Chapter Forty-Three: Misery Lust:

Hisoka slowly opened his eyes to find that there was no ground in a sea of crystallized empty. He felt his body floating.

W-Where am I?

"Oh good, you're awake," that familiar voice said. Hisoka looked up to find Kohaku standing over him, smirking. The shinigami trembled as the kitsune shook its head.

"Aww," he said. "Why do you fear me? I wouldn't harm you intentionally." Hisoka nodded with a pale face. Kohaku extended its hand out to the boy. The shinigami gave the creature a blank stare. The sweet smile was part of the trap, but yet so inviting. Hisoka slowly took the kitsune's hand. Kohaku helped him to his feet.

"There," the kitsune said. Hisoka took a minute to take in the new ground under his feet.

"You poor soul," Kohaku spoke up. "You need a release." Hisoka paused and looked up.

"Huh?" he asked.

"Therefore," the kitsune went on. He walked toward an altar. The expression on Hisoka’s face filled with startled anger. Anna sat on the ground bounded and gagged. Her eyes pleaded with him for mercy.

"What is this?" Hisoka asked. Kohaku walked forward and placed a hand on the woman's head.

"You see," the kitsune said. "I have brought you a little gift."

"What?" the boy asked.

"You hate her, right?" Kohaku asked.

"I guess…" Hisoka admitted sheepishly. The kitsune picked up a baseball bat from the crystal nothingness and handed the weapon to the shinigami.

"She must be punished," Kohaku spoke. "Take the bat and punish this wanton whore!" Hisoka hesitated at first. He looked at Kohaku and the bat with big eyes before he turned his focus on Anna.

"Don't do this to me!" the look in her eyes begged him. Hisoka's rage began to spiral.

"Why should I?" the look in his eyes asked. The boy grabbed the bat and raised it high above his head.

"Yes!" Kohaku hissed. "Do it!" Hisoka let out a beast-like cry. He took the first swing to Anna's head. The woman didn't cry out through the gag. The boy backed up to admire the damage. He licked his lips with a wild, demonic look in his eyes. Her fear and pain poured through him like a waterfall.

"That feels good!" Hisoka growled. He took another swing at his victim. Scarlet blood sailed upwards with each hit. Kohaku watched him with a smirk on its face while the swings got harder and faster.

"Yes!" the kitsune moaned as if having sex. "Yes! More!" Blood splashed upon Hisoka's face. However, when he couldn't feel her emotions run through him anymore, his sense came back.

This is not me.

"Go on!" Kohaku yelled. "Do it! Finish her off! Kill her!" Hisoka took more violent swings as his heart ached from the emptiness spilling over.

This is not me. This is not me. This is not me!


This is not me! Hisoka lowered the bat before he could deliver the lethal blow. Kohaku frowned at the toy.

"What are you doing?" it hissed. "If you want Tsuzuki back, you have to kill your rival!" Hisoka smiled and shook his head.

"She's not the one I need to take my anger out on," he replied.

"What?" Kohaku snapped. Hisoka lifted his head. His eyes weren't hungry for meaningless violence like they had been during this whole trip. Instead, a calming sense of clarity washed over the boy.

"I'm just going to take it out on you—right now!" the shinigami shouted. Kohaku only smirked at him.

"Really?" he asked. Hisoka lunged forward to take a swing.

When he hit the puppet master, the body broke down into watery dust and fell to his feet. His crystal surroundings around him vanished like tiny soap bubbles. Hisoka searched his now black landscape.

An illusion?

"Tsuzuki? Kimoto-san?" the boy asked. Hisoka's stomach turned at the realization.

Kohaku could be… I have to save them! Despite the endless dark maze around him, Hisoka began his march to save his comrades.