Durarara!!SH×3: Chapter 1 (+Interlude)


 

Durarara!!SH×3

CHAPTER 1
Welcome to Snake Hands

image

Late April. Ikebukuro. Sunshine 60 Road.

“Snake Hands? What’s that? A Tokyu Hands ripoff?”
Ikebukuro was anticipating the upcoming Golden Week.
In a restaurant gradually filling out with the evening rush, a high schooler said this.
It was in this typical gossip between high schoolers, the meaningless kind they would forget hours later, where the name appeared.
“Oh, the one they say’s the Headless Rider’s boyfriend?”
“Yeah, that guy in black head to toe. The whole fake kidnapping thing recently? Apparently he was involved.”
“Involved… how?”
“I dunno. There’s this rumour that he beat a bunch of bōsōzoku and yakuza by himself or something…”
“Bōsōzoku in the fake kidnapping case? The hell? I thought the Headless Rider fans staged that entire thing?”
Amidst the flow of conversation between the boys and girls, one person tilted their head.
“That’s not what I heard…”
“What did you hear?”
“The Snake Hands I heard of was an Ikebukuro freelancer.”
“A freelancer? What’s with that?”
The word was hard to link with their image of the Headless Rider, and the boys laughed.
“Er, I mean, it was an ad from a news site. Said you could hire Snake Hands to help with stuff around Ikebukuro.”
“Like house cleaning?”
“No, not housekeeping… What was it? Like, to act as a go-between to settle disagreements, or a bodyguard if you’re in danger, that kind of thing.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“Isn’t that kinda scary? Like, this is exactly how normal people like us get tangled in shady things.”
The girl scratched her cheek, and the boy who had first spoken replied,
“Ah, it’s just a rumour. There’s no way anyone would hire such a suspicious person online, right?”
“They’re targeting the gullible type, probably.”
“Heh.”
“Anyway, have you bought Hijiribe Ruri’s new song?”
“Oh yeah, it’s good.” “———” “——”

And so, their conversation strayed aimlessly into other topics.
The students finished their meal without ado, and left after.
But Mizuchi Yahiro, who sat in the next table, was left with the name Snake Hands repeating over and over in his mind.
“…”
“What’s wrong, Yahiro-kun?”
At the voice of the girl sitting across from him—Tatsugami HimekaHaving seen this, the green-haired boy beside him—Kotonami Kuon—teased,
“What’s wrong? Are you nervous? No guts to sit with girls?”
“Maybe? Am I nervous?”
Yahiro tilted his head. Kuon sighed.
“How could you answer that seriously? Look, Himeka-chan’s fine because she’s used to you being a block of wood, but now Akane-chan doesn’t know what to say.”
Kuon was looking at Awakusu Akane, the girl in the middle school uniform sitting with them.
“Ah, I’m fine. Sorry.”
Akane bowed her head quickly. Yahiri bowed his head as well, apologising.
“Sorry, it seems I’m a bit weird, according to Kuon-kun.”
“No, there’s nothing wrong, I’m sorry.”
“No, I’m sorry.”
Unable to stand seeing Yahiro and Akane bowing back and forth like this, Kuon cut in.
“How long are you planning to go on?!”
“Ah, sorry.”
“I, I’m so sorry…”
“Stop! I’m putting an end to this right now! No more apologising!”
Perhaps she felt there would be no end to this conversation; Himeka spoke up, changing the topic.
“It’s a good thing your senior returned to school safely, right, Akane?”
“Of course!”
Akane nodded fiercely.
A fortnight ago her senior had gone missing, supposedly kidnapped by the Headless Rider; but now they knew the kidnapping was a ruse, and she had returned unharmed.
Although the incident made a flurry on TV and online for a day or two, since there were no deaths and it was revealed as a coordinated series of runaways, it was simply reported as a bizarre incident that turned out as a false alarm, and public attention quickly moved on to the serial assault case going on in the city.
“Everything sure went back to normal quickly.”
“Our teacher was very mad, and all of us had our own words for her… But it seems everyone else just thinks she played truant for a week…”
“Ahh, indeed. Fake kidnapping or whatever, to middle schoolers it’s just a chance to play hooky… But for all that mess, it got overshadowed by the serial assaults almost right after.”
Replying to Kuon, Yahiro said,
“That’s a good thing. It’s best if it doesn’t get blown up too much.”
“Ah… I’m not saying I wanted it to, okay? Yeah?”
The green-haired boy clarified hastily, probably mindful since the sister of the perpetrators, Himeka, was sitting right in front of him.
The senior Akane spoke of was her younger sister, and furthermore, her older sister had been the mastermind of the whole thing.
“And it’s good your older sister was discharged without problems, Himeka-chan.”
“Yeah… Apparently she could go back to her job, too.”
“Oh.”
“Are you serious?”
Yahiro’s reply was relieved, Kuon’s startled. Himeka explained,
“I was told the magazine she works for published a special issue for the incident. They said it would be all right so long as she put in her thrilling firsthand account.”
“Then wouldn’t people think the magazine set the whole thing up?”
“Her boss doesn’t seem to mind…”
“That’s pretty amazing.”
Kuon answered disbelievingly, prodding at the ice in his cream soda with his straw, while beside him Yahiro smiled somewhat happily.
“But thank goodness. At least your sisters can go back to their lives as usual.”
“Well, I guess.”
As the names of her sisters had not been published, neither were getting bullied for it.
Relieved at this, Yahiro continued,
“Yeah, and you look better than before, Himeka-chan.”
“…You can tell?”
“Am I wrong?”
“…No.”
Faced with this conversation between fellow robots, Kuon gestured wildly and said,
“Oi, what’s up with you two?! I’ll even repeat that! What’s up with you two!”
“Is something wrong, Kotonami-kun?”
“Huh? Did I do something wrong?”
Himeka hardly twitched an eyebrow, and Yahiro only tilted his head innocuously; Kuon raked his hair.
“Argh! Are you two trying to be robots?! Act your age and have some sexual tension at least!”
“Kotonami-kun, what are you saying in front of a middle school girl?”
Himeka said this coolly, and glanced at Akane.
The girl appeared unaffected, and was instead looking at Himeka and Yahiro curious about their conversation.
Kuon, now the odd one out, began to stir his cream soda noisily with his spoon, grumbling at Yahiro under his breath.
“Dammit, and you’ve switched from ‘Tatsugami-san’ to ‘Himeka-chan’, too. Are you after her? You’re trying to woo her, aren’t you? I know you like her, you like her don’t you!”
With these childish words Kuon sipped up the melted concoction of ice and soda through his straw.
In reply Yahiro said, frankly,
“If you’re asking if I like her or not, I’m going to have to say yes. She’s pretty, and she’s a good person, after all.”
“…”
“…”
Kuon stared at Yahiro, face frozen, while Akane blushed faintly as she peeked at Himeka’s face.
Said girl’s face remained emotionless as she replied, coolly,
“It’s not that I don’t like you, but I can’t say anything so definite at this point, and I don’t think such things are so easily decided.”
Yahiro nodded firmly at her answer.
“You’re right. Sorry, I was being weird.”
“I don’t think you need to apologise, but all right.”
At this exchange between the two, Akane’s face reddened as she became increasingly confused, while Kuon wore a sour face, repeating his earlier words:
“Oi, what’s up with you two?! I’ll even repeat that! What’s up with you two!”

Their conversation having reached full circle, Kuon, who had now finished his cream soda, changed the topic.
“But really, there’s never a day of peace. I know I said it already, but these days everyone’s talking about the serial assaults. Since there’ve been so many victims there are even some people saying the Slasher is back.”
“Slasher…?”
“Ah, Yahiro, you don’t know? There was a huge slasher case about two years ago.”
“I’ve heard of it.”
When he was researching Ikebukuro talk of Ripper Night had caught his eye.
Word was that despite suspicions the case was linked to colour gangs, namely Dollars or the Yellow Scarves, the perpetrator was never identified, and the incident had died down on its own.
“But the news says the criminal uses a hammer, right? So shouldn’t it be a different person?”
“I don’t know. Maybe they had a change of taste. It’s possible the Slasher got bored of seeing blood and had the urge to whack something with blunt force instead.”
Himeka said these grisly things unbotheredly. Yahiro nodded in understanding.
Himeka finished her salt-grilled saba set meal, and looking at Yahiro, who was munching with his mouth full of pancake.
“Anyway, the Slugger is one thing, but we’re already consorting with someone even more dangerous, aren’t we?”
“Huh? Who? Headless Rider-san?”
Yahiro tilted his head, fork in hand.
After a brief silence, Akane startled as though realising something, and began,
“Do, do you mean me, I’m so sorry…”
Associating with her, the granddaughter of the Awakusu-kai’s chief, could put them at risk of danger.
Akane, painfully aware of that risk, apologised thinking it could be none other than her, but—
“It’s not you, Akane-chan; I’m sorry my words bothered you.”
Himeka returned the apology, and boldly addressed this ‘dangerous person’:
“…It’s you, Kotonami-kun.”
“What?! Me?!”
Kuon answered with  exaggerated surprise, but she cut to the point.
“…What is ‘Snake Hands’?”
“!”
Yahiro reacted to her words.
His hand occupied with his pancake stilled, and he eyed Kuon, beside him, surreptitiously.
Kuon, meanwhile, whistled innocuously, and tilted his head up to the ceiling.
“I dunno. It’s what the people next to us were talking about, right? Maybe it’s the name of the Headless Rider’s boyfriend or something, the one who appeared during the recent case?”
“Don’t pretend.”
Himeka, still expressionless, took out her smartphone, and thrust it at him with a certain page.
Yahiro craned his head to look at it too.
And written on the screen was:

‘Conflict resolution for Ikebukuro.
Finding people, revenge on bullies, bodyguarding—anything you can think of!

Ikebukuro Communal Aid Group —Snake Hands’

There were only these words on the page, without any details on what the business entailed or the fee, or even any means of contact.
With all this missing information, most visitors would probably assume it was a prank.
“What’s this…? It’s just a weird page.”
Kuon smiled as he tried to lie, but Himeka pushed on.
“That’s only advertised on sites with Nozomi-san’s style?”
“She’s probably just fooling around.”
“If you keep going on, you’ll find a page that says, ‘We have information on the Headless Rider’. I think this goes beyond ‘fooling around’, yes?”
After a short silence, Kuon gave up and sighed.
“You got me. It shouldn’t be accessible just by clicking, though.”
“I’m good at solving puzzles, treasure-hunting, things like that.”
“Damn, since Nee-chan was nagging me already…”
After grumbling about his sister, Kuon’s expression changed, as he continued,
“Ah, well. I was going to tell you two sometime, anyway.”
“…”
“Tell us?”
In contrast to Himeka’s wariness, Yahiro was blankly curious as he asked this.
An evil smirk came upon Kuon’s face, and he replied to his classmates, whispering,
“Yeah, I’ll tell you. This is business, too.”
“Business?”
Yahiro seemed to have sense something suspicious, and with wary eyes continued to listen.
And, still wearing that evil expression, Kuon’s smile sharpened.
“Yeah. We made a cool club to solve Ikebukuro’s problems for money.”

“The group’s name is ‘Snake Hands’… Your underground name, Yahiro.”

♂♀

Kawagoe Highway. Shinra’s apartment.

“Snake Hands Snake Hands… Snake… Hands…!”
The words echoed in the large room like the chant for a curse.
“Kuu~! Damn it! What’s with snakes having legs! More isn’t always better! It makes me want to ask if they’ve heard too much of a cure becomes poison! It’s exactly in situations like this where people say less is more! Exactly! This situation! Exactly!”
Shinra huffed like a child throwing a tantrum; at this sight Celty could only shrug with exasperation.
‘What’s wrong all of a sudden. Yahiro-kun again?
“Yes, Celty! You know me so well! Our hearts are connected after all! What’s Celty’s is Celty’s, and what’s mine is all Celty’s, too, but your heart alone belongs to me, Celty!”
Although angry just seconds prior, his mood quickly swung and he held Celty’s hand with a lovestruck expression.
Celty obliged him half-heartedly, looking at the notebook computer he had been using.
On the screen was a forum where rumours about Snake Hands were being discussed.

‘I heard the Headless Rider’s tagalong that everyone’s been talking about recently is called Snake Hands.’
‘And where did you hear that?’
‘Well, that bike gang… people from Dragon Zombie.’
‘You sure they didn’t just make it up?’
‘But there’s nothing else to call him anyway. It’s troublesome to say “the Headless Rider’s lover” all the time.’
‘Actually, is the Headless Rider a he or a she?’
‘There’s a rumour the Headless Rider’s a she… Well, if that’s true maybe that makes Snake Hands her boyfriend?’

“What slander! Your only boyfriend is me! The rumours aren’t dying, down, they’re spreading! At this rate I’m going to have to go on the Headless Rider page on online wikis and write ‘Celty is cohabiting with her boyfriend Kishitani Shinra. They live an exciting, erotic life every day,’ in a corner…”
‘Citation required!’
“Ow?!”
Shinra found himself hit by a squeaky toy hammer made from shadow.
Seeing her cohabitant rolling around on the floor pressing his head, Celty rushed over.
‘Huh?! That must have been harder than I thought… Sorry, are you hurt?’
“I’m fine Celty. I can love even the pain you give me!”
Shinra recovered instantly, and picked up the springy toy hammer made from shadow.
“But I really do envy Yahiro-kun. He got clothes handmade by Celty.”
‘Is handmade… the right word?’
“Hey, Celty.”
‘I’m not making anything for you.’
Celty said curtly before he could even ask.
“Ehh?!”
‘If I do anything for you you’ll just ask for more and more.’
“Well… I can’t say you’re wrong.”
Shinra bowed his head in contrition, and Celty sighed.
‘That’s why, er, well… Wait for your next birthday.’
Celty typed somewhat bashfully. Shinra gaped for a full moment—
And in the next moment, cried ecstatically,
“Uwahhh! Thank you, Celty! Celty, thank you! I know that day will come… That alone will become my reason to go on living!”
‘Don’t exaggerate.’
“My birthday’s 2nd of April, so that’s just 11 months to go! I’m so excited!”
As she saw Shinra key the event into the laptop’s calendar excitedly, Celty felt relieved that he had finally cheered up.
Just then, Celty’s phone that was on the desk began to ring—not the smartphone she normally used to communicate, but the flip phone she carried around for work.
“Oh, it’s a message, Celty… Huh?”
As Shinra saw the sender displayed on the phone’s screen, he shuddered.

[Snake Hands]

At the sight of these words, he cried out again,
“Ugh! Speak of the devil! And you even saved him as that nickname! If you like snakes with legs I can only mix genes with a centipede and moggugogo”
‘It’s not like that, don’t misunderstand.’
Gagging Shinra with shadow, Celty picked up her smartphone, and typed skilfully with one hand,
‘This Snake Hands isn’t Yahiro-kun.’
“Huh?”
Pressing the button to check the message, Celty continued,
‘Like I said, I have a new side job.’

‘Its name is Snake Hands, Shinra.’

♂♀

The next day. Ikebukuro. Karaoke box Pasela. Inside a private room.

“Ah, so you’re Yahiro-kun!”
“Oh? What a cute boy.”
It was the first day of Golden Week in Ikebukuro.
When Yahiro, who had been invited out by Kuon, entered the room, he saw an unfamiliar man and woman—
The man had narrow slit-eyes and looked to be of mixed blood, while the woman was black-haired and decked in black.
They appeared to be in their early twenties.
The pair sitting opposite Kuon saw Yahiro enter, and addressed him amiably.
“Hello, I’m Yumasaki Walker.”
“Karisawa Erika, nice to meet you.”
“Ah, hi… I’m Mizuchi Yahiro.”
Nodding, Yahiro sat beside Kuon, and asked,
“Um… people you know?”
“Not exactly, more like people Aoba-sempai knows, so we’ve spoken on the street a couple times before…”
“How’s Aobacchi doing?”
“Ah, yeah, same as always.”
“I see. He caught Dotachin’s attention recently so he’s laying low, right?”
Karisawa laughed. Yahiro tilted his head.
“Dotachin?”
“Oh, just an inside joke. So, what’s your relationship with Kuocchi… ah, Kuon-kun?”
“We’re friends.”
Yahiro said promptly. Karisawa questioned further,
“Best friends?”
“I’m not sure. He’s the first friend I’ve made in my life, so I don’t really know.”
He replied without embarassment. Kuon smiled wryly, as though having long given up, and looked away.
“I see~, hm~, oh~…”
The eyes of the woman called Karisawa flicked between the two intensely.
“Your first friend ever, huh? That works. Onee-san loves that kind of scenario. It’s cute that Kuocchi’s embarrassed, too.”
“Scenario?”
Yahiro tilted his head further. Yumasaki, breaking out in cold sweat, said,
“Um, let’s just say you shouldn’t think too much about what she says.”
“Ah, sorry, sorry, Onee-san made the two of you 2D in her head for a moment, that’s all.”
“2D…?”
“No worries. Really.”(Y)
After continuing the conversation like this for awhile, the man who had introduced himself as Yumasaki got to the point.
“Well, actually. We used the contact details on the Snake Hands site. We were surprised Kuon-kun was a member, when we made contact.”
“Yeah, I was shocked to see your names in the email, too.”
Kuon shrugged.
Yahiro suspected this could be another scheme of Kuon’s, but since his face had none of his particular kind of falseness, he decided to trust him.
“So, about the commission.. I’ve been able to handle everything up till now with just my connections, but theirs is a little tricky. We need help.”
“Wouldn’t it be better to ask Aoba-sempai instead of me? You’re always together anyway.”
“No, it’s not a job anyone can handle. It’s going to take someone special.”
Kuon paused, and looking Yahiro in the eye, he stated frankly,
“…A very strong fighter, specifically.”
“…”
A brief silence.
“Oh, …mogogogo.”
“Karisawa-san, down. Down down down.”
Karisawa, watching the two stare at one another, was about to comment, only to have her mouth covered by Yumasaki’s hand.
Silence enveloped the room.
After looking at Kuon expressionlessly for a while, Yahiro sighed, and replied,
“Sorry, Kuon-kun. I’m not very willing to do that kind of job…”
His face was without any dislike or anger, only apology.
Yahiro bowed his head in apology, but Kuon quickly waved his hands in denial.
“Ah, wait, wait! You got it wrong! I’m not asking you to kill anyone or beat people up or anything like that!”
“You’re not?”
Yahiro tilted his head, to which Yumasaki nodded.
“Yep. Do we look like the kind of bad guys to hire high schoolers to do that?”
“…You don’t.”
“Yeah?”
Yumasaki spread his arms. After looking at him, Yahiro bowed his head to Kuon.
“I see. Sorry, Kuon-kun. I misunderstood.”
“…No, if you apologise, it’ll be even more awkward…”
“?”
“We’re not asking you to attack innocent people, but… depending on the situation, you might be the one attacked, I guess…”
Kuon mumbled. Karisawa said clearly in his stead,
“The Slugger.”
“Huh?”
“We’re looking for the Slugger everyone’s talking about lately. We want to find the criminal before the police, but we don’t have enough people, unfortunately. That was when we saw the advert on an Ikebukuro news site? IkeNEW? After working through some stuff we got to the contact address.”
“We didn’t expect it to be someone we knew, though.”
Karisawa acknowledged Yumasaki’s addition with a nod, and looked at Yahiro.
“But you see, we’re up against the Slugger here… Whatever Kuocchi says, I didn’t think we can put children in danger like this, you know? But Kuocchi was very confident went he said you would be okay…”
“Then Kuocchi told us. You know the viral video recently, with the boy fighting Shizu-Shizu? He said that was you, Yahiro-kun.”
“…”
“If it’s true, then you might be even safer than a helpless adult, I thought. But still, we weren’t very willing to get a kid involved, and Dotachin would be mad… But then Kuocchi brought out his trump card.”
“Trump card?”
Yumasaki smiled and nodded at Yahiro’s question.
“Since he said you have Celty-san on your side, we can relax.”
“Celty-san?”
Yahiro looked at Kuon with surprise.
“Well that’s how it is,” Kuon smiled wryly, averting his eyes evasively.
“Um… Do the both of you know Celty-san too?”
“We go to Celcchi’s house for fun now and then~”
“You even visit her house… You might as well be best friends!”
“Your best friend bar’s that low?!”
Karisawa, while surprised, smiled mysteriously with an air of thoughtfulness.
Yumasaki sighed at her antics, and continued,
“Eh, we could’ve asked Celty-san from the start, but it’s a dangerous job after all.”
“And it’s not as easy to ask for as just taking a video*… Plus we suspect Celcchi would do it for free if we asked… That would make us feel bad, so we decided it would be best to do it as a job request.”
(*Nicococo!! reference.)
“Yeah, so, we don’t need you to fight the Slugger; we just want your help gathering information from rumours and such, to help Celty-san find the Slugger. We’re not intimate with the social circles of high schoolers, after all.”(Y)
“I see.”
Yahiro nodded in acceptance, and Kuon took it as his chance, continuing,
“You see, it’s similar to what we did for the kidnapping case. It’s just that if we catch the eye of the Slugger there’s a risk of being attacked. You’re a strong fighter, so if it’s you we don’t have to worry.”
“I’m not really a strong fighter…”
“Don’t be humble! I don’t know what you’re thinking, but the moment you fought on par with Shizuo public consensus is you’re strong! Give up on the modesty, ‘kay? More than that, you wouldn’t want that Slugger on the loose, right? We never know, you or Himeka-chan might be next!”
“That’s true.”
Yahiro nodded immediately, but Kuon felt bothered rather than relieved.
“Wait… I got carried away back there, but do you really understand?”
“Yeah. I made up my mind during the last incident. When it comes down to it, the only gift I have is with violence. So at least, I want to make sure I don’t apply it in the wrong place.”
Yahiro declared this unshyly, his eyes serious.
“What I’m sure of right now is that protecting friends like you and Himeka-chan is the right thing to do. So I can accept helping to catch the Slugger.”
“Oi oi, we could be attracting trouble instead, you know? What if in the end Himeka-chan or I get targeted because we’re getting involved?”
Kuon said, intending to criticise Yahiro’s thoughtlessness.
He wore a self-satisfied expression, but Yahiro returned with a vicious counter.
“Even if I said that and backed out right now, you’d still continue without telling me, right?”
“…”
“If we’re going to make an enemy of the Slugger anyway, rather than getting ambushed without knowing a thing, facing it head-on… is less scary.”
With this bizarre logic, Yahiro turned away from Kuon, who had gone silent, and back to Yumasaki and Karisawa.
“So if you’ll have me, please let me help.”
Yahiro said calmly, bowing his head. Karisawa replied,
“No need to be formal. We’ll be paying you, anyway, plus we’re business partners; equals. Eh, you can hear those details from Kuon-kun. Anyway, what we’re paying for is information, so if you feel like there’s any danger at all you have to pull back, okay? No matter how strong you are, you should leave the dangerous stuff to adults. That’s the one thing you shouldn’t be stubborn about, got it?”
“Thank you very much.”
Yahiro bowed his head again, but suddenly a question occurred to him, and he asked,
“But why are we handing the culprit to you and not the police?”
Had a relative or friend of theirs been attacked?
Yahiro asked his question expecting a reason like this—
But instead of an answer, Yumasaki took out a stack of books from his bag, and began arranging the books on the table.
“?”
The books appeared to be manga volumes.
The title was familiar to Yahiro.
The manga was titled ‘Owl of the Peeping Dead’. The anime and live action adaptions of the series had earned the title popularity.
“The anime’s more popular, but still. Renting all of the DVDs isn’t feasible, so let’s use the manga as a starter—”
Yumasaki smiled cheerily, and slid the books out to Kuon and Yahiro.
“If you want the full story… You’re going to have to read all of this!”
“This?”
Kuon was confused as well, wondering if there was still more to the story he had not yet heard of.
“Wait, I know the Slugger cosplays a character from this, but…”
“Someone who commits crimes isn’t a cosplayer! They’re insulting the series!”
Yumasaki’s tone suddenly grew agitated. He picked up a microphone from the table, and announced to the room,
“OPD did nothing wrong! Nothing!”

10 minutes later.

“But halfway through the series they discover something terrible… A zombie that had lost sentience and regained it afterwards appeared. The protagonist ‘The Owl’ received a major shock, realising that there might be a way to save the zombies he had killed thinking they could no longer return to who they were. That it might have been as the zombie protection association said, that they were only sick and could be cured…”
“Um, sorry, Yumasaki-san, I’m going to read the comic, I’m going to, so…”
“Aaaahhh! I’m so sorry! To reveal spoilers in front of a to-be reader…! I’ve failed as an otaku! I’ll live in regret!”
Yumasaki was becoming genuinely depressed after being stopped by Kuon, but Yahiro interrupted,
“It’s all right, I know the story.”
“Huh? Yahiro-kun, you like anime or manga?”
“No, I saw the live action movie.”
“Oh, the live action! That was good too! The project started with a fake zombie information website and progressed alongside the anime and manga before being released as a live action! But some people say plans for the film were already in place before the anime, so the live action might have been the original plan.”
At this, Karisawa’s eyes began to shine as well, as she added,
“Yeah, I was wondering if the live action would be alright, but it turned out to be so good~”
“Yeah, there wasn’t much CG because of the low budget, but Zakuroya Tenjin-san’s zombie makeup more than made up for it.”
(*Zakuroya Tenjin: Hijiribe Ruri’s cosmetics mentor.)
“Whoa, you know Zakuroya-san! Yahiro-kun, you actually know quite a lot, huh?”
The conversation grew livelier, finally beginning to match their karaoke setting, and Kuon, who had been left behind, asked Yahiro with wide eyes,
“O, oi, you know OPD?”
“Not the manga… I bought the DVD for the movie and watched it at home.”
“Oh, so you’re into movies.”
“Sure I am.”
Yahiro replied as if it were obvious, and reminisced,
“I didn’t have any friends, so the only hobby I could have was watching movies on my own at home.”
“Oi don’t say that, I feel lonely just hearing it.”
“You do?”
“If a self-proclaimed loner said something so mood-ruining for attention, like, ‘hey, aren’t I pitiful,’ I could just nod along and ignore it. But you’re saying it so stoicly. How do I react?! If I outright say you’re a poor thing, I’ll just feel bad!”
Yahiro’s eyes widened at Kuon’s agitated commentary.
“Was I pitiful?”
Yahiro looked around quizzically. Karisawa bent forward and ruffled his hair.
“It’s OK it’s OK, maybe you’re a poor thing but you’re very very cute.”
“?!”
At the unexpected touch, Yahiro shivered like a cat that had had its tail pulled.
In the middle of this odd mood, Yumasaki continued passionately,
“Anyway! Anyway! I can’t forgive the culprit! I have old friends from dōjin circles in WWW who are really bothered by this case!”
“I see.”
If his friends were being affected, then this Yumasaki person’s anger was well-justified.
Yahiro accepted Yumasaki’s motives, but even so, he voiced one doubt.
“But… Say Celty-san catches the culprit, what then?”
The question was perfectly natural; Yumasaki and Karisawa looked at one another, and replied, smiling pleasantly,
“We just want to talk to the criminal.”
“Yeah, like gentlemen.”
“We want to ask why they would do something to tarnish the image of anime fans like this… That’s all, nothing more.”
“Yep, we just wanna ask. Thoroughly and physically.”
Yahiro, cowardly as he was, sensed something terrifying lurking behind their smiles—and chose, silently, not to probe further.

♂♀

One hour later. Karaoke box. corridor.

Afterwards they wrapped up with the talking, and under the guise of a ‘bonding session’ Karisawa and Yumasaki had an anisong fest.
(*Anisong: anime song)
Most of the songs were unfamiliar to Yahiro, but he was able to select theme songs from movies he liked, and enjoyed his first karaoke experience whole-heartedly.
Yahiro’s heart beat excitedly at singing songs he liked in front of others for the first time—
But when he left the room to go to the restroom, he wound up having a confrontation with Kuon, who had been on the phone in the corridor.

“…Yeah, I’ll call you again later, Nee-chan.”
Kuon ended the call, and shrugged at Yahiro.
Then, with a fearless smile, he said mockingly,
“Are you angry?”
“At what?”
“At what… At me.”
“?”
Yahiro tilted his head with honest confusion.
Had he done something to anger Kuon?
Maybe it was something unacceptable in Tokyo. He began to think hard so he wouldn’t repeat it.
Seeing this, Kuon bit at him,
“There were so many points you should have been angry. Why don’t you get it?”
“There were?”
“…You realise I’m using you?”
Kuon asked this so bluntly he tutted at himself, and began to rail at Yahiro.
“I exposed that you were the one who fought Heiwajima Shizuo, then I used your strength as an excuse to involve you in dangerous business, and tried to use you as a selling point! Do you really get it? And my sister told you already, right? I’ve been using you from the start!”
“Yeah.”
“Is that all you have to say…”
“But does that really mean I should be angry?”
Silence.
Kuon found himself speechless, and they were left with the muted sound of music echoing through the soundproofed walls of the hallway.
And then, frowning, Kuon said slowly,
…When do you get angry?”
Faced with Yahiro’s reply, Kuon found himself unable to muster up even anger, and he asked the question with a resigned expression.
After some thought, Yahiro replied, his expression darkening as he did so,
“Mmm… Like that time the guy who hit me with a dump truck came back for revenge and tried to set my house on fire… Or that time I saw people attack my parents instead of me… When it comes to that kind of thing, I do get angry.”
“…Hey, like I said, if you bring up examples that are so heavy I really won’t be able to answer, so please.”
Kuon sighed deeply, and said to Yahiro,
“Hey… Haven’t you thought that I might do something like those people? Haven’t you imagined that I might use your family or Himeka to force you into bad situations?”
“That’s a difficult question.”
“That’s why you need to be angry at an earlier checkpoint! Draw the line between right and wrong, won’t you? You can tell I’m the bad guy with one look, right?”
Kuon spoke as if he was trying to convince Yahiro he was a villain. Yahiro answered, straightforwardly,
“This is what I think, Kuon-kun. I don’t think right and wrong are so simply defined. At any rate, I don’t have a good understanding of such things.”
“…”
“If it’s clear-cut, like a serial killer murdering random people, or the serial assaults going on now, I can understand it. But I don’t have the confidence to distinguish less simple things, like whether you and Himeka-chan are good people. All I know is that the things I’ve done up till now are no better than the Slugger. So I don’t think I’m capable of deciding who is good or bad, and I don’t have that right.”
Saying this sadly, he clenched his fists, and told his friend,
“That’s why, if you think you’re being a bad person, and you want me to punch you in the face so you can stop…”
There he stopped for a moment.
Yahiro reflected on himself, and taking those thoughts into account, finished,
“I won’t be able to notice, so I want you to tell me outright. I might not be able to judge myself, but in exchange, I’ll always be ready to hit you.”
Yahiro’s words were honest to the point of foolishness.
“You’re ridiculous.”
“Sorry.”
“How do you trust people so easily? Even being aware of all that?”
Grinding his teeth, Kuon said angrily,
I hate this part of you.”
“I’m sorry. I’ll try to fix it.”
“Don’t apologise so easily. It’s not like you’re the only one in the wrong.”
Kuon tsked, and began to walk away, signalling the end of the conversation.
As he passed Yahiro, Yahiro smiled softly, and said,
“Yeah… Thanks for worrying about me.”
“…!”
His expression stiffened, but by the time he turned Yahiro had already walked away, and Kuon only caught sight of his back as he rounded the corner towards the restroom.
Kuon rested his hand against the wall of the corridor, clicking his tongue sharply, and mumbled to himself,
“Shit, Yahiro’s really crazy…”
And, irritatedly remembering the face of the man he aimed to be, with a bitter expression, he said,
“If only he were a villain like Orihara Izaya, I could just squeeze him dry…”

♂♀

Night time. Somewhere in Ikebukuro.

“Thanks for today, Horada-san!”
“Bye~.”
After his juniors bade their farewells, the man was left to walk home alone.
His name was Horada.
He was a former officer of Blue Square, and for having hijacked the Yellow Scarves once, he was the man known—self-proclaimed—as luck’s favourite child.
At the time he had only ridden the waves when it was convenient, but it seemed that his achievement had become a rather known story, and so he was relatively famous in the realm of colour gangs.
However, right now colour gangs themselves had faded from Ikebukuro.
Some had returned to their roots as bōsōzoku, while others had formed new gangs and dispersed into the shadows.
Having been left behind during his jail time, Horada now continued to plot his next era.
He had juniors in awe of him, but just the same, there were enemies that hated him.
To stand his ground in Ikebukuro under these circumstances, having decisive power was necessary.
With this in mind, Horada remembered one of the ‘power’s within his grasp.
—Shit, there hasn’t been a good time to catch that Mizuchi Yahiro since ten.
—I have to tell him it was me who found the kidnappers’ base as soon as possible, so I can collect on that debt…
In the recent fake kidnappings, it was Horada who had tracked where Tatsugami Himeka had been taken by her abductors, though it was by complete coincidence.
It seemed that after he told his Blue Square juniors the news had gotten to Mizuchi Yahiro himself, and thus the situation had been resolved without issue.
This meant the boy now owed him a debt, but if he pushed the matter too much or too clumsily, the boy might obey him only once and there would be no chance to create a long-term alliance.
—Rather than forcing him to return the favour, I need to imprint on him that I’m his benefactor…
—But I’ll be in trouble if word spreads around… I don’t know just what happened, but I heard Awakusu-kai and Dragon Zombie and whatnot were all there. If things go badly I could wind up targeted…
After a full-body shudder, he looked towards the vending machine at the end of the road.
—Anyway I’m thirsty.
—Maybe I should get a coffee.
Standing in front of the vending machine, Horada selected the no-sugar milk coffee.
With a clank, the canned coffee dropped into the dispenser.
The vending machine, no different from usual.
Horada reached for it, no different from usual—
When he noticed one abnormality.
“…What?”
Sensing a shadow moving at the edge of his vision, he turned his head to the left.
Where stood a figure in black mascot pajamas.
“Uwoh?!”
He yelped seeing the unfamiliar thing standing in the shadow of the vending machine, and realising it was just a mascot suit, tsked and glared.
“What the hell? What’s with that costume! I’ll kill you!”
With this cheap threat, Horada reached out to grab the other person’s collar—but he stopped seeing the figure raise something in their hand.
It was a slim object bound in white cloth.
But he quickly realised what it was.
From the shape alone it was obvious it was a metal hammer beneath those bandages.
At the same time Horada noticed this, the bandaged hammer swung down towards him.
“Uwooaahh?!”
He shrieked and rolled to the side, escaping the hammer by a hairsbreadth.
“Wha… B, bastard! You don’t know who I am?! What gang are you?! Huh?!”
Horada, who had zilch interest in news reports and did not even glance at newspapers, did not realise this was the Slugger.
“And dressing like a weirdo…”
But even so, he could comprehend that the person in front of him was an enemy.
He got to his feet immediately, but the person in the black mascot suit swung the hammer again, undaunted.
“Don’t look down on me!”
Horada flung the canned coffee he had just bought at his assailant.
“!”
Mascot Suit blocked the can aimed at their abdomen with both arms.
But Horada used the second bought to body slam them.
Before Mascot Suit could raise the hammer again, he began to punch the hooded face without abandon.
The mascot suit stranger collapsed and lay prone in front of the vending machine.
“Bastard… You think a weakling like you can beat the great Horada?! Huh?!”
Yelling that, he moved closer so as to deliver the final blow, about to kick Mascot Suit’s face, but—

“Gah?!”

An impact rocked him, and the upper half of his vision went dark.
When he turned around dizzily, he saw another figure standing there, dressed in the same mascot pajamas—
“Two on orrrne… Don’t think I’m scarrred… Bas… tards…”
Unable to enunciate clearly, the last thing Horada saw before he passed out—
Was the bandage-wrapped hammer coming down upon him without mercy.
And his own blood staining those white bandages.

♂♀

The next morning.

‘Next on the news. The current serial assault case has a new victim.’
‘The casualty is a 22-year-old unemployed man in Tokyo, Horada—’

image

****CHAPTER END****


 

Interlude: Rumours on the Internet

Ikebukuro Information Site, IkeNEW! Version I・KEBU・KUR・O

Latest Article, A gang war breaks out—Ex-Colour Gang Topdog Falls Victim to the Slugger—Revival of the Yellow Scarves?

  • ‘Where has the Headless Rider Gone?‘—(Excerpt from Tokyo Warrior Digital Edition)

‘In the early hours of the morning today, an anonymous call from the public that a man was being assaulted on the street drew the police to said scene, where they discovered a man on the ground with a head injury.
Perhaps fearful of getting involved, the caller was no longer on the scene, and the man was transported to the hospital, although it was announced later he was in no life-threatening danger.
According to the caller, the attacker was wearing something black that looked like a mascot suit, and had attacked with a white rod-like object. As such, the police are investigating this case with the possibility that the culprit is the same one behind a serial assault case.
There is also news that the man attacked was an officer in a colour gang that used to exist in Ikebukuro. One of our sources offered the following opinion: ‘This could be a war between colour gangs or bōsōzoku disguised as random assault.’ As there could be an outbreak of gangfights, various groups are keeping up their guard.’

—(Click here for the full article)

Reference material—Tsukumoya Shinichi-shi’s commentary, extracted from another news site

‘Whether related to the Slugger or not, it is true that the return of Dragon Zombie’s leader has affected the power play between gangs.
Meanwhile, Snake Hands, a rumoured new power in Ikebukuro—though I do not know if this is the name of an organisation or a person’s nickname—has certainly caught attention.
I would like to continue observing if he, or she, or they, will become the eye of a new storm in Ikebukuro.
As the Slugger’s victim this time is a man who was noted widely back in the era of the Dollars, it is possible that old coals may be rekindled with this incident. It may be worth keeping an eye on this.’

IkeNEW! Administrator’s Comment

“According to online rumours, it’s H-san who only recently came out from prison-moja.
There’s a rumour that he was the Yellow Scarves leader for a moment-moja.
A scary ex-convict…
Have vengeful victims teamed up against him now he is free of his punishment? Or, though he seems strong from his record, could the Slugger have done him in that easily?
If it’s a gang fight, who did it?
Dragon Zombie?
Jyan Jyaka Jyan?
Dollars?
Yellow Scarves?
Blue Square?
Saitama’s Toramaru?
Or has a new, yet unseen power emerged in Ikebukuro?
Creepy-moja. Scary-moja.
The Slugger is scary, but gangsters teaming up into groups is scary too-moja.
Touch wood-moja.”

Administrator Lila Tailtooth Zaiya

♂♀

Excerpts of typical tweets from microblogging site Twittia.

  • The way Tsukumoya-san talks on his website is way too different from how he sounds in his books.
    • He’s proper when it comes to formal settings, but he gets wild when he’s writing frank articles.
      • I wonder which is the real him.
        • It’s like there’s more than one person.
          • Like there’s multiple people.
  • So in the end was that the Slugger? Or just a gang fight?
    • There were witnesses so it must have been the Slugger. Unless it was a cosplaying gang?
      • But the witnesses were anonymous, right? Maybe the rival gang reported it themselves.
      • If you assault someone and call the police yourself, it’ll come off exactly like Slugger, won’t it?
      • Then wouldn’t the police think the Slugger’s behind it?
      • Then the motorcycle gangs would be beyond suspicion, right?
      • Uhyo~, aren’t I smart?
        • Uh, anyone could have thought of that, why are you so smug…
          • Just shut up?
        • Ooh, you’re so smart (deadpan)
          • If you look down on me I’ll block you, yeah? I’ll really do it, okay?
      • I think that is a possibility. It’s even possible that all of the attacks up till now have been the doing of bōsōzoku.
        • I know, right~? But maybe the previous ones weren’t?
          • Is there a difference?
            • Motorcycle gangs have no reason to attack couples or old men taking walks, right?
  • Horada was the victim?
    • Apparently.
      • Ha, serves him right.
        • Isn’t that a bit harsh?
          • I’m not surprised someone like him got it.
            • Yeah, he just clung to Izumii-san like a limpet and acted like a fucking hotshot.
              • I heard he had a gun at one point.
                • Shit, he’s just trouble. They should put him to death.
  • The Headless Rider’s behind it.
    • Is everything the Headless Rider’s fault?!
      • The recent fake kidnapping case was indirectly caused by the Headless Rider, too…
        • It’s not good to pin everything on the Headless Rider.
        • Because the Headless Rider’s a very cute person.
        • The fake kidnap victims put her on a pedestal without consulting her, they were more like antis than worshippers.
        • The Headless Rider was the one who resolved the fake kidnapping case, too.
          • What a desperate guy.
          • I checked his profile it says ‘Occupation: underground doctor’ lmao
          • Underground pfft doctor pfffft
  • Speaking of which, I wonder what Snake Hands is exactly.
    • There’s been no further news, hm.
      • Wasn’t Snake Hands the Headless Rider’s girlfriend?
        • Boyfriend, wasn’t it?
          • Is the Headless Rider a woman?
            • There are rumours.
            • She must be a woman. I saw her get off the motorcycle once, those hips are a woman’s alright.
            • She has some chest if you look from the side, that’s definitely female.
              • So, unless she’s gay Snake Hands is her boyfriend?
                • No.
                • Snake Hands is not her boyfriend.
                • Their relationship is what’s unnecessary. (*’Unnecessary’ = dasoku = snake’s legs)
                  • Underground doctor (rofl) shut up. Or I won’t give you your license~.

※The rest of the conversation was kept private.

  • Oi, Shinra. I’ll write this here since I’m out. Tone down a little.
  • You’re harassing people.
  • You’re usually so calm, why does Yahiro-kun agitate you so much?
    • Sorry, Celty. I was just so frustrated.
    • Yahiro-kun and other strong people can fight alongside you, but I don’t have that ability.
    • I’m envious you can watch each other’s backs!
      • …Uh, we’re not that close, okay?
      • Seriously. You were never jealous when I talked to Shizuo or Izaya.
        • Yeah… I know it’s weird.
        • It’s just something I’ve been thinking since what happened the year before.
        • When I got kidnapped by another woman you went so far to chase me.
        • So now you’re being wooed by another man… I feel like I have to be jealous with all my might…
          • Mm, I’m glad you feel that way, but your target’s completely wrong, yeah?
          • Yahiro-kun isn’t courting me, okay?
          • Anyway, I got it. We’ll talk about it when I get home.
  • And Shinra. You should delete ‘Occupation: underground doctor’ from your profile.
    • It’s fine, no one will believe it. I won’t get reported.
      • That’s not the problem…
      • To be honest, it looks kinda embarassing…

****CHAPTER END****


⇒CHAPTER 2


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2 thoughts on “Durarara!!SH×3: Chapter 1 (+Interlude)”

  1. It looks like part of the sentence was cut off here:
    “At the voice of the girl sitting across from him—Tatsugami HimekaHaving seen this, the green-haired boy beside him—Kotonami Kuon—teased,”
    And “Yahiro” was misspelled as “Yahiri” at one point.

    Thank you for your translations!

    Liked by 1 person

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