T/N: Comment for mistakes/etc, take care, enjoy. Updated index to include other raws now on hand
Original provided by akeshaa, thank you!
Epitome of Eighteen Histories 5
Kadota Kyōhei Episode
This is a story of the past.
The story of a twisted past.
It was an evening in summer with the sweltering heat yet to dissipate.
Kadota Kyōhei was on his way home from school, when a girl called him to a stop.
“Excuse me, do you have a moment?”
The girl, who wore the uniform of a middle school some distance away, still had traces of childishness in her face; she was most likely a first- or second-year.
Kadota was puzzled at being approached by an unfamiliar girl.
Was she asking for directions?
As he was thinking this, the girl bowed her head with a nervous expression.
“My name is Kinomiya Kazane! Um… There’s something I want to ask…”
“What is it?”
“Er, you’re friends with Kishitani Shinra-sempai, right? I’m sorry, I saw you talking on the street recently…”
“Kishitani? Yeah, well, we do go to the same school.”
Just what was she trying to say?
As a name he was acquainted with came up, Kadota grew increasingly befuddled.
He was not quite friends with Shinra, but they were well-acquainted enough that they would talk if they met in school or on the street.
—She can’t have fallen for Shinra?
He did not mean to criticise, but Shinra was known for being eccentric.
It was true that his light-heartedness brightened the surrounding mood, but one had the sense that he drew a line between himself and others. Not to mention he hung out with Heiwajima Shizuo and Orihara Izaya, both highly unusual people; though due to Shizuo and Izaya’s disastrously bad relationship they were almost never seen together.
There was also a rumour within the school that a girl with unusual tastes had confessed to him before, only to be rejected with the strange words, ‘But you have a head.’
Kadota thought it would be pitiful if this girl were to be subjected to that same bizarre rejection, and looked towards her face.
At that point, he felt a flash of unease.
Something about her reminded him of Shinra himself.
“You know Kishitani, jou-chan?”
At first he assumed she was a younger sister, but because she had called Shinra ‘Kishitani-sempai’ and referred to him in a way that seemed somehow distant, Kadota dismissed that correct answer for the moment.
“Ah… Um, we’re distantly related…”
The girl averted her eyes and replied vaguely, so he thought she might be uncomfortable talking about it, and let it go.
“I see. So what do you want with Kishitani?”
“I was a bit curious about how he is in school…”
“You could always ask directly.”
“I want to know more, so I can have that courage…”
The girl sounded somewhat despondent, and Kadota inferred that she must have her own complex situation.
“Anyway, we’re not exactly close friends. There are rumours that he’s eccentric, but I’ve never heard anyone say he’s a bad person per se, so I think you can rest easy.”
Looking somewhat relieved, the girl bowed her head to Kadota.
“Thank you so much! I heard he was spending time with really scary people, so I was worried.”
—That’s true, with Heiwajima Shizuo and Orihara Izaya…
—Especially in Shizuo’s case; being around him is enough to start rumours like that…
Orihara Izaya acted more behind-the-scenes by nature, so there were less unpleasant rumours about him spreading around, but Heiwajima Shizuo was to some extent a well-known figure, dubbed the ‘Automatic Fighting Doll’ and other monikers by delinquents.
Kadota knew that despite being a troublemaker Shizuo was not a bad person, but the general public was unlikely to bother making that distinction.
Just as he was thinking this, a masculine voice called out towards them.
When Kadota and Kazane turned towards the voice, there stood a delinquent with bright red hair.
“You’re that Kadota guy who’s boss of Raijin High, aren’t you.”
The male was clad in the Kushinada High uniform.
That school was often a hot topic alongside Raijin High School, when it came to schools around Ikebukuro with a high delinquent population.
Most of this reputation of Raijin High School had been single-handedly created by Shizuo, however.
“I’m Kadota, but I don’t remember ever becoming a boss of anyone. You have the wrong guy.”
“Don’t play dumb. The rumours all say you’re the third-year who’s taken over since Shishizaki graduated, bastard.”
The delinquent leant his body forward and glared up at Kadota fiercely.
“I’m the one in charge at Kushinada High. Togusa. You must have at least heard of me before.”
“I can’t see myself interested.”
“Heh, you’re saying the great leader of Raijin hasn’t time for Kushinada’s small fry?”
“I’m not the leader. Even if I was, what’s your business?”
Kadota asked, sighing, to which this ‘Togusa’ replied,
“A junior of mine was hurt by a blondie from your side. I thought I should even the score.”
Kadota considered the meaning of those words, before saying, as though he had understood,
“Ah, that makes sense. You can’t take revenge since you’re scared to face Shizuo in a fight, so you’ll have me take the rap as the boss. Then you can settle things without fighting Shizuo.”
“Oi, don’t take things wrongly, I’ll kill you.”
Togusa threatened, narrowed eyes flashing.
“Taking that Shizuo or whoever’s no sweat, but then it’d just turn into a Raijin-Kushinada war, wouldn’t it? So shouldn’t us intelligent folk thrash it out in one shot?”
From his statement of ‘Shizuo or whoever’ and the way he spoke, it seemed that he had yet to meet Shizuo in person. Chances were that he had genuinely come over to handle this issue leader-to-leader.
“I see, sorry about that, then.”
“You think sorry’s enough to cut it? Huh?”
Togusa glared at Kadota with the eyes of a mad dog.
That apology had in fact been for mistaking Togusa’s intentions, but apparently he had interpreted it as apologising for Shizuo’s assault of his friend.
Without bothering to correct that misunderstanding, Kadota shrugged.
“Ah well, anyway, here’s not a good place, let’s move this somewhere else.”
“Aah? You’re not planning to say that and run away, are you?”
“Do you enjoy scaring middle school girls?”
Kadota glanced towards the side at Kazane.
Seeing this, Togusa shrugged and asked,
“…she your sister?”
“She was just asking for directions. At any rate, if we start anything here we’ll just be reported right away, and that would be that.”
“Huh, that’s right. In that case come to the abandoned factory in the west, later on. Eight at night should be fine, huh?”
His directions were vague, but Kadota immediately knew where he was referring to.
There was only one abandoned factory west of where they were, and the ruins were often the setting for fights between high schoolers.
—Togusa… Togusa from Kushinada, huh.
He had heard of him in rumours.
He was someone who picked fights even with upperclassmen and bōsōzoku, feared even by his own schoolmates, who had dubbed him the Driverless Machine.*
(*Original text: literally ‘car out of control’, which is apt considering his driving after he gets his van. ‘Loose cannon’ lacks the driving reference.)
Of course, he had to be a decent fighter, and was not the type to solve things with words.
Even with all of this foreknowledge, Kadota replied.
“If you’re scared you can even bring all of your friends along.”
Saying this, Togusa left.
As he passed by, he murmured to the middle school girl who had been watching them,
“…Sorry for scaring you. Didn’t see you there.”
Kadota, who heard this, smiled wryly, and left himself.
Leaving behind these last words of assurance for the hesitating girl:
“Don’t worry. I won’t drag your relative into fights.”
“Kishitani might be weird, but he’s not a dumb brawler like me; he’s a decent, hardworking guy. I can promise you that.”
—Yeah, a dumb brawler.
Although Kadota did not enjoy fighting, he evaluated himself as such.
After all, he was planning to follow through with the duel at the abandoned factory when he could just as well have ignored it.
Eight at night. Abandoned factory.
When Kadota faithfully arrived at the abandoned factory, the scene he encountered was not what he had imagined.
There were six men with purple bandanas, who appeared to be gang members.
In the middle the red-haired delinquent was sprawled on the ground like a dishrag.
Further away from them another five young people with purple accessories were scattered on the ground.
—The guys from Purple Gamble, huh.
It was one amongst the many colour gangs in Ikebukuro, with purple as its symbolic colour.
“What’s your problem?”
“…That guy called me here. Well, we were meant to have a duel, but… What’s he doing on the ground?”
“Hah! This fucker came here and said, ‘You’re in the way, get lost,’ hm? So we thought we should… teach him a little lesson!”
The member of the purple gang kicked Togusa mercilessly as he emphasised the last word.
Togusa groaned and coughed. As he coughed, a sliver of blood escaped his mouth.
“Yeah yeah yeah yeah, take this! And this!”
The men glared hatefully at Togusa and continued to enjoy themselves by kicking him almost rhythmically.
From the bodies on the ground, one could infer that eleven of them had attacked him at once, and he had actually been able to knock five of them out.
—I see, he really is a ‘Driverless Machine’.
As he acknowledged this in his mind, Kadota spoke up to the men who were continuing to kick Togusa.
“How about letting him off like this? He looks quite miserable already.”
At this, the members of the purple-themed colour gang spat and replied,
“Hah? Are you serious? Why would we stop?”
“Hey kid, you’ve got to be pissed at this guy for picking a fight with you too, right? Come have a good swing at him.”
“Yeah yeah, the finisher, come on.”
“Then we’ll let you go home freely, too.”
It was a completely predictable turn of events. Kadota casually made his way closer.
“Alright. One is enough, right?”
“Uh-huh, go for the head, go… Bugo?!”
Kadota’s sharp hook struck the temple of the man with the purple bandana.
“You, you bastard!”
Kadota, now the only calm face in this panicking crowd, sunk his fist into a second face.
With two of their number KO-ed in the blink of an eye, the other four gangsters, despite their panic, began to rage.
“W, what the hell are you doing!”
Although they shouted angrily none of the remaining members came forward to attack him, likely intimidated by how he had knocked those two out within seconds.
Kadota ignored them and called out to Togusa, prone on the ground.
“Are you still alive?”
“…Don’t do… unnecessary things…”
“It wasn’t unnecessary. Let’s settle our score.”
“You knocked five of them out, right?”
To Togusa, who had his brow scrunched while enduring the pain throughout his body, Kadota said flippantly,
“So, if I get six, can I say it’s my win?”
To which Togusa gaped disbelievingly, and glaring at Kadota, replied,
“Eleven against one… and six against one… is completely different, damn it…”
Kadota grinned, and proclaimed shamelessly,
“Luck counts as a strength, right?”
“You… you bastards! Don’t screw around!”
The colour gang members, red-faced as they realised that they had been completely dismissed, lunged at Kadota.
It took less than a mere minute for them to join their fellows on the ground.
A few minutes later. Outside the abandoned factory.
Kadota, who was almost completely unharmed, tried to lend a shoulder to Togusa, but the other batted his hand away and walked by himself by sheer force of will.
“…Don’t think I’m going to recognise you or owe you anything.”
“Yeah, we’ll settle things another day.”
Kadota replied, and took out his phone.
“So tell me your email or number. You should have a phone, right?”
At Kadota’s suggestion, Togusa frowned as he dragged his feet forward.
“It’ll be faster to call me out by text instead of coming to the school to set a time and place. Raijin might be unruly, but it’s not all delinquents. And we’re co-ed, you don’t want to scare the girls, do you?”
Kadota answered readily. Togusa tsked.
“…You have it good, huh. Ours is a boys’ school.”
As he said this, he took out his phone and started up the menu for infra-red messaging.
“Anyway, there’s no mistake you’re the boss. It’s my first time seeing someone this strong besides myself. I’ve accepted you following that Heiwajima Shizuo guy, too.”
“Ahh… I don’t know where I should start correcting you, but anyway, Shizuo’s way stronger than me.”
“Don’t be modest.”
“…Ah, one day you’ll know what I mean.”
A few months and many complications later, Togusa wound up fighting ‘Heiwajima Shizuo’ himself, and after being thrashed to the point of having no inch of skin left unblemished, the engine of the Driverless Machine finally stalled—
But that is another story.
A silhouette watched on from behind as they left.
The two high schoolers, who had seemed geared for a fight, had piqued the interest of Kinomiya Kazane, and she had secretly made her way to the factory as well.
When she saw Kadota begin to fight, Kazane had decided to call the police, but by the time she had taken her phone out from her bag the victor had been decided.
The unusually strong man had taken down the six scary-looking gang members in the blink of an eye.
But somehow she understood also that the man named Kadota was not a bad person.
“So that’s Kadota-san… I’m glad he’s good friends with Onii-chan*!”
Probably some of that was her own hope for it to be so.
At some point in time Kazane had formed the impression that Kadota and her brother were close friends.
“If he’s friends with such a great person… I’m sure he must be a great person, too!”
Smiling happily, she started on her way home.
While in her mind surfaced one person she was still curious about:
A character she could not avoid, should she wish to paint the portrait of her brother through his human* relationships.
“…I wonder who that black motorcyclist is to Onii-chan…”
The girl’s question, the boys’ fists, even the whimpers of the defeated—
As with any other day, the city accepted all of this as it continued its workings.
Moving towards a future that was perhaps near, perhaps far, at the end of these accumulating warps.