Chapter Nine: The Hunted:

Footsteps ran behind Hisoka. He froze at an unnerving sensation closing in on him. It didn’t help that he could feel any emotions. This was worse than his time with Jessie.

Hisoka shook his head. He couldn’t focus on all of that. The footsteps got closer. One… Two… Three, no… Four pairs around him.

But, wait.

Kitsune were tricksters. There had to be only one kitsune here. He had to be circling him. Hisoka closed his eyes. Conserve energy and focus.

Hisoka pointed to the left.

“There,” he mouthed. He moved his finger along with the noise. First to the right. Back to the left. Now behind him. Left, no right. Hisoka trailed the footsteps for five more minutes.

Then, he stopped.

“There!” the shinigami shouted. He reached behind his back when the footsteps stopped. Hisoka opened his eyes. Aki sat frozen. The kitsune glared at him.

“Caught you,” Hisoka said. Aki tried to move his mouth to speak. The shinigami placed his thumb on his forehead.

“What did you do to me?” Aki asked through touch. “Why can’t I move?”

“I apologize,” Hisoka said. “But we had to do this.”

“Do what?” the kitsune asked. Suddenly, Aki froze.

“What… What did you do to me?” He felt the rips through his body. Hisoka counted each one.

One… Two… Three… Four…

“Stop!” Aki yelled. “It hurts! It’s hurting me! Make it stop! Make it stop!”

Five… Six… Seven… Eight…

“It’s tearing me apart!” Aki shouted. “Make it stop! Make it stop! Make it--!” The shinigami drew back his thumb. Aki reeled in silent pain. His body twisted as he threw his head back.

Nine… Ten… Eleven… Twelve…

Aki looked at him with pleading eyes. Hisoka stood with no emotion on his face.

“Done,” he said.

“What?” the kitsune mouthed.

Thirteen… Fourteen… Fifteen.

Aki gasped and collapsed at Hisoka’s feet. The young shinigami breathed out. The part of the plan was complete. Hisoka looked up in the endless darkness.

“It’s done,” he said.


Tsuzuki looked up, smiling.

“Done,” he said.

“What?” Yasuo asked. The darkness started to lighten up.