Predator of Predators: Prologue
A woman could be seen running through dense foliage. Her breathing was heavy and her muscles were worn out after constant running. Blood, which flowed from the large wound on her back, left a trail behind her. Her left leg was limping, clearly from the broken ankle it sported. Her movement was severely hampered, and her strength was constantly waning.
The woman tried screaming for help, but she knew deep inside, help would not come. Tears fell from her eyes when she reached a dead-end.
'Is this the end?' She asked herself, as a stream of tears fell from her eyes. She knew the smell of eminent death, and this was it. She had taken her fair share of human lives, and she knew how each of her victims felt right before she killed them, it was fear. A sudden rustling in the woods took her attention, startling her.
'This is it' She told herself, shivering from her own fear and the cold winds that blew in the night. 'I'm going to die here'
'I don't want to die' were her last thoughts, before something emerged from the woods. The instant and natural response of her body was to release her kagune. Four bluish-red tendrils emerged from her lower-back, ready to be used by her. But her fear was at such a high level that her Kagune wouldn't even respond to her mental signals anymore, like a muscle that simply would move no matter how much you want it to.
In an instant, merely 1.5 milliseconds, her Kagune was torn to shreds by the creature that chased after her. She screamed in pain, a natural reaction to extreme pain from having her muscles torn off.
While a ghoul's kagune is naturally more resilient that other parts of their body, it still had pain receptors like any other muscle in the body.
"…why?.." She managed to ask despite her current predicament, about to be killed and all. Silence was the only answer to her question.
In a 10 mile radius, all those who had the capacity to hear could hear the pained scream of a woman. To most, it sent a chill down their spines. To some, it meant the death of another monster.
"This has been going on for 5 months now" A man said as he set down a file on his desk. Around him were dozens of other CCG members, who have been called to this meeting. "I've contacted other CCG headquarters and apparently Germany and Russia had come across these murders before"
"So you believe this….person is here in Japan?" A CCG agent commented, lighting a cigarette on his mouth as he said so. Others scowled at this, but there was no 'no smoking' policy in the CCG. "I can't wait to meet this mystery ghoul killer"
"Reports show that the corpses of these killed ghouls have most parts eaten" A female CCG agent said as she skimmed through the details on the file. It had pictures of half-eaten ghouls, scattered entrails in the woods, body parts lying around and a picture of a ghoul whose spine had been torn off. "What if it's just cannibalism? It's not uncommon for ghouls to start eating each other"
"I considered that once, and so did the German CCG analyst" Their leader said. "But the bite marks and wounds don't resemble something made by a ghoul's bite marks or any Kagune. Closer inspection revealed that the wounds were made by something really sharp. As in, 'it can slice through any known material' sharp, even quinque steel"
"So what're we going to do about it? I mean, if this thing is killing ghouls then let it" Another CCG agent said nonchalantly. "That's a good thing isn't it?"
Everyone who joined the meeting silently agreed. This thing, whatever it was, left a trail of half-eaten ghoul corpses and some unrecognizable bodies, but all were ghouls, which earned it a star in the CCG's book of good manners. Heck anything that meant it would give trouble to the ghouls was a good thing for the CCG.
"While I do agree with your opinion, unfortunately the higher-ups have decided that we capture this thing" Their leader said with a sigh. Honestly, what he wanted personally was to get this person to cooperate with them. Perhaps even have him or her join the CCG since 3 of the victims were identified as S-rank ghouls, which are quite strong. But the higher-ups had different plans so he had no choice. "All CCG headquarters around the world have been given the same order"
"Such a curious creature" Someone said from the back. All CCG agents turned and saw Arima Kishou sitting there with a puzzled expression on his face. Arima Kishou, a legend within the CCG. It was he who defeated the One Eyed Owl in single combat and won. His word, to this day, remains highly valued and respected by all CCG agents. "If ghouls primarily hunt humans for food, then it's possible that something also hunts them for the same reason. Such a curious thought, and imagine the possibilities if we had something like that within the CCG"
Now, every CCG agent in Japan prized anything Arima could possibly say or give. What he had just stated was somewhat….plausible for everyone who heard it. A predator that hunts the predator of humans, it's quite the chilling thought that something like that existed somewhere out there. Arima also gave a very valid statement when he mentioned the possibility of it working with the CCG, but that wasn't possible.
"Hmmmm…..Special Class Arima, what are your thoughts on this?" The head investigator asked.
"Didn't I just share my thoughts on this not a few seconds ago?" Arima retorted monotonously. "Beyond what I shared…..I'm truthfully unsure on what to think of this whole situation. Maybe it is an unknown species or perhaps some rogue CCG members, I am not sure. "
"Priscilla" A white haired man greeted. In front of him was a young girl, probably in her teen years. Blood dripped from her mouth and was splattered all over her clothes. "We'll be moving to the city soon. You should clean yourself and get some rest"
"Where's Raki?" Priscilla asked, taking off her clothes and throwing them on the floor. Her next course of action was to walk to the comfort room to take a shower, but she stopped near the bathroom door to hear the answer to her question. Her eyes flicked back to the white-haired man, anticipation evident upon them.
"Raki is out buying some much needed supplies for the three of us" The white-haired man replied with a smile, though the smile was more of a habitual smile than a real one. He had noticed the worry etched upon her voice, the smile was meant to reassure her that Raki was going to be fine, not that anything could hurt him anyway. "Don't worry, he'll be back soon"
"Okay" Was Priscilla's answer, right before she turned around and stepped into the bathroom. Silence had befallen their little cabin, and only the tiny sounds of the creatures of the night broke the silence every so often.
A few minutes later, a knock on the door could be heard. The doorknob spun, creating a creaking sound, and a boy stepped inside carrying some grocery items and some travel clothing procured from the local market. The boy had brunette hair, much like Priscilla's own, and had a heavily built body from past training.
"Isley" The boy greeted, before placing the items on a nearby desk. "A truck will take us to the city tomorrow, and by then the corpse of that ghoul will have been discovered by local authorities, but we'll be long gone. So we'll have to leave early"
"Alright" The white-haired man now identified as Isley responded, nodding his head slightly as he did so. "You should get some rest, Raki"
Raki nodded and sat down on the nearby couch, but immediately stood up and removed something from his back and placed it on the table beside Isley. It was a small dagger, made from the same metal that is used for a Claymore's sword, with a brown leather sheath that could safely remain hidden under his shirt.
Raki stared at the dagger for a few seconds, reminiscing, before closing his eyes to sleep. So many sad memories were carried by that dagger, and he would remember all of them every time he saw it, and each memory would be relived within his mind every time he unsheathed it. It was so painful that sleep was the only reprieve he had.
He was, however, awakened by Priscilla who called out to him.
"Raki" He heard her say. The teen opened his right eye, leaving his left eye closed as if he was only giving half of his attention, with a bored look on his face. Priscilla gave him the same look, but the face could only give out so much information. Raki immediately recognized her concern for him. Honestly, he was the only person she knew who could understand her and comfort her when needed.
"Yes?" Raki said in a monotonous voice. Those who didn't know him would hear his current tone as a bored-annoyed one, only Priscilla and Isley recognized it as one of warmth.
"Never mind…I forgot what I was going to say" Priscilla said before walking away, she was, of course, fully nude as she did so, but Raki and Isley had seen such a scene so many times that they were used to it by now. She then stopped near the door to her room and turned around to face Raki, who now had both eyes closed. "Did you buy me some new clothes?"
Raki didn't bother responding; instead he just grabbed a green bag and threw it at Priscilla, who caught it rather easily.
"Don't tear it again" Raki said. Priscilla did have a habit of tearing up her clothes when she was out hunting. Heck, she just did so with her last clothing when she hunted down that female ghoul.
TOKYO CCG HQ: 18 Hours Later
"Another one was found earlier this morning" A CCG investigator said as he handed over the data they'd recovered. The head investigator opened the file and saw a picture of a female ghoul whose entire chest cavity had been ripped open. Both her arms were gone and one of her eyeballs was hanging loosely. "This corpse was left mangled and broken like all the others that are associated with the unknown Ghoul Killer. I believe the Ghoul Killer is getting nearer to the city."
"Our orders are clear, but I'm not going to divert any of our forces to focus solely on this mission" The head investigator said, placing the folder he had just received on the cabinet beside him. "Just tell the investigators that this is only a secondary priority"
"Yes sir" With that, the lower investigator left the room and started relaying the orders of their commander to all CCG operatives.
"To all CCG operatives listening to this broadcast: Capture of the elusive Ghoul Killer has been given a mission rate of level 2. Please relay this information to CCG operatives who may not have heard this"
Over the past months, news had spread all over the CCG about this mysterious Ghoul Killer. At first it was only rumors of ghoul corpses being found scattered and mangled all over the countryside of Japan. Then one investigator linked the similar findings that had been found in Europe and thus the Ghoul Killer was branded. Then again, most of the CCG members didn't particularly care about this at all.
"Hmm? Amon-kun, it appears we have a secondary mission on our hands eh?" Kureo Mado, another legend within the CCG, said with a slight psychotic grin. Kureo Mado, first class ghoul investigator and a renowned quinque pioneer. Many revered him for his guidance and ability to spot ghouls even in dense crowds. As such, he is admired by many CCG investigators.
"A secondary mission is still a mission" Mado's apprentice, Koutarou Amon, said, sipping some coffee as he did so.
"Isley" Raki began. Isley, who was previously reading a book, diverted his attention to Raki. "From what information I've gathered, Tokyo is filled with these Ghouls, which means there'll also be a large amount of those ghoul investigators there and that's not such a good thing for us"
"Hmmm… agreed" Isley responded, this time leaving a bookmark in place and placing his favorite book in his bag. "Priscilla and I will have to start eating less. I can manage that, but I'm not so sure about Priscilla. So you'll have to talk to her about this, she listens to you more than she listens to me"
Both men turned to the sleeping form of Priscilla, and both sighed a heavy sigh.
'Ghouls huh?' Raki said to himself. He would never forget the first time he saw and clashed against one of these things. From his memory, it was rather pathetic….
"Oh it's so nice to know that there are still some young people who're willing to help old ladies" An old woman said, smiling. Raki followed behind her, carrying what seemed to be her luggage. It looked heavy, so he decided to help, turns out it was quite the load for an old woman. He extended his help, like any well-mannered person should've, and the old lady accepted it.
"So where's this house of yours?" Raki asked, slightly agitated that they were walking to an isolated area. As Isley had taught him: "Always keep your defenses active", and he did just that. The fact that the old woman didn't answer his question only served to tighten his guard even more. His left hand dragged the luggage, while his right hand now gripped the handle of his dagger.
"Well thank you m'boy" The old lady said with a smile, but Raki saw through it instantly.
'Something's not right' He thought. His senses were going haywire now, his instincts told him to prepare for an eminent battle. But he was going to play along for now, what harm could an old woman bring him anyway? "Well here's your bag"
Just when he handed over her bag, he saw it. Blood leaked from the inner folds of the luggage, seeping into the ground. His instincts yelled at him to strafe to the right, and so he did. He turned his gaze back to where he had previously stood. The old woman was now there, but she was not the elderly he'd helped earlier. What was previously an old lady was now a monster.
Black and red eyes, tendrils spewing forth from her back and a mouth of absolute hunger. Yup, nothing he hadn't faced before. In fact, this one seemed prettier than any yoma or awakened being he'd ever seen. It was just that he'd never expected monsters to exist here as well.
The creature lunged at him with laughable speed, and Raki responded by slipping to the right and slashing at the creature's triceps in the left arm. It screamed in pain and rage, but Raki wasn't finished. Without warning, he plunged the dagger through the back of the knee and through the front, effectively preventing the creature from moving.
Although it now lacked any chasing ability, the tendrils on its back were still dangerous and Raki perceived such a danger from this and was able to avoid being skewered.
"You fucking bastard!" The creature yelled at the top of its lungs. Blood streamed from its left arm's triceps, and it was unable to stand up properly due to the devastating wound on its knee. "You doves should just all die!"
"Dove?" Raki repeated the last word she had just said. Dove, while he knew of the bird, it was obviously used to name something else entirely. No matter, his curiosity will have to be sated later. "I can assure you, I am no dove"
"DIE!" The creature yelled at the top of its voice as it sent all the tendrils behind it towards Raki, who merely stood there waiting.
"How pitiful" Raki said, almost as a whisper. What he did next was a feat most humans could never do, and he did so at an impossible speed.
He raised his right arm sideways, dropped the dagger, ducked under the tendrils, maneuvered slightly to the left and kicked the handle of the dagger, sending it flying straight for the ghoul's forehead. All in a matter of 1.5 seconds, and the ghoul was dead.
Honestly, he could've killed this thing before it could've even thought about killing him, but he'd heard the news that was constantly on television. This world was home to creatures that feasted on human flesh, they were known as ghouls. Not that he didn't have an experience with human eating monsters before, but he'd honestly never seen a ghoul either.
"Have you ever fought a ghoul Isley? Or at least gave it time to fight back?" Raki suddenly asked the man in front of him. His voice was below the sound of a whisper, but Isley's enhanced senses could detect it as if he wasn't whispering.
"No" Was Isley's straight answer. "Everytime I hunted one down, I never gave it any time to fight back or even see me for that matter. I just killed them from a distance, and ate what was left. If they couldn't even dodge my arrows, my weakest offense, then how could I expect them to fight on even ground?"
"A fair point" Raki replied. Silence crept upon them again, and only the sound of the train was audible. With nothing to do, Raki turned on the tiny television beside him and attached a pair of earphones as to not disturb his fellow passengers.
"-as you can see the 14th ward is swarming with CCG operatives-add a pinch of salt and- I'm Jeremy Wade and I'm here on- are you ready kids?-"
Ok, maybe the television won't be a good time killer after all.
His current train of thoughts, however, was disturbed when an explosion suddenly rocked the train.