Jaws of Light
"Feh, how disappointing."
The man was dead.
His entrails lay spilt across the floor, staining the expensive carpet with blood and intestinal acids. His body remained slumped across a fancy couch, and if viewed from behind he would have seemed to be watching the sunset through the window directly across from him.
However, if one walked to his front, they would be faced with the undeniable fact that this person had been killed, violently and painfully. His stomach had been slashed open, allowing most of his organs to fall out of their rightful places and onto the floor. But that was not what had killed the man.
Impaled in his head was a simple knife, stuck to the hilt inside his brain. Whatever had propelled the knife had been powerful enough to drive even the wooden hilt inside the man's head. The death had been instant. Even if the man was capable of surviving the stomach wound, the second strike had been a sure kill. His blank eyes gazed into those of his killer. He would never know the name of the person who had destroyed his existence.
"Really, for a Dead Apostle the performance you gave me was most definitely subpar compared to what I've come to expect from your kind. You only kept me entertained for a few seconds at most."
The hideous creature in the form of an adult male was dead.
But the young man standing before its ruined corpse could not be called anything other than alive.
He wore a school uniform, coloured a dark blue. His black hair and eyes, coupled with his average complexion gave him the appearance of a completely ordinary high school student.
But one look at his expression would instantly shatter such misconceptions.
His smile was not that of a human. Even as he looked at the corpse of the monster he had just killed, Nanaya Shiki savoured the brief battle that he had waged seconds earlier. Like pure ecstasy it had been orgasmic, but sadly short lived. His opponent had died far too early.
That was fine, though. He would find more monsters to destroy.
Nanaya reached into the Dead Apostle's head and pried out his knife with bloodied fingers. He tried to wipe the blood off on the man's clothes, but gave up almost instantly. No, with this much fluid on it he's need running water to clean it.
Nanaya looked around the finely decorated living room. This Apostle had been well off, so surely there would be a washroom in his house, even if only for show. However luckily for the young killer he wouldn't need to even leave the room.
A large glass aquarium sat on a spindly table near one of the walls, full of water. It was tucked away in a corner, explaining why the normally observant Nanaya had missed it. He smirked.
"What use would a monster have for fish?" He sauntered over to it and dipped the knife in the clear water. Almost instantly the blood came off. In seconds he had washed all of the blood from his weapon, leaving it clean, if slightly wet. The aquarium's water, however, had already turned pink from all of the blood inside.
Nanaya turned, observing the rest of the room for any other things he might have missed during his gleeful battle. However after a single sweep he dismissed the room as useless. His target had been smart, covering his tracks and even having a human identity to fall back on. Thus, his house wasn't nearly as interesting as some of the other ones Nanaya had raided.
The room was ordinary, if high class. An expensive couch facing the room's sole window and a fine carpet, both thoroughly ruined by Nanaya's earlier 'dance', the aquarium, and nothing else. The window itself looked out to a dense coniferous forest of tall trees below. Another notable feature, the top half of the window was a mirror, allowing the viewer to see himself as well as his surroundings. Nanaya had no idea why someone would want to look at a boring forest all day, but it wasn't his place to wonder about the habits of monsters.
"No dead bodies, no children to experiment on, no swimming pool… what a boring target." Nanaya sighed. "It's a shame; I haven't gotten much fun lately. I was hoping this guy would have something more interesting-"
Instantly Nanaya spun, his knife flying from his hand towards the source of the noise. Faster than a bullet the weapon pierced the target-
The aquarium shattered as the knife finished breaking its already cracked front side. The glass shards mixed with bloody water that swiftly covered the entire floor.
"Tch, just a false alarm." Nanaya grabbed his knife again, and in doing so caught a good glimpse of his shoes. "Damnit, I just bought those! Now they're ruined!"
He straightened. "Whatever, this place is too boring." He turned away from the broken aquarium, and towards the hallway leading to the front door. However, as his hand grasped the doorknob to open the door, he froze.
He could suddenly hear everything. The sound of bugs crawling, the sound of trickling water, and most of all, the loud, rhythmic thud of his own heartbeat.
Yet… he could hear something else, too.
The lights flickered and died.
But there was no darkness. The house dimmed, did not become the pitch black that signified the absence of any light.
No, another source of light had appeared.
Nanaya slowly turned, taking out his knife and holding it tightly in his right hand. His left clutched a glass shard that had caught in his shoelaces earlier. In seconds, he fully faced the source of the new, glimmering light.
The first thing he saw was brightness. Glowing a mournful blue, the shape floated serenely through the air as if it was water. It swirled around the couch, once even touching the Apostle's dead body. Just from a glimpse, Nanaya could tell that it was twice his size. It swam though the air, all the while glowing like a neon light show. Slowly, its colour changed from a blue to purple, and finally a deep, angry red.
The glowing shark of light turned one last time, before setting its sights directly on Nanaya.
"…No fucking way." He breathed.
It flared orange.
Nanaya and the shark both moved at the same time.
He dived forward, leaping into a roll across the wooden floor, covering a vast distance yet minimizing his body area. At the same time, the shark shot forward faster than a bullet, instantly crashing through where Nanaya had been mere moments before. It broke through the door, flying out into the night sky.
Ridiculous. Such a thing could not exist. A being of light should have been a simple hologram, yet this thing had weight and mass, enough to destroy a door effortlessly. And even after, it turned for another charge.
Nanaya, meanwhile, regained his feet. The grin was back on his face. He turned while running backwards, away from the door. Already the shark was back, charging through the crumbling remnants of the front door. Nanaya hastily put his knife in front of him, as a desperate defense against his charging foe.
A foolish move. As if a tiny piece of metal could defend against an unstoppable being of magic.
It finally made contact, crashing against the young assassin like a bright missile. But it only felt a sharp prick as Nanaya slid backwards, allowing the force of the shark to propel him over the couch. The shark sensed its mistake and tried to stop, but it was too late.
Even if he could not stop it, the human could still hurt the beast.
Nanaya's improvised skewer struck true. The point of the knife bit deep into the shark's sharp nose. Bright blood glimmering with all the colours of the rainbow sprung from the wound.
With a freakish roar of pain that no sea creature should have been able to make, the shark screamed in pain before changing colour once more. It glowed a brilliant white, blinding its opponent and stunning him. It spun in a circle, letting the knife fly from its neck, and sending Nanaya sprawling across the floor.
It was inconceivable. That an ordinary human would dare to presume it could fight against a being of its calibre. The shark gathered its power. No more simple charges. It would bestow a punishment of death upon the foolish person who thought he could defeat it.
"Damn it-"Nanaya instantly recovered, letting the force of the blow push him away from the shark. He dug the knife still grasped in his hand into the floor, using it as an anchor. He managed to plant one foot on the ground, and pushed off. Instantly his direction changed at a right angle, and instead of flying towards the wall he crashed through the large window. "I can't fight in here-" He grunted as the shards of thick glass tore through his clothing and skin.
The shark, meanwhile, had recovered. Its glow had faded to a deep purple, and the place where the knife had pierced its flesh had already healed instantly. Its beady eyes glowed a bright orange still, and it sniffed, as its prey disappeared from view. However, the broken window and drops of blood on the glass were enough to tell it where to fly.
Down. Straight down. A multiple story fall down a high cliff. No human would be able to survive such a fall. Indeed, the Nanaya's attempt at escape would most certainly bring about his downfall.
But for the creature opposing him, that was not enough. No, it would deal the killing blow with its own teeth. The shark swam through the air like a torpedo, diving through the window and straight down, ready to bite its prey in half. Faster than even the influence of gravity, it accelerated towards its falling prey!
But its prey was nowhere to be found. The shark fell towards the ground chasing an invisible foe. It paused for a split second as a glimmer of doubt made its way through the magical creature's tiny brain.
And that was enough.
From above, from his perch on the rocky wall, Nanaya leapt down and wrapped his arms around the middle of the shark, whilst doing the same with his legs. His ambush was effective. The knife in his hand found flesh once more, and diamond blood was spilt as he hung on for dear life to the deadly shark.
While falling, Nanaya had dug his knife into the wall, and used it to redirect his trajectory. Using it as an axis for rotation, he had shot straight up, running up the brick wall of the house. There, he had waited for the inevitable pursuit.
Now he hung on for dear life as his opponent bucked, and tried to dislodge him.
The shark writhed, changing colours frantically. It spun through the night sky trying to escape its hanger on. Finally, when it realized that the boy would not fall it settled for simply flying through the nearby woods.
The shark crashed through trees and branches, making sure each time to let the wood strike Nanaya as much as possible. The high schooler grunted in pain as sharp branches pierced his already tattered clothing, but hung on. If he fell now he would not survive the landing in any shape to fight.
Finally, the shark stopped, seemingly too exhausted to move.
Then, Nanaya finally made his move.
"Say hello to death!" He raised his knife hand up, releasing the shark for the moment. He stared at the bright back of the baffling creature, searching for a weak point to strike at.
His once dark eyes glowed a bright blue. In his vision, swathes of dark lines made their way across the shark's bright skin. In moments he found what he had been looking for. A single thick black dot in the center of his enemy's back. The perfect place to strike to ensure a victory.
He brought the blade down…
…a moment too late.
Against any ordinary creature his tactics would have worked. Even a magical creature would normally be clueless in that situation. After all, humans invented strategy to make up for their irreversible weakness.
But this was no magical creature.
It was a god.
The shark accelerated, from 0 to 200 kilometers per hour in a second. It crashed backwards through the woods, breaking through several trees in the process.
And the one who took the brunt of every hit was the frail human riding on top of it.
Nanaya froze and coughed as he felt several ribs instantly shatter. His spine groaned from the strain of holding his battered body together, and his back was a battlefield of wounds. As the shark broke through the final tree, his hands could not hold on. He slipped from the slick beast, falling down, unable to hold on with his broken limbs.
This was it. The natural end to a fight between a human and a divine spirit of air, light and water. No matter how pitiful its struggles, the human could not win.
But still, it could survive.
Nanaya gritted his teeth and forced his eyes open. In a split second he took note of his position.
200 meters from ground level. A fatal distance in his condition.
Trees all around, with several branches jutting out.
The glittering shark, still above him, still was waiting for his inevitable death.
"Challenge accepted!" He yelled.
With a freakish manoeuvre barely possible for most professional gymnasts, let alone someone barely alive, Nanaya twisted in the air. He aimed himself, feet first, towards the nearest tree trunk. He would impact almost instantly.
The second his feet touched the trunk he dug his knife into the wood, holding on with both hands to stop his arm bones from shattering. This way, he could slow down his rate of falling.
But still, his body would not survive the fall.
So he kicked with his feet, throwing himself away from the tree, and towards another. Instantly he dug his knife into the new platform, getting rid of as much kinetic energy as possible. Once his arms were shaking from the effort he kicked off once more, angling his body perfectly to reach another thick tree trunk.
Still, it would not be enough.
Nanaya repeated all these manoeuvres, bouncing from tree to tree in scant seconds like a human pinball, slowing down with each bounce. His hands shook from the strain of holding on to his knife, and his feet ached from trying to keep his balance. His shoes were most definitely ruined.
And he was having the time of his life.
As he neared the ground, he kicked off of the tree trunk he'd landed on, directing all of his force upwards, hoping to slow himself down as much as possible.
The ground rushed up to meet him.
With a thick impact, a cloud of dust and pine needles rose as the human impacted with the force of a speeding bullet. Too fast, too much. He had not been able to slow down enough.
But still, he had survived.
Nanaya Shiki stood with shaking legs and glared at the shark above him. "What's wrong? Is that all you've got? Surely there's more to you than simple brainless charges?" He taunted the beast, daring it to attack him.
The shark roared, unleashing its inhuman scream once more. It charged towards the ground as a missile, homing into to defenceless human.
But he wasn't so defenceless.
Nanaya barely moved. He simple took a small step to the left, and stuck out his shaking knife arm at a precise angle.
A fraction of a second passed.
The missile blew past the still human, brushing past his clothes with no room to spare. Had Nanaya Shiki been even a centimetre off his body would have shattered from the force of impact from such a large object travelling at supersonic speeds.
Instead, his knife was nearly torn from his grasp as it caught the shark passing by him. He did not even have to move; the beast did all the work for him, leaving a deep, long slice down the side of the glowing shark. More glittering blood flowed from the wound, but in seconds the shark healed itself and any traces of Nanaya's handiwork disappeared.
"Tch." He frowned. "I wish you would slow down. How do you expect me to hit your lines if I can't even see you moving?" He readied his knife again and turned once more to the recovering shark. "Whatever. Come here beast. You will be… killed by me!"
The shark, however, didn't charge again. In its small mind it had realized the danger of its opponent in close range. That knife would be able to kill it. It knew, even if it could not explain why, that only death awaited it.
So it changed strategies.
The shark opened its mouth wide, wider than it had done so previously. And this time, instead of charging, a white glow built up inside its mouth, increasing in power every second.
Nanaya blinked. "Wait, don't tell me… oh shit."
He leapt to the side, guided not by experience, but by a long forgotten children's television show. Somewhere in his mind he made the connection between the monster's gaping maw and the preparation for a ranged attack.
And it was only that which saved his life. He dove behind a tree for cover, but it was worthless. The glow became a beam of light, and, travelling at the speed of light, it instantly blew through the tree, and Nanaya behind it.
The attack had only existed for a scant fraction of a second, but it was enough.
Nanaya collapsed from behind the tree, unable to stand with a nickel sized hole in his leg. The wound did not bleed, luckily for him, as the laser had cauterized the hole instantly.
"…Crap…" He bit back a groan. Instead, he looked up at the once more visible shark. "Is this it then? Are you going to be what kills me, beast?"
It's mouth was open, and the glow was stronger than before.
"That's just not fair." He said, and the shark fired it's lasers again.
This time four more deadly beams of light shot towards the downed killer, each trained on him, each a certain kill. No human, no, not even a True Ancestor would be able to stop such attacks that moved at light speed.
In an instant, the attack ended, and the dead boy collapsed to his knees.
The shark had seen everything. How the body had moved his body to minimize its area, how he had turned to run, and how he had futilely put his knife in front of himself to defend against his opponent's attack.
It had seen him fail.
The shark had won. Victory was certain. All that was left was to destroy the body of the offending human and erase it from the world.
The shark cautiously moved forward. It was still wary, as if expecting a suddenly attack from nowhere. Despite how sure it was of the frail human's death, it could not be certain.
Not against this human. Not against the human that had twice now survived things that no human should have been able to survive.
It approached, slowly, ever so slowly. It floated silently through the air, and its colouration changed as it moved, from the formerly deep purple to a light green. Perhaps this would be the end?
The end of the only human it had met that could strike fear into its inhuman heart?
"…Heh. Not a chance!"
No, this was not the end.
The body moved. The dead boy rose like a silent spectre in the night.
He looked up, and if someone was watching in that moment they would have remarked that he had the most beautiful blue eyes. Of course, the next thing they would've done is run in fear as his crazed grin struck the fear of death into their very souls.
"Beast, I am he who controls the power of death itself. Your light is no match for the darkness of oblivion!"
He ran. The boy charged towards the shark. It was close now. Close enough to hit. Close enough to stab.
Close enough to kill.
The shark panicked. It let out a flurry of laser beams in the boy's general location, but before it could even fire the boy disappeared from its sight. Somehow, perhaps through the use of a special technique, he had moved many times faster than he had been able to before.
Instinctively it turned to the left, only to see the killer descending from above with a glint in his hand. It twisted, lashing out with its tail, willing to do anything to stop the boy's relentless charge.
The boy and the shark met once more, and this time the shark came off worse. The boy slashed with his left hand, and the shark felt its tail separate from its body instantly as a single slice cut it off.
At the same time, the shard of a mirror that the boy had used to make that cut shattered and flew from his hand, even as he was knocked upwards into the sky from the force of the shark's blow.
The shark roared in pain as it discovered that its tail would not regenerate like its other wounds. But still, it had more important things to do.
It turned upwards, and looked into the brilliant blue eyes of Nanaya Shiki. And what it saw…
…was its own death.
It opened its mouth, charging up a final, most powerful laser. This one would not miss. The boy precariously hanging in the air would not be able to dodge in midair.
There would be no evading this attack.
Yet still, his grin did not waver in the slightest. "Come, monster. Show me the power of a god! Show me, so that I may kill it!"
The shark fired.
From its mouth came a glowing, magnificent, shining beam, as bright as the sun itself. The beam was as thick as a tree trunk unlike its earlier shots, and one shot from it would vaporize anything. The colour was impossible to tell, changing from bright yellow to blue to red constantly.
A perfect, unstoppable attack. One that not even the princess of the True Ancestors herself would be able to stop.
The beam of glowing death met the falling boy, and one was annihilated.
Surely, it was impossible. Such a thing could not exist.
Such a thing could not happen.
But still, it was happening, right before the shark's very eyes.
A single knifepoint versus an unstoppable attack.
Such a thing… why…
Why did the knife still exist? Why did the boy exist? How was he not scattered into ashes in the atmosphere?
And how… how was its attack losing?
"Too bad." Even as Nanaya fell towards the frozen shark, he spoke.
"Even if it is light itself, I will kill it. You chose the wrong person to fight, beast."
The beam failed, as the knife pierced through its point of death. The boy fell, straight through the shark's open mouth.
He would kill, for sure.
Still, even in that condition Nanaya struck the point of death for the creature. The knife sank inside, and the shark stiffened as it felt itself dying.
As Nanaya crashed into the ground in a heap, the glowing shark dissipated into scattered particles of light. Its existence had been erased, just as the assassin had predicted.
Nanaya himself lay spread eagled on the ground. He couldn't move a muscle, so he simply lay watching the night sky.
The shark had broken into particles, each shining with a faint white light. In the darkness, they glowed like snowflakes, drifting serenely through the air. Even the boy whose only interest was killing had to admit the beauty of such a phenomenon.
"…not bad. I think I'll just… close my eyes…" Nanaya sighed, and began to drift off into sleep-
"Hold it." A brusque voice interrupted his nap before it had even begun. "Don't you go dying on me yet."
Nanaya opened one eye. He could see a blurry white blob hovering above him. He groaned, not from pain, but exhasperation. "What is it?" He sighed. "I'd like to rest if you don't mind."
The tiny white haired girl in pale clothing above him pouted. "No! You messed up big time so you don't get to sleep! Now stand up so I can see how badly you're hurt!"
"…I can't really move right now." He replied.
"Hmph." She smirked. "How pitiful. I take it you underestimated your target this time? How foolish of you. You should have expected something more if such a powerful and influential Dead Apostle went down so easily! Even an idiot would've known that!"
"How was I supposed to know he'd bound a freaking elemental spirit to himself as a familiar? I'm no magus!" He protested weakly.
But she would have none of it. "It doesn't matter! You screwed up! You got lazy, and almost died for it! I was watching your battle. If you hadn't gotten some of that Apostle's magic mirror caught on your clothing you would've died! What do you have to say for yourself Nanaya Shiki?"
"…fucking shark made of lasers…"