T/N: Last part. For some reason this volume doesn’t have a page for the cast.
Raira Academy. Cafeteria.
With regards to the series of events, OPD creator WWW made the following comment.
‘We have no comment as to the group of Dark Owls that appeared outside the station. However, one thing can be said. Did the influence of Dark Owl compel those people to do this? Certainly that is possible. Everyone has their own Dark Owl and The Owl in their heart. A heart of evil, and a heart of justice. Like an angel and a demon. But if a person falls to the temptations of the demon and commits murder, no one can ask for the Bible to be censored, can they? OPD is hardly on the same level as the Bible; it’s only a work of fiction. I urge everyone to remember that.’
Reading the comment on her smartphone, Orihara Mairu said,
“So in the end, all the stuff you did was used as advertising for OPD, huh Aocchi~”
“Hm…? Yeah… First it was the Underrars, saying it was their own art, and now someone from higher up’s snatched the limelight. …Wait, who told you?!”
Aoba replied distractedly. Mairu and Kururi, who were having lunch with him, complained,
“We heard from Kuon-cchi! Those Sluggers and whatnot gave a bad rep to people like us, the Alliance of People Wearing Mascot Pajamas Around in Broad Daylight! To think the organisation that spread this prejudice turns out to be Blue Square!”
“S, sorry, sorry. I’ll do my best to raise the standing of mascot pajamas as recompense.”
Even as he listened to the twins’ grievances with him, mentally, Aoba was consumed by an uneasiness from another source.
He remembered the phone call he had had with Yoshikiri on that night.
—“Yo, Yoshikiri. Well done. It’s thanks to you we got to know just how strong Yahiro is.”
—”But I never realised you were so light on your feet. Maybe you were dodging the whole while, but going eye-to-eye with Yahiro’s a feat in itself. Does that mean you can even fight Heiwajima Shizuo?”
—’What are you talking about?’
—”Huh… No, I mean… I mean our plan; you dressed as one of the Sluggers to attack Yahiro and we filmed it from afar? You climbed onto the roof and escaped after, right?”
—’Huh? You didn’t check your phone?’
—’I fucking texted you that I got lost and went home to sleep!’
Afterwards, looking through the video they had taken secretly from a distance—the Slugger who fought Yahiro indeed seemed to move much faster than Yoshikiri. Relooking Yahiro’s movements objectively, Yoshikiri was on that level at all.
—If only we had a ‘Snake Hands defeats the Slugger!’ video.
Aoba had felt a deep unease watching this video they had filmed for some small cash.
Yet at the same time, it sent a prickling thrill through him.
—That Dark Owl… Just who was inside?
Somewhere in the city. A rented office.
It was a small rented office in a certain building.
In a chair in the middle of the room, face still wrapped in bandages, Shijima sat.
But the person who stood beside him today was not Earthworm.
It was a young man, wearing Dark Owl mascot pajamas with a torn mouth.
“So how was the Snake Hands guy?”
At Shijima’s question, the man grinned, and answered,
“He’s good, Shijima-san. Strong, super strong!”
“I see. At least something came of observing those Sluggers, even if it was unexpected.”
Shijima began to contemplate the Sluggers further, as though he had been monitoring all of the criminals all along.
“I was keeping an eye on them since they were on the edge already, ready to give them a little push with my drugs… But they went over without the drugs anyway. How strange, that people on opposite sides ended up on the same path.”
Shijima mused, impressed. The other man, who, while tall, could be called a boy still, replied,
“They’re not even opposites. They were all trash, weren’t they?”
The boy giggled. Shijima replied,
“…Yeah, you’re right. You, me, all of us are trash.”
“We really are~.”
The boy spoke innocently. Shijima dropped his eyes.
The smartphone in his hand showed the video of the fight between Dark Owl and Snake Hands, but from a different angle from Aoba’s.
Watching the movements of the Dark Owl in the video, Shijima asked the boy calmly,
“Are you really human?”
“What, you sound like you know people who aren’t human.”
“Yeah, a couple. Had bad experiences, too. So what are you? Jami.”
“I dunno? I’m not sure myself. But…”
Eyes flashing bestially, the boy, Jami, simply smiled.
And recalling the urban legend garbed in black shadow, and the murderous intent the man had shown for that one instant—
The boy merely continued to smile, innocent, yet malicious.
“Maybe he will be the one to teach me.”