Trials of the Junsuikaoni: Rise of the Junsui Hunters (Book 2)

Following a painful betrayal, Noah has succumbed to the pull of his demon side and as a result, he has become emotionless and indifferent to the world. He's determined to become stronger and unlock the full potential of his demonic powers, however as he does this, he's pulled deeper into darkness and further away from his humanity. He will struggle to decide if he will push himself to his max at the sacrifice of his humanity in order to face his brother Judas or if he'll stand with his friends, who've gone through changes of their own, as they rise to become an Elite Junsui Hunter team and rid the world of hostile Bakemon one monster at a time. This is the second chapter of Noah's journey to stop the hands of fate and change his destiny.

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12. Battle Scars of Reckoning

“Please don’t tell me that’s all you’ve got! I was expecting a real challenge.” Marco overlooks Noah as he hovers in the sky, grinning at his incapacitated state on the ground.

Noah lies on the ground, breathing heavily. He’s never faced such a strong enemy before and as strong as he is, fighting a god is a bit beyond his reach as he is now. Even in his full demon mode, he’s like a fly, getting swatted and smacked down every time. This is what has been happening for the last thirty minutes or so and he just wants to give in, but he knows he can’t. They would never forgive him for backing down easily and it’s kill his image. So weakly, he pushes himself off the ground and stands. He smirks and says, “I’m just getting warmed up!”

“So you’re still going to fight are you? Well you’re persistent, I’ll give you that, but this is a fight you are going to lose, so why not just give in now with your pride intact? If you surrender and submit yourself to me, I won’t kill you or your friends. I’ll simply have you serve me as my slaves. That’s reasonable is it not? So what do you say, will you give it up?”

“Never!” Noah transforms once again and flies up to meet Marco. On the way, he metal bends a few steel supports at him in an attempt to occupy him with that as he went in for a hit, but Marco easily swatted them away and followed up with an energy blast so strong that it instantly floored Noah, with his body breaking ground on impact with it, going unconscious.

Marco laughs. “You proved to be just as weak as I figured you to be. Well, I suppose I had a bit of fun, but I think it’s time to end this now. He generates a large, concentrated ball of energy and aims at Noah. “Rest in peace Noah, you will see your human family again soon.” Just as he prepares to shot the beam down, he’s interrupted by something sharp in his arm, an arrow.

“Not so fast sparkles!” Nik stands on a roof with his arm arched, bow in hand, scowling.

“Oh, so you survived? I have to admit I’m a bit surprised. Grant must have surely underestimated you for you to have won. The same goes for all of you actually.” He turns his attention to the other three who appear just behind Nik. “Well, that’s how it goes I suppose.”

“We’re gonna give you one chance to surrender. Otherwise, we’re going to take you down just like we took your generals down. We’re not going to let you take this city. So choose.”

“Ha! You’re serious? You really think you four have a chance against me when your leader couldn’t even beat me? If that’s the case, you are even bigger fools than I originally felt you were. Sure, I’ll surrender…if you last more than five minutes against me!” He shoots beams.

They all dodge and then Nik shouts, “spread out and give him all you got until it’s over!” As the unofficial secondary leader, Nik takes over effortlessly, commanding the others to act and they fall into line just as easily, not needing any addition direction. They all give it their all as instructed and although it’s quite spectacular, they are only at half their normal power as they are nearly drained from their own battles, but they push forward. They owe it to Noah to do so.

###

Theo can see the lights and commotion going on from the window inside City Hall and starts to feel concerned. By the change of flash colors, he can tell the others are now fighting Marco alongside Noah, which means they must have defeated the generals. Although it’s not that they were really all that close, Theo still can’t help but feel a bit remorse for his slain comrades. However, they knew the risks when they started on their path to self-destruction so he just hopes they can rest in peace. However, he feels as though he’s worthless, standing here safe from danger while everyone is fighting their hardest. He finds the guilt to be stifling and painful.

Mikael walks over to him and stands beside him, silently for a moment before he finally speaks. “It’s not too late you know. You can still make a difference. Even if you failed to act before, you can still give your all to doing something now. Everyone always has a role in war, even those who do not fight. Perhaps just facing him will change his heart. Love can do that you know.” Theo is slightly surprised to see Mika beside him, but then looks down in sadness.

“I’m not sure he actually loves me though. I mean, he raised me like a father and I’ve always respected him as such, but now I feel as though I was just another piece of his plan.”

“Oh well Marco maybe too, but that’s not what I meant. Marco is…well he’s a bit warped. I knew him for a while many years ago and I never imagined he’d become this power hungry back then, but I did sense a hidden darkness in his heart. I suppose it all just overwhelmed him and he felt the need to take things into his own hands. I’m not so sure love of anyone but his beloved could change his heart now. Nik however, could surely find strength in your presence. I was saying it’s not too late to go to him and own up to your sins and offer your support now. He may find strength in your words. Perhaps this could open a path to forgiveness.”

Theo gasps in understanding. “Oh, that’s what you meant. Well, I, I’ve definitely thought about that, but I’m scared that I may have the opposite effect. I don’t want to go and distract him and get in his way. His hatred of me may end up causing him further pain. So I don’t think I-.”

“Theo, if Nik hated you, he’d have tried to kill you on the spot. He’s definitely angry and in pain from your betrayal, but it’s precisely because he loves you that it hurts him so much. Somewhere in his heart he’s longing for you, but he can’t bring himself to forgive you yet. However, if you face him honestly and let him know you’re still there for him then I’m certain he’ll find it in his heart to give you at least a chance at forgiveness and it’ll charge him up more.”

Theo contemplates for a minute and then says, “Maybe you’re right. I’ve spent my life hiding behind the strength of others and never willing to take chances, but I won’t do that anymore. I’ll go show Nik and Boss too that I’ve got my own mind and my own path to face!”

“That’s the spirit! I’ll stay here and hold down the fort while you go. God be with you!”

“Thanks!” Theo takes off for the battle field, leaving Mika behind with the citizens. He knows he’s surely going to free them, but that’s not his problem anymore since no one is left to punish him but Boss himself. If it comes down to that, then he’ll face those consequences then.

Mika turns to everyone who now looks at him in awe. “Everything will be fine now.”

Everyone cheers and praises Mika for, as far as they understand, getting rid of the only threat left to keep them from freedom. “We can get out of here now right?” A man asks eagerly.

“You are free to come and go as you please, but I would advise against it. At this moment, your safest location is in this hall, away from any immediate danger. There are no safe zones out there and it’s unknown what threats may still be wandering the streets. I assure you that the Elite JHF force are hard at work at eliminating the threat. When they are successful, then safety protocols will be put into effect. Until then, I’ll protect you to the best of my ability.”

“No offense dude, but who are you and what qualifies you to protect us?”

“Ah, well…I’m….” Mika is at a loss of what to say, then someone speaks behind him.

“He’s my father.” Everyone looks to see Tahno walking inside, Rebecca just behind him.

“Mason….” Mika is shocked at the fact that for the first time ever, he called him that.

Tahno gives them all a stern look. “I’m Head Commander Mason Tahno of the Junsui Hunter Forces for those who don’t know and that man is my father. That is all you need to know to understand why he’s qualified. He’s absolutely right when he says leaving now would be against your best interest. However, if you’d like to die, then you are absolutely free to go.” He steps aside and motions to the door, allowing anyone who’d like to go, but nobody moves. “Yea, I didn’t think so. So, in that case, I’ll leave you all in his care and in return, I’m leaving my fiancé, Rebecca Holstein, Head Commander of Enforcers. You’ll be safe with the two of them.”

The citizens begin to murmur among themselves, but no one opposes. Mika walks over to Tahno with a smile. “Oh son, I didn’t know you felt that way. I’m so happy that you-.”

“Calm down! Don’t get ahead of yourself old man. Just because I acknowledged you’re my father doesn’t mean we’ll be best buddies now. Think of this as repayment for saving Becca earlier, that’s all. Now, I’m entrusting her once again with you, so you better not let me down.”

Mika smiles, knowing that was the best response he could get for now. “I understand. Don’t worry, you can count on me, I’ll protect her with my life. You have my word, son.”

“Good.” He turns to Becca who looks a bit sad and won’t look him in the eyes. “Becca.” He calls her name gently as he stokes her cheek. She finally looks up and he can see tears in her eyes. He can tell she’s worried for him, as she should be, but he tries to reassure her anyway. “Don’t worry babe, I’ll be fine. I promised you right, that I’d come back to you? I won’t break that promise now. I will come back to you and our child. However, for now I have to go see after those loser kids of mine. They’d slack off otherwise. I need you to help out her for now, ok?”

She places her hand on his on her cheek and looks deeply into his eyes. “Ok, I will, but if you die, I swear I’ll go to the underworld just to bring you back and kill you again. Understand?”

He grins. “I wouldn’t expect anything less babe. I won’t let you down.” They kiss deeply. Eventually, he pulls away and touches her stomach. “See you soon.” He nods to Mika and goes.

Once he’s gone, Rebecca begins to cry harder and Mika places his hand on her shoulder. “He’ll be fine. He’s faced tougher than that just to survive. He won’t break his promise, I know.”

She turns to him and says, “I really pray you’re right.” They say a silent prayer.

###

Although they’ve been putting in great effort, fatigue is starting to affect the four hybrids and they lose some of their initial momentum. In turn, Marco has gotten bored of swatting them away and decides it’s time to end this once and for all. “I’ve grown tired of this game. It’s time for children to go to bed now!” At this same time, Gunther was fast approaching him with a huge piece of rock. “I guess I’ll take care of you first then, thanks for volunteering.” He charges up an energy blast in one motion, blocks Gunther’s thrust and shoots his beam at him. It’s a direct hit.

“Guns!” Nik calls out to him as Gunther falls like a rock, slamming into the ground so hard that the ground crumbles beneath him. Lili had been fighting, but turned at Nik’s voice.

She sees him hit the ground and reflexively calls out to him. “Gunther!”

Marco notices her attention is on Gunther and not on him, making her the perfect next target. He charges up another blast and prepares to shoot. At this same time Mai takes notice. She follows his gaze and realizes what he’s doing.  She starts to run, calling out “Lili!”

Lili turns just as Marco shoots his beam and her eyes go wide as it approaches, but she’s frozen in fear and can’t move. Just as she thinks it’s over she sees a bright flash and someone cry out. They fall to the ground and as the flash disappears, Lili can see who it was. “Mai!” Mai lies on the ground unconscious, badly hurt from taking a direct blast, just as Gunther had. “Mai! I’m, I didn’t mean…Mai, please wake up! I’m sorry! I’m always doing this. I’m sorry, please…Mai!”

Lili has become completely distraught from seeing Gunther get struck down and then Mai seconds after all because she lost attention during a fight, something Mai’s always told her not to do.  She lies against Mai’s chest, no longer caring if she gets struck down or not. Marco can see this and decides to take her offer. “I’ll send you to join them very soon, just sit still!”

He prepares to shoot another beam, but before he can, he’s tackled. “I don’t think so!” Nik tackles him, causing him to stop mid charge and turn to him instead. “I’m gonna make you pay for that!” Nik punches at him with all his might, his fists blazing in his fire.

Despite his efforts, all his hits do is annoy Marco even more. “I’m getting sick of you!”

He grabs Nik by the neck and flings him down to the ground. Nik hits it hard, but no so hard that it knocks him out like the others. “As if that was enough to bring me down!”

“Oh I know, but how about this? Try and dodge this one!” Marco charges up another blast and Nik rolls his eyes thinking it’s the same as the others, but he soon sees he’s wrong.

He attempts to move, but cannot. “What the hell? What is this?” He can’t move at all.

“That would be due to my paralytic shock. When I grabbed your neck, I didn’t simply throw you down, I also paralyzed you by sending shockwaves through your spine. The nerves have been temporarily inactivated, so naturally, you’d be paralyzed. So now you can’t escape my blast.” He charges up. “Oh and by the way, this is my full power blast, no one can survive this.”

As Marco aims, Nik sneers at him. As that beam starts to get closer and closer, Nik resigns himself to death and in that moment, he thinks of Theo. He whispers his name.

“Nik!” He thinks he must be dreaming, as no sooner did he whisper his name, did he hear Theo’s voice. He smiles, thinking he’s happy he at least got to hear his voice one more time, but then he hears him again, cry out in pain. “Ahhhhhh!” His eyes pop open as Theo falls down.

“Theo!” He watches as Theo slams into the ground, his chest has a gaping hole in it. “Theo! What…what are you doing here? Why? Why are you here! Why would you do that?” Nik can’t move his torso or lower body yet, but he can move his head and limbs. He props Theo up in his arms as tears start to form in his eyes. “Why did you do that? You’re such an idiot for putting yourself in danger for me. You betrayed me, so why…why would you sacrifice yourself for me? You have to be a total idiot to kill yourself for someone who hates you! Dumbass!”

Theo smiles. “It’s ok. It’s ok to hate me. You have every right to hate me, I would too. But no matter how much you hate me, that won’t change my feelings for you. I love you Nik. I always have and I always will, even if you hate me forever. To me, this wasn’t a sacrifice, this was my penance for how much I hurt you. I was too scared to stand up to Boss before, but if I can help it, I won’t let him hurt you anymore. So please Nik, I beg of you, run away. Please.”

He coughs up a bunch of blood and Nik can see that he’s dying. This causes him to cry harder and finally be honest. “You idiot! I don’t hate you, I never hated you! I was hurt and angry and devastated that you, the man that I love would deceive me in such a way, but even still, I never hated you! I just needed some time to deal with this, but when this was over I thought, I wanted…I wanted to try forgiving you! I was willing to try, but for you to do this.”

Nik cries against his cheek and Theo smiles, placing his hand on Nik’s head. “Thank you. That’s all I wanted to hear. I’m so happy that you don’t hate me. I can rest much easier now. I’m sorry I couldn’t stay around a bit longer Nik, but I’m so grateful for the happiness you gave me. They were the happiest moments of my life. I can go on with no regrets now. Thank you, I love you.” Nik looks at Theo just in time to see his final smile before he closes his eyes and his hand falls limp. He’s got a smile on his face and Nik has never seen him look more beautiful.

“THEO!” Nik yells up to the sky, his cry heard loud and clear. It’s at this time that Tahno arrives, and notices the scene unfolding. He can see everyone but Nik is down, even Theo.

“Damn. This is a disaster.” Hearing Nik’s cries pains him, but even he knows running out there would be a death wish. Instead, he attempts to get to Noah to see if he can get him up.

“Theo….” Marco looks saddened. “Theo, why did you…? You fool! How stupid could you be, to sacrifice yourself for someone who’s going to die anyway? You damn fool!”

“Noah, hey Noah, wake up! Wake up dammit!” He slaps him across his face hard, but he gets no response. Looking at his body, Tahno can see just how bad off he is. He’s got an open wound in his chest, several broken bones and probably internal bleeding. He’s way too damaged to be of use now, he’ll have to heal first. However, with such severe injuries, it’ll take some time. Ultimately, this spells bad news for them because Nik is going to last much longer either and with everyone unconscious, Marco will have no problem picking them off one by one. Tahno feels fear genuinely for the first time in his life. “How are we going to get out of this one?”

As he contemplates, he suddenly feels immense heat coming from Nik’s direction. He turns to look and is almost shocked by what he sees. Nik is encased in flames, no…more like, he IS the flame. His entire body has been ignited and as he stands, he almost looks inhuman. “You…you…YOU! You’re going to pay for that you sick fucking bastard!” He charges for Marco, flames bursting from his feet as he is propelled upwards. He attacks Marco in a frenzy, punching, kicking, jumping and anything that might do damage.

Although he’s not getting direct hits in, he’s finally accomplished something no one was able to do before, have Marco on edge. He’s able to block his hits, however, he can feel the intensity of the attack and knows if he doesn’t block he will take damage. “This is a surprise!”

Tahno watches as Nik fights Marco as a literal human flame and is impressed. However, he can also see just how intensely Nik is pushing himself and he’s worried about the toll it’s taking on his body. Just as he thinks of this, he notices that Nik is slowing down and his movements seem more labored. “He’s going to burn out, he needs to stop!” Tahno prepares to call out to him, willing to take the risk if he can save Nik, but just before he can, he sees the previously bright sky fall to darkness. Immediately after, Nik falls straight down to the ground and is no longer moving. He’s burned out, just as Tahno had feared. Now they’re all down.

“Ha! I’ve done it! I’ve beaten them all! They were weak, just as I knew they were. Is there no one else? Is there no one in this universe who can beat me? Anyone at all?”

###

“The Angels are singing. Uh! The demons, are creeping. Ah! The Fallen are…sneaking! The, the Risen are…weeping. Ahhhhhh!” Ouran topples over in excruciating pain. “The poor, poor reapers are…no longer sleeping! They’re, they’re…preparing for…ah! For a long night…of…of reaping! Ahhhhhh!” She attempts to continue her chant of the Reapers Lullaby, but her mind is being flooded with all the screams and violence and cries happening in Hokkaido. He can hear it all, especially the cries of Noah and his team. He’s heard it all from the beginning and has been trying hard to ignore them, but the pain is only increasing as they inch closer and closer to death. She feels Bakemon deaths ten times more than simple human deaths and the death of the four generals had already pulled a lot out of her, but the others are about to be next and her body is responding like it’s being ripped apart. “Dammit! Stop! Just fucking make it stop! I’m not going, I’m…not…go-.” Before he can finish his sentence, he hears a familiar voice. Like a thread snapping, Ouran’s entire body heats up and feels like it’ll burst. She screams as her body changes and she transforms. However, this is no transformation like she’s had before, but one of a new awakening. He is no longer simply a reaper, but with this form, he is now a Reaper God. Manifesting in a form that is characteristic of his true soul. With a newfound calling, Ouran takes off in flight, speeding to the ones who need her most, accepting her fate. She’ll take this responsibility, but she’ll do it her way. He’ll be heavens puppet no more.

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