|The Misadventures of a Quirky Cast Series|
|Preceded by: |
Walk in the Shadows
|DuraOni||Succeded by: |
This is a fan interpretation of "What would happen if characters from Durarara!! were in the HetaOni/Ao Oni mansion".
As with HetaOni, the main objective is to survive and escape, but it bears little similarities with Ao Oni after that.
I apologize if this seems like a copycat product or is ripping off anything whatsoever. No benefit is being made out of this, and is not meant to show disrespect to the creators of HetaOni or Ao Oni or anyone involved with either games production.
There will be surprises as you continue on. For example, references to other popular culture, including Durarara!!'s sister series Baccano! and twists you may have expected if you watch HetaOni.
There will be references to a fanfic crossover called "Walk in the Shadows", as it explains how and why this story started as such. Its last chapter is the only one necessary, however.
Hetalia belongs to Himaruya Hidakez
Durarara!! and Baccano! belong to Ryohgo Narita.
All other series mentioned and/or referenced belong to their respectful owners.
Do you still wish to go on?
Somewhere, in a forest not that far from Ikebukuro, a mansion loomed in the center of it, almost giving off the appearance of a castle.
Izaya, Shizuo, Kasuka, Shinra and Celty stood at the entrance to this mansion. Celty, being…well, Celty, did not appear to like the mansion.
"Hey, flea, is this where that booklet said the mansion would be?" Shizuo questioned Izaya.
"Yup. I'm surprised to find such a building in the middle of the forest," Izaya admitted.
[Guys, I don't think it's a good idea to enter this mansion. It seems so creepy!]" Celty complained.
"Don't worry, Celty, if things get bad, I'll protect you," Shinra promised.
"[But that booklet said we might get attacked by things that look like aliens! I don't want to go in there!]" Celty typed out.
"Celty, it will be fine, I promise," Izaya promised, the group entering the mansion.
Inside, it seemed to be clean. No dust, no creaking floors, not even signs that anyone had lived there…yet. Long halls led deeper into the mansion, and stairs led to another floor.
"This place does not feel safe…" Shinra noted.
"It's about as clean as clean gets with creepy mansions," Izaya commented.
"[You guys can explore the mansion, but I'm getting out of here. I do not feel safe,]" Celty declared, walking up to the door.
To her surprise, it refused to be opened. The Dullahan desperately tried to open it, but to no avail.
"Uh oh…" Izaya muttered.
"[Shizuo, can you please punch this door open?]" Celty asked.
Shizuo strolled up to the door and punched it as hard as he could. To his shock, it didn't open.
"What the…why won't it open?!" Shizuo demanded to know.
"I wouldn't know," Izaya admitted.
Shizuo ran up to him and grabbed him by his jacket.
"Listen, flea, if this is your idea of a joke, oh so help me…" the blonde man hissed.
"Do you think I'd go as low as to lock the door to a strange old mansion where, perhaps, I would want to leave from?" Izaya questioned.
"Okay, before Shizuo and Izaya tear this mansion down…wait, go and do that," Shinra joked.
"[Shinra!]" Celty berated.
"I was kidding! Anyways, we're better off finding a way out of here before something bad happens," Shinra reminded.
Shizuo let Izaya go.
"Fine…but if he pulls something…" the former bartender threatened.
"I won't. Geez, Shizu-cha-"
"[I'm just going to stop you right there, Izaya,]" Celty stopped.
Suddenly, the sound of a dish breaking got Izaya's attention.
"Someone else is in the house?" Shinra guessed.
"Not that I know. I don't think I told anyone else," Izaya recalled.
"Well, that's unsettling," Shizuo muttered.
"I'll go check it out. I'll be right back," Izaya promised, heading towards the source of the noise.
A long hall stretched to the kitchen, where Izaya felt a draft.
"Geez, this is cold. The mansion isn't as well-kept as I thought," he muttered.
He glanced around quickly and found a plate broken near a table. Dark stains covered it.
Wait. Were those stains there before?
Izaya held a hand up to his head and headed over to a wall to rest his head.
"Okay, this is not funny if someone's trying to pull a joke on me," he muttered.
Picking up a shard of the plate, he hurried back to where the other, only to discover they were gone.
"…not funny, guys!" Izaya shouted, annoyed. His face soon took on a slightly downcast look before he headed past the stairs to somewhere else.
Celty did not trust Izaya enough to think he wasn't planning on anything shady in this mansion. In fact, she was grateful Shizuo declared they leave Izaya for dead and split up.
"The flea obviously has some sort of plan up his sleeve, and I don't want to put up with him in this mansion," the ex-bartender declared as they had split up.
Maybe it wasn't a good idea to trust Shizuo. He hates Izaya, sure, but Izaya looked like he knew the place by heart.
Suddenly, Celty stopped dead in her tracks. Something huge, pale gray, and not even remotely human was entering a door. If she could have, Celty would have screamed, but where would that have left her?
One upside to not having a head? the Dullahan thought, nervously.
She hurried into another room, discovering it was a bathroom. Nothing was off about it, besides the fact it had no windows.
Returning to where she had initially arrived with the others, she headed up the stairs and into a room. Something was off in the room…
Maybe it was the fact that the curtain was shaking.
Celty moved the curtain to discover a shocked Shizuo, who was gripping the curtain tightly.
[Shizuo, what's wrong?] the Dullahan typed out.
No response came, just Shizou staring at something she couldn't see.
Refusing to let there be no sound in the house, Celty slapped Shizuo.
[Shizuo Heiwajima, snap out of it! What happened?!]
Shizuo blinked, then greeted, "Oh. Hey."
[Shizuo, what happened?] Celty repeated, not as urgent this time.
"Well, I don't remember much, just Shinra and Kasuka running past me and a whole bunch of…I dunno, things," Shizuo explained.
[Well, that helps…do you know where they went?] Celty questioned.
Shizuo shook his head, then handed Celty a key.
"I don't know why I have this, but I think it'll lead somewhere," he admitted.
[…thanks? Can you come with me?]
A brief silence followed before Shizuo shook his head.
"I have no sense of direction, so I'm just going to stay here until Kasuka or Shinra finds me," he informed.
[Well, good luck.] Celty left the room, key in hand.
When Prussia was done giving his explanation, the other nations were staring at him as though he had screwed over the universe.
"You lost the pamphlet?!" England shouted, already thinking of a hundred ways to get back at Prussia.
"Calm down! I think I know who has it," Prussia defended himself.
"I already know. Izaya and four others are in the mansion," Japan informed, rubbing his head.
"Izaya? Aww…I liked him. He was cool," Prussia pouted.
"Yeah, vell, he's going to be dead if we don't get over to the mansion and get them out of there!" Germany shouted.
Meanwhile, amidst all the arguing, Italy was gripping Romano's hand tightly, fighting back tears.
"R-Romano…I don't want to go back in there!" he cried.
"I know, fratello, I know," Romano tried to comfort.
Italy looked up at him, eyes open and spilling tears.
"Italy, it'll be okay. I promise. You don't have to go into the mansion if you don't vant to," Germany informed.
"N-No! It's worse for me because I had the journal last! I know how the mansion works! Meanwhile you guys died in the mansion so many times…" Italy broke off, whimpering.
The room fell silent, trying to think out what would happen in the mansion, the time loops…
"America, do you know if any of your immortals are in Japan?" France asked.
"Well, four…there's that thief couple, that Firo something-or-other guy and his girlfriend…" America admitted.
"Would you at least try to remember their names? They're Isaac Dian, Miria Harvent, Firo Prochainezo and Ennis," England reminded.
"Dude, why would you know their names?" America questioned.
"Those thieves attempted to steal Big Ben last year, and Firo and Ennis stopped by England to get them out of trouble before heading to Japan," England explained, annoyed.
"They were in the Dollars meeting not that long ago. Isaac and Miria, I mean. There's a chance they could have followed them," Japan explained.
"Then they're just as doomed as the others. Great. Japan, is anyone else in the mansion?" Switzerland asked.
"Well, there's the leader of the Dollars, the girl who has the original Saika, the former Yellow Scarves leader, those former Blue Sharks…" Japan recounted.
Silence fell on the room for a few moments before the Italy brothers stood up.
"Well, maybe it's time we tried destroying that stupid mansion! The only thing special about it beside the fact it has that thing in there is that it takes away immortality and nation status, right?! Then it shouldn't be able to stand up to a bulldozer!" Romano shouted.
"A-And they don't know how much danger they could be in! Please! Please let us go save them!" Italy begged.
Germany gaped at the two representatives of Italy before explaining, "I think it's a vaste of time and life. They should be smarter than this, for pete's sake, they're humans!"
"And what about us, huh? We were reduced to being as powerless as humans the moment we set foot in that mansion! Japan, they're your people in there, shouldn't you at least try to save them?!" Romano pointed out.
"…he has a point, Germany. I say we go back into the mansion. All in favor, say aye," Japan admitted.
Most of the nations agreed, minus Germany and China.
"I just think the past should stay in the past. I agree with Germany," China defended himself.
"Looks like it's settled. We're going back to the mansion," England decided.
"…with a bulldozer?" America begged.
"Yes, America, with a bulldozer," England responded, prompting America to cheer.
"I-I want us to make the trip. The ones who were at the mansion," Italy admitted.
"That wouldn't leave a lot of nations left in case this turns out to be a trick, though," Russia pointed out.
"Then we'll leave some of the other nations in charge—and pray the micronations don't get out of hand," Prussia suggested.
"…okay, that's not a good idea in my mind," Hungary commented.
"Relax, they'll be fine!" America pointed out.
Giving a long sigh, Germany scribbled something down and placed it on the meeting table.
"Those are their instructions for until ve return and if ve fail to come back. Ve'll be going into a place ve barely managed to leave before, and I'm not taking my chances. One or two of those immortals in America might make a good replacement for a few of us if we don't come back," he informed.
"Germany, the most we'll wind up doing, I think, is trying to tear down the mansion," France pointed out.
"And all of those monsters inside are simply going to vanish once we actually do it? France, there's a chance the monsters are only as weak as us inside the mansion, and outside, they're worse than any bomb, atomic or not," China pointed out.
"Guys, tick tock," Romano pointed out.
"We're coming, just give us a moment!" America informed as the nations going got their weapons and whatever other supplies they needed.
"Come on!" Italy called, leading the nations out the door, leaving an empty meeting room behind.
Celty did not take the total silence of the mansion well. How could it be so quiet in the mansion? Did Izaya lead them into a trap? Were they all dead?
Not likely. Okay, Izaya would probably leave them in the house for dead, but Shizuo wasn't easy to kill.
Heading down the right hall on the ground floor, she entered a room, spotting the grey thing again. It barely seemed to notice her before heading deeper into the room. A table held some books, a rice ball and a plate shard.
Picking up the objects and quickly reading the book, she was surprised to learn it contained a few page's worth of Dullahans.
Well, this could be useful later on in case Shinra wants anything to read.
Putting away the book, she headed for the door when the grey monster charged out at her. Quickly forming her scythe out of surprise, she swung out at the creature, knocking it back a step. It swiped at her side, its attack successful.
This time, Celty aimed for the monster's legs. A direct hit.
The monster didn't attempt to attack for a bit afterwards, recoiling in pain, leaving it wide open to the Dullahan delivering a kick to its forehead and sending it sliding across the floor.
Oh god…what is that thing? she wondered, hurrying to the door.
Why wasn't it opening?
Looking back behind her, she spotted the key laying across the room, with the monster trying to stand up. There was no blood seeping from its wounds, or any other fluid. In fact, it was as though Celty was attacking something that was nothing more than a toy made of plastic and rubber, the near-severed limb twitching without end.
No way was Celty going to keep trying to kill that thing. No. No nononononononononononoNO.
Without another moment to lose, Celty dashed across the room, snatched up the key, unlocked the door, and ran out the library, slamming the door shut.
Shinra, you had better be close by. I am not facing that thing again!
Heading back down the hall as quick as possible, she noticed another key on the floor and scooped it up.
Keep calm, Celty, that thing won't come after you a second time. You're probably just stressed… she thought in fear. That thing was the portrait of a stereotypical alien, grey skin and all.
Was it natural for aliens to suffer wounds as though they were toys? Or was it one of her friends in disguise, playing a cruel prank on her and Shizuo?
Wandering about the house for a bit, she soon found a door that would respond to her key. Inside was a room a tad identical to the one she found Shizuo in, except with a book case on the far upper right side of the room that was trying to hide…something stuck in the wall.
Moving the book case, Celty discovered it was a small, white, round thing with a yellow scarf around its body and brown eyes.
[Uh…are you stuck here?] Celty asked the creature.
It nodded and tried to wiggle out of the hole in the wall. Celty would have laughed if possible at the predicament. It just seemed too silly, considering the mansion was already creeping her out.
[Well, I'm sorry, but I can't help you right now. I could go get my friend, Shizuo Heiwajima. He's really strong, and could get you out!] Celty informed.
The mocha seemed to nod, and Celty was off to Shizuo's room again.
Outside the mansion, a thick storm was brewing, the first flash of lightning and roll of thunder easily scaring away whatever animals dared venture close to the mansion.
Celty was back in Shizuo's room before too long, and realized the curtain was now replaced with an iron door.
That…wasn't there before…
She knocked on the door, and it opened a crack, enough to let the two see each other.
"Oh, Celty. What's up?" he asked.
[Well, besides running into an alien in the library, I found some white, round thing on the upper floor, and I need you to help get it free.] Celty typed out.
"Well, I want to help, but I'm hungry. Can you get me something to eat?" Shizuo ordered.
[Shizuo, you're a grown man, and I should not have to care for you. Unless…are you scared?]
At that moment, Shizuo's stomach growled to prove his point.
[…fine. I'll go get you something to eat, but then I need you to help.]
"Thanks," Shizuo thanked before closing the door, leaving Celty to head back downstairs.
Heading back down the hall she first saw the creature, she realized one of the doors was open, the lights off. Out of curiosity, she entered the room, her hand immediately searching for a light switch.
Saburo gave a sigh as he parked his car. There had been no sign of Kadota the entire day, and rain looked like it was about to descend over Ikebukuro.
"Saburo, where's Dotachin?" Erika piped up from where she and Walker were sitting.
"I don't know, okay?" Saburo responded.
"Hey, Walker, does this mean we can try to use his credit cards on manga?"
"Erika, no it doesn't! It means we can use his credit cards on things we like besides manga!"
"We're not using his credit cards!"
Suddenly, a loud, disturbing crack came from nearby, and the moment Saburo rolled down his window to get a better view, he spotted four people across the street: three adults and a kid. One of the adults, a tall man with glasses, had the wrong end of an iron bat in his hands. A group of people were scrambling away, frightened by the older man.
One of the other adults, a somewhat shorter man with blonde hair that looked a lot like Kida, began talking with the other male in some other language.
"What are they saying? What happened?" Walker and Erika chorused.
"I don't know their language! I think it's English or something!" Saburo responded.
Firo was not having a good day. First it was the news that Isaac and Miria could have possibly gone missing with a bunch of high-schoolers in the area. Then it was being confronted by a group of people calling themselves the Dollars, attacking Maiza with an iron bat and him catching it with his bare hands, which would have broken a normal human's hand. However, Maiza was not exactly human; he was an immortal, one of the lucky to be blessed—and cursed—with immortality. His hand would heal quickly.
"Maiza, I don't think that was necessary," Firo spoke up.
"I know, but they were going to attack us," Maiza responded, calmly.
"Firo, we have someone watching," Czeslaw piped up, gesturing to the van across the street.
Firo glanced over to see three people staring at them from the safety of their van with somewhat wide eyes.
"It seems we have an audience," Ennis murmured.
"Hey, we're not going to hurt you!" Firo called to them.
The one in the driver's seat tensed, then began trying to roll up the window.
"No, wait a moment!" Firo shouted, hurrying over to them, prompting his companions to laugh a little.
In his best Japanese, the blonde explained, "I'm not trying to hurt you! I need to ask something!"
"What is it?" the driver asked.
"Have you seen a blonde woman and a brown-haired man in the area?" Firo questioned.
Saburo paused to think. He recalled the Dollars meeting, the two in samurai garb looking so excited, the night when those lights had appeared in the sky and they were talking about "Ghostly fireballs".
"I've seen them a few times around here. Why?"
"They are my friends, and they might be with your friend!" the blonde explained.
"Saburo, he may have a point! Maybe Kadota went off with them!" Erika guessed.
"But why, though? Maybe they stole something from him?" Walker suggested.
"That could be. They are thieves," the other man explained.
"Oh great. Now there are thieves loose in Ikebukuro," Saburo muttered.
"Can you please help me?" the man asked.
Saburo glanced at the others in the car, then back at the man.
"Fine. But you'd better not be lying."
Celty's scythe connected once more with the monster's head, one of her arms trying to protect her already bruised ribs. The monster hissed at her before shutting off the lights.
NONONONO I AM NOT LEAVING THOSE LIGHTS OFF!
Her hand immediately went to turn the lights on, only to discover the monster had gone.
Where did it go?
Taking the next set of keys off the nearby table, she heard a voice coming from nearby.
"Dullahan…of old…come here…"
Celty nearly dropped the keys, thinking it was another alien, only to realize…
Wait. No way. No way would…
"I am not that monster…I can help you…"
THE TOLIET IS SPEAKING. SHINRA THIS HAD BETTER NOT BE A PRANK.
Celty cautiously approached the toilet, ready to form her scythe again if she had to.
"Dullahan who has lost your head…let me help you…" the toilet rumbled.
[Uh…how, though?] Celty asked.
"I can sell you items…"
Celty seriously doubted a toilet could give her anything, but her doubts were for nothing as a bag of items appeared in front of her, filled with mainly riceballs and soda.
[Thanks, I guess?] she thanked.
Leaving the room, she wandered up to the second floor and found a door that would respond to the key. Inside was Kasuka, who had a rusty katana blade with him.
"Who are you?" Kasuka questioned.
[I'm Celty, one of the people with you, Shinra and Shizuo before we were separated.] Celty typed out.
Kasuka blinked, then relaxed his guard.
"Then come into the room. I'm not going to bite," he coaxed.
Celty stepped into the room, locking the door to make sure the monster didn't come in at the last second to kill them.
"Is my brother okay?" Kasuka asked.
[He is. I think he's scared, but otherwise he's just hungry, and he wants me to find something for him.]
"Well, I found this—" Kasuka held up a bag of chips. "—in the room.
Suddenly, the door was slammed into repeatedly, nearly breaking it down. Celty quickly formed her scythe, startled.
"It's that thing, isn't it?" Kasuka guessed, his sword at the ready. Celty nodded in response.
The door did not last much longer as the creature burst into the room. Kasuka rushed at it and drove his blade into one of its legs, while Celty swung her scythe at its head again. The monster did not take kindly to the double-teaming on him, its eyes suddenly gleaming dangerously.
Celty could hardly register the next series of events: all she heard was "YoU wIlL nOt EsCApe…" and a bright flash of light struck. The next thing she knew was pain and the hard floor, and hearing Kasuka cry out.
Celty stood up and swung her scythe, dazed from whatever the attack was. To her, all her mind registered was not to hit Kasuka.
A shriek resonated, and the gray blur in front of her toppled. Without a warning, she was suddenly dragged from the room, the gray blur trying to follow her.
"C'mon, can you stand?" Kasuka questioned, rushing down the hall.
Celty hurried to her feet and led Kasuka to where Shizuo was hiding.
"…Shizuo? Are you past that door?" Kasuka called.
"Eh? Kasuka? Are you there?" Shizuo shouted back.
"Shizuo, I don't think that thing could mimic my voice," Kasuka pointed out.
Shizuo opened the door, and allowed a small smile to form on his face.
"Glad to see you, man."
[Well, this just leaves Shinra and Izaya unaccounted for. Shizuo, I need your help with something.] Celty informed.
"What is it?" Shizuo asked.
[Well, I found this…thing on the fourth floor, and I promised I would help it. Shizuo, can you help me?] Celty questioned.
"Sure. Anything to keep that flea from finding me," he responded.
Celty led to the room where the creature was stuck.
"That's a mochi. And it looks disturbing," Kasuka remarked.
[A mochi? That doesn't sound like something I'd see in my job.] Celty admitted.
"It's a food, but the one that my brother is currently failing at attempting to pull out appears to be alive," Kasuka noted.
Shizuo was somehow failing to move the mochi even an inch.
"Stupid mochi! It's worse than the flea!" he complained.
"…nice face," Kasuka simply stated.
"Oh, if you think you can pull this out, be my guest," Shizuo sarcastically muttered.
"No, I'm good," Kasuka responded.
"Celty, can you get me a tool or something? This thing won't come out easily," Shizuo informed.
Celty nodded, then headed up to the next floor into a room. A heavy sack of flour lay near a corner of the room, and a mysterious piece of paper was underneath a crate. Picking up the paper, she proceeded to notice a lever and a sign next to it.
"UP leads to heaven. MIDDLE leads to earth. DOWN leads to hell."
Well, that's comforting.
Testing the fates, she pushed the lever down and heard a rumble behind her. The sack had moved. Jumping into the hole, she found herself in a room with a piano.
I'll play it later.
Heading through the room and into another, she discovered herself in a library with someone else in it. Hiding behind a bookshelf, she listened quietly.
"…where are they? Did that thing eat them?" a soft murmur came from a bit farther into the library, clearly oblivious to someone having entered the library.
Izaya? He was alive and in the mansion after all! Not that it would be of any comfort to Shizuo or Kasuka…maybe Shinra, but to Celty, it was just a relief to hear the other's voice again.
A soft sigh came, followed by "How many times has it been now? 10? 20? It's not like he's that easy to lose…"
Who was he talking about? Shizuo? Shinra? Or someone else unrelated to them at the moment?
Forgetting she had her helmet on, she leaned closer to the bookshelf, knocking a few books over. A brief moment of silence followed before Izaya appeared next to Celty.
"Celty? What are you doing?" he asked.
[I was…listening in on you.] Celty admitted.
The informant tensed for a moment before asking in a quiet voice, "How much did you overhear?"
[Like one or two lines.]
"Where are the others?" he questioned.
[Shizuo and Kasuka are okay. I haven't seen much of Shinra, though.]
"Well, that's good to hear they're all safe. Where are they now?" he continued.
[I found a mochi embedded in the wall, and Shizuo isn't having any luck getting it out, believe it or not. I think your knife will help us get it out.] Celty explained.
"Pffft…" Izaya broke out in laughter for a brief second or two before Celty realized something was off. Izaya would have remarked Shizuo was as dumb as an ox, and he normally wouldn't be so concerned about people…unless…
[Izaya, is everything okay?]
"Oh, yes. Celty, I want to see Shizuo attempting to pull that mochi out of the wall, if you may lead the way~?" he asked.
Celty gave a brief nod before leading Izaya to where Shizuo and Kasuka were.
Just in time to see Kasuka get swatted aside like a fly from the alien.
England facepalmed as America continued to complain.
"Come on, dude, I need the bulldozer!" he begged the man in front of them.
The nations were taking a brief rest stop to get what they needed to keep their journey moving on and to be able to save the unlucky people going into the mansion.
"I'm sorry, but I just can't give you the bulldozer," the man informed.
"Iggy, buddy, can you—"
America looked like he was going to start crying out of desperation to get England to buy the bulldozer for him.
"Alfred, you dope, I am not buying that for you. Using a bulldozer is a stupid idea, for pete's sake. What would we do with it, anyways?"
"Lovino said we could tear it down with it!"
"That doesn't mean it's a good idea!"
"Oh, for pete's sake," Canada sighed. He strolled past the man unnoticed and, with a little bit of difficulty, was able to get into the driver's seat and drive off with the bulldozer. America was gaping the entire time at his brother, shocked that he wasn't even noticed.
"What are you starin—my bulldozer! Someone stole my bulldozer!" the other man shouted, realizing it was gone.
"It just started up by itself!" England agreed, trying to get America to go after Canada. It took a moment for the blonde nation to register before he hurried after the bulldozer.
"Mattie! Dude! What are you doing?!" America shouted as he tried to catch up to the quiet nation.
Canada slowly stopped the bulldozer to let America catch up and climb into the driver's seat.
"Y-You and Lovino wanted the bulldozer, so I fail to see w-why you couldn't just take it. We're nations, not ordinary people," the quieter twin reminded.
"Dude, I know, but the other nations are going to be pissed! We're nations, yeah, but we still have to act like normal humans in public!" America pointed out.
"…you're just saying that so if England overhears us, he won't have a reason to try to kill you," Canada guessed.
"Duh. That was awesome, bro!" America praised.
China was looking through the magazines, a bored expression on his face.
"Hey, Kiku, where are the good magazines?" he questioned.
"Yao, not every magazine I have is going to be a good one," Japan patiently responded.
"Still, though, not even a Jump Weekly in this store?" China whined.
"That's why I got a copy of the latest issue before we left for the trip," Japan informed, handing China the issue.
"Heey~! Yao, I found one I think you'll like~!" Korea called, running up to the older nation and giving him a magazine.
Approximately five seconds into the magazine, China gave Korea a look that said "WHAT IS THIS GARBAGE?"
"It's a Korean manga magazine! I thought you might like it!" Korea defended himself.
"The plotline is all wrong! Seriously, that guy looks like a girl!" China pointed out.
"It looks normal to me," Japan commented.
"See! Kiku knows koala tea when he sees it!"
"Yeah, you know, koala tea!"
"Soo, it's quality."
"Koala tea still sounds cool."
"No it doesn't."
"Yes it does!"
"Try saying that around Australia, then say to me if it's cool or not again."
Yao, already bored with the argument, glanced outside to see America and Canada driving away. With the bulldozer.
"…Western nations are so weird."
Romano scowled when he heard two of the eastern nations arguing over 'quality' and 'koala tea', though it faded when he heard the first drops of rain and Italy whimpered beside him.
"Fratello, be a man! It's just some rain!" the brasher brother scolded.
"I-It's not just that…" Italy admitted.
"F-Francis is smiling for no reason!"
Romano paused, then glanced at where the blonde nation was. He was listening to some music that was making him smile. And that was not a good thing.
England hurried into the store, looking like he was about to start screaming.
"Ah, Arthur~what's wrong?" France asked.
"Alfred and Matthew stole a bulldozer!" England explained in a hushed voice, causing France to burst out laughing.
"Seriously? Oh, he takes after his brother!" he laughed.
"Shut up, you wine-drinking mongrel! We've already got a problem on our hands here!" England nearly shouted.
"Ah, relax~I'll round up the others quickly," France promised.
"You had better," England threatened.
Within a few minutes, the nations were running after Canada and America, trying to get them to slow down the bulldozer.
"Guys, slow down!"
"Holy mother of Amaterasu, pay attention, you two!"
"I take offense to that, Soo!"
America slowed down the bulldozer so the others could get on.
"DUUUUDES! You have got to try this! It's so AWESOOOOOMEEE!" he shouted.
The other nations hurried to get on.
"Onward! To the mansion!" Korea shouted.
The bulldozer took off again, heading for the mansion.
Celty and Izaya charged at the creature before it could try to finish off Kasuka. Izaya drove his knife into the monster's gut, while Celty attempted to slice off its head. The monster barely felt the blow to the neck, but it hissed at the knife in the gut.
In retaliation, it swatted Izaya aside. It wasn't as powerful a blow as with Kasuka, but still enough to make Izaya dizzy for a while. Glaring at Celty, the monster punched her, sending her sprawling to the ground.
Looking up, she saw Kasuka lying on his side, coughing up blood. He was alive, but—
A large shadow loomed over the two, and Celty immediately began shivering as she glanced straight up.
The monster was slowly approaching them, a dangerous gleam in its eyes. Just behind it, though, was Shizuo, looking like he was about to murder the monster.
In a quick moment, the former bartender grabbed the monster and began pulling it backwards, allowing Celty and Kasuka time to scramble away. A sharp crack took the two by surprise, and when they managed to stand up, the monster was falling to its knees and vanishing.
"Nicely done, Shizu-chan~" Izaya complimented, a tone of mockery in his voice. That set Shizuo off as he attempted to strangle the informant. Celty quickly stopped him.
[Shizuo, no! Izaya didn't abandon us, he was hiding in the library!] she quickly explained.
"Then why didn't he help us the first time we were attacked? Or the following times?" Shizuo questioned.
"Gee, maybe it's because I never heard you guys screaming~?" Izaya suggested.
[Guys, we can't afford to start hurting each other! Izaya, do you know any rooms that could keep us safe for the night?] Celty asked.
Izaya blinked, then nodded and led the way out of the room.
"Wait, the mochi—"
"Let's just forget the mochi for right now. We're tired, bruised, and bleeding in Kasuka's case," Izaya suggested.
"Fine," Shizuo grumbled.
Finding a perfect room to sleep in on the second floor, Izaya locked the door once the group was settled inside.
"Okay, I have a first-aid kit, a matchbox, and for safety purposes, I'm keeping the key with me tonight," Izaya announced, showing the key around his wrist.
"And we should trust you with the key why?" Shizuo challenged.
"Because I wasn't the one running and screaming like a little girl when it showed up the first time," Izaya responded, a smirk plain on his face.
"I swear, if Celty would just let me have you for one minute…" Shizuo threatened.
"Shizuo, stop. I know, he's irritating, but for now, we'll have to live with it," Kasuka pointed out, starting up a fire in the fireplace.
Shizuo glared at his rival one last time before sitting on the bed.
"Well, it's obvious one of us won't be sleeping tonight. Someone has to keep watch," he pointed out.
"I suggest rock-paper-scissors," Izaya suggested.
"Fine," Shizuo agreed.
The four gathered in the center of the room, and…
"Rock, paper, scissors!"
That night, Shizuo, Izaya and Celty were sleeping in the bed, while Kasuka kept a close watch. A storm raged outside, the only indicators the heavy rain and the roll of thunder. Granted, it would have been helpful if lightning actually struck the house, but they were still trapped in the mansion, and they would have burned down with the mansion. Not to mention, the monster would have an easier time killing them by cornering them somewhere in the fire.
"Well, this is a great situation," he muttered.
A sudden loud noise alerted him another monster was behind that door. The lock was nowhere near strong enough to keep it out all night long, and there was no way any of them could easily fight being woken up this early from sleep.
"Sorry, guys…" Kasuka apologized as he neatly slipped the key off Izaya's wrist and headed outside the room to fight the monster.
A note of warning…if you enter the mansion…
You risk angering its former occupant…
Especially if you're not alone…
Mikado, Kida, Anri and Namie stood at the entrance to the mansion, Mikado shivering.
"Is this really where you said Izaya was heading to, Masaomi?" he asked.
"Yup! It seems deserted, though," Kida noted.
"I-I don't think we should go in. It looks scary…" Anri pointed out.
"Come on, guys, it doesn't sound that bad!" Kida pointed out.
Suddenly, the sound of rustling came from nearby, and the four tensed. Much to their relief, it was a very annoyed Kyohei without his hat.
"Hey, Kyohei! Where's your hat?" Kida asked.
"These thieves stole it. They were dressed as a butler and a maid for some reason, and they stole my hat, saying that they had succeeded in stealing something from the 'fake Dollars'," Kyohei explained.
"It was a good reason!" someone in a tree nearby protested, causing everyone else in the area to look at the tree.
"…they know we're here!" someone else in the tree realized.
"What do we do, Isaac?" the first voice asked.
"Uh…I think—l-look out!"
The sound of a branch snapping filled the area, followed shortly by a pair of screams as a huge branch fell to the ground, carrying two people on it. One was a woman with long, blonde hair and brown eyes, wearing a red dress. The other was a man with brown hair, blue eyes, and wore an outfit that reminded Mikado for a cowboy for some odd reason.
"That's them. Why did you guys steal my hat?" Kyohei asked.
"Because you're part of the fake Dollars!" the pair accused, standing up and pointing at him.
"The fake Dollars? No, I'm part of the real Dollars. You two were at that meeting for the Dollars not that long ago, right?" Kyohei asked.
The pair paused, then realized what he was talking about.
"Ohh! You were at the meeting, too? There were so many people there, I didn't see you!" the woman realized.
"Yeah…who are you guys, anyways?" Kyohei asked.
"Nice to meet you guys. I'm Mikado Ryuugamine. This is Masaomi Kida, Anri Sonohara, Ms. Namie, and Kyohei," Mikado explained.
"Did you guys hear the legend about the mansion, too?" Miria asked.
"L-Legend? What legend?" Mikado asked in surprise.
"The legend of the blue demon! This is the very mansion where that legend occurred!" Isaac informed.
Mikado's face paled at the mention of demon.
"How does the legend go?" Kida asked, interested.
"Legend has it that five years ago, four kids walked into that very mansion, and were slowly killed, one by one, by the blue demon. Only one survived, and no one knows where he is now," Isaac informed.
"He's probably dead!" Miria peeped.
"Are you sure you're not getting any of your words mixed up? You guys are foreigners, right? Japanese isn't the easiest language to learn for Americans," Kyohei questioned.
"We've studied Japanese for a little while. I don't think we're getting anything wrong," Isaac responded. His tone was not that of an arrogant man, but of someone that was honest 24/7.
"Masaomi, I am NOT going into that mansion! I don't want to be killed by the demon!" Mikado refused.
"Relax, Mikado, the monster's probably gone by now! I'm sure we'll be fine!" Kida reassured, leading the way into the mansion.
"Wait, why are we dragging Isaac and Miria into the mansion with us?" Namie asked.
"Because we want to!" Isaac and Miria protested as the door shut behind them.
The inside of the mansion was clean and spacious, much to Miria's surprise.
"I almost thought there would be bloodstains here…" Miria murmured. Mikado must have overheard Miria, because he desperately tried to make a run to the door, but was stopped by Kida.
"Mikado, come on, we hardly ever get a chance to go into creepy places!" Kida encouraged.
"Y-You're the worst person in the world, Masaomi," Mikado muttered.
"I-Is someone there?!" someone shouted from deeper into the mansion.
"Huh? Hello?" Mikado called.
To the group's surprise, someone came running towards them, arms flailing.
"W-Whoa, calm down! Who are you?" Kida asked.
"Shinra Kishitani. I came into this mansion with four other people, but…that thing…" Shinra whimpered and looked around the area, trying to confirm this wasn't a trap in his mind.
"Shinra, it'll be okay!" Miria promised, trying to comfort the doctor.
"But Celty! She could be killed or eaten or both or—!!"
"Shinra, seriously, calm down. Celty is going to be okay. Who else did you come here with?" Kyohei asked.
"I-Izaya, Shizuo and Kasuka," Shinra responded.
"Izaya and Shizuo are here? Why would they want to be here?" Mikado wondered.
"We found this pamphlet a while ago, and we thought it would be a good idea to see what the mansion was like, only this plate shattered, then the monster attacked, and now I don't know where any of them are!" Shinra responded.
"That's not good. Maybe we can help you look for them?" Miria suggested.
"That would be a big help," Shinra admitted.
"I'm going with you as well, Shinra. Those two stole my hat, and I don't trust them," Kyohei admitted.
"Anri, I think you're better off going with them. They're so much stronger than me," Mikado admitted.
Anri nodded, reluctant to part with the group.
The five headed upstairs, while Kida shot Mikado a sour look.
"Why did you send the only sources of female charm with those two!?" he shouted.
"Excuse me, I'm right here," Namie pointed out.
"Anri is better off with those two than us, Masaomi! And how was I supposed to know Miria and Isaac travel as a pair?" Mikado questioned.
"Not now, Namie, I'm scolding Mikado!"
"Guys, seriously, look!"
The pale gray shape dashed forward at the remaining three, a lust for blood in its eyes.
"YoU wIlL nOT EsCApE!!"
Firo was relieved to be receiving a ride to wherever the mansion was. He doubted even Maiza knew the way to the mansion.
"And then she uses the gun to shoot the poop monster!"
Erika was explaining to Ennis the magical world of some cartoon Firo did not bother to remember the name to.
"It was so cool! I have to show you the full show some time!"
"Hey, Erika, where did you last see our friends?" Firo asked.
"Oh! Last I saw them, they were stealing all of this fake money because of the fake Dollars that have been spotted around town lately. And they were dressed as—" Erika broke off to try to keep from laughing.
"Dressed as…?" Firo asked.
"They were dressed as—" Erika once again couldn't stop laughing.
"What? What were they dressed as?" Firo demanded to know, suddenly concerned for them.
Erika held out two pictures in front of them as an example of what the pair was dressed as.
"They were dressed as Sebastian and Hannah from Black Butler!" she clarified before doubling over in laughter.
"Uh…who?" Firo asked.
"Sebastian is this demon butler that serves a 12-year-old—"
"Okay, 13-year-old boy so he can get revenge, and Sebastian can have his soul. Hannah is this demon maid that has to grant a wish to Sebastian's kid's rival. Basically, both are demons," Walker explained.
"So they dressed up as demons. Can't say I'm surprised. They've pulled stunts like those before," Firo admitted.
"Like…?" Erika prompted.
"Well, there was the time they dressed up like a priest and a nun. Then there was the time they dressed up in these blue outfits—I swear, I still don't know how they got those—and…well, let's just say they like to dress up," Firo informed.
"So they're cosplayers? Erika, what's the nun and priest outfits from?" Walker asked.
"Uh…" Erika flipped through a few books before responding, "Hellsing! Definitely Hellsing!"
"What are cosplayers?" Ennis asked.
"They're people who dress up in costumes of their favorite character. The priest and nun outfits would be from Hellsing, if I remember correctly," Walker explained.
"Hellsing sounds kind of violent," Firo commented.
"Well, it is…there's a lot of blood and gore in it. It's a long story," Erika informed.
"Then what are the blue outfits, do you think?" Walker asked Erika.
"Probably from the Host Club. I bet the next volume of Black Butler they did Kyoya and Haruhi~!" Erika responded.
If there was one thing Czeslaw hated about being hardly 11 years old physically forever, it was the fact he had little to no respect unless he earned it. No one considered speaking to him, to see if he was worried about Isaac and Miria, or if the fact they vanished with a stranger was even remotely suspicious to him.
Maybe that man was really an immortal, or these guys are immortals and they've heard of us and are planning to devour us!
Maiza's voice was enough to scare the young-looking immortal.
"Calm down, okay? I doubt Isaac and Mirira in danger of any kind," Maiza reassured.
"I can't help it. This whole thing just scares me," Czeslaw admitted.
"Isaac and Miria are stronger than they look. If they get into trouble, they can take care of themselves," Maiza reassured.
Maiza was using broad terms. He never clarified that the man Isaac and Miria disappeared with was an immortal or not. Either it was to keep the other passengers in the car from finding out, or he wasn't sure himself.
"Maiza…" Czeslaw began, a pleading tone in his voice for Maiza to switch to English.
"What is it?"
"You don't think…there's an immortality elixir around here or that man is immortal?"
"The chances are low. Firo and Ennis wouldn't be so foolhardy as to tell others the secret, and Isaac and Miria know little about their own immortality. Plus, I knew all of the alchemists aboard that ship, and I know none that fled to Ikebukuro or its surrounding areas," Maiza responded.
"And if there's a chance the man we're looking for is as bad as Szilard? Or Fermet?" Czeslaw persisted.
Maiza's face did not change as he responded, "Then they may not live to see the next day."
"It smells up here," Anri noted, covering her nose, as her group headed up to the second floor.
"It does. Like smoke, clothing and…something else," Miria guessed.
"Like what?" Kyohei wondered.
"I don't know. It just doesn't smell…normal," Miria admitted.
"Hmm…you guys go ahead. I'll stay here and check out this floor," Kyohei ordered.
"W-Why?" Anri asked.
"I might run into Izaya or Shizuo up here…or Celty. I just hope they haven't tried to kill one another yet," Kyohei responded.
"Okay. We'll meet back here in 30 minutes, no less. Try not to get into trouble," Shinra advised.
Kyohei nodded and headed off.
Shinra's gaze followed the Dollars member before sighing.
"So even here…I know what he's talking about now," he muttered.
"What was that?" Isaac wondered.
"Nothing, just thinking about something," Shinra informed.
"I'll go into the room. You guys stay here," Anri volunteered, entering the door. Inside was a fireplace, two large beds, and a table. Something was hidden in the fireplace.
Picking up what was in the fireplace, it took all of 4 seconds for her to realize what it was, covered in ash and stains of red.
"Celty's outfit! She must be hurt!"
Looking around quickly, Anri sped out of the room, clutching the outfit.
"Who does that belong to?" Miria asked.
"Celty! This is what was causing the stench! She's hurt!" Shinra realized, panic growing in his voice. He then realized what else it meant.
"CELTY IS NAKED?!"
Isaac's face grew red and he covered his eyes.
"No, Isaac, Celty possibly isn't on this floor!" Miria guessed.
"I am not taking my chances!" Isaac protested.
A sudden barrage of gunshots echoed, and the three traded horrified looks.
"Do you think…?"
"Which of us has a gun? Namie?" Shinra asked.
"Maybe Masaomi? He could have gotten mad at Mikado for sending me with you guys," Anri suggested.
"Masaomi is a bit too young to have a gun, don't you think? Namie would probably have the gun, unless Kyohei brought one to the mansion and he's downstairs," Shinra pointed out.
"W-Well, I gue—wait, Isaac, Miria, come back here!" Anri shouted as the two thieves sped downstairs.
"Someone's gotta be hurt by now!" Miria called back, trying to lead Isaac down the stairs so he wouldn't fall.
"Isaac, Celty would not be running around the mansion naked!" Shinra clarified as he and Anri hurried downstairs and after the duo.
"You have no proof of that!" Isaac shouted as he and Miria bolted down a hall towards another room. Shinra and Anri followed them into the room, only to see the pair cower in fear at a large, gray alien, with Namie and Mikado trying to fight it. Namie was holding a gun in her hands, while Mikado was preparing to load another arrow into his bow.
"Mikado! Ms. Namie!" Anri shouted.
"Anri! Shinra! Stay away! This thing is tough!" Mikado shouted, firing an arrow at the monster. It easily caught the arrow and smacked Mikado to the ground, the rather meek student coughing up some blood.
"Mikado!...dang it," Anri cursed.
Shinra stared at Anri in surprise, then shock as she pulled a katana blade out of her hand and her eyes shone bright red.
"Uh…I'll help too!" the doctor decided, dismissing Anri's little trick for now, taking out some sort of spell book.
"So will we!" Isaac and Miria declared, standing up. Namie tossed the pair two pistols to use as she shot at the monster.
Anri ran up to the monster and stabbed it with the blade.
"Either you die or become my slave!" she shouted.
The monster stared at Anri for a brief second before kicking her away. Out of retaliation, Mikado fired another arrow at the monster, this time lodging it in its head.
"Nice shot!" Shinra called to Mikado while paging through the book quickly to find something of use.
"It's not done yet, though!" Namie realized as the monster charged at her. Isaac and Miria fired their pistols at it, causing the monster to realize they were in the room. And that it was heavily outmatched.
Before anyone knew what was going on, bright flashes of light stunned them, and they were all on the ground, coughing up blood.
"W-What happened?!" Miria whimpered. A large shadow loomed over her, and when she looked up, she was gazing right into the black eyes of the monster. It suddenly gave a loud roar as a black edge of some sort pierced its chest.
"Celty~!" Shinra gasped in delight.
A bunch of shadows within the room suddenly dashed towards the monster, driving it away from Miria and Isaac, until the shadows stretched up and covered the monster. A snap of the fingers, and a painful howl echoed throughout the room, until the shadow collapsed on itself, revealing the monster was gone and a black-clothed woman with a yellow helmet with cat ears stood, looking around the room.
"Celty, you're alive!" Shinra cheered, standing up.
"So she's Celty? I thought she would be naked," Miria admitted. Celty paused, then slapped Shinra.
[Shinra, what have you said about me?!] Celty typed out.
"Well, Anri found a set of your clothes in a room upstairs in a fireplace with these red stains on them, and we thought you were in trouble!" Shinra explained.
[Idiot! That wasn't blood. That was tomato!]
[Look, I have to explain later. That thing is gone for now, but it will come back.] Celty explained.
"Wait a minute, you've fought that thing before?" Namie asked.
"Where's Masaomi?" Anri asked Mikado, who only responded with a helpless shrug.
"He went missing when we were chased by the thing," he responded.
"Celty, where is everyone else?" Shinra asked.
[Izaya and Shizuo are hiding in a different room, while Kasuka…we haven't found him yet.] Celty admitted.
"Then let's hurry back to them! Sure, they're good fighters, but if they start fighting with each other, the monster might kill one or both of them!" Shinra reminded.
The group headed back upstairs into the room with the iron door. Izaya was resting by the wall, eyes wide, until he heard the door open. He glanced up, then relaxed.
"Well, it's nice to see you guys~how was fighting the monster~?" Izaya asked in a mocking tone.
[Is Shizuo still in there?] Celty asked, Izaya responding with a nod.
"Shizuo!" Shinra called. The iron door opened to reveal Shizuo, who looked somewhat depressed compared to how Shinra last saw him.
"What now?" the blonde questioned.
"We need a safe place to talk. We're in constant danger of being found and killed by the monster," Shinra responded.
"There's that fireplace room. We have the key to it," Shizuo suggested.
The group went back to the fireplace room, where Celty locked the door as everyone else gathered around the table.
[Okay, let's start explaining how we got here.]
"Right. Shizuo, Izaya, Kasuka, Celty and I came to the mansion yesterday, and Izaya left for one moment to check a room out. Shizuo suggested we all split up, so we did, with me, Shizuo and Kasuka heading down the hall past the stairs, and Celty heading towards the washrooms. The giant gray alien suddenly appeared and started chasing us, with me hiding in one of the rooms, Shizuo and Kasuka going upstairs," Shinra informed.
[That can't be right. When I split up with you guys, I saw the alien entering one of the washrooms. I didn't think anything of it until it fought me in the library.] Celty explained.
"As a suggestion, I think we should call the monster 'Steve'. I'd rather put a name to it than keep calling it the alien or the monster," Izaya suggested.
[Okay, then. Then Steve fought Kasuka and I in another room on this floor. I found a mochi earlier, and got Shizuo to try to pull it out, but when I came back into the room with Izaya, we fought Steve again. After that, we managed to get some sleep, but when we woke up, Steve was in the room, Kasuka was gone, and Izaya...flipped out.] Celty explained.
"Izaya? Yikes. What happened?" Shinra asked.
"I…I was having a rough dream, and when I saw Steve, I couldn't tell if I was still dreaming or not. I found a bunch of rotten tomatoes beneath the bed, but I was tired enough that my aim was off," Izaya responded.
"That would be when he hit Celty, and we left the room quickly, though Celty must have gone back after the monster was gone to change clothes," Shizuo filled in.
"That would be about the time we entered the place and Shinra joined our group. Then Anri, Kyohei, Shinra, Miria and I headed upstairs, and we found Celty's clothes. We heard gunshots, then went to fight Steve in the kitchen, and if we hadn't been saved then, we might not have survived," Isaac explained.
Izaya stood up at one point during Isaac's explanation to check the fireplace again.
"Mikado, what happened downstairs earlier?" Miria asked.
"S-Steve came out of nowhere just as you guys headed upstairs. Namie fired her gun at him, but he was pretty much unharmed. Sometime during the fight, though, Kida vanished," Mikado responded.
"He cornered us in the kitchen, just moments before Shinra, Anri, Isaac and Miria came to our rescue," Namie finished.
"Guys, I found a key!" Izaya called, holding up a key.
[Okay, Izaya. In any case, that makes three people gone within less than two days. Kyohei's nowhere in sight for now, and there's a chance all of them are dead.] Celty pointed out.
Shizuo stood up, nostrils flaring.
"No way is he dead! He's strong enough to take care of himself!" he shouted.
"Shizuo, I know, but until we see them, dead or alive, we can only hope for the best," Shinra pointed out.
Suddenly, the door rattled violently.
"I thought this room would be safe!" Mikado commented.
[Dang it…Mikado, Shinra, go upstairs. There's a piano room you can hide in! Shizuo, Izaya, Isaac and Miria, go downstairs! That room past the stairs needs to be checked for anything important!] Celty ordered.
"And what about us, Celty?" Anri questioned, gesturing to Namie.
"We'll stay back here and fight Steve!" Namie reminded.
Izaya opened his mouth as if in protest, but shut it quickly.
The door burst open, and Steve approached Celty from behind, scaring Isaac and Miria a little.
[Good luck to all of you. And try to survive.]
Back at the World Meeting place, Greece, Hong Kong and Taiwan were entering the room.
"Where are the others? It's not like them to be late…or a large group of them to be late," Greece noted.
"There's a note," Hong Kong realized, heading over to the table and reading it.
"What's it say?" Taiwan asked.
"…the mansion. They're going to the mansion again," Hong Kong realized, his eyes widening in horror.
"Why? Why are they putting themselves through that?" Greece wondered.
"It says some of Japan's people and a few of America's are trapped inside, and there's a chance what they went through could happen all over again," Hong Kong explained.
"So that explains Italy, Japan, Germany, Russia, America, China, Britain, France and Canada…but did the other nations have to go as well?" Taiwan wondered.
"Here, read it. It's just…" Hong Kong gave the letter to his fellow eastern nation.
To the remaining nations that haven't gone with us.
We're sorry for suddenly leaving like this, but we have to go back to the mansion where we all nearly died once. Some of Japan's people and two of America's immortals are inside the mansion as we speak, and while, yes, it should have been a good idea at the time to tear or burn down the mansion the first time, we thought nothing of it because we were bleeding and on the verge of death—and blind, when it comes to me.
Here's what we need you to do:
First off, watch the micronations, especially Sealand and Seborga.
On second thought, all of them really need to be watched. They're a handful, yes, but if we don't come back, they'll end up replacements for us.
Second, make sure you're very overstocked on medical supplies. We don't know how bad the wounds will be with humans or if the immortals will be able to heal properly once they're out. If our own experience in the mansion is any indicator, then there will be a lot of injuries, maybe even more than what we suffered.
Third, if we don't come back, you guys will have to take over what roles we had, and look for those who could serve as our replacements. I know, we're nations, we can survive anything, but there's a chance we'll wind up back in the mansion, or its powers extended further than we originally thought.
That should be it. Until then,
"They brought a ton of the nations with them. They have to be okay…right?" Taiwan questioned.
Sealand poked his head in the doorway, curious.
"They're nations. They're strong enough to fight that thing and win," Greece responded.
"Italy said it killed them many times before, and that's not factoring his deaths. The only thing we can do is wait and pray they escape alive," Hong Kong responded.
"…Hong Kong, please call the other nations that haven't left yet and tell them this meeting is really important," Taiwan begged.
"On it," Hong Kong promised, hurrying to the phone to call the others.
Sealand cautiously entered the room.
"Hey, guys! Where's all the nations?" he asked.
"Oh, Sealand! The other nations said they were on a mission for now and that we're in charge," Taiwan explained.
"Awww! I wanted to get Britain to make me a full nation today!" Sealand pouted.
"Relax, little guy. They'll be back in a few days, then we'll get England to talk to you to see if you can be a nation," Greece reassured.
"I got the news, Hong Kong! We're babysitting the micronations for a while?!"
Hong Kong sighed as India rushed into the room.
"Hey! I'm old enough to take care of myself in human years!" Sealand protested.
"And so am I!" Kugelmugel shouted, running into the room.
"Okay, calm down, you guys! It's just for a few days, for pete's sake," Hong Kong pointed out.
"Still! We are not little kids!" Sealand pointed out.
"Hong Kong," a solemn voice called from outside the room as North Korea entered the room, "I'm here."
Hong Kong gave the eastern nation a quick nod as other nations and micronations that did not accompany Italy, America and their group entered the room.
"Yikes, it's crowded here," Ladonia noted.
"Thank you all for coming. As you can see, a lot of the older and stronger nations aren't able to be here right now. They've asked us to make sure we're overstocked on medical supplies and to look after the micronations while they're away," Taiwan explained.
A chorus of complaints immediately rose from the micronations and some of the nations who didn't want to look after them.
"Everyone, calm down. This was ordered to us by the G8, and if you have problems with it, then there's nothing we can do. Older nations, tonight, I need to talk with you about our plans for the next few days," Hong Kong explained.
"In the meantime, we can watch TV," Greece pointed out.
That instantly changed the mood.
"No, Black Butler!"
"No, Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt!"
"That's too mature! SpongeBob is better!"
"You're saying that because you're out in the middle of the sea!"
The micronations began bickering, which let the older nations to start stocking on medical supplies.
"Do you think they'll know?" Hong Kong asked Greece once it seemed the others were too busy to notice or overhear them.
"After this mess is over with, we'll have to tell them. One of them will be the holder of that journal, and if what the Italies were like after the mansion was any indication, it'll be painful for the holder for a while to have a normal life," Greece responded.
"Yeah. China said it was tough…I mean, from how they described the monster, there was a good chance of maybe seeing its face every time you went around a corner or turned on the lights in a room," Hong Kong commented.
"I wonder if one of my cats looks like the monster," Greece casually wondered.
"…probably not," Hong Kong responded, sighing a little.
Mikado, Shinra, Isaac, Miria, Izaya and Shizuo fled the room, trying to avoid being attacked by Steve.
"Stay alive, girls!" Shinra shouted to the remaining girls in the room before Shizuo dragged the doctor away.
"Okay, then, Mikado, Shinra, you guys are upstairs. Izaya, Isaac, Miria and I are downstairs. Are we clear on this?" Shizuo asked. A mumble of consent followed.
"Good. And if you see Steve, run. A high school student and a doctor with some talent with their weapons of choice aren't enough to kill it, and my group isn't any better," Shizuo reminded.
"Aw, Shizu-chan, you don't trust me~" Izaya lightly pouted.
"And we're not kids! We can use guns!" Isaac and Miria protested.
"Shut up, all of you! This isn't some game, this is life or death here! My brother is probably dead, and I don't need a bunch of idiots at the moment!" Shizuo shouted.
"And on that note, we're out of here!" Shinra declared, dragging Mikado away with him, ignoring his protests.
Mikado and Shinra were soon hiding in the piano room.
"Well, that was about to get…violent," Shinra noted.
"Um, Shinra, are you sure this is a good idea? I think we should try to help Anri and the others," Mikado suggested.
"If what I suspect is correct, Namie's going to be the weak link in that group, not Anri. Right now, we should just look around up here," Shinra pointed out.
"Fine…" Mikado consented. He headed over to the piano and glanced at the keys. They all had different numbers of different colors on them.
"That's…odd…" Shinra noticed.
"Maybe there's a pattern that was have to play on the piano?" Mikado guessed.
Shinra thought for a moment, then walked up to the piano and began playing a tune on it that sounded oddly haunting. Mikado soon recognized it.
"It's from Bokurano, isn't it?"
Shinra didn't stop until he was probably half-way through the song to nod.
"Yeah. I caught an episode of it one day while Celty was out, and I only stuck around until the opening song ended."
"It's, uh…a really depressing series. Kida and I watched it one day, and the only thing I can say is that I'm glad Anri wasn't there," Mikado admitted.
"Well, we'll get nothing done if we just stand around here. I'll look in the library for a better spell book than this, can you try searching here?"
"Okay, then. Stay alive."
Shinra left the room, leaving Mikado to sit behind the piano.
"Izaya's been acting weird…why is he being so cooperative? Well, maybe not very cooperative, but still…maybe he knows something about this place we should know…or shouldn't?" the student mused.
The door opened, then shut. Mikado peeked under the piano to see the pale gray legs of Steve.
He's found me!!
Mikado held still, hoping the monster wouldn't exactly notice his presence.
He doesn't notice me yet…what do I do? Pretend to be the piano?
That actually sounded like a good idea.
Mikado held still, repeating over and over in his mind he was a piano, until the world suddenly grew dark.
"Mikado?...Mikado, wake up!"
Mikado opened his eyes to see Shinra standing over him.
"S-Shinra? What happened? And where's Steve?"
"Steve? I didn't see him at all. I found you, passed out, under the piano!" Shinra explained.
"…oh. Did you find anything?"
"Nope. Come on, let's see if the others are okay."
Meanwhile, Izaya led his group downstairs, trying to look out for Steve.
"No sign of him yet," Isaac reported.
"No sign!" Miria repeated.
"They're getting on my nerves," Shizuo grumbled.
"They're useful, at least. They know we're in danger, and they're capable fighters," Izaya quietly reminded.
"And how would you know that? I've bet you've never seen them fight."
"If they can hold a gun knowing the consequences of firing even a bullet, then I feel safe enough with them," Izaya waved off.
Shizuo narrowed his eyes in distrust.
"Besides, we have the largest party out of the others. I think we'll be okay, Shizu-chan~"
Heading down the hall past the stairs, Izaya immediately noticed the rooms ahead were more akin to Japanese rooms than what they had seen so far.
"It looks peaceful…could Steve really be nearby?" Miria wondered.
"What kind of nonsense are you talking about?" Shizuo questioned.
"There's always a chance he's nearby! I mean, he jumped you guys when you were still asleep, right?" Isaac asked.
Izaya headed over to the door on the far right side and unlocked it with the key he had found earlier during the conversation.
"Yes, but it's not like he could be right behind that door, moron."
"Shizuo, knock it off. They don't mean any harm," he pointed out, an edge for once in his voice.
"You're not my boss, you don't tell me what to do," Shizuo threw back.
"Yes, but in case you've forgotten, we're in a mansion with an alien we're calling Steve that has possibly killed three people already, and I am not taking my chances with that thing, so shut up and let's go into this next room."
Shizuo simply glared at him as the four headed into the next area. Already, the familiar pale shape of Steve headed straight for them.
"Other way!" Isaac and Miria shouted, running away from Steve.
The group ran through the first floor until they found a bathroom to hide in.
"…is he gone?" Miria peeped after a few minutes from where she was: behind the toilet.
"It seems so," Izaya responded.
"There was something back there, wasn't there?" Isaac wondered.
"I'll go get it. You guys stay here and hide," Izaya volunteered, heading out of the room.
It quickly fell quiet within the room, sending Isaac back to Miria to comfort her.
"I-I'm scared, Isaac."
"It'll be okay, Miria. That thing won't kill us!"
"B-But Isaac…" Miria began. She gave a slight nod towards Shizuo, and Isaac understood, quickly switching back to English.
"I don't think the monster will be able to kill us. We're immortal, aren't we?"
"That time in the kitchen, though…we coughed up blood because of that attack, and…Isaac, I think something's wrong in this mansion. Something really wrong."
"I know. For now, let's just see where this goes, okay?"
"Hey, what are you guys talking about over there?" Shizuo asked.
"Miria's scared," Isaac responded.
"Gee, aren't we all?" Shizuo asked, sarcastically.
Izaya quickly returned with a piece of paper in his hands.
"There was a safe in the room in the kitchen, but we don't have the code for it," he informed, sitting down.
Suddenly, his phone rang, surprising him.
"I thought our cellphones didn't work here!"
"Shh!" Izaya hissed, answering the call. A single piano note played, then the caller hung up.
"…was that Mikado or Shinra?" Miria wondered.
"Could be. They might be giving us a clue that has something to do with the piano," Shizuo guessed.
"I think it's safe to head back upstairs," Izaya declared.
"Well, they're all out. Now what?" Namie questioned as Steve approached the remaining three.
"We fight," Anri responded, taking out her katana again.
"That's…Saika, isn't it?" Namie asked.
"Yes. It's a long story," Anri dismissed.
[Come on, let's get this finished so we can see Shinra and the others again!] Celty ordered.
Steve charged and easily knocked Namie into the wall. Celty and Anri took the chance to stab him with their weapons.
"YoU wIlL nEvER EsCApE!" the monster roared, the bright bolt of lightning hitting Anri this time. She winced in pain, then attempted to stab the monster again, this time where it heart should have been.
Namie pressed the gun against Steve's forehead and fired. The monster dropped to the ground, writhing in pain, until Celty stabbed him one last time. The monster slowly vanished.
[Namie, Anri, are you okay?] Celty asked.
"I'll be okay, that didn't hurt too much," Namie responded.
"I'll be okay as well," Anri responded.
Namie's cellphone suddenly rang, and when she answered it, all that came from the caller was a single piano note.
"D-Did Mikado or Shinra send us that?" Anri wondered.
"I don't know. We'll have to ask," Namie responded.
At a gas station, Firo, Saburo and their companions were taking a quick break, with the immortals mentally preparing themselves for the tasks ahead.
"Isaac and Miria are going to be okay, Czeslaw. There shouldn't be any other immortals in Japan," Ennis reassured.
"That doesn't help much," Czeslaw admitted.
"Hey, Ennis, I found this," Firo informed, walking up to the two with a dark blue pamphlet with a huge mansion on it.
Ennis read the pamphlet over, eyes slowly widening.
"Firo, where did you find this?" she asked.
"I found it nearby," Firo responded, a bit confused.
"Firo, read this over carefully, please," Ennis asked, giving it back to him.
Firo quietly read it over.
If you've found this, please return to Roderich Edelstein at ------ --- ---…
This pamphlet explains the horrors inside a mansion where time is messed up, where a giant alien can and will chase you down, and…
Where countless deaths have gone unrecorded, either because the survivor failed to tell his story, or because of time rewinding itself.
"Firo, if this mansion is the same one Isaac and Miria are heading to…we have to hurry, now!" Ennis urged.
Firo shuddered and nodded.
Erika and Walker were checking out the manga section, reading one called Bokurano: Ours.
"Geez, this series is just dark!" Walker commented.
"I heard the opening song for the anime is awesome, though. Not the TV version, the full one," Erika pointed out.
"Still. Puella Magi Madoka Magica and Bokurano are the most depressing series I've read this week," Walker responded, to which Erika laughed.
"You read Puella?"
"It is not a girl series, Erika!"
"It's still funny! Did you look up their skirts if there were panty shots?"
"I bet you did~" Erika teased.
Walker groaned in frustration. Glancing around, he noticed Firo, Ennis, Maiza and Czeslaw outside the place having a conversation. Firo seemed tense, Ennis looked worried, Maiza was his stoic self, and Czeslaw was beginning to panic.
"Hey, what are they talking about?" Walker wondered.
Erika glanced over and shrugged.
"So, for the road…Boku no—"
"NO. No. We are not going to get any single doujinshi of that show after you tricked me into watching it!"
Erika just laughed.
Czeslaw was staring at horror at Firo after his explanation.
"So they're not going to die because of an immortal, but an alien?!" he nearly shouted.
"Czeslaw, calm down, and use English. I don't want anyone catching onto us," Maiza asked.
"Are you guys even sure that pamphlet can be trusted?" Czeslaw questioned, switching back to English.
"For now, it'll have to do. Czes, can you just bear with us for now?" Ennis asked.
Czeslaw looked down for a moment before nodding.
"F-Fine. But then can we at least tell the others to hurry up?"
The van quickly took off as Maiza explained the new info on the situation Kyohei, Isaac and Miria might be facing.
"Aliens? Walker, did you show him one of your novels?" Saburo asked.
"Not this time," Walker responded, trying to read another volume of Ouran High School Host Club.
"Erika…" Saburo began with a warning tone in his voice.
"I did not show him any of my doujinshis, I swear on my status as an otaku!" Erika quickly explained.
"Well, let's say for now that they're actually in danger. What is going to be your guys' plan then?" Saburo asked.
"We fight, duh. They're our friends," Firo responded, eliciting a sigh from Ennis in response.
"Firo, while we may have to do some degree of fighting, we can't go in recklessly," she pointed out.
"Then what are we supposed to do otherwise?" Firo asked.
"Maybe we could assist them from the outside of the mansion?" Ennis suggested.
"I agree with Ennis. The mansion is dangerous enough, and I don't want you three getting hurt," Maiza agreed, aiming his last words at Firo, Ennis and Czeslaw.
"We'll be fine, Maiza! If there really is an alien, we can take it!" Firo boasted.
Maiza just gave a light sigh in response.
The groups met up back in the piano room, relieved to see one another again alive and unharmed.
"What happened with you guys?" Shinra asked the others.
"We were chased by Steve downstairs to the bathroom!" Miria responded.
"But we fought Steve in that fireplace room…" Anri pointed out.
"Maybe it was after you guys beat him? Time is messed up here," Shinra guessed.
"Maybe…then Izaya found this piece of paper, and he got this weird phone call," Isaac informed, Izaya holding out the piece of paper as a prompt.
"Same here…when we beat Steve, we got a phone call. Did you guys get a piano note as well?" Namie asked.
"We didn't make the calls," Mikado admitted.
"If our cellphones were working in here, we would have called Kyohei's gang ages ago," Shinra pointed out.
"I doubt two otakus and a van driver could have helped us at all," Namie grumbled.
"Speaking of help, has anyone seen any sign of Kyohei or Kida?" Mikado asked.
A few shocked glances were quickly aimed at the student.
[…Mikado, aren't you forgetting someone?] Celty asked.
"No. It's Kyohei and Kida who've gone missing, right?" Mikado asked, suddenly unsure.
"But…I thought it was Kida and Kasuka that are missing?" Namie asked.
"No, idiots, it's Kyohei and Kasuka!" Shizuo shouted.
"…maybe there's a lot more to this mansion than we thought. In case we're all forgetting, it's Kyohei, Kasuka and Kida who've all gone missing. Right?" Isaac asked, unsure.
"Isaac…that doesn't match up with what I remember. I thought it was just Kida that went missing…" Miria admitted.
"I-Izaya, what do you remember?" Mikado asked.
"…it's Kyohei, Kasuka and Kida that went missing. Isaac's right," Izaya responded.
"That's sort of a relief. What's going on here?" Shinra wondered.
The room fell silent, save for an irritating ticking noise coming from nearby.
"…so our watches and cellphones don't work here, but that stupid clock does?" Shizuo spat out.
[Shizuo, don't do anything rash…] Celty begged.
"Then explain how the hell I'm supposed to concentrate with that stupid clock!" Shizuo demanded.
"Then why don't you punch it, for pete's sake, if it's annoying you so much?" Namie asked.
Shizuo paused, then ran up to the clock and punched it. Within moments, though, everyone in the room minus Izaya seemed to wince in pain holding their heads, or in Celty's case, her helmet.
Izaya, Namie and Celty stood at the entrance to a mansion.
"This place is huge~" Izaya commented.
"I wonder if they'll really be scared if we get them in here," Namie wondered.
'That's right. Namie, Izaya and I came into this mansion, trying to scare Mikado and the others,' Celty thought. The world flashed, and this time it was Izaya, Isaac and Miria.
"Come on, just give back my coat!" Izaya begged.
"Not until you say please~!" the two thieves teased.
'Wait…this time it's Izaya with Isaac and Miria?' Celty wondered. Once more, the world flashed, showing Mikado, Kida, Anri, Shizuo, Kasuka and Izaya approaching the mansion. Izaya was desperately trying to fight Shizuo's orders.
"Shizuo, that place is dangerous! You have to believe me!"
"Then give me some proof!"
"I…I can't. Too much would happen if I told you why. But we can't go in!"
"Get out of my way!"
Shizuo easily tossed Izaya into a tree, forcing the informant to cry out in pain and grab his leg.
"There. Die there so the world doesn't have to put up with you again!" Shizuo spat at Izaya, leading the others into the mansion.
The world slowly came back into focus as everyone but Izaya stood up. Izaya was staring at them all, confused.
"What happened?" he asked.
"Didn't you get some weird visions of entering the mansion?" Namie asked.
"No. You guys just collapsed for a minute, then got up again," Izaya responded.
"And you didn't think to help us?" Shizuo questioned.
"Shizu-chan, if I knew, I would have attempted to help, duh~" Izaya responded.
"Yeah, right," Shizuo muttered.
"Well, what does everyone remember from entering the mansion?" Izaya asked.
"Isaac and I stole Celty's helmet, and she chased us in here…right?"
[No, that's wrong. I came here with Namie and Izaya.]
"I didn't come here with you guys, I got here with the Heiwajima brothers."
"I thought I was here trying to kill Izaya!"
"You guys are all wrong. I came here with the Heiwajima brothers, Celty and Shinra. Mikado, Kida, Anri, Namie, Isaac, Miria and Kyohei came in the next day," Izaya clarified.
"Well, who's right then?" Isaac wondered.
"I'm not believing Izaya for a moment," Shizuo stated.
Two phones rang. Shinra and Anri quickly answered theirs, receiving two more piano notes before the mysterious caller hung up.
"Yet another call our mysterious caller who obviously has no intention of helping us. What should we do now?" Shinra wondered.
"Um…could I look at those pieces of paper?" Mikado asked. Izaya handed them over.
"Since our problem at the moment lies with piano notes, I suggest we try playing those notes on the piano," Namie suggested.
Shinra walked up to the piano and sat down in front of it, only to get partially knocked off it by Mikado in excitement.
"Guys, I think I've found something out!" Mikado shouted. He played four notes on the piano, and a few moments later, a piece of paper drifted from the ceiling. Miria snagged it quickly.
"What does it say~?" Izaya asked.
"It says 'the code is 1025'. Izaya, it might be for that safe you found earlier!" Miria realized.
"You guys found a safe? Where?" Shinra asked.
"Well, technically, Izaya found the safe. It was near the kitchen, right?" Miria asked.
"That's right," Izaya confirmed.
"Then let's go!" Shinra urged.
The group headed out the door, save for Izaya who watched them go for a bit before sitting in front of the piano.
"Am I right to guide them like this? I know I have to pay for what I've done, but is this really the path I have to take?"
Letting a long sigh escape his lips, he thought for a brief moment.
"Come on, Izaya. So far so good. You just need to find Kasuka, Kyohei and Kida before Steve gets them, then try to get them all out," Izaya muttered to himself, clenching his hands.
"Izaya, are you coming?" Shinra called.
"Coming, Shinra~" Izaya responded, hurrying out of the room.
Izaya quickly joined up with the group again.
"What took you so long?" Shinra asked.
"Just looking for anything else~" Izaya responded.
"Okay, then. Since you know the way to the safe…" Shinra began. Izaya understood and began leading the group downstairs to the kitchen.
[I hate how quiet this place is when there's no fighting going on or anyone talking.] Celty typed out.
"Same here. And Steve doesn't make any noise whatsoever. It's creepy," Namie agreed.
"He has to be a ghost! Isaac, he might be the last survivor from that blue demon legend!" Miria guessed.
"Blue demon?" Izaya repeated.
"Haven't you heard the legend of the blue demon?" Isaac asked, getting Izaya to shake his head.
"Five years ago, four kids entered this mansion, and all but three were killed by a blue demon! The last survivor must have died and he's now haunting this mansion!" Miria recited.
"…are you guys kidding?" Izaya asked, a tone of annoyance clearly present in his voice.
"Of course not! We wouldn't make that up!" Isaac and Miria defended themselves.
"Well, for our sakes, I hope that story isn't true," Mikado muttered as the group reached the cellar with the safe. Izaya quickly put in the code, opened the safe and found another key.
"Izaya, in that room Steve chased us from, were there any other doorways?" Isaac asked.
"Yup," Izaya responded.
The group made quick progress to where the next doorway was, finding a study inside. A crack on the wall above a bookshelf seemed to taunt the group.
"What do we do next?" Anri wondered.
"I don't know, but I'm tired from walking," Shinra complained sitting on the chair. The chair sank a little into the ground and the staircase moved to the side, revealing a door.
"Way to go, Shinra. Your big butt moved the staircase~" Izaya joked.
"It did not!" Shinra complained, standing back up.
Izaya entered the room, discovering a cell, and picked up the key just hiding in-between the bars. Within moments, screams and gunshots rang out in the study, drawing Izaya back to where the others were fighting Steve. Already, the monster had dealt some damage, as evidenced by the blood trickling out of Anri's mouth, but everyone else seemed relatively unharmed.
"Izaya, mind helping us?!" Mikado asked, trying to aim the arrow steady at Steve.
"I leave the room for one second to grab the key and this is what I get?" Izaya asked, jokingly, as he stabbed the monster. Miria shot at Steve, hoping to get a good hit on him, while Mikado let an arrow fly, hitting the monster square in the chest.
Steve finally let out a roar in defeat and fled the room.
"A-Anri, are you okay?" Mikado questioned, lowering his bow.
"I-I'll be okay," Anri reassured.
"Anri, I've been meaning to ask…is that Saika?" Shinra asked.
Anri glanced downwards before nodding.
"I have the true Saika. Any others are just copies," she responded.
"Were you behind the Slasher events in Ikebukuro those two times?"
"No. The first time was a rogue child, the second…I guess those children were desperate for more members then."
"Well, that explains a few things. So, what's next?"
"I think we should try smashing the clocks in the house. We all got false memories when that clock in the piano room was smashed, right?" Izaya asked.
"False memories? You mean those memories of entering the mansion with different people and some going missing?" Isaac asked.
"Exactly. To keep us all reminded of what's real, Shizu-chan, Kasuka, Celty, Shinra and I all entered the mansion yesterday, and today, Mikado, Kida, Anri, Kyohei, Isaac, Miria, Namie and Kyohei arrived here. Then Kasuka, Kyohei and Kida went missing, and we're trying to find them. Is that clear for all of us?" Izaya asked. Everyone nodded, and the ticking noise nearby quickly ended as Celty broke the clock. Already, most of the group members began holding their heads in pain as the memories surged into their heads…
Izaya fell to his knees, horror reflected in his auburn eyes. A room's white walls had been filled with numbers painted in blood, the ground in the same state. A circular platform in the center of the room had the bodies of those who had entered the mansion with him, stained with blood, on it, the numbers on that platform arranged to make it look like a clock.
Looking slowly up from the platform, he saw, painted on the wall for him to see, was a warning in both Japanese and English.
'YOu WeRE NEVer SUPoSed tO cOmE HeRE! lEAve BEForE I kIlL yOU AS weLl!'
Izaya sped out of the room, that same horrified expression plastered on his face.
'Wait…when did this happen? The only ones who might be dead are Kida, Kyohei and Kasuka!' Mikado wondered. The world flashed, and when it subsided, it revealed everyone, even the three currently missing, in a small room, different than the one Mikado saw earlier. Izaya stood with his back at the door.
"A dead-end! Dammit!" Shizuo cursed.
"…listen, please guys," Izaya begged.
"What is it now, Izaya?" Kida asked.
"…please know that I never meant for any of this to happen. I thought the mansion would be a harmless place, that that pamphlet was just lying, but now that I stand here, knowing death will come for us sooner rather than later, I know that I was right to rewind time. That this time, you guys can get on with life," Izaya admitted.
"Rewind time…?" Mikado began, confused.
The door was torn open, Steve appearing behind Izaya.
Tears finally spilling from auburn orbs, Izaya begged, "Please…get out of here alive!"
Everyone slowly stood up.
"What were those two visions that time?" Shinra wondered.
"That first one was all of us dead. The second one…Steve was about to kill Izaya. But who was it that called Izaya's name just moments before that?" Anri wondered.
"I doubt we'll ever know. Come on, let's go look for more clocks. Those were fake memories, and I don't want to spend time on those," Shizuo responded.
"R-Right," Mikado agreed. The group reluctantly headed outside the room.
Night settled over the World Meeting place, with the micronations finally running low on energy for the day.
"But Hong Kooooooooooong, I don't want to go to bed yet!" Sealand protested as Hong Kong unceremoniously carried him to his temporary room.
"Sealand, please bear with me for now. I know I'm not your parent—"
"Then let me do what I want!" Sealand shouted.
"Sealand, please just cooperate with him!" someone groaned, starting up a chorus of complaints.
"Majority rules, kiddo," Hong Kong pointed out.
Putting, Sealand finally took to his bed and pulled the covers over his head, leaving Hong Kong to exit the room and meet up with the rest of the grown up nations.
"Okay, here's the real truth of the situation. Some of Japan's people and two of America's immortals are trapped inside the mansion they disappeared to a while back, and now they're on a mission to save them before it's too late," Greece explained.
"And you're not telling the micronations why?" India asked.
"Because then they won't do anything stupid. Think of how a micronation would fare in battle against one of those things compared to a full nation, like Spain, America, Ukraine, or China. I wouldn't bet on them in a fight," Greece pointed out.
"Then what are we supposed to do? Just watch them and hope that when they bring back at least 10 corpses the micronations won't ask any questions?" Turkey questioned angrily.
"Turkey, there's the chance they won't bring back corpses, but people who need medical help. Would you abandon your people if you could save them?" Taiwan asked.
"…no," Turkey responded after a bit.
"Exactly. And America and Japan aren't going to abandon their people. They know how it feels to be without assistance from others and having to rely on the resources they have and what's in the mansion while trying to find a way out without dying," Taiwan pointed out.
"Then what else can we do? I don't want to wait for news that maybe they died," Belgium asked.
"I think that's all we can do, besides keeping from the micronations from overhearing anything," Hong Kong admitted.
"Think about it, Hong Kong. One day, when they come home, we will have to explain to them. We can't pretend we're 4Kids forever and dismiss them as being off on a mission and they aren't going to bring home anyone that's hurt," North Korea pointed out.
Hong Kong sighed.
"I know. But for right now, we're keeping silent until further notice. Maybe we can make up a story or two explaining it all, but until then, no one speak about it, okay?" he asked.
The other nations nodded.
Meanwhile, just in the hall nearby as Hong Kong discussed other topics, Sealand nearly broke into tears.
"Not the mansion…not the mansion again…"
The group traveled back to near the bathroom where a single door was left unlocked. Opening the door revealed a passage to another room with a few crates in it.
"Um…guys," Izaya began.
"What is it, Izaya?" Shinra asked.
"If you saw anything weird…think nothing of it. Please," Izaya asked.
"But those memories might have something to do with—"
"NO!" Izaya shouted, surprising everyone, giving Shinra a cause to raise an eyebrow at him.
"Just…don't bother trying to think about those things. They're not of any use!" Izaya spat out, leaving the room.
"Izaya, come back here, idiot!" Namie shouted as the group hurried after him down the other doorway into a white room filled with black sofas and a table. Izaya ripped off a piece of wallpaper to reveal a door.
"Izaya, what is wrong with you? This is unusual, even for you," Mikado asked.
"Gee, when an adult doesn't have coffee for two days, do you think I'm going to be happy?" Izaya asked.
"Ah…you rely on coffee like the rest of the world, don't you?" Mikado assumed.
Izaya rolled his eyes and tried the door. It wouldn't open.
"Door number 1 is out, so let's see what's behind door number 2," Isaac suggested, trying to keep the peace.
The other door opened, leaving Celty to lead the group through a series of halls until she came upon a room with a rather large jail cell taking up half the room with three people in it that were welcome sights for the group: Kida, Kasuka and Kyohei.
"Masaomi!" Mikado shouted, pushing his way through the group to his friend.
"Mikado! Dude, what happened? You look like Shizuo beat you up!" Kida asked.
"It's a long story," Mikado responded.
"Why are you guys here, anyways?" Kida questioned.
"We should be asking you guys that. What have you guys been doing to get yourselves locked up in here?" Shinra asked.
"Actually, first off, can you open the door for us? It won't open on our side," Kyohei asked. Without hesitation, Celty opened the cell door, releasing the prisoners.
"Thank god you guys are okay. I thought for a moment we weren't going to get out," Kasuka admitted.
"Did you think I'd leave you to die in this place? What were you doing last night?" Shizuo questioned.
"You guys wouldn't be at your best when you just woke up, so I had to…borrow the key," Kasuka admitted, holding up the bedroom key.
[You could have woken us up. Was it Steve?]
"Actually, it was me. Kasuka was caught off guard when I tried to open the door, so he nicked me a little," Kyohei explained.
"Anyways, while you three were asleep, we were bringing each other up to speed on stuff when the monster—I mean, Steve, if that's what we're calling it—came out of nowhere," Kasuka continued.
"We were chased downstairs to where Kida was, when Steve somehow managed to teleport and attack him, and we got dragged into the fight. Kida, what were you thinking? I mean, seriously?" Kyohei asked the younger blonde.
"I thought you guys might be able to help! Bros stick together, right?" Kida asked.
"Since when were we declared 'bros'?" Kyohei groaned.
"Anyways, since we couldn't fight, we fled here and got trapped in the cell," Kasuka finished.
"I think we should split up again. Some of us stay here to explain to them recent events, some of us explore a bit. I'll stay here with Shinra," Mikado volunteered.
"I might as well stay here too," Shizuo decided.
"I'm going with Celty," Kida announced.
"M-Masaomi, shouldn't you stay here? There's a lot of stuff that happened…" Anri suggested.
"Can't Celty explain everything, though?" Kida whined.
[Fine.] Celty consented.
"I'm coming with," Izaya declared.
[Izaya, it's okay, I'll be fine.] Celty reminded.
"I want to come too. Celty, I want to check something out," Shinra admitted.
[…okay, but you're responsible for looking after yourself, Shinra. You aren't a little kid.] Celty decided.
The exploration group headed out to check a bookshelf.
"Hmm…never mind. I guess I can check later," Shinra decided.
[Okay, let's go.] Celty typed.
The group headed down a passageway to find a rope ladder rather worn from use.
"We can get out with this! We're saved!" Shinra cheered.
"Hey, Shinra, can you go tell the others?" Kida asked.
"Oh! Yeah!" Shinra sped back down the hall.
"…Celty. I need to have a chat with you," Kida declared, a serious look overtaking his usual cheery face.
Shinra picked up one of the books, a gleam of interest in his eyes.
"Magic really does exist…this is so cool! Celty is going to be so jealous once I show her my skills at it!" he declared.
A bluish-white seal glowed beneath his feet, and he felt a power well up within him.
"Whoa! Does this mean…?" Shinra began, trying process what was going on.
Celty and Kida soon reentered the room.
"Oh! What's up?" Shinra asked.
[Did something happen in here?] Celty asked back.
"Oh! I can use magic now!" Shinra responded.
"I thought you could with that other book?" Kida wondered.
"Actually, it must have been a fake. It didn't do a thing for me," Shinra responded.
A quiet tick-tock got the three's attention, and Kida spotted another clock on the shelf.
"Should we break it?"
[For now, no. We have an exit ready.]
"Awwww! I wanna try getting those weird memories!" Kida complained.
"I'll break it!" Shinra volunteered.
Before Celty could intervene, he neatly smashed the clock. Already, pain filled the three's heads…
Kasuka, Izaya, Celty and Shizuo stood in the passageway.
"We can escape!" Kasuka declared.
"Y-Yeah," Izaya agreed.
"Let's get out of here. I am not spending another minute in here with him," Shizuo declared, heading forward.
[I wish everyone else could come too. I guess this mansion is exciting for them.] Celty admitted.
Izaya glanced downwards, fidgeting slightly.
"Guys, help!" Shizuo shouted. The others quickly came to Shizou's side, finding Steve and the rope ladder torn down.
"Just after we found an exit, too?! Is this monster hell-bent on killing us all?!" Izaya cursed.
"Masaomi and the others! Guys!" Kasuka shouted.
The four fled Steve, Shizuo tripping over a vine. He hissed in pain, then looked behind him to see Steve closing on him.
A single crunch, and Shizuo fell silent forever.
'What?! How did Shizuo die that easily?!' Kida thought in horror. The world flashed to show Kasuka, this time, coming back to his brother's aid.
"Kasuka, don't! One of us should live, not neither of us!" Shizuo shouted, trying to untangle his foot.
"You're my brother, and if I went home with you, mom and dad would kill me!" Kasuka pointed out, readying his sword.
"Kasuka, get out of here!" Shizuo shouted again.
"We're the last three here! You guys are stronger and better fighters than me! You guys have a better chance of fighting your way out of the mansion!" Kasuka reminded.
He charged forward, and Steve easily dealt the blow that broke his neck, making him slump to the ground.
'Now Kasuka?! And…what did he say about the last three alive?' Kida wondered. Another flash, and Celty was being knocked into the wall, courtesy of Steve.
"Celty!" Shizuo yelled.
Izaya stared at horror in Celty before murmuring, "I knew it."
'Wait a minute…what's Izaya saying?'
"I'm sorry guys…this time we failed as well," Izaya apologized, trembling as Steve loomed close enough to break their necks.
'Izaya and Shizuo this time? Why…?' Kida wondered.
The world faded back into vision, leaving Celty, Kida and Shinra to glance at each other nervously.
"That wasn't…great. Which memory is which again?" Kida asked, holding a hand up to his head.
"Ask Isaac or Izaya. Isaac suffers the headaches, but doesn't seem to be confused, while Izaya isn't affected at all," Shinra explained.
"R-Right," Kida agreed.
[Shinra, are you okay? You don't look like you're seeing clearly…how many fingers am I holding up?] Celty asked, holding up three fingers.
"That's easy, Celty, three. Come on, the others are going to be waiting," Shinra prompted.
Sealand scurried back to where Kugelmugel and Ladonia were.
"Well?" Kugelmugel asked.
"They went back to the mansion, and Greece and the others aren't telling us!" Sealand informed.
"What? Why?" Ladonia questioned.
"Some of Japan and America's people managed to find their way there, and I don't know why they wouldn't tell us!" Sealand responded.
The three micronations thought for the longest time before Kugelmugel decided, "I am not going to sit here and wait for news about them. I'm going out to fight!"
"And what exactly can you do? Your best weapon is a paintbrush," Ladonia reminded.
"I know how to use a gun! And paintbrushes can stab people in the eyes!" Kugelmugel pointed out.
"Guys, sshhh! They think we're in bed right now!" Sealand hushed.
"Sorry," the other two apologized.
"Ladonia, Kugelmugel, tonight we go to help them. Let's go to the weaponry room," Sealand decided.
Morning shone its rays of light over their part of their world, and with it came unsettling news.
"Three micronations are gone!" India reported.
"Sealand, Kugelmugel and Ladonia?! Those idiots!" Taiwan complained.
"Hong Kong, do you think…" Greece began.
"I don't know. Maybe they're exploring somewhere and know nothing, or they know the entire story and went to help them," Hong Kong guessed.
"This is still bad news and timing. It's been only two days since the others left, and now we're short a few micronations," Greece commented.
"There are two guns missing from the weaponry room, and a Western sword missing as well. Unless they're hunting, which I doubt highly, they're out to help America and the others," India informed.
"Then some of us have to go to save Sealand's group. Greece, North Korea, Seborga, Belgium, we're going," Hong Kong decided.
The chosen nations were surprised, especially Seborga.
"Vietnam," Hong Kong ordered, turning to face the nation, "you'll have to watch over the rest of them. Please take care of them."
The female nation nodded.
Hong Kong's group quickly chose their weapons and headed out.
"Good luck, and be careful out there," Monaco wished.
Celty's group hurried back to the room with the cell, just catching the last snippet of Namie trying to explain the situation to Kyohei and Kasuka.
"So now our goal seems to be smashing the clocks, and—oh, you're back," Namie realized.
"Did you find an exit?" Kyohei asked.
"Yup," Shinra responded.
"Then what are we waiting for? Let's get out of here ASAP," Izaya urged.
"Why don't we explore for a bit? We have an exit, we just have to not get killed!" Kida pointed out.
"Shizuo, I think you should take the others ahead. Masaomi's just going to cause trouble," Mikado suggested.
"Yeah. I hope the rope can support a bunch of adults and a few teenagers," Shizuo hoped.
"I-I need to check something out. I'll go by myself," Anri admitted.
"Celty, is it okay if I have a word with you in private?" Kasuka asked. Celty nodded, and the others left the two be.
"Celty…something's wrong, isn't it? Is it those visions when we smash the clocks?" Kasuka guessed.
[Yeah. I just…don't know what to make of it.]
"I want to know the important things right now. Just because I'm not as…famous as my brother, it doesn't mean I'm any less important."
[…I just feel that any choice we make will cost us someone, no matter what it is, and Steve just gets stronger at every turn. I fought it before, with you, Izaya and Shizuo, and another time with Anri and Namie…] Celty halted after Namie's name.
"Why did you stop there?" Kasuka asked in a gentle voice. Celty helplessly shrugged.
"Celty, you aren't doing this alone. We all want to get out, even if some of us aren't exactly friends."
Celty nodded in response.
"I'm glad you did tell me, at least. Let's catch up with the others, okay?"
[Okay…but if we go there, Shizuo might die. Even you and Izaya would be in danger.]
"I know. Celty, you're overthinking some things. You have us to tell, and we can be relied on. If you can remember something else, I'll give you a few points," Kasuka reminded, exiting the room.
Celty stared after Kasuka for a few moments.
Steve's gotten stronger. How are we going to survive this place?
Following after Kasuka, the very scene she had seen just minutes earlier began to play out in front of her.
"I'll go on ahead," Shizuo declared. Before Celty could try to stop him, Shizuo headed down the passage.
What am I going to do?! Is Shizuo fated to die here?
The three ran to help Shizuo as he shouted in surprise. The rope ladder was torn down by Steve, who stood in front of Shizuo.
"Let's get out of here! The others might be in danger as well!" Izaya shouted.
The group absconded the area, Shizuo tripping over a rock.
"Izaya, wait! Shizuo tripped!" Kasuka alerted.
"Guys, go! I'm deadweight now!" Shizuo ordered.
Kasuka charged at the monster, swinging his sword.
"Shizuo, get up! Now!" Kasuka yelled. Izaya quickly joined Kasuka, knife at the ready.
"I'd listen to him, Shizu-chan. This thing looks quite dangerous~"
Shizuo got up at the sound of his irritating nickname, with Celty quickly joining the others.
"You all had better be ready to fight. Steve doesn't look happy today," Kasuka reminded.
"You guys are all idiots. Why didn't you leave me to die?" Shizuo questioned.
"Easy answer. Because we're brothers."
"Because I would be bored without you in Ikebukuro~"
[Because you guys don't view me as a monster.]
The three gave their reasons as they charged straight into battle. Izaya kicked some sand into Steve's eyes, forcing it to flail blindly as Celty and Kasuka attempted to slice off its arms and legs. The best they could manage were deep gashes into its legs as Steve knocked them both over in retaliation. Izaya stabbed it in the head, surprised to see it didn't flee in defeat this time.
"Idiot, you have to use force!" Shizuo shouted at Izaya while charging at Steve and managing to punch it in the chin. The monster recoiled.
"Let's get out of here, quickly!" Izaya urged.
The group fled the passageway and back to the white halls, where Namie stood, Kyohei near the door.
"What's wrong this time?" Namie asked.
"The exit was torn down! We have to run!" Kasuka responded.
"Then let's go!"
The group quickly met back up with Anri, Isaac, Miria and Mikado, the latter explaining Kida and Shinra were just up ahead. Reaching the tiny room beyond the hall, Celty locked the door.
"This isn't good! The monster is easily going to tear down that door, and then we'll have to fight again!" Shinra fretted.
"Is that thing seriously going to hunt us down and kill us? Why…why does this have to happen?!" Shizuo complained.
"Shizuo, calm down. We're alive at the moment, that's important. I'm not surprised our disappearing has gotten any attention," Kasuka admitted, leaning against a wall.
"Not like anyone would miss some of us," Izaya muttered.
"Wait…the nations! They might be able to help us!" Kida suggested. When Miria and Isaac gave the blonde a confused look, Kida explained, "Our nations are personified, and we met them a while back. They might be able to help us!"
"Think about how much time has passed in the world, though. It's not like Japan would care about us being gone," Kyohei reminded.
"Not to mention…we're all tired. Not just because of fighting, but running. We haven't sat down many times since we even entered this place. Izaya, Shizuo and Celty did get some sleep, sure, but I doubt that gave them much strength when Steve broke into their room," Namie guessed.
"Then what are we supposed to do? There has to be a way out…isn't there?" Miria asked, trying to hold onto some piece of hope.
"He might eat us, though…or at the very least attempt to kill us," Isaac reminded.
"…Kasuka. Thanks for earlier. I really would have died back there," Shizuo thanked.
"Shizuo, again, we're brothers. I wouldn't have left without you," Kasuka reminded.
[I'm impressed with Izaya, though. You have chances to run away from the fights, but you don't use them.] Celty commented.
"Do I? Because Steve could have easily gone after me somewhere else. Running away is pretty much useless here, unless you're running out the door. This is the first time that…" Izaya broke off, hesitating.
"Izaya, what's up?" Kyohei wondered.
"…if you guys manage to get out, just run. Getting out is an issue, sure, but so is staying alive. Too many lives could end here, more than a normal man could take," Izaya pointed out.
"Izaya, you're shaking," Miria realized.
I recognize this from before…!
Steve appeared behind Izaya, who, once more, had tears in his eyes.
"I was never going to survive after all. All of you, even Isaac and Miria, could do better off with me not screwing up your lives. It was fun…and thank you…" Izaya whispered.
"Izaya!!" Shizuo hollered.
[Kida…you still have some strength left, right?] Celty asked.
"Yeah. I'm not too worn down," Kida responded.
[Kida…I can't believe I'm saying this, but try to be a hero sometimes. I know you have a real loved one, and I'm guessing she got hurt because you tried to save her. But we're going to need all the help we can get here, okay?]
"Can you teach me a few things, though?" he asked, and Celty nodded.
Shinra cursed as the magic failed.
"Great. This might be useless as well," he muttered.
Kida, who had been watching the doctor practice, cleared his throat.
"Shinra. You can stop Steve for two seconds with the magic you have right now, right?"
"Can you try better than that?"
"…I don't know. There might be consequences to trying too hard. I think I can manage it, though…you think I'm crazy, don't you?"
"No…but two seconds will be enough to save someone."
"…Kida, I think we need to talk."
Namie, Anri, Mikado, Isaac, Miria and Kyohei were having a quick meeting.
"If what Kida said is right, Izaya might be killed. We have to be ready to fight Steve," Namie informed.
"That explains the lookout thing, but…we're all tough enough here. Shouldn't we be okay?" Isaac asked.
"I don't think that applies to all of us…me mainly. This mansion already took away Shizuo's strength somehow, and Celty can only use her shadows in certain ways here. If anyone else has any special powers, they're probably taken away. All of us can die here at any time," Mikado guessed.
Anri and Miria gave identical whimpers of fear, though Miria had Isaac to cling to for protection at a moment's notice.
"That's why none of us can die here. We have families, friends, maybe even lovers outside here that need us to come home," Kyohei reminded.
"Then we're going to have to fight. There's no way I'm dying before seeing Seiji again," Namie declared.
"The other exit is off-limits now, isn't it?" Anri guessed.
"If that happens, then it means Izaya might die. It will come back, but can't we lock the doors?" Kyohei wondered.
"Maybe. I can keep him from getting hurt, but it will take a toll on me," Namie admitted.
"We'll keep a lookout too!" Isaac and Miria volunteered.
"I'll wait in the room after that one. I'm not going to be useless," Anri declared.
"I'll be after Anri, then," Mikado decided.
"I'll be before Isaac and Miria. I'm a strong man," Kyohei pointed out.
"Let's go back, then. They will be back soon," Namie decided.
Kida winced in pain as Steve stabbed him in the stomach.
"Ow…" he hissed.
"Masaomi!" Mikado shouted, loading an arrow into his bow.
"Don't move!" Namie ordered.
"Sorry, Steve. Izaya reminded me of something important a while back. You can run all you want, but the past can and will follow you. And I figured that now that I'm here, I have no choice but to take everything up front, like having to fight to make sure I see her again!" Kida shouted, taking out a jimmy bar.
"Masaomi, watch out!!" Mikado yelled.
"Shinra!" Kida shouted.
Shinra raised a hand, looking from his spell book. Dark circles appeared beneath Steve's feet.
"Impedimenta!" Shinra shouted.
Lightning shot up around Steve's feet.
"No way…" Izaya gasped.
Kida shoved the informant back and stood protectively in front of him.
"Let's show him how people from Ikebukuro roll!"
"Izaya, are you okay?!" Miria asked, worriedly.
"Everyone, get your weapons! We have to fight as a team!" Kyohei ordered.
"Let's go!" Anri urged.
"Shinra, you can stop now! That's enough!" Kida ordered.
Shinra wobbled over, completely worn out. Celty stood protectively over him and swung her scythe at Steve. He easily knocked the scythe away, but received an arrow to the knee in response. Kasuka wasted no time in stabbing the monster before backing away to let Namie fire a bullet into Steve's hand.
"dIE!" Steve roared, bolts of lightning striking various people in the room.
"Oww!" Miria complained, firing at Steve. Mikado shot an arrow at the monster, leaving it to stumble into Kida whacking it with his jimmy bar. Steve swiped at him, managing to give him a nasty head scratch to leave blood drip down his face.
Isaac kicked the monster in the gut and fired at him, getting three bullets in Steve's head, followed shortly by Miria adding two more. Steve faded away in defeat.
"We won…ow…" Mikado winced.
[We have to heal Shinra!] Celty reminded. She and Kida hurried over to the doctor.
"Is he going to be okay? I know jack squat about magic, but it apparently took a toll on him," Shizuo questioned.
[He'll be okay! He just needs some rest, and he'll be better in no time.] Celty responded.
"I know a room we could use. Celty, remember that iron door I hid behind?" Shizuo asked. Celty nodded in response.
"We'll have to go there. Let's get moving," Shizuo decided.
"W…Wait, please," Izaya pled.
"We have to go now, Izaya. He won't stay gone forever," Shizuo reminded. Izaya reluctantly nodded.
"Kida…I can't believe I'm saying this, but thanks. I would have died that time," the informant thanked.
"Come on, Izaya, where's your usual smile? Try smiling like you usually do!" Kida teased.
The sound of snickering suddenly echoed in Kasuka's head, along with a monotone voice shouting "CONGRATULATIONS" over and over.
"Shut up!" Kasuka hissed.
"Eh? What's the matter?" Miria asked.
"Didn't you hear…?" Kasuka asked, confused.
"What're you talking about?" Kida asked.
"…nothing. I must be getting a headache," Kasuka responded.
The group, with Celty and Kida carrying Shinra in the lead, left the white halls and went back to the bathrooms.
"Uh…Celty, where are we going?" Mikado asked.
[Oh! I haven't told you about the toilet yet! It gives out healing items, which I used plenty of to keep us from death more than once. I need to stock up.] Celty explained.
Everyone, minus the two thieves, gave Celty a weird look.
"A…toilet gives out items. For free," Namie repeated.
"It doesn't sound that weird. We've seen plenty of weird stuff before!" Isaac informed, prompting Kida and Mikado to laugh.
"You guys obviously have an interesting life style. By the way, are you ever going to give Kyohei his hat back?" Kida asked.
"Oh! Right!" Miria recalled, tossing Kyohei his hat.
"About time. I thought I was going to die without it," he joked.
At the toilet, Mikado, Kida and Izaya were in stitches as Celty received another bag of healing items.
"It exists! Oh my god, it exists!" Kida laughed.
[Knock it off! Geez, you guys are like little kids.] Celty remarked.
The group traveled back upstairs to the door Shizuo was hiding behind. Opening it and going up the stairs, it was immediately pitch-black.
"Who's stepping on my feet?"
"Kida, I swear in the name of all the gods in the universe, that had better not be you that's on me."
"Ow! My hair isn't a toy!"
"Sorry, I can't find the switch! Hang on…"
A click, and the lights came on, revealing enough beds for them all and enough food to last them a long time. To put it simply, it was a safe room.
Everyone stared in awe at their surroundings.
"It's somewhere safe, isn't it?" Anri asked.
"Yeah. I guess we all came here alive. That's a relief, at least," Shizuo admitted.
"Did you make this place, Shizuo?" Kasuka asked. It wouldn't be a stretch for the ex-bartender to be able to make this room.
"It's amazing," Izaya admitted.
Shinra quickly regained consciousness, trying to sit up.
"Ugh…where are we?" he asked, holding his head.
"We have a lot to talk about, but it's better for us if we sleep right now. We're all worn out," Izaya suggested.
"Let's do some quick healing first. Kida, you've stopped bleeding, but that cut could still open up at any time," Anri suggested.
"Why of course, my boobilicious nurse~!" Kida consented, prompting Mikado to shout at his friend.
"There's a first-aid kit on a shelf back there. Anyone who can, try to get some shut-eye," Shizuo suggested.
"Celty, can you sleep by me?" Shinra asked, trying not to make it sound wrong. He still got slapped anyways.
"I really want to sleep. I'm tired," Miria pouted.
"We can sleep together, my dear!" Isaac reminded his partner, allowing Izaya and Kida to snicker at them. The thieves glanced innocently at the others, confused.
Mikado, Namie, Celty, Izaya and Shizuo were among the few awake.
"This is a good place. I doubt even Steve would find us here," Mikado admitted.
"I'd want to see how they all sleep after today's events. I doubt even Izaya could sleep the entire night," Namie admitted.
Celty glanced at those asleep. Isaac and Miria were sharing a bed and were out like a light. Anri, Kyohei, Kasuka and Shinra were fast asleep, occasionally muttering something about demon butlers. Izaya was trying to cook, looking a bit unsatisfied.
"Hey, Izaya, are you going to sleep yet?" Shizuo asked.
"Not yet. I think we're all hungry after today, and I'm making something so we don't resort to cannibalism tomorrow," Izaya responded.
[Let me know if you need help later!]
"I'll be okay, I know how to cook," Izaya waved off.
[Hey, Shizuo, did you do this on your own?] Celty asked Shizuo.
"No. It was completed on its own when I found this place. It had to have been here for a while," Shizuo informed.
Izaya seemed to lean close to Celty to overhear the conversation.
[This place had to have taken a long time to have even this built, never mind the beds.] Celty guessed.
"I guess. There's some bathrooms in the back. They're pretty clean," Shizuo informed.
Celty refused to hesitate to use the bathrooms, quickly taking a bath before drying off and spotting Kida as she left.
"Oh, hey Celty!" Kida greeted.
[Kida, thanks for helping Izaya. I don't think he would have made it if not for you.] Celty thanked.
The blonde shrugged.
"If I hadn't, Saki probably would have had my head on a platter. She practically worships Izaya," he admitted.
[I'm impressed with how you and Shinra worked together. And where did you get that jimmy bar?]
"Oh, that? I found it on the floor earlier. It's pretty handy," Kida boasted.
[Huh…again, thank you. I'm not sure how things would have turned out without Izaya.] Celty thanked.
"Yeah…speaking of Izaya, I think he's hiding something."
[Isaac and Miria haven't noticed by now, but most of our group otherwise has.]
"I think he'll tell us tomorrow, but if not, then oh well. He…he does have that look about him, as if he's been searching alone for a long time," Kida admitted.
[Then a few of us will have to bring him back from wherever he's been searching. Good night.]
Celty climbed into bed and let her weariness carry her to sleep…
Izaya, Shizuo, Anri, Namie, Miria and Shinra waited in a room, a storm raging outside. After a moment, Kasuka entered.
"Kasuka! What happened to Celty and Isaac?" Izaya questioned.
"They…they're beyond saving. Forever," Kasuka admitted.
"N-No! Not Isaac!" Miria cried, tears staining her brown eyes.
"We're the last people left…we messed up big time, didn't we?" Shinra asked, sounding tired and hopeless.
"Yeah. I just…can't leave yet," Shizuo admitted.
"Same here," Namie admitted.
Shinra took out the key, then sighed.
"Let's leave this here, then, for our next selves," he decided.
Izaya held silent.
"Izaya, what's wrong?" Shizuo asked.
"This is my fault. If it weren't for me…"
Izaya woke up shaking.
I hate this place. They need to get out of here before anything goes wrong. I'm beginning to forget too much…at this rate, I've even forgotten when she died. I made a promise to someone…didn't I? I'm sure I did…
Izaya listened closely beyond the rain and wind to hear everyone breathing, and in Celty's case the rise and fall of her chest.
Okay…what's next? The next thing to do is…
The following morning, everyone was having breakfast.
"If we're all listening, I think we can begin our meeting," Kasuka announced.
"Go at it. I feel better than yesterday," Namie suggested.
"I'm surprised, Izaya. You're a pretty good cook," Mikado admitted.
"I've had years of practice," Izaya admitted.
"So, who's going to speak first?" Kyohei asked.
"Isaac, Miria…the monster wouldn't have anything to do with you two, would it?" Anri asked.
"We've never seen it before in our lives. In fact, he's the first alien we've seen," Isaac responded.
"I'm going to admit it right now, you guys don't seem the normal type. Just how strange is it over in America?" Kida wondered.
"…it's our fault. We're sorry for dragging you guys in here," Miria apologized.
"Miria, we chose to come in here. It's more like we dragged you along for the ride," Mikado pointed out.
Isaac and Miria nodded.
[I think this is the unity we have to start showing if we're ever going to get out alive. I'm certainly up for teaming up.] Celty pointed out.
"Um…" Izaya began.
"What is it, Izaya?" Shizuo asked.
"There's something I need to tell you guys. Please," Izaya pled.
[Eh, why not. We're all ears.] Celty decided.
"I think it's better if we go to the basement. I don't feel comfortable here," Izaya admitted.
"Can't we talk up here?" Kasuka asked.
"It's…important. Please, I'd prefer it there," Izaya responded.
"Fine, but there was something at that rope ladder that I saw before. I want to get it quickly," Shizuo decided.
The walk back to the cavern where the rope ladder had been torn down was a quiet one. As the group searched the place, Shizuo shuddered.
"I can't find it. It was just…weird. Like someone or something was grabbing my leg and wouldn't let go," he commented.
"D-Don't say that! It was probably just a tiny dip in the rocks that tripped you up, nothing like a…a disembodied hand!" Miria realized, sending Mikado into a panic.
"M-MASAOMI! I AM NOT GOING TO FACE THAT DISEMBODIED HAND!" he shouted.
"Relax, Mikado. I doubt a disembodied hand could exist in a place like this," Kida reassured.
Shizuo quickly picked up a piece of metal.
"Okay, where do you want to meet, flea?" he asked.
"The cell where we found Kasuka and the others," Izaya responded.
The group made quick progress back to the cells, whether it was because of the 'disembodied hand' or because Steve could jump them at any time.
"Before I begin, I need to ask you guys a favor. You see the box inside the cell, right?" Izaya asked, gesturing to the box.
"Yeah? What of it?" Kida asked.
"I can't seem to open the box, and I want to see what's inside…" Izaya began.
The other members of the group filed into the cell.
"What's in the box?" Mikado asked.
"I don't know," Izaya responded.
"It won't open!" Kida complained.
"Uh…Shizuo? Can I see that object you found earlier?" Izaya asked.
"Sure," Shizuo consented, giving the piece of metal over to Izaya before walking up to the box.
Just as Shizuo entered the cell, Izaya shut the cell door, surprising everyone.
"Izaya, why?!" Kida demanded to know.
"Why don't you ask Isaac and Miria? Go on, you two. Say who lured you here," Izaya prompted, a cold tone in his voice.
"Wha…Isaac? Miria? Is he right?" Anri asked, eyes wide.
"Oh, and by the way, there's nothing in that box. Sorry," Izaya apologized, mockingly.
"What's going on here?" Mikado asked no in particular, trying to keep from shivering.
"Why don't you two say it? Why not? Say it!" Izaya ordered Isaac and Miria.
"Izaya, open the door! Please!" Shizuo begged.
"Aw, but that's no fun then~obviously, all of you now regret trying to save me, don't you~?" Izaya asked, words dripping with venom.
"Izaya, you…you traitor!" Kida accused.
"Well, Isaac and Miria~? If you won't tell them, I will. I told them," Izaya informed.
"What…?" Kyohei wondered.
"I told Isaac and Miria first about this place, then about the fake Dollars. That's why they stole something from Kyohei to lure everyone in here~" Izaya explained.
"Then…" Mikado began.
"It was all my fault~you're all so stupid~you fell for it and that let me trap you~" Izaya taunted in a singsong voice.
"Why?" Kasuka asked.
"Oh, no reason in particular~a little memento from when Prussia came to Ikebukuro tipped me off about this place~" Izaya responded.
"Then why lock us up?!" Kyohei demanded to know.
"Because you would all get in the way~I have plans of my own, and I don't need you to ruin them~" Izaya continued.
"Izaya! I swear, I'm going to—!!" Shinra desperately tried to cast a spell, but it failed.
"Remember that time has stopped~and I really must thank you, Shizu-chan, for finding this for me~see ya~" Izaya thanked before leaving the room. He suddenly halted with Miria shouted, "Wait."
She and Isaac marched to the front of the cell.
"We may have been a pawn in your games…but we're not to blame here. It might have been pure chance that this Prussia person left that pamphlet there, but it's not your fault," Miria reminded.
"Izaya, if you let us out, we can all get out. Together," Isaac reminded.
"No…no we can't. And I'll leave you with one more thing. Steve is after me," Izaya informed.
"That explains it. You stood near the doors. You didn't resort to parkour, even though it might have been useful here," Shinra realized.
"This ends tonight. I'll make this the last time, and if I come back, do what you want to me," Izaya declared, leaving the room.
Shizuo desperately tried to open the door.
"IZAYA! IZAYA!! OPEN THE DOOR! IZAYAAAA!" he screamed.
Izaya's phone rang, and he jumped in surprise.
"G-Geez…" he muttered, answering it.
"IZA-NII YOU IDIOT! WHAT TOOK SO LONG?!"
Izaya was unprepared to hear the voice of someone close to him, not a friend, but of a sibling.
"Mairu? Is that…is that really you?!"
"OF COURSE IT'S ME YOU DUMBASS!! W-Wait, Kururi! Don't take the phone awa—"
"Kururi too?" Izaya realized, hope beginning to leave his voice.
"Okay, that's better. Geez, Kururi…Iza-nii? Are you crying?"
"No, I'm just…Mairu, can you take over my job? Starting tomorrow?"
"And the day after and…until you retire?"
When silence followed, Izaya added, "Please?"
"No. If you need someone to do your job, get back here and do it yourself! You're such an idiot—!"
The line suddenly dropped.
"…it was good to hear them one last time."
Mairu cursed fate as her line was cut off. She stood outside the mansion, cellphone in hand.
"Iza-nii is such a moron! And Kururi hasn't come yet with her buddies…Iza-nii. I'm going to get you."
Izaya found his way back to where the rope ladder had been torn down.
"Great…I thought I hid it here…maybe it's on the third floor?"
"IZAAAA-NIIIIIIII! I FINALLY FOUND YOU!"
Izaya's heart stopped as he dared to look up. Mairu and Kururi stood at the top of the ladder.
"Mairu!? Kururi?!" Izaya realized.
"The door wasn't able to open, so I'm glad I found this place!" Mairu boasted.
"Iza-nii…where are the others?" Kururi asked.
"I…I never asked you guys to come here!" Izaya protested.
"Did you break all the clocks yet?" Mairu asked, ignoring him.
"Who told you that?!"
"Did you break the last clock?!"
"Okay, how do you know that, and why are you here?" Izaya asked.
"Mairu, please calm dow—"
"Iza-nii, I'm coming down there right now!" Mairu interrupted her sister.
"No, don't! Go home! What are you doing here?! How much do you know?!" Izaya shouted.
"…try saying my name," Mairu ordered.
"Full name, you idiot!"
"See? I'm an Orihara too! And so is Kururi! I'm not like you, sure, but that doesn't mean you have to do everything by yourself! You aren't alone!...you've broken some clocks, right?"
"Time is fixed again, I think. There are a ton of people coming to help you and the others," Kururi reported.
"You were a huge pain to find, Iza-nii! Phones wouldn't work, we got lost, we thought we saw a bulldozer, and sometimes I felt like I had just lost you forever, you idiot!" Mairu shouted.
I guess I couldn't handle it, and Mairu got some of my memories, so they came to look for us…why did they have to be pigheaded enough to arrive here? What do I do now?
"Mairu, Kururi, go home! I have business to take care of!" Izaya shouted, running back the way he came.
"Iza-nii!" Mairu complained as Kururi already began climbing down the rope ladder.
"I'll go ahead, stay here and make sure help arrives fast," Kururi asked.
"Oh…fine. Be carefu—"
Words were wasted on Kururi as she slipped and landed below.
"K-Kururi! Are you okay?"
"I'll be okay. The rope was torn off halfway. Mairu?"
"I'm glad Iza-nii is okay. We may not like him, but at least he's cared for us before. I'll go find something for a ladder. Wait there," Kururi ordered.
Mairu nodded, looking concerned, as Kururi traveled back to the cell room.
Celty stood back from the bars.
"Nothing works. What are we going to do?" Mikado wondered.
"Someone has to open it from the outside, and Izaya won't do that…" Miria halted mid-sentence when a girl with brown hair, a gym uniform and brown eyes entered the room.
"Oh! Hello! How did you find this place?" Kida asked, surprised.
"I'm Kururi Orihara. And why did you lock yourselves up?" Kururi asked.
"Orihara? You're Izaya's sister?" Namie asked.
"Yes. I don't think I should feed you…you do look like a zoo," Kururi commented.
"…yup. I'd say she's Izaya's sister," Mikado confirmed, annoyed.
"Do you guys have anything to use for a ladder? Mair—"
"KURURI! OPEN THIS DOOR NOW!" Shizuo interrupted.
"Didn't Iza-nii pass here already?" Kururi asked.
"We'll explain later, just let us out!" Shinra begged.
I need another metal piece…I know where it's hidden.
Izaya exited the white halls, first searching the library, then making his way upstairs. First the room leading to the safe room, then the room on the other side of the floor.
It's here, but not in these rooms.
He finally wound up in the room across the one he, Kasuka, Shizuo and Celty spent the first night in.
"I've got everyone together. I just need to get them out of here," Izaya reminded himself.
To him, they deserved a world without him. The world would be better off without Izaya Orihara messing up their lives. They never trusted him, even for a second.
"If I went back…they'd kill me, wouldn't they?" Izaya wondered. The door burst open, and he turned around to see the biggest Steve yet. Its shoulders scraped the ceiling as it stepped towards him.
The others were led to the rope ladder by Kururi, with an impatient Mairu waiting for them.
"I can't believe him!" Mairu complained.
"I'd thought she'd think her older brother was cool for locking us up," Kyohei commented.
"Mairu says she and Iza-nii share some memories," Kururi explained.
"Then she knows what he knows?" Isaac asked.
"Kururi! Did you find me something to get down there with?" Mairu shouted. Kururi shook her head.
"We don't have time for this. Kyohei, you stay here while the rest of us…"
"Oh forget waiting! I'm coming down there, and none of you had better see my panties!" Mairu declared.
"Mairu, just wait, for pete's sake!" Mikado shouted, covering his eyes. Isaac immediately followed suit as Mairu began to climb down the ladder, only to slip and be caught by Kasuka.
"…EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE~! YUUHEI~!" Mairu squealed.
"I'm not Yuuhei, I'm Kasuka," Kasuka reminded.
"Let's split up. We'll start in the basement," Mikado decided.
"Okay…we'll go after Iza-nii, too," Mairu declared, standing up.
The group proceeded to the second floor, discovering Izaya and the gigantic Steve facing off in one of the rooms. Izaya was covered in blood and gasping for air, while the monster was covered in cuts and gashes.
"Holy…" Mairu began.
"Izaya!" Shizuo shouted.
Izaya delivered one last stab to the monster, and it faded away.
"You found me," he realized, his voice hoarse, before collapsing.
"Izaya!" Shizuo repeated as they hurried to his side.
"Oh…Shizuo…and Mairu…I thought I told you not to," Izaya realized.
"Why?! Why didn't you run?!" Mairu questioned.
"It wouldn't have saved us. I had to fight," Izaya responded.
"Izaya, just keep breathing, please!" Miria begged.
"Someone get me some bandages, now!" Shinra shouted, fear growing in his voice.
"Iza-nii! Why do you have to do all of this alone?" Mairu asked.
"When I wake up again…I'll be...it hurts…what am I going to do…" Izaya murmured before shutting his eyes. Shinra took his pulse.
"He's still breathing…thank god…"
"Let's get going. Izaya needs help, and fast," Miria urged.
"Shizuo, we'll carry him. Shinra, Mairu, we'll have to take care of his wounds," Isaac ordered.
"I can't believe it…Izaya does fight you on a daily basis, Shizuo, but that thing was bigger than what we had fought before," Kida admitted.
"Hurry up! We have to save his life!" Shizuo shouted.
…to the me at some point at time…
…and the me that has a place in Ikebukuro...
Izaya was laid on one of the beds in the safe room.
"He's covered in blood and wounds…" Shinra murmured, unsure of where to begin healing.
"He fought alone. He can take on Shizuo with parkour and a knife, but against something that towers even Shizuo? It's a miracle he hasn't bled to death," Kyohei admitted.
"He wasn't surprised when he saw it, right? Did he expect this to happen?" Mikado guessed.
"He probably expected it…because it happened many times over for him," Anri guessed.
"He wasn't prepared to die at first, but he eventually had to," Namie assumed.
[It must have taken a long time for him. But until we hear it from him, we aren't sure.] Celty pointed out.
"Then do we just ask him to tell us when he wakes up…?" Miria asked.
"If we don't ask him, we won't ever know. We have to at least try. Think of it as payback for all those times he interfered with our lives," Kida suggested.
"I don't think that's a good idea…he may hate us for it forever," Isaac admitted.
"We have to know. I don't want to stay in the dark about this forever," Anri admitted.
"He won't give out info that easily. Even if this was under different circumstances—like the yakuza took him by surprise—he still would keep his lips shut for eternity," Namie betted.
"We don't have any time left! Would you rather wait until we miraculously found a way to escape this hole or before charging into the next battle to know what he knows?" Mikado questioned.
"Mairu, do you know anything? Anything at all?" Miria asked.
"Yes…I don't know all of his secrets involving this place, but it's enough to make me concerned," Mairu responded, giving Kururi a guilty glance.
Kururi gave a look back that said, "I know it isn't your fault".
"I know the truth…and Iza-nii's decisions. But I can't just tell you what he's had to hide," Mairu murmured.
"This isn't about him! More than his life is at stake here! We have families, friends, a life to get back to! What can we do otherwise?" Kyohei questioned.
"Leave my sister alone. I know she has info that can be used to save us, but we're the youngest of the group. Give us a break," Kururi responded.
"Shizuo, your call. What do we do?" Shinra asked.
"…I want him…to wake up first," Shizuo admitted, causing those who knew Shizuo the best to gape at him.
"Shizuo…are you…are you developing feelings for him?" Namie questioned.
"And what if I am? What law in Ikebukuro states that someone can't start having feelings for someone of a different sex?" Shizuo questioned.
"…okay, then…I think we should go with Shizuo's idea. Let's see what happens this time if we trust Izaya," Shinra suggested.
As if the words commanded it, Izaya slowly woke up and sat up.
"Izaya! You're awake!" Miria cheered.
Izaya slowly looked around, eyes foggy.
"…are…" he muttered.
"Iza-nii? Could you repeat that?" Mairu asked.
Izaya fixed his gaze on Mairu, then everyone else in the room.
The one thing I remember vividly right now, even more so than any look of anger on Shizuo's face…
Is when we first came here.
Even while everyone was trying to fight for their lives and escape, I couldn't do anything. Even Isaac and Miria were more useful than me.
Everyone else was getting hurt and dying. I was alone. Like I always had been after that day.
One by one, they died. It should have been me dying all those times, not them…
Celty weakly raised her head to see Izaya, a horrified look on his face. For once, Celty was bleeding from gashes and all sorts of wounds she normally would be able to heal quickly from. She was sitting by the piano, preparing to face death.
[I guess this is it…tell Shinra I love him, and to look for someone else.] Celty pled.
"Celty, if you want to tell him that, then let me heal your wounds, please!" Izaya begged, taking out a roll of bandages.
Celty just shook her head and nodded at the growing puddle of blood on the floor. There wasn't any time left for her. She weakly pointed at the door, certain that she would have cried if she had her head.
"Celty, just hold on! Please!" Izaya begged.
With the last of her strength, she formed a kanji on the floor in shadows. When Izaya saw it, he hardly felt the tears falling down his face as the Dullahan finally slumped over, giving into death.
Anri, Namie and Kyohei were in the same state as Izaya had found Celty, only this time, Kasuka was with Izaya.
"S-Sorry…Izaya. This is where I fall," Anri apologized.
"I…I wanted to see Seiji again….just one last time," Namie admitted, reaching her hand out as if seeing her brother in front of her.
"Izaya, Kasuka, you need to get out of here with the others. They're going to mourn us for a while…but they'll get over it in the end," Kyohei pled.
Izaya just wiped away the tears beginning to form in response.
"Kasuka, take care of Izaya, and make sure he gets out. He's smart enough to not mess with what's left of the Blue Sharks, Yellow Scarves, or any remaining Saika kids," Kyohei pled.
"I promise," Kasuka swore, and Kyohei closed his eyes.
"Come on, just…get out of here. He'll be back if you don't flee now," Namie reminded.
"And tell Mikado…I love him. Please," Anri begged.
"Will do. Izaya, let's go," Kasuka ordered.
Izaya nodded, and just before he and Kasuka left the room, he gazed one last time in their direction, quickly taking his leave.
"You would have made the best villain in a movie, Namie," Anri commented.
"You're not half-bad an actor yourself," Namie admitted.
"I…I have to say thank you to Celty one last time…before I forget…" Anri whispered before her eyes shut one last time.
"Anri?" Namie checked. The silence confirmed it.
"Even here…I'm alone…Seiji…" Namie whispered as her eyes closed.
Kida stood close by Mikado and Shinra's bedsides. The sheets were already stained red, blood dripping down Kida's face.
"We'll be okay, Izaya. Go get the others," Kida ordered.
"No! I…Kida, you'll just get hurt!" Izaya refused.
"It's fine. I want to stay close to them anyways," Kida admitted.
"That isn't it…" Izaya guessed.
"Yeah. Since they can't listen in, I'll just say it. I want to stay with them until I follow after them," Kida explained.
"T-Then…you'll protect them, right?" Izaya confirmed.
"Haha, yeah. Even though it hurts to move now," Kida responded, trying to smile.
Izaya just stared at Kida in silence. This couldn't be the young leader of the Yellow Scarves, whose business got his beloved hurt, who continued to run from his past…
"Saki may not be here with me, but being with Mikado is going to have to do. Good luck," Kida wished.
Isaac and Miria were sitting up against the kitchen wall, hands holding tightly onto each other as Izaya prepared to repeat his role of seeing the two leave the world.
"I can't believe it…I thought our immortality would help us here…I thought we'd be the heroes," Isaac admitted.
"You guys deserve to rest. After all that running, you must be tired," Izaya guessed. This was hurting him too much. He barely knew these two, save the fact they had been at the Dollars meeting, or was it because they were just like…?
"Yeah…I'm really tired, Isaac…Izaya…" Miria admitted.
"Go to sleep, both of you. A-And when you wake up, we'll go get everyone else and get out of here," Izaya pled.
"Izaya. We're not the brightest people of the group, but we know when we're about to die," Isaac reminded.
"Y-Yeah. We know," Miria repeated.
"Any…any last requests?" Izaya asked, not even bothering to wipe the tears away.
"Yeah. Tell Firo, Maiza, Czes and Ennis we're sorry. And…if you ever see two graves marked 'Jacuzzi and Nice Splot', please pay our respects to those graves. They probably know we're coming right now," Miria pled.
"Oh…and if you ever see the person who made the Dollars, tell them we said thank you. We couldn't be part of the Martillo because it meant giving up being thieves, but being part of the Dollars meant we could do what we want and helped who we want," Isaac asked.
"G-Got it," Izaya responded.
The two thieves smiled.
"What is it, Miria?"
"Do you think our family will be happy to see us? And Jacuzzi and Nice and…everyone else?"
"I think they will. I bet there'll be so much stuff to steal in heaven, we'll have to take a while to plan it all out…" Isaac responded.
"And when we see them all again…we'll have a big party and invite everyone…" Miria agreed.
The two seemed to be happy as they shut their eyes.
Kasuka and Shizuo were leaning against a wall, Kasuka gripping a key tight in his hands. Izaya could not keep from feeling envious at how the brothers were able to spend their last moments.
"We got back the key to the front door," Kasuka confirmed.
"Izaya, stop crying. For pete's sake, you're supposed to be the strong one here," Shizuo pointed out.
"You said you were only going to look around, and now look at you two!" Izaya shot back.
"You never told us they died as well. Fair is fair, Izaya," Shizuo pointed out.
"Shizuo…I'm getting really tired…can we sleep now?" Kasuka asked.
"Yeah…go on ahead, Kasuka. I'll be there in a moment," Shizuo responded. He gestured for Izaya to come close, and when he did, Shizuo grabbed him and planted a kiss on his cheek.
"Huh…first time kissing a boy. It didn't feel so bad…go and run before I end up chasing you around Japan, flea," Shizuo ordered.
"You'd better…do it. He'd be twice as mad than your fights in Ikebukuro," Kasuka pointed out.
"F-Fine! Chase me around Japan! Chase me around the world if you want! But…you'll have to catch me, Shizuo!" Izaya responded.
The two smiled before their eyes closed, leaving Izaya to burst into tears.
No matter what I did, they just died…I was useless.
If only I wasn't curious enough to find that pamphlet.
If only I hadn't told Isaac and Miria.
How many times am I going to make the same mistakes?
How many times do I have to be alone?
How many times do I have to watch them die?
Any promise or friendship made was discarded when we met again. I don't want any of them to forget what we're going through.
What can I do, though, to make them trust me each time loop?
What am I going to do?
It just feels…hopeless…
"How is he?" Anri asked.
"He's in the bathrooms. Mairu is looking after him," Isaac responded.
"It's amnesia, right?" Mikado guessed.
"No. That seemed like something different," Shinra reminded.
"It's like what happens when we break a clock. Izaya didn't get the memories, but it must have created a backload big enough to make him confused. Any more memories, and he might reject them," Namie guessed.
"And if enough time passes…he'll be back to normal, right?" Anri asked.
"Maybe. He called out Celty's name…" Shinra responded.
Mairu and Izaya soon re-entered the room.
"Sorry for the wait," Mairu apologized.
"It's okay. Are you feeling any better, Izaya?" Kida asked.
Izaya fixed his gaze on Kida, looking almost like a cornered animal.
"Yes. I'm sorry for causing trouble. I feel better now," the informant responded.
"Eh…? Izaya, don't you know me?"
"Yes. You are Masaomi Kida. She is Celty Sturluson. And she is…"
Izaya halted when he was about to name Miria.
"Mo…I mean…Miria," Izaya corrected himself.
"Is he okay?" Shizuo asked.
"I think something is wrong in his head. He's…polite, and our Izaya would have started trying to mess with us by now," Kida guessed.
"I apologize if I'm causing you any more worry," Izaya apologized.
[Mairu, stay with him. He'll need protecting until his skills come back to him.] Celty ordered.
"…maybe I should tell you all after all," Mairu decided.
"Mairu, shouldn't we wait until we can ask Izaya?" Anri asked.
"For now, we should wait. Just take care of him until then," Miria agreed.
"Okay…come on, Izaya. It's time to sleep for a little bit," Mairu coaxed.
Izaya began to protest, then sighed and followed Mairu to the beds.
"He really isn't himself…" Namie murmured.
"Hey, Shizuo, what was that thing you gave to Izaya?" Mikado asked.
"A piece of metal I found in that cave. He dropped it, and now I have it again," Shizuo responded, taking it out.
"Maybe we need it to unlock the door?" Kururi suggested.
"Keys are not shaped like pieces of metal, unless…there's a hidden keyhole," Mikado realized.
"In that case, it's back to searching the mansion for now. A group should stay here to keep watch in case Steve finds this place," Shinra suggested.
[I'll stay here. Izaya might be hungry. I could cook something for him.] Celty volunteered.
"Celty! We should really search together! We haven't had any time together since we entered the mansion!" Shinra quickly decided.
[But the food…] Celty began.
"Uh, uh…Isaac, let's stay here and cook something!" Miria suggested, not really understanding why Shinra was acting so panicked about Celty cooking.
"Yeah! That leaves you to spend time with Shinra!" Isaac agreed, just as clueless as Miria.
"I'll stay, too. I'm getting a headache," Kasuka explained.
"Anyone else have any preferences?" Kida asked.
"I'll stay here. There's a chance Steve could break in at any time," Kyohei responded.
"Anyone else? Then Mikado, Celty, Shinra and Anri are with me. Everyone else, stay here on standby," Kida decided.
"Be careful," Kururi wished.
The group made its way up to the place where the mochi was hidden, where Celty remembered it.
[Oops…I'm really sorry, mochi!] Celty apologized.
"What is this?! It looks amazing!!" Kida gasped.
"Okay, Kida, let's go, we have to go look for other stuff," Mikado reminded.
[We'll come back for you, mochi!] Celty promised as the group left.
Making their way back to the cell room, they came upon the box left with them.
"I know it's a slim chance, but there has to be something inside. Izaya may have taped something to the inside of the box so it wouldn't make a sound," Shinra guessed.
The box at once opened, and a hologram of Shinra suddenly appeared. This Shinra was wounded and had an urgent look in his eyes.
"I can't explain much, but to my future self! If Izaya dies, you or Isaac and Miria need to find the journal! In return, either of you will gain Izaya's memories and our lives! Save Izaya!" he ordered before fading away.
"That was…odd," Anri commented.
"Journal…? Wait a minute, does this mean…?" Mikado began, but the familiar tick-tock of the clock got his attention quickly. In the box was a clock and a letter. Celty picked it up.
[I'll give it to him later.]
"Let's smash the clock!" Shinra declared. Just as Kida began to complain, Shinra broke the clock, the memories already swimming into their minds…
They were back in the room where Izaya had fought the giant Steve. Everyone else minus Anri, Mikado and Namie was with them, but all were seriously injured.
"Run, Izaya!!" Shinra ordered.
"I can't…not with Kida right there," Izaya admitted.
'We're going to fight that thing again? Is this going to be our fate?!' Celty thought in fear.
Kasuka desperately tried to move, but his leg was bent at an awkward angle.
"Dang it…move!" he hissed.
Steve stepped towards Izaya and stabbed him in the stomach just as he sank his knife into his head.
"Heh…I know your weakness. I win again," Izaya taunted.
The monster slowly disappeared.
"Are you guys okay?...oh…you're all breathing, thank god…" Izaya realized before collapsing.
'Izaya!' Celty silently screamed.
"I did it this time…I save us all!" Izaya realized, smiling.
"Izaya!" Miria gasped.
"Thank god…I ended up saving us all this time by becoming Ryuuzu…" Izaya murmured.
'Ryuuzu? Who is that?' Celty wondered.
"Guys…you won't believe me, but this was, actually, the second time we came here…I'm glad you all can finally get out…now you won't have to deal with me anymore," Izaya admitted.
"What? What second time? What are you talking about, Izaya?!" Shizuo questioned.
"I turned back time. The first time, I was the only one to survive. This time…I'm the only one to…" Izaya paused to cough up blood.
"I didn't want anyone to think I was responsible for your deaths. I had to go back."
"Izaya! You should have gotten out with us!" Isaac protested.
Shizuo kneeled by Izaya's side, holding his hand.
"Izaya…" the blonde whispered.
"Come on…we have to carry Izaya! Anyone?! Can anyone move?!" Miria asked.
"Where are Anri and the others?! They have to be coming to help us right now!" Kida shouted.
"Someone, help me get to the safe room for him! Somewhere where Izaya can rest!" Kasuka begged.
"H-Hold on, Izaya, please! We'll get to the safe room, and you can heal up!" Shizuo begged. Izaya gave a soft chuckle at seeing Shizuo actually start begging for his life to stay, trying to fight back the tears.
"Shizu-chan, you're such an idiot. You're supposed to be the strong one here, not me," Izaya teased.
"Shut up!! I'm trying to save your life, you idiot!" Shizuo shouted.
"It was fun…while it lasted…good bye…" he whispered before closing his eyes.
"Izaya? Izaya?! IZAYA?!!" Shizuo was beginning to go hysterical.
"Celty, take the others outside. Shizuo…" The rest of the words caught in Kasuka's throat as Shizuo pled for Izaya to wake up.
"Izaya!! WAKE UP!!" Shizuo screamed to the heavens.
Outside the room, the others had gathered, with Shizuo carrying Izaya's body.
"Izaya…Izaya's really dead…" Mikado gasped.
"It's my fault. If we hadn't spent so much time elsewhere…" Anri began.
"No, Anri. It's my fault. I suggested we split up…" Kida admitted.
"Mikado…what's that book?" Isaac asked.
"It's a journal. We found it in the library," Mikado responded, holding it out.
Isaac took it and opened it.
"That's…odd…" he muttered.
"What is it?" Kida asked.
Isaac showed everyone the first page of the journal. On the first line was the name 'Ryuuzu', followed by, on the second line, 'Italy Veneziano/Feliciano', the third line had 'England/Arthur Kirkland', and on the fourth, 'Izaya Orihara'.
"This must be a contract list of some sort. This…Ryuuzu person was the first to have the journal, followed by…Italy, England and Izaya…" Shinra realized, eyes growing wide with shock as he traded looks with those who knew about the nations.
"England looked for Prussia in Ikebukuro a while ago, and Italy is one of his friends…right? Does this mean they were in here at some point?" Mikado asked.
The world flashed back into view for Celty and Kida.
"Are you guys okay?" Anri asked.
"…how many…how many times have we lost our friends, Celty?' Kida asked, a dark tone in his voice.
"More like how many times have we come here," Anri corrected, sadly.
[I know he's okay, but I still want to go back to Izaya as soon as possible.] Celty admitted.
The group hurried back to the safe room, where Izaya was chatting with Isaac. Izaya seemed noticeably better, but the look in his eyes was still a little foggy.
"We're back!" Kida called, hurrying up the stairs.
"Oh! Hey, Celty, Masaomi~" Izaya greeted.
"You seem in better spirits," Shinra noticed.
"Yeah. Mairu helped me get a few things straight. There's still a lot that's foggy, but I'll probably recover. Shizu-chan is going to be mad~he didn't get to kill me this time~" Izaya added deliberately to taunt Shizuo, who was trying to have a conversation with Kyohei.
"Shut up, flea, before I wring your pathetic little neck!" Shizuo immediately shouted.
As Izaya continued to taunt Shizuo, Celty asked, [How much does Izaya remember?] to Isaac.
"Probably sometime before Mikado came to Ikebukuro and a few foggy parts past that," Isaac responded.
"Izaya, we found a letter addressed to you," Kida informed before Shizuo could snap.
"Oh~? Then I'll read it aloud," Izaya decided, taking the letter from Celty.
"By the way…Izaya, how much do you remember about the mansion?" Mikado asked.
"Well, not a lot…" Izaya admitted.
"Then read it. I think it'll help," Mikado suggested.
Izaya looked it over, recognizing the handwriting.
"…to the me at some point at time…and the me that has a place in Ikebukuro...once again, we goofed up, and made some progress. Meanwhile, I slowly began to learn…there's a place for everyone back home.
I was afraid they would kill me or do what they wanted to me in revenge for getting all of us in here, but…while they were mad, they understood. It was a simple error that brought us here.
However, I won't survive this time. I can't pass this on to you. That's why I'm writing this…say thanks to Shinra, Isaac and Miria. And…rely on them more. You can't do this alone…"
Izaya lowered the letter, his face now depressed.
[Izaya. What do you want to do?] Celty asked.
"Well, I do want to investigate some places…"
[No. I mean when we get out of here. A few of us were talking earlier, and Isaac and Miria suggested a party at our place.] Celty explained.
"A party? That sounds like fun~!" Izaya admitted.
[We'd have to do it at night, so Shinra and I can get ready, but…what do you think of having a party?] Celty asked.
"It sounds like fun~" Izaya responded.
"A party at Shinra's place? I so wanna go there!" Kida shouted.
"The next day, I could wake everyone up," Mikado volunteered.
"After that, I wanna go to an amusement park," Anri admitted.
"I guess Miria and I could keep from stealing anything that day," Isaac decided.
"I don't think a day is enough. We could go shopping," Namie reminded.
"I call dibs on looking at all the suits," Kyohei joked.
"I want to try one of those…yukatas again! Those were fun!" Miria admitted.
"Then we could go look at the manga section. There has to be at least several new volumes that came out while we're in here," Mikado pointed out.
[Then when we come back, we'll have a banquet at our place…]
"We could invite the nations! I bet they know a lot of stuff to cook and do!" Kida realized.
"Then at night, we could all sleep together," Kururi suggested.
"See, Izaya? We all have to escape. We have to bear each other's burdens. Until we get out, we're teammates," Kida reminded.
Izaya thought for a moment, then nodded.
"Wait…Mairu, what are we going to do?" Kururi asked.
"What is it, Kururi?" Mairu asked, worried.
"I forgot to tell those people outside the mansion that we found Iza-nii…" Kururi admitted.
"Wait…who's coming?" Kyohei asked.
"There was a van filled with six people…and those three boys…then there are those five people we passed before coming here…" Kururi recounted.
"A van?...it has to be Saburo, Erika and Walker, that much is likely, but…who are the three others?" Kyohei wondered.
"Correction: who might be the eleven others?" Izaya corrected.
"One of them might be Seiji!" Namie realized.
"Maybe the Dollars' creator saw us entering the mansion and got some people to help him mount a rescue attempt!" Miria suggested.
Kururi's phone rang, and she quickly answered it.
"Hello?" she asked.
"Hello? Can we speak with Kyohei Kadota, if he's nearby?"
Kururi handed the phone to Kyohei.
"Who is this?"
"Dotachin, you're alive!"
"Erika!" Kyohei recognized.
"There's a lot I really want to say to you! Saburo wants to speak to you first, though."
"Okay, put him on."
"Kyohei, what the heck, man?! Why didn't you call us?!"
"Phones do not work that well in this place, Saburo! Geez…"
"Well, can you at least get to a window and look down?"
"Sure. Just hang on!" Kyohei shouted as the group nearly tumbled down the stairs to the window.
"Izaya, you can hear me, right? Dude, seriously?" Saburo asked.
"I have my reasons for doing stuff!" Izaya protested.
"You made your sisters worry! Geez, Izaya, how could you even be that dumb!"
"Izaya, look outside!" Kasuka urged.
Izaya peeked out the window to see Saburo, Erika, Walker, and several other people he did not recognize outside the mansion.
"You had better be able to bring them all back, otherwise I'm going to bring the Dollars down so hard on you, your kids won't be able to forget the Dollars!" Saburo threatened.
"Heeeey~! Dotachin, Izaya~! We've brought a lot of people to help you~!" Erika shouted.
"You should hear some of these guys' names! Like Peter Kirkland, Heracles…they sound straight out of manga, like Mikado's name!" Walker shouted in turn.
Isaac and Miria hurried up to the window, looking for someone.
"Isaac! Miria! You're both alive!" a cheer came from a little kid.
"We'll try to find a way to get you guys out! For now, we'll have to support you two on the side!" a man that looked a lot like Kida promised.
"Hey, don't forget us!" a blonde boy in a sailor outfit protested.
"We're going to help, too. This isn't just your fight anymore, Mr. Izaya," a man with tussled brown hair and olive eyes reminded.
"Heracles…no, I think we used our nation names. Greece, we have to hurry, okay?" one of Greece's companions, a man with long hair in a braid and dark eyes, asked.
"Of course. Nations, come with me!" Greece ordered.
The nations hurried to check the other sides of the house, while the other three stared after them.
"…nations?" Saburo wondered.
"We'll explain once we get out," Kyohei explained.
"Just get out as soon as possible!" Erika shouted as Saburo hung up.
Inside the mansion, the mood was noticeably healthier.
"More nations! We're going to be rescued!" Kida cheered.
A very low rumble in the distance got the group's attention, and when everyone looked out, they saw the very top of a…a bulldozer?
"Well, that confirms it. We all have to get out now," Shinra confirmed.
"It's so weird. Back in Ikebukuro, we'd all be at each other's throats, but now…I guess some things can really change you, huh?" Mikado asked.
"I can't believe it! Kyohei, I didn't know your friend was the leader of the Dollars!" Miria gasped.
"No, he's not. We're just ordinary members," Kyohei clarified.
Izaya clenched his hands.
I don't have a lot of my memories back…but I do have enough to answer them.
"Guys…I'm sorry to keep you all waiting."
"Izaya, we can wait a little longer," Mikado pointed out.
"No. We've wasted some time here, and…can you all listen? Please?" Izaya asked.
"We've got some time for now."
"It began the day after Prussia was taken back to his home. I found a pamphlet with the words 'HetaOni' on it…and that's when fate changed for the worse…"
[This isn't the first time we've come here, right?] Celty asked.
"Yes. Ever since we first found out about it, we've gone through this place so many times, I've lost track," Izaya responded.
"What happened the first time?" Miria asked.
"Not long after Prussia left Ikebukuro, I found a pamphlet that had 'HetaOni' printed on it in bright red. I met Isaac and Miria after that, and gave them info about the fake Dollars and about the mansion," Izaya responded.
"HetaOni…it sounds a little weird," Kyohei admitted.
"The first time, though, Mairu and Kururi weren't here. I didn't mean any harm, really, I just wanted to see if Shizu-chan would get scared," Izaya admitted.
"And when you entered…Steve attacked, right?" Kida asked.
"Yeah. We all ran in different directions, and I was just…terrified. I've fought Shizu-chan a lot of times, but he doesn't come close to what Steve can do," Izaya confirmed, sending shivers down Mikado's spine.
"I eventually found Celty, but…I couldn't help her then. I just felt gaps in my memory…and while I was trying to think things out, Kyohei, Anri and Namie were the next to go. Mikado, Kida and Shinra were next, and I was able to find Steve and kill him just after he fought Isaac and Miria…but by the time I could escape, Kasuka and Shizuo were gone, and I was the only one left."
"How did you manage to stay sane?" Kyohei wondered.
"I don't know. I just wandered around, feeling lost, but while I was in the library…a book fell on me, and I discovered it was a journal," Izaya admitted. He held up the journal in explanation. Now that Celty could see it clearly, it was a red book with faded stains on it.
"That's the journal you've been carrying all along, hasn't it?" Anri guessed.
"Yeah. When I opened it, the name of three other people were written in it," Izaya responded.
"Let me guess…Ryuuzu, Feliciano and Arthur?" Kida guessed.
"I…wasn't thinking straight. Too many people died before me, and…that's where everything else seems fuzzy. Steve found me, and I just ran with the book, until I found my way out," Izaya admitted.
Izaya left the mansion, a haunted look in his gaze.
"I'm out…I survived this place…" he realized.
Taking a few steps so he could look at the mansion in full, he gritted his teeth.
"What the hell. Why did I survive? Why did it have to be me?!" he shouted.
Steve immediately appeared in front of the door, chasing Izaya to the gate.
"Stop!" he shouted.
The monster seemed to be paying attention, letting Izaya say what he wanted to.
"You lost this game! You didn't kill me! I won! The moment I step past this gate, I'll be forever out of your reach! I have friends in very high places, and they can and will destroy this place!" Izaya threatened.
Steve only remained still, as if time had no meaning, aside from the rain cleaning some blood off Izaya's skin and drenching him.
"I'm your last trophy, aren't I? You lost to someone who's probably the biggest coward in all of Ikebukuro, only messing in affairs when the opportunity seems to be best!" Izaya shouted.
He stopped to catch his breath.
"Take us back…take us back! If you caught all those people in your mansion, why don't you try to catch me first?! GO BACK!!!" he screamed.
A flash of bright light stunned him…
"And when I regained my senses, I was back to just moments before I entered the mansion, this time with me holding the journal. It was proof I became Ryuuzu—the owner of the journal. Along with going back in time…it gave me a few memories," Izaya explained.
"Like what?" Mikado prompted.
"Isaac, Miria…that legend of the blue demon is true. Ryuuzu originally had the journal to save his friends from the demon, but he gave up and left the journal inside the mansion before leaving the place himself to help some other poor soul. And it wasn't just seeing his friends die. No, they became copies of the monster themselves, losing their memories, going insane…and a long time after that, apparently Italy and England found their way here," Izaya explained.
"Italy and England…England I remember. He was the guy with the eyebrows, while Italy… what would he look like?" Mikado wondered.
"We'll have to see what all the nations look like once we're out of here. But Italy…Italy suffered a lot more than I did. I'm willing to bet he's not very sane," Izaya admitted.
"So…if I have this figured out, you made a contract with Steve that if he turned back time, he could eat you?" Shinra asked.
"Yes. The second time, I didn't want to go in here, but it was too late. And besides, none of you trusted me then. In the end, I couldn't stop you guys, no matter how many times I rewound time. It was always fixed at that point, just before we entered the mansion. Shizuo even broke my leg out of spite one loop. In the end, it's always us 12 that enter here, no matter what, no matter which of us goes with who," Izaya responded.
"Then those memories from the clocks are real. You did have your leg broken, Isaac and Miria did wind up stealing your coat, you've died at least twice…" Kida realized.
"Yes. The second time, I couldn't save you, Shinra or Anri, and I survived again," Izaya admitted.
"Wait…did I live the second time?" Kida asked.
[Uh…Izaya…one time loop you were the only one who died…in that room behind you…] Celty admitted.
"Then how did time turn back?" Izaya asked.
"Maybe you're just confused?" Shinra suggested.
"The second time wasn't the same as the first, but I still remember. If I died, though, who was it that went back?" Izaya questioned.
"It doesn't fit…Izaya's the only one of us who can turn back time…who did it, then?" Namie wondered.
"There were other times I opened up to you guys. Times where I allowed myself to become friends for once instead of screwing up your lives, but the second time…"
"There was a clock in that box. Along with the letter to you," Kida explained.
"It was probably a me from a time loop that sealed it, knowing this had to stop sooner or later," Shinra guessed.
"Iza-nii, if you can't remember everything right now, it's okay. We understand most of it," Kururi comforted.
"If I'm following this all correctly…Izaya went back in time when we all died, right? And he's the only one who can rewind time until we all get out?" Isaac asked.
Celty nodded, wishing she could frown.
"Izaya, how do you go back in time?" Miria asked.
"There's a clock in this place. Bigger than the ones we've seen at the moment. All I have to do is rewind it to go back," Izaya explained.
"Is it somewhere else each time?" Anri inquired.
"Yes. Whenever someone falls, I have to go after it again. It's the only way to escape that he can't destroy," Izaya returned.
"For all of us? Including you?"
[Izaya...don't worry. This time you have us to help you. We'll all get out together.] Celty promised.
"The last time you relied on that clock will be the last time," Kida promised.
Mairu pouted for a moment before she glanced at Kururi.
"Don't worry, Mairu. Don't think too hard about it, okay?" she suggested.
"Fine…" Mairu sighed.
"Oh…it seems we have a visitor," Mikado realized. Steve lurked at the other end of the hall.
"That thing is hideous," Kururi remarked.
"We can take it. It's not that bad compared to what I fought a while ago," Izaya reminded.
Another appeared in front of the doorway near Mairu and Namie.
"Two this time?!" Kida realized, taking out his jimmy bar.
"We can take them! Come on!" Shinra urged.
"Aim for the head!" Izaya ordered as he stabbed Steve 1 in the gut. Namie loaded a bullet into Steve 2's head as Mairu backed her up with a few kicks to knock him over. Kasuka delivered the final stab into 2's brain.
Meanwhile, Mikado desperately tried to fire more arrows into 1's head or eyes, instead getting knocked over by a lightning bolt. In revenge, Kida and Anri rushed the monster, Anri just missing the head. Shizuo sucker-punched 1, leaving it easy pickings for Isaac and Miria's guns. Both monsters quickly faded.
An eerie giggling sounded in Kasuka's head, again shouting 'CONGRATULATIONS'.
"Okay…let's go back. We're all tired," Kyohei suggested.
"I wanna sleep at this point," Miria admitted.
The group headed back to the safe room, where they were holding a quick meeting.
"I was useless again, wasn't I?" Izaya asked.
"Relax, Izaya. By the way…Isaac, Miria, I remembered something. When we first fought Steve in the kitchen, you were downright terrified. I mean, the first reaction we all probably had was fear, but you guys were acting like you were easier to kill than anyone...what's wrong?" Kida asked.
"Well…we're immortal," Isaac admitted.
"We don't know when, how or why, or who did it, but we're immortal. We're pretty lucky, so I guess that's what kept us from noticing until 70 years after we met some of our closest friends to this day. All we know is there's one incident that Isaac got part of his ear cut by a spear, and we thought it was a magic trick at the time…" Miria admitted.
"A spear? Wow, you guys must have made a lot of enemies," Kida joked.
"It's a long story…" Miria admitted.
"Then there's when Shizuo tried to knock the door down. His strength isn't at the level it should be for him," Shinra recalled.
"So…we're right to think this place is messed up in more than one way?" Mikado asked.
"Yes. The stuff that made some of us special has been taken away. Isaac and Miria can't heal as immortals do. Shizuo doesn't have his usual strength. Even Celty's shadow powers are limited. What can we do?" Izaya wondered.
"Why don't we form an alliance to prove we're allies now?" Namie suggested.
"I agree with Namie. Outside, a lot of us are enemies, but in here, we're all human," Anri agreed.
"It sounds interesting. I approve," Kasuka approved.
[I'm up for it. Did we form an alliance before?]
"Not that I remember. I think this is a good idea," Mairu admitted.
"Let's get it down on paper and keep it simple," Kida suggested.
"Well…help each other. Rely on one another. Stay together. Believe in each other," Shizuo suggested.
"And escape with each other," Kasuka suggested.
"I like it," Kururi admitted.
"Okay…we can all sign it!" Kida informed after writing it all down.
"Wait a moment, please. We're not all on the same side, but…this just feels wrong," Namie pointed out.
"This'll only be valid inside the house, though…" Shinra reminded.
"That's the problem…it'll only be valid here. What if we're stranded somewhere again somewhere in the future? What if we need to band together again and try to get along? Obviously, one of us has to keep it with themselves, but is it going to be of any use when we're outside?" Namie asked.
"Then let's make sure this applies to any situation like this. Not like a life-or-death one, but one where we all need to get home and have to fight," Izaya declared.
"Good idea," Kururi admitted.
The members of the group signed it, a smile on their faces at their newly formed alliance.
"If we ever have any more people who get trapped with us, we should leave some space for them. That way, we'll have a growing team of people," Mikado suggested.
"Okay…and we've all signed it!" Kida announced.
[I'll keep it with me.] Celty volunteered, taking the treaty.
"If we're ever in a situation like this, then we can't afford to shed each other's blood. We'll have to work together," Anri reminded.
"I'm going to go take a bath. I just don't feel great," Kasuka declared, heading into the bathroom.
Kasuka's heart was beating quickly.
"Am I going to die?...no. I'm not going to die without a fight," he reminded himself. He still had his brother to protect.
Suddenly, a knock on the door got his attention.
"Kasuka! Kasuka, come quickly!" Miria shouted.
Kasuka hurried out of the bedroom to see the group putting up a fuss.
"That's why I'm going to stay by my sisters, moron," Izaya insulted Shizuo.
"And I say there still won't be enough room!" Shizuo retorted.
"Isaac and I always sleep together, though!" Miria pointed out, quickly joining the argument.
Kasuka quickly understood.
"It's about the beds…" he realized.
"Look, I'll try to make more beds in the morning, but for now, can we all just try to share beds?" Shinra asked.
"In that case, I want a bed with Kururi!" Mairu decided.
[Maybe family and close ones could sleep together tonight?] Celty suggested.
"That's going to have to work, and some people will have to sleep on the floor," Izaya decided, throwing his hands up in the air, "unless anyone else has any better ideas."
"We could all sleep on the floor," Isaac suggested.
That night, everyone was on the floor, wrapped in blankets. Close friends and lovers on one side, family on the other.
"Geez, it's cramped," Kyohei complained.
"Eh. The guys outside can't be doing much better. There can only be so many in that van, right Izaya?" Kida asked, receiving snores in response.
"He's asleep. Do you think he was asleep that other time, too?" Shizuo wondered.
"Had to be. Otherwise he wouldn't have hit Celty with rotten tomatoes," Shinra guessed.
"I wonder if he'll ever let us read that journal. There's already Italy and England's entries in there to think about," Namie pointed out.
"Okay, can all of you shut up? I wanna sleep," Mairu complained.
…you're suffering, aren't you?
Izaya woke up to hear Shizuo's voice.
"Izaya, what's wrong?" Shizuo asked.
"Oh…I, uh…had a nightmare," Izaya responded.
Shizuo's silence proved he wasn't buying it.
"I don't know…when I sleep, I just feel like my memories are slipping away. I slept for only a minute when Kasuka kept watch that night," Izaya admitted.
"Then sleep, then. It's not good to have only memories of this place," Shizuo urged.
"…okay, then. I'm going to go wash my face," Izaya declared.
"I'm going back to bed. If anything happens, wake someone up," Shizuo ordered.
Izaya nodded and headed to the bathrooms.
See? Just as I said, right?...Yes, but he just woke up. He'll work for us until he dies. We do not have compromises here.
Izaya's pulse quickened as he hurried into the bathroom to discover Namie.
"Oh. Izaya. What's up?" she asked.
"Who were you talking to?" Izaya asked.
"That's none of your business. Let me have a private life, too, would you?" Namie asked, scathingly.
"What are you hiding, Namie?"
"Is it suddenly a crime to be hiding something? Not all secrets are going to come out in this mansion."
"Gee, do you think I had the choice to keep hiding from them?"
"Listen, Izaya, you aren't the only one who can be a chess master here. I need my pieces as well," Namie reminded, leaving the room.
The next morning, a tense meeting was being held.
"Since our phones work, we'll need someone to stay here and act as our control tower," Mikado suggested.
"And it seems Steve likes fresh air as well, but Saburo confirmed they could handle it for now," Kasuka informed.
"I can't believe it. Are the nations really coming to our rescue?" Anri wondered.
"Right now, a few micronations and some regular nations seem to be enough. But what now?" Shinra wondered.
"I know where those metal pieces are. There's one on the second floor and there might be one on the 4th floor," Izaya informed.
"I'll go get it, if you tell me where it is," Kururi volunteered.
"I'm going with you. Steve might appear," Mairu added.
"Then I'm coming too. If we can, we should go in a small group," Izaya decided.
"Then I'll come with. I'll call for reinforcements if that's what it's going to take," Shizuo decided.
"Kasuka, Shinra, Mikado, try to contact someone outside," Izaya ordered.
"The piece is supposed to be under the carpet opposite the room with the fireplace," Izaya recalled as his group traveled back to the room Izaya fought the giant Steve in. A few minutes of searching yielded the piece of metal.
"Here it is…" Izaya murmured.
Suddenly, a giant Steve dropped down from the ceiling. Without another moment of hesitation, Kururi and Mairu assaulted the thing with kicks and punches. Steve just knocked them aside and lunged for Izaya. Shizuo knocked him out of the way in time and received a kick to the gut in return.
"Shizuo!" Izaya shouted. He threw his knife at Steve, aiming it directly between his eyes. To his surprise, Steve moved at the last second and received the knife in the eye, leaving it open to one last kick from Kururi before it faded.
"Well. That was pleasant," Izaya commented.
"Iza-nii, you could have warned us!" Mairu complained.
"I didn't know the freaking thing was going to come through the ceiling!"
"You've been through this mansion a bunch of times, I bet, and you still don't know when Steve is going to pop up?!"
"What do I look like, its minion?!"
"Well, now that you've mentioned it…"
"Iza-nii, Mairu, we have to go to the fourth floor," Kururi reminded.
The group headed up to the room where the mochi was.
"That poor thing, being stuck in the wall!" Mairu commented, trying not to laugh.
"How are we going to get it out?" Izaya wondered.
"I think it's hungry. Iza-nii, try calling someone to see if they can spare some food?" Kururi suggested.
Kasuka sighed. Back at the safe room, a few were trying to call anyone who would listen.
"The reception is bad. Great," he muttered.
Kyohei, right next to him, reminded, "If they need our help, we'll have to go help them."
The general consensus in the room was that hardly anyone could call outside.
"I did talk with one of the nations earlier. He called himself North Korea. He was a little worried," Anri explained.
With a sigh, Mikado looked at the list of things the group was planning to do when they were all out. The list seemed normal up until…
"What…bucket pudding? A concert? Sudden death pillow fight?! Who wrote those things?" Mikado asked.
"Kururi did. Mairu added the concert one, though," Kida explained.
Mikado shook his head wearily, then realized Shinra was in the kitchen.
"By the way, Shinra, you mentioned magic earlier?"
"What happens when you're able to, uh…use magic in full?"
"Celty will find me so irresistible she'll marry me."
[Not true!] Celty complained.
A phone call from Izaya interrupted the conversation.
"Hello, Mikado here."
"Mikado, we're going to need some food. There's this creature on the fourth floor, and we're trying to lure it out," Izaya explained.
"Oh…okay. I'll come right away."
"Izaya. You sound happy."
"Well…it just seems for once we're all going to get out alive and together. We won't have to spend too much more time here."
"I almost thought we'd have to spend more time here."
"Yeah…are you bringing the food?"
"Yup. I'll hurry up. Any requests?"
"Maybe something unusual? I dunno, it's pretty unusual itself."
"Okay. I'll be there in a minute."
Mikado hung up and held the phone close to his chest.
"We're going to get out alive this time…" he murmured, reality sinking in. No more Steve. No more fighting. No more suffering.
Picking up one of the blueberries and the scone Celty made earlier, Mikado led the group to the mochi.
"Sorry it took so long," Anri apologized.
"It's fine. We also found a clock here," Izaya informed, gesturing to the clock in the corner.
Isaac looked downwards, a tad nervous.
"Isaac? What's wrong?" Miria asked.
"I was wondering…how come I'm able to sort out the memories from past time loops and this time loop?" Isaac wondered.
"Maybe you only got the headaches, but you had the memories. You didn't lose them," Kida guessed.
"Maybe they were passed on, like what happened with Iza-nii and Mairu," Kururi guessed.
"From who, though? Isaac, I doubt you have any surviving family, which would leave…" Kida wondered.
"Me," Miria realized. Everyone looked at her, Izaya holding a look in his eyes that scared her a little.
"We're the closest thing for family we have that's alive. We've been inseparable for well over 70 years. There was only one time we were ever separated, but minus that, we've never left each other's side," Miria explained.
"That would explain it, I guess…" Shinra admitted.
Izaya held Miria's gaze, looking as though he was seeing a nightmare come to life.
Mikado sighed in frustration.
"It refuses to eat. We could try forcing it to eat," he suggested, trying to tempt the mochi into getting the scone.
"Let's face it, it probably doesn't have a stomach," Kida guessed.
Izaya was fidgeting as he thought. Miria looked just like that person…
"Izaya, cheer up. We'll be out of here soon, then you don't have to worry about having to turn back time anymore," Kyohei encouraged.
Izaya nodded, gaze shifting to the floor.
"Kyohei. What if when we break all the clocks, you all will forget me? What then?" he asked.
"…we'll find some way to remember you. We may not be able to remember everything, but if we forget about our times in the mansion and focus on before, I think we'll be okay."
"Besides," Isaac cut in, smiling, "memories don't really disappear, you just can't find them for a while."
"Isaac…you must have a lot of memories. How do you manage them?" Izaya inquired.
"Well, it's not hard for me. I just remember the stuff that's really important, and try to keep it in mind," Isaac responded.
At once, the mochi fell out of the wall with a loud thunk.
"It…fell…" Namie realized.
[I tried to give it a scone. I guess it was pretty hungry for that. Kida, quit staring at it.] Celty added, noticing Kida was fawning over it.
"But it's amazing! It looks so smart!" Kida shouted.
Celty shook her head and inserted the metal pieces in their slots. A tremor shook the house.
"We'll go check it out!" Anri volunteered. Most of the people in the room left, leaving Celty, Izaya, Namie, Kida, Mairu and Shizuo in the room with the mochi.
"What was that?" Shizuo wondered.
"Guys, come here!" Kasuka shouted. The others ran out of the room, save Namie and the mochi. Namie dialed a number, only to receive no response.
"Hm. I wonder if they're still alive…"
Another flight of stairs had appeared near the room. Going up the stairs, Celty discovered a room covered with hands painted with blood leading to another room. That room delivered a shock to Celty as she recognized it.
It was the room she had seen a while back in a flashback, their bodies on a platform shaped like a clock's face with numbers painted on it in blood. Things were much different now—Izaya had admitted his secrets of the mansion and everyone was alive—but there were still the numbers painted on the walls. The numbers, though, were painted in dried blood and were beginning to fade away.
"This is creepy…" Namie commented.
"I don't want to stay here. Let's just solve whatever puzzle this is and get out of here," Kyohei admitted.
"Maybe…I hope I'm wrong on this, but maybe we have to stand on the numbers in the order we died in the first time loop?" Miria suggested.
"No. That wasn't how we solved the puzzle before," Izaya admitted.
"Izaya, how did we solve it before?" Kida asked.
"If I remember…there was a riddle that went like this: Step on the numbers of the one who preached in a world where blood color wasn't equal. You shall find what you seek if you're right, but if not, the monster will lurk… or something like that. Try the numbers 6 and 9?" Izaya suggested.
Isaac and Miria hurried onto the numbers, and a doorway quickly opened. The group headed into the next room, when Miria started screaming.
Inside a cell was a stampede of Steves of all shapes and sizes, never varying from the drab gray color.
"Oh my god. Oh my god," Namie whispered.
"Relax. They won't escape," Izaya reassured, leading the group to a number where numbers painted in blood were everywhere. A giant, horribly disfigured monster lazed at the corner.
"Izaya…is this…?" Shizuo asked.
"I found this room the first time. There were already many numbers painted in blood here, but the blood has dried since. A number appears with each time loop to indicate how many people survived," Izaya explained.
Pointing at the monster, he continued, "And the key to the front door is right behind that thing. It's slow, so we'll be able to lure it away by walking. I'll go."
"Wait, Izaya…" Kyohei began, but was too late as Izaya neared the thing. It moved, revealing no key behind it.
"What?! I thought…it was always there!" Izaya realized, backing away.
"Izaya, out of the way!" Shizuo shouted as several members of the group launched attacks at the ugly monster.
Suddenly, a horrifying tremor shook the house again, and Steves fell from the ceiling. Within moments, the room turned into nothing more than a battlefield.
Celty easily sliced a weaker Steve up, aiding Kida with another. Barely minutes passed before another herd of them fell from the ceiling.
"No…no…I can't go back again! Not when we've come this far and promised so much!" Izaya shouted, clenching his journal close.
"Izaya, drop to the floor, now!" Isaac ordered.
Make me disappear somewhere!!
At once, Izaya's journal glowed brightly.
"IZAYA!" Shizuo shouted, diving to help Izaya before bright light blinded them.
Izaya and Shizuo found themselves near the study once the light faded.
"Why did you…"
"I don't know. The journal started glowing, then the next thing I know, we're here."
"Come on. Let's go back to the others."
Izaya and Shizuo headed back towards the stairs when they saw…
"What the hell…"
Near the front door were Anri, Namie, Celty, Kida, Isaac, Miria, Izaya and Shizuo.
"Look! This place is dangerous! We have to get out of here now!" Izaya shouted.
"You're such a wimp, Izaya. And you didn't have to come if you wanted to," Kida reminded.
"Listen to me! We're going to be attacked by a monster and die!" Izaya persisted.
"Look, Izaya, maybe you should look for Shinra, Mikado and the others?" Miria suggested.
"We should split up. He's not going to shut up," Shizuo suggested.
"No, don't!" Izaya begged. Too late. Everyone already headed off in different directions. Unable to fight back tears, Izaya fell to his knees.
"Was going back really a waste of time? Am I powerless to save them?!...if that's the case…then I'll have to do what's possible to save them…"
Standing up, Izaya hurried after Shizuo. Meanwhile, the other Izaya and Shizuo came down the hall.
"This is one of those memories, isn't it?" Shizuo asked.
"We didn't break a clock…then that means…"
"What are you two doing?"
Izaya and Shizuo spun around to see Shinra.
"Oh! Shinra! We were looking for you and the others," Izaya explained.
"Ah. We didn't see that monster you told us about," Shinra reported.
"Well, just be careful," Izaya urged. Shinra nodded, then walked away.
The moment he was out of earshot, Shizuo questioned, "What's going on here?"
"We're in a different time loop. If I'm right, this is the second one," Izaya responded.
"Great. I'm going to enjoy seeing people die," Shizuo muttered.
"Shizuo…we have to hide. I suggest the piano room, as I don't want to try the safe room yet," Izaya suggested.
Back in the present, three Steves remained in the room.
"We'll charge that one on the count of three! One!"
Isaac, Miria and Kyohei charged a horribly messed up Steve, killing it. Celty and Mairu double-teamed a spider-shaped monster, giving it the final blow to the head.
"Get down, Anri!" Shinra shouted.
Anri hit the floor as Shinra chanted, "SECTUMSEMPRA!"
The final monster took a thunderbolt to head, dying.
"Good…Iza-nii's journal made a lot of them disappear…wait. Where are Iza-nii, Shizuo and Kida?" Kururi wondered.
"The journal made them disappear. Do you think they're…gone?" Mikado asked, worried.
Kyohei's phone rang, and when he answered it, he smiled.
"Kyohei! We thought you were dead! You took so long to contact us!"
"Sorry. We were solving a few puzzles. How are things outside?"
"It's pretty easy so far. Every few minutes or so, though, there's this weird rumbling from far away that seems to be getting closer. Anyways, we'll have a path cleared out by the time you get out!"
"We're at a dead-end. We thought we had a lead, but we got nothing."
"Kyohei, you had better get out! It's not the same without you around, okay? Erika, Saburo and I really miss you!"
"We will. We swear."
"By the way, are you guys in the annex? Looking around, it seems likely…"
Wait. An annex?
"No, but I think we're about to try to find it."
A roar from the phone surprised Kyohei.
"Oh look. Time for Round 10~. See ya later, Kyohei!"
"Try not to die!"
Walker hung up. He and Greece were fighting two Steves. Greece held a spear in his hands, Walker had a knife.
"I have to admit, you're very skilled for a human."
"I'm going to take that as a compliment. I know that you nations are stronger than us and don't die easily."
"Shall we show them not to mess with our kind?"
"Okay. It's time we split up and looked for them," Kyohei decided.
"They might be hiding out in the annex, wherever it is," Anri agreed.
"Stay alive, guys. Don't let your guard down for a second," Kasuka reminded.
Back in the past, Izaya and Shizuo were looking for the journal.
"It's not here…great," Izaya sighed. He suddenly heard voices.
"Shizuo, hide!" he hissed. The two hid behind a corner.
"Izaya…Izaya's really dead…" Mikado gasped.
"It's better if you don't go in. Shinra's preparing the room right now," Kida informed.
Shinra exited the room quietly.
"Shinra…" Mikado greeted, sadly.
"I've fixed the room up, and his wounds. Isaac's doing okay, but Shizuo…" Words caught in Shinra's throat as he looked away.
"Is this really…the second time loop?" Izaya wondered.
"Has to be. This might be that time loop where you died," Shizuo guessed.
"Italy Veneziano….England…and Izaya Orihara. This is a list of those who've made contracts with this journal," Shinra realized.
"This Ryuuzu person went back in time…hence the title 'Ryuuzu', I think," Kida guessed. Past Shizuo stormed out of the room.
"Izaya…Izaya can't be dead!" he shouted.
"Shizuo, get over it. I don't know if you truly care for Izaya or you're in shock, but he's dead. Izaya's dead and nothing will change that," Namie bluntly pointed out.
"Namie!" Mikado complained.
"I can handle this. Izaya was my boss, but I wasn't close to him," Namie shot back.
"Shut up!" Past Shizuo yelled.
"Shizuo, look at what you're doing! Izaya's dead! We have to get moving!" Kasuka pointed out.
"We'll be upstairs when you're done grieving," Anri informed as the others headed upstairs.
Shizuo sighed and headed across the hall.
"I feel so embarrassed. I acted even more idiotic than usual," he admitted.
"Shizuo, it's okay…" Izaya began, following him, but halted when he realized Past Shizuo was staring at him.
"Izaya?! Are…are you really alive?" Past Shizuo questioned.
Izaya squeaked and darted into the other room.
Izaya and Shizuo hid in the other room.
"Great…that Shizuo saw me!" he muttered.
"Listen, you have to hide!" Shizuo ordered.
"You hide behind that curtain! I don't want to take my chances with the safe room!" Izaya ordered, pushing him behind the curtain. He started to try to hide under the bed, but Past Shizuo entered the room.
"You…you're alive after all," he realized.
"No…Shizu-chan…" Izaya began.
"It's impossible for you to die anyways! You've managed to outsmart me so many times now…that was just a dream, right?!"
"Let's go show them that you're alive! Come on!" Past Shizuo prompted.
"No! T-The Shizuo I know wouldn't say things like that!" Izaya shouted.
Past Shizuo stepped back in surprise.
"You hate me for what I've done! You hate what a coward you are for not being able to restrain yourself! The only reason you haven't wrung my neck yet is because either of too many coincidences or you can't bear to do so! That's the Shizuo that's supposed to exist!"
"…you…you really died…"
"…god…even in death, I still see you…"
Izaya understood. Past Shizuo saw him as a ghost.
"Shizuo, it's my fault, not yours. I was the idiot here. I wanted to…to save everyone, because I know my sisters would be happy as ever if I died here," Izaya admitted.
"I see…I'm sorry, Izaya. I have to go," Shizuo apologized.
"Then go. Don't apologize, and don't look back. I know things will be different in Ikebukuro, but you'll survive. Maybe my sisters will think to take up my job, but you're now rid of me," Izaya encouraged.
"Yeah, yeah. Oh, and…Izaya? You don't mind me saying something important, do you?"
"I…I like you a lot. More than I probably should, but I…I do."
Izaya didn't raise an eyebrow. This was something he had seen every time loop, no matter what variations. Shizuo would develop feelings for him, only for him to die before he could confess, or died just after he confessed.
"I understand. Go. Oh, and…protect my sisters. I don't know how they'll react, but it's time they grew up. I can't care for them forever," Izaya pled.
Past Shizuo nodded and left the room.
"That was close…Shizuo, you can come out now," Izaya informed.
Shizuo didn't come out of the room.
"…Izaya. How many time loops have you gone through?" Shizuo asked.
"If this time loop is true, 28 loops," Izaya responded.
"And how many times have I…developed feelings for you?"
Shizuo came out of the curtain.
"How did you bear with that pain of going through time?" he asked.
"I'm not sure. The first few, I was a mess. Eventually, though, I learned to keep on my usual mask and do what was possible to save you guys. Everything was painted red with blood, be it the piano or beds," Izaya admitted.
"I'm surprised, though, that you guys never blamed me. Celty thanked me. Kida wished me luck. Isaac and Miria were so nonchalant about it. You even kissed me. When you and Kasuka died…I lost it. I thought that it should have been me to die, that it should have been someone else to be the survivor…"
"Come on, idiot, let's stop talking and start looking for the journal."
In the hall, however, Shizuo hurried to the room where Past Izaya lay.
"Just wait in the hall for a bit. I need to see him," Shizuo asked as he entered the room.
The scene in the room elicited tears from him.
Flowers were spread in the room. Past Izaya lay on a table, eyes shut, clean of wounds. In this state, he almost seemed asleep, but the blanket of death was already on him. There would be no use trying waking him up.
"It's pretty weird. Just a little while ago, you fought so hard to try to save us, to keep us from entering this place, but now…you're gone…I'm sorry for all the times I tried to kill you. I'm sorry for hating you," Shizuo apologized, running a hand down Past Izaya's face.
Sure, he admitted before he would have loved to see Izaya dead, to see those crimson eyes dim as the life drained out of him, to see Izaya Orihara, the scum of Ikebukuro finally die, but—
Was this really what he deserved?
"The Izaya I know now is alive, and he's not alone. He has so many people surrounding him…you're going to go through a lot of time loops just to keep us alive…and I still don't know if you'll ever return my feelings. I know it's unlikely, but it's what I'm hoping for. You are strong, Izaya…"
Picking up a small bouquet of flowers, which included irises, asphodelus and red and white roses, Shizuo placed it in Past Izaya's hands.
"…but you need more than your own two feet to recover from this place. Good bye…"
Back in the hall, Shizuo trudged back to Izaya.
"How was I?"
"You looked fast asleep."
Izaya gave a regretful smile.
"I can't afford to sleep anymore, not while I have too many memories to hang onto."
A footstep distracted the pair, and they spotted Kida.
"He's seen us!" Shizuo realized.
"Wait…Kida? Can…can you name one thing we promised to do once we were out of here?" Izaya asked.
"That's easy. Shopping for yukatas," Kida responded.
Shizuo sighed in relief.
"It is you."
"Guys, how did we end up here? I just felt alone, like I was trapped here…" Kida asked.
"Kida, you were right. This really is the second time loop. I died, and Shizuo wanted time with my past self," Izaya explained.
"Then who turned back time, then?"
The world started to shake, surprising the three.
"Shinra must be trying something! But…but what?" Kida wondered.
The world flashed, and when it subsided, everything was calm. Kida peeked downstairs, his face quickly growing pale.
Shizuo and Izaya peeked downstairs to see the scene from earlier play out again.
"We've gone back in time!" Izaya realized.
"Who rewound time, then?" Kida asked.
"Guys, we have to hide again," Shizuo ordered, dragging them backwards.
Back in the present, Celty, Kasuka and Mairu were heading back towards the first floor, knocking on every piece of wall they could find.
"This looks so ridiculous right now," Mairu guessed.
"If it's in the name of saving our brothers, I don't care," Kasuka stated.
Near the study, Mairu tested the walls.
"This feels different…maybe it's the entrance to the annex?" she guessed.
"Do you have anything to cut the wallpaper with?" Kasuka asked.
[Oh! I have a plate piece I found when I was in one of the library rooms!] Celty realized.
She used the plate shard to cut down the wallpaper, revealing an entrance to the annex.
"Well…here goes everything. Please let Iza-nii and Shizuo be safe…" Mairu pled.
[Mairu, Kasuka, do not let your guard down.] Celty reminded.
Back in the past, Izaya, Shizuo and Kida were hiding in the piano room.
"It should be about that time. Let's get going," Shizuo encouraged.
"We should start on the first floor—"
Shinra entered the room at that moment, holding his shoulder.
"Oh…it's you three agai—ow…" he realized, limping into the room. Crimson droplets hit the floor like rain from his hand.
"Shinra, your shoulder is bleeding!" Kida realized.
"Yeah…" Shinra acknowledged.
Izaya winced at the thought of whatever was Shinra's opponent. He was easily the weakest of the group with just his magic and not one of the weapons the others possessed.
"Kida…what is your goal, by the way?" Shinra asked.
"To get out with everyone!" Kida responded.
"I know. Then why are you here in this time loop?"
Kida was caught off guard by Shinra's question.
"To be even blunter, why did Izaya and Shizuo come into this time loop with Isaac, Miria and I?"
Izaya's breath caught in his throat at the sound of the two other names.
"We're here to look for the journal. Without it, we can't go back," Shizuo explained.
"Shizuo…" Izaya groaned.
"Then go back already!" Shinra shouted. With his good hand, he took out the journal and tossed it, managing to get it at the informant's feet.
"You had it…"
"What are you waiting for?! Go and run! They're already fighting for their lives!" Shinra shouted.
As if on cue, a giant Steve entered the room.
"Great…it's here already!" Shinra cursed.
"You can't…you seriously can't fight that thing alone!" Kida shouted as the monster approached Shinra.
A memory from a time loop lingered in Izaya's head: this one was Shinra warning him not to go to the second floor in the library.
That explained it. That explained how Izaya stayed alive in the third time loop. How there even were any time loops after his death in the second one.
"I'll die before it'll kill you guys…go back to where you came from!" Shinra shouted, activating his magic to teleport them.
Just as he did so, Past Kida joined up with Shinra.
"Shinra, what are you doing?!" he shouted.
"Kida, this room is going to explode in 30 seconds. Get out of here now!" Shinra ordered.
"I'm not going to! I've already nearly lost Saki because I was a coward, and in this place, I'm not going to let you die!" Past Kida swore.
"Idiot…" he muttered as he used his magic.
Back in the present, Izaya, Shizuo and Kida teleported to the area Mairu, Celty and Kasuka were in.
"Are you guys okay?" Kasuka asked.
"Kida…could this mean…" Shizuo began.
Kida was trembling with rage.
"Celty, I remembered something else," Izaya admitted.
[What is it?]
"There were three others who could rewind time. Isaac, Miria and Shinra."
Kida was howling curses as he punched the wall from agitation.
"Kida, stop!" Kasuka shouted, wrenching him from his position and gazing at him. His eyes were filled with anger and horror, his knuckles beginning to bleed.
"…I know I'm back, but I should have stayed to save him…" Kida cursed.
[What happened?] Celty asked.
"We went back to a previous time loop…I died, then…uh…" Izaya began, words falling uselessly from his mouth.
"We'll get the story later. We have business to take care of," Mairu explained.
"We're going to the annex. If we're right, a lot is going to go down," Kasuka explained.
"Wait, just you three?" Izaya asked to confirm.
"We'll be back after a quick look around," Mairu promised.
[Izaya. Remember what Kida said? The last time you rewound time will be the last. We're not going to get ourselves killed.] Celty promised.
"Okay, then. I'll take Kida to see if Shinra's okay," Izaya decided.
"He's on the fourth floor. Shizuo, take them there, then come back, and Izaya, stay with Kida," Kasuka ordered.
The three nodded and headed past Celty's group.
"Do you think…Shinra died in whatever loop they were in?" Mairu asked the others.
[Probably. It must have killed Kida not to be able to save him.] Celty guessed.
Kasuka peeked in the entrance.
"It goes down, and it's really narrow. One person at a time, then," he decided.
The three made their way down the ladder and to the ground, where Celt spotted a mysterious lump. Picking it up, it felt a little warm, but sadness filled the Dullahan.
"It looks so odd…" Kasuka commented.
The group found another lump in the next three rooms before resting in a small room.
"These things are weird. What should we do with them?" Mairu wondered.
[They have to have a purpose. Maybe we need them for a puzzle elsewhere?] Celty suggested.
"I don't know…they just don't seem…" Kasuka was cut off by a low rumble.
"Steve's here," Mairu cursed.
A giant Steve entered the room.
"I got this!" Kasuka shouted. He rushed forward and attempted to slice the monster…but his sword broke in two.
"Oh crap," Kasuka cursed.
"Out of the way!" Mairu shouted, trying to deter it with kicks, but was knocked away easily.
Celty silently cursed how badly this fight was already going. Steve raised one hand—
A flash of bright light brought Celty, Kasuka and Mairu back to the safe room. Everyone else was there, safe and sound.
"I did it!" Shinra cheered.
"Sorry for bringing you guys back so quickly. Were you in the middle of something?" Kyohei asked.
"U-Uh…how did you…" Mairu began, unsteadily.
"There were these lumps of magic on the fourth floor, hence how I was able to pull this off," Shinra explained.
"That was pretty impressive, Shinra," Namie conceded.
"Shinra, can you just stop teleporting people?! Sheesh…" Kida complained.
"Masaomi, calm down…" Mikado suggested.
"Maybe you should take a bath. You've got blood on your clothes," Izaya pointed out.
"It came from Shinra," Kida simply stated.
"Uh, maybe you guys should go get washed up?" Miria quickly suggested.
"Good idea. Come on, Kida," Izaya prompted, managing to get the blonde to follow him.
"Anyways…Izaya and Shinra both died in the past. Kida and I didn't take it too well," Shizou admitted.
"I think you should get cleaned up as well," Shinra suggested. Shizou nodded and hurried to the bathrooms.
[Shinra, I seriously can't thank you enough for saving us! We would have been killed!] Celty admitted.
"We found these in the annex. They're probably your lumps of magic," Mairu explained.
"Why would they be in there?" Shinra wondered, hurrying over to the three.
"I don't know, but here you go."
The glowing aura left the lumps and flowed into Shinra.
"Okay, let's see if this works. Hoata!"
Bright light blinded everyone for a few moments, and when it dissipated, the room was clean again.
"Well, that's certainly a big help!" Isaac commented.
"By the way, Kasuka, what happened to your sword?" Anri asked.
"It broke when I was fighting. I'm not going to be able to fight with my bare hands," Kasuka responded.
"We should rest for now. We've been fighting a lot lately," Mikado suggested.
"By the way…where did those other enemies wind up when the journal took them to that time lo…ohhh…" Shinra quickly realized.
In the bathroom, Izaya was done and was waiting for Kida and Shizuo.
"Hey, Izaya, can I ask you about some of the earlier time loops?"
"Was there a time when only Shinra died?"
"…yeah. He's pretty strong, but he went past his limits often with magic…"
"And you rewound time after that?"
"My goal was to save you guys, even if it meant I died, so I had to turn back time."
"The only reason you're going back for Shinra and Namie is because Namie's your employee, and because you and Shinra are sort of close, right?"
"I never said I wanted to be responsible for her life. Shinra, I don't mind. Namie just happens to be part of the group with each time loop, so I'm stuck having to save her life."
"Once we're out, though, you have to remember you're one of the most hated people in Ikebukuro. You may wind up fighting someone from our group one day."
"Oh please. I knew that since I took up the role of informant. I may hesitate a little to fight for a while once we're safe and sound, but it'll be back to normal for me~"
"And yet you help us."
"I've given thought to it. What if one day you attacked me in retaliation for everything connected to the Yellow Scarves?"
"And what if we ended up in the same situation we are in right now? I don't think we can afford to be choosy about our partners if our lives are ever at stake, Kida. I'm only helping because otherwise it would be boring in Ikebukuro and I would be held responsible for 13 deaths because not only would witnesses have evidence I went into the mansion and came out alive with 13 corpses behind me, but there would be no end to the pandemonium surrounding the mansion, how I was able to rewind time, how I got my wounds and the monsters within the mansion. And staying in the mansion is a big no-no, considering Steve is out for my blood."
"What about you, Kida? Are you any different?"
"I'm putting up with you because you still owe me for Saki."
"You still hold me responsible for that~?"
"Don't take that tone with me. Saki may see you as a god, but you're responsible for everything."
"Let me just say that it's also your fault for even creating the Yellow Scarves."
"You could have refused me."
"I still need the money to take care of Mairu, Kururi and myself. Listen…can we put the past behind ourselves for now?"
"Are you out yet, Kida? You've been taking a while," Shizuo asked.
"Shizuo, can I ask you something?" Izaya questioned.
"Will we still be enemies once we're back at Ikebukuro?"
Shizuo looked the other way, unsure.
Izaya's eyes widened in horror as Celty delivered the news about the monsters back in the same room.
"The Steves got into the past too?!"
"Should we try to go back?" Shizuo asked.
"I think we should. If they killed off someone in that time loop when they were supposed to live, a lot of things could go wrong," Izaya agreed.
"It's fine, you two. I took care of it already," Kida informed.
"When?" Mikado asked.
"I wound up in the basement with Steve. It wasn't that strong, so it was an easy kill," Kida explained.
"There wasn't one enemy, though. We have to go back," Shizuo pointed out.
"I searched the mansion. No one saw me. There was only the one enemy, so we're safe for now," Kida admitted.
"Okay, then, we'll split up into two groups. One to search the annex, the other to go back in time," Shinra decided.
[You can send someone back now?] Celty asked, surprised.
"Of course! Celty, have a little faith in me, for pete's sake!" Shinra encouraged, smiling.
"I'll go, then," Isaac decided.
"I can go, too," Anri decided.
"So will!" Miria announced.
"Might as well," Namie declared.
"I'll come with, too. What are you going to do, Masaomi?" Mikado asked.
"I'll stay to search the annex," Kida responded.
"Okay, then. Those going, get near the magic circle, and Izaya, hand the journal over to me. Once you kill Steve, go to the last page. Do not, and I repeat, DO NOT interact with our past selves in any way. If they're supposed to die, let them die, and come back once your job is done," Shinra ordered.
"We promise we won't do any harm," Isaac promised as his group hurried to the magic circle.
"Try not to die, okay?" Miria asked.
"Same to you, Miria, same to you," Izaya responded, handing the journal to Shinra.
Shinra teleported the five to the past in a burst of light.
[Now, for those of us who just came back from the past and Kasuka should stay here.] Celty decided.
"I'm going to the annex," Kida stated.
"Wait! I'll go instead of you, Kyohei, so it'll be me, Kida and Shinra," Izaya volunteered.
"Okay then, just don't push yourself," Kyohei advised.
Izaya gave a quick nod.
"Shinra, are you feeling okay?" he asked.
"Relax, Izaya, I'm fine!" Shinra responded.
"Okay, just…don't use too much magic," Izaya advised.
"I'll keep that in mind."
Izaya hurried over to where Kasuka was getting his weapon fixed. Mairu was finally done with the brave act for now and was fawning over the Heiwajima as Celty tried to fix up his weapon.
"I'm a bit disappointed that my sword broke. Maybe I should take a cue from my brother and your sisters and fight with my hands," Kasuka admitted.
"Relax, Kasuka. I think Celty can fix your weapon soon," Izaya reassured.
"Oh, before I forget, we left the monster back in the annex. Be careful not to get killed by Steve," Kasuka advised.
"Will do," Izaya promised.
Kururi quickly joined her sister to fawn over Kasuka, leaving Celty to shake her head in agitation.
[It'll be a while getting his sword fixed. Right now, it's pretty dull. Watch out for yourself and the others, okay?] the Dullahan questioned.
Izaya nodded and headed over to Kida, who was sulking near the beds.
"Kida, it's time to get going."
Kida stood up quickly.
"I'm ready to go!"
Izaya, Kida and Shinra went back down to the annex, finding three more lumps of magic as they entered the room adjacent to the one Shinra teleported Celty, Mairu and Kasuka out of earlier.
"I'm not sure if I've been here before or if my memory concerning this place is already getting bad," Izaya admitted.
"I'll go take a look in that room," Shinra declared, heading off to the next room.
"…Kida, what's on your mind?" Izaya asked.
"Nothing besides the usual," Kida responded.
"Can I just tell you something as an adult? If you want people to believe you, at least sound like you mean it, otherwise people won't believe you," Izaya pointed out.
"Who's saying I'm lying?" Kida questioned.
"Kida, you should have learned to smile naturally," Izaya commented.
Kida just sighed in response.
Shinra came out of the room.
"There was nothing in that room. Maybe you could try checking these shelves?" he asked.
"I'm confident in my abilities…but it wasn't enough to save Saki. In the end, Shinra, you saved me, then died…I hate having to feel so week," Kida admitted.
The giant Steve that had corned Celty, Mairu and Kasuka earlier dropped from the ceiling, prompting Kida to shove Shinra away from him.
"W-Wait, Kida!" Izaya shouted. It was in vain as Kida whacked the monster with his jimmy bar. It failed to have an effect as the Steve came closer.
"Watch out!!" Shinra screamed.
…did I save you this time, Shinra? Was it enough?
I can save at least someone…right?
In the past, Shinra was glaring daggers at Kida. Steve was temporarily immobilized in the piano room.
"Why are you trying to be a hero? You're even worse than I am when it comes to stuff like this," Shinra pointed out.
"I have my reasons," Kida stated.
"Listen, Kida, I'm a doctor. Doctors are supposed to save lives, not watch as those lives drain away," Shinra pointed out.
"Shinra…" Kida began, words failing him.
"I guess not being alone in your last moments really is the most I could hope for in this hole," Shinra guessed, gaze aiming downwards.
The pair was silent, words useless.
Kida. I paid you back.
Take my power to the future. You can do it, right?
A large shield appeared around Kida, stopping Steve's attack.
Izaya winced as he imagined the toll this was taking on Shinra. Or was this cast on Kida before?
That's right…when Past Shinra sent us back. Why is it the person I'm supposed to get revenge for has to be the one to die the most easily?
"Take cover!" Shinra ordered.
Izaya pulled Kida back as Shinra hurried forward to the monster, wincing as its teeth struck the blonde's shoulder, shouting, "Incarcerous!"
The monster was held in place by bars of lightning.
"Kida, I saw it bite your shoulder...will you be okay?" Izaya asked.
Kida grabbed his shoulder.
"Ow…I haven't felt this sort of pain in a while…" he muttered.
"Izaya, take him back to the second floor!" Shinra ordered.
"Great…I have to be saved both here and before…why…" Kida cursed.
"I'm not leaving your side, Shinra! Kida, stay away from the fight!" Izaya ordered.
"I can't kill it! I can only get us some time! Kida will be caught if we try to run!" Shinra shouted.
"Shinra, you can't fight alone!" Izaya protested.
Almost like a ninja, Celty fell from the ceiling, scythe at the ready.
[In that case, I'll fight with him.]
"Celty…" Izaya realized.
[I'm a Dullahan, but this mansion is taking a toll on me. I can't hold out forever.] Celty reminded.
"Thanks, Celty. Kida, Izaya, get out of here!" Shinra ordered.
"W-Wait, Shinra!" Kida began, but was cut off by Izaya.
"I'm sorry, guys! I swear I'll come back!" the informant promised, dragging Kida away.
"Hey…Celty, thanks for backing me up," Shinra thanked.
[I knew something would go wrong. This is beyond my skill, anyways.] Celty admitted.
"Same here. I wonder if we can hold it back…" Shinra admitted.
[It'll be tough, but if we fail, it means death.] Celty warned.
"Then let's show this thing what we've got. We'll hold on for five minutes," Shinra declared.
Celty charged forward and rammed the blunt end of her scythe into Steve's stomach, while Shinra called forth a bolt of lightning to strike the monster's legs.
"yOu wILl nOT eSCapE!" Steve roared, bolts of lightning colliding with Celty in turn. The Dullahan flinched, then swung her scythe at his head. He caught the blade and threw Celty into the wall.
"Celty!" Shinra shouted, then aimed a fire ball at Steve's face before helping Celty back up. She hurried to stab Steve through the chest before quickly backing away.
"dIE!" Steve shouted, and bolts of lightning hit the pair in the head, forcing Celty to one knee.
"Celty, are you okay?!" Shinra asked.
[I'm sorry. I just hate that I have to lose to this thing.] Celty admitted.
"Here it comes again!" Shinra realized.
Celty hurried to try to stand up, wincing in pain.
We won't last five minutes at this rate…maybe the annex gives him more power? Shinra thought in fear.
[I haven't felt this excited in a while. You are a good fighter, Shinra.] Celty admitted.
Steve swung his fist, but was pushed back by Celty's scythe.
"Celty, there's something I want to try. Can you help me?" Shinra asked.
[If there's anything I can do, I'll do it.] Celty responded.
"Give me your hand, then," Shinra ordered. Celty let him hold her hand, leaving the doctor to shout, "Legilimens!"
Power welled up in Celty as she and Shinra held hands, their weapons in their free hands.
Celty, can you hear me?
Loud and clear, Shinra.
I linked our powers together. Sorry, I was running out of options.
Does that mean I can use your magic as well?
No, but we can combine them. We'll stay like this until we die or pass out. We'll also take each other's damage, so be ready for what Steve throws at us.
Then let's do this!
Shinra quickly enchanted Celty's scythe, leaving her to chop up Steve. The monster knocked Celty back, but failed to expect her to toss her scythe at him at the last moment, slashing him in the eyes.
"That's enough, Celty, let's run!" Shinra ordered.
[Wait! Kida dropped his healing supplies while he was running!] Celty realized.
"We'll have to go back for them later!" Shinra pointed out.
Celty reluctantly ran away with Shinra.
Outside the mansion, Belgium was wandering in the woods near the mansion.
"This is far enough, I hope," she murmured.
"Wait, Belgium!" Ennis called, hurrying after her. It still felt weird to the homunculus to be calling someone a nation, even after they had explained it multiple times now.
"Hmm? What is it, Ennis?" Belgium asked.
Erika followed Ennis, a knife in her hands.
"We're here to help you, of course!" Erika explained.
Ladonia trailed after the other two, looking tired.
"Why did I have to go with the girls?" he muttered.
"I don't need any help at the moment. I'm just looking for an alternate exit the humans inside the mansion can use quickly. The bulldozer is coming a tad slower than we expected, but once it comes here, America and the others are going to have a tough time getting it to stop," Belgium explained.
"It'll be easier if we stick together. Besides, it's late for us to go back," Ennis admitted.
"I don't want to end up having to wait for news about Dotachin and the others or just wait patiently and pray for the best," Erika pointed out.
"Belgium, that parcel is torn," Ladonia pointed out.
Erika took out a ribbon.
"You can use this to fix it up."
"Why would you…"
"I need to keep something else in my backpack besides manga. Dotachin insisted I buy something else for a change a while before the mansion, and I got something girly just to get him off my back."
Belgium nodded in thanks and tied up the parcel more tightly.
"Erika…when did you have a knife?" Ennis asked.
"Oh? This? North Korea gave Walker and I knives to protect ourselves. I guess he knew we might be helpless without Walker's spray-can-and-fire combo," Erika responded.
"Will you be alright, though? I mean, at least Ennis is able to regenerate, and Ladonia has a gun," Belgium asked.
"I don't think Walker will mind. The path splits here," Erika responded.
"Then let's split up. I'll go with Belgium," Ennis decided.
"Let's try to be back here in 10 minutes," Ladonia opted.
"Be careful," Ennis reminded as Ladonia and Erika headed down one path.
"I hope they'll be okay…" Belgium hoped.
"Let's get going, okay?" Ennis asked.
Belgium nodded, and the two headed down the other path.
Meanwhile, with Walker and Greece, the two were hiding near some trees.
"We're back where we started," Walker lamented.
"I almost thought we were on the right path," Greece admitted.
"We just went around in circles. You're not really good with directions, Greece," Walker commented.
"I know that. Let's try this path," Greece suggested, gesturing to the other path.
"We just came from there, though," Walker pointed out.
North Korea walked up to the two.
"I thought you two already left."
"Oh, North Korea! Please tell me you have some sense of direction," Walker pled.
"I'm not going to deny he's telling the truth," Greece admitted.
"Then don't let Greece lead the way next time," North Korea commented.
"Where's Erika, by the way?" Greece asked.
"She's helping Belgium look for another way out of the mansion. I gave her one of the knives I took from the weaponry room…the really dangerous one," North Korea responded.
"Ah. Is Ladonia behaving himself?" Greece questioned.
"He ran off with the ladies. I hope he doesn't take after Seborga," North Korea admitted.
"Same here, but I guess it was to be expected," Greece commented.
A phone rang, and when Greece checked it, he frowned.
"It's from Shizuo."
"Then answer it while we still have a signal out here," North Korea prompted.
Greece answered it.
"Hello?...yes, everything's okay down here. How are things up there?"
Walker raised an eyebrow in suspicion.
"…is he injured? Is he even awake?"
At once, a Steve appeared in front of the three.
"Looks like we have another live one here," Greece commented.
"Who got injured?" Walker asked Greece.
"Sorry, we have company. What were you saying? Hello?" Greece questioned as the monster hissed some unintelligible language.
"Hey, monster, could you please shut up here?...oh well, time for Round 26," Walker decided. He dashed forward and stabbed the monster in the head, killing it.
"Nicely done," North Korea praised.
"Apparently, this person named Kida got injured and collapsed, and we're to expect having to take care of even more wounded fighters," Greece explained.
"Great. I guess our plan to hide the truth is a failure after all," North Korea commented.
"Then let's go look for the clocks right now," Walker encouraged.
"Right. There are nine left, so let's hurry and hope the bulldozer crushes some of them," Greece agreed, heading down one path.
"That's the wrong way, you idiot. How did you wind up the heir to Ancient Greece's empire, anyways?" North Korea challenged.
"First off, I want to go this way. Second, it was mother's choice, not mine to become the heir," Greece retorted.
"Either way is fine, you two, let's just go…" Walker encouraged.
"It is not fine," the two nations responded, glaring at each other.
Walker sighed wearily.
"Sometimes you nations aren't any better than kids," he commented.
Back in the mansion's safe house, Celty and Shinra limped up the stairs.
"Thank god. I thought you two were dead," Izaya admitted.
"We couldn't kill it, but we at least got away. How's Kida?" Shinra asked.
"He calmed down and he's asleep at the moment."
"Good. I can't wait to lecture him later."
"…I'm sorry. I probably pushed Kida farther than he should have."
"Did you tell him anything?"
"I told him about sounding convincing…"
"Coming from you, that would have sound normal outside this place."
The group members that had gone into the past reappeared at the magic circle. They were a little battle-torn, but otherwise they seemed okay.
"Oh! Welcome back!" Shinra greeted, smiling.
"It was a lot of trouble, but we changed nothing in the past," Isaac reassured.
"What happened with you guys?" Namie asked.
"Kida got injured while we explored the annex. We didn't kill the giant Steve down there, and now we're under some sort of house arrest," Shinra explained. Mikado hurried over to Kida at the mention of his name.
"You didn't find anything like…a piece of paper down there?" Namie questioned.
"I did. I found a lot of them while I was running with Kida," Izaya informed.
"Really? Where are they?"
"On the table."
Namie hurried over to the table, while Anri and Celty approached each other.
[Is something wrong, Anri?]
"Celty…please promise me you won't die again. Please!"
Izaya's phone rang, and he hurried to answer it.
"Hello, is this Izaya?"
"Yes. Who are you?"
"I'm Firo, one of the guys who arrived with Saburo and the others. Erika and Walker told me a bit about you."
"Oh. Is everything going okay down there?"
"I guess you could say that. Can I please speak to Ms. Namie?"
"Uh…can't you call her number?"
"Well, I was never told her number, and she doesn't seem to be calling anyone else…"
"Fine. Namie? There's someone on the phone that wants to talk with you!"
"No, it is not Seiji."
Namie sighed and took Izaya's phone.
"Who is thi…oh. Yes, it's nice to meet you Firo. Wait. They're gone? Where?...okay, that was a long time ago. Okay, I'll take a look. Thanks for the info. Try not to die, okay? Bye."
Namie hung up and handed Izaya's phone back to him.
"What's going on?"
"Firo's girlfriend and a few others wandered off somewhere. I doubt they'll be able to take care of themselves."
"Why did they leave?"
"Remember the hole your sisters found and fell into? They figured if they found it and came through it, they'll be able to find a way to get us out."
"It's dangerous, though…"
"Hence why I'm going back to the basement and hope they haven't found it yet."
Namie headed for the stairs, ignoring Izaya's protests. Going back to the cave with the rope ladder, she searched the area.
"It would be a problem if they came here…" she muttered.
Celty and Anri hurried to her.
"You shouldn't be out alone!" Anri pointed out.
"You were following me."
[We can't risk anyone going alone at the moment.]
"What's going on, Namie?"
"Some of the girls of the group are looking for the hole Izaya's sisters found. I need to warn them before we end up having another argument about who sleeps where if we have to stay another night in this godforsaken place and have to worry about more people."
[Well, it doesn't look like they've found this place yet.]
"Mrs. Namie!" a female voice called from above.
Namie jumped a little and turned around. A tall woman with blonde hair and green eyes was standing on the ledge above the other three girls, with a woman with reddish-brown hair and dark eyes next to her.
"Who are you?"
"I'm Belgium, and my friend here is Ennis," Belgium explained.
"Thank god you guys are okay. Are you alright? And…are Isaac Dian and Miria Harvent with you guys?" Ennis asked.
"We're okay for now, and Isaac and Miria are with us, alive," Anri reported.
"Why don't you guys go back with your group? It's dangerous here!" Namie pointed out.
"I'm coming down! Mrs. Namie, please catch me!" Belgium asked.
"No! You guys can't come here!" Namie shouted.
"Why not? I need to tell Mr. Isaac and Mrs. Miria their friends are coming to save them!" Belgium questioned.
"No. Please, just go away," Namie ordered.
"But…" Belgium began.
"GO HOME, BELGIUM!" Namie shouted.
Ennis and Belgium were taken aback by the complaint.
"I'm fine here. I can tell Isaac and Miria you're okay, Ennis. Please, just don't come here," Namie explained.
"…I'm sorry, Namie, but I'm with Belgium. We can't go home," Ennis admitted.
"We both have met a lot of people on our way here, and we've made friends. I can tell Isaac and Miria have made friends with you and the others as well. If there's something I know well from all these years with those two, it's that they can't find the heart to abandon them. Please, I ask this favor of you, Namie: get them and the others out, especially Mr. Orihara and his siblings. We can't go home until we're sure they're alive. Just let us wait for you," Ennis pled.
Gunshots rang out, surprising the women.
"Uh oh…someone's getting into a fight," Belgium realized.
"It might be one of the micronations with a gun, or someone else," Ennis fretted.
Belgium hesitated to make a move. She might lose her way to the hole, and then where would she be?
Someone's in trouble…but what do I do here?
"Belgium, Ennis, go help whoever's getting hurt. I'll be okay," Namie ordered.
"But…" Belgium began.
"I'm sorry for what I said. Don't go home. I don't know what's going on or how big a mess you guys have gotten yourselves into, but please stay and fight," Namie pled.
More gunshots rang out.
"Belgium, we have to go," Ennis prompted.
"Belgium, don't worry. We have a lot of people fighting alongside us, and Isaac and Miria are really helpful," Anri reassured.
"…Mrs. Namie. On my way here, this strange man gave me something to give to you. I'm sorry I can't help you guys in there, but can you at least take this?" Belgium asked, tossing a parcel down to Namie.
Opening the parcel, it revealed a good luck charm for her.
"A good luck charm…is this…?" Namie wondered, tearing up in joy.
"This man named Seiji said to give it to you when possible. He also wanted me to deliver this message: 'I'm sorry I missed your birthday, but I hope you're safe, wherever you are.'," Ennis explained.
Namie hugged the charm, smiling.
"Come on, Ennis, let's hurry before that thing finds us," Belgium encouraged.
"Okay. We'll be waiting for you guys at the exit. Oh…I almost forgot. Some other nations are driving a bulldozer here to tear down the mansion, and we're trying to get in contact with them to wait until you guys are safe and sound. Could you please tell Isaac and Miria that Ennis, Firo, Maiza and Czeslaw are coming to the rescue?" Ennis asked.
"Sure. Good luck, and try not to die," Namie responded.
The two women at the hole took their leave.
[It seems like your family didn't forget you after all.]
"I…I don't talk with my family that often, but I'm glad at least Seiji cares."
"Come on, let's go back," Anri encouraged.
The three girls headed back.
Outside the mansion, Firo was wandering around a bit.
"I hope Ennis and Belgium are okay," he hoped.
Kugelmugel came running towards Firo.
"Firo! Firo! We're screwed!" he shouted.
"Did you find any clocks?" Firo asked.
"Yes, but one of those things was there, and it's about to eat Czeslaw!" Kugelmugel responded.
"Crud…what about Maiza?" Firo asked, praying that the monsters were not secretly immortals.
"He's in danger as well," Kugelmugel admitted.
"Great. Let's hurry, Kugelmugel!" Firo ordered. The blonde's phone rang at that moment.
"Did you tell them? I couldn't get in…"
Firo's gaze shifted to the ground.
"I'm sorry, Belgium."
"It's okay. If I had gone in, someone out here might have been killed."
Gunfire followed Belgium's statement.
"What's going on over there?"
"Sorry. I have to go."
And with that, Belgium hung up.
"Firo, we have to go before Maiza or Czeslaw dies," Kugelmugel prompted.
Firo gave a brisk nod in response.
"Oh, and Firo, I have an idea on how to distract the monster…we dump cans of paint on him!" Kugelmugel declared.
"Eh…it sounds good in theory," Firo admitted, hurrying to where Czes and Maiza were.
Namie re-entered the safe room.
"Welcome back. Looks like things worked out for you," Kasuka welcomed.
"Yeah. Sorry for running off like that," Namie apologized.
Her phone suddenly rang.
"I wonder who that could be…" she wondered, hurrying to use the bathroom to answer it.
"What took so long? What have you being doing?...do you want me to cooperate or not? We're making progress, right? And who's that with you?"
Mikado peeked from where he was, relieved that Namie couldn't hear him.
"Why would you do that? I do find it weird, playing tricks like this…" Namie hung up as she turned around, surprised to see Mikado.
"How long have you been there?"
"I was just using the bathrooms."
"If you'll excuse me, I need to check on Masaomi."
With that, Mikado left.
Did he hear everything? I thought he would start asking questions…
Back in the safe room, Celty noticed two certain girls were gone.
[By the way, where are Mairu and Kururi?] she asked.
"The two wanted to go into the past to fight some Steves. If they run into our past selves, they can lie," Kasuka explained.
[Ah. I wish I could have said goodbye. Shinra, shouldn't you go to Kida?] Celty asked.
"He won't let me speak to him. He just puts the blanket over his head," Shinra explained.
"Did you know about the magic he had over him?" Izaya asked.
"Not at first, but then I figured it out. You and Shizuo still have your shields ready to go at any time," Shinra responded.
"That's good news for a change," Shizuo commented.
"Then…are you able to take away the shield?" Izaya asked.
"What? Izaya, why would you want yours taken away?" Kasuka asked.
"Shinra, you do have some incredible powers, but they're not fully restored, are they?" Izaya asked.
"Izaya, you're the main target for Steve. I think it'd be better if you had more protection," Shizuo suggested.
"Then should I wear a cup?"
"Geez, I was kidding. Besides, Shizu-chan, I think I'll be okay if I stay behind you."
Shinra gave a sigh.
"That's because you have a strong power behind you. It's connected with your healing. If you want me to take it back, I'll do it, but…are you okay with this, Shizuo?"
"I obviously have to be his bodyguard anyways…just watch where you're going," Shizuo decided.
"I'll be fine. I have Celty to help me too," Izaya pointed out.
"And no faith for the other Heiwajima?" Kasuka asked, a tad jokingly.
"I'm glad you guys are getting along!" Miria cheered.
"Oh, Miria. I almost forgot. Ennis, Firo, Maiza and Czeslaw are here and safe," Anri reported.
Miria and Isaac's eyes widened in surprise, then the two cheered.
"Yes! They're safe! They're safe~!" the pair cheered.
Anri gave a small smile. The two must have been very good friends with Ennis to be so happy.
"It's the best news I've heard since we found out we might be getting out soon!" Miria commented.
"Relax, you two. Just because they're here doesn't mean they aren't fighting for their lives against Steve. There's a chance only one of them is safe right now, or perhaps they're all dead. I doubt they have immortality," Shizuo pointed out.
"When did you first meet your friends?" Izaya asked.
"We met Firo, Ennis and Maiza in 1930…wait! Isaac, could this mean they're immortal as well?" Miria asked.
"Why, Miria, you might be right! We met Czes on the Flying Pussyfoot in 1931, and he's still alive today!" Isaac realized.
Miria frowned as she realized something else.
"That also means Jacuzzi and Nice aren't immortal either…" she pouted.
"Well, I'm glad that at least a few of our friends are immortal," Isaac admitted.
"Hey, Celty, how do you manage to have so much patience? I already can't stand them," Shizuo joked.
[It comes with being a Dullahan.] Celty joked back.
"By the way…what's a Dullahan?" Izaya asked.
The room fell silent as Isaac, Celty, Shizuo and Miria stared at Izaya in surprise.
"…what?" Izaya asked, not concerned about what he said.
"Izaya…" Isaac muttered, fearing the worst.
"Is he…?" Miria began, hesitantly.
Izaya just looked confused.
"Was it something I said?"
"Uh, Izaya? My magic?" Shinra asked.
"Ah, right," Izaya responded.
Shinra quickly undid the magic on Izaya. Suddenly, Kida started shouting something that was too obscene to be even put in this story.
"Kida, calm down!" Izaya shouted, hurrying over to the blonde.
[I almost forgot about Izaya losing his memories from before the mansion. But he forgot about me?] Celty wondered.
Shizuo let a long, shuddering sigh escape him.
"If this keeps up, he may not even remember us. He'll only remember the pain and suffering that came with having to save us," he realized.
"Shizuo, calm down. Isaac did say earlier memories can't be gone forever," Kasuka reassured, trying to shed some hope on the situation.
"Still…" Shizuo protested.
"Mikado, calm down! Kida, what were you saying?" Izaya questioned.
"Why didn't you tell me?! Can't you trust me, or am I useless?!" Mikado shouted.
"No, you aren't useless!" Kida protested.
"We need healing supplies here, or we might as well consider ourselves dead! God, Masaomi, you're such a moron!" Mikado yelled.
[Sorry, it's my fault. I didn't get the chance to retrieve his supplies.] Celty explained.
"That's why I'm going back down there! Steve will be able to use them to heal from whatever wounds Celty and Shinra gave them, then he'll come after us!" Kida explained, trying to sit up.
"I should go instead of you! Look at you, you're a mess! If I go as a decoy…"
"And that's why you shouldn't go! How many times do I have to lose either you or Shinra?!"
"Same here! Look, Steve can't see me, so I'll survive!"
"Both of you shut up!" Izaya shouted.
The two boys instantly shut up.
"Mikado, Kida saw you die in the time loop he visited, if I'm right, and he's worried for you because of that! Kida…you broke a clock and saw a lot of people die, right?" Izaya questioned.
Kida hesitated to nod.
[It was when Shinra broke that clock in the basement, wasn't it?] Celty asked.
"Yeah. Back then, I saw more than those time loops where Shizuo or Kasuka or Izaya died. I didn't think it was something it would happen in the past. How do you think I feel, having to see them die again and again?" Kida questioned in response.
Izaya gave a dry cough, feeling a bit irritated.
"And Shinra's magic is the biggest problem for us being able to escape. He'd exceed his limits then die, and…I needed advice for that," Kida admitted as Shinra approached the four.
"And when we attempted to save him, we'd end up losing a few people in turn. We can stop him from using magic, but it's not what I wanted. Anytime we ran into Steve, one of us would die, and Shinra would always get himself killed! I'd go to either you or Shinra for advice, and if it didn't work, I had to fight alone!" Kida shouted.
"Well, did you even try to ask me about my magic?!" Shinra questioned.
Kida winced in shame.
"Did you ask me not to overdo it? Did you even bother to think to ask me about it?"
"Then why don't you try it?"
Kida stayed silent.
"…I think I know what you're thinking. Listen, there can't be only one hero here," Shinra declared.
"Shinra, what are you doing?" Izaya questioned. It was in vain as Shinra teleported away.
"Shinra!" Kida shouted, running out of the safe room.
"What's going on?" Isaac asked.
"Shinra just teleported somewhere and Kida's going nuts. I'll go look for them," Izaya declared.
[Calm down. You're not going alone. We'll split up into groups to look for them.] Celty ordered. She could barely keep from trembling as she imagined what Shinra might be planning.
"Great, why now…let's go, Shizuo," Kasuka ordered, standing up.
[I'm going with you. Let's hurry!] Celty encouraged.
"I'm going right now after Kida!" Izaya stated.
Shinra boldly faced the giant Steve.
"There you are…sorry, but if I don't kill you, I'm not going to set a good example with Kida," Shinra admitted, readying his magic book. He spotted the medical supplies, barely touched, in the giant's hands.
"And you'll have to give me that back."
Izaya charged down the steps towards the annex, preparing to fight for his and Shinra's life.
"Why is it everyone in our group has to just go recklessly charging at that thing?!" he hissed.
Arriving in the annex's room with Shinra, they witnessed him calling, "Sectumsempra!" Purplish bolts of lightning hit Steve.
How is my magic so strong?
"Shinra!" Izaya shouted as he and Kida joined up with him.
"Stand back and let me do my job!" Shinra shouted. Under other circumstances, it would have sounded like Kida and Izaya had a shared loved one that was about to go to the emergency room, Shinra having to dare to save their life.
But here? Shinra was daring to save all their lives.
Izaya felt a bad feeling in his gut, expecting the worst.
Steve slashed at Shinra, nicking him in the shoulder and face.
"Ow! This'll be the end of you!" Shinra shouted.
"SHINRA! STOP! PLEASE!" Izaya and Kida begged.
A giant explosion rocked the annex, destroying Steve.
"Whoa…" Izaya gasped.
"…is it really true?" Kida wondered.
"He's alive…thank God," Izaya murmured.
"You nearly gave me a heart attack," Kida commented.
"Come on, let's go look for his healing stuff," Izaya encouraged.
"Y-Yeah," Shinra responded.
Izaya went into the other room, searching for Kida's stuff.
"We're alive, Steve is gone for now, and Kida might finally be calming down. Only good things are happening~" Izaya cheered.
The light flickered several times before shutting off completely.
"Uh…where's the door?" Izaya wondered, feeling around.
He suddenly felt the cold gray skin of Steve before finding himself staring directly into its pitch-black eyes.
Shinra was staring off into space as Kida looked for his stuff.
"Shinra, mind giving me a hand?" Kida asked.
Celty darted into the room, Kasuka and Shizuo following.
"Shinra, did you actually kill Steve on your own?" Kasuka asked.
"We're safe for now. We can explore here without worry," Kida declared.
"Where's Izaya? He should have followed after you…" Shizuo wondered.
"He went to look for my stuff in that room," Kida informed.
A loud roar surprised the group.
"It came from that room. Izaya!" Shizuo realized.
He, Kasuka and Celty booked it to the room Izaya was in.
"Shinra, we have to…Shinra?"
"Oh! My stuff! It was right next to you! Why didn't you pick it up?" Kida asked, picking up the supplies.
"O-Oh…" Shinra realized.
Kida's eyes widened.
"Kida, we should go after Izaya, right?" Shinra asked.
Kida approached Shinra, trembling.
Some time loops ago, I asked you the same question.
"Shinra…how many fingers am I holding up?" Kida asked, holding up three fingers.
A long, uncomfortable pause passed, and Shinra swallowed hard, removing his glasses. His brown eyes were now dimmed and pupiless.
"I'm sorry Kida. I can't see anymore."
"IZAYA!!" Shizuo shouted, rushing to him. He was collapsed in a pitiful heap on the floor.
Kasuka checked Izaya's pulse, trembling. He had no wounds, but it almost looked like…like…
"His heart isn't beating."
Celty fell to her knees. No. NO. NO!
Shizuo burst into tears.
With Mairu and Kururi, the two were corned in the library in the past. Mairu suddenly fell to one knee.
"Mairu? What's wrong?" Kururi asked.
"Iza-nii…Iza-nii…" Mairu panted.
Kururi looked up to see one of the Steves charging.
"Mairu, get up, we'll have to worry later," Kururi ordered, trembling.
Darkness surrounded Izaya.
Where am I?
What was I doing?
Where do I go?
Steve appeared next to him.
"If I follow you…will I find my friends?" Izaya asked.
Izaya stopped before he could take a step towards Steve.
You're going the wrong way.
"What?" Izaya wondered.
This way, Izaya.
"Where, though?" Izaya asked, feeling lost.
Can you make me a wish, Izaya? I'm not strong enough at the moment…
I'm not strong enough to protect the people I love.
"H-Hey, where are you? If I find you, I can help make that wish for you…I'll get to see my friends, too, right?" Izaya questioned, stepping away from Steve.
Hang on. Let me defeat that monster first.
"W-Wait!" Izaya shouted just before he was teleported.
Izaya found himself in a beautiful meadow.
"This…this isn't the mansion…" he realized.
A beautiful, tall woman with long, beautiful, blonde hair and auburn eyes, wearing an outfit similar to the one Miria had on when Izaya saw her last approached Izaya.
"You…you're…" Izaya stammered.
"I was looking for you, my sweet," the woman greeted, smiling.
"Mom!" Izaya realized, not even bothering to register the tears on his face.
Mom…AKA, Heiwa Orihara…
"It's been a long time, Izaya," Heiwa greeted.
"Y-Yeah…I…" Izaya began, nervously.
"Izaya. You're 23 years old. We're technically equals," Heiwa reminded.
Izaya hesitated to nod.
"It has been a while, Heiwa. I…I never thought one day I'd see you one day without those gashes, without all that blood…without your eyes closed," he admitted.
"I know. You must have had a rough time," Heiwa acknowledged.
"I did, and so did Mairu and Kururi," Izaya responded, looking away.
"Izaya, are you embarrassed?" Heiwa asked, chuckling.
"It's awkward to be talking with my mom as an adult," Izaya explained.
"Oh, Izaya, you haven't changed a bit."
"M-Mom! You're embarrassing me!"
"If you don't like it, I could just try to look like your friend Miria entirely."
"N-No! I just…I don't know if I'm relieved or ashamed that I can look you in the eyes."
"Where are we, by the way?" Izaya inquired.
"Oh…right. Let's go back first. They're waiting," Heiwa decided.
"You'll know if you come with me. Let's go, Izaya."
Heiwa led Izaya through the meadow, and suddenly, the forest seemed to grow dark as the pale walls of the mansion loomed overhead. Izaya spotted Celty and Kasuka in front of it as he and Heiwa approached them.
"Oh, hey Izaya. I thought you had run off earlier," Kasuka greeted.
[Is something wrong?] Celty asked.
"Sorry to have kept you waiting. We thought we had seen something," Heiwa apologized.
"I'm just glad someone was with him," Kasuka admitted.
[I thought this was a rumor…I didn't expect to be able to find it.] Celty admitted.
"It feels a little empty…" Kasuka noted.
"I'm not sure we should be here. Let's go back," Heiwa suggested.
"It'll be fine. Come on, let's go in," Kasuka encouraged. He and Celty entered the mansion, leaving the two others outside.
"W-Wait…mom, we have to go help them!" Izaya realized.
"There's no need to rush, Izaya. This is a dream. Except for one thing, everything else will go as you command it," Heiwa reassured.
"But…I can't help but worry. I have to go after them now," Izaya admitted.
"Even though this isn't real?"
"It's because this isn't real!"
"…you haven't changed a bit."
"Let's just go in. Can you tell me the rules of this world?"
Heiwa nodded, and Izaya headed in first.
"I wonder…are you that way because you couldn't take a chance with anything when you were young?" Heiwa wondered.
Back with Mairu and Kururi, Kururi was trying to last against a Steve.
"This thing is tough…" Kururi acknowledged.
With one last flurry of kicks and punches, the Steve fell.
"Mairu, that's the last one," Kururi announced, turning to look at her sister. Mairu was staring off into space, crouched.
"Mairu?…Great. Our magic circle disappeared, and now Mairu is acting like this. Shinra and Iza-nii must be in big trouble," Kururi commented.
Suddenly, Shinra approached the two.
"Huh? Izaya's sisters? What are you doing here?" he asked.
"Eh…? Shinra, what's one thing we promised to do when we got home?" Kururi tested.
Shinra just tilted his head, confused.
Of course it wouldn't be our Shinra…crud!
"Is that…Mairu Orihara?"
Kururi hesitated before responding, "I can't tell you that."
"W-What? But she…"
"L-Listen, you have strange powers, right? Can you give them to us?"
Kururi mentally slapped herself.
"W-We come from the future," Kururi admitted.
"What are you talking about?"
In the present, Izaya lay motionless on a bed in the safe room. Everyone looked upset.
"Is he…is he really…gone?" Isaac asked to confirm. Celty just nodded.
"If I hadn't suddenly got mad…" Shinra began, hesitantly.
"It's my fault as well. I was no better," Kida pointed out.
"If I'm getting this straight, Shinra's blind and Izaya's dead. This is just going well," Namie sarcastically commented.
"C-Celty, maybe you should rest," Anri suggested.
[I'll be fine.] Celty dismissed.
"Izaya's the only one that can go back in time, right? Or is what he said about Shinra, Isaac and Miria being able to do it as well true?" Kasuka asked. Shinra helplessly shrugged at being mentioned.
"Since he used up most of his magic, even using his life won't be enough," Kida pointed out.
"We can't escape without Izaya, right, Shizuo?" Kasuka questioned. Shizuo didn't respond.
"Were you listening?"
"Can you pull yourself together? This is going to decide of our future, and you'll have to bear with it."
"I'll be fine…"
It took a few seconds for Isaac to register Mikado was not with the group.
Back in the past, Shinra was gaping at the twin sisters.
"What I'm trying to say is, Shinra…" Kururi continued.
"…are you two drunk or something?" Shinra questioned.
Kururi winced slightly and looked down.
"I mean, just…what the hell? Why would Izaya rewind time to save anyone, especially Shizuo? And you two are from the future, and need me to send you back?" Shinra questioned.
"Yes, and something bad must have happened in our timeline. We need you to share your power with our Shinra—"
Kururi winced at the frustration in his voice.
"Maybe it's just the past to you, but this timeline means everything to me! And even if I don't give you my power, this will still lead to Izaya rewinding time?" Shinra questioned.
"I didn't mean that…"
"You're telling me to abandon any hope for this timeline?!" Shinra shouted.
Kururi held Shinra's gaze, trying to see past the glasses, the brown eyes smoldering with rage. Maybe she should have expected Shinra to have a little fighting spirit left for his friends.
Leaving the room, the doctor commented, "Look, I'm sorry, but we have a situation of our own right now. I have no time to waste. I have nothing to do with your timeline."
Kururi's face paled. Had she just doomed she and her sister?
"I guess he won't send us back after all…"
Kururi gasped softly at her sister's voice.
"Are you okay? Is anything wrong?"
"I'm fine…I just felt like someone helped me just now."
"Can you stand up?"
Mairu nodded and stood up, running her gaze down her sister.
"You're hurt…what about the Steves?" she asked.
"I killed them all."
In the bathroom back at the safe house in the present, Mikado was sitting on the floor, listening to the sudden downpour.
"Oh, there you are, Mikado. We're in the middle of a meeting," Isaac commented, entering the room.
Mikado looked up, murmuring "Isaac…"
"Is something wrong? You look a little sad," Isaac noted.
"I just…feel useless."
"Everyone has their role, and I…I don't know where I fit in. Iza-nii's doing all he can, and so is Shizuo and Shinra…but what purpose do I hold? What can I do here?" Mairu questioned.
"I didn't know what Kida was thinking, and I was useless…and then…"
"You thought we didn't need you?"
Mikado nodded and the room fell silent.
"Do you want someone to praise you?"
"Do you want someone to tell you what to do, then praise you for doing a good job, Mikado? I can give you some tasks, if you feel that useless."
Mikado shook his head.
"It's the easy way, but it wasn't what I was thinking of," Mairu admitted.
"What do you mean?"
"Isn't there anything I alone am good for? I want to do something for him now."
"Mairu, don't you remember? The only reason Iza-nii is still alive and is still clinging onto hope is because of you."
"He told us not to come here, though!"
"The three of us are Oriharas, Mairu. You're not the only one risking your life here, I don't want to lose another family member after both our parents."
"You solved some puzzles that got even the best of us, and it wasn't because anyone ordered you to, was it? There are some things you can do that we can't, Mikado," Isaac pointed out.
Mikado fell silent, surprised Isaac would stand up for him like that.
"You're a smart kid, Mikado. You'll have your chance in the spotlight several times over," Isaac assured.
"Mairu, you've been fighting for Iza-nii so much. I should be the one complaining about being useless," Kururi reminded.
"But Kururi, you're not…"
"Mairu, let's face facts. There probably is something I could do, but until I find it, I'm useless."
"No. Without you, I would have been killed at Steve's hands, or I couldn't have come here at all. You're not useless."
"Isaac…thank you. Without your advice, I'd probably have gone and done something stupid," Mikado thanked.
"I know what it's like to feel useless, to do little more than hope the future isn't as bad as the situation we're in, but you have to be strong. We all have our roles here, and no one is hopeless," he reminded.
Kida entered the room.
"M-Masaomi! What are you doing?"
"You weren't at the meeting, so I had to look for you, y'know!"
"I needed time to think."
"Oh? Isaac, you're here as well?"
"Hey, I can't be forgotten when we get out of here!"
"Come on, you two, we need someone to be the rational one!"
Mikado nodded, smiling.
Mikado hurried out of the bathroom to see the meeting had broken up earlier.
"What happened to the meeting?"
"We didn't get anywhere. At the moment, we're just taking a break so we don't wind up trying to off each other," Shinra explained.
"Mikado wouldn't," Kida asserted.
"Shinra, what are going to do about you? You won't be blind forever, will you?"
"I don't know at the moment, okay? Maybe it's some sort of Equivalent Exchange—"
"Wait, Shinra's blind? That's a little lame."
"Oh, stay out of it, Isaac. Right now, we need to figure out something for Kururi and Mairu."
"Um…excuse me," Anri murmured, coming over to the others with Namie in tow.
"I need to do some business with Anri in the annex," Namie informed.
"What are you going to do there?" Isaac asked.
"She wants to solve a riddle. If you're worried, you could come along," Namie responded.
"We still have to get Izaya's sisters back to our timeline, so you both are free to do as you want," Shinra dismissed.
"Okay, then. We'll be back, maybe with something new," Anri responded.
"Anri, be careful down there, okay?" Mikado asked, a note of concern in his voice.
"I-I will," Anri responded as she and Namie headed downstairs.
"The magical circle is gone. What happened there?" Mikado asked.
"The circle is a portal connecting the time loops and the present. If it's gone, no one can come back from the past, I think," Shinra explained.
"Are you sure they can't come back?" Kida questioned, imagining the tirade Izaya would bring down on them for not even bothering to get them back.
"If we don't find a way, they'll more than likely find their end in the mansion in that time loop, and I don't have enough magic to make a new portal at the moment," Shinra confirmed.
Anri and Namie made quick progress to the annex, only stopping once to chat.
"Namie…do you think everyone outside is okay?"
"Anri, from what I've seen from Isaac and Miria fighting, I think their friends are strong enough to—"
"No, it's not just their friends. The nations and Kyohei's friends as well."
"If Walker is enjoying himself, I don't think we need to worry."
Anri gave a light sigh.
"As far as we know, though, the micronations are nothing more than kids, and there aren't many adult nations among them, minus the ones coming to our rescue in a bulldozer. Izaya promised to save people, and we already might be losing Mairu and Kururi."
"Anri, relax. I personally can't worry because I'm too busy trying not to be murdered by an alien who might possibly be insane."
In the safe room, Celty, Shizuo and Kasuka were at Izaya's bedside.
[I wonder how Mairu is…] Celty wondered.
"She and Kururi are together. They wouldn't die when I'm in their midst, apparently," Kasuka guessed.
Celty formed a sword out of shadows and handed it to Kasuka.
[This will be your replacement for your broken sword until it's fixed or I die. If I die, it will vanish, and you'll be on your own.] the Dullahan warned.
"What can we do now? What do we do next?" Shizuo wondered.
"We haven't decided, Shizuo. What do you want to do?"
Shizuo looked away for a brief second.
"We get his sisters back to our time and escape…would that be what he wants?" he questioned.
Celty absentmindedly wiped away some of the dirt that had gotten on Izaya's face when they had found him, jerking her hand back in surprise.
"Celty? What is it?" Shizuo asked.
Czeslaw woke to see Firo standing over him, a gash on his forehead healing quickly.
"Firo…what happened?" Czeslaw asked.
"Well, Kugelmugel and I found you about to be eaten by an alien, and he dumped a can of paint on it. Surprisingly, a bright yellow Steve is even uglier than a normal one," Firo responded, helping Czeslaw sit up.
"Are they out of the mansion yet?"
"No. All we know right now is that they're okay, and no one has died."
"And our teammates?"
"Alive and kicking. Walker said he's up to round 69, whatever that means."
The pair sat in silence for a moment, the sounds of battle dying away with each victory.
"How many clocks are there left?"
"Eight. The others said they'd contact Izaya first before breaking the clocks, and it seems like they've found some of the clocks."
"Why do that?"
"Ennis said something about the clocks bringing up old memories when the clocks are smashed."
"We don't have much time left before a bulldozer comes and starts tearing apart the mansion. I want to defend the door and just call for them to get out."
"Czes, I know, but that would probably let out another Steve, and there's no telling where it would head."
Czeslaw sighed heavily.
"Then where's Maiza?"
"He regained consciousness and said something about smashing a clock as he's already getting sick of fighting aliens."
"Well, then, shall we get back to smashing clocks?"
In the annex, Namie suddenly held Anri against a wall.
"Alright, out with it, Saika. To what extent are you able to control people?" the brunette hissed.
"N-Namie! Why are you doing this?" Anri demanded.
"I need your blade's power so Seiji can be mine! I am at the end of my rope, and this has been bugging me since you admitted you're Saika. So, how well are you able to control people?!"
Anri swallowed hard.
"I can only control them for a small period of time. I'm not even as good as the former Saika wielder. Namie, this isn't the path you want to go down."
"Give me a reason why I should let you go and not demand Saika."
"Because Saika can't feed off my emotions and turn me into its slave. If you had it, you wouldn't last 10 days with it before you went insane."
"And how do you know that?"
"Because my mom was the last wielder before I had it. I don't even know how to transfer ownership. Namie, you're better off on your own."
Namie dropped Anri.
"If, however, you're looking for a fight to the death, I have no qualms with that," the dark-haired student pointed out.
"No…go back to the others. Before I decide to shoot you."
Anri didn't hesitate to take that chance to run.
Izaya was back in that meadow with Heiwa, looking shocked.
"So you're saying…that's the way out of here?"
"Yes. I've never lied before, Izaya."
"And you didn't think to contact me when I was asleep those few times?"
"I know I should have, and I'm sorry for that. Izaya, please, just save them all."
"Celty, what's wrong?" Shizuo questioned.
[Izaya's skin is warm! It's not cold! He's still alive!] Celty typed out in a hurry.
As if on command, Izaya's eyes fluttered open, hope filled in them.
"Izaya, you dumbass! Why the hell did you make everyone worry!" Shizuo shouted.
"Shizu-chan, calm down. I don't want to lose my hearing," Izaya ordered, sitting up.
"I thought Steve killed you! How are you still alive?" Shizuo questioned.
"He didn't. He just gave me a punch in the gut before fleeing. I think I accidentally groped him," Izaya responded.
Anri arrived at the safe room, eyes widening in surprise when she saw Izaya.
"Izaya? You're alive?" she gasped.
"Yes. Geez, is it such a big issue?" Izaya remarked.
"Where's Namie?" Kasuka asked.
"She said she wants to solve the puzzle by herself," Anri responded.
"Where are Mairu and Kururi?" Izaya asked. Kasuka's face went pale at the question.
"Shinra used too much of his magic power, went blind, and the magic circle that could send them back disappeared," Namie informed, heading up the stairs into the safe room.
"Namie!" Anri shouted at her, but it was too late. Izaya was seething with rage.
"Where the hell is Shinra now?"
"Well, he's in the bathroom…he said something about needing to wash the blood off his face," Kasuka filled in. Izaya marched out of bed and into the bathroom, where Shinra was about to exit.
"Shinra, what the hell?!" Izaya shouted.
"I-Izaya?! You're ali—"
"Yes, I'm alive, okay? I didn't die, I accidentally groped an alien, okay?! Why did you have to use your magic like that?!"
"You groped an ali…I had to use my magic because otherwise Kida would have died, and you would end up turning back time yet again! Izaya, for the last time, you're not the only one trying to get everyone out alive! What part of that will not stick in your head?"
"Gee, considering you were stabbed once in high school and didn't realize you could have actually died then—"
"Izaya, it wasn't that bad compared to what I've bet we suffered in the time loops! For now, I highly suggest focusing on getting Mairu and Kururi back to this timeline!"
Shinra slammed the door in Izaya's face, sending him back a few steps.
"Would now be a bad time to mention I found a few more lumps of his magic?" Namie asked in a quiet voice.
Shinra immediately opened the door again.
"How many lumps are there?"
"That's enough to let me recreate the magic portal for an hour. Hand them over, please."
Namie handed the lumps over, the magic going back into Shinra.
"Can you see now?" Izaya asked. Shinra shook his head.
"No. I can't tell if being blind is permanent or not. This magic will only open the portal for an hour, and when that hour is up, it'll close, or at the very least be unstable."
Izaya's gaze shifted downwards as he backed up to let Shinra perform his magic. A magic portal appeared, and, surprisingly, within seconds, Mairu and Kururi appeared from it.
"Iza-nii!" the two girls gasped.
"Mairu! Kururi!" Izaya greeted, pulling them into a hug as Shinra hurriedly canceled the magic portal.
"We thought you were dead!" Mairu accused.
"I promise I won't try to get myself killed. We're safe and sound now," Izaya reassured.
The tender reunion last for a good minute or two before Isaac cleared his throat and asked, "So, how are we going to escape now? If we couldn't find the key in the top floor, what's going to happen to us now?"
"Oh…about that…Mo—I mean, Heiwa, explained how we can get out of here," Izaya informed.
"Mom told you?" Mairu paraphrased, her and Kururi's eyes widening.
"Yeah. Mom said she was worried about us and everything, and she showed me a way out of here alive," Izaya responded.
"How can we get out?" Mikado questioned.
"The key is hidden in one of the clocks," Izaya responded.
"How did it get from the fifth floor to a clock in the house?" Kida asked.
"Steve must've caught onto how quickly we progressed through the mansion to find the way out. And there's more than one option, you know. We can call up one of the people trying to find the clocks outside and get them to defend the door until we reach it," Izaya suggested.
"Are there any clocks left in the mansion, anyways?"
"Not that I remember…"
"Yup. Let's call someone now," Shizuo suggested.
Izaya whipped out his cellphone and dialed a number. A few moments passed before someone responded to the call.
"Firo, right? I need to ask you something."
"Oh! Izaya, we were just about to smash the clocks!"
"Firo, if you find a key, throw it away. We have a way out. We need you to defend the door and we'll hurry out of the mansion ASAP."
"…and you never thought of that before, why?"
"Between trying not to get killed by an alien we're calling Steve for all its worth and sorting out the memories from the time loops and the actual past, how much thought do you think I've given to remember that way out?"
"Good point. I'll be there in a moment. Hurry up to the door, will ya?"
"Will do. See you in a moment."
Izaya hung up and faced the others.
"Let's go. Miria, get the list and treaty, please," he asked of her. The blonde quickly took the two pieces of paper, and the group proceeded to the door.
Meanwhile, with the nations, the mansion was in sight.
"We have a few minutes before we reach the mansion. I hope they managed to get out in time," Japan reported.
"I wonder who was it that turned back time for their friends?" Italy wondered.
"They had to have a sibling who has some backlog of memories, right?" Romano asked.
"Maybe, or maybe not. I'd explain, but people already have pegged me as a Doctor Who fan, even though I have little to no understanding of memories or time," England responded.
"Fandoms can be irritating at times, huh?" America asked.
"All the bloody time, America."
The moment Firo opened the door, Izaya and his group just poured out of the mansion, fleeing desperately for their lives. Another Steve was right behind them, which received a door in its face as a reward for nearly catching up to them.
"We're…we're out? Is this real?" Miria questioned, eyes wide.
"It's real, Miria, it's real," Firo responded, smiling.
"Everyone back up! Bulldozer!" Kugelmugel shouted.
The people near the mansion hurried away as a bulldozer crashed into the house and wrecked it. Headaches struck those who had been in the mansion, even Izaya for once.
Isaac and Miria set Izaya on one of the beds, fear in their eyes.
"Izaya, please, just try to stay alive! We'll go get one of the others, and they'll heal you--"
"Miria, that's not going to happen. I am going to die here, and that thing won't hurt you guys anymore," Izaya interrupted. He took out a journal and handed it to Isaac.
"A journal that will enable you to turn back time. I used it for a few time loops to try to get us all out."
"But why us?"
"Isaac, you and Miria are people I can trust easily. Please, just get them out in time, and tell Shizuo I'm sorry."
Izaya's eyes shut, and he went silent. Miria shook him, but it was of no use.
"Miria...Izaya said that this journal allows people to rewind time, right? Maybe we can do that and save Izaya?" Isaac suggested.
"But Isaac...how do we do that?" Miria asked. As if in response, certain pages of the book started glowing, and Isaac flipped to the first glowing page.
'This journal is proof that the owner has willingly agreed to allow themselves to be actively pursued by the monster of the mansion. In return, the owner is allowed to turn back time as long as they find the main clock and use it. Will you accept these terms and conditions?'
Isaac and Miria nodded, lacking anything to write with. The question faded, and as Isaac turned the next page, their names slowly formed on it, on the lines below other names. A name was faded beside the others, while others looked freshly written.
The world came back into view, and Izaya looked at Isaac and Miria.
"So I died...in another time loop?"
Isaac and Miria glanced away before responding, "Yes."
"And you didn't think to tell me why?"
"Because you've already been through enough, okay? We didn't want you to worry about other memories from other time loops you didn't have the chance to turn back time in," Miria pointed out.
"…what happened in those timelines?" Izaya asked.
"It started 12 time loops ago…your leg was broken, and you were covered in blood, so I guess Steve or Shizuo went nuts on you. You handed the journal to us and died shortly thereafter. Shizuo went insane when we delivered the news...after that, we rewound time for the first time," Isaac explained.
"It was scary, being the only two people of our group knowing what happened in a timeline that ceased to have an Izaya. But…you died in each of those time loops. Until this time, we got out. The final time loop before this timeline…that was perhaps the worst," Miria admitted.
Izaya took off past the stairs, the other members of the group following.
"Izaya, where are you going, you idiot?!"
"Izaya, what the hell!"
"Shut up! None of you will ever understand the pain I've gone through!" Izaya shouted in return, a wild look in his eyes.
A silver blur dashed towards Izaya, knocking him aside into the wall. The informant coughed up blood, looking up just moments before the alien impaled him in the stomach.
"IZAYA!" Shizuo screeched, barreling towards Steve and proceeding to clobber him while the other members of the group hurried to Izaya's side.
"Izaya, can you breathe?" Isaac asked.
Shinra quickly examined him, despair growing in his eyes.
"The wound is too big. Nothing will save him in time," he declared.
Izaya looked weakly up at Isaac and Miria.
"You both knew. Why did you tell them?" he questioned.
"Because we can't stand it! You people just give your lives up for another when you fail to see the obvious! You could have worked together instead of separating all the time!" Miria shouted, then fell silent as though she had uttered taboo words.
"No…no, you're right. That's what we should have done from the start. Mikado, Anri, Masaomi: don't go near anyone who's from the Blue Sharks. They will maul you alive. Shinra, do not use any magic, and make sure you and Celty look after each other. The rest of you…avoid a man named Yadogiri Jinnai. He can and will take advantage of you for his own purposes. And stay alive," Izaya ordered, the light leaving his eyes.
"Wait, Blue Sharks? Magic? Jinnai? Izaya, what…" Mikado began. It was too late. Too much blood had left Izaya's body, reducing him to just another casualty within the mansion. Another life taken.
"Miria, on the count of three, we run for the clock, okay?" Isaac whispered.
The pair took off like rockets, leaving the confused group (and Shizuo, who still seemed concerned with beating the life out of Steve) behind.
Izaya let a slow breath escape him as he heard the grisly recount of one of his demises.
"Wow. I screwed up many more times than usual, huh? So it's safe to confirm you both are from the past as well?"
"Yes. I'm actually a little surprised—I would have guessed at some point you would have picked up how odd we were acting," Isaac admitted.
"We don't know either of you that well. To us, you were probably acting as you normally would," Kasuka pointed out.
The sound of more clocks being smashed filled the air, along with the bulldozer clearly not finished in wrecking the mansion. Surprisingly, the rest of the memories contained in the clocks flowed into the group's heads without any more pain.
"So…are we finally all safe? No more time loops?" Mikado asked, hope rising in his chest.
"No. Not until the mansion is gone for good," Izaya responded as the other nations who had arrived to rescue he and the others slowly came to their sides.
Finally, the bulldozer had shoved away the remains of the mansion. What was left of the mansion was the annex and a glowing blue portal that shimmered ominously above the ground. The nations who had driven the bulldozer joined up with the group.
"Hey, guys! Glad to see you're all okay!" America greeted.
"You were planning on using a bulldozer to destroy the mansion when we were still in it. What the hell?" Shizuo questioned.
"America never said a thing about stopping it before we accidentally took a few lives," France admitted.
"Uh…guys?" Italy began, nervously. A blue alien, its facial features looking extremely disturbing, stepped out of the portal with three other aliens, holding two mochi in its hands.
"The mochi from our time in the mansion!" Kida recognized.
"And ours," America realized.
"Well, well, well, what have we here? The nations, immortals and humans, huh? Oh, I'm really scared~!" one of the blue aliens that sounded female taunted.
"So you're the one who escaped the mansion!" another one of them sneered.
"Wait! I recognize your voice! You're the one who was in my head!" Prussia recognized, pointing at the female-sounding one.
"So you finally figured it out? We chose you to bother in order to drive you insane and kill off your friends~" the female one revealed.
"So that was it. You four were trying to hurt my brother and Izaya?" Shizuo guessed.
"We had a main Steve to clone all those others, but we killed him once he went insane~just as your brother should have!" the female one responded.
"Steve army, forward!" another of the aliens shouted. The ground shook as Steve after Steve poured out of the portal, until there was an army big enough to rival the group against the aliens.
"Holy crap!" America cursed.
"We have no clock to turn back time anymore. England, hide with Shinra," Germany ordered. England nodded and ran off with Shinra.
"After them!" one of the blue aliens shouted, and the whole place erupted into chaos. Izaya climbed up a tree, hoping to hide from the action, but that was short lived as it came crashing down. A giant Steve raised one hand but encountered an arrow in its head just before he delivered the blow. Two more arrows followed shortly, and the Steve was dead.
"Izaya, get your ass out of the tree and start killing some Steves!" Shizuo shouted, finishing off another Steve.
"They're going to be after whoever has their name in the journal, moron! They'll be after me, England, Italy, Isaac and Miria!" Izaya shouted in return, taking out his knife as another of the aliens tore towards him. He stabbed his foe in the head, then delivered a punch to the Steve's gut and stabbed him once more in the head before it died.
A shrill scream pierced the air, and Izaya dared to look up to see Mairu being choked by one of the blue aliens.
"Not my sister, you bastards!" Izaya shouted, tearing across the battlefield to kick the blue alien to the ground, where it received a knife to the brain. Blood welled up around the knife as the alien disappeared.
"Mairu, Kururi, don't you dare get yourself into danger like that," Izaya ordered.
"We won't, Iza-nii!" Mairu protested. Izaya picked up his switchblade and examined it. There was violet blood on it, though it seemed to be fading.
"They can actually bleed to death…" Kururi realized.
A burst of flame lit up the battle field for a brief moment before being extinguished, leaving several charred Steves crumbling away. Walker was grinning.
"These guys aren't that tough when it comes to fire~" he remarked.
"Just keep that up, Walker!" Izaya ordered, hurrying away. Isaac and Miria were holding their own against a blue alien, surprisingly, while Kasuka had just finished off the female alien.
"Two down, two to go!" Kasuka shouted. Just then, the leader of the blue aliens grabbed the dark-haired idol, leaving Shizuo to charge at the alien, punching it before the alien swatted him like a fly.
"Shizuo!" Izaya called, struggling his way through the battlefield to get to the blonde.
"This is it. Better not hold me back, flea."
"You either, Shizu-chan."
The two charged, Izaya slashing the arm that held Kasuka, freeing him. Shizuo punched the alien in the eye, only to be knocked away. Izaya cried out Shizuo's name before being picked up and bitten in the shoulder. The resulting injury wasn't enough to take his life, but it was enough to make him crumple to the ground, twitching in pain.
"This is for Izaya!" Shizuo shouted, punching the alien in the head. It finally vanished, while Isaac and Miria's foe vanished as well.
"We won! The blue aliens are dead!" someone—Canada? America?—shouted.
At once, the people that had been in the mansion collapsed, the world going black.
Firo tensed in surprise when he saw Isaac and Miria fall to the ground as the Steves fled. America and Canada picked the two of them up.
"It's okay. It's happened to us before," America assured, a sober expression on his face.
"The best thing to do is to take them back to the world meeting place and treat their wounds," Canada informed.
"And the Steves in the forest?" Kugelmugel asked.
"Let's get out of the forest first," Hong Kong responded. The long walk to the other side of the forest was a long one, with Firo desperately pleading for Isaac and Miria's immortality to kick in at any moment.
Firo looked over his shoulder to spot Maiza catching up to him. The older immortal's wounds were almost healed.
"Maiza, what is it?"
"They'll take longer to heal. They've suffered much more wounds in the mansion than in the fight."
"Wonder what happened to them."
"Lots of scratches, maybe some broken bones, perhaps even damaged organs. They'll heal on their own."
The group soon reached the edge of the forest. It occurred to Firo how worn away the grass was, with the multitude of footprints of all sizes very close to one another.
"It's time we forgot this place ever existed. The monsters are gone, the clocks destroyed…the only things left we'll have will be the journal, the weapons, our memories and the treaties," Italy announced.
Walker lit a few trees on fire, which began to spread farther into the forest.
"Whoever's left in there will be dead by tomorrow. They're just that human enough to have to breathe," North Korea informed.
"…I didn't expect nations to willingly light a forest on fire," Czeslaw commented.
"This place wasn't supposed to exist. It just seems a little too odd that a mansion would be built in the forest, anyways," China noted.
"Let's discuss theories later. It's time we headed home," Italy suggested.
When Monaco woke up, she heard chaos outside her room. Seychelles entered her room, eyes wide.
"Monaco, are you still asleep?"
"No. What's going on?"
"America and the others brought back a bunch of wounded humans! The other nations are going insane trying to treat all of their wounds at once!"
Monaco's eyes widened.
"That doesn't sound good…"
"Celty? Are you awake?"
Celty awoke to Japan's voice. She reached around, trying to look for her PDA, until she felt it land in her hands.
"You're at the hospital in the world meeting center. Do you remember anything?" Japan asked.
Celty typed out [Everything. Everything from the mansion.]
"I see. Your other friends are in other rooms, being treated for injuries. They're all alive at the moment," Japan reported.
[What about Shinra?]
"He's alive, and his blindness should only last a day or two as long as he doesn't use the magic book."
Celty's hands trembled as she typed, [Thank you for saving us.]
"It was nothing. The nations fought to make sure you guys would live," Japan dismissed.
[There are others, right? Not just Prussia, France and America?]
"Yes. There are many nations, from the strongest countries to the smallest micronations."
[Ireland as well?]
Japan responded with a nod.
"Your other friends will wake up soon, but…if I'm right, there will be something wrong with one of your friends…"
Kyohei opened his eyes to see a man with blonde hair and blue eyes sitting at the foot of his bed.
"Who are you?" he questioned. The man seemed to jump in surprise, as if he wasn't expecting him to wake up soon, then turned to face him.
"I am France, also known as Francis Bonnefoy. It is a pleasure to meet you," he greeted.
"France, huh? So Izaya wasn't lying."
"I suppose Izaya is a frequent liar?"
"He's just…untrustworthy to some, maybe all."
"Kyohei, may I ask something?"
"Do you think the reputation you have is the one you'll want in the future?"
Kyohei thought hard before responding, "If it means being a Dollars member, then I suppose."
"And what do you suppose Izaya's reputation is like?"
"That's easy. He uses people to gain information, doesn't care about human lives, and was only helping us to get himself out as well."
France's smile vanished, replaced by a grimace.
"Have you asked him directly why he acts like he does?"
"No. Not since high school."
"Kyohei, a reputation can damage someone when they find out how they're seen. Take me, for example: I am the country of love, and because of that people call me a rapist."
"…I'm sorry, but what?"
"That was my reaction when I found out. Love isn't something you force on others. I couldn't live with myself if I actually raped someone."
"And it's not just me who gets this treatment. Spain is labeled as a pedophile merely because he likes children, nothing more. Prussia is labeled as a pervert, Germany as a strict person who knows nothing about love, Italy as a clumsy idiot, England as a whiny man who can do nothing without America's help, and let's not discuss the women, especially Seychelles. To some, it seems we can only be seen in black and white instead of the shades of gray we have. Kyohei, Izaya has his reasons for acting as you know him. When you can, ask him why."
Kyohei was silent, surprised to hear the nations didn't have it easy either.
"Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to visit another patient in the hospital."
Kasuka and Shizuo woke to see hazy shapes in front of them. Shizuo blinked a few times, and the shapes revealed themselves as Prussia and a man with combed back blonde hair, blue eyes and a green military outfit.
"So you two are awake?" Prussia asked.
"We are," Shizuo confirmed.
"Who are you?" Kasuka asked.
"I'm Prussia, AKA Gilbert Beilschmidt. This would be my brother, Germany, AKA Ludwig," Prussia responded.
"So you two were the nations that saved us back there?" Kasuka guessed.
"Yup! You two are nowhere near as good as fighters as us!" Prussia joked.
"And how would you guys know? Have you fought those things before?" Shizuo challenged. The smile on Prussia's face disappeared.
"Yes. We have and have died several times in the mansion," he explained.
"So who helped you guys escape?" Kasuka asked.
"North Italy. He doesn't want to fight, and yet he wound up doing just that to keep going back and saving us. He beat the monster at least," Prussia responded.
"Italy woke up and found Russia with the key. Russia said that because no one could escape the mansion, it allowed him to make friends with us. He gave up the key and England in a past time loop was able to send Romano and Spain back to us. We vowed to never go back to the mansion, and life went back to normal, up until Prussia lost his nation status, which started this whole spiral of going to the mansion and getting you guys out in the first place," Germany explained.
"Will Izaya live?" Shizuo asked.
"But what?" Shizuo nearly shouted.
Italy entered Izaya's hospital room. Despite orders from America not to bother him, Italy insisted on seeing him.
"America, he had the journal. He's going to need someone to hold onto for the next few days," Italy had pointed out.
America reluctantly agreed to allow Italy into Izaya's room after a bit of pleading on Italy's part. Izaya was lying unconscious in the provided bed, gauze wrapped around his head. The cowardly nation sat on the foot of Izaya's bed.
"Izaya, the next few days are going to be tough, but you need to hold onto some memory, anything, to stay sane. You'll have a lot of people rooting for you…don't forget that, please," Italy whispered before leaving. England entered one of the rooms in the hospital where the humans who had fought outside the mansion were located. Walker and Erika had huge stacks of manga for them to read while they stayed in the hospital, Togusa was fast asleep, and the immortals were ready to leave, nervous looks gracing their faces.
"Are they alright?" Czeslaw questioned the moment England entered the room.
"Isaac and Miria will heal, though not as fast as you immortals as they've suffered very few injuries prior to entering the mansion. Otherwise, the others will live," England responded, getting a sigh of relief from Firo in response.
"Thank you, England."
"It was nothing. Italy demanded we come here, and America and Japan said they had more fun with them."
"Hey, England? Do you know any demons?" Erika piped up.
"As in, any demon butlers named Sebastian?" Walker added.
England raised an eyebrow before guessing, "Let me guess, you two are Black Butler fans?"
"It means Black Butler in English."
"We are! We have all of the volumes so far."
"Yes, I do know Sebastian. Japan decided to make a manga and an anime out of his story when I finally decided to tell him about the demon."
Erika's eyes widened in pure joy.
"So Sebastian, Ciel and all those characters really existed?!"
"Yes, calm down! They all existed a long time ago, and many of those who knew Ciel, save the shinigami, died just before the 1900's."
"How? When? Why?!"
"I can summon Sebastian right now…"
Erika squealed so loudly, England thought he would go deaf right then and there if Walker didn't shout, "Okay, Erika, stop!"
"I will try to see if he will come tonight. He isn't a kind demon—he has had a few other masters after Ciel's death, and…well, he hasn't taken too kindly to humans because of them," England informed before leaving the room and running into France.
"Ah, England! I just talked with the couple," France informed.
"How did things go?" England questioned.
France entered the room to see Isaac hugging Miria, trying to apologize to one another over something the nation guessed concerned the mansion.
"Good morning," France greeted, gaining the two's attention.
"Who are you?" Isaac asked.
"My name is France, although among humans, I am Francis Bonnefoy," the blonde nation responded.
"You sound a lot like Isaac!" Miria piped up.
"Ah…so I do, it seems," France noted.
"Were you part of the group that drove the big bulldozer?" Isaac asked.
"Yes. I was part of the original group that went into the mansion, only to have been killed in time loop after time loop, with Italy Veneziano saving us all."
"How did you guys get out?"
"Italy was knocked out by the monster, England went blind, and Romano and Spain were trapped in a different time loop—in short, everything was going wrong at once. However, Italy managed to wake up, Russia and China were able to make friends with a few spirits who gave England enough magic to use to bring Spain and Romano back to our time loop, and from there, everything just went chaotic. I had no idea what happened next, but I do remember passing out and having the most terrifying nightmare," France explained.
"It sounds a little like our trip through the mansion," Miria noticed.
"There are differences with your and our trips, however. Italy built the safe room from hand, which resulted in many more time loops for us because we never were able to rest for long, and we left the weapons we could easily replace or weren't too attached to in the kitchen, with England putting an enchantment on the weapons left behind that allowed the next wielders to be able to use them with the same skill they had—and before you ask, England guessed correctly that someone else would enter the mansion, although we assumed it would have been a different handful of people," France pointed out.
"Like who?" Isaac asked.
"Well…we had hoped to lure the authoress of the Twilight series into the mansi—I kid, I kid, England only guessed that someone else would find their way here," France quickly corrected when Miria gave him a blank look of confusion.
"Anything else?" Isaac prompted.
"Yes. We had 12 nations in the mansion, including myself, the exact number on a clock. Meanwhile, you two were thrown into the mix, thus there was 14 in your group. There's no room for 13 or 14 on a clock. And of course, we certainly did not tear down the mansion—we already had to treat our wounds before we died," France added.
"Wow," Miria murmured.
"Isaac, Miria, how did you find your way to the mansion?" France asked.
"We were planning on stealing Celty's motorcycle when Izaya ran into us and told us about the fake Dollars and the mansion. We decided to play along so if anything bad happened, we could try to get them out," Isaac explained.
"And of course, we died several times and turned back time to save them. I thought at some point that maybe we were doing something wrong and shouldn't be trying to save lives…" Miria admitted.
"I see. Will the two of you do me a favor?" France questioned.
"What is it?" Isaac asked in return.
"Don't stop doing what you believe is right, okay?"
"Wait…Isaac sounds like you?" England questioned, eyes wide.
"Of course! I didn't bring it up anymore in the conversation, but I'm glad someone does sound like me~" France responded, a grin on his face.
England thought for half a second, then ran away screaming, "NOOOOOO!", leaving a confused France behind.
Shizuo was casually reading the newspaper when he heard screaming, rushing footsteps, and Italy shouting, "E-England, what is it?! What happened?"
"There is no way I am going to tolerate another France in the same place as me!"
"England, for pete's sake, he only sounds like France! He acts nothing like him!" someone shouted in response.
"…the hell?" Shizuo wondered.
Italy quickly entered Shizuo and Kasuka's room, panting.
"Shizuo, Kasuka, Izaya's about to wake up!" he announced before taking off again. Shizuo's eyes widened, and before Kasuka could stop his brother, the blonde was out of bed and limping, trying to follow Italy. The brown-haired nation went down several halls before arriving at Izaya's room, where the crimson-eyed informant was trying to sit up, wincing in pain.
"Izaya!" Shizuo shouted, running up to him.
"Shizuo, wait—" Italy began.
"Izaya, I'm sorry for treating you like crap! I'm sorry I didn't try to protect you!" Shizuo apologized, voice breaking.
"Shizuo, listen to me! He won't—"
"And…I…I love you, okay?"
Izaya slowly looked up at Shizuo, eyes foggy, before asking the question that broke Shizuo's heart.
"Who…are you?" Italy held Izaya's hand in comfort.
"I'm Feliciano Vargas, but you can call me Feli~you are Izaya Orihara," he informed.
"Izaya…is that what that guy was calling me?" Izaya asked.
"Yup! He's Shizuo Heiwajima," Italy explained.
Shizuo just stood there, stunned. Was this a joke?
"I'll be back in a few minutes, Izaya~I just need to talk with Shizuo for a bit," Italy informed, leading Shizuo outside. When Izaya was out of earshot, the cheerful expression on the nation's face vanished.
"What's wrong with him?" Shizuo questioned.
"Temporary amnesia. Those who rewind time more than 20 times will suffer side-effects from it, be it suffering from nightmares for a while or temporary amnesia. More time loops mean the effects will last longer," Italy explained.
"How long will it be for him, then?"
"Three days. He'll gradually regain his memories, but until tomorrow, he only knows his name."
Three days. Three days without the Izaya they knew. Three freaking days.
"Shizuo, in the meantime, there are other things to do, like, uh…watch Japan building that video game, or…"
Italy didn't finish as Shizuo stormed away.
That night, eerie chanting that could be described vaguely as a song rang throughout the hospital, making it hard to fall asleep without thinking of someone trying to bring Steve back to life.
"Who's singing over there?"
"I heard it's England."
"You mean that guy with the eyebrows? What is he trying to do, summon the devil?"
"Flare up and burn intensely, and turn it crisp from corner to corner…"
Mairu and Kururi's eyes widened and they burrowed deeper into their bed sheets, both shivering from the song.
"If he's doing anything to Iza-nii, we whack him with everything we can tomorrow," Mairu whispered.
"Agreed," Kururi whispered back.
Shinra, on a night with a different set of circumstances, preferably with him not being blind, he wouldn't have minded the eerie singing too much. Tonight, though, happened to be the wrong night to have gone into a mansion hardly more than a day or two ago and lose your sight because of magic and to have a nation trying to summon the freaking devil hardly a few rooms away from him.
"What's going on out there?!" Shinra demanded to know. A soft voice went "Sshhhh.", before something grasped his hands.
"Who's this?" Shinra questioned.
"My name is Hungary. England asked me to make sure you were okay," a female voice responded.
"And why would he ask that?"
"He's been blind before. If you had been here a few years ago, you'd see him just fighting against us like we were the aliens themselves."
Shinra didn't respond, trying to picture England as he had last seen him before the mansion: bushy brows, emerald eyes, light blonde hair—then bloody, defeated, the light from his eyes gone, clutching the double-edged sword of a magic book. It was near impossible to imagine he nor any nation to lose so easily to Steve.
"I know, it seems impossible for nations to die at the hands of aliens, but it has happened more than once, and not just within the mansion. Just before we ended up with fighting those things, we fought a race called the Pictonians. The less said about those aliens, the better."
"So when it comes to aliens…you guys suck, basically?"
"Put like that, yes. It seems to be a bad luck streak of ours. That and the computer mishap…"
"Just an event that happened less than a month following our trip through the mansion."
"Could you tell me about it?"
Erika and Walker hovered outside the room England was using to summon Sebastian. Erika's eyes were wide and filled with joy. This was her dream come to life.
"I call forth thee from the Netherworlds! Demon who has long since fulfilled the duty of the Queen's Watchdog, who walks down paths obscured by darkness…arise, O raven butler!" England chanted.
The circle suddenly burned light purple, black feathers raining down. A chill filled the area as a being entirely in black slowly appeared in the center of the room.
"You have called for me, Arthur Kirkland?" questioned an ancient voice.
"Don't use that name. I'm just England," England corrected.
"No matter. For what reason have you called me here?" the being asked.
"Remember how I told you that Japan created a series based off your life with Ciel Phantomhive? Well…we have two fans of that series here, and they—"
"I will not speak with them. I cannot cater to the whims of any fans of that horrid series."
England groaned in frustration.
"There's something else. Their friends were in the mansion, and they fought the aliens," he explained.
The demon paused to consider this. Erika and Walker, at the moment, weren't feeling as though they were having their greatest wishes granted.
They were horrified.
Okay, yes, the animators had done as well as possible to capture how terrifying Sebastian was without his human disguise without getting in the way of canon. But compared to how he really looked, they might as well have asked a kid to draw a crow mixed with a human, for how accurate they were.
"I shall speak with them for a while, then. As much as I believe it a bad idea…I will take the form I had when I served the Phantomhives."
A few steps. That's all it took from the demon to transform into his human disguise. The feathers had stopped falling, the eerie feeling in the room had gone, and the two otakus were face to face with Sebastian Michaelis, who seemed a few years older than in the manga. A dull, tired look filled his auburn eyes.
"So you two went were involved with time loops?" he questioned.
"No…not directly. Izaya, our friend, is the one who went through time," Erika responded.
"And where is he?" Sebastian inquired.
"He's resting. Temporary amnesia," England filled in.
The news came as a shock to Erika and Walker, though Sebastian only raised an eyebrow.
"How many loops?"
"At least 20 from him. Two others rewound time 12 times."
"…I will wait until he regains his memories to speak with him."
"That will take three days, though."
"I have time."
"In the meantime, talk with them. Please."
Sebastian sighed heavily and led the two to a quiet place in the hospital.
"Now, where were you when your foes appeared?" he questioned.
"Outside the mansion. We were supposed to provide back-up for Izaya's group."
"Did you see the journal he possessed?"
"I see. Tell me, how far is that series of Japan's?"
"You and Ciel just jumped ship. Undertaker, Ronald, Grell and William appeared, there was that…"
"Don't remind me of that thing. That was the most embarrassing thing in my life."
"Our story goes on a different way than what the nation wants it to be. We wound up in a mansion after the ship before Easter, and a rogue Shinigami tried to kill us. I hardly need to say what happens next, do I?"
It took a minute for the information to sink in. There weren't any Shinigami in canon that would kill demons' masters just for having made contracts with them…were there?
"In the end, two of them sacrificed themselves. Alan and Eric. William was beyond furious with me, and everything went wrong from there. Once the chaos was over, Ciel got his revenge, and I consumed his soul," Sebastian finished.
"So the real story is a lot shorter, then," Walker concluded.
"Yes. And now I must ask, how many have died in your trip through the mansion?" Sebastian asked.
"No one. No one has died," Erika confirmed.
"I see. If you'll both excuse me, I must be off for now."
With that, Sebastian left.
The next few days passed by quietly. Izaya's memories slowly returned, with only a few nations being allowed to see him period.
"It's just until he regains his memories," the other nations would explain if anyone asked.
Finally, one day, Japan took Mairu, Kururi, Shizuo and Celty to visit the informant.
"Izaya, are you awake?" Japan asked, opening the door. Izaya sat on the foot of his bed, staring outside the window.
"Japan. I have a question."
"What is it?"
"You know who killed my mom, don't you?"
"Then tell me. I want to know."
"What will you do afterwards?"
Izaya turned to look at Japan.
"I'm going to look for them and make their life hell, of course," he responded.
"Really? What if I told you that you would be trying to make Yadogiri Jinnai's life hell?" Japan asked.
It took Izaya a minute to process what Japan had just said.
"He's the culprit?"
"Yes. I'm honestly surprised you didn't suspect him. He's not a very innocent man."
Izaya rubbed his head.
"Japan. What chain of events led to him killing my mother?"
"I met him one day many years ago. He hadn't gotten in the practice of changing his appearance every once in a while to hide. As we hadn't yet made up our human names for good, I went under a generic name and chatted with him."
"What was he like?"
"Not a very sane man. He spoke often of purging the world of those cursed to prevent a future undesirable for humans. Given Pandora Hearts' popularity, I suspect he means those with your eye color, Izaya."
"So he believes a myth started in a manga. That doesn't surprise me too much."
"I…pretended to be a friend to your family, Izaya. He started prying for other things, and I let information about your family slip."
Izaya's eyes widened.
"What the hell, Japan!" he shouted.
"Izaya, he wasn't that dangerous then!" Japan defended himself.
"Really? You said it yourself, he wasn't very sane! What were you thinking?!" Izaya questioned.
"Back then, I wasn't. Back then I just thought he was eccentric."
"…go on with your story."
"It was a few days after our conversation when Heiwa's murder made the news. No one knew who did it, you and your sisters had been fast asleep when it happened, and your dad was heartbroken. It concerned me for a few days, but then I had to move on. Other things were happening."
Izaya just fell silent.
"Look—Izaya, there's something I want to show you and your group," Japan explained.
"Does it involve a simulation where I beat the life out of Jinnai?"
"No, but it involves a video game, if you're up to take your mind off things."
"I'm up for it, then."
Izaya stood up and followed Japan to a room with a giant monitor mounted on a wall and numerous other pieces of machinery. Everyone else who had helped in or out the mansion and wasn't a nation were in the room as well, with China, America and Kugelmugel standing off to the side.
"What is this?" Izaya asked.
"Just wait," China responded as Japan turned on the monitor and typed in a code. Within moments, a pixelated world appeared onscreen.
"This is a RPG game I've been working on since we left the mansion two years ago," the nation explained.
"It looks impressive. What is the story about?" Namie asked.
"It's about two opposing forces trying to gain control over the land for their own purposes: either to protect it or use the power imbued in it to rise higher than the gods themselves," Japan explained.
"You start out in a town in the middle of the land and choose your side. You can be a spy for either side, be totally committed to one side, you can even remain neutral and take care of the wounded! We included a lot of series Japan's people created, so…yeah!" America explained.
"Is it up for a test play?" Kida asked.
"Not yet. In a few days, we'll need you guys to give it a test run and see if there are any bugs we need to fix," China informed.
"In the meantime, we just want you to stay near the hospital. The Yellow Scarves and the Dollars are very tense right now, and Izaya trolling around will only makes things worse," Japan ordered.
"You guys are no fun."
"Sebastian does want to talk to you," America informed.
Izaya raised an eyebrow, then left the room quickly.
"Isaac, Miria, can we talk?" Firo asked.
The duo nodded and followed the other immortals out of the room.
"The rest of you are free to do as you please," Japan informed.
Isaac and Miria gaped at Maiza and Firo.
"So it was our fault after all?" Isaac asked.
"Guess so. You're the ones who brought the elixir to the speakeasy. Isaac, Miria, is there anything you want to share with us?" Firo asked.
Without another second of hesitation, Miria blurted, "We're not that dumb!"
Maiza raised an eyebrow, while Miria looked guiltily at the ground.
"We're pretending to be dumb because of who we are. If we actually tried to steal what we really want to, we would be seen as threats, and if our immortality was found out if they ever tried to shoot us, everything would go wrong from there. As long as we pretend, you guys are safe," Isaac explained.
"So you guys are actually smart?" Firo asked to confirm.
"Yup. We both had families who taught us a lot, but in the end…we wound up leaving them. My mother and sister died in a car accident, and my dad…the less said about him, the better," Isaac confirmed.
"My parents didn't want a girl, but they taught me what they could until one day a fire started and I left with some of my stuff. It was chance Isaac found me, and from there on…we became the thieves you guys know us as," Miria informed.
"Not very…cheery pasts. When did you guys first notice your immortality?" Maiza questioned.
"A long time ago. The Genoard mansion, when Isaac hurt himself trying to impress those dancers. We discussed it a bit before Isaac got arrested, and…we just wound up with that conclusion," Miria responded.
"I have to say, I'm impressed. A little over 80 years now, and you managed to keep a façade up," Czeslaw commented.
"Czes, we know you're older than Firo. You were made an immortal long before we were born, right?" Isaac asked.
Czeslaw nodded in response.
"I…admit I was really scared, back then. I didn't want another immortal to eat me before I heard Szilard was dead, and…Isaac, you cut yourself trying to rescue me, and I nearly…" the little immortal quickly cut himself off.
"Nearly what?" Miria prompted.
"Well…there is one way to kill an immortal. Devouring them lets you absorb their knowledge, memories…everything. It's how Firo killed Szilard, how I killed Fermet once, and…how I would have killed both of you," Czeslaw explained, looking away.
"Anything else you want to share?" Isaac asked, raising an eyebrow.
"There's a way to transfer information from one immortal to another quickly. Simply place your left hand on their head and think of the information you wish to give," Ennis informed.
"Thank you," Miria murmured.
Leaving the room, the two thieves noticed Izaya and Namie heading out the exit.
"Didn't Japan say we're not supposed to leave the mansion?" Miria asked Isaac.
"Why yes, I believe he did," Isaac responded.
The two silently followed after Namie and Isaac, hiding once they were outside.
"What do you want out here, Namie?" Izaya asked.
"Izaya Orihara, under orders from Nebula, I have to capture you," Namie responded.
A crowd of people appeared next to Namie.
"You see, Nebula offered me a deal just as I entered the mansion. If I delivered you, safe and sound, to them, they would give me a higher paying job and forget our past. You are special, Izaya Orihara. You not only survived a mansion which puzzled nations, you managed to kill the monster who tried to kill you 40 times over and failed. You need to be examined for future potential," Namie explained.
Izaya backed a step away.
"Namie, look at your choices. You signed the treaty!" he pointed out.
"Yes, but that only applied in the case that we were in a situation similar to the mansion. Now that we're out of that mansion, though, we're free to act of our own accord. And I'm going to take you alive, Izaya," Namie corrected.
Without warning, Isaac and Miria sped out of their hiding places and dragged Namie away from her group.
"Stop them!" Namie shouted.
Before the Nebula members could do anything, the other nations darted out of the hospital and to Izaya's side.
"Oh, I'm sorry, but did you want Izaya? I'm afraid you'll never do that," Russia taunted.
"Namie, what were you thinking! Nebula will bring nothing but trouble!" America called out.
"S-Shut up! You're all getting in the way!" Namie yelled.
"Isaac, Miria, take her inside. She'll be dealt with later," America ordered. The two thieves quickly complied, the brunette struggling all the way.
"Nebula, leave. Now. This is none of your concern. He is not your experiment," Japan ordered.
"You do realize this isn't the end? We will get an experiment from one of your number or die trying," one of the Nebula members pointed out.
"Then die you will. Get out of here now!" France shouted, brandishing his rapier.
Grudgingly, the Nebula group left.
"I can't believe her! She ratted me out to Nebula?" Izaya complained.
"Some people are desperate for a new job. Namie just took the extreme path," Japan pointed out.
"Still, though…" Izaya muttered.
Izaya re-entered the hospital to hear noise nearby. He entered Shinra's room to discover Celty was hugging the physician, her PDA containing one message.
[How many fingers am I holding up?]
"So you're back to normal, Shinra?" Izaya asked.
"Yup. What happened earlier, with Namie, Isaac and Miria?" Shinra asked.
"Namie tried to kidnap me so she could get a job at Nebula. Oh, I can't wait to get back at her," Izaya responded.
"Take it easy, Izaya. The nations still want us to test that game, and it sounds like they'll need players. Plus, she still has people looking out for her," Shinra warned.
Izaya sighed heavily. The sudden sound of footfall alerted him, and heard Isaac and Miria before he saw them.
"Izaya, Shinra, Celty, you guys have to see this!"
Meanwhile, two men approached the hospital.
"So this is where Alfred said to meet? Kind of odd that a hospital would be our meeting place," one of them, a blonde, noticed.
"Yes, but I'm not questioning anything," the other, a dark-haired man with bright gold eyes, responded. Entering the hospital, they caught Maiza turning a corner before disappearing into a room.
"Eh? Maiza? Wait up!" the blonde called after him as he and his partner followed him.
Isaac and Miria led the others to the room with the monitor. A new object had appeared on one of the machines, looking vaguely like some sort of zapper.
"That's…odd. Did Japan or someone else put that there?" Kida wondered.
"Not that we know. We were just taking Namie to this room, when we found that," Miria informed. At once, the zapper-thingy started glowing. The door to the room was swung open at the same moment, Maiza instantly recognizing the two in front of him.
"Huey! Elmer! What are you two—"
He never finished. The zapper glowed extremely bright, blinding everyone within the room. When the light died down, everyone was gone.
To be continued in RomaDura...