Chapter 50 Slaughtering the Chimera Ants
Using Overdrive to head to Killua's location took about ten minutes. Killua held back from going after the sniper since it was obvious he'd be led into a trap. If he didn't have any backup, that was the only option he had, but with Rayleigh on his way, that wasn't necessary.
Suddenly, Rayleigh felt eyes on him. He used Gyō to scan the area as he ran through the forest, but no one was close by. It was only when he used Clairvoyance to see from an out-of-body perspective did he notice a humanoid creature hovering in the sky over the forest. What was interesting was that even when he stayed beneath the heavy undergrowth, he still felt the eyes of that fellow watching him.
Two of Rayleigh's Wills focused on his Clairvoyance and spotted something. There was an unnatural concentration of the Force around some of the dragonflies in the area, and each pointed in his direction as he passed them by.
Rayleigh didn't bother with them, he could already sense his friend's position behind a moss-covered rock.
"Hey Killua," was all he could say before he felt a twitch in the Force. Rayleigh used a bit of concentration and the moment a projectile approached him, he caught it with the Force and an instant later, snatched it between his fingers. To those unable to register the speed, it looked like he swiped the projectile out of thin air.
Rayleigh examined it for a moment. It seemed to be a large flee.
Killua sighed upon seeing how easily Ray was able to handle the sniper. He was covered in bloody wounds that had yet to stop bleeding. "Those have an annoying bite."
Rayleigh pinched it to death before wiping his fingers and examining Killua. Rayleigh then took Killua's arm and used Remove Poison. The flea bite contained an anticoagulant that prevented the assassin's blood from clotting, so Rayleigh had to remove that first before he could heal his friend's wounds. Once Killua's blood was cleaned, Rayleigh used Dark Transfer to heal and close the various wounds.
Seeing him use some of his special skills, Killua warned, "The guy watching us seems to have a form of telepathy he uses to communicate with the others. So he'll be telling everyone what he sees."
Rayleigh nodded, "So he can see me heal some small flesh wounds, big deal. Let's go after that sniper."
Killua nodded and the pair ran off in the sniper's direction. In less than a minute they spotted a cave the sniper seemed to be running into, but Rayleigh shouted, "Wait!"
Killua paused before running after the sniper. He didn't want to let such an annoying combatant get any further away, but Rayleigh would not have stopped him if he didn't have a good reason.
Killua looked over at Rayleigh who pointed up at the Chimera Ant hovering high above them, watching and reporting their every move.
Killua had seen him before but didn't have any long-range attacks. Even the Lightning attack he'd been working on only shot downward, not up. Killua asked, "Yeah, can you reach him?"
Rayleigh smiled and said, "I'll let you do the honors." He then raised his hand toward the floating Chimera ant.
Said ant suddenly had a terrible feeling and immediately took off, but it was too late. He felt a massive tug toward the ground as if he was being dragged down by a rope. He used his wings to the best of his ability, but a moment later, they seemed to be slowed as if he were trying to use them underwater. Now lacking the force of his wings, he was rapidly pulled down to the pair while screaming through his telepathic communication for help. His panicked messages of, 'They got me!' were most unhelpful to the message's recipients.
Killua didn't need to be told twice. The moment the flying insect Chimera ant was in range, Killua's claw-like fingers shredded his head.
Rayleigh smiled. Just because he couldn't use the Force to kill, didn't mean he couldn't use it to assist another.
Killua said, "Nice, are we going after the sniper?" He was fine even if they weren't. This guy seemed to be a much higher-value target than the sniper that shot fleas, so they already had some gains.
Rayleigh looked into the cave the sniper jumped into and used Clairvoyance to peek inside.
Rayleigh answered, "We can go in, but get out your yoyos first." He then tossed the headless Chimera ant into the cave tunnel. The pair heard it roll down for some distance before there was the echo of a splash. It seemed there was water inside the cave.
Both jumped inside the cave. Rayleigh used Force stealth along with Zetsu. The effects stacked and Killua would have lost his presence if he didn't see that he was at his side. The inside of the cave was practically a slip and slide as the moment they entered they were sliding down a shoot that sent them into the air above an underground lake.
The water directly below them was teeming with what appeared to be chimera ant fish creatures. They were shredding the corpse he threw in there to pieces and audibly complaining that there wasn't enough.
Rayleigh jumped onto one of the stalagmites sticking up from the water's surface and quietly dived into the water. Only Killua saw this and the pile of aquatic creatures didn't even notice Rayleigh's entry into their domain. Killua on the other hand used one of his yo-yos to wrap its string around a stalagmite and hold himself to it, above the surface of the water. Even though Rayleigh healed him, Killua was still covered in the scent of blood.
It was then that Killua noticed that the sniper he was chasing was sticking to a stalagmite as well. For some reason, that sniper was now an octopus.
While Killua started chatting with and fighting the sniper-octopus, Rayleigh quietly swam through the water, using his Clairvoyance to scout ahead and look for anything interesting. His search did not take long, as he successfully located what appeared to be a fully stocked bar in an underwater house that contained air. Rayleigh had absolutely no idea how that was made.
Inside the house were two chimera ants, one seemingly male, and one female. Both sat on a couch while the male held a radio of some kind, waiting for something from it.
Rayleigh could not hear anything through his use of Clairvoyance, so when the ant picked it up and smiled before putting it down, Rayleigh had no idea what was said. What he could do, however, was go inside. The house was shaped like a dome with an entrance at the bottom and a space containing air of an equalized pressure above that. There was no door, so Rayleigh just swam inside and peeked out of the water. Force Muffle was used to ensure his breaking of the water's surface drew no attention.
It was at that moment the male aquatic chimera ant picked up three darts and started tossing them at a dart board within the bar.
The creature laughed aloud, "Ku ku ku. 108 points. Do you have any clue as to what is happening to you? By the way, I am speaking to you directly through your head right now. Well, if you're still alive, you'll know soon enough."
He struck the dark board a few more times, remove the darts, and threw the three again. "Hmm. I'm feeling it. Now, have you got a better idea as to what kind of attack this is?"
Before the next set of three darts was thrown, Killua's voice came from the dartboard. "Your ability is Darts?"
The chimera ant laughed, "Ding dong. That is correct. However. You can't do anything about our ability even if you know about it. That's because my darts do not have a physical form until the moment they pierce your body! This makes them unblockable!"
Another round of darts was thrown, "Ku ku ku, by the way. Your left shoulder is 54 points. The targets of this dart board are linked to different parts of your body."
Rayleigh had intended to kill the pair, but he had a feeling there was a better alternative. Why did he have such a feeling?
When it was harder to keep something alive than to kill it, Rayleigh fully expected the Force to assist him if it didn't want him to kill things. This was a situation like that. In an instance where the best way to solve the problem was to kill, the Force had better give him an alternative and not blame him if one wasn't given.
In this case, though, such an alternative did exist.
As the male continued his game, he started bragging aloud and the female started replying. She said, "That's excellent big bro! You're on fire!"
He smoothly replied, "Of course I am. Our lives depend on it."
That was enough for Rayleigh to figure out what the Force was trying to tell him. He didn't need to kill them. This ability seemed to have a downside that could kill them.
After a few more tosses, the male said aloud, "Now, the final throw."
The woman said, "I believe in you."
He replied confidently, "Leave it to me," and tossed the dart perfectly at the top of the dart board's 20-point outermost ring.
Rayleigh used the Force to nudge the dart up so it hit the top of the board where it wouldn't stick. It bounced off the top and the pair froze. The pair's eyes widened in horror and disbelief.
That moment of stillness was broken by screams from the pair. Multiple large holes appeared in both of them and blood gushed out of the newly formed wounds.
Both started losing strength but as a brother-sister duo often do, they used the last of their energy to start shouting and fighting with one another.
Rayleigh swam back out and once he was clear of the underwater house, he Force pulled the pair from the air pocket through the house's entrance into the water of the lake. Neither had the strength to resist. Their blood filled the area around them and neither was strong enough to swim back to the house.
Rayleigh swam quietly away as the vicious bloodthirsty dwellers of the lake swarmed the bleeding pair and shredded them to pieces.
Rayleigh reached the shore and after a short bit of walking, spotted Killua and the octopus.
The octopus seemed to put up its guard but Rayleigh ignored it and looked over Killua. "You seem fine. How do you feel?"
Killua didn't have any wounds. Even the leftover from what Rayleigh didn't feel was safe to heal seemed gone. Even Killua's fatigue seemed gone.
He answered, "Great. What happened? Did you do something?"
The octopus answered, "The elder of the Oroso siblings must have missed his last shot. His ability is terrifying, but has an equally terrifying risk! If he misses the last shot, every bit of damage from the target, even damage not caused by him, will transfer to himself and his sister!"
Rayleigh added, "Yeah, I might have given his last throw a little push."
Killua nodded. He had a plan to survive a headshot, but having all his injuries and fatigue removed was good too.
Killua asked, "What now?
Rayleigh pointed toward the cave's exit and answered, "Now we greet the welcome party. They know the flying guy was killed and you are not dead. So they should send more Ants to kill you."
The pair started heading out when Killua stopped and turned back to the octopus and said, "Hey, wanna come with us?"
Rayleigh asked, "New friend?"
Killua nodded, "Yeah, he's cool."
The octopus guy said, "What, there's no way!" He then mumbled, 'even if you do call me cool.'
Rayleigh then said, "You know, the Chimera Ant Princess is on our side. So it's not like you are betraying your own kind, just switching from the king's side to the princess."
Killua asked, "Princess?"
Rayleigh nodded seriously, "That's right, Kite, the Chimera Ant Princess."
The octopus didn't notice Killua turning away to hide his face as he tried his best not to laugh.
After a moment of contemplation, the octopus nodded, "Alright! I'm in."
Rayleigh nodded but said, "Stay back though since we'll probably be ambushed when we leave the cave."
The octopus replied, "Um, isn't that a bad thing?"
Killua shook his head, "Naw. As long as it isn't a royal guard or the King, Rayleigh and I can take care of them."
This was pretty much true. Killua had noticed that Rayleigh didn't kill, which was pretty much his main weakness. But as long as Killua was there to deal the killing blow, they would have no problems taking out armies. Ray's abilities were very good against groups.
The octopus stayed back a hundred meters or so as they traversed the cave and soon came to the exit. The sunlight was quite blinding as they once more saw the sky.
Killua and Rayleigh both jumped to the roof of the cave's mouth and used it as a step to launch themselves over the line of gun wielding chimera ants that had patiently waited for their arrival. They used the moment they were blinded by the sun and had to adjust their eyes, but neither Hunter solely relied on their sense of sight and both adjusted quickly.
"Open, Babylon." Rayleigh ignited his Nensaber as the guns pointed back at him and they fired another volley. Rayleigh stood between most of the ants which caused them to shoot each other. The ones who were closer should have just dropped their weapons and attacked using their claws, pincers, or knife-like appendages, but they had not expected Rayleigh to get so close so fast and they just pulled the trigger on instinct.
Rayleigh predicted the shots thanks to the Force and used Ken to strengthen his aura around a few areas.
After another round of shots, Rayleigh was grazed three times by a bullet, and each time drew blood. As Rayleigh confirmed a line of blood on each wound, he felt a metaphorical chain snap. It was time to party.
Unconsciously, Ray's perpetually calm face morphed into a terrifying grin. He had held himself back for far, far too long. It was time to have some fun. Rayleigh's Nensaber sharpened and sped up its rotations.
One of his Wills maintained Babylon.
One of his Wills maintained Clairvoyance to keep watch on the battlefield.
One of his Wills used Battle Precognition to determine the next actions of his enemies.
One of his Wills watched those predictions and used them to write out a Force Program.
One of his Wills used Overdrive to move his body to commands written in the Force Program he was simultaneously writing based on future predictions.
The remaining available Wills either amplified his own abilities or hampered specific targets. It was not an exaggeration to call it a blood bath.
Due to the rapid revolution of the sword aura his Nensaber was composed of, his slashes caused his enemies' blood to spin around. A ring of blood spread out from every cut. As Rayleigh moved through the lines of human-sized soldier ants, multiple rings of blood shot into the air and battlefield every second as Rayleigh danced his way through the gathered army.
Many of the Chimera Ants had thick carapaces that bullets and blades would bounce off. Even Rayleigh's old Lightsaber would only char them a bit before bouncing off if he struck them. They absorbed heat and physical impact better than most body armor, but such defenses were pointless against Rayleigh's thin blade. Each strand of aura was a sword capable of cutting. His Nensaber compressed a large amount of that sword aura into a thin sword and then spun it faster than a chainsaw. Sure, there was resistance when he sliced, but that was relative. Even the hardest shell belonging to some Turtle Chimera Ant was sliced through as Rayleigh pressed his Nensaber against it for a few seconds. Even if every thread of sword aura only gave a light scratch against the shell, the rotating blade would slice hundreds of times a second and all scratch the same spot, digging deeper until it sliced through completely.
Technically, the same could be done by a Lightsaber, but a Lightsaber would take longer to burn through simply because its profile was wider compared to the blade-thin Nensaber.
At the end of the battlefield was a humanoid lion. He seemed to be the strongest of the gathered ants and also seemed to be the leader.
He did not approach the group himself, but kept a distance and watched over everything.
Killua's massacre was just as brutal, though not as flashy. He had to avoid many close calls from some of the special abilities some of the Chimera Ants possessed.
The lion ordered four identical-looking Chimera Ants over to the battle. Two went at Rayleigh and two went at Killua. Rayleigh's Force Danger Sense screamed and he Force-lifted them all into the air and threw them at the lion dude.
The four were thrown at him from all directions leaving him no easy way to run, so he pulled out a slip of paper from his pocket and ripped it before the four ants impacted him and exploded.
The force of the blast shook the air and Rayleigh had to both brace himself and defend himself from the ants that held themselves in place by stabbing their legs into the ground. They tried to use the chance to strike, but Rayleigh relieved them of their limbs a moment later. Rayleigh charged the lion dude. As the smoke cleared, he seemed to be covered in a semi-transparent shield that protected him from the blast.
At that moment, a fast-moving creature approached Rayleigh and moved to slice his face off with a set of claws. Rayleigh used Force Valor to dodge but the attacker was faster, forcing Rayleigh to use Force Stasis to hold the attacker's hand in place for an instant before he freed himself. That instant was enough for Rayleigh to dodge and get a look at the new arrival. It was a Cheetah-looking Chimera Ant.
Rayleigh wondered if the NGL had a zoo or something because he did not think all these species like lions and cheetahs should have been found on such a small landmass.
Killua ran over and said, "Finish off the extras, I'll stall these two!"
It was obvious these two were the dangerous ones, but fighting them while fighting the remaining soldiers was a poor choice and gave their enemies too many options. It was better to go into a disadvantageous position now and seek an advantageous one afterward.
Rayleigh agreed and jumped back, though he still maintained Clairvoyance to watch Killua and used Force Stasis on occasion to ensure that Killua wasn't killed.
Rayleigh didn't have any more time to play so he decided to go big. Although using the Force did not cost him energy, big moves certainly caused mental fatigue, and this move would be very tiring.
After taking a stance, Rayleigh started pulling every Chimera Ant toward him, several at a time. He'd pull them, slash them, and move onto the next. In this way, a terrifying scene emerged of dozens of Chimera Ants being helplessly drawn to their deaths. Many tried to run but the range of Rayleigh's Telekinesis was quite far. Even though Babylon only enhanced Force Techniques used within the En Field, that didn't mean he couldn't use Force techniques outside. They just would not get an enhancement.
It took about thirty seconds for Rayleigh to finish off the stragglers before rejoining Killua.
The Cheetah guy was using hit-and-run tactics though was unable to deal a fatal blow due to the interference of Rayleigh's timely use of Force Stasis on his limbs when he attacked.
The Lion dude had a weird-looking sword he was trying to cut up Killua with. That sword did feel very strong, but the Lion was not a swordsman and Killua was fast enough and skilled enough to predict him.
Rayleigh intercepted the lion's next strike. Rayleigh's Nensaber elicited a shower of sparks on contact with the Lion's sword. The Lion's physical strength was certainly higher than Rayleigh's or Killua's, but Rayleigh used Enhance Attribute: Strength on himself and Force Stasis on the Lion to even the match. Killua seemed to cover himself in static every once in a while as he looked like he was trying a new technique while Rayleigh exchanged sword blows with the Lion for several minutes without giving an inch.
Just as the lion seemed to be getting used to Rayleigh's restraints, Rayleigh suddenly used Force Stasis with four Wills at the same time. Since the lion dude was within range of Babylon, the effect of Force techniques was properly amplified and the massive Chimera Ant was completely frozen as Rayleigh slashed under the guard of his sword through his left leg.
Rayleigh then turned and used his Nensaber to parry a strike that was aiming for his neck. Said parry also chopped off several of the Cheetah Chimera ant's fingers as he ran past Rayleigh over to where the one-legged lion was.
Rayleigh and Killua planned to finish them both, but the fight was interrupted by the sound of clapping from the side. All four fighters looked over and saw a group of ten or so humans, Hunters it seemed. None of them recognized the group.
The one clapping them stopped once he had their attention and said, "That was some pretty good work boys, but you can go home now and leave the rest to us." The man wore a white coat and a smile that reminded Rayleigh of Ichimaru Gin from Bleach.
Rayleigh had narrowed the field of his Clairvoyance when the extras were killed so Rayleigh had not even noticed their arrival and had no idea how long they had been there.
Killua countered back to the smiling Hunter, "It's okay, we're almost done here."
The man's smile didn't drop, but he shook his head and swiped his hand in the negative. "I'm sorry but I can't do that. You see, I have accepted a job from the Hunter Association to hunt these Division Commanders. I do not believe the same is true for either of you. In other words, please leave this to the paid professionals. Volunteers may have good intentions, but you brats will just get in the way."
Rayleigh smirked, but not from happiness. Now he could tell who these guys were. Someone on the Hunter's side was interfering with any plan that stopped the ants. These guys weren't here to kill these two. They were here to let them get away.
Killua wasn't aware of this but he could make an educated guess. If they were here to help, why stop them now when they were about to make the kill? Why not show up earlier? He observed the group and pointed at the youngest-looking one, someone who actually looked about their age and had slick-backed brown hair and wore a tidy suit, like a mini-CEO.
While gesturing at the kid in their group, he said, "What about that brat? Won't he get in the way?"
The whole group collectively frowned at that. The man in the white coat sneered, "You have no right to speak that way about Lord Joshua Jones. He is the first and only disciple of the vice president of the Hunter Association and soon-to-be president, Pariston Hill."
It was then that the entitled-looking brat stepped forward and asked aloud, "Did either of you refer to yourself as Roy Mustang?"
Rayleigh stopped forward, "Maybe, but you can call me Swordsman."
Jones teleported in front of Rayleigh. It wasn't a high-speed movement. It was certainly a teleport. After locking gazes for a moment, the brown-haired brat identified himself, "Enigma."
Rayleigh nodded, "I haven't heard much about you." Between the lines, he was referring to the fact that the name Enigma never made an appearance in the Hunter or General Chat Room.
Enigma replied, "I don't say much."
"Going for the quiet, mysterious type, eh?"
"That's the idea."
Rayleigh asked, "So are you here to fight or talk?"
The Hunters gathered tensed and got into battle-ready conditions. They would not allow any harm to come to their young master.
Enigma looked over at the Chimera Ants. The Cheetah had put the Lion on his back and was ready to book it at the first opening, but seemed nervous as more and more enemies were showing up.
In the next moment, both Chimera Ants vanished.
Rayleigh expanded his Clairvoyance to the max but didn't spot either opponent.
Enigma then said, "Another day, perhaps," before turning and walking away.
Since it seemed he could teleport himself and others, the fact that he was walking away with his back to Rayleigh was an obvious taunt to try to get Rayleigh to attack him. Rayleigh didn't take it. He wasn't fast enough to cut him before he teleported. Yet. Until then, there was nothing to gain from fighting him.
Rayleigh walked back over to Killua who glared at the group of Hunters before heading back to the cave to pick up the octopus.
Killua asked, "What do you think the condition for his Teleportation is?"
"Well, since he didn't move us, there should be some conditions. Maybe, you can't teleport someone who doesn't want to move? Those ants did want to get out of there after all."
Killua nodded but kept in mind other possibilities as well. Neither really cared why those Hunters were getting in the way of the Chimera Ant subjugation but guessed it was some kind of political shenanigans. After picking up the octopus, they'd meet up with Gon and then the other Hunters and discuss it with them. As for Enigma, Rayleigh wasn't concerned. Even teleportation wasn't instant. One day Rayleigh would be fast enough to slice him before he teleported. It was another goal added to the list of things he had to achieve to reach the top.
See? The three-strikes rule isn't so bad. As long as he has enough aura to maintain Babylon, he can keep it on and as long as he was damaged three times during that use, he is free to keep fighting even after killing whoever caused him damage.
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