53 Chapter 53 The Death of the King

Chapter 53 The Death of the King

One problem Rayleigh discerned of Knov's subspace was that it was too quiet. Perhaps it was due to the fact that he lived much of his life on a wild planet, but Rayleigh didn't particularly like quiet. When it is quiet, you hear too much.

As the group waited at the boundary of one of Knov's doors, every twitch of nervousness and wrinkle of fabric seemed to echo. The Temple of Silence didn't have this problem because all sounds were erased. But when a space was too quiet, the sounds that originated from your person seemed to endlessly amplify.

Rayleigh could practically hear the heartbeats of the various Hunters and two Chimera Ants around him. He didn't need to be empathic to understand that they were psyching themselves up. There was a real possibility that they were going to die this day, but when the time came, they would enter the heart of the enemy territory without hesitation. At least they would when it was their turn. For now, it was Rayleigh's turn.

Five minutes before midnight, Rayleigh picked up Meleoron as the chameleon form chimera ant took in a deep breath and made the pair invisible. Meleoron was taller than Ray was, so instead of lying on Rayleigh's back, Meleoron was simply carried by the brown haired Force user as he peaked his head out of the spatial doorway into the courtyard of the palace the Ant King took over.

Pitou's En still covered the entire area and would have noticed his presence without Meleoron's special form of invisibility, but thanks to that, Rayleigh could act without getting caught or sounding the alarm.

Rather than look around, Rayleigh closed his eyes and used Clairvoyance. His range could practically extend to the nearby city, much less the whole palace. He still could not see through the walls, and unfortunately, the Palace door was closed, but he could still observe everything clearly.

Standing just outside the palace entrance were the several hundred thousand citizens of the nearby capital city. They had been ordered to come and await the selection process. The butterfly Chimera Ant dispersed his scales over them which seemed to seal their minds and put them into a complacent state. As they were, they could witness a Nen soldier killing hundreds of men in front of them and not think a single thing when it was their turn to be called up. Should the group of Hunters fail, that was their fate the following day.

Within the inner court of the palace were numerous grotesque trees carrying the cocoons of those who passed the selection, roughly five thousand former citizens of East Gorteau. According to the Ants on their side, the Butterfly Guy and the Cat Girl created a way to inject chimera ant cells into a person that caused those cells to mostly overwrite the human DNA.

Rayleigh's Clairvoyance easily confirmed the presence of the cat-girl sitting atop the palace while the butterfly guy floated over the crowd of citizens, awaiting their slaughter.

Rayleigh withdrew back into the door and Meleoron let out his breath as Rayleigh put him down.

Morel asked, "Well?"

Rayleigh nodded, "Pitou and Pouf are both outside the palace so the inside should only have Youpi and the King with maybe a few servants. It is odd however that the Palace door is closed."

Morel considered it before shaking his head. Although they could prepare as much as possible, knowing that they didn't know something would not get anyone to back down now. He asked, "Are you sure you want to try this?"

Rayleigh gave a confident nod without voicing any hesitation. No matter how much he meditated, he could only see Youpi as the biggest problem. If Rayleigh could end him before the fight started, he had to give it a shot.

Morel patted Rayleigh's shoulder and said, "Alright, good luck kid."

Meleoron seemed to be doing breathing exercises so Rayleigh pointed out, "You know, if you imagine yourself about to jump into a pool you intended to stay inside for a long time, you'd be able to hold your breath longer."

Meleoron asked, "Really?"

Rayleigh nodded, "Yeah, the amount of oxygen your lungs take in with each breath is variable. You can max it out by mentally convincing yourself you are about to jump into the water and won't have access to air. Breathe like that for two minutes and you will over-oxygenate your blood. Be careful though, you might get light headed with an oxygen high while doing that. Also, close your eyes after we start. Processing images uses your brain more which increases how much oxygen you need. Leave everything to me and just close your eyes."

Meleoron looked thoughtful for a moment before he changed his breathing rhythm to give it a try.

Two minutes before midnight, Rayleigh picked up Meleoron again as the hood-wearing chameleon took in one last breath and closed his eyes, putting all his trust into Rayleigh.

He used a different door in the same room that led to an exit next to the stairs in the palace that led up to the throne room.

Rayleigh jumped out and spotted something he certainly did not expect. His target, the hairless beast, Menthuthuyoupi, was sitting on the stairs next to him rather than standing at the King's side in the throne room.

Although he was right next to Rayleigh and within the range of Pitou's En, neither of the royal guards noticed the trespasser thanks again to the miraculous power of Meleoron.

Not one to question such a gift, Rayleigh made his way up the stairs and used Gyō. Youpi had countless hair thin lines, but only a single shatterpoint. Unlike most, those lines seemed to wiggle and flow rather than stay motionless. The single shatterpoint however remained in a single location, it was on the left side of the back of Youpi's neck.

Although Youpi was quite tall, he dully sat on the middle of the staircase and faced the closed palace entrance door so the shorter Rayleigh only had to walk up the steps behind him that were higher. Since he could use Force Muffle to remove his sound, Youpi neither heard or felt anything as Rayleigh approached and put his hand on the back of Youpi's neck.

Rayleigh almost panicked when his Psychometry felt the details of this creature. Thankfully, this beast was not in a combat state. The hair-thin fractures Rayleigh observed would turn into cable wide fractures once this beast started fighting. That should mean it was more fragile, but for this existence, that was not the case. What was worse, was that when this monster expanded, the amount of Force needed to break it would be far greater than anything Rayleigh could hope to overflow. It would be like trying to shatter a mountain with a single glass of water.

Rayleigh focused with almost every Will, even forgoing Clairvoyance just to speed up the gathering of the Cosmic Force in the area and pouring it all into this creature's body.

Over a minute had passed but Meleoron's eyes stayed closed and his face remained relaxed.

Rayleigh's focus almost faltered when he felt the retraction of Pitou's En. At this moment, no one was watching.

Another Shatterpoint, a splitting of events and their consequences appeared before Rayleigh. This was a chance he could not miss!

Rayleigh called upon everything he had and even the Force within his own body and in a single moment, flooded Menthuthuyoupi with everything he had.

Youpi only had a single moment to realize something was wrong, but other than the minute widening of his eyes, he was unable to process anything else, even instinctively, as his brain and organs liquified and all the life within his body flooded out.

Rayleigh used the Force to catch the blood that ejected from Youpi's orifices and put Meleoron down, causing the Chameleon to open his eyes and release his breath in surprise.

Rayleigh picked up Youpi and jumped to the portal and entered it a second before the others were about to jump out. Rayleigh threw Youpi's corpse at the ground and the captured blood within and said, "He's dead, let's go!"

Without needing another word, the group of Hunters ran out of the portal. Meleoron had turned invisible again but released his breath once more when he saw the incoming friendlies running in.

Rayleigh caught a whiff of something and used the Force to pull Meleoron toward him while pushing Knuckle to the side.

An instant later, hundreds of spears of light shot down through the roof and plowed deep into the ground. If one had paid close attention, one might have seen that each spear took the shape of a majestic five-clawed golden dragon descending from the heavens. Killua's grandpa's attack had arrived.

Thanks to Rayleigh's intervention, no one was harmed by the attack, but Rayleigh fell to his knees. He would recover, but using up the Force within his body made him feel weak. Thankfully, the Force was everywhere, so he would recover quickly.

Morel noticed Rayleigh's collapse but didn't stop the charge to the Throne Room. He had to prevent Shaiapouf from assisting the King. What he did not expect was that upon reaching the top step of the staircase, he would see an empty throne in a destroyed throne room. A brief expression of panic flashed through his face before hardening into determination. The king wasn't here, so he'd find him before Pouf did.

The last thing he expected however was that a moment after he confirmed the destroyed throne room was empty, the roof above him would be broken into and his target would barge in to confirm the same thing. Morel had no idea why the butterfly guy came here if the King wasn't here, but he was not a single star veteran Hunter without reason and the instant he confirmed Pouf's presence, he was already taking in a deep, deep, deep inhale of his massive smoking pipe. Before Shaiapouf even turned around to confirm the presence of the intruders, Morel was already exhaling a wall of smoke. Said wall immediately pushed out all the other Hunters that were running up the stairs and surrounded himself and Shaiapouf. Mission to separate Pouf from the King? Complete!

Rayleigh only needed a few breaths to recover and a few more to get back into fighting condition. By then, the throne room was filled with smoke, which meant Morel was there and isolating Shaiapouf, which implied that the King was not there.

A vicious, sinister, and downright eerie aura filled the palace as Neferpitou's En engulfed them all once more. Rayleigh, Gon, and Killua were not affected but Shoot and Knuckle experienced a few shivers down their spine. Neferpitou however did not appear in the room, but seemed to head elsewhere in the palace.

The group of Hunters opened the palace door to see the damage the dragon dive attack caused and see if they could spot where the King and Neferpitou were located. Only the octopus guy stayed behind in the palace to look around for Palm.

It only took a quick use of Clairvoyance and a look over the palace's south wing for the Hunters to spot an unlikely group. Netero and an old man in Chinese attire with silver hair were walking behind a green skinned humanoid. Netero noticed their gazes and pointed to the room they just left. The silver haired old man no one doubted was Killua's grandpa transmuted his aura into a massive dragon that Netero hopped onto while the Ant King grabbed hold of. It then lifted off into the sky and flew south, without the old man who seemed to walk off aimlessly.

The Hunters headed for the room Netero pointed out and found something rather unexpected. Neferpitou was there, but she was not alone. Behind her was a messy looking human woman that seemed confused and scared, but in decent health. Pitou's posture made it obvious that she was protecting the human.

That honestly had Rayleigh stumped. When Rayleigh cheated to see the future using meditation, he was basically using Metaknowledge to get three or four frames of an episode of the anime and using decent guesses to fill in the details. He used one percent of one percent of information and derived something pretty close to accurate. This only worked because the Tavern allowed it as an Easter Egg when dealing with MCs. Rayleigh would never be able to see the future using just meditation as easily or easily at all for just about any matter where there were no main characters involved.

So he had no idea who the woman was or why Pitou had obviously been given orders to protect her.

If the King died and his last orders were to protect this woman, would Neferpitou protect her forever and not bother anyone anymore?

Another Shatterpoint appearing directly killed that train of thought.

The previous Shatterpoint Rayleigh saw was that if he hid Youpi's body, neither the King nor Pitou would be able to confirm his death and would act differently in ways that benefited them in the long run.

Now the scene he saw through the panel of broken glass this action rested on showed a different story. He saw Pitou abandoning the woman and running in the King's direction. Then he saw some unspeakable horror. He saw the King, barely alive, being puppeted by Pitou's ability which made him eat and eat and eat. He saw blood pool from the King's body but he kept eating and eating and eating. He was dying while being healed from what he consumed, over and over. He devoured the five thousand Chimera Ant Hybrid cocoons and the hundreds of thousands of humans. Eventually, what was killing him would lose out, and what would be left was a monster that had taken in everything he ate to become an abomination.

So yeah, this bitch has to die.

From the moment they got there to the registering of the details of the perceived Shatterpoint, only a second or two had elapsed. Rayleigh said aloud, "Formation Beta."

Gon quickly caught on and reeled back while calling out aloud, "First comes Rock. Rock, Scissors, Paper..."

Pitou's En was still covering them, so she did not miss anything and she was not stupid. She easily noticed when Meleoron and Killua vanished from her senses before the group even entered the room so she knew to watch out for them. She was right. Even though they were completely undetectable, her cat-like reflexes acted up as good as any spider-sense.

Upon hearing Rayleigh's call of Formation Beta, the invisible Killua held Meleoron as he scaled the high walls of the room and got to the ceiling above Pitou. He charged himself with electricity before launching it down, directly at Pitou.

Due to the miraculous effect of Meleoron's ability, even the lightning strike itself was invisible as it was released, but Pitou's instincts still flared, her leg muscles still tensed, and without thought, she was about to move away from her current spot. Unfortunately, her escape was thwarted when Rayleigh used Force Stasis on her with seven different Wills.

As such a powerful Chimera Ant, she should have been fully capable of breaking through seven Wills worth of bindings, and she was. But the instant it held her back was more than enough for Killua's Lightning Strike to do its work.

Neferpitou was struck soundly by Killua's attack and all the hair on her body stood up and started smoking a little. For such a durable creature, a lightning strike didn't actually do all that much damage. What it did do however was numb her nerves and render her unable to counter the next attack.

The moment she had been struck, Rayleigh released each use of Force Stasis and used the Force to simply pull her forward. Being completely stunned, even if only for an instant, that instant was long enough for Rayleigh to pull her directly toward Gon's fist.


Gon's fist hammered itself squarely into Neferpitou's stomach and an instant later, she had been shot through the wall and out of the palace. The group of Hunters ran after her and Rayleigh told the human girl, "Sleep for now."

"M'kay," she chipley answered and curled up to take a nap.

Pitou had been blown past the outer wall into the empty area surrounding the palace and it only took a half minute for the group to catch up to the crater she crawled out of. For obvious reasons, she looked furious.

"Open, Babylon."

Rayleigh had been using lethal Force without being incited up to this point, so he couldn't use Babylon yet. Now, killing her before she injured him three times would be a luxury he'd be more than willing to take.

Somehow, the cat-girl Chimera Ant seemed to guess that Rayleigh was responsible for her momentary binding, so her blood-red eyes narrowed on him. He figured she guessed since he said the Formation's name aloud.

The muscles in her legs tensed and the fingers of her hand bulged as she locked on target and pounced.

The Mandalorian Melee Shield was enabled an instant before she jumped and Rayleigh's Nensaber was extended. Her aura had concentrated around her claws that met Rayleigh's chainsaw of Nen and showers of aura sparked on both his weapon and her claws. However, the force of her strike that combined with the momentum from her pounce was unstoppable for any force Rayleigh could muster so the best he could do was parry the blow and use the impact to push himself back before those claws ripped through his chest.

His parry was only partially successful. The barrier of the Mandalorian Melee Shield shattered and four bloody gashes tore through Rayleigh's shirt and into his chest. Thankfully, the slash did not pass the ribcage thanks to the damage absorbed by the melee shield.

One of Shoot's floating hands formed a fist that struck her face, but her head didn't budge in the slightest and showed that the attack dealt no damage. It did however get her attention.

Seeing that his floating hands would not be able to damage her, Shoot had his three floating hands try to grab her. The moment she moved to dodge, Rayleigh once more stacked half a dozen uses of Force Stasis over her to hold her in place. That was the moment that Knuckle, who was now carrying Meleoron and invisible, punched her with everything he had.

This attack did budge her a little, but she still seemed unaffected. Knuckle released Meleoron which allowed the Hakoware he just made to become visible as well.

Seeing a floating chubby angel baby thingy next to you would certainly get anyone's attention, so Pitou could not help but look.

In that moment, Killua used Godspeed to move his body using Lightning and a Program he created himself to move faster than the eye could track and approached Pitou.

Pitou was prepared this time, but before she could strike, the stacked Force Stasis had applied again and Killua had the moment needed to place both hands on her and deliver a powerful shock.

Rayleigh then used Overdrive to get close. He revved the rotations to the max and made his Nensaber sharper than he had ever done before as he aimed his blade at the woman's neck.

Before the stunned woman could be decapitated, she was pulled back and out of the range of Rayleigh's swinging Nensaber.

Everyone looked up for a moment as they saw a distorted, ballerina-shaped figure form above Neferpitou with strings reaching from the figure's fingers to the cat-girls' various limbs and joints.

Rayleigh sighed. Of course, the boss battle would go into Phase Two before the end.

Pitou's vicious claws aimed for Killua faster than he could dodge so Rayleigh applied Force Stasis, but there was almost no effect. Her ability to puppet herself was stronger than the outside effects Rayleigh could apply. Killua received three deep claw marks on his arm which didn't look like it would be of much use for the rest of the fight.

Rayleigh shouted, "Gamma!" giving everyone a heads up for the new plan. Plan Gamma meant the fast fighters like Rayleigh and Killua had to keep her attention and prevent her from killing everyone else until she either used up enough aura to activate Hakoware or they thought of a better plan.

Rayleigh turned the Shield back on. His Mandalorian Melee Shield had five charges total, so he could take a decent brunt of four more of her attacks.

Neferpitou scanned the area and pounced in an empty direction with her claws extended. Blood appeared out of nowhere as Meleoron and Gon had been unable to fully dodge. Pitou had guessed the Chameleon made Gon invisible so she could be lured into taking another punch, but she was on to their games and predicted their strategy easily enough.

This meant they had to wing it. Rayleigh used Overdrive to strike and defend at speeds only a little slower than Killua's but Killua could not defend, only hit and run, while Rayleigh could partially deflect and absorb her attacks using his Nensaber and Shield.

Every strike he delivered was either dodged or deflected and he had to use four stacks of Force Valor, one Enhance Attribute: Speed, and one Battle Precognition to barely keep up and defend himself.

The problem was that, like his own unusual use of Force Valor, the cat girl's nen ability puppeted her in a way that ignored her biology. Ligaments and joints that should not have provided her the leverage to bend or flex in certain ways were bypassed using the strings of the nen figure puppeteering her.

The irony of the situation was not lost on Rayleigh at all.

Killua's stun gun attack no longer had an effect as even stunned, she was puppeted without any delay, so Killua had to focus on using his Lightning to deal damage instead of stunning. When he could, he would use his stun gun attack on her stomach, where Gon's fist struck. Even if it didn't stun her, it would deal damage thanks to the damage already applied.

Gon kept his fist reeled back and Shoot actually used his flying hands to carry Gon around to position him to strike her, but Pitou was paying attention to the Chameleon so she knew when to expect an invisible attacker, making that trick harder to pull off. Without being stunned or surprised, Gon's fist was too slow to strike her.

Knuckle tried to attack several times, but the few blows he did land barely did any damage and the moment Pitou actually struck him before anyone could help, the damage almost killed Knuckle and the little chubby angel popped from the fact that the damage she inflicted paid Knuckle back for more than the aura it gave.

Rayleigh's Nensaber could slice her apart if he attacked an area she did not concentrate her aura into, but he was facing his own problems. The longer the fight continued, the better Pitou was getting at predicting his irregular attacks.

At this rate, it seemed they were going to lose.

Not. Rayleigh never expected to beat her. Morel told him a useful piece of information before the start of the plan and Rayleigh was just setting the stage. Now he just had to do something crazy.

Rayleigh shouted, "Zeta!" before charging Pitou with a thrusting motion.

For obvious reasons, a thrust was a terrible idea. At best, it was a suicide attack that aimed for simultaneous damage. At worst, she'd dodge and kill him. Pitou could discern this and a look into Rayleigh's eyes confirmed his resolve.

Pitou pounced forward. A moment later, both fighters were standing in front of each other.

Multiple shouts of, "RAYLEIGH!" sounded as Pitou's claws pierced through Rayleigh's chest, below his shoulder while Rayleigh's blade had also pierced Pitou's chest.

Rayleigh's Nensaber sputtered out and consciousness left his eyes as his breathing and his heart stopped.

Meleoron shouted, "Oh, Fuck this!" And ran for his life back to the palace.

Gon and Killua raged and struck out but Pitou's nen construct pulled her out of the way as her En confirmed Ray's breathing and heart had both stopped and the annoying chameleon was more than halfway to the palace.

On the ground, Rayleigh internally sighed. He didn't like plan Zeta, but it was his best shot. Rayleigh had slowed his heart enough to not be noticed and used Breath Control to remove the need to breathe while using Force Healing and Dark Transfer to heal his wounds. Plan Zeta was to play dead for five minutes. Why five minutes? Well, that was about how long it would take him to heal and he needed that long to use Babylon again.

Everyone did their part in acting like enraged friends and the catgirl lost a bit of seriousness as the highest threat had been eliminated and Knuckle was still down. She even taunted them on occasion like a cat playing with her food.

After a five minute duration where Gon, Killua, and Shoot got a collection of scars they would carry around for the rest of their life even with Force Healing, Rayleigh felt a hand on his shoulder.

Meleoron had come back. His running away was just to get her to lower her guard. Rayleigh got up much to Meleoron's relief and enabled Babylon once more. This would be the last attack.

Technically, since Rayleigh still pretty much had a hole through him, he was in absolutely no condition to do anything. That was fine. The final attack didn't belong to him.

Slowly walking over with Meleoron, Rayleigh said, "The moment she freezes, run away."

Meleoron was surprised no one heard them since his ability didn't affect sound, but Rayleigh's use of Force Muffle hid his words from anyone but Meleoron so he could still talk.

They got close to Neferpitou and Rayleigh used seven of his eight available Wills to use Force Stasis on her once more.

The moment she froze, Meleoron ran off, undoing the invisibility on Rayleigh. Even with a hole in his chest, Rayleigh was able to barely shout, "Now!"

Pitou's Nen construct pulled with all its might to remove her from Rayleigh's grip, but she was barely budging. Why the difference between now and before? Now, Neferpitou was within the range of Babylon. It had only been about a month since he invented it, and though he'd improved on it a lot, the range of the Force saturated En Field was still quite small. But within this En Field, all Force Abilities were massively enhanced.

When Rayleigh shouted 'Now,' most of the assembled Hunters were actually quite confused. They thought Rayleigh would deliver a fatal blow or something.

If he was at full strength, he probably could, but most of his aura was currently being used to keep his wound from getting worse, so he could not make his Nensaber strong enough to slice her at the moment. He was unable to deliver a final blow.

Usually, this would be Gon's time to shine, but Pitou had kept a large distance from Gon, using Killua's own hit-and-run tactics on him to slice up his flesh and wait until he bled to death. For the pain he caused her, she wouldn't kill him quickly. She wanted to play with her prey.

But no, the final strike did not belong to Gon either.

Pitou's instincts flared as time seemed to slow down. Particles of dust passed slowly in front of her through her awareness as she lifted her head to identify the threat. She was just in time to notice cracks appearing on the ballerina construct above her. A flash of light spread out from her Nen ability as it shattered and a heavy purple glow replaced it and got closer and closer. The moment before her death seemed to extend for eternity as she noticed the purple glow reach her head. Layer by layer, her face and flesh dissolved as the purple aura of pure destruction descended upon her.

Rayleigh used his last Will to jump back, but not fast enough to outrun the explosion and shockwave that occurred as Silva Zoldyck descended onto the battlefield with his fist covered in concentrated destruction that destroyed Pitou's nen ability right before obliterating her head.

Rayleigh was thrown back from the blast but the final use of his Shield saved him from the destructive blastwave of Silva's most concentrated attack.

Not bothering to check on everyone else, Rayleigh crossed his legs and started healing himself. Since Babylon was up again, he could use his enhanced healing. Unfortunately, the space they were in was something of a wasteland and Pitou's disgusting En still lingered, so he'd have to pollute himself to heal completely. There were downsides to this. He'd have to stop using the Force for a while to clean himself, but that could wait until later.

Killua's grandpa showed up out of nowhere and approached Silva. The pair glanced at Rayleigh, Gon, and Killua and nodded. Seeing the nod actually made Killua blush a little. He was fully aware of how difficult it was to receive any form of approval from his father. Without another word, the elder Zoldycks left on the back of another dragon construct. Their contract was over.

Rayleigh had closed up the hole in his chest. Pitou only pierced him through, so all the pieces were still there. He just had to realign and knit them together before gathering the Cosmic Force around him and converting into the Living Force within him to heal his wounds.

Gon asked, "Ray! Are you alright?!"

Rayleigh nodded, "Yeah. Could have been worse."

Killua asked, "Did you know my dad was coming?"

Rayleigh nodded, "Morel told me your grandpa was contracted to ensure Netero could fight the King alone, and your father was contracted to kill one ant. It was his choice which one. They were both watching us from the start, I just needed to give him an opening he could use."

Shoot picked up Knuckle. The pompadour Hunter was not unconscious, just in a lot of pain. Knuckle asked, "Hey, can you heal us?"

Rayleigh shook his head, "No. I had to badly mess with my abilities just to heal myself. It's not safe for me to heal you guys. Besides, chicks dig scars."

It was true. It was one thing for him to pollute his aura. It was another for him to heal while he had a polluted aura. That was a very, very bad idea.

The group returned to the Palace and saw that Morel was still in the smoke room. Rayleigh said, "Get over here Knuckle," and waved everyone else back as he approached the smoke wall and shouted, "We're coming in!" before walking into a weak point in the wall of smoke followed by Knuckle.

Said weak point was still quite solid, he could not enter the closed off area without either breaking the entire wall of smoke or getting Morel's permission.

Smoke surrounded them, extending the wall past the pair as the wall in front of them parted. Morel stood their without harm and in front of him was a black cocoon.

Morel asked, "How'd things go outside?"

Rayleigh gave a tired sigh. "Pitou escaped, just like Youpi did. They both ran off to go help the King." Normally, Rayleigh was not great at lying, but being really really tired heavily dampened any signs of lying and Shaiapouf would not have known Rayleigh well enough to tell.

Of course, since Morel saw Rayleigh toss and hide Menthuthuyoupi's corpse into Knov's Hide and Seek room, he was aware of Rayleigh's hidden meaning.

Bringing the subject back to current events, Morel pointed at the black cocoon and asked, "Can you tell what he is doing?"

Rayleigh opened his perception to the limit and after a moment, answered, "Yeah. He's being sneaky."

When one saw a giant cocoon, one would naturally assume that something dangerous was inside and approach with caution. Rayleigh could not sense anything using Gyō, but he could sense life spreading around. His guess? Shaiapouf was turning into dust or something to get through the smoke barrier and using the cocoon as a bluff.

The problem? Rayleigh's Nensaber could not cut dust. Sure, he could cut the little particles, but it wasn't exactly efficient. Besides, most of his aura was still being used to heal himself. Just because he reassembled himself, didn't mean the injury was gone. He'd need a week to fully heal and a lot longer to remove the force pollution.

Still, it wasn't like he didn't have any options. He'd never used most of them before, but he had not memorized every skill in the Temple of Force Skills for nothing.

Rayleigh motioned for Morel and Knuckle to stay close to the smoke wall as the young Force User spread his arms. Since he was already polluted with the nen equivalent of the dark side, he might as well put it to some use.

Dozens of bolts of purple electricity sprung from Rayleigh's outstretched hands and practically saturated the room. The tiny bits of dust were incinerated bit by bit and the lightning zapped the cocoon over and over, causing it to smoke.

A moment later, the scattered dust gathered back and rejoined the cocoon as it broke and Shaiapouf reformed. Rayleigh concentrated his Lightning but the re-emerged Chimera Ant blocked it with his fragile-looking butterfly wing which, as it turned out, was not very fragile.

Knuckle used this moment to punch the wing, and a familiar looking angel baby appeared.

Shaiapouf tried to strike back but he was slower than Rayleigh's Force pulling and pushing assistance so he and Knuckle were able to avoid his attacks while Knuckle tried to hit him as much as he could and Rayleigh continued to use Force Lightning. Doing so for a while would damage his hands so he'd really have to cut back on using the Force after this until he fully healed up.

The numbers on Potclean, the angel baby thing, continued to rise and rise with every Nen reinforced punch. Once it reached 10,000, the interest accumulation every ten seconds was faster than Knuckle's attacks, so the pair stopped attacking.

Shaiapouf stared at the group in hatred. His strongest ability allowed him to break apart into tiny pieces and reform, making him nearly immortal. The only way to kill him was to destroy his core, but that was about the size of a Bee. He could even turn the pieces of himself into clones and run away, but in an enclosed space, he didn't have that option, and his pieces were too vulnerable to Rayleigh's lightning to try and use that to avoid his attacks.

Seeing he was running out of options, Shaiapouf changed tactics. He stated, "His Majesty will kill you and all of your friends when he returns. I will give you one chance. Submit willingly, and I will allow you to evolve into a superior lifeform and serve his Majesty."

Rayleigh found it quite amusing to see how sincere this guy could actually sound. Now, this was a liar.

Rayleigh asked, "And what exactly is the Ant King's Goal?"

"Why, to accept his birthright. To become the ruler of this world."

Rayleigh couldn't help it. It started as a snicker. Then a chuckled. Then a full blow die hard laughing fit.

Pouf sneered and shouted with venom, "You Dare Mock the King?!"

Rayleigh calmed down and took a few steadying breaths before answering, "Do you know where the Ant Queen came from?"

Deciding he didn't like where this tangent might lead, Pouf replied, "It doesn't matter. The King has outgrown his mother."

Rayleigh chuckled once more. "Not quite. How about I let you in on the truth? This human world? It's in a fishbowl. The King's mother was tossed into the fishbowl by some of the guys who tend the fishbowl for shits and giggles. You know what that means? It means your King's goal, his lofty purpose, is to become the King of the Fish Bowl!"

And with that, another round of laughter started while Pouf looked both shocked and insulted. He shouted, "You lie! Our King is the pinnacle of all species!"

"Your King is a Bug! Even at his current power, compared to the existence on the other side of the glass, he is nothing more than an ordinary Insect! Do you want to know the truth?! If your King was truly born to rule everything, he would have noticed how weak everything around him was and sought a stronger world to grow. Instead, he chose to sit on that throne behind you. Why did he decide to accept such a pitiful position and rule over the equivalent of dirt and dust? It's because deep down, your so-called King is not a real king. He is just a small. pitiful. weak. Insect."

Shaiapouf's face morphed into something like a wasp at the peak of his fury and he leaped forward. His hands had morphed into scythes and they were aiming to remove Rayleigh's head.

Rayleigh dodged and Morel created a dozen Smoke Dolls that took on Rayleigh's and Knuckle's appearance. The angry chimera ant shuffled through the various dolls of Rayleigh as Knuckle snuck in multiple attacks. Shaiapouf transformed multiple times to become deadlier and deadlier, but each transformation used up a massive amount of aura, and soon..

The one small and chubby angel was now massive. It started shining and a moment later with a flash of light, it turned into a small devil-like construct.

Shaiapouf's form dissolved into dust. He watched his fingers and arms dissolve like sand.

A moment later, the only thing where Shaiapouf once stood was a floating bee.

Morel quickly snatched it and pinched it to death. "Squashed like a bug. How fitting."

The little devil thing popped, showing that the target it enforced Zetsu on had died.

Morel released his Smoke cage and everyone scattered to look around the palace.

While Killua and Gon found, fought, and killed the Cheetah guy, Rayleigh found the Minister's office and smiled. He picked up a few things and put them in a bag before he used Clairvoyance to find everyone and gather them back together. Even Knov was collected.

Rayleigh took them all beyond the walls of the palace once more and Morel eventually asked, "What's this about? We're not done searching the Palace."

Rayleigh said, "We can finish that later. Everything is about to end." Rayleigh then got out a bottle of scotch from the bag and a bunch of glasses and gave one to everyone, including himself, Gon, and Killua. Then he opened the bottle and started pouring.

Morel said, "I really don't know what you're thinking kid. You are too young to drink."

Rayleigh continued filling each of their glasses as he answered, "I have never taken a drop of alcohol in my life and with the exception of special occasions, I don't plan to start now."

Knuckle asked, "What's the occasion? A successful mission?"

Rayleigh finished pouring the last glass and set the bottle down. "No, those will come and go. This is something else." Rayleigh pointed south and said, "The first time I met Netero, I fought him with everything I had. Although we didn't talk much, I was able to get a good sense of his character back then."

It was at that moment, a flash of light lit up the horizon. One would almost think it was the light of the morning sun, but it was not even 1 AM yet and the light came from the south.

Rayleigh continued, "What Netero wanted, more than anything, was to go all out in a fight. To die fighting. And to have a meaningful death. Most are unable to choose their death, but Netero was lucky enough to be able to do exactly that. And he was able to get everything he desired. These glasses are for a very special occasion. This is for the moment that Chairman Netero was able to get everything he wanted."

The unsaid words were heard clearly by everyone. Tears were fought back in the eyes of everyone who knew the old man. Morel nodded and placed his glass forward, "To Netero!"

Everyone clinked their glasses together, """To Netero!"""

*Author's Note*

This honestly might be my favorite chapter. But I finished it at like 4 AM and kept going to prevent a cliffhanger. Since I got so many stones and reviews, I had to come through so I went all out for the entire thing. I will edit the errors later, after sleeping.

Multiple Will Issue. I probably need to reword a few things, so here is how that works. Using the Force to do multiple things at the same time with different Wills does not increase the mental strain, but does increase mental exertion. So imagine two guys running side-by-side. One guy is just running, and the other has multiple Wills and is running while texting while carrying a bunch of books in his hands while doing homework, and carrying a backpack. The effect of multiple Wills allows the second guy to run at the same speed as the first, so his running speed is not impacted by the fact that he is doing so many other things at the same time. But if they both keep running, the second guy will tire out faster than the first guy because he is doing many things and each takes up energy. Usually, dividing your mind weakens each of the things you delegate your brainpower to when compared to devoting your whole mind to one thing. Multiple Wills counters that, but he still only has one brain. Sorry if I explained it poorly earlier and it sounded like a Nerf.

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