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Ask to Join Hunter x Hunter: The New Era

"Fearsome monsters... Exotic creatures... Vast riches... Hidden treasures... Evil enclaves... Unexplored lands... The word 'unknown' holds magic. And some incredible people are drawn to that magic. They are know as..... Hunters!"

Ques "Departure!"

The melody of raindrops rhythmically pattering against the rooftops of skyscrapers that inhabited the sovereign island of Eporasong had lulled the residents into a tranquil state. It was quite ironic, actually, it took the threat of a hurricane to calm the usually bustling and vibrant island. The residents had a reputation of being hard workers, with the best businessmen from all over the Azian continent flocking to the city as part of their relentless pursuit for bigger and better things. So, when a natural disaster forced them to stay indoors, they all gave a sigh of relief and began enjoying their brief respite, comforted by the knowledge that their competitors were also stuck in the same position and poised no threat to overthrow them while they indulged in contentment. Yes, it was at last a day of rest for the overworked adults, but for one confined child it was a catalyst to become all the more restless.

The top floor penthouse apartment of one of the tallest buildings in the city was home to the Rose family, often jokingly referred to as the "Barons of Eporasong" as their family business dynasty had allowed them to separate themselves from the other rich inhabitants of the island. It was the dream life to all those who gazed upon them, but for Theo, the sole child of the family, it was a suffocating prison. It didn't matter that his room was second biggest in the city (second to only his parents' master bedroom), it was still just a room and the child longed for more. Typically, he'd find a way to sneak out of the apartment and run far past the city limits to play with the less wealthy children who lived on the cost, but for a number of reasons it was not an option on that day.

The first and most obvious was the threat of a hurricane that meant any venture outside would put him at risk. The second, his father had disappeared without a trace just a few months ago which caused his mother to reach new levels of overbearing. But most importantly of all, today was the one and only chance Theo would have to take the Hunter's exams.

The 290th Hunter's exam promised to be an abnormal one. With the death of the former chairman and many of the best remaining hunters embarking on a quest to the fearsome Dark Continent with a low chance of return, there was a greater need than ever for hunters to rise and serve the mainland. However, the threatening displays of power by the Phantom Troupe and Chimera Ants also served as a wakeup call that now was a time where hunters needed to be stronger than ever before. It was a truly desperate situation, the demand for exceptional hunters was higher than ever but the supply had become extremely scarce. The solution? Nothing short of genius (or at least according to "The Boar"). The 290th Hunter exam would be made more accessible than ever before whilst also weeding out applicants at a quicker rate than every other, thus ensuring that only the most promising gems would make it to further levels of evaluation.

This was executed in a fairly simple manner. There would be no general application to take the exam this year. Instead, a giant blimp floated around the world, staying low in the skies as it passed over every city and town around the world. The only requirement to take the test: board the blimp that had no interest in picking you up.

Theo had been planning this for weeks, anxiously watching the blimp tracker on his computer as it got closer and closer to Eporasong, teasing him with the notion that he would soon have his chance to cast away his shackles for good. He rocked back and forth on his bed, chewing the dark gray strings of his hoodie and going through his plan once more in his head.

Mom's got an alarm set to go off if I try to leave my room, so once I open the doors I gotta go fast. I'll climb from the balcony up to the roof to avoid the butlers, and if my timing is right I'll be able to easily throw a rope onto the blimp and climb aboard!

23 seconds. After weeks of practicing, 23 seconds was the amount of time Theo needed to make his escape, though that was also without intense winds and rain. He fiddled with the Ben's knife his father had given him for his birthday a year ago, tying a rope around the end while admiring the wing shaped design of the blade that allowed it to be thrown like a boomerang.

Beepbepbepbep...Beepbepbepbep.... Theo's computer alarm began going off, letting him know it was time to go. He took a deep breath and looked around his room one last time. Besides the clothes on his back and his knife, he had decided to leave everything behind. This was the end of his lavish and luxurious life style, from this day forth he would be his own man.

GO! The boy's red eyes surged with a feeling of excitement and he jumped off his bed and kicked the large twin chamber doors open with such gusto that the two butlers stationed outside were knocked down on their backs. One. He could hear the alarms begin to sound as he skidded to a stop along the marble floors of the living room and began dashing for the balcony. Two, three, four.

Pzzzt. "The young master has left is room." A butler radioed in, leading to two others emerging from side rooms with intent to intercept Theo. Five, six.

Sorry about this guys... His pointy canines being playfully revealed as he smirked at their impending misfortune. Years of playing with the "rough" children and months of planning had made him a bit more formidable than the average spoiled rich kid. He slide between the first butler's legs. Seven, eight, nine. Then, he pulled the carpet, offsetting a bookshelf and causing it to tumble and pin the other butler. Ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen, fourteen.

He flung open the glass doors, making it out to the balcony where intense winds whipped his black hair around made raindrops feel like needles against his skin. Just a little farther! Theo grabbed onto the ladder he had planted a few days prior and began the climb up to the rooftop. Fifteen, sixteen, seventeen, eighteen, nineteen, twenty. I made it!

Theo looked around the rooftop, expecting to see the blimp just passing over him. Wait... this can't be right, where is it? I timed everything perfectly. Panic began to set in. Had he missed his chance? How much was his mom going to yell at him for breaking the bookcase? Everything was ruined, or at least that's what he thought.

The sound of propellers compelled Theo to run to the edge of his roof, and upon looking down he was faced with the image of the top of a blimp. The boy had overlooked one crucial detail in his planning: The blimp had to be flying low enough for the average person to gain access, and living in a skyscraper meant he was too high up.

Stupid, stupid, stupid! He chastised himself, realizing that he had made the situation far harder than in needed to be. No... calm down... you can make this work. You have to become a hunter! It's now or never!

It was as if something had possessed the boy. Before Theo even realized it his legs began sprinting and before he even processed his decision he had hurled himself off the tower and was free falling towards the blimp. Wind rushed against his face and blinded him to the point where he couldn't even tell if he was on the right course when suddenly, Boing! He made fell into the rubbery surface of the blimp's balloon before being bounced right off it, sending him on a trajectory to crash towards the streets if something wasn't done quick. This is it! One shot! He had practiced for this moment thousands of times, but that was from standing on a steady surface without wind and rain. It was now life and death as he freefell through the storm, but somehow he found the clarity to let out a little chuckle. I guess if I die now I wasn't going to be worth much as a hunter anyways.

He grabbed the Ben's knife in his left hand, checking one more time to make sure the rope was tightly fastened to it and tied the other end around his right wrist. He waited until he fell level with the main cabin, cocked his arm backwards, flicked his wrist, and let loose a throw that would determine his future. Call it luck or an act of god, but somehow the blade navigated through the storm and looped around one of the wings branching out from the main cabin.

The jerk from the rope being stretch taut nearly dislocated Theo's arm, but all he could feel was an enormous sense of relief. Using the leverage, he swung all the way through and landed on his feet just outside the main cabin entryway. As if on que, the door opened and the face of the famous Leorio looked out with a grin. "We got another one! Welcome aboard." He stretched out his hand and pulled the child inside, telling him to make himself comfortable. A task that seemed nearly impossible as he could feel the icy stares from all the other applicants who had made it to this preliminary stage.
A messy haired boy with drool dripping down his face lay spread out across his bed. "Damn... I'm gonna need a bigger kitchen" Shoo muttered to himself. A small speckled squirrel laid in a ball in the windowsill. It was morning, but still too dark for the morning sun to peek through. Shoo tossed and turned, throwing his foot on the windowsill next to Silver.

Near the speckled squirrel was a small rock. The squirrel grabbed the rock and hit threw it as Shoo's foot while letting out angry squeaks of disapproval. Shoo still fast asleep rolled over again. The squirrel leaped to avoid the foot that would have landed on him.

"YOOOOWWWWW!!!!" Shoo woke up with a piercing pain in his foot, the squirrel was angry and bit his foot. The squirrel let out a cheerful squeak, seeing how Shoo was finally awake, but became angry quickly after, because he fell back asleep less than a moment later. The squirrel climbed on Shoo's head tapping him.

"Nah... four more minutes" Shoo muttered.

The squirrel was persistent and kept tapping on Shoo's head.

*tap* *tap* *tap*

"Yes, the eggs come with sausage" Shoo muttered.

*tap* *tap* *tap*

"One plus one equals the two of us at the appliance store getting that new blender. P-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r So fancy" Shoo muttered again.

*tap* *tap* *tap* *tap* *tap* *tap*

"What the fuck part of no shoes no service do you not understand?!?! And stay out!!! Bshhhes always think they slick. Wai- Shoo slowly woke up after yelling in his sleep.

*tap* *tap* *tap*

"Silver! Stop it! Hi ho Silver, I'm up! I'm awake!" Shoo said.

Silver let out a happy squeak before sitting on Shoo's head.

"You close those eyes!" Shoo said tossing Silver on the bed. Shoo threw a blanket and a pillow over Silver.

Shoo quickly changed from his pajamas to his day clothes. Silver stuck his nose out from under the blanket, sniffing the surrounding area. Soon his little eyes poked out as well. He looked around, and at a fully dressed Shoo who was ready to go. Shoo was hopping around from side to side with a cheerful grin looking like he was ready to fight. Silver let out a tiny battle cry.

Tons of paws running across a hard wooden floor could be heard. Shoo's bedroom door creeped open. A little bear head poked into the doorway. In walked Shoo's eight legged dog Cocoa. Cocoa leaped at Shoo excitedly, "Quit it boy! Cocoa began running in circles before running downstairs.

"That's the spirit!" Shoo said throwing a couple jabs, a right hook, and an undercut. Shoo began his morning by doing the five wu xing. The five daoists exercises. The five daoists exercises consist of the five elements which are oftentimes performed in the restoration cycle. Shoo enjoyed the exercise. he grabbed Silver, putting him in his pocket, then went over some of his tai chi forms outside as well as his jian forms. Every movement flowed naturally, one movement flowing into the next with grace and purpose.

Then when he came inside, you best believe started cooking up a storm. hashbrowns were flying, sausage was swinging around, eggs were scrambling, bacon was sizzling, gravy was thickening, biscuits were cooking, steam was coming from one of the kettles, and the smells. The lingering aromas. His father was coming just downstairs. He looked rather busy dealing with the two youngest siblings. Two small boys. Neither of them looking a day over eight. Shoo had five other siblings. An eleven year old sister, a fourteen year old brother, a twenty year old sister, A twenty-three year old sister, and a twenty-six year old brother.

The youngest two were named Jin and Ton, two boys with dark light blue bowl cut hair. The eleven year old named Chu Hua, she was a light pink haired girl with short hair. The fourteen year old was Liu, he had shoulder length dark blue hair. Then there was Shoo at the age of seventeen. Then there was the twenty year old name Fen, who had long dark pink hair, and glasses. Next was the twenty-three year old named Ai, she had relatively long light blue hair. Then there was the twenty-six year old Her Yue, he had long hair and wore it in a top knot. Lastly was the father Chen, a 55 year old man with Dark blue long hair with some gray here and there. Also in a top knot. Though Chen's hairline isn't what it used to be.

It was 6am and their father already had the scent of whisky and gin on his breath, and a few more gray hairs. His father glanced over at Shoo with an exhausted blank expression, before slapping both of his cheeks. His father looked more alert now.

"Where are my manners! Didn't get to sleep till about two and a half hours ago. Sorry if I'm a little tired still. Breakfast smells marvelous! Keep up the good work Shoo! Let's go wake up the others, urhhaaaahhh!" Chen Roared pretending to be a monster. The two boys chuckled and ran, and Chen snatched them up. They headed upstairs to round up the others. Chu Hua was most likely sleeping. The neighbors could probably hear Liu singing karaoke rather horribly, which was saying a lot since they had no neighbors nearby. Fen was definitely in her room studying to become a doctor. Ai no longer lived with them, but if she were still there, but wherever she is, she's probably starring at herself in a mirror. Her Yue also no longer lived with them anymore, and would probably be stressing out over a mountain of paperwork.

Cocoa sat by the table eagerly awaiting his chance to eat too. A high pitched girl's scream could be heard. Lots of yelling. Liu came running down the stairs, and a soaking wet and very furious Chu Hua came down afterwards, smacking Liu with a hair brush. Fen adjusted her glasses before walking past the two, and sitting down. Her laptop on the table, and she was typing away.

Occasional arguments burst out at the table, feelings were hurt, food was fought for despite the fact that there was more than enough, and backhands were given to misbehaving kids. Shoo headed to Dr. Weng's place after breakfast. Mrs. Weng was the only one home. Dr. Weng was out back in the dojo. Shoo could have walked through Dr Weng and Mrs's Weng's house. Mrs. Weng even invited him inside. He politely declined. he wanted to climb the mountain one last time.

Dr. Weng's Dojo sat in between two large hills. and on the side of a mountain. The only way to get to Dr. Weng's dojo was either through his house or over the large hills surrounding the dojo. Which was pretty difficult since the hills were very steep. Not a problem for someone who could climb the hills and trees along the edges of the hill. Shoo stood atop the hill. There were tons of trees covering the dojo. Shoo slid down the hill, and looked into the shrouded tree filled area. Torches lit the path heading towards the dojo.

Shoo entered the dojo, Dr. Weng was 4'6 ft old man meditating. It looked silly to Shoo cause meditating seemed stupid and pointless. "Doctor Weeeeng! Doctor Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeng! Doctor Weeeeeeeeeeeee-" Shoo was interrupted
Dr. Weng's eye glowed demonically. His face looked terrifying.
"I HEARD YOU THE FIRST TIME!" Dr. Weng yelled in a high pitched dry tone.
Dr. Weng got up and was full on sprinting at Shoo, Dr. Weng was well over a hundred years old but ran like a young athlete sprinter. Shoo turned pale white, and Dr. Weng's knuckles rubbed across the top of Shoo's head. Shoo laid on the floor, and Dr. Weng smacked him for ten minutes with a rolled up newspaper, yelling nonstop the entire time.

Dr. Weng didn't have many students these days. He has many famous students that traveled the world and lead their own dojos but not many still visited him. Shoo was just a stupid goof that just happened to lived a couple miles away and Dr. Weng liked having a regular student to train, albeit Dr. Weng had a short fuse and got angry at Shoo a lot. Though his students will claim he's mellowed over the years and not half as scary as he used to be.

Dr. Weng gave Shoo a small ten minute class. He hit Shoo hard though. Hard enough to cause Shoo to fly across the dojo when Dr. Weng kicked Shoo in the stomach. It's a good thing Mrs. Weng was an extreeeeeeeemely skilled healer. Dr. Weng not only gave Shoo a one last lesson, but also gave Shoo was given one of Dr. Weng's swords. A metal jian which was a lot more useful than the wooden one Shoo had. The metal one even had a scabbard. The scabbard didn't have any sort of design, but having a scabbard on his hip was the coolest thing ever.

Shoo eventually left Dr. Weng's house. He walked through his house as he left. Walked out the front door. he left his wooden sword at Dr. Weng's dojo. It was also given to him from Dr. Weng, plus he no longer needed it. Shoo told his family goodbye. Silver was fast asleep in his pocket the entire time. They got to the dockyards, and Shoo saw all sorts of boats. Big boats, small boats, a pirate ship, a naval vessel, fishing boats, and others. There were about thirteen boats at the dock. Shoo looked at the boats wondering which one he should take.

After asking around, he managed to find someone who claimed to be taking the hunter exam. A loud boastful boy. He talked loud and bragged about how he was gonna be the one to pass the hunter's exam. He bragged so much that an old sailor man walked over, "Quit yur blabberin'! Puke like you don't much look like hunter material ta me! Huh! Scrawny little shhh!" The man said before spitting.
"I'll knock your ass out old man!" The young man threw a punch, but the old man caught his hand, and headbutted him.
"You don't much look hunter material either... Go home to your mum..." The man said.
"Nice try ya old bastard! I'm gonna pass this hunter exam!" Shoo said holding his fist out.
"You really are a special kind of stupid, aren't you?" The old man asked.
"No dumber than fat old losers on the docks!" Shoo said.
"If your so tough, how about a game, and I'll leave ye alone" The old man said.
"Any time, any place!" Shoo said.
The large man let out a sadistic grin, take this rock" the man said holding a ruby.

The man tossed a ruby in the air, and pushed Shoo away when he attempted to get close. The man caught the ruby. He threw it again, but then threw a punch at Shoo. Shoo ducked and parried the punch. The man caught the ruby and threw it on the ground, stepping on it with his foot before Shoo could grab it. The man went to the ground and gave a wipe sweeping kick at Shoo and grabbed the ruby when Shoo jumped back. Shoo grabbed sand as he slid back. When the ruby went into the air, Shoo held his hand out like he was gonna grab the ruby, but used his other hand to throw the sand in his eyes. Shoo stomped on the man's foot before leaping and giving the man a headbutt of his own. It didn't phase the man too much, but it stunned him enough for Shoo to try grab the ruby. The man bounced Shoo to the ground with his big ol' belly.

Both Shoo and the man were both grinning. Shoo's grin faded when he realized the rock in his hand was a garnet! The man held up the ruby, with a smug grin. Shoo now feeling disappointed walked over to hand the man the garnet, held the garnet out. Then kneed him in the groin, and as the man winced in pain, Shoo grabbed the Ruby. The old man pushed Shoo hard enough to nearly knock him into the ocean, but Shoo was still grinning with a ruby in his hand, and a garnet in the other. Silver let out cheerful squeaks. Shoo gave the stones back, and the man laughed.

"That was a dirty trick, and I should kick your no good a** for that, but you got the ruby... Personally... If you really wanna take the hunter exam... Get on... That boat. Right there" The old man said pointing towards an large old rickety boat. The boat didn't look structurally safe, but Shoo took the man's word and hoped he wasn't a liar or stupid.

After getting onto the boat, surprisingly he was brought to another island, and there were even more people on this island. There was a nearby town. A lot of people who claimed to be looking for the hunter's exam were heading to the city, so it had to be there, right? Shoo felt confident about that, but he had his doubts. After the boat incident, this seemed to easy, but was Shoo overthinking it? Shoo spoke to some people there, and while most seemed to believe the exam would take place in the city. one of them kept suggesting about somewhere in the woods. Seemed like a joke, but Shoo also thought it was kinda funny. He wondered about whether or not if it were true. he decided to head to the woods. He could always head back to the city if nothing was here.

Shoo saw all sorts of things in the woods, berries, herbs, and other plants. One particular berry stood apart from the others. White berries with blue spots. Before Shoo could pick any, he heard a sound. He managed to grab a few and put them away, but the sound grew louder, and soon enough he saw some creatures. ape like creatures in the distance. They were far away but headed in Shoo's general direction. he couldn't quite make out what he was seeing, but Shoo wasn't gonna find out. He started running. He went into the woods. He grabbed a low hanging vine, and used it to climb the tree. The sounds grew louder. Did they see Shoo? Shoo still didn't wanna find out. He grabbed a higher vine, and leaped, he began swinging, and using another tree to land on. He continued moving around the tree tops. The animals were large ape like creatures. They definitely saw Shoo.

There was a blimp in the distance. It seemed like Shoo's best plan. He tried moving faster. Tree to tree he went. He got closer to the blimp but so did the apes. One got close, but Shoo threw salt in its eyes. He used the opportunity to leap to the next tree. One leaped in front of Shoo on the tree in front of him. So Shoo had to adjust his path. He leaped at an angle, then jumped off the side of a large tree, and grabbed a vine. He swung, and the blimp was right there. Shoo swung across the vine, but the blimp was still a distance away. What's worse, one of the apes leaped out to grab Shoo. Shoo managed to grab a hold of the blimp by the window's edge. His hand grasping the edge. He used his jian to try cut the ape's hand. The ape fell, and Shoo sheathed his sword so he could hold on tight with both hands. Shoo tried to shimmy around the blimp, but his grip was loosening. He reached the door, but struggled. Its a good thing for Shoo, some kind man graciously helped Shoo. It was Leorio! "Thankyou so much! Oh my gosh! Ooooh my gosh! Oh my gosh... Oooooh. MY GOSH! I haven't had that much fun since I cooked that turducken... Thankyou so much!" Shoo said.

Leorio congratulated Shoo for making it to the preliminary. Shoo saw all sorts of cold cutthroat stares. "If this is the preliminary portion if the exam... Then that means... huh... I wonder what the folks back home will think about this... Oh hi... Nice to meet you all. Good luck in the exam" Shoo said looking at the other participants. Silver poked his little head around Shoo's pocket, then made a nervous squeak when he saw the cold looks, and hid back in Shoo's pocket. Shoo patted his pocket softly.
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The buzz of a car, traveling far to fast for any excuse, and the passing chatter of a phone call work together to drown out the loud sigh that escaped Masumi's lips as he leaned back in his chair and brought both hands to his head in exasperation. "Damnit..." the young man breathed out as his steel gaze traveled down to the cheap, homespun computer that sat on the floor, just out of kicking distance. Still, when frustrated enough, Masumi manages to kick the machine- evidence laying in the dents and footprints over the computer's body. With his body melted in his seat, the lowering portion slid entirely off, Masumi was accompanied only with his heavy breathing as he watched the screen, the blimp tracker, flash across it. According to the tracker, assuming it was accurate, Masumi had 42 minutes and 13 seconds to board it before it flew over his home. That wasn't a problem, in fact Masumi was extremely confident in his ability to get onto the blimp... at least up until about 10 minutes ago, when his entire plan blew up in his face- literally. The jetpacked which Masumi had been working on for weeks, which had lasted both test-run 1 and 2, combusted on his most recent test. More specifically, the right jet nozzle had exploded. Masumi, a practiced mechanic, had no trouble identifying the problem and figuring out how to fix it- the problem came with gathering the resources to fix it. And by this time of day, the members of the small community Masumi belonged to were already flocked to the big city next door- there was no way he'd catch any vendors. A trip to the junkyard would take up at least half the time he had for the arrival of the blimp.

According to an earlier set of calculations, Masumi only had a 2 minute time period to board the blimp while it was over his home- and he had planned to give his jet pack just enough power for that. But he wasn't going anywhere in the condition that his machine currently was in, leaning against the wall and taking up most of the room on the desk that sat across from him. Masumi allowed his arms to fall limp by his sides, the length allowing his knuckles to scrap the floor, "Stupid hunter exam..." Masumi groaned before sitting up straight and flailing his arms into the air as he raised his voice in a high, mocking pitch "board the blimp that has no interest i-" the male trailed off as his eyes caught something outside of his window, something that was previously invisible due to his slouching position: his parents car. The old rust bucket usually just sat in the driveway, so despite it's worn down shape, it's parts all worked pretty fine. The hard part would be getting his parents on his team.

12 minutes had passed by since Masumi decided that the only way to fix his jetpack was through his parents vehicle, and all 12 minutes consisted of arguing. "I'll pay you back once I'm a hunter- I already told you that they make more money on a mission than this entire house is worth!" Masumi exclaimed, eyebrows furrowed into a frustrated expression while his father.

"What if there is an emergency? Your mother's health is declining, what if we need to get to the hospital?" The deep voice of Masumi's father went in one of the young man's ears and out the other, the purple haired male simply turning away from his parent with the roll of his eyes. Grumbling to himself, Masumi stomped out of his house, looked down at his watch; a contraption that told the time, altitude, cardinal direction, and temperature; and grimaced. He had 17 minutes before he missed his opportunity- and the way he saw it, he only had two options. Disobey his parents, or pass up the chance. Of course the boy, not one to think of the consequences of his action, didn't even think twice before tucking his hands into his pocket- body still hunched over like a toddler in a fit- and moving towards his parents car. Masumi squatted down at the trunk of the car, ran a finger across one of the exhaustion pipes and nodded before standing up. Then, without warning, the young mechanic raised a leg and stomped on the pipe, repeating the action several times before the part actually came off. While dented a bit, the pip had actually come off fairly cleanly- and Masumi, once the object was in hand, practically sprinted back to his shed.

Under the pressure of time, Masumi spread his tools across his table like a drunk and sloppily got to work. "It's just got to get me up." the boy panted as he wiped his forehead, occasionally checking the tracker as it counted down minute by minute. With merely 2 minutes to spare, Masumi had finished his work. The adolescent slung the jet pack over his shoulder, a confident grin spreading across his features before quickly being replaced by a panicked expression. He had forgot to pack. Masumi hurriedly took the jetpack off, turning it to reveal the backside, which acted as a backpack, and began throwing in tools and small inventions which laid around his shed. He also took a miniature grapling hook type machine, a small cylinder that could rest in the palm of his hand, and held it tight. Masumi could feel heat rise through his body and a tightness in his chest as he closed and buckled the bag. 30 seconds.

Taking a few shaky steps out of his shed Masumi felt a lump in his throat as the large blimp casted a shadow over his neighbors house. It was moving even fast than he imagined. "Alright-" the purple-haired man tightened the grip on the shoulder straps, taking a deep breath before pressing a button that resided on the right shoulder strap. Without warning, the boy was thrusted into the air- a spurt of flames was followed by a heavy line of exhaust as Masumi spiraled towards the blimp with very little control of his direction. Of course, he never had time to learn how to actually use the thing. Masumi squinted against the wind, relaiing he hadn't put his goggles on which forced him to do it midair. By the time the goggles were around the boys eyes rather than his forehead, it was too late- Masumi winced as he only had seconds to brace himself, and then his entire body flung into the side of the blimp's hard lower half. The young male groaned as a dull pain resounded through his entire body, before peeling himself away, thankfully he was stuff to the blimp because of gravity so he hardly has to hold on. He then raised on hand, which concealed his grappling hook- originally intended for other purposes, and he pulled his arm back before slamming the pointed, steel hook into the nearest window- of course it didn't break upon impact. Masumi let out a frustrated yell, the one hand he used to latch onto a window sill was slipping.

"Don't combust. Don't combust. Don't combust." Masumi sighed before used his legs to push off the blimp, jumping away from it and watching a few concerned faces that had previously gone unnoticed to him through the window. The boy twisted his body, the falling feeling making his nauseous, before pressing the button and activating his jet pack once more, this time flying straight towards the window he had earlier hit. With the combination of the jetpack's speed and the pointed tip of his tool which was extended in front of Masumi, the young make managed to break the window and fall inside the blimp. Laying on his back, Mausmi opened his mouth to let out broken breaths, he was in frank disbelief that any of that actually worked. By the time he looked over, the window was already fixed, and his gray eyes turned back to see a familiar face standing over him. After noting the door in a joking manner, Leorio congratulated Masumi for making it this far, but Mausmi couldn't hear a word. His head spun and his body hurt and he closed his eyes just to rest for a moment before sitting up and sinking under the pressure of the glares being given. What was wrong with these people and why were they so scary?
Rain pattered fiercely against the walls of a tall, old, and abandoned warehouse, and amidst the unrelenting storm, lightning flashed sporadically to illuminate a certain side of the building, revealing the silhouette of a human on the rickety fire escape.

The droplets of water, striking the metal of the stairs and safety railing, sung with a resonant hum as the figure remained still, unmoved by the crash of thunder and the shaky platform upon which he stood. Paying the rain no heed, the boy waited, listening silently through the storm......

Finally, the faint rumble of an engine, the nose of a blimp slowly peeking into view. That was it.

Without a word, the figure suddenly began making his way up the fire escape, climbing the stairs swiftly and with ease despite the fragile structure, wet terrain, and roaring winds. Any onlooker not concerned with the fierce weather could clearly see, despite the figure's face cloaked in shadow, that whoever was mad enough to stay outside at this time was walking with a purpose. There was no hurry in his step, no frantic dash as he made his way to the top; one glance would reveal that the figure was in complete control in his plan and path.

After a few more minutes of swift climbing, the boy reached the roof of the warehouse and stood at the edge, looking over the city below, the dim lights shrouded in rainfall and fog. As the rumble of the blimp's engine slowly grew in volume, he slowly took several paces back, stopping only to crouch down and pick up what seemed like a wooden staff. With a deep breath, the figure exhaled before immediately bursting into a sprint, quickly nearing the side of the warehouse once again.

As soon as his foot had reached the edge of the roof, the boy kicked off the concrete with a giant leap, soaring through the wind and rain...

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

"We got another one; welcome aboard! Make yourself comfortable."

As Leorio Paradinight waved in the three new examinees one by one, he briefly scanned the area outside the cabin before letting out a huff of contentment and heading inside. Suddenly, he heard the faint whistle of something moving through the air with astounding speed, and the Hunter turned back around just in time to see-


With a shocked yelp, Leorio ducked to avoid a yari that had been hurtling toward him, stopped only once embedded in the outer wall of the cabin. Shortly after, the figure of a boy followed, and Leorio quickly backed against the wall to make way for the new passenger. He landed on the entryway with a thud, his sneakers squeaking against the floor as he made contact, and after adjusting his bomber jacket and running a hand through his wet hair, the figure straightened up to face Leorio.

The lights outside the cabin illuminated the boy's face, reflecting off of deep purple eyes and a tan skin tone, as well as revealing Korai Sazuma, who nodded in greeting toward Leorio before pulling his spear out of the wall and heading inside.

"W-welcome aboard.... feel free to make yourself comfortable? Maybe try not to cause any more property damage..."

Without a word, Korai passed by Theo, Shoo, and Masumi, evenly meeting the stares that leered at him as he took a seat and set his yari down at his side.
Kaed woke up in his dad's house tomorrow was when the blimp would come near. He woke up and walked to the kitchen. "Breakfast!" Kaed shouted loudly. Kaed's Father looked to him annoyed.
"Your an adult, know when you come back you make your own." Kaed's father explained giving Kaed a large serving of bacon and eggs. "So whats your plan to making the blimp?" Kaeds father asked
"Dunno I'll jump or something." Kaed casually stated.
"No you won't!" Kaed's Father shouted frustrated. "Kaed you want to protect the animals of this world but you can't even make a plan." Kaed's father explained, exasperated. Kaed slunk away embarrassed. "Kaed play to your strengths, you learn techniques fast your strong, your fast, and your weakness's animals hate you, your not smart, use the information on yourself to make a plan." Kaed's Father explained softening his tone.
"Yes father!" Kaed reacted in a excited but determined tone
"Keid I believe in you." Kaed's father told him ruffling his hair. Kaed left the house, which had been constructed inside of a dense jungle Kaed was walking around and saw a large Naytaal plant. Kaed rushed and freed a bird stuck in the plant the Naytaal plant was a nasty one it's sticky but if an animal is caught in it the more force applied to the residue inside the stickier it gets. but if the creature relaxes then the creature will fall through. After freeing the bird Kaed had an idea he threw a powerful kick sliced the plant in half from the outside, he then stuck his hand inside of it, and got some residue on his hand. Kaed then slapped a tree with force trapping his hand to the tree. Kaed relaxed his whole body and it slipped down. "I have a plan!" Kaed shouted with happiness running home. "Do we have any rope?" Kaed asked his father excitedly.
"Yeah in the basement." Keid's father answered with a smile on his face Kaed rushed down to his basement and grabbed a long 30 meter rope and ran down to one of the Naytaal plants and coated one end of the rope in it. I"m going to swing it and jump to the blimp the rope will stick to the blimp, and i'll swing inside." Kaed was impressed with his idea when he realized something how will he get high up enough to get to the blimp Kaed sat down stumped for hours thinking when he was grabbed by a large bird and flown high into the sky. Kaed was dropped into a nest really high up in the trees he was so high up it was difficult to see the ground. The large bird attempted to stab him with it's beak but Kaed rolled out of the way Kaed began hopping down the tree and reached the ground. Then it struck Kaed going from that tree with the combination of the rope would allow for him to make it to the blimp. Kaed headed back to his room and went to sleep to prepare for the next day. When Kaed woke up, he said goodbye to his father and rushed outside, he hid under cover in some brambles and saw the rough outline of the blimp and jumped out. "Come get me!" Kaed shouted and the large bird immediately scooped him up and dropped him into its nest the bird began trying to peck at him, and Kaed but Kaed avoid the attacks when the blimp was close enough Kaed hopped on top of the birds head and threw out the rope at the blimp the force of the residue hitting the blimp stuck the end of the rope to it. Kaed began swinging on the rope, until he eventually managed to navigate his way through the entrance.
Shoo tilted his head as far back, then leaned back, and looked at the people who came in after. "Hiya! How's it going? You guys here for THE HUNTER'S EXAM!" Yu said in a deep sounding action-like narrator voice. Shoo straightened his back and neck, then turned around to face the people. "Nice to meet you! I'm Shoo! Shoo Liu! Sorry for bothering you, I'm new to the hunter's exam. I'm not really sure what to expect..." Shoo said. The purple haired boy passed him by. Shoo watched him as he walked by.

"Squeak!" Silver went. Silver looked at Keid and hissed before hiding in Shoo's pocket. Silver's tail was now sticking out of Shoo's pocket and wiggling around before finally sinking back in Shoo's pocket. "I'm so sorry about that... I don't know what's gotten into the little guy, he doesn't act like that..." Shoo said.
"Animals don't really like me." Keid laughed. "Doesn't matter to me tho i still love them all." Keid Announced throwing his hands up into the air laughing. "He's a cute fella what's his name, how old is he, what is he never seen anything like?, you want to be a hunter wow that's cool?" Kaed began bombarded Shoo with questions excited to speak to someone other to his father for once in his life. "Anyway, Kaed's my name whats yours?" Kaed introduced himself reaching out his muscled out forearm for a hand shake with a giant ear to ear smile on his face.
"Hate you?! That's horrible! Every morning my pet eight legged dog cocoa greets me, and this little guy here is Silver! Silver likes to sleep in the windowsill so the sun shines on him in the morning. Plus no chances of me rolling on him... He's a speckled squirrel. They usually live in forested areas. I think Silver is roughly two years old. Somewhere between two and three. Theres a place on Whale Island called Snakebeech Forest where a lot of these guys live" Shoo said.

Silver was not gonna hide anymore, Silver stuck his head out Shoo's pocket and lifted his front paws like he was ready to throw hands with this man. *Squeak squeeeaaaak!* Silver's small battle cry let out. Shoo noticed this, "Stop that" Shoo said gently poking Silver on the top of his head, but Silver didn't take his eyes off Kaed for a moment, only to blink. Shoo smiled and shaked Kaed's hand. Their handshake formed a bridge for Silver to begin his attack. Though Silver didn't wanna leave Shoo's pocket at the moment. "My name is Shoo by the way! I'm gonna become a gourmet hunter" Shoo said.

Through her spy-glass, Louise observed the blimp just as she had been doing for the last few days. She'd been watching and taking notes as people tried, failed and succeeded in their attempts to board the airship. So far the ones who'd succeeded had done so in ways that seemed...almost mundane and a surprising number had simply...jumped onto the blimp. Perhaps there was nothing simple about risking a jump who's failure would've resulted in a drop that was surely lethal; but, that people could even simply leap onto the blimp was the more startling fact.

"Seems...easy." Louise tucked her spy-glass away as she observed the distance blimp. "Too easy..."

She suspected there was a lot more to these so-called hunter exams, boarding the blimp would only be the beginning. But if this was all the hunter exams had to offer then...

"Hah, hunter's aren't all they're cracked up to be."

The girl mounter her motorcycle and wheeled off in pursuit of the blimp. The airship wasn't that fast—blimps tended not to be—and Louise would outpace it easily...


A few hours later and Louise had beaten the blimp to the next city it was to pass over. She checked its location once more with her spy-glass and confirmed that it was still en route. In a few minutes it would pass over her location and that would give her the opportunity to latch onto it.

She had observed that the simplest plans were often the most successful and it didn't get much simpler than some rope and a grappling hook. As the blimp neared, Louise began to whirl her grappling hook. She was just high enough that she could make out the lowest railings on the blimp—those were her target. If she threw the hook high enough and the railings were sturdy enough then she would snag the railing and be able to safely climb to the deck.

With a practiced throw, Louise slung her hook. It stuck with a satisfying clank that disappeared with the wind. Only the growing tension in her rope confirmed her successful grapple. As the moving blimp threatened to drag Louise right off the roof, she took one last death breath.

Stepping off the roof, Louise left everything behind and climbed upward to new prospects.

She boarded the blimp without much fuss and quickly retrieved her grappling gear.

"This might come in handy later..."
"Kame, are you even listening to me?" at the slight inflection of the senior ninja's voice, Kameyo lifted her gaze from the ground. Her father, prepared to scold the girl's diverted state, softened when he caught her hazel eyes, which never failed to show her emotions and proved that her mind was very much elsewhere. "This is unnecessary, Kameyo. A waste of time." at seeing the resolution in his daughter's eyes, the man let out a sigh, the posture which both parties previously held, sitting up straight on bamboo mats, vanished on the side of the father. "Don't disappoint us." the man stated abruptly, using a hand on his knee to stand up. A few steps towards Kameyo signaled the young woman to stand as well, and she stayed silent as her father brushed a strand of flaming auburn hair behind her ear before grappling her into a hug.
"I won't." Kameyo responded calmly, stepping away and pulling her mask over her nose and hood over her head. The woman locked eyes with her father one last time before giving a simple bow, and turning to walk out the door. Kameyo's expression didn't change much, but her eyes seemed to harden as she could finally focus on the one thing she was set on doing. As Kameyo dashed across the wide, mostly empty, lot that she called her home, she passed the occasional person dressed the same as her. These individuals, her father's students, would wave or call out to her with bellows of good luck, but nothing that Kameyo deemed worthy of a response. Kameyo broke, suddenly, into a sprint. Rather than the collected walk she had set the pace at just seconds before, when she tucked her arms and leaned forward a little the girl moved with astounding speed. Kameyo kicked up dirt as she raced across the yard, eventually coming across a fence. Narrowing her eyes, Kameyo charged towards the metal structure, jumping once close enough and using the leverage of the single-foot contact to push herself upwards, catching herself on the top of the fence with her hands and vaulting over it. Upon landing, Kameyo resumed her sprint without a moment's hesitation. The women had no way to know how much time she had before the blimp's arrival, all she knew was that it would soon be hovering above the local town which was in sight just outside her fence. With that, came the obvious fact that the town, bustling with young folk, would almost certainly have a few who were trying to access the blimp.
Kameyo traveled the town by rooftop, scavenging for a short while before pausing as her eyes fell upon exactly what she was looking for. A pair of young men, likely younger than her, bickered as they stood over a small aircraft. One held a device, the screen displaying the incoming blimp's location, while the other got into the miniature plane. The pair seemed to not have much experience in either flying a plane or planning a mission, likely just a couple of rich kid's who bought a plane. The women slid off the roof and approached the pair in a calm manner, not even looking up when she felt a large shadow cast overhead: the blimp. "Take me up there." Kameyo instructed as he gestured to the blimp with an elbow, when the man holding the computer simply laughed in response Kameyo narrowed her eyes on him. In what seemed to be just a split second, the woman launched her knee into the man's abdomen, forcing him to curl into a ball on the floor in a quivering mess. "Now." Kameyo turned fiercely to the other man, hand in gripping her sheathed blade in a threatening manner.
From the ground, one would assume things were going smoothly. It turned out that the man was a decent pilot, he'd probably be even better if he didn't have a katana pressed up against his neck. As the plane got close to the blimp, Kameyo nudged the pilot. "Open."
"What?" the man exclaimed.
Kameyo rolled her eyes before pressing a small button by the pilot's hand. With that, Kameyo's door gradually opened, a burst of wind, entered the aircraft. Then, the woman looked back at her hostage and gestured to the blimp.
"Hell no. You're crazy! I'm out of here." the man gasped in rejection towards Kameyo's invitation, which didn't seem to affect her very much. As the woman slid out of the plane, and crept across it's wing she noticed the gap growing in the distance between her and the blimp. That coward was already trying to escape. Sheathing her sword, Kameyo kept low against the wing and inched forward, struggling to balance against the wind pressure. Leaning back, Kameyo took a breath before suddenly launching herself from the plane's wing. Without a running start, it was a hard jump to make- but Kameyo seemed to seamlessly catch hold of the edge of the blimp's door. Pulling herself up and walking inside silently.

Yakuro grinned as he carefully rolled a large rock just a few more steps and reached the top of the hill. The boy took the rock, about half the size of him, and lifted it with a considerable amount of effort, holding his breath and dropping it onto a wooden plank with a thud. Yaku's heavy breaths escaped through his fanged smile as he lifted his foot and placed it against the rock, then he kicked it with a yelp and watched the rock fly down the slope. The rock increased in speed until reaching a makeshift ramp which Yaku had set up over the last few days. The dark skinned male put a hand over his eyes to shield them from the sun and watched the rock soar. Making a small square with his index finger and thumb on both hands before shrugging "That should work." Prior to just a few months earlier, Yakuro hadn't had any experience with technology at all. And despite his investor's attempt to purchase him a phone to track the blimp, Yaku lost it every time he was given one. Eventually, his benefactor gave up. It had only been 3 months since Mr. Estellio had picked Yaku from the village, offering the boy anything he wanted in return for him becoming a personal treasure hunter for him. Of course, Yaku jumped at the opportunity to see the modern word. But after dressing like an edgy teenager, harassing some locals, and trying about 200 new dishes- he was back in the woods waiting for some giant balloon.
Yaku stood in place and nodded for a minute before suddenly plopping into a sitting position on the floor, with his hands splayed out behind him the boy leaned back and looked at the sparkling sky. Without a cloud in sight, Yaku let a pleasant smile settle on his features and counted the birds as they flew by. Suddenly, the largest bird that the young male had ever seen casted a shadow over the forest. Startled by it's appearance, Yakuro jumped up and took a step back, his ocean blue gaze instinctively shifting back to make sure he had an escape route. Then, a buzz from behind him caused the boy to yelp- he was surrounded. It took a moment for Yaku to realize that the buzz was accompanied by a vibration at his wrist, it was the dumb little gadget that Mr. Estellio had forced onto Yaku- and the latter didn't have a clue as to how to remove the thing. Yaku rolled his eyes and tapped on the watch, tipping his head away from the device as Mr. Estellio, not a big fan of using his inside voice, began yelling on the other side.
"Get ready, kid. This is your only chance, if you mess up you can say goodbye to all those luxuries you've been sending back to your family." the man spoke breifly before the device cut out. Yakuro wasn't sure what to make of the message. After a few seconds of tossing the words in his mind, Yaku pieced it together- but it was a little to late. As the main body of the blimp had already passed his ramp, Yaku jumped onto a small sled, crafted of several pieces of bark and pushed off the ground to begin his slide down the hillside. He let out a series of joyful yelps as the wind gusted into his face, launching off the ramp Yakuro looked down and felt a shiver run through his body. His ramp was built at the edge of the highest cliff he could find, a mistake would result in a fall that no person could survive. Without even realizing, Yaku ditched the sled and was hurdling through the air without any direction. As he got close to the blimp, Yaku extended both hands and used his long nails like claws to grip into whatever surface he landed on. The boy opened his eyes and grinned, he had made it. Of course, he had no idea where he was, but it was definitely the blimp. Stuck on the tail end, claws lodged into the blimp's shell, Yaku looked left and right before tipping his head- was he supposed to get inside somehow? Yaku flinched against the wind, all sorts of noises were filtered through his brain as he tipped his head back to simply enjoy the thrill of the ride, but a yell caused him to look down. Yaku blinked at a man who waved his arms at the door, Yakuro narrowed his eyes on Leorio before shrugging and making his way over. Like a cat, Yaku crawled towards the door by inserting his nails into the blimp with each step, eventually swinging his body inside. As Leorio began to congratulate the boy, Yaku let out an excited howl before nodding enthusiastically and running to a nearby window.

"What? No." Takara's lips peeled into a scowl of disgust as she squatted down beside a badly beaten man, a man about twice her size who was covered in cuts and bruises. "It's perfectly fair. You said you could beat a girl with your eyes closed, didn't you?" Takara's squeaky voice echoed pensively before she turned to the crowd of people, forming a circle around her and her victim. "And you never said no weapons, did you?" A fleeting smile of mock pity briefly took over Takara's lips before her glowing, pumpkin gaze swept the crowd again. "Did he?" her voice raised but kept the same child-like quality, the crowd was hushed in disbelief. The girl brought her butcher knife, plastered with blood, to her lips in a thoughtful position before she shrugged and against went to the man. Her opponent, now helpless due to injury and exhaustion, tried to get away. A soft giggle hummed in Takara's throat as she walked alongside the man, before quickly becoming bored.
"No please." The man's cry seemed to momentarily please Takara, who smiled and tipped her head before placing a foot on the man's wrist. Crushing the man's joint with her ankle, Takara bent down and drew her knife back.
"Now it's time to uphold your end of the deal." Takara's eyes flashed hungrily and a wide grin overtook the rest of her expression. The fight club, meeting twice a week in an alley in a rundown part of town, was known for it's prize system. Sure, the winner often just requested money, but some asked for other things like rare items or food. Takara, who had been attending the fight club for a few weeks now, always requested the same thing: her opponent's finger. She never lost. And because of her small stature, word tends to get around and she's never gone without a challenger either. Idiots. Takara raised her hand above her head, arm reeled back and a bit of sunlight reflected off her raised knife in a dramatic flare.
"Wait!" perhaps it was the sudden shrillness of the man's voice that caught Takara's attention, but in a miraculous moment she stopped. In most cases, the girl would have no reason the stop. But for her fortunate victim, she decided to hear him out. "I- I got something better for you." the man managed to spit out, causing Takara to sigh and roll her eyes. They typically tried to bargain. "No, really. L-Listen. I, uh. I-" with a shrug, Takara raised her hand again, a signal that she was tired of his stuttering. "I know a place where people die every day. Not a place, I mean. Hundreds... no thousands fail and die and you can watch it! You can be a part of it!" the man screamed out.
"B-O-R-I-N-G!" Takara spelled out, encouraging a better deal on the man's behalf.
"You can kill them all!" it was a stretch of course, and this man hadn't even realized he was lying until after the words came out of his mouth- but they attracted Takara's interest. It was too late to take anything back now. "Yes! It's tomorrow, I'll give you my way up!" the man explained as Takara allowed him to sit upright. Soon, he realized that he could lie about this. She wouldn't know until she boarded the blimp, and by that point she'd probably end up dead anyways- she wasn't built for the hunter exam. "Y-Yes?" the man prompted with a nod.
Takara seemed to have some trouble deciding before she shrugged. "Alrighty. I'll meet you here, tomorrow. You'll take me 'up'." the girl instructed with the point of her knife, "... and if you don't, I'll take all 10 of your fingers and maybe the toes of that pretty girl who always shows up with you." Takara purred as she scanned the crowd for the woman she assumed to be her victim's girlfriend. Before she could find the subject of her threat, Takara was startled by the sound of police sirens. Within seconds, the entire fight club was split up.
The next day, the man met with Takara just as he had promised. The pair made a silent voyage to the rooftop of a tall, business building, where woman waiting. The woman was dressed in all black, her face equipped with both sunglasses and a mask. Whatever she was doing, she didn't want people to know about. Beside the woman was a large insect-like creature, a dragonfly about the size of a bus. The man and woman talked as Takara hummed to herself and played with her knife, eventually, after the exchange of some cash, Takara was beckoned to meet the others. "She'll take you right to the door, hassle free. All you have to do is dismount her. Don't worry, she's trained." the woman stated after seeing Takara's glare. Takara sighed out loud to prove her discomfort before crawling on top of the beast. Without being prompted, the giant insect suddenly began flapping it's wings and Takara was soon in the air. The girl waved towards her former opponent and his partner, yelling a thank you before focusing on the dragonfly's direction- a large blimp. Just as planned, the mount flew right up to the door, and Takara was able to step off of the insect and into the blimp. She turned around and watched the large bug fly back down, shifting her attention back to the blimp to be met by a familiar face. He was fairly familiar, but she couldn't put her finger on it. The man congratulated her, and Takara let her hand slide down to the hilt of her knife. Was it killing time yet? But the girl narrowed her eyes instead... nobody else was killing each other. Perhaps they weren't supposed to engage in battle until they landed. Deciding to wait Takara folded her hands in front of her and began to whistle as she walked through the crowd, noting the people who she figured would likely be the juiciest.

"Are you a moron?"
"Huh?" As Ko popped one eyes open, he let out a frusterate groan and stared down at the man some distance from him. Currently, Ko sat criss-cross on a large boulder and his master was several paces away. "I'm doing what you told me, old man." Ko stated, attempting to return to his meditative state by closing his eyes. Across Ko's lap was a staff, a thick piece of wood that most would only use for training- also the only weapon Ko's master has ever let him lay a finger on. By his side was a canteen, by all appearances one could assume it was filled with water- but Ko's canteens were never filled with water, instead he slowly sipped away at the cheap beer stored inside it.
"I don't recall telling you to sit on a rock for 7 hours." the man replied calmly. Ko's master was fragile in appearance, nearly skin and bones with a short beard and thin puff of white hair on his head, he leaned all of his weight into a cane which he held just in front of him. "How many times do I have to tell you not to use me as an excuse for your stupidity." the man sighed. At the insult, Ko's face twitched, and while his eyes remained closed the rest of his expression gave away his loss of concentration.
After a second of lag, time for the younger male to gather his thoughts, Ko exploded. "Well what do you want from me? You didn't tell me a damn thing. What the hell am I supposed to do with some information like 'board the blimp', huh? What blimp? When? At least I made a plan! You want more than that? Then give me more information!" Ko spoke quickly, his tone sharp, but he didn't raise his voice at all.
"What if it doesn't erupt on time?" Ko's master shrugged, and the young man's expression fell flat. Of course, per usual, his master didn't respond with the same energy that Ko ranted with. He never reacted to Ko's anger, it always made the younger male just feel stupid. The rock that Ko was perched upon was leveled in a crater, a crater that would eventually expand with so much heated gas that the geyser would explode and send Ko flying- theoretically.
"It will." Ko responded bluntly, an almost snarky smirk taking place on his features as if he were excited to prove his master wrong. "Cause, you're here." Ko gave a thumbs up as the figure of the blimp began to make shape out of the clouds beyond his master's head. Now, perhaps betting all of his luck on his master's assistance was risky, but he had to take what he could get. After all, the old man could probably move a whole mountain if he wanted, and Ko was just barely able to roll the large boulder over the geyser's rim. It was exactly 7 hours earlier that Ko's master had approached him with an incredible task, and the punishment for failure was even worse: his master claimed that if he was unable to complete the exam, he was unworthy of being trained and would no longer be the old man's student. Now, that wouldn't bother Ko if he thought that there was even an ounce of fluke in the statement, but he knew better than to underestimate his master's words. So, almost immediately he knew what he had to do. There was no doubt that the old man would search for Ko if he stayed out long enough, and 7 hours later he showed up just in time.
The old man's resting expression finally changed into a soft smile and he shook his head, "Good luck, my pupil." the man sighed under his breath before lifting his cane just an inch of the ground and bringing it down with the slightest bit of force. After a second of silence, ever geyser in about a mile radius erupted simultaneously, Ko's boulder being launched up with such force that Ko was forced to squint against the pressure and it rendered him blind to the blimp. As the boulder shot straight up, the blimp moved forward towards Ko, the two were on a path to collide. Fortunately, it's hard to miss the presence of a massive balloon-vehicle, and once close enough Ko pressed his staff against the boulder and the pushed off of it, causing the rock to lose momentum and fall while Ko landed, near perfectly, on the nose of the blimp. Ko let out a long whistle, satisfied with his performance, before tucking his staff underneath his arm and balancing along the spien of the blimp with ease, eventually sitting like a child to slide down it's side. It the perfect position, Ko slid down the side of the blimp and landed on the edge of the entrance, most anyone with less than perfect balance would have fallen out. Turning to head inside the blimp, Ko raised his brows in surprise at how crowded it was, he then reached into his pocket to find that his canteen was missing. The man hissed to himself before simply walking inside with the hopes of finding a quiet corner to take a nap.
~Dick Patrickson...~

"Dick Patrickson is up, and needs to stretch, and then eat breakfast. So I can become a hunter, and get myself a smoking hot super model for a wife" Dick Patrickson said grinning. The sun just outside his window shined off his bald head. Dick Patrickson opened the window and stuck his head out, and looked around. The breeze felt great. Especially since he didn't have pajamas. As much as he enjoyed the cool breeze, it was time for him to get dressed. He got his clothes on and put his mask on. Nice and clean. Dick Patrickson liked to keep his mask clean. He ran outside, "Dick Patrickson can do it!" He yelled.

"No he can't!" A random man yelled.

"Shut the hell up Todd! Yes he can! Cause he's not a little bshhh like you! This is why your father never loved you! Even I can't stand looking at your pathetic mug!" Dick Patrickson yelled as he ran down the street.

Dick Patrickson rode a bus, a boat, a camel, a whale, and even a young lady's back. Yes. Dick Patrickson managed to convince some lady to Carry him for a while. All of this was to try find where the hunter exam would be located. Dick Patrickson eventually found in a small town heading eastbound and out. He eventually found himself on a battlefield, and a blimp in the distance. Seperating him from the blimp was a minefield and all sorts of debris. Dick Patrickson hopped on one of the tanks coping to drive over to the blimp but the blimp was too high and the tank was way too damaged to drive, but he diiiid have an idea...

The hatch was broken off. He saw onw of the landmines, and grabbed the large piece of metal. He leaped over the landmine and thrusted the landmine under his bottom. The explosion sent Dick Patrickson in the air, "Dick Patickson is coming in hooooot!" He yelled. His belly slapped the window of the door, and the door handle hit him right in the keys. He teared up before Leorio reluctantly opened the door allowing the man to enter, "Thankyou! Thankyou! Dick Patrickson approves" Dick Patrickson said posing as if he were about to get his photo taken. As he posed, the light shined on him at just the right angle. Truly breathtaking sight.

Dick Patrickson began loudly clearing his thoat, "Yes... It is I. Dick Patrickson! Here to grace you by becoming a huuunterrrr!" Dick Patrickson said. He walked over to sit down. Afterwards he began whistling to himself, snapping his fingers, and tapping his foot to pass the time. Dick Patrickson saw the grappling hook lady enter the blimp, but continued doing his own little thing. "Do-do-do do-do-doooo do-do-do do-do do-doooo, Dick Patrickson is hella thirsty. Could go for a glass of lemonade or club soda ba-da-da-da-da-da-da-da-da da-daaaa La-da-da la-da-da la-da-da-deeeee" Dick Patrickson hummed to himself before continuing to whistle.

~Shoo Liu...~

Shoo began looking around at all the people. All sorts of weirdos had come to take the hunter's exam. Most of the people there seemed to wanna keep to themselves. A bit of a bummer but was kind of expected. Shoo was still happy to meet Kaed. he seemed friendly enough. It was nice talking to someone there. Shoo rubbed Silver's little neck before patting his head. *squeak squeeeaaak!* Silver cheerfully went.
Theo had initially found an empty seat near a window not far from the entrance, which provided him with both a sense comfort and entertainment as he rested his hand against the pane and watched newcomers make their attempts to board the blimp. It didn't take long for the boy to lose interest, it appeared that many people opted to take an approach similar to his and grapple their way on board somehow; however, he would soon regret his ingratitude for the mundane when a purple haired boy burst through the window and scattered throughout the common area with a particular shard cutting Theo on his cheek.

“Ouch.” He whispered to himself, not wanting to show a sign of pain and weakness in front of his competition. I guess the exams are bound to attract a few eccentric people, maybe I should wait this out somewhere quieter.

He left his seat just as Leorio began to greet the newcomer and ventured down the spacious halls of the blimp, eventually reaching a set of large doors with a sign labeled “lounge” hanging above it. He pushed the doors open and entered, finding a place for himself in the back corner.

It was a comfortable room by any definition of the word; decorated with black leather chairs, a tv, snacks, and various other applicants relaxing in the area. Yet suddenly, the entire room was put on edge and Theo’s hand was drawn to his knife. His red eyes darted to the door he had came in not 30 minutes ago and settled on the source of the disturbance.

It was a single man, notable enough to garner attention with his fit physic, fair skin, white hair, ornate yukuta, and giant sickle style swords that laid in an X on his back; however, seemingly not significant enough to stand out as an irregularity amongst a crowd of unique individuals. The reason for his distinction seemed to stem from his pitch black eyes that exuded an energy so palpable it was as if they were drowning in it. It was not an aura of intimidation or malice, rather of confidence and grace: an apex predator simply existing in nature. Pure supremacy.

Everyone looked away in a pitiful attempt to avoid catching the man’s attention as if they were prideful enough to believe they were even worth noting. Well, almost everyone…

Quite familiar with the reaction his presence provoked, a smile broke out on the man’s face and he began to address the room as if he could read everyone’s mind. “I take it most of you know me, or at least based off of your delightfully scared faces, you at least know enough about me.” He wore a confident smirk at first, though it suddenly changed to a look of disgust and rage. “How utterly disappointing.”

A single wave of his hand sent a slash that sliced through everything in its path, creating a line of destruction in a display of power that sent people scrambling out the exit until only a few remained in the room.

“Very good.” He smiled again, returning to his initial disposition as he addressed those who stuck around. “I do apologize for my impulsiveness, but you see…. I was hoping to find some peers. So you can imagine my disappointment when I decide to join the Hunter’s exam and all I see are WEAK FUCKING COWARDS!

In already his second fit of rage, the man conjured forth an enormous burst of energy and punched his hand straight through the wall behind him with such explosive power that those who were foolish enough to try to eavesdrop were shot backwards and crumbled against the blimp’s hallway wall.

“I’m sorry, I’m sorry. I did it again, hahahaha.” He turned jovial once more, displaying his psychopathic ability to switch his mood at a moments notice. “Anyways, I digress. My name is Hayan Falco, and if you’re still here that means you’ve proven worthy of being one of my playthings for the rest of the exam. Hahahaha.”

Plaything?…. Worthy? Theo shifted uneasily in his seat. He was quite certain that he wasn’t worthy of anything, in fact, the only reason he hadn’t left with the others was because he was too intrigued by the Falco’s powers to remember to run. Are we really all just pawns to him?

“You see, there are only three types of people who are able to stand up to power. If you’re still here that means you’re one of them.” He surveyed the room, determining each of which the remaining members were.

“One: the strong. The rarest of the bunch. You think you don’t have a reason to fear me because you believe your strength makes you my equal. I will enjoy proving you wrong.” His eyes settled on Zion, the extremely large man adorned with shackles and a crucifix as well as a man called Ko who seemed unfazed as lied on a sofa picking his nose with his pinky.

“Two: the arrogant. The vast majority. You will disappoint me and I will not forgive you for lying to me about your potential. Be prepared for a painful end.” He looked directly at a corner booth cluttered with a few individuals including a cowgirl, a man in a leather jacket, and an elderly man.

“Three: the curious. The problematic ones. Those foolish enough to let intrigue cloud their better judgement. I will satisfy your inquisitive mind and relish as reality crushes your spirit.” For this one his gaze seemed to pierce through Theo and he experienced the most intense feeling of fear he had ever endured. What should I do? What should I do? Am I not ready for this? He was nearly ready to sprint out of the room when his saving grace arrived on the scene.

“What a mouthful. Just quit the cool guy speech and get going. The next phase is about to begin.” It was Leorio once again who had stopped by the lounge while ushering people to the next trial, his presence cutting through the tension in the room.

Whew. Theo breathed a sigh of relief and followed the suited man to his next test. Soon enough, he had found himself back at the door he had climbed in not long ago. Maybe the next phase is on land.

“Hey, what’s the big idea? I’ve been here a week and we still haven’t started the exam.” A disgruntled applicant complained.

“And you won’t start for awhile. We haven’t even finished the preliminaries, most of you would die if we started the exams now.” Leorio replied, sliding the blimp door open in the process to reveal a viscous whirlwind of winds and rain.

“That being said, the next test is a game of follow the leader. The exam is in the city below and you’ll need me to find it…. If you stay at the edges you’ll be blown up into the sky, if you go towards the middle you’ll plummet to the ground. Getting up is easy, getting back down is the hard part. Goodluck!” With those departing words Leorio jumped into the swirling twister, drawing gasps from the onlookers who rushed to the edges only to catch a glimpse of the man apparently flying as navigated the winds, gliding in circles as he descended towards the ground at a safe speed.
~Shoo Liu...~

"Waowee! This goof is more weird and unusual than I am! Has he ever heard of a door? I wonder if that kid is okay... He seems fine, but I dunno"
Shoo thought to himself. The man had strange black eyes. A weird look in his eye and a crazy grin. To Shoo, he just seemed socially awkward with poor people skills and to a degree undisciplined. This man seemed like someone that's never been disciplined. If Shoo broke a window, his ass woulda been grass.

In addition to vandalism, he liked talking a lot. Shoo could only assume he liked hearing himself talk.

"Plaything? Like children's toys?? Worthy? What is this guy?! Entitled? If for any reason this dude doesn't pass the hunters exam, he's probably gonna leave a one star Yep Review" Shoo thought to himself. This was not a man Shoo wanted to mess with.

The man went on to talking about three types of people. Shoo stopped listening halfway through. He didn't understand what purpose describing the three types of people was for. Who cares? Shoo was here to become the greatest gourmet hunter ever. Not have weird philosophical conversations with scary hooligans. Though perhaps Shoo was judging him too harshly. Shoo decided he'd try think open mindedly about this strange man.

"Next test? Cool beans! You ready Keid? I know I am!" Shoo said all hyped. He saw people carefully navigate down with an eager grin. Shoo wasted no time down a front flip off the blimp. Silver's small battle cry could be heard moments before he made the plunge. Shoo moved his arms and legs to angle himself to he might safely circle glide down. Silver was roaring like a mini Chewbacca and Shoo was joyfully cheering hoping he wouldn't plummet to their death.

~Dick Patrickson...~

"Its fun to stay at the ex why zee ayye, it's fun to stay at the eeex whyyy zeeee aaayye yeeeaaah" Dick Patrickson muttered in his sleep. Dick Patrickson was in such a deep slumber that he didn't even notice Falco's window shattering entrance. He did however let out a big inhale as he sleep gasped, "NEXT TEST?!?! Dick Patrickson is ready to goooo!" Dick Patrickson yelled. He saw someone about to jump out. "Diiiick Patricksoooon!!!" He yelled completely ignoring the man in front of the exit. In doing so, he body slammed into the man causing both of them to fall out the blimp. He was panicking and moving around in a circular motion. Through sheer luck and stupidity he was going closer to the ground, and stood a decent chance at survival.
Korai had also made for the lounge soon after his arrival, choosing to take a seat on the floor against a wall. He remained silent amidst the sudden din of yelling and destruction that followed the introduction of a man, though the spearman watched with dull eyes as the loud and prideful newcomer made his statement. The aura the man known as 'Hayan Falco' radiated indeed carried a palpable intensity, but Korai's demeanor remained monotonous and unmoved as his eyes followed the dual-sword wielder.

As soon as Falco had concluded his speech, Korai sighed and rolled his eyes briefly before Leorio announced the beginning of the next face. What a waste of breath. Slowly rising to his feet, the teen followed the group to the door of the blimp, where Leorio gave further instructions...... before jumping out the door and hurtling into the tempest below.

A few had already followed closely behind--one being much louder about it than most--in jumping after Leorio out of the aircraft, but the majority who had understandably hesitated simply watched with bated breath. However, Korai wasted no time in making sure he kept the examiner in his sight, and he promptly jumped ship without a thought. The objective was to follow the leader, and Leorio was the only way to the next site of the exam.

Simple as that.
Kaed heard the dribble from Falco and was confused that people would act so boastful and rude. When Falco began separating people into categories, it was simplistic view of people but Kaed wondered what category he fit into by Falco's logic. "Maybe like me he isn't used to people." Kaed thought, He followed Leorio's instructions and Kaed prepared himself for the jum. "You bet!" Kaed responded to Shoo's question and jumped. He was excited but also nervous he had no idea what he was doing or where he could be going to but Kaed held onto hope remembering his fathers teaching as plummeted faster.
Woah. One after the other, a few daring prospects flung themselves off the airship and were swallowed by the raging twister with minds void of fear. Theo, on the other hand, was part of the majority: the group standing away from the edges with lead for legs, watching in awe as others mustered the courage they were unable to summon.

How? Just.... how? It didn't compute with the boy. The lack of hesitation, the fearlessness. Sure, the hidden wonders of the world had always beckoned Theo, but his only leap in pursuit of them had been after weeks of meticulous planning. Yet here he was, helplessly outclassed in the race towards his ambition. Immobilized by the risk that came before the reward. Is it arrogance? Stupidity? Or am I really just that inferior in the world of hunters? Would I be better off staying at home...?

Doubts flooded his head as he drifted back to that penthouse suite he had escaped not long ago. The five star chef, the expensive clothing, the luxury bedroom... He already had more than most could ever dream of, why was there this desire for more? Had this whole plan been nothing more than a childish fit? ....No.

It was bigger than that, an internal longing that he was born with. It didn't matter if he was a noble or a nobody, a prince or a pauper. Theo would never have been satisfied. It was true, he had everything money could buy, but a bird in a diamond cage does not fancy itself fortunate as it watches its kin dance in the open skies above its confines, free to soar wherever their hearts desire.

Yes... freedom. Theo came to realize that as his true desire. He craved no ivory tower, detached from the world. He longed to experience everything: the good, the bad, the pleasant, the painful. To experience life in its entirety by the fullest definition of the word. And with this realization came clarity. Perhaps everyone is scared. Bravery cannot exist if there is nothing to fear. What is courage if not simply the freedom to look fear in the face and choose "No"?

That is what Theo chose: to say "no." One foot in front of the other, every step brought the child farther away from those paralyzed in their cowardice and closer to the entrance of the calamity that beckoned him. Step after step his freedom overruled his fear until he could step no further. He was at the edge. Fierce winds bit at his soft skin and the regret filled screams of a few unfortunate jumpers before him echoed up from the twister, but still he held fast. Without so much as a glance back to consider the safety behind him, Theo took one last step forward into the cyclone and spiraled downwards in his baptism into the new world of freedom.


The pre-exam phase was far from over. After navigating the winds of a tornado, the candidates were hardly given a rest as their pilgrimage to a far more dangerous land had only just begun. For three days they followed Leorio through the wilderness, braving each wild and new challenge as they came. They climbed perilous cliff sides, navigated through stormy seas surfing on the backs of sharks, journeyed through thick jungles swinging from trees as tall as sky scrapers, only briefly stopping whenever their guide saw fit. It was the most grand adventure any of them had ever experienced, yet the destination was merely the beginning.

“Here we are!” Leorio proclaimed, not sounding the least bit fatigued as he descended from his tree and into a clearing within the jungle. It was a bit underwhelming to say the least. After traveling through various awe inspiring terrains, the end result was nothing more than a giant barn shed with paint peeling from the sides. They were instructed to file into the building in the order they got there, each receiving a pin with a number on it in the process.

“379, huh.” Theo shrugged and looked behind him, seeing that there was still a large amount of people in line. Guess I’ll take a quick break while I can. He wandered over to a bale of hay and flopped onto his back, enjoying a brief calm before the ensuing storm.
~Shoo Liu...~

Closer and farther Shoo got from the ground. Up and down but slowly making his way closer and closer to the ground. One last gust of wind sent him up before he slowly began going back down again. He braced himself as he landed on his feet. "Woohoooo!" Shoo yelled. Silver didn't make a noise but instead was too busy clutching onto the insides of Shoo's pocket as hard as he could. Silver bit down onto the cloth. Shoo held his hand over his pocket just in case.

Shoo managed to follow Leorio, occasionally asking "Are we there yet?" and "What about now?" only for a few of the people there getting angry at him and telling him to stop asking.

They followed Leorio. Shoo enjoyed the climbing portion of the pre exam the most. It came easy to him. He was practically in his element. He climbed the cliff side like a normal person walking. it also helped that Shoo knew which parts of the cliff were safe to climb on and which weren't.

Surfing on the back of a shark proved to be the most difficult as forcing himself on the shark as well as staying on the shark proved to be difficult. Shoo held onto the large dorsal fin, and cheered holding his other hand in the air before nervously grabbing ahold of the shark once more. He'd occasionally cheer along the way but mostly held onto the shark with both hands. Silver didn't wanna come out during this portion of the preliminary exam.

As they headed into the jungle, Shoo coulda sworn he heard someone singing about bare necessities. Shoo swung off the occasional vine as they headed through the jungle. Navigating through the jungle took time as they had to navigate around many trees. The brief stops was nice, though Shoo didn't get much of a break as most of the break was Shoo trying to stay caught up with the others. Though for the brief times Shoo did pause to relax, it helped out a bunch.

Shoo wiped the sweat off his brow, before looking at Leorio who seemed perfectly fine. Shoo didn't break composure, but he was feeling his muscles begin to tighten. "378..." Shoo said looking at his badge. Silver bit the badge, but the let out an angry squeak as the badge was too tough for him to bite into. Shoo fell on his butt and sat there in the shade. He relaxed and began meditating. "Hamana hamana hamana hamana Shamala shamala shamala shamala shamala cabaflabayyakaflakashakamalaka" Shoo muttered to himself obviously not taking the meditation seriously.

If Dr. Weng were there he'd smack Shoo hard enough that he'd fly into the air, for not taking meditation seriously enough. Silver sat atop Shoo's head. Shoo looked around at the next few arrival. Shoo saw the boy from earlier come in a few moments after he did. Shoo was relieved to see the boy didn't outright die. He must have been really competent for his age. Shoo didn't see Falco though. Perhaps he had died, or maybe he was further ahead. Shoo was also looking around for Keid.


Dick Patrickson landed on his belly when he neared the end of the tornado. Dick Patrickson realized he needed to get outta the tornado so he ran and jumped "Headbutt!" Dick Patrickson yelled throwing his body through the tornado headfirst. He was lifted but quickly went to the ground as he went through, and landed on his belly once more. He began crawling then running, then jogging, then speed walking as he slowly began getting more and more tired. The worst part was, he hadn't even been running for five minutes and he was already feeling the burn.

"Dick Patricksooooooooooooooon!!!!!" He yelled as he went full on jog mode.

Climbing the cliffside was difficult as he often grabbed ledges poorly and slipped a lot. Dick Patrickson fell off the cliff and landed on another participant knocked them off the edge. "Curse you fataaaaaaaassssss!!!" He yelled as he fell. Dick Patrickson was lucky and managed to grab the cliff, and continued climbing.

When it came to the sharks, Dick Patrickson leaped onto the shark, "The shark let out a strange sound of panic and terror and the large man landed on it. Dick Patrickson was the alpha male in this situation however. The shark went down the path the others were on. Dick Patrickson was sinking in the water, he was barely able to keep his head above water. The jungle was equally challenging. The branches Dick Patrickson climbed on or vines he swung off of broke. He jumped on one branch that another person was standing on. The branch broke causing both Dick Patrickson and the other person to both fall. Dick Patrickson got the number "444". Dick Patrickson rolled over the finish line and continued rolling. He laid there and began sleeping. He snored pretty loud too, and began muttering in his sleep, "Dick Patrickson is the beeeest. Diiiiick Patrickson is the beeeeest *SNOOOORE*" Dick Patrickson muttered.
Masumi kept his eyes focused on the floor for a long while, flinching whenever anyone larger than him pushed past him to get to the lounge or a window. The male slowly twisted his wrist, arms held close to his body as if they would be ripped off if he extended them, and glanced at his watch- noting their current location using the blimp tracking app. After standing in silence for a while, Mausmi abruptly remembered his jetpack, "shit." the young male gasped and flung the machine off of his back. His plan had been to use it to get onto the blimp, and then repair it so it would be ready again for use later in the exam. However, Masumi's mind completely went blank once met with the glares of his intimidating opponents. Masumi dropped to a seated position and opened the backpack, pulling out some tools that he got to work with, tinkering with the jetpack with such focus that he could block out everything else on the blimp. Engrossed in his project, Masumi nearly missed Leorio's set of instructions. However, when a pair of feet nearly stepped on Masumi's fingers, the purple haired male hissed and looked up- only to find that most of the people had crowded into the main section of the blimp in order to better listen to their instructor. Masumi stood up slowly, packing his things and waiting for whatever everyone else was expecting.

It took a moment for the words to sink into Masumi's head. Even after Leorio disappeared into the swirling vortex of wind, Masumi didn't register the idea until a few participants gleefully followed suit. They were just jumping? Were they morons? The chance of surviving the inside of a tornado was so low Masumi couldn't believe the hunter association would even consider such a concept. There was no way that everyone was going to make it out alive. As the crowd slowly moved forward, growing exponentially slower once the dare devils had already gone out, Masumi began to feel the wind gust into his face. His eyes were still wide as thoughts raced through his mind, and he quickly side stepped so he was no longer in the path of the door, muttering to himself as he calculated the probability of survival out loud. "The heavier you are, the quicker you'll fall. The quicker you fall the more likely you are the get squashed." Masumi mumbled as he glanced over his shoulders at his jet pack. The young inventor pressed his lips together as he slid the backpack straps off his shoulders and ran a hand across the large metal pieces that made up the jet pack. With a chunk of weight like that, his survival chances were halved. Looking back up, it seemed the only people left were those who either weren't going to jump at all, or those who were wondering how much their life was actually worth in comparison to the end goal. Masumi let out a loud sigh, throwing his hands into the air in defeat before taking out a large wrench. Mausmi paused for a moment with the wrench raised above his head before closing his eyes as if having to destroy his creation was to much to watch, and then he began hacking away. After removing the protruding metal pieces, Masumi pulled his goggles over his eyes and crawled back toward the opening, leaning out slightly so he could get a better idea at how fast the wind was moving.

But in an unfortunate series of events, the result of a domino effect Masumi had no idea he'd be evolved in, the young man found himself falling out of the blimp face first. Masumi let out a terrified shriek as he fell from the sky, all limps extended in a star-fish type shape. Someone had pushed someone who stumbled into someone who knocked into Masumi, and Masumi hadn't gotten to see a single one of their faces. So, he was going to die because of some group of idiots who he'd never even be able to look at. Masumi did what he could to stay in the center of the hurricane, although he was pretty much just limp in the air, arms flapping like a ragdoll in the wind. When he hit the ground, he couldn't believe it. Masumi landed on his knees, bod instinctively bracing itself, and he rolled into his side for what seemed like a long time. One might have assumed he was dead if they didn't look closely.

He eventually got up. As what seemed to be a trend so far, Masumi had gotten used to having to get off the floor. He lifted his googles onto his forehead and wiped the mud off of his face, mouth opened in order to better catch his breath. The male looked up to see the fading silhouettes of the other examinees, they sure were moving quickly. Putting a hand on top of his head to fix his hair, Masumi grumbled to himself and shook his head. Weighing his options of turning back now or fully committing to this suicide mission. Of course, turning back wasn't an option. Masumi, a long legged individual was built for running and easily caught up with the others. However, it was the rest of the trip that got him. Walking, running, jumping- those were all normal things, things that the male had done since he was a child. But climbing the side of a mountain? Riding a shark? If he wasn't in the far back, he was way ahead due to the fear of whatever was behind him catching up. Mausmi's position fluctuated during the hike, he did a lot of falling behind and catching up- but as others fell and found themselves unable to carry on, Masumi pushed through.

By the time they had reached their destination, Masumi didn't even know that it was over. His brain was so hazy and his body so exhausted that he had gone into autopilot and wasn't registering anything that was happening. It wasn't until the cold metal pin was in his hand that Masumi snapped back to reality and blinked at it. 502. Masumi took the pin and attached it to his left pants thigh, nodding at it before collapsing into a stack of hay- a seemingly popular reaction. He wasn't sure if he'd be able to get up again, but for now the rest was nice.
Korai sat atop a particular (plot-convenient) hay bale, one against which two others had decided to flop down and relax. He examined the badge he'd been given, spinning it around in his hands and finagling with it blankly until the newcomers had arrived. The pin read '133', and though other examinees may have been cherishing theirs while they lasted, staring at them with wonder and excitement, Korai felt nothing, only the same drive and objective he had felt three days ago: to see the exam to its completion.

Though he had been content to avoid any interaction with the two that had seemed to unknowingly intrude upon his resting space, Korai's periphery caught the slight glint of a polished, silver knife guard, one which belonged to a certain engraved blade the spear-wielder knew all too well.

"Neat knife. Must have had deep pockets to pry it away from those collectors who value it so much."

Dully pointing out the notoriety of such a weapon in the market, Korai slyly poked into Theo's comfortable life back home (which he felt had been implied by the boy's possession of the knife), and though the spear-wielder's voice remained monotonous, his eyes betrayed a brief shine that seemed to issue a challenge, his humble but more-than-reliable spear loosely held at his side.
“Huh?” Theo yawned as he slowly opened his eyes to make out the figure of an older boy standing in front of the hay he was napping on. Is he trying to start a fight? Was Theo’s first instinct due to the challenging tone the boy held, though after his eyes caught sight of his lower badge number, Theo realized it was more than likely that he had accidentally laid down in an area someone else had already claimed.

Just lay low, no need to get into it. He swallowed his slight bit of fear and stretched his arms with yet another yawn in an attempt to relieve any tension through casual actions. “You think so, huh?” He chimed with a smile, doing his best to play the role of a naive kid. “Well I guess you got a good eye. It’s Ben’s knife #9, ‘Zantenkaiwa’ it means ‘Wing that cuts through the heavens.’ My family is really big on collecting artifacts so I took it with me when I left for the exams.” He opted to leave out the part that he had stolen the knife and decided to distract from his slight awkwardness by unsheathing the blade and holding it in front of Korai for him to see. “It was pretty hard to come across, being one of the first Ben’s Knives and all, but I’m pretty glad it happened. This thing can fly through the air and cut through winds no problem, it’s part of the reason I’ve even made it to this phase of the exam!”

Louise sneered at the broken bodies and smattered bloodstains, the only remains of the mentally retarded would-be hunters who thought their balls—both metaphorical and physical—were so big that they could be used as floatation devices to brave the storm-force winds of the tornado. Obviously they died, as they should've. Such stupidity was a plague upon the world and god-forbid any of these figures, whose IQs could only be expressed in imaginary numbers, could curse society by spawning more inane progeny.

It was a different argument for those who'd leapt off and actually survived. They were either lucky or skilled, it was hard to tell because Louise herself had simply re-used her grappling hook, allowing her some measure of control while she descended by swapping from grappling point to grappling point. It was a matter of throwing her hook with enough force and enough rope that she overshot her target, then the tornado would do the rest of the work, flinging the rope backward where its extra length could tightly coil around her objective. Luckily there wasn't much in the way of debris, she might've been in trouble if there were. Perhaps it was because they were relatively close to the ground? Who knew. Who cared. Not her, that's for sure.

Ultimately, the line between genius and stupid was only a matter of whether your hare-brained schemed worked or not. Those who survived were heralded for their prowess while those who died were ridiculed. Alas, not even ridicule would accompany these sad fellows who had fallen to their deaths as the exam proceeded without anyone batting an eye.

Having proven useful twice before, Louise continued to carry her grappling hook, which proved itself again and again in the next portions of the exam. Need to swing through the jungle? Just grapple the trees. Need to traverse perilous cliff faces? Not a problem, the craggy acne-ridden landscape had more than enough places to hook. Need to ride a shark? Grapple that bitch and ride 'em cowgirl!

When they had arrived at their location, smiling as all Louise could do as she smugly wrapped up her grappling hook and attached it to her waist. She collected her badge—#829—and found a deserted corner of the room to squat in. She made sure to keep a wide birth from the guy muttering in his sleep—something about his dick. Filthy.

Acknowledging Theo's knife with nothing but a mere glance, Korai cracked his neck and returned his gaze to the front, looking around the holding area. Some distance out stood the boisterous and arrogant Falco, probably trying to intimidate some more examinees during the short break time. As he watched the prideful man saunter around, Korai shrugged to himself before hopping off the bale of hay, turning back to say something to Theo one last time.

"Hopefully not a big part of the reason."

With nothing more, Korai walked off, twirling his spear nonchalantly as he explored the rest of the old shed.
Kaed arrived at the new location and looked around, he collected his pin it read 74 he looked at it and stuck it to his shirt. Kaed felt uneasy but his fellow examinees looked at him with intrigue some of them from sight alone knew Kaed was stronger then them and where sizing him up to deal with him when he became an opponent, although Kaed was oblivious to this. Kaed looked around when he saw a familiar face looking around. "Shoo!" Kaed shouted calling for his new friends attention, walking over to him.
What a dick. Theo chuckled to himself as the older boy walked away. Did he seriously do all that just to insult a kid? Oh well… guess it’s not worth getting mad over. Feeling a bit dissatisfied with how that interaction turned out, the child opted to go meet other people in hopes of gathering a few allies. His eyes scanned the crowd, taking note of a few intriguing individuals.

The first of them was a girl who looked eerily similar to the upperclass back in Eporasong, all wrapped in white fur and wearing a fancy dress beneath. Too sophisticated… she probably wouldn’t team up with a kid. His eyes wandered elsewhere and were drawn to a man who’s appearance looked as if an EDM concert was crammed into a single person. Well at the very least he’s not intimidating. He shrugged and began to head over to him, though stopped short as he saw a giant man who looked more muscle than brain calling over to the multicolored individual. I guess he already has a teammate… how boring.

Theo was ready to give up on finding an entertaining individual to pair up with when the sound of a crash drew everyone’s attention.


It was a most absurd sight. Amongst a cloud of dust was a cowgirl scantily clad in nothing more than a pair of overalls and a cowboy hat, her purple eyes fuming with rage as she pinned an elderly man to the ground with a knee to his exposed chest and a barrel down his throat.

“WHADDYA HAVE TO SAY FOR YERSELF YOU CREEP!?” She screamed, not caring that the revolver she held in his mouth prevent him from speaking an answer.

“pleash dompb gill mef.” He gargled, though his pervasion overruled his sense of fear. Even with the threat of death, the rare opportunity of close contact with a female was simply overwhelming and he couldn’t help but reach full mast, causing the tip of his large flagstaff to poke Holli in the back.

"What the...?!" Her head spun backwards and she recoiled in horror at a glance of the one eyed serpent. "OH THAT IS IT YOU SICK MOTHERFU~"


Just a moment before the girl pulled the trigger, the barn doors opened and a different trigger was pulled with such accuracy that it shot the gun right out of Holli's hands.

"Jeez, what a hassle. There will be plenty of time for the lot of you to die, so can't you just shut up and play nice for now?" The introduction of the man drew everyone's attention and a hush fell over the room, with Falco even recognizing a new presence of strength. From the smoking barrel of his sniper rifle to his face concealed by black hair and a racoon pelt hat, everything about this man exuded the pinnacle of manliness: confident, stern, and most importantly, powerful.

"Call me Tectrock. Unfortunately for you, and even more unfortunate for me, I got stuck with being you fools' examiner."

It's starting already? Theo surveyed the crowd. The highest number pin he could remember seeing was somewhere in the 800s but he estimated there had to be about a thousand applicants inside the massive barn. Yes, it was a historically large number but he couldn't help but think of how small the crowd felt compared to how many people he had seen aboard the blimp.

"Right no you're standing in the one safe place within these trees known as the 'Deadjoy Woods.' You may not have noticed it on the way in, but these massive trees are covers for some of the most dangerous animals on the planet. The test for phase one is simple. A total of 4 of you will each be assigned a certain species to hunt. The first of these 4 to return with the animal, dead or alive, will pass. The rest will fail. You may use any means necessary."

Any means necessary... The words echoed in Theo's head. Everyone knew what that meant, in this phase you would be both the hunter and the hunted. He gulped in fear and nervously glanced to either side. There were men twice his size with even more than double his muscle, all grinning, giddy with bloodlust. How was a child possibly supposed to compare?

An assistant handing out pictures of their target animals did little to help relinquish his fear as she casually smiled like she was distributing candy rather than handing him what was basically a death guarantee concealed as a terrifying image of a giant black kangaroo with huge red fists that resembled boxing gloves labeled "Devil Fist Kangaroo."

Breath... just breath... I'll figure it out one step at a time. He told himself in an attempt to avoid feeling entirely overwhelmed by the situation. Before others could get a glimpse of his target, he tucked the picture into a pocket, sprinted outside of the barn, and began to climb a tree in an attempt to distance himself from the crowd. Take it easy, scout it out, develop a strategy, and then strike!
~Lynx Vox-Leban...~

Lynx stood there with his guitar over his shoulder and let out a shrill cackle. A chrome/gold jaw man looked around at a few of the people. He saw a few interesting sorts, but a lot of normies too.

"Yeehaw yippee ki yay..." Lynx muttered sarcastically after looking over at a cowgirl. Lynx couldn't help but laugh as the poor old man was gonna have his brains blewn all over the walls. Though this action was halted as the examiner came in.

Lynx saw the examiner and heard him explain the next portion of the exam

"Bet fifty, the animals eat fatass first" Lynx said. Meanwhile Dick Patrickson was now awake, but didn't know that Lynx was talking about him. Lynx stood to his feet, and was ready to fight whatever weird animal came his way.

~Shoo Liu...~

Shoo began looking around when he heard a familiar voice, "Keid!" Friedrich cheered.

*Squeak squeak!"(Translation: You have wronged me for the last time human, now I'm mad) Silver went.

"wait... Hmmm..." Shoo squinted his eyes as he looked at a young 13 year old boy. It was the same boy from the blimp. Something about that kid. Shoo turned his attention as there was loud yelling.

Shoo saw the cowgirl angry with an old man, she seemed just as bad as that nasty Falco fellow.

"Wowee wowee yahoo!" Shoo said when the examiner made his entrance. Shoo walked over to Keid. "So this is the start of the exam! Dangerous animals, huh?" Shoo said in regards to what the examiner said.

~The Glorious Dick Patrickson...~

Dick Patrickson looked over at the examiner "The Dick Patrickson shall be victorious!" Dick Patrickson said confidently holding his fist in the air.
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"Wow look at all these people, I wonder how many of them have actually killed someone. Better yet, how many have they killed. Some of them look like they kill for fun but it could also be they just like to hunt animals." Yinyin sat on the ground with both her swords dug into the dirt next to her, her green eyes watching with interest every single one of the people around them. "I wonder if they have tasted blood, I have tasted my own, which is not a bad flavor, but I need to taste blood from someone else to compare it, I wonder who would let me do that?" She kept talking to herself as she watched the commotion about a perverted old man being pinned by a cowgirl. "That old man probably has rotten blood and the girl has pure blood, which is why he is attracted to her. That must be it."

The young red head stood up to accept the image of the monster she had to hunt down. It was a big looking frog with sharp teeth, a muddy green color for its skin and bright red eyes with a yellow iris. Yinyin couldn't help but show a smile of satisfaction as she would finally get to hunt down something without having to worry for its safety. Yinyin picked up her swords and placed them into the sheaths placed on her hips. She had been told several times having them out like that was inconvenient, but she felt it was only fair her enemies would get a look at her weapons before she used them. With her target in mind, she began making her way into the woods, watching some others do the same and even one run up a tree. Her excitement got the best of her as she began to joyfully skip through the forest, placing her fox like mask over her face and praying she could find the creature she was to hunt as soon as possible.
'Spear-headed Flying Fish...'

With a name as descriptive as that, Louise had a pretty good idea of what kind of creature she'd be hunting: some sort of fish likely bearing a spear-shaped protrusion on its head; and there-in lied possibly her best chance at capturing her quarry. She mulled over the creature's picture.

If she could bait it into attacking a sturdy plank of some kind then it's spear-like head would get stuck, allowing her to pull it from the water where it would be easy to kill.

It sounded simple, but was anything but. If at any point she fell into the water the fish would likely eviscerate her before she could get out. Furthermore, she wasn't sure how strong the fish was. If it could rip apart logs like wet tissue or if its strength exceeded her own then her entire plan would fall apart. The flying descriptor could also pose a problem if it meant the fish wouldn't be helpless after exiting the water. Hopefully, this flying fish could do no more than glide briefly.

Louise wasn't willing to risk herself with so many uncertainties. She needed something—someone—to test the waters. Speaking of waters, she needed to find some. If her creature was a flying fish it obviously wouldn't be found in a woodland. The only body of water she knew of was the ocean they'd crossed on the way here but wouldn't be practical to spend hours to make the trip back. She wouldn't make the cut if she had to make a round-trip on top of whatever time she spent catching the fish.

The conclusion she reached was that a lake, river or some other body of water, was somewhere within these woods; or, the ocean was much closer than she expected. The first thing she needed to do was scout out the terrain and locate this body of water. Unfortunately, she possessed no such training is divining water sources.

In no rush to aimlessly wander the forest, Louise decided to observe the other candidates, seeking out someone she could use.
While the sudden confrontation between some cowgirl and an old guy broke out and was quickly resolved, the revolver that 'Tectrock' had shot with pinpoint accuracy was flung out of the girl's hand and clattered to Korai's feet. He allowed no more than an internal shrug at the sight before nudging the firearm aside with his foot. After one last, cursory glance toward Theo, Korai was alerted to the assistant heading his way, and upon scanning the image he was given, the applicant raised an eyebrow.

"Mirage Dog"

With a deep breath, Korai pocketed the slip of paper, tightened his grip on his spear, and followed the other applicants to the exit of the barn, soon disappearing into the woods. He trudged through the undergrowth, scanning his surroundings with narrowed eyes, and his brow furrowed in irritation as he kept the image of his assigned creature in his head, muttering to himself.

"As if I could find something similar to a prairie dog in this dense forest; it'd be shorter than nearly all of these plants."
~Shoo Liu...~

Shoo looked at Keid before running towards their first Hunter Exam challenge, "Keep up!" Shoo said cheerfully performing a cart wheel. He ran and eventually he came across an animal. A zoom zoom turtle! It zipped around in quirk short bursts. Shoo never seen a turtle move so fast. Shoo leaped down and swung his sword, but missed. The turtle zipped away, and zipped back. Shoo leaped barely avoiding getting hit.

It came back around, and Shoo leaped again. The turtle made several more sweeps for Shoo, each time Shoo would swing and miss. How was Shoo gonna catch the turtle though? There were trees nearby. Shoo ran in front of one of the trees, and leaped out of the way of the turtle. The turtle barely stopped in time to avoid hitting the tree. Shoo swung his sword and cut the turtle on the back of it's shell. The turtle quickly spun around, and Shoo thrusted his sword downwards into the dirt. As the turtle thrusted itself forward, it slammed into Shoo's sword leaving a small crack on the turtle's shell. It adjusted itself and went in for another strike, Shoo thrusted his blade down once more, but instead of hitting the ground, he his the crack on the turtle's shell. His sword penetrated the shell and cut the turtle's neck.

Shoo began heading back to get his turned in to pass the exam. He didn't see anyone nearby, but he needed to be vigilant in case someone came by to steal his turtle and claim it for their victory. He held the small turtle and began running towards the location where he'd soon drop the turtle off. He hid behind a tree when he saw a man roaming around looking awfully desperate. He hid inside a bush and waited for the man to no longer be in sight before continuing to the location. He made sure to stay alert just in case. "I did it!" Shoo cheered dropping off the zoom zoom turtle" Shoo cheered. He couldn't help but assume the exam was gonna get much harder after this. Silver let out a victory screech.

~Lynx Vox-Leban...~

Lynx was playing a few cords on his guitar while carrying an animal corpse over his shoulder. He got into a scuffle with two other people over the beast he had just slain. Both people whom attacked Lynx were passed out wit a bruise shaped like Lynx's guitar as Lynx hit them with the flat part of the guitar.

He dropped the animal off, just as expected of the rockstar, "Leeet's GooOOOoOOOooOOOooOOOO YeeEEaaAAaahh!!" Lynx went.

~Dick Glorious Patrickson...~

Dick Patrickson had been working with another person to catch an animal. The person Dick Patrickson was working with was a young relatively experienced fighter who managed to deal most of the damage to the animal, and it was obvious he did most of the work considering the boy was extremely exhausted and DIck Patrickson was too busy just barely keeping up with the two. The boy ended up killing the animal, just a few moments before succumbing to his wounds. The boy would live, but he would need to bandage himself up, and treat his wounds.

As the man was doing all this, Dick Patrickson had already ran off with the animal, before the other guy could realize what was going on. Dick Patrickson managed to get all the credit despite not actually even fighting the animal he got credit for. Though nobody around would question whether he fought it or not, as he was so sweaty and exhausted, it looked as if he really did fight it.
Yinyin skipped around the forest saying "Ribbit!" out loud, trying to see if that would attract her prey. As she began to walk further into the forest, she began to notice the air becoming more humid and a strange smell coming towards her. Her nose twinkled as she noticed a faint smell, something she had a vague memory of what it was. As she skipped ahead the sound of toads began to take over the atmosphere, croaking loudly as if to the rhythm of her steps. She was giggling to the sounds around her when an odd sound and feeling made her stop. She looked down to see her left foot sunk in mud.

"Oh a swamp!" Yinyin cried out, more out of joy than disgust. "I have cut open so many citizens from swamps before in school, beautiful specimens."

"Shut up!" A young boy climbed a top of a tree wearing a ninja like outfit called out, looking down at Yinyin and holding a finger up to his mouth. "This thing already took out the other two, it's crazy strong, we need to run away-" He was cut off as a big dark pink tongue stuck to his back and yanked him away further into the foggy swamp.

Yinyin watched surprised as the kicking and screaming ninja boy disappeared out of sight. "I found you Mr. Toad!" She called out, skipping towards the thick fog in front of her.

As the red headed girl began to lose sight of what was around her, she prepared her two katanas, looking excited to start the battle. The forest went quiet as once again the big sticky tongue came out of nowhere towards Yinyin. She laughed out loud as the tongue wrapped around her and began pulling her at a blasting speed through the fog. Finally she came into an opening, a big muddy swamp with the giant toad sitting in the middle. As Yinyin approached its open mouth, she rose her katanas and dug them into the upper lip of the beast, keeping her from being taking in and making the tongue loosen up as the beast croaked and shook itself violent, sending Yinyin flying into the mud.

"Ew!" She called out as she got up and flicked the mud off her shoulders. "That was pretty rude." She picked up her katanas and faced her opponent. "Hi!" Yinyin called out as once again the tongue stuck to her chest and pulled her towards the beast.

Yinyin giggled as she struggled against the big toad, using her hands and feet to keep the mouth from it closing on her as the tongue kept pulling her in.
Keid went pale at the mention of dangerous animals. He checked what he was hunting it was called the Spider Panther. Keid was nervous it was clearly going to be difficult and as he explored the environment trying to find the animal he stumbled into a dark cave he pulled spider webs away from his face and came to a large expanse where he heard a strange hissing. He turned around to see a black silhouette of a Big Cat but as it approached it had 8 beady eyes all staring at Keid with the intention to kill him. Keid was horrified and turned around and began running further into the cave pushing larger and larger and webs away from him when he tripped on rock and fell into more webs Keid tried to pull out of it but couldn't and was stuck and saw the Panther approaching him.

"Holy fuck." Theo couldn't help but let the words slip out. He had succeeded in tracking down the demon fist kangaroo, but fortunately he hadn't been the first. That honor was given to the corpse that Theo had arrived just in time to see have its head punched clean off after the muscular man was foolish enough to think he could defeat the beast in a test of pure strength.

His jaw remand dropped and his eyes were stuck wide open as he stared at the scene in horror. How can I possibly beat this thing? He pondered, having never seen a creature display such raw power. Though he would not be afforded the chance to think for long as it appeared he was not the only person who had gotten the idea to watch the kangaroo from a safe distance. After witnessing the tremendous demonstration of strength, two other applicants burst out of hiding from nearby bushes and began running away in the direction of Theo's hiding spot. Unfortunately for both them and Theo, their attempt escape was futile as the kangaroo punched the air twice, sending powerful gusts of air that shot through their fleeing bodies and proceeded to pierce the trunk of Theo’s perch, sending the tree crashing downwards and the boy into the aggressive creature’s line of sight.

Shit! Why’d they have to bring it this way?! He clenched his teeth and began sprinting away, feeling the blood-lusting presence chasing at his heels.

CRACK! CRACK! With his life on the line, he weaved through the woods, narrowly dodging each powerful blast of air the kangaroo sent his way. Though eventually, Theo ran out of places to run as he came upon a cliff that dropped into a swamp.

What do I do? Risk it here or jump? He looked back at the beast barreling towards him, making the soft ground with lesser chance of death seem all the more tempting. Well… here goes nothing.

Taking one last moment to mentally prepare himself, Theo took a leap of faith and jumped off the edge. Legs first, try to absorb as much of the impact as possible, and roll to redirect the force from landing. He reminded himself as he felt the wind rush against his face, and just a few seconds later he reached his landing destination.


Hmm… it’s softer than I thought.
Unbeknownst to the boy who had closed his eyes while bracing for impact, he had inadvertently fallen into another person’s hunt and landed on the soft back of a gigantic toad. The beast croaked in pain and flung it’s legs forward, sending Theo flying off into the muddy earth. The hell is going on?

The boy skidded along the slick surface and drew his knife after reaching a halt. “I just can’t catch a break.” He breathed in exhaustion as he prepared himself to face the gigantic amphibian in front of him.
"Woah!" Yinyin cried out as for some reason the giant toad spit her out and sent her flying into the muddy waters. "I am going to need a shower after this." She laughed while getting to her feet and looking around for her weapons, which seemed to still be stuck in the toad's nose.

To her surprise, there was another person in the area as well. She tried to skip over to him, but her legs kept getting stuck. However her joyful expression remained the same as she poorly skipped towards Theo.

"Hi! Are you here for the toad also? We can share, dibs on the head though." Yinyin moved her mask up to show her face. "By the way I'm human." Just in case the boy wasn't aware of it yet.

The toad roared and then sent out its tongue once more, except this time Yinyin ducked and adjusted her mask. She turned towards the toad, but it seemed to have disappeared. It wasn't until it's giant shadow covered the small sunlight that Yinyin saw they were about to get pounced on. With as much effort as possible, she rolled out of the way. The toad made big enough waves to send Yinyin against a nearby tree. Her entire outfit covered in mud now, but to her luck, one of her blades washed up next to her. She picked it up and pointed it towards her enemy.

"Thank you for my sword!" She yelled before preparing for attack. "Boy that fell from the sky, are you alive?" She called out.
“Barely…” Theo groaned. He certainly wasn’t as agile as this strange girl and had just narrowly escaped the attack only to be flung into the woods.

“I’m not here for the toad, but I guess I don’t see a way out without fighting it. Wanna team up?” He asked, evaluating the girl as a competent ally while he drew his knife and got into a fighting stance.
"Okay!" Yinyin ran towards the toad, using stones sticking out of the mud as steps to avoid being slowed downed by the muddy ground.

The beast kept it's yellow eyes on her, watching her and looking for an opportunity to take it down. But, instead of running directly at it, Yinyin began to go around it, causing the monster to turn it's body to avoid giving the girl its back. Which is what Yinyin had been looking for exactly. Once she had made a half turn, she called out to Theo. "Attack from behind!"
"Ummmm." Theo wasn't exactly sure what to do. Sure, this girl had created an opening, but he wasn't really sure how to take advantage of it. First off, toad was too far away for him to close in quick enough, and even if that wasn't a problem it was too big for his tiny knife to cause much more than an inconvenient wound. Think! He racked his brain for options, feeling pressure to keep up with this girl's so far impressive display. What can I do right now... His eyes drifted to the strong hind legs of the toad, the point at which they bent was actually pretty thin and he had learned from his fall that the skin of the beast was soft. That's it!

After Yinyin had drawn the creatures attention, Theo arched his arm back and hurled his knife. It cut through the air and slashed through the ligament at the joint of its right hind leg. The cut was small, but the technical precision would lead yield a great advantage as it crippled a leg.

"All you!" He shouted to the girl. "Approach from its right side!"
Yinyin couldn't help but smirk as the boy cooperated with her and seemed to understand she was going for the kill. With the toad now turning his attention to his injured leg, Yinyin dashed in for the kill.

"Mine mine mine mine mine!" She yelled as she dodged and incoming giant tongue from the panicked toad and reached his throat.

Yinyin stabbed her sword into the toad's neck and then slashed in an upwards curved motion. The toad swing one of his front legs violently and hit Yinyin sending the girl flying into the muddy swamp and knocking her mask off. The beast began jump around in agony as it breath it's last breaths.
Louise stalked after one of the participants, a man who seemed to know his way around the forest. Following the man, Louise was able to sus out the location of a water source as that was the first thing the man located in order to refill what seemed to be a canteen. None of that mattered now that she'd found her target's habitat and Louise promptly ditched the man in favor of scouting the banks of the river. She picked a direction and started walking.

The further she walked, the more the terrain changed. The loamy soil of the forest giving way to mushy marshland. Louise frowned, thinking she'd gone the wrong way. Her prey sounded like it was more likely to live in the sea and unless these were mangroves then she was in the wrong location. Or...maybe not.

In the distance, Louise could spot two figures, examinees, facing off against a giant toad. Intrigued, but with no real desire to help them, Louise watched from a safe distance.
Theo couldn't help but admire Yinyin as she charged straight at the beast. There was no hesitation in her step, no fear. If anything, she seemed excited by the prospect of danger.

So this is what it takes to be a hunter.

Once again, the boy felt completely outclassed. She moved with great speed, instantly adapting to take advantage of the weak point Theo had created, and dashed in to deliver what would ultimately be the deciding blow. A fountain of blood gushed from the toad's neck before it batted the swordswoman away it its final stand.

Blood. So much blood. For some reason Theo was mesmerized by it. Blood had always been looked at with fear when he had grown up. A bloody nose meant stained linens, a scrapped knee was a risk of infection. It was a dirty substance, but not here. Here it was beautiful. The wails of pain and fear as the monster resisted slipping into the void were a beautiful harmony, a testament to their triumph. Even the blood trickling from Theo's own skull was proud marking that he had entered a battle and survived. Blood could mean defeat, but it also meant sacrifice and victory. Life and death. Blood was perhaps the only pure substance on earth, and he craved more.

He snatched Zantenkaiwa from the air as it made its returning lap and trudged through the swamp up to where the toad had collapsed on the ground, all but dead beyond the weak breaths it defiantly took, clinging to its last moments on earth despite not knowing what may potentially lie ahead. What a thrilling sight! He flicked the blade into a reverse grip and thrust it into the soft underbelly. Again and again, he continued to brutalize the corpse, enjoying every stab more than the last as blood spurted outward and coated his body. A near psychotic display, yes, but to Theo it was so much more. It was a baptism. He had left his old life to become a hunter, but he hadn't left his old self. The world of hunting was one of blood, and he could just as easily be killed in the same manner. To survive he would need to be more viscous than the predators in nature that tear away the flesh of their prey without hesitation. What an exciting idea!

The stabbing only stopped when he had reached the beast's heart. He carved it out and snagged the organ, admiring like a trophy before tossing it to Yinyin.

"Here, I assume this was your beast. I gotta go hunt mine."
Shoo sat there whistling and twiddling his thumbs. Relatively happy and carefree. Silver was sitting in Shoo's pocket rolling around and making squirrel noises. Occasionally poking his head out from Shoo's pocket. Shoo wondered if there was anything for him to do. Though Shoo couldn't complain since having a nice rest in the meantime. Conserving his energy for what was to come. Though he couldn't help but look around. While the hunter exam continued, Shoo figured he might as well take his time to look around. Shoo already bagged his beastie so if push came to shove, he could just head back to the finish area, should the next portion of the exam begin soon. Without further adieu, Shoo headed back into the woods for something to do.