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Volume I~ Buongiorno!

Chapter 1~Buongiorno! Part I

June 2nd, 2022. 8:56 pm. Speedwagon Foundation Asia-Pacific Headquarters- Tokyo.

An intern sat at his desk, looking through the day’s observations.

“Hey… uh, boss?”

“Hm?”

“There’s a pretty large asteroid among the southern group.”

His boss glanced over his shoulder.

“Oh, that? Nothing to worry about.”

“But sir, its route has changed dramatically over the past fe-”

“I said, it’s nothing to worry about. Do you think you’re smarter than astronomers with 20+ years of experience? If they were concerned, they would have said something. Now, get back to work.”

The intern turned back to the photo of the asteroid, zooming in on the almost human-like features engraved into it. I have a bad feeling about this…

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June 3rd. 4:03 pm. Naples, Italy.

Ocean man, take me by the hand.

“Look! It’s Anthonio!”

“Oh! Anthonio!”

“Over here, Anthonio!”

Lead me to the land that you understand

Anthonio stopped walking and turned around. In the same instant, he was surrounded by a small barrage of females. He knew none of them by name, but the faces were somewhat familiar, these were girls from his class.

He took out one of his earbuds. “Signorine, my apologies, but I don’t have time to stay and chat.”

Ocean man,

“Oh, you never do!”

“Such a busy, hardworking man!”

“Just my type!”

The voyage to the corner of the globe is a real trip.

The group sighed in unison.

“Hey! You whores leave him alone!”

Ant huffed. No matter how many times he told his sister to be nice to his little fanclub, she never listened.

“Jealous much, bitch?”

“It’s not our fault that you’re like, literally in love with your brother!”

“Eww! Oh my god, you’re so right! She is!”

Ocean man

“Shut up before I put my fist in your mouth.”

The girls shrieked and quickly disbanded.

“Man, what a pack of freakin’ hyenas.”

“Jolanda, I told you, if you can’t be nice just keep your distance. They aren’t harming anyone.”

Ant handed her an earbud.

Ocean man, can you see through the wonder of amazement, At the oberman

“Yea, but they’re annoying. And we also have to get to work, let’s go already.”

Her sentence ended with a yawn. Ant noticed that her eyes were bloodshot, likely from lack of sleep.

Ocean man, the crust is elusive when it casts forth, To the childlike man

Jo had dropped her education after high school to work so they could afford for Ant to attend university. Being the person he is, he had insisted that he also got a job, despite several protests and scoldings from Jojo, saying that he should focus on getting good grades so maybe he could go somewhere in life.

Both of them now worked as waiters in the same little hole-in-the-wall restaurant. The owner had hired Anthonio on the spot, saying that he was a 'handsome young fellow that would bring all the ladies in."

"You should be a model! You could make some big money in Milan!"

"I'm much too tall for that, signore."

"You're built like a Greek god! I have no doubt they would take you without a second thought!"

It was true, standing at over 200 cm and with a slab of muscle for a body, he was sculpted very much like the ancient statues that he'd seen in history textbooks.

“Hey! Are you even listening to me?”

Jo’s yelling snapped him from his memories.

“Huh?”

He paused his music.

“As I was saying, I’m going to have to work overtime if we want to make rent and pay for your books.”

“Jo, I said I could take care of tha-”

“No, you’re already overdoing it with one job. No way in hell are you taking another.”

“I’m not sure why we can’t just move somewhere cheaper.”

Jo stopped walking.

“It’s the only thing we have left, Ant.”

“Well, either we let it go, or I pick up more hours.”

He stood his ground. He wasn’t going to let her do this to herself.

Jo whipped around to face him.

“Don’t you dare do this to me.”

“Jo, it’s been 3 years, I think it’s time for you to let go.”

“Don’t you tell me to let go when you’re the one who cried themselves to sleep every night for months?”

“Fine, whatever. Go ahead and work yourself to death! Then I’ll have no one to look after me! Look at me, Jo! Guardami! I am in no way capable of taking care of myself! Whatever would I do?!”

“Shut up.”

Jo pushed him in a way that made it clear she was no longer upset with him. That’s how things went for the Zeppeli twins, at each other’s throats one minute, and best friends the next.

-==-++-==-++-==-==-++-==-++-==-==-++-==-++-==-==-++-==-++-==-==-++-==-++-==-==-

Ant was about 9 years old when it had attached itself to him. He had no clue where it came from, and he had no clue what it was. It seemed to be a monster or a demon of sorts that he had control of. Or maybe, it had control of him. Nearly 10 years later and he still had yet to figure that out.

What he did know was that it was dangerous. He knew bad things could happen if he lost control of it. But what he also knew was that it had saved his and Jo’s asses more times than he could count.

-==-++-==-++-==-==-++-==-++-==-==-++-==-++-==-==-++-==-++-==-==-++-==-++-==-==-

Ant looked at the clock.

Only 2 more hours.

Jo sat in the booth across from him, coffee in hand. It had been dead all night, despite it being a Friday, with only a few of the regulars coming in.

“You two, go home now.”

Ant turned to see their boss.

“Are you sure?”

“Yes, this one looks like she’s about to tip over. That’s a mess I don’t want to have to clean up”

His smile faded.

“But seriously, go home and get some rest. Looks like she could use it.”

“I can hear you, you know. And no chance. We need the money.”

“Don’t worry about it, I’ll give you full pay for today.”

“That’s great, thank you. I could use the time to study anyways. Come on, Jo.”

Ant dragged Jo out of the booth before she could make any further objection.

“Awesome, now I can go pick up a few hours at the corner store…”

The two stepped outside into the warm, humid air of the almost Italian summertime.

“Nuh-uh, you’re going home and going straight to bed. You’re killing yourself, Jo.”

Jo shifted her bag onto her other shoulder.

“Well, either I work to death, or we starve to death. Take your pi-”

Jo cut off as a kid ran past, ripping her bag from her.

“Hey! What the hell?”

“Let him have it, Jo. He needs it more than we do.”

“The only pictures that we have of Mom are in there, idiot!”

“Jo, I told you to stop bringing those everywh-”

“Shut up and go get it, you dope!”

Ant sighed and took off after the boy.

Man, this kid is fast.

Ant was having trouble keeping pace with the kid, much less catching up to him.

After a few blocks, the kid turned down an alley.

What an idiot. That’s a dead end, I’ll catch him there for sure.

Ant turned the corner, expecting to run straight into the boy. Instead, he was met with an empty alleyway.

Huh? Where the hell did he go? There aren’t any doors back here, or even a trash can for him to hide behind…

He grabbed the wall with one hand, catching his breath.

And then the wall grabbed him.


Chapter 2~ Buongiorno! Part II

“Anthonio! What’s all this racket about?”

A young Ant sat curled in a ball in front of a mirror.

“I-I saw a monster, Mom.”

“Miele, you’re almost 10 years old. You know monsters aren’t real.”

She helped him to his feet.

“Now, go get ready.”

Ant returned his gaze to the mirror, where he had seen a gigantic purple beast standing behind him only a second before. But it had vanished.

-==-++-==-++-==-==-++-==-++-==-==-++-==-++-==-==-++-==-++-==-==-++-==-++-==-==-

Ahg! What the-?

Ant was facing away from the wall, so he could not see what had grabbed hold of him. Whatever it was was rough and dug into his skin.

He grunted as he pulled forward, attempting to free himself, but to no avail.

The thing abruptly dragged him back, slamming him into the wall and knocking the air from his lungs.

He was now flat against the wall, his arms stretched out on either side of him. He turned to see what had a grip on him.

Tree branches…? Are you kidding me? But they’re so strong. These aren’t average twigs, that’s for sure. In my current position, I don’t think I’ll be able to summon my pal.

Ant wriggled around a bit, trying to find a weak spot.

Aha!

In one swift movement, he flexed his left bicep and ripped his arm free. Instantaneously, it appeared out of his now freed arm.

Man, this thing sure does come in handy sometimes.

Ant was hit with a sudden wave of deja vu and the urge to look up.

Just as he tilted his head back, he saw the silhouette of a man turn and walk away from the edge of the roof.

“Hey!”

Is that the guy that attacked me? Does he have a monster thingie, too?

Ant clenched his teeth.

Only one way to find out.

Ant backed up to the opposite wall.

Here goes.

He ran and jumped, grabbing onto a crevice about halfway up the building with the hand of his monster.

My shoulder’s going to be sore tomorrow, that’s for sure.

Slowly but surely, he scaled the wall. He peered over the top of the building.

There!

On the other side of the roof stood who he presumed to be the silhouette from before.

“Hey, you!”

The man turned his head. He was of medium stature and had longish blonde hair, the front of which was situated in three oversized curls over his forehead. What was stranger than his hair, however, was the thing that stood next to him. It was a strange, humanoid-looking creature that appeared to be made out of some golden metallic material.

“I advise you to leave while you still can.”

The man continued along the other side of the roof.

“Your Stand isn’t weak, you’ve made that clear enough. However, I can tell you’re inexperienced. You’re sloppy. You wouldn’t stand a chance against me.”

Stand ? What is this nutcase talking about?

“I sense you have no intention of going away. Well, then. Let me show you what you’re up against!”

Nutcase might have been an understatement.

The man whipped around and sent his ‘Stand’ towards Ant, vines ran on the ground alongside it.

Yep, definitely an understatement.

The vines ran up Ant’s legs.

Not this shit again.

Ant summoned his Stand, ripping the vines apart.

“Ah! There it is. Quite impressive, actually. Shame it’ll never get a chance to reach its full potential.”

Goddammit! He knew I would summon my Stand. It’s too late to retract it now, he’s already gotten a good look at it. Ah! Here he comes!

“Oraoraoraoraora!”

Ant’s Stand lashed out, but the man seemed unphased.

What’s this guy’s deal? He’s rather smug. I oughta beat him senseless-

Ant felt a sudden chill surge through his body

What? Why is everything moving so slow now? Did I stop time by accident? I didn’t want to reveal that yet!

Stopping time was something he had learned he could do by accident. It was a blessing and a curse, just like any other ability his Stand had.

No, there’s no way. He’s still moving, and so is everything else. He must’ve done this.

And then everything was no longer in slow motion. He was greeted back into reality with a metallic punch to the jaw. He shook it off quickly. There’s no time to feel pain.

This time, he was ready for the sharp, thorny vines. He grabbed hold of them with his Stand.

Freeze!”

I only have a second or two- I better make this quick.

Ant wrapped the brambles loosely around the man’s body, took a step back, and got ready to pull.

I hope this works.

Time unfroze and in the same second the brambles tightened, the man withering on the ground as they dug into his skin.

“You can’t even break out of the thing you created with your own Stand? Seems like you’re all bark and no bite, my dude.”

The man stopped struggling and glared at him.

“Fine. You win. Let me out of here.”

“Hmm, I don’t know. Maybe you should have left when you had the chance.

Ant took a step towards him.

Am I really about to kill a man? Well, I guess it’s either me or him…

Ant stopped in his tracks. Through the man’s ripped-up clothing, he saw an all too familiar birthmark, the same one that he shared with his sister.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

Profile- Anthonio Zeppeli  

Born: August 31, 2003  Stand: Star Platinum

Blood type: A   Height: 200.1 cm  

Distinguishable Characteristics: boxy heart-shaped birthmark under left eye, star-shaped birthmark on upper left shoulder blade.


Chapter 3~ Buongiorno! Part III

“I’m not even sure where to begin.”

They had retrieved Jo and were now sitting in a cafe. Jo, of course, with coffee in hand. Ant was almost disturbed by her lack of inquiry.

“I guess we should get introductions out of the way. Giorno Giovanna.”

Giorno reached out to shake hands with Ant.

“Anthonio Zeppeli. And that’s um, Jolanda.”

“Yo.”

Giorno gave her a slight smile before turning back to Ant.

“I suppose we could start with that Stand of yours. I’m guessing you’ve never had an encounter like that before. You handled it rather well.”

“What is a ‘Stand’ exactly?”

“The easiest way to explain it is to say that it’s a physical manifestation of your life energy- your soul. Though, I can sense that this one in particular contains not only your life energy but that of another as well. You look a bit confused, and rightfully so. Well, let me explain some basic laws of science to you. Energy cannot be created or destroyed. So when the previous user of the Stand died, their life energy stayed and just kind of floated around until it found a compatible host, something to do with itself. And in this case, Anthonio, it happened to be you.”

“So, are they all the same? The Stands, I mean. Do they do different things? What about yours?”

“They’re all different, for the most part. My Gold Experience? You’ve experienced its ability first hand. It used to be capable of much more, but after years of disuse, it has weakened. If you'd have met me in my teen years, my prime, you would have been a goner, without a doubt. Lucky for you, I'm very rusty-not that I had any intention of killing you in the first place, really. Just wanted to scare you a bit. Sorry about those photos, by the way. They’re long gone by now."

Scare me? I nearly pissed myself.

“Mission accomplished.”

“You wield your Stand well. I think you may have even spooked me a bit.”

Giorno shifted in his seat.

“Seeing how well you can control it, I’d assume you were born with it.”

“No, I wasn’t, actually.”

“Really?”

“He was like, 9? When he started having these little breakdowns. It was completely out of the blue, he would go on and on about this monster that followed him, how it wouldn’t leave him alone. Mom damn near put him in a mental hospital.

She didn't believe anything he said, just thought that maybe something in the water had made him go mad. She took him to therapy and the therapist said he just had a very, very overactive imagination, he would outgrow it eventually. I didn't believe him at first, either, so eventually, he just stopped talking about it."

That's not like Jo at all... He seems trustworthy enough, but she isn't the type to just outwardly say things like that.

“At first? So you believe him now?”

Jo looked at Ant and he nodded. She pushed her hair back off her forehead, revealing a scar that was deep purple in color.

“She… she has that because of me. It could have been a lot worse. Almost 3 years and it still hasn’t quite healed properly. Our mother had died only a few months prior.”

Ant shuddered at the memory. That day had been the first time he had ever used the full powers of his Stand.

“I can’t imagine what this neanderthal would've done if he'd lost me, too.”

“Jo, this is not something to joke about.”

“I’m still alive, aren’t I? Then I’ll make all the jokes I want.”

“How old are you two?”

“Few months from 19, we’re twins.”

“Hm. Then the original user must’ve died around 2012.”

“Basic math?! Wow, your new friend here is quite the genius, Ant.”

“Don’t insult me, young lady. I’m on your side.”

“So, uh. What about the Birthmarks?”

“My father had one. I assume it means that we’re related in some way and that it isn’t just a mere coincidence. I’ve heard of others with marks just like these. It is said those that don them are drawn to each other.”

“Mom said our father had one, too.”

“You don’t know your father, then?”

“Not at all. He took off before our mother even knew she was pregnant. All we know is that he was Japanese and that his first name was Josuke.”

“Well, I think it’s important that you find him. I never got the opportunity to meet mine.”

Giorno’s eyes softened, and for a second, Ant thought Giorno might be about to cry.

“Maybe, but we haven’t a clue where he was from, much less what he looked like.”

"I have an idea. There is a town just north of Tokyo, fabled to be home to many stand users. If your father is a stand user, I don't doubt that we would find him there. We can ask around."

Giorno stood.

"Off we go."

“Are you nuts? We don’t have money for plane tickets! And Ant has school and I have work! We can’t just go running off with some… some rando!”

“Don’t worry. I’ll have all of that taken care of.”


Chapeter 4~ Welcome to Morioh Cho! Part I

Just twelve hours after meeting, the trio landed in Tokyo on Giorno’s private jet.

"This is nuts, Ant. Why the hell did we just get on a plane with a guy we just met? He could've just murdered us!"

"He has the mark. I trust him. Besides, you heard him at the cafe, he doesn't stand a chance against me in his current condition."

"He never said that! He said-"

"Hey! You two! Our driver's here."

Giorno and the chauffeur seemed to know each other. Maybe a bit too well. Something felt off about their relationship, but Ant couldn't quite put his finger on what or why.

And so they drove 3 hours north. Giorno and the chauffeur sat up front, having a quiet conversation. Ant was able to pick up that his name started with an M. Jo fell asleep the second they got into the car, so Ant was left alone with his thoughts.

Jo does have a point… this is a bit odd and out of the blue. But something makes it feel ok. Like this was supposed to happen.

He closed his eyes.

Our life wasn’t great or anything, but I have a feeling things won’t be quite the same after this.

-==-++-==-++-==-==-++-==-++-==-==-++-==-++-==-==-++-==-++-==-==-++-==-++-==-==-

December 17th, 2019. ~2 am. Streets of Naples.

Goddammit, where the hell is she? She was supposed to wait right here.

Ant huffed.

It pisses me off when she does this.

He started retracing his steps back towards home.

I feel like I would have run into her on the way if she had left without me. I always do.  

He stopped.

Something’s definitely wrong.

A scream sounded in the distance as if it had been prompted by his thoughts.  

Ant took off in the direction the scream had come from. Whether it was his sister or not, he had to help.

“Get off of me, fucking pervert!”

That’s Jojo!

”Aww, you don’t want to have a little fun with me and my friends?”

There was a thud, followed by a high, masculine screech.

“You bitch! I oughta beat you to a pulp for that one!”

Ant came to the alley from which the commotion had been coming from. There was Jo, surrounded by 3 men, each easily twice her size. A gun was being pointed at her head.

He stood frozen at the start of the alley, one of the men turned his head.

“Looks like we got company.”

Ant narrowed his eyes as the delinquent approached him.

I can’t let him know I’m freaking out on the inside- I have no idea what to do. There are three of them and they have a gun.

His pursuer smiled menacingly, revealing teeth that had been shaved down into points.

Is… is he drooling? Oh man, Jo, what did you get us into? If only I had a second to think…

Pointy teeth stopped mid-step, the drool from his face seemingly floating in the air.

What the...?

Then, as suddenly as he had paused, he continued as if the strange one-second pause had never happened.

Did… did I do that? Freeze!

Pointy stopped moving again. In fact, everything around him had stopped moving, too. Everything except for Ant.

This must be the doing of that weird demon thing that I have. Hold on, Jo! I’m coming!

He got ready to punch Pointy in the face.

It seems that I can only hold it for a second or two…

Ant’s fist hit the delinquent’s face with a satisfying crunch.

Ha! Take that, Pointy!

“Coltello!”

The remaining two menaces had turned at the sound.

“Ohhh, you bastard! Now you’ve pissed me off! Now both of you will die!”

Freeze!

Ant ran to the end of the alley.

Ah! He’s already pulling the trigger. I don’t have time to-

“Jo! Watch out!”

Ant pushed her.

Everything after that seemed to move in slow motion- the bullet piercing his upper arm, Jo’s skull scraping against a piece of broken fence, the shocked look on the delinquents’ faces as they got up to run. The last thing he remembered before blacking out was the sirens in the distance.

-==-++-==-++-==-==-++-==-++-==-==-++-==-++-==-==-++-==-++-==-==-++-==-++-==-==-

Ant was pulled out of sleep by a light tap on his shoulder. He looked over to see that Jo had woken up.

“Hm?”

"I was thinking about that, and how last night I just... told him everything. Maybe it's his stand's ability. Maybe he can control people's minds."

They sat in silence for a moment, Ant still trying to blink sleep out of his eyes.

“Something makes me want to trust him. I’m not sure what it is. Somewhere in the back of my head thinks he can help us.”

He understood what she meant by thinking Giorno would help them. He seemed to know what they were going through, and it was comforting to have met another stand user.

And to think there's more like us out there...

“How are we going to find him…”

“Huh?”

“We don’t even know what he looks like…”

“Speak up, idiot.”

“How are we supposed to find him, Jo?”

“You actually think we’re going to find dad? Ant, I know you aren't the sharpest tool in the shed bu-”

The car screeched to a stop.

“What the hell? You think Mr. Private Jet Owner up there would be able to afford a better driver.”

Jo leaned over to the front seat.

“Hey! What the hell’s going on up there?”

“There’s an asteroid.”

“Huh?”

“Stay in the car.”

Giorno hesitated for a second.

“Anthonio, come with me.”

A large, rocky object was lodged into the road about 20 feet from the car. A strange energy seemed to radiate from it. For some reason, Ant had an undying urge to touch it.

“Hey! Don’t touch that!”

“Anthonio! Watch out!”

Ant looked up just as he was battered and shoved back by a barrage of sharp green stones. It took him a few seconds to fully comprehend what was happening. He summoned his Stand to deflect the rest of them.

"Move it, bonehead!"

The owner of the voice crashed into him.

"Do you have a death wish?"

The asteroid started to secrete more of the energy that Ant had felt on it before. The guy turned to look at him. He was about a head shorter than Ant and had brown hair.

"We're fine. It can't reach us from back here. You aren't from around here, are you?"

"Uh, no."

"I suppose I owe you an explanation. Welcome to Morioh."

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

Profile- Enmei Kakyoin  

Born: November 12, 2002   Stand: ???

Blood type: A   Height: 183 cm  

Talents: Trilingual (can speak fluent English, Japanese, and Italian.)

Hobbies/Interests: Stars, rocks, anything to do with outerspace.


Chapter 5~ Welcome to Morioh Cho! Part II

"In any other situation, I wouldn't willingly just give information like this to a group of complete strangers."

The guy had dragged them to the nearest coffee shop. The 4 of them sat around a small table, the driver waited outside.

"But something tells me that you aren't a normal group of strangers. Perhaps it was the same thing that drew me to that exact spot last night to watch for meteors.”

There was a short pause and the stranger closed his eyes for a minute.

“My name is Enmei Kakyoin. I’ve lived here for about 10 years now and it’s the closest place to a home that I’ve ever known. I’m an astronomer.”

He looked up.

“That's why I was out there in that field. I was watching the meteor shower. There have been lots of reports of meteors landing unexpectedly- specifically within the outskirts of town. As you have noticed, it secretes an odd substance.  It's invisible to the naked eye and it causes anyone who breathes it to fall into a coma. The full effects of it are yet unknown, but so far 1 of our 5 affected by it has passed. Whether it was due to the substance or to other medical issues is also unknown. I wish I had more to tell you, but as I said-"

“Yea, yea everything’s unknown. We got that.”

Jo leaned back in her chair.

“We don’t need to hear the town’s sob story.”

“Jo, please.”

Ant turned to Enmei.

“I apologize, she’s just… it’s just been a rough few days.”

“Anthonio, was it? What brings you all to Morioh?”

“Yea, and we’re here to find our father.”

Enmei raised an eyebrow.

“Perhaps I know him? Morioh isn’t too large of a town… what’s his surname?”

Ant shrugged.

“That’s the thing- we don’t know.”

“Hmm. Well, I have a friend over at the Morioh orphanage who might be able to help you out.”

“Wow. What a saint.”

Ant punched her in the shoulder.

“Give it a rest, Jo.”

-==-++-==-++-==-==-++-==-++-==-==-++-==-++-==-==-++-==-++-==-==-++-==-++-==-==-

“Morning, Mr. Higashikata.”

“Good morning, Enmei.”

Mr. Hagishikata was shifting through some papers on a desk, his back turned to the group.

“You’re in early today.”

“I have a few friends here that need help looking for someone. I thought I would bring them in and see what we could do.”

“Ah, I see. No problem at all. I’ll be out of the way in just a second...”

He scribbled something down and then jogged his stack of papers.

“Alright then… let’s see here…”

Ant’s stomach dropped as Mr. Higashikata turned to face them.

“Oh! How rude of me. I suppose I should introduce myself. My name is Josuke Higashikata, and I’m one of the founders of this here establishment!”


Chapter 6~ Noble Hierophant

Enmei Kakyoin's parents were 49 years of age when they decided they wanted to give parenting another shot.

It had been nearly 13 years since the passing of their first son. They went to gynecologists and doctors and priests- doing anything they could so that they could redeem themselves. They prayed that this child would be normal. It was truly asking a lot-it was a true miracle that they were even able to conceive.

On November 11th, 2002, the Kakyoin family gave birth to their 2nd son. Enmei was a bright boy, taking interest in sciences at a young age. His passion for learning made him a bit different from the other kids, but it didn't stop him from making friends.

Things were looking up for the Kakyoin's. Until one day, when he was 8, Enmei found an old scrapbook. The scrapbook had pages and pages of a boy that looked familiar, yet Enmei was sure he had never seen him before. Then he realized that the boy looked like him.

This must be Noriaki.

His theory was confirmed when he gently removed a picture and flipped it over to the back, which read Noriaki, age 17. Trip to Egypt, August 1988.

He looked at the front of the picture again. Noriaki very much looked like an older version of Enmei, the only difference being their hair and eye color. Something on the left side of the picture caught his eye. It was faint, and he thought he was just seeing things at first, but as he flipped back through the pages, he realized that most of the pictures contained the same strange outline.

Did he have it, too?

It had followed him for as long as he could remember. He was careful not to use it around other people, for he was sure that it was not a normal thing. He'd only ever brought it up once, to a friend that had since then drifted away, perhaps it was because of this reason.

I know they don't like to talk about him- but I have to know.

Enmei asked about the figure in the photos. His parents, confused, asked him what he was talking about. He explained that he thought the figure in the pictures was the same thing that followed him around. His mother broke down in tears, his father started shouting at him. Perplexed, tears began to fall from Enmei's eyes, too. The very thing that his parents had feared had come to haunt them.

Enmei started to shut everyone out, his parents, his teachers, all his friends. For the first time, he felt alone in this world. Perhaps he had been alone all along.

The Kakyoin's feared that this behavior would lead Enmei to the same fate as their first son, so they sent him off to seek help in a town north of Tokyo, where others like him were fabled to reside.

Enmei arrived in Morioh 3 days before his 9th birthday, with nothing but a small suitcase with his few belongings. Perhaps it was harsh, but what else was a parent to do when their son was going down the same ill-fated path as the first?

He spent 4 days on the streets until he was found by Josuke Higashikata, who took him in and taught him how to properly wield his stand, eventually learning that its name was Hierophant Green, and that many years ago, it had indeed been wielded by his brother.

Enmei and Josuke developed a father-son like relationship, and for the next 10 years, Josuke raised and watched Enmei grow into a fine young man. His parents hadn't forgotten about him, of course. They would check in on him once in a great while. Enmei could never hate them for doing what they did because Morioh was the only place that ever felt like home.

At the age of 16, Enmei came up with the idea of a home for kids just like him, a place where they could find themselves and build acceptance and confidence in their abilities. With help from the Speedwagon Foundation, the father-son duo opened Morioh's Home for Young Stand Users, known simply to most as the 'Morioh Orphanage.' At 18, Enmei finished university with a degree in Astronomy.

Josuke could not have been any prouder of the sad, lonely little boy he had found on the streets.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

STAND NAME: Hierophant Green STAND MASTER: Enmei Kakyoin

Power: C   Speed: B   Persistence: B

Range: A   Precision: C   Potential: D


Chapter 7~ Oi, Josuke! pt I

He... he looks just like Jo! And his name is-

"You bastard! You don't have any idea how long we've been looking for you! And here you are hiding in some stupid li-"

Ant grabbed Jo as she lunged at their father.

"Jojo! There was no way for him to even know of our existence, don't be upset with him."

"That makes it even worse! Put a rubber on it next time, why don't ya? Or maybe just keep the damn thing in your pants!"

"How is it even...what..."

Josuke looked over at Ant, his eyes wide.

"My god... you look just like your..."

Ant wasn't sure how to feel- thrilled to finally have met their father after 18 years or angry that they even had to search in the first place.

"Please, forgive me. I had no idea, Ginerva never contacted me again."

"She didn't have a way to contact you, dumbass."

"Oh no... this makes me just like Joseph. I swore I would never-"

"It doesn't matter. What matters is that you're here now."

Enmei looked at Ant.

"I'm honored to have been the one to unite you. This man pretty much raised me, and I can say with confidence that he would not abandon any child- much less his own children- on purpose."

Ant's eyes met with Josuke's, he couldn't quite tell if he was sad or dumbfounded. Ant decided that he was both.

He reached out to shake hands

"Nice to meet you.... Dad?"

Josuke reached over the counter and pulled him into a hug.

"It's been too long for me to just accept a handshake from you. I'm so incredibly sorry. Ah! I don't even know your names!"

He pulled away so he could look at both of them simultaneously.

"I'm Anthonio and this is Joj-"

"Jolanda. I'm perfectly capable of introducing myself. And maybe you didn't know, and maybe you are a good person. But in my eyes, you are barely my father, much less my dad."

"I understand. Please, have a seat, I'll go start some tea."

Josuke and Enmei left the room. Ant turned to Giorno, who had been silent the whole time they had been there.

"Well?"

"I didn't think it would be that easy."

"I knew who you were."

"What?"

"I knew, once I saw Jolanda. I thought you may have been just another son of Dio, and that would have explained the birthmark and the blond hair. But then I saw her, and she is the spitting image of your father."

"What?? Did he know we were coming here?"

"No, he doesn't even know who I am. I just happened to know about him, and that he had a couple of kids he'd never met."

Giorno nodded towards the window.

"My good friend Mista just so happened to be here on a business trip regarding a different matter. Thought it might be a good idea to have an extra stand user with us in case things went south. I'd say this went disturbingly well."

"You are insane."

Giorno laughed.

"I thought we already established that."

Ant's eyes trailed over to Jo, who was slumped against the wall, staring blankly at the floor.

"Hey, you good?"

Jo shook her head and her face returned to its usual scowl.

"Do I look ok? Like seriously, we met some random ass guy that just so happened to be related to us, picked up all our shit, got on a plane with him, and met the man we have been searching for for years all in the span of 24 hours. So, short answer? No. I'm not good."

"I know it's a lot. But we're going to be ok, Jo. I’ve got your back, no matter what.”

-==-++-==-++-==-==-++-==-++-==-==-++-==-++-==-==-++-==-++-==-==-++-==-++-==-==-

June 6th, 2022. 4:23 am. Speedwagon Foundation Japan Headquarters-Tokyo,Japan.

The intern rushed down the hallway.

Man oh man they aren't going to believe this.

He shoved the overflowing file back up into his arm.

Winded, he burst through the doors at the end of the hall.

"Hoshiki? This better be good!"

"It is, sir... just... give me a minute."

He stood straight and adjusted his glasses.

"That asteroid... it's en route to hit Earth- straight on. And there's been several reports of other smaller meteors falling without-"

"What did I say about this nonsense? You really believe all that? It's all just a story to make everyone think the citizens of Morioh are even more insane than we thought! Get out of here, Hoshiki. Bust in on another meeting like this again and you can consider your internship terminated."

Hoshiki made it back to his desk. He slumped into his chair, his heart still racing from his sprint down the hall.

Maybe I am just imagining things... but I swear I've seen this somewhere before...

He dug through his file, eventually finding the photo he needed.

Alright- rock with face- no. Asteroid with face? No, there's nothing here that we don't already know... what about... asteroid man? Oh, a comic from the 60s... Come on, Hiroki, you don't have time to mess around. How about... god in rock? I mean the guy kind of looks like one...no... hmm ok let's try this...

'For thousands of years, the Pillar Men had laid dormant...'


Chapter 8~ Oi, Josuke! pt II

“In December of 2002 I was flown out to Naples. My nephew, Jotaro Kujo, had a mission for me. My little sister- well, adopted sister- had gone missing. Not uncommon, since she had a stand that gave her the power of invisibility, but this time she was really gone.

She had been taken by an organization assumed to be an extension of the Sicilian Mafia. The group was known to take and test on young stand users in inhumane ways- ways that I’m not even comfortable describing to you.

I had no clue where to start. But fate had a plan for me, and I ended up at a bar. And at that bar I met a woman named Ginverva. We drank and she started rambling about how much she hated her job, hated that she had to watch young, innocent people experience more agony than she’d ever thought was possible. And then I knew- she was my way in. She was talking about the exact place that I needed to go.

She agreed to help me. She didn’t understand exactly what was happening, or even why these kids were being turned into glorified science experiments. But she knew that it wasn’t good.

Once our plan was put into action, there was no going back. I was able to get into the facility, only to realize that I had come much too late, too much damage had been done to my little sister. Even if I had gotten there the second I landed in Italy, there would have been nothing that could be done to reverse the damage. I had to flee right away to avoid capture or death- I wasn't sure which one it would be, and I wasn't sure which one would've been worse. I obviously never saw your mother again.”

The 6 of them- Mista had been invited in- sat around a table in the building's small kitchenette.

Feels like I'm in school- sitting at tables and listening to old people ramble...

"Anthonio, you awake there bud?"

"Huh? Oh, yea. Sorry."

"Giorno here tells me you have a stand. Can I take a look?"

"Oh, uh, sure."

Ant cracked his back.

"I have some trouble summoning it when unprovoked, it may take me a mi- AH! What the hell?"

Ant felt a sharp pain shoot through his knee.

"Oops! Did it work?"

"Yea, thanks."

He glared at Jo. Though the kick to the knee didn't hurt, it had startled him, which was enough for him to instinctively summon his stand.

"You wield Star Platinum?"

"I wield what now?"

"It was the stand of... of your cousin, Jotaro Kujo."

"Yea. I was 9 when it appeared for the first time."

"2012? Yes, yes that adds up. His death must've triggered something in you. It's basic, but a powerful stand nonetheless. And Jolanda?"

"If I had one I would've used it to kick your ass."

“Yes, of course. As you should.”

"What?"

"I understand your anger Jo, really, I do. My own father was out of my life for nearly as long as I had been out of yours. The only difference is that I feel a bit of guilt for it. Quite a bit, actually. I don't expect your forgiveness anytime soon- or at all, really."

Jo looked conflicted.

"Don't call me Jo."

"My apologies, Jolanda."

An uncomfortable silence settled amongst the group.

Enmei broke it.

"There's supposed to be another meteor shower tonight- I don't suppose any of you would be interested?"

"I'll go."

Ant said without hesitation.

"And I promise not to touch any strange rocks that happen to fall in front of us."

"Don't make a promise that you can't keep, my friend."

"I suppose we should find a hotel for you all- how about Seaside Manor? It's Morioh's finest. And don't worry about the price- I know the owner quite well, consider it paid for."

"Thank you, Josuke. But don't worry about it- I am more than willing to pay full price."

Giorno stood.

"We can continue this reunion tomorrow. I myself am exhausted, I can't even imagine how these two feel."

"Alright, until tomorrow, then."

Ant hesitated as the rest of his group herded up and headed towards the door. He turned back around and saw that Josuke had had the same thought.

Josuke pulled him into a hug. He wasn't short, he might have been tall, even. Yet Ant seemed to tower over him.

"We've already wasted so much time. I will never pass on an opportunity to show how truly thankful I am that you showed up."

Enmei called after him on his way out.

"I'll come get you around 10!”

-==-++-==-++-==-==-++-==-++-==-==-++-==-++-==-==-++-==-++-==-==-++-==-++-==-==-

June 6th, 2022. 10:03 pm. Outskirts of Morioh.

I'll prove to them I'm not crazy. Something sinister is happening here, and we need to figure out how to stop it before it's too late.

Hoshiki looked down at the seat next to him.

Shouldn't be long, now. We'll get another good shot of you buddy, and maybe some video footage, too. 18 hours of work, and this is all I’ve got…

He pulled over to the side of the road.

Alright, here we are. I have about half an hour before it starts.

~The Pillar Men were an ancient and powerful race of humanoids. Though officially declared extinct in the 1940s, some believe that some may still lay dormant beyond this Earth. ~

What are the chances? What if this ‘asteroid’ is really that Kars guy that got shot into space years ago? And the weird meteors? What’s the deal with them? They’ve got to be in direct correla-

Volume II~ Hells Bells

Chapter 9~ The File

"What the hell.”

“Agreed.”

“Ant, I can’t even begin to fathom the fact that you seem so chill with all this.”

The two of them laid opposite each other on one of the twin sized beds in their hotel room, Ant’s feet by Jo’s face and vice versa.

“Yea, I know. It’s a lot.”

“No kidding.”

Ant traced imaginary lines on the ceiling with his eyes.

“I think you should give dad a chance. Or at least, stop being a total ass to him. This really isn’t his fault, you know.”

“Maybe.”

“I may have lost faith in God when mom died, but this seems like way too much of a miracle to be much else. This is hard for me too, Jo.”

“It’s a coincidence, I guess. A very, very fucked up coincidence.”

“Maybe.”

They laid in silence for a minute.

“Jo?”

“Hm?”

“Do you want to go home?”

Jo thought for a second.

“I don’t think so.”

“Ok.”

Silence again.

“So, Star Platinum, huh? Pretty cool.”

“Can’t see it, wouldn’t know.”

"No, I mean, it holds history. It's way more than what we thought it was. I mean, finding out that it could stop time was cool, but I mean, it's quite literally the soul of another person."

“Ew, don’t say it like that. It sounds weird.”

Beep beep!

“It’s 10 already? You coming, Jo?”

Jo shoved her face into a pillow.

“Ermf.”

“You’ll be bored if you just sit here all night. Come on, it’ll be fun.”

-==-++-==-++-==-==-++-==-++-==-==-++-==-++-==-==-++-==-++-==-==-++-==-++-==-

~Mid 2021, Speedwagon Foundation-NYC.

“Ah, Mr. Hans, so glad you could make it.”

“Pleasures mine.”

“Please refrain from sharing this information with anybody- we don’t want this getting out to the public.”

“Of course.”

“You’ve heard of the Pillar Men?”

“I have.”

“So you know just how dangerous the situation at hand is? Good. We’ll have you posted in one of our more ~active~ areas, seeing as you have some experience with supernatural situations.”

Hans was handed a folder.

“Morioh Cho, population around 60,000. Filled with Stand users. Seems to be some sort of magnet for all these asteroids. Your task is to figure out what the deal is with them- they have some strange properties. You’ll be leaving immediately. Be careful. Godspeed, Hans. The Lord be with you.”

“And also with you.”

-==-++-==-++-==-==-++-==-++-==-==-++-==-++-==-==-++-==-++-==-==-++-==-++-==-

“Is anyone else seeing that?”

“What?”

“Up there, it looks like another meteor landed. And on something, too.”

"Is that a car??"

"I hope no one was in it- I'll check with Hierophant Green. Should be safe enough, looks like it's been here a while."

The trio exited the car onto the roughly pavemented road. The town itself was nice enough, but the surrounding area was quite the opposite. Grass and weeds that came up to Ant’s hips lined the pavement on both sides and potholes and chunks of concrete were scattered about.

Enmei stood about 10 feet away from the wreck and summoned his Stand. Ant watched as it disappeared inside.

Enmei’s expression changed to a grimace.

“Male. About 170 cm. 57- no, 58 kg. Took his last breath no more than 30 minutes ago. Maybe if we would have left sooner…”

“I’m sure it couldn’t have been helped.”

“Uh, should we call the cops or something?”

“I’d hold off on that for a second, Jo. Something seems off here… I don’t think this is a normal car…”

Enmei gasped.

“This is one of those cars from the Speedwagon foundation! These things are supposed to be indestructible.”

“Doesn’t seem that way to me.”

“The Speedwagon Foundation?”

“I’ll explain it later. Hierophant Green found something. I think it may be important.”

Enmei grabbed a thick, overflowing office folder from his Stand as it faded back into him.

He spent a few minutes flipping through the first few pages of it.

“You guys might wanna take a look at this.”

Chapter 10~ Dropping by Josuke's

“Huh? Enmei? Ant? Jolanda?? What are you doing here, it’s 3 in the morning.”

The three of them had spent nearly 2 hours sifting through the messy stack of papers, each page leaving them with more questions than the last. They went directly to Josuke.

Enmei held up the folder.

“This.”

“That?”

Ant took it and handed it to Josuke.

“You might want to sit down.”

“Come on in, I guess.”

Josuke stepped away from the door to let the group inside.

They were led down a short hallway, the walls of which were covered in picture frames.

Most of the frames contained various photos of Enmei- him in graduation robes, a younger Enmei on the beach kneeling in front of a half-finished sandcastle, a more recent one of him and Josuke in front of a newly constructed Morioh Orphanage.  

Ant felt Jo tense up next to him.

Maybe in a different life that would be us up there...

Josuke lit a lamp, illuminating a set of furniture that looked to be too expensive to look at, let alone touch or sit on.

“Have a seat.”

Enmei threw himself onto a loveseat in the corner, laughing when he saw the appalled looks on the twins’ faces.  

“I’ve lived here for ten years and I have yet to break anything. Make yourselves comfortable.”

“Tell that to the recliner you charged at like a deranged rhino.”

Josuke turned to the twins.

"I know it's not the coziest or most welcoming looking stuff, but my father was a real estate agent, so it’s what I get, I guess... You'll get used to it after a while."

After a while? Does he want us to stay in Morioh?

“Let’s see what you deemed worthy enough to disturb my slumber.”

They sat in silence as Josuke read through the top few pages.

“Oh. Wow.”

“As if things couldn’t get any more bizarre around here.”

“This guy is definitely onto something.”

Ant leaned forward.

“But the Speedwagon Foundation didn’t believe any of it? I mean, it seems pretty solid.”

“They do have a reputation to uphold- I suppose they wouldn’t want to come out with it and raise panic for no reason. After all, it looks to be the work of a singular person, and an intern at that.”

Enmei turned over.

"The whole thing about the meteors- there’s gotta be a connection there. Last time I was at the Tokyo headquarters there was word of doing some testing on the secretion. They might wait until after that to say anything.”

“On course to collide with Earth…. Enmei?”

Enmei sat up and started scribbling numbers on a piece of paper.

“I can’t get an exact date with the information we have, it’s a bit too early for that. It looks like we can anticipate it to be here in the first few weeks of July.”

"It just doesn't really make sense that the Speedwagon Foundation would just completely brush all of this under some carpet in the corner... they seriously aren't questioning the meteors at all?"

Ant still wasn't 100% sure what the Speedwagon Foundation was or did, but this seemed to be something within their field of interest according to what Enmei had told him.

"Aside from the secretion, they don't seem to have much interest in them. I can try to bring it up next time I'm in, I suppose"

“This Kars guy…”

Josuke paged to the middle of the file.

"Something feels off about him. I suppose it may be because he's basically some sort of superhuman. I can only imagine that he'll be back with hostile intentions."

“You know anything about the Pillar Men?”

Josuke shook his head.

“Not much, I’m afraid. Just that my old man had a run-in with a few of them some time ago.”

“Yea, there’s a tidbit about that in there. You don’t happen to know anything about this ‘Hamon’, do you?”

“Again, I’m afraid I’m not the one to ask about that.”

Josuke hesitated for a second.

“Perhaps we should pay the old man a visit.”

-==-++-==-++-==-==-++-==-++-==-==-++-==-++-==-==-++-==-++-==-==-++-==-++-==-

June 6th, 2022. 2:13 pm. Downtown Brooklyn. (June 7th, 2022. 3:13 am. Morioh.)

A tall, spindly man lumbered down the street, cane in hand. It wasn't often that he was out at this time of the day, the sun made him rather uncomfortable. He looked down at his watch. 2:15 pm. Right on time.

He closed his eyes and located his targets.

They should be here in about... 14 hours. That'll give me more than enough time to set things up.

The man squinted up at the sky.

It'll all be worth it...

He walked out into the road, in front of an oncoming bus, which screeched to a halt just as it would have hit him.

But it didn't hit him. He phased through the front, through the driver's seat, now abandoned as the driver had run out to see what had happened, and into the aisle.

"Oh! Minister Hans! It's so nice to see you again."

"Hello, Ms. Mildred. Mind if I take a seat?"

"Not at all! Where are you off to at this time of day? You were always such a night owl! Well, I suppose I won't ask any questions. It must be pretty important."

"Indeed it is."

I will eliminate them soon, my lord. All of them.


Chapter 11~ Hells Bells pt I

June 7th. 4:30 am. JFK International Airport. Queens, New York.

“It’s been years since I’ve flown out to see the old man.”

Josuke led Enmei and Ant off of Giorno’s private jet, which had been graciously borrowed to them. Jo had stayed behind, claiming that she had had enough of this ‘bullshit’ for a while. Ant didn’t blame her, he was starting to get fatigued by recent events himself.

“I feel like I should feel bad for that… but it’s not like he hasn’t missed half my life already, what’s a few more years?”

Ant said nothing. Joseph had been in the same situation as Josuke, having had a kid and not knowing of their existence until they had basically reached adulthood- but at least Josuke hadn’t cheated in the process.

That counts for something… right?

Enmei cracked his back.

“I don’t suppose we have time to stop for coffee?”

“You and your caffeine addiction!”

Josuke glanced at his watch.

“I suppose. The old man’s probably not even awake yet. There should be a coffee place here in the airport somewhere. I’m going to go find a restroom and grab our luggage.”

The pair started walking in the opposite direction of Josuke.

“Man, I’d kill for some cold brew right now.”

Bonk!

The contents of a suitcase went flying everywhere.

“Oh! Sorry, sir. I wasn’t paying attention.”

Enmei practically dived to the floor to clean up the mess.

“Ah! Watch your step there, son! It doesn’t take much to knock over a frail old man like me!”

Ant bit his tongue. The guy was about an inch taller than Ant and didn’t look much older than 50. Not necessarily old, at least by his standards.

He wasn’t kidding about being frail, though, he looks like he’s made out of paper. He can’t be more than half my weight.

“I’ll be on my way now!”

Hmm, something felt off about that.

Ant turned to say something to Enmei, but was cut off by a rather ominous voice.

“Young man, I thought I told you to watch your step.

“Huh?”

Ant turned his head to see that he was being engulfed in some sort of shadow, his body trembling from the sudden cold that was brought with it.

What the hell?

“Ant!”

Enmei?

Enmei!

Where the hell am I?


Chapter 12~ Hells Bells pt II

“Anthonio, was it?”

A voice spoke, seemingly from nowhere yet everywhere at the same time.

Where the hell is Star Platinum?

“Your stand?”

The voice laughed.

“You won’t be able to summon it here.”

...It’s that guy from before!

“A bit slow, are we? You’ve walked right into my Stand, Hells Bells! You are now trapped inside what I like to call Limbo. You are nothing but a light mist here. I can do with you as I please.

You are descended from the one they call Jojo, are you not? Well, son of Jojo, Lord Kars will be pleased to hear of your demise.”

Kars? This wack job works for him? But… how?

“How, that is a good question. I’ll do you one better- why? You see, Lord Kars is the one who has given me this power, and for that, I owe him my life. Thanks to him, I have been reborn!”

This is some sort of crazy-ass dream, right?

“I’d say this would be more of a nightmare for you… unless you have a weird kink or something. Don’t worry, I don’t judge. I used to be a priest, after all. And here I am now, ready to serve lord Kars.”

This guy just doesn’t shut up.

“Are we in a hurry here? My apologies. I suppose I won’t keep you waiting. Adios, Joestar!

Ant was thrown into the wall- literally. He was now stuck in the drywall, in a space just big enough to fit his body.

AHH! There’s not even enough room for me to breathe, I can’t move a muscle! Punching my way out won’t be an option.

It feels as if my brain is sinking… I won’t last long without oxygen. And I didn’t think things could get any more fucked up than they already were. Boy was I wrong.

A chilling sensation began to run up his leg.

This is it I guess.

Next thing he knew, he was being dragged out through the plaster into the blinding airport lights. He laid on his back coughing as the dust and particles from the broken wall settled around him.

“That had to have hurt.”

Ant looked down to see a familiar silver and green appendage wrapped around his leg.  

“Not too bad, actually. Thanks”

Ant sat up.

“Where’d the toothpick go?”

Enmei withdrew his Stand and nodded towards a limp-but still breathing- body leaned against a pillar.

“Shit, Enmei. I didn’t know you could mess people up like that.”

“Surprise, I guess.”

Enmei’s smile dropped.

“We’ll have to drop the coffee idea for now. We’re going to have to clean this up.”

Ant smirked.

“We? It’s technically your mess.”

“Well, you’re the reason I made it.”

“What the hell did you two do?

Josuke was approaching them, luggage in hand. Ant could tell he was struggling to keep a straight face.

“Enemy Stand user, huh? Well, nothing a little Crazy Diamond can’t fix.”

Ant watched as his father summoned his Stand and reverted the wall to its previous state.

“There! Good as new. This is my fault- I should have anticipated this. After all, Stand users are drawn to other Stand users, and there are three of us.”

“What do we do with this guy?”

Enmei took his suitcase from Josuke before turning to look at Ant.

“Just leave him, he’ll regain consciousness in an hour or two. Hopefully he has the brains not to come after us again.”

Josuke walked over to the limp figure.

“What was his deal?”

“Said he was a follower and preacher of the ‘almighty lord Kars’ or something like that. I can’t imagine he has too much faith in him now considering…”

Ant motioned towards the former priest’s mangled body.

“Strange. Is anything broken?”

“Nah, I just gave him a couple of bruises, he’ll be fine.”

“Nice work, kiddo.”

Josuke glanced at his watch.

“We better get going, we’re supposed to be there by 7.”


Chapter 13~ The Notebook Part I

June 7th, 2022. 6:58 am. Joestar Estate- Brooklyn, NYC.

“There’s no reason to be nervous, Mr. Higashitkata. I’m sure he’ll be thrilled to see you.”

“That’s the thing- I don’t want to give the old man a heart attack.”

“I’m afraid you’re a bit too late.”

A man dressed in a suit stepped out onto the doorstep.

“The old man died in his sleep last night.”

“What?”

“You must be his son. He left this for you.”

The man handed him a notebook.

“I would love to stay and chat but… I have a mess to clean up.”

Josuke stood with the notebook, dumbfounded, as the man went back into the house.

“Mr. Higashikata…”

Enmei placed a hand on his shoulder as tears began to silently slide down Josuke’s face.

“He…. he was just fine yesterday.”

Ant put an awkward hand on his father’s other shoulder.

“I’m not even sure why I’m upset, it’s not like we ever really…”

Then Josuke really lost it. His shoulders shook uncontrollably, crying so hard that not a single sound escaped him. Tears fell on and dripped off of the hardcover of the notebook, which Josuke had tightly gripped in his hands.

Ant made eye contact with Enmei, a concerned, anxious look on his face.

Then, almost as suddenly as it had started, it stopped.

Josuke stood up straight and smoothed out his shirt.

“Well, it’s not going to do us any good to stand around here. Let’s go home.”

“What about the notebook?”

“We can look through it later.”

Ant took a breath to say something.

“LATER!”

“No, dad, I was just going to say- I’m sorry.”

“Oh.”

“Do you need a-”

Josuke already had his arms around Ant before he could finish his sentence.

“Get over here, Enmei. I’m sorry for getting so emotional, but it was all so sudden. I suppose, there’s no reason for us to stay here, let’s head out. We can take a look at the notebook on the ride to the airport.”

-+-+-+-

6/5/2022

Dearest Josuke (or whoever else may find themselves reading this),

I'm writing this in the closing days of my life. I had hoped I could spend the last moments of my life with you, my only living family. But alas, fate has interposed. The doctors aren't aware of it yet, but I am certain I am on my deathbed.

This notebook contains the work of me and your nephew, Jotaro Kujo. It has always been a fear of mine that one day the mighty Kars would return. To ease that fear, we took a scientific approach to how he could possibly be defeated.

It was written many years ago and just the other day I was reminded of it when the Speedwagon Foundation came to me with the very news that I had never hoped to hear.

Kars is indeed coming back-and they’re hiding it from the public.

It won’t be easy, but there is a way. I can rest easy knowing that the fate of the world lies in your hands. Your heart is pure gold, Josuke. Your will is unbreakable. Let that aid you as you fight to once again protect those that you care about. Best of luck.

Please read this journal thoroughly and in its entirety. I have left further instructions at the end.  

I love you.

~Joseph Joestar


Chapter 14~ The Notebook Part II

Star Platinum

File updated: 8/17/2012

Whereabouts: Unknown

Original user: Deceased

Stand status: In use.


Hierophant Green

File updated: 12/17/2002

Whereabouts: Unknown

Original user: Deceased

Stand status: In use


Silver Chariot

File updated: 5/01/2001

Whereabouts: ‘Energy plane’

Original user: Alive, unable to house life energy

Stand status: Retired/unusable.


Hermit Purple

File updated: 6/5/2022

Whereabouts: NYC (Earth)

Original user: Alive

Stand status: In use


Magician’s Red

File updated: 7/7/2004

Whereabouts: Unknown

Original user: Deceased

Stand status: Deceased (reduced to nothing via Cream.)


The Fool

File updated: 8/9/2020

Whereabouts: Unknown

Original user: Deceased

Stand status: Unknown (potentially in use)


Log entry: Kujo, Jotaro. 05/05/1994 Edited: 06/04/2003

On the previous page, we have logged the whereabouts of a few Stands that may be beneficial to this mission, all of which are of former allies. We can only hope that this mission will never have to be pursued. But in this world, you can never be too cautious.

I don’t blame the old man, the thought of a deranged superhuman coming to Earth is terrifying- and a pissed-off deranged superhuman at that.

* As of June 4th, 2003 we have found that the Stand, Hierophant Green, has resurfaced in a new user. We are unable to track its exact location, as its user is just starting to manifest it. The rest either cease to exist or exist in a place where all unused energy resides.

The only thing more flawed than weakness is power. An enemy like Kars can easily be defeated with an overload of power- so much that his body wouldn’t know what to do with itself.

We need a Stand user capable of using Hamon, something that is so uncommon that the best we can hope for is a user willing to learn. It’s a stretch, but I think it could work. We aren’t quite sure what type of Stand will work best with it, thus the Stand status page. We’ll have to try all of them if we can.

Another thing- the old man had mentioned that Kars is able to recreate any life or form of energy he encounters. This can only mean one thing- if he finds out about Stands, we’re fucked.

---

Ring Ring RING!

“Ahg, seriously?”

Josuke pulled his phone out of his pocket.

“All the way from Japan…? Hello? Oh, hey Giorno.”

“I hate to interrupt your reunion with your father but Jo has fallen rather ill over the past 12 hours or so. She has a high fever and can barely keep her eyes open. We’re on our way to the hospital.

Something tells me this isn’t just a normal case of the flu."


Chapter 15~ The Notebook Part III

“We’re on our way home. Yep, see you tomorrow I guess.”

Josuke hung up.

“She’s manifesting a Stand.”

“What?”

“There’s no other explanation for it. This same thing happened to me when I first manifested Crazy Diamond.”

“Is she going to be ok?”

“The worst of it will only last a few days for her. She’ll be fine.”

-+-+-+-

Log entry: Joestar, Joseph. July 2nd, 2021.

Some strange rocks have begun to drop near areas densely populated with Stand users. The highest number of reports have come from in and around Morioh.

According to the Speedwagon Foundation, the odd substance they secrete has similar properties to that of the Arrow.

-+-+-+-

“That’s a rather short entry…”

“He’s senile- or, well was. Lucky his attention span was long enough to write this. Huh, looks like that was it.”

-+-+-+-

6/5/2022

Not all the pages are here, some are gone for one reason or another. I’ll do my best to give you a rundown of what was on them.

  • Hamon- a powerful energy derived from the sun, used via respiration. There are very few individuals around today that are trained in it. Most of them reside in the upper peaks of the Alps, though I’m not sure of the exact location.
  • Jotaro Kujo died in 2012, yet I have been able to still detect the energy of both him and his stand. Perhaps we have a similar situation to Hierophant Green going on here. It's probably a good idea to try to locate both of them.

Here is the plan we devised in full, please follow each step accordingly. -

- Go to my estate in England- there’s some stuff there for you, you’ll know it when you see it.

-Gather a group, preferably consisting of one or more of the current users of the Stands we have listed above, they have a history with us, which may just be exactly what we need.

-Find the Hamon Tribe, as I stated previously, they live somewhere around the Alps. You’ll figure it out.

- It is too early to know when or where Kars will land. Go to the Speedwagon Foundation, they can help you from here on out. Tell them that Mr. Joestar sent you.

That's all I've got. I'm so sorry I can't be of any further assistance.

Goodbye, Josuke.

Volume III~ To Heartbreak Hotel

Chapter 16~ Lake Shore Drive Part I

Mid 2021- Morioh Cho, Japan.

Sending me of all people… I know nothing about all this space junk.

Hans sat out in a field, overgrown grass surrounding him and his little setup.

I do owe the Speedwagon Foundation a lot, I guess. We’ll call it even after this.

He looked up at the stars.

To be fair, it is gorgeous out here. There aren't any city lights to pollute the sky.

Hans opened the folder he had been given.

Joestar… I feel like I’ve heard that name before. Must just be one of those names I guess. The Pillar Men… They’re certainly a sight to behold…

BADOOM!

Hans jumped.

Lord almighty, that scared the absolute shit out of me.

About 60 meters from him was an asteroid- no bigger than a car tire in circumference.

Welp, I’m here to do a job. I guess I’ll go check it out.

Hans stood up and walked towards the object. As he got to about 10 meters away a strange energy seemed to radiate off of it.

What in the…

A dizzying feeling came over Hans. He stumbled and fell to the ground.

They were right… this thing… it isn’t… it’s not just any old asteroid…

Then, his thoughts faded away and his mind went blank.

-==-++-==-++-==-==-++-==-++-==-==-++-==-++-==-==-++-==-++-==-==-++-==-++-==-==-

June 9th, 2022. 4 am. England.

“Road closed? Are you kidding me?”

Mista stopped the car. He had been sent with Ant and Enmei in place of Josuke, who had insisted on staying back in Morioh.

“Now we have to turn all the way back around.”

“Not necessarily.”

Enmei pointed to a street sign a few meters behind them.

“Lake Shore Drive… it’s not on the map, must be a newer development.”

“I’m not sure...”

Ant took the map from Enmei.

“Well, it’s better than having to drive all the way back to the crossroads again.”

“We’ll give it a shot, I guess.”

Mista put the car in reverse.

“It doesn’t help that none of us have been around here before.”

They drove in silence for a minute.

“These houses are really nice, it’s weird that they would think of putting all this in such an old part of town.”

Mista stopped the car suddenly.

“Enmei is right, something feels off about this.”

Ant tapped his foot in annoyance.

“You’re just being paranoid, we’ll be fine.”

“Yea, if there was a Stand user after us or something, they probably would have revealed themselves by now.”

“Good point. Excuse my paranoia, I’ve seen a lot of really messed up shit in my day.”

Mista started the car again and continued along the road.

“...”

“WOAH WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT?”

Mista pulled over again.

“What? What is it?”

Ant pointed out the window.

“There was just…a… “

“Now is not the time for jokes, Anthonio. You’re really starting to freak me out.”

It wasn’t a joke...

“...sorry.”

Enmei shifted uncomfortably in the back seat.

“Can we get going here? Something does feel kind of off.”

“Yea, yea, no more putzing around.”

After driving a few more meters, the car started sputtering.

Mista slammed his fist on the dashboard and leaned his forehead on the steering wheel. After a moment he sat up again.

“Alright, get out. Guess we’re walking.”

“But we-”

Out.”

“Man, it’s cold out here.”

“I suppose we can go to one of these houses and see if we can borrow a phone, the cell reception here is terrible.”

As the group walked down the road, Ant couldn’t quite shake the feeling that they were being watched.

Chapter 17~ Lake Shore Drive Part II

Ding Dong.

“Hm. I guess no one’s home.”

“But all the lights are on.”

Mista brushed Ant off.

“We’ll just try somewhere else.”

A faint rustling noise sounded from somewhere.

“...you guys heard that, right?”

“Ant, if you’re trying to freak us out, sto-”

The rustling noise came again, a bit louder this time.

“Dude, seriously.”

Enmei froze, his eyes wide.

“Oh my God.”

“What?”

Enmei snapped out of it.

“I don’t know, there was just… something right there...”

“You two! Stop messing around!”

“We’re not, we think there’s someth-”

Ant was cut off by a bloodcurdling scream.

“Mista, what the hell? Are you ok?”

Mista slapped a hand over his mouth

“I-I didn’t… I didn’t do that. I swear.”

Mista looked around with a panicked look on his face, pistol in hand.

“Enmei, use Hierophant Green over there to try and detect life force. Ant, over there. Someone’s got to be fucking with us.”

“...”

“...”

“I’ve got nothing.”

“Same here.”

Ant felt something grab his ankle.

“Enmei.”

“What?”

“If you’re trying to pull some shit on me with your Stand, now is not the time. It isn’t funny.”

“Anthonio. Don’t move.”

“Huh? AHh! What the hell, Mista?

There was now a sizable gash leading from Ant’s lower calf down to his foot, cut almost down to the bone.

“Sorry! I swear to God there was something there a second ago. It’s fine, let me look at it.”

Ant lashed out at Mista as he bent down to touch his wound, which turned into a straight-out brawl between the two of them.

“HEY, DUMBASSES!”

Enmei separated the two using Hierophant Green.

“Obviously something has gotten into you. This is most definitely the work of an enemy.”

Enmei produced an emerald from Hierophant Green.

“Watch.”

Enmei threw the stone at the house. Instead of hitting it, it went right through, the area around it shimmering as if it were some sort of hologram.

“It’s not real- this house? It’s a Stand.”

Chapter 18~ Lake Shore Drive Part III

“A Stand, you say?”

Ant and Mista looked at each other and then burst out laughing.

Enmei sighed.

“You’re lucky I give a shit about you idiots- come on, let’s go.”

Enmei grabbed each of them by the hand.

I don’t know what caused them to go bonkers before I did- but I’m not sure how much longer it’ll be before I go, too. I have to be quick.

With Mista and Ant in tow, Enmei took off towards the next house.

He tossed another emerald produced by Hierophant Green, getting the same result that he did from the first house.

Whatever this Stand is, it’s definitely long-ranged. It only reacts like this when it makes contact with another Stand, otherwise, it seems to be a completely normal little neighborhood…

“Alright, you two-”

Enmei turned to see that Ant and Mista were gone.

Gah! I don’t have time to go find them, I have to hurry.

He walked out to the middle of the road.

All these houses look the same... if my theory is correct…

Enmei summoned his Stand.

Then there’s only one real house!

“Emerald Splash!”

There! The window over there broke!

He sprinted towards the house and busted the door down. Inside, a young, redheaded man sat at a table.

“You found me! Welcome, amigo!”

“You wanna tell me what’s going on here?”

“Well, that’s no way to greet your host-”

Enmei dragged the guy’s chair towards him using Hierophant Green.

“I’m not here to play House. Now tell me, what the hell is going on?”

The guy narrowed his eyes.

“Well if you must know… I heard old man Joestar died.”

He smirked.

“I was hoping you’d tell me where he was hiding the rest of his fortune- I know he didn’t distribute all of it in his will.”

The guy leaned closer.

“And if you don’t tell me, I’ll kill your little boyfriends using Lake Shore Drive.”

He’s bluffing.

“Listen, I don’t know what your Stand can do, but I do know that I’m going to be beating the shit out of you if you say something that dumb again.”

“It drives people mad- ahahah get it! DRIVES! Ahahah!”

Enmei punched him hard in the jaw.

“Don’t fuck with me.”

The guy spat out a tooth and some blood.

“It kills people.”

Enmei grabbed him by the shirt.

“I’m serious! I’m not even 100% sure what it does- it can reflect and make duplicates of things and then the area surrounding just like, I don’t know, becomes haunted or some shit? And then it just drives people up the walls until they off themselves- Please don’t hurt me, that’s all I know!”

“You aren’t the user then?”

“I am!”

Enmei raised a fist.

“I’m being for real here, man! Please, please don’t bop the moneymaker again!”

He’s not lying.

Enmei lowered his fist but didn’t let go of the guy.

“Unsummon it.”

“What?”

“Unsummon your Stand, shithead!”

“HA! I’m not giving up that ea-”

There was a sickening crunch as Enmei’s hand connected with the Stand user’s face.

What a waste of air.

He threw the now unconscious body onto the floor.

Man, now I feel kind of bad… I’m never that violent.

Enmei set the guy’s body up in a sitting position before going back outside.

Maybe his Stand was what set me off.

The area surrounding the house was now a lot different- all the duplicate houses were gone and replaced by overgrown patches of grass, and there was a narrow gravel road in place of the big asphalt one that had been there only a moment ago.

Weird.

Enmei heard a groan looked over to see Ant sitting up in the grass.

“We’re not taking the shortcut next time.”


Chapter 19~ Heartbreak Hotel Part I

“The body has been identified as Brian Hans, a minister from the suburbs of New York City.

His current condition is critical, we aren’t exactly sure what happened, but there appears to be some sort of substance circulating through his respiratory system.

We are rushing him to the intensive care unit as I speak, the time is 1:02 am on July 2nd, 2021.”

A minister… I’m not sure why he was sent here to do the Speedwagon Foundation’s dirty work, but I sure hope he pulls through.

-==-++-==-++-==-==-++-==-++-==-==-++-==-++-==-==-++-==-++-==-==-++-==-++-==-==-

“At least we know that there are people out there after whatever junk Mr. Joestar left behind.”

The car turned down a long driveway lined by overgrown bushes.

“Mr. Joestar didn’t come here too often- it was more of a for-show type thing. Or maybe a way to get away from and hide things from his wife….”

Enmei laughed uncomfortably.

“The old man was something, huh?”

“I guess.”

“Have you ever met him?”

“A long time ago, I don’t remember much of it, really. Must have been at least 8 or 9 years since. Mr. Higashikata didn’t visit him often.”

“Alright, here we are.”

Mista put the car in park.

“Any idea on what we’re supposed to be looking for?”

“The note Mr. Joestar left said that we’d know it when we saw it.”

“That was in reference to Josuke, was it not?”

“...”

“...”

“Shit.”

“Well. We don’t get cell reception out here… any chance there’s a working landline?”

“The chances are slim, considering he was barely here. Ant, let me see the notebook.”

“What? I thought Mista had it.”

“Oh no, don’t pin this on me!”

I was supposed to bring the notebook?”

“Dude.”

“Kidding!”

Ant handed the notebook upfront.

“I don’t think there’s anything in there that’ll help us, we’ll probably just have to look around until we find something. You still got the key?”

“...”

“Fuck’s sake now is not the time to joke around.”

“You guys are no fun.”

The group got out of the car.

Mista signaled for them to stop.

“Something feels off, we need to be careful.”

The group continued up to the door.

“I figured as much, dammit.”

“What?”

“The door’s already open, someone else is inside. And I have a feeling they aren’t here to make friends.”

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

STAND NAME: Sex Pistols   STAND MASTER: Guido Mista

Power: E   Speed: C   Persistence: A

Range: B   Precision: A   Potential: B


Chapter 20~ Heartbreak Hotel Part II

“On guard, ragazzi.”

Mista, pistol at the ready, kicked the door open softly.

Ant’s jaw dropped.

“And the guy didn’t ever even come here? What a was-”

“Be quiet, you giant goon.”

Mista signaled for the boys to search downstairs and ascended the large marble steps in the entryway.

Ant and Enmei each took a side of the staircase.

Ant walked into a room furnished with expensive, overstuffed couches and end tables made out of some sort of exotic mineral. On one of the tables lay an open photo album, on the left was a photo of 3 adults, one of which was holding an infant.

May 22, 1889? Jeez, this thing is almost as old as the Earth itself.

The other page contained a photo of a blonde man who had a slightly taller dark-haired man in a headlock.

He stared at the photo, trying to put his finger on where he’d seen the two men before. His thoughts were interrupted by a crash from upstairs.

Ant took off, no longer being careful to keep quiet, nearly trampling Enmei on his way.

Mista met them at the top of the stairs, eyes wide. He mouthed the words ‘wasn’t me’ and gestured towards a door that was slightly ajar.

“You go first.”

“Are you kidding me? All I have is a gun-”

“Exactly.”

“Good lord. Move, I’ll go first.”

Enmei summoned his Stand as he peeked around the door.

“All clear.”

He disappeared into the room.

“...”

“...”

“Ladies first.”

“You’re the one with the gun!”

“And you’re a literal human shield.”

“Dude-”

“Shhh!”

“Don’t you shush me-”

“Silenzio! I just realized I haven’t heard any noise from that room since he went in.”

“Does that mean-”

“Without a doubt. Unless he’s being an ass and trying to play some sort of joke. Oh man, this is bringing back some bad memories…”

“Alright, I’m going in.”

“Right behind ya, bud.”

Mista aimed his gun over Ant’s shoulder as he peered into the room.

“He’s not there.”

Mista ducked down to look under Ant’s arm.

“Great.”

“Hey… does something about this room feel off to you?”

“Yea, you’re right… must be some sort of rich person thing or something.”

“No, look. The lights are in the floor and…”

Ant looked up.

Holy shit.”

-==-++-==-++-==-==-++-==-++-==-==-++-==-++-==-==-++-==-++-==-==-++-==-++-==-==-

“Oh thank God she’s awake.”

“Good morning, sleepyhead. Are you feeling any better?”

Jo took in her surrondings. She was sat up in a hospital bed, an IV stuck in her arm. In front of her stood two men.

Giorno and…

She stared at the blue-haired man for a moment longer.

… and dad. What is he doing here?

“Jolanda?”

“I’m ok. Just… exhausted I guess.”

Giorno looked relieved.

“I’ve never seen anything like that happen before. Is it that common around here?”

“Yea, I mean, it’s a town full of Stand users, it’s bound to have happened to some of them. Not everyone has the same backstory, you know.”

Josuke gave Jo a little smile

I feel like there was something I needed to tell them…

“...if you’re here, then where’s my brother?”

“He’s in England with Enmei- I suppose you haven’t heard the whole spiel about my father dying yet.”

Ant… Enmei… in England…

“But we’ll let you rest a while longer before we get into all that.”

"Josuke, something's not right."

Chapter 21~ Heartbreak Hotel Part III

“The whole room is upside down!”

“So this isn’t just a rich person thing?”

Mista gave Ant a look.

“You’re making it extremely difficult for me to not shoot you.”

“Try it and see what happens.”

“We don’t have time for this, scemo.*”

“Well, what do you want me to do? The guy’s stuck on the ceiling, I’m not that tall.”

“You can stop time, can’t you? Why aren’t we utilizing that?”

“It’s only for a second, I don’t know what I can do with-”

“Get in there and figure it out!”

Mista pushed him forwards.

What’s with this guy? What makes him think he can just push me around? Heh. Push. Because he pushed me.

Ant slunk into the room, careful to stay against the wall.

Mista stood, pistol at the ready, with his back on the doorframe.

I feel bad sending the kid in there by himself, but Giorno says he has to learn. He’s got some great potential, even I can see that.

Ever since I’ve entered this room… I’ve had this weird feeling. It almost feels as if I’m… lighter?

Ant glanced up at the ceiling.

Man, what the hell am I supposed to do about this?

He took a step towards the center of the room. As he did so, his leg was pulled up into some sort of vortex.

“Ahg!”

Ant pulled his foot back.

Ok, so this isn’t ideal.

Mista kept his back to the door as he peered back into the room.

Shit, I can’t see him anymore. I guess I can work on trying to locate the user. I have a feeling that might be our only chance of figuring out what exactly is going on here.

Only one way to figure this out. Mista, be prepared to save our asses. I’m going in.

-==-++-==-++-==-==-++-==-++-==-==-++-==-++-==-==-++-==-++-==-==-++-==-++-==-==-

Beep…. Beep….. Beep

The heart monitor bleeped on as usual. Normally a sound of comfort to the patient’s loved ones, a sign that there was still hope, that they were still hanging on, even if it was just by a thread.

But to the nurse standing at the edge of Brian Hans’ bed, it was the most menacing thing she had ever heard.

Beep…. Beep… Beep….

A single tear slid down her cheek.

I don’t know anything about this man, but knowing he did the Lord’s work makes this painful. He doesn’t deserve this.

Beep… Beep… Beep….

It’s only a matter of time now.

Beep… Beep… Beep

BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP

“Brian Hans. Time of death, 3:33 am.”

-==-++-==-++-==-==-++-==-++-==-==-++-==-++-==-==-++-==-++-==-==-++-==-++-==-==-

I don’t think there’s much up here… there isn’t really a place for anyone to hide, except for a closet maybe.

Mista tiptoed quietly to the next room over.

There’s no windows, no nothing leading into the other room. How can the Stand’s user see what’s going on?... maybe they don’t need to…

Ant stepped towards the middle of the room again. This time his arm got sucked in first.

Please work please work please work. Freeze!

Ant squeezed his eyes shut as the rest of his body was pulled in.

Yes! I’m stuck in between, now maybe I can see what’s going on.

He was surrounded by a sort of shimmery liquid-like substance.

I can’t see clearly, but I can see both sides. Ah! There he is! Oh good, he’s able to move around, just can’t see it from below. I still can’t quite grasp what’s happening here, but it looks like I can just slip through to the other side-

“ANT!”

“Hey, bud!”

Enmei dived towards him.

“No! Don’t move!”

Ant had just finished pulling his body into the room as Enmei finished his sentence.

Enmei slammed his fists on the floor.

“Shit!”

“What?”

“There’s no way out of here, Ant. Once you’re in, there’s no way out. You just screwed us both.”

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

STAND NAME: Star Platinum   STAND MASTER: Anthonio Zeppeli

Power: A   Speed: A   Persistence: A

Range: C   Precision: A   Potential: A

Chapter 22~ Heartbreak Hotel Part IV

“Our only chance is for Mista to find the Stand user. I hope he has the brains to not try and come in here. I’ve already scaled every inch of this room, there’s no sign of life anywhere and it seems that the air is flowing out of the room. If we stay here we’ll suffocate.”

“I’m not sure what the hell we came here for, but it better be worth it.”

“Mr. Joestar distributed his will quite a while ago already. But this lot of fools aren’t aware of that. Unless it isn’t money that they’re after...”

-==-++-==-++-==-==-++-==-++-==-==-++-==-++-==-==-++-==-++-==-==-++-==-++-==-==-

Neither of them has come back out yet. I wonder if they need my help in there…

Achoo!”

Pistol in hand, Mista walked quietly over to a painting on the wall.

Classic.

He pulled the painting down, revealing a square-shaped hole, inside sat a slim, tan-skinned girl.

“Damn allergies. Well, looks like you found me! I guess my accomplice was just as useless as he looked.”

Mista pointed his gun at her.

“Hey, you look familiar. Are you Italian, by chance? Oh, I know! You’re Guido Mista! The underboss of the world-renowned Passio-”

“Shut your mouth!”

“Hey, hey now. We’re both here for the same thing, right? Well, I thought I’d take the liberty of letting you know-”

The girl held up a used syringe.

“Someone already beat us to it.”

“What the hell is that? Is this some sort of joke?”

Dammit, I’ve already lost my cool. What’s this bitch’s deal?

“I’m not sure. I was sent here on a mission, one that I am now unable to complete. That means I’m no longer of any use to my organization. I thought I might as well try to curve my punishment in Hell by helping the good guy. You are the good guy, right, Guido?”

BAM!

I’ve had enough of this shit. It wasn’t a fatal shot. I’ll leave whether she lives or not up to her superiors.

He slipped the syringe out of her limp hand.

She knew she was screwed when I found her, that’s why she tried acting all goody-goody with me.

Mista turned the syringe over in his hand.

What is this? How would Josuke have known about it? Hell, why didn’t the bozo just tell us? ‘You’ll know it when you see it.’ Guess I shouldn’t be asking questions, I’m just here to fulfill my orders.

Mista heard a heavy thud.

“Ouch! Ant, watch where you’re landing! You’re not exactly light, you know.”

Thank god. Giorno would have had my ass if anything happened to that kid.

He looked down at the syringe.

...I can’t let them know about this.

He slipped it into a pocket on the inside of his suit jacket. A second later, the two boys came out into the hallway, Enmei rubbing his head as if he had hit it on something.

“You find anything?”

Enmei glanced at the limp body of the girl.

“No.”

Mista said the word with a stone straight face.

“Hey, before we came up here, I did see something kind of interesting.”

“What was it, Anthonio?”

“It was a photo album.”

Ant started down the stairs.

“There’s nothing up here, come on.”

Ant picked the album off the table.

“I’m sure these aren’t of much importance, really.”

He pointed to the picture of the blonde man and his friend.

“But something about these photos -this one in particular- doesn’t sit right with me. I feel like I know these guys from somewhere.”

Mista looked over his shoulder.

“Huh, that one kind of looks like you. Actually, you two look almost identical.”

Enmei pulled the edge of the album down.

“That’s an old picture from the late 30s. That blonde man was a good friend of Mr. Joestar’s, though I don’t quite remember his name. It might be written on the back,”

Enmei slipped the photo out of its plastic covering and handed it to Ant.


Joseph Joestar (18)

Caesar A. Zeppeli (20)

February 25th, 1939.


Volume IV~ Ode to Oddity

Chapter 23~ From the Peaks of the Alps

~ peak of Matterhorn. Date: Obscured.

A group of children sat around a campfire, headed by a boy in his teens.

“We should probably head on in now.”

“Aww. Can you tell us a story first? We aren’t tired yet!”

“No, the sun went down ages ago. We’re already pushing it-”

“Please Matteo?”

The older boy hesitated for a second.

“Fine, but we have to head in early tomorrow, then. What kind of story?”

“A scary one!”

“An extra scary one!”

“Really? Right before bed? Alright, if you say so.

Not too long ago, there lived a race of man called the Pillar Men.

They were basically gods, they lived to ages beyond the comprehension of your tiny little minds.

They ruled the Earth, they were impenetrable, immortal. Well, almost.

They had one weakness- the Sun.”

“This story isn’t scary!”

“Shh! He’s getting there.”

“The Pillar Men looked down on Humans. They despised them because while they were able to walk freely in the Sunlight, they had to stay hidden away in the shadows.

Eventually, a group of Humans learned how to harness the power of Sunlight-

“Hamon!”

“Exactly. Now, the Humans had a sort of power over them. They loathed the fact that the Sun's rays made them feeble. But on they lived.

Until one day, one of the Pillar Men had had enough.

He worked, day and night, to create a contraption that would make him not only immune to the Sun- but to everything else. The contraption would make him the Ultimate Being.

But the other Pillar Men didn’t like this idea. He killed them all except for a singular ally and two infants.”

“Does the guy have a name?”

“Let’s call him Leonard!”

“Uh, sure. His name was Leonard. So, Leonard finished his invention- all except for one piece. After a long nap, Leonard and his friends woke up in search of the piece- a stone called the ‘Super Aja.’

But during their search, they came across an unexpected obstacle-

Hamon users!

The Pillar Men were all picked off one by one, all except for Leonard.

Leonard achieved his goal- at the cost of his allies. But he didn’t need allies as the Ultimate Being.

Or so he thought.

In the end, the terrible creature known as Leonard was defeated.

But, legend has it that this was not the end for the Pillar Men race- one of Leonard’s allies had passed his genes via a Human female. And to this day… the DNA of the monstrous, horrific Pillar Men race is still floating around out there… somewhere… maybe even… here!”

“...”

“...”

“That story wasn’t very scary.”

“It was kind of scary but not extra scary.”

“Alright, alright, now, off to bed. The sun went down hours ago, it’s way past all of your bedtimes.”

Matteo herded the group together and sent them off towards the lights of the village in the not-so-far distance.

As he put the fire out, he felt a little tug on his pant leg.

“Matty?”

“Si, farfallina?”

“Is that story true?”

I can’t lie to her…

He looked down at the little girl, her cheeks red and her eyes watery from the cold air.

...I can give her a half-truth.

“The first part is very real- but you don’t have to worry. Like I said, Ka- I mean, Leonard is long gone.”

“So there’s no scary monstrous half-breed walking around?”

“Of course not. Now, go home. I’m sure your mother is worried sick.”

The little girl gave Matteo’s leg a tight hug.

“Thanks, Matty! Buonannote!”

“Ciao, sleep well!”

He watched as the girl skipped towards home, her boots leaving a small trail of prints in the snow.

The monster lurks closer than she could ever imagine….


Chapter 24~ Hermit Purple Emerges

Speedwagon Foundation- 2019

“The plan is coming along just fine- more than fine, actually. I think we may have devised a way to do it seamlessly.”

A man sat with his back towards the group he was addressing.

“You all are doing very, very well. I think we’re ready to move onto phase II, plan accordingly. I believe it is time to create the ‘disturbance.’ I assume that the appropriate preparations have been made?”

“Of course, sir.”

“Marvelous. You are dismissed.”

The group left the room, mumbling amongst themselves.

All except for one.

“...”

“I believe I said you are dismissed.”

The guy who stayed behind, short but wide in stature, couldn’t stop himself from blurting out.

“How many people are going to die?”

There was a long, uncomfortable silence before the man’s superior responded.

“As many as it takes.”

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“You know, I’ve seen a lot of weird shit in my days, but this kind of takes the cake.”

“It was unnerving, it was like I could feel him… detach from this world.”

Mista sat at Jo’s bedside, playing therapist.

“Makes sense, the guy literally wasn’t even here. Sounds like some sort of pocket dimension, the way they explained it to me.”

“It was such a weird feeling… it almost made me feel ill…”

Josuke sat with his back to them.

“It's your Stand. The properties of it are a bit overwhelming. I don’t even know quite how to explain it to you... but once you get the hang of it, it’ll prove to be quite useful in situations just like this one.”

“What are you on about? My brother almost just died, now’s not the time for your mumble-jumble Stand bullshit.”

“Jolanda. Your Stand was my father’s. It’s called ‘Hermit Purple’.

And I think it’s exactly the Stand we need for this mission.”

-==-++-==-++-==-==-++-==-++-==-==-++-==-++-==-==-++-==-++-==-==-++-==-++-==-==-

Matteo sat on a ledge overlooking the valley he called home.

It's never good when outsiders come.

He crossed his arms over his chest as he watched his breath appear and dissipate in the cold air.

It’s unsafe. Not only for them.

But for us. For ourselves

It awakens it.

And with the information I’ve been provided...

I’m not sure if I’ll be able to keep it at bay.

Zeppeli, Joestar.

Those names aren’t unfamiliar here.

And that just makes me fear this all the more.

The following information has been provided by the Speedwagon Foundation- Southern Alps Division.

Subject: Matteo Sebastian Bachmann

DOB: 1/16/2003

Stand: N/A

Height: 178 cm

Weight: Approx. 85 kg

Blood: O-

Notes: Observed strange markings along vertebral column, adverse reaction to excessive exposure to gamma rays and UV. Unpredictable and sudden change in behavior. Known to have occasional violent outbursts. Incidents are usually isolated and not of risk to others.

Chapter 25~ Mission: Star Sailor

Speedwagon Foundation Aerospace Center- 2019

“They should be returning from their mission right about now, Dr. Socra.”

“Perfect, Eri. Prepare the threshold for their arrival.”

“On it, sir.”

The perfect crew… it’s no surprise that they’re all coming back in one piece.

Socra watched as Eri led a team into the large, empty room that his workspace overlooked.

Just as the team got into formation, a strange disturbance began to take form in the middle of the room.

The disturbance dissipated just as fast as it had developed. In the middle of the empty room now stood the 4 member crew of the mission.

Major Starr’s Stand never fails to amaze me.

Major Starr flashed Socra a toothy grin and waved at him with a small chunk of meteorite.

Well done, Tommy.

Several minutes later, the 5 of them were seated around a table in a conference room.

“Major Sta-”

“Dr. Socra, please.”

“Tom. Words cannot describe how incredibly proud and in awe I am of the performance of you and your team.”

“Couldn’t have done it without you, sir.”

“The committee will be very, very pleased with the work you have done here. This, however, is not the end of mission Star Sailor.”

“But you said-”

“Dr. Sains, I advise that you silence yourself and listen to what I have to say.”

Sains glared at him but remained silent.

“As I was saying. The Star Sailor’s will not be disbanding quite yet. We have come to the conclusion that this team along with their abilities is just what we need to set the rest of our main operation into motion.”

Tom’s breath caught in his throat.

They lied… they said they wouldn’t put us- or me- in danger like that.

“But sir, if we get that close to the chasm, I can’t guarantee that w-we’ll all make it back safely.”

“I don’t have a single doubt that your Space Oddity has what it takes. We have estimated that the meteorite cluster is several feet out of range.”

Several feet? Not miles? Not even meters?

Despite his lingering concerns, Tom nodded.

“You all deserve a rest, we can go into details at a later date. Just know that it will be soon.”

“Yes, sir. Thank you, sir.”

Holy shit.


SPW PERSONNEL FILE #32351: Starr, T.

DOB: 22/12/1998

Service:

  • World Space Guard 2015-present

Height: 1.78 m

Weight: 73.03 kg

Blood Type: O-

Stand: See Stand file #498

SPW STAND FILE #498

Title: Space Oddity

User: Starr, T. - Personnel #32351  

Description: Stand possesses the power of accelerated space transmission*. Operative aspects are not observable. No physical description has been provided or recorded.

-==-++-==-++-==-==-++-==-++-==-==-++-==-++-==-==-++-==-++-==-==-++-==-++-==-==-

“Departure is in t-minus 12 hours.”

“What? So soon?”

“We can’t wait any longer. This needs to happen now.”

Tom zoned out as Sains and Socra continued to squabble with each other.

If it weren’t for that damned chasm, I’d be able to do this no problem. Its strange properties mess with Space Oddity.

Ahem.”

“Huh? Oh, sorry. What was that?”

“It’s up to you whether we do this or not. After all, it’s your Stand that we need.”

Socra butted in front of Sains.

“Just know that this could very well make or break this entire mission. You don’t want all that work to be for nothing, do you? We’ll be changing the world.”

Socra placed a hand on Tom’s shoulder.

“You’re a bright young man, Tommy. I trust you’ll make the right decision.”

With that, Socra left the room.

“Your decision dictates the future of not only yourself, but the entire team. Think about that. Though, I’m sure your choice has already been made.”

Sains hesitated as she went to leave.

“Major Starr, it’s been a pleasure working with you.”

And then Tom was left by himself.

… your choice has already been made.

-==-++-==-++-==-==-++-==-++-==-==-++-==-++-==-==-++-==-++-==-==-++-==-++-==-==-

“Dr. Socra, we need the finalized list.”

“It’s right here, Eri.”

Eri looked over his shoulder.

“... Lt. Felix Alnino… Minister Brian Hans… sir, these aren’t researchers.”

“Exactly, they’ll get the job done without any questions. Most of them are indebted to us in some way, as well, so we won’t have much trouble in getting them to do it.”

“Fair enough, sir. But aren’t we expecting actual results?”

“From some, yes. Others, not so much. It’s on a person to person basis. First things first, we need to figure out just how dangerous these things are on this large of scale. Then we go from there.”

“And the only thing we need to set it in motion is for Starr to kick some ancient rock man?”

“Have you ever read up on the history behind it? It’s rather interesting, actually.”

“If I had the time to, sir, I would.”

“It’s truly mind-boggling how well the timing is. Only a day and a half after the first part of the mission and everything’s perfectly aligned up there.”

Socra handed over the sheet.

“Alright, now get out of my hair. I have to make a phone call. Make yourself useful and prepare for the departure of our Star Sailors.”

-==-++-==-++-==-==-++-==-++-==-==-++-==-++-==-==-++-==-++-==-==-++-==-++-==-==-

Tom’s heart thumped in his chest.

I can’t believe I’m actually doing this.

He looked to his right, the rest of his crew lined up and ready to go.

It’s strange… I feel like this is exactly where I’m supposed to be. What happens to me is inevitable. But them… I could save them…

“All clear for departure, Major Starr.”

Tom turned and gave a thumbs up to the window overlooking the take off room.

“They’re asking for an estimated arrival time.”

“There won’t be an arrival.”

“Excuse me?”

“This’ll be a one way trip.”

“Major Starr, I know the odds are against us here, but with all of us going we have a chan-”

Sains cut off as the typical disturbance that signified the activation of his Stand began to surround Tom.

“Dr. Sains.”

Tom turned and gave her a half smile, his eyes wet with tears.

“It’s been a pleasure.”


Chapter 26~ Matteo Bachmann, Hamon Master. Part I

Matteo Sebastian Bachmann was always different.

But not in the odd, uncomfortable way. He was different in an abnormally alluring way.

Even as a newborn, the residents of Solei Valley felt drawn to him. They would say he made them feel something that they could only describe as secure. Even more so when he began to pick up advanced techniques of Hamon.

“What a wonderful boy you have, Arya. It’s a shame the father isn’t around.”

To which his mother would respond.

“If he could be, he would.”

What was unknown to the village was that the father was not alive, and therefore could not be there even if he wanted to be. His cause of death is unknown, but Arya Bachmann had felt detached ever since he had disappeared. He wasn’t one who would have just up and left. He was, without a doubt, deceased.

Life went on, and as Matteo grew, so did his power.

But something else deep inside of him also began to make its way out.

Something terrible.

It started as secluded little episodes, small outbursts that could be hidden from others. Strange marks would appear on his back whenever he used his power, and it would hurt.

Then they came. The Speedwagon Foundation. Or so the men that came had claimed to be.

Matteo was 14 and had been experiencing this oddity for about 3 years. He had been able to keep it secluded, hidden, locked away. He was sure he could keep doing the very same, despite the disturbance.

But then they started probing at him and asking questions. “How does he do it? Why? Was he born with it?”

And he snapped. They had taken him in for testing at the local medical center. It was the first time he had done it in front of anyone. Not one of the men left Solei Valley unharmed. And one of them didn’t leave alive.

His mother saw the entire thing. She wept for days.

“How could this happen? The genes did pass on after all. Matteo, tell no one. Just know that something terrible lives inside of you.”

Something terrible?

“I’m not sure what you’re talking about but… why didn’t you tell me?”

“I didn’t think-”

“There was a possibility that I was some sort of… monster? And you tried hiding it from me? I’ve been struggling with this for the past 3 and a half years of my life and you couldn’t have told me? You won’t tell me about my father, you didn’t tell me about this…and you’re the one that’s upset?  You are a terrible, selfish woman, Arya.

“Mon enfant, you don’t underst-”

“Don’t call me that. Because as far as I’m concerned…

You’re no longer a mother.”

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“Monsieur* Bachmann, they have arrived.”

“...”

“Why don’t you come and greet them?”

I can sense that something is off. There were only supposed to be two of them…. Why are there 3? And why does it make me feel so uneasy?

“Of course, it would be rude of me not to greet our guests.”

3 of them… 3 of them! What am I supposed to do now? I feel… cornered.

“What were the names again? Ah, yes. Zeppeli. Jolanda and Anthonio. But…”

“But what, Monsieur?”

“Who is the third?”

“A rather nice young man, I didn’t quite catch his name…”

There were only supposed to be 2…! I’m not prepared for this at all.

He peeked around the corner of the stairwell. In the building’s lobby there stood 3.

The girl must be Jolanda. I can’t tell which one is Anthonio… neither of them looks anything like her.

He stood back a bit and observed them. One of them was a slender, yet athletically built brunette. The other, a gargantuan blond that couldn’t have been any less than 195 cm.

“Where the hell is this guy? It’s been 15 minutes!”

“Patience, Jolanda.”

The brunette was the one that had spoken.

Siblings don’t talk to each other like that. But then again, there is a similarity in their build…

“Too bad that Stand of yours didn’t have any effect on your attitude problem!”

This time, it was from the blond, who received a hard punch in the shoulder as a response.

That pretty much confirms it. Alright, let’s do this.

“Your Stands, show them to me.”

“Huh? Hey! Who the hell said that?”

“It’s him, Jolanda.”

“It’s about damned time! Get your prissy little butt down here!”

“Your Stands, please.”

“Why would we expose ourselves to you?”

“It’s a precautionary measure. Where I can see them, please, so I know you won’t try anything.”

“You aren’t a Stand user though, how could you see our Stands?”

I have to think of something, quick.

“Hello?”

“Hamon users as experienced as I don’t require a Stand to see the life energy of others. Now, let me see them so we can get on with this.”

The girl rolled her eyes but complied, as did the others.

I’ve never seen Stands like this before… they look… powerful. I could deal with the green and the vine-like one if I had to… but the muscular purple one… I don’t think I would stand a chance.

Matteo chewed the inside of his cheek.

At least I don’t have to worry about it… they’re on my side, for now…


*French for 'sir.'

Chapter 27~ Matteo Bachmann, Hamon Master. Part II

Enmei was surprised to see that the fabled Matteo Bachmann was somewhat… average.

He couldn’t have been much taller than 175 cm, though what he lacked in height was made up for with his muscular build.

He’s kind of... Intimidating. There’s a certain aura about him…

He felt as if Matteo was staring daggers into his soul.

It's no surprise the Swiss are known to be unwelcoming towards foreigners…

But then he smiled and bowed his head.

“Nice to meet you two- and you…?”

“Ah- sorry. Enmei Kakyoin, astronomer.”

“You know a lot about stars then, yes?”

“Yea, I guess.”

The smile dropped off of Matteo’s face.

“Then you should know that the stars have not aligned in your favor.”

There were a few seconds of uncomfortable silence before Matteo burst out laughing.

“I’m kidding, mon ami. Bienvenue.”

He reached out to shake Enmei’s hand.

I still can’t quite shake the feeling that there’s something off about this guy…

“I wasn’t prepared for the arrival of 3 of you. But no matter! You will all receive the full Solei Valley experience!”

“We aren’t here for a vacation, unfortunately.”

“I never said you were, ami*.

Enmei glanced over at Ant, who stood stiff-jawed and stone-faced.

He’s caught on, too.

“Listen, I know there is urgency. We can start right away.”

Matteo pushed past the 3 of them and headed towards the door. A cold burst of air rushed in. He hesitated as he was about to step outside.

“Just to assure you, I do have a motive…

I hate them, too.”

-==-++-==-++-==-==-++-==-++-==-==-++-==-++-==-==-++-==-++-==-==-++-==-++-==-==-

Speedwagon Foundation Asia-Pacific Headquarters-

“Where did you find this?”

“They found it at my father’s place in England. I have no idea why he was hiding it or who or-”

“So you don’t know who used it?”

“No.”

The woman that sat across from Josuke rubbed her temples.

“Not only is it expensive and in short supply- we don’t even know where it went or what effect it had.”

“Dr. Sains, I’m sorry but I’m just as clueless as you are. I’m just here to report it and figure out what’s going on.”

Dr. Sains glanced over Josuke’s shoulder.

“And that one? What’s his business here?”

Mista was outside of the room, poking around at some lab stuff.

“He uh…”

The sound of glass breaking answered for him. Dr. Sains raised her eyebrows.

“I see.”

Mista sped-walked into the room and shut the door.

“If you see any broken glass out there- I had nothing to do with that.”  

Sains sighed and stood up.

“I suppose for now I should let you go- there isn’t too much to talk about here. There isn’t anything we can do in regards to tracking where the serum went. Thank you, though. At least we know that it’s out there somewhere. I can give you a call if we figure something out”

“Actually, I had a few questions for you. This stuff… where does it even come from? It’s gotta be related to the arrow somehow… the way in which it works is very similar.”

Dr. Sains stared at him over her glasses.

“Don’t ask questions you aren’t prepared to hear the answer to.”

*French for 'friend.'


Chpater 28~ Matteo Bachmann, Hamon Master. Part III

“Who is this kid you sent those goofballs off to see?”

“Not sure but… the Speedwagon Foundation seemed sure that was where Mr. Joestar wanted them to go.”

“And you did so without hesitation?”

“...”

“I don’t know Josuke, it seems to me you put too much confidence in this… this organization if you ask me. Their whole operation just seems a bit odd…”

“I wouldn’t dare question anything they say or do. They’ve been working hand in hand with the Joestar’s for longer than both our lives put together. And my boy works pretty closely with them. If he thought something was off, he wouldn’t have gone.”

Josuke gave Giorno a backwards glance.

“And you saying their whole ‘operation’ is odd is a bit ironic, don’t you think?”

“I have a knack for being able to spot this sort of thing, something feels very wrong here. I really don’t know if this was the best idea.”

“You think I don’t know how to take care of my own kids?”

The two of them fell silent for a moment.

“Look, I can make my way back to Italy if you want. My job here is done. But just know this-”

Giorno made his way to the door.

“I’m never wrong.”

Josuke tapped his foot as Giorno let the door close lightly behind him.

Never wrong? What an arrogant prick.

I’m not sure why he’s so antsy all of a sudden. He doesn’t seem like the type to cause a scene like that.

He shifted in his chair and heard something fall.

For fuck’s sake.

He reached down and grabbed a basic office folder off the floor.

Huh? This isn’t mine.

He flipped the folder over, in large, bolded letters three words were written:

Mission Star Sailor.

-==-++-==-++-==-==-++-==-++-==-==-++-==-++-==-==-++-==-++-==-==-++-==-++-==-==-

The Pillar Men.

They are the only reason I agreed to this,

so I could get even with them for doing this to me.

Matteo’s heart raced as he trudged along, the group of strangers following closely behind.

There’s so much going on here, I don’t know if I can handle this.

No. No, no I can’t. I can’t do this right now.

“I know I said we’d get started… but I do believe it’s getting rather late. If you head back to the building you were just in, they’ll show you to your sleeping quarters.”

“You just made us walk for 10 minutes in the freezing freaking cold just to have us turn right back around?”

“Did I stutter?”

“Jolanda does have a point, this is a bit ridic-”

Matteo whipped around. Nothing more was required to silence Enmei.

Matteo tugged at the bottoms of his gloves.

“Please. I think we all need some rest. You should get going before it gets even colder”

And before I lose my shit.

He watched as the trio made their way through the tracks they had created in the snow covered ground.

What the hell am I going to do?

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

Profile- Jolanda Zeppeli  

Born: August 31, 2003  Stand: Hermit Purple

Blood type: A   Height: 174 cm  

Distinguishable Characteristics: deep purple scar on forehead, star-shaped birthmark on upper left shoulder blade.

Chapter 29~ Matteo Bahcmann, Hamon Master. Part IV

“Rise and shine, ami!”

Ant was pulled out of sleep by a sudden bright light.

“What the hell, dude?”

“Come on! You’re the last one up!”

What is up with this guy?

Ant was met by Enmei and Jo in the hall.

“Well, he seems happy today.”

Enmei tapped his phone aggressively.

“Darn thing…Mr. Higashikata has been trying to get through to me all morning but there’s no cell reception up here…”

“Haha, yea. There won't work up here. Our last guests learned that the hard way.”

Matteo’s sudden presence made Ant flinch.

“Slight change of plan. I’ll be taking each of you up one at a time.”

“What? That’s not wha-”

“You dare question me? We haven’t even confirmed your potential yet, and you’re already complaining.”

Matteo sighed.

“I apologize for my short temper, but it’s not easy having to take on three students on such short notice. This makes it a bit easier, please, bear with me.”

He looked over at Jo.

“You have the most potential, from what I’ve heard. I’ll start with you. If you can’t harbor it, I doubt very much that these two could.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“No need to get offended, ami. The sole purpose of you all coming here was because of her, was it not?”

“...”

“Alright, then. We’re wasting daylight.”

Matteo gestured for Jo to follow him. She hesitated.

Ant tapped her shoulder and leaned close to her ear.

“Remember what he said, Jo. About them, how he hates the Pillar Men.”

“What does his petty little grudge have to do with anything?”

“Our enemy is his enemy. I know it’s hard but… just trust him, ok? If anything bad happens, I’ll know.”

Jo stood for a minute longer before stepping forwards.

“Just know, Monsieur, if you try anything, you're as good as dead.”

Matteo bowed his head.

“Fair enough.”

Without another word, the two of them made their way outside.

Ant turned to say something to Enmei, but was cut off by a soft scratching sound.

He turned to see a small, old lady sweeping the floor and shaking her head.

“There’s something about that boy, something’s not right with him.”

Ant turned back to Enmei.

“Hey, you see that lady, right?”

“Huh?”

Ant realized that the sweeping sounds had stopped, and when he looked again, he also realized that the little old lady was gone.

“There was just a little old grandma over there, sweeping…”

He stared at the spot, dumbfounded.

“Sweeping? Ant, are you nuts? The floor here is carpet.”

-==-++-==-++-==-==-++-==-++-==-==-++-==-++-==-==-++-==-++-==-==-++-==-++-==-==-

Matteo and Jolanda walked in silence for what seemed like ages.

This is awkward.

Matteo stopped as they came to a snow-covered ledge that overlooked the valley.

Woah.

Jo could see the two story house they had come from, and the rest of the village, which she had not yet seen.

“Looks cozy, doesn’t it?”

“Cozier than being up here, that’s for sure.”

Matteo exhaled lightly, the closest thing to a laugh that Jo had heard from him.

“I have to disagree. I find comfort in being able to watch over my home. This is one of my favorite spots.”

They stood watching the bustling village in silence, the awkwardness unretained.

“There’s something I have to do to you. It’s not going to feel very good.”

“Uh, ok.”

“Give me your arm.”

Jo pulled her arm out of her jacket.

“All the way, unless you want me to cut through the sleeve.”

Jo rolled her sleeve up and suddenly felt a stinging sensation burn across her forearm.

Matteo pulled back a knife beaded with blood.

“What the actual hell? Are you insa-”

Jo cut off as she was jabbed just below the ribs, a painful tingling shot through her body.

Matteo inspected her arm as she fell to the ground.

“Bordel de merde*…”

“What do you mean, ‘bordel de merde?’ What the fuck did you just do to me?”

“Look.”

“Yea, I know, my arm’s bleeding, you psycho.”

Look.”

Jo looked down and instead of seeing a wound seeping blood, she instead saw a newly formed scar.

“Did you… how did you do that?”

“It’s not the result we were looking for. It was supposed to heal all the way. I did it partially, your body was supposed to take over the rest of the way. But it didn’t. Do you understand what that means?”

Jo gave him a blank stare.

“Jolanda, it means you do not have the ability to practice Hamon.”

<<<<<< To Be Continued.

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