Master of the Hunt, Part XXV

All parts linked here.

Finally, Huntmaster was able to stand. The A.I.s came back online, and he jumped over the boxes he was hidden behind. He rushed towards the fight, stooping to grab knives from beside Bombshell.

A cursory analysis by the Peace A.I. revealed explosives hidden inside them.

He smirked, ever so slightly.

As he looked back up, he saw Headhunter send Red Hood flying. Impervious to Cyborg, Nightwing, and Batman’s attacks, he strode towards the downed Robin, who was scrambling for one of his pistols.

“Hey! You want me!”

All five combatants turned to Huntmaster. Without looking back, Headhunter leveled his wrist blaster at Red Hood, but was interrupted by another shock Batarang.

Huntmaster sprinted over as Headhunter dropped to his knees, jittering with shocks. He began to slam home knives, maximizing the few moments that the opponent would be stunned for. He knew the knives themselves wouldn’t do much, but enough of them could.

When he had only one knife left, Headhunter caught him around the waist.

“Huntmaster, I cannot believe-”

“STOP REFERRING TO ME LIKE ONE OF YOUR F***ING TOYS!”

Huntmaster slammed the final knife deep into Headhunter’s neck and depressed the button on the handle. A rapid beeping filled the air for about two seconds, and then there was no sound.

The world turned to flame as the knives detonated all around Headhunter’s body.

At the exterior edge of the blast, Huntmaster was thrown a hundred or more yards, a ragdoll tumbling end over end and slamming into the ground, barely conscious and on fire.

At the center of so many blasts, mostly contained within the armour, Headhunter was thoroughly immolated, the armour falling to the ground, a hollow, sparking, ash-filled shell.

Nightwing and Batman rushed to Red Hood, who pushed them off and stood up on his own. Then they turned to where Huntmaster fell. They arrived to found a bloodied and burnt James Monson being cradled in Cyborg’s arms. His helmet was off. His eyes were completely devoid of unnatural color, staring off into the middle distance.

He was obviously no longer all there.

“Good job… G- Guys…”

He gave a weak half smile, the right side of his face seared beyond movement. His breathing was beyond shallow. Nightwing knelt beside him.

“Kid, that was crazy! Don’t do anything like that ever again!”

He grabbed Huntmaster’s wrist to check for his pulse, preparing to heal the boy

“I.. Don’t…. Think I… Will…. Ever get… The ch…. Chance again…”

Huntmaster looked down at his wrist, and everyone else followed suit. His hands and feet were beginning to turn transparent, to fade.

“You know… What could happen… Now… Stop it… Don’t let Pureman…. Come… To power…” He laughed. “I’m… Fading… That means you’ve… Already won…”

He smiled up at Cyborg.

“Thank you… For believing that… There could… Still be… Good in me…”

Cyborg grit his teeth and nodded, fighting back tears to smile.

“Of course!” James nodded, the simplest expression of peace on his face. Cyborg brushed James’ hair from his forehead as the lower pieces of armour, on his shins and forearms, fell through his now nonexistent form.

“Thank you… All… Keep… The world… Safe… For me…”

His biceps and thighs were gone, then his torso. A satisfied whisper escaped his lips.

“I am… Not bad…”

Then he was gone. Cyborg and Nightwing locked eyes.

“Br- Bats? I think that this equipment deserves a new, better place in the Batcave. A place of honor. They aren’t trophies anymore,” Nightwing voiced softly.

Bruce nodded.

“I would agree. But we have other things to worry about now.”

He looked towards Metropolis.

“The world needs to prepare to defend itself against this threat. Metahumans and humans can coexist. We’ll make it happen.”

Cyborg grabbed the helmet and examined it.

“We’ll make it happen for him.”

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