Chapter 23:

On circus stage ( 2/2 )

Chaos' Game

     Meanwhile, the pin spun in the air, decelerating as it reached the pinnacle of its trajectory. For a brief moment, it seemed stuck in the air. Then, it began to fall, twirling faster and faster soon less then a meter away from Haru. At this very instant, he opened his eyes and stretched his hands in front of him. With a fluid gesture, he caught the pin and threw it to his left hand, beginning to juggle with it.

     Koff not ceasing to progress on the rope launched a second, a third spin. His mate caught them as well. It was like he was juggling with the air, his grip on the pins being so mild.

     As the tightrope walker was merely five meters away from Haru, he threw at him the two last pins. One step after another, he was enclosing the young fellow.

     The latter juggling now with five pins maintained his balance despite the rope vibrating under the steps of the red-haired man. While he was barely a meter away, instead of sending it back towards his other hand, Haru seized it and suddenly cast the pin in the direction of Kiseki. Quickly, he repeated this action with the remaining pins, casting it on Kazuya and then next to them.

“Get out the way!!”

     Kazuya hurled himself on Kiseki to shove him away. The latter widened his eyes as he was projected forward, soon rolling on the floor until bumping against the stage base.

     The pins hit the ground. Though Kazuya managed to move in between them, he couldn't escape the explosion that followed as they reached the ground.


     Diffusing a significant amount of gas in the air, the pins also emitted projections all around. Realizing too late the type of threat that represented the bombs, Kazuya inhaled the suspicious gas before covering a hand on his face, moving back.

     However, it wasn't the accurate reflex to have… Indeed they were tear gas canisters.

     Teardrops accumulating soon in Kazuya's eyes, his vision got blurred.

     It was at that moment that the remaining Players came out of the backstage, crossing a door shaped as a clown mouth.

     Standing up in a wince, Kiseki intended to enclose his father, but the latter stopped him with a sign of the hand.

“Don't come any closer. The gas would affect you too.”

“You darn wretches… You and your sly tricks...” he turned to face the Players, clenching his fists.

     Making use of the confusion, no one noticed that above them, Haru grabbed Koff's hands and made him spin before sending him whirling through the air aiming Kazuya. He had put a mask in the meantime so he could avoid the effects of the gas, and prepared now his saber to attack his target.

     When he was about to reach his target, Kiseki beheld him and warned Kazuya in a yell.

“Above you!”

     He was about to run to him when a spade card whizzed through the air just in front of his eyes. The latter promptly made a step back, widening his eyes. The card continued on his trajectory to the tissue of the tent, passing through it as a sharpened knife.

“Don't move any further. You are my prey.”

     Articulating each of her words with pleasure and envy, Ling Zhen considered the inspector with a sadistic smile. Turning his head to observe her furiously, he gritted his teeth.

     As for Kazuya, he raised his head at Kiseki's warning, scarcely catching sight of anything. Yet he leant forward so that Koff landed a few meters behind him. They both stood up in a same pace, rotating to face each other. Forcing to open his eyes, Kazuya vaguely caught sight of a silhouette ahead.

     Motionless for a few seconds, Koff put his blade on guard and belted along Kazuya. The latter tried to avoid him albeit his blurred vision didn't allow him to move correctly, and the saber severed him on the side.

     Drops of blood on the ground.

“Oi, is that really all you're capable of, old man? Clumsily dancing?”

“Don't be so presumptuous, we scarcely began.” the black-haired man sniggered.

“Ooooh. In that event.”

     Returning to attack, the Player intensified the rhythm, chaining the blows. A sharp one aiming his adversary leg, another slashing his previous wound deeper, one more in his back…

     Kazuya barely tried to avoid the blows, the cuts flourishing upon his body as glowing dahlias.

     Suddenly, as Koff aimed to slay Kazuya's neck, the latter at last reacted. His eyes closed, he rotated so he stood by the side of his enemy. Grabbing the arm holding the saber he made him lose his equilibrium so Koff fell on the ground. Pressing a hand in his back, Kazuya constrained the swordsman to stay lying down.

“You little shit… I thought you saw nothing.” Koff hardly turned his head to gaze at his opponent.

“Oh, I don't. I've just accustomed to the perception of the air being disturbed by your moves.”

     Admirable of him, although a silhouette profited from Kazuya being focused on Koff to drew in his back. He approached silently his hands of Kazuya's head.

     Albeit before he could reach him, a rough hit pierced his stomach and made him whirl afar.

“Hands off!”

     Kazuya had suddenly partly transformed so his tail with a scorpion spur could sweep Haru away.

     However, it gave the opportunity to Koff to get out of his enemy's grip.

“You won't get rid of me that easily!”

     As the gas had dissipated, he took off his mask and hurled it away. Flying at Kazuya, Koff resumed his attacks, but surpassing his position the rusty-haired fellow rushed to the bleachers. With a stroke of his blade, he easily sliced benches. Indeed at the contact of his blade, the cutting zone became as limp as butter.

     Kazuya scarcely rotated to face again his opponent that the latter threw out the benches on him.


     At this moment, the black-haired man shaped into a manticore, fur spreading all over his thickening body.

     The benches crashed on him, although it did him almost no harm, merely growling out of irritation.

     Meanwhile, Mekko enclosed Haru, laying on the floor. Sweat pearled over his face, a gore wound in his belly. The sting had effect, venom spreading all across his body. Seeing that, the young lady began to vocalize, singing simple sounds.

“You finally get transformed Idonosoko! Glad of that.” Koff remarked, grinning as he hurled on the manticore.

     A bestial voice therefore answered him.

“It is that I don't have time to lose with you.”

     As Koff enclosed the manticore, eager to butcher him, he made his blade move to the right and to the left with such promptness that it seemed to duplicate in about ten exemplary of blades aiming at him.

     The beast had almost recovered its vision albeit it would not help him very much for this time.

     Waiting until the blade was near, the manticore opened widely his mouth and before Koff could avoid it, he shut it sharply on the saber. His three-layered dentition brought the blade to pieces.

     Cringing, the Player moved back, in utter ache. Blood flooded on the ground as coarsely as abundantly.

     Spitting out its catch, the manticore tossed on the floor shards of metal… as well as a hand still holding the handle of the broken saber. His teeth dyed now with the same crimson as his body, the mythical creature watched for a while Koff writhing in pain, tightening his teeth so hard not to shout that blood ran out of his mouth as well.

     Then, he turned away and beheld Reisig, his arms crossed. He stayed still a few dozen of meters away, as if waiting for the manticore…