Uehara was the one fighting against him. Seeing him through the television made me realise something. How could I have been so blind? How could I have not noticed? The boy was looking sad.
“Ino, I don’t think I can win against her.”
His voice echoed through the room.
“Noah, I believe in you. I know that you can defeat her. You are strong. Let your Paroxys go wild. I bet then you can win. Go beyond your limit like you always do.”
It wasn’t encouragement that he was giving him. He was running him into a corner.
“What the hell are you saying to him? Stop it. Stop what you’re saying.”
“Ah, don’t worry. He’ll be fine. I was the one who trained him.”
His face wasn’t showing an ounce of worry for that boy. Instead, he was smiling. His tiny body wouldn’t last. Uehara was having difficulty pushing him back too. The caterpillar was going berserk. They both would die if it continued on for too long.
“Stop him, please.”
I was begging. It didn’t matter if he was an enemy or not. No one deserved a death that gruesome. The memories were flooding my mind. The girl’s twisted body was like a picture burnt into my eyes. If a Paroxys holder goes beyond their limit, their bodies and minds will shatter and explode. They would experience the same fate as an Inliner. A scream pulled me back to reality. The caterpillar was attacking its host. The boy’s mind had been broken. Dozens of bristles flew towards the boy and pierced his body. The insect dematerialised and the boy dropped to his knees. His agonising screams were ringing in my ears.
“Ino, it hurts. Help me.”
He coughed up blood and his body dropped to the floor.
“That’s weird. Why isn’t your friend helping him? Shouldn’t she be saving him as an Outliner? She’s just standing there and watching him die. Oh sorry. We’re murderers and criminals. We deserve an ending like this, right?”
“You should be the one helping him! He’s your comrade, isn’t he? Go and save him!”
My voice cracked while I screamed at him.
“I rather not. But if you want to save him, you’re free to go.”
He contacted the girl and untied the rope. We were transported to where Uehara and the boy were. His body had stopped moving.
“Moriuchi, are you okay?”
Uehara approached me but I immediately grabbed her by the collar.
“What do you think you were doing? Why didn’t you help him?”
She tried to push my hand off, but I wouldn’t let go.
“What are you talking about? We were in a fight. It’s normal for one to win and the other one to lose. Are you forgetting that he was a murderer? What he did to your best friend?”
I was pushing all my anger and frustration on to her.
“Even then, this is not right! It can’t be right! How could you just watch and let him die such a painful death?”
I knew it was unfair, but I didn’t know what else to do.
“Moriuchi, you are being irrational! There was nothing I could do, even if I wanted to.”
My jaw was locked in place. Her words were sharp as knives because they were true. There was nothing that could have been done. I let go of her and walked over to the boy’s body. Was this what despair felt like? His body was light, almost like a feather as I picked him up and held him in my arms. I remembered the time when I first met him. He wanted my attention. He wanted me to listen to him.
“Ino… did I… do well…?”
His voice was faint. He was still alive. His breathing was shallow and slow. Most of his bones were broken.
“Mommy… it hurts.”
My tears were dropping on his face. I held him closer. My voice wouldn’t come out. All I could do was to patiently wait with him. So, he knew he wasn’t alone. It didn’t take long for him to take his last breath.
“Ah, he died. What a shame. He was a good soldier. I really liked him. But what can you do? I better find a replacement for him, or they will get angry at me.”
“You used him.”
“So, what? Why do you even care?”
I stood up and walked over to a wall. His body temperature was dropping. I laid him down on the floor and placed my jacket on top of him. My head was empty. I was calmer than you would expect me to be in that situation. There was peace within my anger.
“What’s wrong? Your face doesn’t look too good.”
I knew there were consequences for my actions. Toshiko and Yu made sure that I was aware of it. But there were certain things that I could just not accept.
“Moriuchi, stop right now.”
“Uehara, I apologise for how I behaved. Please, take care of that boy.”
The ground started trembling. The air got dense. Cracks appeared in the walls and the ceiling. My vision got shrouded in red.
“Xykoss Unlimited. Devour those who stand in my way.”
A shock wave left my body and destroyed everything in my near surrounding.
“Oi, oi, oi. You’re kidding me, right?”
I was merged with Xykoss. It was different than the previous times. I had full control over him. My body was creaking, but it was fine. In an instant, I was right in front of his face.
“I made up my mind. I will kill you.”
My fist touched his cheek, and he flew through the walls behind him into the outer world. I followed. The doll house broke down behind us. I was back in the park and so was everyone who had been trapped. I ignored them and kicked the guy in his stomach while he was still in the air. We ended up in the outskirts of the city, surrounded by trees. It was perfect. I didn’t have to hold back.
The guy was bleeding from his nose and mouth.
“You really are something different. But now I want Xykoss to be on our side even more.”
He stood up and spit out some blood.
“Shut up and show me what you’ve got.”
He laughed like a maniac and then stopped abruptly.
“Higonomon. Staineth all things in r'd.”
His bandages came off. He took out a tactical knife and split his stomach open, but it wasn’t just blood that came out. A bright red light emerged, and several ghouls came out crawling.
“So, the nasty little ghouls are your Paroxys?”
“Yes, but they’re not just nasty little ghouls. You have probably heard already, but several Outliners have been disappearing lately. My Paroxys lets me transform humans into ghouls that I can store within my body. Of course, there is no way of turning them back. All they can do is follow my orders. First, I torture them and when they are on the brink of death, thinking that they have reached hell, I make them into my underlings and throw them even deeper into despair.”
“What the hell happened to you? You do understand that you will be fighting against your own kind?”
I cracked my fingers.
“You just said that there is no way of turning them back. All I can do is to end their suffering.”
A ghoul had sneaked up on me from behind. It tried to jump me, but my fist was quicker, and I smashed its face in. Its body fell to the ground. Multiple ghouls attacked me at the same time, but it was easy to dodge and counterattack. I tried to get in a kick on the guy, but he quickly moved back and used a ghoul as a shield.
Without me noticing, a couple of ghouls had dug their way underground. I was caught off guard and one of them emerged from the dirt to sink its sharp teeth into my leg. The other ghouls took the opportunity and attacked me again. I was bitten in several places.
“Does it hurt? It hurts, doesn’t it?”
He was smiling from ear to ear.
My hand formed into a claw, and I swiftly ripped them away from my body.
“You’re starting to get annoying.”
The guy reached into his open wound to let out more ghouls. They were surrounding him and slowly merging together with his body. He was getting bigger and bigger until he was triple the size of me. His new body was made out of ghouls that were wailing.
It was a whisper. I went in for another punch, but its impact was absorbed by the various numbers of ghouls. He was using them to protect himself.
“You’re not the only one who can power up. It’s amazing how carefree you’re using your father’s Paroxys. You don’t have any shame, do you?”
“Says a coward. I’ll rip that smile off your face.”
Please leave a like, comment and follow if you like what you're reading! It would help out a lot! Reminder: The semi-finals will take place from October 24 to October 30, 2021 for the prompt I have chosen. You can vote for my novel (if it gets chosen) on the MAL app. The finals will take place from November 14 to November 30, 2021. Thank you! <3