54 Chapter 54 Leaving the Hunter World

Chapter 54 Leaving the Hunter World

Although Rayleigh was better off sleeping for the next few weeks to recover, he had no intention of doing so before everything was wrapped up. Besides, cleaning up the leftovers in the Palace didn't take too long and uncovered a bunch of interesting things.

First, Ray discovered that the reason for the success of their plans was due to the woman that Pitou had initially been told to guard. Rayleigh used Psychometry on the game board in her room and figured out her story.

Komugi is the World Champion of Gungi, a game that was a mix of Go and Chess where you could place your pieces wherever you wanted at the start of the game and even stack them for different effects.

The Ant King had been getting his royal ass whooped over and over by this woman who not only has poor respiratory functions but was completely blind.

Rayleigh had no idea how that worked. Since Gungi allowed you to place your pieces wherever in the beginning, didn't that mean that before each game, her opponent would have to call out the position of every single piece? If the game was timed, would the time that was needed by her for her opponent to call out each piece at the beginning be taken from the opponent's clock, or her own?

In any case, it was during one of the games they played that the King made an error in judging the value of life and ripped off his own arm as an apology.

Rayleigh could only roll his eyes when he observed that. The Ant King was a Drama Queen.

In any case, it was only because of that moment that Pitou was forced to retract her En and heal the King, giving Knov the chance to make the doors they used to get there, kill Youpi, and hold back Pouf.

It was also thanks to interacting with her that the Ant King had made a few decisions against indiscriminate killing which caused him to make the foolish choice to fight Netero alone, without his Royal Guard.

Rayleigh sensed that if a single one of the Royal Guard had survived, they would have been able to save the King. But he left without them and they were all killed. Though in his defense, he didn't know Rayleigh killed one of them even before he left.

After analyzing the situation, Rayleigh came to a troublesome conclusion. Though Komugi had inadvertently done a great service for the world, she would not be rewarded with what she deserved. In fact, from her perspective, she would lose a lot, since Rayleigh doubted anyone but the late King would be able to give her a good game, the only thing she really wanted.

Rayleigh decided that when this was over, he'd help her. Once he told the Hunter Association of what she did, they'd probably offer some assistance as well.

Besides Komugi, three other things of relative interest were discovered in the Palace. The first was a pair of Chimera Ants that had surrendered upon being discovered. Morel took custody of them.

One of them could pass for a human woman if she wore clothes to cover up some of her less human features and the second had an Ant head, likely one of the earlier Chimera Ants.

Morel asked, "Do you two need to eat humans to live?"

Both quickly shook their heads before Morel added, "Then I'll contact Colt and send you two over later."

Colt was the name of the Chimera Ant babysitting the reincarnated Kite.

What would be discovered later was that the Ant-headed one had the memories of Colt's little sister and their reunion was quite heartfelt, especially when she took Colt back to their mother who was ecstatic that they were both, technically, alive.

That was the first thing of interest. The second was the puppet body of Diego. Rayleigh was curious about the sins that the guy had racked up during his life and used Psychometry on the corpse to discover what he could.

When Rayleigh used Psychometry on something, he did not get every single detail. When used on an item, he basically got the fingerprints of the living and the memories the item had of those who interacted with it. When he used it on a corpse, he got the details that had an impact, the details that had meaning, the ones that stood out the most from their life. He would not see every scene of the guy's life and become intimately aware of how he tied his shoes, but he would see the exterior structure and interior framework that made him up. As an analogy, if the corpse was a building, Rayleigh would get the blueprints and a list of construction materials as well as a timeline of how it was built and damaged over the course of its existence.

After only a few moments of processing the former leader of East Gorteau, Rayleigh started laughing. A lot. It took about five minutes for him to stop. Of all the things to see, that was not something he would have ever predicted.

After collecting himself, Rayleigh found Morel organizing a group that was brought over to the palace using Knov's Hide and Seek to take care of the fallout and shared the interesting bits he discovered.

Rayleigh got his attention first and called out, "Morel. You made a deal with someone high in the military for assistance, right?"

Morel frowned but nodded, "Yeah, that bastard deserves to rot for the rest of his life, but he agreed to tell us everything and help us in exchange for a ticket out of the country for himself and his family."

Rayleigh asked, "So the deal required him to tell you everything? Did he blame all the worst stuff on Diego?"

Morel confirmed, "Right on both counts. Why'd you ask?"

Rayleigh's smirk returned as he thought about it and he had to take a few calming breaths to stop himself from laughing again before he explained, "Remember how I hacked the country and told everyone outside the city that Diego was dead and the bigwigs behind him covered it up to maintain control over the country?"

Morel gave Ray a deadpan stare before answering, "Kinda hard to forget that."

Rayleigh couldn't help but snicker a few times before he said, "Well, it turns out that I wasn't completely wrong. The real Diego took all the money he could and ran away years ago because he was afraid of that happening. The guy calling himself Diego since then is an actor paid for by those bigshots, including the General. They wanted to build a strong enough force to take over West Gorteau and then use the actor, 'Diego,' as the fall guy while they squeezed the country dry to strengthen their military."

Morel looked dumbfounded. What the hell kind of 3rd rate sitcom drama was this shit?

After processing Rayleigh's claim, a sinister and cruel smirk appeared on his face as Morel stated aloud, "So, the general lied. That is some very interesting information. Can you document everything and give it to me later?"

Rayleigh nodded. The upper-echelon guys who wrote the deal probably would not have cared about anything the General actually did, but the deal that was signed specifically stated that the General would tell them everything. Since the General lied, the deal for his protection and relocation could be voided. And since the danger was over, they wouldn't need the General anymore and he doubted anyone would lose sleep over screwing him over.

The third and final thing of interest was a Chimera Ant Metamorphosis pod Gon found in the basement of the palace. Unlike the ones on the tree, this one was made more recently and with a lot more care. Gon and Killua came across it and confirmed that the being within was none other than Palm, the woman sent to investigate this place.

Rayleigh was called over and used Psychometry on the pod and discovered that unnatural attempts to restructure the woman's brain chemistry had been made and their purpose could be easily guessed. Thankfully, what Pouf and Pitou could mess up with Nen, Rayleigh could somewhat fix with the Force. Using Shatterpoint, Dark Transfer, Psychometry, and Force Healing, Rayleigh was able to fix the imbalance that had been applied to the woman's brain and return it to as normal as was possible. Rayleigh honestly didn't know what the ants did to her, but he doubted it was done with the best intentions in mind.

Moments after that, he woke her up. Unlike the pods in the palace courtyard, Palm was already a powerful Nen user, so her metamorphosis didn't take that long. She could have been awoken at any time and was probably waiting on an order to do so.

The woman seemed confused, but mostly alright. Apparently, she'd been caught and she killed herself, but Pitou easily brought her back, and together with Pouf, they tried to make her into a loyal soldier. She didn't know if it would have worked since her mind was not quite right even before they fiddled around in there, but any semblance of conditioning they tried to apply was removed thanks to what Rayleigh did.

After being fused with Chimera Ant DNA, her abilities increased by a fair margin, but her arms took on a somewhat scaled appearance and she had what looked like a glass pane on her forehead which acted something like a third eye.

Although changed in form, everyone readily accepted her and celebrated that she had survived.

The next few days passed in a blur.

The Hunter Association had everyone evacuate the palace and made a bunch of interesting claims to the media about what happened.

They couldn't tell the truth and had to make up a believable lie, so they just took Rayleigh's story and added to it. The fact that Diego really was a fake and the country really had in fact been led by a council of evil dudes meant they could arrest them all and place the blame for everything on them. None of them would ever have the chance to get a public trial and say anything different.

For Komugi, Rayleigh actually spent two days with her and a Gungi board. They didn't play any games, but she recreated from memory every single game that she played with the King and Rayleigh documented each and every one. To make sure that she got the reward she deserved, Rayleigh took most of his savings and used it to open a small Gungi School with her as the Headmistress. Since their plan killed the only person who could ever play her, he told her she should teach others so that one day, she might raise someone who would be able to beat her.

He couldn't do anything about her physical condition as her health problems were things she was born with and were not caused by any kind of damage that Rayleigh could mend. But as long as she had fresh air and the occasional medication, she would be able to live a long and healthy life.

Komugi was able to play at all levels of difficulty, so even if someone were an amateur, she wouldn't crush him in a few turns. This actually made her an excellent teacher.

The games she played with the King that Rayleigh had written down would be analyzed by experts and made into textbooks for the school.

And of course, the salary she'd be earning for the rest of her life would be enough to support herself and her family, all of whom depended on her.

Thinking about how her family depended on her, although she was sad that the King was gone, she was glad she was not dead or else her family would have been screwed.

The only thing she hated was the name of the school. Rayleigh insisted on calling it the Hall of the Gungi Goddess. She got embarrassed and flustered every time someone mentioned it, but Rayleigh insisted it stayed and since he was paying the bill, it did. Just to make sure she never got bored, 500 Million Jennies were placed into a bank account and would be awarded along with the title of Gungi God to anyone who could defeat her in an official match witnessed by several world judges, and she could be challenged at any time. That way, she would not have to wait for annual tournaments and the best players would come to her.

The school was built in West Gorteau as her family had moved there due to Rayleigh's prank. The truth that there was no King Bradley, firstborn son of Diego, had not been discovered quite yet because all those who could now argue against it had been arrested for crimes against humanity.

Due to the aftermath, Rayleigh ended up not being the most liked person in the Hunter's Association. A bunch of bigwigs in the association had predicted that they would be able to take over East Gorteau themselves and make it their playground, but with most of the population moving to West Gorteau and the public outcry, they couldn't argue that West Gorteau's claim seemed more legitimate and since the bigshots were arrested, West Gorteau was able to take over East Gorteau without a single shot fired.

HK-47 would probably weep if he knew, so Rayleigh decided not to tell him unless he got really bored.

Even though Rayleigh was not liked, those he inadvertently offended could not do anything since former President Netero made an announcement before his death that the next President of the Hunter Association would be determined by election. They were all too busy to take the seat themselves or for their party to mess with him, but that meant he'd have to leave after the election to avoid unnecessary drama.

As for plans, Rayleigh knew pretty clearly what he had to do. He spent a long time meditating on his fight with Pitou and could only sigh in resignation at all the problems he had. Without a doubt, that was the hardest fight of his life, and the only reason he didn't die was that Silva Zoldyck didn't pass up the chance Rayleigh almost killed himself to get.

What was worse was the fact that he knew it wasn't simply a matter of power. Pitou's ability was not all that different from the Force, and all it really did was even the fight so that he could not easily hamper her in combat. In the beginning, Rayleigh actually came out ahead on a number of exchanges, but she adapted to his fighting style faster than he did and it would not have been long for her to find an opening and kill him, even with all his advantages.

No, the problem was not his Hatsu, not his sword, not his use of the Force, and not his physical abilities. No, the problem was his skill. He had no real foundation for swordsmanship. She adapted to him because his style was homemade and at its core, simple. It was effective for short battles, but against seasoned or genius opponents, he had a long list of glaring weaknesses that could be exploited because he didn't have a swordsmanship foundation strong enough to carry the rest of his abilities.

He needed a teacher.

But first, he needed to vote. Apparently, the upcoming Hunter Association Presidential election had a bunch of annoying rules, like 95% of Hunters had to vote for the result to be valid and you could vote for any Hunter. And if one candidate didn't get more than 50% of the votes, they'd do another election with the top 16, then the top 8, and so on until there was only one.

There were about 670 hunters so if 34 or more Hunters didn't vote for anyone, they'd have to keep redoing the Election over and over. There were over a dozen Players with a Hunter License, so they had to vote or their absence would be noticed. Not all Players who learned Nen had Hunter Licenses, but those who did would have to show up.

Rayleigh even found out that Greed Island let every Hunter leave without a Leave Card for free since they had a lot of Hunters there as well. Rayleigh wondered if the election would have gone on forever if they didn't let the GI Players leave so easily.

As for the Players, they spent the election trolling each other.

[Green Lantern: Vote for Kenny!]

[Poison King: But I killed Kenny.]

[Swordsman: You Bastard!]

[Dragon Chef: You Bastard!]

[Demon King: You Bastard!]

[Puppeteer: You Bastard!]

[Justice: You Bastard!]

Even Pirate Players with a License returned for the Election since they were told the License may be revoked if they didn't show up. It may not have been true, but no one would tell them that.

[Swordsman: Anyone wanna meet up and play DnD or something?]

[Armory: Not on this planet. I heard about what you guys did to Yorknew. Is that neighborhood still on fire?]

[Dragon Chef: I think they put it out recently.]

[Armory: Then, yeah. If you guys want to meet up, might be better to do it somewhere else. Like on a planet I don't have to pay damages for.]

[Justice: Who do you think is gonna win the election?]

[Swordsman: No idea. Anyone here able to see into the future?]

[Demon Hunter: A friend of mine can while using some items materialized with Nen, but she told me the future keeps shuffling around.]

[Swordsman: Yeah, I tried to peek and got a headache. I did see a scene of a dog, rat, and boar fighting, but I couldn't see who won.]

[Demon Hunter: Yeah, I can't imagine it being anyone but those three either.]

[Justice: Who are you guys talking about?]

[Dragon Chef: Details would be appreciated.]

[Swordsman: The previous president of the Hunter Association made something of a council of Hunters and assigned each of its twelve members a title from the Zodiac. The Boar is the Main Character's father and would make a terrible pres. The Rat is the Evil Villain hiding in the dark and would be even worse. And the Dog is probably the most responsible of the Zodiacs, but is too straightforward and naïve to beat the boar or rat.]

[Justice: Shouldn't the Dog win then?]

[Swordsman: Not unless the Rat and Boar give up. If either of them wants to win, they will. They are on a completely different level than any of the others.]

[Demon Hunter: That's what I heard as well. The only reason the Dog even has a chance is that those two are finicky and unpredictable. They have no problems with sabotaging themselves and don't think in the same way as others.]

[Justice: I'll still vote for the Dog.]

[Dragon Chef: I'll vote for the Boar. Might be interesting. What's his name?]

[Green Lantern: Pariston Hill. The dog's name is also Pariston Hill. So just write his name down when voting.]

[Swordsman: Just look it up on the Hunter Website.]

Since the voting might take a few days, the Hunter Association gave free rooms to all the Hunters who showed up so they could stay until the elections were over.

Rayleigh passed his vote for Cheadle, the Dog Zodiac into the voting box with his name on it and watched from the side. He was not the only one either.

"Hey Hisoka, what happened to your hand?"

The murderous magician smiled and waved at Rayleigh, "Ah, this? Just a replacement I got after having a little too much fun."

Rayleigh could tell there was more to it but didn't ask. He felt that Hisoka's entire right arm was made of his own aura as if the original was cut off, and his aura seemed a lot stronger than it was before. A whole lot stronger. Rayleigh thought he might have gotten closer to the guy in strength, but Hisoka was a genius through and through, and he got stronger over time as well.

Hisoka looked Rayleigh over and gave a perverse smile, "You seem to have grown quite a bit since I last saw you."

Rayleigh nodded, "I fought some monsters recently and discovered a lot of my weaknesses. Ah, that reminds me. Do you know the name, Joshua Jones?"

Hisoka shook his head, "Can't say I have. Is he strong?"

Rayleigh nodded seriously, "He definitely is. It seems he is the personal disciple of the Vice President of the Hunter Association, Pariston Hill. Though this Joshua is much stronger than I am, he is the same age, and definitely a genius beyond measure. I thought you might have heard of him."

A light of interest shined in the mad magician's eyes. "Oh ho? Is that right? I'll definitely look out for him then. Hehehehe."

Rayleigh slowly backed away as Hisoka's laughter got creepier and creepier.

[Swordsman: Careful when voting guys, Hisoka is scoping out the Hunters that are coming to vote.]

[Spring Heeled Jack: Hisoka?! Oh hell no! I'll get a proxy to deliver my vote.]

[Armory: Oh f*ck, not that guy.]

[Green Lantern: Nope. Uh, nope. Nope, and definitely.. Nope.]

[Justice: Who is Hisoka?]

[Dragon Chef: Is he that bad?]

[Demon Hunter: Yes. A bunch of us Players took the Hunter Exam when we were ten. Some of us have PTSD from that guy.]

[Swordsman: Is that why none of the Hunter Players participated in the Exam when we were eleven?]

[Poison King: Partially. Most of us passed that exam, but those who didn't get a license yet were certainly discouraged from getting one after that.]

[Justice: What did he do?]

[Lightning Lord: Did he fail the exam?]

[Demon Hunter: Yes, but not due to a lack of skill. He killed one of the judges and brutally beat another down.]

[Swordsman: Hisoka is the kind of guy the Happy Tree Friends would run away from.]

[Green Lantern: Hisoka is the kind of guy monsters check under their bed for.]

[Lightning Lord: Chuck Norris?]

[Armory: Hisoka is kind of like that alien clown thing from Steven King's It, but somehow worse.]

[Justice: He isn't an actual clown, is he?]

[Swordsman: ... well, he doesn't call himself a clown, but from the way he dresses to the make-up he uses, he would not stand out if he stood next to Pennywise.]

[Lightning Lord: Oh f*ck that.]

[Swordsman: It should be fine. I was able to throw off his trail by making him interested in someone else.]

[Demon Hunter: Oh? Who?]

[Swordsman: I told him Enigma was stronger than I was. He seemed very interested.]

[Demon Hunter: ... hahahahahaha! Really?! You threw that b*tch under the bus?! Nice!]

[Dragon Chef: Who's Enigma?]


[Demon Hunter: Enigma is one of the many Lurkers who rarely if ever participate in the Chat because they are trying too hard to be mysterious.]

[Swordsman: Who are the other lurkers?]

[Puppeteer: Besides myself, and I do participate sometimes, there are Duelist, Pokemon Master, Summoner, Key Master, and a few others who will probably change their chat names later. I'm sure you can guess which Nen category those four all belong to.]

[Dragon Chef: No way, Pokemon Master? Hey, did you catch them all yet?]

[Pokemon Master: Hey, my conjurations get stronger with every victory, so even if they are weak now, they'll kick your *ss one day. Especially since battles they win during Tavern Missions count.]

[Justice: So if a Pokemon Trainer and a Duelist fought, who would win?]

[Duelist: My beautiful monsters would beautifully obtain victory for me, without question.]

[Dragon Chef: What if your opponent ignores your conjured monsters and attacks you?]

[Duelist: I shall never lose against such uncivil scoundrels. Besides, you cannot attack my life points directly while I have monsters on the field.]

[Lightning Lord: That is a pretty cool invincibility condition.]

[Swordsman: What about you Summoner? Gonna say something?]

[Duelist: He rarely pays attention to the chatroom and is usually sculpting. Key Master usually lurks in the General Chat, I rarely even see him logged into the Hunter Chat.]

[Dragon Chef: Oh? He's a sculptor?]

[Duelist: Yes. Pokemon Master makes his conjurations stronger by creating them weak and letting them battle. Summoner creates them strong from the start, but the condition is that he must sculpt a perfect, life-sized, replica of his desired summon first. I myself am an artist with a similar restriction. For every Duel Monster Card I conjure, I must paint a perfect, life-sized portrait of the monster and another portrait for each special technique the monster uses. For stronger cards, I must paint three or four portraits which can take weeks or months. But once I have a full deck, I will become unstoppable.]

[Demon Hunter: He said he will make spell and trap cards too, and since he has Drawing at random from his deck as a condition, that actually makes his stuff pretty strong, though I've never lost to him.]

[Duelist: Just wait, I won't lose to you next time!]

[Justice: Wait, Swordsman said you couldn't have more than three Hatsus. Wouldn't each card count as a Hatsu?]

[Duelist: Ha! It's all a matter of imagery. The ability to conjure cards from my paintings counts as a single Hatsu. The ability to enact the effects and conjure the beautiful monsters from my cards counts as a second Hatsu. And my third Hatsu is the Duel itself!]

[Demon Hunter: Yeah, it's really annoying. Because you can't attack on the first turn according to the rules of a duel, even if you are faster than he is, you can't attack him until he has had the chance to summon a monster from the cards he drew.]

Rayleigh smiled at the antics and kept the details in mind. Fighting against someone who was essentially playing Yu-Gi-Oh against him would actually be pretty tricky if he used Trap and Spell cards. On the plus side, that player would probably restrict himself to real cards instead of making ones up since that restriction would definitely increase the power of his conjurations. On the downside, Rayleigh didn't remember anything from the show after the second series. He wondered if Duelist had any Millennium Items.

He also figured that Pokemon Master and Summoner had more restrictions than they shared to increase the power of their conjurations. One that Rayleigh guessed was that since Conjuration was far from Manipulation, they had to enact specific rules to control their conjured monsters since they couldn't use their Nen to easily do it without weakening the helper.

On that thought, that likely explained what Pokemon Master was doing. He couldn't conjure powerful pokemon because they would not listen to him. But if he conjured weaker ones and raised them up using battles, then they would obey his orders. Rayleigh wondered if he could conjure powerful pokemon later and use his current ones to beat it to submission, meaning he would be able to directly conjure powerful pokemon once the strength of his current ones reached that level.

Of course, all of these guesses didn't matter. Rayleigh just had to increase his speed, increase his skill, and increase his ability to cut. As long as he focused on those three things, he should be able to cut anything in the future.

Time passed, and as predicted, the elections got hectic. Ging Freecss was seen punching Pariston Hill in the face which caused some of Pariston's supporters to jump him in a brawl which Ging soundly won. This entire thing was caught on camera and shown on TV. This caused a lot of votes that weren't going to Pariston to go to Ging.

Rayleigh attributed this to the fact that Pariston had an extremely punchable face.

Pariston tried to have all the Hunters loyal to him not vote which would delay the election indefinitely, but Cheadle countered by basically gathering all the Hunters into the same building and saying, "We'll keep voting until there is one left, and we'll finish this now!"

Since Ging couldn't run away while locked in that building, Gon was able to use that moment to go up to Ging and return his license. Ging thanked him and said they'd talk later. This small action painted the very wrong picture that Ging was a family man, and due to this completely inaccurate perception, Ging won the election and became the President of the Hunter Association.

As his first act, Ging then promptly selected Cheadle as his vice president and then resigned from the post, nearly causing a riot.

Rayleigh, Gon, and Killua gathered together for the last time. None of them liked goodbyes, so they made it quick. Killua had a lot of things to do back home that he'd been avoiding. Gon said he'd go back home to see Mito for a while and then meet up with Ging again for an adventure Ging was planning. And Rayleigh had a swordmaster to find.

Of course, Rayleigh did try to find one in the Hunter World. Plenty of guys used swords, but most of them had too many flaws and were beneath the basic Jedi forms.

Rayleigh's search for a teacher came to an abrupt end when he heard on the news that the Kakin Empire was going on a trip to the Dark Continent. Yep. Time to nope the fuck off this planet.

Rayleigh spent the following day dealing with everything he could think of which basically meant putting up a sign that said, "Don't look for me." The problem was that in a world filled with Hunters, this was practically a challenge, but Rayleigh would admit if someone could find him after he left the planet, he'd be pretty impressed.

Once the chance was available, Rayleigh found a place without witnesses or cameras outside and physically entered the Tavern.

Once more back in his adult form, Rayleigh walked up to the lumberjack minding the bar, and asked, "Hey Red, how much would it cost for sword lessons from Mihawk?"

Red stared at him for a second before he burst out laughing. His boisterous laughter thundered within the Tavern, drawing the attention of every Player who wondered the exact same thing, 'what kind of stupid thing did that guy just say?'

Rayleigh sighed, he thought as much.

*Author's Note*

Komugi will get her happily ever after, so there's that. I also included several ideas I would pay to see in another Hunter X Hunter fanfic. I'm sure lots of you would be interested in a Duel Monsters Duelist in Hunter X Hunter. Maybe someone will get inspired from reading this and write that story themselves. The Cow Zodiac and the Haiku Hunters have abilities that are just as ridiculous, so a Duelist is definitely a possible build with Nen.

I wonder how many people will figure out who Rayleigh's teacher will be. I did leave a rather large hint that has been in this story since the 2nd chapter. Hopefully, those who did not guess it will slap their foreheads on the reveal and say, "I can't believe I didn't see him coming. It was Right there!"

Oh yeah, for those who thought I made it up, that thing with Diego is true. There is a single frame in the Manga after the Chimera ant fight that shows Diego doing his own thing while watching TV.

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