Durarara!!SH×3: Chapter 2 (+Interlude)


 

Durarara!!SH×3

CHAPTER 2
Let’s Live Purely and Righteously

image

Something is wrong.
How did it turn out this way?
I got rid of the trash.
I did a good thing.

So why is Dark Owl still the bad guy?
Why does that trash get to play the victim?

♂♀

Dusk. Raira General Hospital. Private ward.

Horada awoke feeling aches creaking all over his body.
It was a few days after he had been attacked by the Slugger and sent to the hospital.
There were hairline fractures in his cranium, but miraculously his brain was undamaged.
Instead, because he had been kicked around after losing consciousness, there were multiple cracks in his ribs, collarbone, and arm; he remembered the forecast of months of recovery.
“Ah, ow… Owww… Fuck. Are the painkillers even working?”
He was told that he would be giving his testimony as soon as he was clear-minded, but Horada had escaped it by claiming that he still felt woozy.
The reason was simple: he had the feeling he would have no filter on what he said if he were to be questioned by the police before calming down, and wind up exposing things he should not.
Perhaps because they knew the Slugger did not focus on specific targets, the police had not assigned any guards. Even if they had, Horada would have rejected by saying it was distracting.
—But, what should I tell the cops?
—I can say there were two people attacking me, but if I let slip that I hit back I might get in trouble myself.
—I need to find a way to testify such that it can only be interpreted as rightful self-defence…
—Actually, getting beaten by a Slugger’s kinda lame… Should I just say there were ten-plus of them…?
Without considering that there could be other witnesses, or that a false testimony could hinder the investigation, Horada simply thought of protecting himself.
“Seriously, that bastard’s dead if I see him again… Owowow.”
As he complained to himself, the bones throughout his body creaked as though in reply.
Right after he decided to lay still like a good patient and think about his future plans—
He caught something move in the corner of his vision.
“W, who’s there?”
Was it a nurse?
With that expectation, Horada craned his aching neck.
What met his eyes was a man on the guest stool, made distinct by the pair of sunglasses and the burn scar on his face.
“Huh.”
The man grinned, and closing the adult magazine in his hands, he got to his feet.
“They said you were only half-conscious, so I thought it might’ve been a wasted trip… But looks like you’re quite energetic, hm?”
“…!”
Horada’s entire body shivered in spite of his creaking bones, and, teeth chattering, he spoke the man’s name.
“I… I-i-i… Izumii… -san.”
Izumii Ran.
A few years ago the man had been the leader of Blue Square, a gang Horada used to be part of.
He had been incarcerated after certain events, but he had left prison the same time Horada went in, and was now rumoured to be a junior member of the Awakusu-kai.
“Poor thing. I heard the rumours… so I came to visit.”
“O, o, oh! Thank you for coming!”
Horada replied with a subservient tone automatically.
Izumii had visited Horada in jail once previously—but to be honest, Horada had hoped never to see him again.
In the first place he was already the kind of man mad enough to use a hammer to break the leg of a girl he had just abducted, but after being set on fire by a gang member turning on him and going to jail for a time, it felt as if he had lost several more screws.
“B, but wow, Izumii-san, you’ve really slimmed down! I didn’t recognise you at all!”
Horada, shocked by this turn of events, decided to test the waters first.
The bones in all his body ached with every word, but the pain was far outmatched by his fear of this man, and so he endured and pasted a servile smile on his face.
“Really? I have a shortcut if you wanna lose weight.”
Shrugging, Izumii took something
It was miniature hammer, made of hard rubber.
“If I break your jaw, you won’t even be able to eat, so you’ll lose weight, right?”
“…!”
Izumii fiddled with the hammer, smacking it on his palm.
Horada’s fear of Izumii and the trauma of seeing the weapon he had been assaulted with mere days ago churned together in his mind. If that hammer had been wrapped in white bandages, he might have started screaming there and then.
“T, that was a mean joke, Izumii-san.”
Horada continued to smile smarmily. A fixed smile made its way on Izumii’s face as he changed the topic,
“Oh right, this is the hospital the woman whose legs I broke went to. Remember? The girlfriend of that Yellow Scarves brat Kida. The one you kidnapped.”
“Eh? O, oh, yeah.”
“This might even be the same ward. There could be some grudge cursing this room; I wouldn’t be too surprised if you suddenly had both your legs broken for no reason.”
「……」
Smack, smack.
The rhythmic slap against his hand synchronised with the beating of Horada’s heart.
He did not know what the other man was planning, but for that same reason he was at a real risk of facing the business end of that hammer without warning.
Horada gulped, and Izumii said,
“And so.”
“Y, yeoah?!”
Horada answered raspily. Izumii bent his face close.
“Obviously I can’t just let it be, right?”
“H, huh?”
“Y’know hammers are my specialty, right? My colleagues are whispering that it was me punishing you. Normally I wouldn’t give a fuck what they say, but it’d be bad Aozaki-san or Akabayashi-san from even higher up got to hear rumours like that, hm?”
Izumii gripped the hammer, and forced the end against Horada’s nose.
“Fugagaga”
Horada broke out in cold sweat as he whimpered in pain, but Izumii continued regardless,
“If I have people saying I need to wear a costume and stage an ambush just to keep you in line, it makes things inconvenient, yeah? Horada-kun.”
“Y, yeah!”
“Take your old lackeys and comb the city. Use everything at your disposal. Root up that fucking Slugger before the police and drag him in front of me. Got it?”
“…!”
It was a ridiculously impossible order, but he could not fight against the pressure of the man before him.
Horada wracked his drowsy brain for some way to execute the order.
—Before the police?!
—Wait, is it best if I don’t tell him there were two of them?
—And I need men…
—Men… Ah.
Suddenly the idea came to it, and Horada asked Izumii tentatively,
“Uh, um, is it okay if I use Blue Square?”
“Huh? Do what you like.”
Izumii said, face thoughtful at the idea he had not thought of before. Horada continued,
“B, but see, your brother’s with them, what if he gets hurt… bugofufugugugu?!”
The instant the word ‘brother’ left his lips, Izumii was squashing his nose under the hammer again.
“Why do I have to give a fuck about that shitty bastard Aoba? Huh? Do I have to count his calories one by one and check his fucking nutrition intake? Do I need to hand-make well-balanced meals for him? Huh?”
“Sh, shorry!’
Ran’s anger was completely over the top, but Horada apologised tearily to escape his rage.
“Good. You’re an ex-higher-up of the Blue Square. Aoba’s a current member and your junior. That’s all there is to it.”
Izumii cricked his neck, and stated,
“I don’t care if you break him. …Use him and destroy him in the process if it suits you.”

As though looking forward to his own brother’s destruction.

♂♀

The next day. Somewhere in Ikebukuro. Bowling alley.

“So we’re looking for the Slugger. Wanna help?”
When Kuronuma Aoba said this to him, Yahiro tilted his head and fell into thought with the bowling ball still in his hand.
“What’s wrong?”
“Nothing… I just thought it was a coincidence.”

It was halfway through Golden Week when Aoba had asked Yahiro to meet up.
Reaching the bowling alley he had met Aoba himself, accompanied by a group of somewhat delinquent-looking others.
All of them were in casual clothes, and Yahiro as well wore the clothes he had bought in the city just recently.
They started off bowling, but in the middle of the third game Aoba, who was playing in the same lane as Yahiro, approached him to talk.
According to him, one of their seniors, a man called Horada, had been attacked by the Slugger, and had ordered Aoba to find the criminal for revenge.
Said victim was still hospitalised, but his condition was not life-threatening.
Unaware that Yahiro so happened to have been tasked to look for the criminal by someone else already, Aoba explained their situation lightly.
“We’re not pals… You should be clear on that since the last incident, right?”
“Yes, I asked around about Blue Square.”
“Oh? How was it?”
“Your reputation is not very good.”
Aoba burst out laughing at his frank reply.
“Yahiro-kun, that’s too honest.”
“No, I’m just scared I’ll get exposed if I lie.”
Yahiro simply orated his truest intention, but Aoba seemed to have interpreted something different, for he laughed before continuing.
“Yeah, we have a bad rep. I might be the horrible senior with the bad reputation, but I’m still your senior; I need to save face, you know.”
With an expression hard to associate with his model student persona in school, Aoba continued,
“It’s good to have as many people searching as possible. I was thinking to get your help.”
“OK.”
“…That was fast. I thought it would be a straight no.”
“Why?”
Yahiro tilted his head, and in reply, Aoba brought up a person not with them today.
“I spoke to Kuon, too, but he said he’s busy with some new business. I thought you would be involved in that.”
“Yeah, I am.”
“You’re actually telling me?!”
Aoba had planned to trick it out of him, but being informed so bluntly left a sense of anticlimax that showed on his face.
“Aren’t you supposed to keep things like this secret from me?”
“Really?”
“Really.”
Aoba tilted his head in mimicry of Aoba, and answered jokingly.
He proceeded to try drawing out more information on Kuon, but—
“So, what kind of business is it?”
“Ah, that part’s secret.”
“…”
“Sorry, it’s not because it’s you, Aoba-sempai, but it seems the details have to be kept private. I think it’s best if you ask Kuon-kun directly, if you really need to know..
A flat refusal.
There was no dislike whatsoever in his words.
To be more accurate, he usually regarded Aoba with some degree of wariness, but that was a unique trait of Yahiro’s timid personality; an almost delusional vigilance based on thoughts like, ‘How should I escape if suddenly everyone here gets hypnotised into attacking me with metal bats?’
It was as normal as normal was with Yahiro, and Aoba understood this as well.
As such, Aoba concluded Yahiro would not be telling him anything, and he returned to the main topic.
“Nevermind. I’ll try asking Kuon if I can get in the deal too.”
“OK, thank you.”
“So, the Slugger… Horada-sempai’s your benefactor, so you can’t not repay the debt.”
“My… benefactor?”
Yahiro said, uncomprehending. Aoba said,
“Yep. Remember the fake kidnapping case?”
“Yeah.”
“Back then, your friend, er… Tatsugami-san? It was Horada-sempai that found her, you know.”
“!”
Yahiro’s eyes widened.
At the time the detail had been insignificant in the chaos, but now it was brought up Aoba had indeed said that he knew their location ‘from a senior’.
If that person was Horada, then he truly was a benefactor.
“I see… In that case I do need to help.”
“Yep. That’s why, once you find the guy, we snatch him up for awhile before he gets to the police. Sound good?”
“…”
Kidnapping.
Yahiro mulled over the word.
“Ah, I don’t mean we’re going to beat him up or anything, yeah?”
“But it’s a crime from the moment you kidnap anyone, right?”
“I guess. If you put it that way, everything you did at the villa was criminal too, right? Or maybe excessive self-defence?”
During their conversation, Aoba’s turn to bowl arrived.
“Ah, it’s my turn.”
While Aoba went off to bowl, Yahiro thought.
—Mmm. What now?
—I think it’s best not to beat the criminal up.
—But taking an eye for an eye is what I’ve always done.
—I can’t forbid them from doing it…
—In the first place, if I catch the criminal, do I go to Karisawa and Yumasaki, or Horada-sempai first?
—Karisawa- and Yumasaki-san said they only want to talk… So Karisawa-san, and once they’re done talking Horada-san, and once it looks like they’re going too far I stop them and send the criminal to the police?
—Ahh, but I still think it’s best not to beat anyone up.
—But I don’t have the right to stop them…
As he was engrossed in his thoughts Aoba seemed to have scored a spare, and his gang members from the lanes on either side cheered and heckled him.
Yahiro’s turn came next, and relieving Aoba he took a ball and walked out.
Then, as he passed Aoba, he said.
“I still think you shouldn’t take revenge.”
“Oh? Why?”
Unable to answer immediately, Yahiro threw the ball first.
After throwing with a good amount of strength, without checking where it went, he turned back to Aoba, and spoke.
Surfacing in his mind was the scenery of his past.
His bloodstained hands, and the wretched state of his attackers still on the scene; a scenery he had witnessed over and over in his hometown.
“If you return every blow you get, after a while… it gets harsh, you know?”
At the same time, the monitor above the lane glowed as it announced a strike.
“Ah… strike?”
Having thrown the ball without much care, and he had assumed it would go to the gutter.
Yahiro, who had been waiting for the ball to come back fully expecting to go for his second try, widened his eyes; Aoba pat his junior’s shoulder, smiling.
“You don’t have to tell me that. I know.”
Aoba smiled faintly, and there was a peek of a face different from that Yahiro always saw.

“But you know, Yahiro-kun. …For us, we feel most at home living in that harshness.”

♂♀

Evening. Ikebukuro West Gate Park.

“And that’s how it is. What do I do?”
It was late enough that the sun had sunk behind the buildings.
Sitting on a metal tube bench, Yahiro asked Himeka, who sat beside him, this question.
“From how you’re actually discussing this with me, I don’t think there’s anything you can’t do…”
Himeka told him this defeatedly, but even so her expression was largely the same.
Yahiro had decided to consult Himeka right after his meeting with Aoba.
It turned out she was just passing by Ikebukuro Station, so they decided to meet up at the park.
As Himeka was more or less a member of Snake Hands as well, Yahiro explained about his job finding the culprit without hesitation.
To his surprise, however, Himeka already knew.
‘I told Kuon-kun I’d help if I could, and Nozomi-san called a few days later,’ she had said; apparently Nozomi had filled her in about the case.
“…So you accepted the job too, Himeka-chan?”
“Well, something like that.”
“But I think it’s dangerous for you to get involved…”
Yahiro said somberly. Himeka replied calmly,
“I don’t think you should say that, since you looked for the Headless Rider even when rumours said she was a kidnapper.”
“That’s true.”
Yahiro accepted her point with a nod, and Himeka gave a small sigh.
“Well, I’m not intending to do anything dangerous. I just had the feeling Kuon-kun and Nozomi-san would get up to something if I didn’t do anything, so…”
“Yeah, that’s true.”
Musing over how Himeka had been thinking the same thing as him, Yahiro asked once more,
“Anyway, naturally it’s best that the assaults stop. But there are two groups who want to meet the criminal before the police. So, if by luck I suddenly come across the Slugger lying on the ground and get to catch them, who should I go to first?”
“This might be hard to answer, but can I ask one thing?”
“What is it?”
“Why would the Slugger be lying on the ground?”
At the question she replied with, Yahiro said,
“Maybe they tried to attack Heiwajima Shizuo, and he retaliated or something…”
“…That’s certainly imaginable.”
Still expressionless, Himeka bent forward, and stared straight at Yahiro’s face.
“Mizuchi-kun. Even if the Slugger suddenly showed up, you can win the fight, right?”
“It’s scary. I don’t want to fight the Slugger.”
“You’re saying that after beating down bōsōzoku and yakuza, here…”
“I was really scared previously, too. But not doing anything back then was even scarier. That’s all.”
Unease tinted Yahiro’s eyes as he continued,
“I’ve always been fighting people, so when it comes to interacting, or compromising, I’m completely out of my depth… I never know what’s the right thing to do.”
“Then make mistakes. It’s easier to remember that way.”
“It’s scary.”
“It’s always a little surreal, the way you say something is ‘scary’.”
Himeka commented, still expressionless; then she went back to the subject of the Slugger.
“…When you use your strength, you have a reason. So, why do you think the Slugger is doing all of this?”
“If I were to say…”
Yahiro had not even considered examining the criminal’s motive.
His image of the Slugger was unanimous with that of serial killers in movies; the vague impression of ‘a stage prop that attacks people without reason’.
Nonetheless—though he did not want to think about it since it sounded like excuses—it was true that even he, who had been feared as a monster himself, had his own reasons for using violence.
He did not even want to imagine anyone with logic like ‘I killed because the sky is blue’ strolling around the city.
(*Etsusa Bridge reference?)
But because he was also afraid of discarding the possibility, Yahiro kept it at a corner of his mind while he continued to think about the criminal.
“The Slugger… I wonder why. Why is this person hitting people? I’ve been hit from behind with hammers a couple of times, but… Right, those people always said they’d kill me, but what were they planning to do after that…?”
Perhaps Himeka was already used to it, for, despite that what he said was beyond disturbing, she paid no mind to it and began to brainstorm with him.
“What most people would think is that the criminal has some condition where the they feel good when they hurt others, or has some delusion that they’ll die unless they hit others… Though it’s also possible that the victims aren’t completely random.”
“Not random?”
“In other words, the victims could have something in common. Even if it looks random to us, there could be a specific criteria only the criminal understands that they’re using to choose their victims. I think in that case, the motive becomes important.”
“Something in common, huh… I never thought of it.”
He had heard the bare bones of the case through the radio and such, but as far as he knew the victims were young and old and of different genders, and the first victims had been a couple.
Did the couple and Horada-sempai have anything in common?
Yahiro realised that, familiar with neither Horada nor the couple, he could not even answer that question, and he blew a small sigh.
“I just can’t seem to understand the Slugger’s state of mind. Himeka-chan, do you have any ideas?”
Yahiro asked, and Himeka thought for awhile.
“Hmmm… I heard this from a journalist my sister knows, but… Apparently the Slugger has attacked quite a number of delinquents.”
“Delinquents?”
“Yeah. Nearly half of the victims were bōsōzoku members, or that type. That’s why more and more people are thinking it’s linked to the Slasher case a few years ago.”
The Slasher.
Yahiro latched on to the term he had heard in the restaurant the day before.
“The Slasher… Do you know what happened, Himeka-chan?”
“I was in middle school back then, so I didn’t really stay out late or anything, but… In school, at least, everyone was alert. Especially since one of my seniors in high school had a classmate who was attacked…”
(*Probably Harima Mika again; classmate is Anri.)
“I see, and the culprit was never caught…”
Yahiro decided to research in this direction to find out if the cases were related. Himeka informed him additionally,
“There was this group called, Dollars…? That people suspected were harbouring the Slasher… But Kuronuma Aoba-sempai should be more clear on those things.”

♂♀

Somewhere in Ikebukuro.

Ajimura Shōya was a serial assaulter.

However, he had no awareness of it himself.
The man, currently 28 years of age, worked a part-time job in the day, and operated as a fan of Owl of the Peeping Dead by night.
Though put that way, it was not that he drew fancomics for it.
He was the administrator on a community of OPD fanatics.
By pressuring the private community in various ways, he agitated the gathering of fanatics in a united direction.
The man himself had the best intentions.
But occasionally his activities would go too far and cause trouble for others.
Repeatedly criticising rival films airing at the same time period on movie review sites so as to increase the popularity of OPD… such activities were everyday occurrences.
They would tell the production team, ‘The current plot development will lower the quality of OPD,’ and then send over ‘the developments we thought of’, attaching a note saying, ‘you can use this for free’.
If the number of female characters increased they would send protests saying, ‘Stop kissing up to those moe-otakus,’ and when the number of male characters increased they would still send protests, saying, ‘Stop kissing up to fujoshi’.
When they felt the casting of actors unsatisfactory for the live action film, they would harass the artiste company with thousands of anonymous letters saying, ‘Remove these castings and change it like this,’ and post criticisms all over the web.
They would act like zombies and cause trouble in Ikebukuro claiming it was an offline meet-up and they were ‘having fun by becoming zombies in the sacred land of OPD’; and when normal fans tried to stop them they would harass those fans with accusations saying ‘you’re not becoming a zombie because you don’t love the series’.
This persisted over time, and the fansite notorious amongst OPD fans.
Ajimura was the administrator of the site, but he was unbothered by criticism.
He was certain that his site’s critics were either jealous of their influence, or haters pretending to be OPD fans.
To these fanatics, himself included, the priority was not OPD but themselves.
Killing the god for the religion.
The community around them said this in mockery of them, but Ajimura, who ran the website, was as though a personification of everything it represented.
—’OPD depicts my story.’
—’The Owl is my righteousness, and Dark Owl my evil.’
—’The world destroyed by zombies is the same as this situation that corners me. Filled with the stink of despair.’
—’Maybe the series was modelled after someone like me.’
—’No; maybe it was modelled after me.’

Convinced by these almost delusional thoughts, in his heart, he began to make OPD his own.
Perhaps, under the excuse of fan activities, he had been trying to control the world of OPD.
By controlling the world of the series, he had the misbelief that he could control his own world, the model it had been based off (or so he arbitrarily believed).

And—committing serial assault in a Dark Owl cosplay was part of these fan activities.

It was not him at first.
When he first saw the news, he had not yet noticed it was Dark Owl.
The rumour that the criminal was wearing a Dark Owl cosplay spread on the internet before the TV or newspapers.
When he discovered this, Ajimura was shocked.
Dark Owl was he himself.
That was the only way things could be.
That was why it was wrong.
The other one was an imposter.
—’Do these criminal acts from a person who’s lost sight of the line between fiction and reality?’
Seeing these words dance across weekly magazines and the internet, Ajimura was indignant.
—No. Nonono.
OPD was not even fiction; it was reality.
It belonged to no one else. It was a reality by him and for him.
It would not do for a part of Dark Owl to be a cheap person who could not distinguish reality and delusion.
He could not forgive that person being seen as one with Dark Owl.
—’Crimes committed due to external influence’
Ajimura heard the commentator on the TV utter those words, and screamed.
—They’re wrong, they’re completely wrong.
OPD is my life.
I’m not cheap.
People influenced by me wouldn’t do things like that.
The other Dark Owl was wrong.
It was not how Dark Owl should be.
A few hours after Ajimura, who had continued yelling in his room and been told by his neighbour to ‘shut up’.
Burying his face in his futon, he thought, he thought, he thought.
At this rate Dark Owl would be misunderstood as no more than a reckless villain.
Owl of the Peeping Dead was being painted as a Bible of evil.
His life was being defiled.
Misinformation about himself was being circulated by the ignorant mass media.
So he thought, and he thought, and he reached one conclusion.
—Yes. I must show them the truth.
—I have to teach the world’s scum about the real Dark Owl.
He did not know what to do.
But he knew that if he made it known to the world, the public image of Dark Owl should change.
Without realising, he was howling.
‘Shut up,’ his neighbour complained again.
But Ajimura ignored this, and simply, simply continued to yell.
“Oi! I told you you’re noisy! The walls are thin so if you don’t shut up I can’t sleep dumbass!”
As a result, when he came across his neighbour when leaving his apartment the next day, he wound up being grabbed by the collar and so warned—
But Ajimura listened on with cold eyes.
—What’s with this guy.
The man’s dyed hair was kept in a regent hairstyle*, and it was obvious from one look that he was a delinquent.
(*The stereotypical pompadour of Japanese smalltime gangsters.)
—Why does he have to make me angry, when I’m the one with the proper job.
Normally he would be nodding fearfully, but now he was at the peak of his anger, he listened on with a different mood from usual.
“You do it again, I’ll tell the landlord! Dumbass!”
His threat had not been to use violence; from an objective point of view the man was relatively peaceable—
But faced with this rude yelling, Ajimura realised how to prove Dark Owl’s righteousness.
—That’s right. It’s fine so long as it’s not assault.
—It’s fine so long as I make it so Dark Owl is meting justice to scum.
He did not know nor care about the profiles of the victims so far.
Nonetheless, Ajimura had realised.
What he, as the model for Dark Owl, ought to do.
A few nights later.
On a moonless street, as he looked at the fallen form of his neighbour, bleeding from the head, Ajimura thought.
He had begun; there was no stopping now.
What rose in his heart was not fear, but exhilaration.
For he felt that in this moment he had become Dark Owl.

Yet—
In the series itself, Dark Owl was by no means ‘an ally of justice targeting only criminals’.
If normal fans like Yumasaki and Karisawa knew of this, surely they would yell angrily, ‘You’re not a fan!’ In the first place, Yumasaki and Karisawa already avoided Ajimura’s fansite, their logic being, ‘Those aren’t fans, they might even be worse than haters.’
Yet Ajimura could care less about being different from the character in the actual OPD.
His own life was OPD, and from now on the series would be corrected to match him. Or at least, this was what he believed.
But in the first place, for all he instigated others on the fansite—
He had only seen the OPD anime in passing, and had not even bought the DVD or comics.
Convinced that, since it was his life, there was no need to confirm it.
And, once he had assaulted his neighbour, he lost all logical restraint.
He would observe delinquents in his vicinity, predict their patterns of movement, and attack them in the night on deserted streets.
Yet, even though he had only targeted and disposed of the type of person the public would call scum, television continued to introduce him as a ‘serial assaulter’.

“Not yet, it’s not enough yet. No one understands because there hasn’t been enough.”
In the convenience store he worked part-time at, Ajimura glanced, keeping an eye on the delinquent groups and gangsters loitering in the parking lot, and muttered to himself.
“That Horada guy was just small fry, huh… There hasn’t been much fuss on the net… Worse. I need to hunt worse trash. I need to hunt every one of those idiots…”
A famous gangster. A person of such scale he could become a hero just by defeating them.
During his break at work, Ajimura searched for information with his smartphone.
Tokyo; delinquent; famous.
Searching with these keywords—one man’s name came up right
away.
It was a name he knew himself.
For a young person living in the vicinity of Ikebukuro, it was impossible not to know.
For that man was dubbed, alongside the Headless Rider, as an urban legend of Ikebukuro.
Cold sweat trickling down his cheek, with resolve in his eye, Ajimura spoke the man’s name.
“Heiwajima… Shizuo, huh…”

♂♀

Shinra’s apartment.

“You’re looking for the Slugger, Celty?”
Shinra asked in surprise.
Shinra generally did not probe into Celty’s work, but as Celty had been the one to ask him if he had heard anything about the Slugger, he came to know what Celty had been doing the past few days.
‘Yeah, it’s the freelance job Snake Hands I mentioned recently. We got a job to gather information on the Slugger.’
“That’s dangerous! This is the Slugger we’re talking about, what if you get hurt!”
‘I think you said the same thing when I started out as a courier…’
“I’ve already accepted that you want to be a courier, but Celty, I’m worried that you’ll be used by this dubious Snake Hands group. Aren’t those kids just treating you as a convenient weapon to protect themselves, like Aoba-kun?”
To Shinra, who was genuinely concerned, Celty nodded and replied,
‘It’s fine. If that happens I’ll just classify it as part of the job and do only as much as I’m paid for. Anyway, I’m not so weak that the Slugger can do anything to me…’
“If you say so…”
It appeared he had accepted her justification for now.
Because Celty had experience being embroiled in various events in the past, Shinra seldom commented on her putting herself in danger.
But it seemed he was particularly concerned about situations like this, where she became involved on the behest of others.
Rather than getting injured, he was likely more worried she would be taken advantage of, and find herself in undesirable circumstances.
Celty, understanding this, typed additional information to lessen his worry:
‘Plus, the ones who hired us were Yumasaki and Karisawa. It’s a safe job, in a sense.’
“Them? Why?”
Celty proceeded to explain what Kuon had told her to dispel Shinra’s confusion.

“I see… I get what’s going on, but… I never thought the assaults were this serious. I haven’t been seeing the news recently, so I never realised.”
‘That’s because you only read the articles to do with me.’
“Of course Celty! Ignoring the annoying lies about you having a boyfriend, you coming back to the city started so many discussions! I feel so proud, it’s like we have a celebrity in the family.”
‘Uh… I’m quite sure I’m actually famous as a criminal, I doubt that’s something to be proud of.’
Being self-aware that she was a courier that drove around without a number plate or headlights, Celty naturally felt bad about being proud of herself for being famous.
Detecting Celty’s awkwardness, Shinra changed the topic.
“But even so… Somehow, this Slugger reminds me of that time with Anri-chan.”
‘Yeah, now I think of it. Back then it was a Slasher; now it’s a Slugger. It feels almost absurd.’
“Speaking of Anri-chan, how’s Sonohara Hall now?”
Celty replied to Shinra happily,
‘Business is pretty good, I think. Masaomi-kun and Saki-chan have been stocking things from all over Japan, so there’s a surprisingly wide variety of goods.’
Because Celty thought of Anri as a younger sister, after Anri’s graduation now and then she would be concerned about her.
They seldom met in person because, like Mikado, Anri was uninvolved with underworld problems; nevertheless they kept in touch via text, and occasionally they would discuss the unusual goods Anri had procured.
‘It seems that Kujiragi woman also sends things to her now and then… The shop may have a pretty exotic lineup.’
“I see… She seemed the type to have weird things like that. The police never went after her, right?”
And your father’s a regular customer. I heard he checks in whenever he’s in the country.’
“Ah… I hope he’s not obstructing business…”
Picturing a man in a white gas mask frequenting an antique store, Shinra’s face twitched.
‘But, right… The serial assaults could be related to a curse, like Saika…’
Saika was a demon sword Anri possessed. In the past its curse had plunged Ikebukuro into fear due to serial slashing incidents, but that was a thing of the past.
‘Right, Shinra. Didn’t Kujiragi leave Saika with you? Where did that go?’
“Oh, it’s still around. I promised to return it the next time we met, but we haven’t.”
‘…That actually sounds like it’s going to stay with you forever, you know…?’
“Really? Oh yeah, I haven’t checked on it since we came back from vacation.”
Shinra stood slowly, and opened his cupboard for the medical instruments he used as an underground doctor.
He took out a rod-shaped object wrapped in bandages, and brought it in front of Celty.
‘You just put it in plain sight?!’
Unwinding the bandages revealed a blade in the form of a scalpel, and when Shinra picked it up, his eyes began to glow red.

Saika.
It was a demon sword rumoured since the Edo era to possess its own will, and currently there were a few of it in Japan.
A personality not unlike that of a human female resided within the blade, strangely and uniquely defined by its love for the whole of humanity.
Those cut by the blade would have their hearts consumed by a flood of ‘Words of Love’ and become ‘children’ of Saika, controlled by the sword’s user.
Should the user not have willpower strong enough they would be overtaken by the will of Saika and become no more than a puppet; a personification of ‘love’ in the form of cutting others.
When in use of Saika, the eyes of Saika’s wielder would flash red, while ‘children’ who had been cut would have bloodshot eyes and attempt to slash others with any kind of knife they had so as to generate ‘grandchildren’—such was the dangerous nature of the demon sword Saika.
Shinra had become one of Saika’s ‘children’ post a certain incident. In the end he had not only conquered the curse but come into possession of one of Saika’s parent blades.
And, as if to prove it, Shinra’s eyes started glowing like LEDs.

“See? It’s the real thing.”
‘O, oi, are you okay?! You’re not possessed or…’
“I’m fine. It gets noisy when I hold it, but just seeing your face makes it okay.”
Shinra smiled as he explained, and started to wrap the blade again.
Celty sighed in relief when she saw Shinra’s eyes return to normal.
‘Seriously, you took such a risk back then…’
“It was fine in the end, right? More importantly, take care. If anything happens to you I’ll use this Saika to send all those who hurt you into living hell, fufufufu.”
‘Don’t be creepy.’
Celty, felt nervous again, knowing Shinra was more than capable of executing what he said.
This was why, if anything happened to her, she could not have Shinra dragged into the mess.
In the first place, Shinra numbered amongst the demographic that went out at night; it was hard to say he would be completely safe from the Slugger.
Wanting to keep Shinra safe was also why she wanted to catch the Slugger—but perhaps she was shy, for she never told Shinra this directly.
Just then—Shinra’s phone suddenly started to ring.
“Oh, who is it? It’s so late… Wait, Shizuo?”
Seeing the screen, Shinra quickly picked up.
“Hello, what happened, it’s the middle of the night.”
‘Did something happen?’
Celty asked Shinra lightly while he was on the phone, and put her ear to it as well.
She could not make out the exact words, but Shizuo sounded panicky.
“OK. We’ll keep the door open, so you can take the lift up now.”
Sensing that Shinra’s voice was becoming more urgent, Celty inferred it was a serious matter.
‘What’s wrong?’
She asked Shinra this once the call ended, and he returned the scalpel-form Saika to the cupboard, beginning to take out disinfectant and other materials as he answered.
“Ahh, keep the door open, Celty, Shizuo’s bringing in a patient.”
‘Someone’s hurt?!’
“Yeah. I think you know him, too. It’s Shizuo’s senior Tanaka-san. The guy with dreadlocks and glasses.”

“He said Tanaka-san was attacked by the Slugger, and injured his head…”

****CHAPTER END****


 

Interlude: Rumours on the Internet ③

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

New Article, ‘Citizen Group Releases Statement; Seeks Ban of Owl of the Peeping Dead Film and Anime’

  • ‘After opposing OPD for so long PCChibukuro finally makes an official statement. If this goes on not just the manga but even the movie might be censored.’
  • ‘Wow Chibukuro. You’re trying to say the Headless Rider, Ripper Night, and even the recent fake kidnappings are the effect of anime, live action movies and manga like OPD. But the Headless Rider’s been in Ikebukuro for more than 20 years…’
  • ‘They finally did it. This group is famous for being kind of ridiculous, but for some reason they have ties to politicians. Hopefully they don’t bring the censorship laws into this.’
  • ‘This is the group which almost had a yakuza film set in Ikebukuro banned from sale when they said it was “glorifying violence organisations like the Awakusu-kai”, right? I have to say, who’s the one who can’t distinguish fiction and reality, here?’

—(Personal posts taken from Twittia)

An excerpt of the statement:

“(Text omitted)—and so, children are innocent creatures, and they hence lack the ability to select pure books and films for themselves. This is why adults like us, with our knowledge of the world, must protect them from those owls that stink of death. To cleanse the environment of Ikebukuro, to restore the wholesomeness of this district, we seek that bookstores, anime shops in particular, withdraw these titles—(text omitted)—The criminal known as the Headless Rider is an obvious result of the influence of games, just as the Slasher case is clear proof of the effects of violently themed anime and manga, or even films and music—(text omitted)—In the same vein, WWW has contracted itself to the devil. They are the destroyers of Ikebukuro, and in a sense more malicious than even the Slugger traumatising Ikebukuro currently. WWW has created a work depicting Ikebukuro’s streets filled with corpses; we demand the immediate recall of all merchandise. If our demands are not met, these missionaries of evil will be punished at the hands of righteous citizens. We will not wait for heaven’s judgment. We will, with our own hands, defend a clear, pure Ikebukuro for our children —(Text omitted)”

IkeNEW! Administrator’s Comment

“P.C.Chibukuro is at it again-moja. Peoples for the Calm Treatment of IKEBUKURO… It means ‘society for the gentle curing of Ikebukuro’-moja, P.C.T.bukuro for short. People call it P.C.Chibukuro-moja.
(*Chibukuro written with the kanji for blood(血chi) bag(袋bukuro), suggesting its unpopularity. ‘Chi’ is a Japanese pronunciation of ‘T’.)
The ‘receive judgment by the people’ part at the end might even be considered a threat-moja. And you don’t have to look twice to feel like the entire thing is threatening-moja.
Frightening-moja. Scary-moja.
The Slugger is frightening, but gangsters coming together to form groups is scary too-moja.
Touch wood-moja.”

Administrator Lila Tailtooth Zaiya

♂♀

Excerpts of typical tweets from microblogging site Twittia.

  • That IkeNEW jerk quoted our tweets without asking again.
    • Well, there’s nothing we can say about it.
      • I don’t even care about being quoted anymore, but being used to help affiliate blogs make cash pisses me off.
        • Well, IkeNEW is one of the better ones, at least?
          • No, the way the admin ends sentences is annoying.
  • Oh look, looks like the geeks are going hysterical in the face of logic. It’s a good chance to check all of the accounts that complained against that resident group and chase them off Twitter, isn’t it?
    • You’re annoying go die.
      • Oho, fast and reliable, the anime-icon user arrives to flame rofl
        • This guy’s annoying. Screencapped a summary of all his previous problematic tweets.
          • Hey, what are you gonna do with that? If you don’t take that down I’ll report you~ lol.
            • Thanks.
              • Huh?
                • Whoa, he really did it.
                • He reported.
                  • If you report a Twittia user you get their address and name.
                    • Huh? Huh? Huh?
                      • You’re living around ●● Prefecture. It’s famous for textiles, right?
                        • What’s going on this is a joke right? What is this.
                          • Calm down, ●●-kun. I’ll call you later lol
  • Speaking of which, I think I saw the Slugger yesterday.
    • Serious? The news didn’t say anything.
      • Really? Ah, but there was a guy bleeding from the head at the convenience store nearby.
        • Seriously?
          • Yep, and then a bartender guy was holding him up trying to get him to a doctor.
            • Bartender…? Did he have blond hair and sunglasses by any chance?
              • Ah, yeah. I don’t know about the sunglasses but he was blond.
                • The Slugger is dead meat.
  • I wonder why the criminal is doing this.
    • Probably they just want to beat people up?
      • No, I get the feeling the victims are alternating between delinquents and normal folk.
        • Isn’t that just random?
          • I don’t think Ikebukuro’s such a dangerous area you can get delinquents half the time by random selection…
            • The attacks on gangsters must have been a fake Slugger.
              • Speaking of which, Ripper Night was weird too. Fifty victims in one night, right?
                • There’s no way that was just one person, right…?
                  • Was it the Dollars after all…
                    • Dollars lol. So nostalgic haha
  • If PCChibukuro has the time to try and regulate our manga, they should do something about the remnants of the colour gangs we’re seeing in real life.
    • Dragon Zombie’s been running amuck recently… The traffic police did a good job catching them, though.
      • The Yellow Scarves aren’t around anymore, but… are there still other colour gangs?
        • I think there are still bits of Blue Square around.
          • Colour gangs are seriously outdated, I doubt anything will come of it.
            • The Headless Rider’s back, too.
              • Can’t we just blame all the Slugger business on the Dollars?
                • I wonder what the old Dollars are up to now.
                  • It’s embarassing for anyone to admit they’re an ex-member, after all…

****CHAPTER END****


⇒CHAPTER 3



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

  1. Thanks for translating!

    That Etsusa reference made me so happy. Yahiro and Amagiri are really similar! Two overpowered overthinkers :3

    Like

    1. I can’t help buth think that Amagiri Ayato the Killer Ghoul is the unification of the superhuman-sick madman couples like Shizuo-Izaya and Yahiro-Kuon, a superhuman like Shizuo and Yahiro (his switch seems closer to Yahiro than Shizuo, though), that doesn’t need a madman counterpart since the madness has taken root inside himself (he’s the nicer madman, though).

      Like

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