally taking a read of his aura. Pure and strong, but not at the level he could control or know about it. Did Hunters have this kind of feeling to them? She never experienced this many humans having a mysterious aura, then again, who knew where she was.
"Gomen, onee-san," Gon gave an apologetic smile, "Leorio doesn't mean to scare you, but the juice is expired. It would be bad if you drank it, right?" he chuckled, scratching the back of his head.
"E-Expired?" she blinked, turning her head to see Tonpa giving a sheepish laugh.
Tonpa pushed himself away from Leorio's grasp. Patting his chest from the "germs" he received, he began to bow his apologies. "Gomen! I guess I shouldn't think that all of them would be okay…"
"Why even give them out?" Leorio's eyes narrowed.
"Calm yourself, Leorio," Kurapika sighed.
"R-Right," Tonpa nodded nervously. Taking steps backwards, he waved his goodbye. "Well, again, I am sorry, Kagome! Welcome to the Hunter Exam!" He turned his back to the four, cursing under his breath from having those three stopped his plan. What was with this year's rookies!? All of them had rejected his laxative drink. 'Except for number ninety-nine. He keeps asking for more each time I see him! Dammit! It will be hard to make these rookies quit!'
Kagome kept her eyes on Tonpa, watching as he made his way through the cracks between the crowd. Scratching her cheek, she exhaled tiredly. "Well, you three certainly saved me from giving him a piece of my mind. Apparently a rejection is unclear these days?"
"Onee-san!" Gon exclaimed, catching her attention. "You're the first girl I see here! Are you a rookie, too?"
'I am guessing females really are a rarity in the world of Hunters?' she raised a brow. "Yeah. This is my first time entering, I guess."
"The name is Gon! Gon Freecss," he introduced himself. Moving towards his two companions, he pointed at them over his shoulder. "These are my friends: Kurapika and Leorio."
"Nice to meet you," Kurapika gave a bow with his head.
"Hey there!" Leorio's smile appeared, the scowl finally fading away.
From the looks of the three males, all three had their gaps in age, but taking another read of their auras she could see age was nothing but a number. Whatever they were or the skills the possessed, they were special. She gave a bow with her own head, dipping it slightly with a smile. "Kagome Higurashi," she spoke. "Nice to meet you."
The young boy's eyes glided over to the quiver behind her back and the bow in her hand. Awed by the long weapon, he was even more amazed to scratches on the two. It definitely looked like it had its fair share of adventures. "Nee~ Kagome-san," he called out, pointing to the weapon in her hand. "Are you a master at the bow?"
"Master?" she repeated, raising the bow in her hand for his eyes. Laughing sheepishly, she shook her head. "I wouldn't say master…"
"Well, just be careful, Kagome-san," Kurapika came forth. "You said this is your first time, right?"
She nodded before giving her reply. "I don't even know what a Hunter is to be honest."
The three blinked simultaneously as they stared at the miko with an 'are-you-serious-look'. The corner of Kagome's lip twitched once again as she saw the blank stares. Perhaps she should have kept that a secret.
"You don't know what a Hunter is!?" Leorio exclaimed.
"Calm down," she huffed. "I…am barely getting used to this whole tunnel thing." Kagome's eyes glided to the corner as she leaned away from Leorio's sudden explosion. 'And to this whole world to be exact…'
"Really?" Gon blinked, tilting his head to the side. Even he, at twelve years old, knew about the Hunter Exam. Although he was not sure about what it entailed, he knew that it was not an easy thing. But Hunters were a well-known profession in the world, but she did not even know what it was? "Is it even possible to enter the Hunter Exam not know what a Hunter is?" he questioned, turning his head to Kurapika.
The blonde male hummed, hooking his fingers underneath his chin. "Never heard of someone not knowing what a Hunter is…"
'It's not like I had a clear explanation of what I was getting myself into,' she blinked with a blank stare of her own.
"Ah! That's okay, Kagome-san!" Gon smiled. "Being clueless doesn't mean you are not able to become a Hunter!"
"Is that supposed to make me feel better?" her eyebrow twitched.
"Then why are you becoming a Hunter?" Leorio questioned, raising a brow of his own. How was she even able to find this place not knowing what a Hunter was? Although, he could not give her such a hard time. Having a female in the group could be benefitting to lighten up the mood.
Words seemed to slip from her head as she repeated Leorio's question in her head. There was no way she could mention waking up from a coma the day before today and suddenly wanting to become a Hunter to find her friends and a dangerous-powerful jewel.
Kurapika and Gon were quick to notice her fidgeting fingers around her bow, making them turn to each other with curiosity.
Not planning the exact words she was about to say, she parted her lips to speak. The sudden shake of the ground and the ringing of a weird alarm with the sound of a duck's quack caught everyone's attention inside. Eyes immediately glided over to the other side of the tunnel's wall as it lifted upwards to reveal a purple haired male with a curled mustache pushing the weird green keychain in his hand to shut off the alarm.
Questionable stares were given to the male wearing the black suit. The first thing Kagome came to notice was the pitch black tunnel stretching farther down behind the mysterious male. Whatever was at the end, she had a feeling it would not be easy to find out what it was.
"I apologize for the wait," the unnamed male spoke. "The entry period for Hunter applicants has ended. The Hunter Exam will now begin!"
"Kagome-san, you ready?" Gon asked.
"Huh?" she blinked, watching as Gon adjusted the straps of his backpack as all the other people around her seemed to take a stance. She regained her grip on her bow, remembering the countless times Inuyasha had to scold her for not having her guard up.
The purple haired male cleared his throat before continuing with his speech. "A final caution. If you are short on luck or ability, you could very well end up seriously injured or even dead."
'Dead?' Kagome gulped. An exam that could end your life? 'Math exams don't sound as bad anymore…'
"Those who accept the risks, please follow me. Otherwise, please exit via the elevator behind you."
No one moved a muscle; eyes remained glued on their goal ahead. A second of silence was given for the purple haired male to take a look at the applicants they would come to judge. "Very well," he spoke, "all four-hundred and five will participate in Phase One." He pivot around, facing the stretched out tunnel before taking wide marches.
Instinct made everyone to follow behind what they assumed to be the one to take them to the first phase of the exam. Noticing Gon, Kurapika, and Leorio walking into the crowd to follow, Kagome made her own steps behind the young child. In less than five minutes, everyone noticed the pace of the mysterious man quickening. Their own steps became quicker until they noticed they had to run to catch up to the man.
"H-Huh?" Leorio stuttered, noticing everyone around him beginning to sprint. "What's going on?"
"The people in front started running," Gon commented.
"He probably picked up the pace…," Kagome whispered, although the three heard her loud and clear. She noticed their eyes on her making her chuckle nervously. "I am only taking a guess."
"No, she's right," Kurapika added, taking a glance over someone's shoulder and seeing the suited man having made his marches even longer.
As the run continued, steps began to echo and breaths were being heard from others. The same view of the tunnel from each side only made them feel that this was an endless pit leading to possibly nowhere. The man ahead looked over his shoulder, chuckling to see all applicants still standing. "I must apologize," he spoke, "I neglected to introduce myself. I am Satotz, the Phase One examiner. I shall lead you to the exam's Second Phase."
"Second Phase?" questioned the ninja examiner known as Hanzo. "What about Phase One?"
"It has already commenced," Satotz replied, keeping his eyes ahead.
Whispers of their voice confusion caught the miko's attention, making her look left and right. She could sense their uncertainty to follow the man named Satotz – even she was. Following him was part of the exam?
"You must follow me to Phase Two. This is the exam's First Phase."
"Follow you?" Hanzo asked again. "That's it?"
Satotz took a glance over his shoulder before coming back to view his path ahead. "Hai. I cannot tell you where or when you must arrive. You need to follow me."
"I see how it is," Kurapika whispered.
Gon's eyebrow crooked upwards, "this test is weird."
"I am expecting this is an endurance test," Leorio commented. He scoffed with an incoming smirk as his pace increased. "Fine by me! I'll be right behind you!"
"It won't be easy."
The three males looked over to the miko, noticing she had caught up to Kurapika's speed with no difficulty. Compared to the other applicants around who were already breaking a sweat, she was nowhere near as winded.
"What do you mean, Kagome-san?" Gon asked.
"Well," she began with a sigh, "the path is long. I don't sense an exit any time soon."
"Hmm, if that is the case, then there is the mental stress of not knowing how far we will have to run." Kurapika shook his head, understanding the miko's words of the difficulty this 'simple' run. "He is testing our mental fortitude."
A mental strain in a run could be hectic on a normal person that much Kagome knew. Countless times she and her feudal friends were placed in mazes with no exits made by demons to break their sanity. Taking a look around her, she could see some of those who were able to keep up while others slowly were left behind. At the sound of someone dropping behind her, Kagome looked over her shoulder noticing two males having collapsed out of exhaustion.
'I guess this isn't easy for everybody,' she pouted with worry. Although running was not a big deal for her, she did feel anxious about whatever awaited them at the end. 'Or if I get to see the light of day again…'
Grumbles and heavy breaths caught her attention to the left, noticing Leorio's face blanketed with sweat. "Are you okay, Leorio-san?"
"Tch, I'm fine!" he scoffed, not wanting to show his tiredness, especially when the girl beside him showed not even a drop of sweat. 'Dammit! I underestimated the Hunter Exam. Every person here is a monster if they aren't even showing their fatigue! It's a gathering of monsters!'
Kagome sighed, getting the feeling Leorio was already getting hit from this. Deciding to give him his space, the miko made her way forward, leaving him behind.
From the corner of his eyes, Leorio noticed a white haired boy smoothly passing by him before finally setting his eyes on the yellow skateboard underneath his feet. A tick immediately pulsed out his forehead. Why the hell was a kid using a skateboard while everyone else were running to their deaths!? "Oi!" he shouted. "Kid!"
Blue eyes blinked as they looked over their shoulder.
"You should show the Hunter Exam some respect!" Leorio yelled.
Stoic even with Leorio's scold, the white haired kid blinked again. "What do you mean?"
"Why the hell are you using a skateboard!? That's cheating!"
The jealousy he felt for wanting a transportation of his own soon mixed with annoyance. Leorio's vein pulsed every second the more he stared at kid's uninterested expression. "This is an endurance test!"
"No, it isn't."
Both Leorio and the kid looked back to see none other than Gon coming to catch up. Leorio shifted his anger over to his companion having gone against him. "Gon, what are you saying!?"
"The examiner only told us to follow him," he stated with a bland tone. "Even Kagome-san and Kurapika said this was only a run, nothing about being a test."
"Whose side are you on, Gon!?" Leorio blinked as he watched the white haired kid slow down his speed on his skateboard to catch up with Gon.
"Hey," the kid called out, "how old are you?"
Gon blinked, taking notice the question was intended for him. Finally taking a look at the kid who was about the same height as him, he was surprised to see that he had not even noticed him. "I'm twelve years old."
"Hmm…," he nodded back. 'We're the same age.' Taking a breather, he stepped on his board for it to flip upwards before catching it in his hand. Hearing Gon's audible 'awe' made him chuckled as he came to run beside him. "Guess I'll run too."
"Wow!" Gon exclaimed, a huge grin taking over his lips. "That was so cool!"
The kid's blue eyes glided to the corner to see Gon looking back at him. Perhaps having a person around your age could be entertaining in the exam. "I'm Killua," he introduced.
"I'm Gon." He kept the smile on his face as he looked ahead. The smile widened upon finding the mysterious-clueless miko running ahead of them only a few feet away. He was honestly surprised to find her so ahead of most, but the moment he had set his eyes on her after finding out her name, something called out to him. The fact she had no idea what a Hunter was yet she was here to become one only made him curious to know why she was here in the first place. "Nee, Killua?"
"You know what a Hunter is, right?" Gon questioned.
"Huh?" Killua blinked, taken back from the out-of-the-blue question. "Is that supposed to be funny?"
Shaking his head, Gon looked ahead and pointed at Kagome's back. "She is becoming a Hunter like us."
Killua followed his line of sight with a bored expression. No interest piqued when his eyes met the miko's person. Was everyone here not doing the same? "Yeah, so?"
"Have you heard of anyone trying to become a Hunter but never knowing what it is?" Gon asked again, coming back to face his partner.
"That would be a stupid person," Killua's eyes lowered to a dead-eyed fish look. "Don't tell me she is a stupid person…" Thinking he would get a response, Killua blinked as he watched Gon quicken his pace to catch up with the mysterious female. Why would someone like that even come to take the Hunter Exam? That type of person obviously needed a reality check or something if they did not even know what they were getting themselves into. Placing his skateboard underneath his armpit, he dug his hands into his pockets before continuing his run to catch up to Gon.
'I suppose I should thank the three years of chasing and running away from demons for building up my stamina. Long runs are not even a big deal, but I guess I am lucking out with the flat surface.' Kagome evened out her breaths, hoping to keep the simple pace she had. Even with her head pulsing every few minutes, she was surprised that her physical condition had not changed in over the year she was in a coma. 'Perhaps it was the glow Netero-san mentioned…did the jewel protect me?' She gave herself a mental shake. 'No, no, no. The jewel was nowhere around me – apparently. So was it my own miko-ki?' All these endless question only began to make her anxiety worsen. There was nothing she could do but take this first step: pass the exam. 'How hard could it be?'
Hearing her name from the side, Kagome turned to see Gon and another kid with white hair joining her. "Gon-kun. Um…."
"This is Killua," he introduced, "he's the same age as me! We just met!"
"Yo," Killua waved, although he was not really interested in the female to begin with.
'Same age?' she thought to herself. Coming to take a glance at the white haired kid, she noticed the same wavelengths of aura she had read from Gon when she met him. Now that she took a good look at Gon and his friend, she realized they were kids. "Ano, how old are you two?"
"Twelve," they answered at the same time.
Her pupils immediately widened as she heard their reply. Twelve!? What were twelve years olds doing here? She sighed under her breath; it was not like she could question them when she was not willing to give her own reason.
"Kagome-san is a master at archery!" Gon spoke, making the miko stumble in her steps.
"H-Huh!?" Kagome's sweat drop loomed over her head after hearing Gon's random and false statement.
Whistling softly, Killua gave the miko a simple nod. "That's cool. Can you teach us how to use it?"
"Gon-kun, I told you I'm not…"
"You can still teach us, right?" his eyes blinked over and over again with his pleading smile.
She exhaled, wondering why two kids had suddenly glued to her side. In fact, she never thought she was going to talk to anyone in the exam unless she needed two. Then again, she never thought kids were going to apply. Looking ahead once more, she had no view of an exit anywhere. The thought of this continuing more only made her sigh – mainly for the headaches.
"Are you tired, Kagome-san?" Gon asked, having heard her exhalation. "It's been about four hours since we started."
'Four hours already?' she huffed. 'We must have already traveled more than fifty kilometers.'
The heavy and desperate gasps for air caught the miko's and the two kids' attention to the back. Their steps slowly came to a halt upon noticing Leorio having become sluggish in his run and coming to hunch. Kagome blinked, reading his determination in his eyes, yet his body have other plans. 'Leorio-san…'
Leorio's eyesight slowly came to a blur. Doubles of everyone and his surroundings messing with his head. 'Only one rookie, every three years, passes the Hunter Exam. So for a normal human like me, it isn't even worth dreaming about…damn it!' His grip on his briefcase loosened, making it drop to the ground to finally place his hands over his knees. This was ridiculous! There was no way he could match up with the rest of them. He cursed under his breath as he felt his body heating up from the lack of stamina. Feeling stares ahead, he took a peek and remained in his hunched position.
"Oi," Killua called, coming to face Gon and Kagome who were stuck staring at the older male. "Leave him be. Let's go."
Killua got no reply nor reaction from the two, making him raise a brow questioningly to figure out what they were waiting for. It was obvious the old man was quitting, so what were they doing?
"Gon-kun?" Kagome whispered, wondering herself what he was waiting for. Before she could voice out her question, Leorio's voice brought them out of their inner thoughts.
"Screw that…," Leorio whispered with a grunt. He took a deep breath in before taking off into a full on sprint and breezing between Kagome and Gon. "I'm going to become a Hunter! Damn it all!"
Much to Killua's and Kagome's surprise, they watched Gon use his fishing pole to hook his bait underneath the handle of Leorio's briefcase before pulling it back to catch it in his hand. Watching Killua become awed by the trick, Kagome was left standing as the two took off to follow the others. 'Was Gon-kun waiting for him?' she wondered. Whatever she had been thrown into still had her confused, but it finally dawned on her how natural she had come to speak with Gon and the rest of his friends. Looking at her open palm, she wondered if the Kamis had thrown her here for a reason. 'But why here?'
Her view lifted to see Gon waving at her with his grin as Killua waited behind him indifferently.
"Hurry, Kagome-san!" he exclaimed. "Or we will be left behind!"
She chuckled as the image of her little kitsune appeared ahead of her; she was starting to feel homesick.
Having taken the first step of the collection of stairs leading upwards, Satotz looked over his shoulder to see many of the applicants still remaining strong. 'Hm, we have reached the eighty-kilometer mark. It is now time to pick up the pace a bit.' With ease, he began to leap upwards, skipping five to six steps in each jump.
Tired gasps came from the applicants in the back, noticing a wide gap beginning to form the moment Satotz changed his pace.
"That guy is insane!" one of the applicants exclaimed. "He's prancing up the stairs, as if they are not even there!"
"If he keeps up this pace," another spoke, "tons of people will fail."
Seeing people drop and fall back as she passed by, the miko began to worry if the end was even near. With the stairs added, she was beginning to feel the heaviness of her body, but it was not too bad to make her stop.
"Gon," Killua called, looking to his side, "want to race to see who finishes first?"
"I wonder how you two have so much energy for this," Kagome commented, gaining their attention. "You two are not even winded from this."
"Eh~," Killua smirked, "are you getting tired?"
Was he trying to provoke her? She gave him a mild glare, which he only continued to smirk from having affected her with his comment.
"Kagome-san, you should race with us!" Gon suggested. "The loser has to buy dinner, okay?"
"Wait," she quickly turned her head to the side, "I didn't agree to this, Gon-kun!"
"Okay, you're on!" Killua nodded. "Better not be slow, Kagome!"
Left in the dust, Kagome's eyebrow twitched. Why the heck was she left babysitting? But race or not, she had to increase her speed. Placing the bow around her shoulder, she took off, hoping the top of the stairs meant freedom.
"Ah!" Gon exclaimed with excitement. "Leorio and Kurapika are right there!"
The miko's eyes went forward to see the blonde and black haired males having caught up with each other, only the view of a shirtless Leorio was something she did not expect. Along with the dorky sprints he gave, she was sure he was ignoring judgment from that point. As they came to close the gap between them, she blinked as she heard Kurapika's voice call for Leorio's attention.
"Leorio, can I ask you a question?"
The called applicant looked to his side to see Kurapika having taken off his blue garment to follow his example after he took of his jacket and button-up shirt.
"What is it?" he huffed, having taken a stiff run and ignoring the sweat blowing back from his body. "Is this too easy for you, Kurapika? You know you are going to waste energy if you talk!"
Kurapika took a glance from the corner of his eyes, seeing the smile on Leorio's expression. After having stopped and almost at edge of quitting, he was surprised to find Leorio more determined than those around them. It only made him wonder about his intentions to gain the Hunter License. "Are you really trying to become a Hunter for the money?" he questioned. He noticed the grin having faded away. "You aren't, right? We have only been together for a few days, but I know you better than that. Sure, you have a nasty attitude, and you aren't very bright."
"Are you trying to insult me!?" he exclaimed.
"But you are not a shallow person," Kurapika continued. "I have seen many who live for money. You're nothing like them."
"Keh!" Leorio scoffed. "You and your logic…"
The four running behind the aspiring money-hungry applicant could only blink as he remained silent. Kagome remembered Netero's words on a Hunter's own ambitions after becoming a Hunter. Some were ethical and some were not. Although it was not in her right to ask Leorio or any of them on their reasoning to become a Hunter, she was quite curious to know.
"Scarlet eyes," Kurapika spoke, making all of them give the blonde a curious look. "That is why the Kurta were targeted."
'Kurta?' Kagome repeated in her head.
"We Kurta are known for our unique scarlet eyes. When our emotions are heightened, our eyes turn scarlet, as though on fire. The eyes in that scarlet state are considered one of the seven most beautiful colors in the world. They command high prices on the black market."
Leorio sighed, taking off his stare from the blonde and back to the stairs ahead. "That is why the Phantom Troupe attacked you?"
"Phantom Troupe?" Kagome questioned out loud, finally gaining their attentions.
The two looked over their shoulders and noticed the curiosity in the miko's eyes. With Gon and Killua right beside her, it was obvious they wanted to know about Kurapika's story never having heard of eyes turning scarlet red. Kurapika sighed, hoping his own emotions were balanced enough to speak of his enemy. "The Phantom Troupe is a gang of thieves; they have a high bounty on them. There are many members in the troupe and none of them with a kind heart. The Kurta clan," Kurapika inhaled, brows knitting together, "were massacred by them. They took every single eye from my brethren's corpses. I can still hear their darkened eyes crying out in anguish…I swear I will capture the Phantom Troupe!"
Everyone fell silent as they heard of Kurapika's dark past – one of blood and loss.
"That is why you want to be a Hunter?" Leorio asked again.
"Yeah, if I become a Hunter with rich clients, I will gain access to black market information."
Scoffing once more, Leorio loosened the tie around his neck. "You are going to have to swallow your pride and become the kind of Hunter you despise!"
"The blow to my pride is nothing measure against the suffering my clan endured."
Another wave of silence draped over them, but their pace increased. Hearing a low 'tch' from Leorio made them see his eyebrows having furrowed to meet his glare. "Sorry," he spoke out, "but I have no noble cause; I'm just after money."
"Chotto!" Kagome cut in, surprised to hear another unexpected reasoning, "for money?"
"Yeah!" he exclaimed back with a grunt.
"Don't lie! You really believe you can buy everything with money?" Kurapika questioned, knowing there must be another reason why this man was putting his life on the line.
"You bet!" Leorio immediately replied. "For the right price, you can buy not only treasures, but dreams, hearts, and even people's lives! If I had money, my friend wouldn't have died!"
A slight shock came over Kurapika's, Gon's, and Kagome's expression which quickly made Leorio's expression sour. The last thing he wanted was for everyone to know his regret from the past. Letting her shoulders relax, Kagome came Leorio's other side and noticed his soft scowl.
"How did he die?" she asked.
He was hesitant to share, but the second he noticed her sorrowful expression, all he could do was sigh. It was already too late to take back what he had let out. "A treatable disease," he whispered, loud enough for his companions to hear him. "The problem was that the operation costs a fortune. I was naïve! I thought I could become a doctor…I wanted to cure kids who have the same disease, and be able to tell them it was free of charge! That was my dream…what a joke! Turns out that to become a doctor, you need even more money! The world runs on money, so I want money!"
It was surprising to hear both of their reasons of taking the exam. Life had been cruel for the two and where they stood now was proof their strength to continue for that pain they had endured. A small smile appeared over her lips as she looked ahead. Perhaps these two were not so bad.
"What about you?"
Kagome looked to her side only to jump from Leorio's suspicious glare. "W-What about me?"
"Why are you here?" he leaned closer. "You said you didn't even know what a Hunter was yet you are here."
"And in better shape than you, old man," Killua commented from the back.
"I'm not old!" Leorio quickly retorted, expression heavily taken over by the insult. "I'm a teenager, just like you guys!"
The four of them froze with eyes having widened as they stared at what they presumed was an older man.
"Huh?" Killua blinked.
Gon's continuously blinked, giving Leorio a look up and down. "N-No way!"
"You are younger than me!?" Kagome exclaimed.
"Huh!?" they all shouted. "How old are you!?"
"I am twenty," she whispered. To hear Leorio was younger was something she definitely did not expect. "Wait a minute! I called you '-san'! Does that mean I have to say '-kun'!?"
Kurapika, Gon, and Killua took a glance over to the scowling male before bringing their attention back to the miko who was in deep thought. With a shake of their heads, they all gave their opinion at the same time. "No, that would just sound creepy."
"In what way!?" Leorio shouted.
"Why is everyone so slow?" Killua groaned, watching as one applicant after another dropped. It was an amusing sight, but in the end it bored him to know just how easy this exam was going to be if it continued this way. After having convinced Gon to leave the three behind for their race, he was surprised to find Kagome only a few steps behind them. 'Hmm, she isn't that bad, but still not impressive.'
He sighed, dropping his head into a gloom. "The Hunter Exam is going to be a breeze," he scoffed. "That's no fun."
"Nee," Gon spoke, "why do you want to become a Hunter?"
"Me? I don't really have an interest in becoming a Hunter. I heard the exam was supposed to be really hard, so I thought it would be fun, but this is disappointing. Then again, we have a person back here," he pointed at the miko with his thumb over his shoulder, "who has no clue why she is here."
Kagome's eyebrows dropped down after clearly hearing Killua's words. At least she had a reason unlike him. Placing her eyes on Gon, she began to wonder why he would be taking the exam so young. "Gon-kun?"
"Hm?" he blinked, turning his head to the right.
"Do you mind me asking why you are taking the Hunter Exam?"
A sudden grin exploded over his expression, making her blink with a bit of fear. "I will tell you if you tell me your reason, Kagome-san?"
Although she hoped to have kept her own story a secret, it was only fair to share some of her reasoning after hearing everyone else's. Releasing a sigh, she gave Gon a smile. "Deal."
"Yay!" he exclaimed. "Well, my old man is a Hunter. So I want to become a Hunter, like him."
"A Hunter like him, huh?" Killua hummed. "What kind of Hunter is he?"
Gon gave a shrug, "I don't know."
As Kagome heard Killua's laugh and comment on how weird Gon was, she only wondered who this man was. Gon had no idea what he did as a Hunter, yet here he was taking the exam to become one. "You don't know anything about him, Gon-kun?" she asked.
"Nope," he shook his head. "I was raised by Mito-san, my aunt, so I have only seen my old man in pictures. When he was twelve, my old man took the Hunter Exam. He passed and became a Hunter. Then he left the island. I want to find out why he chose to be a Hunter over being with me."
Hearing Gon's words were definitely something. The whole time he spoke, even after mentioning his father choosing to become Hunter over parenting, Gon continued to smile. The boy has a kind and big heart, but that was something that could easily become his undoing. But for the time being, all she could do was give Gon a smile.
"And you?" Gon asked. "Why are you here, Kagome-san?"
"I am actually wondering that, too," Killua cut in.
'How do I even make my story small and believable?' she bit her bottom lip, trying to come up with an answer that would not create so many questions from the others. "Well…," she began, "I am looking for my friends and a jewel."
"Jewel?" Gon and Killua repeated.
Hanzo's voice interrupted all thoughts, talks, and pants as they looked up to see light waiting for them. Exhales from relief were shared between everyone; the visible exit fueling everyone's determination to get to the end. The moment Gon and Killua felt the light of the exit on their skin, they immediately sprinted off after Gon took Kagome's hand in his and easily passed those ahead.
"C-Chotto matte!" she shouted, her feet barely keeping up with their speed.
'Now,' Satotz hummed, reaching the final step of the stairs, 'let's see how many made it this far.' Slowly turning around to face those coming in, he blinked as soon as Gon and Killua passed him with the miko being dragged behind.
"Goal!" they both exclaimed in unison.
After being released from Gon's hold, Kagome stumble forward until finally regaining her balance. She huffed, looking over at the two young kids beginning to argue who had won the race. She shook her head hearing the argument continue. Wanting to take a seat on the floor, she jolted as soon as Gon and Killua came forth and leaned towards her.
"Who was faster!?" they asked.
"H-Huh?" she blinked.
"Who was faster!?"
"Did you forget you dragged me here!?" she shouted back.
"Both of you arrived at the same time."
The three swiftly turned their heads to the owner of the voice. Coming face-to-face with none other than Satotz, both Gon and Killua pouted from the tie. Giving each other a glance, they looked over at the miko and allowed for a grin to take over. "Then Kagome-san gets to buy dinner!" Gon blinked innocently.
"Sounds good to me," Killua shrugged.
Kagome opened her mouth to speak only to clamp it shut knowing arguing with the two was going to take her nowhere. Adjusting the bow over her shoulder, she noticed they had taken a step to the outdoors. Nothing but trees and grass and the fog that lingered. 'Where are we?' As far as she could see there was nothing but land, but no sign of civilization anywhere, apart from them. Was this the future? Or another alternate universe?
"Nee, Satotz-san," Gon spoke, turning to the examiner, "is this where the Second Phase of the exam takes place?"
"No," he replied, "we still have quite a way to go."
Hearing the two kids sigh, they quickly took their seats next to the exit making Kagome chuckle. Although they were taking a risky exam – whatever it could be – they were still children.
"You may rest until the others arrive, miss."
The miko turned to the examiner before giving him a thankful nod. "Thanks," she smiled. One by one, Kagome noticed the different applicants finally making their way to the top. Although some looked like their last breath had been taken away, others looked unaffected. The fog thickened with each passing second, making it harder for the miko to take a clear view of the people around her. Taking a step back, her shoulder took a bump against someone's arm, quickly making her turn to the person and give a small bow with her head.
"A-Ah, sumimazen," she apologized.
A cold shiver alerted Kagome's senses, making her freeze on the spot and unable to look at the person directly. This menacing aura was something she had grown accustom to in the feudal era, but the thirst for blood was way out of control. The aura wrapped around whoever this person was had her paralyzed.
"I am glad to know there are still people out there with manners," a chuckle accompanied the amused tone. "Thank you for apologizing."
Slowly and cautiously, the miko rose from her bow and finally took a look at the person. Although she wanted to show the shock outside, she remained stoic. The lean, yet muscular male smirked as his amber eyes narrowed on her. She gulped, hoping he missed the action as she noticed the star and tear drop designs on either side of his cheeks. Out of everyone she had observed during the run in the tunnel, this red haired male was definitely one that meant nothing but bad news.
"Is everything alright, miss?" he asked, keeping his smirk glued on his person.
"Y-Yeah," she nodded slowly, taking her steps back once again. "Sorry again for bumping into you."
"No, no," he shook his head, suddenly cards appearing between his fingers. "No need to blame yourself when this fog is around, but," the cards disappeared from his hand; eyes glowed into a threat, "do be careful next time."
All she could give was a nod – again. Finally finding the chance to slip out of his view, she was suddenly pulled to the side. "O-Oi-!" Kagome stopped her scolding as soon as she met Gon's concerned expression. "Gon-kun?"
"Kagome-san," he whispered, cupping the corner of his lips with his other hand, "you need to stay away from him."
"Him?" she repeated.
Gon lowly pointed over to the man she had previously bumped into. Blinking with confusion, she took another glance at Gon and noticed the seriousness in his face. "Why?" she asked. Although she had sensed the deadly aura around him, it only made her wonder if her assumptions were correct.
Before Gon could give his warning, heavy and desperate pants caught their attention to the tunnel's exit. The sight of an exhausted Leorio hunched over as he rested his hands over his knees made them blink a few times. With Kurapika coming a second after, Gon quickly greeted them with a smile.
"Oh, Gon," Kurapika greeted back before scanning their new area.
"Guess what," Gon came forth, "Kagome-san bumped into that Hisoka man."
"Nani!?" Leorio exclaimed, swiftly turning his head over to the miko, making her jump from the sudden stare. Grabbing her shoulders, he brought her close to scan for any injuries. "How the heck did you make it out alive!?" he exclaimed. She bumped into him, right? Right!?
All Kagome could do was blink as she saw Leorio's horrified face upon hearing her encounter with the strange male she presumed his name was 'Hisoka'. So she bumped into him, what was the big deal? They made it sound like she would have died upon touching him. 'Although his aura did say something else…'
"That Hisoka guy killed an examiner when we arrived at the tunnel," Leorio whispered, remembering having seen the man's arms slowly melt away into red petals. "Apparently he had bumped into that clown, too!"
"I-I'm sure it must have been something else," the corner of her lip twitched. "I mean, I apologized and left-"
"Listen to me, Kagome!" Leorio shook her once. "That guy is no good! If you want to make it through the Hunter Exam we need to keep our distance from him!"
"Alright! Alright!" she sighed, raising her hands up defensively in front of her. She was going to keep her distance anyways, but if Gon and the others felt this way with this man, then she thought it was probably safe to feel the same way.
Noticing the colors around her become more vibrant, Kagome and the others looked around to see the fog finally lifting up. Although some of it remained, it gave all of the applicants a view of where they were. The sound of crows flying above them made them look up to see it was still daylight.
Satotz cleared his throat after checking his pocket watch. With the fog finally lifting at the planned time, he turned to face the people in the back. "The Numere Wetlands," he spoke, "also known as Swindlers Swamp. We must cross these wetlands to reach Phase Two of the exam. This place is home to many bizarre animals, many of them being cunning, insatiable creatures who deceive humans and prey upon them. Be very careful." Lifting a finger, the atmosphere shifted. "If you let them fool you…you're dead."
All applicants began to feel uneasy about the territory they had just walked in. What looked like a regular forest was nothing but green death. The sound of a door sliding down behind them caught their attention to see the tunnel slowly closing its exit.
"These wetland creatures will use every trick in the book to fool their prey," Satotz continued. "An ecosystem in which creatures obtain food through deceit…Hence the name Swindlers Swamp." He turned his back to his followers, preparing his eyes for the path leading to the Second Phase. "Stay very close to me so you won't be deceived."
There was no trust in the air and the silence was enough proof for the miko to read the situation. Satotz warning had been stitched into their heads. Although she had experience dealing with the outdoors and the unknown, she still had to keep her guard up not knowing what would come up.
"Keh!" Leorio scoffed with a confident smirk. "What a joke. They think they can fool us when we are already expecting it?"
"Don't let them fool you!"
Heads turned over their shoulders over to the back wall of the tunnel they have come from. Emerging from the shadows, everyone noticed the beat up condition the brunette male wearing a maroon shirt was in. His walk was forced and weak as he tried coming out from the back. "D-Don't fall for it…," he grunted in pain. "He's lying to you!" The unknown male quickly pointed his finger on the examiner, making everyone take a step back. "He's an impostor! He isn't an examiner…I'm the real examiner."
"W-What's going on?" Leorio whispered, shifting his eyes from Satotz to the other male.
"Look at this…," the brunette grumbled as he pulled another arm from the back of the wall to reveal a limp human-sized monkey with the exact same face as Satotz.
Eyes immediately widened at the reveal of Satotz's face on the creature. Clearly it was an exact replica, but that only made their trust on what they thought was the original shake.
"He looks just like Satotz-san!" Gon commented.
'He does…,' the miko nodded, taking a glance at the other clothed Satotz from the corner of her eyes. His expression was kept the same and even at this he seemed unthreatened by the accusation. Upon reading the ape's aura, she could see it was definitely not human, but the man holding him had her on edge.
"It's a Man-Faced Ape," the brunette male growled, "one of the creatures that dwell in the Numere Wetlands! Man-Faced Apes love the taste of fresh human flesh. However, their limbs are long and thin, so they're quite weak. That's why they disguise themselves as humans. They trick humans into following them into these wetlands, where they team up with other animals to kill and devour them. He intends to trap every single applicant!"
As wary comments were exchanged among the applicants, Kagome could feel the tension rise to one ready to kill. The brunette male was not lying: those apes probably did seek for human flesh, but…
She took a step forward, catching the brunette's attention. Immediately he tensed, not missed by the miko. "Chotto," she spoke, "I am afraid you-!" She froze immediately as she felt something fly beside her head and soon stab into the brunette's chest. Kagome blinked twice before noticing the male having fallen back with three playing cards sticking out from his body. The gasps from the others made her turn her head toward Satotz, seeing him having caught three of the cards between his fingers.
A chuckle accompanied the sound of cards, making them all look to see the red headed clown making cards appear and disappear from his hands. Kagome and the others were taken back from Hisoka's daring attack. What could have been a situation to work through, it had ended up with a death on the spot.
"I see, I see…," Hisoka snickered. "That settles it…you're the real one."
All heads turned over to Satotz, seeing his expression still unchanged even after being attacked. The miko's focus went back to the clown. She gulped at the thought of him attacking by chance to take a guess who was the real one. Although it was obvious, it still had her shaken to see his lack of humanity.
"W-What?!" Leorio exclaimed. "He's the real examiner!?"
The limp ape beside the now dead-male quickly jumped out of the scene having felt Hisoka's danger. Seeing everyone around him put distance between them, Hisoka snickered at the fear in their eyes. "Examiners are Hunters selected by the committee to perform this duty without pay. Any Hunter, bearing the title we seek, would have been able to block that attack."
"I shall take that as a compliment," Satotz sighed, keeping his eyes on his attacker. "However, should you attack me again, for any reason, I will report you for turning on an examiner and you will be immediately disqualified. Are we clear?"
Vultures gathered around the brunette's corpse, making everyone gulp from the scene. "Nature really can be brutal to watch," Leorio gulped. "So he was a Man-Faced Ape, as well."
Kagome exhaled: "he was trying to deceive everyone…"
"So we can't let our guard down," Killua scoffed.
"You will be encountering such deception on a regular basis," Satotz spoke walking over to take a look at the dead ape. "I believe that a number of you were fooled into suspecting my identity? Do you understand now? If you lose sight of me in the lands and in the fog, you will never reach the exam's Second Phase. Do bear that in mind. Then," he walked back to the front, "let us be on our way. Please continue to follow me."
The fog had returned to its thick consistency and although she could hear some of the applicants run ahead of her, she had no sight of them. Having gone from a flat concrete surface to stairs and now mush, it was finally becoming harder to quicken everyone's pace. 'Being in this kind of setting reminds me a bit of the feudal era…,' she sighed under her breath, taking a quick scan around her. She guessed an hour had gone by, but in that hour the fog had divided her away from Gon and the others.
'Where did they go?' she shifted her eyes left and right to catch a glimpse of their auras. Although she could sense Satotz's aura ahead, trying to read the others who were on other areas was a bit of a challenge. She only hoped they would make it out of this forest fog and meet at the end. 'But he did say this was a forest for deceiving…let's just hope they are smart enough to not fall for any tricks.'
From the corner of her eyes, she noticed a group of blue clothed men following another male into the thick fog. She blinked, wondering who they had followed into the unknown and decided to separate themselves from the original path.
'Where are they going?'
Spitted out with muck and other stuff that had been eaten, both Gon and Killua lifted their arms from the frog's goo. After having stepped into one of the frog's mouths disguised as grass, they had been immediately swallowed whole. Although they were sure they were following the group, the trap had set them back a bit.
Gon gave out a soft laugh, scratching the back of his head as he felt the frog's vomit slide down his legs. "Guess he didn't like how we taste…"
"It was this."
Gon looked towards Killua, noticing the can of juice Tonpa had offered to them at the beginning of the exam. "Ah, the juice! That was from Tonpa-san!" he gave out a sheepish snicker. "Guess he saved us in a way."
"Well, I could have easily escaped from that," Killua shrugged, throwing the can back.
Gon nodded as he stood from the pool of slime. As he tried to shake off any of the substance from his hair, he pouted as he looked over his shoulder. The others he had friended were a good distance away, but the worry began to build. "I'm worrying over Kagome-san, Leorio, and Kurapika."
"Forget about them," Killua sighed, grabbing his skateboard from the ground. "Let's get a move on. We can still catch up to the examiner!"
Watching Killua run towards the line of people, Gon grabbed his fishing pole and Leorio's briefcase before taking off. After taking a step forward, the young boy looked over his shoulder as he heard a flock of crows emerge from the trees.
"Dammit," Leorio cursed under his breath as he and Kurapika searched for any sign of the Satotz or other applicants to follow. "Which way should we go?" After having encountered what looked like a tortoise dinosaur and escaping without a scratch, they had ventured deeper into the fog with no sign of a human.
"Let's just keep going," Kurapika whispered. "We are bound to find someone soon."
Pushing bushes away from the path, Leorio's eyes narrowed as he noticed a shadow in the middle of a clearing as other shadows slowly emerged from behind the fog. His expression widened as he noticed the red haired male he had been warned about standing in the middle with a group of men surrounding him with their weapons. "Wait!" Leorio exclaimed in a whisper, extending his arm out to stop Kurapika from taking another step.
Kurapika blinked as Leorio pointed at the clearing ahead. Following his line of sight, Kurapika's eyes widened as he came to see Hisoka being ambushed by a group clothed in similar blue uniforms. It was obvious these applicants had planned to kill the pale Hisoka, but it seemed Hisoka was unfazed by them.
A chuckle vibrated through Hisoka as he saw the fear tense his attackers. It thrilled him to know he was sought out as a target, but it bored him to see the level of their skill. Nothing fun about killing them. "I see," he hummed, having heard their threat to kill him after confessing to being lost in the forest. "Having already failed, you wish to play examiner. Hunters require prey. Why don't I play examiner…," a smile slowly came over his lips, "and I judge whether you are Hunter material?"
Watching Hisoka slowly bring out a card, the men around him growled out their frustration from being mocked. The circle of men closed in with weapons prepared to take down their enemy. No flinch came from Hisoka as he slowly lifted the card between his index and middle finger and slashing the edge in the circle his attackers came from.
Kurapika's and Leorio's expressions remained frozen from having seen all of the other applicants falling to their deaths with a big gust of wind exploding out from Hisoka's card. They had not even seen Hisoka move from his spot and all he had at his feet were his attackers. After throwing two cards into the leader of the group's head, Kurapika and Leorio were paralyzed in their spots. What was this monster? Their shoulders tensed up as soon as they felt Hisoka's gaze land on them.
"Well?" Hisoka whispered, turning to face his two guests. "Care to participate, in my little game of examiner?"
The miko took a step back as she saw some of the applicants fall to the ground. 'W-What the-?' Looking around for any attack that she might have missed, her eyes landed on the magenta colored butterfly flying above them sprinkling what looked like pink glitter. Another grunt and fall caught her attention to the side; she immediately clamped her nose and mouth with her hand realizing the dust the butterflies dropped was not just for show.
'Darn…everything can't be trusted.' She took a step over the man's body. 'I wonder how Gon-kun and the others are doing…'
As soon as she passed the butterflies' territory, she froze after feeling a murderous aura slowly seeping out towards her left. "W-What?" Applicants began to pass her; she remained staring at the path leading to a clearing. It was not the murderous aura that made her feel concern, but-
"Kurapika-kun and Leorio-san are there…"
Sweat trickled down their necks with each slow and dragged out step Hisoka took towards them. Keeping their eyes on their incoming enemy, Kurapika lowered his voice. "Leorio…on my signal, we run in opposite directions."
"W-What?" Leorio whispered back.
"Listen to me," Kurapika's eyes narrowed, trying to keep his focus on any small movement Hisoka could make. "He is vastly more experienced in real combat. The two of us won't stand a chance against him. We cannot afford to squander time in a pointless fight!"
Unable to argue with his logic, Leorio's eyes returned to Hisoka's hand. Another card had appeared between his fingers. The lost situation was the last thing in their mind now. They had a killer right in front of them and the last thing they wanted from that was to meet their deaths.
A blow from the wind made Hisoka stop in his tracks, quickly making Kurapika take the chance. "Now!" he shouted.
The pale clown's eyes followed the divided paths both had taken to avoid his attack. The smirk on his lips widened after taking a read of their skill to read the situation. They were smart to run away.
"I see…," he snickered, resting his hand over his hip. "A wise decision." Deciding to return to the others, Hisoka lifted a brow as he noticed a black shadow coming forth.
"I just can't do it…," a voice grumbled. "This may not be my fight, but I won't close my eyes and make a break for it!"
Hisoka's pleasured chuckle made a return as he watched Leorio returning while holding a stick. To see his courage to face him, yet smell his fear was an appetizing sight. "Mm," he hummed, "I adore that look on your face." The smirk widened the second Leorio's eyes narrowed down into a glare and came charging towards him with the wooden stick in hand.
Leorio swung the stick down only for his pupils to shake after having hit nothing but fog. "W-What?" His instincts made him gasp as he felt someone behind him. Slowly looking over his shoulder, Leorio became paralyzed the closer Hisoka's hand came towards him. Was this his end? Waiting for Hisoka's grasp, Leorio's eyes widened once more the moment a red ball with a hook at the end and string on the other side smacked Hisoka's cheek, throwing him off balance.
Crawling back, Leorio turned his head to the right as the fog cleared off to see Gon holding his fishing pole while his chest heaved. "Gon!?"
"I…made it in time…," he breathed out, brows furrowed down after witnessing his friend being attacked by none other than Hisoka.
Slowly turning his attention from his attacker, Hisoka's grin remained upon taking a glance at the black haired boy. "Not bad, bouya." That same thrill came to him once again seeing the young kid tightening his grip on his weapon. "Is that a fishing pole?" he asked. "What a fascinating weapon." Grass crunched under his feet as he directed his walk towards Gon. Extending his arm out, Hisoka's eyes turned into thin slits of interest. "Allow me to take a closer look."
"Oi!" Leorio called out, making Hisoka stop. "Your fight is with," he charged forth with the wooden stick back in his hand, "me!"
In a blink of an eye, Hisoka turned around and landed his fist onto Leorio's cheek. Snickering at the sight of Leorio falling back unconscious, his interest piqued as he heard the young boy jump above him and swing his fishing pole down.
"Take this!" Gon shouted only for his weapon to go through fog. He gasped as he landed back on the floor. Where did he go?
"You came to rescue your friend?"
Gon immediately jumped back after hearing his voice behind him.
"Such a good boy," Hisoka whispered, having come to squat behind the tense boy. "And that expression…"
Instinct immediately made Gon to swing the fishing pole behind him. He cursed as another wave of fog was hit. Was he able to disappear or make clones of himself? As he found him standing a few feet in front of him, Gon quickly swung the fishing rod outwards before lowering the red ball to smack the dirt to create a small explosion of dirt to appear in front of Hisoka's view. "Got you!" he shouted, having moved to the back and ready to hit the clown with the rod.
Gon's eyes widened before lowering into discomfort the minute Hisoka's grip clamped around his throat. Picked up higher and away from touching the ground, Gon's vision began to blur with only Hisoka's smirk visible. "G-Gah…."
"How wonderful…," Hisoka's eyes slowly glowed to a darker shade with temptation. All this prey coming to him was definitely fun.
The miko's breath hitched as soon as she felt Leorio's aura collapse along with Gon's suddenly appearing distressed in the same area. Having decided to diverge from the others to see where the others were, she never expected Gon to appear with that murderous aura.
'Why am I even going?' she gulped. It was not like she was obligated to, but they did help her deal with Tonpa. 'And it isn't like me to ignore those in need of help…'
With their auras becoming easier to sense, she guessed she was getting closer to the area. Kagome moved a few bushes away from her intended path until her feet slid to halt her from going straight into the scene she witnessed. Unable to emit any type of noise, Kagome's pupils shook at the sight of Hisoka holding Gon within his grasp and choking him in the air.
She watched Gon try to use any strength he had to scratch at Hisoka's grip, but the clown's face only darkened with lust for the kill. The pain and suffering in Gon's expression made her take a step forward while Hisoka's grip tightened.
"I really do love that look," Hisoka sighed out of pleasure.
Without a second thought and not letting another second of Gon's life to slip out, Kagome reached around her back to grab an arrow and quickly set it beside her bow. Pulling the string back, the miko took aim before releasing her attack while holding back her miko-ki not wanting to burn the man and become a killer herself.
Hisoka was quick to feel the incoming attack making him lean back while releasing Gon from his hold. He felt a scratch appear on his cheek underneath his tear drop mark before settling his eyes on the new prey he had received.
"Oh?" he raised a brow at the girl holding the bow in a defense stance. "Well, if it isn't the nice girl who bumped into me."
The sudden flow of his aura – his murderous aura – made the shivers from before return. This was the man emitting the bloodlust? With his eyes locked on her person, she took a step back.
"Have you come to play, too?"
MizukixTsukiyomi's Notes: to be honest I am a bit worried about this story, but I have so many ideas for the future. After the two phases things will get interesting, but then again I can't force you to trust me ha-ha. People decided to have the Hunter Exam be the start of this crossover so I listened. The pairing is still up for debate, heh~
Please let me know what you think or if I should continue?
But thank you for reading and for the support I have been given to write this!