A Shift in Dimension
Chapter 4: Another Dimension
Yue Izumi Yanazaki was proud of his prowess and accomplishments. He may not be the sharpest knife in the drawer, but he had a lot of merits. With his unique ability, he became well-known throughout the Hunter society and earned the nickname, 'Golden-eyed' Hunter. Yet, even he wasn't prepared for the catastrophe that had befallen their world.
It had been half a day since everything went down the drain, but it felt as if an eternity had passed since the battle started.
He felt weariness settling in and could practically hear the pain screaming in his muscles as he sprinted to the carnage ahead.
It was chaos.
There were explosions from afar and screams of terror resonating around the empty highway. Yue tried his best to ignore the noises around him as he spread out his aura of detection, allowing him to anticipate any attack from any direction. He passed through bushes and trees, leaping over branch after branch before landing on cemented ground, at the entrance to the main city.
Yue didn't even need to go deeper into the town to know the situation was worse there compared to the other cities he passed through; the simultaneous detonations inside the city's perimeter were enough of an answer. He could feel the tremors through the soles of his feet.
He tightened his grip on his katana unconsciously as he gritted his teeth in agitation. There were still innocent people inside the city. However, what really frustrated Yue was the fact that he couldn't do anything to help them, and he had never before felt so weak and helpless in his life.
People may call him a coward for running away from his duty, but, for once in his life, he wanted to be selfish. He wanted to prioritize her for the sake of his sanity. Because if she ended up dead today, Kami, help him. He wouldn't be able to relax or think of fighting to save others if he was constantly worried. He needed to save her before anyone else.
Deep in thought, Yue barely realized that he had entered the city and was now surrounded by panicking people running for their lives. All of them were pale, sucked dry of their life energy. Some were slumped helplessly on the ground, crying beside the corpses of their loved ones. Some were badly injured, stretching their arms out as a silent and futile plea for help.
His eyes roamed around and observed the bloodshed as dead bodies fell from the roofs and blood and smoke scented the air. Most of the houses were reduced to broken walls and piles of crumbled rocks; half of what was still standing was on fire. Vehicles were littered among broken glass on the destroyed roads.
The main city had become a battlefield.
Yue gathered a mass of Nen and jumped onto an intact roof. His feet made an audible thud as he leaped effortlessly from roof to roof. The reddish color of his Nen pulsated around the soles of his feet, making them stick firmly to the rooftops as the energy flickered in time with Yue's jumps. Then he gripped his katana firmly in his right hand as his sensor went haywire.
'An attack?' Yue thought as he shifted his eyes from side to side, and let out a grunt as he felt a pulse of energy behind him.
'Ah, there you are.' The corner of Yue's lips lifted a little and, immediately, a huge amount of energy burst from his feet as he back flipped, propelling himself into the air and dodging a powerful globe of energy that catapulted towards him.
He coated his katana with Nen, swinging it toward his assaulter, thrusting and striking without pause to overwhelm his opponent, but the creature evaded the attacks and struck back with his chokutō. The two fighters danced in combat as they exchanged blow for blow. Face to face with each other, they both thrusted their weapons forward, criss-crossing their blades in the middle as they pushed at each other.
Yue lifted his eyes and was met with a pair of soulless ones. His opponent's pupils were yellow and reptile-like. The creature's skin was as green as the forest trees, bulky muscles visible on its bare chest and arms. A single horn was in the middle of the creature's forehead, further testament to its inhuman persona. Despite the majority of its features, it seemed more robotic than human just by looking at its unfocused, empty eyes. His movements were also stiff and he didn't speak at all; Yue wondered if someone was controlling these creatures behind the scenes.
With a boast of Nen to his feet and arms, Yue managed to disengaged, his fist coated with Ko struck his opponent. Managing to disarmed the creature, his chokutō clanging loudly as it landed on the far side of the roof.
'I've been wasting my time here. I need to end this quickly.' Yue thought to himself and decided to use one of his specialties.
Yue was a Hunter who has an affinity with wind. He could will the winds around him with the help of his Nen, concentrating enough aura on his hands and to the tip of his Katana, the wind started swirling ferociously around the blade, sharp and powerful as heat emitted from the tips of his fingers.
Without hesitation, he thrust his katana towards the creature, aiming for its heart. With inhuman speed, the creature managed to block Yue's attack with its bare hand coated in an orange aura. Yue pushed harder, wielding the wind around him. It twisted violently, circling around Yue's blade with a wheezing sound as it started to compact into a sizable orb.
Yue leaped away from his enemy and the energy exploded. The body of his enemy was reduced to a pile of broken flesh and bones, and he stared at it for a single second, before sprinting away from the corpse as if nothing had happened.
Not long after that encounter, Yue felt the air around him become denser as numerous energy signatures went running towards his aggravated one.
"Tch." He grunted as another assault came from behind that he managed to block, throwing a Nen-coated punch in retaliation. His assaulter flew away and collided painfully to a brick wall immediately losing consciousness.
Before long, many more enemies arrived to hamper his progress. Creatures from the sky started attacking him with vigorous force, monsters with horns and wings tried to deter him from arriving at his destination, but no one could stop him from his goal. No one would ever stop him from saving her. She was the only person he had, and he would be damned if he would let her die without doing anything to save her. Even if it meant his death, he would crawl back from the grave to slaughter every bastard who hurt her.
He had to admit, though, that he was a bit lucky that he still hadn't encountered that creature. The one with tremendous aura and destructive power. As much as it pained him to accept the reality of the situation, he couldn't deny the fact that he was already weakened from the previous attack, not to mention that he had been running around fighting numerous monsters.
He blasted a couple of them into oblivion with a Nen-filled sucker punch, making their bodies detonate from the pressure. Although Yue made sure to conserve as much energy as possible, the strain from all the fighting had him spent, and if adrenaline was not coursing through his veins, he might have already been unconscious. He still managed to push himself to move forward, though, circling Nen throughout his body to lessen the strain on his muscles.
Why was he stationed so far away from her when this chaos ensued? If he was at least a few kilometers away, he could have saved a lot of energy rather than waste it for running so long. If he had known that an attack like this would happen, he would have stayed near her. If only a sign or a clue had been given.
Who was he kidding? No one had anticipated what happened today. These creatures had suddenly appeared like some uninvited guests to a large birthday party with chaos and death as their presents.
When the first attack had happened, Yue and his team had been in another city far away from the capital. He had remembered everything so vividly, and in his mind, it felt like the attack happened just a few minutes ago, even though hours had passed since they had encountered the first wave of the invasion.
They had been on their way towards the Headquarters from a mission, ready to report their success with wide grins and laughters. As they had travelled, though, a black circle appeared out of nowhere, right in the center of the clear, blue sky, a dark aura pulsating in the depths of the hole.
Before they could contemplate the phenomenon, creatures had come flying out from the endless pool of darkness to swarm the air. From afar, the creatures did not appear particularly strong or hard to eliminate, but the energy emanating from each one of them begged to differ.
Before Yue could even react, it was already too late; the creatures started attacking one of the nearby cities, and the town was filled with cries from the civilians. Seeing and hearing all this from their position, Yue and his team immediately run to fight and to rescue the civilians as much as they could. For a moment, everything was under control – or so they had thought. In their naivety, they relaxed, and that was a fatal mistake.
Time and time again, their deceased sensei reminded them to 'never let your guard down in the middle of battle'. It was a basic thing that had been taught to every Hunter out there and was carved inside their minds as battle veterans.
They should have known better.
They were overconfident, assuming that they could finish the battle immediately and secure the safety of the civilians. They were lulled into a false sense of security by the weakness of the initial onslaught.
Until that creature appeared from the portal.
Her energy alone was overwhelming: normal people suffered heart attacks, losing consciousness where they stood, and Hunters had been forced to shield themselves with Nen.
Again, they should have known better.
Faster than they could blink, the demon with an appearance of a human girl had let go of a massive ball of energy, emanating an aura that rendered them all immobile.
It had happened too quickly for them to react.
The glow of energy had intensified, blinding them all momentarily. It created mass destruction. No one could create a single shield fast enough to protect themselves except for one.
They were all crushed like piles of useless trash, taking the sliver of hope that they were finally saved in the hearts of the civilians. The lives of so many people clinging onto the tiny flicker of hope had been snuffed out effortlessly as a loud and powerful explosion shook their world. Everyone around Yue was blown away and exploded into nothingness. There was white smoke everywhere, engulfing the whole town like a cloud. A powerful gust of wind dispersed it, revealing a huge crater in the former city's place.
Yue roused himself after a few minutes of curling into himself. He stared in disbelief at the utter destruction around him.
The place where buildings and other establishments were once standing had been reduced to a complete wasteland. Body parts were littered around the destroyed landscape, some reduced all the way to dust. No one had survived the attack except for him.
Unbeknownst to Yue, though, the only reason that he survived that blast was the diamond necklace that he had worn since he was a baby. Upon sensing its owner's possible demise, it had activated a powerful energy shield and, upon completing its purpose, lost its energy like it had never been there in the first place.
Yue shook his head to clear those images of the past hours from his mind; he needed to focus on the present. He gritted his teeth as he felt his chest get painfully tight.. It was frightening to think that a single entity could cause this kind of wide-range destruction. It was too much for Yue.
Coming out as the only survivor of that attack hadn't meant rest for him though. He still had a mission, and so now he was in another city, fighting over the new wave of invaders to hopefully get to her in time. These creatures, however, were harder to fight than the first ones he had encountered. Even though he slashed and killed them with a speed of a seasoned Hunter, it was still futile. They seemed countless and too damn powerful to fight alone.
Their energies felt different from one another and the energy signatures coming off from those things that came out from the portal were odd. Yet, some felt the same as theirs, Nen clearly flowing in their bodies. However, for the rest of them, he couldn't figure out the exact kind of energy they were using; it sure wasn't Nen. None of these monsters were like any he had encountered in his entire life as a Hunter.
Aside from the different energies they possessed, they also differed in colors, sizes, and powers even the color of their blood was different: there was green, brown and more except for crimson, There were some that were easy enough to kill, but a lot were too strong for him to face alone. There were some that almost looked like humans, but he knew better than to trust their appearances. These monsters that resembled humans were, so far, the most powerful and troublesome out of all the monsters that came out of that portal.
"Damn it!" He cursed under his breath and then picked up his speed. A few minutes felt like a year before he landed on top of the specific building he was heading for: the Hunter's Medical Facility.
He huffed and continued running down the side of the building, summoning Nen to his feet in order to stick to the concrete wall, stopping when he reached a particular floor. There were explosions from somewhere on the other side of the building, creating a small earthquake that threatened to collapse the whole establishment, but Yue didn't pay much attention to it. All he needed to focus on was finding her.
He gathered Ko on his fist and punched through the window. The thick wall of glass shattered from Yue's power. Without wasting any time, he jumped inside and started running again.
"Ayu! Where are you?!" he screamed desperately. His raspy voice echoed all around the hallway. His heart was beating erratically inside his chest, threatening to break free from his ribs as his thoughts ran wild with terrible possibilities.
"Ayu! Answer me!"
He passed through scattered dead bodies, blood almost flooding the floor. His feet made loud splashing sounds as he ran. It felt like he was running around the building for a decade, frustration coursing through his body with each passing second as he flung open every door, but there was still no sign of Ayumi.
Ayumi, Yue's younger sister, was his only family left since they were adopted.
Yue knew that she was still alive.
He knew that.
He felt it.
However, Yue couldn't pick up her energy signature and he had been trying to locate it since his arrival to the city.
"Damn it, Ayu! Where are you?" Yue called out again, hoping for an answer.
If only he could activate his 'eyes' then this search would have been over in an instant, but he didn't have enough energy to activate his technique.
All he could do now was to pray and hope that he could find his sister. Alive.
The heavens took pity on Yue, and his prayer was answered when he heard the piercing scream of a girl. Yue stopped abruptly. He whipped his head towards the direction of the scream.
Yue dashed in that direction, making a beeline to the right when he saw her and kicked open the door to a room.
The instant the door broke into pieces, his eyes looked for the familiar figure of his sister. He found her in the corner of the room, cowering from a monster as its claw glinted in the air, poised to strike.
For a split moment, their eyes locked with each other.
"Onii-chan!" she screamed, eyes begging for his help, but even if he moved now, he still wouldn't make it. The monster's claws were inches away from her face.
"Ayumi!" he screamed desperately as he reached out a hand towards her, wishing that his body could teleport beside her. However, it was a pitiful wish. He watched with his eyes wide as saucers as the monster closed the remaining distance to his sister's pale skin.
There was a wheezing sound followed by squelching. Time seemed to stop as the people in the room froze. Yue felt his ears ringing as he saw metal pierce through the monster from its head to its jaw. Blood splattered around the room, gushing from every part of the monster's body as if numerous little bullets had been fired from the inside. The monster didn't even realize he was dead and wasn't able to scream. The body slumped onto the floor, lifeless.
Ayumi and Yue stared in disbelief at the corpse on the ground. The two of them couldn't comprehend what had just occurred, reeling from the rush of emotions that circulated through their system.
'What the fuck just happened?' Yue wondered.
He opened and closed his mouth like a fish, unable to understand everything that had transpired. Yue's wide, unblinking eyes slowly shifted towards the culprit (savior) and... everything had just happened too fast for him to discern. The person just seemed to have materialized from thin air.
In the next second, Yue abruptly felt the air being knocked out of his lungs as their rescuer grabbed him without a word and teleported in front of his sister – he hadn't even seen him(?) move – and grabbed Ayumi by the waist. An endless pool of black suddenly materializing in thin air, before he could protest, they had jumped inside a tiny dark hole. Yue didn't even have a chance to glimpse the person's appearance.
Colors swarmed his vision as a powerful wind knocked Yue's breath away. His eyes clenched involuntarily as he experienced a gut-wrenching feeling, and the next thing his brain had been able to register was gravity pulling him down. His mouth snapped open involuntarily and a scream came out of his throat.
He could barely hear his sister's screeching amidst his own. His system couldn't comprehend what had just happened within a blink of an eye; all he could focus on was the sensation of falling. The next thing his brain registered was pain as he landed on something concrete, grunting as another body fell over him.
Yue didn't move for a few seconds, trying to soothe his aching head as he felt the world spin around him. He groaned in pain and tried to move his body. However, the weight of his sister rendered him immobile.
He heard a loud thud from a distance; he tried to crane his head towards the direction but ended up grunting in pain. After a second, he finally felt his sister roll away from him, giving him time to blink a couple of times and swallowed thickly before trying his voice.
"Wha-what happened?" He mumbled, clutching his head.
He blinked his aching eyes again as he tried to focus. It took him a few seconds before they adjusted. When his vision cleared, the first thing that he was able to focus on was a bloody figure lying on the table.
It was a girl bathed in her own blood.
"W-what the hell..." he mumbled weakly as he stared at the body of the girl he once thought as their savior.
TO BE CONTINUED...
Nen (念ネン or ネン, Nen—lit. "Sense"; "Mind Force" ..is one of the defining features of the manga Hunter × Hunter by Yoshihiro Togashi. It is a technique that allows a living being to use and manipulate their own life energy (known as aura). The term "Nen" can also be used in conversation to refer to aura. A person capable of utilizing Nen is colloquially referred to as a "Nen user" (能のう力りょく者しゃ, nōryokusha—lit. "ability person"), while those who cannot go by the name of "non-users" (一いっ般ぱん人じん, ippanjin—lit. "ordinary person"). Because one can craft a great variety of para-psychological abilities through Nen, it is considered a dangerous power that is kept hidden from the public at large to maintain balance in society.
Ko: Concentrates all of the user's aura into one part of their body, making it incredibly powerful, at the cost of the rest of the body being completely defenseless.
A/N: I would like to thank the awesome betas who supported this story. The people who helped fix and clean up the grammar and spellings, and the wonderful suggestions that help strengthen the plot of this story, thank you all.
Lolita-chi, Sardonic Grin, Stacy Donnely, Frost Glave, Leulo, SakuraSyaoranLiTRC, A.B. Flarain