Pumpkin King

Chapter 67


Reese took a few steps back from the man in front of him. He giggled, laughed, swayed, and otherwise gave off the vibes of a madman. For Reese, it was…nothing short of horrible.

His magic gave him a unique connection to people. Some people called it empathy, others called it a sixth sense. He wasn't sure what it was exactly, only that it made it easy to read people. And being around Taboo was sickening. There wasn't much coming from him. In fact, he had never felt anyone so…barren of emotion. It was actually nice, not being able to feel the people around him was refreshing.

But when he grabbed Taboo during Bertrand's distraction, it hit him full force. The physical contact had been enough to make the connection between them. It wasn't that Taboo didn't feel anything, in fact it was the complete opposite. He felt something, just one something.


He felt it every second of every day. The rage was so constant that it wasn't an emotion to him. It was a state of being. He felt it for everyone, even his own comrades. Every living thing on the planet was something that angered him to his core. It was so sickening that he felt physically ill looking at him.

But now, the rage was gone. It had been replaced by something he couldn't quite describe. It wasn't joy, though he looked happy if his smile was any indicator. Nor was it sadness, fear, surprise, anger, serenity, or any other emotion he had felt before. It was insane. He wasn't sure if insanity was an emotion, but if it was that was what he was feeling. Pure insanity. If Bertrand was right about him, then the pain of seeing so much magic must have pushed him over the edge.

He would have to be careful not to get pulled into it. It was so easy to follow the emotions of others. But he doubted he wanted to join Taboo in his madness.

"So…uh…you need to sit down or get a drink of water or something?" He asked. Talking may not have been the appropriate thing to do in the situation, but it was the only thing he could think of.

Perhaps he should have kept his mouth shut. Because the moment he spoke, Taboo instantly froze as his eyes focused on him. It was one thing to feel Taboo's madness. It was another thing entirely to see it staring at you. Reese had developed a filter of sorts to keep the emotions of others out. All he had to do was concentrate and he could drown it out. But when the insanity was staring you in the eye. Well let's just say it was bone chilling.

So when Taboo took a step towards him, his only reaction was to take a step back and say, "Oh." Another step. "Oooooh." A third step. He whimpered. "Shit."

Taboo lunged. It wasn't a coordinated attack, nor was it planned. This was a primal and instinctual action. The dark wizard wasn't thinking. He heard Reese whimper and in his mind it translated into weakness. He would take out the weak.

But Reese was hyperaware from all the adrenaline running through his system. The moment Taboo lurched, Reese reacted by punching him right in the jaw. It hurt way more than he thought it would. Truth be told, he had never had to physically hit someone before. Usually his magic got him away from confrontation. And he had to say. Punching someone hurt. His hand was killing him.

But it did the trick. Taboo stopped and was just staring at him. But it wasn't the psycho stare he had before, plus he wasn't smiling. This one was more…analytical. Like he was coherent again.

Then his smile returned. But it was less creepy and more pleased. Pleased in the way that told Reese he had done exactly what Taboo had wanted him to. There was a trickle of blood falling from the corner of his mouth from the hit. He wiped it with his thumb and held it up for Reese to see.

"Thank you." He rasped. "With this, things can finally become interesting." And as Reese watched, the blood started to glow and steam. "Curse: Pain."

Out of nowhere, Reese was lifted off his feet as something punched him in the jaw. If he thought his hand hurt, it was nothing compared to his jaw. He didn't even think it was possible for something to hit him that hard.

After he hit the ground, he quickly jumped back to his feet, prepared for another hit. But there wasn't anything there, not even movement in the fog. He turned back to Taboo. He was still standing there like nothing had happened. But if Reese looked closely, he'd see that his smile had grown a little wider.

"Curses are…truly the purest form of magic." Taboo said whimsically. "They are perfect for the human race. When one human hurts another, that human will hurt them back. It is in our blood to bring pain to those around us." Oh lord. Reese was not expecting this. Scared though he was, he almost groaned. A monologue. "For every time you hurt me, it gives me the opportunity to hurt you back. The only way to ensure that I can't hurt you is to make sure you kill me." His sightless eyes stared into Reese. "But I doubt you have it in you to take the life of another. You Guild wizards are always the same. It would be so simple to end my life, and this fight. But I know you won't. You're too…weak."

Reese backed away ever so slightly. "Look, not to cut into your speech, but there's a flaw in your plan. If I don't attack you, you can't attack me. At least that's what it sounded like you were saying." Now that he was thinking about it, he took a close look at Taboo. There were scars everywhere on his exposed body. If he was telling the truth and only attacked through retaliation, just what kind of fights had he gotten into to earn so many scars?

As if to answer his question, Taboo raised a blade. Reese hadn't even known he had such a thing. It was as pitch as shadows and serrated on the edge. It was a knife. Not long or large enough to be considered a serious threat. But…it felt alive. The moment Taboo revealed it, he could feel it like he felt a person.

And it was bloodthirsty. It wanted death, pain, blood, and darkness. The animosity it felt towards human kind was just as strong in it as it was in Taboo himself.

Then came back Taboo's wicked smile. And then with one quick movement, he reversed his hold on the dagger and slashed it across his own arm. And as the blood flowed from his wound, the knife drank it. Not a single drop touched the ground. It was simply absorbed by the metal.

"Curse: Blood."

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