Peter Pan and Alice Tempt Each Other, and… (3/4)

9 Sep

Penultimate part of this massive chapter! Almost there, I swear, and then it’s just the epilogue and the authors’ notes after that! Thank you all for your patience and support ❤

Nebula Corporation

Conference Room corridor

“Um, uh…Vice President…w-what’s going on?”

“When you ask questions, you shouldn’t speak so plainly. It makes you appear impatient.”

“But I am impatient! My whole head—everything’s a muddle!”

From her place behind a pillar, Carol made a small sound of frustration.

Across from her, the Vice President was calm as ever as he gazed at the art on the walls.

“Ah..Carnald’s work, again? As well as all the others at the entrance…Nebula is quite infatuated.”

“Please, Vice President, don’t try to change the topic! I…I just want something! That room with those scary mafia men—what was that? Why did the Chairman go in? And what about Miss Renee?”

Having lived the past few minutes in a state of bewildered fear, Carol felt close to breaking down.

By contrast, the Vice President had a much more measured reaction to the same events.

“As you’ve most likely guessed by now, Miss Renee and the Runoratas don’t have ties to each other. Whether she’s come to offer an alliance or cause trouble, we’ll be left to sort out the aftermath…”

“B-but why would Miss Renee…”

In truth, Carol couldn’t imagine see the absentminded girl they’d talked to yesterday being involved with the Runoratas. After a moment of thought, however, she ventured a tentative guess.

“Then..then could she be making some kind of drug…?”

“1295 points for an excellent guess, but I’m afraid the Runoratas already have their own division for that.”

“Then why…”

“Ah…explaining all this would really take too long, but it’d still be best for you to know the gist of it before we lunch with Mr. Bartolo.”

At the Vice President’s casual mention of “lunch,” Carol paled once more.

“Then…this lunch…am I…am I supposed to go with you too?”

“I would have to ask first.”

“Wh-what? No! Don’t! I don’t need lunch today!”

“…? Didn’t I already tell you that the whole purpose of this trip is to introduce you to our clients?”

At the Vice President’s matter-of-fact tone, the camera Carol held began to violently shake…

And as if this shaking was some kind of trigger—

An explosion sounded through the floor.

And like an orchestra following its conductor, a cacophony of blasts boomed behind it.


Several minutes earlier

Conference Room

Wholly unprepared to meet each other here, Rail and the white-coated researchers froze as they stared at each other.

A  tense silence followed—

And then from the middle of the researchers, a woman’s voice came, completely oblivious to the tension in the room.

“Wh-wh-huh? How…little Rail…how’d you get here?”

At the sight of the bespectacled woman, Nice frowned, her face clearing asking, who is this?  Besides her, Chairman Karl smiled, while the Mafiosos remained as placid as ever.

Rail’s reaction, however, was completely different.

I’m going to destroy you.

At the entrance of his detested enemy, all of Rail’s indecision evaporated – and leaping from his chair, he reached for the bag on the table

I have to destroy her, I have to destroy…!

As Rail reached towards the bag, the mafia men readied to pounce on him—

And at the same time, one of the white-coated men aimed at Rail—

And that was the action that changed everything.

“Don’t move.”

Even as his gun aimed at Rail, another barrel slowly leveled itself against the researcher’s temple—this time, that of a gun belonging to one of the Mafiosos. At the sight of another weapon being drawn, the bodyguard had reacted immediately to stop the researcher.

And with that motion, all the other guards’ eyes were drawn to the armed researcher.

And so—

Rail grabbed the bag.

Damningly, irrevocably—

He took it.

As Rail reached to open the bag, one of the body guards lunged for his arm.

However, this movement was once again impeded by the researchers’ presence.

For in spite of the order to stay still, the researcher’s hand twitched on the trigger.

The moment the researcher shot, the gun aimed at his temple went off –

Too late, however. The trigger had been pulled.

Yet instead of hitting Rail, the sudden change in position meant the bullet merely grazed over his nose, instead hitting the man trying to stop him.

“Uh!”

As the bullet tore through his hand, the force of the impact forced the injured man backwards.

And seeing his chance, Rail reached forward and grabbed a bomb—

Tearing off the pin, he threw it towards the group of white-coated men.

However, the force of the throw meant that the bomb actually arced high over its target—

To land, instead, in the hallway.


Hallway

“Aah-aack!”

Fire burst through the corridor.

As she was thrown to the ground, Carol hurriedly covered her camera as heat exploded in the small space.

Grabbing Carol by the collar, the Vice President quickly dragged her behind a column.

“This—this place—it just never ends!”

Even as Carol shouted these words, several figures approached through the smoke.

Among them, an abnormally small silhouette could also be seen. Even through the smoke, the scars on their face were distinctly visible.

Scars, moreover, that Carol was very familiar with.

“…Rail?”


Another room

“The hell…?”

Hearing the gunshots and explosions from above, the suited man sprang from his seat.

Crossing his arms, he headed towards the doorway, pausing to direct a few words to a figure in the corner—

“Hey, I’m gonna go for a bit, so don’t try anything, ‘kay? Not that you could go anywhere anyways…”

“M—mf! Mm—f!”

That was from the object of the guard’s words—Miria, gagged and bound to a chair in the corner.

“Really, most people at gunpoint would act at least a little more scared…”

Whether because she was familiar with such threats or simply being defiant, Miria’s reaction had turned her scenario into something almost comedic. Nebula’s people really had no intention of shooting Miria—but neither had they anticipated that she struggle this fiercely.

The guard’s complaints, however,  were cut short by the sound of gunshots outside.

The moment he opened the door, more shots sounded, sending him printing down the hall.

Trapped in her corner, Miria couldn’t see what was going on towards, but with the door left open, the sound of gunfire came loud and clear. At the sound of screams echoing down the corridor, Miria’s struggling intensified as she did everything possible to break free.

Shelves and chairs crashed around her—but out in the corridor, the sounds of gunfire meant the guard was oblivious to her struggle.

Not so, however, for the occupant of the nearby room—


Adjacent room

Though gunshots and explosions resounded outside, inside the empty room, Lua remained incredibly, perfectly calm.  Perhaps it was because of her close encounters to death, but Lua showed no signs of fear. Rather, as gunfire sounded outside, she found her thoughts drifting to another, earlier time.

More precisely, the moment in which Ladd, in order to save Lua from the red-eyed monster about to kill her, had jumped off the Flying Pussyfoot.

As her mind drifted over that moment and the lover who was still intent on killing her, a soft smile appeared on Lua’s pale face—one distinctly at odds with the furious sounds of gunfire outside.

The next moment, however, this smile was replaced by an expression of confusion.

Because that was when Lua heard the sound of a great commotion.

A commotion, moreover, could be neither ascribed to gunshots or explosions—

One, in short, that came from the room next to her.

…?

Experimentally, Lua put one ear to the wall. From the other side, came the sound of objects crashing and the faint songs of strangled cries.

Perhaps it’s an ill person there? They sound quite uncomfortable…

Driven by such curiosity, Lua serenely left the cell and walked over to the adjacent door, knocking gently on the wood.

No answer, however, came. After a moment’s hesitation, Lua reached for the doorknob.

Without a top lock, the door opened easily, and in the next moment, Lua was bombarded with the sounds of struggle she had only heard faintly before.

Gingerly walking inside, Lua peered around the room—

And saw, in the middle of the room, a red-clad woman tied to a chair, fiercely struggling to free herself from her bonds.


Ten minutes later

Nebula

Front Doors

“Alright…everyone, get in now! This is what we’re going to do…”

In front of the brilliantly-painted entrance stood a group of youths whose appearance couldn’t have been more at odds with the stately building.

Simply put, they didn’t seem to be job searchers—and if anyone had come over to interrogate them, it would have been clear that most members were far too young to work anyways.

In their center stood a tattooed youth, who now raised a timid question to the man ostentatiously spinning his wrench in front of them—

“Hey, Graham…is—is there any way we could know what’s going on inside?”

Having just arrived and thus ignorant of the chaos inside the building, the group was currently dawdling outside, debating how best to proceed. With Isaac probably just arriving at the train station, they had sent Nick and Jack to meet him. By the time they arrived, the group hoped to have already rescued Miria, Nice, and the scarred child.

With this goal in his heart, Jacuzzi intently watched Graham’s reaction—

“…no, that wouldn’t be a good story, would it? But it did give me an idea…let us tell a story, then!”

With Shaft and several boys behind him, Graham raised his head towards the clear sky and, as if in a reverie, began to speak.

“Once before, Ladd – my dear, venerated and venerable Ladd – single-handedly broke into this building, throwing off the guards and killing his way to the chairman’s office…it is said that when the chairman met him, he was so impressed that he refused to hold Ladd responsible. Oh, the magnificent dexterity of Ladd! the munificent kindness of the chairman! And they say, you know, that after all those years, the Chairman hasn’t changed one bit…”

“I…I know lots of sc-scary places too, b-but…what are you trying to say?”

“Ah ha…well, Jacuzzi, I propose we win the chairman’s favor by killing our way into his room!”

“Aaaaaaa—no, that won’t work!”

Tears streaming down his face, Jacuzzi grabbed Graham by the collar and shook him.

In such an atmosphere—

A terrific noise came from behind them.

“…?”

For whatever reason, groups of people were hurrying out of the building behind them.

To be sure, the group had heard gunfire and the sounds of explosions on their way to the building, but in Jacuzzi’s haste to get there, they had brushed such noises aside—

Leading, thus, to their current situation.

“What is it?”

Just as Jacuzzi became aware of the strange mood in the air, from behind them came the sound of an engine.

And when the sleek, expensive-looking car had parked by the side of the road, out of it stepped—

“…oh, it’s him again.”

Seeing Christopher and Ricardo leave the car, Graham narrowed his blue eyes—

Only to see Ricardo running towards them, stopping only in front of Jacuzzi.

“Nice and the others—they’re in the building right now!”

“Huh…?”

Uncertain who this child was or what their words meant, Jacuzzi only gaped at Ricardo’s words.

“Who…who are you? How would you know where they are…”

“Right now, they’re on the thirtieth floor—they just left a room, and they’re heading towards the roof! Hurry!”

Ricardo’s face was urgent as she shouted this news, as though she really saw Nice and the others before her.

Picking up on the mood of fright, the other youths turned their gaze to the Nebula buildings—

Only to hear, for the umpteenth time in minutes, the sound of gunfire.

A sound, moreover, that seemed to be coming from the top floor.

Just the group slowly realized the reason behind the fleeing crowds, even more people began rushing out of the building. Hurrying by, words like “explosion” could be clearly heard through the chaos.

“Hey, Jacuzzi! Right now—”

Just as one of the group turned to look for him, he found Jacuzzi already gone.

“H…hey!”

Of those present, only Christopher thought that Jacuzzi was running away.

All those who knew Jacuzzi, however, turned their gaze towards the more probable path and almost immediately spotted him.

“Nice…!”

Sobbing as he ran, Jacuzzi hurtled towards the building entrance.

When he’d broken away from the tide of others, Jacuzzi had immediately shot for Nebula’s tower.

At the sight of him, the group became momentarily somber as the members glanced at each other—

And then a smile slipped over their faces.

“Typical,” someone sighed, and with that, they was heading towards the building in twos and threes.

As the group rushed inside, the stream of people exiting and entering the building began to even, so that the doors revolved in a dizzying array.

Left behind, Christopher and Graham now simultaneously caught sight of each other.

Christopher was the first to speak, smiling as he placed one hand on Ricardo’s head—

“Hey, so just for today…let’s call things off, alright?”

“For today—yeah, sure.”

“So these gunshots…it means someone dangerous is inside, yeah?”

Right after these words left Christopher’s mouth, Ricardo was ready with a reply—

“It does—yesterday’s scientists, it looks like they’ve gotten into something with the mafia…though the scientists just seem to have guns…”

“That so…well, well. Looks like it’s time for me to help Rail and Frank get their revenge, then.”

With that, Christopher leaned forward, looking for all the world as if ready to go for a stroll.

Besides him, Graham grinned languidly and spun his wrench.

“Alright…since we’re on the subject, I’ll going in to rescue Jacuzzi then!”

And then, as suddenly as a leopard changing its spots, he whirled around to face Shaft and the others.

“Well then, men! It looks like in order to fight a larger threat, our former enemy is proposing to postpone our feud…very noble behavior, yes, but I can so simply accede? Already, my heart is bursting beyond its limits with the desire to attack him! I’ve already left the red-haired man to Ladd, so I might as well take care of this red-eyed one here…however, before settling this dispute, would it not be much better to first save Jacuzzi and the others? Well? What do you say – am I right, or am I right?”

“Let’s just get it on with.”

At Shaft’s brusque reply, Christopher craned his neck quizzically.

“Ah, that’s right…there’ve been a couple of things I’ve been thinking on since yesterday…”

“…right now? As we’re about to leave?”

As Christopher took another step to match Graham, the two faced each other, the building in front of them forgotten.

“This man, with the red hair, well…was he…did he seem somehow “off” to you?”

“…you know him?”

“Nah…don’t think I’d want to get to know him too well, either.”

Wryly smiling, Christopher shook his head as if to rid himself of a distasteful thought—then, in a much more cheerful tone, continued—

“Well, let’s have a song then! Oh, what a beautiful chaos here! Chaos, beautiful chaos just like the state of naaaature! Alright – fooorward now——♪over this small mound of chaaaos——♪”

Observing Christopher’s cheerful countenance as he sang, Graham let out an uncharacteristically glum sigh.

“…you really can’t sing.”

“Ah, thanks a bunch! Juuuust another reason for me to fight you!”

Grinning, Christopher slipped into the building, Ricardo disappearing with him into the chaos.

Right before that, however—

Something curious happened.

In the moment before she disappeared into the building, Ricardo glanced back at Shaft, her face revealing a wealth of mixed feelings.

Yet amongst all there, no one noticed the strangeness of this expression—that was how thoroughly they were embroiled in the events happening within.


Alcatraz

Yard

“….shit.”

“Aww, ready to give up? Going to beg me not to kill you now? Geez, that’d be interesting to hear—an immortal asking someone not to kill them!”

Seeing the sweat beaded on Firo’s face, the voice above continued sweetly.

“Well, too bad then – I don’t think birds believe in asking for mercy, and so I’m not going to either!”

Extracting the steel disks buried in his right arm, Firo tried his best to smile through the pain.

With metal chakrams also running through his legs, Firo resembled nothing more than someone who had been drawn and quartered. Though the disks hadn’t pinned down his feet, they were nonetheless buried bone-deep.

“…uh!”

Suppressing a cry, Firo bent forward as he dug the chakrams out of his legs.

“…uuh!”

A spike of pain shot through his whole body, reaching to even his uninjured spine and back. Firo’s empty eye socket, which had only just recently ceased throbbing, burst into new agony.

And as it, another set of silver disks came flying through the air and slicing through his legs.

Talons or chakrams – it didn’t matter; his prison uniform was equally ineffectual in protecting against either. No clothes, of course, could have done that  – but even so, Firo began to regret not wearing, at the very least, a coat when he had walked into the yard.

Just as his wounds began to recuperate, another two or three sharp disks flew through the air.

Desperate, Firo tried flinging the chakrams back, but without any experience with the weapon, they naturally could not go far.

“Wh…what the hell? What is it now?”

“Ah—well that’s right, I do have something I want to talk to you about first…”

“Wha?”

Though Dragon made a show of feigning fear, the voice above hardly seemed convinced as it continued, voice effortlessly confident.

“Who told you to steal Daddy’s eye? They say one of the guards left the island, but no one knows where he is now…so now you’re going to tell me where he is.”

“I…I don’t know that! The guy behind this…it was that guard’s brother…we were only following orders…”

Ugh, he really can’t act…

For Firo, who knew Sham’s true intentions, Dragon’s display of ignorance was nothing more than a contrived farce.

But even if Leeza would eventually see through Dragon’s act, any time spending extorting a confession out of him was still valuable—it was time, after all, during which Firo was not being assaulted and could thus think about getting out of their current predicament.

Amidst the commotion of the prisoners inside, Sham’s guards would surely have the time to report to their superiors by now.

Until the unpossessed guards came, the vessels of Sham present now could do nothing. In that way, Leeza’s actions were also temporarily paused.

This thought in mind, Firo had just made up his mind to wait for the moment when the voice came again, high and loud—

“In that case…you both can go die.”

Those words echoed through the yard.

Though originally speaking with the voice of a mature woman, as Leeza spoke, her tone gradually slipped into childishness. And as this startling innocent voice echoed through the air—

At the other end of the yard, a man gasped.

Turning his head, Firo saw the short Caucasian man was pinned the same way he was, with chakrams running through his arms and legs.

The moment after, silvery disks flew at both Dragon and the African-American man.

“Uuh!”

With a great effort, Dragon managed to narrowly dodge the disks headed towards him.

Though his body was weakening, his spirit, at least, seemed less damaged.

But really…are we really that outmatched?

As Firo stared up at the falcons above him, Leeza’s young voice boomed in his head once again:

“What? Feeling sorry that you didn’t answer me, now?”

“…just wondering, the way you’re going, don’t you think your father might not be too happy?”

“It doesn’t matter. As long as Daddy’s safe, everything will be okay.”

“….”

Above her, the falcons’ screeching echoed these childish sentiments.

“…well, from everything you’ve done, you certainly seem like a loving daughter.”

“Ah, but I would have loved to kill that man who tied me up, too—Ladd, or whatever…but that’s alright. I’m sure my sister and that red-haired ma will take care of him.”

“What?”

W-wait…wait one moment.

For some reason, since arriving on the island, Firo kept on hearing a certain friend’s name. Ladd had definitely brought Claire up, but how would Leeza both know his name and that he wanted to kill Ladd?

That sister she mentioned…that has to be Chane.

That idiot…could she be using him?

Despite knowing almost nothing about Chane, Firo was momentarily lost in worry for his childhood friend.

Well, with Claire, it should be pretty easy to take care of..

…wish I could say the same thing about right now.

“Anyways, I simply don’t have the time to do it..”

“…? You don’t have…the time?”

The next moment—

There was a flurry of activity from the birds above.

Like men grouping into formation, the falcons formed a circle around the roof.

And then Firo saw it.

On the top of the prison roof, a small shape stood—

A girl, dressed in white and standing on the edge.

“The last we met…I think I must have been unconscious.”

Wait…did she just get out here?

As the girl smiled with self-satisfaction, her words echoed from the falcons above.

As Firo watched, with an almost regretful gesture, she shook her head.

“Aah, but such a shame really, that right after meeting you, I have to leave this island.”

“You…what?”

“Like I said, I’ll be leaving this place soon.”

From the casual tone of her words, Firo knew she was speaking the truth.

And if Leeza was going to leave—

Then there was a high chance that Huey would be escaping too.

How they planned to do it, Firo didn’t know—but he did know that, with the number of guards Sham controlled, an escape could only be easily be accomplished with Sham’s help.

…then…after all this…have I failed?

“Well, I suppose I’ll to save the rest of this conversations for when you get out, too…but right now, hmm…I think I’ll take some of you with me. I imagine it’ll hurt, living without an eye, but you will live…”

And then, her innocent child’s voice turning dark, Leeza spoke a threat.

One simple phrase—

In reality, it was a fairly crude tactic.

Until then, Leeza had been in complete control of the situation, with Firo at a distinct and wide disadvantage.

Leeza’s words were much the same as those of Sham, but whereas Sham’s threat had been more of a passing one, here Leeza’s tone bespoke both the intent and the desire to kill—

And so it was in this deadly tone that Leeza pronounced the words she should have never uttered.

“Of course, you can try to resist…but if you do, just know I’ll be doing the same thing to all your friends!”

“…”

Instantly, Firo felt a cold calm come over him.

At the same moment, a wind seemed to gust across his mind, taking with it all confusion and fear.

“Hey…brat.”

Hearing the steadiness of these words, a strange feeling came into Leeza’s heart.

“W…what?”

Out of nowhere, the man below her seemed suddenly changed from mere moments again.

Glancing up with his remaining eye, Firo’s fixed her in place with a cold, merciless gaze.

“You know…I’ve always thought that taking hostages was a shameless tactic. If someone higher up told me to do, I might—or if it was a feud between groups, and doing it would lower the amount of bloodshed, I might do it. For these things, I could dirty my hands a little. But in a fight between two people…it’s pretty disgraceful behavior.”

“W..what are you..why would I care…”

“However—”

Completely ignoring Leeza’s interruption, Firo calmed continued speaking.

And from the surety of his words, Leeza knew that his threat was completely serious—

“If you happen to hurt my family, then I won’t think twice about it.”

“…”

Already thoroughly alarmed, Leeza now realized something.

Namely, that the name of the emotion she was feeling was fear.

“The moment you even try to hurt my friends—I’ll set myself to it.”

In that moment, Firo’s expression resembled that of a marionette—Leeza couldn’t tell what he was thinking, or whether he even was hearing her words. All emotions had disappeared from his face —

All except one.

“I…I would put all my energy into bringing Huey Laforet pain.”

“W..what? As if…as if I’d let you do that…”

“Even if he finds in the darkest bowels underground, I’d find him—a thousand years, ten thousand years, it doesn’t matter. I’d make every moment of it hell for him.”

Finishing this, Firo calmly focused his remaining eye on his left hand.

“And then…I’d devour him.”

Words utterly in a completely certain tone.

Firo spoke not as if he were issuing a threat, but rather simply stating a certain fact.

Despite this, however, his voice contained an absolute intent to kill.

“…no, this can’t…I won’t…you…if you do this, then—then I won’t forgive you…”

“I don’t need you to. If you force me to do this, then there’ll be no need to talk further.”

Viewed as a negotiation, then the current conversation was going very poorly. Watching Firo, Leeza felt an overwhelming fear come over her.

This man..I should just end him now.

But…can I do it?

Because if I fail…if I make the smallest mistake…

If I can’t dispose of him here…then I might never be able to do it.

As this realization entered her mind, Leeza froze.

The smile slipping off her face, she stood there, unable to speak.

Beside Firo, Dragon and Sham’s other vessels were similarly silent, as if suddenly devoid of the ability to move or speak.

Ten minutes passed like this—ten minutes of silence that felt like hours.

But just as Leeza was reaching her limit, ready to say anything to break the tension—

Slowly, the prison door creaked open.

“…hey, isn’t this supposed to be our break?”

Saying something to the guard, the shadowed figure then calmly pushed the door the rest of the way.

“…well, I’m going out.”

The moment the man’s face came fully into view, a flurry of motion rustled through the falcons above.

Metal arm at his side, the man laughed quietly as he stepped outside.

Turning, he saw first the Caucasian man, the African-American man, Firo and his missing eye, Dragon standing timidly at his side – and, lastly, the girl standing on the roof.

“Huh, I see…”

For a moment, Ladd Russo basked in the frozen scene, a sharp, faintly amused smile on his face.

Then, as his gaze turned to Leeza and the birds above, Ladd changed. His whole stance turning murderous, he spoke—

A simple phrase, spoken with whole-hearted cheerfulness.

“Well, well…looks like it’s time to have some fun.”


Nebula Corporation

Conference Room

Though it wasn’t serious, the explosion had left an indelible mark on the room.

While all the researchers had either ducked or been hit with the impact, Nice, regaining her wits a little sooner than the others, had grabbed Rail’s hand and sprinted out of the room.

As researchers rushed after the two, Renee, after a momentary second of hesitation, followed after them.

With her departure, all the room contained were two old men, a group of men who seemed anything but peaceful, and several staggering figures in white.

“And what was the meaning of that?”

Back turned to the window, Bartolo Runorata asked this question in a level voice.

Perhaps because the window had been earlier open, but the explosion had only scratched the glass, and no one inside seemed to suffer from lack of oxygen.

The moment Rail had thrown the bomb, Bartolo’s retinue had knocked a chair over, simultaneously shielding their boss and themselves from the impact.

Despite this, Bartolo had not emerged unscathed, and his eyebrows had  been half singed off by the explosion. As they gazed at him, the guards’ eyes filled with fresh respect.

And by the wall, looking completely unharmed, was Chairman Karl, smiling.

“Well—that was close, wasn’t it?”

At this, Bartolo made a sound that could have been a protest—

In response, however, Karl merely waved his hands as he explained the situation.

“Ah—so sorry about that. Completely our fault—if my employees hadn’t been so hasty with firing, this would have never happened. And you, dear sir with the hurt hand, my deepest condolences—I’ll be glad to provide compensation, but until then, you ought get that wound dressed. The clinic’s on the first floor— would you care for me to alert them there?”

“Don’t change the subject. I don’t care about myself, but right now – if you had been a little more careless, I could have lost many important men, is that not so?

“…you value your men’s lives over your own?”

“I have no intention of dying, but if I did, then I would need not worry about the question of a successor. Finding replacements for my men, however, would be more difficult.”

Hearing Bartolo so casually disavow his own life, Karl smiled.

“Aha ha! So you’re no longer afraid of dying, then?”

“You and I, we’ve already reached the age where death has long since ceased to be a concern.”

“Well, if that’s how you think of it, then. Ah—I truly am sorry, that was unpredicted. I’ll make it up to you, I promise. Of course, this applies to all the other men here—if you want this old man’s life, then please, feel free to shoot me.”

Though there was a smile on his face, an edge to Karl’s words made it clear he was completely serious.

From the beginning, Karl had seemed to have a solution for everything. To gamble away his own life, thus, would mean that he had run out of all other bargaining chips. Towards this last chip—that of his own life—the Chairman seemed surprisingly indifferent, as though the life of a man so advanced could hardly be worth much.

To agree to such a concession, consequently, would surely compromise Bartolo’s dignity.

It was an offer, thus, that made it impossible to respond with anything but an equal magnanimity.

Consequently, even in this situation, there was no real threat to the Chairman’s life.

“…taking the life of old man like you would mean nothing. Anyways, it wouldn’t be worth the headache afterwards. In future affairs, however, it would be pleasant to be assured of such sincerity.”

Turning his collar up, Bartolo made as if to leave the room.

Right then, however, a man rose from near the doorway.

In that moment, it would have been completely reasonable to expect the bodyguards to rush at the man.

But as the bearded man approached, he only calmly surveyed the situation around him. Seeing the man unharmed, Bartolo responded with similar serenity as he called the man’s name—

“Begg.”

In a choppy, wavering voice, the man called Begg replied.

“Ex, ex, ex-actly. Th, th, th-those people…th, they’re probably im, im, im, immortals. B, but…they m, m, might be…incomplete, a-also.”

“I see.”

This was all Bartolo spoke.

As if suddenly realizing the situation he had stumbled into, the man sprinted out of the room.

No one followed him.

As if completely uninterested in the man, Bartolo began to silently pace.

Around him, the bodyguards also followed on all sides, walling Bartolo off the world.

“There’s no way for us to continue discussing matters, so I’ll take my leave now.”

“What, leaving already? But that child—wasn’t that the whole reason you came here?”

“As it is, I’d like to leave before the police arrive. What’s more…”

Standing against his barricade of guards, their leader gazed back at the room, face calm despite the chaos.

And with wan smile breaking across his face, he spoke—

“I’ve already made plans for lunch.”


Nebula Corporation

“Let go…of…me! Let…go!”

Even as he tried to tug away from Nice, Rail’s expression was oddly vacant.

“I’m not letting go of you! …oh no, there are more of them there too…”

With the men in white already pursuing them, Nice now spotted figures on  the following floor.

Reaching into the heel of her shoe, Nice took out one of the bombs she had hidden earlier and, ducking to avoid the impact, threw it behind her.

In reality, Nice had no idea who the men dressed in white were nor why the sight of the bespectacled woman had so set Rail off.

But from their readiness to fire at Rail, however, the group was undoubtedly dangerous. Up close, they exuded the same deadly aura as the mafia members they’d just faced.

And their goal, it seemed, was none other than Rail himself.

If Nice left Rail behind and ran for it, then she might stand a chance of making it to Jacuzzi and the others—

This thought, however, only lingered a second before Nice dismissed it, ashamed of even thinking thus. If she truly did act on that impulse, there was no way she could bring herself to face Jacuzzi again.

Just as these thoughts were racing through Nice’s head, behind her, Rail suddenly cried out—

“I…I…I have something I have to do!”

The moment these words left his mouth, however, a cruel voice quietly rose within him—

Something you have to do? Is that really so…?

To save Frank? To kill the woman with glasses—or rather, all those humans you hate?

Aren’t you lying to yourself, though? Right now, to the you that is now…none of this really matters, does it?

…meaningless…to the me right now, it’s all meaningless, even Frank…huh. How odd…how strange that is…

No, I hate I hate I hate that me—

Slowly, Rail’s thoughts were descending into madness.

Even as Rail’s reality dawned on him, he was desperately attempting to reject it.

This kind of self and this kind of world—neither of them could be true.

Once again, the desire to “destroy everything” rose up in Rail.

As even his sense of self began to dissolve, Rail suddenly recalled Christopher’s words “nature”—

We’re the beings who were created—beings who aren’t natural, who shouldn’t have existed.

As these dire thoughts filled his mind, Rail suddenly felt became aware of the feeling of brightness and a breeze against his skin.

Returning to himself, Rail glanced around–and found himself surrounded by the very “nature” he was just thinking about.

In their haste to outrun their pursuers, it seemed Rail and Nice had arrived on the roof of the building—

And also, apparently, the site of a gigantic garden.


Alcatraz

It was a strange scene to walk into.

On the roof, a young girl, and in the sky, a thick cloud of falcons hovering overhead.

Their gazes all directed at one spot—a man on the ground.

Eerie enough to see a group of birds flying in sync while focused at the same spot – but what made the scene truly spine-chilling was the was the expression on their target’s face.

He was smiling.

Cheerfully, eagerly smiling – as if the birds circling above were nothing more than an enticing meal.

“L-Ladd Russo…”

In the girl’s mind, the memory rose of several days before.

A memory of the killer who, with neither hesitation nor mercy, had beaten and bound her.

Though Leeza had taken the memories of many women, such an experience was still a first for her. Having never experienced death, it currently stood out as the most frightening moment in her memory.

And now the man who was the source of that fear –

Like a king, he was swaggering into the space Leeza had already marked as her own.

Don’t…don’t get full of yourself!

Right now, right here…what do I have to be scared of?

Unable to stand the sight of him any longer, Leeza now drove her falcons towards Ladd with the same ferocity she had sent them towards Firo. More than just killing Ladd, she wanted him to concede defeat – something that would surely happen once she tore out his eyes.

Alright, just die then.

As this thought coldly flashed through Leeza’s mind, one of the falcons swooped through the air.

Falling at over ninety miles per hour, the falcon descended like a small missile towards Ladd’s face – Crack.

As the sound of cracking flesh resounded, a bloody mist shrouded Ladd’s face.

However –

Instead of belong to Ladd, this blood belonged the falcon, whose body now lay strewn across the yard.

Peering at it, Firo and Dragon saw that the bird’s head was nowhere to be seen.

“Hey…isn’t that supposed to be my trick?”

Though his smile was light-hearted, Dragon’s face glistened with perspiration.

By contrast, Firo seemed slightly more at ease, as if reassured by this further proof of Ladd’s “abnormality.”

Rather than stepping back when the peregrine dove forward, Ladd had instead stepped forward and bitten down on the falcon’s neck.

With such swift reflexes, he could have easily dodged the bird’s blow –

But rather than retreating, Ladd had responded with a counterstrike of his own.

“Huh, a bunch of lousy birds…this doesn’t happen usually, does it? You’re so completely certain you won’t die…well, here’s something for ya to think on then.”

“Aah…”

While it seemed like Leeza was manipulating the peregrines, that wasn’t wholly true—instead, they were a part of her consciousness.

Consequently, with the falcon’s death, Leeza had also felt part of herself disappear.

At the instant the falcon’s consciousness had disappeared, Leeza had felt its death—and now found herself petrified by the memory.

“Uh..uh..aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!”

Desperate to assuage this fear, Leeza flung several chakrams at Ladd.

If she had flung the disks from all directions, Leeza would have had a good chance at harming her enemy, but in her panic, she flung them all directly at Ladd.

“…”

Without a word, Ladd  jumped onto the first chakrams—and then, using the momentum from the jump, raised his metal arm to block the rest of the disks. Caught in the cross-fire, one of the falcons fell limply to the ground.

As he moved at inhuman speed, Ladd sighed, sounding distinctly disappointed.

“Huh…compared to that Chane girl, you’re way slower.”

“I—I—no no nooo!”

Clutching her head, Leeza gazed down at the scene below her—

As if hearing her cry, Ladd glanced up—and, seeing Leeza, leered evilly .

“You’re screaming, yeah, but even so…right now, standing there, you probably still pretty safe, yeah?”

“…huh?”

“Well, you’ll learn.”

With these enigmatic words, Ladd twisted his body back and then, like a spring uncoiling, pummeled his fist into the wall.

Stone crumbling at the impact, the blow sent shockwaves that made even those inside the building feel as if an earthquake had occurred.

“Ah…”

Unable to understand what Ladd was doing, Leeza initially thought the shaking in her vision the result of dizziness.

By the time she’d grasped the situation, however, the shock of the blow had already made it impossible for her to keep her balance—

“Uh…ah….noooo!”

The next moment, Leeza was pitching head-first towards the ground.

Time seemed to slow.

As the realization of her situation washed over her, the last thing Leeza saw was Ladd, body twisted in preparation of delivering another blow—

A blow that would, upon impact, reduce its target to a bloody smear against the wall.


Nebula Corporation

Rooftop garden

In contrast to many other buildings, Nebula’s rooftop was covered with grass, trees, and hanging plants. Though physically modest, the presence of pools and paths gave it the air of a small garden.

In the midst of the sun-warmed air and cool breeze—

An strange scene was currently unfolding.

Racing through the chaos and rushing out of the elevator, Jacuzzi ran onto the garden –

Only to find an odd stalemate before him.

With Graham and the other delinquents still on their way, what Jacuzzi now found himself gazing at a scene that could go either way.

As it was, now was hardly the time for contemplation.

Because in front of him, on this dizzyingly high plateau, Nice and Rail were in a desperate situation. Despite the bomb in Nice’s hand, they were cornered by a group of what, from their white lab coats, seemed to be researchers or doctors.

And in front of these figures –

In stark contrast to the white-garbed men stood a bespectacled, girlishly young woman.

“Um…well, I’d really appreciate it if you give Rail back to us!”

As four men pointed their rifles at the her audience, Renee leisurely addressed these words at Nice.

“…I can’t give Rail up to someone who’d shoot at us!”

At this reply, Renee unhappily pursed her lips. In a low voice, she turned to one of the men at her side.

“Well, what now? I don’t know who she is, but that girls seems like one of the Chairman’s guests…so it probably wouldn’t good if we tried to take her by force or accidentally shot her, would it?”

“Most likely not.”

“Yeah, but haven’t we already done the worst with those explosions?”

“Oh no…getting fired would be such a headache…”

As a hint of worry entered Renee’s expression of bemusement, the men around suddenly broke in with a series of even more alarming remarks –

“Ah, that’s right,  director – the men back in that room were from the mafia, weren’t they?”

“From the looks of it, they weren’t even part of the Russo family either.”

“Oooh, now you’ve in for it, director…”

At this barrage of alarming news, all Renee could do was shake her head in incomprehension.

“Oh, oh, my goodness…ah…let’s think about this after we get Rail back!”

“That just brings us back to the beginning, director!”

Just as one of the researchers issued this protest, two different voices came from behind him –

“Nice!”

“Nice—!”

Attention suddenly pulled from Rail, the guards saw two groups running in from different directions.

From one side, came a tattooed youth.

And from the other, two young women—

One in a red dress, the other looking eerily calm.

Following the sound of an explosion that could have come from either Rail and Nice, Miria and Lua, who had inexplicably followed her there, found both there on the roof.

Huh? That woman…could she be from…that train…

At the combination of glasses and a distinctly unique face, Lua was reminded of the events of three years ago.

Now, however, was not the time to dwell on such memories.

Because, at the sight of her friend at gunpoint, Miria involuntarily screamed Nice’s name—

At the same time that Jacuzzi, catching sight of Nice, screamed out as well.

“Wh-wh-what? Even more guests?”

Seeing the streaming crowd of new arrivals, the white-garbed group was thrown once again into turmoil.

“Director, what now?”

Turning her gaze to the arrivals, Renee seemed to ponder for a moment—and then, clapping her hands with a smile, issued her decision—

“Alright…we’ll take the boy with the tattoo!”

An order, however, that was heard by Jacuzzi, standing several feet away.

“Ah…?”

Just as horrified understanding dawned on Jacuzzi’s face, a shot sounded from behind him.

“…ah!”

But…if I can get them to all shoot at me…then Nice and Rail could escape!

Even as these thoughts flashed through Jacuzzi’s mind, events continued to unfold around him –

And in the next moment, the white robed men were being mercilessly attacked.

Out of nowhere, a silver disk spun towards the hand of the man pointing a gun at Jacuzzi – and with a wail as metal met flesh, the gun dropped to the ground.

In the next moment, a figure stepped in front of Jacuzzi. Wielding an oversized wrench, he stood like a protective wall between the tattooed youth and the men facing him.

“How sad…let me tell you a sad, sad story…”

“Graham!”

“However…this story will only be sad for there. Personally, I have nothing against you lab coats—if we could settle this dispute peacefully, then nothing would better please a lover of life like me! And yet – before my very eyes, I see you pointing those weapons – weapons constructed to end lives! And! At this young couple – two people I consider the most important in the world! And so now, having traveled many floors and miles, here I am, to share my feats with you! My feat! My weariness! And my sorrow – I’ll share it all with you, OK? Alright –OK then!”

For Nice and the others, long-accustomed to Graham’s speeches, these bombastic words had a sense of comforting familiarity.

And yet—

For the boy standing behind Nice, Graham’s words had an opposite effect.

Ah…it’s him again.

That freak.

What’s he pulling? What is he…why did he say that? Wasn’t he was working with those lab coats…?

Did they have a disagreement? Or…wait, he wants to save me? What? How could this—

The bomber girl…and that tattooed boy…they’re all friends with that man?

But…if all they wanted was to capture me, why were they so nice to me?

Which is it? They could be out to save me…or they just as likely could not…

What’s going on…I don’t understand…I don’t understand at all—

Aaaaah, aaaaaaaah, I don’t understaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand! Ah ah ah ahahahahahahahahahahahahah aaaaaaaaah—

I’ve had enough. I can’t take it anymore, I just can’t—

At that moment, three thoughts were running through Rail’s mind—

The impulse to “blow everything up,” a desire to deny his world, and annoyance at all “natural” beings.

That’s right…yes, alright…

The cries of the researchers, Graham’s words, Jacuzzi’s crying—to Rail, it was all nothing but noise. Noise, moreover, from the most hated source imagination: humans.

Graham and his lieutenants stormed the room and rushed towards the researchers—

While Jacuzzi, taking advantage of the distraction, charged towards Nice and Rail—

But to Rail, all this meant nothing.

And with that thought, one hand slipped into Nice’s bag.

If he could just set off one fuse, then that would be enough to light the entire bag, sending both humans and immortals alike up in a blaze of fire—including, of course, Rail himself.

And just as Rail was prepared to embark on this fatalistic course of action—

“Rail!”

A cry broke through his careful concentration..

An instant away from self-destruction, a familiar voice sounded, like the memory of several days’ past.

In the din, it was a sound that rung clearly through the chaos.

And, turning his head—

Rail saw her, a young girl clutching a camera against her chest.

“Carol…”

And with this name, Rail’s thoughts drifted to the events of several days ago.

To that brief, brief era before his world had begun to collapse—to the last time he could remember smiling.

To the first time he could remember interacting so happily with humans.

Carol, the girl who had smiled so brightly as she, Frank, and Rail ate hotdogs together—at the sight of her, the bomb slipped through Rail’s hand.

Instead, taking a bomb from one of the side pouches, Rail turned to Carol and, in an almost dreamy trance, said two words—

“Thank you.”

“What…?”

Unable to catch Rail’s words, Carol and the Vice President rushed onto the roof—

Hearing his name, an odd smile lit on Rail’s face.

“Thanks to you…I think I’ve begun to actually like humans.”

“Rail…?”

“So…I’ll be the only one dying here.”

Rail’s memories of Carol—

As his only good memories with humans rose before him, Rail made up his mind to kill himself.

Dying didn’t scare him. He wasn’t worried about disappearing.

The only thing he feared now was pain.

But even that capacity had been slowly taken away by Huey and the others.

And yet, being unable to feel…one could think of it as a gift.

With this thought of mind—

Without a moment’s more hesitation, Rail prepared to carry out his plan.

With steadfast faith that Christopher would save Frank—

At the edge of this dizzyingly tall roof, Rail clutched the bomb close to him.

And climbing over the railing nearly his height—

With a faint smile, Rail pulled the trigger.

Whether that smile came from an overlay of scars or his anticipation for death—

That, only Rail could know.

Chapter Five, 4/4

Advertisements

23 Responses to “Peter Pan and Alice Tempt Each Other, and… (3/4)”

  1. himawari September 9, 2015 at 11:02 am #

    will you make pdf after finishing this volume?

    • mistspinner September 22, 2015 at 9:56 pm #

      Yes, for sure!

      • tamyredhood October 31, 2015 at 4:54 pm #

        sweet love this so whens the next and last chapter going to be avaliable ARGAH I CANT WAIT 😀

  2. zeqiii September 9, 2015 at 8:10 pm #

    I noticed a couple misplaced names here and there

    “Grabbing Carol by the Carol, the Vice President quickly dragged her behind a column.”
    Pretty sure that second Carol is supposed to be something else

    “In the moment before she disappeared into the building, Rail glanced back at Shaft, her face revealing a wealth of mixed feelings.”
    Also pretty sure that it should be Ricardo, not Rail here.

    And a few other things.

    Actually, out of curiosity, do you have an editor?

    • zeqiii September 11, 2015 at 5:43 am #

      I should probably clarify that I ask this because I have long been getting interested in participating in the process of translating. I can’t read Japanese, so translating itself is right out. I have some experience with things similar to cleaning for a manga translation, but I doubt I could do it at a speed reasonable for such a thing. Editing, however, I am rather more confident in my ability to do.

      So if there happens to be a translator lacking an editor who desires one, I would be more than happy to fill such a role.

      • mistspinner September 22, 2015 at 10:03 pm #

        this is actually incredibly embarrassing
        no, I don’t have an editor at the moment, and while I’m very grateful for the offer and would love to take you up, I really don’t know if I’ll be taking on future translation projects after this one is done (because grad school, degrees, etc). You should try the people at baka-tsuki though – they have a lot of projects, and I feel like there should be a place for you!
        Thank you so much for pointing this out – I’ll fix it ASAP ❤

      • zeqiii September 22, 2015 at 10:25 pm #

        Thanks for replying. I know I haven’t really been a fan of Baka-Tsuki translations I have read before, so I am a bit hesitant to look there. I doubt an editor would be very helpful if he constantly pushes for a different translation style than what the translator aims for, but then again, I am pretty sure they are also a fairly large and diverse group. The other issue is that I don’t want to put too much on my plate by joining a group that translates at too fast a pace. They are probably worth a second look, though. Thanks for the advice.

    • jorgelotr September 21, 2015 at 8:57 pm #

      Probably the second “Carol” is either “camera” or “coat”.

      Also:
      “In her wake, all the room contained were two old men, a group of men who seemed anything but peaceful, several staggering figures in white.”
      Two things:
      1) there should be an “and” between the last two elements on the list, and
      2)”wake” means “aftermath” or “consequences”, meaning Renée has had to do something that resulted in “two old men, a group of men who seemed anything but peaceful, [and] several staggering figures in white”. It should be rather “after she left”.

      • mistspinner September 22, 2015 at 10:37 pm #

        Ah, thank you for informing me! Changes have been made, and hopefully I’ll be better at proofreading in the future.

  3. crow poxy September 10, 2015 at 4:57 pm #

    Fantastic. I cannot wait to finish this chapter. Thank you very much for keeping it going! It’s almost here 😛

  4. S@lly September 10, 2015 at 8:15 pm #

    Omg, the temperature just keeps rising. Thank you for translating!

  5. CORA SAN September 11, 2015 at 12:44 pm #

    aweome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    thanxxxxx for translating

  6. CORA SAN September 11, 2015 at 12:46 pm #

    I can’t describe how much this novel brings change to my life during hard time
    and by the way I am not gonna read further volumes till I complete it whole

  7. Willasaurus September 12, 2015 at 7:27 am #

    Thanks mist!

  8. Mee September 12, 2015 at 7:59 am #

    Thank you for doing this! This is awesome! You’re awesome! ^o^

  9. rail September 12, 2015 at 10:33 am #

    AAAAA i cant believe you’re almost done!!! it’s been so long ever since you started with this project and it feels like it was yesterday when i started waiting for the next update and the next one and the one after that… i believe the part that i’ve been looking forward to the most during all this time (and even waaay before you started translating after i read the tvtropes summary haha) is in your next update so the wait is already killing me 😥

    in short thank you for your hard work and i’m reaaaally looking forward to that last 1/4!!! i’m sure i speak on behalf of a lot of baccano fans when i say we don’t know what we’d do without you ❤

    • CORA SAN September 12, 2015 at 5:19 pm #

      agreed RAIL

    • mistspinner September 22, 2015 at 10:32 pm #

      oh my gosh you’re all too cute

      and now I am more motivated to translate, so yay! Maybe I will get to the end of this volume soon (!!!)

  10. peter pan October 15, 2015 at 4:32 pm #

    great job as always its just like i always imagined this part playing out!! when will you post the rest? i hope its soon 🙂 i really cant wait, have a good one!!!

  11. tal November 23, 2015 at 2:03 pm #

    Hey, are you still working on this project? Or did you stop because of the Yen press license?

    • tamyredhood December 6, 2015 at 5:01 pm #

      Hey I don’t think so plus if that I the case the blog post of blah blah license etc would be put up first however please please upload the last of this chapter and put it as a pdf download then shut it down here if thats the case BECAUSE THIS IS THE LAST CHAPTER TO BE TRANSLATED AND ITS NEARLY FINISHED ill be crushed if it suddenly stops just before the end and no one else is translating it so this is my last chance for salvation T_T

      • corpse69 December 9, 2015 at 12:31 am #

        the license wouldn’t matter yen press are ages off the alice arc, just be patient mist is probably working really hard to finish it up it shouldn’t be too long now any way

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Peter Pan and Alice Tempt Each Other, and… (2/4) | Mist translates stuff - August 8, 2016

    […] Chapter Five, 3/4 […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: