T/N: Hello. Sorry for the delay, I’ve been feeling really down.
If anyone has a digital edition of this book please email me. I haven’t translated the colour pages since I don’t have the illustrations. It’s Earthworm and Karisawa—yes, for those who’ve seen it, that is Karisawa. I too am wringing my hands
This volume also contains mentions of drugs.
(Illustration: NSFW illustration of Celty)
Somewhere in Saitama. Construction site of a large-scale shopping mall.
The sound of fighting and destruction rang out against the sky of Saitama.
It was a large-scale shopping mall near its completion, awaiting only its tenants.
The construction itself was ending, and in this tall building that spanned three floors, perhaps a few baseball fields in sheer area, one could see the occasional store that had already started on its furnishing.
And right now, ferocity and killing intent were having a sell-off in this very unfinished mall.
A single silhouette raced through this space saturated with the sound of gunfire.
Weaving through the light and smoke, it left a dark afterimage trailing behind on the pure-white of the mall.
—How did things come to this?
A pitch-black motorcycle that produced the neigh of a horse instead of the revving of an engine.
An entity that raced along even the walls and ceiling impossibly; and the rider of this fantastical vehicle—the Headless Rider—who was, at this moment, the most bewildered party to this scene.
—Um, there was a robbery at Anri-chan’s store… and I resumed my courier job…
She stopped the wave of bullets flying towards her with supernatural shadows that emitted from her body, then cast the crushed bullets to the floor; but even as she did so, the Headless Rider was thinking.
—Is there really a link between this situation and what happened with Anri-chan?
—And could it be Yahiro and his friends are involved, too?
Surfacing in her mind was the face of the storeowner of an antique store, her friend of several years; and those of the high schoolers she had met recently.
Yet still she could not connect the information in her mind.
For all they had taken their own small steps into the underside of the city, from what she knew they ought not be so deep in as to be linked to such action movie-esque gunfights. Even she, who cohabited with an underground doctor and had relations with illegal organisations due to her job as a courier, who was not even human, could count on her fingers how many times she had been embroiled in gunfights like this in the past 20 years.
—Who is involved and to what extent? Shizuo at least should be out of it, right?
—Izaya isn’t somehow masterminding everything again, right?
These two were the first she thought of when it came to trouble. As she thought of them, Celty swallowed a grenade flying towards her with shadow extending from her hand.
The bubble of shadow bloated up with the muted sound of an explosion, but no shrapnel or the like escaped it.
In this situation that was as far from everyday as possible in the country of Japan, the Headless Rider composed her heart instead of her non-existent head, and tried to be as calm as possible.
—Who started this whole mess?
—And my job and the robbery at Anri-chan’s store… Just how are they connected?
Coolly recalling the events of the past few days so as to try to decipher the situation, the urban legend—Celty Sturluson—reflected on how strangely calm she was, while dealing with the hail of sub-machine gun fire from her left.
—Bullets and grenades aren’t worth panicking over by this point, huh. After all my shadows have survived being fired at by a helicopter or shot by an anti-material rifle.
Glancing back at the bullets clattering to the ground behind her, Celty shrugged self-deprecatingly.
—If this is how it is, it can’t be helped that humans call me a monster, huh.
She had been targeted by gunfire many times in the past; she knew that it would not kill her. Because she could feel pain of course she would protect herself using her shadows, but since there was no one around that could be dragged in and hence endangered, and she had lost her aversion to being seen after an incident several years ago, she was not particularly reluctant to use her powers if needed.
—Anyway, we’re getting nowhere. Should I just use my shadow to suppress them all?
—But if there’s anyone in hiding right now they could simply get away… Maybe I should find someone who looks like the leader, then all at once…
—All at once… all… a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a… a-all?
There, her thought process froze.
She had noticed another shadow break through the black smoke, flying into the mall through the entrance.
Of course, if that had been all there was to it, while strange, it would hardly have been enough to derail her entire thought process.
The problem for Celty was that—
The identity of the silhouette was a motorcycle, with a white theme in contrast to her own.
—Wha… wait… what?
—What’s he doing here?! Isn’t this Saitama?!
Even as she used a shadow umbrella to ward off the rain of bullets from both sides, it was an absent-minded gesture.
For those few seconds, all thought of her armed attackers had left Celty’s mind.
A walking urban legend that had made Ikebukuro her home.
The Headless Rider of an immortal body, who could manipulate shadows with ease.
Having overcome even the fear of bullets by desensitisation, a formidable being for whom the label ‘monster’ was only fitting.
But even this monster had a source of fear she could never grow used to.
Just as many vampires feared garlic or the wooden stake.
Just as a werewolf feared a silver bullet melted from the key of the house of their birth.
Just as Frankenstein’s monster feared loneliness.
The fear of the Headless Rider now revealed itself before her.
“Looks like you have a real party going on here… monster.”
The traffic police officer—Kuzuhara Kinnosuke—noted the fire and mayhem in the mall, and beneath his sunglasses, his eyes flashed with a razor-sharp light.
“So? How much of this is your fault?”
At these words from the traffic policeman that was her nemesis, in her head, Celty Sturluson cried out this question to herself once again:
—How did everything come to this?