Chapter 02 – Beginning
Walter was working with Robert Cross now for the last seven years as the angel of death on the battlefield and as a normal butler in his various manors. Two years ago he finally managed to slaughter the last few members of the former Don and the Don himself and therefore made Robert Cross the new and absolute mafia leader of this continent.
It was not so much hard work for Walter, since his opponents were mostly just weak humans with third-rate guns and grenade launchers. One flick of his fingers and they were all dead. Nothing really exiting. But through all the fighting he once again gained the title of angel of death or sometimes was even called god of death by his frightened enemies. It was amusing to have his old nickname back.
Sometimes a Hunter would appear, showing off his strange and for this person unique Nen ability, but in the end they were all cut down by his microfilament wires. The Don was just a leader because of his connections and riches he got through various shady dealings, he was nothing special or like a leader should be normally, strong. Just another human he cut down.
Some of the former members acknowledged his strength early on before they were in a full-out war and were therefore spared from his wrath and wires, they were allowed to become part of Robert's members under probation and now supervision of course.
But many did not stop, they went onto the battlefield like those SS members without fear for their life, but maybe Walter thought, they were not really aware how bad their situation in reality was, but he could not be sure. He had not asked and they were not longer alive to tell him anything.
Through Robert kept the Shadow Beast the former Don had, since he was one of the few who yielded in the beginning. He was called 'Bat', a rather curious fellow, and had the Nen ability to transform parts of his body to that of a bat, could send out ultrasonic sound waves and therefore find people in the dark. Walter chuckled about this. Even in this world, Bat was closer to being a vampire than Walter was. Of course it was all because of some rather farfetched romance novels, which described them as being able to turn into bats and nonsense like that.
The last two years Walter just returned to being a normal butler. Cleaning, cooking, helping with paperwork, guarding his boss, finding new recruits, training a few of them were a few of his duties and responsibilities, through he kept his hobby of building weapons in his free time. It was on an usual day, when something rather unusual happened.
"Walter?" asked Robert as Walter opened the door to his office without looking up from his documents.
"Yes, Sir." Walter responded like always politely. Walter stood beside the office desk, waiting patiently for his boss to finish reading the reports. Silence filled the office for a while until Robert finally looked up from the documents. For a moment Walter could see a change in expressions, Robert smirked shortly, before his face seemed as serious as always.
"Walter, you have been with me for the last seven years and I had enough time to think a few things through the last month. That is why I wanted to ask you, how would you like to become a Hunter?" Robert asked seriously as he folded his hands before his chin, his eyes boring into Walter's.
"Wha-excuse me, Sir?" Walter nearly stuttered. He clearly had not expected this question. It seemed just so random.
"I am already aware of your strength. You are the strongest of my bodyguards. Stronger than all normal members and even stronger than all those so-called Hunters I have currently employed. From them all, you are the strongest, the fastest… the best fighter. And I heard from the Hunters here about the benefits of being one such as almost no legal responsibility for murder. That would be rather helpful for both you and me. So I decided to send you to absolve the Hunter Exam this year." Robert finished saying with a smirk. Walter did not have anything against it, but there was just one little problem.
"Who would protect you, Sir?" he asked. He did not trust one of those wannabe Hunters or mafia members. They were sometimes just too weak and naïve in some matters. He did not like that at all. After all the success of Robert Cross, newest of the ten Dons, was due to his combat ability and weapon expertise. Robert's smirk grew wider and more feral.
"Do not worry. I still have little Neon's fortunetelling, as long as I follow these I cannot lose anything. But as a precaution I will just employ a few more Hunters for the time you are not here, but most other things are already settled, right? Now I am the Don and all those against me, those elements were already… let's just say eliminated, right? You did a good job after all." Robert chuckled lightly into his folded hands, eyes slightly glazed over as he remembered some rather significant events.
"You praise me too much, Sir." Walter answered with a slight bow in thanks. Hopefully those 'exams' would not take away too much of his time. Even his nearly never-ending patience could sometimes end and he would begin to curse like he did all those years ago.
"No, no… I could not have wished for a better butler than you those seven years. But I really want you to become a Hunter, as the head of my bodyguards and the strongest fighter in my ranks it would be a given. They should give it to you willingly, but the rules say you must participate. And it is not like you would not survive those few tests they make! Have you looked at Ryans? This weakling, this pathetic thing is allowed to call himself a Hunter, one of the elites of our world? I have normal men who are stronger than him and he is one of the freaking elite? You've got to be kidding me!" Robert ranted indignantly. Walter winced slightly at the mention of Ryans Linett.
"You are right, Sir. He is indeed rather fragile I would say." Walter answered with a scowl. He was sure that man was afraid of his own shadow, could not fight his way out of a paper bag and was mostly - both in the field, in combat and with house work - useless, but Robert could not send him off since Light Nostrade send him over to help. Robert often said it was no wonder Light still was just an average mafia leader if he employed pathetic, hopeless idiots like that.
"A fragile cowards would be a more fitting description of him. These Hunter Exam must be really easy if people like that manage to pass. And for those who have a bit of experience, for people like you, it should be something similar to a walk in the park, right? You will surely manage, so I order you to become a Hunter." Robert ordered while moving his hand forward.
"Yes, Sir." Walter bowed slightly. He was now seventy-six, had a lot of fighting experience and through the various experiments from the thrice-damned Nazis enough strength and speed, to kill thousands of people effortlessly. Well, he could already do this before, but now he was even more efficient. Those tests could not be that ruthless otherwise people like Ryans would have never survived.
"If you have to leave you can take one of my private jets and pilots to bring you there, so there will be no problem. They all know you and will bring you wherever you want. If you need someone to pick you up later on, just contact either one of the pilots or directly me and I will organize the rest."
"Well, then… have fun, Walter. I have already signed you up over a month ago and the Exam is supposed to start on the twenty-second, more than enough time for you to find out where it is. And until you become a Hunter, you will be on vacation."
"Yes, Sir." Walter answered as he bowed and exited the office to walk to his room. He had two days time to find out where these Hunter Exams were held and he had already an idea how to get to this information.
"Schrödinger." Walter said quietly after he closed the door behind him and was a few meters away.
"Yep? What do you need?" The catboy appeared right beside him, jumping around happily. Schrödinger was part of the reason why he landed in this world in the first place. He was supposed to die in that burning zeppelin, a cigarette in his hand, eyes closed and finally able to move his body however he wished again. Then next thing he knew was Schrödinger poking him and just being a nuisance.
"Information about this year's Hunter Exam. Where it is held, what the different phases are going to be, everything you can find." Walter stated seriously. Schrödinger was ideal for anything related with spying and finding things out nobody would want the others to know. The perfect spy, he was everywhere and nowhere and could not be detected.
"Eh? That sounds like so much work!" Schrödinger whined as he tried to looks as cute as a little kitten, ears flat on his head, wide teary eyes and a tilted head. Not that it helped him in any way.
"I take you with me in your cat form." That was it. Walter was always good at getting other people to work like Alucard and even Seras and a few times Integra when they were feeling lazy and unhelpful.
"Okay! Will be right back!" Schrödinger said before disappearing from his sight.
Walter continued to walk through the different corridors with sure steps, until he reached his room. He opened the door only to see Schrödinger already sitting on his bed with a stack of documents besides him.
"You really are slow, Walter. You must be getting old. You are what? Seventy-five? Seventy-six? Must be hard. I will never get old. Thank god!" He said with a mischievous grin.
"Are you finished?" Walter asked with a raised eyebrow.
"Yes, of course. I already finished! I went to the Hunter Association, looked through some files and minds, copied this stack of papers and went back here again." The catboy explained animatedly.
"Good cat." Walter said while he patted that boy's head. He may have a human form, but was sometimes far more cat than vampire or human. He liked milk, he liked fish, he liked being petted, he liked playing with a ball of yarn even through it looked somewhat weird in his human form.
"Any problems?" Walter asked.
"Nope, nobody would ever know I was there to begin with." Schrödinger answered as he begun to jump on the bed before curling up on the pile of cushions and looking at him expectantly. Walter took the documents and sat down on his armchair in the corner of the room. He began to read through the documents Schrödinger brought with him.
"So the first test will start in Zaban City, in a little restaurant named Paroxysme, which is located in the Tsubashi Quarter, second district, on the twenty-second January. They are usually open from eight in the morning to four in the afternoon. That is also the period of time, in which applicants can enter the secret tunnel underneath with the help of a password." Schrödinger started to snicker. Walter scowled.
"It is pretty long: first a question, 'Is the back room open?' which will be answered by 'What will you have?' from the chief and secret examiner, who was order to weed out the weak like many others too. Then the next answer should be, 'The steak combo that opens your eyes to the light for - number of people who want to enter the exam site at that moment - grilled over a low flame until cooked.' I understand that they want to remain as inconspicuous as possible, but that was pushing the limits of my credibility. Are you sure this is right?" Walter asked incredulously. What a complicated password.
"Of course! There were all stolen from the office of the Chairman of the Hunter Association Isaac Netero, so I would think they are correct." Schrödinger pouted from the bed.
"Okay, let us continue. The backroom is in reality an elevator to the underground tunnel. The first phase begins at 18 o'clock. They first have to run a hundred kilometers trough this tunnel and up some stairs and then after reaching the surface again, we have to run another fifty or more kilometers straight through the Numere Wetlands. Beware of the tricky men-eating creatures in the fog. There will be a pause from one hour in between both runs and another three before the start of the second phase." Walter stopped and thought things through.
"Yep, the first test is just running. Firstly on a normal ground for a long time, it probably tests the participants' will, then some stairs which are even more exhausting, and then on a muddy ground straight through thick fog. Somehow I was expecting more…" the catboy said with a disappointed expression.
"Phase Two starts at twelve o'clock on the twenty-third January in front of the Mansion of two Gourmet Hunters. They test will be something culinary, which also will be no problem. I am a butler after all, I know how to cook." Walter continued.
"It would be quite sad, if you did not."
"Then we have sometime for us to relax. We will board an airship of the Hunter Association and fly towards the Trick Tower. Third Phase will start on the twenty-fifth January at eight o'clock in the morning."
"This Trick Tower sounds really interesting… and tricky."
"On the top of the tower there are many hidden entrances, which lead into the interior and eventually to the base. On the way down there we might encounter some people, prisoners would be the correct term, since this Trick Tower is nothing else but a prison for convicts with a sentence of over one hundred years." Walter continued to read.
"How evil of them, calling it Trick Tower. It is just a high security prison. And people had to get through it alive."
"The applicants have exactly three days time to get to the base, then another two-hour break. Fourth Phase begins on the twenty-eighth January on Zevil Island, a manhunt. The applicant had either get the destined badge or two or three – it matters how many applicant are still alive at that point of time – and defend their own. It lasts seven days. Then a three day pause, the final phase is on the seventh February, but with no details."
"Yep, they do not know what to do for know. It is all in the hands of the Chairman and after seeing how many managed to get to the final test; he personally will decide what to do. It is a surprise." Schrödinger said happily.
"Well, it sounds… rather easy. A bit of running, cooking, puzzle playing, hunting and killing and a surprise event." Walter summarized.
"Maybe I should participate too?" Schrödinger looked thoughtfully.
"And why would that do you any good?" he asked seriously. Schrödinger could get into anything without trouble; he did not need money or even food, nothing. As long as he thought he existed, he existed.
"Well, you are right. It is absolutely pointless. But do not forget your promise. You must take me with you! Or I am going to tilt every picture in the mansion and you will get a headache when you walk from one room to the other!"
"I already agreed."
"Yippy, vacation! Vacation! Vacation! Vacation! Meeting new people, killing new people, young and old and having fun!" Schrödinger once again started to bounce on the bed.
"When will we leave?" asked the catboy animatedly.
"Now. This is my first vacation in seven years, it will feel great to be away form this mansion a bit. I will tell the pilot to fly us to Zaban City in an hour, then we book some rooms and go a bit sightseeing."
"Yippy! I cannot wait! Have you finished packing?" the catboy inquired after looking at him expectably.
"There is not much I have to pack." Walter stated neutrally as he walked around the room, getting ready to depart.
"Well, except all your hidden knives, your gloves, a backpack for appearance's sake and umbrella slash sunshade right?"
"Correct. I do not have to take anything to drink or eat with me since I just eat some of the other participants if I am hungry."
The pilot was already aware of their boss's orders and brought Walter and his animal companion, a black cat, to Zaban City in under five hours. He left immediately afterwards, telling the Angel of Death to call him if he needed someone to pick him up after the exam. So Walter and Schrödinger arrived with two days of free time.
It was an interesting city, but nothing against good old London. He had brought Schrödinger some panda frogs, which the catboy ate with gusto. They also found out that one of the worst criminals killed and was caught here, Johness the Dissector, a serial killer who mutilated 146 victims with his bare hands.
Not bad, Walter thought, but still an amateur. He left traces all over his victims and their surroundings and in the end got caught by a halfway decent blacklist hunter, and curiously imprisoned in the Trick Tower. Maybe he would meet him there.
These two days passed slowly, he was not really sure what to do with all the free time, but managed to busy himself in the grand library much to Schrödinger's dismay. At half past three on the twenty-second Walter and Schrödinger stood in front of the restaurant, ready to get a License.
"And you really think, that this is the right place?" Walter looked at the catboy besides him with a raised eyebrow.
"Yep." Schrödinger answered smilingly.
"And you could not have been mistaken by any chance?"
"And I have to say this weird password in order to get to the tunnel?"
"If I find out this was all a prank, I will make your life a living hell on earth, Schrödinger. No more of my specially made milk or fish." A seriously threat for someone who was a cat wearing a human's body.
"No! Please, not that. I was a good boy, it is all true!" Schrödinger said with a pleading expression. Walter said after a minute studying the other's face for any deceit.
"Okay, if you say so... Please transform. I will go in." As soon as the words left his lips, a black cat jumped onto his shoulders. Walter nodded and opened the door to the restaurant.
"Welcome!" said the chef of the restaurant looking at them seriously.
"Is the back room open?" Walter asked with a raised eyebrow.
"What will you have?" asked the chef without looking from his pan.
"The steak combo that opens your eyes to the light for one, grilled over a low flame until cooked."
"Got it. Let yourself into the back room." Walter nodded thankfully, before letting out a sigh. It was incredible that this was some kind of password. He was relieved that Schrödinger had told him the truth. He was unsure for the last two days, but apparently he should have trusted the cat more.
Walter walked past a few other rooms with customers in it, until he reached the very last room. That had to be it. As soon as he closed the door, he could feel the room going down like an elevator. Above the door he read 'B-7' which number seemed to rise with the height difference. At 'B-100' the door went open with a soft ping and Walter strode into the underground tunnel.
He looked around the room with curiosity, studying the other participants as they began to study him. They were already many different people here, which was not that surprising. Walter was punctual, but he did not want to wait for hours to no end. Now he had to wait another two hours until the first test started.
Schrödinger meowed from his shoulder in excitement.
"Hello. Please take a number." said a small man with a green round and hairless face. He held in his hand a little round badge with the number 406 on it.
"Thank you." Walter answered politely as he took the badge out of his hand and clipped it at his black shirt. He leaned against the wall and continued to study not only the part of the underground tunnel and all the people in it, but was interrupted by a male voice.
"Oh, you must be new here. My name is Tonpa. Nice to meet you." said a rather chubby man in light blue with a schnozzle from besides Walter who looked at him curiously. The man had brown hair, big brown eyebrows, the badge number 16 and a strained fake smile on his face. How obvious, Walter thought, he seemed to be a guy people should not trust so easy. But he was a butler, and butlers were always polite if one made an exception from his childhood.
"Pleased to meet you too." Walter answered with the same fake smile and both shook hands.
"Is this your first time trying?"
"Yes, it is. How do you know?"
"Well, I was on each Hunter Exam for the past thirty-five years, so that will be my thirty-fifth attempt. I can honestly say I know most of the people here and those I do not know are generally new."
"Oh, that is rather interesting. Care to share a little bit of your information?"
"Hahaha, no problem at all. I am after all an exam veteran with all my experience. Well, I have the most experience here, but there are a few others. For instance, there is him… Number 255, Todo, the wrestler. He is unmatched in strength and he is smarter than he looks." A rather big guy eating his bento, light brown hair, ponytail, sides cut really short.
"On the other side, we have number 103, Bourbon, the snake charmer. He tends to hold grudges, so you do not want to end up on his bad side." Long wide clothes in neutral colors and a turban and violet scarf. A snake was climbing onto his shoulder from within his robes. He had to have more of them hidden inside his wide clothes.
"And then number 191, Bodoro, the kung fu master. He is getting old, but there still is not a better martial artist around." An old man - but younger looking than Walter right now - with long grew hair tied up in a high ponytail, long eyebrows and mustache, also neutral clothes in kung-fu style.
"Then you have the three brothers, Amori, Imori and Umori, number 197, 198 and 199. They perform consistently well, thanks to their excellent teamwork." They did not look in any way remarkable, but he had to applaud on their intelligence. This was a good strategy. If people could not manage to do this alone, get trustworthy and loyal friends who would help them.
"And number 384, Gerreta, the huntsman. He specializes in killing all manner of creatures, by blow dart and club." A dark skinned man with hair in the shape of mouse ears in a colorful costume with sunglasses.
"Ah, and then there is number 44, Hisoka the Magician. Last year, he was a virtual lock to pass the test, but he then he went and nearly killed an examiner he didn't like and was disqualified. He also permanently disabled over twenty people for life. A clearly dangerous man. Just a few minutes ago he killed another participant because he did not apologize for bumping into him. You should better stay away from him as much as possible." Red hair plastered back with hair gel, yellow eyes, a red star painted under his right eye and a blue teardrop under his left, disturbing smile, jester-like outfit. That man wore a smile Alucard usually wore, when he was happy and a bit bloodthirsty while killing his opponents.
"Thanks for the warning." Walter answered politely. What interesting people have gathered here? This world was rather unique.
"There are many more, but they have taken the test the most times." Tonpa finished his explanation. "Ah, and now as a token for our new acquaintance, here something to drink." Tonpa handed him a soda can.
Walter put it into his backpack and answered, "Thank you for it, but I like to be prepared so instead of drinking it now, I will drink it later."
"No problem." said Tonpa smiling at him before he vanished in the mass of people. Walter nodded to himself; he should also go and look around. He made mental notes on the people he found interesting.
Number 294, black eyes, bald, a man clad in ninja clothes with a red scarf, probably came from the island Jappon, weapons shuriken and hidden swords along his elbows.
Number 99, a little kid with silvery white hair, blue eyes and no visible weapons, but a skateboard. He was not aware that children were also allowed to participate or which foolish parent would let their child go here and die?
Number 301, a tall man with violet colored skin, violet Mohawk, pinkish violet eyes and many needles sticking from his head and body. Same creepy smile as number 44 and Alucard.
Number 404, a blond teenager with brown eyes with two hidden wooden swords.
Number 405, another kid but this time with black spiky hair, wide brown eyes in green clothes, fishing rod as weapon? Walter was not sure if this was indeed considered a weapon.
Number 246, one of the few women taking the exam, turquoise shoulder length hair, Prussian blue eyes, no visible weapons, wear normal trousers, pullover and hat.
Number 80, woman with red hair, sunglasses and a standard sniper rifle. Nothing really interesting, since Walter was used to better weapons from Robert and his bodyguards.
The others were just not worth mentioning, they would probably fail in the first two tests.
Walter continued to watch the people from the sidelines, before he was interrupted by an annoying ringing tone.
AN: Finally managed to finish this chapter. Review.