Chapter 22:

The Fastest Number


Cherry looked at me in fear, and without a thought, before the numbers could rush at me, I instantly twirled the machete that was already in one hand and snatched a hatchet that was strapped to my abdomen with the other. Jessica pointed her reloaded pistol with one hand and whipped out a dagger from her waist with her other hand while Cherry calmly iced his body and hatchet that I lent him, awaiting the numbers’ assault.Bookmark here

We didn’t have time to think. We didn’t have time to run.Bookmark here

Our survival instincts kicked in. The numbers were in front of us, and Cherry and Jessica knew too that we had to fight. Number Fourteen alongside Number Nineteen rushed at us like a bullet. Number Fourteen perfectly and elegantly pushed towards me with his katana swerving at the side of his body while Number Nineteen sprinted toward Cherry, bursting out heat from his body. Jessica shot one bullet toward Number Fourteen who briskly and easily rushed straight through it, dodging it. She stopped shooting at Number Fourteen when she turned and noticed Number Twenty-One rushing towards her at the corner of her eye with daggers wielded in both hands. She instantly switched her gun’s target to the impending woman and shot a few more shots, missing both.Bookmark here

As soon as all three of the numbers reached us, instead of attacking, they uniformly looked at each other, nodded, and dashed in different directions. With our focus on different numbers, Cherry, Jessica, and I got split up from the dash.Bookmark here

I scowled, “Damn! Cherry, Jessica, don’t fall for it!”Bookmark here

They had no choice but to split up from me as they began desperately attempting to defend themselves. We split into our own matchups, but at the same time, we were still close to each other.Bookmark here

On the far right of our one-on-one matchups, another battle was erupting. A fierce and incredible battle.Bookmark here

Number Seven, who was now in his sprinting stance, zoomed straight past Caviar pointing his nails forward. Caviar tried to dodge the dash, rotating his body and his boxing stance to the side but couldn’t completely. Number Seven landed a cut on Caviar’s right abdomen as Caviar grunted from the slight pain and shrieked.Bookmark here

“Damn! He’s fast! Linguini, take the boss and back away for now! I’ll handle this!”Bookmark here

While searching for where Number Seven dashed to, Caviar threw his right hand at his injury and applied incredible pressure toward the bleeding wound. The leaking blood began to slow down as his abdomen flexed through his torn suit. Caviar ripped off the black vest from his suit off his body, threw it into the wind, and once more entered his boxing stance. All he was wearing now was a long sleeve white dress shirt with red blood corroded around his slashed wound through his shirt.Bookmark here

Linguini rushed to Number Twenty-Nine, grabbing his shoulder when he noticed Number Twenty-Nine’s arm extended behind him as if he was attempting to catch something. Number Twenty-Nine’s fingers from his extended arm were smoking and crinkled as if they were just scorched. Linguini gasped in disbelief.Bookmark here

“Sir… what happened? Wait… did you touch him? Did you touch Number Seven? You gained his memories?”Bookmark here

Number Twenty-Nine didn’t respond but instead brought his extended and smoldered fingers to his forehead rapidly as if he was trying to think quickly. Number Seven, now far in a different direction in the wasteland once more entered his previous sprinting stance as Caviar located him far in the distance. Number Twenty-Nine dropped his hand and shouted toward Caviar.Bookmark here

“I remember! Caviar! I touched him briefly as he bolted past you! That number! Number Seven! He gains speed! That’s his greed! He uses his speed to deal critical blows utilizing his fists and legs, but he has complete tunnel vision while using it! He can only direct it straight!”Bookmark here

Linguini shouted, “Sir! We need to get you out of here! Now!”Bookmark here

Linguini grabbed Number Twenty-Nine’s arm and began backing them both away from the battlefield, desperately trying to get them far from Number Seven’s clash with Caviar.Bookmark here

As Number Twenty-Nine and Linguini backed away, Caviar shouted to Number Twenty-Nine thanking him quickly as Linguini dashed away with him.Bookmark here

“That’s the boss for ya. I got it sir. I’ll make this quick!”Bookmark here

Number Seven once more dashed brutally through the deserted land leaving dirt and smoke behind in his dash, cutting Caviar’s right arm and a part of his hair. His man bun became untied from the cut as his long black hair fell onto his shoulders. Caviar, this time ignored the injury and dropped his boxing stance completely, entering a different one. He entered a basic wrestling stance like he was awaiting the impact of Number Seven’s speed. Caviar looked around into the distance frantically until he located Number Seven once more just like before. Number Seven entered the sprinting stance, and like before, he zipped straight toward Caviar. This time though, it was with a closed fist. Caviar was struck squarely in the chest, sending him flying across the dirt and into a giant boulder. Caviar, without hesitation, quickly and surely exited the rubble. As he stood up and regained his footing, just like his last attempt, he entered the basic wrestling stance and searched for Number Seven. Blood began trickling from his hairline and various cuts through his white shirt.Bookmark here

As Caviar searched for the number, he heard Number Seven finally say something, screaming from a distance.Bookmark here

“Wow. You can take some hits! I’m impressed!”Bookmark here

Caviar tried to use the screaming to find where Number Seven was located. He eyed the part of the wasteland where he believed he heard Number Seven speak and only saw a cactus. As soon as he figured out the trick, he tried to turn around as fast as he could just to get struck fiercely in the back by another one of Number Seven’s punches. He was sent flying across the plain desert ground to the right of the boulder he laid in previously, rolling on the ground.Bookmark here

As Caviar twirled and flew through the ground mercilessly, he landed right in front of Number Twenty-Nine and Linguini. He slowly brought himself back up as Linguini frowned, and bleeding like a pig through his white shirt, Caviar roughly rose himself up like a true warrior. Number Twenty-Nine quickly spoke once Caviar rose himself.Bookmark here

“Yea… Caviar… I think you’re done buddy… Linguini, it’s your turn. Switch with him.”Bookmark here

Linguini, without warning and knowing he had to act fast, flexed his upper body’s muscles so hard that his suit and undershirt completely ripped off of his body. All he wore now were his black dress shoes, his long black dress pants, and the fancy belt that was around his waist. Linguini stepped forward, joining Caviar at his side. Linguini placed a hand on Caviar’s shoulder and spoke with a voice that was at least five times deeper than before.Bookmark here

“Hey, take a break. Go have some tea. I’ll handle the rest of this.”Bookmark here

Caviar turned to Linguini clenching his jaw in anger.Bookmark here

“No, Linguini. I’m taking down the son of a bi-”Bookmark here

Before he could finish his sentence, Number Seven once more streaked straight into Caviar with insane strength, sending him flying through the wasteland leaving miscellaneous dirt in his path. Caviar twirled on the ground uncontrollably as his body flew across the terrain like a rag doll. It only stopped once it crashed into another boulder, sending rocks, wind, and debris flying in every direction.Bookmark here

As Caviar’s body came to an abrupt stop from the attack, Number Twenty-Nine simply gazed upon Number Seven, not knowing how to react.Bookmark here

“Uhh…”Bookmark here

Linguini tried to take advantage and dashed toward Number Seven who was now holding his extended and positioned punch, but as soon as Linguini came close to touching the white laces that drifted off of Number Seven’s hoodie, Number Seven zipped away straight past Linguini, leaving more particles of dirt in his stead. Number Seven’s speed was far faster than Linguini’s fast hands.Bookmark here

Linguini flexed his hands as hard as he could as he shouted out one thing walking forward.Bookmark here

“Watch this sir! I’ll show you why they used to call me ‘The Snatcher’ back in my bounty hunter days! I am no regular man! I am… I am… LINGUINI PARMIGIANO!”Bookmark here

Linguini located Number Seven, who was once more entering his sprinting stance. As he found his location far in the distance, he smiled and spoke confidently.Bookmark here

“Let’s see who’s greed is faster, number! Your body’s speed, or my hands’ speed!”Bookmark here

Linguini flexed his arms, palms, fingers, chest, and legs with incredible strength crushing the ground beneath him. Every muscle in his body was flexing insanely forcefully.Bookmark here

As Number Seven prepared to dash straight for Linguini, Linguini howled at the top of his lungs awaiting the impact.Bookmark here

“AHHHHHH!”Bookmark here

Number Seven zoomed straight toward Linguini, hitting his chest with both of his hands, skidding Linguini back miles through the wasteland’s dirt. The terrain’s cracked dirt floor exploded as Linguini held his footing. While Linguini drifted back through the dry dirt, he towered both of his arms over Number Seven and snatched him with his hands, sending them both rolling through the hardened dirt and completely penetrating through a boulder. The boulder detonated leaving sandy smoke and debris to engulf the wasteland. Linguini completely caught him, but at the same time, once they pierced straight through the now-demolished boulder, Linguini lost grip of the number, rolling through the dirt alongside the number.Bookmark here

They both gained considerable damage as they rolled and then laid on the ground for mere moments. Both Number Seven and Linguini attempted to stand up wildly, trying to get up before the other. While Number Seven absurdly began to bleed from the many scratches, cuts, and bruises now on him, Linguini got up first and desperately dashed to Number Seven to restrain him with his fast hands and unnatural muscular physique. Number Seven nagged trying to raise himself up.Bookmark here

“Damn! No way! How! How the hell you movin’ like that you old head!”Bookmark here

Number Seven miserably gasped for air as he continued.Bookmark here

“You… you caught me? You damn old man! You’re getting in my way! I can’t afford to take any more damage!”Bookmark here

As soon as Linguini lengthened his arms towards the number, the number brought his arms up back into his sprinting stance and dashed away in an instant. Linguini, realizing that the number got away, attempted to locate the number once more. As he searched through the rubble around him in every direction, no one was coming. Seconds turned into minutes, and Linguini realized that the number wasn’t coming back. He couldn’t stop his body from collapsing as he slowly dropped to one knee which slowly led to him dropping his entire body. He dropped onto his stomach with his face in the dry cracked dirt. Linguini attempted to raise himself up as Number Twenty-Nine sprinted toward him but completely passed out, reaching one arm toward Number Twenty-Nine who was running towards him.Bookmark here

“Sir… I’m… Sorr-”Bookmark here

Linguini passed out mid-sentence. Number Twenty-Nine, now reaching his friend, checked his pulse and heartbeat to make sure he was okay. He was alive. As a tear dropped down from the number’s left eye, he wiped it away, and threw one of Linguini’s scratched up and bloody arms over his shoulders, carrying him through the wasteland toward Caviar. Number Twenty-Nine reached Caviar, laying his dear old friend Linguini beside him. As Number Twenty-Nine gazed upon his fallen friends, he couldn’t help but clench his teeth in uncontrollable anger. In anger, he turned his dark red tie around, viewing the “#29” stamped on it. Bookmark here

Without a moment’s hesitation, he tore the tie off his suit and hurled it into the hot wind, letting it drift away. He turned around, and in desperate rage, he began to walk to the region where the other numbers appeared.Bookmark here

While Number Seven fought Caviar and Linguini, and as the fight came to an end, the numberless man slowly stepped his way towards the battlefield. As he walked through the torn wasteland, he slowly pulled something out of his lab coat’s right pocket with his right hand.Bookmark here

He pulled out… sunglasses?
Konoko Asada
Fair Proph
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