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Realm of Hunters

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A fire, growing closer, closer to his core. Nails digging inside, his blood ice, melting in the heat. His brain a popsicle left out in the sun, those little legs scratching at his consciousness as the spiders screamed beneath. They were being burnt up, turned to ash in his bloodstream, his blood itself running black. Gon felt removed from the situation, those screams couldn’t possibly be coming from him, although he knew better.

Killua’s voice was the only thing he could hear other than his cries, his eyes narrow, his body over him in a protective way, “Gon, stay with us please. I’m so sorry you have to go through this.”

Killua’s father had done what he could to be gentle with the extraction, but these spiders were becoming increasingly difficult to remove. He almost wished he had more time to prepare, but if they had waited any longer he would have surely seized up, and become a husk that only Hisoka could fix. He took a sharp breath, quickening the pace of the energy he had sent through Gon’s body. His eyebrows became furrowed, his hands reddening, “They are fast. Make sure he stays conscious.”

“R-right!” Killua nodded, knowing just how important this was.

The teen looked down at his friend, the black that had consumed his eyes made him look already dead, but he knew that Gon was still there, and that he needed him more than ever. Killua placed his hand on Gon’s head, lightly brushing out his hair with his fingernails as he leaned closer and began to softly speak to him, despite the screams that left his mouth. He told him promises, promises to be a better friend, to take him somewhere fun, to tell him how he felt. He wouldn’t remember these promises, or at least Killua thought he wouldn’t. He just thought that if he said anything, it had to be meaningful, and calming. 

Hisoka, or rather the small amount of soul energy that Hisoka had sent in his place, watched with big and curious eyes. He had never seen anyone try to save one of his victims before. His smile never left his face, finding the screams to be music to his ears. He never played with his food quite this much, but this case, well, it was special. This boy had stood his ground against death, and Hisoka’s endless hunger changed towards him. It turned into a whole other kind of lust. He licked his lips, humming himself as he approached, though he did not dare get too close, no, something big was about to happen, and he did not want to be in the way.

Silva began to feel confident now, the spiders were almost eradicated. Soon Gon would be a normal teenage boy again, although something about the energy that now hit him back made his hands burn even more. It can’t be , his eyes widened, looking up at his son with a frantic gaze, “Killua, are you sure this kid is just a normal boy?”

“Of course he is, why?” Killua glanced up at his father, confusion overriding his features. 

Before Silva could finish his thought, the door to the study slammed over, two mysterious men running in ready for combat. Killua immediately put his body over Gon’s to protect him, assuming these two to be from Hisoka’s association. Silva could not stop what he was doing, he was too close to stop now, so instead he barked, “What in the hell are you doing in my house, leave at once!”

Kurapika’s eyes shone a bright crimson, his voice stern and gaze on Gon, “Hand over the boy, and we won’t have any issues!”

Leorio, being the man that he was, couldn’t help but interject, as that was all he knew how to do in times like these, “Yeah! We’re with the Hunter’s association! Release the child or else we will have to hurt you!”

Silva hissed, his hands growing more and more painful. This was certainly not his idea of a normal night, and now he had to navigate this situation carefully, “I’m not hurting him, he’s been possessed by a demonic force, and if we don’t undo the damage now, it shall never be undone! Do you understand?”

Leorio, again being the man that he is, took this as a sign that the man was a chronic liar, and obviously was a demon himself, so instead of asking rational questions like an adult he began to dig into his suitcase for his weapon. Kurapika beat him to it, his soul energy coming together to produce chains made of it. He held up his hand towards the man and his son, voice even more stern, “This is your last chance.”

Silva knew that there was no chance he could alleviate the situation, as he realized that either both of these men were blood thirsty or extremely dumb. He let out a sigh, looking at his son, “Go get Illumi, it’s about to get messy in here.”

That name made Hisoka perk up, although he still remained on the sidelines, barely noticed by the two newbie soul hunters. Killua’s head came up, facing his father with a heated expression, “I’m not leaving until Gon is better!”

“Well, I’m almost done. I cannot be interrupted.” The man insisted. 

With that Killua pulled off of his small friend, feeling tears sting his eyes as he knew his father was right. Although he wasn’t entirely sold on the idea of leaving his friend just yet, and instead he stepped forward, arms outstretched as he glared at Kurapika, which he considered the only threat in this instance. Kurapika looked him up and down, his voice harsh against the teen’s ear, “I sense malevolent blood in you, and in your father. You’re not demons, but you certainly have mixed with them. Why would you do such a thing?”

Killua’s heart was racing, it was time to protect his best friend, yet he had never used his power against another Afflicted, which was a person who had enough demon blood in their veins to register to others. He bit his lip, considering his answer as he tried to look completely unphased, “Why would you?”

“I had no choice.” Kurapika answered honestly, which left Leorio confused.

Leorio, who had a hard time sensing soul energy that was right in front of him, had never been able to detect Afflicted ones. He knew they existed, but his specialty did not prepare him to sense different types of soul hunters. He had always assumed that anyone working under the arch hunters were fully human, without demonic blood. He was sorely wrong, and made a note to start not trusting Kurapika in the future.

Killua now spoke, hands shoved into his pockets to show he meant no harm, “Neither did I. We in the Zoldyck family are born with malevolent blood.”

Kurapika seemed to lower his chains a bit, seeming to be considering the idea. He did not let down his guard entirely, but he was not quite as ready to spring into an attack, “What are you doing with Gon again?”

Killua knew this was his final opportunity to bring peace of mind to everyone in the room, so he spoke nothing but the truth, “Gon has been given a curse. A powerful Afflicted has claimed him as an apprentice or toy of sorts. We are exorcising the spiders he had left in his skin, but there are a lot, and my dad was not quite as prepared for this as he normally would be.”

“But, he’s now going through his ensoulment.” Killua’s father now said, which made the teen’s eyes widen.

He turned swiftly, looking down at his friend and concentration to see what his father had been trying to tell him. It was true, Gon was changing, his soul stretching and twisting, which only made his screams grow louder. He was going through his ensoulment, a process in which a young natural born soul hunter begins to unleash their powers. Why now, and why him , was all Killua could think as he rushed back to Gon’s side, prepared to deal with whatever was thrown at him.

It made sense now, as Killua was holding down his best friend to keep him from moving too much, they had come to collect him before his ensoulment had begun. They were going to train him at their association, and put him somewhere safe from the world as he learned of his gift. It was a big misunderstanding, he knew that, and he only hoped the strangers understood that also. 

Gon’s back arched suddenly, a burst of energy exploding from his body. Silva was almost knocked back from the sudden wave, his concentration almost lost, “H-he’s almost done, I just need a bit more time.”

Killua did everything he could to earn precious seconds. He held Gon down, speaking softly into the boy’s ear as he held back the soul energy that had pulsated from the boy. He would be sore, maybe be a completely different person, Killua had gone through this when he was much younger, minus the spiders. He remembered that it was painful, and that he was in a daze for a few days. His particular powers were a bit hazardous, as they made little jolts of electricity spring from his body for a month. He bit his lip, dreading what kind of powers Gon might have once the ensoulment had finished.

Then it happened, a powerful surge of explosive soul energy made the foundation shake, and threw all in the room, other than Hisoka, away from the boy. The connection was lost, and Silva would not be quick enough to restart it. By the time the man returned to the boy’s body, to try to resume, he noticed that only one spider remained. That spider had dug into Gon’s heart, making a nest as it bit into it. The malevolent blood freely coursing through his small body as the spider became one with his heart.

It was too late.