Durarara!!SH×2: Epilogue A

Durarara!!SHx2

Epilogue A
The Entrepreneur

t301Ikebukuro news site, IkeNEW! Version I・KEBU・KUR・O

Latest Article, ‘Birth of an Urban Legend’: The Headless Rider’s Lover Appears?!

‘The Headless Rider brings us a new urban legend’—Excerpt from Tokyo Warrior Digital Edition

“It was mid-April when the return of the famous Headless Rider was first witnessed.
Perhaps less known is that a new urban legend emerged at the same time.
A clip uploaded to a video sharing site shows what appears to be a late-night brawl between bosozoku gangs.
The sudden appearance of the Headless Rider halfway through would presumably have led to a climax to the chaos—but the fight was forcibly put out, and not by the Headless Rider.
The silent motorcycle that transforms into a headless horse. And its decapitated rider, brandishing a pure black scythe. He, or she, has brought us—another anomalous figure.
Wrapped in squirming shadows from head to toe; even its face unseen.
Crushing waves of oncoming thugs with unbelievable skill.
A supernatural being that displayed staggering power against tens of opponents.
What is the identity of this new urban legend?
Mr Tsukumoya Shinichi, a writer based in Ikebukuro, commented on his blog, ‘The Headless Rider, tired of being the source of legends, has brought us a successor. Perhaps the half-year disappearance was a journey to find this successor.'”

(Click here to read the full article)

IkeNEW! Administrator’s Comment

“The Headless Rider’s lover debuts-nari.
We too promoted the idea of the Headless Rider being a woman previously; now it turns out she has quite the exciting social life too-nari.
Black rider black warrior. Makes a nice couple-nari. The lovey-dovey type that tag along with each other everywhere, how sweet-nari.
It seems that there’s a rising trend in Dragon Zombie to call that creature ‘Hebite’… ‘Snake Hands’-nari.
So for convenience we’ll be using the nickname ‘SH’ or ‘Snake Hands’.
It’d be nice if it could stick and make its way into a dictionary someday.

Plus, apparently the green-head that disappeared was rescued safely with the help of these two-nari.
The Headless Rider got a date, and everyone got their happy ending-nari.
And they all lived happily ever after. Nari?”

Administrator Lila Tailtooth Zaiya

♂♀

Shinra’s apartment.

“Happy ending my foot~!”
Shinra, who had been browsing a news site, suddenly wailed and began to roll around on the sofa.
“How is this happy, there’s nothing happy here Celty. Celtyyyyyy.”
‘What’s wrong now? Are maggots taking over your brain?’
“Look at this website! It’s spreading horrible lies about you having another lover, ignoring my existence completely!”
‘What if they aren’t lies?’
Celty asked mischievously. Shinra’s face paled and he began to howl.
“No way… If that’s how it is, I won’t hand you over! I’ll fight this Yahiro child to the death!”
Shinra, who had already heard of what happened from Celty, uttered the name of the monster—’Yahiro’—as he brandished his fists.
‘He’s powerful enough to take on Shizuo.’
“…We’ll compete with our knowledge of medical terminology!”
‘How old are you!’
Celty scolded. But Shinra continued rolling about.
“Uwahhh, this whole thing makes me so angry! They said they were worshipping Celty but they didn’t even make a proper statue! I’d long have done a 3D scan of Celty while she was sleeping and mass-manufactured life-size models!”
‘Wait a minute, did I just hear something I really shouldn’t ignore?!’

Afterwards, Celty managed to calm Shinra somehow, and began to contemplate Yahiro.
‘But I do wonder who told that child there’s a monster in Ikebukuro.’
“Hm?”
Shinra cocked his head, and so Celty elaborated on the boy’s past:
‘Ah, you see, apparently Yahiro-kun came to Tokyo because a tourist back home told him there’s an even better monster in Ikebukuro when he saw him fighting.’
“…Mm?”
Shinra thought for a moment, and asked Celty,
“Where did this Yahiro come from again?”
‘Akita, he said.’
Then Shinra clapped his hands together, and said promptly,

Oh, then that was me.”

‘…What?’
“Remember? The day after the Omagari Firework Festival we went to the Haburagi springs, right?”
‘Oh… That secret spring.’
“I remember I was taking a walk around there when I spotted this boy covered with blood and fighting people, so I said something like that.”
Oh, so that was what happened… The two laughed about it together along those lines, and after, Celty typed in a large font to Shinra.
‘Oh—… Then you practically invited him here!’
“R, Really?”
‘What a coincidence… The article was saying the Headless Rider was searching the country for a successor—isn’t that almost exactly what happened?!’
“…Ahhhhhhhh! No way~!”
Shinra’s face was the epitome of regret as he wailed.
“Ahhh, did I call my rival forth to Ikebukuro myself?! Did I deliver suffering unto myself? They say to love your enemies, but I gave that kindness to a stranger and made him level up into a love rival, what folly… I’ll be a monster too, Celty! Split some of that shadow you’re wearing to me or we can occupy it togethermarobugyurubu”
‘Don’t smoke your way through to get a hug!’
As Celty shoved Shinra off, she felt that she had truly returned to her everyday life.
The rumours about her being the kidnapper had stopped now the missing people were back, and it seemed the number of people accusing her had mostly died down.
She was feeling grateful for her everyday life when just then, Shinra suddenly asked,
“By the way… What happened to Tatsugami-san’s family?”
‘Right… They were hospitalised. Apparently that Shijima guy forced the drugs on them, and neither Shiki nor Kuon pressed charges , so it’s hard say what they did constitutes an actual crime.’

‘I guess they just have to settle it within their family from here on out.’

♂♀

Raira General Hospital. Private ward.

Due to the effects of the drugs—Celty’s ‘worshippers’ only returned to their normal state of mind five days after the incident.

“I heard Ai can be discharged soon.”
Himeka informed Aya. Aya, from where she lay on the bed, turned to her and mumbled,
“…In the end you were the only one who got it right, huh?”
“That’s not it. You just used the wrong way. It’s good that you were thinking of the greater good.”
Himeka said calmly. Aya smiled with a tinge of loneliness, and answered,
“…You really are strong.”
“You think too highly of me.”
“So that’s why the Headless Rider chose you…”
“That’s not related. I can introduce the two of you next time.”
Aya smiled bitterly at her younger sister, who had so simply offered to introduce the Headless Rider.
“I have no face to see her. What I did… I wouldn’t be surprised if the Headless Rider killed me for that.”
“You’re… not that person anymore.”
Himeka sighed. Aya suddenly felt curious, and asked,
“Hey… Why did Headless Rider-san… disappear for those six months?”
While Aya knew it would be unfair to blame the urban legend for the despair she and her comrades went through, she could not help her being curious.
After a moment of thought, Himeka, without hiding anything, said what she had been told.
“She said she went to tour hot springs.”
“…”
“…”
Time stopped between them.
After a while of silence. Aya spoke, her voice shaking.
“Tour… hot springs…?”
“Yeah… from Akita to Kyushu… a full country tour…”
Himeka nodded. Aya was dazed for a moment, but then –
In the end, as if a dam had broken, she burst out laughing.
“Aha… Ahaha… A hot spring tour, what on earth…”
After laughing for nearly a minute, her smile began to turn teary.
“Half a year to tour hot springs… Did I really… give my life over to someone so carefree?”
Aya laughed and wept at how ridiculous she had been; Himeka merely watched on the whole time.
“It’s just as you said, Himeka. This really might… be just how the world is.”
Aya apologised sadly, but Himeka shook her head, expressionless.
“I’m not accepting this world either.”
“What…?”
“But I can’t find it in myself to hate this life. Because I have… Dad and Mom, Nee-san and Ai. This precious family. That’s why… instead of running away, I want to make it so everyone can be happy.”
Taking Aya’s hand, Himeka spoke the words she never could before.
“The world might be unfair, but I don’t think that can’t be changed.”
“Do you still—think of me as your family…?”
Aya asked uneasily. Himeka tilted her head. “Shouldn’t it be obvious?”
At this answer, Aya turned towards the window, and murmured.
She was crying again, but her tears were different from earlier on.
“You’re a strong girl after all, Himeka.”

When Himeka exited the hospital, Yahiro was waiting outside.
“How was it?”
“She’s mostly well now, I think.”
At Himeka’s words, Yahiro felt relieved, almost as if it were his own family in hospital.
“That’s great. Now you can be with your family again, just like before.”
“…mm, it might not be just like before, exactly…”
“How?”
Yahiro queried without hesitation. Himeka did not appear to mind; she simply described her family situation to him.
Yahiro listened silently about her mother, and, blurted, abruptly,
“I think your mother’s keeping it in that shadow on the wall.”
“Huh?”
“The part of her she doesn’t want… The weak part of her that might have caused her children pain.”
Yahiro, choosing his words carefully, began to talk about the behaviour of Himeka’s mother.
“Like how the barber of King Midas shouted into the hole. She buried her true self that she didn’t want to show, the person she might become someday, all in the shadow on the wall.”
“Why do you say that?”
Although she felt he might simply be trying to comfort her, Himeka asked for a basis to his words.
But the answer Yahiro uttered was unexpected.
“Because that’s how I was, too.”
“…You, too?”
“Because I was cowardly, I couldn’t stop being terrified of the people who tried to hurt me. In my mind, I honestly felt… Before they kill me, I have to kill them first. Then I won’t have to be scared anymore.”
“…”
“That’s why, in my mind, I always hit my enemies until they couldn’t move. Every night, every night, I would escape into that kind of fantasy. So that I could suppress it in real life, just that little bit.”
“But wouldn’t that do the reverse?”
Himeka asked frankly. Yahiro shrugged as he answered.
“Maybe. But in reality I’ve never actually killed anyone… No, but I’ve gone over the top too many times, so maybe that doesn’t actually mean much…”
Yahiro decided there was no point overthinking it, and, sighing, said to Himeka with a bitter smile.
“I don’t know what’s right or wrong. I’ll try to remember that from now on.”
And, clenching his scarred fists, he promised Himeka:
“That’s why, I’ll be the hands for all of you. If you get in trouble, Tatsugami-san, or Kuon and his sister, any of you, I’ll use these fists to protect you.”
“…I’m impressed you’re not embarrassed saying things like that.”
“Should I be? Am I weird after all?”
“Yeah, you’re weird.”
Himeka answered frankly, and her expression morphed to accommodate the emotion within her.
It was unlike sadness or anger; there was no need to suppress this.
“But I think that’s wonderful.”

Yahiro saw the soft smile spreading on Himeka’s face, and smiled, shyly, in return.

♂♀

As he watched them leave from afar, Kotonami Kuon spoke into his phone.
“Tsk, tsk, my masquerade was wasted, all thanks to this talkative big sister of mine.”
‘It was useless to try with that hair and face. I told you.’
Nozomi giggled from the other side of the line, and started to talk about Yahiro.
‘But that boy, Yahiro, he really is interesting, as far as nice guys go. Even knowing your true nature he was worried about you still.’
“And how did you react, Nee-chan?”
Kuon said. Nozomi replied, brightly,
‘Yahiro-kun wasn’t bothered by it. I told him, you know… that you don’t think of him as more than a pawn.’
“There you go again, running off your mouth.”
‘What do you think he said then?’
“?”
Kuon hesitated, stumped.
And then, Nozomi said.
‘He said it doesn’t matter.’
“It… doesn’t matter?”
‘He said that, whatever reason you have, it’s the first time another kid’s spoken to him normally. That he was happy there were people who didn’t fear him and spoke to him normally even after seeing him fight. That’s what he said.’
“…”
‘He said, that’s why, to him, Tatsugami-san and Kuon-kun are worth protecting with his life. Unbelievable, right? Can you believe that was all to it?’
After some thought, Kuon asked, doubtfully,
“Did he really say that?”
‘I dunno? It’s up to you to judge, hm? You know I specialise in lies and gossip, right?’
—Ah, she’s being honest, then.
Kuon sensed this intuitively, and sighed long and deep; and with a cold voice he said, quietly,
“No matter how he interprets it, I’m only using him.”
‘Oh my, poor Yahiro-kun.’
“For a guy with that much power, he’s too pure. Seriously…”
Kuon rolled his shoulders, and scoffed.

“This is why I hate humans.”

♂♀

Kotonami residence.

Checking that the line was cut, Nozomi smiled slyly as she murmured.
“You’ll never become Izaya-san.”
Cheerily, bemusedly, her true intent concealed behind that smile:

“Because, unlike Izaya-san… you’re just that little bit too soft-hearted!”

♂♀

Shinra’s apartment.

‘But Yahiro-kun really is a funny guy.’
“I can be funny too! Wait, I’ll… I’ll say something funny right now, so…!”
‘Don’t force yourself.’
Celty chided Shinra, whose face was turning red, and thought back on Yahiro.
In the end, she had passed off the whole ensemble, mask and clothes, to the boy.
She had gone to the effort of making it after all, and decided that it was better off in his hands than dispelled immediately.
—’I don’t know how long it’ll last since I’ve never tried, but well, if it evaporates or anything just contact me. I’ve made helmets before without any issue, so it should be gentle on the hair and skin… I think.’
And there, Yahiro had asked a vital question, his face completely serious:
—”This can be washed, right?”
Celty snickered internally at the memory; at the sight, Shinra realised.
“Ahh! Ah, just now Celty thought of Yahiro-kun and laughed…?!”
‘You’re perceptive about the strangest things.’
“Wait… Something funny… Have to think of something funny… D, do you like stand-up comedy Celty!”
Shinra seemed close to tears; Celty typed, exasperatedly,
‘You’re too desperate. …Eh, I have some time off anyway. Let’s hear this comedy of yours.’
“Really?! …wait, you’re taking leave again?”
‘Shiki-san said to lie low for a while. And there are people who still suspect me, apparently. Anyway, well, I’ll look for other part-time jobs, so you don’t have to worry.’
“It’s okay, I’ll feed you for the rest of our life! Why not just be a housewife while you’re at it, you can just laze around in front of me every day!”
Shinra suggested, eyes sparkling. Celty slumped tiredly, and showed him her smartphone.
‘No thanks. I’d rather not have such a mundane life.’

Neither had noticed.
That, in the corner of the site IkeNEW, there was a mysterious banner nested between advertisements.
A small banner that would only show up if one scrolled to the complete bottom of the page; containing only the letters ‘SH’.
Those who were sharp enough to notice were directed to the following site upon clicking it:

‘Conflict resolution for Ikebukuro.
Finding people, revenge on bullies, bodyguarding—anything you can think of!
Ikebukuro Communal Aid Group—Snake Hands’

This odd advert would later embroil Celty in a life far from mundane –
But as of right now, she had no way to know this.

****CHAPTER END****


⇒EPILOGUE B


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