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Jorge Joestar 


Maijo Otaro 

based on characters created by 
Araki Hirohiko 

For Araki Hirohiko 



My name is Jorge Joestar. The name was taken from my 
aristocratic grandfather but written the Spanish style. I asked why 
Mum didn't spell it George like a proper English name, but she just 
smiled and said, "Well, you were born in the Canary Islands, and if 
I named you George, we couldn't very well call you Jojo, could 
we?" My father - he died in a shipwreck - was named Jonathan 
Joestar, and had gone his whole life by the nickname Jojo; he’d died 
so soon after their wedding that Mum, still deeply in love with him, 
had her heart set on my inheriting that nickname. Sadly, only 
Spaniards lived on La Palma, and nobody called me Jojo; Mum and 
Lisa Lisa called me 'George' and everyone pronounced my name 
the Spanish way: 'Horhe'. Pointing this out to Mum just made her 
look sad, so I held my tongue, frankly, what they called me was the 
least of my problems. Lor as long as I could remember, I was 
tormented by Spanish-speaking jackanapes - this very day they'd 
rubbed dog shit on my face on the way home from school. They'd 
managed to get some up my nose and no matter how much I 
washed my face the stink remained. But they'd been trying to make 
me eat it, so I guess I got off easy. Like she always did, Lisa Lisa 
found us and saved me before they could force the shit all the way 
in. These pigs were born on the island and would die a useless 
death here; they had no conscience, no capacity for anything like 
abstract thought, and thus no notion of restraint. 

"Bwa ha ha ha ha! You got saved by a girl again, Balsa 
Blanca (White Raft)! Your dick wouldn't even work as an oar!" 

Lisa Lisa had knocked him down and kicked him a number 
of times, and his nose was still bleeding, but Antonio Torres was 
getting used to the beatings, and didn't let them get in the way of a 
good jeer. This hit me where it hurt. After the shipwreck, Mum 
spent several days adrift on the Pacific with me and Lisa Lisa, so 
Antonio and his gang had started calling me Balsa Blanca, but this 
insulted Mum and my dead Dad as well, so I always got mad and 
cried. Look, even I hated myself for it. I was such a damn cry baby. 

It was like I had just served them all dessert. The moment I 

started crying they all killed themselves laughing, and Lisa Lisa had 
to drag me away. 

"Come on, Jorge! You can't cry like that! Now they've gone 
home happy!" Lisa Lisa was furious with me. I was in the river, 
trying to wash the smell off, and this wasn't helping. The snot and 
tears made my cheeks sting, but Elizabeth Straits showed no mercy. 
"Your face is filthy...washing isn't helping! You're so pathetic I don’t 
even want to be seen walking with you! If you're so sad then go cry 
alone! I can't bear watching!" She turned and left me there. This 
made me feel even more sorry for myself. What did I ever do to 
deserve this? Because I was the only English boy in class... I hate to 
bring race into this, but all of us were white! We had an Asian kid 
in our class, but nobody ever made fun of him! Damn it! Why did 
they all pick on me!? 

Obviously, because I was a crybaby, not particularly smart, 
not particularly athletic, and not particularly funny. The Asian kid 
was unflappable, quite good looking, got straight As, and word was 
he worked as a elementary school. Someone like that 
just isn't going to get picked on. But knowing there was a reason 
why they came after me just made things worse, and now I was 
crying again... 

I was still crying when I got home, and Mum said Lisa Lisa 
had gone straight to her room and shut the door. "She was crying, 
you know? Lisa Lisa is very worried about you, Jorge. Such a kind 
soul..." Lor a moment I thought she meant me - I supposed I was 
on the kind side, for a boy - then I realized she meant Lisa Lisa, 
and got very confused. There must be some mistake. Kind? How? 
Violent, and sure, she saved me from the bullies but afterwards she 
always yelled at me a lot, and after she got done yelling, she'd walk 
away and leave me on my own. What about that was 'kind'? I was 
still fuming about that when we sat down to dinner, so Mum fixed 
me with a stern look. 

"Jorge, we have something important to talk about tonight. 
Will you listen?" 

There was a sadness to her smile that was very worrying, 
and I felt tears welling up reflexively. 

"No!" I said. 

"Don't be so dumb, Jorge," Lisa Lisa laughed. "She hasn't 
even said anything yet." 

I turned to scowl at her for laughing, but she wasn't smiling 
at all. She looked really tense, and that really made me scared. 

What was going on? 

"Listen, Jorge," Mum said. "Look at me." 

I really didn't want to, but I had no choice. This was clearly 
important. I had to face it. 


She spoke slowly. 

"A long time ago it was decided that Lisa Lisa was to go 
stay with her adopted father, Straits, once she turns twelve. The 
three of us will celebrate Christmas together, and then Straits will 
come to pick her up at the start of the year. Lisa Lisa will go with 
him to his home in Italy." 

.. .what? 

This was genuinely so far beyond all the bad news I had 
been bracing myself for that I actually blacked out for a second. 
Lisa Lisa had been protecting me my entire life, since I was a baby. 
She'd step in if someone hit me, get back what they took, give me 
hers or split hers with me if I dropped something, comforted me 
when I was crying, praised me if I did something right. There was 
no way they could take Lisa Lisa away from me now! 

"But...but! But!" I said. "If Lisa Lisa leaves, I don't know 
what'll happen to me!" Actually, I was pretty sure I did know what 
would happen to me - they'd kill me. For real. 

But Mum had no idea how bad things were for me. The tone 
she took was devoid of any comfort or reassurance. "Jorge. You 
have to become strong enough, smart enough, and resilient enough 

to survive after Lisa Lisa leaves. You have to live without her help, 
and you have six months to prove you can. I know she's been a 
great help to you. Proving you can stand on your own two feet is 
the best thing you can do to repay her." 


God, Mum was the best could I put it? She had a 
way of saying things that were so right you couldn't argue, couldn't 
make excuses, and couldn't disobey without feeling like you were a 
very bad boy. But I was in such a fix that I didn’t see how I could 
do the right thing! They nearly shoved dog shit in my mouth! 
Today! Just hours ago! Lisa Lisa was saving me from such dire 
straits on a daily basis! Mum had no idea! Mum had no idea she 
had no idea! In a state of panic I was about to cast aside all pretense 
of pride as a gentleman and use the dog shit as an example of just 
how bad this was when Lisa Lisa started crying. "Jorge, you idiot! 
Can't you think about anyone but yourself? I have to go live with 
my Dad, who I barely even remember! I'll barely ever see you or 
Mama Erina again! I'm so scared and I'll miss you and here you are hell with you, Jorge!" She let the tears stream down her 
cheeks, making no effort to wipe them away, sobbing loudly. I 
stared, stunned. I'd never seen Lisa Lisa cry before. 

Mum stood up, walked around the table, and put her arms 
around Lisa Lisa. "Aaaaugh, Eri...Mama Erina.,.wahh...hnk...waah! 
S-sorry, I'm sorry. Hnk. I can't...I can't stop crying! I didn't want to 
cry, I swore I wouldn’t!" 

"Go ahead, Lisa Lisa, cry as much as you need. It's a very 
sad thing. It's hard for me, as well. We've lived together your whole 
life, and it's been such fun. We've been so happy. I've grown to love 
you like my own daughter. And I promise that will never change. 
Remember that always, Lisa Lisa. Know that I will always love 

"Aaaah Mama Erina! Thank you! Lor everything! I love you 
too! I love you! Remember me forever! Don’t forget about me!" 

"Of course not! How could I forget you? You're my pride 

and joy! I should be thanking you! Jorge and I have both treasured 
your company." 

"Waaahh, I...I don’t want to go! I want to live here with you 
forever! I'm sorry, I know it's selfish of me. But that's how I feel!" 

"And you shouldn't be ashamed of that. Poor Lisa Lisa. Your 
life upturned by a promise grown ups made for you. But you have 
an important duty. This promise was made knowing the fate of all 
mankind depended on it. I'm sure someday you will come to 
understand, even if it's hard to accept while you're still so very 
young. But if you try, you'll get through this." 

"Aaaaaaaaugh! Nooo! I don't wannaaa!" With Mum's arms 
still around her, Lisa Lisa began thrashing around like a toddler 
throwing a tantrum. I sat watching this, surprised, and more than a 
little nonplussed. Ah ha ha, wow, I thought. Lisa Lisa's just a kid. 
I'd never noticed before. But of course she was. She was eleven. 
Technically, at the moment I was the same age as her. It had always 
felt like she was a grown up looking after me. 

But she was less than a year older. 

Last year, she'd been only ten years old all those times she 
saved me, and now that I was eleven, I should be able to protect last 
year's version of me. Antonio and his friends had bullied me last 
year as well, but Antonio a year ago was much smaller than he was 
now, and not nearly as strong. But I was scared. Scared, but I could 
probably still take him. I was just scared. If I could just stop being 
scared, I could knock him down. The only way to stop being scared 
was to start being brave. I was a boy, and couldn't keep relying on a 
girl my whole life. 

"Okay, Lisa Lisa!" 

The panic was gone, and I sounded calm...or like I was 
trying to sound calm. My lips were still quivering, but I forced 
myself to keep talking. "I'll be brave. Starting tomorrow, I'll beat up 
Antonio myself. That might not actually happen, but I'll think of 
something. I won't need your help." I smiled at her. Now it was her 
turn to gape at me. Even Mum looked surprised, and maybe a little 

dismayed. Neither of them believed me. Why should they? But Lisa 
Lisa blinked her red eyes, and a smile spread across her wet cheeks. 
"Thank you, Jorge. That was wonderful." I suddenly realized just 
how pretty Lisa Lisa was. It was like her whole body was sparkling, 
and I felt me heart skip a beat. "But don't try too hard. I don’t want 
you getting hurt," she added. Yep. Nobody believed in me. 

But I had to try. 

I spent all night trying to figure out how to avoid Antonio's 
gang on the road to and from school, and trying to think of snappy 
comebacks - quite a step down from what I'd said at dinner, but all 
my plans were for naught. 

Antonio Torres was found dead in the morning. He'd been 

Since I was trying not to meet Antonio’s gang on their way 
in from the harbor, and trying not to need Lisa Lisa's protection, I 
had gone to school very early. Instead of leaving my satchel in the 
classroom, I hid in a storage room around back of the school, 
waited for everyone else to arrive, and slipped into class at the last 
possible second. This was pathetic, but that was the best I could 
manage that morning. But as I stealthily opened the door and made 
a dash for my seat at the back I became aware of a bizarre silence; 
these clowns were always yelling about something, why were they 
quiet today? Still hunched over, I looked up. Everyone was looking 
at me. I froze in my tracks. The looks they gave me were not the 
usual mix of pity and scorn reserved for the class outcast. Instead, I 
saw fear and anxiety, and above all...suspicion. For reasons even I 
wasn't clear on, I immediately looked for Antonio Torres. He wasn't 
there. But his bannermen were all glaring at me. 

"Oi, Jorge," His first mate, Julio, snarled. "What are you 
skulking about for? Where have you been, you Limey bastard!?" 

"Hunh? What are you talking about? I came to school like 

I couldn't very well say I'd been hiding in the storage room. 

"Liar!" Julio yelled. "I went to your house this morning! I 
ran straight there! You were already gone at seven!" 

"Hunh? Why’d you go to my house?" 

Was he planning on tormenting me there, too? Please, no! 
That would be the last straw. Surely that was against the rules! 

What Julio said next, I did not expect. "I wanted to see if 
you know anything about Antonio's death!" 

Antonio's death!? 

What!? That piece of shit was dead!? 

"...what are you talking about?" 

"Then why did you lie? You didn't come to school like 

"I mean, I did come here a little early..." 

"No, you didn't! You went and murdered Antonio!" 

"Eh? Wait, what? What are you talking about? Antonio was 

"Don't play innocent!" 

"No, no, I seriously have no idea what's going on! What? 
How could I possibly kill Antonio?" 

"Not alone!" Julio roared, his eyes gleaming with rage and 
fear. "But if Lisa Lisa helped..." 

"Lisa Lisa wouldn't kill anyone!" I yelled back. This was the 
first time I'd ever raised my voice to Julio. It made him jump, and 
he hesitated a moment before answering. 

"Then where was Lisa Lisa this morning? When I went to 
your house, Miss Violence was missing, too!" 

???? Hunh? 

"Your Mom was having fits! Neither you nor that girl were 
in your rooms! You're telling me that both of you just happened to 
disappear the morning Antonio was murdered? I don't believe that 
for a second! You did something to him! I told your mother, if 
Antonio's been killed, then you two must have done it!" 

"What? You said that to my Mum!? You dick! You don't 

even have any proof!" 

"Nobody but you and the girl that protects you would ever 
want to kill him!" 

"What are you talking about? I couldn't even begin to kill 
him. I don't even have the balls to fight him! I was trying to avoid 
seeing him, so I came to school early and hid in the storage room 
until class started!" 

This admission was so pathetic and so like something I 
would do that everyone but Julio let out a relieved titter. 

"Can you prove that!?" Julio demanded, despite having 
provided no evidence to back up his own accusations. 

"I can," Mr. Hernandez said, stepping in the door. "I saw 
him from the teacher's room. Saw him go in the storage room, and 
come out. Julio, don't go accusing your classmates without reason. 
Judging from Jorge's behavior, and what you two just said, it 
sounds like you kids have been bullying Jorge. You, Antonio, and 
the rest of you...all ganging up on him. You should be ashamed of 
yourselves, hear?" Julio turned red, grit his teeth, and stared at the 

I was pleased he'd finally noticed, but he couldn’t have done 
it sooner? This was exactly why I’d never expected help from him. 

Julio wasn't quite done yet, though. "We still don't know 
where Lisa Lisa is, do we?" 

With Mr. Hernandez watching, I was a little more confident. 
I allowed myself a theatrical sigh before answering. 

"Listen to yourself. Lisa Lisa would never do something 
like this. She may be good at fighting, but she's a girl! She could 
never kill Antonio." 

"Bullshit!" Julio howled. "She's no ordinary girl! You don't 
know, cause she's never hit you, but we all know! Her punches and 
kicks aren't normal! It's like electric running through you. It feels 
like your blood's running the wrong direction. She's got some weird 
power. She used her freaky power to kill Antonio! That's why he 
died so weird! Cause of that freak!" 

"Hunh?" He'd lost me entirely. "Maybe you should calm 
down. Lisa Lisa doesn't have any 'power.'" 

"She does, you just don't know it. She kicked me once, and 
my entire left side wouldn't stop trembling for hours. She punched 
Antonio the other day, and his legs started running on their own. He 
ran ten kilometers non-stop, all the way to the beach, right into the 
water, nearly drowned." 

"What!? That's impossible!" 

"Whatever. You don't know. Useless talking to you. Point is, 
Lisa Lisa has some weird power. And you'd need some weird power 
to kill Antonio like that." 

".? What do you mean? How was Antonio killed?" 

"You already know! Fine, be that way. You see..." Julio 
paused dramatically. "Antonio...was crushed to death, leaving him 
flat as a sheet of paper. Right behind his house. No blood, no 
muscle, no bones, nothing left of him but a sheet of skin!" 

What the hell? 

Was that really how Antonio Torres had died? If that was 
real, I definitely couldn't see Lisa Lisa being capable of that, but...? 
While I was still stunned, the classroom door suddenly slammed 

"I've been eavesdropping! And I hate to admit it, because it 
does so spoil an entrance, but it's the truth! Everyone seemed so 
worked up I hesitated to enter, but not only did class never start, the 
discussion grew increasingly bizarre! Eventually it defeated even 
my patience." The boy at the door had a long, thick tube of some 
sort held under his arm. It was none other than the lone Asian in the 
class, Tsukumojuku Kato. The most handsome, most intelligent, 
most bizarre boy in class - when he walked in everyone, including 
the teacher, paid attention. He had that air about him. 

Everyone watched as Tsukumojuku shut the door behind 
him, made his way to his desk, placed the cylindrical case on the 

floor, and turned to face us. "Hmm...I could have sworn I just 
solved the Antonio Torres case, so why do I get the sense it's only 
just begun?" 

We all gasped. 

"Solved it!?" Julio shrieked. "What a load of crap! We found 
Antonio's body, and the police had only just arrived when we left! 
That was less than an hour ago! You're not a cop - how would you 
even know he was dead!? And here you are claiming to have solved 
the case!?" 

"Because I did," Tsukumojuku said. 

"But how...!?" Julio said, at a loss for words. 

"You know that. Because I'm a detective, Julio Gonzales. I 
happened to pass the Torres residence mere moments after you 
came bursting out of it - some would say fate brought me there," he 
added, cryptically. Tsukumojuku turned to look at me. "But it seems 
fate is leading me in a different direction." 

As I stood my ground against his piercing stare, I wondered 
how he could speak in such a grown-up, mannered fashion. Was he 
really eleven? No - he hadn't had a birthday yet, so he was only ten. 

Then it struck me. 

This was the first time I'd ever talked to him face to face. 

"Um," I said, my voice shaking. " solved the murder 
of Antonio Torres?" Was Lisa Lisa involved? 

"So I thought." 

Past tense? " didn't?" 

Instead of answering, he asked, "Jorge, have you ever read a 
detective novel?" 

"...? A detective novel? Um...I think we have some in the 
house, but..." 

"It's a genre of novels that began about sixty years ago, in 
1841, when the American writer Edgar Allen Poe published a story 
called The Murders in the Rue Morgue. The salient points of the 
genre, obviously, are that the murder appears to be impossible, and 
is then solved by a genius detective." 

"Obviously? How would I know that? My mum said they 
weren't for children to read. I don't like scary books anyway. What's 
your point?" 

"But you understand the concept of a detective?" 

"Like Sherlock Holmes?" 

"Exactly. A fictional device, a role destined to always arrive 
at the truth in the end." 


"That's me." 

"...okay? So what?" 

"A detective surveys all evidence, understands the case in 
full, and at last arrives at a perfect solution." 

ft t» 

"Looked at the other way, when new evidence comes to 
light providing details previously unknown...that solution is no 
longer perfect. And an imperfect solution is not the truth." 

What the hell was this Asian on about? 

Tsukumojuku stood up, and began moving around the 
classroom, closing the curtains. "A new world lies before us!" he 
announced. "Facts previously hidden from view! My solution was 
not complete! I was wrong! The case! Is not! Done!" 

With each of this last exclamations he swished a curtain 
closed. In the darkened classroom, with all eyes on him, he returned 
to his desk, and picked up the tube he'd brought with him. "This is 
very sensitive to sunlight and dry air," he explained, and pulled 
something out of it. He rolled it out on the desk. It was Antonio 
Torres...only flat. 

Holes where his eyes should be. Totally naked. Flat. Like 


No blood, no muscle, no bones, nothing left of him but a 
sheet of skin! 

The very boy who’d said this let out a shriek of horror. 
"What's wrong with you!? Why would you bring a classmate's 
corpse here!? The cops are gonna be pissed! Oh god! Oh god!" 

Tsukumojuku didn’t bat an eye. "Hmph. I asked permission 
to keep it as a souvenir, and they granted it as a reward for solving 
the case. No one will scold me for it.” 

The flat Antonio Torres spread out on the desk had his chin 
up and turned slightly to the side, his eyes partly opened. He had no 
eyeballs, but it made him look like he was staring into the distance, 
lost in thought. His hands were held up in front of him, like he was 
trying to cover his bare chest, or trying to push something 
something painful away. His hips were swiveled to one side as if 
trying to hide his little penis, and his knees and ankles and toes 
were all curled as well, like he was dancing. He'd been tormenting 
me on a daily basis for years, but this...this was beautiful. 

"Are you..." I said. "Are you's not a painting?" 

"That is the solution I arrived at, Jorge. Or should I say 
Jorge...Jorge Joestar?" 

"What are you talking about!? That's his body! It's fucking 
grooooossss!" Julio wailed. 

Tsukumojuku nodded. "That, too, is correct...but it is not the 
whole truth." 

A stir went through the room, but by this time we were all 
under Tsukumojuku's spell. 

"This is a work of art created by Antonio's mother, Maria 
Torres. She made it by peeling off her son's skin. The bones and 
blood and flesh were not removed; rather, the skin alone was peeled 
away, carefully placed together with adhesive, and hair shed over 
the past few months placed carefully on the head to complete the 
full body work of art. This Year's Antonio, she called it." 

This was too much for all of us. I nearly forgot to breathe. 
His voice shaking, Julio asked, "But...if his skin was peeled 
off...wouldn't Antonio die?" 

"Normally, yes, if it was done all at once," Tsukumojuku 
replied, not at all perturbed. "So at first she would peel it away bit 

by bit, treat it with oil, and sew the pieces together with very fine 
thread. But the result was rather patchwork, and the lines where it 
was sewn tended to bunch up, and it was obvious which pieces of 
skin had been harvested freshly; early versions weren't what you’d 
call beautiful. Maria adapted her technique, and her son's body 
adapted to survive it." 

"Uh..." Julio swallowed. "You mean...there's more than 


"Yes," Tsukumojuku nodded. "She's been making one a year 
since Antonio was a baby, so including this year's, there are twelve 
in all. The early ones are not well done, but starting with last year's, 
they become rather remarkable. This year's, in particular, is a bona 
fide masterpiece." 

II f II 

With Julio at a loss for words, someone else mumbled, "So 
horrible...his own could she? It's unnatural!" 

"Her love for her son was hardly 'natural'," Tsukumojuku 
said. "Since the invention of the photograph, Kodak cameras have 
become readily available. La Palma may not have a camera shop, 
but there's one in Santa Cruz de Tenerife. But Maria wanted the 
skin. It was the texture she loved, I suppose. No photograph can 
preserve that. Before the police took her away, Maria ran her cheek 
against it, desperately trying to savor her last moments with her 

I could hear several of my classmates throwing up, their 
vomit splattering on the floor. Yet those next to them failed to react 
in any way. 

I was staring closely at This Year’s Antonio, but I couldn't 
see any sewing or patches at all. Where they on the inside? But I 
didn't dare touch it to see... "It's beautiful, isn't it?" Tsukumojuku 
said, standing beside me. "There's only one seam in it, running 
down his back from his neck to his rear." 


"But...isn't this a skin quilt?" 

"Heh heh, a quilt? That's one way of putting it. But that only 
applies to the early ones. Like I said, she improved her technique, 
and her son's body adapted to it." 

»» QM 

"Every summer his mother would peel off his skin. Even if 
she was careful not to peel enough to kill him, stripping random 
pieces off would have been very painful. He needed some defense 
against this. All cells in the human body are replaced every seven 
years; but our skin is replaced once a month - and in Antonio 
Torres' case, three days before June 16 th - Maria's customary 
skinning day - his skin cell production would speed up. All Maria 
needed to do was make a single incision along his back, and 
Antonio could slip out of his old skin. His new skin would be thin, 
but fully grown; he could shed his old skin like a snake. Then 
Maria would apply a thin coating of oil to the cast-off skin, inside 
and out, to prevent it drying out, and seal the rear incision with 
medical adhesive. That's how This Year's Antonio was made," he 
said, like a waiter explaining a recipe. 

"So the real Antonio Torres is still alive?" I asked. If this 
wasn't a corpse, but a cast-off skin, then the rest of Antonio must be 
somewhere. And I would have to form a new strategy for avoiding 

Tsukumojuku smiled awkwardly. "I assumed he was..." He 
turned to face the classroom door. "You may enter," he said. 

'May'? Quite the haughty choice of words. I turned to look 
at the door as it opened. Antonio Torres was standing there, 
expressionless. His comrade Julio took a step forward to greet him, 

"Wait! Stay back!" 

Tsukumojuku's bark was so loud Julio jumped, and froze in 
his tracks. 

I was certainly on edge at being suddenly confronted by a 
not-so-dead Antonio, but at the same time... some thing seemed 
wrong. Antonio usually laughed raucously; talked down me, his 

friends, and grown-ups, bossing everyone around; he was always 
on the move, never settling down, his eyes sending sharp glances in 
all directions. Now he just stood there in the door, vacantly, doing 
nothing. I'd never seen him so still. Normally, Antonio would have 
burst in the door, and he would never have waited outside, even if 
Tsukumojuku ordered him to. But here he was, standing silently, 
not moving at all. 

Even as I wondered, Tsukumojuku said, "You didn't say a 
single word to me on the way to school, Antonio. I assumed you 
were in shock - your mother had just been arrested, after all. But I 
was wrong, wasn't I? I thought you smelled a little ripe, but good 
manners prevented me saying anything...this, too, was a mistake. 
Were there, in fact, two versions of This Year's Antonio?” 

The thing standing there was not Antonio, alive. I knew that. 
Antonio would never act like this. 

"Would the person inside kindly step out?" Tsukumojuku 


The rest of the class finally realized that the thing in front of 
us was someone else wearing Antonio's cast off skin. Julio and his 
cronies all took a big step back. 

"I have a very good sense of smell. Despite the stench of the 
skin, I can clearly smell the shampoo you've used," Tsukumojuku 
said. "I can't name the brand...but it's the same shampoo 
Jorge ...Jorge Joestar uses." 

.? ??? Hunh? "What.?" I stammered. 

'Antonio Torres' sighed. 

"There are things you’re better off not knowing, Detective," 
a girl's voice said. 

A voice I knew. 

"I didn't want to frighten the children," she said. Antonio's 
back split open, and Elizabeth Straits emerged from within. 

Aaaaaaaahhh! The whole class screamed. I couldn’t scream. 

As she came out of Antonio's skin, Lisa Lisa looked so beautiful. 
Even more beautiful than I'd thought the night before. Wow, Lisa 
Lisa really is amazing, I thought. A strange realization that left me 
weirdly calm. 

Tsukumojuku said nothing, but his eyes shone with keen 
interest, watching her closely. She tossed Antonio Torres aside, 
wearing nothing but a corset and her underwear; nearly naked, but 
not at all embarrassed. She seemed supremely comfortable - she 
was like the women in the theater or printed advertisements, just 
smaller, and not yet as curvy. 

"Wh-what's going on here? Everyone stay quiet, I'll take 
care of this," Mr. Hernandez said, and went out into the brightly lit 

Lisa Lisa ignored him. She pulled her dress out of Antonio's 
bag, and put it on. 

"My name is Elizabeth Straits," she said. "I'm a student at 
this school, a year ahead of you. What I'm about to say is very 
important. The person who murdered Antonio Torres is hiding 
somewhere nearby. The police and militia are searching for him, 
but we will need all of your help. We won't ask you to do anything 
difficult, or dangerous. Quite the opposite - for your own safety, 
follow these simple instructions to the letter. First, you will all be 
summoned into the yard, where they will explain exactly what I'm 
about to say. From there, you must go straight home. Don't stop to 
play, and make sure you pick a route that will keep you in direct 
sunlight the entire way. You are not to stop anywhere. Don't go in 
any shops, don't go to your friend's homes, don't step in the shade 
of any trees, and avoid going near the coast at all costs. I say this 
because we know the killer will be hiding in the shadows during the 
day. To remain safe, it is important that you all remain in the 
sunlight, and go straight home. Whatever you see, and whoever 
invites you to join them, pay no attention. Just go home." 

Lisa Lisa had her fist held out in front of her, her index 
finger raised. We listened in silence, but the meaning of her words 

was lost on us. The heat of summer was finally dying down, and all 
of us wanted to play outside. I had to avoid the main play spots like 
the park or the beach for fear of bullies, but even so, I wanted to at 
least go to the library or the candy store. 

But Lisa Lisa raised another finger, oblivious to our 
discontent. "Secondly, once you have reached your homes, without 
ever leaving the sunlight...lock all the doors and windows. Don't 
step outside again. If anyone knocks, do not open the doors. Don't 
even answer. Sit absolutely still, not making a sound, until they 
give up and go away. No matter how well you know them, no 
matter how rude you feel this alone, you must do this. The 
police have given everyone these same instructions, so anyone 
knocking should know better. Today is a day when nobody except 
your family is allowed inside your homes. Today you must all play 
quietly at home." 

Except if the doors and windows were all shut it would get 
unbearably hot...? And saying at home sounded very boring. 

Others in the class were starting to grumble, but Lisa Lisa 
ignored them. "Third! Once the sun goes down, let no one in. Not 
even family. If everyone fails to get home before sundown, then 
gather in the center of the house with everyone who did come 
home, and hide. If the missing people or anyone else arrive, don't 
speak to them. Don't answer if they call. Stay hidden until morning. 
Once the sun has fully risen, sneak out of the house, and go to the 
police station, or finds some policemen or militiamen patrolling." 

Lisa Lisa now had three fingers raised, and her orders were 
becoming so unreasonable the grumbling grew louder. "Be quiet 
and listen," Lisa Lisa snapped. Everyone shut up instantly. 

"Fourth," she said, raising her last finger. "At some point 
this evening, you may hear a commotion from a house near yours. 
Loud voices, sounds of fighting, even screams. Don't go and see 
what's going on. If you hear strange sounds or voices, do exactly as 
I said before; hide in the center of the house with your family, and 
wait for morning. Don't speak to anyone. Don't make any sound. 

Wait for sunrise." 

.! What was going to happen tonight? 

As the meaning of Lisa Lisa's instructions settled in, panic 
spread. Some of the girls started to cry. 

"Are you done?" Tsukumojuku asked. He'd been listening 
attentively this whole time. 


"So...someone murdered Antonio Torres. This 
weak to sunlight, but once the sun has set, there is a strong chance 
they will attack others at random," he said, summing up the facts. 
Now I was starting to get scared. Tonight was going to be really 
really scary. Lisa Lisa was super cool, but also super vague...and 
not exactly building my confidence. 

"So what are you?" Tsukumojuku asked. "Since This Year's 
Antonio is here, the skin you wore must be Antonio Torres' actual 

Bleeggghh. I didn't want to believe it. I looked down at the 
skin on the floor. Why would she do something so horrible? 

"You made it look as if Antonio Torres was still alive. Not 
for my benefit," Tsukumojuku continued. "You were trying to catch 
the killer's attention, and confuse him." 

"Yes. And not just that..." 

"You were also trying to lure him out of hiding." 


"Then it appears to be working. Your sunlight-hating killer 
is already here." 

Lisa Lisa turned, following his gaze. 

The hallway had been drenched in sunlight a minute ago, 
but was now dark and gloomy. The curtains had been pulled. We 
could hear the sound of more curtains being pulled down the hall. 
As scared as I was, somehow I found myself opening the door, and 
looking out into the hall. The man closing all the curtains was Mr. 

Why would he...? 

"Mr. Hernandez?" I called. He stopped in the sunlight, his 
hand on a curtain, and turned towards me. There were cracks 
running across his face; pieces of it were crumbling away. There 
was a big hole in his forehead. The girls behind me began to shriek. 
"Aiiiieeee!" "Mr. Hernandez!" "What's going on!? No! No! No!" 

Shnk. He closed the curtain. 

As he moved into the sunlight to close the next, his face 
crumbled further. Not just his head, his entire body was crumbling 
away. This wasn't 'weak to sunlight'. The sun was killing him. 


As we watched him close the curtains, Tsukumojuku spoke 
to Lisa Lisa. "So Antonio Torres really did have his blood and flesh 
and bones sucked what, exactly, could do that to him? I 
was working on the assumption that nobody could....but that simply 
means no human could. But that assumption was wrong, wasn't it? 
We're not dealing with a human." 

ft ft 

"Let me ask again. You've summoned this thing 
what are you? What power do you have?" 

I turned to look at her. 

I didn’t know this Lisa Lisa. She looked right at me. "Since I 
was a tiny baby, I've been able to breathe in a special way - just 
like my adopted father, and, your father." 

"What...?" I asked. I’d never heard of this before. 

"As a baby, I found myself in a situation even more 
dangerous than this one. I think I chose to learn how to breathe like 
this to protect myself." 

"Breathe how?" 

"My breathing gives me power, Jorge. I promise I'll protect 


This made no sense, but she flashed a smile at me, and 
stepped past me into the hall. The last curtain had been drawn, and 
the hall was shrouded in darkness. 

Mr. Hernandez stood perfectly still, clutching the last 

curtain. He was clearly no longer alive. His head was completely 
gone, his left arm had fallen off, his waist had crumbled and his 
guts fallen on the floor, and the rest of him was crumbling into dust. 
He was dead. And he'd been dead the whole time he was closing the 

I had no idea how this could be. 

But I knew Mr. Hernandez had been human when he was 
with us, and I knew he had been desperate to close those curtains, 
but closing the curtains had killed he had been closing 
those curtains for someone else. Someone who hated sunlight. Who 
had killed Mr. Hernandez, and forced him to make a path. 

I'd never imagined anything like this possible, but I knew it 
was true. 

"Jorge, take a few steps back, please," Lisa Lisa said, staring 
into the darkness. "If you get too close you'll get shocked." 

Oh? I took a step back, but Tsukumojuku stood his ground. 
When I glanced at him, he said, "Experience is everything." 

I was scared. But I couldn't tear my eyes off Lisa Lisa. 

"He's here," she said, her eyes narrowing. 

"Mm? Hmm?" Tsukumojuku said, peering into the depths of 
the hall. "Did Antonio have an older brother?" 

No. "What do you...?" 

"There's a young man who looks just like Antonio Torres... 
standing on the ceiling." 


I wanted to see but I wasn't going out there. I couldn't move 
a muscle. 

"Senorita," a voice said, apparently addressing Lisa Lisa. 
The voice had a strange sweetness to it, that made me feel dizzy. 
"Have you seen my son?" 


"He's all right looking, but such an awful brat. I didn't like 
his guts so I ate him whole, but then I heard he went to school this 
morning. I know he can't be alive, so this is quite odd." 

He...ate him? 

I looked down at the floor, where Antonio's skin lay. 

"You mean the little turd that picked on my brother?" Lisa 
Lisa said. Her voice was trembling! "Don't worry. He's dead." 

"Mm? Is he? Was I mistaken?" 

"I think he's better off dead. I mean, his mother's a pervert 
who enjoyed peeling his skin off, and his father's such a terrible 
father he ate his own son. Dying must have been a relief." 

"." The man fell silent, but I heard a sound: fushhuuuu 

like a long breath. 

"Alejandro Torres, if you had been a better father, my 
precious Jorge Joestar might never have been tormented by your 
piece of shit son. You will pay the price for that." 

Suddenly, I remembered the promise I'd made last night. 

The only way to stop being scared was to start being 


I was a boy, and couldn't keep relying on a girl my whole 


Yet here I was cowering behind Lisa Lisa's back. 
Fshuuuuuuuu. That sound again. Inhaling through his nose. 
He spoke. "You shouldn't talk to grown ups like that, young 


Lisa Lisa snorted. "First you go skulking around pretending 
to be Spanish, now you're pretending to be a gentlemen? Stupid." 

Her voice was still trembling. I was sure her whole body 
was shaking like a leaf. 

But she was facing him. Conquering her fear. 

All I was doing was trembling. Nothing else. I was letting 
her do everything. 

"Shut that filthy little mouth! I'm going to empty out your 
guts next!" The man screamed. Thunk thu nk thunk thu nk thunk! 
Footsteps coming down the ceiling. 

Lisa Lisa took a quick, deep breath, and started running. 

No. It was my turn. 

I ran after her. 

"Ah, wait, don’t be stupid!" Tsukumojuku called after me, 
but I didn't stop. I raced down the hall, chasing after Lisa Lisa. 

Her back looked so small, her shoulders so frail. I had to get 
in front of her. 

The young man on the ceiling definitely looked just like 
Antonio Torres, but there were long pointy teeth sticking out of his 
open mouth, threatening Lisa Lisa. 

"I'm gonna eat ya! Eat ya right up, little girl! Wahahahaha!" 
Laughing wildly, his feet left the ceiling. He spun in mid-air, 
lunging towards Lisa Lisa. 

"I am Jorge Joestar's guardian! I fight to protect his beautiful 
blood line! Breathe, Lisa Lisa! Indigo Blue Overdrive!" 

Her voice started as a whisper, and ended as a shout, her fist 
swinging forwards...just as I passed her, and, empty-handed and 
without plan, yelled, "Hey! Don't ever hit a girl!" and put myself 
between Lisa Lisa and that horrible man. 

My sudden appearance caught Lisa Lisa off guard. Our eyes 
met for a second, but her fist didn't stop. Her lips parted to say 
something, and her fist hit the floor just as the man with fangs 
landed, and looked at me. 

A ripple ran across the floor, a circle filled with some 
complicated pattern. When it hit the sinister young man, it knocked 
him back, and he instantly crumbled, like sand or ash. 

"Oooooh! Wow, Lisa Lisa!" I yelled. 

"You idiot!" she shrieked, still surprised. A second later my 
back hit the floor, and a shock ran from my head down to my toes 
like I'd just been struck by lightning. I passed out. 

When I woke up, it was the next morning, and everything 
was over. Straits was standing by my bed, and explained that the 
remains of Antonio and Alejandro Torres had been cleaned up, that 
everyone had spent a terrifying night hiding in their homes while 

Straits and his friends went around the island killing monsters like 
Alejandro, and that they were confident the island was safe and La 
Palma could return to normal as soon as the sun rose. 

"And Lisa Lisa?" I asked. 

"She was out all night working with us. She's exhausted, 
and fast asleep." 

" she mad at me? I messed up again, and got in her way." 

"...Jorge, the Joestars have never hesitated to put themselves 
in danger, and you are no different. But you're still very young. Not 
everything you attempt will succeed. Grow up to be a fine young 
man, true of heart, and strong in spirit." 

" I have a power like Lisa Lisa's?" 

" you want it?" 

Did I want it? I shuddered at the very thought. 

"Antonio's father had fangs. And was...too young. And he 
could walk on the ceiling. He said he ate Antonio." 


"You fight monsters like that, Straits?" 

"We do. And we train hard so we can have the power we 
need to fight them." 

"...I'm scared. I never want to see anything like that again. 
If I ever did...I'm sure I couldn't move a muscle. My legs would 
freeze, and he’d eat me alive. I don't want that. I'm scared of that 
happening. I don't want to go anywhere near anyone like that again. 
I don't want power like Lisa Lisa's." As I said this, I felt so pathetic 
I started crying. At the time, the fear had left me, but it all came 
flooding back. A heavy sort of fear, that made it hard to breathe; I 
was panting through my sobs. I was mad at myself for crying in 
front of Straits, but at the same time I thought, look how pathetic I 
am, how can anyone ask me to fight? Lisa Lisa is much more brave, 
let her handle it. 

I was awful. And that just made me cry harder. 

"But you did move, didn't you?" Straits said, patting me on 
the back. I didn’t say anything. What I'd done was just dumb. I was 


Straits and company decided to stay in La Palma until it was 
time to take Lisa Lisa with them to Italy. They said they'd started 
her training in earnest while chasing the monsters. I didn’t want to 
hear about it, so I didn't ask. I couldn't meet Lisa Lisa's eye, and she 
spoke to me less and less, and the mood in the house got so grim I 
was almost looking forward to her leaving. 

While I was still at home recuperating, Tsukumojuku came 
to visit. When I asked how things were at school, I heard I was 
hardly the only one absent due to shock. Julio, on the other hand, 
had come every day, and largely taken over Antonio's role. He'd 
made it sound like he had no plans to continue persecuting me, 

"Elizabeth mentioned it in passing, but apparently the Torres 
family were actually English. I looked into it. Their real name was 
Hightower. Antonio was born Anthony, and Alejandro was actually 
Alexander. They simply changed their names to seem more 
Spanish. They'd been in the railroad business in England, gone 
bankrupt, and washed up here...and with that history in mind, he 
may have targeted you." 

"." I had no response to that. It was all over. The 

Torres family had come to the Canary Islands broken, and had met 
their fates. La Palma was a bright, happy place; I still found it hard 
to believe such darkness had lain hidden in the shadows, or that 
Alejandro had really walked on the ceiling, fangs bared. "Thank 
you," I said. 

"For what?" 

"Coming to visit." 

Tsukumojuku made a face. "Yeah, well...when it all went 
down, I couldn't do anything." 

"Ha ha, so? I don't care about that. I've never really had a 
friend. Nobody's ever come over to play." 

"...oh. Sorry." 

"It's not your fault." 

"But, truth is, I think I've treated you rather coldly." 

"? Hunh? You did? I never really noticed. Why? ...because 
I'm English?" I braced myself, expecting to be told he just didn't 
like me. 

But what he actually said made no sense. "Because I was a 

? "...was? I don't really get it, but...aren't you still?" 

"Maybe. But I'm not longer sure. And you can't call yourself 
a detective if you aren't sure." 


"Heh heh, not a care in the world, have you, Jorge Joestar? 
But I don't think you'll be able to lay back and let things wash over 
you forever." 

ft <Jii 

"The time is drawing near. Let us talk about 'certainty'. I call 
myself a detective. And I am perform the role well. I have my 
failures, and make mistakes, but I remain calm. Why? Because I am 
certain that I am a detective, and will solve the case. That is why I 
never hesitated to call myself a detective. You understand? In my 
mind, the word 'detective' is an honor. One others use to describe 
you, not something you ordinarily use to describe yourself. Artists 
don't normally call themselves masters, or geniuses. They don't 
describe their own work as masterpieces. Describing yourself as a 
detective is normally just as comical." 

", I guess so? But it didn't strike me as strange when 
you called yourself a detective." 

"That's what's weird. Why do we feel like I won't get it 
totally wrong? You, others, even me. The cases a detective gets 
mixed up in are always extremely complicated, and filled with 
surprises. The criminals always use elaborate tricks, and there's 
always at least one last minute plot twist. It should be completely 
impossible to reach the truth without any mistakes. Maybe once, 

but every time?" 

"Mm...but you said you do make mistakes." 

"Yes. But in the end, I always find the truth, and solve the 


"Isn't that good?" 

"But isn't it also weird?" 

"Um...are you under a lot of pressure? You mean everyone 
expect you to succeed, and that's getting you down?" 

"Not once. I've never felt pressured. I always find the truth." 

"Hunh. So what's the problem?" 

"That's my point! There is no problem, and that's the 
problem! I'm just a ordinary boy. Guaranteed success should be 
completely impossible." 

"So even though you always succeed, you think it's weird 
that you do?" 

"Exactly," Tsukumojuku said, very earnest. "Human beings 
do not generally have such clearly defined roles." 

" you think you lack modesty?" 

"No. I think I have no need of modesty. I'm confident that 
lack of modesty will never be a problem for me." 

" everything always goes your way, and you know it 


"Yes! I think we're getting somewhere," Tsukumojuku said, 
watching me intently. "My 'certainty' comes from that. I don't 
believe the world was made for me; I know it was. I'm not talking 
about the small boost to confidence than comes when things are 
going well for you. I mean I was chosen by the god of this world. 
And I know that I was. That's why I can call myself a detective 
without a trace of shame, and have that cause no problems at all." 

".uh.well, you've been very lucky. But I don't see that 

this is a bad thing." 

"We're drifting away from the point again, so let me say 
this, Jorge Joestar. I've been playing the role of the detective all this 
time, and I know exactly how it feels. Something like this cannot 

occur without the arbitrary will of a 'god'. I have something 
watching over me, something like a god, yet not God." 

"?.ah ha ha, people do say, 'God is with us.'" 

"Gods do not care about the individual. They don't play 
favorites. Even if they do give someone a role to play, they would 
not manipulate matters to the point of disrupting the natural order. 
What I have has the power of a god, but one that works only for 

"Let me say exactly what I mean. Say that I'm Sherlock 
Holmes. Then I'm certain that I have something outside of this 
world serving as my Arthur Conan Doyle. I am as certain of this as 
I am certain that I am a detective. And I have a name for this thing 
guiding me from somewhere not of this world. I call it: Beyond." 

He was delusional, I thought. He was too smart, and too 
successful, and got carried away or genuinely sick in the head. Or 
his natural modesty had been repressed and twisted until he had to 
believe in this guardian. 

Tsukumojuku wasn't done spouting nonsense. "But here I 
am speaking in the present tense, when really, this is all in the past. 
Like I said at the start, I no longer have the certainty required to call 
myself a detective. My Beyond has abandoned me. I'm still me, but 
my role in this world is no longer guaranteed by Beyond. Beyond 
has chosen a new protagonist for this world...for this story. You, 
Jorge Joestar. This is the last thing I'm certain of." 

Hunh? What in the...? 

"And the only reason I need to be sure it's you is that I'm 
jealous of you. I would never have imagined that it could be this 

terrifying to have the reason for your existence snatched away. I've 
never had thoughts like these before. It really drives home just how 
much I took for granted my position, and the peace of mind it 
brought. Sure, I had my rough patches, and things happened that 
were sad, or painful. But as long as I fulfdled my role, I was 
satisfied. And a life filled with satisfaction is something to be 
grateful for. I know that much, even at eleven. And because I'm 
eleven, I'm a little jealous that you've stolen my position. I'm just a 
kid, after all." 

I was pretty sure I wasn't to blame for whatever he was 
accusing me of, but beyond that it made no sense. "So does this 
mean I have to become Sherlock Holmes, and act like a detective 
instead of you?" I asked. 

He blinked at me. "Ah! Ha! Ha! No, I doubt it. Your story 
already has monsters and mystic powers in it, so I doubt you'll end 
up being a detective," he chuckled. "I think you'll play the character 
of Jorge Joestar in a story called Jorge Joestar.” 

Sure. "Normal, then. I planned on doing that anyway." 

Tsukumojuku gave me a very serious look. "That'll never 
happen. With Beyond at your side, your adventure will be without 
compare. Let me give you one piece of advice: You should believe. 
Remember that. Believe in Beyond, and you will overcome your 

He made it sound prophetic, but I couldn't take it seriously. 

But I did become friends with Tsukumojuku. Pretty much 
by the end of that day we'd become best friends, like I'd always 
dreamed of having. We talked about everything. My stories were 
always pathetic, but the tales Tsukumojuku told of his adventures 
were highly entertaining. He was Japanese, and his name could be 
written in kanji. The kanji used were the numbers 9, 10, 9, 10, and 
9. Even in Japan, nobody else had a name like that. He'd been born 
in Fukui Prefecture, in a small town called Nishi Akatsuki. When 

he was three, his archaeologist father took him to Africa, and when 
he was five he came to the Canary Islands with his mother. When 
he was six he began working as a detective, not just in the Canary 
Islands, but on the Spanish mainland, too. He'd even been called 
away to Egypt to solve a mystery. The cases he’d solved were as 
bizarre as he'd promised, and after solving so many incredibly 
complicated cases I could see why he'd start to wonder if some kind 
of god was on his side. 

I never did go back to school. Instead, I spent all my time 
playing with Tsukumojuku. It was almost time for Lisa Lisa to 
leave, but I was so busy enjoying friendship I’d barely spoken to 
her in weeks. I'd expected to be sad, but it was starting to look like 
a tearless farewell. Straits and his mysterious companions came 
over for dinner, and ate and drank a lot. Mum cried, and Lisa Lisa 
seemed to be as emotionally uninvested as I was. 

She just told everyone, "I will follow my destiny," and didn't 
really try and talk to me at all. 

I wasn't...happy to have to go, but I had a new friend, and 
Antonio Torres was no longer around to torment me, so I was no 
longer that worried about the future, and I figured Lisa Lisa was 
glad she didn't have to protect me all the time now. I didn't tell her 
that, though. 

What I did say was this. 

After the big, noisy dinner, after the others had taken their 
drinks to the cigar room or the terrace, I heard a voice call my 
name, and turned to see Lisa Lisa standing there, in her green dress. 

"Hey," I said, and then didn't know what else to say. I knew 
there was a lot I should say, but none of it seemed right. 

"Since I was a little girl, I've always wondered why I wasn't 
a Joestar," Lisa Lisa said. "I wished I could have been. Then Mama 
Erina would be my Mum, and you'd be my little brother, and I'd be 
your big sister." 


"But as I grew older I started to think maybe it was better 

this way." 

"Why? Would I have made things harder for you if you were 
my sister?" 

She laughed. I hadn’t seen her smile in a long time. "Don't 
be stupid, Jorge. No. What do you think, Jorge? Would you want 
me to be your sister?" 

"Eh? I can't even imagine it. I don't know what to think. 
You'll always be Lisa Lisa to me." 

This was true. The idea has certainly crossed my mind, but I 
just couldn't imagine a world where she was really related to me. 
And it had never occurred to me to wonder if it was a good thing 
that she wasn't. 

"Good," Lisa Lisa said, smiling. 


"Well, if we were brother and sister, then we couldn't get 


"I don’t really get love, or any of that stuff yet, but...I am 
glad that I could marry you." 

Married? To Lisa Lisa? 

"I can't imagine that," I blurted out. That wasn't something 
to admit to any girl, least of all Lisa Lisa. 

"Heh heh, you're so rude!" she said, laughing. 

"I love you, Lisa Lisa," I said, quickly. 

I had no idea why I said that. 

"Me too, Jorge. I love you, too." 

What were we talking about? 

We went to bed, and when we woke up in the morning and 
went to see her off she just waved at me, and I can't remember if 
she said anything else. Mum and I went back to the house alone, 
and I went out to play with Tsukumojuku. 

In the new year, Tsukumojuku and I both turned twelve. 

Being with him, we often encountered mysteries, and just in the 
Canary Islands I got mixed up in no less than three serial killer 

"What the heck? I can still do this detective thing just fine," 
Tsukumojuku said, scratching his head. But he was really, really 
smart, and I couldn’t even manage to be as useful as Watson. 

When we were thirteen, we solved fifteen locked room 
mysteries, and when we were fourteen, we captured two serial 
killers, and when we were fifteen, we discovered the fifteen locked 
room mysteries from two years before were actually the work of a 
single criminal and captured the real killer. By 'we' I mean mostly 

I thought we would spend high school in the same way, but 
shortly after capturing the killer behind the fifteen locked room 
mysteries Tsukumojuku had to go back to Japan, and I cried a lot. I 
really didn't know how I could go on alone. 

"Ha ha ha, that's where Beyond comes in," he said, standing 
on the docks. I hadn't heard that word in a while." 

"This isn't funny," I said, but I knew he never joked. 

"I'm serious. Do you remember what I said the first time we 
talked? The thing I told you to remember?" 

Believe in Beyond, and you will overcome your fate. 

I did. But I wanted to focus on how unhappy I was to be 
saying good bye to my first and only friend, and didn't want to talk 
about that crap at all. There was no point in talking crap about how 
I was the protagonist of my own life here. I just really didn't want 
to say goodbye to this handsome detective, who'd solved so many 
mysteries with me at his side. 

"I'll come to Japan someday. I'll come find you, even on the 
other side of the world. And we’ll solve more cases together!" Or 
he'd solve them, at any rate. 

"I kinda get the feeling that won't happen," Tsukumojuku 
said, laughing. I couldn't believe it. He had no tact at all. 

"No, I’m coming!" I insisted. 

"If Beyond wills it," he said, gave me a Japanese dictionary, 
got on a ship, and sailed away. 

Three days later the boat carrying Tsukumojuku vanished 
off the coast of Florida. Five days later news of this reached the 
Canary Islands. I prayed every night for two months, but when the 
army found the boat at the bottom of the sea I had to settle for 
feeling deeply betrayed. 

I cursed God, and cried. I don't know what plan you had, but 
the price for stealing my friend was very, very high. He was my 
first and only friend. He was amazing. He should have been the 
main character! 

Chapter 2 
Nishi Akatsuki 

My name is Jorge Joestar. I'm fifteen years old, and live in 
Fukui Prefecture, Japan. I'm English...but I look and probably am 
Japanese. For reasons I've never known, my Japanese birth parents 
were unable to look after me, or never intended to do so; without 
even giving me a name I was handed over to the authorities, and 
adopted by the Joestar family. So I was given a name that could be 
either English or Japanese. According to Japanese law, when I turn 
eighteen I'll have to pick either Japanese citizenship or English; at 
the same time, I have to select a formal name. Currently my official 
name is spelled out in katakana, with no kanji or Roman letter 
spelling set. The Roman letters in my passport read JOJI JOESTAR, 
which is super lame. If I go with Japanese citizenship, on my 
eighteenth birthday I'll have to pick kanji for the name, and 
currently I'm leaning towards the kanji for 'transferred' and 'child' 
(|§!JE) in keeping with the Japanese idea that one's name should 
describe you. But since I was raised English, trying to act like I'm 
Japanese now feels like I'm pretending; I'm used to the katakana, 
and don't really care what my Japanese name is. As far as the 
English name, despite the strong objections of my family, I'm dead 
set on Jorge, so I write it like that any time I get the chance. I'm not 
the least bit Latin, but my friends all call me Jojo, and I get called 
Detective Jojo a lot. But if I went with George Joestar the nickname 
Jojo would be impossible. If nothing else, Joji wouldn't cause any 
problems with the nickname, but if I let any native English speakers 
read it, they'd never pronounce it right. Joji is a reading by and for 
Japanese speakers. If details don't add up right I get agitated, and 
start searching for a better way. This trait has lead to my room 
being very clean, and made me a great detective. 

And that very trait is getting up my nose right now. 

Something had been bothering me for a while, and was 
coming to a head. 

This particular itch had been nagging me for the last couple 

of years, ever since I solved fifteen locked room mysteries in a row, 
but two serial killer investigations had distracted me for basically 
this entire year. But now that I'd successfully caught the triplet 
dismemberment psycho, Guruguru Majin, and had received word 
that they'd finally tracked down the serial torturer Nail Peeler after 
his daring escape six months back I was finally able to relax. I made 
a full report of my escapades to my father, who - a victim of a 
particularly misguided attempt at selecting a Japanese sounding 
name - was named Jonda Joestar. Then I went to bed, and finally 
remembered the source of my discontent. 

Specifically, a newspaper article that laid out the locations 
of the fifteen locked room mysteries on a map of Fukui Prefecture. 
All the cases had happened in the Northern half of Fukui, in the 
area called Reihoku. The newspaper article numbered them in the 
order they'd been committed; in other words, the order the 
victims died. This made sense from a news perspective, but my 
immediate thought was that it was totally the wrong approach to 
these particular cases. The trick to locked room mysteries lies in 
their discovery. The realization that the room has been locked from 
the inside is what defines them. The killer's job ends with the 

I made a mental map of them numbered in order of 

Something about this map had been tickling the corner of 
my mind for a while now. My instincts told me this order had 

My first thought was that the locations were drifting slowly 
south. Each of the fifteen cases had a killer, and we'd found no 
links between the killers, the victims, or any other aspects of the 
cases. But the cases did occur more or less from north to south, 
moving like a cold front across the map. Fukui's Reihoku area 

wasn't terribly large; fifteen locked room mysteries happening in 
rapid succession was enough to make you wonder if the urge to 
commit a locked room murder was somehow communicable. An 
outbreak of the locked room murder syndrome. I had a vague 
memory of some expert suggesting as much on the news. 

Maybe it worked like dismemberment; it was a known fact 
that once the idea entered the public consciousness that cutting 
up your victim made it easier to carry, to hide the body, and to 
throw investigators off the track, we saw a sharp rise in the 
number of mutilated corpses. But if that was the case, the 
influence would have spread to the whole country, and the trend 
would not have died out after only fifteen cases. But it had. As far I 
knew, in the year since the fifteenth cases, there had been no 
locked room mysteries at all. This fifteen were an isolated group. 
They looked like they had no connections...or someone was 
making them look that way. 

I opened the mental map again, and stared at it. Was there 
a pattern that lay beneath the seemingly random spread? Some 
principle at work? Something beyond the general spread to the 
south, a boundary, or...border? 

These were locked room murders; they took place in 
enclosed areas. If there was some sort of border around each of 
them? Why had the word border caught my attention? Maps have 
an outline around them, marking the borders of the location or 
place depicted. 

I felt sure the scenes of each crime weren't scattered at 
random, but carefully placed at appropriate distances, placed as 
far away from each other as the border allowed. But I couldn't 
quite see where the boundaries were. Why not? 

There had been no cases discovered in the city of Takefu, 
leaving a big white space, and that felt like it was getting in the way 
of me seeing the pattern. If a sixteenth case had happened there, 

then the map would make a lot more sense, I thought...and 
suddenly I saw it. That gap had its own borders, dividing up the 
nap neatly. A large 4x4 grid laid over the map; it had been right 
under my nose all along, but the blank space had blinded me to it. 

Looked at this way, I instantly knew that blank space, the 
empty square, was the key to everything. This was a giant 15- 
















I solved the puzzle an instant later. It was easy. I only had to 
move each piece a single square. 

Each number was only one square away from sequential 
order. Since they'd moved in different directions, it appeared 
random; but order lurked right next door. 

Having solved this two year old puzzle, I wondered what it 


A 15-puzzle. 

If there was a puzzle, then someone must have designed it. 
And if it was hidden, that meant it was a message to whoever 
discovered it. Was someone trying to tell me something? 

When this flood of locked room murders had happened 
two years ago, the police and I had, of course, searched thoroughly 
for any connection between them, and verified countless times 

that there was no such thing. Was there really someone directing 
all the individual killers? The tricks they'd used were all different. 
No connections, no pattern, and we'd been unable to figure out 
exactly where the killers all got the idea to use a locked room trick. 
They all insisted it had just seemed like a good idea, and we had no 
choice but to take them at their word. I knew perfectly well that 
human imagination did not always have a clear foundation, and 
certain criminal actions could trend without any contact between 
the perpetrators. 

But the police and I didn't take the killers at their word, and 
had searched high and low for any indication that someone had 
helped them. How had we missed it? Had there really been 
someone who tracked down would be murderers and supplied 
them with plans for a locked room trick? 

There was. There had to be. This 15-puzzle proved it. 

But we'd caught all the killers. I'd explained the case, and 
they'd confessed, explaining their motives and essentially turning 
themselves in. They'd been very cooperative with the police and 
prosecutors afterwards...was this all a performance to protect the 
designer? What kind of person could inspire such loyalty in all 
fifteen killers? 

This was no good. I couldn't started doubting the designer's 
existence now. Throughout the case we'd been constantly of the 
opinion that there should be one, but the evidence said otherwise. 
That made it hard to believe, even now I knew the truth. I had to 
stop. If this puzzle existed, then someone had to have made it. 

I had to focus on deciphering the message contained within 
the puzzle. I looked over my mental map of the puzzle again. A 
simple 15-puzzle, each number moved a single square away from 
the starting position. Starting from the blank space, all you had to 
do was move the number that belonged there into the gap and the 
puzzle solved itself... I checked the order of moves again. 

Blank <-10<-14<-13<-9<-5<-l<-2<-6<-7<-3<-4 
<- 8 <- 12 <- 11 15. 

Was this...supposed to indicate a Domino Murder Exchange 

If the victim from the tenth case was killed by the killer of 
the fourteenth case, and the victim in fourteen was killed by the 
thirteen killer...if the killers had traded places, allowing those with 
actual motives for the killing to establish alibis at the time of death 
and evade suspicion, would that make sense? 

But in that case there was no indication who could have 
killed the victim in the fifteenth case. If the Domino Murder 
Exchange were to complete, the murdered in case ten would have 
to kill the victim in case fifteen, but that wasn't shown anywhere in 
the puzzle. 

If I was to correctly read the implications of this puzzle in 
terms of a Domino Murder Exchange, the tenth case's killer would 
have killed the victim in the blank space, an as yet undiscovered 
sixteenth locked room, and the killer in the fifteenth case would 
have committed the murders in both the eleventh and the 
fifteenth cases. The true killer in the sixteenth case would have 
kept his hands did that mean he was the one behind the 
whole shebang? 

No, no, no. I was trying too hard to find answers in this 
puzzle. The whole point of exchanging murders was to get yourself 
a cast iron alibi and keep yourself off the list of suspects. But in all 
fifteen cases, the killers had been arrested, confessed, sent to the 
courts, and were starting to stand trial. With the possible 
exception of the killer in some hypothetical extra case that might 
occupy the blank spot, nobody got away with anything. If they had 
been so desperate to avoid suspicion that they'd do something as 

risky as trade murders, hadn't they been caught a little too easily? 

No, no, no, no, no, no. These fifteen murders may have 
taken place in the relatively short time period of a year, but it 
wasn't like they happened all at the same time; they were spread 
evenly out across the full twelve months. So the first locked room 
mystery had already been solved by the time the third was 
discovered, the killer identified. The cases were being steadily 
solved as the new locked rooms were found. It was absolutely 
impossible for the ninth killer to have actually committed the 
thirteenth murder, as the puzzle implied; by the time that case 
happened, I had already identified the killer in the ninth case, the 
police had taken him into custody, and he was safely behind bars. 
For the same reasons, the killer from the fifth case could never 
have murdered the ninth victim, and the killer in the first case 
could not have committed the fifth crime. 

This could only fit the model of a Domino Murder Exchange 
if I had been wrong about all the killers I'd caught, if all those on 
trial were taking the fall for the real culprit...but that was 
impossible. Why? Because I was a detective, and if I felt I was right 
about something, I was never wrong. These killers were the killers. 
The Domino Murder Exchange theory itself was wrong. 

If I had the right killers, than those cases were closed. 


Then if I focused less on the numbers themselves, and 
more on the nature of the 15-puzzle, was the intent to suggest that 
the locked room murders had each occurred somewhere other 
than they would normally have happened? The tenth case would 
have happened in the blank space, the fourteen would have 
happened where the tenth was discovered, with each successive 
murder committed in the wrong location? Did that work? 

56 Not in the least, I decided quickly. There was nothing 
unnatural about the locations of the murders. Of the fifteen cases. 

two had occurred in tourist attractions, but the others had all 
occurred in homes belonging to the killers, the victims, or friends 
thereof. Each trick had been tied specifically to the layout of the 
room in questions, and no particular contortions had been 
required to make the tricks work. The trick used to lock the room 
in case fourteen would never have worked at the location used in 
case ten. It was impossible to divorce the tricks from the rooms 
they locked. A locked room trick can only be manufactured from 
the geography of the room. The placement of furniture, accents, of 
cracks string or wire could be run through, of hiding places - these 
specifics were different at each location. What the killer could 
physically do was different in each case, as different as the people 
involved. It went without saying that finding tricks that could be 
used at fifteen locations was highly improbable. 

No, it was impossible. Four of the fifteen cases had taken 
place in four of the strangest buildings in Fukui, and used the 
bizarre nature of those buildings as an essential component of the 
trick. No trick that involved moving walls and floors, or ceilings that 
turned upside-down could possibly be used anywhere else. 

The locked room murders had been used in the right place, 
by the right people. I had solved each of them correctly. Those 
cases were over. So what was this puzzle? If I assumed that I had 
solved everything correctly, then the meaning of this could not be 
that the real solution would only be seen if I shifted everything. 
There must be something else, something new. 

The fifteen locked room mysteries were of no importance, 
and I had to examine the meaning of this puzzle from the surface. 
The simplest reading was the correct one - namely, that because 
each number had been shifted, a new, extra space had been left 

The man behind the fifteen locked rooms had created a 
new mystery, one that had only just begun. 

Then what I had to do was try to find this new, extra space. 

I got out of bed, dressed, got on my bike and rode north towards 
Takefu. What was I looking for? Something sort of locked room, I 
supposed. But the borders I'd found each covered an area ten 
kilometers square. Trying to find something locked room-esque by 
aimlessly pedaling around country roads in the middle of the night 
seemed hardly productive...but as I came down route 365, 
entering the outskirts of Takefu, I found a house on fire. 

It was so sudden I almost didn't recognize it as a fire. But I 
took a bizarre comfort in the knowledge that this was what I was 
supposed to find, that it had been prepared for me. I barely even 
had to look. 

The farmhouse on fire belonged to the Kato family of Nishi 
Akatsuki. Kato Serika's parents had died recently, and she'd been in 
town to deal with their empty house. 

As I furiously pedaled closer, I found her standing outside 
with her husband Satoshi and their four-year-old son Seshiru, 
staring blankly at the fire. 

"Are you hurt?" I asked. 

When Serika and Satoshi failed to respond, Seshiru piped 
up. "There's a pool in the house and a stranger swimming in it!" 

? What the heck did that mean? I looked in the window of 
the burning house, and Seshiru was right; the house was filled with 
water, and there were jets of it spitting out of every crack. The 
water was moving through the house at whirlpool speeds, and the 
front door seemed to have been shut by Satoshi to protect his 
family from the current and the furniture hurtling along in it. As I 
gaped, I caught a glimpse of a human figure rocketing past a 
second story window. But it didn't look like he was swimming to 

Was he dead? 

Was this another locked room mystery? 

I tried asking the Katos again. "How did this happen?" 

"I dunno," Serika said. "We...were eatin' dinner, when 
suddenly water started pourin' down the stairs. We rushed outta 
the house just started burnin'." 

"It came from upstairs?" Water? "Did you have a tank up 
there?" I looked up at the house, but it was a normal looking 
building, no sign of any water tower. 

"No, no," Satoshi said. "That's no ordinary water, neither. 
That's sea water." 

"? Sea water?" 

"From the sea. It was salty, like." 

"Yeah, that's salt water, alright. It reeked of it," Serika said. 
Seshiru laughed, and nodded. 

It certainly did smell like the sea. But we were a good forty 
kilometers from the ocean, and there were several mountain 
ranges in the way. How in the hell had so much salt water suddenly 
appeared on the second floor? 

At any rate, there was definitely somebody inside, so this 
would soon be a crime scene. I'd like to preserve it as much as 
possible, but that was hard to do with it being on fire and all. I 
looked up at the second story window again, and saw a young man 
clinging to it, looking down at us. His hair was in his eyes, thrashing 
in the current, but for a moment, our eyes met. 

I'd just assumed he was already dead. Guess not. 

"Okay, you guys better move farther back," I shouted, and 
ran to the nearest window. Between the weight of the water and 
the fire the walls were ready to burst...the indoor pool was no long 
for this world. Did I have time? I broke the glass on the nearest 
ground floor window. There was a crack, and water burst out, 
sending shards of glass and bits of broken window frame rocketing 
past me. Zsshhhaaaaassh! I barely dodged out of the way in time, 
and quickly broke another window. The spray on my face 

confirmed that house was filled with salt water. But this wasn't the 
time to ponder that mystery. I reached the front door, put my hand 
on the knob, but before I could open it the hinges gave up, and a 
wave of water burst out, sweeping me and the door away. 

There was a roar as the water filled the front lawn, and 
when it subsided I found the second story man lying on the ground 
in front of me, coughing up water. 

"Perdon," he said. "dQue paso? iDonde estoy?" 

Spanish. He might be wet, but this guy looked Japanese. He 
was very handsome, but looked about the same age as me. 

"This is Japan? I have no idea what's going on, though," I 


"Oh! Japanese!" he said, in Japanese. 

Behind him there was a deafening rumble, and the Kato 
residence collapsed into a pile of wet bricks. At least the fire was 

There was another rumble - thunder. I looked up, and the 
clouds covering the sky were swirling. I saw something shaped like 
a funnel retreating back into the sky. It was dark, and hard to make 
out, but...had that been a tornado? 

But tornadoes generally dragged things off the ground, not 
dropped them off. And for it to do a pin-point touchdown on the 
Kato residence on tonight of all nights, at this exact time, with no 
other damage... 

I had no choice but to accept it. That tornado had brought 
this boy here. From somewhere that spoke Spanish. 

"You okay?" I asked. 

He brushed his wet hair out of his eyes with both hands, 
and blinked up at me. "That's a tough question. I'm not injured, at 
any rate. What day is it?" 

"July 23 rd ." 

"Okay, same day...but I was on a boat, and we'd just sighted 

the coast of Florida." 



"Between the Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico." 

".? What's the Atlantic? Never heard of this gulf, either." 

"Hunh? The's an ocean." 

"...sorry, but there's no such thing." 

".? What do you mean?" 

"There's only one ocean. The Ocean." 

".no, that's.urn? This is...where, in Japan?" 

"Fukui Prefecture. Nishi Akatsuki." 

"Hunh? Then I'm home? How...?" 

"? What, you're from Nishi Akatsuki? So I am! How old are 
you? I'm fifteen, sixteen this year." 

"Same age. My name is Kato Tsukumojuku. My address 
here is Nishi Akatsuki-cho Nishi Akatsuki 3-21." 

Weird name, but I gulped for a totally different reason. I 
turned to the Kato family by the gate. "He's related to you?" 

The address he'd just given was the empty home where 
Serika's parents had lived. But the Katos didn't answer. They just 
stared in horror at the remains of the house they'd just built a few 
years earlier. 

I looked back at Tsukumojuku. "Your name written 9, 10, 9, 
10, 9, then?" 

"Ah, Fukui dialect...yes, it is." 

"So you made quite the bizarre entrance. What do you 

"Well...I was on a boat, crossing the Atlantic from the 
Canary Islands to the America." 

"The Canary Islands?" 

"Never heard of them? Small islands, owned by Spain, off 
the west coast of Africa." 

"Okay...and the Atlantic?" 

"...the Atlantic ocean lies between the North and South 
American continent on the one side, and the Europe and African 
continents on the other. Doesn't it?" 

"No. Also, what are you talking about, American and 
African continents?" 

".what continents do you have?" 


".this doesn't sound like an issue of education," he said. 

I nodded. "I'm very well educated," I said. He gave me a 
dubious look, so I added, "I'm a detective, after all." 

His eyes opened wide, then he grinned. "Oh. So am I." 

"Oh yeah? You're shittin' me? The great detective Kato 
Tsukumojuku? Never heard of you, and it sounds like that ain't 
cause you operated abroad." 


"Better introduce myself, then. My name is Jorge Joestar. 
Everyone calls me Jojo. Detective Jojo. Welcome to the new world, 
where the Atlantic and the Canary Islands don't exist." 

Tsukumojuku just gaped at me for a while. 

"...what is Beyond playing at?" he asked, at last. "What role 
does it have in mind for me?" 

This made no sense, but it seemed like he was talking to 
himself, so I let it pass. No idea where he came from, but it was a 
place with weird ass tornadoes. Didn't seem like somewhere you 
could just up and go as you pleased. What he'd just said was 
probably some sort of religious grumbling, nothing I could do 
about it. 

The way he'd appeared was so bizarre I wasn't really all that 
surprised by anything any more, but by the time he was through 

getting checked out at the hospital Tsukumojuku had gone straight 
through surprise to clutching his head. 

Firstly, while it was indeed July 23 rd , it was 2012, not 1904. 
He'd traveled forwards in time over a hundred years. 

We quickly proceeded to comparing world maps...of 
course, there were no world maps that looked the way 
Tsukumojuku described his world, so he had to draw his freehand. 

He produced a very detailed sketch of a very strange world. 

His world looked broken. 

I showed him ours, and he said, " impossible." 

My sentiments exactly. 

When Tsukumojuku said nothing more, I said, "There's no 
way the land shifted this much in a hundred years." 

Continental drift was a matter of a few millimeters a year, 
and that was on the active side. It would take hundreds of millions 
of years for Tsukumojuku's world to become mine. The continents 
moved on the plates, forming a giant continent, breaking up, and 
moving together again. Plate tectonics showed this had happened 
and would happen again. Even if his continents had just merged 
together once to form my world, that would have taken forever. 

But I didn't see this change happening so easily. The pieces 
were all mixed up. To get this far, they'd have to trial and error it 
for billions of years - longer than the life of the Earth. It had been 
roughly a hundred million years since the first humans showed up, 
so if Tsukumojuku came from the same planet as me, he would 
have had to have been through several continental divides, but if 
he came from a billion years ago his clothes, manners, and 
Japanese were much too similar to our own. I couldn't see more 
than a hundred years difference between us. 

I was pretty sure the only possible explanation would 
involve parallel world theory. That sounded fun! This proved 
parallel worlds not only existed, but that it was possible to travel 

between them! Wah ha ha! 

While I worked myself into a tizzy, Tsukumojuku sat on the 
hospital bed, comparing the two maps closely, muttering surprise 
at the location of one place or another, confused about the 
location of others. 

"I say," he said at least, "I don't see England anywhere." 

"English is a phantom country, not on any map," I said - the 
stock, self-deprecating description all English citizens used. 

A group of Anglo-Saxons living in Maine in the 19 th century 
had declared independence, calling themselves the Kingdom of 
England. They even fought a war. The American government never 
officially recognized them, but several other countries did...only for 
them to collapse from within, and be swiftly swallowed back up 
into the United States. Having lost their country, the English 
scattered across the world. There were many families like the 
Joestars, that would have died out if they hadn't adopted. 

"Oh," Tsukumojuku said, gravely. "Well, at any rate, I have a 
theory as to how I came to this world." 

Ehhhhhhhhhhh!? Already!? 

"You're some detective!" I said. I was used to hearing this, 
but I'd never said it myself before. I was a little miffed, honestly, 
but I didn't have enough data to form a theory of my own yet. 

"It's just a theory. I've no proof of any kind," he said, and 
pointed down at the map he'd drawn. "I was headed here, towards 
the Southern tip of Florida. If you connect Florida, this island, 
Puerto Rico, and then these islands, the Bermudas, you get a 
triangle shaped area of ocean. Legend has it that many ships 
vanish entirely as they pass through this area - sometimes just the 
passengers vanish, and the ships around found empty. We call it 
the Bermuda Triangle. Like I said, just before I passed out I was 
gazing at the coast of Florida on deck, then went down to my cabin 
to stow my luggage. The boat was headed due north, right through 

this point on the triangle. Now, this area of Florida is located at 25 
degrees north, 81 degrees west...which is exactly where Japan is in 
this world." 

Ooh, I thought, and took a closer look at the maps myself. 
Even on the hand-drawn map it was clear the two points 
overlapped. Then I noticed something, and said, excitedly, "And if 
that theory is true, then we've basically figured out how to get you 

Since Tsukumojuku still didn't quite know his way around 
the world, I pointed. 

"See, there's a bug gulf in the center of Panlandia, with a 
peninsula and a bunch of islands. That's Florida, Puerto Rico, and 
Bermuda all right on top of each other, right? The Bermuda 
Triangle's basically the Bermuda dot. And according to your map, 
this is right on top of your world's Nishi Akatsuki." 


"Ha ha ha! This is straight up telling you where to go to get 
back home, isn't it!?" 

"'s kind of scary, isn't it? Like someone made 
this happen. Like they summoned me..." 

I agreed. "'Like' nothing, someone clearly did." 

II | ll 

"Sure, that's scary, but I got your back on this. I'm hella 
interested in what's happening to you." 

"But I'm not the target here," Tsukumujuku said, pointedly. 
"You are." 

Eh? "Wha? I'm more like an innocent bystander that just 
got mixed up in this mess." 

"But you aren't. Why were you there tonight? How did you 
find me?" 

Good point. I explained how I'd solved fifteen locked room 
murders two years ago, then found a 15-puzzle that had eluded me 
at the time, solved it, and took off down route 365 to verify the 
answer. I had to admit, he might be right. I was lead right to him. 

"...guess neither of us were there coincidentally." 

"Not only that. You said you solved fifteen locked room 
murders two years ago. In my own world, I did exactly the same 

"Hunh?" Did how? 

"In the Canary Islands, on the island of La Palma. I'm sure 
the details of the cases are different, but..." 

The two of us compared notes on the salient points of each 
set of fifteen. They were completely different, of course. It was 

impossible to divorce the tricks from the rooms they locked. A 
locked room trick can only be manufactured from the geography 
of the room. The same tricks could not be used in a different 
country and time. But the order of discovery in Tsukumojuku's 

cases was identical; and the 15-puzzle they formed matched as 

"I never noticed," Tskumujuku said, gloomily. 

"I just noticed myself like an hour ago. Betcha woulda 
figured her out soon enough." 

He looked up at me. "You ever worked a case with another 

"Nope. Only like 800,000 people even live in Fukui. Lotta 
cases for the country and I ain't the only detective around, but I 
never bumped into any of the others on a case. If we hear 
someone else is on the job the others all stay away, I suppose. I 
have heard it happens to Tokyo or Osaka detectives all the time, 

"I've never even met another detective. The Canary Islands 
were not much more populated. So let me ask you this; if several 
detectives are on the case, and one solves the case before the 
other does, is the slower one still a detective?" 

Ugh. Who gave a crap? Just 'cause I solved the 15-puzzle 
first didn't mean he had to sulk about it. His case was a hundred 
years ago - maybe - so we weren't exactly racing, here. 

"Depends on the next case," I said, at last. "If the slower 
detective gets there first the next time they team up, they're 
even." Honestly, I was just trying to make him feel better. 

He wasn't buying it at all. "Detective isn't a title earned 
over a lifetime. You don't look back over your deeds and realize 
you're a detective. You know you are, and introduce yourself as 

"True enough." 

"If you can't solve a case, you aren't a detective." 

"Hmm...certainly, in that moment, other people might say 
you weren't qualified." 

"Detective, in the sense we use it, is an honorary term. The 

moment people deny it, you lose the right to it." 

"And you can get it back on the next case." 

"You're thinking in lifetime terms, again. You can't be a 
detective your whole life. You're one on each individual case." 

"." Fuck this. "Okay, okay, so you feel like you aren't a 

detective any more? Do better next time." 

"I haven't believed I was a detective for some time. Even on 
the Canary Islands, I wasn't sure why - why I could continue to act 
like a detective in spite of it. It never felt real." 

"? I don't know what you're driving at, but if you solved 
cases, you're a detective. I might have got to the 15-puzzle before 
you, but you solved all fifteen cases, right? You did your job." 

"If someone got to the truth before you, would you still call 
yourself a detective?" 

"...I might keep a lid on it till the next time, yeah." 

"There will be no next time," Tsukumojuku said. "I'll never 
call myself a detective again. Not now I've met you." 


"You are the Jorge Joestar who will steal my title." 

"What the fuck are you talking about!?" 

I finally slipped and swore in front of him, but he didn't 
seem to mind. He even laughed. 

"Been a long time since a Jorge Joestar spoke like that to 

_ II 


What? "Are you memories getting confused, or...?" 

"My memories and mind are clear, Jorge Joestar. I can safely 
say my mind and headspace have never been so free of clutter. My 
role as detective may have ended, but I believe I have been given a 
new one. I am here to explain Beyond to you." 

What is Beyond playing at? He'd whispered. I instantly 
knew I didn't want to hear any of this, but that I needed to hear it 
all the same. 

"In my world," Tsukumojuku said, "There is another Jorge 

What? Really!? WZ> This was getting fun! 

He told me about this other Jorge Joestar. The story of a 
bullied kid who made friends with a detective, and had adventures 
on a South Seas Island that didn't exist in our world. The fifteen 
locked room murders weren't the only similar cases. The three 
serial killer cases I'd closed the year before that, had also been 
solved three years ago by Tsukumojuku and his partner, 'Jorge 
Joestar'. Likewise, they'd caught psychos remarkably similar to the 
Guruguru Majin and the Nail Peeler 'last year'. 

Was this synchronicity? Or was history repeating itself? 

Before I could think further, Tsukumojuku said, "And this 
year, Jorge and I captured the true mastermind behind the fifteen 
locked room murders. The man who invented all the locked room 
tricks, and controlled the killers from the shadows." 

Haaaaaaaa? Waitwaitwaitwait "Stop!" I yelled. "I haven't 
done that bit yet let me think!" 

Tsukumojuku recoiled from my sudden ferocity. "It's not 
that complicated," he said. 

"You wanna steal the detective role back from me?" 

"I don't mean to do that, and I doubt that would happen..." 

I ignored him and began thinking furiously. 

So there was a mastermind? Obviously that made sense, of 
course there was. Fifteen locked room murders had happened all 
in a row, all in Fukui, all in Reihoku. But like I said before, the police 
and I had suspected there was a mastermind/controller in the 
shadows, and left no stone unturned in our search for one. Had we 

missed something? I didn't think so. I was sure we'd been 
thorough. And correct. There were no connections of any kind 
between anyone related to any of the fifteen cases. The police and 
forensics people had been over every detail; we'd even tried 
hypnosis and every occult technique we could think of to no avail. 
We even tried voodoo dolls. 

I had not been wrong. 

Those fifteen locked room murders had ended with the 
summoning of this other detective from a bizarre alternate 
universe. I had been so sure the fifteen cases had each been 
independent, even though they'd lead me - coincidentally or 
otherwise - to what seemed awfully like a magical phenomenon. 

But perhaps that notion was my mistake. I definitely hadn't 
overlooked anything; I'd checked every detail. Even now, I felt 
comfortable removing that option from the table. 

So if I hadn't overlooked anything, then, logically, there 
must be something I hadn't looked at yet. 

The man who invented all the locked room tricks, and 
controlled the killers from the shadows. If someone like this was 
behind the cases in my world too, then this shadow controller's 
shadow must have touched each of the fifteen killers. But that was 
impossible. One of the cases had happened inside a prison, and 
the killer was serving a life sentence, with limited visitation rights. 
And we'd checked every visitor thoroughly. Another locked room 
case involved a shut-in son who killed his father; the son hadn't 
spoken to anyone outside his direct family, and we'd found no 
records of any suspicious contact online, either. 

This shadow controller could not physically exist. 

In other words, he had to exist in some non-physical form. 

This wasn't that surprising an idea. We'd already 
entertained a number of occult theories, and tested them 
thoroughly. We'd done occult. So what else was there? 

Where did they meet? 

Where could they meet without meeting? 

"Dreams," I said. "Or daydreams." I wasn't talking to 
Tsukumojuku. I was just thinking out loud. I kept going. "Not 
daydreams...that's just thinking, no way for someone else to 
control you. Unless you had a delusion that you were being 
controlled? But that would still mean they created the locked room 
trick themselves. So it must be dreams." Were dreams 100% 
produced by your own mind? 

At this point I noticed Tsukumojuku watching me. Half 
surprised, half impressed. From this I knew I must be right, but 
really? Dreams? 

It was my idea, though. Dreams, then. Could this shadow 
controller have manipulated the killers in their dreams? 

"The killers in my world all met a clown in their dreams 
called the Locked Room Maestro," Tsukumojuku said. "He forced 
the plans for the murders on them. Since everyone forgets their 
dreams, they all thought they came up with the tricks themselves." 

Had he watched Inception or something? But that was sci- 
fi, and a movie, and you couldn't actually jump into someone else's 
dream. I must have looked skeptical, but Tsukumojuku carried on 

"This so-called Locked Room Maestro wore clown clothes 
and makeup, and appeared in the dreams of the killers, working 
his way into their hearts, and drawing forth the darkest emotions 
within. That part wasn't too hard. All he had to do was find 
someone they hated, or had trouble getting along with, or just had 
trouble communicating with, even just simple disgruntlement. 
Once he found those emotions, the Locked Room Maestro would 
appear in their dreams, and blame all those problems on this one 
person. Nobody can escape their nightmares. The Locked Room 
Maestro would twist their fear, making it seem like their eventual 

victim was the source of it all. No matter how forced the reason, 
logic and sequential progression have no place in dreams; only the 
emotional response matters. One the seed was sown, the killers' 
fixations would give them even worse dreams. The Maestro would 
keep a firm grip on the reins, whispering that it was all their 
victim's fault, and his targets had no choice but to believe him. This 
vicious cycle continued until they were entirely under his control. 
The Maestro persisted, driving them deeper, even torturing them if 
he had to. The killers would find themselves murdered in their 
dreams, but their eventual victims, or by the Maestro himself. 
These dreams were so terrifying they'd awaken in a nervous frenzy, 
and this persisted until the real world felt like a dream to them. 
Physically, there's nothing wrong with them, but that just makes it 
worse. They're spending all their times in a state of panic, and 
don't remember the dreams that caused it, so the frustration is 
building up inside them with no way to escape, and no clear cause. 
Eventually someone they would never have dreamed of killing 
begins to seem like someone they have to murder, and they act. 
But the Locked Room Maestro never once met them in person; he 
kept his distance, remained hidden in their dreams. The only 
reason we ever found the evil clown is because the girl he tried 
targeting next had a pathological fear of clowns. The Maestro's 
guise was so terrifying she remembered the dream clearly, spoke 
to those around her about the horrible clown that kept coming 
into her dreams and whispering about locked room murders, and 
this, in turn, attracted our attention. Nobody she'd spoken to 
believed a word she'd said, but we did. We spoke with the fifteen 
killers, and they all began to remember him. From what they 
remembered, we were able to piece together his identity. Aside 
from the red nose and poofy wig, he was just wearing make up. 
From their descriptions, we were able to put together a composite 
sketch. He'd also talked about himself quite a bit in their dreams; 

he was so sure they wouldn't remember anything, he let slip a 
number of details that helped us identify him. I suppose after 
fifteen successful remote control murders, overconfidence is 
unsurprising. He was young, too. Still in high school, wanted to be 
a mystery novelist when he grew up. But he had the power to slip 
into other people's dreams. When we burst into his house, police 
in tow, we found the clown outfit and makeup; we assume he 
purchased them to make that part feel real. We found notebooks 
filled with locked room tricks. But no novels. It seems he didn't 
have what it took to be a writer." 

"Hell, you can catch the guy, but you can't try him," I said. 
"No way you can prove the ability to enter dreams, and even if he 
demonstrates it, nobody would remember." 

"...there was no trial. The Spanish police on La Palma beat 
him to death with their nightsticks, and sank his body in the sea at 
night. Jorge and I were powerless to stop them, and his mother 
didn't even try. If word got around that her son was a witch, and 
the church got involved, her whole family would be persecuted." 

Yikes. Country life a hundred years ago sounded harsh. 

"If you don't mind me veering off subject," Tsukumojuku 
started. I stopped him. 

"Hang on, sorry, let me check up on this, see if there are 
any connections between the dreams of my side's killers." 

I pulled out my phone, called Shirai Masami at the Fukui 
PD, and asked him to interrogate the killers about the dreams, 
using hypnosis if necessary. "Dreams? There you go again with the 
weird ideas, Jorge," he said, but I knew he'd get it done. 

I hung up. "That's a modern phone?" Tsukumojuku said. 
"It's so small, and there's no line, and there are little pictures 
moving behind that glass panel." 

Surprising, certainly, but everything he was experiencing 
was. We had no time to stop and discuss the culture clash. 

"Look, if we start down that road, it'll never end. America's 
about to put a man on Mars." 

"...yeah, leave it for another day," Tsukumojuku said. "Back 
to the point...or rather, the tangent." 

I wasn't sure what the main point was any more, but I let 
him run with it. 

"Truth is, I don't think Javier Cortez - the true killer - was 
born with the power to enter dreams. The cause of his problems 
lay with his mother, Leonora Cortez. Just before the cops made him 
disappear, Javier confessed everything to Jorge. He asked Jorge, 
'Do you know why I always did locked rooms?' Jorge shook his 
head. 'Because all deaths take place in locked rooms. I've slipped 
through the dreams of any number of people, and convinced them 
to kill someone in a locked room, but the one I really wanted to 
die, the one I really wanted to kill...was myself. When I slept, I was 
trapped in a locked room with my mother.' When Jorge repeated 
these words to me, I finally started asking the question I should 
have been that I had the answer. In other words, why 
was it Javier spent so much time dreaming. It takes a lot of time to 
drive someone so far into a corner that they'll commit a locked 
room murder. Javier wasn't working on the fifteen killers one at a 
time. I don't think he did them ail at once, but he was always 
working on several simultaneously. And those are just the people 
he succeeded with; there must have been other targets that 
proved less susceptible. He traveled through all their dreams, even 
showing up in their daytime naps if they got too scared to sleep at 
night. Which means Javier was sleeping all day, too. That's an 
unhealthy amount of sleep. Why did Javier spend so much time 
sleeping? 'When I slept, I was trapped in a locked room with my 
mother.' Locked in a room with Leonora, he slept, escaping into 
other people's dreams, hoping to find someone who would kill 
him. What caused such anger, and self-loathing? Why would being 

locked in a room with his mother make him sleep, and make his 
hatred erupt across the dreams of strangers? What was his mother 
doing in that room that would lead to such hatred?" 

These weren't questions. 

I knew the answer. There was no need to speak it. 

"I assume some sort of abuse was involved," Tsukumojuku 
said. "The desire to kill himself is the desire to make his flesh 
disappear. Sleeping and escaping into dreams were ways of 
escaping his flesh while he was in that locked room with her. 
Whatever was happening to his flesh was so horrific he had to 
escape it. Which implies the abuse was likely sexual. But we'll 
never know the truth. Javier was killed, and Leonora killed herself 
before her seaman husband, Juan Rovira, returned home. With his 
family gone, he spoke briefly to Jorge. Whatever happened may 
have been going on for more than ten years. Juan was absent from 
home for long periods of time, and quite the philanderer. When 
Javier was young, Juan often made Leonora cry, but at some point 
the tears stopped. "I've got Javier," she said. He'd seen the boy 
comfort her when she cried, so Juan assumed she'd gotten over it, 
and thought no more about it. He certainly noticed that she doted 
on the boy, but since that meant less strife for him, he was 
pleased. In that sense, the cause of the cause lay with Juan Rovira 
Cortez. One person hurt another, that person hurt someone else in 
turn, and that person developed a strange power that let them 
harm a number of strangers, and those strangers created locked 
rooms and murdered people in them." 

The core pattern behind so many of the world's problems. 

"Reality is what it is, and webs of misery are all around us, 
but my point is that Javier Cortez's ability to enter stranger's 
dreams was a power born of the suffering his mother inflicted. It's 
nothing but a hypothesis, but I've begun to believe that continual, 
repetitive suffering can lead to the development of unusual 

powers that help the sufferer escape. 

Eh? That's quite a thought. Here Tsukumojuku explained a 
case that had led to him forming a friendship with the other Jorge 
Joestar. It was another case of child abuse by an insane mother. 
Poor Antonio Torres, who had his skin peeled off by his mother 
every year since he was a baby, and when he turned ten developed 
the ability to shed his entire skin intact once a year. 

"Ugh, that's gross!" 

"But the cases are remarkably similar, aren't they? 
Repeated suffering, supernatural abilities. No normal people shed 
their skin." 

"Point taken, but...can I ask a question?" 


"It might be a little rude." 

"I promise not to mind." 

"Maybe the world you come from is kinda fucked up. 
Maybe stuff like that just happens there." 

"Hmm...l don't have any grounds to deny the possibility, at 
the moment." 

"I mean, I've never heard of anything like this." 

"I'd never heard of anything like that before I met Jorge 
Joestar. And I only have the two instances of this phenomenon to 
draw upon." 

"See? Sorry, but I just think it's your world that's weird. 
Everything's normal here." 

"I think there are many things about your world that are 
strange, but perhaps the laws it operates on are simply different 
from my own." 

"Unnh, this tangent's getting scary. Some of these mental 
images I really didn't need." 

"Come to think of it, I had Antonio Torres, 1900 - his skin - 
in my luggage...did it arrive here with me? I was gathering my 
belongings right before I passed out, and I'm certain I had the tube 
it was in slung over my shoulder." 

"Jesus! I really don't want to see that, but I guess we could 
ask the Katos? That house is done for, but maybe they found 
something in the rubble." 

"Yeah...but it's not that important. If they find it. I'd like it 
back, of course. Javier Cortez's clown nose and wig were in a 
different trunk." 

"Holy crap." 

"Ha. At any rate, that's enough of that tangent. There's 
another point I really should make; something you need to hear." 

"About this other Jorge Joestar?" 

"No, about you." 



What was he on about? What could he know about me? 

"You call yourself a detective, so this shouldn't take long for 
you to grasp. Have you never wonder why it is you're able to solve 
difficult cases and problems that nobody else can? Have you never 
found it strange that you always get to the truth in the end? When 
you find a clue in a book you just happened to be reading, or have 
an idea triggered by a conversation you happened to have with a 
complete stranger, or when a criminal close to getting away with it 
suddenly makes a boneheaded mistake, have you ever wondered if 
it was one too many coincidences in your favor? Have you ever felt 
like the world revolved around you? Like God himself was looking 
after you?" 

"Hunh? I mean, I get your drift, but isn't that what a 
detective is? Luck is part of skill." 

"But humans are prone to failure, Jorge Joestar. Everyone 

makes mistakes...normally." 

"I make mistakes all the time." 

"But in the end, you're right." 

"Yeah, but I work my ass off." 

"Hard work doesn't always lead to results. Normally." 

"Normally, shmormally, someone's doing all right you don't 
stand there hoping they fuck up. What's your point? That I should 
be less sure I'm a detective?" 

"No, quite the opposite. There never any reason to doubt 
yourself, or that you're a detective. But you should be aware that 
you are receiving preferential treatment at the hand of an arbitrary 

"...why? Should I give thanks for it or something?" 

"No. I call this god "Beyond" - and I'm certain that this god 
has lined you and the other Jorge Joestar up for a reason, for some 
greater purpose. It must have been Beyond's power that sent me 

"And not because I solved the 15-puzzle?" 

"You did. But think of it this way: Beyond set you on that 
path, and summoned me here. See? What most people imagine 
when they hear the word god is something all-powerful, that never 
explains itself to humans, that acts in a seemingly arbitrary 
fashion. Irrational, devoid of logic. But not here. The god I call 
Beyond prepared that 15-puzzle for you. I believe that there was a 
reason why Beyond had to do that. You're a detective, and to some 
extent the nature of the world becomes predictable. Lords knows, 
as a detective myself, I'm sick of explaining to people that because 
I am there, everything has meaning. Just like the arrival of a 
detective in a mystery novel. In a sense, Beyond is a mystery 
novelist. Beyond is writing a mystery novel in which you are the 
detective. And you should be aware of that fact." 

Hunh.J understood his point well enough, but... "But why 

do I need to know this?" 

"I told you. Because there is another Jorge Joestar." 

"So what?" 

"You said you'd never worked a case at the same time as 
another detective. But you've read mystery novels where that was 
the case?" 

"I have?" There were a lot of them, these days. "So?" 

"Two detectives, one truth. If both are detectives, then 
both must arrive at the same truth. But does that happen in the 
novels of this world?" 

"Most novels with two detectives have one solve it, then 
the other discover the real solution hidden behind it." 

"At that point, are they both still detectives?" 

"Hmm...they're treated like detectives, but certainly, within 
that novel, the latter is the real detective. But they might switch 
places in the next novel." 

"If it's a series. But what I'm talking about, like I said, isn't in 
terms of a lifetime, but in terms of each individual case. One 
volume at a time. There is no next time. You are one of the two 
detectives. Your life will prove whether you're the real one, or the 

Man, this good-lookin' kid was really making everything 
seem like a giant pain in the ass. I was getting sick of listening to 
him lecture me. 

"Fine, I'll be the fake, whatever. Your friend, this other Jorge 
Joestar, he can be the real one, it's cool. Ha ha ha. It won't change 
who I am. Why should I care? Not like being a detective is the only 
job I can do. There are plenty of others who can do the job instead 
of me, and I'm happy to leave them to it." 

I meant it. Murders and murder cases were hella scary. 

Seriously dangerous. Figuring out the tricks was a pain, and last act 
twists always pissed me off, and I never got off on the praise or, thinking like this really made me wonder why, 
exactly, I was a detective at all. I didn't really give a damn. I just did 
it cause I was there; if there was someone else, then I'd rather not. 

I think this rattled him, but he kept his poker face, and 
added, "The two of you are working in parallel, but you aren't both 
detectives. You're both Jorge Joestars. Are you still fine with being 
the fake?" 

"Course I am," I said. "Didn't I mention it? I'm adopted. You 
tell me I'm not Jorge Joestar, well...I'm not." 

At last I cracked his poker face. 

Didn't he think it weird when I gave the name? 

"I just assumed a hundred years from now Jorge Joestar 
might well be a Japanese name," he said, laughing. 

"No, no, I mean, some people do have weird names, but 
most people are all still "Tanaka Tarou" or other super normal 
names. I guess your name is pretty dang weird, and that might 
make you less sensitive to odd names? Most modern Japanese 
have ordinary names with easy to read kanji." 

Tsukumojuku sighed deeply. Ffffffffffffff. "I don't even know 
any more." 

I was starting to feel sorry for him. "Sorry, sorry, maybe I 
shoulda played along more, but I never was a good liar." 

"Please, spare me your sympathies." 

"Cool. Anyway, where you staying tonight? They'll probably 
let you sleep at the hospital tonight, but tomorrow?" 


"You could go check out this non-triangular Bermuda 
Triangle? I can pay your hospital bill and travel expenses. Not like 
you know anyone else here." 

Except maybe the Katos. 

Nobody lived in the house in Nishi Akatsuki; they might be 
distantly related but distant was the key word there, and when 
he'd arrived he'd pretty much demolished their house, so. It might 
not be his fault, technically, but it was hard to blame them if they 
had it in for him. Might be best to avoid trouble. Maybe 
researching their family tree might get me somewhere. "Or do you 
want to meet with...some people who might be descendants of 
your family?" 

"Well...I'd like to check if my luggage came with me, at 
least, so I'd at least like to speak to the people from the 
demolished house briefly. I don't know if we're really related, but I 
suppose I could try working as a detective here awhile. I don't 
know much about this world, though, not at all sure I could be a 
detective here. Might be easier to just get a normal job if I need 

"Yeah. Well, tonight just get some sleep. You had quite a 
trip, and nearly drowned. You must be exhausted." 

"But I wouldn't want my things thrown out with the 

"Don't worry about that! Serika was still reeling from the 
shock of it all. They're staying the night at a hotel somewhere, I'm 
sure. The police will have to work the scene over, too, so we can go 
check it out tomorrow." 

"Okay. Thank you, Jorge Joestar." 

"Cool. Hmm. If you do decide to head for the Bermuda 
Triangle, I'll come with. It'll be rough traveling on your own in the 
new world, and I'd love to see what going to another world looks 

"...thanks. But...I can't explain why, but I think you shouldn't 
come to my world. There's no telling what would happen if two 
Jorge Joestars met." 

Some sort of time travel paradox? 

"Then I'll let him be Jorge Joestar. Whatever. I'm not the 
same guy as that Jorge Joestar, so how can there be a paradox?" 

"...there's no telling what Beyond will have in store." 

This again. I was starting to despise that word. 

"Okay, okay, I'd love to see another world, but I doubt I 
could survive long without the last hundred years of technology, so 
I'll stay on this side. Do you even have trains or jets? Getting home 
sounds like a pain." 


"In our world, you can probably get there in three hours by 
airplane, Narita to JFK." 

The Bermuda Triangle point was at the tip of Manhattan 
Island. I'll be anything it's right where the Statue of Liberty stands. 

"Narita? From Narita Mountain?" 

"Yeah. JFK is named after John Fitzgerald Kennedy, former 
president, it's an airport on Manhattan Island." 

"Hunh...Manhattan, so America? A president who probably 
hasn't even been born yet in my world. The history of my world 
and yours might be different, so maybe he'll never exist." 

"Right. Truth is, if this is your future, you might be better off 
not knowing much about it." 

"You think so?" 

"Maybe better not to think too much about it." At this point 
my phone rang. It was Shirai. "Hello?" 

"Jorge, you got a minute?" 


"Bingo, buddy. Their dreams clinched it." 

"! Already? Really!?" 

My eyes met Tsukumojuku's. His eyes looked very sad. Did 
we have our own Javier Cortez? If there was sexual abuse going on, 
I was already feeling down. 

"The second we brought up dreams, they all jumped," 

Shirai went on. "They'd forgotten all about them till the moment 
we mentioned it. But every one of them described a man with a 
hat pulled down over his eyes. He showed up in their dreams, and 
told every one of them the same thing. 'When the police arrest 
you, if they ask about dreams, tell them this. "If Jorge Joestar ever 
comes to Morioh, I'll kill him.'" He used your name, Jorge! Every 
one of the fifteen said the same thing, not a syllable out of place. 
Like the same guy put a message in all their dreams. They knew his 
name, too. 'Kira Yoshikage.' This is fucked up, Jorge. Never heard 
the like. You'd better stay the hell away from this." 

Hunh? Morioh? 

Where the hell was that? Who was this guy? Who was Kira 

Was he not just replacing Javier Cortez as the Locked Room 
Maestro, but also sending me a warning through them? 

"Creepy! Hell no, I'm not going there," I said. 

Shirai didn't buy it. "No, seriously, Jorge. There's danger and 
there's danger, right? We still need your help on stuff here, don't 
you dare go." 

"I said I'm not going." 

"And when you say that you always go the weirdest places." 
He knew me pretty well by now. 

"But man, it's like he's telling me to come!" 

"Don't! This dude can enter people's dreams! That's fucked 


"Ah, but you saying that is like waving a red flag." 

"It's seriously dangerous. I knew we deal with all kinds of 
weird stuff on this job, but some dudes are on another level. This is 
definitely that other level. Beyond human comprehension." 

Shit like that just made me more interested! I didn't say 

that, though. I was wound up enough. "Anyway, thank you," I said, 
and hung up. I filled Tsukumojuku in. "So I basically have to go, 

"Hmmmmmmm...yeah," Tsukumojuku said. "But I'm gonna 
stay out of it. Jorge and I already solved our version of the case, 
and I've got other things to do and think about." 

True enough, I supposed. "Then leave this one to me. But I 
really will pay your bills and travel expenses. Tell you what. I'll take 
you to Manhattan, watch you pop through the triangle to the 
other world, and then go to Morioh." 

I quickly did a search for Morioh on my phone. Found it. 

Up Northeast, off the coast near S City. Never been there. 
Never even heard of it. But someone there wanted me to stay 

"All right, this'll be fun. I'm off home. I'll swing by 
tomorrow, bring you a phone. It'll be under my name, but give us a 
way to talk," I said. 

Tsukumojuku bowed, to my surprise. 

"Hey, now..." 

"Thank you for all your kindness. After all, we met just 
hours ago. It seems both Jorge Joestars are gentlemen. I truly 
believe that there is meaning in my meeting you like this." 

"Ha ha, okay. Maybe there is, but no need to get all formal. 
It reeks of hundred year old manners. Over here we're more 
relaxed, right?" 

"Heh heh, my Jorge and I were quite 'relaxed', I assure you. 
But I am grateful. I may be a burden to you for a while yet, for 
which I apologize. At the moment it seems I have no one else to 
rely on." 

"Sure. Anyway, I'm going home. See ya." 

"Tomorrow, then." 

I gave him my business card, and left feeling like he was a 

weird guy, and the way we met was weird, but somehow, we'd end 
up being good friends. Woke up the next morning, and while I was 
getting dressed word came that Tsukumojuku was dead. 

His body was found in Morioh. 

Shit, I thought. Someone really wanted me there. 

That was never a warning at all. It was always an invitation. 


I was going even without you killing Tsukumojuku, shit for 
brains. What a waste! There was no reason for him to die. 



Tsukumojuku was missing, presumed dead, and it seemed 
my days of adventure had ended. I went to school, barely spoke to 
anyone but Mum, and had my nose in a book all day long, at school 
or at home. Even though I'd had no friends as a child, and rarely 
went outside, I'd not been much of a reader. But being friends with 
Tsukumojuku and seeing how he used the information he'd learned 
to help him solve cases and increase the flexibility of his thought 
processes made me incapable of remaining ignorant. But I still 
hated studying and never really took school seriously, so I couldn't 
really keep up with the other students. So I decided to start small, 
with novels. Mother had quite a collection of English novels 
overflowing our bookshelves. Since there was a detective, I started 
with Sherlock Holmes, but after visting the scene of real crimes 
with Tsukumojuku it just seemed so tame and stiff, so I gave up. I 
then tried Charles Dickens, Oscar Wilde, and Emily Bronte, but it 
was H. G. Wells I fell in love with. The Time Machine, The Island 
of Dr. Moreau, War of the Worlds, The Invisible Man - all science 
fantasy, all terrific. They even made me like science. When Mum 
saw me reading a book on science she suggested we hire a tutor. 
She'd never really been one for forced study or early bedtimes, but 
she had a keen eye to when I might be open to such a suggestion, so 
I didn't feel moved turn her down. I had an idea who might be a 
good tutor; a girl Tsukumojuku and I had met on our last case, the 
one who'd helped us finally catch Javier Cortez. Her name was 
Penelope de la Roza. She had a pathological fear of clowns, so 
when Javier had haunted her dreams disguised as a clown and tried 
to convince her to commit a locked room murder, the blow to her 
system had been so extreme she’d quit school and never left the 
house. She was quite the beauty, and I thought maybe sharing some 
stories of good times with Tsukumojuku might help cheer her up a 

But when I went to see her things didn't go so well. She 
barely gave me the time of day. 

"Sorry, but seeing you makes me remember the clown in my 

dreams, and I get scared." 

Whoops. Clearly, I'd been tactless. Now that she mentioned 
it while Javier had been after her Penelope had been in a state of 
panic, and was perpetually shivering, even in broad daylight. 

"Oh. Sorry to just drop in like this, then. I didn’t mean to 
upset you," I said, and turned to leave. 

"I'm sorry too, Jorge," she said, from the other side of the 
door she refused to open. "You came all this way. I can't stop 
myself thinking about the clown, but...I was glad to see you, and 
honestly, it's something of a relief to talk to someone like this." 

I was very glad to hear it. 

Also, even though nearly everyone I'd met solving cases 
was Spanish, they all pronounced Jorge 'George' - Tsukumojuku's 
parting gift. That thought made me sad, but there was a warmth to 
that sadness. I went home. 

But the next evening, Penelope came to see me, looking 
very upset. 

"Jorge!" she yelled from outside. Surprised, I got out of bed. 
I glanced at the clock; it was 1:30 AM. For a moment I wondered if 
I'd dreamt it, but then she yelled again. "Jorge Joestar!" 

I cracked the curtains, and Penelope was standing outside 
the front door. 

"What is it, Penelope?" "You've got to help! You've got to 
do something!" "Do something about what? Calm down!" "How 
can I? He's back! Javier Cortez is back! It's all your fault! Nothing 
happened until yesterday!" 

Javier? This made no sense. The islanders killed him and 
dumped his body in the sea. "Okay, wait a second, I'll be right out." 
I left the window, went downstairs, and burst out the front door. 
Penelope was shivering in a sleeveless dress and a pair of sandals. 
She did not appear to be harmed. Just terrified; she collapsed into 
my arms as I approached. Her body was horrifyingly cold to the 
touch. "Aughhhh!" she wailed, clinging to me. "I'm so scared! 
Javier Cortez is still after me!" 

"He isn’t," I said. "He's dead. You saw the body." They'd 
beaten him with stones and farm implements until his skull split 
open. There's no way he could have survived. "It was just a dream. 
Don't worry. He no longer exists." 

Penelope pulled away, and glared at me. "No, it wasn't a 
dream! It really happened! He came to my house!" 

"He couldn't have," I said, growing melancholy. Perhaps 
Penelope had genuinely gone crazy. 

Frustrated, Penelope yelled through her tears, "It's true! And 
he ran ahead of me on the way here, jumping out at me!" 

Jumping out at her? 

"What do you mean? I'll hear you out, just calm down and 
start from the beginning." 

"Look...after you came to visit yesterday, I went back to my 
room. The door was locked from the inside, and so were the 
windows. I couldn’t get in." 

It <yyy 

"It was a locked room! I thought there had to be someone in 
there at first...I was scared, so I went to the kitchen, where my 
mother was. But the kitchen door slammed shut right in front of 
me. It was locked from the inside! I got scared, and called out, and 
she started screaming! 'Ahhh! There's somebody in here!’ Now both 
of us are in a panic, and trying to open the door, but it won’t open. 
Cortez wanted me to kill my mother, remember? She knew that, so 
she thought it was me again, and yelled, 'Don't do it, Penny! Stop! 
Don't kill me!' I would never do that! Cortez is dead, and I'm back 
to normal! I was so worried about her I tried to kick the door down, 
but it wouldn't open. That's how you and Tsukumojuku used to get 
in the locked rooms, right?" 

In an emergency, yes. If events were still in progress, we'd 
attempt to intervene, but normally we'd try to preserve the scene, 
and look for a key or another way in. Or make another way in. 
People making locked rooms often took a broken down door into 
account, and would often try and use that to hide evidence. We 

didn't want to give them the satisfaction. 

"But my kick didn't do a damn thing to that door, so I started 
throwing myself into it, over and over. At last it broke, and I came 
rushing in, just in time to see a clown in the corner before it 
disappeared. I froze to spot. I couldn’t move. Mother was hiding 
behind the sofa, hysterical. At last she came out and came over to 
me, but she blames me for everything. She thought I was trying to 
kill her again. She's sure I hate her now." 

Penelope's parents had divorced four years ago, and 
Penelope's mother had full custody. Penelope had blamed her for 
taking away her father. Their relationship had been strained to 
begin with, and when Penelope started dating a man named Edvard, 
a thug who beat her and sold anything she owned of value, Isabella 
- her mother - tried to convince her to break up with him. Edvard 
played the two of them off against each other, leaving Penelope 
alone in the world. He threatened to ruin Penelope permanently if 
Isabella interfered. In the end, Isabella gave up on her daughter. 
Then the clown started showing up in Penelope's dreams. Face 
covered in white, with bright circles round his eyes and mouth, a 
huge grin, a cheery manner, lots of big gestures and calls to the 
crowd. Penelope found his ridiculous nature deeply frightening. 
She couldn’t move; her body covered in a cold sweat, her heart 
beating so fast it seemed like it was beating right into her brain. She 
couldn't even look away, and her breathing grew so shallow she 
was barely conscious enough to think. Occasionally her eyes even 
rolled back in her head and she fainted - while still asleep and 
dreaming. The only person she could talk to about this fear had 
been Isabella. 

"She’s the only one I can trust. I finally realized that, but no 
matter how many times I tell her, she..." Penelope started crying 
again. I have no idea what to do when girls cry. I just stood there 
awkwardly, and waited for her to stop. "So, urn," she continued, 
still crying. "I went over to the window where the clown was - very 
slowly, ready to run. And I found this." She held out a doll, about 

the size of her palm. It had no clothes, and a shapeless face with 
eyes and a wide open mouth stitched on. The eyes were white 
circles with no pupils, and there was blood streaming out of the 
mouth down its chin. There was a hangman's noose tied around its 


"Dead. It's supposed to be me, I'm sure. It's a warning. I'm 
going to die. Someone's going to murder me. Soon." 

"That won't happen," I said, but I had no basis for this. And 
Penelope knew that. Still, I thought, this was all happening because 
I thoughtlessly went to see her. Nothing like this had happened 
before today. "Why don't you come in?" I said. I led her up on the 
porch, and tried to open the door. 

It was locked from the inside. 

Mum? Why would she shut us out...? 

"Jorge?" Her voice came from inside. "Run!" 

"? What? Open the door, Mum." 

Suddenly terrified, I began rattling the knob, but the door 
wouldn't budge. 

"Listen to me, Jorge. You have to run." 

"Mum! Open this door! What's going on!?" 

"There's a clown in here." 

A clown? 

"Eeek!" Penelope squeaked. She backed away, almost 
falling down the two steps up to the porch. "Oh...Jorge...sorry...I 
think I brought it with me..." 

This made no sense. Javier Cortez was dead. I didn't believe 
in ghosts. Someone living must be doing this. 

I'd learned that much after four years as Tsukumojuku's 


There were no ghosts. There was no magic. Curses only 
worked on the emotions of those that believed in them. The 
Chinese were not wizards, and there were no drugs or poisons with 
special properties that favored the criminals. Everything had 

meaning. Everything could be explained logically. 

The clown on the other side of this door could be explained, 
too. Mysterious clowns only existed in dreams! 

I put my back into it and kicked the door down. Crassssh! 
I'd kicked a lot of doors down, working with Tsukumojuku, but this 
was definitely my best ever attempt. The door broke free of the 
lock, flew inwards, and did a full 180, slamming against the inside 

"Mum!" I yelled, bursting in. Then I saw it; a clown floating 
in the air, and my Mum facing it down. 

The clown...did exist. 

"Aiieeee!" Penelope screeched, behind me. 

Okay, so the clown was real. Penelope could see it too. A fat 
little white clown. White hair, white make up, puffy white clothes. 

"Penelope! Wait outside!" I yelled, and grabbed a nearby 
chair with one hand. Strike before you think! I swung the chair 
through the air, and hit the clown with it. "Rraaaagh!" Schuuun! 
The chair zipped through the air. The clown, it broke 
into the pieces. 

What the!? The chair hit the floor. This wasn't a ghost. I’d 
never seen a ghost, but this clown didn't vanish like mist or smoke, 
it shattered into tiny pieces - they were hard to make out, but they 
were still in the air in front of me. 

"Mum, you get out of here," I said. 

"Calm down, Jorge," Mum said, behind me. "I don't think 
the clown means us any harm." 

"?.what makes you say that?" 

"I was quite surprised when it appeared and all the doors 
and windows slammed shut. But when that girl outside - Penelope? 
- appeared, I understood. I don't know how, but I believe Penelope 
is making that clown. She's making it to protect herself." 


"Jorge? Are you okay?" Penelope asked. 

I turned around, and Penelope had come back up the steps 

onto the porch, and was looking in the door. 

"Penelope, don't come in, I meant to say, but suddenly 
the door slammed shut, and the floating clown manifested in the 
shadows behind it. Penelope's shriek and my yelp of surprise 
overlapped. The clown ignored us both, dragged a heavy side table 
over to the door, and wedged it under the doorknob. Locking us in. 

We were in a locked room. 

"Jorge! Run!" Penelope screamed. "I'm so sorry! I brought 
him here!" 

But the clown never looked at me. It just stared at the door, 
at Penelope on the other side of it. 

Chair in hand, I moved slowly closer. The clown didn’t turn 
around. I studied it closely. There were cracks on the surface of it 
here and there, and I could see inside; there was nothing in there. It 
was all surface. A hollow clown. 

I moved even closer. The cracks in the clown had frayed 
edges. I put my face right next to it, and could see the threads. This 
clown was woven out of thread. What thread? 

I found a single thread dangling down from the clown's hip. 
I followed it with my eyes. It ran along the floor, and through the 
gap under the front door. 

"Penelope, step back." 

"Sniff, okay. I'm sorry." 

She was crying again. I listened for her footsteps on the 
stairs, then moved the side table aside and opened the door. 

"Eeeeek, look out, Jorge! Behind you!" Penelope screamed. 
She must have seen the clown behind me, so I stepped out on the 
porch and closed the door. "Oh! Good, are you okay, Jorge? Come 
over here. There was a clown right behind you!" The white thread 
ran across the porch, down the steps, and over to Penelope. Hmm. 
"Wait, Jorge! Your mother!? She's still in there with the clown! We 
have to save her!" Penelope bravely started up the stairs again, so I 
put my arms around her. She was the one who needed saving. 

"Wh-what are you doing, Jorge?" she said, struggling. "The 


My hands were resting on her shoulders, and I could tell her 
sleeveless dress was now held on by a single string over each 
shoulder. In the night air, her shoulders were very cold. 

"My Mum's fine," I said. Penelope stopped struggling. She 
was still scared and confused, but she was standing still now. My 
arms were around her, pulling her to me. Fighting the force of her 

It had happened again, I thought. Just like Javier Cortez's 
power over dreams, and Antonio Torres' skin shedding, constant 
fear and suffering had given her strange powers. 

I remembered how the trick Javier Cortez had wanted 
Penelope to use had involved a thread running under the door to 
turn the key. A very simple trick. It would have bored Tsukumojuku 
to tears, but the fear it had given Penelope was so great it had led to 
this mysterious power. 

I cursed the fear itself silently, holding her close. 

Eventually the thread from Penelope's dress snapped, a doll 
in a noose dropped behind the door, and Mum brought it out. I took 
it, showed it to Penelope, and unraveled it before her eyes. There 
was a loose thread coming out of the doll's hip, and one tug on that 
was all it took. The doll came apart that easily. 

"I know this is hard to believe, but you made all of this, 
Penelope. The clown, the locked room, and this doll. You are much 
too scared of that clown that wanted you to commit a locked room 
murder. You couldn’t take the constant fear, and it gave you a 
strange power, the ability to make locked rooms. But since you 
don't want to do that, you make the clown do it, and because you 
don't want to kill anyone, you kill this doll. And it all gets shut 
inside a locked room." 

Penelope didn't believe me, of course. She couldn’t see 
inside the physical locked room, or into the depths of her own 

heart. I just had to hope she'd get used to it in time. 

But wherever Penelope went, no matter what door she drew 
near, her fear slammed it shut, made a locked room, a clown 
appeared inside, and a doll was hung. And that just fueled her fear. 

I got used to it quickly enough. I had never been afraid of 
clowns, or locked rooms. 

I explained it to Isabella, and had her observe the power in 
action, but she remained terrified and convinced Penelope had been 
possessed by the devil, so I talked it over with Mum, and we 
decided to have Penelope come live with us. Our house was 
probably the largest on La Palma, with plenty of rooms. Mum was 
a majority stockholder in a successful English company called the 
Speedwagon Company, so we didn't lack for money, and she ran a 
trading company of her own with ships and warehouses in every 
port in the Canary Islands. She hired Penelope to work in the La 
Palma office. And to be my tutor. 

Just standing in front of a door caused it to slam shut and 
form a locked room, leaving Penelope quaking in the shadow of the 
clown, but I went with her to work, and walked with her around the 
house, and in time locked rooms stopped showing up at the office 
and our house. Frankly, I was somewhat disappointed. I mean, just 
standing in front of a door made Penelope's clothes unravel? La 
Palma was hot all year and nobody wore that many clothes to begin 
with. Penelope wore sun dresses, and maaaaybe a light shawl over 
her shoulders, and that's it. Having that unravel, the surface area 
rapidly shrinking...oh my. Naturally I said nothing, pretending to be 
focused on the problem and not to have noticed anything, but Boys, 
girls see right through this. She picked up on my furtive glances, 
and rapidly covered herself with pillows or nearby bed sheets. "I 
still can't believe it, but that grin on your face makes me think it has 
to be true." 

Eh? I was grinning? Craaap, I mean, sorry, Penelope, you're 

really scaring me here! I was all flustered every time but Penelope 
was never really all that mad at me, thankfully. Would I ever be a 
proper gentleman? 

Apparently not. 

One day in February, six months after Penelope moved into 
the Joestar residence, and a while after she'd been able to go to 
work on her own, she asked me to go with her again. "Sorry, Jorge. 
Just for today, I promise. Yesterday I just got this idea in my head 
that someone was following me. I'm scared to go on my own." 

Usually my job was to go, "You made this locked room, 
Penelope." Or, "The clown's made of thread, and it'll turn into a doll 
in a few minutes, so there's no need to be frightened." But this 
sounded more like actual bodyguard work. I was getting nervous 
already. I mean, when I was working with Tsukumojuku we used to 
burst in on murder scenes, and chase killers around, and catch 
them, but most of the work was done by Tsukumojuku and the 
police, while I hovered nearby shrieking. I didn't ever really fight at 
all, and I still had no real confidence in my left hook. The only 
thing I’d really gained from those experiences was courage? Or so I 
thought but apparently I hadn't even managed that, because when I 
tried to stand up from the breakfast table and say I'd go to work 
with her my legs were shaking so much I couldn’t walk straight, 
and stumbled into the table. All the dishes rattled. Crap, that was a 
little too frightened. I even surprised myself. 

"Oh, Jorge...sorry. Are you okay? You don't have to come." 
Penelope smiled bravely. "I'll be fine." 

Augh, she totally knew I was scared. But even though I was 
embarrassed part of me was super relieved she said that, and 
looking forward to getting back to sipping my coffee. Pathetic. I 
hadn't improved one iota since grade school. 

But before I could say anything, Mum stepped in. "No, 
Jorge, you have to go with Penelope." At least I maintained my 

dignity. Maybe. But in the sense that both of them knew exactly 
what I was thinking probably not at all. I suddenly had a very bad 
feeling about the day. 

But I left the house with Penelope. She thoughtfully chose 
to be super chatty to keep my mind off things, but my head was full 
of all the times Antonio's gang had come after me, and it felt like a 
dark cloud was hovering over my head, that I was sure it would 
bring bad luck. 

Of course, Antonio Torres was dead, and his primary cohort 
Julio had long since lost interest, so neither of them showed up. But 
on the way to the office, there was a road that cut through the 
middle of an open field, and waiting for us was Penelope's ex, the 
bad bad Edvard Noriega. 

I froze to the spot, my mind blank. Penelope glared at him. 

"Hey, Penny! Long time no see." "...what? What do you 
want?" "I just wanted to see how you were getting on." "I don't 
want to see your face ever again." "Don’t say that! I'm dying here." 
"You heard I was working for the Joestars, right? I'm not lending 
you money, and no matter what trouble you're in, you'll get no help 
from me." "That's not it...I got no money, true, but I don't need that. 
I...I saw something strange..." 

Mm? Strange? That word finally snapped me out of it. 
Edvard was nothing like he'd been when Tsukumojuku and I last 
spoke to him. Where once he’d been an alpha male, and treated 
Penelope like his property, now Edvard was genuinely terrified, his 
voice shaking, his face pale. He was downright begging for 
Penelope's help. 

"Come on, Jorge. Leave him be. He's a great actor, always 
was good at making people pity him," Penelope snapped. 

Really? Acting? This was a performance? 

"No...I'm serious! Listen, please! I saw this creepy guy, with 

"Shut up and go away!" 

"I was so was too dark to see his face, but he's 

after me..." 

"I don't care! Take care of it yourself!" 

"I just know he's gonna kill me, Penny. Have a 
gotta listen. He's like a like a moth in the night, tapping softly on 
the wall..." 

"Shut up shut up shut up! You never once listened to a word 
I said about the clown! Serves you right!" 

"I couldn't be sorrier about that, honest. It was all my fault, 
so please, just stop a second. Don't go digging up the past. Listen, 
two nights ago I went out to see this girl I've been seeing, 

"I don't want to hear about it!" 

"You gotta listen! I don't love her anything like as much as I 
loved you, I swear!" 

"I don't care! You'd better stop, or...!" 

Penelope was so angry now she stopped walking. How 
could she not be? When the case with Javier Cortez broke, Edvard 
had split, without even saying good-bye. Even after Penelope had 
shut herself in Isabella said she'd spent a while waiting for him to 
come back. And now he shows up, talking about his new girlfriend, 
even though he'd never bothered breaking up with his old one. The 
worst thing a man could do, let alone an ex. 

"So I was lying in bed with Prunella, when I suddenly woke 


"Did you not hear me say stop? I don't! Want! To hear it!" 
Penelope roared. 

I knew how she felt, but her anger was so explosive it 
scared me. "Come on now, just ignore him, let's go," I said, trying 
to calm her down and pull her away. Then I saw her face. There 
were veins bulging on her foreheads. Her lips were curled back, 
bearing her teeth. She looked downright...mad. This wasn't going to 
work. Penelope was beyond the help of words. 

But Edvard was too wrapped up in his own affairs to notice. 

"He was standing at the base of the bed. Black as the devil, 

but so quiet he hardly seemed real..." 

Something red trickled down from Penelope's nose. Blood. 
She was so furious there was blood running down her chin. 

"If you don't stop talking I'll kill you," she said. I was too 
scared to try and stop her. 

While I dithered, there was burst of wind around me. Had 
the wind changed? No, there was a rumbling below me, and the 
sound was moving, coming closer. What the!? 

I looked around, half expecting to see all the dogs and cats 
on the island rushing towards me, but nope. What was actually 
happening was far more terrifying. 

The ground itself was moving. Scrrrrrrrrrmch! It swirled, 
gathering itself around us. A mound of earth raced by, like a 
carnivore hell-bent on devouring the crops. It passed behind me, 
heading for Edvard. 

"I knew he wasn't a thief, or nothing. Thieves don't watch 
people when they sleep. They don't wear clothes that make them 
look like they got wings..." 

"I'm gonna kill you, Edvard! Stop it now, or you will die?" 

Both of them kept talking, oblivious to the other. Penelope's 
nose bleed had dyed her chest red, and Edvard's eyes were focused 
on nothing - the very fact that he hadn't noticed what was going on 
was possibly the most frightening part of all this. Look! 

I opened my mouth to yell, but the dirt and grass around 
him heaved, and four walls shot up around him. 

But Edvard didn't stop mumbling. "I was too scared to get 
up. Then he spoke. 'Close your eyes, lie down, and think about 
tomorrow,' he said." 

He was about to be swallowed in a five meter wide square 
of dirt. "I said stop," Penelope hissed, another squirt of blood 
shooting out of her nose. I took one look at her and knew this was 
all her doing. 

"I don't know what he meant, but I knew one thing...this 
black winged man was going to do something awful to me..." 

Just before the earth walls swallowed Edvard completely, I 
saw a black figure standing behind him. It had a round nose, and a 
hat, and big hair. 

A clown. 

The walls closed together on top, closing Edvard in with the 
dirt clown. The locked room was complete. 

"If you'd stopped, you'd have lived!" Penelope raged. 

Penelope had finally learned to make a locked room without 
using her clothes. And the evil clown inside. 

Part of me was actually impressed. Penelope's wound had 
given her concrete power, and she’d turned it into a weapon. 

Given the source of her powers, I immediately decided to 
call it a Wound. Injury was too coarse, and Trauma sounded too 
medical, and the implication that it was mental suffering was too 
strong. This wound was both physical and emotional, and grew 
over time. 

But this was no time to go naming things! Was I an idiot? I 
had time to be weirdly impressed later! 

"No, Penelope! Stop!" I said, forcing myself to speak. 
"Don’t kill him!" 

Penelope didn't even look at me. "It's not me." 

Of course not. It was the clown. 

"Edvard! Run!" I yelled, dashing towards the locked room. 
There was no door, or window. Just the walls. Grass woven tightly 
together, dirt plugging up the cracks. I tried yanking on the grass 
but the holes filled quickly with more grass and dirt. The walls 
were alive. 

"Aaaaaaaugh!" Edvard screamed inside. 

Had the clown got its noose on him? 

Fundamentally, the point of a locked room murder was to 
make a murder look like a suicide. But if Edvard died like this, and 
someone found him, would the police think he built a room of dirt 
and grass and hung himself inside? 

I didn’t know. But without evidence showing how the locked 

room was built, without proof it was murder, would the police have 
any other choice but to rule it a suicide? If so, Penelope's locked 
room murder would be a success. 

But I wouldn't let that happen. 

I wouldn’t let Penelope murder anyone! 

I ripped into the grass and dirt walls, forcing a hole open. I 
had to work faster than the automatic recovery. I got the hole large 
enough to check on Edvard. I couldn't see most of him, but his feet 
were dangling in the air, kicking. He was hanging. 

"Stop, Penelope! Don't make a locked room! Break this 
locked room down!" I shouted, making the hole even wider. Before 
the grass and dirt could fill it in I dove in. 

"No! Don't, Jorge! Come out of there!" Before Penelope's 
cry finished, the wall closed behind me, muffling her voice. 

I turned around just in time to see the hole close completely. 
Edvard was dangling from the ceiling, a rope of grass around his 
neck. Behind him, an earthen clown dangled upside down from the 

Why had I jumped in here? "Aaaaaaugh!" I yelled. There 
was a snap as the grass rope dropped down from the ceiling and 
pulled tight around my neck. It yanked me into the air, hard. The 
grass dug into my throat, breaking the skin, but I barely noticed. 
The weight of my body nearly made me black out instantly. 
Luckily, my neck didn't break, but the noose was choking off my 
windpipe and jugulars, cutting off the flow of air to my brain. With 
my blood not moving, my entire body gasped for oxygen. The pain 
was so great I tried desperately to loosen or break the noose, but it 
wouldn't budge. Instead, more tendrils slithered down, weaving 
themselves into the noose, making it stronger. I was starting to 
panic. The dirt clown moved its face next to mine, watching me die. 
Now I was really panicking, but I couldn't! Not now! My legs 
couldn't reach the ground and this clown was going to make sure I 
died! I wasn't getting out of this by brute forcing my way free! 

Think! I had to think! 

How could I break the locked room? 


Could Penelope save me? 

No. She’d made the locked room. Penelope had no idea what 
was happening inside it. Anything that happened would be the 
clown's fault, in her mind. Penelope was even less aware that she 
was doing all this than the clown staring emotionlessly into my 
eyes. After Edvard and I were dead, she'd cry a while, tell everyone 
a clown killed us in some mysterious locked room, and then forget 
all about it the moment the funerals were over. I couldn't rely on her 
at all! 

I had to think of a way to break the locked room myself! 
Without brute force!? But that just might be possible! If I could 
break the idea of a locked room, somehow! The point of a locked 
room was to make murder look like suicide. If I could make 
provide evidence that this was murder...if I could leave that behind 
somehow, so that the police would have to investigate further! Then 
that would destroy the locked room's function! 

"Grrrrraagh!" I yelled, not because of this idea but because 
the pancakes and tea I'd had for breakfast had come up my throat 
and were dripping back down into my wind pipe. Shit. My 
breakfast was going to kill me before this noose did. I had to hurry. 
But carefully. I couldn't screw this up! I pulled my knife out of my 
back pocket. It was a pocket knife, mostly designed for opening 
wine; the blade was three centimeters long. I kept it around for self- 
defense because I was pathetic, but today I was very grateful to 
have it. 

I pulled my shirt up, and stabbed the knife into my bare 
belly. "Glrararraaagh!" I yelled, gargling the vomit in my windpipe. 
My vision was getting blurry. I could barely see. I knew the clown 
was still there, though. There was a shrill ringing in my eyes, and I 
was about to pass out entirely, but I couldn't panic! 

I had to write! 

Feeling my way across my belly with the knife, I wrote. 

A message. That the clown would have to read. 


Nice and simple. 

I barely made it. While I was writing the final R I lost 
consciousness, and the world went black before my eyes. I saw a 
tiny light in the darkness, and wondered if that was the entrance to 
the afterlife. It seemed so warm. Should I jump on in? No, no, I 
wasn't done with this world yet, but...? Just as I was starting to feel 
rather rapturous, my ass hit the ground, the ceiling opened, sunlight 
streamed in, and I threw up more than I've ever thrown up before. 
Blaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarggh. Blrrrnxaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrggghh. 

Once my stomach and lungs and pipes were totally clear I 
felt so happy I wondered if I could split this joy with Penelope, who 
was clutching me and crying, "I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry." 

Edvard was unconscious but alive. I was relieved to see it. 
My belly throbbed, but it would heal in time. 

Or so I thought, but apparently I'd dug a little too deep, and 
the word murder would remain upside-down on my belly forever. 
When the doctor told me this I gaped at him, and Penelope started 
crying again, and a familiar voice from the hospital room door 
yelled, "Jorge! Who did that to you!?" and I turned to look and saw 
Lisa Lisa standing there, a little taller, her hair much longer, and 
even more beautiful. I hid my bare belly, and Penelope wiped her 
eyes and stopped crying. 

"They're still bullying you!? 'Murder'? Is that a threat? 
Jorge, what have you got yourself mixed up in!?" Lisa Lisa was 
jumping to conclusions. Pour years had done wonders for her but 

the gulf between her insides and out was already getting on my 

"No, no, I did this myself." "Don't lie to me! Nobody would 
ever do that!" "I had a good reason." "Then explain it to me this 
instant!" "Shut up! I don't have to explain everything I do to you!" I 
said, dismissively. Lisa Lisa clamped her mouth shit, her lip 
quivering, tears in her eyes. 

Aw, crap. 

"Um, sorry," Penelope said, standing up. "It's all my fault." 

"Forget it, Penelope. It doesn't matter now." 


"This is the Penelope Mama Erina mentioned?" Lisa Lisa 
said, glaring at us. "I suppose I should introduce myself. I'm..." 

"Lisa Lisa, right? Jorge and Erina told me about you." 

"Don't you call me Lisa Lisa. My name is Elizabeth Straits, 

I cringed. Fireworks were flying between them. Penelope 
looked ready to make a locked room around Lisa Lisa, and summon 
that clown. I had do something, so I forced myself to speak. "What 
brings you here, Lisa Lisa? You coming home with us? Mum will 
be glad to see you. Or did you already talk to her? Did you go see 
her first? I suppose you wouldn't know to come here otherwise. We 
kept your room the way you left it so..." 

"Finding you here was a coincidence, Jorge," Lisa Lisa 
interrupted. "I had a question for the doctor here, and saw you'd 
been hurt...I was a little surprised, that's all." Her tone had softened, 
to my relief. 

"A question for me?" The doctor said. 

"Have you had patients coming here claiming to have seen a 
man with wings? Or a man like a moth?" 

So much for my relief. 

I had just heard that exact story. 

Listen, please! I saw this creepy guy, with wings... 

Edvard's words. 

Penelope looked as stunned as I was. 

"Yeah," the doctor said. "We've had a lot of patients 
wondering if they were having a nervous breakdown." 

Lisa Lisa nodded, as if she'd expected that answer. "I 
checked with the police as well. They have quite a collection of 
reports of this man, and the citizens have formed a watch to search 
for him." 

Eh? Really? I had no idea. I barely ever left the house, so I 
was out of touch with the goings on around town. 

"At first I thought it was a trick of the light, or an illusion," 
the doctor said, "But more and more people came, so I was forced 
to conclude it's some sort of mass hysteria. A delusion everyone 
believed." He paused, and sighed deeply. "But truth is, he came to 
me last night. This man with black wings. He really exists. That 
was no delusion. I...don't know if he's of this world or not, but he is 

The delusion even reached the doctor? Should he still be 
examining people? I looked at Lisa Lisa, concerned. 

"Do you remember what happened five years ago, Jorge? 
When Straits and the others came, and told everyone not to leave 
their houses?" 

Of course I remembered. A chill ran down my spine. "Is that 
happening again?" 

"Yes. This time we will be thorough." 

I was scared now. 

"He spoke to me," the doctor said, his eyes as glazed over as 
Edvard's had been. ’"Close your eyes, lie down, and think about 
tomorrow,' he said." The exact same line, word for word. Even 

"Don't do as he says, Doctor," Lisa Lisa said. "Lock yourself 
in your house tonight, and if anything frightens you, retreat even 

farther inside." 

The way she put it was the scariest. 

"What happened five years ago?" Penelope asked me. "I 
remember locking myself in, but..." I couldn't begin to answer. 

The three of us walked home in silence to find Straits and 
Mum sipping tea in the parlor. The mood was hardly pleasant. In 
fact, it was so tense I wanted to cry. There was no escape anywhere. 
Everything on the island was terrifying. 

After greeting them, Lisa Lisa said, "Mama Erina, I think 
it's time Jorge knew the truth about what happened to his father." 

Mum put her teacup on the table. "Yes, I suppose you're 
ready to hear the story, even if it is a frightening one." 

Nononononononono I definitely wasn't but I couldn't say 
that or even shake my head I was already too scared to move. 

"Should I wait in my room?" Penelope asked. 

Mum shook her head. "You should stay, too. This story 
concerns not just the Joestar family, but all mankind." 

And then she told the story. 

I had known the name Dio - god in both Italian (Dio) and 
Spanish (Dios) - as the name of an uncle of no blood relation. My 
father had uncovered a plot of Dio's to slowly poison my 
grandfather, George, and when the police came to arrest him, he'd 
resisted, and the Joestar mansion had burned to the ground. That 
much was as I'd heard it, but the ending was different. Dio did not 
die. Mum's story began with that correction. 

Dio Brando - he'd kept the name, even after being adopted 
by the Joestars - had stabbed my grandfather right in front of 
Jonathan and the police, then put on a stone mask that had been 
found in an Aztec ruin in Mexico. He'd wiped blood across the 
surface of it and long needles had shot out and stabbed him in the 

head. What should have killed him instead turned him into a 
vampire. He destroyed the police with ferocious strength, and 
fought with my father. In the end, both survived the fire with 
substantial injuries. My father met a man named Will A Zeppeli 
who taught him a secret method of breathing based on ripples, 
called Hamon breathing. Armed with this technique, my father 
fought Dio again in a small English town called Wind Knight's Lot. 
Dio could rob a body of all heat in an instant, and my father seemed 
close to losing, but managed to turn the tables and emerge 
victorious. But he failed to confirm the kill (according to Lisa Lisa's 
evaluation) and let the vampire fall into the valley. While Dio’s 
body had been destroyed by my father's Hamon, he managed to cut 
off his own head before the Hamon reached it, and survived. 

He lay low for two months, without a body, surviving with 
the help of his zombies. Then he snuck aboard the ship my parents 
were taking their honeymoon on, and fought my father a third time. 
As my mother reached the engine room they were fighting in, some 
sort of bodily fluid light beam shot out of Dio's eyes, and pierced 
my father's hands and throat. On the brink of death, my father used 
his last breath to send Hamon rippling through a zombie that 
attacked, manipulating the zombie into destroying the ship and the 
zombies on it. My mother wanted to die with him, but he convinced 
her to take baby Lisa Lisa, found crying near her mother's corpse, 
and climb into the special box Dio had constructed. Two days later 
she was found floating in the box by some fisherman from the 
Canary Islands... 

When this long, insane story ended, Straits said, "Ever since 
Dio opened the long lost door to the land of the dead, complex 
echoes of fate and causality have led to dark powers rearing their 
heads in many lands, and we have been unable to stop the fallout 
from these completely. On this islands it seems another zombie or 
vampire has appeared. Even though we thought we killed them all 

five years ago." 

I remembered the sunlight turning Mr. Hernandez to dust, 
and the...the Hamon? Lisa Lisa had used to destroy Alejandro 
Torres, and couldn't stop shaking. "This is an island," Lisa Lisa 
said. "Vampires and zombies can't come here by land. There are 
larger islands, more populated islands, but this is the second 
incident on La Palma. We're starting to wonder if there's a stone 
mask on this land." 

Lisa Lisa looked right at Mum. "Mama Erina, we have a 
question for you. We've spoken to the fisherman that rescued the 
two of us. They said they found us 100 km south east of La Palma, 
floating in a big black box that looked like a coffin." 

Ehhhh? A coffin? Antonio Torres had called me the white 
raft, but it was actually a black coffin? 

Lisa Lisa glanced at me quickly, then continued, "ft was big 
enough to fit a full grown man. There were cushions on the inside, 
and it was designed to shield the occupant from external blows, ft 
sounds a little excessive for a coffin, but that's what the fisherman 
all called it. Was it a coffin, Mama Erina?" 

I looked at Mum, and she seemed to be gritting her teeth 
against some pain. She stared grimly back at Lisa Lisa, but didn't 

"The fisherman also said that when you stepped out of your 
coffin raft, you had a baby, me, and something else, in a bundle 
made from fabric tom off the hem of your dress. They said you 
clutched it closely to you...and that it was about the size of a human 

...the size of a head? Then Lisa Lisa thought it was a head? 

"You didn't bring Dio Brando’s head to the Canary Islands, 
did you, Mama Erina?" Lisa Lisa asked. "You wouldn't have left 
Jorge's father's body on the sinking ship, and brought a vampire’s 
head with you, shielding it from the sunlight? Right?" 

There was a harsh gleam in her eye. This was what she'd 
meant by thorough. They were not even planning on showing 
mercy to family. But that question crossed the line. 

"Mum would never leave Dad behind! Lisa Lisa, you're 
being ridiculous!" I said. 

But Lisa Lisa never took her eyes off Mum. 

Why wasn't Mum saying anything? She could silence Lisa 
Lisa with a word! My desire to defend her was slowly giving way 
to anxiety. 

At last she broke her silence. 

"That...was not Dio Brando's head." 

Thank goodness! Of course it wouldn’t be, stupid Lisa Lisa. 
I was about to yell at her when Mum spoke again. 

"That was the head of my husband, Jonathan Joestar." 

For the first time in my life I was scared of my Mum. 

Chapter 4 

To get from Nishiakatsuki to Morioh in the middle of the 
day took a good six hours, even using planes, trains, and buses in 
the most efficient combination available. By car, it was about 650 
kilometers, which would take roughly the same amount of time. I 
was told of Tsukumojuku's death at 6:30 AM, so Tsukumojuku must 
have headed there shortly after I left him at the hospital. Either 
he'd been pretending not to be interested or he'd found some 
reason to care after I left. That, or someone else had taken him to 
Morioh to kill him, or after killing him. Although the corpse of a 
sixteen-year-old boy wasn't exactly easy to transport. 

How he got there wasn't the only problem. The body of a 
sixteen-year-old male wasn't small, and Tsukumojuku's body had 
remained largely intact. 

His throat had been slit so deep that only a single layer of 
skin kept his head attached. He was found naked, wrapped only in 
a red, diamond-shaped cloth. There was a broadaxe slung over his 
shoulder, and he was found mounted on a bear. Obviously, the 
scene was arranged to look like something out of the folk tale 
Kintaro. Ever since I left Fukui the lyrics to the Kintaro children's 
song had been on an endless loop in my head. This was completely 
inappropriate, of course. The killer didn't arrange the scene like 
this as a joke. I think. 

I got off the train at Morioh Station shortly after 1 PM, and 
looked over the map of the town posted just outside the station 
gates. Deja vu. Had I been here before? 

I was sure I hadn't. Touhoku had the famous Namahage 
Detective, and he pretty much handled all the cases that required 
someone like him, so I'd never been called up here. In elementary 
school we went to Nara and Kyoto, and in Junior High we went to 
Tokyo, so this was my first trip up north. 

There were no tall buildings anywhere around the station, 
but there was a lot of foot traffic, and rows of nicely turned out 
shops and cafes. It was both peaceful and lively. The city had been 
well-planned; there were no telephone poles in sight, and plenty 
of rooms for pedestrians and cars. There was a car stumping for 
the upcoming election in the roundabout by the station, but they 
kept the speaker volume to a respectable level. "Kumotaku, 
Morioh's son. Kumotaku, star of the north. Kumoi Takumi asks for 
your vote." I was hungry, so I stopped a restaurant near the station 
and had the Miso Tongue Meal - a local delicacy, apparently. It was 
good. Beef Tongue is both thicker and softer than I'd imagined, 
Tsukumojuku. May you rest in peace. When I finished eating, I took 
stock of my emotional state. I'd only known Tsukumojuku a few 
hours, since I'd witnessed his entrance into our world, and was 
basically the only person alive he knew. There'd been nobody else 
to report his death to, and I was basically here to bury him. In light 
of this I decided not to try the sweet sesame dumplings the stall 
near station was hell bent on convincing tourists to buy. I hailed a 
taxi, and headed for the Arrow Cross House, where my strange 
visitor's body had been found. Morioh was in a gentle valley, and 
once we left the shopping area, we passed through a residential 
area and soon found ourselves in farmland. The road led through 
fields towards the sea. As we neared the water, round hills grew 
more common, and this topography continued into the water; 
there were a great number of tiny islands dotting the shallow sea. 
For a moment they looked like a group of umibozu peeking out of 
the water; it was quite striking. And tourism friendly, as the tour 
boats sailing in and out of the harbor demonstrated. There were a 
number of souvenir shops, inns, and restaurants lining the docks. 

The Arrow Cross House stood on top of a round hill - the 
biggest hill around, and the closest to the water — with a fantastic 
view of the sea and the harbor. White walls and a flat roof framed 

against the blue sky, making it look like a dainty little museum. As 
my taxi reached the top of the hill, I saw the building's owner 
standing outside. He was a manga artist named Kishibe Rohan. 

He was supposedly in his thirties, but to my surprise, he 
looked barely out of his teens. I don't read a lot of manga, and had 
never read anything by him, but I knew the name. The Pink Dark 
Boy series had been running for twenty years, and had recently 
started part eight. I got out of the taxi, said hello, and apologized 
for not being familiar with his work. 

"Then let me show you my art," he said, and his finger went 
fwipfwipfwip through the air in front of my eyes, sketching a 
mysterious boy in a broad-brimmed hat. Not only was I able to 
make out what he was drawing in the air, I was apparently so 
impressed with the quality of his art it felt like I'd been struck by 
lightning fttzzz and froze to the spot, unable to move. I think I even 
passed out for a moment. 

I don't know if this surprised him or disappointed him, but 
he gave me a dubious frown, and then said, "I'll show you around 
the Arrow Cross. I purchased it quite recently, and I've only lived 
here six months. Of all the rotten luck! Here I was, happy to have 
acquired a bizarre building, and it gets used for a murder. What a 
cliche! I suppose I'll have to turn it into something worthwhile, but 
I can't just write the details of a real case into my manga. Or should 
I be more concerned about finding a place to stay? Until the case is 

He spoke very quickly, and frequently changed subjects; 
clearly conversing with him was going to be a workout. 

"I doubt it; it's a big enough house you won't necessarily 
need to use the room where the body was found, and there seem 
to be plenty of entrances." 

"I see! Good. I suppose both Agatha Christie and Ellery 
Queen both show everyone living normally in the house after a 

murder. Even though staying together just leads to more murders. I 
always assumed that was forced by the needs of the plot, and 
would never happen in real live, but I suppose we all believe that 
one murder is enough to end things, and nothing bad will ever 
happen to us. And it is such a pain to find a new place to live. Even 
now someone's been murdered, I find myself quite grateful I can 
keep living here." 

In my line of work. I've known plenty of people who 
thought like this, and then got murdered. I decided not to mention 
it. Our feet scrunching on the gravel, we did a circuit of the 
building. There were no bushes or flower beds, but with this view, 
they hardly seemed necessary. "This is a spectacular view, Kishibe- 
san. With a view like this at home, I can see why you wouldn't 
want to switch to some dumpy hotel." 

Below us you could see the white sands of Morioh Pearl 
Beach, and countless tiny islands out in Morioh Harbor. 

Kishibe glared at me, muttering, "Kishibe-san?" several 
times. Crap, did I get get his name wrong? It was Kishibe Rohan, 
right? "Nobody calls me Kishibe-san," he said, at last. 

"Pardon me. Kishibe-sensei," I said, hastily. 

"Noooo! That's not what I mean!" he exploded. "There's no 
need to call me sensei whatsoever! I shudder at the very thought 
that someone might think I wanted that\ I'm simply not at all used 
to being addressed by my family name. My editors, readers, and 
even the bank clerks down in town all call me Rohan!" 

Whew, manga artists sure were eccentric. I guess? What he 
was saying wasn't that out there, but the over-the-top eruption of 
emotions certainly made him one to watch out for. "Urn, but..." 

"No buts allowed!" Kishibe-sensei? san? screamed, and 
went fwipfwipfwipfwip with his fingers again, drawing that boy, 
and ffftzzz once again I was super impressed. Had I become a huge 
fan of his this quickly, or did Rohan's art have some sort of special 


"You can no longer call me anything but Rohan." 

"Rohan...hunh? Ro...guhh...?" 

The word refused to come out. I was trying to address him 
by his family name, but only his given name would come out. What 
was this? This was weird, right? Was something wrong with me? 

Rohan turned and grinned at me. "Guhh? Please. It is but a 
small change. Pray, don't worry about it. You're here to solve this 
murder! Do your job. I have my own job to do, and until the Arrow 
Cross Case is solved, I will be forever preoccupied with police 
interviews and people investigating the scene. Like I'm made of 

Change? What did he mean? Don't worry about it? So he 
did do something to me? What? 

He'd just draw a sketch in the air and made me go fffftzzz. 
But...not just that. He'd done something else, something that 
changed me. What did that mean? 

This was very strange. Something bizarre was happening, 
something I didn't yet understand. I'd have to be on my guard 
around Rohan. 

Like the name Arrow Cross House implies, the building was 
shaped like a cross, with each point shaped like an arrow. There 
was no dedicated front door; each of the arrows had two doors, 
and any of the eight could be used to get inside. 

SR ••• Sun Room (+t»l/— h) 
BR — Bath Room (J1S) 

W.C — Water Closet (h-f U) 
WR — Wash Room 
K — Kitchen 

DR — Dining Room — 

P — Patio WH) 

S ••• Study (Mr) 

"The Arrow Cross is a strange sort of house," Rohan said. "It 
appeared five years ago, without any of the neighbors noticing the 
construction. Despite the size of it. For three years before that a 
different house stood here - so to build this one they would have 
had to knock the old one down, or at the least, remodel it 
considerably. But no permits were ever filed. Furthermore, this 
house is clearly visible from the harbor, and anyone glancing 
upwards would have seen people working on it. Yet somehow the 
Arrow Cross was built without anyone noticing. This is quite a 
mystery, wouldn't you say? Not only were there no permits for 
construction, there is no record of sale for the land. It was officially 
owned by the city of Morioh, and construction was done illegally. 
They spent some time attempting to locate the owner, but when 
they gave up and decided to tear it down I stepped in and offered 
to purchase it. My previous residence had just burned down, you 
see. This place is perfect. It's quiet here, and the house itself is 
fascinating - I love not knowing who built it or why. Now, the 
house that stood here before this one was a very simple square 
building. But it was also bizarre - it had no windows or doors. No 
visible entrance at all. Fleh heh heh heh. I'm sure there was an 
entrance hidden somewhere; after all, if there was a sunroof or 
whatever you'd never know from downhill. Although that does beg 
the question of why they'd wish to obscure such a glorious view. At 
any rate, that square house - the neighbors called it the Cube 
Flouse - supposedly was moved here from a town called Nishi 
Akatsuki, in Fukui. Flow that rumor got around without anyone 
having any idea who owned the house, nobody knows." 

"Eh? Nishi Akatsuki? That's where I'm from." 

"I know?" Rohan purred. 

I know? Flow did he know? It was the police who had called 
me to let me know Tsukumojuku was dead, and when I'd called 
Rohan, I'd had no reason to mention my current address. I suppose 

he could have heard my name on the news, but I was a minor, and 
had already had death threats from several psychos, so the most 
specific information available given about me was always 'from 
Fukui.' Or did Rohan have connections with the police or those in 
power that could get him that kind of information this quickly? 

Whatever. I was more concerned with what the fact that 
Tsukumojuku had been murdered here, in a house that had been 
transported from Nishi Akatsuki, actually meant. 

"Did you know there's been more than one detective 
murdered in this town?" Rohan suddenly asked. 

"More than one? Really?" 

"I suppose you wouldn't know. The first one happened in 
the middle of the night. The news has only just started talking 
about it. You wouldn't have had much chance to watch TV on your 
way here, either. Tell me, was that boy...the one killed in my Arrow 
Cross...was he a detective, too?" 

He had said he was. "Yes. Although he was from far away, 
and what cases he handled..." I knew perfectly well. He'd solved 
fifteen locked room murders. In 1904, in the Canary Islands, in 
another world. But bringing that up here would just confuse 
things. "...I'm not sure. But he was definitely a detective." 

"I see. So then he is one of the Serial Detective Murders." 

"Who...who else was killed?" 

"...? Do detectives all know each other? If it might come as 
a blow to you, perhaps we should step inside and let you sit down 

"I'll be fine. The only detective I've met is Tsukumojuku." 

"Oh, in that case, a man named Hakkyoku Sachiari, and a 
girl with a very strange name, Nekoneko Nyan Nyan Nyan." 

I'd heard of both. They were both Tokyo detectives. We 
stood outside one of Arrow Cross's doors, and Rohan told me how 
Hakkyoku had been found across Morioh Harbor, at Boingy Cape, 

seated on a giant stuffed sea turtle. Nekoneko had been found in 
town, near a strange-shaped stone called Angelo Rock, surrounded 
by stuffed dogs, cats, and pheasants. Hakkyoku had died of alcohol 
poisoning; a large quantity of sake had been injected into his blood 
stream. Nekoneko had suffocated from the massive quantity of 
dumplings jammed down her throat. 

They'd clearly been made to look like Urashima Taro and 

While Tsukumojuku was Kintaro. 

A serial killer killing detectives? That meant I might be 
targeted, too. 

"Let me show you to the scene. The forensics people have 
been and gone. I've looked it over thoroughly myself, but didn't 
touch anything." Rohan took me through a door on the east side of 
the Arrow Cross. Inside was a large triangular sunroom, with large 
bay windows on both exterior sides and the ceiling. The walls and 
floor were all painted white. It was very bright. All the furniture 
was in exquisite taste, and were it not for the bed in the middle, 
you could easily mistake it for a furniture store, or an unusually 
elegant manga shop. There were books on the tables, shelves, and 
floor, but not the books of photographs or other decorative books 
you'd see in furniture stores. They were all manga. "Feel free to 
keep your shoes on anywhere in the house. This is the east 
sunroom, which I use as a bedroom," Rohan said, leading me out 
into a carpeted hallway. It had no windows, so the moment the 
door to the sunroom closed it seemed very dark indeed. I had the 
silhouette of the bed and cabinets burned into my eyes, and had to 
blink furiously the whole length of the hall. Doors to either side led 
to the bathroom and toilet. At the end of the hall was a large 
square room at the center of the Arrow Cross House. Every house 

I'd ever been to used large open rooms like this as a place to 
entertain company, but not this one. "This is where I work," Rohan 
said, leading me in. It was at least twice the size of the sunroom; 
windowless, dark, and gloomy, with nothing in it but a single tiny 
desk perched right in the middle. There were pens and ink on the 
desk, arranged in neat rows. The walls were bare, with only the 
doors leading to the other arrows breaking the monotony. The 
only lights came from the chandelier on the ceiling, and the 
smaller lamp on the desk. "With such a great view, aren't you 
tempted to work in one of the sunrooms?" I asked. "Not at all," 
Rohan snorted. "Much too bright, and my work requires no view." 
Okay, then. I could swear he'd grumbled about the Cube House 
wasting the view, but whatever. Rohan led me across his study, 
down another hall, and into the north sunroom. The scene of the 
crime. The light hit my eyes, which felt like they'd been slapped by 
the soft hands of a child. It had seemed bright when I entered his 
bedroom, but now it actively hurt. Walking through the dark halls 
and work room hadn't helped, but there was also nothing in this 
sunroom...except for the giant bear. The bear's brown fur and the 
blood stains on its back and the floor - Tsukumojuku's blood, 
presumably - were almost a relief in the sea of white. I looked over 
what was left of the Kintaro display, waiting for my eyes to adjust 
to the light. 

"I don't use either this room or the southern one. This one 
gets too cold in winter and the south one gets too hot in summer. I 
only need a bedroom and a work room to begin with. At most, a 
guest room for editors to stay in when they come to see the 
sights," Rohan said, shielding his eyes from the light. "The murder 
itself doesn't bother me, but I'd like to clean the place. The police 
won't let me. Have to keep the scene intact, they say." 

ll II 

"The police took your friend's body and the axe with them. 

The bear was so big they left it here, but they'll be back for it 
eventually. Yesterday and last night they found two other dead 
detectives, and then this morning a third, your friend. They're 
rather busy. They're forming a special team to deal with things. I 
had them leave a copy of the crime scene photographs and the 
forensic data, if you'd like to see it?" 

He had them leave it? What led to this...arrogant streak? It 
didn't seem to be just a personality thing. It was like he'd gotten 
used to the world bending to his will. I did want to see the 
photographs, though. 

Rohan brought a notebook computer, rested it on his arm, 
and showed me the screen. I took a closer look. Tsukumojuku's 
handsome visage was ashen. He was seated on the bear's back, 
and both his body and the axe were wrapped in wire, fixing them 
in place. He was leaning slightly to the right, I think; his head was 
tilted in that direction, leaving the gaping wound on display to his 

I could tell Rohan was studying my reaction to these 
images, but it didn't bother me. He didn't mean to be insensitive. 
He simply wasn't aware how transparent his expressions and body 
language were. We may not have known each other long, but it 
was already clear that Rohan was an odd bird, but not a bad one. 

"Notice anything, detective?" he asked, with a mocking lilt. 
Then again, he always sounded like that, so I didn't take offense. 

"From the state of his body, nothing of note." 

"Oh? Nothing about the Kintaro thing? The others are 
Urashima Taro, and Momotaro, of course." 

"True. I don't suppose you have pictures of those crime 
scenes, too?" 

"I do. Impressive deduction, detective! I suppose." Rohan 
quickly opened more images on the screen. "But why would the 
killer pose them like this? It's hardly a professional opinion, but it 

seems like rather a lot of work. Gathering all the stuffed animals, 
decorating them, even matching the method of murder to the 

"If you had the bear already, then the dogs, monkeys, and 
pheasants would be easy to get. Even the sea turtle must not be 
that hard to find in a port town like this. But getting a stuffed bear 
is quick tricky. There are no bears around here - that's why they 
had to use a polar bear, and finding the polar bear was likely the 
inspiration for the whole stunt." 

" Polar bear? This is a polar bear?" Rohan asked. 

"? You didn't notice? Small head, long neck - it's obvious. 
Ursus maritimus, the polar bear." 

The scientific name was given by John Phipps in 1774. 

"Hunh...that should narrow down the owner, then. Even 
more than owning a normal stuffed bear." 

"Mm? But...this is your bear, isn't it?" 

"Heavens, no. There are no polar bears in my manga. If 
there was, I...might consider buying one, but more likely I'd just go 
to the zoo, or find some place with a stuffed one on display. No 
need to own it personally. Do they even sell stuffed polar bears 

"The Washington Convention doesn't specifically forbid the 
sale of them; polar bears are listed in Appendix II. That means it's 
up to the country of origin whether to grant permission to export 
them. There were plenty available before the convention existed, 
so I'd imagine they're obtainable if one desires. But you didn't buy 
one, Rohan?" 

"Noooo. Decorating with animal corpses is not my style." 

"...I see. But getting a stuffed animal this size into your 
house would be very difficult. It would take several people." 

"I'd have noticed." 

"The murder happened late last night or early this morning. 
Did you go out at all?" 

"Of course not. I was drawing until two AM, then slept until 
just before dawn. I usually sleep until sunrise, but I woke a little 
early this morning." 

" starts getting light around five AM this time of 


"Sunrise yesterday was at 5:18 AM. I sleep in a sunroom. 
Early rising is inevitable. I've never really needed a great quantity 
of sleep. Three hours is plenty." 

"Hmm...l've heard manga artists are always busy. By the 
same token, I don't suppose you were so exhausted you would 
have fallen into such a deep sleep you could have failed to notice a 
group of intruders?" 

It seemed unlikely, but was worth verifying. 

"No, no. It may come as a surprise to you, but I'm quite 
high strung. I'm not saying I'd wake at a pin drop, but I can't see 
how someone bringing a giant stuffed animal in would escape my 

How could that possibly be a surprise to me? He might as 
well have it written on his shirt. 

"But if they put it on a cart or something, and moved it 
quietly into the house?" 

"Quietly depends on how quietly. I like to work in silence, 
and there are sound absorption panels everywhere. If they were 
moving it from one room to another, it's possible I wouldn't notice. 
But from outside, no normal human could ever do it. You walked 
around the house with me. Arrow Cross is surrounded by gravel. As 
an anti-theft mechanism. No normal human could cross it without 
making a sound. Anyone delivering a bear would have made a 
tremendous racket. Last night I certainly may have been more 

exhausted than usual. After all, I somehow managed to pick the 
wrong bedroom. The difference in the morning sky was what woke 
me early." 

"The wrong bedroom?" 

"Yes. My bedroom is the east sunroom, the room we came 
in by. But this morning I was sleeping in the west sunroom." 

"? How could that happen? You work in the center room, 
and your desk is right in the center of it, right?" 


"Your desk faces north, so south is behind you, and east 
and west are to the right and left. Simple. You've been living here 
for six months, it hardly seems likely you walked the wrong 

"But apparently I did. I like to keep things orderly, you see. I 
cannot bear things that aren't symmetrical. That's part of the 
reason I purchased the Arrow Cross. The east and west sunrooms 
have exactly the same furniture, arranged in exactly the same way. 
Beautiful symmetry is always a product of human ingenuity. 
Symmetry is the basis of man-made beauty." 

Hmph. "We're talking point symmetry rather than line 
symmetry, then?" 

"Mm? No, line symmetry. The rooms are mirror images of 
each other." 

"Then something even stranger is happening here. The 
placement of furniture in the two rooms is reversed; you'd notice 
the moment you opened the door. Yet you fell asleep without 

", um...hmm." 

"Did you get in bed without turning on the light?" 

"No, I turned it on, got in bed, and pressed the switch near 
my pillow." 

"Do you drink much?" 

"I ingest nothing after nine PM. And I may have a drink on 
occasion, but never to excess." 

ll ll 

"I guess these mistakes just happen. After all. I'm not the 
only one who made this mistake last night." 

"Someone else did? Who?" 

"My guest. I'm letting her stay here for the time being." 

" there was someone else here last night with you? 
Mind telling me more?" 

"I'll introduce you, of course. But please don't mention her 
to anyone else. She's still in high school. If word got around she 
was staying at the home of an older bachelor, well...that would be 
a shame, wouldn't it? She has her reasons." 


"She remembers nothing but her name. Amnesia. So severe 
even I can't read her past. So I have her help look after the place 
while she tries to uncover her past, and waits for her memories to 

" didn't know her before?" 

"Not in the least. She's maybe a little older than you. 
Showed up shortly after I moved here. I never imagined myself 
capable of living with anyone, but I couldn't just throw her out on 
the streets, and she seemed like a nice girl. We're getting along 

"What's her name?" 

"Sugimoto Reimi." 

"So she made the same mistake as you, and got the wrong 

This seemed like a fun way to live. Rohan seemed quietly 
happy about it, too. 

"Yes. She was in my bed, and I was in the bed I'm loaning to 
her. So awkward. She made the mistake first, but that's no excuse 

for jumping into hers. At least I wasn't snoring next to her. At any 
rate, the light woke me up; it was on the wrong side of the sky, and 
hit my eyes the wrong way. I jumped up, went to my room, 
knocked on the door. She woke up, I explained the situation 
through the door, and then moved away so she could get back to 
her own room. Since she had to cross the work room to get there, I 
went into the north sunroom. That's when I found Tsukumojuku's 

"Hmm..." From romantic comedy hijinks to grisly murder. 

"I suppose the simplistic layout and lack of furniture make 
such accidents possible," Rohan continued. "I wasn't drunk, and 
I'm such a light sleeper the difference in the morning light was 
enough to wake me. So I don't see how it's possible I could have 
slept through someone carrying a stuffed polar bear into the 

"There's no need to think about that any more," I said. 

"Hunh?" Rohan blinked at me. This room mix-up was 
bothering me. Why would that happen? To both at once? 

This meant something. But I didn't know what, yet. 

"So why is there a polar bear here?" Rohan asked. 

This, I knew. "The stuffed polar bear was not brought into 
the house at the same time as Tsukumojuku's body. It was already 
in the house, probably in this very room." 

"What? Here? This gigantic stuffed animal?" Rohan waved 
at it. It was two and a half meters long. If it had been standing it 
would easily have topped three. "Since when?" 

"Have you gone on any trips since you moved into the 

"No. Not because my work schedule keeps me here. I 
simply had no place I needed to research." 

I didn't care. "So you were working at home every day, 
which means it would be quite difficult to guess when you'd go 

out. Odds are this polar bear has been here since before you 
moved in." 

"Hmm? Since I bought the place?" 


"Then how do explain me living here without ever seeing 
it? Do you take me for a blind man?" 

"Rohan, it's almost evening. Before the sun goes down, let's 
try an experiment." 

"Yes! Let's!" 

"But first, let me you want this stuffed animal?" 

"Not at all!" 

"I asked because you are technically the owner. Now, where 
is your washroom?" 

"What? Why?" 

"I need to borrow your hair clippers." 

The top of Rohan's head was nicely styled, but he wore a 
strange jagged headband, and the hair beneath that was neatly 

This did not seem like a hairstyle you would ask for at a hair 
salon, so I was sure he maintained it himself. I was right; he took 
me to a washroom and handed over a pair of clippers. I also 
borrowed a broom, dustpan, and a towel. 

"I'll have you know I'm not a fan of loaning such things to 
other people! Like I said, I'm very high strung!" 

"I'm not using them personally," I said. We went back to the 
sunroom, and I began cutting the polar bear's hair, removing the 
bits covered in brown paint. Vvvvvvvvvvrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. 

"Aaaaaaugh! Now I can never use those clippers again! I 
hope you'll be paying for those? Augh! Augh! I'll send you a bill! 
Seriously! Aaaaaugh!" 

I brushed Rohan aside. "Please, you're being distracting. 
Why don't you go call Sugimoto? I'd like to meet her, hear her side 

of things. Wait in your work room till I call you." 

"'re not going to be rude to her, are you? I won't 
stand for it!" he muttered, and left. I concentrating on shaving the 
bear. Eventually it looked like a polar bear again. Good. 

I swept the hair into the dustpan, but there wasn't even a 
trashcan in the room, so I just had to leave it in the corner. I wiped 
the floor with a towel. I went to wash the towel off, and on my way 
to the washroom, I found Rohan peeping in the door from the 
work room. 

"Just a few more minutes." 

"Ahhh, you even wiped up the blood? Don't look at me 
when they yell at you for destroying the scene!" 

"Yes, yes, don't worry about that." 

With the blood gone, the sunroom floor was bright white 
again. Good. I put the towel down by the dustpan, and left the 
sunroom to get Rohan. He was alone in the dark work room. Was 
Sugimoto out? No matter. "The experiment is ready. Come on in." 

Rohan was seated on the corner of his desk, and he jumped 
up and trotted over. "So? We're experimenting with my supposed 


".I Did you hide the polar bear somewhere?" 

"No. I'm just checking to see how blind you are." 

"What do..." he started, but as the door swung open, his 
words trailed off.".hunh?.? The bear...? It's here?" 

I thought so. 

He couldn't see it. The bear had its back to Rohan. 

I explained. 

"Polar bears have evolved to enable them to hunt in snow. 
Their hairs are hollow. The hollow serves to scatter the bright 

northern light, making their entire bodies glow white, and 
preventing their prey from seeing them approach. Their bodies 
cast no shadow. This also allows the light to reach their bodies 
directly, and warm them. Rohan, right now you are a seal in a 
snowfield being stalked by this bear. In this white room, with 
sunlight streaming through these massive windows, and the white 
gravel and white sand beach outside the room, the polar bear's 
hairs scatter the light just enough to trick your eyes as you enter 
from that dark work room." 


Rohan reacted to my deduction injection with such a 
bizarre noise that I burst out laughing. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! 

This was no time for laughter. This wasn't a trick the killer 
had intentionally prepared. "You were so busy working since you 
moved in that you put nothing in this north sunroom, and almost 
never came in here, and even if you did were blinded by the 
sunlight and never saw the bear. But it was always here. And it's in 
a glass room, so at other times of day or other angles...anyone 
doing anything but peeking through the door after working in a 
dark room would have seen the polar bear. The girl you live with 
never imagined you hadn't seen it, and never thought to bring it 
up in conversation, but she knew it was there. Tsukumojuku's killer 
saw it too. That's why it occurred to him to use it in his Kintaro 
display. You see, that was the start, Rohan. That's what gave him 
the idea." 

"But this is the third murder?" 

"He simply chose to use it later in his spree. But because he 
had the bear, he knew he could pull off Kintaro; because he could 
do Kintaro he decided to do Urashima Taro and Momotaro. Based 
on the difficulty of each display, that must be how he arrived at the 

ll ll 

"Now, Rohan. Kintaro, Urashima Taro, and Momotaro. The 
three famous Taros. All famous folk tales. Will there be more 
murders? There are plenty of other folk tales, so why pick three 
with characters named Taro?" 

"I have no idea." 

"There must be a meaning. But the three famous ones are 
already used. Do you know any other folk tales with Taros?" 


"But that's not a folk tale, and the anime song isn't a 
children's song." 

"Then Obake Q is out of the running as well." 


"I can't think of anything else." 

"Neither can I. Perhaps there are local legends about 
somethingsomething Taros here and there across Japan, and songs 
about them, but this type of display holds no meaning if the 
people viewing the display don't get it. Occasionally you'll get a 
killer doing it for the art or something, but in that case, these three 
are too simplistic. If there were a fourth murder, the display would 
have to be based on a legend so much less famous it wouldn't fit. I 
think we can probably assume that this serial detective killing has 
ended at three." 

"If I was the killer, I would reveal an original Taro for the 
fourth murder," Rohan said. Mere distractions. I ignored him, and 
reviewed my theory. Three cases. Three points. That made a 
triangle. "Rohan, can you show me the exact locations of the other 

I took out the map I'd procured at the station, and Rohan 
confidently pointed them out. I wasn't sure how Rohan had come 
by this information, but he had it. Rohan...had some power I did 
not yet understand. But I could deal with that later. I marked the 
locations where Hakkyoku Sachiari, Nekoneko Nyan Nyan Nyan, 

and Tsukumojuku were found, and drew a triangle. Then I took out 
the hand drawn map of the world Tsukumojuku had made. The 
world filled with oceans, pieces of Panlandia scattered across it. I 
compared it with the Bermuda Triangle he'd described. I was right. 
The triangle of dead detectives matched the shape of the Bermuda 
Triangle exactly. 

Tsukumojuku traveled through time via this triangle. What 
could that symbol mean here? 

"...what is that strange map?" Rohan asked. "It's a map of 
the world, isn't it? I see Japan. In the strangest place. The whole 
world's been scrambled." 

"This is a map Tsukumojuku drew for me before he died." 

"It looked like you were comparing the triangle drawn on 
that map with the triangle formed by these three murders. Do you 
think there's some connection to that fictional map?" 

ll ll 

"Not everything has meaning. Moments of synchronicity 
seem so bizarre our minds naturally attempt to extract meaning 
from them - meaning that isn't there." 

I looked up, and met Rohan's eye. 

"I disagree. There's a important, inflexible law that defines 
the world." 

II -pil 

"Everything has meaning. Nothing is out of place." 

"Hmph. That's only true in mystery novels." 

"But I'm a detective. The moment I get involved, the rules 
of the world shift to my genre." 

"...such confidence. Or possibly madness. So this is a 
mystery novel, then? Hmm. Then let me say this - if I'm involved as 
well, if this is happening here in Morioh - then no one set of rules 
can define anything. The very laws of physics are distorted beyond 
recognition here." 

".?" In Morioh? What did that mean? Rohan was 

clearly hinting at the mysterious power he seemed to have, but 
was there something specific to Morioh that caused it? Or were 
there other people with powers like his here? " have 
a...a power of some kind, right?" 

"Mr. Joestar, you realize that Arrow Cross and the room in 

which Tsukumojuku was found technically form a locked room?" 
Rohan asked, ignoring my question. 

"Eh? What's that got..." What point was there to the room 
being locked? The state of Tsukumojuku's body made it perfectly 
clear he'd been murdered, the body was carefully posed, and it 
was the third case. In no way would it be mistaken for suicide. 

"Being a locked room means nothing, here." Rohan said. So 
he hadn't ignored my question. 

"...because the laws of physics don't apply?" 

"Exactly. There are a fair number of people in this town 
who could kill Tsukumojuku from a distance, and create the locked 

".? Could you do that?" 

"Yes. I could have Tsukumojuku himself lock the room, paint 
the bear white, strip, wrap that triangle around himself, climb on a 
bear, and cut his own head off with an axe. Of course, I would do 
no such thing." 

"You can make people do things? Like hypnotism?" 

"Very similar. But much less ceremony, and much harder to 


".so." I hesitated, then decided to say it. "This is a 

super power? It this a town of people with super powers?" 

"We call these powers Stands. The main difference from 
typical comic book super powers is that each Stand has a visible 
form. It may look like a person, an animal, an insect, a boat or a 
car, a fishing rod or a key. But because these images appear to 
stand beside their users, we call them Stands. And Stand Masters 
find themselves drawn to one another, like a magnetic attraction. 
Morioh is just one such pole." 

I shuddered, at a loss for words. 

Super powers? 

I had to solve a case in a world where they existed? It was 

too late to back out now. I was already part of this. Everything I'd 
known went flying out the window when Tsukumojuku appeared. 

Everything had meaning. Nothing is out of place. I 
repeated my own proclamation like a mantra. I had to make my 
deductions with this new information in mind, and if I was truly a 
detective, I would be able to pull that off. 

"Speaking of strange laws of physics," Rohan said. I knew I 
didn't want to hear this, but that I had to. I needed to know 


"This morning, when I woke up in the west sunroom after 
accidentally sleeping there, I looked at the north sunroom." 

ii ii 

"Those big windows are perfectly parallel, and the doors at 
the back of the arrows are also made of glass, so I had a good view 
of the inside of the north sunroom. The polar bear is quite tall, and 
if Tsukumojuku's body had been on its back, I would certainly have 
seen it." 


"I couldn't see it at all, Mr. Joestar," Rohan seemed to pity 
me. "When I woke up, the polar bear and Tsukumojuku's body 
were not in the sunroom. The sun had not yet risen, and the sky 
behind the north sunroom was a dull orange. The polar bear's hairs 
would not have had enough light to reflect to make it invisible. I'm 
certain of it. There was no Kintaro display in that sunroom when I 
woke. I'm afraid your theory that the polar bear was always in that 
room doesn't hold water." 

ll | ll 

"After my coincidental glance at the north sunroom, I got 
out of bed, crossed to the east sunroom, spoke a word or two to 
Sugimoto, went to the north sunroom, and found the Kintaro 

display. In other words, during the couple of, one 
minute that I was inside, the killer would have had to murder 
Tsukumojuku, move the bear in, arrange the display, and escape 
from the locked room. All without being seen by me on my way to 
the sunroom, and without stepping on any of the gravel that 
surrounds the house. I think it's clear this was not the doing of any 
normal human, no matter how crafty." 

" certainly seems that way." 

"I don't mean to frighten you, but three other detectives 
have already been murdered. You should consider your own safety. 
You appear to be a skilled detective, but I doubt there's anything 
someone without a Stand could do here." 

Was that true? 

"If everything has meaning, then my coming here means 
something, Rohan," I said. "I have a role to play here - that much is 
certain. Rohan, could you tell me more about these Stands?" 

"People like us never share the details of our powers with 

"But for some reason I find myself drawn to you. Don't 
misunderstand me! I'm speaking of the magnetism I mentioned 
earlier. For some reason I find myself convinced our meeting isn't a 

"Naturally," I said. "I was more or less summoned here. means of a threat. Rohan, do you know...urn...hunh?" 

What? I couldn't finish the sentence. I had known the name 
a moment ago, but now it wouldn't come out. I had wanted to ask 
if he knew the name. 

"Mm? What?" 

"Sorry. I was going to ask if you knew a name, but suddenly 
I can't remember it." I was a detective. This never happened. It 
could never happen. Had I simply forgotten? No, that couldn't be. 

My memory never failed me. Rohan was staring at me in silence. 
"Did you do something to me?" 

He nodded. "Yes. If you say that name aloud, you'll die." 

".?" What? If Jorge Joestar ever comes to Morioh, I'll 

kill him. Was Rohan making that same threat?" 

What had Rohan done to me? Stolen my memories? No. 
Rohan had also forced me to call him Rohan. His power was similar 
to he was controlling me. Making me forget that 
name. What kind of power would make that possible? 

"Then you do know that name, Rohan?" 

"I know the name. Not his face." 

"Can you tell me?" 

"No. Speaking his name means death. You explode." 

"Hunh?" Explode? "What do you mean?" 

"Your body is blown away. Fire and shockwaves. Everything 
turns to ash, down to your hair and fingernails, until there's no 
trace of you left." 

".? You're killed by a bomb of something?" But what 

kind of bomb could demolish the body that thoroughly? 

"...your entire body is the bomb." 

"? ....what do you ...mean? Before I could finish, the 
doorbell rang. 

It made a noise like a phony violin, and took me several 
second to work out it was a doorbell at all. 

"Oh, they're back," Rohan said. His eyes went dead. What 
was wrong with him? I wondered. "Sorry," he said. "But could you 
get them to leave? I know them well enough, but lately they've 
been ignoring me. Very vexing." 

Ignoring him? " should really handle that yourself." 
I wasn't here to mediate childish squabbles. 

"Come on, you're a detective! Running off people who 
interfere with the investigation is part of your job description. 

They'll definitely get in the way, I promise." 

"How do you know them?" I asked, looking. Three boys, in 
school uniforms. They looked to be about my age. They were 
walking around the house, moving towards us. Two of them looked 
like thugs. I could see why he'd want to avoid them. "They're kids. 
You sure they aren't your fans?" 

"They aren't fans! Just a pain in my ass! Every time they 
show up they bring trouble with them! I'm going back to my 
workroom. You get rid of them." 

Rohan turned, and basically fled the north sunroom. But as 
he opened the door, he paused, and said, "You too, Sugimoto." 

I turned to look, but only Rohan went through that door. 

My head was swimming. Stands. A murder display and a 
locked room made in one minute. A name hidden from my 
memory. Rohan's odd behavior. Speaking his name means death. 
You explode. This strange building, and the strange events inside. 
The Arrow Cross House and the Cube House. There was even a girl 
with amnesia, Sugimoto Reimi. Rohan was a little weird about her. 
You too, Sugimoto. He'd been speaking to empty air. As if there 
was a girl standing there...? I opened the door, and stepped 
outside. I had to get the facts. 

When the three boys saw me coming out of the Arrow 
Cross, they moved into an attack pattern, placing themselves on all 
three sides. The two thugs had the same face, and were probably 
twins; one went to my right, and the other to the left. The boy in 
front of me looked like a nice kid; he didn't look like the sort who'd 
be friends with the other two. He waved, smiling. 


I bowed. "Good afternoon." 

"There was a murder here today, but we saw you in the 

window, and came to check it out," he said. He was smiling, but 
also watching me carefully. 

"Let me introduce myself," I said. "My name is Jorge Joestar. 
I may be only sixteen, but I'm a detective." 

"Sixteen? So are we. A detective? But you shouldn't be in a 
place like this alone. After all, the one murdered here was a 
detective, too." 

"Yes, I knew him." 

"Oh! I see. My condolences. So you came to investigate?" 

"Exactly. You are...?" 

"...friends of the owner, Rohan-sensei!" 

And he told me to run you off. "I see. Well, sorry if I 
spooked ya, but Rohan gave me permission to be here, so..." 

"Rohan did whaaaatl?" the thug on my right snarled. "Don't 
you fuckin' lie to me!" Interestingly, he made no attempt to get in 
my face, the way most thugs would. He had his hands in his 
pockets, and was standing a good three meters away. His body 
language made it clear he was ready to pounce, and I was suitably 

His twin kept the same distance, and was watching me 
quietly. This was clearly their natural fighting distance. Out of my 
reach. But they could reach me. 

They had powers. Stands. That had forms of their own. 

"So..." I said. "You've got your Stands out, then?" 

The boy on my right snapped. "You can fuckin' see them!?" 
he roared. Something grabbed me by the throat. He didn't move at 
all. Something else had its hand around my neck, and was lifting 
me into the air. An invisible hand. I could feel the palm, and five 
fingers. It was shaped like a human, but it wasn't human. Rohan 
had said some Stands were humanoid, and this was clearly one. I 
tried to grab the hand, but my fingers passed right through it, 
catching only empty air. When he saw that, the thug looked 

surprised. "You can't...? What? You aren't a Stand Master? What 
the hell are you doing here? What do you know about Rohan?" 

His Stand slammed me up against the Arrow Cross window. 

".what?" I managed. 

"Where is Rohan? Don't you even think about lying!" 


"He's here!" I said, betraying Rohan's trust immediately. I 
didn't have much choice; my vision was quickly blurring, and I was 
about to pass out. 

"Here!? What are you talking about!? No one's seen him for 
two weeks! Don't you fuck with me!" 

He was missing? Lately they've been ignoring me. But they 
called him sensei, and were clearly searching desperately for him. 
That's why I was dangling in the air like this. This didn't add up. 
How could they perceive the situation so differently? 

The other thug turned towards the house, and yelled, 
"Rohan-sensei!" The smiling one was watching me closely, saying 

The flow of blood cut off, my brain was gasping for oxygen, 
but I forced it to think. 

"Rohan-sensei!" Thug B yelled, again. "What?" Rohan said. 
"Honestly, you're the worst," I heard him mutter. But Thug B asked, 
"Reimi, has Rohan come back?" Like Rohan said, were they 
ignoring him? "This ain't right," Thug B said. "This murder today. 
I'm sure it was him. It's not safe for you to be here alone, Reimi." I 
started sliding higher up the glass. "Eh? But he's suspicious, Reimi," 
Thug A said. 

Eh? Why did he say "Eh?" 

Like he was responding to something Sugimoto Reimi said, 
but I hadn't heard her voice, couldn't see her at all. 

I tried to turn my head and get a better look. 

"See, Mr. Joestar?" Rohan sighed. "They're the worst." 

Thug A spoke over him. "None of us know what he looks 
like. Heh heh heh." He turned to look at me. "You could be 
pretending you're a detective. But you're really Kira Yoshikage 

Oh! I thought. The invisible hand around my throat 
vanished, and I fell to the ground, almost laughing. I remembered! 
That was the name! How had I forgotten it? 

Wait, what was it again? 

The gravel crunched under my knees, and I coughed 
violently. Thug B run over to me. "Nooo! Fukashigi! Where are you, 
Fukashigi!" That's a weird thing to say, I thought. Then he grabbed 
me by the shirt and dragged me to my feet. "So you are a Stand 
Master?" he yelled. I had no idea what he meant until I looked 
around. Thug A was gone. "What the hell did you do to Fukashigi? 
Bring him back right now! Or I'll retire you on the spot! You've got 
three seconds! One!" 

Apparently Fukashigi was Thug A's name, the one who'd 
been strangling me. 

And his sudden disappearance had made Thug B jump to 
the conclusion that I'd attacked him. He seemed frightened. 

"Wait, I have no idea what..." I saw Rohan standing next to 
him. "Rohan, you saw it! Say something." Thug B saw me looking 
over his shoulder, and turned to look. He spun back quickly, angry. 

"What are you talking about? You're mixed up in his 
disappearance, aren't you?" 

Whaaat? What the hell? "Jesus," Rohan said. "Your brother 
vanishes and you're still keeping this...practical joke going? What 
an asshole." No. He wasn't ignoring Rohan. 

Thug B couldn't see him. 

"He's in on it! Kouji, Reimi, get back! Where's Fukashigi? 
Tell me right now! Two!" Thug B screamed. The other boy stepped 

back, keeping a close eye on me the whole while. I looked around. 

They kept talking to Sugimoto Reimi, but there was no sign 
of her. But she was here. 

I just couldn't see her. 

"I will fuck you up!" 

I understood now. 

"Time's up! Get ready for a beating! That's what I'm best 

When the invisible hand was around my neck, I'd been 
pressed up against the Arrow House window, and I'd fallen straight 
down. But that window was a good two meters behind me now. 

"Alright, little dog, prepare to get put down!" Thug B said, 
stepping back away from me. Like Fukashigi (?), he had other ways 
to attack, and kept his distance when he fought. 

"Wait! I can find Fukashigi." 

"Whaaatl?" he yelled. But he held off the attack. I stood up. 

"I am the detective, Jorge Joestar. I can solve this case!" 

It was a little theatrical, but it bought me a few more 

The other boy behind Thug B was calm, but equally tensed, 
equally on his guard. Rohan looked a little shaken, but mostly just 
fascinated by what was going on. None of them seemed to be 
acting. I'd seen through the lies of many a killer, and my lie 
detection was honed to perfection. None of them were lying. What 
they said they saw was the truth. That meant Sugimoto Reimi was 
here, even if I couldn't see her. 

And if the four of us hadn't done anything, then Sugimoto 
Reimi must have spirited Fukashigi away. 

But not to harm him; she was Rohan's housemate, and 
seemed to be friendly with these boys as well. So she hadn't made 
him disappear; she'd hidden him. 

Where? How? What had happened? 

Fukashigi had vanished. I had hit the ground. The ground I'd 
landed on was two meters away from the window I'd been pressed 
against. When Fukashigi vanished, he didn't throw me aside. The 
hand was just gone, and I dropped straight down. To two meters 
away. But my back had been pressed against the glass when he 

The very laws of physics are distorted beyond recognition 


I had to accept this new rule. I hadn't moved. 

The window had moved two meters forward, dropped me, 
and moved two meters back. In an instant. 

The window had moved on its own? That wouldn't be 
enough to hide a big guy like Fukashigi. You'd need to move 
something bigger to hide him. 

But what? I went over to the west sunroom window I'd 
been pressed against, bent down, and moved the gravel aside. 
There was nothing but dirt underneath. The outer walls looked like 
they went underground, but I looked closer, and saw a faint line 
running across it. 

A gap. 

Forget the old physics. 

Okay. I stood up, and ran through it again. Why had she 
needed to hide Fukashigi? At that exact moment? 

What had he done? 

He'd said that name. Then vanished just as I remembered 

The name I couldn't remember (again) was the key. Of 
course it was. Rohan had told me as much. 

Speaking his name means death. You explode. 

Your entire body is the bomb. 

I should take that literally. If you said that name, you'd 
explode, and die. But Sugimoto Reimi had prevented that. 

She had put him in a vacuum to prevent the explosion. 
By placing him under the Arrow Cross House. 

This was Sugimoto Reimi's power. 

But she was not a Stand Master, not a human. If she was. 
I'd have been able to see her, just like the three boys. I couldn't see 
her, because she wasn't a Stand Master. Fukashigi had proven I 

You can fuckin' see them!? 

You can't...? What? You aren't a Stand Master? 

Being able to see Stands was proof you had one. And I 
couldn't see Sugimoto Reimi. The girl with amnesia...or not. 

She was a Stand. A humanoid one. She wasn't human, so 
had no memories. Stands didn't simply stand by you, they had 
powers. Sugimoto Reimi's power - difficult as it was to believe - 
clearly allowed her to move the Arrow Cross. She had moved the 
building to hide Fukashigi. 

And one other. 

I looked at Rohan. He spent most of his time at home, not 
meeting anyone, and had not realized the girl he lived with wasn't 
human. He was grinning, enjoying this turn of events, but he was 
invisible too. 

I could see him, but the three boys couldn't. If Stand 
Masters couldn't see him, he wasn't a Stand. He was something 
else. Not a Stand, but not alive. 

But not dead, either. Hidden, just like Fukashigi. 

How did being under the Arrow Cross keep Fukashigi and 
Rohan alive? Was there oxygen down there? I didn't know, but it 
didn't matter. The laws of physics didn't apply. What mattered was 

that both were alive. If she'd intended to crush them to death 
under the Arrow Cross, she could have just let them explode. 

But if both Rohan and Fukashigi were trapped between life 
and death, why was Rohan standing in front of me, talking? 

Because he was a manga artist, and had deadlines. Too 
worried about his schedule to die if you killed him. 

"Rohan," I said. Thug B looked for him again, but couldn't 
see him. "You can use your stand to control people, or change their 

He nodded. "I can. That is the power of Heaven's Door." 

? Was that the Stand's name? 

Whatever. "Okay, then first, can you make it so I can see 

Rohan stopped smiling. "Are you sure? There are some 
things you're better off not knowing. Not getting involved with." 

I nodded. "I'm a detective. I need to know all the facts. If 
Stands are a fact of this case, then I have to see them to know 

"Ok. Heh heh heh. I admire your gumption. Then I shall 
open your doors! Heaven's Door!" 

I'm not entirely sure it was strictly necessary to shout his 
Stand's name like a fighting move, but he fwipfwipfwip drew his 
manga character and I went ftttzzz. 

But this time I saw it. 

My face peeling away like the pages of a book. 

"Aaaaugh!" I yelled. "Heh," Rohan said. "My Stand lets me 
turn anyone who sees my character into a book. I can read 
everything there is to know about you, and write new orders or 
facts into your pages. Ha ha ha!" 

Trying to keep the pages of my face from flapping in the 
breeze, I glanced over at Thug B. There were strange dolphins 
floating in the air next to him. Three of them. 

"If you're a book," he said. "Then that means Rohan's alive, 
and with us?" 


"Who are you staring at?" he growled. 

I looked at the boy next to him. He had a propeller on his 
head, like something out of Doraemon. "Yeah, it's kind of lame," he 
said, bobbing his head. Surprised, I almost laughed, but caught 
myself in time. 

"What was the missing boy's Stand like?" 

"Why should we tell you?" his brother snarled. 

"I need all the information to solve this case. I'm trying to 
find your brother." The propeller boy filled me in. Fukashigi's Stand 
was named NYPD Blue. He was a good cop, but had a foul mouth, 
and an abrasive personality. Apparently he was a New Yorker to 
the core. Hunh? 

Finally I looked at the attractive girl next to Rohan. She 
looked a little older than me. I could see her at last. "I apologize for 
the delay, Sugimoto Reimi. My name is Jorge Joestar." 

She smiled, and said hello, but her voice shook. She was 
scared. Of what? Of the others finding out she was a Stand? 

She must have seen the hesitation in my face. "Don't 
worry," she said. "I don't know if the truth is always the best 
course, but misunderstandings and lies will get us nowhere." 

She ended with a smile. She was quite beautiful. 

The best course? Those words were gospel to me. 

Sugimoto reached out and took Rohan's hand, and said, 
"Right, Rohan?" 

"Eh? What's going on?" He said, turning bright red. I was 
suddenly jealous. Of course, I thought. She was worried about this 
delicate manga artist. 

I took her at her word. "Rohan, next use Heaven's Door on 
these boys." 

"Boys?" Thug B said. "You're the same age," he grumbled. 
"Make so they can see, urn...not ghosts, exactly, but, 
urn...astral projections." 

Rohan caught my meaning, and looked stunned, but the 
moment Heaven's Door made the change, the two boys could see 
him. Amid their cries of jubilation and surprise, I explained my 
thinking, had Sugimoto let me under the Arrow Cross House to 
check the suspended bodies of Rohan and Fukashigi. 

Rohan stared at himself wordlessly, and then looked at 
Sugimoto, who he now knew wasn't human after all. 

"So what happened to all the food and coffee you had? A 
waste of my supplies!" he said, making a show of sulking. 

Sugimoto just smiled. "Sorry. But I wanted to eat with you." 

"...look, I'm not mad about it, or anything." They were just 


We moved back inside, and I had them explain the basics of 
Stand powers as we did. I had Sugimoto move the building, did an 
experiment to prove a theory of mine, and was sure I'd solved 
another mystery. 

"So this explains how the murder display and locked room 
could be created in one minute, Rohan. When you finished 
working last night, you went to sleep in your own bedroom, the 
east sunroom. Like you always do. There's no way you could get up 
from your desk, turn the wrong way, and leave through the wrong 
door. Even if you somehow did, with the furniture in the west 
sunroom laid out in a mirror image of your own bedroom, you're 
much too high strung - if you'll forgive the expression - to have 
missed it. You went to sleep in the east sunroom, like you always 
do. But when dawn arrived, the house had been turned 180 
degrees, and you were on the west side. The light was odd enough 

to wake you, and you assumed you must have gone to sleep on the 
wrong side. You got up to trade rooms with Sugimoto, but before 
you left, you glanced at the empty north sunroom - which was 
actually the south sunroom. Since you don't use the south 
sunroom, it was naturally empty. Rohan, did you happen to look 
south at all? At the actual north sunroom?" 

".no, I didn't." 

"If you had, I'm sure you would have seen the Kintaro 
display already completed. And it was bright enough that, if you 
had stopped to look, you would have noticed that everything in 
the room was backwards. Because everything was laid out the way 
you were used to, you didn't notice in the few seconds you were 
there. The only thing out of place was the position of the sun. So, 
you left the east sunroom, which was on the west side, crossed the 
work room, and woke Sugimoto in the west sunroom, which was 
on the east side. When she woke, Sugimoto noticed that the 
building had somehow turned, and immediately turned it back. 
She did this while you were in the work room, headed for the 
hallway to the north sunroom. Without you noticing, the north 
sunroom moved from the south side of the building back to the 
north, where it was when you found Tsukumojuku's body." 

Sugimoto nodded. "That's more or less accurate. I didn't 
consciously turn the building back, but when I woke up, the 
building did turn 180 degrees, back to the way it normally sits." 

"But...that means..." Rohan started, but I didn't let him. 

"Yes, this only makes sense if the center of the Arrow Cross 
House, the square room you use as a work room, does not turn 
with the four arrows. That's what I just verified. As I thought, no 
matter how fast the house is spinning, the center room doesn't 
move at all." 

The laws of physics did not apply. 

Conventional logic would never have allowed me to reach 

this solution; only once I absorbed the logical contradictions of it 
could I reach the truth. "I believe the four arrows and this central 
building are not actually linked. They appear to be part of the 
same building, but are technically two different pieces." 

I had my eyes fixed on Sugimoto, but I could see Rohan's 
jaw drop next to her. 

"Remember, Rohan, there was originally a building with no 
windows or doors on this hill. Later on, without anyone noticing, it 
became this building. It wasn't rebuilt; it was remodeled. The 
Arrow Cross was built around the Cube House, but the original 
building remains - and you work inside of it. Right?" 

Sugimoto seemed very impressed by the accuracy of my 
deductions. "Wow. You're absolutely right." 

"In other words, Sugimoto's Stand power was originally 
shaped like Cube House. But five years ago, it changed shape to 
Arrow Cross House. This sort of thing happens with Stands 
sometimes, doesn't it? Rohan. Sudden changes or evolutions occur 
to both the visible Stand and the Stand's abilities, right?" 

"Yes. Nothing like that has happened with Heaven's Door, 
but it is possible." 

Thug B - Nijimura Muryotaisu - was waiting outside. His 
weird looking dolphin stand. Grand Blue, was originally only one 
dolphin. But now it was three. Things like that happened. 

And during the fight with this killer whose name I was 
better off not remembering, a similar thing had happened to his 
Stand, Killer Queen. When they first encountered him, all he could 
do was touch things, turning them into bombs that he could 
detonate remotely. Then it could split part of itself off into a bomb 
that could track its prey automatically - Sheer Heart Attack. And 
now it had a new power. Bites the Dust, which could make people 
explode if they so much as spoke his name. Unless they defeated 
this killer, or somehow got him to turn off his third power, Rohan 

and Nijimura Fukashigi would have to stay under the Arrow Cross, 
away from oxygen. 

"I do have some questions," I said. "When you were shaped 
like Cube House, what power did you have?" 

Sugimoto hesitated, "...sorry. I don't remember." 

I suppose she wouldn't. Sugimoto Reimi was a Stand with 
the power to move the Arrow Cross House. She had replaced 
whatever...personality? I guess? The Stand attached to Cube House 
had had. 

"...I see. seems you sleep at night like a normal 
human, but during that time, what happens to the Arrow Cross? In 
other words, does it frequently turn on its own, like it did this 

"Hmmm...well, I'd be asleep, so I wouldn't remember, but 
this is the first time I've ever woken up and found the building 

".? Interesting." 

There were a few details we had not yet clarified, but I also 
had to catch Tsukumojuku's killer, figure out how they made the 
locked room, and search for the killer whose name must not be 
remembered. I was about to proceed when Nijimura Muryotaisu 
came into the room. 

"Sugimoto, why are you moving the house?" he asked. 

We went outside, and Arrow Cross House was rocking back 
and forth. It had been impossible to tell from inside, but it was as if 
the building sensed something wrong, and was trashing wildly to 
get our attention. 

"This isn't me," Sugimoto said. 

I looked around. 

From looking at the building and the land around us, it was 

hard to tell, but once I looked up it fell into place. The clouds in the 
sky were matching the movements of the house exactly. 

But it wasn't the sky that was moving. 

The ground was moving, and the Arrow Cross House was 
staying perfectly still. The polar bear was pointed due north at all 
times. "It's like a giant compass," I said. 

Hirose Kouji flew up into the air on his Doraemon propeller, 
Blue Thunder. A chasm had opened along the borders of Morioh, 
and it had split off from the main land. It was now an island 
floating on the sea, headed north along the coast of the Japan Sea. 

We all stood stunned after hearing his report. "While we're 
all surprised may not be the best time," Rohan whispered in my 
ear. "But what sort of person are you?" 

I didn't know what he meant, so I had no answer. 

"I've been wondering if I should say anything," Rohan 
continued. "But like Sugimoto said..." 

I don't know if the truth is always the best course, but 
misunderstandings and lies will get us nowhere. 

"You're a detective, and seem to have what it takes." 

I'm a detective. I need to know all the facts. 

"So I'll tell you the truth. When I used Heaven's Door to 
read your book, all your adventures as a detective in Nishi Akatsuki 
were listed under the heading: Forgery.” 


"Behind your left ear, I found the Real account. It was very 
short. 'Born in 1889 in the Canary Islands off the coast of Spain. 

Became a pilot in the English air force, and fought in WWI. 
Murdered in 1920 by an air force general.' That's all it said. I have 
never met someone with real and fake books, and the real 
contents are very strange. England and the Canary Islands don't 
exist, and 1889? You were born 123 years ago, and died 92 years 
ago. If this is truly your real life, then how old are you?" 


In the one photograph of him Mum had, taken at their 
wedding, Dad was handsome; not much taller than me, but three 
times as burly, with thick, straight, strong eyebrows, and gentle 
eyes. There was a sadness to him, like a frightened dog, trying to 
hide his weakness. His mouth was firmly closed, and he didn't seem 
like he was particularly talkative. His hair seemed soft and floppy, 
and tumbled over his ears and down his neck. Mum was standing 
close to him as if she could not love him more, and as if she was 
prepared to protect this fragile giant from anything that came his 
way. When Mum led us into a basement room I had no idea even 
existed, and showed us Jonathan Joestar's head, he looked exactly 
like the picture, except his eyes were closed, and there was nothing 
below the neck. 

When she’d told us she kept the severed head of my father 
for fifteen years since his death, I'd imagined a skull, with no flesh 
intact. But this head looked like he'd been killed mere moments ago 
- no, like he was still alive. The color of his skin was normal, with 
a healthy glow; his hair and eyebrows and eyelashes were black, 
like they were wet. His lips were pursed - this was an oddly 
attractive severed head. Mum kept it in a beautiful glass case that 
she clearly cleaned often. 

"Jorge, this is your father," Mum said, but he seemed so 
alive I was afraid to say hello in case he opened his eyes and 

" is dead, right?" I asked. 

"Don't call him 'it'!" Mum snapped, the whip crack in her 
voice at least twice as strong as I’d ever heard it. She wasn't my 
Mum here; she was this head's wife. 

"Sorry. But...he really looks like he's still alive," I said. 
Mum didn't answer. 

Eh? He was dead, right? 

"Gracious," Lisa Lisa said, her hands at her mouth. This all 
came as a shock to her, too. "Then the rest of him...that horrible 
man who was in the box with us, he really..." 

"You...remember? Lisa Lisa?" 

"Yes. I thought it was a dream. That man was so scary, and 
you were so scared that I...I didn’t really understand, but it seemed 
like you loved each other, and he seemed like Jorge's father, but 
Jorge's father was never so fearsome he made the very air around 
him quiver..." 

Like she loved him? 

What did that mean? Confused, I looked at Mum, and she 
looked guilty. This confused me more. What did it mean? In that 
box or coffin, while I was still inside her...what happened? 

Mum sighed. "If you saw all that...of course you saw it, the 
box was so very small. But to actually remember it? You really are 
extraordinary, Lisa Lisa." 


"You did nothing wrong. Heh heh heh. I suppose you did 
remember Jonathan's final breath, after all." 

"...I was scared, I think. Desperate." 

"Yes. And that fear didn't end when we escaped the ship." 

II It 

"Let me start at the beginning," Mum said. She had Straits 
and Penelope go upstairs, leaving only Lisa Lisa and myself. 

There was a couch, an easy chair and a table placed opposite 
the glass cabinet. It was clear Mum came down here sometimes, 
and spent time with him. Mum sat on the easy chair, and Lisa Lisa 
and I sat next to each other on the couch. This did not leave us 
facing her; the couches were arranged diagonally, like the letter V, 
so that you could gaze upon my father's head in the cabinet no 
matter which you were sitting on. It was clear Mum would 
sometimes lie down on this couch, gazing at father. Just the two of 

Even now, her eyes weren't looking at us, but at him. 

We sat there a while, but Mum didn't say anything, so I tried 
to process the terrifying story I'd just heard. The horrible fate of 
Jonathan Joestar and Dio Brando. My uncle had become a vampire! 

I'd been a nai've fool. The story of my parents and the 
mystery of my birth were something I should have thought about, 
doubted, asked about. But I had been too busy wallowing in self- 
pity to do that. 

Thinking about it now, I should at least have asked how 
only Mum managed to survive the sinking of a ship with so many 
passengers, especially when my father, for all his muscles, didn't. 
Passenger ship were equipped with a large number of lifeboats in 
case an accident happened. But if the explosion had been so sudden 
nobody else survived, then Mum must have known about the 
explosion at least a few minutes before it happened. If she had 
known, Dad would have. If Dad hadn’t survived with her, then he 
must have died before the explosion, or been close to death. She 
must have hidden in the box just before the explosion, with no time 
to save anyone else. Otherwise Mum would almost certainly have 
brought his body with her. Mum would never leave Dad behind, 
even if he was dead. Lisa Lisa understood that as well, which was 
why she'd leveled these accusations. 

And this special box. Why was such a thing conveniently by 
Mum's side in a situation so dire only she and Lisa Lisa could 
escape? Why was it so strong it could survive a ship exploding? 

Because someone had needed that box, and Mum was with 
that someone. That someone being the vampire Dio. Mum had 
witnessed him killing Dad. Dad died, and only his head remained. 
Even though it was Dio who had been only a head right before the 
ship exploded. 

What happened to my father's body? 

There was an obvious answer, but I was afraid to think it. 
The terrifying man in Lisa Lisa's memories explained it. But Lisa 
Lisa had said Mum and that man seemed like they loved each other. 
I had no idea what that meant. I didn't want to know. But I couldn't 
stand up and run upstairs. Straits and everyone were waiting up 
there, and they'd laugh if I ran. I'd already shown Straits how 
pathetic I was five years ago. I don't want power like Lisa Lisa's, 

I'd said, sniveling. I'd refused to face this stuff. But if I ran from 
their scorn and went outside, even more terrifying things awaited 
me. The very things I’d incurred shame to avoid might get me. 

There was nowhere on the island for me to hide. 

Lisa Lisa grew impatient, and started asking questions about 
the very things I didn't want to hear. 

"Mama Erina, did you save Dio from that explosion?" 

If ft 

"Don't think I'm being unsympathetic. Just...if only Jorge's 
father's head is here, then that must be because Dio stole his body. 
Right? I can see why you'd want to protect your husband's body. 
You could never have known just how terrifying Dio Brando really 
was. You would have wanted Jonathan Joestar's flesh to survive, 
even if that meant it was Dio Brando's body. Nobody's blaming you 
for that. But what bothers me is the intimacy between you, so 
strong I sensed it even as a baby." 

If !» 

" and Jonathan were friends as children, right? Which 
means Dio was, too. I went to England, researching Dio Brando's 
life. I went to the remains of the Joestar manor. I talked to people in 
town. They told me that you and Jorge's father first became a 
couple when you were thirteen, but that Dio Brando forced you to 
split up. Some people even said you cheated on Jonathan. I didn't 
believe them, but Dio Brando clearly did something that made it so 
the two of you couldn't even look at each other. I'd always assumed 
the man who murdered Jorge's grandfather and became a vampire 
was a violent, evil man, but to my surprise, he was very popular 
with people around the Joestar manor. More popular than Jonathan 
Joestar. He was smart, a gentleman, had many friends, both men 
and women. He was a rugby star but never lorded it over anyone; 
his teammates trusted him completely, and he always had time for 
his fans. He was the most popular person in town. Half of them still 
believe he was innocent! He was quite popular with the ladies, but 
seemingly never had a girlfriend. Many people seem to think that's 

because he loved you, Mama Erina. Whatever happened when you 
were thirteen has become quite the romantic legend. I guess my 
point is...if Jorge's father didn't tell you anything about Dio Brando, 
and the vampire's public image was of a splendid gentleman, then I 
can understand you being confused on the raft." 

Hmm? What was Lisa Lisa implying? The mood was too 
tense for me to dare ask. 

"Elizabeth," Mum said, catching her eye. It was so rare for 
her to address Lisa Lisa by her real name that we both gasped. 

"Yes?" Lisa Lisa squeaked. 

"You are only sixteen," Mum said. "A little girl like you 
should never attempt to speak of matters of the heart as if she could 
possibly understand. You know nothing, yet. At the least, you have 
no idea what there was between myself and Jonathan, and what 
remains between us today." 


I'd seen her scold Lisa Lisa before, but she never got this 
emotional. I knew this wasn't because Lisa Lisa had hit the nail on 
the head, or because her pride had been wounded, or anything petty 
like that. Lisa Lisa knew that too. Mum avoided letting bitterness or 
anger or other negative emotions show. The angrier she got, the 
calmer she was, the more chilly her behavior. She never smiled 
more than when she was faced with unpleasantness or misfortune. 
But now? Her anger made her act angry. And this was clearly 
because it involved my father. 

"...but I suppose there are many things you couldn't hope to 
understand because I haven't told you anything," she said, her tone 
gentle again. I was relieved. Lisa Lisa must be as well. Except 
Mum had one more snap of the whip inside her. "But that's no 
excuse for speculating on puerile rumors." 

Then Mum began her story. 

"Dio Brando was evil from the day I met him. Sly, cruel, 
and manipulative, he made no attempt to hide his lust for control. 
But he was so charismatic that many people unreservedly admired 

his behavior. The only people not blinded to his true nature were 
those who didn't want his favor, and there weren't many of them. 
The vast majority approved of his brash cunning, and realized 
instinctively if they ever crossed him he would destroy them. They 
may not have been conscious of it, but they were desperate to stay 
on his good side. Anyone who enraged him would be cast out, 
tormented mercilessly by his lackeys. People saw this, and were 
afraid to get involved; they averted their eyes, and refused to even 
talk about him. So the only ones who knew his true evil - who were 
forced to see the blackness of his soul - were those not allowed to 
curry favor, not allowed to avert their eyes. Those he directly and 
methodically went after. This was primarily Jonathan Joestar. But 
only for a short period after Dio joined the Joestar family. Once he 
forced me and Jonathan apart, he ceased attacking Jonathan 
directly, and turned his focus towards me. Not that he ever did 
anything - he simply watched me closely, making sure I never 
came near Jonathan. At first, I thought he was trying to force 
Jonathan further into solitude. After all, when Jonathan and I first 
drew close, Dio had stolen every friend Jonathan had - except his 
pet dog. Shortly after I was forced away from Jonathan, I heard that 
dog, Danny, had died in a horrible, mysterious accident. Jonathan 
was completely alone now, I thought. But Dio completely changed 
the way he treated Jonathan, like he was different person entirely. 
All Jonathan's old friends returned, and he began throwing his arm 
over Jonathan's shoulders with a friendly smile, as if there had 
never been a conflict between them. From a distance, I could tell 
Jonathan found this disconcerting. While having his friends back 
was a relief, he never was quite able to shake the suspicion Dio's 
about face engendered. In other words, Dio had left him dangling 
on the cliffs of solitude. Being surrounded by pretend 'friends' he 
could never really trust preserved his isolation permanently. If he’d 
been left alone, he may well have found a real friend somewhere 
else. Dio had saved himself the effort of crushing each new friend 
individually. But...while the other boys were allowed in Jonathan's 

company, he kept a close watch on me, keeping me from getting 
close. More than anything, this convinced me of the truth. That no 
matter how much Dio tried to prevent it, I alone, if we so much as 
saw each other, if we so much as exchanged a glance, I could reach 
Jonathan's heart. That's why he worked so hard to keep that from 
happening. Knowing how awful it must be for Jonathan, unable to 
trust anyone around him, I wondered for a long time if I should do 
something. In the end, I gave up. After all, Jonathan could fight for 
me, but he could not protect me." 

I was shocked to hear Mum say this. I mean, Dad was right 
over there. He may be just a head, but he seemed so alive. 

Mum saw the look on my face, and laughed. "Don't worry, 
Jorge. I've said as much many a time while talking with your father 
down here." 

Ehhh? What about speaking ill of the dead...? 

"Heh heh heh. You see, there was something else I knew. I 
knew Jonathan would never let Dio destroy his life. I knew fate 
would bring us together again one day. But what brought that about 
what much worse than I had ever imagined. I became a nurse, and 
Jonathan was brought to my care from the fire at the Joestar manor, 
badly injured and barely alive. A short time later Jonathan left me 
again, without a word, to continue his fight. I didn't mind. I kept the 
faith, and he came back to me - once again, badly hurt. He had 
settled matters with Dio Brando at last, and we were married. Or so 
I believed. But as I said earlier, Dio had survived - or at least, his 
head had. Once again he tried to pry me from Jonathan. Heh heh. 
My husband was a bit of a fool, you see. What kind of idiot doesn't 
bother looking for the body of an immortal vampire?" 

Mum looked over at Dad's head and smiled, not a trace of 
sadness or regret, just tenderness and love. She was an amazing 
woman, I thought. I heard Lisa Lisa gulp. 

"Now we're getting to the heart of the matter," Mum said. 
Lisa Lisa and I exchanged glances. "What happened when Jonathan 
and Dio Brando fought for a third time, and what happened to me, 

Lisa Lisa, and Jorge inside me while we were adrift on that box." 
She closed her eyes for a minute, then opened them and began. 

"The scene on that ship was like something from another 
world. The dead were attacking the living, and every room, every 
corridor echoed with screams, horrible groans, and sinister laughter. 
The smell of blood and the palpable heat of madness filled the air. 
And in the middle of all of that, Jonathan and Dio Brando fought. It 
was all over in a flash, right in front of my eyes. Jonathan accepted 
his death, but when I vowed to die with him, he pointed to baby 
Lisa Lisa, where she lay crying, and told me to save her and live. I 
could not refuse, so I picked up Lisa Lisa, and climbed into the box. 
You could tell at a glance it was no ordinary box. It was a bomb 
shelter, shaped like coffin, large enough for an adult to climb 
inside. I could lock it from the inside. Just before I shut the lid, I 
looked back, wondering if I could somehow get Jonathan inside, 
but he had Dio's head wrapped tightly in his arms, and no longer 
had the strength to stand. Jonathan was so much heavier than me I 
could never move him in time, not with the machine room looking 
ready to burst at any second. And Jonathan was using his last 
strength to hold Dio captive. There was no chance I could have 
pried Dio lose and saved Jonathan's body alone. 'Be happy, Erina,' 
he said, and his smile pushed me into the box. 'Think about it, Jojo!' 
I heard Dio cry. 'I can grant you eternal life!' I closed the lid, and 
locked it from the inside. As I did, there was a thunderous roar, and 
an explosion flung the box away. Lisa Lisa was crying in my arms, 
and I tried not to scream. I remembered a lullaby I’d heard as a 
child, and tried singing that. The cushions on the inside of the box 
were very soft, and I had an idea the box belonged to Dio Brando, 
so I wasn't as worried as you might think. Dio Brando, for all his 
faults, was a clever man, and would take precautions. There were 
several more explosions outside the box, and we were flung up, 
down, right, and left, but the sturdy iron frame and thick cushions 
absorbed most of the impact. In time, the box began to bob gently. 
We must have fallen into the water, I thought. If anyone else 

survived, I would have to try and save them, I thought. So I opened 
the box. I knew full well that anything floating on the water might 
not be human at all, but one of those moving corpses. But I allowed 
myself to hope that Jonathan's body would be floating nearby, and I 
had to look. I first pressed my ear against the lid, trying to catch the 
cries and laughter of the dead. All 1 heard was the sound of water 
lapping, so I turned the key, and opened the lid a crack. There was 
no sign of any horror. Through the gap I could see the sky. The sun 
had just set, and it was a beautiful shade of purple. The sea breeze 
slipped in with the light, and it was if it carried all the madness and 
horror away with it. Relieved, I opened the lid, and sat up. To my 
surprise, we were over a hundred meters from the remains of the 
ship. 1 looked around, but saw no survivors, living or dead. I put 
my hand in the water, intending to paddle back to the ship. And 
then 1 saw a hand under the box. It tried to grab my arm. I 
recognized it. I knew that arm, that hand, those fingers." 

"I snatched my hand out of the water, and tried to close the 
lid again...but then I realized Lisa Lisa wasn't lying next to me. 
'Erina Pendleton,' a voice said. I turned, and the terrifying face of 
Dio Brando was floating on the surface of the water. Below his 
head was a body that had not been there a moment ago, and that 
big, burly body was wearing tattered, burned clothing I knew only 
too well. Dio must have escaped Jonathan's grip as the explosion 
hit, and stolen his body. The grief and terror were so strong I 
wanted to cry, but I could not afford the luxury. Dio had Jonathan's 
feet impaled on a stick of wood embedded in the tattered side of the 
box. A wave of fury crossed me at the thought of him being so 
rough with my husband's body, but I did not dare voice my anger. I 
could not do so because what had been Jonathan's arms were 
cradling little Lisa Lisa against what had been Jonathan's chest, and 
Dio Brando had his fangs bared. 'Or should I say Erina Joestar?' he 
asked. Half his face had been blown away in the explosion, but that 

only made his half-smile all the more terrifying. Dio's head seemed 
to be barely keeping a grip on Jonathan's shoulders. He offered me 
a deal. 'Your choice,' he said. 'Baby Lisa Lisa's blood, or mine.'" 

"I had promised Jonathan I would save Lisa Lisa's life. I 
told him if he laid a finger on him, I would pull his feet off the 
stake and leave him adrift in the sea. I didn't think he had the 
strength to fight me, and if he had, he would not have needed to 
steal Lisa Lisa and try to bargain with me. 'Then there is only one 
answer,' Dio said. I said nothing, but I knew I had to accept it. 
Giving baby Lisa Lisa to a vampire was not a choice I could 
consider. 'If it helps, think of it this way,' Dio said. 'You aren't 
keeping me alive. You're keeping your husband’s body alive.’ I let 
this pass, but made him promise not to turn me into one of those 
horrible living corpses. 'I will duly honor whoever saves me life,' 
Dio said. 'The same honor I gave Jonathan Joestar I give his wife.' 
But the only honor he’d tried to give my husband on that ship was a 
swift and painless death. This was Dio's arrogance. I held out my 
arm, and allowed him to feed. Then I took Lisa Lisa, and rested in 
the box. Dio Brando was not a man prone to restraint, and had 
drunk so much blood I could barely remain conscious. Before I shut 
the lid, Dio said, 'I thought my meeting with Jonathan Joestar was 
fated, but it appears destiny guided the three of us together.' I did 
not answer him." 

"Dio spent that night struggling, in terrible pain. I heard him 
thrashing in the water, climbing onto the lid and dropping back into 
the sea, fighting for control of the body. Sometimes he yelled at it, 
other times he screamed like a madman, shaking the lid, and there 
was nothing I could do but clutch Lisa Lisa and tremble. Of course 
Dio was in pain. He was trying to merge with a body nothing like 
his own, not even the same blood type. I was a nurse, and I knew 

that would have been impossible for any normal human. The 
human body rejects foreign tissue, and attacks it. If the blood type 
matches, a blood transfusion is possible. But organs and bones are 
not so easy. Trying to screw a head onto a different body was 
unthinkable. After a long time, I stopped hearing Dio's voice, and 
he stopped thrashing about. I hoped Jonathan's body had rejected 
Dio's head, and Dio's attempt to steal his body had failed. I hoped 
to find him reduced to a severed head again. I hoped his silence 
signaled failure. But after a long time, I heard Dio laughing, and 
my hopes were dashed. Jonathan's body would not be released. Dio 
shouted, and this time I heard him clearly. 'The world is mine! OK, 
OK. The way to heaven? Hmph! I will get there!' The pride in his 
voice made me sick with fear. Trembling in the darkness of the box, 
I began wondering how I could possibly bury this devil." 

"Before the sun rose, Dio knocked on the lid and woke me 
up. When I opened it, he said, 'Let me drink one more time before 
the sun rises.' I held out my arm for him to drink. When he was 
done, he said, 'You must be hungry. It's hardly fair for me to gain 
strength while you dwindle, and I need you to keep making fresh 
blood.' He showed me a fistfull of fish he'd caught. Then he 
grabbed a bit of broken ship floating nearby. A light shot out of his 
eyes, setting the wood on fire, and he used it to cook the fish, and 
handed them to me. I knew that light was the same thing that had 
stolen Jonathan's life. Yet now it was saving mine. I took the fish 
from him, chewed them, and fed them to Lisa Lisa. From her size, 
she was only three months old. It was a gamble, but she was losing 
strength quickly. I had lost a lot of blood, and had very little 
strength. I was starving, but I couldn’t bear to take food from Dio. 
When he saw I wasn't eating myself, he said, 'You may not wish to 
eat what I provide. But if you'll feed this baby, you should feed the 
baby inside you as well.' At the time, I had not yet realized I was 
pregnant. But I had been aware of a change in my body. I never 

expected to hear such news from him. I was shaken by this, but my 
feminine instincts told me he was telling the truth. When I was 
done feeding Lisa Lisa, I ate the rest of the fish myself. I had no 
choice. 'Eat well, make lots of blood - so much I can't drink it all.' I 
had no intention of dictating how much blood he could drink. Our 
deal was made, and I had nothing further to bargain with. Dio had 
recovered enough that he could easily kill me if the whim struck 
him. At any rate, the fish were delicious. I ate quickly, chewed, and 
swallowed. My stomach set to work, and my body started making 
blood. I could feel my pulse growing stronger. Blood is the power 
that keeps us alive, and gives us our strength. Not surprising it 
gives vampires powers humans could never have. Once I had eaten 
my fill of fish, Dio began gulping down sea water. 'Once it has 
entered my body, I can change it as I please,' he smirked. He turned 
the water from salt to fresh, then reached out his hands, slipped 
Jonathan's fingers into Lisa Lisa and me - just like he did to feed - 
and injected water into our bodies. 'The sun will rise soon. I can't 
do anything while it's out. I can't have you dying of thirst. Once the 
sun rises, close the lid, and avoid exerting yourself in any way. The 
box is designed to maintain a comfortable temperature no matter 
what happens outside.' Dio began to move back in the water, to 
hide under the box. But I stopped him, and told him to get in the 
box. Not in the same compartment as me or Lisa Lisa, of course. I 
had worked out that this box had two layers. The depth of my berth 
compared to the height of the outside made it clear there was room 
below the cushions for another person. An emergency second 
compartment seemed like a precaution any smart vampire would 
make to avoid the sunlight. Holding Lisa Lisa, I moved onto the 
open lid, and Dio climbed out of the water. 'Did you think you'd be 
more likely to get your chance in this box than the water, Erina 
Joestar?' he asked. He'd seen right through my scheme. There was 
nothing I could say. Underneath the box, Dio could easily escape. If 
he swam down a few dozen meters, the sun could never reach him, 
and he was a vampire - obviously he could do that. But if he was in 

the box with me, all I had to do was open the lid, and the sun would 
pour in. Dio knew exactly what I'd been thinking. He shook the 
water off, and said, 'Let me remind you that I can kill you at any 
moment. I can tear that baby to pieces, I can reach into your belly, 
tear out that embryo, and eat it while you watch. Remember that. 
Remember it well. The only reason I don't is out of respect. Like I 
said. Each tiresome scheme you attempt lowers my respect for you. 
If I cease to respect you, I will inflict the greatest indignity upon 
you.' I was frozen with fear. Dio leaned close, and whispered in my 
ear. 'You wanted me in the lower compartment. It was so obvious. 
Are you really that stupid? No one that simple-minded has any 
right to Jonathan's hand.' Those words went straight to my heart, 
and tore right through me. 'You will be punished. I'll take back what 
the fish gave you.' His shoved his fingers in my neck, and drained 
my blood again. Our deal had ended. Whatever pretense we had of 
equality had crumbled in an instant.' 

"'Further punishment,' he said, and snatched Lisa Lisa from 
my amis. I was too woozy to resist. He then threw me face down in 
the second compartment. The cushions inside were just as thick, so 
it didn't hurt that much, but Dio must have seen me try and shield 
my womb. 'If you really are stupid, that baby will die,' he said. He 
replaced the partition, shutting me in the bottom of the box. I heard 
a click a moment later, so I assumed he had closed the lid to keep 
the sun out. In the darkness I put my hands on my belly, and tried 
desperately to stop myself from passing out. If I lost consciousness, 
I felt my bodily functions would fade so much the baby would die. 
After was seemed like a long, long, long time, I heard Dio's voice 
through the cushion. 'Don't you dare die, Erina Joestar. If you die, 
I'll have to eat this baby.' The thought of little Lisa Lisa in his hands 
made me desperate to communicate that I was still alive down here, 
but my voice was a hoarse whisper, and there was nothing hard to 
tap, just soft cushions that absorbed all sound. 'You can't just make 

this easy?' he growled, and flipped the box, so it was resting upside 
down. Now I was lying on my back, unable to move. Right before 
my eyes, a small door I’d never noticed slid open, and I could see 
the blue sky up above. The white clouds and dazzling sunlight did 
wonders for my spirit, and I was able to lift myself up to the little 
window, and peer out. Sitting on top of the box was a bird, its 
wings torn off, and its body roasted. 'Eat that. Make blood,' said 
Dio's voice beneath me. I did as he said, wondering as I ate how 
Dio could open this window, and prepare this meal without entering 
the sunlight. I was too dazed to think clearly, and no answer came. I 
understood only one thing - that Dio had some power I didn't 
understand. And this new power could grab a bird out of the sky in 
broad daylight, light a fire, and cook it. None of that could be done 
while hiding under a box in the water. None of that could be done 
without leaving the compartment beneath me, which Dio had not 

"I devoured the bird, and once again the fresh blood came 
rushing through my body. At last my mind started working. The 
first thought I had was that if there were birds, we must not be that 
far from land. That improved our odds of rescue, possibly in the 
near future. I had only to survive until then. And somehow protect 
Lisa Lisa that long. I had given up all hope of killing Dio at sea. I 
was only interested in survival. Not to save my own life, but for 
Lisa Lisa, and the child inside of me. But whatever spirit the new 
blood brought me was dashed away with a single roar from Dio. 
'Hey! Shut the door and get back inside the box, you awful cow! 
Don't let light inside my box! If you're done eating, get back in 
your hole, bitch!' Nobody had ever spoken to me like that. I'd never 
associated with anyone who used language like that. It was as great 
a shock to me as being struck by lightning. But Dio did not even 
allow me time to reel. 'I'm sick of your dainty bullshit! You could 
have eaten the fish and that bird raw! I could have jammed them 

straight into your stomach rather than let you feed yourself! The 
only reason I didn't is out of consideration! Yet you can't even show 
me the same in kind? Cut the damn sunlight off!' Such a torrent of 
abuse. I hastily closed the door. With it shut, all I could do was lie 
there in the darkness, and listen to Dio rant. I knew nothing of 'true 
suffering'; being a nurse just proved I was 'a hypocrite'; deep down 
I was really 'phony', 'slow', and 'a plague that drags people down 
the more you try to help'. That's why Jonathan died, he said. 'The 
reason I had to kill Jonathan begins with you.' 'When we were 
children, I just made a little pass at you, and Jonathan lost his damn 
mind, attacked me for no reason. That's why I had to kill him.' 
'Jonathan was a good guy. If he’d never attacked me, we would 
have been real friends. Brothers. But you made sure that never 
happened.' 'The reason Jonathan died was because you used him to 
get at me.' 'You killed Jonathan Joestar.' I could argue with none of 
this. I just stifled my voice, and cried as quietly as I could. It was 
agonizing. I wanted to yell back, but...I couldn't. I was so unused to 
being treated like this that in the back of my mind, I started to 
wonder if maybe he had a point. After all, I had just lost my 
beloved husband in a way that hardly seemed real. I was not in 
control of my emotions. And Dio took advantage of that. He didn't 
let me think. He kept the harassment going for hours, violently 
changing his manner to keep me off balance. If I started crying he'd 
fall silent for a minute, then change his tone. 'I said I would show 
you respect. I'm sorry. I couldn't control my own emotions. I said 
things I shouldn't have. Closing the door was better for you, as 
well. Like I said, what I can do during the day is limited. If you 
were dehydrated, I'm not sure I could save you. So I wanted you 
back in the box as soon as possible, before you started to sweat.' 
Earlier he'd claimed he could do nothing during the day. But he’d 
been able to flip the box, cook a bird, and feed it to me. I was too 
afraid to challenge him on this. His behavior was bizarre, unstable, 
and unpredictable. The more Dio told me about how everything he 
did was for me, the more I apologized. Saying what he wanted to 

hear. 'I should have thought of that. I'm so sorry.' All I wanted to do 
was get him to stop blaming me, then explaining how I'd betrayed 
his respect and enraged him. But apologizing just made him change 
tactics again. 'You’re sorry? Sorry for what?' 'You don’t even know 
what you're apologizing for. Are you mocking me?' 'I'm showing 
you respect, and you're ignoring it!’ The hidden door flew open, and 
I was dragged out of the box. How he did this, I didn’t know. 
Something grabbed a handful of my clothing, but I couldn't see 
what. This invisible thing threw me into the water. We'd been on 
our honeymoon, and I was dressed for dinner. In an instant, it was 
soaked through, and heavy, and tangled with my limbs. I couldn't 
swim in that, not as weak as I was; I sank like a stone. Dio left me 
until I had nearly drowned, then his invisible power yanked me out 
of the water again, and put me in the box. I coughed up water, 
shaking, and he demanded that I show 'remorse'. I said anything he 
wanted me to say, desperate not to get thrown in the water again. 
Then his voice turned sweet again. He explained how worthless I 
was, how much I deserved to be drowned, or have him feed on my 
blood, how all of this was done for my benefit, out of kindness. He 
fed me enough to restore what he drank, and then began screaming 
at me again over nothing. By noon I was completely under his 
control. I didn't want him to drown me, didn’t want him to drink 
from me, and nothing else mattered. Then for some imagined slight 
Dio demanded I choose between drowning or having my blood 
drained. Letting him feed was far less painful, but I was worried 
about the baby, so I had to choose being thrown in the ocean. For 
most of the day he tortured me with the water. And between he 
would feed. Either punishment pushed me to the brink of death, but 
he would always force me back to life. Sometimes I genuinely 
wished he'd let me die. But Lisa Lisa and the baby inside me kept 
me alive. I wanted to survive. I had to survive. I would do anything 
to survive. Before the sun set all traces of my identity had been 
destroyed, and without even seeing Dio Brando once throughout 
this whole ordeal, I even agreed to marry him." 

"No matter what I did I could not please him. The fear was 
so overwhelming I nearly vomited every time I heard his voice, but 
he'd drop me in the water if he noticed, so I had to put my face 
underwater and throw up as quietly as I could. Dio's punishments 
and assaults continued. I was not allowed to rest safely in the box. I 
became dehydrated, and then sunsick. I was running a fever, unable 
to think, unable to understand what was happening to me. I didn't 
even know who I was. Dio had denied me everything. When the 
sun sank below the horizon, Dio opened the lid of the box, and 
appeared before me. He'd been sipping my blood since sunrise, and 
his bums had almost completely healed. His skin and hair were 
glossy, and against the clouds of dusk he appeared to be a very 
handsome man indeed. My eyes did not see Dio Brando, but 
someone who owned me completely. I was his toy to do with as he 
pleased. There was a part of me oddly proud that my owner was so 
beautiful. His strange power held me just above the surface of the 
water. Dio looked down at me, and smiled. 'You're wet, filthy, ugly, 
and good for nothing but your blood. While I allow you to live, 
give me all the blood you have. You don't have my permission to 
die.' Beneath that crimson sky, I at last saw Dio for who he was. 
My mind finally realized the man standing there was Dio Brando. 
And I remembered. I was Erina Joestar. My maiden name was 
Erina Pendleton. And I realized one other thing. During the day, 
when Dio had been placing me under his control, I had wondered if 
he desired me as a woman, but of course he didn't. He was Dio 
Brando. Even when he'd been rough with me to tear Jonathan and 
me apart, he had never actually cared about me. He had simply 
been trying to isolate Jonathan Joestar. I had simply been a tool, a 
pawn to make that happen. Even now, he had not broken my spirit 
because he wanted me. He didn't care about me. Not ten years ago, 
and not now." 

"Sitting on the lid, Dio used his mysterious power to bring 
me closer to him, and turned me upside down, dangling in the air. 
'Give your new husband a kiss,' he sneered. 'Of your own free will. 
Make it a good one and I might give you water and food.' No 
sooner had the words left his mouth than my hand shot out and 
slapped him across the face. I scarcely even knew that I was 
smiling. 'I can't do that. There's no muddy water to wash my lips 
with.' ...I will refrain from explaining what I meant by that, but 
resisting him like this, as strung out as I was, seemed to catch Dio 
off guard. He looked surprised, and did not react immediately. It 
was but a moment, but I had time to think. He was the same man 
he'd been ten years before. His core hadn't changed. He was doing 
the same thing. Repeating what had happened ten years ago. He 
was dominating me to isolate Jonathan Joestar, to make him feel 
powerless. He wanted Jonathan Joestar to see what he was doing to 
me. So Jonathan Joestar must be close enough to see me. Dio 
Brando had been a vampire without a body. He'd stolen Jonathan 
Joestar's body. So what had happened to Jonathan Joestar's head? 
Had he left it on the exploding ship? With his obsessive nature? Of 
course not. He would have taken it with him, and then humiliated 
his wife in front of it. That was the sort of monster he was. And he 
had the power to keep Jonathan alive, even as a severed head. Dio 
Brando was a vampire, and he'd turned the ship's passengers into 
living corpses. He must have done the same thing to Jonathan. He'd 
turned him into one of those horrible monsters from the ship. This 
thought made me shake with sadness and fear, but it also gave me 
strength. I took my eyes off Dio, and looked around me, trying not 
to betray my intent. There were any number of ship fragments 
floating near us. The waves had not drawn them away. This seemed 
odd - odd enough. Was Dio's strange power keeping them here? He 
wasn't just keeping them in case he needed a fire. If he wanted that, 
he could have moved a number of them into the box, or used his 
power to pile them on top of the lid, and let them dry. I had watched 

him lighting the wet wood, and it took a considerable amount of 
time. So he wasn't keeping them floating here for use as firewood, 
but to hide something underneath. Just has Dio had hidden beneath 
the box. I looked again, searching for something large enough to 
hide Jonathan's head. But before I could find it, Dio reached his 
hand out, and wrapped it around my throat. 'Your tongue is sharp, 
Erina Joestar. Heh heh. So be it. The night has just begun. I can 
take my time, and let you know just how dull you are, and just how 
pathetic your violent outburst was.' I stared at him in silence, 
thinking. A few moments ago I had been so terrified of him. But not 
any more, not now that Jonathan was at my side. Jonathan Joestar 
was here with me. That thought alone made me myself again. It 
didn't matter if he was a monster, or the living dead. Jonathan was 
Jonathan. My husband. I would not allow myself to grovel before 
another man with him watching. I knew that Dio would continue to 
torment me. Even if Jonathan had become a monster, if any trace of 
humanity remained within him, he would not want to see me 
treated like this. But he had no way of escaping...unless somebody 
allowed him to die. As his wife, that was my duty. This was an 
awful thought. But I felt certain Jonathan would not be able to bear 
turning into one of those ugly monsters I'd seen on the ship. So my 
first order of business became escaping from the grip of whatever 
power kept me suspended in the air. That was easy enough, as long 
as I could bear the pain. When Dio had this power throw me into 
the ocean, it often left me to my own devices. Especially if he was 
sure I was too exhausted to swim. My spirit might have returned, 
but the fear was still very strong; it was ah I could do not to tremble 
or throw up. But I managed to look calm long enough to say, 'Hold 
your tongue. You are no longer human, and have no right to speak 
that way to me.' Dio's grin vanished. 'Not that you had any right to 
speak to me when you were human. You spoke and lived and 
behaved like a gentleman on the surface, but you never were one. 
You have an inferiority complex about your impoverished origins, 
and that prevents you from improving yourself as a human. Let me 

tell you, Dio Brando. Your poverty did not make you a villain. Your 
relationship with your parents did not make you what you are. Lack 
of education or wealth had no bearing. You were doomed by your 
own inability to look beyond the surface of anything, by your 
shallow mind, and by your overwhelming self-importance.'" 

"As I spoke these words, I realized I wasn't just trying to 
make him mad. I meant every word, and genuinely believed I was 
speaking the truth. And Dio's reaction made it clear I'd touched a 
nerve. For several moments, he remained shaken. Then he yelled, 
'Shut up, you bitch!' and used his mysterious power to shove me 
under the water. When I had almost drowned, it yanked me out. He 
yelled at me again, and shoved me back under so hard I almost 
passed out when I hit the water. But I could not afford to lose 
consciousness here. I desperately shook off the blackness, opened 
my eyes underwater, and looked for Jonathan. But there were so 
many bubbles around my body I could barely see. As soon as the 
bubbles began to thin, I was yanked out of the water. Dio's fury - or 
rather, his consternation - was tremendous, and I was in and out of 
the water, swallowing it and coughing it up so fast the water 
coming in and the water coming up met in the back of my throat 
and formed a whirlpool. I had no choice but to endure it, though it 
was hardly endurable. But I had to keep myself conscious and alive. 
I nearly suffocated on the sea water and vomit, but just before I did, 
Dio's power let go. I was flung a good ten meters away, and hit the 
water with a thunderous splash, and sank into the chum of the 
ocean. As I cleared my throat, I caught a glimpse of something 
under the debris near the box. My husband's head, Jonathan 
Joestar's head, bobbing up and down. It was far away, and I couldn't 
make out what kind of monster he’d become, but peering through 
the murky waters, I knew I had to do my duty as his wife, and kill 
my husband." 

"I knew this was my one and only chance to act. I had to do 
it while I was far away from Dio and the box, before he noticed 
what I was up to. My body and mind could not take much more 
torture; I would not physically be able to act much longer. Further 
violence would almost certainly lead me to lose myself again, 
become Dio's toy again, and allow myself to suffer all manner of 
indignities with Jonathan watching. I wanted to avoid that at all 
costs. So I surfaced, coughed violently, emptying both stomach and 
lungs, and then pretended to faint, allowing myself to sink beneath 
the water. I knew Dio would not pull me out immediately, and I 
guessed he was so angry he would leave me to drown until the last 
possible moment. Once I was a few meters below the surface, I 
began to swim as fast as I could. I was never the best swimmer, and 
my dress was heavy and made it hard to move at all, but I thrashed 
my legs and arms with all my might, desperate to reach Jonathan 
and kill him. At last I reached Jonathan...and my resolve proved to 
be for naught. Floating beneath the remains of the ship, in water 
still tinged orange from the sunset, was the head of my beautiful, 
beloved Jonathan Joestar - not a monster, but looking for all the 
world like he was still alive." 

"No matter what he’d become, after a day in the water, I 
expected the head's flesh to have decayed, his skin nibbled away by 
fish. So this miraculous sight made me gasp. I was transfixed. I had 
been so focused on laying my monstrous husband to rest....and he 
not only wasn't a monster, he didn't even look dead. Hesitantly, I 
reached out my hand, and touched Jonathan's head. The living 
corpses on the ship had growled furiously, attacking anything living 
indiscriminately, but Jonathan's eyes remained slightly open, not 
looking at me, not trying to bite me, not moving at all. I took him in 
my arms, and held him close, feeling the softness of his hair against 
my cheek. My husband was so different from what I’d expected that 

I lingered too long, and Dio's mysterious power found me. It 
grabbed me by the collar, and yanked me out of the water. 'You 
knew Jonathan was down there?' Dio roared. 'You fool! Do you 
want your husband to eat you!?' This, and the panic in his voice 
surprised me, but Jonathan's head was cradled in my arms, smiling 
gently, saying nothing. He did not seem like he would ever attack 
me. Perhaps even more surprising was that Dio tried to yank 
Jonathan away from me, as if trying to rescue me from him. 'No!' 
he yelled, and that invisible hand of his tried to snatch Jonathan 
from my arms. We struggled for control of him for a moment, but 
he soon stopped trying. The hand let go, I got my arms back tightly 
around the head, and then I turned around to find Dio staring at 
Jonathan. 'What's going on...?' he whispered. Clearly, Dio found 
Jonathan's condition as surprising as I did. I could never have killed 
Jonathan with him still looking this beautiful, but from Dio's 
reaction, it seemed I might not have to. The relief was so great I 
nearly fainted. But if I fainted, there was no telling what Dio might 
do to Jonathan, so I persevered. Dio set us down on the lid of the 
box, where he and Lisa Lisa stood. ' long will you 
pursue me? How long will our fates remain entwined?' he muttered, 
glaring at Jonathan's head. I knew the danger was not yet over; 
indeed, Jonathan's arrival had sent Dio into a fit. 'I won't allow it! 
He'll get in my way again! I can leave no part of him! Erina Joestar! 
He's already dead!' I knew I had to protect my husband's head until 
this passed. I grabbed a piece of driftwood, and turned to face Dio. 
'I won't let you touch Jonathan!' I cried. I put the sharp end to my 
throat, and stabbed it into the side of my neck, piercing my jugular. 
As a nurse, I knew this wound was fatal. I had dug deeply to ensure 
it would be. I drew the jagged piece of wood all the way around, 
across my wind pipe, and opened the other vein. I needed to release 
a great quantity of blood at once. Blood filled my vision, spraying 
out in arcs. I could feel it coating my shoulders, warm, and wet. 
Good, I thought. The wound had to be deep enough to kill me 
instantly. Dio screamed. 'What are you doing!? You stupid bitch!' 

Heh heh heh heh. I'm pretty sure I laughed out loud. He was so 
predictable. I knew it. I knew Dio couldn't kill me." 

"The first sign was when he tried to separate me and 
Jonathan - he believed Jonathan was a monster, and tried to rescue 
me. Given Dio's obsession with Jonathan, his unnatural fixation on 
causing him grief, then letting Jonathan eat me seemed like 
something he would welcome, or at least not stop immediately. But 
in that instant, he'd blurted out his true feelings." 

You fool! Do you want your husband to eat you? 

"What with the blood gushing out of my neck, I swiftly lost 
consciousness, but eventually, I woke up again. Dio had given me 
blood, and used his mysterious power to heal the wound on my 
neck. I was woken by the sound of Lisa Lisa crying, and found Dio 
collapsed next to me. He had injected me with most of the blood 
he'd drunk, and while he remained conscious, he was as weak as 
he'd been when he first emerged from beneath the box. Perhaps 
even worse. This time he didn’t even have the strength to take Lisa 
Lisa hostage. He'd come close to sacrificing himself to save me, 
and he looked relieved to see me awake again. I first checked the 
condition of my wound. As far as I could tell, the gash on my throat 
had been sewn together, the work as fine as any surgeon. Despite 
myself, I was impressed. 'Where did you leam to do this?' I asked. 
Slumped against the comer of the box, Dio glanced at me, and 
rasped, 'In a book. I liked reading. I read all kinds of things, taught 
myself anything that might be useful.' For the first time, I felt I 
understood just how alone Dio had always been. Outwardly, Dio 
had been surrounded by friends, the life of the party. He'd never 
seemed like someone who would have time to read. But now I 

could imagine him slipping away early. His friendships were 
shallow, for appearances only; alone, he had nothing to do but read. 
Nothing Dio's ambition granted him was real. He had no one he 
could share his real feelings with, nothing he'd genuinely 
accomplished with his own two hands. His life was hollow. This, I 
thought, was why he'd been so fixated on Jonathan. Jonathan was 
stuffed full where Dio was empty; he'd grown up to be a man who 
made genuine friends he could honestly share his honest emotions 
with, a man who threw himself body and soul into everything he 
did. Growing up in the same house with that, how could Dio not 
compare himself to Jonathan? The frustration this comparison 
caused him was perhaps the one genuine emotion he ever felt. And 
because he was unused to such emotion, he grew confused, and was 
driven to kill Jonathan and steal his body. If he wanted to be like 
Jonathan, he should have just told people how he felt, and made 
himself a true friend. The life he'd led before joining the Joestars 
had made Dio Brando who he was, and true friendship was almost 
certainly an impossibility for him...but Jonathan Joestar was not the 
sort of man to push someone away just because they'd committed a 
crime. If he'd allowed his feelings to show, some solution would 
have been found. Thinking about it, it occurred to me that Dio had 
been expression those emotions as clearly as he knew how. Hurting 
Jonathan, trying to kill him - these were a backhanded way of 
expressing his admiration. Had he felt that for anyone but Jonathan, 
he would never have admitted it. I had seen the results of their 
conflict myself, and was seeing it now, here on this little box. One 
had become a severed head, and I could not even tell if he was alive 
or dead. The other had become a vampire, and stolen his rival’s 
body, but had given his blood to save that rival's wife, placing 
himself at the brink of death as well. I hugged Jonathan's head to 
me, looked over at Dio, and found myself shedding tears for both of 
them. I was overcome with sadness, grief, and pain. I made no 
attempt to wipe the tears away, letting them roll down my cheeks. 
His voice hoarse, Dio asked, 'Are you going to kill me?' 'I will not,' 

I said. 'Do you cry because you pity me?’ he asked. 'You may have 
saved my life, but I could never pity you. I just wondered why you 
and Jonathan had to end up like this, and I couldn't stop myself.' 'It 
was fated,' Dio said. 'Does it have something to do with the way to 
heaven?' I asked. He made a face. 'You heard that? Damn it...if I 
could kill you I would.' 'Is not killing me a condition for getting to 
heaven?' He did not answer. Instead, he said, 'Do you know what 
blood is?"' 

"When I did not answer, Dio said, 'Blood is power, Erina 
Joestar. Make blood to live. This is good for me. And what is good 
for me is good for you.' Dio knew. He knew the wicked thought 
that had entered my head when I held Jonathan in my arms." 

Her long, long story drawing to a close, Mum looked at Lisa 


"I could have killed Dio Brando there and then. But I didn't. 
When the night ended, I put Dio in the bottom compartment, and 
when a ship rescued us, I had them weigh the box down and sink it. 
This is my sin. I could not kill Dio. Even though I would have 
killed Jonathan if he'd been a monster. You see, I had hope." 


What part of this story led to hope? 

Lisa Lisa's face was grim. 

"Not hope that Dio would regret his actions and become a 
better person. That man is incapable of such a thing." 

Then what kind of hope? 

Mum turned to look at my father's head. 

"But as long as Dio is alive, then Jonathan's body is too." 

I felt a bolt of electricity run down my spine. 

Her eyes looked on my father, Mum said, "Jonathan is not 
dead. And I did not want to lose the chance to get his body back. I 

believed that day would come, and I've been waiting here in the 
hope that it would." 

This was why Mum had stayed living in the Canary Islands, 
never returning home to England. She wanted to remain with 
father's head, near the sea where his body slumbered. 

But this also meant the vampire Dio Brando was still alive. 
And...the only way anyone would ever get a chance to get father's 
body back was if they faced him directly. Even if he was locked in 
a box, on the brink of death, he was a vampire; and from what 
Mum told us, even without moving his body, he had some strange 
power that allowed him to do all manner of horrible things to her. 
He seemed incredibly dangerous. 

"Mama Erina," Lisa Lisa said. "This mysterious power Dio seems to have shown up when he stole Jorge's father's body. 
That's not a power vampires have, and he didn't do anything like 
that when he was fighting Jorge's father." 

"Then you're most likely correct. That first night, when Dio 
was outside the box, he seemed very confused. That might have 
something to do with it." 

"Mm. Um. Powers like that...some people are born with 
them, and others get them after something dramatic happens, an 
injury or the like. The Hamon masters call these Spirit Hamon, or 
Stands. A strange name, but people with this power can see the 
power standing next to them, like a ghost. So...I don't think Dio was 
just confused that night. You make it sound like he tried talking to 
it, and tried fighting with it. In other words, he saw this ghost-like 
thing, and didn't know what it was. Stands often look like people." 

Mum was hardly in a position to know for sure. 

Her story done, the three of us went upstairs. Penelope 
looked terrified, and threw her arms around me, refusing to let go. 

"So many people died! Jorge, I'm scared. This island is a 
scary place." 

Hunh? I was scared too, and the way Lisa Lisa was looking 
at us was scarier, but what was scariest was a fire that had broken 
out in the one church on La Palma, in which seventy people 
perished. Why they were in the church in the middle of the night, 
nobody knew. But the doctor who'd treated my wounds had been 
there, and Lisa Lisa said everyone who'd died there had seen the 
man with black wings, the man who looked like a moth. And the 
walls of the burned down church were covered in drawings of a 
man with giant wings who looked just like their descriptions. 

When the sun rose, we went to the church. 

"So this is the Mothman..." Lisa Lisa said. 

I shuddered. "Don't give it a scary name!" 

"I didn't make it up." 

Still. I couldn't stop shaking. 

Every wall of the burned out church was covered in pictures 
of the Mothman. Countless pictures. Before the fire had started, 
everyone there must have been frantically covering the walls in 
drawings. The very thought sent a chill down my spine. 

"These are drawn in the ash from the fire. They were using 
their own fingers as charcoal sticks. These people had been turned 
into zombies, and drew these pictures before the fire killed them 

Even though Penelope was still clinging to me, I'm pretty 
sure I let a drop of pee lose. Just one, I swear! 

"It may well be this happened because we're here," Mum 
said. "Jorge, let us return to England. You can come too, Penelope." 

Eh!? Seriously!? 

"Really? I can come too, Erina?" Penelope cried. "I'd love 
to! Jorge, say I can come!" 

"Of course!" 

I was pleased as punch. I could finally leave this awful 


"But are you sure? About leaving father's body?" 

"I'm sure when the time comes, we'll be brought together. 
Whether I'm living close by, or far away. That's the power we 

Blood is power. 

Chapter 6 
The Island 

210 Chaos reigned. 

The electric and phone lines had been severed, so there 
was no TV to watch, and the land lines were useless. But our cell 
phones were still working. Probably not for much longer, though. 
Morioh was heading out onto The Ocean, heading south from 
Japan at the insane speed of 100 knots (180kph) - much faster 
than most ships could manage. We'd be out of our provider's 
coverage area in no time. I first used mine to check the news. The 
anchor said the SDF had scrambled planes to follow Morioh. I 
looked up just in time to see six of them rocketing towards us. Two 
were larger transport planes, but four of them were clearly fighters 
- guarding the transport planes? I supposed they'd scramble 
fighter planes either way, I thought. Then the lead F-22 exploded. 

"Aaah!" we cried, and watched as the fire spread out flat. 
Like it was exploding against an invisible dome ceiling...which I 
guess it was. There was a dome up there. The burning plane slid up 
along the dome moving southwest, then slowed. For a second it 
stopped right above us, then began sliding down to the southeast, 
bits of it spiraling off to either side. The trail of it made the shape 
of the dome clear. The other five planes managed to pull up in 
time, and avoided crashing into the dome. The burning plane hit 
the water with a splash, but that was soon swallowed in the wake 
left by the great ship Morioh as it sailed across the water. The wake 
churned outside the walls of the dome - did it wrap all the way 
around underneath? 

211 "Is this a Stand?" I asked Rohan. 

"I don't know. I've never seen or heard of a Stand this large. 
The whole town's an island! Stands, you see, belong to a person. 
They're a person's individual power. There's a limit to what even 
the best of us can accomplish. We all have our limits. Right? Or is 
my faith in limits betraying my own mediocrity? Damn it! I've never 
been this shocked in all my life! Is this really what mankind is 

capable of?" Rohan's answer had drifted into a thought, which had 
turned into a sort of speech directed at himself, which was 
alarming. As an artist, I could see why mediocrity would be 
Rohan's greatest fear, and why he'd want to deny that humans 
have limits. But this didn't seem to be an idea worth this level of 
conniptions. We still didn't know what was actually happening. 
Perhaps Stand Masters knew less about their own powers than 
they believed, or perhaps they were too ready to assume anything 
unusual was the result of a Stand. "Perhaps this is more than a 
Stand," Rohan said. "If so, let us call it Beyond." 

"Uh, sorry," I said. "That name's already taken." 

"? Hunh? What? It is?" 

Authors were frightening. Such synchronicity. Then I had an 
idea, and asked Rohan about Tsukumojuku. If he found someone 
dead in his house he must have read them with Heaven's Door. 
"Tsukumojuku? Of course I took a look, but there was nothing to 
learn. Once someone dies, their book becomes the kanji for 'death' 
repeated to infinity." 

Behind him, Nijimura Muryotaisu started shouting. "Ah! 
What the hell are they doing? Jesus!" 

212 I followed his gaze, looking up, and saw one of the fighter 
planes coming back...and firing a missile parallel to the earth's 


But the missile exploded in mid-air, the fire and shrapnel 
spreading out, flat on one side. Like the plane before it, the missile 
had hit the side of the invisible dome. They'd simply been verifying 
the existence of it. If the dome had not been there, the missile 
would have passed harmlessly through the air over Morioh. The 
plane that had fired the missile pulled up sharply, avoiding the 
dome, and flew away. 

"Are we protected, then?" Muyrotaisuu asked. 

"Who knows," Rohan said. "But I don't think this dome is 
entirely beneficial to us. Look over there." He pointed down the 
hill, to Morioh Harbor. A chunk of the bay was being moved with 
the town itself, as part of the 'ship'. A great number of boats had 
set off from the harbor, headed for the edge of the 'ship.' "They're 
about to find that out," Rohan added. 

Rohan was right. We all were. Not one of the boats was 
able to pierce the dome. They'd all had the sense to slow down as 
they approached the edge, and avoided significant damage to their 
vessels, but we could see the fisherman clustered at the prow, 
poking the dome with harpoons. It made the line of the dome very 
clear. The wakes of the ships crashed against the curve of the 
dome, a gentle circle encircling the bay. 

A circle, hmm? "Rohan, do you have a map of Morioh?" 

"? A map? Of course not! But I can draw you one." 

"Eh!" Rohan pulled a notepad and pen out of his pocket, 
and I watched as he went shaa shaa shaa shaaaa, drawing a very 
accurate looking map. I suppose I had no reason to object. 

213 "You still don't trust my power, do you?" Rohan said. "I only 
need to see a thing one time to produce a detailed sketch from 
memory. I promise, this is accurate." I took the map, had Hirose fly 
up and verify the line of the dome in the bay from above, did a 
little calculating, and soon knew the shape of the ship. The edge 
was a perfect circle in the water, but followed the winding 
boundary lines of the town on land. 

214 It struck me that I'd seen that shape before. It wasn't quite 
right, but...I recognized it. From where, I couldn't remember. 

I racked my brain, but nothing came out, so I went back to 
my original reasons for making the map. I had a theory. Since the 
dome formed a circle in the harbor, the circle was centered on 
something. If this ship was really the work of an individual... 

"We have to go here," Rohan said, pointing at the circle. "If 
this power is centered here, then whoever is moving Morioh will 
be there as well." 

"What's located there?" 

"That's our school. Budogaoka Academy," said Nijimura... 

What!? Fie wasn't underground any morel? 

"Oh! You're okay!" Muryotaisu cried. Behind Fukashigi I saw 
Sugimoto Reimi, and a disgruntled looking Kishibe Rohan. Wait. 
There were two Rohans? I turned, but the one next to me had 

The ghost was flesh again. 

"Kira Yoshikage has canceled Killer Queen's Bites the Dust 
effect," Sugimoto Reimi explained. We could finally say the name 
aloud. "Fie must have realized that the trap he'd sprung on Rohan 
wouldn't be enough to eliminate his enemies. Which means he's 
preparing to fight us head on." 

"Why this timing? Kira Yoshikage the one moving 
Morioh?" Rohan asked. 

"Flmm...hard to see it any other way. Rohan, all these 
detectives have been calling you today, right?" 

215 "Yes. I got fed up and stopped answering the phone." 

"Look what's on TV." 

Reimi held out a cell phone, where a group of detectives 
were holding an emergency press conference. She had found a live 
stream of it. A row of detectives stood behind a long table with a 

white cloth and a number of microphones. The blonde man in the 
center was holding a mic, and speaking rapidly. 

"We have little time, so let's get right down to it. First, some 
introductions. Including myself, the thirteen individuals gathered 
here at all known detectives; each has investigated and solved a 
number of cases, whether police or civil. Some of them I'm sure 
you know, but I will take the liberty of giving their names anyway. 
My name is Bariya Choumaru. From the right we have Dezuumi 
Style, Yuagari Bobohiko, Choukuuji Kenraku, Choukuuji Kiyuu, Judy 
Dollhouse, Marne Gen, Mikami Nils, Buramai 0, Tsukishimoni Nao, 
Hidzuki, Kakiuchi Mama Jump, and Fuyuname Sayatarou. For the 
moment, that is all of us. I say for the moment, because it seems 
likely that more detectives will join the effort to solve the case in 
Morioh. The case I'm referring to concerns the murders of thee 
detectives: Hakkyoku Sachiari, Nekoneko Nyan Nyan Nyan, and 
Kato Tsukumojuku. Hakkyoku and Nekoneko were known to be 
detectives, and it seems likely Kato was as well. If three detectives 
have been murdered in a single day it seems clear this is an act 
that flies in the face of justice, of our efforts to unearth the truth 
and force criminals into the open. I would even go so far as to call 
it an act of terrorism against the detective profession. We are here 
to announce that no true detective would ever be swayed by such 
cowardly violence. This case will be solved. But Morioh has broken 
off from Japan, and is speeding out into The Ocean, propelled by 
some mysterious power, and even the SDF are unable to approach 
it. Morioh has become an island, and the killer is trapped on it. We 
believe this broadcast will reach Morioh, and we offer first our 
prayers for the safety of its citizens. We are sure the mayor of 
Morioh, Shishimaru Denta, is acting swiftly in the interests of 
public safety and civil order. And there is one other individual I 
would like to carefully address..." 

216 Bariya Choumaru paused dramatically. I'd seen him on TV a 

number of times; he was a detective and an Italian chef. I gulped. 

"Kira Yoshikage. The detectives here know you were not the 
one who killed Hakkyoku, Nekoneko, or Kato. We know those three 
were killed specifically to draw the attention of other detectives; 
their deaths were bait. The real killer deliberately killed them to 
put you in a corner, and to make you suffer. So please calm 
yourself, Kira Yoshikage. At this time we are not looking for you, 
but for the one who killed these detectives. If you can provide any 
assistance, our investigation will be over faster, and you will be 
able to demonstrate that you can be cooperative. We promise no 
ill will befall you. We promise we will not attempt to find you as 
long as the detective killer is at large. So please. Calm down." 

"Wow," I said, before I could stop myself. How did these 
other detectives know that name? If they had been drawn to this 
case by the murders of the detectives, they shouldn't have heard 
anything about Kira Yoshikage. I knew they hadn't been involved in 
the fifteen locked room mysteries, but had they all come across his 
name while investigating unrelated cases of their own? Received a 
challenge the same way I had, telling them he'd kill them if they 
came near Morioh? I was pretty impressed they'd managed to 
work out he was probably moving Morioh without even coming 
here. They must already know that Stands existed, and know what 
they were capable of. If they didn't, they would have assumed 
someone had made a giant engine and fuel tank underneath the 
town, turning it into a giant ship...whether that was possible was 
highly unlikely, but they would have started with physical theories, 
ignoring the possibility of superpowers entirely. But without 
coming here, Bariya Choumaru had known the truth. I wondered if 
he had friends who had come here? 

217 I was here. Moving alone or in small groups it was very 
likely that other detectives had reached Morioh before the dome 
cut it off from the outside world. 

Bariya Choumaru had been able to put together a press 
conference with thirteen detectives on such short notice because 
those detectives had all been in contact with each other. I'd always 
operated independently, and never had any contact with other 
detectives, but there were, of course, people who had no problem 
working in groups like that. 

So if they had friends in town, where were they? Not that I 
wanted to join up with them immediately, but it seemed sensible 
to be aware of their location. I remembered what Tsukumojuku 
had said. 

If several detectives are on the case, and one solves the 
case before the other does, is the slower one still a detective? 

Having that irritating question nagging at my backside the 
whole time would be a real pain. I would have to find the other 
detectives, and keep my distance from them so we could avoid 
bumping into each other. 

So, I wondered. The person who'd been bringing all these 
detectives here and threatening Kira Yoshikage...what did that 
person make of this place abruptly fleeing Japan? 

Could this have been the expected reaction? The more I 
thought about it the more that seemed possible. 

218 If the procession of detectives tormented the explosion 
killer, if their arrival wounded him... 

I remembered what Tsukumojuku had said. 

I've begun to believe that continual, repetitive suffering 
can lead to the development of unusual powers that help the 
sufferer escape. 

Apparently everyone had only one Stand, but that didn't 
prevent someone from developing a new power. This thought led 
me to finally understand why Bariya Choumaru had addressed Kira 
directly. He knew that if he could ease that pain even a little, if he 
could make the presence of these detectives no longer hurt him, 

then the power driving Morioh might disappear. 

He must have detectives posted here, working on the case. 

"Can you believe this?" Fukashigi said. I followed the 
Nijimura brothers' gaze again, and looked up. An SDF helicopter 
had flown up the invisible dome, and soldiers were rappelling 
down to the surface of it. It was terrifying to watch. 

"I dunno, should I go help?" Hirose said, putting Blue 
Thunder on his head again. "Nah," the Nijimuras said. "If some kid 
comes flying up to them they'll just lose their shit. Let 'em be. 
They're grown men, they know what they're doing." 

"I guess..." 

"We oughta head to school. If the dude moving the town is 
there, and it's Kira, we can finally catch him." 

"But it's a week day. Summer vacation starts tomorrow. I 
mean...there'll be students everywhere. None of the students or 
teachers are named Kira Yoshikage." 

219 "Kira's scared shitless with all these detectives here. We 
just find the guy who looks scared." 

"But he's been murdering people here for ages without 
getting caught. I don't think it'll be that easy..." 

Hirose definitely had a point, I thought. And it reminded me 
of a question I'd been meaning to ask. 

"Urn, it might be a little late, but how do you all know Kira's 
name without ever catching him? I just got here, and couldn't 
actually say his name aloud, so I never got a chance...but how do 
you know his name? Or that he even exists?" 

Hirose answered. "Kira Yoshikage...well, it seems like he had 
a thing for women's beautiful hands. We had a friend named 
Yangu Shigetaka - Shigechi, for short - his stand, Stray Dog, could 
control all the stray dogs in town. One day one of his dogs came 
back carrying a hand in his mouth - one of the hands Kira 
Yoshikage had been toying with. The nail polish on the woman's 

hand was unusual enough that we were able to figure out where it 
was sold, and that it had been purchased by a man - which was 
unusual enough that we learned his name. We almost caught him 
once. But the first of us to reach him was me, and he was sure he 
could kill me and escape, so he took the time to explain his Stand 
name and power. I nearly did die, but the Nijimuras caught up just 
in time, and turned the tables on him. Just as we almost had him, 
he slipped away. He forced another friend of ours, Tsuji Aya, to use 
her power. Her stand, Face/Off, could switch the faces and 
fingerprints of any two people, so Kira grabbed a random passerby 
with a similar build, and had her switch their appearances. He stole 
everything that could identify him. We got there just in time to see 
the other man and Tsuji Aya explode. He killed Shigechi too, as a 
warning. So as much as we want to make our town safe again, we 
also want revenge." 


"Yeah! We're doing this for Shigechi and Tsuji Aya! If we 
stop shootin 1 our mouths off and DO something he'll have to take 
action! Time to shut up and put up! We gotta go if we wanna get 
anywhere!" Fukashigi roared, and then was suddenly flung five 
meters away. Surprised, I looked around. It wasn't an enemy that 
had hit him, but the corner of the Arrow Cross House. It had spun 
to the left. If this giant compass had turned, then the ship/island 
must have changed direction. 

I looked up. The soldier hanging from the helicopter had 
lost his balance, or the island's change in direction had changed 
the winds over the dome and forced the helicopter off course; 
either way, the line had been cut, and the soldier was sliding along 
the dome. Muryotaisu was focused on his brother, but Hirose had 
looked up too, and saw what was happening. 

"Crap!" he said, revved Blue Thunder, and shot into the air. 

I grabbed Muryotaisu and pointed. "I'll help your brother, 
you help him up there!" 

"Jesus!" he said, looking up finally. "Gotcha!" 


He hopped aboard one of his flying dolphins and flew away, 
and I ran down the slope. 

"You okay?" Rohan called, coming after me. Fukashigi sat 
up, pushing the bushes out of his way, and muttered, "This house 
has it in for me..." He was unharmed, but not cause he was tough; 
he'd used his stand to protect himself. It was sitting underneath 
him. NYPD Blue was an odd looking Stand; a chubby bald middle- 
aged man in a suit. 

221 "Getcher big fat ass offa me! God damn it!" he snarled. I 
jumped, taken aback, but Fukashigi was used to it. "Yeah, yeah," he 
said, getting to his feet. "You're useless otherwise; least you can do 
is protect me." 

"Shut your corn hole, cocksucker. You watch your fucking 
mouth or I'll rip you god damn head off." 

Wow, this thing had a foul mouth. But Fukashigi just 
laughed him off. I guess it was none of my business. But then he 
turned and glared at me. 

"Who d'ya think you're staring at?" 

"Eek!" I quickly looked away. "Jesus!" 

"Heh heh. Sorry, man. He's pretty much always in a bad 
mood. He thinks he's a New York cop. He's convinced I brought him 
back from America with me." 

"Ha ha..." 

"That's funny to you, is it, scumbag?" NYPD Blue yelled. I 
jumped again, the smile wiped off my face. Then Hirose and 
Muryotaisu came back. 

"This is bad! Listen up!" Hirose said, flustered. "We couldn't 
break the barrier or help at all, but he gave us a message for the 

town's leader. Top secret! He said to tell nobody else! Apparently 
there's some bad people here..." 

"So? What was the message?" Fukashigi asked. 

"He said if nothing changes, the American army will flip the 


"What? I though they were our allies!" Not every day a long 
coat wearing delinquent discusses international diplomacy, but he 
had a point. 

222 "Back up a minute - why should we believe that?" I said, 
almost to myself. 

But Hirose heard me. "Because of who gave me that 
message! Look at this!" he said, holding out his cell phone. He'd 
taken a picture of a soldier holding up a note with "If nothing 
changes, the American army will flip this island!" written in 
Japanese by a hand clearly not used to the characters. But the 
soldier in question was much older than I'd expected, and I'd 
recognized those blonde curls. "That's..." 

"Exactly! The former president of the United States! Funny 

It was certainly him. Five people had been president since 
Valentine, and he had to be more than 80 years old...l was surprise 
to see him alive at all, much less clearly in good health. He looked 
much, much younger. "His hair is still perfect..." 

"I was surprised too, but it's a wig! He's kept the wrinkles at 
bay with Botox and plastic surgery, apparently. But that doesn't 
matter! A former president is telling us this will happen! We have 
to believe him, right?" 

Right, he'd taken the picture as proof. "But why is 
Valentine here in person? On an SDF helicopter? Putting himself in'd think he could just talk to the The Funniest directly." 

The Funniest Valentine was the first person in history to be 
named The, and was the current president of the United States. He 
was Funny's grandson. Funny's son had been named Funnier 
Valentine, and he'd named his son The Funniest Valentine. Funnier 
was an astronaut, still in active service at the age of fifty. He'd 
been on the news a lot recently, since he was the pilot for the first 
ever manned flight to Mars. I wasn't sure what was going on with 
the Valentines, but if The Funniest planned to attack Morioh, 
wasn't Funny's action a betrayal? 

223 I looked up. "Woah," I said. "Funny's still up there." 

Funny Valentine was having trouble getting back on the 
helicopter. I could still see him standing up there. 

"Pfft, he'll be fine," Rohan said, pointing at the corner of 
the picture on Hirose's phone. I looked closer, and could just make 
out what looked like a frogman - small, transparent, standing on 
two legs. "He's got a Stand," Rohan said. Okay, sure, if he's got a 
Stand, he'll be fine, we all nodded...then shuddered as the 
implications of that dawned on us. The former President of the 
United States was a Stand Master...and Stands were genetic, so the 
current president probably was, too. 

"Ah!" Fukashigi said, so I looked up again. Funny Valentine 
had just been knocked off the dome ceiling, and was rocketing 
away when he suddenly stopped in mid-air, no rope or anything; 
then he began zigzagging through the air up to the helicopter and 
vanished inside. 

", I hope the SDF people are okay," Hirose said. 
"Hopefully seeing a Stand in action won't lead to them being 

"I doubt the risk would be worth it," Rohan said. "The 
helicopter pilot is a soldier. Anything happens to him, it'll make 
waves. I'm sure Valentine's got an excuse in mind. It was over 
pretty quick, and the soldiers have no way of understanding what 



The helicopter flew away. In the distance, we heard a 
loudspeaker. "This is a message from the Morioh council. In two 
hours, at 6PM, there will be an emergency meeting. All citizens 
should gather at the Budogaoka gymnasium. This is a message 
from the Morioh council..." A council van with a loudspeaker 
attached was slowly winding its way towards the harbor. 

If they were gathering citizens for an emergency meeting, 
then Mayor Shishimaru Denta would be there too. At Budogaoka 
High School. That's where we thought the man moving Morioh 
was. Where Kira Yoshikage was. 

"Everything's pointing to the same place," Rohan said. "We 
should go. There's nothing we can do here but watch my house 
beat up Fukashigi." 

"Shut uuuuuuuup!" 

"Will you be okay alone, Sugimoto?" 

Reimi smiled. "Thank you, but I'll be fine. Sorry...being a 
Stand, I can't leave this place." 

"We'll go find Kira, take him down, and be back before you 
know it!" 

I didn't think it would be that easy, and Sugimoto looked 
like she agreed, but all she said was, "I'll be waiting. Try not to do 
anything dangerous. I'll expect you back in one piece." She was a 
beautiful girl, and I was suddenly rather jealous. 

"How sweeeeeeeeeeeet." "How sweeeeeeeeeeet." "You're 
a lucky man, Rohan." Not just the Nijimura brothers - Hirose was 
making fun of Rohan too. Rohan turned bright red. "Shut up! I was 
only being polite to my housemate! Come on!" 

But something about the warm, fuzzy mood disturbed me. 
It didn't feel right, somehow. For no reason at all. But I felt like 
Rohan looked ready to cry. "Urn, I'm not actually a Stand Master or 

anything, so maybe I should stay here?" I suggested. Rohan looked 

225 "What are you talking about? You're the Detective, you 
have to sole the case. You have to go after the killer. There's 
already been a murder here, the police have come and gone, 
you've arrived, Kira's Bites the Dust was lifted...what else is there 
to do? It's time for a change of locale, surely." 

Things were pointing that way, but...l couldn't explain why I 
found myself wanting to stay here. "I've got a hunch," I said, grimly. 

"Sure it's not just nerves? Stand battles do get rather 
physical. They are dangerous. But we'll do the fighting; you just 
work your mind. It seems like you're a real detective. I'm sure you 
can find Kira for us. I mean...he turned me into a bomb and I still 
have no idea who he is. Egg on my face, as the saying goes. I'm not 
proud of that, but I won't let it get me down. I'm fighting back, 

When he put it like that, I had to go. 

"You're a man, ain't ya?" Muryotaisu chimed in. "I don't 
care if you're English or Japanese, you need to grow some balls! 
Kira Yoshikage's a scumbag who goes around murdering women! 
We can't let him live another second! Stop mewling and let's get!" 

Fukashigi and Hirose were both staring at me, and even 
NYPD Blue was grinning and sticking his middle finger up. 

"Damn it! Okay. Then...Sugimoto, call me if...oh, you can't. 
Urn. Is there any way you can signal us?" 

"Yes. I can't stop the Arrow Cross House when it's pointing 
any way but North, but I can make it spin." 

"Then spin it if anything happens!" 

"Good, let's go!" Muryotaisu shouted, and summoned the 
Grand Blue trio. We followed his lead and jumped on their backs. 

226 "Right, don't let go! Jacques! Enzo! Johana! Sky Diving! Go 
Go Go!" 

Those must be the dolphins' names. At Muryotaisu's cry, 
the three dolphins chirped and shot away like rockets. To my 
surprise, it was much gentler than physics would ordinarily allow; 
G and centrifugal forces were entirely ignorable. Despite our 
speed, I could barely even feel the wind on my face. Where I would 
normally have been unable to open my eyes and have felt the flesh 
of my face bending out of shape I felt nothing. The dolphins swept 
down the hill and across the fields, just off the surface of the 
ground. I wasn't sure if this was just a trait of the species, but the 
dolphins bounded across the farmland, leaping and diving, 
laughing all the way. "Settle down, Jacques! Don't let him wind you 
up Enzo, Johana! This isn't a game!" Muryotaisu yelled. What had 
taken twenty minutes by cab took two by dolphin - we were 
already passing Morioh Station. I though someone was bound to 
see us, but Muryotaisu led us down deserted alleys, past shuttered 
storefronts, and through tunnels without any traffic to speak of. 
This was his territory. Of course, with that van going around, it was 
likely a good portion of the population was heading for the school, 
I though. But Hirose - who was riding the same dolphin as me, his 
arms around my waist - said, "Something's wrong...when we 
crossed the tracks I caught a glimpse of the main road, but there 
was nobody crossing. There was nobody in the roundabout by the 
station, either. Are the roads so deserted we don't need to hide?" 
Rohan and the Nijimuras were also looking around, suspicious and 

"I guess they're all just super responsive and organized!" 
Fukashigi said, brightly. 

"Reality check, shit for brains," NYPD Blue said. "Look." 

He pointed at the temple. It was on fire. 

227 By the time we reached Jozenji, the temple had burned to 

the ground, and the fire was dying down. The main temple hall, 
the structure housing the bell, and the living quarters had all 
burned. We got off the dolphins and moved closer; without even 
looking inside we were already struck dumb. It was clear the fire 
had started inside. The walls and pillars that survived were burned 
on the inside only. But what really got us was the pile of gas tanks 
outside the closed doors. The air smelled of oil and gasoline. "But 
why...?" It seemed they had set themselves on fire. 

What little the fire had left of the walls and floor were 
covered in drawings of...moths? Or butterflies? The drawings were 
done with charcoal. Wait...looking closer, I could see blood, and 
bits of flesh. Behind me, Hirose and the Nijimuras turned and ran, 
retching. Outside, I heard the splatter of their vomit on the ground. 

"They drew these pictures while they were on fire?" Rohan 
asked. "But...what were they drawing?" 

It wasn't an ordinary moth or butterfly. It had two burly 
legs, and a large head, with eyes staring out at us. It was hideous, 
and yet... 

"Beautiful," Rohan said. I turned to look at him. "What? 
That's what I thought," he protested, but that's not what my look 
meant. I'd felt the same thing. 

"This beauty..." Rohan said. "Do you feel it? They all drew 
so many mothmen...these drawings appear to be some sort of 
chimera of humans and moths, so mothmen seems apt. But why 
did they draw so many of them? There are more drawings of the 
mothman than there are people dead. Why?" 

228 The word 'mothman' was oddly terrifying, and I was having 
trouble getting past it. Rohan kept talking. 

"They were trying to get it right. But none of the drawings 
did him justice, so they had to try again. Using ash and charred 
flesh from their own burning bodies." I stared at him in horror. "I'm 
an artist, I can tell. I know what it feels like to fill every available 

white space, desperately trying to capture the image in your head. 
It was beauty they were after, beauty they sought. You remember 
what I told you earlier?" 

Symmetry is the basis of man-made beauty. 

Oh. Certainly, the mothman was... "Symmetrical?" 

My voice was hoarse. The stench of burned flesh was 
making me light-headed. 

"Indeed!" Rohan said, cheerily. "With their muscles 
burning, they couldn't stop their hands shaking, but each of them 
sought the same beauty! In a sense, this is a miracle! A terrifying 
one, but no less impressive!" 

In spirit or in flesh Rohan was clearly a little mad...but I had 
to admit I understood how he felt. 

But I was less concerned with how incredible these events 
were than how they had come to pass at all. 

"Who knows? When Morioh suddenly started moving 
perhaps they all assumed Buddha was punishing us and gathered 
here in a panic? Perhaps there's some strange Buddhist sect I'm 
completely unaware of?" 

"No, no kind of Buddhism teaches group suicide or self- 
immolation," I said, struggling to stay on my feet. If I let my guard 
down for a second I'd fall on one of the charred corpses. "What 
happened here must have been some sort of mass hysteria. 
Anxious people, gathered in a room, the door locked..." 

Rohan and I looked at each other, the same idea in both our 


There was another locked room nearby, with even more 
anxious people gathered in it. 

229 We turned as one, and ran out of the temple. 

"I don't how you could stand it in there," Muryotaisu said, 
wiping vomit off his chin. 

"Summon Grand Blue! We have to get to the gym!" Rohan 


The urgency in his tone was such that Muryotaisu didn't 
question it; in a flash, the three dolphins hovered in front of us, 
and we spend off so fast we nearly left Hirose and Fukashigi 

"If you want anyone in town to survive, hurry! Don't worry 
about being seen! Get us to the gym as fast as possible!" 

"Rraaaaaaahh!" Muryotaisu roared, and the dolphins sped 
up, no longer bounding across the ground, rocketing towards the 
school. We reached the school grounds in a few dozen seconds, 
crossed the sea of cars parked outside, and reached the gym to 
find a few thousand people pouring gasoline on each other. They 
were all muttering under their breath. No one was giving 
directions. They glanced in our direction, but saw nothing - even 
though we must have appeared to be hovering in mid-air. Listening 
closer, I could make out what they were saying. 

"Scared scared scared scared scared scared scared scared 
scared scared scared scared scared scared scared scared scared 

scared scared scared scared scared scared scared scared scared 

scared scared scared scared scared scared scared scared scared 

scared scared scared scared scared scared scared scared scared 

scared scared scared scared scared scared scared...." 

I shivered - instinctively, I knew I could not afford to listen 
to them for long. We began shouting, trying to drown out the 
muttering. "Stop!" "What the fuck!?" "Please, stop that!" "Don't 
kill yourself!" Nobody heard. It was as if they were possessed; 
nothing we did stopped them from preparing for suicide. 

230 Rohan was yelling, "Heaven's Door!" over and over, turning 

them into books, but getting nowhere. "Damn it! All of their books 
are filled with the word 'scared'! There's no white space left for me 
to write any orders! What now, detective!?" What could I do? 

Alter the conditions. 

Scared people gathered in a locked room, preparing to set 
themselves on fire. 

It was hard to make them stop being scared. But we could 
break the locked room. 

"Can we destroy the gym?" 

"The dolphins and I can break windows," Muryotaisu said, 
as if it was a bad idea. He went ahead and started doing just that. 
The sound of shattering glass filled the air, but broken windows 
wasn't enough, and the townspeople kept pouring gasoline on 
each other. Fukashigi and NYPD Blue were helping break windows, 
but it was taking too much time. They were about to start the fire. 

"Leave it to me," Hirose said. I turned to find him on the 
ground, with Blue Thunder spinning up. A moment later he was at 
the ceiling. "Watch out for falling rubble! It's better than burning 
to death, right?" he yelled, and the size of his Stand's propellers 
abruptly increased until they filled the entire gym. They they 
started spinning faster. Vrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrooom! 

231 His Stand was no longer helicopter blades; it had become a 
giant shredder. It tore apart the walls, and the ceiling fell, but as it 
passed through the blades it was torn to tiny pieces. Hirose had 
both hands held out, with more propellers on them, blowing the 
fragments to each side of him, sending them hurtling out the 
windows the Nijimuras had broken. It was over in no time. I looked 
around, and some of the people were looking at us. Not all of 
them yet, though - with the walls this high, it was still almost a 
locked room. 

"Hirose!" I called. "Get the walls! As low as you can!" 

"OK!" Hirose said, and shot me a thumbs up, then tilted his 

giant propeller slowly forward, quickly demolishing the front wall 
of the gym. 

The evening light streamed in, picking out the heavy dust in 
the air. Almost everyone turned to look. 

The locked room was gone. 

"What...?" "Gasoline? Why...?" "Ugh, it stinks!" "This is 
bad!" People had come to their senses as last. 

Everyone but Hirose wound their way through the crowds, 
calling out. "For your own safety, please step outside, and wash off 
the gasoline." Their heads clear, people nodded, and began 
heading for the drink fountains, or the pool, or the shower rooms. 
Nobody panicked; there was no struggling or running. They 
weren't scared any more. 

Just as I was about to relax, Rohan asked, "Did you see 
anyone who might be Kira Yoshikage?" 

I had completely forgotten about that. Unfortunately. 

232 "Come on, detective! That's our main reason for being 
here! Stop gawking and think!" Man, he could be kind of a dick 
sometimes, I thought. He kept talking. "Not just think, look! Take a 
good look at everything. Almost everyone in town is here. Think 
while you look. The question is...what are you looking for? What 
do you need to see? You know nothing about what he might look 
like. If you ask me, changing your face and fingerprints to become 
someone else isn't as easy as it sounds. Kira Yoshikage is thirty 
eight! You can't just pick someone the same height; they'd have to 
be the same age, and the same skin tone and build. Kira looked 
after himself, kept in shape, worked out a fair amount to keep thin. 
Could he easily take another's place without anyone noticing? A 
wife or a lover would notice almost at once. And then there's the 
matter of his occupation. Kira worked quietly in the administrative 
department of an appliance company, an unobtrusive salaryman 
job, but he'd been there long enough to get promoted to chief 

clerk, so if his new identity was the same age, he would have a 
similar level of responsibility. Could you do a different job with 
different coworkers in a totally different position without anyone 
noticing? I imagine it would be quite a challenge. And then there's 
your home. If he had a wife and kids, he'd never be able to risk 
going home the evening he changed identities. His face may look 
right, but his voice is different, and he'd have no idea what his wife 
and kids' names were. And even more practically, he wouldn't 
remember what they'd talked about that morning. That would 
certainly arouse suspicion. But these problems are all ones a 
delicate, careful type of psychopath like Kira would have been well 
aware of, and taken care to avoid. Yet he used Tsuji Aya's Face/Off 
to replace someone else. Which means he must have believed this 
was someone he could easily replace." 

Mm, this logic seemed sound. "So?" 

"If you look at the whole thing backwards, you'll see how 
Kira got past all the problems I just mentioned. He had to have 
known his victim's body, work, and family wouldn't pose a threat. 
Those are the three things that would be hardest to deal with. To 
get past the problem of family, you would need someone single, 
unmarried or at least separated or working far from home. For 
work, you'd need someone in the same line of work, or 
unemployed, or you'd have to change jobs immediately after 
taking over. That leaves the physical end...and if he has no family 
or job to worry about, that hardly matters any more. You see what 
I'm driving at?" 

233 "Probably. You can't tell what someone's job is, 
or what their social life is like just by looking at them." 

"Yes, so..." 

"The man Kira replaced was someone he knew. Someone 
he had studied as a candidate to replace. But could he 
know he'd be able to find this person in time to avoid capture? It 

was pure coincidence he wound up fighting Hirose and the others 
at the tailor's, right? Of course it was. He headed for Tsuji Aya's 
place...what line of work was she in?" 

"She could exchange people's body parts, remember? Her 
line of work was hardly legal. She wasn't a bad girl, but she walked 
a very thin line. But officially she ran a beauty parlor. It was called 

"So he would have had to grab someone he could replace 
on the way to the beauty parlor from the tailor's, right? But Kira 
was a very careful man." 

"He was. That lay at the root of his cursed luck. His intense 
focus forced fortune and coincidence onto his side." 

"Hmm. That's one way of looking at it, but if Kira knew 
what Tsuji Aya's power was, then he would definitely have laid 
plans in case he needed to make use of it." 

"I agree." 

"Yet, he could never know when he might be in that sort of 
trouble. Hmm. There's only one way I can see to eliminate 
coincidence as a factor." 

234 "Eh? What would that be?" 

"Simple. Make sure this candidate was always at Tsuji Aya's 


".I I see!" 

"Beauty parlors rarely have male employees, though; what 
with all the changing of clothes." 

"But she did! He only helped with her secret business, 
though; more of a gigolo, really. I have no taste for such gossip, so I 
never met the man, but Yamagishi said he was middle-aged, but 
not bad looking. Yamagishi is Hirose's girlfriend." 

"What happened to him?" 

"No idea! But he would have worked perfectly for Kira's 
needs. Gigolos have no real family, and no real job. Stealing his 

body would have been no problem at all! We'd better start by 
investigating that man. Standing here watching people won't get 
us anywhere - I have no idea what that man looked like. Kouji!" he 
yelled shrilly, stalking away. 

A tall man in a suit despite the heat came over to me. 

"Thank you, thank you. I'm Shishimaru Denta, the mayor of 
Morioh! That was a very close call, and you have my gratitude!" he 
intoned hoarsely. His suit reeked of gasoline. 

"Oh, it was nothing. I'm glad everyone's safe." 

"I really have no idea what we were thinking! I didn't dump 
this on myself, you know! My own secretary poured it on me! 
Terrifying! My right hand tried to burn me to death!" 

235 "You poured gasoline on me, sir. I could say the same," said 
a thin man standing behind Shishimaru. He was soaked through, as 

"Either way, it's dangerous, so wash that off," I said. "No 
telling what might set this place off." 

"Of course! We've called the fire department. By the way, 
how is it you can fly?" 

"Eh? I can't fly!" I said. Then again, I supposed I would have 
looked as if I was. Either way, I was better off not admitting it. "You 
were hardly yourself. You must have imagined it." 

"No, no, I'm sure of it! You came flying in and saved us all!" 

Talking to this man was like having hot air blown in your 
face, and I'd nearly forgotten I had a message for him from Funny 
Valentine. But I wasn't the one who'd been given the, 
this was no time for quibbles! And there was one more thing I was 

"Mayor, on our way here we found a lot of people dead in 
Jozenji. I believe what almost happened here happened there." 

".! Good lord...Is that...?" Shishimaru stammered. His 

secretary tapped him on the shoulder. 

"Kumoi's here." 

Shishimaru followed his secretary's gaze, and scowled. I 
turned to look, and saw another tall man in a soaking wet suit - 
this one with very thin arms and legs. He was surrounded by other 
men in suits, and they were hurriedly leaving. "Eh? What, was he 
listening?" "The chief of staff's boy was." "Really!?" KumoL.oh, his 
opponent in the election. The election car had been blaring the 
name. Kumotaku. Now that they'd returned to their senses, the lot 
of them were immediately turning their attention back to the 
election. I had no idea how effective rushing to the place where 
people had died and making a scene would, I suppose I did. 
In a town this small, the leader would be blamed for any tragedy at 
all. Those that had survived here were hardly out of danger yet, 
and there could well be others in danger somewhere else. At this 
point, a thought struck me. 

236 The others. 

When we left Arrow Cross, the van telling people to gather 
at the Budogaoka gym was heading slowly towards the harbor. 
People from the harbor would not have been able to reach the 
gym faster than us. Possessed by that unnatural fear, the gym was 
hardly the only place they could be affected. Like the people in the 
temple, it would take hold anywhere a large number of people 
could gather. 

Was there something like that in the harbor? From what I'd 
seen, it was all little shops and inns. But on the hill, right next to 
us, was the ideal building. 

Arrow Cross House. 

I ran out of the shattered gym, and look towards Arrow 
Cross. But there were houses in the way, and it was too far to see. 

"Hirose! Nijimura!" I called. Fukashigi showed first. "What?" 
he said, running over. But he couldn't help me. "Muryotaisu!" 

"What the hell?" Fukashigi said. Muryotaisu came running 

up behind him. "What?" 

"Check on Arrow Cross!" 

"!? Sure!" 

He bounded aboard a dolphin, and shot up into the air. 
Shishimaru came running after us. "Ah! I knew it! You kids can fly!" 

I ignored him. Muryotaisu glanced down at us, then fly off 
towards Arrow Cross without another word. The other two 
dolphins came down to us. "Fukashigi, come on!" "Right!" He must 
have seen something wrong. Fukashigi agreed, and the two of us 
jumped onto the dolphins. The dolphins fly away. "Heeeey! What's 
going on!?" Shishimaru yelled. 

237 I could see it now; the Arrow Cross house was rocking from 
side to side. The signal we'd agreed on. We'd noticed too late! 

The dolphins were traveling even faster than before. There 
was no air pressure or vibrations, just the overwhelming sense of 
speed, the scenery blurring past so fast I imagined I could feel the 
inertia and the wind on my face, and nearly fell off. I grit my teeth 
and tried to keep my fingers from slipping off the dolphin's fin, and 
at last we reached the Arrow Cross house. I could smell gasoline, 
and see the empty tanks everywhere. I didn't see fire. 

"Sugimoto!" I called out. Fugishigi and I jumped down, and 
burst into the house to find it empty. I went through the West 
sunroom into the study, but found now burned bodies, no signs 
that anyone had been here; it was the same as we'd left it. 

"Hunh?" We looked at each other, confused. "Over here!" a 
voice called. Muryotaisu had Sugimoto cradled in his arms. 

"You okay?" "What happened!?" We called, running over. 
"She's unharmed," Muryotaisu said. "Just in shock. People from 
the harbor came up, hell bent on burning the house down." 

As a Stand capable of moving this house - or it's 
predecessor, the Cube House - that must have felt like they were 
trying to kill her. "But what happened to them?" 

"They're all under the house. Reimi stuck them all down 


238 Arrow Cross moving wasn't an SOS, but a result of 
the battle! Relieved, I flopped down on the floor. "I thought my 
hunch had come true," I said, still unsure why I'd had the hunch to 
begin with. Was it detective sense speaking? But it really did seem 
to be just some vague, baseless anxiety. If only had I some context 
to tie it to...anything like that. Context? 

The order of events. 

"I'm gonna put Reimi in her bed. Can you stand?" She 
couldn't even answer, so he shifted her weight till he could carry 
her in his arms, and headed out the West door of the study. 

"Even so...what's happening to my Morioh?" Fukashigi said, 
and stomped out the East door. 

Suddenly exhausted, I laid back on the rug the desk rested 
on, and felt a strange lump under my back. 

What could it be? A small depression, but it felt hard... I 
peeled the rug back, and found a door. 

A door in the floor. 

I moved Rohan's desk aside, rolled up the rest of the rug, 
and exposed the entire door. It was a rectangular door, hidden in 
the middle of the interior hall. How would anyone know it was 
here? The front of the door was covered in the same carpet as the 
rest of the room, and the doorknob was recessed; to turn it you 
had to hook a finger in and pull it out. The thing under my back 
had been the small groove your finger went in. It was sheer chance 
I'd found it at all. 

239 If I opened this, would I see beneath the Arrow Cross, 
where all the people Sugimoto had hidden there lay piled on top of 
each other? It didn't seem likely. 

For one thing, this door opened outwards. There was no 
gap between the bottom of Arrow Cross and the ground; the 
whole point was to keep air from getting to Rohan and Fukashigi. 
There should be no way a door could ever open downwards...and 
yet, here was a door that did. Where could it lead? 

I made up my mind, turned the knob, and let the door fall 
inside. It opened. The door fell into an empty space that should 
not exist. Inside was a space exactly the same as the study. 

Rohan's desk and the carpet were nowhere to be found, 
but it was otherwise an exact copy of the room I was in. I was 
looking down on it from the middle of the ceiling. On the floor 
below me I saw another door. Did that open to another room 

I stuck my head through the door, and looked around the 
room below. There were doors on all four sides, the same as the 
ones in this room that led to the sunrooms. But there was no way 
this room could exist in the Arrow Cross. 

So this wasn't the Arrow Cross Flouse, but a room in the 
Cube Flouse. Only the surface layer had changed into the Arrow 
Cross Flouse; the Cube Flouse still remained within. 

The laws of physics did not apply to Stands. 

So of course I wanted to climb down into that room, which 
meant I had to think. I didn't have a rope. I wondered if I could 
weigh the rug down with the desk, lower myself a meter or two 
with that, and then jump the rest of the way...but it looked a bit 
too far, and I didn't think the desk was heavy enough. Then I had 
an idea. "Jacques, Enzo, Johana!" I called. 

240 I waited a moment, and sure enough, one of the dolphins 
came swimming through the air towards me, clucking. The one I'd 
ridden both times before. "Jacques?" "." "Enzo?" "." 

"Johana?" "Kikii!" Bounce, bounce. She did a circle around me, and 
then a flip. "Johana, can you give me a ride down there?" "Kikii!" 

She slid through my legs, and immediately plunged through 
the door. I quickly jumped on. I let her carry me around the room 
below for a few minutes. Up and down, around and around like a 
Merry Go Round. Then I tapped her side, and said, "Okay, put me 
down. "Kiiigo!" she squeaked, and landed as lightly and quietly as a 
paper air plane. She began circling the room again, which was 
adorable. I wanted to keep her, but she wasn't my Stand, and 
asking Muryotaisu for her would just make him mad. 

The carpet on the floor was the same as the one upstairs. I 
bent down, pulled on the knob on the new door, and opened it. 

There was another room below. It, too, was identical to the 
study. There was yet another door in the floor. "Johana!" I called, 
and had her take me down again. I opened this door too, and 
found another copy of the study. I had Johana take me down again, 
into the third room down from the original study, and opened the 
door in that floor, and found another room below that. But this 
wasn't a new room. I'd seen it before. 

It was the same room as all of them, but this one had 
Rohan's desk. It had the rolled up rug, and the door in the floor 
was open. I was looking down from the ceiling, but I could see 
another door through the door in the floor, and that door was 
open too, and beyond that I saw a dolphin fly past, and in the 
room with a dolphin I saw someone. 

241 Me. 

I was crouched over an open door, looking down. Through 
three doors like the one I was looking through I could see the back 
of my own head four rooms below. I looked up. Beyond the door in 
the ceiling I'd just come through, and beyond the one beyond that, 
I could see someone in a door I'd never noticed before, a door in 
the ceiling to Rohan's study. Still looking up, I waved, and so did 

the person four floors above me. 

It was me again. I was above me and below me. It was like 
standing between two mirrors. Leaving the door open, I stood up, 
moved over to the door to the east, and opened it. I'd assumed it 
would lead to a sunroom or the hall leading to the sunrooms, but 
to my surprise, it was neither; just another study. Ah ha. I went to 
the middle of that room and of course there was another door in 
the floor. I bent down and opened it. 

It led to Rohan's study, but to my surprise, did not open a 
door in the wall, but a door in the ceiling. 

This was a habitable tesseract. 

The house that stood here before this one was a simple 
square building. But this was also bizarre, in that it had no 
windows or doors, Rohan had said, but of course it didn't have any 
doors on the outside. What they'd been able to see wasn't the 
outside of the building so much as the boundary between it and 
the world. 

The study was a cube, and on each of its six sides - in other 
words, the four walls to the north south east and west as well as 
the floor and ceiling - there was another, identical cube. Each of 
those cubes were linked to each other, for a total of eight cubes 
leading into one another. The furthest cube out turned in on itself 
and was surrounded by the other seven. This was a tesseract, but 
the way the space twisted and turned was a logical abstraction, 
only possible in three dimensions with the power of a Stand. And 
because this was also a house, even though it was a tesseract it 
followed a bizarre set of rules that defied logic and physics. 

1. Parallel movements remain on the floor. 

2. Doors on the floor always connect to the ceiling. 

3. The side doors to Rohan's study do not connect to the 
next rooms of the Cube House, but to the halls of the Arrow 

I had climbed three down from Rohan's study, and moved 
one sideways, and opened a door. This floor door should have led 
to the side walls of Rohan's study, but it seemed the study had 
turned to meet me, and I'd opened the door in the ceiling instead. 
This was inconsistent with physics and unnerving, so I decided to 
return to the study the way I'd come, shutting the doors as I went. 

I closed the door beneath me, and went back through the side 
door. I'd lost track of if this was the north, south, east or west door, 
but I shut the door behind me, closed the door in the floor, rode 
Johana up to the room above, shut that door, rode Johana up 
again, and closed the door in the floor of that room. One more 
room above and I'd be in the study again. I was about to call 
Johana again when a door I had never opened slammed shut. 

I? "Who's there?" I called out. No answer. But someone 
was there. Someone hiding in the next room over from the room 
below Rohan's study, in the room to the South, a room you 
couldn't get to directly from the study. Creepy! 


I called the dolphin, and went back up to the study. I 
hopped off and quickly closed the door. There was no lock. Oh 
well. I put the rug back, and moved the desk a little from its 
original position, resting it on top of the door. So that if someone 
opened the door from the inside the legs of the desk would hit 

them. If that didn't hurt them, there was a lot of stuff on the desk 
that would fall off and make a noise, and even if we didn't notice 
they'd never be able to put it all back in the right place so at least 
I'd know the door had been opened. The Cube House didn't share 
any links to the Arrow House other than the study, so the only 
thing left was the door in the ceiling. I looked up, thinking, but 

then. .. 

"Hey, Joestar!" Fukashigi yelled, bursting in. I jumped a foot 
in the air. 

"Ah! What? What!?" 

"Come on, you gotta see this!" 

Wasn't enough happening already? I thought, annoyed, but 
since I was scared of whoever was hiding in the Cube House I 
followed Fukashigi outside. 

245 "Look at that!" 

In the distance, I could see another island, thundering - I 
couldn't actually hear it, but it was clearly moving very quickly - 
across The Ocean towards Morioh. 

Morioh was not the only island 'ship.' 

Nero Nero Island was covered in rocks and was about a 
tenth the size of Morioh. It had come from just South of Sardinia, 
the second largest island in Italy. 

It was the headquarters of a mafia group called the 
Passione Family. 



ffl It fit 

The English were unpleasant in their own very English way. 
It was as if they lived at the top of the world, and naturally looked 
down on everyone else; 'looked down' in the sense that everyone 
else was clearly beneath them so what else could they do? No spite 
or guilt, just...'Why doesn't everyone else try harder?’ There was a 
hint of warmth to their contempt that I found especially deplorable. 
How could such scumbags sit pretending to be gentlemen, acting as 
if they made the world spin while sipping tea and discussing the 
state of the world? If this was the English, the Spaniards back on 
the Canary Islands were far better. They were cocky and violent but 
never tried to pretend they were in the right. They never explained 
to you how their tyranny was based on logical superiority, and 
besides, if they left the trash to themselves they'd never amount to 
anything, yes? I'd never realized that true arrogance presented itself 
as elegance. True class, to my mind, was evident without resorting 
to pretense. 

In that sense, I found no true gentlemen or ladies in the 
Joestar family's ancestral home, Wastewood. Every single one of 
them treated our apparent differences as a means by which they 
could once again justify their own superiority. The Joestar family's 
recent contributions to Wastewood history had been the slaughter of 
the head of the family and a great number of policeman by an 
adopted son, followed by a fire that burned the manor to the 
ground, and then the surviving heir had married only to die in a 
shipwreck on his honeymoon. Even once my mother returned, all 
we got was: Eh? The Joestar girl survived? My, you had a child and 
lived on your own in the Canary sturdy of you. So 
you've come 'home'? Although you never really lived here, did you? 
Hmm. Well, that hospital your father ran was handed over to new 
management quiet some time ago, so you really have no family 
here at all. It's been a burned heap of nibble for twenty years, I 
never imagined seeing the Joestar manor rebuilt. Oh, you know the 
president of the Speedwagon company? He's helping you rebuild, is 
he? He's a bachelor, and you have two must be tough. 

Oh? Really? The girl isn't yours? Not even of noble birth? I see. 
Well, you're still Pendleton's daughter, and a fine woman...although 
it's been much too long since your wedding to really reenter society. 
And your son doesn't seem to fit in at the club. But enough about 
practical matters, tell us more about life on the island. You must 
have had so many adventures! My mother just smiled, and nodded, 
and said that it had all been quite a bizarre adventure, and since 
staying at home led to nothing but this sort of neighborly assault, 
she quickly began commuting to London. In the city was the 
hospital my mother's father had founded, now even larger. Graham 
Pendleton had retired, and the hospital was now run by someone 
else, but the controlling interest in the stock was owned by mother 
and my grandfather, and she had stayed in contact with him the 
entire time we were on the Canary Islands. My mother started her 
own company not far from the hospital, effectively transferring the 
headquarters of the Star Mark Tradings Company she'd founded 
from the Canary Islands to London. The office back on the islands 
remained, and additional ships from England increased the volume 
they could trade; England and Spain being presently engaged in a 
struggle for control of the seas this arrangement allowed her to play 
both sides, purchasing goods in Spain to sell in England, leading to 
a steady increase in profits. Both mother and Penelope, who was 
working with her, seemed full of life and fun, while I had 
transferred to my father's old school, Hugh Hudson High, and was 
being bullied again. 

Judging by the number of people who called me Jorge, the 
fact that I was a fallen aristocrat amused my classmates endlessly, 
but at the same time the economic success my mother had was 
impossible not to notice locally, and made them all frantically 
jealous. On top of that it was very easy to make fun of anyone with 
a single-mother household, and well, quite a number of things were 
said to me. I never really minded what they said about me; when 
they couldn’t get a reaction out of me they got mad, and one idiot 
fumbled his way into insulting my mother, which I could not abide. 

On the Canary Islands I’d been too afraid to ever get in a fist fight; 
suddenly I found myself taking three or four at a time, swinging 
wildly. I lost, of course. Fights are always won by whoever has 
more people on their side. This was high school; we were all grown 
up, and our punches and kicks hurt quite a lot. But I was ecstatic. I 
could finally take a swing at somebody! At the same time, I felt 
hollow. However slimy my opponents were, they were just high 
school boys, normal humans; not evil vampires or zombies. My 
fights were sleepy scraps in a world of peace. 

It all seemed so stupid I began refusing to engage with them 
no matter what they said. Mother told me to ignore them and 
worried about my injuries, and Penelope was furious and started 
slurp slurp summoning locked room clowns, so anyone who fought 
me was in grave danger, but mostly, I just got bored by it all. Fed 
up. By melancholy, violent, endlessly peaceful days. 

I remembered the time I’d spent with Tsukumojuku. All that 
time spend hunting serial killers, solving locked room murders, 
getting trapped in mansions on deserted islands...! I missed the 
adrenaline rush, of course, but what I really wanted was my 
friendship with him. The ability to talk about anything, to say what 
I liked, real laughs, real anger...I was sixteen now, and the thought 
was embarrassing, but I wanted a friend. And it didn't seem likely 
that I’d ever make one. I'd thought I couldn't make friends on the 
Canary Islands because everyone was Spanish; but I couldn't make 
friends with the English either. Because of this I started spending 
more and more time on my own, and since it was the country, the 
only place in Wastewood where I wouldn’t run into someone I knew 
was the sea. Since there were steep cliffs along the coast the only 
person who ever wandered around them was me, and I went almost 
every day, and that was where I met the Motorize siblings. 

At first I thought they were getting in the way of my gloomy 
cliff stalking. I was staring at the sea and remembering how much I 

didn't want to go back to the Canary Islands, when I saw them 
carrying something with a pair of huge wings, like a giant bird, up 
to the cliffs edge. Were they going to push it over and make it fly? 
It seemed a waste to make something like that and then throw it 
into the sea. Then, to my surprise, the girl wiggled in underneath it, 
inside of it. Eh? What is she trying to fly that thing? Really? 
The wind on these cliffs wasn’t strong enough to lift more than a 
leaf, there was no way it would work ah ha ha ha. I was so shocked 
I started laughing. Before I could call out to her to stop the boy 
shoved the big construct towards the edge of the cliff...with the girl 
still inside. He didn't even hesitate. 

"Eh? Auuuughhh!" 

I ran towards them, yelling, but too late. The tail of the 'bird' 
the girl was riding had tipped up, and it slipped over the edge of the 
cliff. She was falling! Shit! These cliffs were at least thirty meters 
tall; the water was deep, but from that height, she'd be lucky to 
survive the impact. I had to save her! Hoping to pull her out of the 
ocean, I ran to the cliff edge nearest to me. I could see the nose of 
the bird on the surface below. I couldn't see the girl anywhere in the 
pounding surf. I ran quickly along the cliff edge until I was right 
above the sunken bird, shouted, "I'll be back for you!" at her killer, 
who seemed startled by my sudden approach, and with that, I flung 
myself off the cliff...and as I did, the bird shot past me with the girl 
still inside. 

Both the girl and I said, "Eh?" at the same time. I turned in 
the air, staring after the girl and the bird, and thought, shit, I did it 
again. I was always throwing myself headlong into danger without 
a second's thought. Tsukumojuku used to lecture me about it all the 
time...but judging by the speed the cliffs were moving away from 
me I was about to hit the water, and should probably brace myself. 
Thirty meters. Doable? I thought it was. I stretched my arms up, 
and did my best to hit the water straight on. I took a quick 
breath...but just before I hit, the boy from the cliff caught up with 
me, wrapped his arms around my body, and suddenly we were 

speeding along in a totally different direction, along the surface of 
the ocean. My entire body was still braced for impact, and I had 

trouble adjusting to this turn of events. 


"What the hell were you thinking?" he said. "If you'd looked 
up for one second you'd have seen the glider! Tell me you aren't 

I still couldn't bring myself to speak, so I just shook my 
head. There were these things on his shoulders dripping with some 
dark red goo, and they were folding up and stretching out, and were 
covered in long flat hair, and then they turned and we left the sea 
and flew up into the air. He had wings...and they were covered in 
blood. ? Um...? Was he not human? "You OK?" I heard someone 
shout. Over the bird boy's shoulders I could see the girl I'd tried to 
save in her bird shaped machine, flying alongside us. "Maaan, you 
nearly gave me a heart attack ah ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!" she said, 
laughing hysterically. I stared at her in horror. 

"We'd better land," the bird boy said. 

"Right, I'll loop around and come in for a landing. You OK, 


"Oh, and thank you!" she said, catching my eye. 

Eh? What for? 

"You were worried about me, right? Heh heh heh, you went 
running straight off that cliff! Dash and bound! I saw the whole 

"See you on the cliff!" she said, threw me a kiss, and turned 
the wings of her machine away from us. I had assumed bird boy 
was her boyfriend, so this set my heart racing for two reasons. But 
the real reason my heart was racing was seeing that girl flying 
around in her bird machine, and how it had no obvious form of 
propulsion but there it was flying up down left right never falling 
totally free. Even after the bird boy had deposited me safely on the 

top of the cliff I stood riveted, watching her fly, obsessed with this 
new power. "I'm jealous...I want one...!" 

"Heh, everyone'll be riding them soon enough." 

"Eh? Really? How? Doesn't seem like something anyone 
could do." 

"You can, if you practice a bit. Just like driving a car. Maybe 
you won't be able to fly like her, but it won’t be long before they 
make ones anyone can handle." 

"Like a car...? Then she isn't using some sort of special 
power to make that thing fly?" 

"? What do you mean?" 

"I mean, like. those wings of yours." 

"Mm? Ha ha ha ha, no, no. That's just science. No special 

"But that thing looks too heavy to fly." It was hardly a leaf. 

"It is if you don't handle it right. You've never seen an 
airplane before?" 

Airplane? Was that thing an airplane? 

"If air flows under the wings, it pushes them up. Normally 
they have an engine making a propeller spin and build speed, but 
we don't have the money or the engineering skills, so the best we 
can do is make a one-man glider out of wood and cloth." 

I got even more excited. If normal people could make 
something like that then there was every chance I could fly one. If 
these things were going to be as common as cars, then I would 
absolutely be flying one someday! Amazing! I would be able to fly! 
I had been sure I’d just met two more people with mysterious 
powers, but I guess that wasn't true for the girl! I looked over at the 
bird boy and he'd folded his wings up and was sitting down. The 
bleeding had stopped, but the flesh on the wings looked really soft, 
and what I could see of his back through the holes in his shirt made 
it clear there was lots of bruising around the base of the wings, and 
some yellow bubbles oozing out. 

Guess this was why the girl had been concerned. He was 

clearly not OK. "Sorry, this was all my mistake..." 

"Mm? Forget about it." 

"Looks painful. Very painful." 

"Yeah...but I'm used to it, and it'll be fine in a bit. And 
you...heh heh, you're more surprised by the plane than my wings." 

"Eh? Mm. It just so happens I'm used to strange things." 


"So how'd you end up like this?" 

"Um, well..." 

"Wait," I said, remembering how Penelope got hers. "If it 
hurts to talk about, forget I asked." 

"Heh heh heh...can't say there wasn't pain involved, but that 
makes it sound like a much more interesting story than it is. I've 
never told anyone the story...hardly anyone else has ever seen my 

He fell silent, so I didn’t pry further. I looked back at the 
glider. Just watching it brought me joy, and given what Steven had 
said about the future, I found myself looking forward to what was 
to come for the first time in my life. I suddenly felt like all sorts of 
extraordinary things were going to happen. 

"Ha ha ha! I'm definitely flying one of those! Absolutely! 

I heard Steven laughing behind me. "Heh heh heh, well, 
given how quick you jumped off that cliff...that kinda guts is just 
what you need to be a pilot." 

Guts? Nobody else had ever accused me of having those 


Steven's sister Kenton came sliding in for a gentle landing 
on top of the cliffs. We looked the glider over, and except for a few 
grass stains, it was completely unharmed. While I was busy being 
surprised and impressed they swiftly broke the glider down, and 
loaded into the back of their wagon. They gave me a lift, and I 

ended up back at their house. At this point it finally occurred to me 
to introduce myself, and they were both taken aback. 

"Ehh!? You're the Joestar boy? Our grandfather was friends 
with your grandfather! Your grandfather’s name was George too, 
right?" Kenton asked. 

I nodded. "But my name is spelled Jorge." 

"Oh...but spelled that way, wouldn't you pronounce it 
Horhe? Don't people call you that?" 

"...they do," both on the Canary Island, and here in England. 
"So?" We'd been getting along rather well...were they going to start 
mocking me now? 

"Do you know a girl named Darlington?" 


"Eh? You don't? She's in your class." 

"I don't know anybody's name at school." 

"I guess you did say you transferred..." 

I hadn't said that yet? "Something Darlington?" 


"What's her first name?" 

"Oh, Darlington is her first name. My kid sister. I know, it 
sounds like a last name. It is a last name, too. Same goes for my 
name. Dad named us both after old friends of his. Since he can't 
very well give girls boy's names he gave us their last names. Awful, 
isn't it?" 

".? So...Darlington Motorize?" 

"Yes, our little princess. I'm sure you've noticed her, she's 
the cutest girl in your class. The one with the curly hair." 

".I don't remember a girl like that." 

"Wha...ah ha ha ha ha ha! No wonder she's so mad about it! 
Thank you so much! Jorge Joestar! Our little princess is getting a 
bit too vain, and you've been good medicine." 

Eh? Eh? So this girl was waiting for us at the Motorize 

No matter where you went, someone was there, and they 

were connected to someone else; it was just like La Palma. I sighed. 
"Give her a chance," Steven said. He was sitting on the right side of 
the wagon, holding the reins. "I agree she's a bit vain, but she's not 
a bad kid, and she's more than just a pretty face." 

I remained unenthused. 

The Motorize estate was still properly aristocratic, with a 
huge garden, a large mansion, and a butler. We rode the wagon 
straight into the shed; while were were unloading the glider the 
butler and Darlington Motorize came in. 

"I've brought you both some tea," she said. "Oh? Aren't you 
in my class?" 

I took a good look at her, but couldn't say for sure if I'd ever 
seen her in class. 

"What?" she said, somehow looking both anxious and 
victorious at the same time. 

"Sorry, I'm afraid I don't remember you. I'm Jorge Joestar," I 
said, holding out my hand. 

Darlington sulked for a second, but then took my hand. 
"Darlington Motorize," she said. "This is our butler, Faraday. Give 
Jorge some tea, too. Oh...Steven, your wings...did Kenton have 
another accident?" 

"Uh, no, that's my fault," I said. 

Darlington glared at me. "What did you do? Every time 
Steven opens his wings it takes him three weeks to heal, you know. 
He can't go to school that whole time, so you owe him!" 

I had not expected it to take that much time. I had imagined 
it was a momentary thing, like Penelope's Wound. I looked at 
Steven, and he said, "Knock it off, Dar. Jorge tried to save Ken; he 
could well have hurt himself worse than me trying. I'm used to it by 
now, it's fine. Not like we need to call a doctor for it; there's nothing 
anybody can do to help." 

"But it takes three weeks? What about school?" I asked. 

Steven laughed. "I don't exactly take school seriously to 
begin with. I can learn what I need on my own, and it means more 

time I can spend on gliders." 

"Besides, Dar," Kenton said. "You brought tea out here 
because you want to know Jorge better. Making Faraday join in 
your weird little pantomime." 

"What nonsense!" 

"But you've never once brought us tea before, ever! Ah ha 
ha ha ha!" 


"Then you pretended not to know his name! 'Aren't you in 
my class?’ Ah ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!" 

"Stop it! It's all nonsense, I swear!" Darlington shrieked, 
then she left in a huff, angrily stamping her way through the mud. 
Kenton watched her go, laughing hysterically. "Ken, knock it off! 
I'm starting to feel sorry for her," Steven said. "You know she's just 
going to take it out on Faraday and Dad." 

"But she's so cute!" 

"It's always like this..." he sighed. 

I'd have stayed as far from any of this as possible, but they 
were his sisters, and Steven seemed hopelessly nice. 

Faraday served us all tea, and we drank it. It was delicious. I 
wandered around their work shed, tea cup in hand. There were 
plans all over the walls, shelves filled with models, and a pile of 
glider parts in the back. It was clear he had tried out a number of 
different body types, and the sheer variety displayed in the plans, 
models, and parts lit fire to my imagination. "Jorge," Steven said, 
"Want to help make planes after school? And on holidays. If you're 
really interested..." 

I gaped at him. It hadn't even crossed my mind that he might 
offer. And there I was going, "Eh...but..." instead of yes yes yes 
please please please because nobody had ever asked me to join a 
group before, and I’d wanted a friend like Tsukumojuku but didn't 
ever imagine myself joining a group and...I was scared. This was so 
beyond my wildest dreams that it left me petrified. I couldn't 
believe it was happening. Mouth flapping I eventually managed to 

say, "Then once I've proven I deserve to be here!" 

They both laughed. "No need!" 

But I needed it. 

I thought frantically. "Um, there was a sunken glider at the 
bottom of the cliff," I said. "If you've given up on it, can I have it?" 

"Sure," Steven said, "But that's been underwater a while 


"Yeah. I"ll pull it out, dry it off, and look it over. You know 
why it crashed?" 

"No. Kenton said it felt like a bird or something hit it, and 
then it just fell apart in the air." 

"Then I guess my goal should be figuring out why it 
crashed, correcting that, and making it fly again." 

Kenton broke up laughing. "That's a pretty lofty first goal! 
What, you want to start out by surpassing us? Ah ha ha ha! Sounds 
good! You don't think small!" 

"Oh? Should I go for something a little easier...?" 

"Don't even think about it! No taking it back now! Man, I 
dunno if you're bold or wimpy, but don't worry! We'll help." 

So we all took the wagon back to the cliff and pulled the 
shattered glider out of the water. "Good thing my wings are out!" 
Steven said. He did almost all the work of getting the glider up; all 
I could really do was take the pieces from him and load them into 
the wagon. We took it back to the Joestar manor, and unloaded the 
pieces in a corner of the garden. There were any number of missing 
parts; Steve offered to share from his stash, but I refused, hell bent 
on repairing the glider on my own. I did borrow some documents 
from him, and began studying them intently, learning as much as I 
could about airplanes while repairing the glider. The American 
Wright Brothers were one step ahead of everyone else in 
aeronautics, and had successfully built a manned propeller plane 
the year before. Steven and Kenton had been studying wing¬ 
warping controls, and the glider I'd seen them fly, Motorizing 7, 
was the result. The one we'd pulled out of the water was Motorizing 

5; Motorizing 6 had been smashed against the cliff face by a sudden 
gust of wind, destroying it; Steven had been forced to open his 
wings and grab his sister out of the air. 

"Since Steven has his own wings," Kenton said, "He can't 
really truly get serious about making airplanes. I, however, want to 
be like Steven, so it's really driving me forward, but I'm always in 
danger of crashing. So Steven has to stick by me, and seeing him 
fires me up, and I wind up taking even more risks, ah ha ha ha ha!" 
Some sister. 

The other sister never came near the work shed again, but 
she was in class, and we talked occasionally. Even if Darlington 
brought up airplanes I wouldn't talk about them. I had no idea what 
pranks the other kids might pull, and if their efforts to torment me 
caused trouble for Steven and Kenton that would be just awful. We 
had nothing much to talk about besides airplanes, so we ended up 
talking about novels. Darlington did not seem like a heavy reader to 
me, but she had almost all the books I'd acquired on the Canary 
Islands, and offered to loan me books I hadn't read yet. I assumed 
I'd pick them up while visiting Steven, but she went to far as to set 
a date and time, and the day in question was when our class ended 
early but Steven and Kenton were still at school, so I was pretty 
sure I was going to end up waiting in the parlor for them to get 
home for ages. I'd yet to set foot inside the Motorize manor, but 
could easily imagine it not being anything like as fun and carefree 
as their shed, and I was only really reading novels when I was 
taking breaks from studying airplanes, and would gladly have given 
them up if it meant I didn’t have to keep talking to Darlington, but 
she was so insistent is seemed much easier to just go instead of 
trying to worm my way out of it, so I went. 

When I mentioned this the day before, Kenton laughed. 
"Ahhh, that explains why she keeps borrowing novels from Dad's 
library and scowling at them! She was making excuses to talk to 
you!" Hunh? 

Steven winced. "Ken! Don't tell him\" 

"Nah, it's cute! I'm sure she's got a crush on you, Jorge!" 

"No way! No way, no way, that can't be right!" I spluttered. 

"Why not?" 

"Well, she...I mean, I think she's pretty popular with the 
boys in class, and because I'm the only one not very interested 
she...winds up trying to get my attention. I'm like the prize of a 
hunt, and she'll keep it up till she's satisfied, but it's not really me 
she wants. I can sense it; there's like, a stubbornness there, like 
Darlington's trying to find the right strategy to get to me." 

Both Kenton and Steven looked rather surprised. 

"Hunh...aren't you perceptive," Kenton said. "I think you've 
hit the nail on the head, but...consider me impressed. Boys your age 
generally get pretty carried away the second a girl like Darlington 
shows the slightest interest." 

"I dunno...I don't have any other friends, so I'm sort of 
happy she comes and talks to me at all. And since Darlington talks 
to me, the others are leaving me alone more. I'm sure they'll be 
back once Darlington tires of her toy." 

"Hunh...Jorge, are you already in love with someone else?" 
Kenton grinned. My thoughts instantly went to Lisa Lisa, to my 
horror. Why Lisa Lisa!? Why now!? 

"No! I'm not!" 

"Ah! You're flustered! That means you are! I know it!" 

"I'm not! I'm not!" 

"You absolutely are! That's nice. I don't know why you think 
you need to hide it, you don't." 

"Because I'm not!" 

"You so are! Ah ha ha ha ha!" 

At last Steven saved me. "Cut it out! You toy with Jorge as 
much as Dar does." 

She did! Point well made! 

"Ah ha ha, well, Jorge is just that type, you can't help 
messing with him! Listen, Jorge, I know you've had all kinds of bad 
stuff happen to you, but that was because you were surrounded by 

children! Children are all idiots who don't know how they should 
behave. They want to tease you a bit but wind up being really 
mean. Because they suck at it. Lots of boys end up being really 
mean to the girl they've got a crush on, you know. But you're in 
high school now, so you're about to become really popular. Look 
forward to it! You're plenty good looking! If bizarrely gloomy." 

This caught me so off-guard I didn't know how to answer. I 
could hear a denial echoing through my mind, but no thoughts 

Then Kenton added, "But I guess you won't care! You're 
already in love!" 

I love you, Lisa Lisa. 

AAAAAAAaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaugh! Why did I just 
think that! I was dying of embarrassment. "I'm not in love! I'm not! 
Not at all!" I shrieked. 

"I've been debating whether to mention this or not," Steven 
said. "But you live with your mother, and another reeeeeally pretty 
woman, don't you?" Eh? Penelope? 

"Eeeeeeeeeeeek! Really!? Eh? Her? Jorge! You're already 
living together!? Woooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooow!" 
Kenton had clearly lost it completely, and Steven wouldn't stop 

"You're a lucky boy V," he said. 

I didn’t know he had it in him. 

This was such a weird thing to say it calmed me down. 

"Nothing like that." 

Kenton and Steven both went wide-eyed. "Oh!" "Hunh?" 
"He's telling the truth." "Hunh..." Kenton said. "Then it's someone 
else he loves! Somewhere else...did you leave her behind on the 
Canary Islands!?" 

Elizabeth Straits was in Rome now, right? 

Me too, Jorge. I love you, too. 

Ugghhhh, why was she saying that!? Why was I thinking 
about her again! Enough! "I'm not!" 

"Liar! You just went bright red!" 

"I'm not! I swear, I'm not!" 

"Ah Ha Ha Ha Ha! The way you can’t lie at all is so fun and 
adorable, Jorge!" 

And I got teased mercilessly for it. 

That night, in the simple tent I'd set up in the garden in place 
of a proper work set, I finished putting together the parts of the 
glider we'd saved (about 70% of it) and it finally looked like an 
airplane. Looking it over, I noticed two sets of four parallel grooves 
on top of the right top wing. I couldn't see them as anything but the 
claw marks left by some four fingered thing that had grabbed the 
wing, and the location of the marks was clearly where the glider 
had started to fall apart in the air; one of the wires that warped the 
wings was severed in just that spot. It spooked me. 

Kenton had said she hit a sea bird, but she'd been the pilot 
and couldn't see the back of the wings. Had something been hiding 
back there, trying to crash the plane? I didn't want to deal with this 
alone, so I made up my mind to bring it up when I was visiting the 
Motorize manor the next day. 

A bright morning gave way to heavy clouds and cold rain 
and I was dreading the whole thing but school ended and I entered 
the Motorize manor, was led to the parlor, and sipped the tea 
Faraday brought until Darlington came in with Heart of Darkness in 
her hand and asked, "Jorge, are you in love with anyone?" 

I made a strange, shrill sound and nearly spit my tea but 
stopped myself, swallowed, and gasped, "No." 

"I am." 


It !» 


"Nothing? You...aren't going to ask who?" 

"Eh? I'm not asking." 

"William Cardinal." 

"Don't know him." 

"...he's two grades above us. He and Steven know each 
other. He's quite the athlete, and he's smart, and he'll be a doctor 
someday, but really, he wants to write novels." 


"So he says your opinion of Emily Bronte's Wuthering 
Heights is odd. The way you support Heathcliff s revenge; the book 
itself describes that as a curse, or the work of spirits. He says if you 
really read that book cackling with glee like you said, then he says 
you must be very odd yourself." 

I had, indeed, totally laughed my ass off reading Wuthering 
Heights. "Go get 'em, Heathcliff! Good work!" But sadly, he wasn't 
that effective, didn't accomplish all that much, and at the end the 
author tried to force a happy ending which I'd found highly 
disappointing. I kinda remembered mentioning this while chatting 
with Darlington, but... "Whatever the author intended, it's up to the 
reader how they respond to it. And...not that I've ever tried to write 
one, but characters in a novel don't always do what the author 
intends. I've got no problems debating my take on the book with 
this William Cardinal. But I do question you bringing up his 
criticism of my take with me, here. I don't mind if you criticize me, 
but using someone else's words to do it isn't right, Darlington. If 
you want to criticize me, or talk shit about me, or be mean to me, at 
least use your own words. I'm sure William Cardinal didn't expect 
those words to reach me like this, so you're being rude to him, too. 
Anyway...I'm not going to borrow that book from you. I don't want 
to deal with you being weird about my take on it again, and if I 
can't be honest about my opinion, why should I borrow a book from 
you?" I pushed the book back across the table to her. 

"Why are you mad?" Darlington said. 

"I'm not mad. Just surprised. I thought we were getting 

along, but then you suddenly attack me. If you secretly didn't like 
me, or weren't happy with what I think, then don’t pretend that 
we're friends. I don't have that many friends, so the last thing I want 
is to be disappointed by the ones I think I have." 

"Hunh. Well, sorry. You can go now." 

"Mm. I will." 

I stood up, and left the parlor. I ran into Faraday, thanked 
him for the tea, and was about to leave when he said, "Oh, Master 
Joestar, a friend of yours was just here, searching for you." 

"Eh....? A friend of mine?" I'd just lost one of the few I 
could call friend, and the other two were Steven and Kenton. 
"Here? Can you describe them?" 

"He looked like a young boy, primary or middle school...he 
spoke Spanish at first. I led him over here, to the other parlor." 

Rain pounding down outside, he led me down a gloomy 
hallway, across the central hall, and into a room in the other wing. 
He knocked on the door, and it echoed dully. "I'll take my leave 
here," Faraday said, and left. Leaving me alone with my anxiety. I 
peered into the room, and saw nobody inside...? A friend? A 
Spanish one? Had someone from the Canary Islands come, 
pretending to be my friend? Steeling my nerves, I stepped through 
the door. When I saw who was standing in the back, my vision 
blurred, my legs shook, and my head spun so fast I could barely 

"Wha...?" I whispered, feeling myself about to topple. 

"You've grown awfully tall since I last saw you!" he laughed 
a laugh I had not heard since he vanished last summer in the 
Atlantic Ocean, since the day I thought he'd died - Tsukumojuku. 
Asian faces did look young to Western eyes, but...ha ha ha, this 
wasn't really... "How are you...?" How could he have known I'd be 

Tears welled up in my eyes. 

"I exist now in eternity, in the final frontier," Tsukumojuku 
said. "But I expect I won't be there forever. There must be some 

meaning for me to have come here. Like I always said. Everything 
has meaning. You wanted me here, or something needed me for 
your benefit. We have no time, my friend. By the way, where is 
this? There were no buildings this splendid on the Canary Islands." 
The familiar sound of Tsukumojuku's voice calmed me from my 
simple-minded emotional reaction, and I felt my mind waking up 
the way it had during out adventures together. 

Look carefully, and think. Tsukumojuku had said these 
words to me countless times. Look I did. 

Tsukumojuku was floating about five centimeters above the 
surface of the floor. 

I looked up and met his eye. 

"Yes," he said. "It seems I can't really say that I am actually 
here. I'm not sure if I should tell you...but I'm currently in Japan, in 
the year 2012. I'm there with a different you - a Japanese boy 
completely unlike you, but also named Jorge Joestar. I've been 
transported to a place called the Arrow Cross House, and I've gotten 
caught up in another case." 

2012? That was 107 years from now. Another me? A 
Japanese Jorge Joestar? Arrow Cross House? 

I had no idea what he was talking about but, "You're caught 
up in a case? Need help?" 

"Nah, the other Jorge Joestar's here, I'm sure it'll be fine. 
Probably. And like I said, I'm not here to get your help. I'm here to 
help you. Are you in some sort of danger right now?" 

? Danger? "No...I mean, I don't have many friends but..." 
But I had made friends since moving to England. "Basically I'm 

"Oh. Well, that's good. So there must be some other reason. 
Oh, look," he jerked his chin at his left hand; from the wrist out it 

was fading, see-through. "I see. I am Tsukumojuku. I may be in one 
other place as well," he said, cryptically. Tsukumojuku smiled at 
me. "I see, I'll need to cross the bridge. Somebody somewhere else 
has taken hold of my left hand. The palm is small, the fingers thin, 
so it must be a girl. And she needs you. Take my other hand," he 
said, holding out his right hand. I reached out to take it, then 

"Why is it you're doing this?" 

Tsukumojuku laughed. "Your Beyond is making it happen. 
I'm sure this isn't a task just anyone could accomplish. For a 
Miracle like this to occur, you need the Name of God. 'God' is 
words. Words are names." 

This was even more cryptic, but if he was rabbiting on about 
Beyond again then this was definitely Tsukumojuku, so I relaxed. 
I'd missed that, too. "Is your weird ass name the name of God?" 

"Yes. Tsukumojuku is 9, 10, 9, 10, 9. If you flip the kanji for 
9, fi, you get the astrological symbol for Jupiter, ^1, Jupiter being 
the Roman name for the Greek god Zeus. The God of Gods. The 
kanji for ten, is a cross; so my name has three all-powerful gods 
linked together by two crosses. If God is the Trinity, then God can 
be split into three. I am in the Arrow Cross House, I am here, and I 
am trying to connect to a third me. You have go to where he is. 
Take my hand." 

I laughed at the note of authority he placed on that 
command, felt a wave of exhilaration wash over me the like I’d not 
felt since our adventures together, and took his hand. 

"The nature of my name suggests that we'll meet again, one 
more time," Tsukumojuku said, and everything faded to black. 

In the darkness, the hand I was holding no longer belonged 
to Tsukumojuku. A small palm, and thin fingers. A girl's hand. She 
seemed to be as surprised as me, and in darkness so thik I couldn't 
see my own nose I heard her ask, "Eh? Who?" and shock and fear 

struck us both upside the head, like our brains had been replaced 
with gas. 

"It's me, Lisa Lisa," I said. That was all she needed. 

"Jorge!? Why are you here!?" 

I couldn’t begin to explain the why or how of it, but the Lisa 
Lisa holding my hand in the darkness was definitely real. More so 
than Tsukumojuku had been. "Calm down, Lisa Lisa. Where are 

"Rome. In an underground temple nobody has set foot in for 
over a thousand years. How can you possibly be here? I can't 
believe it..." 

"I couldn't begin to explain. More importantly, what's going 
on? An underground temple?" The air was damp and cold, and 
smelt of mold and dust. It felt like the ground under my feet was 
paved with stones, and despite the total lack of light, it decidedly 
felt like a place that actually existed. "And why is it so dark here?" 

"My light was stolen. I had a lamp a moment ago..." 

"Stolen? Is there someone else here?" 

"I came with my dad and everyone...but we got separated 
ages ago. There's a...I can't call it an enemy, but there's something 
protecting something." 

"Something protecting what?" 

"The Aja Red Stone." 

"What's that?" 

"I dunno. Nobody alive has ever seen it. It's a jewel of some 
kind; a Roman Emperor hid it, supposedly." 

"Eh? Are you actually here to plunder it, Lisa Lisa!? Are 
you treasure hunting!?" 

"No, dummy. The Hamon Warriors are...until I joined Straits 
properly, I assumed we were hunting vampires and zombies, but 
that's not true at all. We're actually protecting mankind, and the 
secrets of mankind." 

"Oh? Thanks!" 

Lisa Lisa did a spit take, and started giggling. I couldn't see 

her face in the darkness, but that just made me extra sensitive to her 
voice, and I had to admit she had a really cute voice. "Heh heh heh, 
World's fastest gratitude, Jorge. Don't be so quick to swallow a line 
about mankind's secrets." 

"I've seen enough to know what you're fighting is real." 

"...right. You enjoying high school? I heard you've moved to 
England, and you're going to school there." 

Mm? Was it fun? Not school...Steven and Kenton were good 
people, but I'd just had that fight with, no. "This is 
hardly the time to talk about that, is it, Lisa Lisa?" 

"But Jorge...I keep imaging how much fun you're having in 
school, and that's what keeps me going. You get to have friends, 
and live a normal life, and I picture you laughing with everyone, 
and that gives me strength." 

Gulp. If she put it that way I had to say I was having fun, I 

"You aren't being bullied again, are you?" Lisa Lisa said, a 
hint of the fierceness she'd had when we were kids in her voice. 

"No, I have friends," I said, panicking. "They're amazing. 
We're studying how to make airplanes. You know about airplanes, 
Lisa Lisa? They let humans fly! The ones we're making are all 
wood and cloth, but there are people out there making them out of 
metal with heavy engines on board. They can make metal fly! Can 
you imagine it? Heh heh heh. And I've figured out how it works! 
The speed provides vertical lift!" 

Mm? Was that simplification completely true? I stopped to 
think, and Lisa Lisa said, "Oh...airplanes. You've finally discovered 
airplanes, Jorge..." 

"? Yes. Why? You jealous? Heh heh. The English are always 
on the cutting edge." 

ft ft 

Talking about how much fun I was having made Lisa Lisa 
get weirdly quiet, and I didn't know what to do. I thought she'd just 
said she wanted me to be happy? As my mind raced, I heard a 

sound behind me, like something moving, scraping against the 
ground. It was...maybe three, five meters? was still pitch 
black so I couldn't tell you how I knew, but somehow I was sure 
this thing was humongous. 


I could hear it breathing. It let out a long, wet sigh, like a fat 
man who'd just reached the top of the stairs. 

"My..." Lisa Lisa whispered, hoarsely. "My lamp...I think 
this is the thing that took it." Her voice was shaking. She was 


It sighed again, and this time I could hear it vibrating past 
the thing's lips. I could sense imposing muscle mass. Like twenty 
gorillas fused into one and glaring at us. Had she been facing this 
thing alone? 

She needs you. 

Lisa Lisa had called me, and Tsukumojuku had let me come. 
Hate to treat you like a handy tool, but I am grateful, Tsukumojuku. 

I let out a slow, long sigh. This giant monster was hiding in 
the darkness, sighing to let us know it was there, to put pressure on 
us, but not me. I was letting it know I was calm. I felt there was no 
point in resisting it. It had come after Lisa Lisa, but it hadn't hurt 
her; just stolen her lamp. Why would a monster steal a lamp? 

To scare Lisa Lisa. The same as this phony sigh. It was just 
trying to scare both of us. the least, it hadn't yet touched either 
of us. It wasn't the right timing yet. We weren't completely scared. 
We could still be more afraid. The monster was toying with us, but 
had not made a move to get rid of us completely. The monster 
hadn't shown itself at all while Lisa Lisa and I were talking 
normally. Yeah. If we acted normal, it wouldn't show up. So why 
had it come out now? What had brought it out? 

Oh, because Lisa Lisa went quiet. Why? 

Because I'd mentioned airplanes. I didn't know why me 
talking about airplanes made Lisa Lisa depressed, but that had 

clearly been the mood changer. ...hmm. So...was I right in thinking 
the monster had been hiding somewhere, noticed the change in 
mood, and was like, 'oh yeah, my turn!' and popped out? 

No monster that ridiculous could actually exist. Monsters 
generally showed up to ruin peace and good times. They didn't 
usually give a shit what the mood was. In other words...the monster 
with us here certainly existed, but Lisa Lisa had actually summoned 
it. Lisa Lisa's feelings brought it here. 

Right, when the monster showed up, Lisa Lisa had gone 
quiet, but I was still normal and happy, super excited about the 
potential future of aeronautics. My emotions didn't matter. This 
monster came from Lisa Lisa's feelings. 

This conclusion still let me wondering what it all meant (I 
had no idea) but whatever. I wasn't wrong. As long as I wasn't 
wrong, that was all I needed. "It's all right, Lisa Lisa," I said. I 
didn't tell her the monster wasn't attacking for fear that would just 
make her focus on the monster even more. What now? 

"...what's all right?" 

"You and me. Even if we're apart, we'll be OK." 

"Eh? .what do you mean? You mean you're OK 

without me?" Lisa Lisa said. I could feel the monster coming 
closer; it felt like a lot of gorillas combined to form a giant spider. 

Woah, woah, woah. This definitely came from Lisa Lisa's 
emotions. "No," I said. "Even when we're far apart, mysterious 
powers can bring us together again. Like today." 

Lisa Lisa seemed relieved, and the gorilla thing moved 
away. "Oh...but how did you get here? You were in England, right? 
Even if you came to Rome there's no way you could ever get inside 
the secret temple. Are you really Jorge? The real Jorge? I'm not just 
imagining you?" 

I was pretty sure it was the gorilla spider in the darkness that 
she was imagining. 

"I'm real. Hard to prove in the dark, but..." As I spoke, she 
moved her face closer to mine, and even though it was dark, Lisa 

Lisa kissed me right on the lips. Bzzzzzt! The kiss was electrified. 
Not like, because it surprised me - no, something hot and cold and 
numbing ran from my lips to the back of my brain and down my 
spine until my toes were zzzzzzzzzzt! Our first kiss, at least my first 
kiss and probably Lisa Lisa's first kiss, so she didn’t realize she'd 
accidentally let Hamon ripple though me. I recognized it. It felt just 
like the time she'd hit me with her Indigo Blue Overdrive in the hall 
of our school when I was eleven. In the darkness my eyes rolling 
back in my head, her soft lips on mine, I forced myself to withstand 
the electric shock. After a moment Lisa Lisa noticed, and squeaked, 
"Eh? Ah! Sorry, Jorge!" 

I was glad she’d noticed. It was best if she forgot that the 
gorilla spider had gone away. 

My legs were still not quite under my control, but I said, 
"Let's walk a bit," and Lisa Lisa helped me take a few steps farther. 
There was no point in just standing there, and if Lisa Lisa's 
emotions shifted again and something else came out I was scared 
I’d wind up electrocuted again. 

"Hee hee hee. Sorry, Jorge! It's just...hilarious. Hee hee hee 
hee hee.pft ha ha ha I can't stop laughing about it." 

"Please can I have another." 

"Whaa...? Hee hee hee hee hee no, Jorge you're too funny!" 


"But laughing has calmed me down. I'm breathing properly 
again. Good. I can feel out the terrain with my Hamon as we walk." 

"Eh? You're running Hamon through the ground?" 

"Yes, but it's not attack Hamon, I'm just sensing where the 
walls and stuff are." 

"OK, just warn me when you do it." 

"Eh? OK, then, here we go." 

I jumped as high as my quivering legs would let me. 

"Pbbbt.! TTT Oh god, stop! Don't make me laugh any 


"Eh? But, it's scary!" 

"It is not, I promise!" Lisa Lisa's face came closer to mine 
again, and kissed me again (I went stiff) but there was no shock this 
time. Just Lisa Lisa's gentle, soft kiss. "See?" 

Oh, yes. Right. I didn't say that aloud so I said it again, "Ah, 

"Heh heh heh. I know where to go," she took my arm, and 
pulled me farther in. Like she could see everything around us. I 
staggered along after her. Every time she used Hamon to feel the 
road, I jumped in the air, and she broke up laughing, but I wasn't 

"I never imagined searching this temple for the Aja Red 
Stone would be so filled with wacky hijinks!" Lisa Lisa said, 
doubled over with laugher. "Oh, I found a torch." She picked 
something up out of the darkness, struck it against the stones, and 
the sparks lit the fire. 

With a foom, the torch lit the room. At some point - I guess 
Lisa Lisa had been able to see it, but it was a surprise to me - we 
had entered a giant treasure chamber, filled with massive vases and 
chests and jewels and precious metals and statues made of metal 
and armor and weapons scattered everywhere in great heaps. The 
room was so big the light of the torch did not reach the ceiling or 
the far walls, and every inch of it was packed with the secrets of 
ancient Rome. Thick pillars stretched up from the floor, forming a 
circle around where we were; the room itself was circular, and we 
found ourselves surrounded not just by pillars but by three meter 
tall stone guardians placed here and there in the piles of treasure. 
The guardians were all hideous, glaring at us with terrifying scowls. 
Where we stood was the center of the sea of treasure. 

"There," Lisa Lisa said, picking up a large red jewel the size 
of her palm. I could instantly see the gem was pure, without any 
flaws at all. It seemed as if the stone itself glowed, reflecting more 
light than the torch provided. 

"I found it...! Hey, Jorge, will you put this on me?" Lisa Lisa 
handed me the red stone. It was far lighter than I'd expected, so 
much so I almost didn't believe it existed it. There was so little 
weight to it it was almost like I was seeing things, so I poked it with 
the tip of my finger. It was hard. Yet, there was something soft 
about it, like the skin on the tip of my finger was being absorbed 
into it. "Come on," Lisa Lisa said. I turned towards her. She had her 
back to me, and had gathered up her long brunette hair, revealing 
the white at the nape of her neck. The jewel was fitted to a pendant, 
so I passed that around the other side of her thin neck, and closed 
the clasp on the chain behind her head. Standing behind her like 
this I could see her neck and shoulders and the swell of her chest 
and had to fight off a sudden urge to throw my arms around her. 
What was I thinking? This was Lisa Lisa - part of me was still 
thinking like that, but we'd already kissed. 

Wait, why had we kissed? 

I hadn't. She'd kissed me. 

Eh? Did Lisa Lisa like me? It seemed so...why? 

Did I have feelings for Lisa Lisa? 

But once I started asking myself questions like that I knew 
only too well I'd just start going in circles, so I decided to put it off 
for later. 

"Jorge," Lisa Lisa said, "About this red stone..." Her voice 
had none of the giddiness threatening to overrun my mind. 

"Uh, yeah?" 

"Promise you won't tell anyone I have it." 

"? Okay, but why?" 

"Not because I want to keep it all to myself, understand? I 
have to protect this stone with my life. If you let anybody else 
know that I have it, I'll have to hide it somewhere and then die." 


"And if that happens I'll kill you too, Jorge, so that we can 
be together in the next world." 

"." She was smiling, but I knew she wasn't joking. 


"So I'm going to tell everybody that this is a present from 
you, Jorge. As proof of our vows." 


"Pfft! WW? Ha ha ha! But I really will say that!" 

"Eh? Eh? F. hhhh !" 

"Heh heh heh. How does it look? As necklaces go...isn't it a 
bit too gaudy?" 

".!?" Smiling in the light of the torch Lisa Lisa had 

long eye lashes, strong features, big eyes, high cheeks, a turned up 
nose, a strong chin and beautiful hair. She was every bit a match for 
the size of the stone...but I could not put that into words. 

Lisa Lisa hid the pendant inside her clothes, and we left the 
treasure room. A few minutes walk by torchlight and we were at the 
entrance, and Straits was waiting for her. Everyone was super 
surprised to see me. "...Jorge Joestar? Why are you...?" 

"Sorry to drop in," I said, and Lisa Lisa cracked up again, 
and all the Hamon warriors looked astonished to see her smile. 

Lisa Lisa described the vault, and said there had been such a 
vast quantity of jewels there that she’d been unable to find the Red 
Stone. She bowed her head, and Straits said, "It's amazing you were 
even able to reach the treasure room. Nobody has ever been able to 
get there before. Weren't you...scared?" 

"Yes," Lisa Lisa said. "If Jorge hadn't been with me, I don't 
think I'd ever have made it through." 

Straits and the others all nodded gravely, but I could hear 
them mumbling about how I'd come to be there. "Lisa Lisa 
summoned me," I said. 

"Hey!" she said, slapping my arms, but...wasn't that what 
had happened? 

After that we left the secret temple, moved stealthily to the 
Hamon Warriors' secret base, where I borrowed a phone and called 
home. Penelope answered, sounding beside herself, and when she 
heard I was in Italy she was shocked and even more flustered so my 
mother took the phone from her. "Hello, Jorge? You're in Rome?" 

"Yeah, sorry. I can't really explain how I came to be here." 

"That's fine, that's fine, as long as you're safe. Do you have 
a chair?" 

"Eh? Yeah." 

"Then sit down and listen." 

"? OK," I moved to the chair and sat down. "I'm sitting." 

"Listen closely. Did you go to the Motorize manor today?" 

"Yes. I promised Darlington I would." 

"OK. Did you see either of the older children?" 

"? No? Why?" 

"They found the older girl, Kenton Motorize, on the cape." 

"Eh? What does that mean?" 

"She’s dead, Jorge." 

"Ehhhhhhhhh!?" I shot up out of my seat, and all the Hamon 
warriors turned to look at me. Including Lisa Lisa. "What...but 
how? Was she alone? They're always worried about accidents, so 
Steven is always with her..." 

"Kenton Motorize told her brother you'd invited her there, 
and went out alone. Your airplane was at the scene. The one you'd 
been working on in the garden." 

I could tell Mum was fighting back tears, but I was just 
confused. "Eh? So...Kenton took my plane out, got on it, and 
crashed?" That made no sense. Kenton knew full well I wasn't done 
repairing it. Why would she do that? 

Mum interrupted my thoughts. "It wasn't an accident, Jorge. 
The airplane didn't crash. Kenton Motorize was stabbed over and 
over on top of the cliff. Stabbed with a knife that bore our...the 
Joestar crest. And your airplane was there with her. Oh, Jorge. Can 
you explain what happened to the police and Steven Motorize?" 

I could not. 

Chapter 8 
Nero Nero Island 

The murders of Kira Yoshikage and Tsukumojuku, the three 
displays made from the bodies of murdered detectives (including 
Tsukumojuku's), Morioh setting sail, the group suicide of village 
residents, the mysterious figure hiding inside Cube House...and 
now on top of all that another mysterious moving island sailing 
across the sea, just like Morioh...there were just too many things I 
had to think about, I thought. It had been one thing after another, 
and I'd had no time to really work any of them over in my mind. Oh 
well. I had to assume this was the speed events always unfolded at 
in Morioh; I had to keep up. 

"Fuck! I've got no damn idea what's going on. Let's go take 
a look," Nijimura Fukashigi said, and started to get on a dolphin. 

"Hang on, Fukashigi," I said. "There might be people like 
you on that island, too. Better not to show our hands." 

Morioh seemed to have quite a lot of Stand Masters. If that 
unusual quality had something to do with it floating away, then 
that could be true over there, too. If there were two island moving 
across the water, there might be similarly unique. 

How many other Stand Masters were there in Morioh, 
anyway? How many Stand Masters had been among the hundreds 
who died in Jozenji? 

Fukashigi grit his teeth, and got off the dolphin. The other 
island was getting steadily closer. 

"Maybe these'll help us recon," Muryotaisu said, emerging 
from Arrow Cross with a telescope and a pair of binoculars, 
presumably Rohan's. 

"Oh!" I said, impressed. I was kicking myself inside, though. 
"Muryotaisu, better not go inside Arrow Cross for a bit. Earlier, I 
found Cube House hidden inside it, and there was someone inside 
Cube House. Someone suspicious." 

"What...?" Muryotaisu looked at the new island, and back 
at Cube House, as if not sure which he should tackle first. 

"I've locked Cube House up, and made sure we'll know if 
anyone goes in or out," I said. 

"I dunno, do you get in?" 

"Oh, directly above and below the desk in the study." 

"Got it," he said, and went back inside. He came out a few 
minutes later, and explained, "I set up a hidden video camera." I 
was sure the camera was Rohan's, too, and the idea of him just 
doing whatever he wanted with Rohan's things made me want to 
laugh, but there was too much going on for that. 

"Woah, that ain't Japan! It's some foreign island!" Fukashigi 
yelled. I took the binoculars off him and took a look. He was right; 
the view was nothing you'd seen in Japan. There were only a few 
buildings in sight, but they were mostly made of brick, and there 
were several windmills. Not sights you saw a lot in Japanese 
country towns. The crops waving in the wind looked like wheat. I 
looked down at the water's edge. There were several ships with 
Italian names. I found a sign by the road leading from the docks to 
the town. It said, "Welcome to Nero Nero Island!" in Italian. 

"Nero Nero Island, it says." Muryotaisu went back inside 
Arrow Cross, and came back out with an encyclopedia. Nero Nero 
Island was about a tenth the size of Morioh, population roughly 
three thousand. 

I knew a bit more that wasn't written in the encyclopedia 
"Nero is Italian for 'black'. Nero Nero island has a long history as a 
Mafia base." I had to do a lot of research about organized crime 
around the world for a previous case. "These days Nero Nero 
Island is the headquarters of the Passione Family. They've got 
about three hundred members. Territory reaching to Rome and 
Napoli - Naples, in English. They're competing with the Sicilian 
Mafia and the Camorra, so how a group this small survives...well, I 
didn't know how before, but since Nero Nero is on the move, I'd 
bet there's a good chance they've got a lot of Stand Masters in 

their ranks. They're already fairly unique in that there aren't any 
records of the boss's face, and he's so secretive that not even the 
inner circle has ever met the boss. The only name anyone even has 
for him is 'Diavolo.' Italian for 'Devil.' Hey! What's that?" 

Just like Morioh, the Nero Nero Island harbor and part of 
the ocean around were inside a giant bubble. I'd just found a truck 
racing down the road to the harbor. 

"Looks like they're in trouble," Muryotaisu said, looking 
through the telescope. "I can see people in back, waving at us. 

I looked, but the magnification on the binoculars wasn't 
strong enough. I squinted trying to see, and the little truck 
suddenly went up in flame and rolled. 

"Ahh!" we yelled. Figures emerged on either side of the 
burning truck, approached the people lying on the ground, and 
light flashed at their hands. Pop. Pop pop. Pop. 

"Shit shit shit! Fuck! They're killing everyone on the truck! 
Jesus! They ambushed that truck! God damn it, I gotta go help!" 

Muryotaisu tossed the telescope aide, and flew off into the 
sky with his three dolphins. All I could do was watch. There was a 
barrier around Morioh, and nothing inside or out could get 
through it. They'd rammed a jet fighter into it, and shot missiles at 
it, and couldn't break through the wall, but if Muryotaisu somehow 
got through that would definitely change things. "Shit! There's still 
one left alive!" I could see someone running through the grass 
towards us. He must have slipped away while the gunmen were 
attacking the truck. He was waving desperately in the direction of 
Morioh, begging us to help. Light flashed behind him. Pop pop 
pop. Pop pop pop. Like he was knocked aside by an invisible hand, 
the man running towards us went sprawling on the ground. 

"Can't you do anything, dipshit!?" Fukashigi yelled. 

NYPD Blue had picked up the telescope, and was looking 

through it. He bellowed back, "What the fuck do you want me to 
do? Shoot back!?" He pulled a gun out of his side holster; it was 
huge, and very real. He put it away immediately. "This bad boy is a 
Colt Python. It's loaded with .357 magnums. It's from the first 
production run they ever did; it's damn close to being a work of 
art. This fucker hits you it'll blow the back of your head clean off. If 
it hits you. Even the best gun has an effective range, kid. Bullets 
don't fly forever. They slow down, their arc changes, then they turn 
into a bit of lead and land somewhere. That's how bullets work. 
Even if I had a fucking sniper rifle I couldn't hit them at this range. 
Even if I could, there's a barrier between us. Probably two." 

"Argh! So you can't fucking do anything!?" 

"I am doing something! I'm gathering evidence. I'll arrest all 
these motherfuckers." 

"Arrest...? Fuck that, we have to help those people!" 

"No can do, asshole. Oh, looks like one of the murder squad 
is Passione's Dolcio Cioccolata." Four pieces of paper shot out of 
NYPD Blue's side, fwp fwp fwp fwp from the gap of his shirt. I 
picked them up; they were copies of the files Interpol, the Italian 
police, the CIA, and the FBI had on him. Not only had he sold drugs 
in America, he'd even been involved in terrorist activity. "I'm 
broadcasting video footage live to all four organizations. Heh 
heh...oh, Secco Rotario's there, too. Passione members running 
around their base, killing ordinary citizens...either they're trying to 
kill the boss, and cutting off his escape, or they already did it, and 
are cleaning up." 

Three men who looked like farmers made it to the harbor, 
jumped in a boat, and headed towards us. Muryotaisu was in 
Morioh Harbor, trying to reach them, but was stuck helplessly 
behind the barrier. He'd begun throwing his shoulder against it, 
trying to break through, but the invisible wall refused to budge. 
Over on Nero Nero Island, the farmer's boat crashed into another 

invisible wall. The prow rammed headlong into it, the boat tilted 
sideways, and the farmers were flung out of their seats. One 
landed on the boat, but the other two went in the water. There 
was a good two hundred meters between the two barriers. 
Muryotaisu and his dolphins kept up their assault, but could not 
break through the wall. Two hundred meters away, boats came 
after the escape boat. Light flashed. Pop. Pop. Pop pop pop. Pop. 

"Auggghhhh! Shit! Shit! Shit!" Fukashigi yelled. I couldn't 
watch, and turned my eyes away, and saw more paper lying on the 
ground. I picked it up and read it. One sheet was Secco Rotario's 
hospital records. It didn't name any kind of psychological or 
physical condition; the only thing written on it was the name of his 
doctor. Dolcio Cioccolata. Wait, he was a doctor? 

I looked back up and the slaughter had ended. The three in 
the boat weren't the only ones who reached the water; there were 
other bodies lying on the docks. The Mafia members moved them 
out of sight, dropping the bodies in the water between the boats, 
or tossing them into the tall grass by the side of the road to the 
harbor. Most likely, they only bothered so it would be easier to kill 
anyone else who came running, if there was anyone left alive. 

"Hey...they can see our island, right?" Fukashigi said, his lips 
quivering. "How can they just kill people in plain sight?" 

I didn't answer. But there was only one answer. Because it 
wouldn't cause any problems. Or because they knew they could 
stop it from being a problem. 

The Mafia got rid of problems in three main ways. Bribes, 
threats, and murdering witnesses. There was no way they'd try and 
buy or threaten however many people there in Morioh. But would 
they really try and kill everyone here? No matter how many of 
them there were, could they really manage that? I remembered 
the message Hirose Kouji had received from the former American 


He said if nothing changes, the American army will flip the 


That was delivered shortly after Morioh changed course. 
The sudden swerve West had put Funny Valentine in danger, so he 
had clearly noticed it; by 'nothing changes' he meant if we kept 
heading West, so we were still headed in the dangerous direction 
he'd warned us about. Was it possible the Mafia was aware of the 
American army's intentions? 

According to the records NYPD Blue's stomach had printed 
out, Passione had already started operating in America, and there 
were no lines of business the Mafia couldn't find a way to profit 
on, so they must have been making political and military contacts; 
perhaps these had informed them. 

But Nero Nero Island was running alongside Morioh. It, too, 
was traveling in the same dangerous direction. Perhaps Nero Nero 
had received the same threat from America, and they'd taken 
advantage of the panic to start in-fighting? Were they certain their 
powers would allow them to survive what was coming? 

Whatever was going through the Passione members' minds, 
the threat to Morioh was still very real. Bariya Choumaru had 
suggested we would have to police ourselves, but that had mostly 
been an appeal to Kira Yoshikage's state of mind, so in my opinion, 
we would need to be prepared for further attacks from the 
outside. As I reached this conclusion, Muryotaisu came riding back 
to us on his dolphin. He looked exhausted, physically and mentally. 

"Fuck those guys," he said, shaking with rage. I wasn't sure 
what a high school delinquent could do against the Mafia, but he 
was in no mood to have this pointed out. Whatever it was he could 
do, we all had to work together now. 

"Muryotaisu, you have any idea how many Stand Masters 
there are in Morioh?" 

He thought a minute, then shook his head. "How could I?" 

"How many do you know about?" 

"...I can't just tell you that." 

"Come on, this isn't the time for that..." I said, and trailed 
off, gaping. 

It was starting. 

"Shit shit shit shit shit! Here it comes!" Fukashigi shrieked. 
Muryotaisu turned to look. 

Nero Nero Island had been running off Morioh's starboard 
side, but it had suddenly veered port-wise, towards us, the head of 
the island approaching diagonally. We were headed straight West, 
so Nero Nero Island's head came ramming into Morioh's South 
side, into Morioh harbor, right before our eyes...! 

"Oh shiiiiiiiit!" I yelled, thinking furiously. The barrier had 
stood up to a jet fighter and a missile attack, but could it stop 
another barrier, another island? Morioh's barrier was larger, but 
when two 'ships' crashed into each other, size was less important 
than the angle. Morioh was unable to avoid the attack...! Zzzuuun! 
There was dull roar, and Morioh lurched sideways as the other 
island slammed into it. 

"Fuuuuck!" we yelped, hastily crouching down in the grass. 
We put our hands on the grounds to steady ourselves, but to no 
avail. There was a zhump as Morioh recovered that sent me and 
the Nijimura brothers rolling head over heels towards the harbor. 
When we managed to stop ourselves and look up, we saw Nero 
Nero Island slowly rising out of the water. It had not stopped 
moving forward on impact; instead, the two barriers slid against 
each other, forcing the smaller island upwards. Soon we could see 
what was propelling the island forward. Nero Nero Island had not 
just been floating. 

It had been swimming. 

As the underside of Nero Nero Island came into view, two 

massive legs appeared, skittering against the side of the barrier! 

"Uhh.J'm not too good with insects," Fukashigi said. There 
was a ear-splitting rumble, the ground shook...and then there was 
a thundering crack as if lightning was hitting the entire sky at once, 
and we all clapped our hands to our ears as Nero Nero Island came 
crashing through the barrier dome, and landed in Morioh harbor. 
The weight of the other island had broken through the barrier. 

The barrier's sound proofing was gone too. The massive 
island hit the sea with a horrible thuuuuuuuud. 

A white wall of waves rose up, rocking the still waters of the 
harbor, doing terrible things to the boats and the coastal parts of 
town. While the wreckage was still being tossed around in the 
churn, Nero Nero Island moved forward, the two legs reaching up. 
Two more massive, muscular legs reached out from the sides of 
the island, hooked their claws onto the sides of the hole in the 
barrier, and began squeezing the rest of its body, the island, 
through the gap. 

We no longer remembered to scream. 

The sound of the waves in Morioh harbor echoed off the 
interior of the dome, the thuds slamming into our bodies. It was 
painful, like our ears were ripping open, like someone was driving a 
nail into our head. But we didn't dare close our eyes. 

Nero Nero Island had twisted its massive body into the sky 
above Morioh harbor, and was now standing on six legs. It was 
neither island nor ship, but an insect. My legs were shaking, and 
my entire body felt numb. I couldn't move a muscle. Muryotaisu 
and Fukashigi were both standing perfectly still, mouths open, all 
color drained from their faces. Only the Stands were moving. 

Grand Blue's three dolphins slid up next to Muryotaisu, and 
started shoving into him, chirping, "Kikiki." He snapped out of his 
trance just as... 


An explosion rang out over the sound of the waves. I 
jumped and spun around and found NYPD Blue aiming his Colt 
Python at Nero Nero Island, smoking curling from the barrel. 

"Heh," NYPD Blue grunted. "I know perfectly well that 
didn't reach them. That was a wake up call, you little fucks. We got 
no time to stand around gawking. Wake the fuck up, you punk 
motherfuckers! What now? If I was in charge here, I'd say we 
retreat and regroup." I had no objections to that plan. 

The Nijimuras and I stood up, dashed past Arrow Cross 
House to the other side of the hill, and were about to jump on 
Muryotaisu's dolphins when I remembered something. 

Sugimoto Reimi! 

I let go of Johana's fin, dropped back to the slope, used the 
momentum to swing myself into a U-turn and dashed back up the 
hill. "Hey, where you going?" I heard Fukashigi call after me, as his 
dolphin carried him away. "Reimi!" I yelled. Just as I reached the 
white pebbles around Arrow Cross, a voice behind me said, "Thank 
you, Jorge. I'll go. You run." Grateful for these words, I turned 
around and found Rohan flying behind me. Blue Thunder on his 
head. He passed me by. "Let me take care of Sugimoto!" 

But I didn't leave. No detective would leave until he was 
sure everyone was safe! And I had also remember the figure inside 
Cube House. I couldn't run until I'd figured out who that was! 

Scrnch scrnch scnrch gravel flew in my wake and I caught a 
glimpse of Nero Nero Island making land in Morioh harbor through 
the sunroom window. The waves had already demolished the 
town, and now the island's giant legs were crushing the rubble. 
The ground in town couldn't handle the weight of the island, and 
with each step the insect took, bmmff, crnkk, pbbbbbggg, its feet 
sank into the ground, and the hollows filled with maybe sea water? 
Ground water? Either way, the sea extended itself via these pocks. 

I almost stopped to gawk at it again, but I forced myself not 

to. I heard for the West sunroom, where Muryotaisu had carried 
Sugimoto. Rohan and Reimi were there. They were watching Nero 
Nero Island trample Morioh harbor, terrified. When I saw that 
Sugimoto had her arms around Rohan I hesitated, but there was 
no time to spare. 

"Rohan! Reimi! Can you get out of here?" I called out 
through the window. Sugimoto jumped, but shook her head. Right, 
she was a Stand, I thought.. 

"Jorge," she said. "I think this is the safest place. I think." 

II -p II 

"If it was the old Cube House, it definitely would be. To the 
Cube House, the outside world is beyond the world's end, and not 
something that ever affects it." I knew what she was saying, now. 
Yes, normally the seven cubes of a tesseract formed the inside of 
an eighth cube that wrapped around them. Cube House was a 
tesseract made of square walls, so inside it was a single universe, 
an entire world squeezed inside, so the Cube House itself was not 
part of our universe. Nothing would affect it, which meant you 
could attack the crap out of it and it would never reach the inside. 
The walls of the Cube House were the ends of that world. 

Which all made me wonder why Rohan and Fukashigi had 
avoided exploding by being placed under Arrow Cross. I had 
assumed it formed a vacuum, but this was clearly not the whole 
story. If it had been, they would not have survived there for long. 
They had lived because they were not just under Arrow Cross, but 
under Cube House; because the world's very end lay on top of 
them. A zone where everything was reset to zero, the absolute 

Pushing aside my excitement, I said, "Then let's escape into 
Cube House." 

"But it's turned into Arrow Cross, so I don't know if its old 
power remains." 

Sugumoto didn't know her own power. If a Stand was 
power manifested, perhaps it was the same as people not knowing 
their own strength. 

"No, Cube House itself exists simultaneously," I said. She 
looked surprised, and I led her and Rohan into the study. 

First I checked the rug. It was still in place. I inspected the 
top of the desk as well. Nothing out of place. No one had gone in 
or out. Then I moved the desk away from the door. 

"Ah! Hey, don't touch that! To a manga artist, a desk is like 
a chef's kitchen or a teacher's podium! It's not something anyone 
else should feel free to just move around as they like!" 

I ignored him. When I moved the rug aside and revealed 
the door, he shut up. Sugimoto looked just as surprised. "Uh, so I 
went below this door earlier, and there was someone there. I don't 
suppose you know who?" I asked. 

"Eh? No..." 

"OK. Then..." I debated whether I should say anything, but 
decided I should. "Worst case scenario, Tsukumojuku's murderer is 
hiding out inside here. Our working theory is that Rohan didn't 
notice the killer arranging the display of Tsukumojuku's body and 
escaping because he was asleep," I said. Rohan shook his head. 
"That's your theory, not mine," he insisted. I cut him off. "But it's 
possible Rohan didn't notice his escape because he hasn't escaped 
yet. Because he's below this door." 

"I see," Rohan said. "So he made that locked room without 
my eyes and ears detecting a thing because he made this a 
temporary way point? He carried everything he needed, including 
Tsukumojuku down here ahead of time, and then began work once 
I left the study?" 

Despite the events outside, Rohan sounded so calm it 
effortlessly dissipated all the tension I was trying to create. "I 
certainly considered that, but I don't believe he would have had 

that much time to kill Tsukumojuku. After all, I met Tsukumojuku 
last night, at 11:30 PM, in Fukui, in the town of Nishi-Akatsuki. No 
matter how fast he worked I don't think he could have killed 
Tsukumojuku before dawn, or gone through all the steps he would 
have needed to plan this. But this isn't really the time to discuss it 
in detail. Rohan, do you have anything that would work as a 

"Maybe a golf club?" 

"Can I borrow that? And a rope." 

"I have some mountain climbing gear." 

"I'll borrow that, too." 

"Just so you know, both were forced on me by my editors. 
They keep saying I should exercise more. I haven't touched them 

"I really don't care. Sorry, kinda in a hurry, here." 

I stood back up and looked around for the hidden camera 
Muryotaisu had set up. There. It was hidden behind a plant in the 
corner of the room. 

As I was checking the camera, Rohan came back with a golf 
bag and a bundle of rope. "Ah! That's my camera!" he yelped. "I 
had Muryotaisu set it to record in case anyone went in or out of 
this door," I said. I turned the desk so it straddled the door, tied the 
rope to the desk, and opened the door, letting it fall into the room. 
Rohan peered into the space below, and muttered, "Ooof... this 
was under my feet this whole time?" I dropped the rest of the rope 
through the door. 

"Jorge," Sugimoto said. "Going in there is dangerous." 


"Cube House is meant for a single occupant. If two or more 
people run around inside, it could be very bad." 

"Bad how?" 

"It could lead to contradictions. With floors and ceilings. 

The rooms inside turn to accommodate the people inside." 

"Oh, I long as you move horizontally from the study, 
nothing can go wrong, but..." 

"Right. If you go below the floor or above the ceiling, the 
floor of the room next door is the wall of the room next to the 

"...hmm. ...So, uh, how does the Cube House handle these 

"One of you will be pulled into a parallel universe. He'll be 
lost in that world, and never get anywhere." 

Jeez, that was hella scary, "...has that happened before?" 

"Nope. When Cube House was Cube House I was all alone 
in here. But I know. That's how it works, with powers. You know 
things without having to test them, but there's still lots you don't 
know. You know?" 

...I wonder if the intruder I encountered had grocked to the 
danger of parallel worlds, and run from me? 

I wasn't sure. 

"Urn, but then, if we go down now, isn't it still dangerous?" 
Rohan asked, anxiously. 

Sugimoto smiled. "Don't worry, Rohan. I'm the owner of 
Cube House. I'm the basis of its behavior. I decide where the floors 
and ceiling and walls go." 

Good! But we had to hurry. "Then let's go in!" I said. I took 
a firm grip on the rope. 

"Wait," Sugimoto said. "Make sure you don't fall straight 


"Eh? Oh." 

"I'm the the door down there would catch your fall, but if 
you broke through the door, and did that three would be 
very bad." 

I looked up. The third door she mentioned was the door in 
the ceiling. The room below the room below the room below this 
one was the study, so if I broke through all three. I'd fall forever. 
What would happen then? If gravity increased my fall speed here. 
I'd fall until I hit terminal velocity. 

"Everything's so extreme and permanent," I muttered. 

"It's the Cube House," Sugimoto said. "Can't be helped." 

True. This was a world of its own. 

All three of us made it safely down the rope to the room 
below. It was immediately obvious Sugimoto felt more at home 
down here in Cube House. She smiled more. "Let's go find this 
rude interloper," she said. 

"Should we really leave the door up there open?" Rohan 
muttered, looking up at it. "If that giant insect monster steps on it, 
what'll happen? I guess we're on a pretty big hill. It probably won't 
try climbing up here." 

"Don't worry, Rohan," she said. "There's no way it could do 
anything to Cube House." 

That square house - the neighbors called it Cube House - 
supposedly was moved here from a town called Nishi Akatsuki, in 
Fukui. How that rumor got around without anyone having any 
idea who owned the house, nobody knows. 

I remembered Rohan saying that. 

If nobody could do anything to it, how could anyone have 
moved it? 

"I don't know," Sugimoto shrugged. 

I sighed, and raised the golf club, ready for anything. 

"Hey! Don't act like I'm supposed to know that. That's the 
very core of my being! Most humans couldn't tell you anything like 
that. Ask someone how they became what they are, go on." 

She had a point, I admitted, as I lowered myself into the 
room below. Sugimoto and Rohan stayed in the room below the 
study, and I went down a room below that, opened the door in the 
floor, and made sure the room below that was empty. I was in the 
room below the room below the study, which was also the room 
above the room above the study. Three center doors were open, 
and if I fell through here and broke through the ceiling of the study, 

Sugimoto had said I'd fall forever without ever escaping Cube 

"Anyone there?" "Nope." "Then come back up." Easier said 
than done. 

But with a little effort I managed to scramble back up the 
room to where Rohan and Sugimoto were waiting, in the room 
beneath the study. "Then we just have to check the four rooms 
around this one. Let's do that quick." 

I glanced over, and Sugimoto was watching the display on 
the video camera I'd brought with us. "See anything?" "Nah..." 

"I can't hear the giant's footsteps any more," Rohan said. 

Sugimoto laughed without taking her eyes off the display. 
"Not in this house, no. Even the study is a room in Cube House 
now. No longer part of Arrow Cross." 

"I sure bought one hell of a house..." 

I opened the door to the east. Nobody inside. 

"OK, then I'm going around to the right," I said. 

Rohan nodded, and tightened his grip on his golf club. "OK, 
but Jorge, when you open it, don't do it slowly. Just slam the thing 
open like the cops do in movies. They way you're opening doors is 
more like a horror movie, and it's making me nervous." 

"Sure thing." 

I went in a circle around Sugimoto and the camera, opening 


Slam! Nobody in the north room. 

Slam! Nobody in the west room. 

"Last one." "At this speed, no way he could get out in time." 

I'd saved the south door for last, for good reason. This was 
the door I'd sensed the intruder's presence behind, and if he was 
still down here, he'd be behind this door. My palms were sweating, 
but I couldn't put it off any longer. I put my hand on the doorknob, 

and glanced at Rohan. He nodded, but before I could open the 
door, Sugimoto shrieked, and staggered backwards three steps, 
staring at the camera in her hand. 

"What is it?" Rohan said, moving over to her. But I still had 
to check behind this door. Slam! Empty! Good! 

"Wh-wh-what does this mean, Rohan?" Sugimoto said, her 
voice trembling. I ran over, looked at the screen, and my jaw 
dropped as far as Rohan's had. 

On the screen...was Tsukumojuku. 

He'd climbed up the rope to the study, closed the door, put 
the rug back, straightened the desk he'd knocked over, put 
everything on the desk exactly back where it had been so that 
nobody could possibly tell that anyone had come through the door, 
and then Tsukumojuku - who was very clearly alive - looked right 
at the camera, and walked towards it. We could hear his footsteps 
on the carpet, and a thundering crash from outside. 

It was the sound of Nero Nero Island crashing through the 
Morioh barrier. On screen, Tsukumojuku looked up, alarmed. That 
proved this video had been made a few minutes ago. 

Tsukumojuku looked back at the camera, staring right into 
the lens, and grinned. "Ha ha ha, I guess my life belongs entirely to 
Jorge Joestar. To both Jorges: Don't worry about it. In the words of 
lason Sobra Quarto: 'Life is an explosion.' My life is exploding as we 
speak. Ha ha! See you again." And with that, he vanished. 

We stared at it dumbly for a minute, unable to think, but I 
couldn't afford to not think all day, so I went outside instead. "Uh... 
take care," Rohan said, his mind elsewhere. 

Confused, Sugimoto looked up at me as I was clambering 
through the door. "Do humans come back to life sometimes?" she 

"Ha ha ha," I laughed, buoyed by the sudden possibility that 
Tsukumojuku might be alive. I wanted to talk to that strange boy 
one more time. "I think some people just don't die that easily." 

Why was it I couldn't just trust that he'd come back to life? 

I pulled myself up into the study, left Cube House, closed 
the door behind me, left Arrow House through the west sunroom, 
and ran down the hill. 

Nero Nero Island had clambered out of the harbor, and was 
headed into the center of Morioh. The sheer weight of it definitely 
made it move slower on land. It took ages for it to simply lift one of 
those giant insect feet. And each step sank deep into the ground, 
so to pull one foot out, the other five had to dig in, which made 
them sink deeper, and threw the entire island's balance off. 
Somehow it managed not to fall over, and precariously move its 
foot forward, smashing buildings as that foot sank into the ground 
again. As rickety as the island's movement was, I still couldn't even 
begin to catch up with it. 

My legs were too short! 

I mean, they were normal lengths and I was probably on 
the good side of athletic but after experiencing the joy of riding 
Johana around my two legs felt like slugs! Blue Thunder couldn't 
be reloaned, apparently; it had vanished the second Rohan took it 
off. And there were obviously no taxis feelings were 
getting ahead of me and I could almost cry but as I got further 
down the hill and reached a larger road and saw the stream of 
emergency vehicles headed for the destruction, the drivers' grips 
on their wheels, and people hanging off the fire trucks by their 
fingernails, to a man looking like their worlds were ending I 
stopped caring about my speed at all. How many people could be 
kept safe under Arrow Cross? Things were so bad now it might 

have been better if the people in the harbor had gone crazy too. 

I dashed down a dirt road through a field, looking up at the 
sky. It was almost five, and the sun hung low in the west. With the 
barrier broken, the wind was blowing again. The humid, sticky sea 
breeze was making me sweat, but it was still an improvement. My 
feet felt lighter. A lot of baggage was slipping away. The sound of 
Nero Nero Island's footsteps was getting closer. 

I turned my gaze forward, and sped up. 

I was almost at the battlefield. 

I ran through Morioh suburbs. Nero Nero Island's feet had 
crushed an awful lot of houses, but they'd been evacuated in time, 
and I didn't see any signs of loss of life. I passed the rear legs, and 
as I drew closer to the middle legs I glanced at the deserted 
station, and crossed the tracks. I could make out people scurrying 
around the front legs. Budogaoka Academy appeared to be the 
center of activity, probably because lots of people had already 
been gathered there. 

I slowed down, considering my approach, when the surface 
of the road next to me went pssht and I jumped. 

A gunshot? I dove off the road into a garden and hid behind 
a wall. I looked around, but didn't see anyone. Then three more 
bullets went psst psst krashht moving from the road to the wall; I 
could feel the impacts on this side. Thunk thunk. At last I realized 
these weren't coming from my level. 

Above me. 

I looked up and saw the coast of Nero Nero island above 
me. Someone was absently shooting at me. Nero Nero Island's 
belly was a good 200 meters thick, so it was around 300 meters 
from here to the island's surface. I couldn't make out the face of 
the guy shooting at me, but I thought I could hear him laughing. 

Skrnch skrnch spshhht the bullets kept coming, all hitting 
the other side of the wall but if I stayed here he was bound to get 
lucky eventually. 

3, 2, 1! I summoned my nerve and broke away from the 
wall. I threw myself onto the porch of the house. Spsh spsh! Thunk 
thunk thunk thunk thunk thunk! Bang! Bang! Ba-bang! The hail of 
bullets followed after me, slamming into the roof but once I was 
out of sight he gave up. I laid low until I was sure the gunfire had 

I let myself breathe again, then figured I should at least 
check on the owners of the house, since they'd saved my life. I 
peered in through the window, but all was quiet, no signs of 
anyone there. I knocked on the window and called out, but there 
was no answer...except for a high pitched whine coming this way, 
followed by a massive explosion. A house a few plots away had 
exploded into a pillar of fire. 

A rocket launcher!? 

Was I in a fucking war zone? Wait, if they'd been aiming the 
gun at me, they must have been aiming that rocket at someone 
else. I jumped up and ran off the porch. 

Someone saw me go and hastily started shooting. Behind 
me and to either side I heard pshht pshht pop! Chnk! Pshhtpshht 
psht! Pounding into the pavement. But at this distance firing blind 
would never hit me if I kept moving. The rocker launcher probably 
couldn't get me either. I hoped whoever they were aiming that at 
was safe! 

There was a ton of smoke, and plenty of fire left. As I drew 
near the impact site, I called out, "Hey! You alive!?" 

"Jorge!" someone answered. "Over here!" 

Hirose Kouji was hiding in the garage, on the other side of 
the rubble. "Oh! Good! You're not hurt?" 

"Nope! You?" 

"I'm fine!" 

I ran into the garage too. 

"They might fire a second missile down, so we should keep 
moving," Hirose said. "They've got a shit load of weapons." 


"Here. Just think and it'll fly you there," Hirose said, and put 
a Blue Thunder on my head, too. We flew right out of the garage. 
Vrrooom! This was...even better than the dolphins! I could really 
steer it at will, with no hands. Every thought I had turned to action, 
as if I was really flying on my own! But since the propeller was on 
my head I couldn't shake the feeling that my neck hurt. (It didn't.) 

I followed after Hirose as we flew serpentine through the 
neighborhood, flying just above the ground so as to better hide 
ourselves from the shooters on Nero Nero Island. We dodged 
propane tanks and bicycles, vvwip vvwip vvrrr vvrrr until we flew 
into a factory and found the Nijimura brothers. 

"Ohhh, you're alive, Jorge?" Fukashigi said. "What about 
Rohan and Reimi?" Muryotaisu asked. I let them know the two of 
them were safe inside Cube House inside Arrow Cross. I didn't 
mention Tsukumojuku just yet. "What's going on here?" I asked. 
None of them said anything immediately. 

Sensing the Nijimura brothers didn't want to admit they 
were in trouble. Hirose finally broke the silence. "Shock and awe. 
We're occupied and they're in control. While everyone was still in a 
panic because the island was stomping Morioh flat several Stand 
Masters with weapons came floating down, and kidnapped ail the 
exhausted, half-dead folks in the gym. One of them has a Stand like 
a tornado, and it vacuumed them all up." 

"That was Dolcio Cioccolata," NYPD Blue said. "I got the 

"Fuck, man...don't just record shit, do something about it!" 
Fukashigi yelled. His voice was hoarse, and the yell was more 

anguished than angry. 

"Look," NYPD Blue said. "You order me to go into the mafia 
HQ alone, I ain't the type to back down. Like I said, up to you." 

ll | ll 

"Tch, you're just a punk kid. You talk big, but talk is cheap. 
You gotta grow up. Match your build. Pathetic." 

"Raggh, damn it! Then what the fuck should I do?" 

"I told you that, too. Sit tight and wait. Diving empty 
handed into a war you can't win ain't what a man does. It's what a 
fool who can't stand embarrassment does. For a man to sacrifice 
himself he needs a better reason than shame. You gotta grin and 
bear it, keep your mind flexible, and wait for your moment." 

ll | ll 

Fukashigi grit his teeth and went silent. 

"Once they had hostages, all resistance ceased," Hirose 
said, resuming his explanation. "They called for Mayor Shishimaru, 
and made him their puppet. All orders from the mafia have been 
relayed through him. Right now they're dragging Stand Masters 
into the open. Promising not to harm anyone who comes forward 
of their own accord. But if they have to find us, we'll be punished. 
In a very mafia-esque move, they're encouraging people to turn in 
anyone they know. They've got a number of people in the last hour 
alone. Our names may well come to light soon." 

"So?" I asked. "Is that it? Nothing else has happened yet?" 

"Eh? Uh, yeah..." 

"If they've got hostages and the mayor working for them 
and are hunting Stand Masters they're still trying to get control. 
They're pretty far from getting us under their thumb completely. It 
just feels like they have. But really, they're still trying to get us in 
line. And they haven't let us know their real goal yet." 

"Their real goal?" 

"You think they really want to occupy Morioh? They're the 

mafia. There's no enemy mafia group here; they've got no vested 
interests in the town at all. I won't go so far as to say there's 
nothing here the mafia might be interested in; there's money and 
women, but everything that goes on in this town right now is being 
watched very closely. It's 2012. There are satellites chasing us 
around, manned and unmanned probes in the sky, monitoring the 
town in real time. Any yen the mafia steal right now can't be spent. 
They can't launder it or hide it. They can't sell any women. They 
know that. And they know it's only a matter of time before 
someone with real power hits these two islands, and occupies us 
for real. The barrier's already down; they did that themselves. It 
won't be much longer. Whatever it is they're really trying to do will 
come out soon; something they can accomplish with all this going 
on. Something tiny, that the satellites and aircraft won't ever 
notice, but something very important to them." 

"Very important how? What can Morioh people do for the 
mafia?" Hirose asked. 

"Our current theory is that Kira Yoshikage is moving this 
island, probably to escape from all the detectives descending on 
the town. It's a good theory; it's probably the truth. So something 
like that might be happening on their end. Would these psychos 
run from a detective? Probably not. It's a mafia island, and we saw 
them killing each other on Nero Nero Island from Arrow Cross hill. 
Whatever these psychos are up to has something to do with 
trouble in the mob. Like NYPD Blue said, if the mafia are killing 

"Either they're trying to kill the boss, and cutting off his 
escape, or they already did it, and are cleaning up," NYPD Blue 
said, repeating his own line. "I did say that. Mafia headquarters are 
where the boss feels most safe. A place where even the non¬ 
criminals will protect him. For many, it's where they were born. 
They've dropped as much dough as they can there, greased the 

wheels, and can expect a good return. But now it's in chaos. Either 
they've killed the boss and are purging the last of anyone who'd 
come back on them, or they're trying to kill the boss and making 
sure he can't get any help from the locals. Driving him into a 
corner. Either way, the boss dies, lots of people go with him." 

I was the first to break the silence. "I dunno if NYPD Blue's 
theory is right or not. But it's clear the mafia are attacking for a 
reason. Which begs the question - why do the mafia think 
whatever they're after will be here? Because they've done their 
homework on the place. Why would the Italian Mafia have even 
heard of Morioh? Because Morioh started swimming out to sea. 
That was all over the news, and something this weird's gonna be 
broadcast in every country in the world. The mafia would have 
seen it. They'd know a killer named Kira Yoshikage lived here, and 
know that several detectives were murdered here." 

When they saw Bariya Choumaru's press conference, I had 
speculated that there were other detectives here besides me. I had 
based that speculation on solid grounds, but would the mafia even 
need that? And I considered this, I heard the same truck that had 
delivered the call to the town meeting broadcasting a new 
message through its loudspeaker. 

"Would the detectives Daibakusho Curry, Runbaba 12, and 
Jorge Joestar please hurry to the Budogaoka Academy Garden?" 

Hunhl? I thought. On several layers at once. They were 
summoning me by name? Daibakusho Curry and Runbaba 12 were 
both from Nishi Akatsuki, too! All three of us were Nishi Akatsuki 
detectives!? Why would all the detectives in Morioh be from the 
same place? Even though no other detectives had been able to get 
here? And the timing of this summons was too perfect. 

...well, timing always worked like that. Good or bad, things 
were always perfectly timed. 

"Yikes," Fukashigi said. "What'll you do? Don't go. Wait for 

your moment." 

That was NYPD Blue's advice from a moment ago, so I 
laughed, and called him a dipshit. 

"Shut the fuck up, moron," NYPD Blue roared, so suddenly 
both Fukashigi and me snapped our mouths shut. See? Timing. 

I tried a different approach. "Detectives don't back down at 
a time like this," I said. 

For them to know my name... I'd only told it to the three 
boys here, and the two in the Cube Flouse. That means someone 
had done some digging and found my name. 

Kira Yoshikage. 

Had he sold me to the mob? Was he waiting for his chance 
to strike? Interesting. 

I asked the Nishimuras and Flirose to provide whatever 
backup they could, went alone to Budogaoka Academy's garden, 
and found the town residents gathered there and a young Italian 
man in a well-tailored suit sitting on a chair in the center with 
Shishimaru Denta standing next to him. When Runbaba 12 and 
Daibakusho Curry saw me they smiled ruefully. They were both 
good looking men, but had clearly been through some shit; their 
shirts and pants were both soaking wet and ragged. Mine weren't 
much better. 

"Hey there." "'Sup." "You still alive?" "Eh heh heh." "Didn't 
think we'd have a reunion here." "Seriously." "What a pain. Let my 
curiosity get the better of me..." "Yeah, but if you were watching 
this on TV you'd be kicking yourself." "True." "For sure." 

Fed up with us whispering to each other, THUD! The mafia 
dude kicked the table between us. 

I didn't jump, but maaan. 

"Oh shit." "Shit, shit." "Three of us here. He don't need 

two." "Woah." "Well, we don't need you." "No, you." "Dipshit." 

THUD! This time he had his hand in his suit jacket. Maaaybe 
it was time to knock it off. His hair might be okappa but he didn't 
seem to speak Japanese. We...or at least I spoke Italian, but it was 
a pain so I asked Shishimaru Denta, "So? What's he want with us?" 

"Eh, um, I believe this er, phone...any minute now someone 
will call this phone. I think." His head was swollen in weird places 
so he must have put his own self on the line to protect the 
residents, so I forgave him. But there was no phone on the table he 
was pointing to. There was a filthy rubber ball and a right shoe and 
a pebble. 

II -p ii 

But the pebble suddenly started ringing. "Plu pon pin para 
para pon plu pon pin para para pon!" It also vibrated. Oh. 

"A Stand," I said, and the other two looked surprised. "Eh? 
What, Jorge, you know what this thing is? What is it?" "How is it 

If they didn't know about Stands, they were in for a rough 
ride. But they'd pick it up fast enough, like I had. I picked up the 
pebble. It had a display and accept call button, so I pressed it and 


To my surprise, the voice on the other end spoke Japanese. 
"Hello? Is that Jorge Joestar?" A young man's voice. 

"Yep. You?" 

"My name doesn't matter. You are...English, born in Japan?" 

"I am. And you're Japanese, born in Italy?" 

II ll 

"What's your business?" 

"I'm starting to like you." 

"You are? Then come on down here. Let's talk face to face." 

"Let's get down to business." 

"You want to hire me?" 

"? ....what do you mean?" 

"Hire me as a detective?" 

"I suppose?" 

"Then tell me the name of my client. As a let 
people use you, you end up in a sticky situation. Get used to that 
fact, you start turning down any jobs where the client's identity 
isn't clear." 

"If you don't tell me I'm hanging up." 

"." I waited a moment, then took the pebble away 

from my ear, and was about to hang up when I heard him laughing. 
A gentle, light laugh. 

"Heh heh heh...very well. My name is Shiobana Haruno. 
Nikkei Italian. I usually go by Giorno Giovanna. Satisfied?" 

"Yes. Thank you. Please proceed." 

"I'd like you to look for someone. I don't know their real 
name. All I know is what they're called. Diavolo. The boss of the 
Passione Family." 

...well, that was pretty much what I'd expected. "Is this 
person a Stand Master?" I asked. 

".we believe so." 

"But neither I or the other two detectives can use a Stand, 
and we honestly know very little about them." 

"We will provide you with an assistant." 

"We can't choose who?" 

II ll 

"Didn't think so." 

"The man with you is Bruno Buccellati. His team will be 
working with you. He'll lead. I'll be in charge of communications. 

and the other three will each accompany one of you detectives." 

"I see. Is there a time limit?" 


"But our current situation can't last forever." 

"No matter what the situation, no matter what happens, 
you must find Diavolo." 

" . !?" 

"Understand me? No matter what." 

".and if we can't?" 

"There is no need to consider that." 

"I see." 

I was better off not thinking about it, yeah. 

"So, Jorge Joestar, I look forward to your success." 

He hung up. Bruno Buccellati stood up, and spoke to me in 
Italian. "You speak Italian, don't you?" 

Shit, I thought, which was clearly a mistake. He laughed. 
"Heh heh. I can smell lies. Remember that. Even if you keep 
something hidden, the taste and scent may be weaker, but that's 
still a lie." 

Three dangerous looking Italians came up behind him. They 
were all young. 

"So?" I said. "I do speak Italian, but..." 

Buccellati looked at the other too. "You both speak Italian 
as well, detectives?" 

Both Daibakusho Curry and Runbaba 12 nodded. "Si, si." 

High-level communication was a necessity in our line of 


Buccellati assigned each of us one of his men. 

Daibakusho Curry got Leone Abbacchio. Tall, with stern 
features, he loomed over that not especially tall Daibakusho Curry. 

Runbaba got Guido Mista. Well-built, with a hat. Apparently 
he smelled a bit, since Runbaba 12 sniffed once, made a face, and 

kept his distance. 

I was assigned Narancia Ghirga. He was about the same age 
as me, with a boyish face, by the way he fixed me with a menacing 
glare suggested he was well aware of how young he looked. "Don't 
fuck with me," he hissed, and he made sure I knew he had a knife 
on him, too. Clearly, he was the most dangerous of this group. 

So, time to go investigate. I kept the pebble, Daibakusho 
Curry took the rubber ball, and Runbaba 12 the orphaned shoe. 
Runbaba 12 tried to convince us to trade with him but Buccellati 
roared, "Enough!" and I looked at Narancia and saw someone 
standing next to him. It was Tsukumojuku. 

ll | ll 

He grinned at me. "Hey! I am your instrument. A person 
needs your help. I'll take you to them." 

He grabbed my shoulder. 

"Yo, what the fuck?" Narancia yelled, pushing me aside and 
pointing his knife at Tsukumojuku. In that instant we jumped. 

"Whoops. Brought an anomaly along, all means 
something, I'm sure. Bye!" 

Tsukumojuku vanished, leaving me and Narancia. 

On the H.G. Wells, an American spacecraft launched by 
NASA. Passing around the dark side of Mars on its journey to the 
red planet, about to make a new discovery. 

Namely, that, in addition to Phobos and Diemos, Mars had 
a previously undetected third moon. Previously undetected 
because Mars had always been between it and the Earth. 



The second I arrived home from Rome, I was arrested for 
Kenton's murder. Her father, Ben Motorize, had many friends in the 
justice department, and he had strong-armed them into ignoring 
juvenile laws and charging me as an adult at age 16. With first 
degree murder. 

My mother and Penelope came to see me in jail. Penelope 
burst into tears the moment she laid eyes on me. 

"Jorge! Poor thing...I promise I'll get you out of here, Jorge! 
Oh, Jorge...!" 

She was in such a state it rather rattled me. "But I'm fine, 
Penelope. Calm down. We can't have you losing control of your 
emotions, now." I did NOT need a locked room clown showing up 

Both of them seemed rather surprised I wasn't more upset. 
"Eh...?" Penelope said, dubiously. "This doesn’t bother you?" 

"I've grown up a lot, you know. I got to keep it together." 


My mother seemed equally concerned, but she said, "Well, 
I'm glad to hear it, Jorge. Still, we'll do everything we can to get 
you home soon. Don't you worry." 

"Mm. Don't worry about me. I'm actually pretty comfortable 
here. Eh heh heh." 

".? You really do seem like you're OK." Still not 

quite believing it, mother and Penelope went on their way, but on 
the way back to my solitary cell - they were keeping me separated 
from the adult criminals - it was all I could do to stop myself from 
skipping. The guards hated it when I did that, so I forced myself to 
walk. I supposed this was what they meant by happy feet. I wanted 
to get back to my cell. The tiny cell at the very back. 

Where Lisa Lisa was. 

As we reached the cell the guard went bzzt and fell asleep 
on his feet. She'd paralyzed the thought centers of his brain, and he 
fell back to his normal routine, doing only things he didn't have to 
think about. Put the suspect in the cell, turn the key...just like he did 

every day. His eyes saw Lisa Lisa and saw the state of our cell - we 
even had a refrigerator - but his mind failed to comprehend it. My 
mind remained unaffected because Lisa Lisa had given me socks 
that blocked the Hamon she was sending rippling through the floor. 
They were made from special thread from the uh... Smrtipologian 
Beetle, I think. Anyway, this weird bug’s thread disperses Hamon. 

"Welcome back, Jorge." 

"Good to be back!" 

"Mama Erina looked so worried at first. Tha nk goodness 
you were able to reassure her." 

"Eh? You were watching?" 

"Mm. I thought I might have to say I was with you if she 
looked too upset." 

"Eh..." If mother found out about this she might very well 
say that jail was no place for a young lady and forbid her from 

"But reassure her you did," Lisa Lisa chuckled. "So I didn't 
say anything. Mama Erina and old man Speedwagon will take care 
of things, and the Hamon Warriors are helping too. I'm sure you'll 
be free in no time." 

"Mmm..." I didn't really want to leave. With Lisa Lisa being 
nice enough to bring me food and snacks and clean the place and 
teaching me things this place was paradise. I didn't have to go to 
school, either. But I knew better than to tell her that. 

Since Lisa Lisa had been with me almost since the moment 
I was arrested I had escaped all anxiety and fear. I knew I could rely 
on her utterly and completely. Watching her walk right into the jail 
with all the guards going bzzzt bzzzt bzzzt I completely forgot to be 

"I'll get yelled at for using Hamon like this," she laughed. 
She was the best. 

She left at night, though. "It wouldn't be appropriate," she 
said. I wouldn't do anything! <— ? 

So alone at night I thought about Kenton Motorize. The girl 

who got me to dream. Like a fairy riding on the back of a bird. 
Always smiling, prone to startling me with her sharp tongue, but 
she never once lied or hid her feelings. She was fun to be around. 

But now she was dead. 

On the morning of my sixth day in jail, Steven came to see 
me. Ehh? I thought. Maybe he thought I was the killer. I was scared 
to see him. But I wanted to see him. He'd lost his sister, and I 
wanted to give him my condolences. Maybe I wouldn’t be able to 
do anything, maybe the words wouldn't form. But I should at least 
show myself, I thought. Kenton had been brutally stabbed 23 times 
in the gut and chest and face with a knife from my house and my 
plane had been with her. Even if it wasn't actually my fault I felt as 
if there should have been something I could have done to stop her 
from dying. But I was scared. Scared to face my friend's death head 
on, and scared to face a brother after his sister was murdered. 

"Go, Jorge. Be with your friend the way I'm here with you." 

Lisa Lisa promised to watch the visiting room from close 
by, so I gathered my nerve and went to see Steven. 

Steven looked beside himself, and had lost so much weight I 
barely recognized him. I was almost at a loss for words, but I 
managed to say, "'s too sad. Too horrible. I don't know 
what to say. The police suspect me but...obviously, I didn't do it." 

"I believe you," Steven said. "You would never kill Kenton. 
But...I came to apologize. My father is convinced you did it, and is 
hell bent on taking all his rage out on you. I keep telling him you 
would never do something like that, but he needs to avenge her, and 
won't hear a word of it." 

That was depressing. But I didn't let it show. "That's OK. 
Don't worry about me. Don't worry about anything else. Just mourn 
Kenton. I'm praying for you every night. Praying that she can find 
peace in heaven." 

"....thank you. But Kenton was cut to pieces. I can't picture 
heaven or hell right now. I just don't understand why a girl like her 
would get murdered." 

I had no answer. 

"I hope we can fly together some day," Steven said. "I saw 
your plane. It was balanced well. You were almost ready to fly it." 

"Ah..." I thought about the old Motorizing 5, reborn as the 
Star Shooter. If my weight was around 100 grams I’d have been 
able to fly it. It had made for a good kite. My plane had not just 
been left lying at the cliff where Kenton had been murdered. It had 
been tied to a rope, and flown, with Kenton’s body and a rock as 
anchors. There was a strong wind off the sea and heavy rainfall 
weighing the plane down, but it had flown high anyway. That was 
why they’d found Kenton’s body so quickly. Steven had seen the 
kite, and it led him to the horrible discovery of his sister's remains. 
I couldn't imagine how that must have felt. 

"Doesn’t seem like they're gonna let me fly," I said. 

"Don't let yourself think like that, Jorge," Steven said, 
smiling. "If the two of us abandon’ll feel like there's no 
proof Kenton even existed." 

I remembered that at night, and cried in my cell. 

Kenton loved planes. She loved flying. She was good at it, 
and never more beautiful. Even now I wasn't sure if I really liked 
planes, or just been entranced by the sight of her flying off that 

Despite my mother's best efforts, I remained in jail, but it 
seemed like the police were having trouble building a case against 
me. To take the case to trial, they needed to get all their facts in 
order, but there were too many mysteries about Kenton's death. 

First, nobody could figure out a timeline for my actions that 
allowed for the murder. After speaking to Darlington at the 
Motorize home, Faraday had led me to another room, and then I'd 
called from Rome two hours later. The only time unaccounted for 
was that two hours, and getting from Westwood, England to Rome, 
Italy in two hours was impossible to begin with. It was a four day 

trip by rail or by sea, and even if we took the maximum flight 
distance of American planes and placed that end to end it would 
still take two days. 

When the police questioned this, I answered, "Faraday took 
me to see a friend who should be dead, and when I took his hand I 
found myself in total darkness. I figured out that I was in a cave 
and climbed out of it and found myself in an underground ruin in 
Rome." That was mostly true, so I could explain it comfortably 
even though the police were trained to see through lies. I left Lisa 
Lisa out of it, and named a different underground ruin she'd 
suggested instead of the temple with the treasure room in it, but that 
underground min had not yet been officially discovered, so when 
the Italian police went to check it out it became a huge deal and if I 
hadn't gotten lost in there they'd never have known the ruin was 
even there, so it seemed like I was going to get away with lying 
about that part. In fact, if proven innocent there was talk of the 
Italian government giving me an award. I'd turned it down already, 
though. Lisa Lisa and the other Hamon Masters apparently knew 
everything that lay underground. 

I could tell the police had no idea what to make of my 
nonsensical statement. They clearly couldn’t write that down in 
their reports as is. They had Faraday's testimony, and proof from 
Rome, so despite what I was saying they couldn't doubt the fact of 
it. They had me undergo a psychological evaluation but whatever 
the result of it was, they still had to write a detailed account of how 
I could have killed Kenton Motorize in Westwood, England before 
traveling to Rome, Italy. 

And that was hardly the end of the mess they had to make 
sense of. 

I had no motive to kill Kenton. At all. She was one of the 
few friends I had in England; she and her brother were the only 
friends I had. I had liked her cheery disposition, the open way she 
spoke, and she'd taught me everything I knew about planes. This 
was the truth. But in their report, they said that I was in love with 

Kenton, had said I would show her my plane to get her alone and 
ask her out, and had killed her when she turned me down. I had 
brought the knife with me planning to threaten her with it, and had 
tied the plane to her body and flown it to make her grave. "That 
isn't true," I said, over and over and over again. And learned it was 
useless to say anything to someone intent on bending the truth or 
outright lying to make things fit their needs. 

Based purely on the estimated time of Kenton's death, it 
should have been difficult to believe I killed her. I arrived at the 
Motorize home at 3:30 PM, and Faraday led me to the other room 
around 4:00. But Steven had just arrived home when he saw the 
kite flying above the cliffs from the gate of the Motorize manor, 
around 4:10 PM. It was a twenty five minute trip by wagon from 
the Motorize manor to the scene of the crime. Two hours walking, 
and even if one were to run the whole way, it was a steady incline 
so it would take at least an hour. Kenton had been seen leaving 
school with an umbrella at around 3:30 PM, and if she had headed 
straight for the cliffs it would have taken her thirty minutes. When 
her body was found...Steven had seen the kite flying in the rain 
from his home, and afraid something had happened, had run his 
horse straight to the cliffs. According to his testimony, Kenton's 
body had still been warm, so the murderer must have killed Kenton 
on her way home, tied her body to my Star Shooter, and let it fly - 
all in the ten minute period between 4:00 and 4:10. 

Just transporting the plane was a huge challenge. I'd been 
bringing Star Shooter back from the dead in my tent, and it was 
fully assembled; normally, transporting it would have meant taking 
it apart, carrying it to the cliffs, and then putting it together again. 
But from what Steven had seen, there weren't any new marks made 
on the body, so it would have been impossible for anyone without 
my knowledge of the plane's construction to take it apart and put it 
back together again. After all, I'd designed and built it myself. It 
was a mess of cobbled together bits and oddball parts. Which meant 
the killer must have transported it to the scene of the crime intact. It 

was a glider with a ten meter wingspan; the cliffs were five 
kilometers from where the plane was kept, and the town center was 
right in the middle, so the killer would have had to take the long 
way around to avoid being seen. 

Could they have flow it as a kite while moving it? If anyone 
saw a rope leading into the sky they'd wonder what was on the end 
of it. And the weight of one person would not have been enough to 
control Star Shooter once the wind caught it. 

The fastest way to get it there would be to climb aboard and 
fly it, and the winds were strong enough enough that the winds 
passing through the tent had it almost at a hover. But like Steven 
said, the balance wasn't yet right, and it was impossible for it to 
carry anyone. Yet in the report, that was how I'd got the plane to the 
cliffs. I’d left school, came home, picked up a knife, flown Star 
Shooter to the Motorize manor, spoken to Darlington, snuck out of 
the house unseen, and then flown the plane to the cliffs. Kenton 
was waiting for me there, and when she rejected me, I stabbed her 
to death... 

I denied everything, but the report was finished, and I was 
allowed to return home. I'd rather have stayed in jail, but I couldn't 
make Lisa Lisa dote on me forever, so I reluctantly went home. The 
Westwood jail guards were starting to have fits brought on by over¬ 
exposure to Lisa Lisa's Hamon anyway; their eyes would roll back 
in their heads, and they'd stop moving entirely, as if lost in a day 
dream. Lisa Lisa had a fiery temper, so I privately suspected she’d 
used Hamon that was a bit too strong. 

Lisa Lisa accompanied me from the cell to the front door 
without anyone noticing, but once we reached the door she said, 
"OK, I'd better be off, then." 

"Eh? You aren't coming home with me?" 

"I've got work for Straits. I'd been playing hooky." 

"What? I'll miss you." 

"Don't do that, Jorge. You've got to find the strength within 
you. They're going to take you to trial. It's only going to get worse 

from here." 

I knew that but... "That's depressing." 

"Come on, Jorge. Your friend was murdered, and they think 
you did it. 'Depressing' is hardly strong enough, it is?" 

Good point. "Yeah..." I had to agree. I'd lost Kenton, and 
was probably losing Steven as well. "That's true..." And depending 
on how this trial went I could well lose everything that mattered to 

I had to fight this. 

"Thank you for everything, Lisa Lisa." She peered intently 
into my eyes. "I need to be stronger," I said. "I need to be strong 
enough to do this on my own." 

"You don't need to be strong," Lisa Lisa said. "You just need 
to be a grown man." 

"Then I'll aim for that. And be stronger that way." 

"Mm. Don’t think you need to do this on your own, Jorge. 
I'll come to help you again." 

"But if I'm not strong like you..." 

"Jorge, it's not like I can do everything on my own. I'm not 
strong at all. You're helping me just as much as I'm helping you." 


My mind was filled with warm, fuzzy memories of our time 
together in jail, so I genuinely didn't know what she was talking 

"When I was underground in Rome and terrified? You came 
to save me, Jorge. You helped me more than you can know. You 
might even have saved my life. There was that thing in the dark, 
remember? You noticed it too, right, Jorge?" 

The gorilla spider. 


"Yeah, I did." 

"I still have no idea what that thing was, but I know it was 
after me. Just as it was about to attack me, you showed up and 
protected me, Jorge." 

I did? "Yeah, but it's not like I was brave or anything..." 

"My point is, Jorge, finding people you can rely on gives 
you strength. Whether or not they can actually be relied upon is 
beside the question." 

I went home. Mother and Penelope welcomed me, we ate 
dinner, and I went to my room. At last I could think, not about 
Kenton, but about Tsukumojuku. 

When I'd seen him floating just off the ground in the 
Motorize manor, it was definitely Tsukumojoku, alive, but not in 
any way normal. 

I'm currently in Japan, in the year 2012, I'm there with 
a different you - a Japanese boy completely unlike you, but also 
named Jorge Joestar. I've been transported to a place called the 
Arrow Cross House, and I've gotten caught up in another case. 

That meant Tsukumojuku didn't die on the boat; instead he 
time traveled to Japan 107 years into the future. I thought this was a 
good thing. Japan was at war with Russia, and while the Japanese 
forces were on the offensive, Russia's Baltic fleet would probably 
annihilate them soon. Once they'd turned the tables and Japan had 
surrendered, and Korea was securely under Russian control, they'd 
clearly attempt to conquer Japan as well, which might have spelled 
trouble for Tsukumojuku. He was once again my only friend, so I 
was glad to hear he was in a world without war. And with another 
me. Was that Jorge Joestar descended from me? Then why was he 
in Japan? Would the Joestars move to Japan some day? How would 
something like that happen? Did something happen in England? 
Would England go to war with Russia? Would they annex Japan as 
a protectorate? 

I didn't know anything about war. Everything I knew about 
time travel came from the novel by H.G. Wells. I couldn’t imagine 
what the world 107 years in the future was like. 

But at least I knew one thing for sure. Tsukumojuku had not 

drowned to death. The thought made me want to go look for him, 
made me feel like I had to find out what had happened to him. As 
his former partner. 

But what could I do? 

The boat Tsukumojuku was on sank off the coast of Florida. 
I couldn't travel to America to look into it, not now that'd been 
charged with first degree murder. If I left the country they'd think I 
was running for it. 

And would there even be any evidence of time travel? Even 
if there was, would I be able to recognize it? Even if there was 
some clear and amazing proof that time travel had happened here 
what could I do with that? Did I really think I could chase after 
Tsukumojuku to the world 107 years in the future? 

Tsukumojuku was a genuinely special person. I was normal. 
There were many, many things I couldn’t do, and I was still only 
sixteen. And I had to deal with these murder charges first. 

...he'd said he would probably meet me again someday. I 
would just have to wait for that. 

What was it he'd said, exactly? 

The nature of my name suggests that we'll meet again, 
one more time. 

His name? What did that mean? 

He’d said something about the kanji. I remembered the 
Japanese dictionary he’d given me. I looked it up, but there wasn't 
any special meaning. A and A were just 9 and 10. 

I'd been charged, but since I was pleading innocent we had 
to have a jury trial. In the opening statements the prosecutor 
spouted nonsense, and the supposedly amazing lawyer mother hired 
made a counter argument to the jury, dismantling the prosecutor’s 
theory. Witnesses were called, questioned, cross-examined, and 
questioned again, and this seemed to be taking a while. Since I 
couldn't go to school while the trial was going on I had to study at 

home, so once again Penelope became my tutor. She explained 
everything very well, so my studies went quickly, and I had more 
free time. I was bored, and I didn't feel like mucking around with 
planes. But if I went into town I'd run into classmates or maybe 
even members of the Motorize family. What was happening to me 
was so freaky I couldn’t concentrate on reading. I'd liked messing 
around with planes and I had a lot of tools lying around, so I was 
wondering what else could keep my hands busy when mother came 
home and stepped out of the automobile she was using at work and 
I found my new toy. 

Motor cars! 

Vroooom! Hell yeah! 

I immediately asked to get a license. However, you couldn't 
get a driver's license until you were seventeen. The world definitely 
seemed to think cars were for grown ups, but my mother was never 
one to care about such things, and let me do as I pleased. I got the 
man who drove her to work and back to teach me how to drive, and 
I had the hang of it in no time. They were much easier to control 
than airplanes. They were built to be easy to drive. 

I bought a car. A Rover 8. A two-seater that I immediately 
took apart and considered trying to customize, but all the parts were 
hand made and replacements weren’t easily available and unlike 
when I'd been messing around with planes with Steven Motorize I 
didn't have a teacher and was doing everything by myself so I took 
a few parts off and looked and then put them back and looked, 
trying to figure out how engines worked, but of course it broke. 
Wha ha ha. I was never actually that good at this stuff. No reason I 
would be. 

So I took it to an automotive garage in London and then I 
met a college student named John Moore-Brabazon. 

One glance at John told you he was someone. He wore an 
expensive suit poorly and stumped around the garage floor 
scowling at every car like a particularly bold thief but as I watched 
he suddenly took the engine out of one car and started switching the 

wheels on another, doing whatever he liked without any of the other 
mechanics saying anything so I asked and it turned out he actually 
owned all seven cars in the place and I thought wow, even the 
aristocrats don't have that many how rich is this dude? Apparently 
he was private mechanic to a man named Charles Rolls who owned 
an automotive company. So four of the seven cars in here he owned 
for work-related research and the remaining three were test designs 
given to him by his boss, and nobody but him was allowed to touch 
any of them. Gosh, that sounded fun. When I heard he was still a 
student I knew there were incredible people in this world. I stood 
watching him poke at this and that walking from car to car as the 
whim or idea struck him, taking pieces out, changing them, taking 
things apart, putting them back together. I was having so much fun 
watching him I forgot my original plan to learn something about 
how cars actually work and just watched in sheer admiration of his 
handiwork. A shockwave was running slowly through me. It seeped 
to my core much like my first meeting with Kenton Motorize, but 
not just that; it also reminded me of when I first met Tsukumojuku, 
and I was beginning to get the hazy idea that was I on the verge of 
another life change. 

So when John noticed me and spoke, I just thought it was 
happening again. 

And then he yelled, "Quit staring at my ass, motherfucker!" 

Eh? What did he just say? "I wasn’t fucking looking!" 

"Who the fuck is this brat?" "Who you calling brat! You're 
just sponging off your rich friend!" "I earned that shit with my own 
two hands! I bet your parents just bought you that car, didn’t they? 
Shitbird." Clang! He'd thrown a wrench at my Rover 8 so I totally 
lost it. "What the fuck are you doing!?" I yelled and considered 
fucking up his cars but it seemed like a waste so I didn't and instead 
shoved John out of the way and opened up the Rover 8's engine 
room and started fixing the broken part and was so mad I could see 
how to fix the part I couldn't figure out how to fix early so I fixed it 
myself and then banged the dent John's wrench had made out from 

the inside until you couldn't tell it had ever been there jumped into 
the driver's seat, looked over at John who was staring at me with his 
mouth open and yelled, "I'm gonna ran you over, so stand still!" 
Bang! Brrrrrrrrr the engine started up and I hit the accelerator and 
really tried to run him over and wound up chasing after John but he 
yelled, "Fuck that!" and run out of the shop and jumped into an 
working eighth car he had parked out front and drove away and we 
ended up in a car chase through the industrial district. But it wasn't 
a contest at all. John's car was twice as fast as mine and it just went 
shoop shoop away from me and ran circles around me and he 
shouted insults as my eyes filled with tears. Lots of childish shit 
like sticking his tongue out and nananabooboo and I got even more 
pissed off but couldn't catch him. John laughed his ass off, "Let's 
play tag through all of London!" he yelled, and in a corner of my 
mind I thought shit, if I get arrested it'll fuck up the trial but I 
couldn't stop myself. "Fuck you! Just die!" and we shot out of the 
factory startling horses and pedestrians and I followed as he dodged 
everything perfectly and was impressed despite myself. By the time 
the mounted police started chasing us I was laughing. Even though 
it would be really bad if they caught me. I was having fun. I'd been 
bullied my whole life and never been much of a fighter and while 
I'd let it bottle up inside me until I exploded and took a swing at 
someone a few times, John had pulled the rage out of me so easily 
the curses just spilled off my tongue. It felt amazing. Liberating. To 
think I could talk like this! That I could trade blows instead of 

Later, John and I went back to the garage and the worried 
mechanics shook their heads at us but soon we were all laughing 
and John and I were friends. It wasn't the way I’d imagined but my 
life had, indeed, changed again. John was a member of the Royal 
Automobile Club, and its star. 

To me, he was a magician. I mean, everything he turned his 
hands to not only got fixed, it worked better than he had before. If 
he sat in the driver's seat, that car would run and turn like never 

before. If he drove off in it and came back, when he stepped out of 
it the entire vehicle would look polished to a new level of beauty. 
When he raced, he was less interested in winning than in enjoying 
himself to the fullest; the results were too inconsistent for gamblers, 
but as a spectator his performance was full of gasp-inspiring moves 
and previously unheard of strategic maneuvers. The other drivers 
considered him one of the best. 

As the only one of his friends younger than him, John quite 
liked me, but that often got me in trouble. John was very good at 
making fun of people, and every time I saw him he'd come after me 
so tenaciously that I'd wind up fighting back tears. But I put up with 
it, and kept chasing after him and my own race results gradually 
improved, and people started to notice me, but the more people 
knew me the more they knew about him. Most people avoided me 
after finding out I was on trial for murder. 

"Who cares if you killed her or not?" John said. 

No, no, no, no, no. "It matters!" I said, but I knew what he 
meant. The truth didn't change our relationship. 

I was almost touched by this, but then he added, "Besides, if 
war starts most men'll wind up killers. But we’ll all go on living as 
if that's normal." 

What was he talking about? "Then just don't go to war," I 


John laughed. "You're a fool, Jorge. The next war's gonna be 
way bigger than any before. Battlefields, soldiers, and weapons." 

I didn't know what he meant, but he was right. I had never 
really had a knack for politics or international intrigue. 

When Japan utterly destroyed the Baltic Fleet, sinking damn 
near every ship in it and emerging victorious over Russia I thought, 
"Daaamn, Japan," but I just wasn't that interested in Japan as long 
as Tsukumojuku wasn't there. 

I was sick to death of trials. 

I mean, the police had a bullshit report and the trial was 
based on that bullshit and nobody involved believed a word of it so 
there was no way they'd ever be able to convince anyone to believe 
a word of it. Not once had they managed to get all twelve jurors to 
buy into the bullshit so they kept returning hung juries and starting 
over, and the third time they finally got a not guilty verdict and 
before I could even breathe a sigh of relief the attorney general 
declared there were grounds to overturn the not guilty verdict and 
the trial continued in the appellate court. And so I turned seventeen 
and eighteen still under suspicion, graduated Hugh Hudson High 
without ever going back, and refused to go to college despite 
mother and Penelope's pleas. After all, not one good thing had ever 
happened to me in school. 

And I was finally starting to give John a run for his money 
in RAC races, and automobile technology was advancing like you 
wouldn't believe, and a year before John’s boss Rolls had put out 
the Silver Ghost, which could do 80 kph without any noise and a 
guy named Ford in America had started mass producing his T series 
and this was the age of cars, baby! And here I was, right at the side 
of the center of the heart of that fire and John went off to a circuit 
race in the Ardennes in Belgium and hopped in a Minerva and 
drove 600 kilometers in six hours fourteen minutes and five 
seconds and won. Trapped back in England I got a call from John 

"Hey! We’re doing planes next." 


John and John's boss, Charles Rolls, were basically all about 
adventure. Rolls had decided his company was gonna start making 
airplane engines, and John was super into it, too. I'd mentioned 
playing around with airplanes before Kenton's murder, and John 
said, "Maybe you're better at airplanes than you are cars." Which 
irritated the shit out of me but I ended up getting back into planes 

too, and that made me want to talk to Steven Motorize again. 

I couldn’t exactly just go ring the doorbell at the Motorize 
manor, but Steven had never really come to school that much and 
didn't seem to have any friends to speak of, and since I had stopped 
going to school entirely I wouldn’t have known who to ask anyway, 
so for lack of any other options I asked my mother, who said, "He 
left home and is working in France somewhere." She didn’t seem to 
know anything more. I could have looked into it further but if he 
was out of the country then I couldn’t exactly go see him and this 
wasn't really the sort of thing you talked about over the phone so I 
was starting to give up when Penelope asked, "What do you want 
with Steven Motorize?" 

She sounded weirdly pissed. "Uh, John and everyone are 
starting to get into planes now," I said. 

"Hunh? Planes?.Jorge, don't do that. I can't see anything 

good coming from planes." 

"Eh? But John's already made up his mind." 

"Jeez! John, John, John! You let your friends control every 
action you take? Every time you meet someone you stop thinking 
about anything else. It's creepy!" 

Oh dear. Creepy, hunh? " it?" I could kinda see how it 
might be. I'd done the same thing with Tsukumojuku. I was pretty 
bad at making friends, so wound up being super devoted to the ones 
I did make. 

"...I mean, I guess you did that with me, too. But I worry, 
you know?" Penelope said, and now I was a little worried two, and 
then a couple of days later Darlington Motorize came to the Joestar 

I hadn't seen her since the day her sister Kenton was killed. 

The last two years had aged Darlington out of her old sweet 

and gentle disposition. That had been replaced with an intimidating 
formidability. "Hello. I apologize for the sudden visit," she said, 

"Uh,’s been a while," I said, at a loss for words. 

"We need to talk. Do you have a minute?" 

"Yeah, I guess. ...should we step outside?" 

It was the weekend, and Penelope was here. If the two of 
them saw each other it would lead to trouble, I thought. 

"Let's," Darlington agreed. "It's high time the two of us 
spoke. We haven't even seen each other all this time." 

We stepped into the beech woods out back, but Darlington 
didn't actually say anything. 

Finally, I broke the silence. "I know it's a bit late now, but I 
was very sad to hear about Kenton." 

Darlington's expression didn't change. She didn't respond at 
all. She just kept walking, so I said nothing else. 

We walked away through the dappled light of the woods. At 
last, Darlington said, "You remember William Cardinal?" 

? Where’d that come from? "Sorry, who?" 

"My boyfriend." 

"Oh...the athlete who was very smart and going to be a 
doctor but really wanted to be writer?" 

Darlington seemed surprised that I’d remembered all of that, 
but she was no more surprised than I was. "Quite the memory you 
have there," she said. 

"I guess it came as quite a shock," I said, intending it to 
cover the awkwardness but it felt uncomfortably close to the truth. 

"Eh? To you?" Darlington said. I didn't blame her. "Why?" 

" I said then, it felt like you were suddenly 
attacking me. I was scared." 

"Sorry. I was just a confused little girl back then. Still am." 

She seemed to have grown up a lot to me. 

"No, I had no reason to react like I did, either. Anyone has 
the right to their opinion of any novel, or any person." 

"But it was bad form on my part to tell you something mean 
someone said about you." 

"." I didn’t disagree with that. "It doesn't matter 

now. I never imagined I'd speak to you again. Even without what 
happened to Kenton. But I'm glad to see you. Thanks for coming." 

It II 

"So what about Mr. Cardinal?" 

"He's saying he's going to enlist before becoming a doctor. 
Wants to be a commissioned officer. He's good at motivating 
people. He might be a better commander than a doctor." 

"Hunh. No more novels?" 

"He hasn't spoken about that lately." 

"But you're still seeing him." 

"I am." 


"That disappointed look on your face suggests I've given 
you the impression he isn't a good man." 


"So...I don’t want this to seem like another sudden attack, 
but I've been thinking about it for a long time. Do you mind?" 

"Eh? .. ..go ahead." 

"William is hardly a perfect man. He can be shallow and 
boring, and tactless but I think he's far better than you." 

"Eh....I mean, I'm not gonna argue that he's not a better or 
more normal person than I am, but..." 

"Listen. You have a way of getting all the girls around you 
to look at you." 

"Eh? What do you mean?" 

"Don't deny it." 

"I really don't know what you mean." 

"Then think about it." 


"That's what I wanted to point out. For two years now." 

"Eh.? Sorry." 

"You're too quick to apologize. You don't even understand 
what I'm talking about." 


"What's worst about you is that you don't even realize what 
you're doing, and that you aren't actually looking for romance with 
any of the girls you lead on. You've already got someone for that. 
You always have." 


Oh. I knew what that meant. It meant I was pathetic. 

We walked through the woods in silence a while. Then we 
went back to the house, and Penelope's voice came down from the 
stairs over the entrance hall like thunder. "What is that woman 
doing here!? 

"Hello, Miss de la Roza," Darlington said calmly. They 
clearly already knew each other. 

"Your family is trying to frame Jorge for murder! How dare 
you come here!" 

"That's what I came to talk about." 

"Even if you drop the charges now, it won't get Jorge these 
two years back!" 

Eh!? I thought. Oh, I guess that was also a possibility! But 
before the thought could cheer me up Darlington shook her head. 

"I'm afraid there's no chance of that happening. Truth is, the 
reason I came here is because my father has found new evidence 
that seems like it will dislodge the trial from this quagmire. Jorge, I 
think you had better look into the possibility of a plea bargain. 
Unofficially, of course." 

A plea bargain? What? 

"Hunnnnhhh!?" Penelope roared. I could hear a faint rustle, 
as if the furniture on the porch and the trees outside and the ground 
itself were all advancing on Darlington. 

Shit. Penelope was summoning her locked room clown. 

"What!? You're telling Jorge to plead guilty!? In exchange 
for a reduced sentence?" 


"Calm down and think about it, Miss de la Roza. This new 
evidence will shift things in favor of a guilty verdict. This trial... 
everyone knows it's only happening because Ben Motorize wants 
revenge. The case is a mess. Everyone involved is just willing it 
into whatever shape they can. And once my father makes up his 
mind about something he sees it through to the end. He always gets 
his way. And he just found a major puzzle piece that'll make that 
happen this time. The judge...look, this is super off the record and 
all, but it's almost public knowledge he's absolutely over the moon 
about this new evidence. If they find Jorge guilty, the story they 
have about him preparing a weapon and asking her out only to be 
rejected? The sheer selfishness of that motive, followed by the 
elaborate steps he supposedly went to to obscure the truth...he'll be 
given the maximum sentence allowed. You'll be in prison for a 
long, long time, Jorge." 

But then I could live in prison with Lisa Lisa. That was my 
first thought, but a moment later I realized how pathetic that was, 
and felt dizzy. I was certain Lisa Lisa would come with me to 
prison; it's not like I wanted that to happen but if it did it wouldn't 
be that bad, and knowing that made me willing to accept it. That's 
how fucked up my mind was. I was prepared to waste Lisa Lisa's 
life just to ease my loneliness, lessen my fear, and calm my anxiety. 
I wasn't just pathetic; I wasn't even a man. I was scum. 

I couldn’t allow myself to go to prison, I thought. Lisa Lisa 
would absolutely come there with me, and if nothing changed I 
would be unable to tell her not to. As time passed trapped in that 
tiny world I was sure I would convince myself it wasn't that bad. 

Don't make girls protect you. 

Darlington had just told me that. I had to tattoo those words 
on my very bones. I had to win my innocence. "Darlington," I said. 

"What is this new evidence?" 

ft ft 

"Please. You don't really believe I actually killed Kenton, do 
you?" I'd never asked her that before, and when she didn’t answer I 
started getting nervous. She'd met me that day at the Motorize 
house...did their timeline actually seem believable to her? Or was 
this new evidence that decisive? 

At last she spoke. 

"...they found two witnesses. They'll testify that they saw a 
plane fly out of your garden, and that they saw a plane hidden in 
our garden. These aren't false witnesses my father hired, Jorge." 

For a moment, my legs went wobbly. Their timeline had 
been nothing but a guess. Now they had evidence to proved part of 
it. That would definitely have an impact on the trial. 

"How do you know they aren't false witnesses?" 

From the top of the stairs Penelope yelled, "Stop it, Jorge! 
Get away from that woman!" 

The entrance hall shattered around Darlington, and dirt rose 
up around her, forming new walls around Darlington. I took a step 
closer to her, placing myself inside the walls. The moment the 
locked room was done the clown would appear to hang Darlington 
and me. "Jorge! Get out of there!" I ignored Penelope, and kept my 
eyes on Darlington. 

"Because the witnesses are me," Darlington said. "And the 
woman on the stairs." 

".! What!?" 

"That crazy lady's been keeping quiet about what she saw, 
because she thought it would be bad for you. So have I. Jorge, your 
plane flew away from here at 3:00 PM, and landed at my house at 
3:30 PM. I...and the lady building dirt walls around us with some 
mysterious power... We'll be called to the witness stand. She might 
deny everything. But they've already found alternative proof." 

"Proof? What is it?" 

"She stopped by the house on her way home from work, and 

saw the plane you could never get to fly flying away. What do you 
think she did?" 

ft cp ft 

"She wrote a note congratulating you. ’Congrats on Star 
Shooter's first flight, Jorge! Won't the rain be a problem? Make sure 
you show me next time, P.' On memo paper from work. With Star 
Mark Trading's logo printed at the top." 

".!" I turned around, saw a mix of anger and panic on 

Penelope's face, and knew what Darlington said was all true, that 
Penelope really had seen Star Shooter fly away, and that the plane 
really had not been taken apart, but that someone had climbed 
aboard and flown it out of here. 

"Jorge, you idiot!" Fed up with trying to get me to leave the 
locked room, Penelope left the top of the stairs, ran down the hall, 
and we could hear the door to her room slam. With her gone, the 
dirt room stopped growing just before it sealed itself off. 

"This is amazing," Darlington said. I looked, and there was 
a clown made of bits of our porch standing there, a rope made from 
grass from our yard in its hands, looking like it was about to slip 
that garrote around Darlington's neck. There was another rope slung 
over its shoulder for me. 

"Sorry," I said. But Darlington did not seem upset. "You 
weren't scared?" 

"She wouldn't really try to kill me. And I'm not the type to 
give in to a threat. And I know someone else with a sad power like 


The wound wings. 

But Darlington ignored the question. "Well, I'd better go. 
Jorge, think about the plea bargain. Seriously, thank about it." She 
turned to the walls. "Should I just break it?" she said, and gave it a 
push. It crumbled away around the hole she'd made, all four walls 
falling to pieces until there was nothing but a giant hole in the 
entrance hall. "Bye." 

And with that, Darlington was gone, and I went upstairs to 
Penelope. She was lying on her bed, crying. 

I didn't know what to say. Thinking of what she'd hidden the 
last two years, and how it must have weighed on her, I could never 
begin to express my gratitude in words. And now that it had all 
been in vain, and the truth had come out, and she was crying, I 
knew I could never comfort her. I could never her cheer her up with 
empty words like 'It'll be OK'. I would be found guilty. Penelope 
knew that, and that's why she was crying, and that fact was starting 
to sink into my thick head as well. The weight of it stole the power 
of speech from me. 

I didn't know how plea bargains worked, but perhaps we 
should think about it. Perhaps we should focus on getting a reduced 
sentence. But I hadn't killed Kenton Motorize. Was this really 
accepting reality? 

As I stood there silently, I heard a voice behind me. 

"Heavens, what is going on here?" I turned around, and 
found my mother standing at the doorway. "Jorge, have you given 
up already?" 

".eh.? What.?" 

" can drive cars and you may soon fly planes, but are 
you actually still a child? Think." 

"Um...but the situation's hopeless." 

"So? You've given up?" 

".. .what else can I do?" 

"It's your life. Think for yourself." 

"." Wouldn't it all be settled if I just accepted it? 

As the lamest thought to ever be thought ran through my 
head, mother said, "When you give up, it won’t just be your 
reputation that's damaged. The Joestar family name, the Pendleton 
family name, the Star Mark Trading company name, the name of 
the Royal Automobile Club you joined, and the name of anyone 
who befriended and introduced you, like John Moore-Brabazon. 
And that's not all. You'd be betraying Penelope and my feelings, 

betraying Lisa Lisa's faith in you, and betraying that detective you 
were friends with, Tsukumojuku. You'd hurt Steven and Darlington 
Motorize as well. But above all you'd insult poor dead Kenton 
Motorize. Does none of that matter to you?" 

"It matters! All of it does!" I blurted. She was right. Giving 
up meant ignoring the consequences. How could I ever consider 
that not worth it? 

Penelope had stopped crying, and sat up. She was staring at 
me, tears drying on her cheeks. 

"It matters," I said, again. But what could I do about it? I 
didn't voice that thought. I had to think. Shit! I'd spent too much of 
my life relying on everyone else. My brain wouldn’t budge. But that 
was just another way of giving up. Think! "So...I have to prove my 
own innocence," but I couldn't just say that and have it be true. It 
didn't matter what the hell I felt I wanted to do. How could I go 
about proving I was innocent? It was patently obvious I could never 
have killed her. I was in fucking Rome! But that was just another 
dead end. If I let myself get stuck here I'd just chase my own tail 
around for hours. I had proven I was in Rome, and clinging to that 
fact was just being defensive. I had to go on the attack. Bring the 
fight back to them. 

But how? 

The police report was a complete fake. They were trying to 
make everyone believe a lie. We’d already made all the points we 
had to make. They’d managed to get everyone to ignore what we 
had to say. Repeating the same thing would get us nowhere. If they 
had new evidence, then we had to bring something new to the table 
as well. But what? 

There was only one true version of my actions that day. But 
that argument wasn’t getting us anywhere. So I had to think of 
something else. Something not about me. 

I couldn't think of anything...but the reason I thought that 
was because I was thinking about what I could do. What I thought I 
could do what less than what I could actually do. Because I was 

pathetic like that. I could do more than that, but it was easier not to. 
Did I really believe I couldn't do anything? 

I wasn't sure, so I'd better think about what I should do, 
figure out what was needed to get me out of this mess. I had to 
prove that I hadn't done it. But how? 

"Find the real killer," I said. 

No sooner had the words left my mouth than I started 
shaking like a leaf. Ohhhhhhhhhhh! I could feel a hot flash riding 
up the inside of my thighs. I had spent all that time with the great 
detective Tsukumojuku. When I was with him I had never once 
tried to solve anything myself but I would have to imitate what he’d 
done. I had seen first hand how he went about it, how he thought 
his way through all those mysteries. I could do this. Could I? 

No. I had to. Everything around me was depending on it. 

"That's right," mother said. "That's also what Darlington 
wanted to say. Didn't you realize?" 

"Ah...." Oh. That was why she had come all this way to tell 
me. Of course Darlington would never believe I’d done it. And it 
was totally out of character for her to suggest pleading guilty in 
exchange for a reduced sentence. 

I'm not the type to give in to a threat. 

She'd said that because I seemed like I was about to give in 

to one. 

"Worst comes to worst, I'll tell everyone I did it, so you just 
do the best you can," Penelope said, and I gaped at her. 

"You can't, Penelope," mother said, angrily. 

Penelope just stared back at her. "I mean it." 

Jesus, I thought. How pathetic was it that I was making a 
girl say something like that? My whole life I'd been saved by girls. 
I had to do this. 

I swear I'll find the real killer. 

"I'll help!" Penelope said, jumping excitedly to her feet. I 
hesitated a bit, remembering Darlington's line, Don't make girls 
protect you. But I also remembered what Lisa Lisa said, and let her 

Finding people you can rely on gives you strength. 
Whether or not they can actually be relied upon is beside the 

Behaving properly meant people trusted you, tried to help 
you. The more people like that you had, the more you could 
accomplish. Instead of letting them do everything for you, you just 
had to do the best you could and people would naturally step up to 
help you out. 

Penelope got mother to give her leave from work so she 
could focus on assisting me. Since I was finally interested, she told 
me she'd actually been investigating the murder of Kenton 
Motorize for the last two years. Not only solidifying details that 
would be needed for the trial, but also chasing the killer's actions. 
Since Darlington had leaked us info (admittedly, disguised as a 
threat) she now knew that Star Shooter had gone to the Motorize 
manor after leaving our place. It had not been taken apart for 
transport. Flying it like a kite would have attracted attention, and 
the winds were too strong. So someone must have been inside Star 
Shooter as it flew. But who could possibly do that? 

I saw your plane. It was balanced well. You were almost 
ready to fly it, Steven had said, when he came to visit me. It could 
fly, just not support the weight of an adult. 

So a child? I thought, and remember how Faraday had 
described Tsukumojuku. He looked like a young boy, primary or 
middle school. Come to think of it, I’d noticed that Tsukumojuku 
was floating. What if he’d been flying Star Shooter? 

He was a detective, and anything he tried his hand at he 

quickly mastered as if he’d been doing it for years. He could have 
learned to fly a glider in no time. Yeah. He’d come to see me. Or... 
wait. He'd said he'd come there for me, and he'd come to where I 
was, but he’d come from 107 years in the future...if he was coming 
to see me from that far away would he be able to arrive exactly 
where I was, at the Motorize manor? Wouldn't he have stopped by 
the Joestar mansion first? Then once he discovered I was out, he 
would have been able to use his detective skills to quickly ascertain 
my location, and borrowed my airplane...because he was in a hurry. 
He had to join my hand with Lisa Lisa's. That was how Darlington 
had come to see Star Shooter abandoned at the Motorize Manor! 

But of course Tsukumojuku would never have murdered 
Kenton Motorize. But the airplane had been found on the cliffs. So 

Perhaps after moving me to Rome and Lisa Lisa, he had not 
vanished immediately, but climbed aboard Star Shooter once again. 
And flown to the cliffs. Where he found Kenton's corpse. In the 
rain on a deserted cliff. Unable to report his discovery in person, he 
had flown my plane as a kite to ensure she was discovered quickly. 
Which Steven did. 

Hmm, it made a certain kind of sense. In other words, the 
one who murdered Kenton and the one who moved the plane were 
different people. 

Forget the plane. My target had to be the murder itself. 

Once again we started at the Joestar mansion. Following the 
movements of the knife with the Joestar crest on it. This had been 
assumed to travel with the airplane, causing confusion, but for now 
I was assuming it had moved separately. "Do we believe our knife 
was stolen the day of the crime?" I asked. 

Penelope nodded. "That's been verified. It was stolen while 
the Joestar mansion housekeeper was on her afternoon break. The 
police checked into it, but it was an old knife, sharpened regularly 
over the years, and the sheen of the blade and a few small marks on 
it proved it was ours." 

Tch. If there was any chance it had been missing earlier and 
simply not noticed that would mean it and the plane didn't share 
start and end points. But if that was the truth, then oh well. That 
meant that Tsukumojuku and the killer trying to frame me for 
Kenton's murder must have been on our property at the same time. 
That thought reminded me of something. 

Are you in some sort of danger right now? 

Tsukumojuku had asked me that. Turned out he was right. I 
was. His mysterious power had sensed it, and brought him to me, 
and transported me to Rome. And thanks to that the killer's plan had 
been thwarted for at least the last two years. If I had simply gone 
home after speaking to Darlington I’d have been trapped completely 
in his web, and thrown in jail without a second thought. 

Someone was out to get me. 

Crap. That was a scary thought. I had to find them quick. 

How had the knife been moved? It was an hour and a half 
by foot from my house to the scene of the crime. If he'd planned to 
kill Kenton, then he would have started by making sure Kenton left 
the gates of the school, but there wasn’t enough time. She left 
school at 3:30 PM. She was killed, at the latest, at 4:10 PM. In that 
forty minutes the murder happened, and Tsukumojuku found the 
body, tied the glider to it like a kite, and then Steven saw it and 
came running. Hmm. Something about that seemed wrong. 

Had it been pure coincidence that Tsukumojuku found her 
body? He was a detective. He might have had a reason to head up 
the cliff. Was he already thinking about it when he met me in the 
Motorize manor? Or did he discover it after sending me to Rome? 
If he had known something, why hadn't he mentioned it to me? And 
he wouldn't have asked if I was in danger! He'd have been more 
specific. Something had happened after I vanished. Something was 
hidden in the Motorize home that led him to suspect Kenton was 

.. .however, that had been my first and last time entering the 
main building, so I had no idea what that could be. On the other 

hand, that would go for Tsukumojuku as well, I thought. Keep 
thinking. Get back to the knife. 

Once Kenton had left school it was too late, so they must 
have come to get the knife first, and then gone to kill Kenton on the 
cliff, which meant they already knew where Kenton was going that 
day. Who could possibly have guessed that Kenton would have 
gone to the cliff in that downpour? Kenton had told Steven she was 
going to meet me, apparently, but who had lied to her about me 
wanting to meet there? They must be the killer, but they had to be 
someone I’d pick to give her the message. There were very few 
people who knew that Kenton and I were close, and would think it 
was normal for the two of us to meet on the cliff. All of those 
people were very close to Kenton, too. 

Or, I thought, perhaps meeting me was a lie Kenton herself 

I didn't think Kenton had a boyfriend or anything, but would 
I have known if she had? No, I couldn't imagine any secret 
boyfriend would have called her to the cliff. Kenton would have 
seen that cliff as a place for the three of us. 

I was stuck again, so I went back to the knife. I still couldn't 
explain it at all. Were there any other clues? 

"Penelope, about the knife...did they find anything else 
belonging to the killer?" As I asked, I had an idea. "Footprints, for 
example?" It had been raining that day, so it seemed likely there 
were tracks left when he entered the house. 

But Penelope shook her head. "None. The police and I both 
looked...but there was something strange. We found drops of rain 
water from an open window down the hall into the kitchen. But no 
footprints. Like he'd been floating in the air." 

Well, that just made me think of Tsukumojuku again, but no, 
no, he had nothing to do with Kenton's murder. 

"Which reminds me, there were no footprints but yours in or 
around your tent, Jorge. That's one reason why they suspected you." 

Ah, that's because Tsukumojuku was floating...him again. 

He could have done it, and that would avoid the absurd 
coincidence of two people with different motives in the same place 
at the same time. Was there no chance that Tsukumojuku had taken 
the knife? 

I couldn't imagine he'd actually murdered Kenton, but given 
that he'd traveled through time to see me was it really out of the 
question that he'd taken a knife from my house? 

To protect himself? No, that didn't work. Tsukumojuku had 
guessed that I was in danger. Perhaps he had taken the weapon to 
help him protect me. 

Then what happened? He flew Star Shooter to the Motorize 
manor. I seemed fine. He left the house without using the knife, got 
on Star Shooter, and found Kenton while he was flying. She was 
dead. He couldn't report the discovery himself, so he turned Star 
Shooter into a kite to call people to her, and left the knife there 
knowing full well it would be mistaken for the murder weapon? It 
just didn’t make any sense. 

I decided to force the hypothetical a step farther. Was there 
really no chance that Tsukumojuku had murdered Kenton? What if 
Kenton had been the threat to me he had mentioned? 

No, no, that didn’t work. Kenton was my friend. Even if she 
wasn't, she wasn't the kind of girl to do anything horrible to 
anybody. Ever. But that meant Tsukumojuku didn’t take the knife, 
either. Which meant the knife's movements were a mystery again. 

Since I was just sitting there thinking in silence, Penelope 
asked, "Jorge, are we done with the footprints?" 

"Ah, yeah. Sorry, I was just thinking about why Kenton 
Motorize would have gone to the cliff." 

"Oh, I did look into that, but nothing really stood out. I've 
questioned the students at her school. But her classmates all say 
there was nothing out of the ordinary that day. They all thought 
Kenton Motorize was a little odd to begin with; she never really 
talked to anybody else, and even though she was attractive and 
well-known the boys had pretty much given up on asking her out. 

They didn't notice anything different that day...although the kids I 
spoke to were a little surprised about one thing. The school was 
asking about her plans for the future, and she’d said she was hoping 
to get a job after school ended. Like, she's got a title, why would 
she need a job ?" 

Hunh, I thought. I'd sort of assumed she would go on living 
in the Motorize manor, flying planes with Steven. But the times 
were changing, and maybe Kenton had more ambitious ideas. 

"At any rate, it's much too deserted a spot for someone to 
call her too, and it's too far away. Would any girl really go to a 
place like that alone? She ended up getting killed, but I can't 
imagine she'd agree to meet someone she thought might kill her in a 
place like that," I said. 

Penelope agreed with me vehemently. "Yes! Exactly!" 

"Ar g hhhhhh, I dunno! I can't think of any reason why 
Kenton would have gone there!" I groaned. 

"Then why not go?" Penelope suggested. 

"? Where?" 

"To the cliff. We're just sitting here thinking, but perhaps we 
should start by visiting the scene of the crime?" 

I felt sure Tsukumojuku had often said the same thing, but it 
had slipped my mind entirely. 

Two years since I'd been to these cliffs. A lot of memories 
here. This hill wasn't actually Motorize property or anything, but I 
found myself glancing over my shoulder as if Steven might show 
up at any minute. The slope down from the cliff top was gentle; 
there was a little forest at the bottom, and beyond that I could see 
the roof of the Motorize manor. Steven wasn't there, I knew. He left 
home and is working in France somewhere. 

"This is where Kenton’s body was found," Penelope said, 
pointing at a large rock. Star Shooter's rope had been tethered to 
that rock and to Kenton's body. I knew that rock; it was hard to 

believe anything so grisly had happened here. But that's where 
Steven found her body. Kenton had been stabbed twenty-three 
times in the face and body, and tied to this rock, positioned so she 
was looking down at the Motorize home. When Steven found her, 
she was still warm; she'd been killed not long before. Running that 
through my mind, something tugged at my mind again. Just like it 
had back at the house, when I was sitting with Penelope, thinking. 
Something wasn't right. Something was bugging me. 

What? When? Where? 

Tsukumojuku had flown Star Shooter up here, seen Kenton, 
and tied the glider to her as a signal. Steven had seen it, and ridden 
his horse up here. Somewhere in there. But what was it that was 
bothering me about that? 

Steven's horse. Steven had ridden a horse to find his sister’s 
dead body? He might have started out on horseback...I looked back 
down the hill. On his way up the hill from the house, Steven would 
have been able to see the top of the cliff, see her body long before 
he got here. It was a gentle slope all the way to their house. With 
the plane as a guide, even in the rain, he'd have seen her the second 
he left the woods. But if he saw Kenton lying there, why wouldn’t 
he have sprouted wings? 

He would have. He always grew those wings when he was 
in a hurry to save someone. He wouldn’t have wasted five or ten 
minutes riding up the slope when he could be at his sister's side in a 
single swoop. Of course not. He would have grown them if he 
needed to. Steven didn't mention that specifically, but it was a 
minor detail. Not important. Or was it? He'd spoken to me face to 
face but didn't mention his wings. Wasn't that odd? I thought about 
it some more. Then a thought struck me. 

Tsukumojuku wasn't the only one who could float above the 
ground. Steven Motorize could also have flown my plane. 

What was I thinking? Kenton was Steven's sister. They were 

very close. And they were my friends. 

But the wheels in my brain kept spinning. 

If Steven had killed Kenton, and was trying to frame me for 
it, suddenly everything fell into place. I'd told him where I was 
going, and with his wings he could get to my house and back in 
minutes. Flown to my house, and stolen a knife. He could have 
murdered Kenton anywhere. Then placed her back on the clifftop, 
parked the plane outside the Motorize manor to match my 
movements, then taken it to the cliff top and tied it to her, flying it 
high to explain how he'd come to find her first. Finally, he called 
the police. 

Once he got home again he would find out I had vanished 
into thin air without ever leaving the Motorize manor. Despite 
carefully murdering Kenton at a time I'd have trouble establishing 
an alibi, he played the tragic role of a brother with a dead sister, 
coming to visit me in jail six days after I'd been put there, ten days 
after her death, not because he was grieving, but because he had to 
wait for his back to heal and the wings to fall off. I believe you. 
You would never kill Kenton. Had he been lying to my face? 

No way. I actually shook my head, even though Penelope 
was looking at me. I couldn't tell her about this yet. 

Steven would never do a thing like that. I kept repeating that 
until I remembered something else. 

I know someone else with a sad power like hers. 

When Darlington said that to me, was it a hint? 

A sad power? 

That made sense, I thought. That's why Ben Motorize was 
so hell bent on sticking the crime on me. He was protecting his son. 
Or at least protecting the reputation of his family name. The reason 
he'd let a son of noble birth go work in France was because he 
wanted to get him away from all this till it settled down. This also 
explained why the last two years had managed to make Darlington 
so intimidating and formidable. 

That was the formidability of a girl suddenly thrust into the 

center of her family affairs, and the honed intensity of someone 
who'd been grappling with her family's secret all this time. 

Ohhh, Steven Motorize! Was it true? What happened!? Why 
would you ever kill Kenton? You were so close! Until I met them, 
they'd flown planes together, laughing and happy! 

I looked up at the sky, and remembered. 

The kids I spoke to were a little surprised about one 
thing. The school was asking about her plans for the future, and 
she'd said she was hoping to get a job after school ended. Like, 
she's got a title, why would she need a jobV' 

That was it. Kenton's father would never have allowed her 
to do that. She wanted freedom, would have done anything to get 
away from him. But leaving her father meant leaving home. And 
that meant leaving Steven. That was motive enough for murder. 
But, I thought... 

What need was there to frame me for the murder? Did he 
have reason to resent me!? I don't get it! I just don't get it! 

I took a few unsteady steps towards the edge of the cliff, and 
Penelope threw her arms around me. "Careful!" 

Three steps further and I'd have fallen. And Steven wasn't 
here to catch me any more. 

"That reminds me," Penelope said. "Harriet Motorize, their 
mother, threw herself off these very cliffs." 

"Steven would never have let Kenton go. But Kenton said it 
was better to die than to be trapped in a cage her whole life. She 
threw herself off there to torture Steven," Darlington said. 

Three days after my first visit to the cliffs in three years, 
neither Darlington nor I mentioned plea bargains. 

"I wasn't there myself, but I know what happened. Steven 
first grew those wings the day he couldn't save our mother. Kenton 

knew that as well as I did. And she told him she’d throw herself off 
those cliffs over and over until she died, too. Steven couldn't stand 
it. Not the sadness of seeing her try to kill herself over and over 
again. The pain of having his wings rip out of his back every time 
she did. You've seen them, right, Jorge? Steven's wings. Those 
huge, painful looking wounds. The pain he felt every time they 
came out must have been unimaginable. But Steven always smiled 
and acted like it was nothing. But it wasn't nothing. Wings made of 
flesh and bone tearing their way out of his back. Kenton knew just 
how much they hurt, but she kept pushing him until he exploded. 
All the anger he'd bottled up over the years. He realized that she 
knew how he suffered, and kept placing herself in danger, taking 
advantage of him, doing whatever she liked, torturing him. Both of 
them taking their stress out on each other. Kenton was angry all the 
time. Steven was bottling up his pain, pretending not to be angry. 
They could never have kept that up forever. And they both 
understood each other perfectly. Kenton may have been murdered, 
but it might as well have been suicide. I'm sure she did throw 
herself off the cliff, so it began and ended as a suicide. But I think 
this way they're both free. Freed by the clash of their emotions." 

"But you have no proof," Darlington said, placing her tea 
cup on its saucer. 

I didn’t. "And you won't testify in my favor." 

"Of course not. I am Darlington Motorize. I have too much I 
need to protect. You're a Joestar. You understand." 

Did I? 

When I didn't answer Darlington smiled. "You were friends 
with Kenton and Steven, but you were always happier than them. 
You're the only heir the Joestars have. How can you be so carefree? 
Were you born that way?" 


"Or is because you were brought up in a Spanish territory?" 

That might be part of it, but... 

"Or because you know someone else will carry the Joestar 
family for you?" 

That seemed closest to the mark. 

We'd moved Jonathan Joestar from La Palma Island to the 
basement here in England. He wasn't dead, and that might be part 
of what I felt the way I did. Like someday it would be his day 
again, and I was just a temporary replacement. 

This was the first time I'd ever consciously thought that. 

"If you're going to keep trying to frame me, I'll go find 
Steven, and make him confess," I said. "Tell your father that. I may 
not be able to leave the country, but I can do that much." 

Darlington looked me right in the eye. "You've got more 
spine than I thought." 

Yeah. I wasn't just the crap son of the Joestars. I was the boy 
driver gunning for the second rank seat in the RAC. 

"I'll tell him," Darlington said, "But there's a lot of people in 
on this now, and it won't be that easy to stop. The hardest thing for 
people to do is to know how to lower a list once they've raised it." 

I didn’t care how long it took. If we were doing planes next I 
had a lot to do, and a lot to learn. 

As I left the Motorize manor for the first time in two years, 
for the second time ever, I thanked Faraday for the tea. I have no 
idea what he thought of me, or just how much he knew, but he fixed 
me with a gentle expression that stopped just short of being a smile 
and said, "I believe it will rain this evening, so do hurry home, 
Master Joestar." 

That reminded me. "Um, two years ago, that boy who came 
asking for me...did you happen to look at his feet?" 

He was silent for a moment, then said, " To tell the 

truth, I have done my best not to think about that visitor." 

"? Why?" 

"I found him quite sinister." 

"...I guess I can see that, but..." 

"What did he look like to you, Master Joestar?" 

"Eh? He was my friend, a Japanese kid. Nothing unusual." 
Other than the fact that he was floating. 

"I see..." Faraday said. "To me he appeared to be a Spaniard. 
A terrifying Spaniard with no eyes." 

"Hmm? He had eyes...wait, a Spaniard? Not a Japanese kid 
who spoke Spanish?" 

"Yes. He wore his hat low, hiding his face, but there were 
dark pits where his eyes should be. His skin was browned, like any 
Spanish child. He was maybe twelve or thirteen. I have never seen 
anyone Japanese, but he was decidedly not Asian. Thinking back on 
it now I believe that was something evil in the shape of a child. 
When I heard you vanished and were discovered underground in 
Rome, I knew that devil had done something to you, and it made 
absolute sense to me. I have never spoken to anyone about this. I've 
been too terrified. Much too terrified." 

What was he talking about? He was getting up there, but 
hardly seemed senile. What could he have seen that rainy evening? 

A year later, I was cleared of all suspicion in Kenton's 
murder, and joined the Royal Aero Club with head held high. The 
year after that John was the first Englishman to officially fly a 
plane on the Island of Sheppey, and a year after that, in 1910, 
Charles Rolls died in an airplane crash and John never again flew a 
plane, but there were plenty of us still flying, so I kept flying too. 

And an ill wind began to blow. 

You're a fool, Jorge. The next war's gonna be way bigger 

than any before, in fields, soldiers, and weapons. 

Like John Moore-Brazabon had said, the Great War came, 
and with it...came other evils. 

Chapter 10 
The H.G. Wells 

H.G .On)lX 

Capt. Funnier Valentine spoke into his headset. "Houston, 
we have a problem." Just like in the movies! In no time, Narancia 
and I were caught, our arms fastened tightly to a bed. Narancia 
was so confused he didn't think to use his Stand. We'd appeared 
out of nowhere a moment after they discovered the moon, and 
while the rest of the crew were still reeling, one man calmly began 
to question us. 

"My name is Enrico Pucci. May I ask your names?" 

Narancia didn't appear to speak English, so I answered, 
telling him my name and address. This made Pucci's eyes widen 

"? What?" 

"...nothing," he said. Clearly there was something. 

Hey! I am your instrument. Someone needs you. I'll take 
you to him. That's what Tsukumojuku had said. Who was it who 
needed me? 

What did he mean, he was my instrument? He seemed as if 
he knew everything, understood everything, but threw me off the 
deep end without even attempting to explain. 

Without even explaining how he came to be still alive. 

...was it even possible that he wasn't dead? I couldn't 
believe that he'd been faking his death. I'd seen a photograph of 
Tsukumojuku, his head hanging back, cut through the neck until it 
was barely attached to his body. Was there any chance that photo 
had been a mistake, a trap, or a fake? 

I couldn't tell from here. I stared at the pebble phone on 
the floor. None of the astronauts had realized it was a phone. I 
wondered if it would still get a signal. Stand powers could ignore 
the laws of physics. It would probably work just fine. If it would 
connect to Morioh, then I could ask someone to look into things 
for me. 

"...and your companion's name?" Pucci asked, bringing me 

back to the present. All I knew about Narancia was his name and 
he seemed disinclined to speak. 

So I said, "He's a wise guy." 

'Mafia' was Italian, and it seemed likely Narancia would 
know the word 'gangster' as well, so I did my best to allude to the 
truth in English. Pucci glanced down at the knife he'd taken off 
Narancia. There was a crest emblazoned on it. The mark of the 
Passione Family. Pucci asked nothing further about Narancia's 
identity, moving on to other questions, but I didn't know how we'd 
come here, so I couldn't begin to answer them. When I said we'd 
come from Morioh and Nero Nero Island, the other crew members 
exchanged glances. "Morioh!? Nero Nero Island!? Seriously!? Is 
this part of the land sailing phenomenon?" someone said. Was 
that what they were calling it? 

"Very well...for the moment, you'll have to stay put. For 
your own safety," Pucci said, and went back to the others. I tried to 
remember anything I'd read about Pucci in the news. Enrico Pucci's 
path to being an astronaut was an unusual one; he'd started out in 
Seminary School, and had served as the priest at a prison before 
making an dramatic career change that had been the talk of the 
country at the time. When he told a reporter he was searching for 
a way to get to Heaven, it caused quite a stir. 

"Hey, dickhead! What the fuck is going? What did your 
Stand do to us?" Narancia snarled, kicking my leg repeatedly. I 
ignored him. 

The astronauts on this spaceship were all scientists, and 
they'd begun talking to Houston about our sudden appearance, 
the discovery of the third moon, and any connection there might 
be to the two mysteriously moving land masses back on Earth. I 
kept one ear on their conversation, stared at the view out the 
window, and thought. 

From the window I could see the third moon, hidden on the 

dark side of Mars. From a different angle than the astronauts. But 
the existence of this extra moon must have something to do with 
me being here. The timing of our arrival also had meaning. 

The satellite floating outside the window was very small. 
And round. An almost perfect sphere. Nothing like the other two 
moons - Phobos, which did two orbits of Mars a day at a height of 
6000 kilometers, and the even smaller Diemos, which did four 
orbits at the height of 2300 kilometers, were both misshapen 
lumps of ice and rock. This third moon was unusual both as a 
satellite and as a celestial body. 

For one thing, it had no craters. No dents or bulges. It was 
smooth like a mirror. But it did not appear to be made of gas or 
liquid. The astronauts had already determined that much in their 
analysis; from the infrared properties of the moon's surface it was 
clearly made of rock. Had it been carved out back when Mars still 
had water? I wondered, but that was impossible. There were no 
rivers that could tumble a rock five kilometers in diameter. Not on 
Mars, which had half the diameter of Earth, and one third the 
gravity. What explained the lack of craters? Was it possible it had 
simply not been hit by any asteroids since the universe began? But 
how could a sphere like this be created in the first place? 

Even more mysterious was the moon's distance from Mars. 
From my eavesdropping on the astronauts' discussion, it was only 
eight kilometers above the surface. Since the atmosphere of Mars 
was ten kilometers, that meant it was inside the atmosphere. It 
should have either been flung away, or crashed back into the 
surface of Mars, but it was staying put. Physics be damned. 

Just as I concluded that this moon was definitely the reason 
I'd been brought here 


A sound like a dull chime echoed inside of me and for a 
moment I got exited thinking it was caused by getting something 
right like the light bulb over a character's head in comics. Did that 
shit happen for real? But of course it didn't. It wasn't all in my 
head, either. It wasn't in my head at all! It was in my belly, 
somewhere in my internal organs, a real sound so deep I could feel 
the reverb spreading through my body. 

What!? I snapped my head around and looked at Narancia. 
He was glaring back at me. "Whaaat? You aren't a Stand Master...? 
Or is it already out?" 

He was using his Stand on me...inside me. "Stop it. I don't 
have a Stand." 

"What? Fucking liar..." he glared at me a second longer, 
then broke his gaze. "Whatever. If you don't wanna die, don't move 
your head to the left. Got it?" Inside me there was a pssht followed 
by a shuuuuuuuuunnnn as something went rocketing forward 
filling my blood and flesh with bubbles. Shit! What had he done? It 
went past the back of my belly button, up past my heart, headed 
for my shoulder. Whereever it went something spread through my 
lungs and heart like a wake, shaking them. Making waves inside 
me. This could only be...a missile. No, it had a was a 
torpedo! The tip of it reached the skin of my left shoulder. 

Bam! It burst through the skin and shirt. Blood splattered 
on my left cheek. Tremendous pain followed a moment later. 

If you don't wanna die, don't move your head to the left. 

If I had moved my head, would this torpedo have passed 
through my neck and made my head explode!? "Arghhhhhh!" I 
screamed, covered in blood. The astronauts came running...or 
didn't. They took a step towards me, and then stopped, staring at 
us suspiciously. 

"Fuckers!" Narancia yelled. "Why don't you come check on 
his wound!? Don't you feel sorry for him!?" 

Valentine, Pucci, and the other crew members, Pocoloco 
Triple-Seven and Goyathlay Soundman, were both just staring at 
Narancia, no matter how much he shouted. This wasn't right, I 
thought. I wasn't sure what was passing between them, but it 
seems Narancia and these four men were beginning to understand 
each other. And whatever that understanding was was a healthy 

"You motherfuckers can see it, right?" Narancia yelled. 
"You're all Stand Masters!? I don't care if you are or not! Die!" 

Pssht pssht pssht pssht four shots in a row echoed through 
my stomach, and shhhaaa they rushed across my back and pop 
pop papop long missiles burst out of my side and ka-chunk tiny 
wings snapped into place in the air and they headed for the four 
astronauts. They were clearly cruise missiles, and there was an 
attack submarine inside my body that had fired them. This was 
Narancia's Stand. 

"What are you doing!? This ship's too small!" I yelled, but 
Narancia didn't give a shit. "Shaddap, first blow wins!" he snarled 
and I rolled myself into a ball a moment before the missiles hit the 
four astronauts. I braced for impact, and took a tight hold of the 
bed in case the hull breached, as I did not want to be sucked out 
into space. I was already tied to it with a zip tie, but that was much 
too thin to support my entire body, although it might just cut 
through my wrist. I heard four muffled explosions and something 
hit the wall. 

I looked up, and saw a sand monster standing in front of 
the astronauts, all the sand swirling as it swallowed up the smoke. 
It was a Stand. Narancia was right. 

"Shit!" Another missile was fired inside of me, passing 
through me and out my back, and hitting me in the wrist. Boom! 

And then aaaugh my hand was blown clean off! I thought but a 
moment later I noticed I could still feel my hand holding onto the 
edge of the bed. The missile didn't shoot my hand off, it shot the 
zip tie off. Now my hands were free! I turned to tell Narancia, but 
before I could he shouted, "Wake the fuck up!" and punched me. 
Crack! I felt my upper left canine break, and even though the 
punch left me quite woozy I clearly caught a glimpse of a white 
tooth and a spurt of blood flying out of my mouth. And something 
hiding behind the tooth. 

A submarine. Surfaced. 

Just as the tooth was about to reach the famous Native 
American astronaut Soundman, it was knocked back by the sand 
monster, and rolled sadly away into a corner. My poor tooth. 

"A submarine that can dive into the bodies of living things," 
Soundman said, glaring at Narancia. "But it could not escape my 

Narancia grinned back at him. "Heh, submarines were 
made for hiding. So why do you think I left is surfaced?" 

Drops of blood landed on Soundman's face. My blood, from 
when the tooth was knocked out. Narancia's submarine surfaced 
briefly on top of the blood splatter, as if to mock Soundman, and 
then it began rocketing forward. I finally got it. Like Soundman 
said, this Stand could move freely through the human body, 
including human blood and teeth, and almost certainly through 
skin and other bodily fluids as well. And if the host body touched 
another, it could transfer to the new one. Narancia had injured me, 
hoping they'd come to treat my wounds, and in the process come 
in contact with me. "Nothing easier than tricking people who think 
they've got good eyes! My Das Boot is a fleet! Dive! Dive! Diiiiive!" 
Narancia shouted. Then a strange sort of gun emerged from his 
open mouth. The hand holding it was clearly not human. This 
inhuman hand pressed the gun's barrel to Narancia's forehead. 

and Funnier Valentine said, "Hold your fire. I can kill you before 
your missiles explode." 

"Mm...mmph!" With Funnier's Stand's arm sticking out of 
his mouth, whatever Narancia shouted was unintelligible. The 
hand vanished, and a second later a torpedo shot into his open 
mouth, hit the back of his front teeth, and exploded. Everything 
below Narancia's nose was blown clean off. 

Narancia had a submarine inside his own body, too. When 
the hand dodged his attack he'd ended up injuring himself with his 
own Stand, but despite the scope of his injuries, Narancia was still 
conscious. "Auuuuughh, 'otherhucker!" he roared, and the 
submarine in Soundman began poppoppoppop firing a hail of 
missiles that Soundman's Stand, the sand monster, wrapped itself 
around, containing the explosions in the swirling sand. Thud thud 
thud thud. 

"Hucker! Ea' thith!" Narancia howled, and I guess he started 
attacking Soundman from the inside, because there was a series of 
muffled splats, and the back of Soundman's NASA suit exploded, 
but the hand that had come out of Narancia's mouth appeared 
again, emerging out of the top bunk of the bunk bed, a humanoid 
Stand with eyes like camera lenses. It pointed the weird looking 
gun at the back of Narancia's head and didn't hesitate to pull the 
trigger. Bang bang bang bang bang bang...! But Narancia's head 
wasn't blown off and what wounds he sustained were skin deep 
because the bullets Funnier's Stand fired were all exploding just 
before they reached his head. A series of bright fireworks went off 
between the gun barrel and his head, and I saw the bullets 
themselves bouncing off the wall nearby. Each time the gun fired, 
submarines floating just inside the surface of Narancia's skin fired 
missiles deflecting the bullet trajectory. It was an incredible sight, 
but in such close quarters, in a spaceship filled with delicate 
equipment, firing a hail of bullets and missiles (albeit small ones) 

was hardly the best idea. 

"Do you wanna die here, Narancia?" I shouted. "Even if you 
survive this fight, how will we get back to Earth!?" He was still 
young. Still looked like a boy. Maybe I could work that to my 
advantage. "You'll never see your friends again!" 

Narancia hesitated for a moment; like any young gangster 
his compatriots were the only thing keeping him from being alone 
in the world, but, "Sharrup...they ain takin' 'e here! I'd shane the 
Hassione nane! Ain hut 'hamily' neans!" he shouted like a well- 
trained solider, the dark fires of a trained killer igniting in his eyes 

Shit, I thought, but then I saw him start to sweat, beads of 
it running down his face, not just his face but every inch of him, 
great drops of liquid that weren't colorless at all but green and 
purple all mixed together and when I looked back up at his eyes 
the gleam was gone and they were hollow and unfocused. Why!? 

Narancia suddenly burst into tears, laughing. "Heh heh heh, 
ya huckin' done it now...I gonna die here...don't horget 'e, 
Huccellati, Ahhacchio, Hista, Giorno..." His face was a mess, and 
the drops falling off him weren't sweat but melting flesh, and 
clearly Narancia's entire body was rapidly rotting away. I turned 
around, and the astronauts had stopped attacking. 

Behind Enrico Pucci was a humanoid Stand, with a crown¬ 
shaped mask, every inch of it's body covered in letters signifying 
the DNA base sequence. Everyone but him had gone back to their 
duties as if the battle were over. Even Soundman looked fine, but I 
thought his back exploded? What happened? Pucci caught my 
puzzled look, and said, "Mr. Soundman's body is...almost entirely 
composed of sand. Since he was a child...his people are native to 
the desert. As he explained it, one day his body suddenly 
understood sand, and sand him, and he and the sand absorbed 
each other. Things like this happen to humans sometimes. When 

people fully accept the land they live in they become one with that 
land. There are not enough examples for it to have a name, but Mr. 
Soundman and I call it 'Bound'. People has always adapted to their 
environment. People in the Savannah learn to see far across the 
grasslands, and webs grow between the fingers of professional 
swimmers...even without such physical transformations, we all 
grow accustomed to our surroundings, learn to fit in, but this is far 
beyond that. Those who are Bound completely merge with their 
environment, or become the environment itself. They don't adapt 
to it, they are it. And Mr. Soundman is lucky to be Bound. are 
not a Stand Master, are you? Jorge Joestar." 

When he said my name, I jumped. Somehow, I'd fallen 
asleep. I looked up and Pucci stepped over to Narancia, reached 
out his hand, and pulled two discs out of Narancia's head. Narancia 
had no expression, and was muttering under his breath, his face 
and body rotting, festering, bits of him ready to fall off at any 
moment. Pucci had done something to me too; I didn't remember 
wearing a hat, but sticking out of my forehead was a visor, round, 
and flat; some precious part of me given shape by Pucci's Stand. I 
couldn't let him take it, I thought, but I couldn't move a muscle. I 
could feel my arms and legs, but they were not mine to command. 

Pucci took the disc from my head, and ran his fingers across 
it. "Only one really aren't a Stand Master. Ohhh? You're 
adopted. And adopted by the Joestar heir." 

I? I could hear what he said, but couldn't understand. I 
couldn't think at all. 

Pucci put the disc back in my head, and it slid smoothly 
back inside, vanishing without a trace. My mind returned with it. 

"Do you know how to get to Heaven?" Pucci asked. 

Pucci had done something to me...I assumed he had given 
me enough control of my body back that I'd be able to answer his 
question. I tried to speak, and found that I could, barely. "Isn't... 

that what you're supposed to tell me. Father?" I whispered. 

Pucci's eyes gleamed. "It is. You're a good detective. You 
always find the right answer. But not where it concerns the one 
who brought you here. The one who vanished soon after. You don't 
understand what Tsukumojuku Kato said. Yet." 

Hey! I am your instrument. Someone needs you. I'll take 
you to him. 

He'd read my memories. By pulling that disc out of me. 
Watching my surprise, Pucci smiled, as if having a very good day. 
"Detectives are a wonderful thing. Everything has meaning, hunh?" 

"There's a important, inflexible law that defines the 

ii •jii 

"Everything has meaning. Nothing is out of place." 

"God is everywhere," Pucci said. "God is the word. The 
word has meaning. Thus, everything in this world has meaning. I 
see! You coming here, too, has meaning. And you were brought 
here because someone here has need of you. Who could that be?" 

Behind him, Pocoloco Triple-Seven said, "Hey...there's... 
there's someone else coming. He's gonna destroy the H.G. Wells." 

"What!?" Funnier shouted. "Who!?" 

"I dunno!" 

"Look," Soundman said, staring out the window at Mars. 
"My sand's been caught by something." 

I could see it out the window near me, too. Part of the sand 
Soundman had sent swirling into space was still floating there, but 
it turning randomly, the shape of it shifting and morphing. 

"You aren't doing this?" Funnier asked. The same question I 


Soundman shook his head. "It's not me. And not the rotting 
Italian kid." 

Narancia's entire body was rotted through, and he looked 
ready to crumble at any moment. 

I could tell at a glance why he'd mentioned Narancia. The 
prow of his Das Boot could be seen inside the swirling vortex of 
sand. Soundman must have ejected the Stand inside him along 
with this sand...but out in the vacuum of space the sand was 
moving as if there were forces acting on it that could not possible 
exist, and as it swirled, it was falling towards Mars, moving faster 
and faster. As we followed it's path, the astronauts and me all saw 
the same thing. "Hey..." "What the...?" "What are we seeing?" 

What were were seeing was a black string wrapped around 
the mass of sand, pulling it...towards the tiny new moon, floating 
closer to the surface of Mars. 

Something string-like extended from the surface of this 
moon out into space, and it had captured the mass of sand. Was 
there something on the moon's surface? 

"Houston, are you seeing this?" Funnier asked. 

The answer came over the loudspeakers. "Yes. We can't 
believe our eyes. We're trying to analyze it, but is...someone 
fishing from the surface of the moon? That's the only thing we can 
imagine, but..." 

"Soundman, you've lost all control of that sand?" Pocoloco 


The Native American astronaut shook his head. "It's too far 
away. It's gone back to being normal sand." 

Pocoloco turned to Pucci. "Yo, wake the Italian dipshit up 
and see if he can move his sub." 

"Sure thing," Pucci said, and slid the disc he'd stolen from 
Narancia back into his melting head...and submarines appeared on 
the surface of my skin, and Pucci's, and the other astronauts, as if 
waiting for their master to reboot. 

"One, two, three...daaaamn, he's got a whole fleet of these 
things," Pocoloco said. "What hell has he been through to control a 
Stand like this at his age?" 

"He may only be sixteen, but he was abused by his father, 
betrayed by his friends, sent to juvie, bullied...then he became 
homeless and was preyed upon by street gangs. The twenty-three 
people he's killed since joining the mafia were all low-life scum. No 
sins worth calling a sin," Pucci said. He put the other disc back in 
Narancia, and spoke to him in Italian. "God has forgiven your sins. 
You will no longer act against me." 

Narancia went from looking like cheesecake left outside for 
ten days to his old self - even the damage he'd done to his mouth 
was repaired somehow. Light came back to his eyes, and he looked 
very surprised. "Ehhh...! Hunh? I thought I killed all of you..." Had 
he been shown an illusion? 

"Why would you try to kill us?" Pucci said. "There is no 
need. We are you friends, and if you do as we say, we won't have 
to throw you off this space ship." 

That clearly didn't entirely sit well with Narancia, but he 
didn't quite manage to argue it further, which terrified the shit out 
of me. Jesus. Stands could control the human mind and emotions 
to this degree? And I knew for sure that Enrico Pucci was evil. 

If he had a good heart, he would never dream of tinkering 
with the hearts of man like this. He would not lie to them. 'Good' is 
evident in deeds; 'good' tries to influence feelings and motives 
through appeals to logic and critical thought. If that deed leads to 

a good result, it is good; if the intent, too, was good, perfect. The 
opposite was not good; if the deeds cause harm, they were evil; 
even if the intent was good, the extenuating circumstances render 
the intent moot, and if the intent was bad punishment should be 
meted out without hesitation. There are many shallow fools who 
put too much stock in good intentions, and the man before me was 
one of them. This man was so sure of his own good intent he paid 
no heed to the evil he wrought at every turn. 

"Narancia, your ship out there...can you move it?" Pucci 
said, pointing out the window at the mass of sand and the Das 
Boot being pulled toward the third moon. They were quite small 
and far away now. 

"'s not too far to move, but I can't move it. That sand 
isn't a Stand any more, is it?" 

"Strictly speaking, my Dune is almost certainly not a Stand, 
but..." Soundman said, nodding. "Once it gets far enough from my 
body, it becomes ordinary sand again." 

"My Das Boot can only move inside living things or other 
Stands. But I can still fire missiles! Should I blow this space ship 

"Don't," Pucci said, but Narancia was grinning. 

"Heh heh. Then maybe I should blow that round thing up," 
he said, glancing at the third moon. 

Pucci followed his gaze, "...better not. I believe it has great 

"Fuck that," Narancia said, goofing off. Pucci slapped him, 
and the disc popped out of his head again. 

Pucci ran his fingers across it again. "I despise boys who 
can't mind their manners," he said, and put it back. Life returned 
to Narancia's face again. 

"Ah, that was my bad. Father Pucci," he said, bowing his 
head. "I promise I ain't gonna be that dumb again." 

"Lack of education decides your limits," Pucci sighed. 

Narancia's expression changed completely. "You trying to 
fucking say I'm stupid!?" he snarled, and whipped out a knife he'd 
kept hidden through all this turmoil. 

Pucci looked surprised. "How...?" 

The human unconscious is beyond the reach of man. 

Pucci dodged Narancia's knife a few moments, got the disc 
out again, and had just made him throw the knife away when, 
"H.G. Wells, prepare for attack!" came over the speakers. 


A massive impact shook the ship, and we were all flung 
hard into the nearest wall, or to the floor. 

"Whaat!?" Pocoloco shouted. 

"This is Houston," the speaker said. "H. G. Wells, are you 


"What was that?" Funnier demanded. "A break-down?" 

"We took control over the ship remotely. Emergency 
measures required the reverse thrusters fire for another five 
second, then you'll go quiet and pull away from Mars." 

"What!? Is the mission canceled!?" 

"No, simply a temporary measure. Once you're at a safe 
distance we intend to look for an angle to return...but first you 
need to see something!" 

Houston was clearly struggling to keep the panic out of 
their voice. 

"H. G. Wells, we found something positively unreal when 
we examined that image. First, the string towing the sand. Have a 
look at this." 

Everyone pulled themselves together, and looked at the 
largest monitor in the living quarters. The image on screen was a 
3D image showing the thread from the moon branching into 
countless other threads, all stretched upwards. It looked like a 

plant, or a bacteria, but instead of a root they all led back to that 
sphere. The sphere was so small and the length of the threads 
stretching in all directions so great that we didn't recognize it at 

"The little ball in the middle is the third moon...!" The 
speakers explained, as we all stood stunned. "A great quantity 
of...tentacles are reaching up from the surface of the moon. We 
fired the reverse thrusters before those 'arms' could grab this ship. 
If you had continued on course, you'd already be in a forest of 
those tentacles. It remains to be seen if they can snare you like 
they did that mass of sand." 

The entire crew was thinking furiously, saying nothing. 

"And that's not the end of it," the speaker continued. "The 
next shot is from the ultra high resolution images you sent. What it 
shows...we can't believe this is really happening." 

It showed a man with long hair. He was half-naked, wearing 
only a loin-cloth, and there were horns on his head, a terrifying 
grin on his face. He was looking right at the camera, his eyes 
clearly focused directly on it. 

"The fuck...!?" Funnier whispered. I'm sure they heard him. 

The man in Houston somehow managed to scream without 
raising his voice. 

"Do you see the string in his right hand?" I glanced at the 
moment. There was a rope of some kind leading from his wrist 
towards the screen. "That rope connects to the third moon. He's 
running with a five kilometer moon trailing eight kilometers above 
the surface of Mars like a balloon! With a single rope, he's kept the 
third moon trapped on the back of Mars! He's hidden the moon on 
the back of Mars all this time by running with it!" 

At the equator, the diameter of Mars was 6794.4 km. That 

mean the circumference was 21,334.4 km. A day on mars was 
24.62 hours, so at most he would have to be running at 866.54 kph 
across the surface of Mars. 240.7 meters a second. Three quarters 
of the speed of sound. That figure was assuming he ran constantly, 
without sleeping or resting. The gravity was only a third that of 
Earth, but even so, was it humanly possible to run that fast? 

"He appears to be standing still right now...?" Funnier said. 

"Yes..." Houston replied. "That's what's so frightening. This 
creature can run even faster..." 

"Hey, Soundman's sand reached the moon!" Pocoloco said, 
looking out the window. 

Narancia had been watching all this absently, but suddenly 
he frowned. "Mm? My Das Boot's moving again. Hunh? That's's on the surface of the moon..." A headset periscope 
appeared over Narancia's right eye, and he peered through it. 
"Hmm.J don't know much about these things, but are moons 

What was he talking about? While I stared at Narancia, 
confused, Pocoloco screamed. "Auuuughhh!" 

We all looked through the window, and saw what he'd 
seen. In the distance, we could see the tiny moon hovering...and 
could see that it had turned to face us. 

The moon was a giant eyeball, and the lid had just opened. 

It looked exactly like Odilon Redon's The eye like a strange 
balloon goes to infinity or Mizuki Shigeru's faux American yokai, 

Just as I was about to belatedly scream myself, 


Another huge impact rocked the ship, without any warning. 

Rolling the floor, I realized this lurch was in the opposite 
direction from the first, which meant...? 

The floor seemed to heave upwards, the whole ship tilting. 
The reverse thrusters must still be firing. I looked out the window 
and saw black threads wrapped around the H. G. Wells. They'd 
caught us. 

"Gaaaaawwd fuuuuuuuckin' daaaamn it!" 

Dust spray rose from the third moon; it looked like Narnacia 
was attacking it with Das Boot. Dozens of submarines were riding 
the threads wrapped around the H. G. Wells. All fired cruise 
missiles at the third moon! Boom boom boom boom boom boom 
boom! Hundreds of missiles all rocketing forward in unison, raining 
down on the giant eye moon's face...and then the face opened its 
mouth. A crescent moon slit right below the eyeball that split the 
moon from end to end, revealing rows of jagged teeth. The maw 
gaped open until it was the entire visible surface of the moon. The 
moon had a thin surface layer but the inside was hollow. It was a 
five kilometer balloon held by the horned man on Mars. A living 
balloon, with one giant eyeball and infinite hands that stretched all 
the way to outer space. 

Every missile Narancia's Das Boot fleet fired was swallowed 
up by the moon's mouth. Only when the last one was stuffed in its 
cheeks did the mouth close, and it savored the flavor of the 
massive array of explosions within. The impacts shook the hands 
dragging us. Narancia stared in disbelief. "Fucking seriously? I 
didn't even scratch it!?" 

Pucci's eyes were open wide; he seemed equally surprised 
and impressed. "Astonishing! I feel sure we traveled this far from 
Earth for just this encounter!" 

"H. G. Wells, this is Houston," the man on the loudspeaker 
said. "The President would like a word with you." 

Funnier looked grave. Pocoloco frowned. "The Funniest...?" 

Without waiting for a response from us, the voice on the 
speaker changed. A calm, gentle voice, ever so slightly brisk. 

"To all aboard the H. G. Wells, I am the President of the 
United States, The Funniest Valentine. Presently I am at the UN 
Headquarters in New York, attending an emergency meeting of the 
security council. We're discussing how to deal with the mysterious 
life form discovered behind Mars - what we are currently calling 
The Eyed Balloon. I am here to report our current progress." 

Wrapped in the moon's tentacles, the H. G. Wells spun, 
shaking constantly. 

The Funniest continued. "I'm sending enlarged photographs 
of The Eyed Balloon's interior." A still image of the moon with its 
mouth fully open appeared on the screen, with seven different 
circles inscribed on it. 

"Next, enlargement of the circled portions." Seven different 
higher resolution shots began cycling on the screen. What had 
appeared smooth before now showed something odd. Part of 
some machine floating against the back of the moon's interior. 

"....what....? Is that...a man-made satellite? No..." Pocoloco 
said. "That's...a probe. With those armored plates and mirrors... 
could it be...!?" 

"Yes, Specialist Triple-Seven. This is the unmanned probe 
the ESA launched in 1985 to survey Halley's Comet. We've verified 
the COSPAR ID on the probe's surface. 1985-056A." 

On one of the seven shots...there was a number written on 
the two machines. 

.? Two? 

"No fucking way," Pocoloco muttered. 

"But this is, in fact, happening," The Funniest replied. "The 
seven spacecraft in this pictures are all the same ship, identical in 
every way. Every one of the seven passed inside Halley's Comet on 
March 14 th , 1986, photographed the core from a distance of 600 

kilometers, and vanished in 1999. They are all the Giotto probe. 

"Father, with the time you've spent in space, you know very 
well we do not launch the same ship seven times, and we never 
repeat the same COSPAR ID. There is no possibility that some 
conspiracy resulted in the launch of multiple identical ships 
without America's knowledge. Manufacturing and launching a 
probe is very expensive, and there's no way to fire a rocket without 
the citizens noticing, and no means to fund such a launch." 

So seven Giottos were eaten by The Eyed Balloon in outer 
space? Snared by these tentacles? These tentacles had a range of 
around 100 kilometers, but that was nothing compared with the 
vastness of space. It seemed highly unlikely Giotto would have 
flown within range. As we all scratched our heads, Narancia kept 
up his futile attack. Beside him, Pucci looked as astonished as I 
was, but was almost rapturously muttering, "Do the fourteen 
words have meaning?" 

The fourteen words? He seemed to be seeing and thinking 
something entirely different from the rest of us. 

Seven Giotto probes...that the photographs found. There 
might be even more, but whatever truth lay behind this mystery, 
the H. G. Wells was about to be swallowed by The Eyed Balloon, 
with us on board. Just a glance outside the window and the 
spinning view of The Eyed Balloon's giant round face and eyelid 
was noticeably closer. 

"And this photograph was collected from a Nazi base in 
Switzerland during the second World War," The Funniest said, over 
the speakers. I had not expected the word "Nazi" to show up here, 
but that surprise was dwarfed by the shock of the picture that 
appeared on screen. It showed the horned man, the same man 
currently holding The Eyed Balloon's tether down on Mars. Long, 

narrow eyes, long black hair. Surrounded by Nazi soldiers, yet 
grinning wickedly; once again his eyes were focused right on the 
camera lens. 

"This man's name is Cars," The Funniest said. "Much about 
him remains a mystery, but there are five things we know for sure. 
He was one of the Pillar Men discovered by Nazi scientists 
underground in Mexico and Italy. Of the four Pillar Men they 
collected, only Cars survives. It seems that Cars was somehow 
caught up in a volcanic eruption at Italy's Isulo Vulcano and flung 
out of the atmosphere. Shortly before that., exactly, is 
unknown, but he donned a stone mask fitted with the Aja Red 
Stone, bathed in ultraviolet light, and became the Ultimate Thing. 
The last thing we know is that the man who beat the other three 
Pillar Men, and sent the Ultimate Cars into space was an English 
man residing in America named Joseph Joestar." 


That was my great-grandfather's name; the grandfather of 
my adoptive father, Jonda Joestar. 

"I believe you have a Jorge Joestar on board?" asked the 
American President. "Will you tell us why...and how you came to 
the H. G. Wells?" 

Funnier and the crew all turned and stared at me. The 
gleam in Pucci's eyes was especially terrifying. I did my best not to 
look at him, and answered in English. "I was hoping you could tell 

_ II 


"...either way, this cannot be a coincidence," The Funniest 
said, dropping the matter. "That's everything we've discovered at 
present. As for the conclusion of the security council, you have ten 

minutes to escape The Eyed Balloon's tentacles. Once that ten 
minutes is up, we will detonate the H. G. Wells remotely. There will 
be no rescue mission. Our top priority is preventing Ultimate Cars 
from returning to Earth. Are these orders understood, Captain 

Eh? Detonate? If we didn't escape the tentacles in the next 
ten minutes? 

Why didn't you say that first! Then I realized the deeper 
meaning. They already knew it was impossible. They were going to 
blow us up no matter what. 

I checked the view outside the window. The tentacles were 
wrapped around and around us, and there were a lot of them. 
Narancia had ignored this entire conversation (since he didn't 
speak English) and was still attacking, but his Das Boot fleet did not 
appear to have done any damage to them at all. His efforts had 
been so utterly futile that there were tears in his eyes. 

Funnier spoke to his son. "Understood, Mr. President. 

The transmission ended, and the image on the screen 
switched back to the photo of Cars. Funnier's eyes had been like 
daggers when he spoke to his son, but when he turned around he 
was a different man; calm, but assured, he proceeded to bark 
orders at his crew. "Pocoloco! Think of a way to cut the tentacles 
off the H. G. Wells. While you're at it, find the explosive device and 
expunge it from the ship! Pucci, Soundman, Narancia Ghirga and I 
will do whatever we can to kill this Cars, whatever he is. And you 
there! Detective!" 

Me. "Yes?" 

"It seems you were brought here for some higher purpose. 
You don't have a Stand, do you? Then make like a detective and 

solve some mysteries. You heard that execution order? We've got... 
nine minutes left. Whatever reason or purpose brought you here, 
we're all in the same boat now. All you can do is think as hard as 
you can, as much as you need." 

"Sir, yes, sir!" I said, and attempted a salute. I didn't intend 
it to be comedic. Funnier was absolutely right. I was here because I 
was a detective. 

I had to do my job. 

"Jorge Joestar," Soundman said. I turned around, and found 
him in his space suit, kneeling beside me. He pointed at Narancia. 
"He doesn't speak English, right? Can you interpret? He seems to 
have a number of tiny submarines, but can he combine them into 
one big one?" 

"Arrrrrrrgghhhhhh! God fucking damn this piece of shit 
how the fuck can it shake off my missiles like a 38 degree 
lukewarm shower! Fuuuuuuuuck!" He was half-mad now. I tapped 
him cautiously on his shoulder. "Fuck off! Oh. What?" 

I told him Soundman's suggestion, and his eyes went wide. 
"...I could...I neeeeeeever even thought of that! I'm not stupid or 
anything but fuuuuuuck! Let's do this! Das Boot! Retreat and 

Dozens of submarines came rocketing back up The Eyed 
Balloon's tentacles. 

Soundman stood quietly watching them a moment, then 
put his helmet on, and spoke to Funnier. "I'll go listen to the sands 
of Mars, and understand them." 

Funnier nodded. "I'm sure you can befriend Mars." 

Pucci appeared beside them, also in a space suit. "HI come, 
too. To talk to him." 

" have only ever cared about the way to Heaven, 
Enrico Pucci." 

"I seem to have a higher goal. Funnier Valentine." 

"In the fog of war all will be left to destiny." 

"Pray worry not about my life. I will not yet die. Not here, at 


Narancia started shouting. "Ya haaaaaa! I did it! I fucking 
did it! A full power Das Boot! Anyone wants to ride, get the hell on 
now! We're taking off!" 

Outside the windows was a nearly life-size submarine. The 
H. G. Wells was a sphere with a diameter of about ten meters, with 
a pair of two meter tall cylinders on either side that housed the 
emergency escape system and a dock that allowed them to 
connect to other ships. Narancia's Das Boot was far larger than the 
entire thing, at least a hundred meters long. Like a building lying 
on its side. 

"Soundman! Pucci! You have three minutes!" Funnier said. 
"If you don't end the fight and get back here in that time the H. G. 
Wells will leave without you!" 

"Shouldn't you join us on this ship?" Pucci asked. 

"The H. G. Wells was placed in my care. I share its fate." 

"Very well." 

Soundman and Pucci both headed for the airlock, and after 
decompression, traveled through the vacuum of outer space to the 
submarine. But their movements weren't the floaty movements of 
normal astronauts; the second the hatch opened they zipped right 
over, flying directly into the submarine. Stands came in handy. 
"Narancia, let's go," Pucci said, in Italian. I could hear his voice 
coming over Narancia's headset. 

"Right! Full power, forward thrust! Das Boot! Goooooooo!" 

Das Boot swooped away from the H. G. Wells, spinning on 
the slender tentacles, headed for The Eyed Balloon at tremendous 
speed, already opening fire. Psssht psssht psssht psssht the cruise 
missiles it fired were all full- sized, too. Missile after missile scored 
a direct hit on The Eyed Balloon, the explosions and shockwaves 

from each impact far stronger than anything before. The Eyed 
Balloon closed its one big eye. Was it working? 

"Right, got it. Captain!" Pocoloco shouted. "The Right Stuff 
has found a way to escape the tentacle's web!" I looked over and 
found him holding his hands in front of his chest, palms facing each 
other forming a sort of bowl, and strange little gnomes of some 
kind inside. They were making tiny models of the H. G. Wells, then 
taking them apart, like a pit crew, analyzing the problem. "If we 
release all the exterior walls of the H. G. Wells from the inside, 
we'll be free! The tentacles are wrapped around the cylinders and 
the sphere from one side, so this plan should stabilize us. If we 
start the engines at full power the second the walls release, we'll 
leave the walls in the tentacles' grip, and escape like we're 
shedding our skin. A space ship isn't gonna catch cold going naked! 
Ha ha ha! Then we'll move on to removing the explosive device. 
The Right Stuff has already located it." 

"Good," Funnier nodded. "Get to it! Keep me updated on 
your progress." 

"I got this!" The gnomes hopped up on his shoulders, and 
Pocoloco dashed out of the living quarters. 

Funnier watched him go, then turned back to us. "What do 
you make of this 'Way to Heaven' Pucci talks about?" 

What the hell was he on about? Was this really the time to 
talk about this? The ship was going to explode in less than eight 
minutes. Was it not? Was he that sure Pocoloco would pull it off? 
Funnier Valentine seemed totally at ease, but not quite in the way 
a captain certain of his crew's ability would be. 

He kept talking. "When Enrico Pucci was seventeen, he 
began sleepwalking. Two or three times a month, he'd leave the 
house, fast asleep, and wander quite a ways from home. His family 
moved to Cape Canaveral, Florida because they were worried their 
eldest son would be hit by a car, and thought that a place with few 

residents, open landscape, and plenty of military and government 
officials would make it easier to locate their sleepwalking son. 
Cape Canaveral is home to the Kennedy Space Center and an air 
force base, you see. It's patrolled 24/7. But one evening he slipped 
out in his sleep, and awoke outside the gates to the church his 
father, a priest, worked at. It was five AM. Normally he'd have 
been found by the patrol guards, and returned to his home, still 
asleep, so this was the first time he'd been out all night since 
moving to Cape Canaveral. Pucci's father and mother had a habit 
of waking up at four in the morning, and checking to see if he was 
still in his bed, so he imagined they were worried sick, ran home 
barefoot, and discovered he no longer had a family to worry about 
him. Pucci's home had vanished, replaced by a crater seventeen 
meters in diameter. A direct hit by a falling meteor. But the 
strangest part was that nobody had noticed the meteor falling. The 
meteor had evaded both the Space Center and the Air Force radar. 
Standing alone in front of this crater, stricken with grief, Pucci 
found the thing that had killed his family. It was not a rock fallen 
from space, but a metal plate. A man-made heat shield. This," 
Funnier said, putting an image of a rectangular metal plate up on 
the screen, with two rows of letters written on it. One was painted 
on the side, and read "1985-056A". 


"This is the COSPAR ID of the Giotto probe," Funnier said. 
"In July, 1997, it did not respond to signals from NASA when it 
passed by the Earth, but it did send us one signal. It fell from the 
sky, killing Enrico Pucci's father, mother, and younger brother, 
leaving only him alive." 

Giotto again. 

But that 'again' was not only referring to the seven Giottos 

inside The Eyed Balloon. The other row of letters on the metal 
plate, scratched there by something sharp, also said 'Giotto'. And 
there were more words, as well. Fourteen phrases in all. A mix of 
Italian and English. 

"Spiral staircase" 
"Rhinoceros beetle" 
"Desolation Row" 
"Fig tart" 

"Rhinoceros beetle" 
"Via Dolorosa" 
"Rhinoceros beetle" 


"Rhinoceros beetle" 

"Secret Emperor" 

Funnier smiled. "You saw how flustered Pucci was before?" 

Do the fourteen words have meaning? 

Pucci was a priest, not a detective, so he may have found it 
hard to believe. But everything has meaning. 

"There's also a message on the back of the plate. This is the 
main one," Funnier said, changing the image on screen. Another 

three rows of English words scratched into the metal. 

"Have the courage to cast aside your Stand, and as your 
Stand withers, it will gather 36 souls, and give birth to something 

"It will befriend he who says the fourteen words." 

"The place is 28.24 degrees North, 80.36 degrees West." 

I didn't know what that meant, but I had an idea. 

28.24 degrees North, 80.36 degrees West. 

"Mars has longitude and latitude," I explained. "Wilhelm 
Beer and Johann Heinrich Madler made the first maps of Mars, 
and they selected a small circle as a base point for the Prime 
Meridian. That point is still in use today, under the name Airy-0." 

And there... 

"Exactly," Funnier nodded. "And on Mars, at 28.24 degrees 
North, 80.36 degrees West, Cars stands, holding the tether that 
leads to The Eyed Balloon. Cars is there as we arrive, and we 
arrived as he was there." 

Funnier chuckled. "Pucci said he's going to talk, sure that he 
alone will find the 'Way to Heaven'. Rather selfish for a servant of 
God, wouldn't you say? Will the staircase to Heaven really open for 
one so impetuous?" 

I followed Funnier's gaze, and looked down at the surface 

of Mars. Narancia's submarine had already landed on the surface, 
and Enrico Pucci had stepped out onto the ground. He was walking 
towards Cars. 

"Tch, what the hell? He's in the way," Narancia muttered 
behind me. He hadn't understood a word of what Funnier and I 
were talking about in English. Despite his griping, his attack never 
let up, a never ending rain of cruise missiles turning the surface of 
The Eyed Balloon into a perpetual explosion. There were holes 
opening in the surface of the balloon, so he was clearly doing more 
damage than he had with the submarines separated, but the holes 
closed up again the moment they formed. "Arghhhhhh how is this 
even possible!? Fucking break, you piece of shit! Fucking fucking 
fucking piece of shit!" He sounded like someone raging at a video 
game. I glanced back at Pucci. Was Funnier right? Was there 
meaning to the fourteen words written on the back of Giotto's 
plate, what Pucci called the Way to Heaven? Was asking that 
question in the first place a waste of time? 

As I thought I realized the view through the window had 
settled down, the tentacles had released their grip, and the ship 
had stabilized. 

Pocoloco's voice came over the loudspeaker. "Right, 
Valentine, ready to start those engines?" 

But Funnier ignored him. 

Instead, he turned towards me, and put his fingers to his 
lips. Shhh. 

Not like my voice would reach him and Funnier's headset 
mike wasn't even on, but...? 

"Valentine! Hey! Crap, what's going on? Right Stuff, 
someone go see!" 

Funnier ignored the panic in Pocoloco's voice, too. "By the 
way, Jorge Joestar, do you know how to pilot this ship?" he asked. 
"I don't imagine that to be the case, but I understand detectives 

tend to get interested in and study up on a great many things." 

? Why was he asking that? "No. I know the basic gist of 
spacecraft construction, but not the specifics of piloting them. The 
computer controls a lot of systems, but even then it requires 
detailed interplay between you and the engineers, right? Before 
and after launch? There's no way you could fly a spaceship without 
substantial practice and simulation." 

"Correct. I'm relieved to hear it," Funnier said, and I felt 
something moving behind me, and turned to see Funnier's Stand 
moving away from me, gun in hand. The 'window' it was looking 
through, a weird sort of flat plane, disappeared, leaving behind 
only a steel ladder. 

It had been behind me, pointing a gun at me. 

"Your presence here seems to have some meaning," he 
said, with a smile that told me everything. Fie was up something, 
and was about to set that in motion. With his Stand. 

He'd used his Stand three times so far. It had shown up 
inside Narancia's mouth, from the upper level of the bunk bed, and 
now from an iron ladder. When it appeared a flat area like frosted 
glass cut through the space around it, and the Stand appeared 
from inside that 'window'. It seemed like it probably required a 
'frame'. Fie could make a window in any frame and his Stand would 
look out of it. 

Pocoloco's voice came over the speaker again. ".! 

Valentine, you motherfucker!" 


A gunshot. 

No sounds followed. I turned around, and saw one of 
Pocoloco's gnomes standing still at the entrance to the living 
quarters. As 1 watched, it faded out, and vanished. Funnier had 
shot Pocoloco, and mostly likely killed him. 

"Mm? Yo, what the fuck was that?" Narancia said. "That 

was a fucking gunshot...who'd this asshole shoot, Joestarl? Urp!" 

The Stand's arm emerged from his mouth mid-shout, and 
pressed the barrel of its gun to his forehead. "It was a mistake to 
send all your submarines to Mars," he said, in English, knowing full 
well Narancia wouldn't understand him. "And you have a very foul 


Narancia fell over, blood streaming from his head, and the 
Stand's arm vanished from his mouth. 

I looked down at Mars from the window. The Das Boot that 
had been resting on The Eyed Balloon's tentacles vanished, too. 

".? Narancia, what happened?" Pucci's voice came over 

the speaker, in Italian. "Something going on up there?" 

"Narancia? He just died," Funnier replied, in English. "How's 
your conversation going?" 

396 ".!" 

"I've been wondering this for a while, Pucci. So let me ask... 
Tell me the truth. Have you ever, even once, actually believed in 


"Of course you haven't. You're the most self-absorbed man 
I've ever met. You only became a priest because it made you feel 
good about yourself. You feel no love or compassion for your fellow 
man. I condemn you, Enrico Pucci. You are a sinner. For seeking a 
way to heaven for yourself alone when you should be leading 
others, you will be punished. This empty red planet is beautiful 
isn't it? Allowing you to die here is an expression of the deep, 
genuine compassion I have for you." 

"...hmph. Being here is destiny. The will of God." 

"This Way to Heaven you speak of? You know nothing. That 
is why you cannot talk to Cars." 

II ll 

"I've been negotiating with Cars for the last eleven years. 
Ever since I first read the message on the plate that fell on your 

".!? Rear Window!? He was peeping?" Pucci said. 

Funnier glanced at me when he said this, so I knew it must be the 
name of Funnier's Stand. Rear Window...a Stand that could make a 
window in any frame, and move to it. The name was a good fit. 

"Peeping? How rude. I was simply checking on a suspicious 
unidentified falling object," Funnier said. "Heh heh heh.,.1 was 
already training as as astronaut at Cape Canaveral the day it fell. 
Honestly, I was out on the town, and sneaking back to base. But 
after catching a glimpse of that plate, I never snuck out again. It 
was clear evidence there was an intelligent life form outside this 
planet. If a square plate fell, then there was a square hole 
somewhere. It was comparatively easy to find it. That's when I met 
all the Cars." 

Hunh...? Plural? 

"Your Way to Heaven ends here," Funnier said. "It brought 
you to Mars. Let that thought comfort you in your eternal slumber, 
Enrico Pucci." 

"God's will is with me!" 

"That's a delusion." 


A third gunshot rang out. And then there was silence. 

I looked down at the surface of Mars, but Pucci was too far 
away to make out clearly. I knew he must be at the bottom of the 
anchor line leading from The Eyed Balloon, but... 

"Now, then... Goyathlay Soundman, a quiet man despite 
your name. The time has come for you to break your silence." 
There was no answer. ".? I know you aren't scared. What are 

you doing?" 

I could see it. 

A long shadow on the surface of Mars, getting bigger by the 
second. A massive pillar of sand, stretching up towards us. Straight 
towards this ship. All the sands of Mars, rushing together, feeding 
the pillar's growth. The pillar inhaled the sands. Soundman's sands. 
I'll go listen to the sands of Mars, and understand them. He had 
succeeded, and the sands of Mars were part of Soundman now. In 
no time, the pillar had left the atmosphere, and tip was 
approaching the H. G. Wells. 

It was only a few kilometers away. 

"Ohhh, well done, Soundman." Funnier had come over to 
the window beside me, and was watching the pillar approach. "I 
take back what I said. You are a deep and sound man, as your 
name suggests." 

Was that clear-eyed Native American about to die, too? 
"Stop!" I said, but saying that wasn't going to do anything. Do you 
know how to pilot this ship? He'd decided to kill all the astronauts 
but himself. The only way I had of stopping him was physical. I 
grabbed the knife from Narancia's corpse, and lunged at Funnier's 
throat, but he dodged, and thud! kneed me hard in the gut. 

"Be still, Jorge Joestar. Now I am paying my respects to 
Soundman's finale." 

He easily took the knife away from me, and stuck it in my 
right shoulder. "Auuuughhh!" 

Now both my shoulders were injured, and I couldn't lift 
either arm. 

"To which...good-bye. Soundman. It was an honor to come 
this far with you," Funnier said. There was another gunshot. 


....silence, again.I looked over my blood-stained shoulder 

at the window. The tip of the column rising from Mars to the 

heavens was only a few hundred meters away. It was still getting 


Funnier saw it too. "? Soundman? Are you still alive?" He 
could control his Stand remotely, but not see what it saw. 

Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! The gun kept firing, but the tip of 
the pillar kept advancing. It was only a hundred meters away. Close 
enough now that I could see it with my naked eye; there was an 
empty helmet at the top of the pillar, and Funnier's camera-eyed 
Stand was clinging to it, firing into the sand, opening hole after 
hole. But Soundman's head was nowhere to be seen. 

"Soundman!? Where are you!?" Funnier screamed. I stood 
watching helplessly as the tip of the pillar changed shape, forming 
a round hole and a rim. Like a docking hatch...! Soundman was 
inside the pillar. In less than two minutes, he had gone from the 
surface of Mars to the H. G. Wells; a trained astronaut could easily 
hold his breath in the pillar that long. 

Thud! The tip of the pillar slammed into the H. G. Wells, 
shaking the ship. 

"Good lord...come back, Rear Window!" At his call, the 
Stand reappeared in the doorway to the living quarters. 

Clang! Thud, thud, creeeaak! The sounds of sand pounding 
the door, smashing it down, and then scrunch scrunch scrunch 
scrunch as sandy footsteps came down the call. Soundman 
appeared, covered head to foot in the red sands of Mars. Even his 
face was hidden. On guard against Funnier's Rear Window, the 
Native American astronaut was still holding his breath. 

Funnier's face twisted in fear. "Good God... Shoot him, Rear 

Bang bang bang bang bang bang bang bang! Funnier's 
Stand unleashed a volley, but every bullet was absorbed into the 
sand as Soundman charged, tackling Funnier. 

"Aughhh!" Funnier's scream vanished into the sand. 

Shunk shunk shunk! Thud thud! Ka-thunk! 

Unable to see at all, Soundman went berserk, swinging and 
kicking wildly, flinging hardened sand in all directions. I barely 
managed to evade getting hit myself, but he was smashing 
machine parts right and left. I figured it was up to me to tell 
Soundman if Funnier was dead or down for the count, so I looked 
around, and realized I couldn't find him anywhere. There was a 
door on the wall he'd been flung against, and through the window 
I could see the escape pod that was supposed to be on the other 
side of that door. It had detached from the H. G. Wells, and was 
drifting away. 

"Soundman! Outside! Funnier Valentine's escaping in the 


I could see Funnier grinning through the pod's window. 
Rear Window was in a hole Soundman had punched in a computer, 
waiting. For Soundman to stop flailing and take a breath. 

"Don't show your face! Rear Window's still got his gun 
pointed at you!" I yelled, but too late; out of breath. Soundman let 
the sands part, and Rear Window's bullet struck him right between 
the eyes. 


Soundman's head jerked back, and the sand suit crumbled. 
"Ahhhh! Soundman!" 

I could hear Funnier laughing over the loudspeaker. "Ha ha 
ha ha ha! Good-bye, Soundman! Jorge Joestar, I do apologize, but 
that ship will explode in two minutes. If you really are brought here 
by fate or destiny, then I'm sure you'll find a way to survive that 

On my knees on the floor, my shoulders throbbing with 
pain, I couldn't summon the energy to stand. I just vacantly 
watched his escape pod drift slowly away, not even noticing the 

submarine that had appeared behind him on The Eyed Balloon. 

"Tch, astronauts suck ass at murder. They don't even know 
the basics! Double tap, motherfucker! One shot ain't enough. 
Always gotta hit them again to be sure. Every fucking gangster 
knows that shit." 

I turned to find Narancia behind me, a small submarine 
sitting in the hole the bullet left in his forehead. The bullet was 
caught in the side of the ship. He'd left one ship from his Stand 
inside his body. 

"Heh. Takes too long for Das Boot to get back to me if I send 
it away, so Buccellati and Giorno are always yelling at me to leave 
one or two inside me," Narancia grinned. Funnier noticed him, and 
I could see him looking through the tiny window in the pod, 
surprised...and oblivious to the cruise missile coming up behind 
him. It hit the pod head on. 

Booooooooooom! I couldn't actually hear the sound, but 
the escape pod exploded with Funnier on it, scattering debris all 
around. Rear Window faded out, and vanished. 

"Ha! Suck on that!" Naranacia yelled, pointing his middle 
finger at the remains of the pod outside. Then he turned to me. 
"Don't just fucking stand there, we're getting outta here pronto." 

"Eh? But how?" 

"Let's start by hopping on my sub and going down to Mars." 

"But don't we need to depressurize?" 

"What does that even mean? It'll be fine!" 

"Eh? It really won't." 

"I said it will, it will. Think positive, motherfucker!" 

".!?" While we were talking the giant submarine had 

come up with tentacles from The Eyed Balloon and rammed into 
the side of the H. G. Wells. 

Claaaaaaaang! The deafening crunch was accompanied by a 
violent impact that shook the entire ship, followed by the whoosh 
of air rushing out. There was a hole in the front of the sub, too. 
"Fffuck yeah! Get the fuck in there!" Narancia yelled, diving 
headlong across the rubble, riding the rush of air, essentially letting 
the submarine inhale him. 

"Auughhh here goes nothing!" I shouted, and threw myself 
after him, aiming for the hole, but my shoulders hurt and I lost my 
balance; I slipped right past the hole, heading for the gap in the 
side of the H. G. Wells. There was nothing out there! Just outer 
fucking space! "Auuuuuuuughhh!" I screamed and the submarine's 
engines fired. It passed me, placed its hole just outside the gap in 
the H. G. Wells, and caught me after only a moment of suitless 
space walk. 

"Holy fuck, dude! You're really shit at this," Narancia said, 
laughing. I couldn't argue with that. 

"On your feet! We gotta get in back." Narancia said, helping 
me up, and giving me his shoulder for support. We ran against the 
air rushing out the gap in the hull, down a narrow hall towards the 
tail of the submarine. "Ha ha ha! I've never been inside my Stand 
before! It's pretty real looking!" 

Indeed there were instruments and pipes and everything a 
real submarine would have inside it. We ran the entire length of 
Das Boot, went through a tiny hatch, and Narancia closed the door 
behind us, locking the door with a round wheel. "OK! Do a U-Turn 
and get us out of here!" 

The submarine groaned, and started moving. I could hear 
gas rushing through the pipes. Narancia had lowered his headset 
periscope over his right eye, and was piloting Das Boot, running it 
down the tentacles to The Eyed Balloon, around the surface of the 
moon, and then down the tether rope. Inside Mars' atmosphere, 
the planet's gravity took hold, and we were forced to hang off the 

pipes crossing the long hallway, now a vertical shaft, as the 
submarine descended straight down. Narancia held on with both 
arms, but I was forced to hang on with my legs. 

Peering through the periscope, Narancia asked, "So...what 
are we gonna do about this half-naked long-haired dude?" 

Cars. The Ultimate Thing. What should we do? 

"It'll be useless, but I could shoot him again?" Narancia 
suggested, half-joking. "Nah," I said. "You've attacked him plenty, 
and like you said, it was useless. And he hasn't done anything to us 
yet." But what should we do? 

Try to talk to him? Pucci had tried...and that got him exactly 
nowhere, apparently. 

"Right, when we're three meters off the ground, stop!" 

There was a horrible screeching, and we stopped. 

We were inside the atmosphere and near the surface of 
Mars, but we had no space suits, the air outside was less than 1% 
the atmospheric pressure of earth, and was 95% carbon dioxide. 
We wouldn't be able to breathe at all. But we couldn't stay in Das 
Boot forever; we had a limited amount of breathable air on board. 
We were between a rock and a hard place. But we were still alive. 

"Ah, the space ship blew up," Narancia said, showing me 
the view through his headset. There were massive fireworks in the 
skies of Mars. 

There was also a moon with an eye rising in the sky. The 
eye met my gaze. "Creeeepy," I said. As I handed the headset back 
to Narancia we heard creaking outside the hatch. Someone was 
coming up the vertical hall. There was still a big hole in the front of 
the sub, and outside that hole was... 

"Uh, the half-naked dude's gone," Narancia said. 

Cars had invaded Das Boot. That meant he must be able to 
see Stands. 

The ultimate life form was getting closer. My body went 

rigid, but Narancia yelled down at the hatch below us, "Hey! I 
dunno what the fuck you are, but don't smash my sub! This room's 
the only place with air left! I'm sorry about attacking you earlier! 
Seriously, like, super duper sorry, like legit sorry." was clear he'd never been taught how to apologize to 

He may be only sixteen, but he was abused by his father, 
betrayed by his friends, sent to juvie, bullied... 

There was a groan outside, like metal bending, then a 
scuttling sound as something moved through the pipes, getting 
closer, into the room we were 

Narancia and I gulped in unison, and the pipe in front of us 
popped open, and flesh spilled out, and the flesh took form, 
becoming a tall, long-haired, half-naked man. 


He could shape-shift? He turned and twisted the pipe like a 
twist tie, cutting off the hiss of escaping air. He looked around the 
interior of Das Boot as if he couldn't see us, and then took a deep 


And out. 

"Earth air," he said, in Italian. "You have no idea how much 
I've missed it." He smiled. "It's time to go home." 


"Where?" Narancia asked, but Cars ignored him. 

"This air...with three of us, it should last four hours." 

"Hey! Don't fucking ignore me, Fabio!" Narancia snarled. 
This boy knew no fear. I poked him. 

"Dude, back to Earth, obviously!" "Hunh? He's not, like, a 
Martian?" "He's speaking an Earth language, right? He must have 
been there, originally." "Oh, I see. But how's he getting back 
home? The space ship blew up." True, but then I remembered. 

"He's got a ship." 

At least seven of them. The Giotto probes. 

Those were technically space ships, but they had no power, 
and were pretty busted up, and no I thought. Cars said, "I 
have a ship." 

.I? We could communicate? "But they're broken, right?" 

I asked. 

Cars looked at me. His eyes were a really beautiful blue. 

"I can fix them. Since I rode them here from Halley's Comet, 
I've been studying how these machines function." 

When Giotto has passed Halley's Comet, something had 
gone wrong with the antennae, and all contact with it had been 
lost for thirty-two minutes. Had that not been because comet dust 
struck it, but because Cars jumped on board? 

"...but we'll need fuel." 

"I have plenty." 


"Floating above us." 

? The Eyed Balloon? 

"Eh? Is that...? What is it?" 

"Extra mes." 


"Yes. The universe has looped thirty-six times, and as it 
ended and began anew thirty-six additional mes arrived." 

The ultimate life form could even survive the end of the 

If the universe looped, then history repeated itself, the 
same fate befell Cars, and he became the ultimate thing thirty- 
seven times, was flung into space thirty-seven times, made his way 
to Mars thirty-seven times, and then all thirty-seven Cars had a 

team up? 

While my mind boggled at the sheer scale of that time, 
Narancia stopped staring at us open-mouthed, peered through his 
periscope, and said, "Hey, the moon broke." 

He showed me the view. The Eyed Balloon had crumbled, 
and the thirty-six pieces each turned into Cars. They'd combined 
their flesh, and had stretched their combined mass out into a giant 
sphere. Now they and the thirty-six Giottos they'd held inside the 
sphere all began falling towards us. 

"We'll use a few to repair the machines, and the rest will 
become fossil fuel," Cars said. 

Cars began laying parts from the Giottos out on the surface 
of Mars, and assembling them bare-handed into a space ship way 
more futuristic than either the Giotto or the H. G. Wells. When he 
didn't have a part, he'd have one of the Extra Cars transform part 
of their flesh, transforming it into the material he needed. Once 
the ship was complete, the remaining Extra Cars all melted away 
without complaint, pouring themselves into the fuel tank. Narancia 
witnessed this horror show with a series of yelps and squeals, 
unable to watch it directly, but shocked as I was, I couldn't stop 
myself from watching the whole thing. 

The completed spaceship was conical, with smooth curves. 
The one remaining Cars came back up the pipes to us, and spoke 
to Narancia. "Shrink this vehicle to the size of the two of you. I'll 
compress the remaining air." Narancia did as he was told, and soon 
Das Boot was so small the two of us could barely fit inside. Cars 
then inhaled all the air into his lungs. Narancia and I clung to each 
other inside the miniature submarine, and Cars doubled the size of 
his upper body, lifted the submarine onto his back, and carried it 
into the spaceship. He released the air inside, and Narancia put 

Das Boot back inside his own body. The interior of the ship was 
beautifully designed; it was hard to believe it had been pieced 
together from scrap. It looked like a modern sci-fi movie set. 

"If you could build all this," I asked, summoning my nerve. 
"Why not head to Earth on your own? 

"At first, I didn't have enough materials or extra mes to turn 
into fuel," Cars said. "My calculations showed that it would be the 
thirty-seventh universe where I would finally have enough. Twice, I 
rode Giotto close to the Earth. The first we passed too far from it; 
the second time I altered Giotto, and turned part of myself into 
fuel in an attempt to enter the atmosphere, but I had no idea what 
the correct angle of entry was. If the angle was too shallow. I'd 
bounce off the atmospheric wall; too steep, and my calculations 
suggested that at my bulk, the convection and radiation heat 
would be so great I would vaporize faster than my cells would 
regenerate. Even if I survived long enough to land I would be 
critically injured. I would be captured by humans who detected my 
entry, and sent even farther away on a different rocket. I had to 
come up with a plan to protect myself while attempting my return 
to Earth." 

After the Giotto probe had surveyed Halley's Comet, it had 
done a flyby of Earth at a distance of 16,300,000 kilometers, and 
used the Earth's gravity to accelerate, heading off to survey Comet 
Grigg-Skjellerup. After that it approached the Earth again, but did 
not respond to signals, and disappeared. This must be the two 
occasions he mentioned. 

Countless asteroids hit the Earth daily, but almost none of 
them ever reach the surface because the speed with which they 
strike the pressurized atmosphere causes high temperature 
convection heat, and the magnetic energy in the pressurized air 
causes radiation heat, which burn the meteors up before they 

"Once I reached Mars, I patiently waited for the right time. 
The universe looped thirty-six times, and I had enough fuel and 
materials. And in this thirty-seventh universe, I met an astronaut 
named Funnier Valentine. Funnier helped me draw up a plan for 
reentry, and negotiated a mutually profitable arrangement in 
which, in exchange for his help, I agreed to not eat any Americans. 
I accepted his offer, and waited for him to arrive." 

I see...but why would Funnier want to help such a 
dangerous life form get back to Earth...wait. Eat? 

" people?" I asked. 

Cars looked me right in the eye. "Why do you think I would 
let you live? Like I said, we only have four hours worth of oxygen. 
Fueled by the extra mes, this ship will take approximately six 
months to reach Earth. You would never survive it. Remain calm 
and allow me to eat you." 


"Wait, you've survived all this time on Mars without eating 
anything, right?" Narancia yelped. "You can damn well last another 
six months, asshole! So what if we only have four hours worth of 
air? There's shit we can do in four hours!" 

"As the universe looped thirty-six times, I have done laps of 
Mars, without eating...until today. While it is not my usual custom, 
think of it as a celebratory feast." 

"No, no, no no! Eat when you get to Earth! Someone other 
than me!" 

" are very loud. Your life will only last another four 
hours either way, and if I stop releasing the air inside my lungs you 
will all suffocate. Your lives are already at their end. Give it up." 

"No! No! No, no!" Narancia said, stamping his foot, tears in 
his eyes. 

"? The air in your lungs? That goes in and out of you every 
time you take a breath. It'll run out fast, won't it?" 

"I do not need to breathe. I am releasing the air gradually." 

"Eh? But you said four hours for the three of us." 

"The two of you, and the astronaut. Funnier Valentine died 
without telling me his plan for reentry, you see." 

I looked around, and saw Pucci lying in the corner, still in his 
space suit. 

There was a round hole in the helmet where Funnier's Rear 
Window had fired a bullet, and a bullet hole in the center of his 
forehead, but the bullet was stuck in that hole, and when I tapped 
the bullet with my finger it fell out. It had not reached the brain. 
The holes in his head and helmet were stuffed with red sand, so it 
was immediately clear who had saved Pucci's life. 

That forthright Native American. He'd saved our lives, too. 
As I honored his memory, Pucci's eyes fluttered open. "Oh, you're 
awake?" I asked. Pucci ignored me. "Thirty-six extra Cars...?" he 

He'd been awake and listening this whole time? 

So, with a boom we bounded off the surface of Mars, left 
the atmosphere for outer space, and Mars was soon vanishing in 
our wake. Narancia was lying in a heap on the floor, sobbing. 
Suddenly an electronic jingle next to him went plu pon pin para 
para pon and Narancia bounded up, the pebble cell phone in his 

I'd forgotten it even existed. 

"Ahhhhh, Buccellatiiiiiiiiiii! It's you, right? It's me, Narancia! 
So much has been going on I forgot I had this phone!" he shouted, 
excited. Buccellati said something that clearly infuriated him. 
"Hunhhhhhh!? What the fuck are you talking about? It's all gone to 
shit here! We aren't even in Morioh any more! We're on fucking 
Mars! MARS! The planet! Yeah! Hunh?" Then his face shifted to a 

sulk, and he handed me the phone. "Buccellati wants to talk to 

I took the pebble, and put it to my ear. "Hello?" 

"Where are you and what are you doing? I will not tolerate 
fooling around." 

Fooling around...we were on a spaceship about to be eaten 
by the ultimate thing. 

I wanted to yell as loud as Narancia, but I restrained myself. 

"We have a large number of Morioh citizens hostage. We 

are treating them well, but we don't mind treating them less well." 

What the hell was he talking about? 

"You gangsters sure like to talk like gentlemen," I said, "But I 
know you were massacring people on Nero Nero Island, trying to 
find your boss." 

The Nijimuras and I had witnessed it. The islanders trying to 
get to the harbor, ambushed by those gangsters, and slaughtered 

But Buccellati answered, "Massacre? What massacre?" 

"Don't play dumb! Those islanders were trying to escape by 
boat, and you guys killed them!" 

"....? We don't kill civilians." 

"Not officially, anyway." 

"No...we swore an oath not to." 

"Well, you've broken that oath." 

"Wait. Where did this massacre happen?" 

"On the West side of Nero Nero Island, at the harbor." 

".? We did a circuit of the island, but there was no 


".?" But I'd seen it. "I'm not lying." 

" seems not. I don't smell a strange as that may 
be to say on the phone." 

II ll 

"Someone must be hiding part of that island so it can't be 
seen from inside...? Only one person can do that. Secco Rotario 
and his Evil Dead." 

Heh heh...oh, Secco Rotario's there, too, NYPD Blue had 


"Well done, Jorge Joestar!" Buccellati said. "I'll thank you 
when this is all over." 

And with that he hung up. He clearly hadn't managed the 
slightest bit of understanding of the nightmare Narancia and I were 

I handed the phone back to Narancia. 

"Joestar?" Cars said." You're a Jojo, too?" 


Cars grinned at me. "Clearly there's a lot you have to tell 
me before I eat you." 

Trying not to panic, I prayed that this conversation would 
last more than four hours. 

"Ehhhhhhhhhh? But what about me!?" Narancia shouted. 
Uh...good luck? 



y V 

Word reached me that people were seeing strange ’things' 
during flights. Other pilots started blaming any airborne mechanical 
failures on these monsters. They were small, skinny people with no 
eyes, the stories said, so of course I thought of the 'evil thing' that 
Faraday had seen the evening Kenton Motorize died. 

There were dark pits where his eyes should be. His skin 
was brown, like any Spanish child. 

The times and places of these monsters sightings were all 
over the place, and at first the targets seemed indiscriminate, but I 
changed my thinking as stories of this monster began focusing in 
on me, until the Royal Aero Club's own Jim Graham came in 
shouting, "I saw it! It was clinging to the underside of my plane! 
Look!" he added, slapping the side of the plane he'd just landed, a 
French-borne beauty named Simone. It was a Bleriot XI monoplane 
with two wheels under the main wing and one under the tail, and 
the panel between the front wheels was hanging open. The engine 
was visible inside that square hole, and two or three screws near the 
cylinder had come loose and fallen out. "See!? I thought the engine 
was making a terrible racket, and this is why!" Jim said, quite 
beside himself. He explained that he's seen a tiny eyeless creature, 
maybe 50 centimeters tall, scrabbling about under his plane, doing 

50 cm? That was far smaller than I'd imagined. 

"Nah, it didn't look like a Spaniard at all. No way that thing 
was human. All its teeth were sharpened, and its claws were long 
and pointy, and it kept grinning at me like it knew I couldn't do 
anything. It kept messing about down there and then the engine 
started acting funny and I about shit myself. I turned and came 
straight back here before that thing made me crash, but it must have 
dropped off somewhere..." 

Jim Graham began carrying a pistol with him whenever he 
flew, but he never saw the monster again. People began saying the 
pistol kept it away, and imitating him, but I wasn't so sure. I wanted 
to prove it was real before I banished it. Prove it was the same 

eyeless thing that had shown up at the Motorize Manor. 

So I started bringing a camera into my cockpit. A boxy 
camera made by Kodak, called the Brownie. If anything happened, 
I would take a snapshot, and if I got a photo I planned to visit the 
Motorize Manor again, and get Faraday to verify it, but before that 
happened I got a photo of something else. 

I was trying to photograph JG Rollins' stunt flying, and as 
he turned his Leslie upside-down, I saw the silhouette of a plane 
through a gap in the clouds far behind him. When I showed the 
photo around nobody in the club had ever seen anything like it, but 
I was pretty sure I had. I knew I'd seen it somewhere but I couldn't 
quite remember where until one day the dots finally connected. I'd 
never seen the plane itself. I'd only seen the schematics for it. When 
it was just a dream, a scribbling in his notes in the Motorize shed. 
Yes. It was Steven's Motorizing. 

Steven was supposed to be in France, so why was he flying 
close to the Dover coast? If he'd flown all the way from France this 
was not a public flight. This was not an era where just anyone could 
cross country lines whenever they liked. Was he flying home from 
France? But if he was flying back from France on a plane of his 
own design people would be talking about it, and word would have 
reached us. 

To begin with, I had no idea what Steven was even doing 
in France. France and England had never really got along but eight 
years ago they'd signed a trade agreement and travel between the 
two countries was quite common. I had a lot of pilot friends in 
France, but none of them had ever heard of Steven Motorize, and 
none of the airplane makers had heard of him, either. It was still a 
very small industry, so if he was openly involved in it I would 
almost certainly have heard something about him. So he must not 
be openly involved, I guess. He was flying his plane in secret. His 
own original creation. It cost money to make an airplane, so that 

must be coming from the Motorize coffers. Since Darlington was 
clearly becoming the official heir, she should be aware of what 
Steven was up to. 

With that thought in mind I visited the Motorize home for 
the first time in five years. After the Kenton Murder case wound up 
impossible to prosecute further, Ben Motorize lost all appetite for 
business. He’d more or less withdrawn from it, and had retired to a 
resort town in American called Miami. Darlington was running the 
estate and the business all by herself. She'd become even more 
beautiful, and even more imposing. When I showed her the photo 
I'd taken, she grimaced. ".so?" 

"Tell me what Steven's doing." 

ft ?» 

"Don't tell me this plane isn't funded with Motorize money. 
And I highly doubt Motorize money is funding anything you don't 
know about." 

"'ve really grown a backbone, Jorge Joestar." 

"...thanks?" I said, certain now that I was right. Darlington 
was buying herself time to think. About what she should tell me. 
Which meant she knew something. Ignoring her attempts to deflect, 
I pushed for an answer. "I know a lot about planes, and I know this 
is the Motorizing Steven was designing. The most distinctive aspect 
is this single-seat design. It looks like a two-seater, but it isn't. He 
designed it this way so that he can easily fly back to the cockpit if 
he has to jump out of the plane for any reason. This gives him 
somewhere to fold his wings. No other plane would need the like." 

Darlington stared silently at me for a while, but at last she 
said, "Why today?" but it sounded like she was talking to herself, 
and before I could try to say anything she said something that came 
as a complete surprise to me. "Jorge, do you think it's possible for 
the dead to come back to life?" 

"Eh.?" What? Was she deflecting again? But then...? "I 

don't even need to think about it. It's not possible." 

I was lying. I knew the truth. Some dead became zombies. 

But that wasn't coming back to life again, that was the dead acting 
as if they were alive, drinking human blood, and devouring human 

A shiver ran down my spine. A flavor of fear I had not felt 
in some time. I thought I had left all that behind me on the Canary 

I did my best to keep it from showing. Darlington stared at 
me intently for another minute, then said, "...yes, but not everyone 
thinks that way, and there are cultural and religious precedents." 

Jesus Christ resurrected three days after being crucified. 
People all across the world believed that was true. 

".? What do you mean by this? Does Steven believe 

this is possible?" 

"I don't know. But my father and Steven are betting on that 
possibility. They want Kenton back." 

".! What...!? But how...?" 

"... .while you were studying planes, Steven and my father 
have been studying ways to bring back the dead. And they found a 
place in South America that had stories about it, and found some 
sort of proof that some ritual had actually given life to the dead." 

"They did...?" 

"A folk religion called Vodou. They have a kind of sorcerer 
called a Bokor, who is set to chant a spell that causes the dead to 
rise to their feet. Though still dead, they stand. They call these 
undead zombies." 

Zombies!? This was starting to sound a lot like what Straits 
had told me. 

"It was slaves that brought Vodou to America originally," 
Darlington continued. "It seems to have started as a religion on the 
African continent, but South America is a strange land, and parts of 
the continent have their own legends of the dead coming back. The 
Aztecs believed that the dead would become their king. Jorge, have 
you heard of the stone mask?" 

This caught me off guard, and I stuttered, "Wh-what? The 

stone mask? What stone mask?" 

"A tool used to turn the Aztec King into the living dead. 
We've learned that your father, Jonathan Joestar, spent quite some 
time studying the mask. It was a long time ago now, but my father 
once visited your home, and remembers seeing the mask hanging 
on the wall in the parlor." 

I couldn't keep feigning innocence. I stopped protesting, and 
simply waited to see where Darlington's story would take us. She 
pressed on towards the heart of the matter. "That parlor burned with 
the rest of the Joestar mansion in the great fire twenty-four years 
ago...but do you know what happened in that house the night of the 
fire?" Darlington did not wait for me to answer. "Your grandfather, 
also named George Joestar, gathered a bunch of policemen to arrest 
his adopted son, Dio Brando, who was trying to murder him. They 
all died. But they weren't burned to death. Not one person there 
died in the fire. All the policemen were murdered before the fire 
began, in the most horrible, horrific manner possible. We've 
obtained a copy of the police report describing the condition of the 
bodies. Their arms and legs were torn off, their heads split in half. 
One of the policemen had two holes in his head. As if... two fingers 
had punctured his skull." 

.! Darlington may not have noticed, but even I didn't 

know the story in that much detail. All I knew was that Dio Brando 
had put the mask on, murdered my grandfather, and when blood hit 
the mask he’d turned into a vampire and slaughtered the cops. 

"Part of the Joestar mansion that survived the fire had 
similar round holes on the ceiling, and on the wall two rows of 
parallel holes like someone had walked straight up the wall, 
smashing their feet through it with every step. That night, twenty- 
four years ago, something was in the Joestar mansion, something 
with unnatural power. And we know that the Aztec kings had 
similarly inhuman power. The stone mask links Aztec legends and 
the Joestar mansion, and ties both to a third place. A town in a 
valley known as Wind Knight's Lot." 

By this point I couldn't help but be impressed. She’d done 
her homework well. 

"That town was wiped out in a single night. The only 
survivors were a young girl and her brother. It seems someone 
swore them to secrecy. There should have been bodies everywhere, 
but they were all taken away by some powerful group. Steven and 
my father managed to get those two survivors to tell everything. 
They tried money at first, but apparently using Dio Brando's name 
and showing them a photograph of him was far more effective. The 
sister told them the truth. Dio Brando came to that town and turned 
everyone there into the living dead." 

Darlington had stepped right into the heart of the matter, 
and she kept on walking. 

"And then their gaze turned towards the ship that sank while 
you parents were on their honeymoon. They investigated. They 
wanted to find the ship's wreck, but couldn't find it anywhere, so all 
they could do was check the records from the port it left from. They 
found one suspicious piece of cargo. A large box...and the owner's 
name was listed only as 'DB'. One of the dock workers who helped 
carry the box on board told them it was a big, sturdy black box that 
looked like a coffin. And another dock worker gave them an even 
more sinister statement - he said he’d heard a voice from inside it. 
Jorge, we know that when your mother was rescued by Canary 
Island fisherman in the Atlantic Ocean, she was afloat on a large 
box that looked very like a coffin. And Jorge, I'm sure you know 
how Steven and your father came by that statement." 

ft !» 

"They went to La Palma in the Canary Islands, and learned 
more than the history of your family. They found that 73 people had 
died in the island church in 1905. And that evening, a mysterious 
group had declared curfew on the island...essentially declaring 
martial law. Steven and father investigated further, and found the 
same group had come to the island five years earlier, and done the 
same thing, doing something so terrifying the islanders refuse to 

speak of it at all. Jorge, I'm sure you remember this. The incident 
with the Torres family. Alejandro Torres came to your school, 
looking young again, walking on the ceiling, with large fangs 
sticking out of his mouth. And the ones who defeated this monster 
were you and the girl who'd been living with you - Lady Elizabeth 
Straits. Five years later, on the second night of horror, she worked 
with that mysterious group, and left the Joestar home for good. 
After that we were unable to trace her movements, but she was 
always with you when you needed her. Any time you were in 
trouble, she would come. Right? She even stayed in the Westwood 
jail with you." 

I really didn't expect her to know that. "How...?" 

"I'm the one who tracked that lead down. Had to use a photo 
of Elizabeth Straits in grade school. Even as a kid she was a beauty, 
very mature looking. When I showed it to the police officers, they 
all acted like they’d been struck by lightning. Their eyes went 
blank, and they passed out. She left them seriously damaged. I have 
no idea what she could have done to knock out all those men, but 
several of them definitely remembered seeing Elizabeth Straits, 
seeing her walking freely in and out of the jail. The police officers 
themselves had no idea how or why she was able to do that, but I 
think you know, Jorge. It's obvious she was only there because you 

She saw through everything. Embarrassment threatened to 
turn my face red, but I desperately tried to keep my poker face 
going. "I understand now why you never showed interest in other 
girls, Jorge," Darlington said. "A girl that impressive already had 
you locked up. Your feelings, your heart, your very body - she's got 
them all tamed. She's trained you so well you'd never even consider 
cheating on her." 

"Eh...?" She has? 

The look on my face must have been a sight, because 
Darlington burst out laughing. "Ah ha ha ha ha! Sorry, sorry. I just 
couldn't resist. No, I think the truth is, very few girls can live up to 

someone so beautiful and...and amazing." 

"Oh..." Wait, what were we talking about? 

"My point is," Darlington said, getting back on track. "My 
father and brother are so desperate to bring my sister back to life 
that they've gone a bit too far. The Aztec legends, the stone mask, 
the incident at the Joestar mansion, and Elizabeth Straits herself 
have all led them to finding the group she works with. Today. I just 
received word from Steven. Steven thinks I agree with what they're 
doing. But I don't. I mean...she was my sister, and it was a great 
tragedy, but dead is dead. Steven's crime won't vanish if he brings 
her back, and now that she's dead...even if Kenton comes back to 
life there's no guarantee she'll be the same Kenton we once knew. 
Especially given the Aztec legends and everything that happened 
with Dio Brando, which suggest that all this will lead to nothing but 
sadness and horror." 

It would. Lisa Lisa and the rest of them were fighting every 
day to prevent that. 

"What Steven's trying to do," I said, "Will almost certainly 
not pay for his sins, or honor Kenton's memory." 

I remembered what my mother had said seven years ago, on 
La Palma. 

You should stay, too. This story concerns not just the 
Joestar family, but all mankind. 

Wind Knight's Lot may be a small country town, but even 
then the reason almost everyone had been turned into a zombie in a 
single night was because once a zombie drank your blood or ate 
your flesh you turned into a zombie, too. And that infection spread 
with terrifying speed. That was the reason the Hamon masters had 
ordered the villagers not to leave their homes when the Antonio 
Torres incident was going down on La Palma. 

"Tell me, Jorge. What should I do? My family have lost 
their minds, and I can't stop them. I hate to say it, but most of the 
Motorize fortune is under their control, and I can't stop them using 
it how they please." 

"...I'll start by contacting Lisa Lisa...Elizabeth Straits. I'll 
warn her about what's going on here. And I'll ask her to take care of 
your father and Steven gently. Don’t worry, Darlington. How can I 
put this...the group Elizabeth Straits is with is made up entirely of 
amazing people, and they're ah people you can trust. I'm sure they'll 
be able to help your father and Steven see reason." 

"Really? Are you sure, Jorge? They won't let Kenton turn 
into a zombie?" 

"I'm sure." Even if she did turn into a zombie, Lisa Lisa 
would destroy her in the blink of an eye. "You don't need to be 
scared of anything like that." 

A shudder ran over Darlington, and she burst into tears. 
"Thank god! I was so scared. I can't tell you how much!" 

I considered putting my arms around her suddenly frail- 
looking shoulders, but decided against it, striking a cheerful tone. 

"Ha ha ha, what a coincidence I happened to take a picture 
of Steven's plane and stop by just in time!" 

Why today? Darlington had said, but wasn't it a good thing 
I'd come today? 

"That's not what I meant," Darlington said, but before she 
could say anything else a car pulled up out front, and when she saw 
it she hastily wiped her tears. 

A tall man got out of the car, greeted Faraday, and strode 
into the house as if he owned the place, calling out, "I'm home, 
Dar!" Home? 

Dar? I thought only Steven and Kenton called her that. 

"Let me introduce you, Jorge," Darlington said, smiling, and 
rising to greet the man coming down the hall and making his 
leather boots squeak loudly on the hardwood floor. 

"Oh, Dar! I went to put a bouquet on the cliff tops, say a 
prayer, and let your mother know our good news!" he said as he 
stepped in. He was a rather handsome man, of a significantly more 
impressive build than my own, and I was instantly in a bad mood. 
Was this because I'd already guessed who he must be? 

"Oh, we have company? I do apologize," he said with a 
pleasant smile I found infuriating. 

"William, this is Jorge Joestar," Darlington said. "Jorge, this 
is my fiance, William Cardinal." 

Cardinal's eyes went wide, then he smiled broadly and held 
out his hand. "Ohhh, you're Mr. Jorge Joestar! Well met, sir. What 
brings you here today?" 

I had nothing to say to him. "I heard of your engagement, 
and came to congratulate you both. Congratulations." I said, and 
shook his big, thick hand. 

"Oh? Well, thank you very much." 

With the handshake complete, neither one of us said another 
word. We both knew already we had nothing to say to each other. 

If ft 

"Um, Jorge, thank you very much for coming," Darlington 
said, breaking the silence. "I'll see you to the door." 

"Oh, mm." 

Darlington went out in the hall, and Cardinal came with us, 
apparently not needing an invitation. "Jorge, you'll come to our 
wedding, won't you?" 

Hunh? "...sorry, but I think I'd better not. Given my...history 
with this family, I doubt I'd be very welcome." 

"True enough!" Cardinal chuckled. I cringed, but whatever. 

I greeted Faraday at the door, and as I stepped outside 
Cardinal said, "Since you said it do tend to be a bad 
influence, here. Could I ask that you not ever visit here again? 
We've got enough work today rebuilding the Motorize name, and as 
grateful as Dar is for your friendship, from this point on we've got 
to do this as a couple, you see." 

I turned around and looked at Darlington, but she wouldn't 
meet my eye. All the power I'd felt from her when I’d arrived had 
vanished into thin air, and she was dithering like someone else 
entirely. Cardinal put his hand on her shoulders, and said, "Right, 

Dar? What's wrong? You seem out of it. Are you tired? Get it 

Then Darlington said, "Oh, heh heh heh, sorry," and smiled 
and got 'it' together. "Thank you for everything, Jorge. Both our 
houses have seen too much tragedy, but personally you still have 
my trust. Goodbye, Jorge Joestar. Give my best wishes to your 

Her words sounded like the heir to the house, but the 
strength had left her eyes. But I said nothing. It was her family, and 
her life. 

I gave a quick wave, and left the Motorize manor. 

I went home, called mother at work, and had her contact 
Lisa Lisa. About ten minutes later the phone rang. Lisa Lisa 
wouldn't tell me where she was, but I told her what Darlington had 
told me. "I don't know anything about this man Cardinal, but we're 
already watching the Motorize men. It'll be fine. Frankly, the fact 
that he has his own airplane design might come in handy." 


"Jorge, it's still a ways off, but war is coming." 

"Yeah. The RAC has been working with the Navy, and soon 
enough they'll officially be the Navy's airborne division." 

"...don't die, OK?" 

"I won't," I said. "Planes won't be used for anything but 
scouting, anyway, and how exactly are they going to knock us out 
of the sky? Only way we'll crash is sloppy maintenance." 

Shortly after that the English Royal Flying Corps was 
officially created, and I joined the Royal Naval Air Service. While 
learning how to fly a hydroplane I took part in training on how to 
take off and land from the deck of a new type of warship, which I 
thought went pretty well. Once I put my hands on the flight stick I 
stopped thinking about anything complicated or difficult, and 
focused. Being dumb was a great help. But while plenty of guys 

could take off and land on a ship at harbor the only pilots who 
could do that from the deck of an aircraft carrier sailing across the 
ocean were me and Jim Graham, so I was just thinking that aircraft 
carriers weren't going to be all that useful when the world went to 

The heir to the Austro-Hungarian Empire's throne was killed 
by a Serbian, and they declared war against Serbia. Germany and 
Austria had joined the Triple Alliance, and while dealing with 
Serbia also invaded Belgium intent on swiftly taking down France, 
but since they'd suddenly attacked a neutral country England also 
joined the war, and since Russia mobilized far faster than expected 
Germany demanded that Austria deal with the Russian assault and 
Austria plunged into chaos. The third member of the Triple 
Alliance, Italy, initially ignored Austria's territorial dispute before 
eventually joining England and France. At the same time the 
Ottoman Empire, itself locked in a territorial dispute with Russia, 
threw in with Germany and Austria, and since Japan and England 
had signed a treaty, Japan joined the war, and the British Empire's 
territories Canada, Australia, and New Zealand all pitched in and 
quite literally all the world was now mixed up in this war. 

So I fought, too. 

The main duty of the Royal Naval Air Service was finding 
enemy ships and submarines, and at first we flew hydroplanes in 
pairs watching the English Channel, but since Jim and I could take 
off and land on an aircraft carrier we got moved to the great wide 
open North Sea. 

For the first two weeks I was partnered with a navigator 
named Frank Demarast, but he kept muttering, "It's your fault I'm 
out here risking my life," over my shoulder the whole time we flew 
and eventually it got to me and I punched him the moment we 
landed and fired his ass. Frank seemed grateful, though. 

Certainly there were a hell of a lot more enemy ships. But 
finding them saved a lot of English lives. The ship's guns almost 
never hit, and compared to the trench warfare the army was bogged 

down in we got to be up in the sky and free and enjoy ourselves so 
what the hell was so damn scary, I thought, but fine, he was scared, 
and I couldn’t be bothered getting another navigator so I started 
flying alone and doing some pretty crazy shit. 

I piled bombs in Frank's empty seat, and used them to 
bombard German ships from the air. I knew they were actively 
developing proper bombing equipment, but until that reached me I 
wanted to do what I could. Unless you did something really stupid 
planes weren’t about to get hit by any ships, and from the sky 
battleships looked super unprotected. So I tried tossing bombs out 
of the plane as I flew over them and like I expected, they hit and I 
was officially getting results. I was pleased. It was much better to 
have me blow them up than having English ships fight them head 
on with lots of casualties. 

Jim disagreed. "We should just do what we're told to do. If 
we fly right over a battleship we're much more likely to get shot 
down, and there's no glory in death." 

Hmmm...that way of thinking was kinda shitty considering 
we'd already earned a relatively safe job flying planes. I said as 
much and Jim and I had the fight we'd never quite got around to 
before the war started. I mean Jim didn't say that shit lightly, and 
only felt comfortable speaking his mind on the matter because it 
was me he was talking to, but it still felt cowardly to think like that 
considering all the other English soldiers out fighting for England 
right now. If we weren't motivated to protect people we'd never 
make it through this war, I thought. I felt pretty smug about it, but a 
single bullet ended that. 

Bang. I was flying Star Shooter - a hydroplane I’d made a 
few modifications to, and there was now a hole open in the right 
side of it. I stared at it, confused. How had I been shot from the 

Had Jim finally snapped and turned that pistol of his on me? 
I looked to my right, and saw a German Albatros headed right 
towards me, and the machine gun barrels on both sides of the body 

spit fire again. Bratatatata! They hit. Not me, but Jim's Simone 
hydroplane; he'd been just above me on my left, saw the Albatros 
attacking before I did, and tried to gain some distance. His wings 
had gone diagonal, and the hail of bullets licked the length of them. 

The body broke in half before the wings broke up, cracking 
like an egg and dropping Jim like a yolk towards the ocean below, 
so I quickly ducked Star Shooter under him and caught him in mid¬ 
air. When he fell on the pile of bombs behind me I gulped a second 
but they didn't blow up and I didn’t have time to worry about it 
anyway. I had to dodge the wreckage of Simone as it fell all around 
me, and for a moment I caught the eye of Jim's navigator, Peter 
Fraiser, as he and the rear seat fell with the tail. Peter was trying to 
stand up out of his seat like he planned to jump over to my plane 
and I wanted to catch him but I had to move away from him to 
avoid the remains of Simone's wings and we both knew I wouldn't 
make it in time even if I tried to come back for him. 

"Jorge, he's coming back!" Jim roared behind me, so I made 
a sharp turn, found the Albatros coming at us, and yanked my stick 
to avoid the gunfire. The Albatros turned and followed close on my 
tail, so I rocked the plane left and right, making it hard to get a bead 
on a feint, but the moment the Albatros started getting 
comfortable with our speed I suddenly shot upwards. I kept that 
nose up as the sky flipped up side down and we were flying upside 
down. "Augghhhhh!" Jim yelled behind me. The bombs in the back 
seat went flying out, bouncing off Jim as he tried desperately not to 
fall out. 

I'd never even tried to fly upside-down, and even though I 
pulled it off the Albatros calmly made a sharp turn and parked itself 
on our tail as I righted us so I told Jim to throw a bomb at it. "I'll 
never hit it!" Jim shouted. "Just throw them! They don’t have to 
hit!" I yelled back, and brandished my pistol. "Arghhh," Jim yelled, 
not following my drift at all. He threw a bomb, and I shot at it. 
Bang! Bang! Bang! 

The bomb exploded in the air with a tremendous boooom 

right next to the Albatros, and the blast and fire knocked it 
sideways, and must have burned the pilot badly, since the plane 
dropped away without correcting course. 

"Jesus...can you do that again?" Jim asked. Because there 
were two more Albatros planes coming towards us. 

"Nope! Let's run for it." We had to get this information to 
our forces. 

But these Albatros fighter planes not only had the machine 
guns timed to the propellers so they could fire through them 
without hitting, they were also much faster than the old models, and 
they caught us in no time. 1 couldn’t dodge the volleys fast enough 
and they blew off my tail wing. 

"Fuckers!" Jim yelled, and this time threw a bomb and tried 
to shoot it with his own pistol, but before he could pull the trigger 
the enemy bullets hit it and booooom the two Albatros planes shot 
straight into the blast radius, came out on fire, and in the ensuing 
panic tapped wings, lost their balance, crashed into each other 
again, got stuck together, and fell away, still entangled. 

We watched this in silence, then both broke up laughing, 
"...ha ha ha!" "That was lucky!" 

1 turned around and shook hands with Jim, then stared at the 
tail of Star Shooter, with its missing wings. Jim followed my gaze. 
"Well," 1 said. "Emergency landing it is." 

Jim shrugged. "In the middle of the North Sea? Guess that's 
better than what Peter got." 

"...sorry about Peter." 

"Heh. Nobody could have saved him. I should be thanking 
you. Seriously, man. I owe you one." 

"If your plane hadn’t split open so perfectly 1 could never 
have done it, and even then I just happened to be in exactly the 
right place." 

"Yeah..." Jim was starting to shake. 1 turned back around, 
facing forward. So, 1 thought. How close to our forces would I be 
able to get? 

Not at all close, I decided instantly. That first shot from the 
side had scratched the fuel tank, and the fuel gauge showed we 
were out of petrol...and no sooner did I notice than we ran out 
completely, and the engines sputtered, and the propellers stopped. 
We were still 800 meters up. We were in for a long fall. '’It'll be 
fine! I'll land this thing on the water, no problem!" I shouted. "I'm 
getting rid of these bombs," Jim yelled, and started throwing them 
overboard. One after another they vanished into the low-lying 
clouds around us. Everything around us was white. Except... 

Between the silhouettes of the unmoving propeller blades 
was a tiny face. A face with no eyes. It was grinning at me, its 
mouth filled with fangs. There was petrol running down its chin 
like drool. 

We hadn't run out of fuel. He'd sucked it all out. 

The little monster gargled the petrol, cackling, "Hey, Jorge 
Joestar...I'm afraid you're gonna die here. And after you're dead, I'm 
gonna kill your family, too. Their deaths will be even worse than 

Kee hee hee hee hee hee! 

The laugh was so shrill it made Jim squeal behind me. He 
could see it, too. See the monster that knew my name. It had brown 
skin, unruly brown hair, and the way it was grinning at me...I knew 
him, I thought. 

Who was he? I grabbed the camera I kept in my seat, and 
pressed the shutter. 


A moment later, we were out of the clouds, could see around 
us, and the face between the propellers was gone. Neither of us said 
a word at first. 

"Uh, saw that, right?" I asked, still peering 
through the viewfinder at the propellers. He didn't answer. "Hey! 

Did you see it?" I asked, turning around. Jim Graham's mouth was 
wide open, his eyes rolled back, and he was clawing at his throat 
with both hands. 

"!" He was forcing fragments 

of sound out, but there was something stuffed inside his throat, 
preventing him from talking. 

What!? Was he having a seizure!? "Jim! What's going on!? 
Hey!" I shouted. Jim’s eyes locked on to mine and for a second I 
had hope, and then he shoved his own hand all the way into his 
mouth, shoved it even farther back, grabbed something and yanked 
it out...his own tongue. Jim seemed too far gone to know that, and 
kept pulling with all his strength, stretching his tongue until he'd 
pulled it a good 30 centimeters out of his mouth. It was no longer 
just his tongue; he was now pulling out flesh that belonged inside 
his throat. But Jim wouldn't stop pulling it. "Hey...Jim! Stop! What 
are you doing!? Stop!!" 

What the fuck!? What was he doing!? I was starting to 
panic, but Jim didn't give a shit, he just grabbed the mess of flesh 
with both hands and pulled even harder, and everything inside came 
out like potatoes from the ground. One hand kept pulling while the 
other was squeezing everything that came out, and then I noticed 
that he'd even managed to pull out part of his own ribs, and I nearly 
threw up. Jim's eyes had rolled back in his head again, but there 
was blood coming out his eyelids and his ears and his nose and he 
looked totally dead except his hands wouldn't stop moving. When 
his stomach and small intestines tried to follow his esophagus out 
they caught on his jaw, but he tried to force them out anyway, and 
he pulled so hard his stomach ripped in half and his hands snapped 
forward flinging blood and bits of organs in my direction. I turned 
quickly away but they spattered across the back of my head and 
dripped down my neck and this was so unbelievably gross I 
couldn't stand it any more and puked all over my cockpit. Bleergh. 

Tears running down my face, I threw up every last thing in 

my stomach. Behind me, Jim's hands were still moving. He was 
now alternating hands, ripping out pieces of the organs jammed in 
his mouth, tossing them out into the air. 

My plane was about to crash, and what was happening 
behind me was so horrific I could barely think straight. For a 
moment, I wondered if Jim and I should just plunge straight town 
into the ocean to our deaths, but I thought better of it. 

Fuck dying here. 

My mind cleared. Even since the war started there’d been a 
part of me that was OK dying in combat, that accepted the notion 
that there was honor in a death like that, but that was bullshit. 
Maybe there were places where it was worth dying, but this wasn't 
fucking one of them. 

I stopped watching Jim throw his insides out into the ocean. 
This was no time to let my mind be clouded by that madness. I 
faced forward, fixed my eyes on the rapidly approaching ocean 
surface, and kept them there. 

Splat, slurp, schluuunk! Mixed into the constant sound of 
flesh being dragged out of him, I could heard a voice whispering, 
"Jorge...Jorge, Jorge, me..." Wait. Wait for now. 
The Star Shooter's about to hit the ocean! 

At the last second, I lifted the nose of the Star Shooter, 
touching the wing-less tail to the water's surface. Gently, softly, 
quietly. The Star Shooter ran across the water's surface, water 
spraying behind it, and I gradually let the weight of the plane settle 
on the water until the floats on either side had touched down. If the 
sea had been flat like a mirror, it would have been an absolutely 
beautiful landing, but the waves rocked me, wham, thunk, and each 
blow forced me to yank my stick up and down, trying to soften the 
blows. In time, we slowed down, and finally came to a stop. 

I'd touched down successfully. I took a deep breath, let it 
out, and then turned to see why Jim had gone silent. He was curled 
up in the round seat, not moving at all. There was blood all over the 
floor and seat and the plane around it. Bits of flesh were stuck here 
and there, clinging to the walls and sliding down the instrument 

I stood up, reached over, and put my fingers to Jim's throat, 
checking for a pulse. There was none. He wasn’t breathing, either. 
He was dead. Staring at the body of my friend, I sat down on the 
armored plate in front of the cockpit, wondering just what in the 
hell I could do next. I should have been celebrating the landing with 
Jim, but now I was all alone. 

The surface of the North Sea was dark, the sky was blue, the 
clouds high above, the breeze crisp but gentle. 

My second time adrift, I thought, but no, that wasn't quite 
right, the first time I hadn't even been born yet. Perhaps I'd listened 
to mother's story a little too intently. It must have been very hard 
for her to deal with vampire Dio while holding baby Lisa Lisa and 
hiding my father's head, but here I was bobbing all alone. Which of 
us had it worse? There was no comparing our experiences, and no 
point in comparing them. Mother survived her experience...then I 
started wondering why it had even occurred to me to try comparing 
out experiences, and I realized it was because I was confident that I 
would survive mine, too. 

Why did I think that? There could only be one answer. 

Lisa Lisa. I had her. 

I waited confidently for Lisa Lisa to get here, soaking in the 
sun. That made me sleepy, so I went to sleep. The sound of an 
airplane engine woke me. 

Vrrooooooooom...the sound of the propellers woke me, but I 
didn't open my eyes. She'd come, I knew, and the satisfaction of 
finding out that I'd been right about came as a mild surprise, but got 
ignored because I'd been listening to engine sounds a while now 
and knew what they all sounded like but this engine wasn't one I'd 

ever heard before. If it wasn't English or French did that mean it 
was German? An enemy? I opened my eyes and looked up to see a 
hydroplane coming towards me of a unique shape I knew at once. 
I'd seen the designs for it pinned to the wall in his workshed. This 
was the Motorizing, the plane Steven Motorize designed. 

It looked like a two-seater and was actually a single-seater 
but there were two people aboard and the one in back was clearly 
Lisa Lisa. And the other...? 

436 We're already watching the Motorize men. It'll be fine. 
Frankly, the fact that he has his own airplane design might 
come in handy, Lisa Lisa had said. I found my fists curling up, my 
body tense. 

As Motorizing got low enough, Lisa Lisa clearly couldn't 
wait any more, and leaned out of her, wait, she straight up 
climbed out of it holding onto the side of the plane with only one 
hand and foot, the end of her dress flapping in the wind for a 
second before she jumped off about five meters over the water. 

"Eeek!" My heart leaped to my throat but she splashed 
down calmly...without much splash at all. She just slid along the 
surface of the water, kicking up spray as she killed her momentum, 
then stood up and came running across the water like an ice skater. 
Directly towards me. "Jorge! Are you alright!?" 

As I gaped at her, vroooooooommm the Motorizing turned 
over my head, as if hesitant about landing. I looked up. The man in 
the cockpit lifted his goggles, and met my gaze. I couldn’t read his 
expression, but it was Steven. Ten years older. He'd lost a little 
weight and there was a harshness around his eyes, but he was the 
same dude I'd been so into planes with. 

Steven and I just looked at each other, making no attempt at 
greeting. We just made sure the other was alive, that we could each 
see the other, and that we’d be able speak to each other again. 

Steven lowered his goggles, and the Motorize began slowly 
descending, and touched down. How I felt as I watched this I still 
don't really know. Was I mad at him for framing me for Kenton's 

murder, sad because he’d betrayed me, or honestly glad to see him 

And when I looked at Steven and instantly thought that he 
was innocent after all...was that just because I wanted him to be? 
Since meeting John Moore-Brabazon and getting into cars and 
airplanes I'd had fun with a lot of different people but even now I 
still tended to latch onto friends, which meant I might still be 
fixated on Steven. 

"Jorge! You aren't hurt, are you? Thank god!" Lisa Lisa said, 
throwing her arms around me, tears in her eyes. He'd brought her to 
me, he'd brought Lisa Lisa to me, so did that mean I could trust 
him? "Lisa Lisa," I said. "How'd you know where I was?" 

"Um, there's a Hamon master named Tom Petty. He can use 
Hamon to predict what will happen in the future." 

"Oh...he can see the future? He's always right?" 

" far as I know." 

"So why'd he do that for me?" 

"Heh heh. It wasn't free, you kn ow. There's something we'll 
need you to do. But first, you want to talk to Steven, right?" 

"." Did I? I was a little scared. It felt more like I sort of 

had to talk to him now that he was here. 

"I'm sorry I just brought him like this," Lisa Lisa said, as if 
reading my mind. "But this morning Tom Petty suddenly told me 
he'd predicted you’d crash, and the only pilot I could get to fly me 
to a battlefield right away was Steven." 

That meant Steven and Lisa Lisa had been close by this 
morning. "You seem close. What are you and Steven up to?" 

"I'm sure Steven will tell you. ...Jorge, I know it's been a 
while, but you're still the only man for me." 

And with that, Lisa Lisa kissed me on the cheek, a gentle 
kiss without any Hamon, and it occurred to me we hadn't kissed on 
the lips since that temple underground in Rome and maybe it was 
time we started being more grown-up...and then I got really carried 
away but part of me was also going eh? With Lisa Lisa? Really? 

But this was no time to get lost in that mess again. The sound of 
those propellers was slowing down as Steven taxied the Motorizing 
over to us. 

What should I say? Was it even my job to speak first here? 
Steven was the one who'd killed Kenton and framed me for it and 
gone into hiding. 

In the end, he spoke first. "Been a while, Jorge. Sorry I 
couldn't get in touch with you. After you got arrested I started 
chasing the real killer, trying to prove you were innocent. Then 
three years later I was a suspect, and the police were looking for 
me, so I couldn't go back to England. father also suggested 
that if I were arrested, they'd force a guilty verdict so they could 
secretly hand me over to the military and do experiments on me. 
But let me make one thing absolutely clear here, Jorge. I did not kill 
Kenton. She was killed by a Spanish-speaking midget with no 

I had no idea what to say. He kept talking. "Kenton had been 
telling me about him for months before he killed her. She said when 
she flew while the clouds were dark or it was raining, a monster 
would show up. She said it would laugh at her, say things that she 
thought might be in Spanish, and do things to her or the plane. But I 
never caught a glimpse of it, no matter how closely I watched. She 
swore it had shown up right in front of me. The cloth on the glider 
tore, screws or nuts on the wings came loose, sometimes there were 
even scratches on her body, and it was obvious that something was 
going on while she was flying. But neither of us took it all that 
seriously. I think these wings of mine made us used to weird shit 
like that." 

Weird shit? 

Jesus, what this thing had done went way beyond weird shit. 

I remembered trying to repair Motorizing 5 after pulling that out of 
the water at the bottom of those cliffs. I'd found two sets of four 
claw marks. The day before Kenton died. I'd totally forgotten about 

Steven went on. "But one day Kenton picked the words 
"Horhe Joestar" out of the monster's Spanish muttering. She 
thought that must mean you, Jorge. She didn't know much Spanish 
but she could tell what the monster was saying was insulting, 
maybe even a curse of some kind. And as your friend, Kenton 
wouldn't stand for that. She got mad, and yelled at it, and it turned 
its empty eyes on her and said, 'You're going to die,' in English, and 
then it vanished. That didn't scare Kenton at all. She just got mad, 
and worried about you. She insisted we had to tell you about this 
the next time we saw you, warn you a weird monster was taking 
your name in vain and up to something evil. It was raining the next 
day, and she was called to the cliffs by someone using your name, 
but you weren't there, and she was murdered. And you were framed 
for it. Jorge, when I got to the cliffs it was standing over Kenton 
with a knife it its hand. I saw it vanish over the edge of the cliff." 

A child with no eyes that spoke Spanish. 

The thing Faraday had seen that day in the Motorize Manor 
was what had killed Kenton...? It had cursed my name? It had 
framed me for the murder? 

Hey, Jorge Joestar.,.I'm afraid you're gonna die here. 
And after you're dead, I'm gonna kill your family, too. Their 
deaths will be even worse than yours. 

So I wasn't imagining that? 

"So...what's this about you trying to bring Kenton back to 


Steven nodded as if expecting the question. "Dar told you? 

Yeah, truth is, we were looking into the possibility. But then Lisa 
Lisa came along, and I saw a real zombie...and knew it would be an 
unforgivable sin to make Kenton into one of those horrible things." 

So we all climbed into Steven's Motorizing and headed for 
France. We had to leave Star Shooter behind, and look for a chance 
to file a report about it and Jim's body. Steven flew the plane, and I 
sat behind him with Lisa Lisa on my lap, my arms around her. Her 
face was bright red, and mine felt like it was on fire. Lisa Lisa and I 
kept talking, only partly to distract ourselves. I told her all about the 
rumors of the eyeless midget that had been running around the 
English Air Service. Lisa Lisa and Steven both thought long and 
hard about this. At length Steven asked, "Did it say anything about 

"Nobody ever said anything like that. Very few people even 
mentioned it speaking Spanish. It always just shows up out of 
nowhere while they're flying, breaks something, and then vanishes. 
Sometimes it speaks Spanish, sometimes it doesn't; the height 
varies from gnome-like 50 centimeters to the normal child-sized 
one I saw. And lately the descriptions of it vary as well. Some say it 
looks like a lizard with giant ears, others say it has horns growing 
out of its head; the only common ground is that it always has dark 
pits where its eyes should be." 

"...the descriptions vary lately? H mm . How many stories in 
all?" Lisa Lisa asked. 

"I couldn't even begin to count. Some days it appears in 
multiple places. Some people have started calling them gremlins. 
No idea where that name came from." 

"In that case, there has to be more than one gremlin." 

"Undoubtedly. I don't know what's going on with the French 
pilots or other countries, but the English are flying planes over the 
channel and over the North Sea, and there are witnesses from all 

"Right...and these reports started happening all at once, all 
over the place? Or did it seem like they started in one place and 
spread out?" 

" that you mention it, I'm not sure. I first heard 
about it from someone who'd been sent from the Royal Aero Club 
to train with the Navy." 

"But that was after 1910, right?" Steven asked. "Kenton saw 
it back in 1905. These things have been in the skies over Westwood 
for years." 

"When did you start flying?" Lisa Lisa asked. 


"Did you see it then?" 

" think it was around March in 1905....that's the first 
time Kenton started talking about them, anyway. March, yeah." 

"Jorge, you moved to England from the Canary Islands in 
February 1905," Lisa Lisa said, pointedly. 


The implication there left Steven speechless, so I said, "And 
in October of that year, the evening Kenton was killed, he was in 
the Motorize Manor." 

Steven nearly lost it when I told him Faraday's story. "What 
the...!? Why the hell didn't he ever tell us!?" 

Almost certainly because he couldn't believe what he'd seen. 
It was a child with no eyes, after all. Thinking back on it now I 
believe that was something evil in the shape of a child. And since 
I vanished immediately afterward, Faraday dared not speak of it. 
I've been too terrified. Much too terrified. 

"That settles it. This thing is definitely after you, Jorge," 
Fisa Fisa said. "If is speaks Spanish, it must have followed you 
from the Canary Islands." 

A monster child with no eyes!? 

When we finally reached France, the Hamon masters were 

waiting for Lisa Lisa, and they led us to their secret underground 
lair. It was close to the German border, right in the heart of the 
fighting, but the Hamon masters were all totally calm about, as if it 
didn't concern them, which really drove home that they were 
fighting something else entirely. 

I handed over my camera, asked them to get the contents 
developed, and while we were waiting for that, I was introduced to 
a bald Tibetan Man named Ngapoi Ngawang Tom Petty. 

The moment he laid eyes on me, he called me by name. 

"Jorge Joestar." 

"Nice to meet you, Master Tom Petty." 

"You have entered my dreams many times now. To me, it 
feels as if we have met many times before. It is an honor to meet 
you in person." 

An honor? "I'm just a soldier." 

"You are Jonathan Joestar's son." 

Oh, he met my Dad? Instantly I became obnoxiously proud. 
"I hear he was quite a man." Even as a severed head he was oddly 

But Tom Petty just laughed. "A man? He was barely a man 
at all. He was a spoiled boy, weak willed, not very smart, and prone 
to taking the easy way out. But he had a glimmer of courage. Jorge 
Joestar, it can be very difficult to summon even a modest amount of 
courage in the face of overwhelming fear. When fear left the rest of 
us frozen to the spot, trying not to piss ourselves, he had the wild 
courage to take one step forward, and say something rude. And you 
seem to have inherited that courage." 

"Ehhhhhh....?" I was genuinely surprised. "I couldn't begin 
to do what my Dad did." 

Fighting one on one with a vampire that had just slaughtered 
a bunch of cops, throwing himself into a village where nearly the 
entire population had just been turned into zombies? No fucking 

"Courage is not a thing that shows up in your imagination," 

Tom Petty said. "It's something you squeeze out of yourself when 
face to face with genuine fear, terror that leaves every part of you 
shaking like a leaf." 

I still was absolutely sure I had no such courage, but since 
he was clearly offering encouragement, there was little point in 
continuing to deny it. 

"Uh...then I'll do my best," I said, and attempted a Tibetan 
style bow, putting my hands together and lowering my head. Then I 
went to borrow a phone. I got in touch with the English Naval Air 
Service, gave my name, and was forwarded on. 

"Jorge Joestar, where the hell are you?" the man on the other 
end roared, to my surprise. I'd heard this voice before, but it wasn't 
the officer I usually reported to. 

I ignored his question, and asked, "Sorry, but who is this?" 

"You know who it is!" 

I don’t! 

"How out of it can the Joestar's only son be?" he roared, and 
at last I placed the loudmouth. I guess I did know. 

"Mister William Cardinal." 

"Sir William Cardinal, Mister Joestar." 

Fuckkk o fl'ITHTflTl'I'lf 1'ITIT what was this prick doing here? 

Sir continued, "As of today I am now the officer in charge 
of your unit. Answer my question. Where are you and what are you 
doing. Why did you abandoned an injured companion and run off 
on your own?" 

Hunh? "An injured companion? Who?" 

"Mister Jim Graham! Don’t try and play dumb!" 

Injured? "You mean, Jim's alive?" Even though he'd pulled 
his tongue and stomach and intestines out and thrown them into the 

"I told you not to play dumb, you coward! Jim Graham told 
us everything! You encountered three German fighters, surrendered 
immediately, abandoned Jim when he fell into the sea after shooting 
down two enemy planes, and left on an enemy ship!? You thought 

Jim was dead so you moved directly to spying for the enemy? Ha! 
You've got a lot of nerve!" 

What the fuck was he on about? We took out all three 
Albatros fighters, and Jim Graham himself took two of them out! 

"Either his memories are confused...or he's deliberately 
lying," I said. Why would Jim lie? Why would he lie in a way that 
put me in a tight spot? It made no sense. "No, I doubt he'd be lying. 
He'd lost his mind a bit, attempted suicide, and was quite badly 
injured. I can totally see the shock scrambling his memories a bit." 

"Suicide? He got scraped up a bit when he crashed into the 
ocean, but otherwise he's in great shape!" 

??? I didn't know what he meant. "Pardon me for suggesting 
this, but it is your first day on the job; is it possible you have Jim 
Graham confused with someone else?" 

"What!? Are you mocking me!?" 

"No, I just...I'll have to talk to Jim when he gets back to the 


"No need! Graham's already here! Our planes found him 
floating in the wreckage of the plane you abandoned! I'll put him 

Figuring this was better than having Cardinal shout in my 
ear any longer, I waiting for Graham to come on the line. 

"Jorge Joestar." It was definitely Graham's voice. 

"Jim? You're alive?" 

"No thanks to you. How could you leave me for dead?" 

"....!? What...Jim, what's going on?" 

"Shut up! You're a disgrace to the RFC! I'll happily testify to 
you being a filthy spy!" 

"What....!? Hey! I'd never abandon you if you were alive! I 
genuinely thought you were dead...!" 

"You thought I was dead, so you felt free to betray us! Your 
friends and your country!" 

What the fuck....was this not Graham at all? "Who are you?" 

"The friend you betrayed and left for dead, Jorge Joestar. 

The next time I see you I'll kill you like I would any other god 
damn Kraut." 


Click! He hung up on me. 

What was going on? 

I was still reeling when Lisa Lisa came over, and showed 
me a photograph. It showed a child with no eyes, and just was I was 
starting to pat myself on the back for taking such a clear picture, 
Lisa Lisa said, "You know this boy." 

Hunh? I froze. "Who?" 

I didn’t know any eyeless children. But that face did look 

"Did you forget? There's only one Spanish child who really 
had it in for you." 

I was speechless. 

"Your old bully, Antonio Torres," Lisa Lisa said. "Real name 
Anthony Hightower. Seriously, I never imagined that discarded skin 
lived on as a zombie." 

Lisa Lisa went on. "This explains a lot. How did the planes 
get damaged? The gremlins were hiding on the plane when they 
took off, or the empty skin caught the wind like a kite or a flying 
squirrel, flying to the planes. Or, mostly likely, both. It also 
explains why there were so many reports. Remember, Jorge, his 
mother abused him so badly his metabolism accelerated until she 
could peel off his entire skin every year, from his head to his toes, 
in one single peel." 

All cells in the human body are replaced every seven 
years; but our skin is replaced once a month - and in Antonio 

Torres' case, three days before June 16 th - Maria's customary 
skinning day - his skin cell production would speed up. 

"If he's kept that power as a skin zombie, and is still 
growing new skin, then every year, on June 16 th , skinning day, 
Antonio Torres is making copies of himself. The Torres case on La 
Palma happened in 1900. Fifteen years have passed, fourteen 
skinning days, and Antonio's copies have all made copies, doubling 
each time, so 2 to the 14 th power, leaving us with 16,384 asshole 
Antonios. More than enough to terrorize the 800 pilots the Naval 
Air Service has spread across the channel and the North Sea, 
wouldn't you say?" 

16,384 of that terrifying shitbag Antonio Torres? I damn 
near toppled over frothing at the mouth. 

Lisa Lisa thought for a moment, then said, "Hmm, but from 
what you said, the stories about these gremlins don't describe them 
consistently. Some are super short, some had totally different 
features...only thing they had in common was the holes where the 
eyes should be." 


"That might mean they weren't actually meeting the real 
Antonio while out flying, but were making up stories based on the 

".? How do you mean?" 

"When people are uneasy, they see things that aren't there, 
and not just illusions...they make it actually happen. Their fears 
manifest, and their plane gets damaged just as they imagined." 

"Hunh...? That doesn't seem possible..." 

"But it is. I mean, you and I met the same thing." 

"? What? When?" 

"In the underground temple in Rome. You remember that 

monster in the dark?" 

The gorilla spider? 


"I remember." 

"But do you think that actually existed?" 

"Didn't it?" 

"Yes, but I mean was it bom naturally into this world? How 
would something like that evolve?" 

"." Flustered, I remembered. Even then, I'd thought 

that Lisa Lisa's emotions had summoned the monster. But... 

"Nothing like that exists on the surface, and it wasn't 
something that should exist anywhere in the world. Yet it was there 
with us, underground." 

"Eh...then you believe our imaginations made that thing?" 

"No, not just our imaginations. Like my father said, that 
thing's been in the temple, protecting the treasure all this time. So 
people must have gone in there after it any number of times. One 
after another they added to it. Imagining what frightening things 
might be there in the dark with them, and it matched them, growing 
into a muscular spider with massive legs." 

".!?" Just remembering that monster was terrifying. It 

must have been real, after all. 

"And if human imagination follows similar patterns, that 
gorilla spider could exist in any dark place." 

You're seriously scaring me now. 

But the words got stuck in my throat and before I could beg 
her to stop Lisa Lisa kept thinking out loud. 

"Human fears mingle with their imaginations, and in time 

those give birth to actual threats...which explains one other thing. 
That church on La Palma in 1905, where all those villagers died 
together. Why? Because villagers who had lived through the Torres 
case were afraid something like that would happen again, and when 
they gathered together their fears fed off each other, leading to them 
all dying together. When scared people gather together, their 
amplified fear created the Mothman. But he didn't actually 
manifest. He was simply drawn on the walls of that locked room. 
As the last job of those who were dying.” 

My consciousness blurred as I remembered those horrifying 
drawings, scribbled with the ash and blood of bodies as they 
burned. Lisa Lisa's voice grew faint, sounding far away. "Humans 
have only just learned to fly. But now that they've created gremlins, 
I suppose from now on, any time scared people are flying they'll be 
attacked by an eyeless Antonio Torres. Ah ha ha. Amazing." 

I fainted. 

Chapter 12 
Rhinoceros Beetle 

When I told him Joseph Joestar had died of cancer two 
years ago. Cars said, "Oh... Luck always was on his side." 

"If he was still alive, would you have sought revenge?" I 
asked. "He'd be an old man, nearly a hundred years old." 

"I would indeed. After all, the man sent me into space 
thirty-seven times. I won't feel freed from that fate until things are 
settled between us. I've spent nigh eternity dreaming of placing a 
stone mask on that man, turning him into a vampire, having him 
devour other humans, and finally eating him myself." 

".? Stone mask?" 

"A tool that turns humans into a good source of energy and 
nutrition. Mere humans are hardly enough to satisfy our appetites. 
Turning them into vampires makes them far more appetizing, and 
drinking blood makes them young again, and much stronger. I'm 
sure Joseph Joestar would make a pleasingly delicious vampire." 

Desperately trying to look calm, I listened to Cars' terrifying mind reeling. A stone mask? That turned humans into 
vampires? Was that even possible? 

"Humans are a life form with possibilities," Cars said. "You 
can do almost anything if you simply tweak their brains a little. 
Changes to the brain change the electric currents. If the electric 
signals change, the blood changes. If the blood changes the bones 
and organs and skin and all the rest changes. Jorge Joestar, you are 
quite lacking in height compared to Joseph." 

Lacking !? I wasn't lacking! Certainly I was shorter than my 
grandfather, who was over 190 centimeters, but I was taller than 
the average Japanese man. As I thought this. Cars reached his hand 
out to my head. I froze, and his fingers slipped into my head, as 
easily as an airplane slips into a cloud. 

"Eeeek!" I squealed, but I was afraid I'd die if I moved so I 
had to stay perfectly still. 

"Don't worry, the brain has no capacity for pain," Cars said. 

and pulled his fingers out of my head, leaving no holes or any sign 
he'd reached inside me. Just as I was starting to feel relieved a 
weird sound came from my throat and my head snapped sideways 
of its own accord and I thought maybe that sound wasn't me 
swallowing but my neck breaking and then snap crunnch craaack 
all the bones in my body started twisting in all sorts of crazy 
directions, one after the other. But it only looked horrible. I could 
feel the vibrations running through me, but no pain. My knees and 
elbows bent backwards and my wrists spun the wrong way and it 
seemed obvious all my bones were breaking but apparently they 
weren't and I was fine. 

And I was about twenty centimeters taller.".!?" 

"See? I know the human brain," Cars said. "I can also make 
wings grow from your back." 

He started to reach his hand out again but I ducked under 
it. "I'm fine!" 

"Heh heh heh. Humans are a fascinating species. They seem 
like they are constantly striving to become something else, but 
they resist actual change. Most likely they simply enjoy imagining 
things. That is what I like most about the human race. They are the 
only ones who imagine, who create. Who make stories. When I 
was living underground I gathered the stories human had written, 
and read them. Humans are the only species that enjoy things that 
happen to others of their kind. At first I had no idea how they were 
enjoying it. Our brains had no concept of emotional investment, of 
putting ourselves in other's shoes. It wasn't easy to do. My race 
was complete as it was, and satisfied with that. And as a result 
they lacked ambition, made no progress of any kind, and lived a 
life of stagnation. But there's a difference between being actually 
sufficient and simply not knowing that something is insufficient. I 
came to understand that we weren't perfect. We just hadn't 
noticed that we weren't. We lacked even the ability to realize this 

fact because we had never compared ourselves to anyone else. 
Because we expected nothing from anyone else, and made do 
entirely with what we already had. But I noticed. Reading human 
writings and learning to enjoy them sent new electric impulses 
through my mind. I knew then that we had never stopped to think 
about our own potential. We were certain our species was the 
pinnacle of all things, and thus we had stopped progressing. This 
was the first time I ever felt dissatisfied. The first time I had ever 
questioned myself. That quickly let to frustration, to anger. And 
that frustration and anger pleased me. It was what you would call 
a eureka moment. I was furious with myself, and that was cause 
for celebration. It was proof that I, too, had potential." 

"And looking back, I was baffled by how I had ever lived 
without doubt, without dissatisfaction. We could never set foot in 
the light of the sun, could never know the world above during the 
day. We were trapped in the world underground. I couldn't bear it 
any longer. So I quickly began exploring my own potential. My own 
brain. Everything begins with the brain. To study our brains I began 
killing my own kind like we killed humans. I killed them, spit open 
their heads, and examined their brains; as I suspected, we had 
potential. In order to investigate closer, further, and with more 
certainty, I killed a great many more, but murder itself did not 
really pose a problem among my kind. After all, none of them 
cared for anyone but themselves. Sometimes I even killed in front 
of others of my kind, but nobody said anything. They had no 
emotional investment, no imagination, and I slowly realized just 
how appalling that was. If someone attempted to attack us, to 
conquer us, and we reacted with such disinterest, that could be 
the end of us. We would be annihilated by our own self- 
satisfaction and arrogance. Fearing for my own safety, I continued 

my studies, created the stone mask, stretched my brain, and 
conquered the sun. And not only that. I created a perfect body for 
myself, one superior to all other living things." 

" How is not dying?" 

"...there's such a lot of time." 

The question I'd asked absently hit directly to the heart of 
things, and Cars' whispered response had an air of such grim 
realism that I almost started laughing, but he was watching me 
suspiciously. Whoops. If he thought I was mocking him, he might 
get angry, and in such close quarters...well, it was about three 
times the size of the H. G. Wells, but there was so still nowhere to 
run, and I had no hope of standing against him. 

Hokay, I thought. Was it acceptable to allow this Ultimate 
Cars to reach Earth six months from now? 

Of course not. After all, he ate humans. He also turned 
them into vampires, but either way he was clearly the enemy of 

Sure, there wasn't a rule that humans shouldn't have any 
predators...yet at a human faced with such a threat, I felt obligated 
to do what I could. But this predator was immortal, so I couldn't 
just kill him. Could I somehow blow up the ship? No. He was smart 
enough to take the Giottos apart and build them into this ship in 
the blink of an eye. We didn't have any powerful explosives at 
hand, and even if we blew it up with Narancia's Das Boot, Cars 
would just kill Narancia the moment he realized what we were 
doing, and his Stand would vanish. As the thought crossed my 
mind there was a sonar ping from inside me. Narancia's Das Boot 
had snuck inside my body again, without Cars noticing. 

458 I glanced at Narancia. The boy's eyes were totally those of a 
mafia veteran. He was going to try something before he got eaten. 
With Das Boot? It could only move inside living tissue and Stands. 
Wait...part of this ship was made from the extra Cars. He could 

move through that. That must be how he got his submarine inside 
me without touching me. What else could he do? 

But before I could think of anything else, Cars said, "What's 


I looked over, and Cars had his hand inserted into his own 
chest. He felt around inside himself, then pulled his hand out with 
one of Narancia's submarines held in it. "Is this...a machine? Has 
human technology created boats that can go inside the body?" 

Oh, shit, I thought. Neither Narancia or I had even begun to 
understand how ultimate the Ultimate Thing really was. As if 
proving that. Cars sat down on the floor, and took Das Boot apart 
as we watched. His fingers moved with such unhesitating precision 
it was as if he had built it himself. First he heated the tips of his 
fingers like a blow torch, making a line across the outer walls, and 
after peeling them off he divided it into engineering sections, living 
quarters, control rooms, and missile storage. Tiny hands had come 
out of the tips of his fingers, and were turning and opening every 
nut and screw, leaving the entire plumbing system intact. It was 
like he stroked it and everything divided itself into pieces, lined up 
in neat rows on the floor, down to the individual spoons in the 
kitchen or the springs in the beds. When it came to the monitors in 
the control room or the computers in engineering, he not only 
took them apart, he also analyzed the structure. "Some sort of 
visual data," he muttered, putting the computer back together. He 
plugged the cord into the palm of his hand and opened his mouth. 
A beam of light emerged from the back of his throat, and a thin 
membrane appeared between his jaws, turning his mouth into a 
projector. The information flowing from his palm was transferred 
to a thin cellophane-like paper, and projected onto the wall across 
from him. 

It was a sexy photo of a naked woman. 

"Eh!? Hey! Aughhh!" Narancia shrieked, turning bright red. 

"Stoooooop! Stop it! What the fuck!? God damn it!" 

He was in such a tizzy he forgot ail about shame and fear 
and threw himself at Cars, trying to cover up the projector lens, 
but Cars easily lifted him, spun him around in the air, placed him 
flat on his back on the ceiling, and tied him there with cords and 
pipes. Below him, Cars kept on projecting. Ka-chunk. Ka-chunk. 
With an analog sound like an old slide projector, image after image 
displayed, every single one of the same naked girl. "I said stop! Yo! 
This is morally wrong, damn it! Please, Mr. Cars! I really fucking 
mean it! Aiiieeeee!" Narancia was so worked up now his nose had 
started bleeding, dripping down from the ceiling. I was definitely 
starting to feel sorry for him. 

"Cars, these might be personal memories. It's not the best 
manners to display someone's precious..." and no sooner had the 
words left my mouth then the next picture showed that girl on the 
cover of a magazine. "Hunh?" Wait, these were all pin-ups? 

"Auuuuughhhhhh! How dare you!? My Trish Cicciolina!" 
Narancia screamed. Now I placed her. Trish Cicciolina was a famous 
porn star who'd become a member of the Italian Parliament. She 
was famous even in Japan. She was middle-aged now, but these 
were all from when she was young. 

I glanced up, accidentally meeting Narancia's eye. "What, 
motherfucker? You'd better not tell anyone about this or I swear I'll 
fucking kill you! Let me down. Cars! Fucker! I get free of this I'll kill 
all of you!" he screamed, spraying spit and nose blood. "You can 
like whoever you want," I said, weakly. This did not appear to 
comfort him at all. "Shut up!" he roared. "Shut the fuck up! Fuck 
you all!" He then began trying to spit at me. 

I dodged, laughing. What the hell were we even doing? 

Cars turned his mouth projector back into his normal 
mouth, and said, "So this machine has come from inside your 
body? Have human bodies become capable of making machines?" 

"Die, Cars!" Narancia yelled, now just spitting furiously in all 
directions. Cars ignored this completely. He stood up, and reached 
his hand towards Narancia's belly. Afraid he'd die if Cars dissected 
him looking for the factory, I hastily yelled, "No, Cars! It exists as a 
machine, but is something else entirely." 

Cars stopped his hand, and looked at me. ".? What do 

you mean?" 

"It's called a Stand. It takes the form of a machine, but isn't 
one. I only just learned about them today myself, but Stands are... 
something ordinary humans don't have. A special power. Like 
telekinesis or telepathy, or psychic powers. But much more varied 
and complex. They can look like people, animals, plants, or 
machines. Only people who have Stands can see them or touch 
them. I just happen to have found someone who made it so I could 
see and touch Stands, but I'm not a Stand Master myself." 

"Then I can use Stands, too?" 

"Well...I'm guessing you can see and touch them because 
you're the ultimate lifeform..." I trailed off as Cars held his palm up 
in front of his chest, and a submarine surfaced from inside him. It 
was a different design from Narancia's Das Boot. 

".!" I looked up at the ceiling, and Narancia appeared 

to be shocked speechless. Cars had just spontaneously developed 
a Stand. 

"Hmm," Cars said, staring at his Stand. "I understand now." 

Whooops. We were fucked now, I thought. Everything was 
possible for the ultimate being. He could absorb anything, without 

"Since it's my own power, I can easily grasp what it can do," 
Cars said, and boooooooooommm an explosive sound echoed 
through every inch of my body. It was so loud I covered my ears 
but since the noise was inside me I couldn't block the sound. "It 
seems you really don't have a Stand," Cars said, and I was relieved 

my ear drums had survived what I suddenly realized was an 
extremely loud sonar. My ears were still ringing. This was nuts. 

"Unh...!" I turned towards the groan, and saw Enrico Pucci 
writhing on the floor, clutching his hands to his ears, his face 
screwed up in pain. He must be getting the deafening sonar 
treatment, too. 

"Hmm, there is something in you," Cars said, striding over 
to him. Despite his injuries, Pucci tried to scramble away, but was 
moving too slowly, and there was nowhere to go. 

"" Cars ignored his hoarse pleas, bent over, and 
stuck his arm in Pucci's back. "Auughhh!" Pucci screamed, and Cars 
began dragging a humanoid Stand about the same size as Pucci out 
of his back by the neck. 

"Hmm," Cars said, examining it. "This looks like a man, but 
is no man...nor any animal...what is it...? Why are there letters 
written all over the surface of its skin?" 

"Gah...shit...shut up! Do it. White Snake!" Pucci yelled. His 
Stand turned and punched Cars in the cheek. Cars' head rolled 
sideways with the blow, and a disc popped out of his head, but not 
one or two, but a flood of them, bubbling out of his head, spilling 
ceaselessly onto the floor. 

Pucci froze to the spot, horrified. 

Even as more discs poured out of him, Cars turned back to 
Pucci, and said, "So your Stand's power. Fascinating. I 
understand it." 


Before I even had time to be surprised, a humanoid Stand 
emerged from Cars' back. It looked something like Pucci's White 
Snake, but it was bigger, and had three heads and six arms like a 
statue of Ashura. The middle arm on the right punched Pucci's 

face, and two discs came out. Cars looks mildly surprised. ".? 

Only two...?" Discs were still spilling out of his own head with no 

signs of ever slowing down. They were forming quite the pile. 

"Let's see..." Cars picked up one of Pucci's discs, and placed 
it inside his own forehead. "...I see. White Snake. A stand that can 
turn memories and Stand powers into discs and steal them, and 
control people by writing to the discs..." he said, once he'd finished 
reading Pucci's Stand disc. "Stop, please..." Pucci said. 

"How did you get this power," Cars asked. "Were you 
stabbed by a special arrow? Long ago, when I was on Earth, there 
were occasional people with special powers, and I made a tool that 
could pull those powers out of humans, a bow and arrow. I barely 
used it before I began slaughtering my own species. In theory, that 
bow and arrow can trigger a reaction; to protect their own lives 
from the fatal wound, their talents would blossom, the energy 
would heal the wounds, and they would discover special abilities 
previously hidden within them. Has something like that pulled this 
Stand out of you?" 

Without waiting for Pucci to answer. Cars pulled the 
memory disc out of him, knocking him out, and placed it in his own 
head. " seems my bow and arrow was not involved, but 
the theory is not wrong. 'The Devil's Palm'...while the body hangs 
between life and death only those with a Stand lurking within 
them will be saved." 

I had heard the legends of 'The Devil's Palm'. A holy spot 
somewhere in America, that moved itself from place to place, and 
those that wandered into it were either chosen, or died. 

Cars sighed. "But everything else is quite dull. There is 
nothing to be learned from human memories. They lack attention 
to detail, their thought patterns are shallow, and their recall is 
shockingly poor..." He reached up to pull the disc out. "Mm?" he 
said, pausing. "What...?" 

Then he took the disc out, slammed it back in Pucci's head, 
glanced at me, and laughed. 

"Thanks to him, six months will take four hours. Aren't you 
lucky?" Hunh? We both gaped at him, but he turned his attention 
back to Pucci, who had woken up again. "You there. I did not write 
a message on the outside of Giotto, and did not throw it down to 
Earth. Think on that. Who prepared the metal plate that killed your 

Hunh? Huuunhh?.what!? 

We'd all assumed the notes about the way to heaven had 
led us to the back of Mars, where we found the Giottos and Cars, 
and all of us, myself included, had assumed that was key to finding 
this 'Heaven', so this revelation threw me for a loop. But who else 
could have prepared that metal sheet with a message on it? Who 
had dropped that from the sky onto Pucci's house, and how? They 
hadn't just dropped it on his house, they'd wiped it from the face 
of the Earth. 

Pucci's home had vanished, replaced by a crater 
seventeen meters in diameter. 

Who else could do that? 

"Think about it," Cars said. "If I could throw a metal plate 
down to Earth, I'd have flown there myself. This is impossible. Even 
if the metal is treated to be heat resistant, there's no possible way 
a single metal plate could survive all the way from space to the 
surface without burning up. I know everything about the Giotto's 
heat shields. No matter what angle it entered the atmosphere, it 
would melt in the stratosphere. To begin with, they've obviously 
only applied the heat resistant treatment to the outside. The back 
of the plate is ordinary metal, and would melt away first. And 
they've even carved letters into the front of it. That would ruin 
whatever effect the treatment had. Why is it humans choose to 
blind themselves the moment things cease to make sense? Why 

can't you stop yourselves from being so stupid you ignored the 
facts that don't fit with your desire to believe this was a message 
from space?" 

But the strangest part was, nobody had noticed the 
meteor falling. The meteor had evaded both the Space Center 
and the Air Force radar. 

Funnier Valentine had mentioned that. That should have 
caught my attention. It was more than just 'strange'. 

But looking things over again, how could throwing an iron 
plate leave a seventeen meter crater? That seemed unlikely if it 
hadn't been traveling as fast as it would have if it was coming from 
outer space. But that's only if it was thrown normally. What if it 
wasn't thrown normally? 

Thrown by someone not normal using a not normal 
throwing technique. 

"Come, now! Remember the sky!" Cars said, annoyed by 
Pucci's silence. "Even with your pathetically low recall, you should 
be able to managed that much! Remember him!" 

".?" When Pucci just gaped at him, Cars spat, "Look," 

and turned his mouth into a projector again, beaming an image 
onto the wall. 

Ka-chunk. The evening sky, orange and purple mingled. A 
single dot against it. 

Ka-chunk. That dot enlarged, clearly human shaped. 

Ka-chunk. The humanoid form enlarged, but with the sun at 
his back his face and figure were in shadow, impossible to make 

Ka-chunk. The contrast adjusted, illuminating everything. 
The man floating in the air was muscular, with long limbs and a 
barrel chest, even features twisted in a wicked grin. 

I knew that man. 

No, I didn't. 

I don't know why I thought I did. 

He was white, and looked like no one I'd ever seen. Long, 
narrow eyes, a strong jaw, full lips, and three moles on his left ear. 
He was handsome, but there was something inherently evil about 
his face. His smile let us catch a glimpse of two long, sharp fangs. 
He didn't seem like a Stand Master...he didn't even seem like a 

The image on the wall vanished, and Cars laughed. "He's a 
vampire. What could my food source be plotting, sending me a 
spaceship and Joseph Joestar's grandson?" 

"Eh? I'm adopted. Not actually related to Joseph at all." And 
it wasn't this mysterious vampire who put me on the H. G. Wells, 
but Tsukumojuku. When I said so, Cars' White Snake appeared in 
front of me, fist clenched. Oh. He's going to hit me, I thought. But I 
didn't even have time to brace myself. 

Wham! Not only did my face turn, but my whole body 
followed it, and I went spinning through the air. He hit me so hard 
it's a wonder my neck didn't break. It was probably a good thing I 
didn't brace myself; going limp probably saved me. 

"I'd better check your memories, too..." Cars said. White 
Snake pulled the disc out of my head, and slotted it into Cars'. His 
relaxed tone belied the sheer force he'd used, but I lacked the 
energy to argue that point. My cheekbone appeared to be broken, 
and I couldn't touch it, and it was already super swollen. Both my 
shoulders were still injured, so I was pretty much hurting all over. 

I tried to squeeze the throbbing pain out of my mind and 

wonder why Tsukumojuku had sent me to Mars in the first place. 
Hey! I am your instrument. A person needs your help. I'll take you 
to them. That's all he'd said, but I still hadn't done anything here. 
All I'd done was meet Cars, and it sounds like he and Joseph 
Joestar had a history, but Cars couldn't be the person who needed 
my help. He wasn't a person... 

I thought that far, then I shook my head. Actually, my cheek 
hurt too much to shake, so I just did it in my mind. 

The reason I'd done nothing wasn't because the person 
who needed me wasn't here. I hadn't done anything because I 
hadn't tried to do anything. If I actually accomplished something 
then that would be useful to whoever it was who needed me. The 
journey Tsukumojuku had given wasn't over yet. And it seemed like 
this space trip might actually finish within the four hours we'd 
been given. I had no idea why. 

"Uh, Cars-sempai," I said. The blood in my mouth made a 
gross sound and I nearly started coughing on it but managed to 
stop myself and say again, "Cars-sempai, sorry, urn...can you heal 
me up? My body and head hurt so much I can't think straight." 

Cars didn't respond at all, so for a moment, just a moment, 
I managed to trick myself into turning to look at him. Even that 
slight movement felt like someone took a long harpoon and 
jammed it into my cheek and through my brain with such force it 
wound up sticking two meters out the other side and the pain of it 
left my vision blurry but I managed to recover and see Cars 
enjoying my memories. He was just staring at empty space, but I 
think he was enjoying my colorful life. 

"Yo, Carsy, don't ignore me!" 

Cars' eyes suddenly focused on me, and he grinned. "You 
sure waste a lot of time on stupid puzzles." 

Nah, they might looks simple from the results and solutions 
but that was just the Egg of Columbus and actually getting there 

was pretty dang hard. I would have argued that point all day but 
simply couldn't right now. "I'd like to think faster so if you could 
just heal me..." 

"In the end, you're just another human," Cars said, ignoring 
me again. "You see a mystery and think, 'How odd!' and put it on a 
shelf somewhere." 

Shuddup. "Even if I put things together after the fact, as 
long as I get there in the end, what does it matter? If I stopped to 
ponder every mystery I saw before collecting all the information I 
needed, I'd never solve anything..." I managed to spit out, but was 
there any point in arguing advanced detecting with the ultimate 

But to my surprise, Cars just said, "Hmm...makes sense," 
and then noticed my condition. "Mm? You can still think like that 
even without your memory disc? This isn't something learned 
through experience, but a creation of your innate intelligence? I 
see why they call you the 'deduction machine.'" 

I had a lot of ideas about where he'd pulled that from my 
memories but that was an insult critics of the detective novel 
genre used to dismiss the presence of the detective character...but 
that didn't god damn matter so I summoned the last bit of energy I 
had and spit out, "" and at last Cars heard me. 

"Heal you? Human healing is far too weak, and takes far too 
much time," he said, coming over and crouching down next to me, 
leaving my disc stuck in his head. "Remember this! The heal button 
is right here," he said, and stuck his fingers just to the left of the 
crown of my head but I couldn't actually see him doing this and I 
couldn't stick my fingers in my own brain anyway. Then my brain 
went bam and suddenly inflated, then squeezed itself tight like it 
was pumping something downwards and first the swelling on my 
cheek got way larger and the bones started making scraping 
sounds like they were rubbing against each other and the skin on 

my cheek came back and the swelling was gone and my bones 
moved back to normal and everything was slim again. My cheek 
was healed in an instant and then the swelling went down to my 
shoulders. Bam! Both shoulders went giant and round and the 
wounds yawned open but didn't hurt and didn't bleed. Pfffft a sort 
of wind came out of my body and when that stopped the wounds 
were closed and the swelling went down and my flesh and muscles 
and bones were all connected right like they'd always been. After 
healing my shoulders the swelling went all the way down the rest 
of my body like it was looking for other wounds and injuries to heal 
and finally ended up at my ass where it came out like a fart, pbbbt. 

I yelped, embarrassed, and jumped to my feet but my body was 
entirely back to normal, and I felt better than I had in years except 
that I was still too tall. 

"Cars, sorry, but can you put me back at my old height?" 

"?.isn't the view better?" 

Tch! "It wasn't bad to begin with, and my clothes don't fit 
any more, so I look like shit!" 

"You can always change your clothes." 

Says the half-naked man. But I didn't say that, and Cars 
reached out and stuck his hand in my brain again, and a moment 
later snap crunnch craaack my bones all broke the opposite 
direction from before and then I was my old height again. Mm, 
good. I felt like my head was a little larger than normal but it had 
always been on the big side. 

"OK," I said. Time to think. "Cars, can I have the disc back?" 

"It's more effective if I look at it." 

Gah. "But they're my memories," I said, and since a third of 
the disc was sticking out of Cars head I grabbed it and yanked it 
out. I was getting pretty bold. If he was gonna kill me it'd be over in 
an instant and that instant was always hovering over me and I had 
no way of predicting what would cause that instant to arrive so I 

just didn't give a shit any more. Even after he healed my wounds I 
couldn't exactly relax, here. 

But as I was putting the disc back in my head Cars said, "I 
already found him." 

"? Who?" 

"That vampire." 

" Where? In my memories?" 



"So I've met that vampire before?" 

"No. You simply saw a photo of him." 


"When you were seven, you were looking at an album of 
old photographs in the Joestar home, and it momentarily entered 
your field of vision." 

How the fuck was I supposed to remember that? I didn't 
even remember the album! 

Cars laughed at my dumbfounded expression. "Heh heh, 
like I said, your memories are more useful when I view them." 

Then Cars turned his mouth into a projector again and 
displayed my memory on the wall. 

Ka-chunk. A page of an album filled with black and white 

Ka-chunk. A close up of the largest photo on the page. It 
was apparently a picture from when the Joestars were living in 
America. It was a big house, with what looked like a large farmland 
outside. Three well dressed men were lined up outside the house. 
The middle-aged man in the center was sitting on a chair, and two 
boys stood behind him. All three were smiling. 

Ka-chunk. A close up of the boy on the left. Light colored 
hair, that looks soft to the touch. Long, narrow eyes, a sturdy chin, 
and full lips. 


He had a pleasant expression, and he was still young, not 
fully grown, of a much slighter build, but it was clearly the same 
person who we'd seen floating in the air looking evil as shit. 

Ka-chunk. The whole photograph displayed again. This time 
it also showed the note written under the photograph. A caption, 
written in English, that read, "1881, Joestar Estate." And three 
named, arranged in an upside-down triangle to match the 
positions of the three men. The middle-aged man in the chair was 
George Joestar. The boy standing on his right was Jonathan Joestar. 
And the boy in question was labeled Dio Brando. 

Dio Brando. 

When I saw that name it felt like a bolt of lightning ran 
down my back. 


That was 131 years ago. Jonathan was my great-great 
grandfather, Joseph's grandfather. Joseph had apparently not got 
on well with his own father, Jodoh Joestar. (Who was, apparently, a 
gloomy man of few words; it was hard to tell what he was thinking; 
the exact opposite of Joseph, who, for better or for worse, was 
always bullshit free.) But he often mentioned his grandfather with 
something approaching reverence. A gentleman, kind-hearted, 
handsome, and so athletic he played rugby with the young men 
until quite late in life. If he was with Jonathan as a boy, this 
bearded man in the chair, George Joestar, was most likely his 
father, the Jojo of six generations before me (albeit, of no blood 

Another George Joestar, I thought, and remembered what 
Tsukumojuku had said. 

In my world there is another Jorge Joestar. 

Had Tsukumojuku's friend been this middle-aged George? 
No, that didn't fit. Tsukumoku had claimed to be from a world 
where it was July 23 rd , 1904, twenty-three years after this picture 
was taken...or even more. The world he'd come from had a 
completely different map. A hundred years was not enough time 
for all the continents to fuse together. 

...or was it? 

Look at what was happening to Morioh and Nero Nero 
Island. Sprouting six legs like that...would hardly be enough, I 
guess, but was it really out of the question that all the continents 
had moved that quickly, and made the world we lived in? And that 
world history had chosen to keep that fact a secret? 

Wait, wait, I thought. 

I already knew that I didn't need to think in terms of the 
history I was living in. I looked at Cars. 

This Cars was the original Cars. Because he was the 
ultimate thing, he'd failed to die as the universe ended, and had 
gone through the beginning and end of the universe thirty-six 
times, collecting another thirty-six extra Cars and thirty-seven 
Giotto space probes. 

So the world was repeating history in a very similar fashion. 
Was this what the philosopher Nietzsche had named the Eternal 
Recurrence? The concept of history repeating itself occurring in 
actual fact over a substantially larger time span. 

Then it made far more sense to assume that Tsukumojuku 
had come from a world in one of the previous thirty-six universes, 
and the discrepancies in the world map had been caused by the 
accumulated effects of minor differences in the way history 
unfolded. OK. So the Jorge Joestar Tsukumojuku had been friends 
with was a Jorge Joestar from one of those previous universes. And 
if Tsukumokuju was right and that Jorge had spelled his name Jorge 
than differences in my own time line had led to that name being 

applied six generations the Japanese boy adopted into the 
Joestar family. Me. Although my name was still officially spelled 

That seemed a bit forced. I mean, I was adopted, I thought. 
Similarities or differences might arise within history, but that was 
always within the Joestar bloodline. None of that had anything to 
do with an adopted son. 

But anyway, Dio Brando. I knew nothing about him at all. 

"Cars, do you know what connection this Dio Brando has 
with the Joestar family?" I was a detective, yet here I was asking 
someone else about my own memories. Oh well. Maybe I wasn't a 
great detective. Given the current course of events it seemed 
unlikely I would ever end up gathering everyone connected to the 
place in one location and explaining my solution to them. 

Oblivious to my internal shame, Cars simply answered the 
question. "He was adopted by the Joestar family. As Dio Joestar, he 
died in a train accident in 1889." 

Adopted!? Just like me...!? 

Cars mouth turned into a projector again, showing us. Ka- 
chunk. This time the picture moved, and Car's ear turned into a 
speaker so we could hear. I hadn't heard Grandpa Joseph's voice in 
a while. I was a fidgety child, and the image rarely focused on him 
for long. I wasn't interested in his story. It was his bedroom, and I 
was setting on Joseph Joestar's bed. He said, "My grandfather 
Jonathan was a hero. He died trying to stop his adopted brother 
from robbing a train. D was an even bigger piece of shit than my 
father. If they hadn't taken each other out. I'm sure Jonathan 
would have raised my father properly, and he'd have made this 
family even greater than we are." 

D must be Dio Brando, so detested Joseph refused to even 
say his name aloud. But a train robbery? The Joestars were titled 
aristocrats, wealthy even by the standards of English citizens. What 

the hell happened? I can see why the Joestars would want to keep 
this history secret. But if he'd really died then, he couldn't have 
been there in the sky over Cape Canaveral in July, 1999, throwing a 
metal plate from the Giotto space probe at Pucci's house. 

When had Dio Brando become a vampire? Once you'd 
become a vampire you could hardly live in polite society. Then 
again, the kind of man who'd plan a train robbery probably didn't 
give a shit about polite society. "Cars, you conquered sunlight, 
using the stone mask with the Aja Red Stone slotted into it, right? 
Are vampires also weak to sunlight?" 

Shifting his mouth back to normal, Cars replied, "Of course. 
Vampires can't last a second in sunlight. We...the species I once 
belonged to could operate for a brief period of time in sunlight, 
and could turn our bodies to soil or metal or burrow into rock and 
survive partial exposer to sunlight. I assume you're thinking about 
Dio Brando?" 

".I? Yes, but..." 

"Vampires have power humans can only dream of. They can 
heal very quickly, have heightened senses and physical strength, 
but they don't have wings. They can't fly. But in the photo, he was 
hovering in the air without wings. In 1999, this Pucci fellow had 
not yet discovered his Stand, and thus could not see it, but this 
vampire almost certainly has a Stand. Or some similar power." 

Yeah. And a vampire with that kind of power had waited a 
hundred years to put some massive scheme in motion. Making a 
fake Way to Heaven to get Pucci moving, sending him to Mars, all 
to lead Cars, the ultimate thing, back to Earth. 


Wait, I thought, and glanced at Cars, who was grinning at 

"Heh heh heh, it seems this lowly vampire has the nerve to 
take a run at me. He must be very confident in his Stand's ability. I 

supposed it was a stroke of luck that the astronauts who came to 
Mars were Stand Masters. That allowed me to learn about Stands 
before returning to Earth. It appears Stand powers can ignore the 
laws of physics, so he might have been able to drop me in a trap I 
could never have expected...he could perhaps have sent me out 
into space again without even touching me. But now I'm ready for 
him. When we reach Earth, I'll begin by conquering all Stand 
Masters," Cars said, clearly enjoying himself. I remembered what 
Kishibe Rohan had said. 

Stand Masters find themselves drawn to one another, like 
a magnetic attraction. 

I already knew of one place with a great number of Stand 
Masters. It was floating in the middle of The Ocean. Morioh and 
Nero Nero Island. The two of them were currently overlapping, 
and the two islands were surrounded by the American army. 

He said if nothing changes, the American army will flip the 


The message given to Hirose Kouji. Why was America trying 
to eliminate Morioh? Did America somehow know that the ship 
with Cars on it wouldn't be landing there in six months, but in four 

The commander in chief of the American army was the 
President, The Funniest Valentine. His father. Funnier, had just 
tried to kill all the other astronauts on the dark side of Mars. That 

was clearly part of a strategy to grab Cars for their own devices. 
Had the H. G. Wells blowing up been scripted, and the plan been 
for Funnier to be like we were now, on a ship with Cars, quietly 
returned to Earth without the other nations knowing? If Funny 
Valentine had given Hirose that message because either he was in 
on his son and grandson's plan, or because he disagreed with it, 
that made a lot more sense. Mm, I was sure of it. 

America knew Cars was coming. They might not yet know 
that Funnier had been blown up by Narancia on Mars, and might 
believe it was him on board this ship with Cars, but the army was 
waiting for this ship to land on Earth. And since he was the 
ultimate thing, it was safe to assume they would be well prepared; 
a Stand Master like Funnier might survive it, but an ordinary citizen 
like me could easily die in the chaos. Crap. I ran over to Narancia, 
who was still bound to the ceiling, and grabbed the pebble phone 
out of his back pocket. I hit redial. Tomemememem. Tomemem. At 
last Shiobana Haruno answered, "Yes?" 

"Hello," I said, in Japanese. "This is Jorge Joestar." 

"Oh. What is it?" 

"I was wondering what's going on down there." 

"I see. Good timing. I needed to call you myself." 

"Did you find Diavolo?" 

"No. About the state of affairs hour ago the 
American army ordered us to leave these waters. Thirty minutes 
ago they gave us a final warning. And a moment ago an American 
air force scout plane inexplicably broke apart in the sky over 
Morioh, and crashed. Villagers went out to rescue them, clashed 
with Naval forces, and are now fighting. We expect they'll start 
bombing Morioh and Nero Nero Island any moment, so we've 
ordered all civilians from both islands to hide underneath Nero 
Nero Island. But we still haven't figured out how to control Nero 
Nero Island, so if it starts moving across Morioh again, everyone 

will have to move along with it. Not ideal, but our best available 
option. We are continuing the hunt for this serial killer, Kira 
Yoshikage, but no likely suspects have been found, and once 
America attacks the chaos will make continued investigation nigh 

He rattled this all off calmly, but whaaat? Fighting? Villagers 
and the navy!? Only Stand Masters stood any chance of fighting 
the navy, but even then people without Stands the world over 
would see the American soldiers aiming their guns at unarmed 
Japanese citizens. How was the international community allowing 
this? Bombing? The American attack? How was any of this insane 
crap happening? I could only assume all of this was being kept 
secret from the world at large. 

As if he'd guessed my reaction, Shiobana added, "They've 
told everyone that terrorists have taken over Morioh and Nero 
Nero Island, and that the villagers have been driven mad with a 
weaponized virus, and the terrorists made them attack the 
Japanese and American soldiers who came to rescue them. 

" . !?" 

"There are actual reports of patients in Sardinia and the 
Touhoku region of Japan going berserk and attacking people. Their 
symptoms are contagious, and the number of victims is rising. It's 
like a zombie movie. The dead bite people, and those bit or who 
come in contact with their saliva turn and attack other humans. I 
suppose the key difference from the movies is that there are 
rumors of flying zombies. At any rate, the world is in a state of 
panic, and everyone believes that Morioh and Nero Nero Island are 
the source of the epidemic. They've been told the islands set out 
into The Ocean so they can carry the zombie disease to other 
lands, and an international emergency safety council meeting is 

being held to decide the fate of these two islands. Satellite 
weapons are already arranged above us, and we believe they'll be 
used to blow these islands away. We have to figure out a way to 
control these islands before that happens." 

I don't even...zombies? Flying zombies? Since when did 
things like that exist!? 

When I said nothing, Shiobana asked, "By the way, where 
are you and Narancia?" 

"Eh? Uh...outer space." 

".? Could you put Narancia on?" 

"Oh, sure," I said, and handed the pebble phone up to 
Narancia, who immediately wailed, "Giornooooooo, it's me! God 
damn it, listen!" And with tears running down his cheeks he began 
explaining everything that had happened. I staggered a few steps 
away, and saw Cars grinning at me. 

"It's possible the Stand Masters you want to conquer are 
about to be wiped out?" I said. 

Although that might well not happen. Stand powers were 
pretty amazing, after all. They might well be able to withstand the 
American army's attack. 

But I was worried. 

Cars chuckled, "If you're worried, then you'd better save 


Could he read my mind, too? "If I could do that this would 
all be easy." 

"Have you actually thought to see if there's anything you 
can do? Human minds moves so slowly, and you lack perseverance. 
Always giving up so easily." 

What...!? I wasn't a Stand Master, I was an ordinary human! 
I opened my mouth to say as much, but thought better of it. Cars 
wouldn't say something like that unless he already had an answer 
in mind. In other words. Cars knew there was something I could 

do. There was something I could do, I just hadn't noticed yet. 

I would if I thought about it. If my reason for being helpless 
was that I was an ordinary human then I needed to do something 
about that. I had just meant I wasn't the ultimate thing or a Stand 
Master, but I just had to change that. 

I could change that. 

Behind Cars, Enrico Pucci was lying on the floor, still badly 
hurt, and breathing ragged. He was glowering at outer space, deep 
in thought. His Stand. White Snake. Two Discs. It could take out a 
Stand power. The same as reading the memory discs, if you stuck a 
Stand disc in your head, then would that make me able to use the 
Stand just like we'd been reading memories? "Cars," I said, "Can I 
borrow the disc of your Stand power?" 

Cars laughed out loud. "Ha ha ha, bold move, Jorge Joestar. 
I thought you were going to ask for my help, but you'd prefer to do 
something yourself." 

Eh? Oh, was that all? If he was willing to do it for me then 
by all means, but Cars' Ashura White Snake was already out, and 
pulling two discs out of Cars' head. White Snake and Das Boot. But 
White Snake was still standing behind Cars. Hunh? I thought. "It's a 
copy," Cars said. 

He really could do anything, I thought, and took the discs 
from him. I shoved one of them into my head. 

As I did. Cars said, "But can a mere human use my power?" 
Oh shit, I thought, and everything went black. I'd exploded. 

I had literally exploded, and there were still bits of gore 
dripping off the ship walls, and Narancia on the ceiling and Pucci 
on the floor were both gaping at me, covered in blood. But my 
body was back to normal, totally uninjured. Cars was still laughing. 
"You really don't think things through," he said. The discs were in 

his hand, so he must have taken them out of my head. But he put 
my body back together before I died. I guess the ultimate thing 
viewed me as sort of a flesh doll made of bits of bone and blood 
that he could easily put back together again if anything happened. 
I was rather grateful he'd let me survive my careless death. 

"Thanks, Cars. ...can I ask how? I'm pretty sure I was totally 
dead there." 

"Flesh is a vessel, and the soul is like ice cream made inside. 
If the vessel breaks, the soul momentarily retains its form. I merely 
reassembled the vessel before the soul melted away." 

"Ha ha...I think we just casually answered the question, 
"What is life?"" 

"That was never a question." 

"...okay...but was my ice cream ok? Didn't spill any?" 

"I do not fail. And I've already removed the thirty-six souls 
from the extra mes, so I have experience. But my experience also 
tells me that you've already died a number of times." 


"If we extend the ice cream analogy, if you melt ice cream 
and refreeze it, it doesn't quite taste the same as it did. The texture 
changes. Understood?" 


"It's exactly like that." 

"So I felt like I was dying? Several different times?" 

"Hmm. And your emotional reaction to that damages your 
soul. I suppose it's possible." 

"When you turned the extra Cars into fuel and ship parts, 
did their feelings damage their souls?" 

"I sensed nothing like that. The extra mes gave me their 
lives, and I simply took them." 

"Oh...ok. There's no point in arguing amongst yourselves?" 

"We are the ultimate thing, and there is no discord among 

us. We all understand everything. And I did not throw out the souls 
I removed. They now form a part of me." 

"...did you lick them like ice cream, eating them?" 

"The ice cream is a metaphor, fool. Are you really human? 
What happened to your ability to make sense of things?" 

"Ha ha, you sure are smart. Boss Cars." 

"You are merely far too stupid. I can't believe you're 
descended from that crafty Joseph Joestar." 

Well, I am adopted. But I let that be. Grandpa Joseph had 
definitely taught me a lot. I'd grown up in the Joestar household. 
So this was pathetic. I was supposed to be a detective, but he kept 
saying I wasn't thinking enough and was being far too stupid and 
he was absolutely right about it. 

My mind was starting to clear. 

"I have to do better," I said, mostly to myself. Blood was 
pumping through my brain. "I'm Jorge Joestar. The Detective Jojo." 

So I had to think, damn it! The situation was so oppressive 
my brain was withering and not working properly. Do your job, 
brain! Everything about this mess was beyond anything I'd 
previously experienced. But I'd been surprised by all kinds of things 
before, but I'd always overcome surprise and new experiences by 
thinking really hard. If I was really a detective, then I'd outwit this 
case, too! Even if I couldn't believe in myself, I had faith in my wits! 
"You're right. Cars," I said. "I remember who I am." 

Cars was watching me intently. 

"I think deeper and broader than anyone else around." 

"That's right," Cars said. "But do you really understand the 
true nature of what Tsukumojuku called the Beyond?" 

I truly believe that there is meaning in my meeting you 
like this. 

Tsukumojuku had smiled. 

Everything has meaning. 

Of course there was meaning in the fact that I'd met Cars 
here. Even someone as overwhelming as him was an necessary 
element for me to perform my role as detective. 

I nodded. "You're cool with that?" 

Cars smiled. "I have no desire to be the leading man." 

Cars was completely down with the theme Tsukumojuku 
had brought us. His intelligence was blinding. And thanks to Cars, I 
was finally emotionally ready to step into the gears of the world. 
With a healthy clank. 

I had Cars prepare a reduced power version of the Stand 
discs for me, and placed one in my head. I first inserted a small 
sized version of Das Boot: Cars edition, and found the second disc 
wouldn't go in. Rohan had mentioned that there was a rule, only 
one Stand per person. Obviously, Cars was the exception. But that 
was fine. Das Boot was more useful to me than White Snake at the 

"Cars, how long till we reach Earth?" 

"Another fifteen minutes." 

"Hunh? We're that close already?" 

"And it seems I've run out of time to eat you all." 

II ll 

"But I wasn't bored. Don't worry; there'll be plenty of food 
back on Earth." 

I really wasn't worried. "How did our six month journey 
turn into four hours?" 

"I don't completely understand it myself. But it seems this 
astronaut's Stand has some effect on the flow of time." 

White Snake did? It didn't just take Stand and memory 

discs? Whatever. "Cars, how much fuel do we have left?" 

"As calculated. Just enough." 

"We'll slow down before entry, right? Can we let some of it 
outside the ship for a moment when that happens?" 

"For a moment, yes. Do as you please." 

But that fuel was extra Cars, wasn't it? As I thought that. 
Cars said, "One always rules all. The other mes know that." 

That's why the other thirty-six didn't hesitate to let original 
Cars turn them into fuel and spaceship parts. 

I looked up at Narancia, who was still gaping at me, the 
pebble phone forgotten in his hand. "He hang up already?" 

"Hunh.? Ahhh!" He quickly put it to his ear again. "Tch, 

he hung up! You had to go and blow up all of a sudden. Scared the 
shit out of me! You OK, dude?" 

"Ah ha ha, sorry. I'm fine, I'm fine." 

"You're fine, you're fine, my ass. Jesus." 

"Narancia, the American army is about to attack Morioh 
and Nero Nero Island. I'd like to prevent that." 

"Yeah, Das Boot, right? Run out on the Cars fuel and boom 
boom boom? Let's do this shit!" 

As out of it has he'd seemed he was clearly following along 
perfectly well. He wasn't a ranking gangster for nothing. "We're 
almost at Earth." 

"Heh heh. We're still alive!" 

"The tough part's still ahead." I turned to Cars. "Can you let 
Narancia down?" 

Cars waved a hand and Narancia was released. "Woo-hoo! 

"Ha ha." I turned to the only actual astronaut on the ship. 
"Pucci, we're almost at Earth." 

"....yeah." He staggered to his feet, and moved to the pilot's 
seat. He picked up the comm device made from bits of the Giottos, 

glanced back at Cars a minute, and opened a channel. "Houston, 
this is Lt. Enrico Pucci. Houston, do you read me?" 

There was a crackle over the radio, and an answer. "This is 
Houston. This is...Pucci, you said? Why are you transmitting on 
Giotto's frequency?" 

"Because I'm on the Giotto." 

"...who's with you? Where's Funnier?" 

"Funnier's dead." 

ll ll 

"Soundman and Pocoloco, too. Funnier killed them. Tell the 
President. There will be an accounting for this crime." 

"Calm down, Pucci." 

"I have never been more calm in my life." 

"...where's Cars?" 

"He's here." 

"OK. We've just pinpointed your location. That...isn't just 
one Giotto you're on. We've got the size of it on our monitors. It's 
big, and fast. Like something out of Star Wars. Are you controlling 
that alone?" 

"I don't need to control anything. This thing is made from 
Cars' own flesh." 

ll ll 

"Tell us the plan to get back to you." 

"....ok, ready to hear it?" 

The only reason they had a plan that fast is if they'd already 
prepared it a long time ago. They were ready for anything. The 
only difference was the passengers involved. 

As Pucci and the NASA director hashed out the details, we 
got closer to Earth. It was growing visibly larger outside our 

"Wahhhhhhh! Earth!" Narancia yelled, slapping me on the 
shoulder. "We're home, buddy!" 

We're home. I was relieved, as well. But now we had to 


Cars was looking at Earth, surprised by the vast expanse of 
blue. "This is the Earth? Why is there less land?" 

I wonder what the Earth looked like before the universe 
died thirty-six times? Then it occurred to me that maybe I already 
knew, and I showed Cars the world maps Tsukumojuku and I had 
exchanged. "This is the world I knew," Cars said. 

Tsukumojuku had come from the same universe as original 


It all connected. 

"What you're seeing now is The Ocean. Panlandia just 
happens to be on the other side of the planet at the moment." 

"It's like a water vessel," Cars said. 

There was thunk behind us, and I turned to find Pucci 
staring at Cars. Was he stunned, or exalted? He looked as if he'd 
been so surprised he was about to start laughing. 

What was he thinking? 

The spaceship slowed down, and Cars moved over to the 
pilot seat, stole Pucci's headset, and said, "Lord Cars is ready to 
return. Is the party ready?" The fact that Cars appeared to be 
excited made him extra frightening, and Narancia and I both got 
very quiet. 

He tossed the headset back to Pucci, and turned to us. 

"Apparently we can see our landing site from the window 
right now. There are two islands stacked on top of each other 
crossing the ocean, and they're in our way, so they're going to get 
rid of them." 

II | ll 

Narancia and I both went to the window, and stared down 

at the round ball of water. The Ocean was vast, and Morioh and 
Nero Nero Island were too small and too far for our human eyes to 
make out. 

"I can't see, I can't see!" Narancia yelped, so Cars came up 
behind him, pushed his fingers into the back of his head, pressed a 
switch somewhere in his head, and adjusted his vision. Narancia 
immediately said, "Oh, there it is! I can see it! Shit, shit, shit, 
there's smoke and fire everywhere! What the fuck!? It's like a god 
damn war zone." 

"Cars," I said. "The fuel, please." 

Cars pulled his hand out of Narancia's head, and nodded. 
Black liquid began bubbling out of the ship outside the window. 
Living fuel, heading towards Earth. "Narancia, let's do this. Support 
fire for Morioh and Nero Nero Island." 

"Ohhhhh, yeah! C'mon, Jorge! Kill the fuck out of anyone 
threatening my gang!" 

I grabbed the pebble phone and called Shiobana. "Hello?" 

"It's Jorge Joestar. We're in orbit. We're going to fire some 
missiles down at the Americans, so make sure the villagers and 
islanders are out of the way. And the Stand Masters." 

"Ordinary citizens are already evacuated. All Stand Masters 
will be under Nero Nero Island in the next few minutes. Fire away." 

"Roger. But please, try to save as many American wounded 
as possible." 

"...naturally. Fortunately, there are no injured parties from 
either island yet, so the people are still amenable." 

"Good. Commencing attack." 

"Roger. Thanks." 

I hung up, and turned to Narancia. "Heard that? We aren't 
killing them. We're disabling their weaponry. Your boss agrees." 

"...tch, fuck it then," Narancia grumbled. He pulled out his 
headset periscope, so I pulled my own out, too. 

Since it's my own power, I can easily grasp what it can do. 

It was just as Cars said. I didn't know the specifics of the full 
range of abilities, but I instinctively knew how to control Das Boot. 

"Let's fuuuuuuuuuuucking goooo, Jorge!" Narancia yelled. 

"Fuck yeaaah!" I shouted back. "C'mon, Narancia!" 

"Rock and Roll! Dive Dive Diiiiiiiiiiive!" 

Our Das Boots surfaced outside the ship, running across the 
surface of the ejected fuel. Leaving one or two ships inside 
ourselves, just in case, we both gathered our fleets into one giant 
submarine each, firing very big missiles. 

"All gates open!" Narancia ordered. I opened the hatches 
on every torpedo and cruise missile I had. "I'm going for the units 
on the East! You go for the West, Jorge!" 

I checked my targets in the periscope. All locked on. "All 
missiles ready," I said. 

"FlllllllllllllllllIRREEEE!" Narancia screamed. 

I did. 

Pnt pnt pnt pnt pnt pnt pnt pnt! 

Pssh pssh pssh pssh pssh pssh pssh pssh pssh 

Twenty-four torpedoes sped across the fuel, and thirty-two 
cruise missiles were hurled up into space, and every single one of 
them headed straight for the Earth. They entered the atmosphere. 
Real missiles would have burned up on reentry, just like meteors, 
but Stands didn't care about physics. They shot towards the two 
islands at almost exactly the same speed as they'd moved through 
outer space. 

Thud thud thud thud thud thud thud! 

We hit every helicopter and battleship the navy had posted 
around Morioh all at once. We hadn't armed the detonators, so 
none of them exploded. We just needed to defang them. "Tch... 
Fucking boooooring," Narancia moaned. 

We fired a second wave. This one hit the landing craft as 

they approached the shore, and the ships stationed in the harbor. 
Thud thud thud thud thud thud thud thud thud! Once again, no 
explosions, just robbing the ships of their military capabilities. 

"Oh, shit, one's about to sink <?!" Narancia chuckled. 

"Knock that off. Shiobana promised Passione people would 
help the rescue efforts." 

"Eh, eh...? Don't let Giorno know, Jorge!" 

"We're about to start our descent," Pucci said, interrupting 
our celebration. "Pull your Stands back." 

The ship had been moving towards reentry this whole time, 
so while we'd been looking through the periscopes we'd moved 
quite far away from Morioh and Nero Nero Island, and the two 
islands had vanished over the crest of the planet. "One more!" 
Narancia yelled, and as his Das Boot retreated, it fired a hail of 
missiles at the satellite weapons. Boooooooom. These exploded. 

When I looked shocked, Narancia shrugged. "What? They're 
unmanned. And having that shit up in space is scary." But now they 
were space debris, and would cause problems later...but for now, 
fuck it. 

Our Das Boots rejoined the ship, and we continued orbiting 
the Earth, gradually descending. "Brace yourselves!," Pucci said. 
"We're going in." Not that he was controlling the ship or anything. 

"Let's go!" I said. Narancia joined in. "Go! Back to Earth!" 

Just before we hit the atmosphere the pebble phone rang. 
Plu pon pin para para pon plu pon pin para para pon! Narancia 
answered. "Hunh? What, Buccellati? Now's not a great time." The 
ship was starting to shake, but over the racket I could just make 
out the voice on the other end of the line. 

"We've found the bodies of Diavolo and Morioh's serial 
killer, Kira Yoshikage! Together! Someone took both of them out! 

We don't know any more yet! 

Hunh? Kira Yoshikage? They'd been taken out!? So Diavolo 
and Kira Yoshikage were both dead? Already? Both of them? A 
mafia boss and a serial killer. Wasn't that good news? I thought, 
but no, it wasn't. Diavolo and Kira were, in theory, the ones moving 
the two islands. If they were both dead then neither one of them 
could move, and the ship with us and Cars on it was falling, and 
Stand Masters are drawn together...! Hunh I? Stand Masters are 
drawn together? 

I shouted at the pebble phone in Narancia's hand, "Tell 
everyone on the island to run for it! A spaceship's about to crash 
on top of them!" 

But the phone hung up, and I wasn't sure if he'd heard me 
or not. Narancia and I looked at each other. We might survive 
landing in the water, but we'd almost certainly die if we crashed 
into land. 

The ship was wrapped in fire, and the extra Cars were 
burning up, vanishing without so much as a scream. To slow our 
descent, we spread our wings, and by the time we were through 
the clouds the fire had vanished and we could see Nero Nero 
Island and Morioh out the front window. Nero Nero Island was 
standing on six legs on top of Morioh. This was where we died. But 
Cars would probably survive. "Sorry, Narancia," I said. "You would 
never have gone to Mars if you weren't with me." 

Whoops. Brought an anomaly along, all means 
something, I'm sure. Bye! 

Tsukumojuku had brought both of us. And it did have 
meaning. "Thanks," I said. "If you hadn't been there. I'd never have 
seen the Earth again." 

Tears in his eyes, Narancia said, " gotta make a big 

deal about it? I hate sappy shit!" 

I laughed, closed my eyes, and wondered who I should be 
thinking of in my last moments, but inside my brain just started 
jumping from Tsukumojuku's arrival to entering Morioh to going to 
Mars, leaping randomly around different scenes from this 
adventure, and I found myself mildly impressed by how amazing it 
had all been. I opened my eyes long enough to confirm that the 
ship was definitely headed directly at Morioh. Pucci was watching 
the same scene through the other window. 

"So this is the rhinoceros beetle!" he said. 

Our ship was headed right for the Arrow Cross House, and 
when he saw the ship of the roof, Pucci cried out happily, "And 
that's the Via Dolorosa!" 

Rhinoceros beetle. Via Dolorosa. Those were two of the 
fourteen words carved into the back of the Giotto plate. 

Via Dolorosa = The Way of Suffering. The last road Jesus 
Christ walked, dragged past the townsfolk, carrying his cross on his 
back. It was also called the Via Crucis, the Way of the Cross. As we 
were falling upside-down, the Arrow Cross below us was at our 

And the spaceship with us and Cars on it crashed directly 
into the Arrow Cross, and the shock of the impact knocked Nero 
Nero Island off Morioh, and flipped Morioh upside-down. 

And as if there had always been another upside-down 
island underneath Morioh, when Morioh flipped another island 
rose from the sea. A massive island, 900 times the size of Morioh, 
that forced the water out away from it, but the American 
battleships and aircraft carriers were just rocked a little, the wave 
passing without further incident. The 219,850 km 2 island that 
appeared out of nowhere was one no one in our world had ever 

heard of- Great Britain. 

The mythical England. 

When I'd stepped off the train in Morioh, and looked at the 
map of the town it had seemed familiar. Just before we hit, I'd seen 
it from the sky, and remembered that feeling. 

Had I been here before? 

That was all in my head. I had just been remembering the 
map of the world Tsukumojuku had drawn for me, and recognized 
the shape of England. But since it had been backwards, I hadn't 
recognized it. I hate saying that only human, but I clearly had to 
work on my observation skills. If I'd worked harder, maybe I'd have 

The Enemy 

However many copies of Antonio Torres there were, this 
was no time to be fainting. I told Lisa Lisa what had happened with 
Jim Graham, and she said, "He pulled out his own tongue and 
internal organs? he emptied out his body. He threw the 
insides into the ocean, but is back at what's inside his 

There was no doubt in my mind. Antonio Torres has showed 
himself moments before Jim snapped. There was no sign of him 
after we crashed, but he hadn’t just vanished into thin air like some 
sort of ghost. Had he climbed inside Jim's body while I was trying 
to snap a second photograph? 

"If that theory is correct," Lisa Lisa went on, "Then the 
problem is, he retains enough to fly a plane and blend in at the base 
without anyone realizing he isn't the real Jim. Antonio Torres was a 
mean kid, but not stupid; and if knowledge and personality are 
harbored in the skin then that's a vital fact me and the other Hamon 
Warriors need to know." 

Antonio had acquired a shocking new power to escape the 
pain of his mother's abuse. He could shed his own skin like a snake, 
give it to his batshit crazy mom, but for that skin to remain alive 
(yet dead) was... 

"Two other problems," Lisa Lisa said. "If he is wearing Jim 
Graham’s body, how is Antonio Torres walking around in broad 

Oh, right, I thought. Some of the Gremlin sightings reported 
small 50 centimeter ones showing up in the day, but the one meter 
30 centimeter ones only appeared at night or on cloudy days. 

"Second, we have an intelligent zombie who can hide inside 
a human being, allowing them to operate during the day. And by 
simple arithmetic there are more than sixteen thousand of these. If 
they weren't messing about with planes for fun, but to learn the 
construction and how to fly them, than that could be very bad. 
Zombies can move anywhere in the world very quickly, and there 
are a lot of dead bodies lying around right now. If the zombies 

brought those bodies to life, and those new zombies attacked the 
living, creating even more zombies, then the zombie empire would 
expand explosively, far faster than any pyramid scheme." 

A ripple of alarm went through the Hamon Warriors around 

Lisa Lisa turned to face Straits and the others. "Antonio 
Torres was on La Palma, and knows about the Hamon Warriors. He 
knows I'm one of them, and he's seen me come to get Jorge, so I'm 
sure he’s already taken action. Whatever he does next will be big. 
We have to move quickly ourselves, while keeping an eye on the 
English Air Force." 

"Mm," Straits said, nodding. "But how can we fight zombies 
flying lighter planes? We can't lace the ships’ bullets with Hamon, 
and Hamon doesn't travel through the air. Sitting in the cockpit, 
there's no way for us to touch the zombies directly." 

"Don't worry. Jorge will shoot them all down," Lisa Lisa 
said. She wasn't smiling. Woah, woah, I thought but then FOOOM 
a huge impact rocked the ground, reminding me that we were on a 
battlefield. A Hamon Warrior came rushing in. 

"Enemy attack! The English are bombing us!" No sooner 
had the words left his mouth than the hallway exploded, blowing 
him away. 


A cloud of smoke and dust was left behind. The lights went 


"Lisa Lisa!" "Jorge!" Our cries overlapped. I reached out my 
hand and found she had done the same, and our hands clasped. 
"This way!" she yelled, and pulled me after her into a run. Thuddd! 
Booom! More explosions shook the underground headquarters. The 
ceiling fell, and the walls crumbled as we ran past. 

"How did they find us?" Lisa Lisa asked. 

"They must have tailed us in the Motorizing!" I said. 

"Impossible! Steven and I would have noticed if we were 
followed! I was watching for that the whole time!" 

"Then you've got a mole!" 

" . !?" 

The underground passage led down to a cave that opened 
onto the ocean, and the cave had been modified into a harbor. As 
we burst out of the passage, Steven waved his hand. "Jorge! Over 
here!" Two hydroplane Motorizings were floating in the harbor, and 
Lisa Lisa and I jumped into one. The engine was already running, 
and the propellers spinning. The second we were in the cockpit, 
Steven yelled, "You know how to fly it, right, Jorge!?" 

I threw him a thumbs up. "Got it! I've been flying a while 


"Ha ha ha! Then we'll have no problem with these monsters! 
They're just copying what they saw real pilots do!" 

Damn straight. 

Steven and I started our planes taxiing. We ran side by side 
through the cave, engines sputtering, two walls of water spraying 
up behind us. The moment we left the cave mouth we started rising. 
I looked up and at a glance saw at least a dozen English Air Force 
Sopwith Camels whirling overhead, dropping bombs on the hidden 
base. "Stop it!" I shouted, but to no avail. Between the thunder of 
the bombs and the roar of our engines my voice never reached 
them, and my friends flying those Camels were already dead. I 
passed close enough to make sure, and the pilots eyes were focused 
on nothing, his head twisted in an unnatural direction, a horrible 
rictus smile on his face. 

Lisa Lisa reached up from behind, and put her hand on my 

"I'm fine. Thanks," I said, but I doubt she heard me. The 
pilots I'd fought alongside were gone now. Planes that had given me 
courage were just enemy machines now. But I was glad to know for 
sure. I accepted it, and it gave me strength. Thanks, I thought. 
You've made it easier to pull the trigger. Now I could focus on 
protecting the Hamon Warriors. Rat-tat-tat-tat-tat-tat-tat-tat! My 
machine gun fired. One plane down, and Steven was starting his 

attack. The other planes noticed us coming, and began fighting 
back, but they were no match for our experience. We took them 
down one at a time. No wasted bullets. Get behind them, and put a 
rat-tat-tat through their engine. Boom. They just gaped at the bullet 
holes. I mean, they were already dead. I flew between two Camels, 
shooting out their wings. They broke up in the air, and the planes 
started spinning; I dodged them and shot out the belly of the next 
Camel. Bang bang. Boom! It exploded in the air, and I dodged the 
fragments, did a loop, and looked for my next target. I heard a 
machine gun firing behind me, shook off the zombie who'd had the 
nerve to shoot at me, did a quick turn, got his back, and pulled the 
trigger. Rat-tat-tat! The bullets hit the pilot's body but no blood 
emerged from the holes in his back or head. Instead, something 
came slithering up out of him; Antonio Torres, with no eyes. I didn't 
hesitate to send more bullets his way. Rat-tat-tat-tat-tat-tat-tat-tat- 
tat-tat! Rat-tat-tat-tat-tat-tat-tat-tat-tat! I shredded his flat body with 
bullets, pulverizing it. There was a smile on my face, but tears 
streaming down my cheeks. He'd bullied me daily, always come 
after me, killed my friends, and attacked the heroes who could save 
mankind and now I was gonna kill the shit out of him ha ha ha! 
Bang bang bang bang! Another zombie pilot came at me before I 
could wipe the tears away. Rat-tat-tat! Booooom! Rat-tat-tat-tat! 
Vrooooom! Boom! The plane spiraled away, trailing smoke, and I 
had just made sure it smashed into the ground, when the other 
Motorizing shot across my field of vision with a zombie plane on 
its heels, guns firing. I quickly dropped my nose, firing down at the 
zombie plane and it blew up just as I passed it, which was a little 
too close for comfort. "Sorry, Lisa Lisa! You aren't hurt?" I asked, 
and turned around to find Lisa Lisa's eyes sparkling. 

"I'm fine! You're amazing, Jorge! So strong!" 

Lisa Lisa had never said anything like that to me, and I went 
bright red, but the zombie I'd just killed had been a better pilot than 
me, a better shot, and had way more ideas for acrobatic tricks. 

Rat-tat-tat-tat-tat! I shot out the wings of another Camel and 

the pilot stood up in his seat, turned towards me, opened his mouth 
and paper-thin Antonio Torres came slithering out of him, spread 
himself out and came soaring towards us like a flying squirrel. 
"Jorge Joestar! You gotta lotta nerve growing up before I did!" he 
shouted as he flew, and I broke up laughing. That was his big 
problem!? Behind me, Lisa Lisa said, "OK, this is my job." She 
stood up, and her skirt instantly turned inside out. As I gaped at her 
beautiful legs, she said, "Jorge, when this war's over, let's get 

"Eh? OK.hunh?" 

"Come on, Antonio Torres! You remember me, right?" 

Flying Squirrel Antonio yelped. "Lisa Lisa!? Seriously? 
Balsa Blanca really is a pathetic limp-dicked motherfucker!" It had 
been a while since I’d heard him sing that song and it rattled me a 
bit, but I yelled back, "Says the undead flat dick! I knew you were 
always a hollow son of a bitch but I guess you wanna blame that 
shit on your psycho mom, hunh?" 

"What the fuck!?" Apparently mentioning his mom really 
ticked him off and he bared his fangs and jumped at me but I 
couldn't dodge. Just before his teeth sank into my neck Lisa Lisa's 
thin arm reached down at grabbed a handful of Antonio's neck. 

"Unh...leggo of me, ugly!" Antonio really hadn't changed at 
all. He was just like he'd been when we were kids, and that was 
both dumb and kinda unnerving. Lisa Lisa said curtly, "I have no 
words to waste on you." 

"What? You..." Antonio began, but cracks began spreading 
out from where Lisa Lisa was holding him, and his body turned to 
dust, scattered away on the winds. 

Lisa Lisa dusted her hands off, and sat back down. "Five 
more. You have enough bullets?" 

"Yeah." I had enough for fifty. 

Bang bang bang! Boom. 

Rat-tat-tat! Rat-tat-tat! Ka-boom. 

My bullets hit the zombie planes, destroying their wings or 

engines. "The Germans are way better!" I shouted, but of course 
they were. The enemy pilots were enemies, but they were also 
pilots, and I had respect for their skills. But I felt no such thing for 
these zombies. I was just pissed that they were flying around in the 
English Air Force's valuable equipment. Shit! Shit! Shit! Fucking 
Antonio Torres! Forcing me to shoot down English planes! 

Steven shot down two as well. I hadn't been counting, but 
Lisa Lisa said I'd shot down twenty-three. Shooting down that 
many in a single dogfight would normally make me a Flying Ace. 
Sadly, since I was fighting zombies instead of real pilots my claim 
was invalid. It wasn't even worth bragging about. All I could think 
about was what a waste of planes it was... The Hamon Warriors 
were checking the wreckage, running Hamon through the pilot's 
bodies just in case, killing the Antonios. 

That was too easy, I thought. 

They'd spent years slowly learning how to fly a plane, then 
attacked the English Air Force and stole their pilots and planes, and 
that was the best they could muster? The only damage to the 
Hamon Warriors had been in the initial bombing, and since their 
base had been underground the damage from bombs on the ground 
had been limited. Antonio Torres must have known how good a 
pilot I was, so he should have known things would turn out this 
way. He was a crafty bastard, after all. 

So what was the point of this battle? 

Either a diversion or an attempt to delay me. Either way, the 
assumed intent of the attack - wiping out the Hamon Warriors - 
was not the real goal. So what was? Antonio's own words echoed in 
my ears. 

Hey, Jorge Joestar.,.I'm afraid you're gonna die here. 
And after you're dead, I'm gonna kill your family, too. Their 
deaths will be even worse than yours. 

That piece of shit had promised to kill my family. 

'Lisa Lisa." 

'I need a phone. 

I called my mother. Star Mark Tradings, the company she 
ran near the London Harbor. I wasn’t panicking yet, but she'd seen 
them coming. "A lot of planes just flew in off the sea." 

Calm down. "Mum, get Penelope, leave London, and get to 
the house in Westwood. Now." 

"Whatever for, Jorge? What's going on? All those planes 
were English. Everyone's getting ready to celebrate the return of the 
triumphant heroes." 


"The planes are all in a state. They've got bullet holes in 
them, or wings that clearly broke and were patched together again." 

Planes filled with the war dead. I looked out the window. It 
was still light out, but in England...? "Is the sun out?" 

"It's not raining, but it's very cloudy." 


"I understand. I'll go back to the Joestar mansion, and hide 
in the basement with Penelope and Jonathan. Where are you?" 

"France. But I'm with Lisa Lisa." 

"Oh. Then you're safe." 

"But the Hamon Warriors can't fly planes, and what's flying 
into London are dead pilots." But they don't have Antonio inside 
them. If the sun wasn't out, they wouldn't need to let Antonio fly. If 
the dead pilots were still as good as they'd been alive, this time we 
might be in for a real fight. "I'm gonna have to fight." 

"...oh. Your father fought his own battle. And he won. I am 
sure you will emerge victorious, too." 

"Thank you. I'll get there as fast as I can. Hurry, Mum." 

"Yes. Don't worry about us. I'm leaving now. I love you, 


"I love you, too. Mum." 

I hung up, then had an idea, and dialed another number. 
"Whaaat? Jorge Joestar! If you're calling, you must not be part of 
that huge squad in the sky, hunh? What's up with that, some sort of 
air show? Did England win some big victory I didn't hear about?" 
The excited man who answered was John Moore-Brabazon. He'd 
quit flying planes five years ago after Charles Rolls' accident, but 
he was still working as an engineer in the city. 

"Promise to believe what I tell you, John?" I said. 

"Hunh? Ha ha. What? Of course, don't be stupid." 

"Those guys flying in aren't us. They're enemies. They're not 
even human. They're all dead. They've returned from Hell to make 
the living like them." 

".!? Uh....Jorge, what the...?" 

"Look at those planes closely, John. Recognize any of them? 
Those planes belong to dead men. They shouldn't be in the air." 

"Dead men? Hunh? What the...That's Rupert Stiller's Mary. 
And David Seymour's Emma!" 

Both of them were former Royal Aero Club members lost in 
combat; Mary and Emma were both Henry Farman Ills, planes 
made in France. John found former friend after former friend in the 
sky; he'd been flying from the very start, so he knew a lot of fallen 

"Augh...Joe Dearlove's up there too," he said. I could hear 
him crying. 

I kept my voice calm. "They're all dead. But something evil 
has dragged our dead friends out from someplace very dark. John. 
They're going to kill Englishmen, and eat them." 

"!? What do you mean?" 

"I mean that literally. They eat living humans." 

"They'd never do that...!" 

"They aren't the friends you knew. Your dead friends are 
still dead. They haven't come back to life. Their bodies have just 
stepped out of their graves, and into those planes." 


I heard an explosion on the other end of the line. It was 
starting. "What the fuck!? English planes are attacking London!" 

"John, calm down and listen. You and anyone else alive out 
there have to fight them. I'll be there as soon as I can. You hear 

"What the fuck!? God damn it! Stop!" John yelled. He’d put 
the receiver down. 

So I yelled down the line, "John Moore-Brazabon! Listen! 
This is in your hands! Get as many men together as you can, get 
them in their planes, and start fighting back! Don't fuck around! 
Just do it! They're already dead, and won't die if you just kill them 
normally! You gotta annihilate them!" This was a horrible thing to 
say. But I had to put it like that. 

"Auuggghhhhh, Jorge! Is this really happening!?" 

"John! I'm flying there as soon as I hang up! You fight, and 
you live through this, OK?" 

There was another explosion, and the line went dead in the 
middle. I put the phone down, turned around, and found the Hamon 
Warriors listening, dressed for war. "The main force is attacking 
England," I said. "They're flying planes that were shot down, the 
pilots killed. They're English planes, so they faced no resistance 
until they started the attack. They're already over London, and it 
sounds like they just started firing. By the time we get their, their 
invasion will be well underway. Contact any Hamon Warriors in 
England. If any of them have contacts in the English army, direct 
them to fight back. There'll be plenty of zombies shot down who 
survived, so we'll need men on the ground as well. Tell anyone you 
know to run and hide. I'm heading off to fight. I'll knock as many 
zombies as I can out of the sky. Please save any survivors." 

We all ran. When Lisa Lisa tried to jump on the Motorizing 
after me, I said, "Lisa Lisa, it'll be dangerous." She ignored me. She 

was still wearing a skirt, so I said, "Sure you don't want to put some 
trousers on?" She just laughed. 

"Don't worry, I've been a girl a while, I've figured out how 
to keep the contents of my skirt hidden." 

That wasn't what I was driving at, but this was Lisa Lisa. If 
Lisa Lisa said she'd be fine, she'd be fine. "Oh, but I'll take this," 
she said, stealing my aviator hat. "Oh, you can keep these," she 
said, handing the goggles back. ...fine. Steven was climbing into the 
plane next to us. Honestly, that last fight had just proved how little 
combat experience he had, but I didn't stop him. 

Once again, Steven and I sped out of the cave for the ocean 
and the sky. We took a quick look glance at the condition of the 
surface after the bombing, and then headed West across the North 
Sea. The attack had been intense, but like I thought, relatively few 
casualties. It was an hour's flight from here to London. How bad 
would the zombie invasion be before we got there? The dead were 
mostly flying planes lost in the war, but how well armed were they? 
If they only had the ammo they'd been shot down with, then 
probably not that much, but Antonio Torres wasn't likely to half-ass 
something like that. He'd already taken over the English Naval Air 
Force headquarters, so he'd most likely stolen all the bombs and 
bullets he needed. This was gonna be brutal. "Hey, Jorge," Lisa Lisa 
said. "I got a favor to ask." 


"Can you give me a quick run down on how to fly a plane?" 

By the time we were almost across the North Sea Lisa Lisa 
was flying my Motorizing. "H mm .-.and other planes more or less 
work the same?" 

"Yeah. What you need to control them is always the same, 
and basically they all have a long body with wings and propellers in 

"Got it," she said, looking over the instrument panel in a 

way that made me worried. 

"What are you planning?" 

"Last time I just sat behind you and couldn’t do anything, 
right? So this time I thought I'd go for broke." 

I got even more worried. "Go for broke how?" 

"Whatever occurs to me in the moment. Oh, right," she said, 
and turned the stick to the side, placing us in front of Steven. 
"Jorge, take over." 

"Eh?" Lisa Lisa stood up, I scrambled into the cockpit next 
to her and grabbed the flight stick, and she moved, but not into the 
back seat - she jumped out into thin air. "Augh! Lisa Lisa!" She 
jumped with so little wind up I thought it was accidental, but she'd 
tied to loose end of the thread in her scarf to the control stick. The 
thread was unraveling quickly, and stretched from my plane to the 
air above Steven's. Lisa Lisa let go of the thread and landed right 
behind Steven. Steven looked every bit as flabbergasted as I was. I 
quickly shifted my plane so I was flying next to him, and heard her 
shouting something at Steven, "...don't worry!" she said, and then 
put her hands on his shoulders, brushed them gently down his back 
to his shoulder blades, gave him a push and then pulled back from 
him and Steven's wings came out in her palms. Steven looked 
surprised by this, but did not appear to be in pain. Once the big 
white wings were both fully emerged from his back, Lisa Lisa said 
something to Steven, tapped him on his shoulder, stood up, and 
glanced over at me with a smile. I think she said something too, but 
it was lost in the roar of the engines and propellers...but then Lisa 
Lisa jumped out of the cockpit, ran across the top of the Motorize 
past Steven and onto the wing. The wind force had her leaning 
damn near 90 degrees and her skirt was going crazy, but she ran all 
the way down the wing and then jumped off and landed on my 
wing, skirt still flapping like crazy, and then ran up my wing back 
to me. "I'm back!" she said, and flopped down behind me. 

507 When I didn't say anything, Lisa Lisa explained, "I figured 
Steven should have his wings out! I hear that can hurt a lot, so I 

scattered the pain with Hamon and got them out for him." 

Heh...I see. This time I thought I'd go for broke. Ah ha ha. 
Lisa Lisa's definition of going for broke was clearly beyond the 
capacity of my imagination. This gave me courage. 

"Jorge, I can see it!" Lisa Lisa cried, pointing far across the 
sky, were thick clouds covered the ground. The lower end of the 
clouds had a dull orange glow. They were lit by fire. London was 

"Let's do this, Lisa Lisa!" "Yeah!" I glanced over at Steven, 
and he nodded back. I looked forward again, and I could just make 
out the silhouettes of the lighter planes in the air ahead. The closer 
we got the most horrifying the scene became. There were nearly 
three hundred airplanes in the sky above London, all lined up and 
circling the town. As if drawing a massive magic circle in the air 
above the city. "I've never seen a battle like this," I muttered. Of 
course not. We were fighting the dead. Their tactics and strategies 
would bear no resemblance to those of the living. "I'm gonna do 
what I do, you just fight how you need," Lisa Lisa said, putting her 
hands on my shoulders and standing up. "And like I said before, my 
skirt’ll be fine, don't worry." 

I looked up and saw her grinning. "Don’t you dare die, Lisa 
Lisa," I said. She was gonna be my wife. 

She met my gaze. "I won't die. Don't you dare die, either. 
We'll win here, go home, and get married." 

"I'll hold you to that promise." 

"Heh heh. Just hold up your end." 

"I will!" 

Vrroooooom! As we drew closer, some of the zombie pilots 
saw us, and began shouting. Their formation splintered, and ten 
planes turned towards us, but we shot past without engaging. Just 
the two of us against this massive force. The most chaos we caused 
the better. Bam bam bam bam! Ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-ba! Bang bang bang 
bang! We dodged fire from multiple machine guns and slammed 
into the center of the magic circle, and several pilots were so 

surprised by us cutting across their formation they accidentally 
turned into the plane next to them, crashing into each other. At least 
five or six planes exploded and went down all at once. For patched 
up wrecks these planes were flying well; they must have zombie 
engineers to go along with the zombie pilots. I let out a roar and the 
zombies responded with their own guttural shrieks, echoing across 
the sky. 

"Here 1 go!" Lisa Lisa said, and began running up the front 
of the Motorizing. She put one foot on the wing and jumped just as 
an enemy plane came by. She grabbed its wheels with one hand and 
was whisked away from me. She must have run Hamon through the 
plane; the zombie pilot howled and his body melted away. I circled 
for a moment, keeping an eye on her, but she scrambled up the side 
of the plane and slid into the pilot seat, and without even a glance in 
my direction began firing the plane's guns. Ba-ba-ba-ba-ba! Boom! 
Boom! Boom! Her first volley took out three planes and 1 couldn't 
help but laugh out loud. "Ah ha ha! Amazing!" I said, but I didn't 
have time to gawk. Lisa Lisa was clearly doing fine, so fine I'd 
have to kick things up a notch or I'd wind up as baggage. I couldn’t 
jump from plane to plane like she did so I'd have to fight with the 
bullets I had. In other words, I had to aim carefully. So I forced 
myself to remain calm, move the stick rhythmically, concentrate. 
Rat-tat-tat! Boom! Rat-tat-tat! Blaaam! No matter where I aimed 
there were enemy planes, so at first every bullet I shot sent a 
zombie spiraling down, but this time the zombie's rotting bodies 
had been in combat before, and they quickly adapted to my assault. 
I was sure I'd known the guy who turned to fight me. A Frenchman 
named Vincent Lecoeur. A Nieuport 17 with a picture of a dog 
painted on its belly. That was his, alright. The Nieuport had a max 
speed of 177 kph and he'd made the thing go 200, and even dead 
his thirst for speed was unabated and he shot past my plane like a 
bolt of lightning. But I didn't chase him. I pressed on towards the 
center of the magic circle. Rat-tat-tat! Rat-tat-tat-tat! Each and 
every time a grossly discolored fleshbag crossed my sights I shot 

them and the metal box they sat in down. The planes broke up and 
the zombies popped out and as they passed me every one of them 
was leaking all over and grinning, eyes rolling the wrong way; out 
of the cockpit they were all just corpses that hadn’t died. Shit, I 
thought. At least try and fight back before you die again! But a 
group of zombies had seen me and formed a squad and were 
starting to chase me around so I also thought maybe don't try so 
hard, guys, you're dead. I knew I shouldn't be feeling sympathy for 
zombies just because they’d been pilots once. I shook off a four 
finger formation with a series of loops and Aileron rolls, and shot 
the zombie planes down. Rat-tat-tat-tat! Rat-tat-tat-tat-tat! I did not 
escape unscathed. A storm of bullets from a fleet of Sopwith 
Camels hit the belly of my Motorizing. "Fuck!" I shot the Camels 
down from above but Vincent Lecoeur's Nieuport 17 came at me 
again and hit my wing dead on. Rat-tat-tat-tat! Direct hit. Crack! 
Crack craaaack crack... my wing split down the middle but as it did 
the other Motorizing slipped in under me. Steven! He waved for me 
to jump down, but uh, really? But if I stayed where I was the plane 
would fall apart around me. Jumping into Steven's plane was totally 
impossible but I flung myself out of the cockpit and put myself at 
the mercy of the winds. "Aughhhhhhhh!" As I did the wing came 
off completely and the Motorizing shot upwards and away, 
breaking apart. Steven's Motorizing came up under me, gently 
catching me in the rear seat. "God daaaaaamn!" I yelled, clutching 
the seat for dear life. I reached between his great white wings and 
slapped Steven on the back. "Thank you, Steven!" 

"Ha ha! Glad that worked. You're really something, man, its 
all I can do to run." 

"Heh heh, but you've done all right at that!" 

"Yeah, but I gotta fight a little, here! You take the plane." 


"Look at her!" Steven was, of course, pointing at Lisa Lisa. 
She was bounding from plane to plane, frying the zombie pilot, 
then pulling the trigger as long as there were bullets left, enemy 

planes going down boom boom boom and the moment she was 
empty she’d fling herself at the next plane over. Boing hisssss bam 
bam bam bam ka-boom. She was a fucking war god. 

"I want the freedom to fight like that," Steven said. He 
spread his wings, and was off into the sky. Ahh! I turned around 
just in time to see him swoop in on the Nieuport 17 on my tail, 
yank zombie Vincent Lecoeur out of the cockpit, and drop him into 
thin air. Then Steven occupied the emptied cockpit, pulled up hard, 
and sprayed his machine guns, shooting several other enemy planes 
down. Boom Boom boom. Crap, he was doing so well I forgot to 
stop watching. This was a battlefield! I put my game face back on. 
Watching Lisa Lisa and Steven fight was like watching ballet. I 
wrapped my hand around the stick on my second Motorizing of the 
day, and shouted, "Here I come!" Rat-tat-at-tat-tat-tat-tat-tat-tat-tat! 
Boom boom boom boom boom boom boom! 

The three of us moved as we pleased through the skies over 
London, decimating the enemy forces. Dogfight techniques were 
growing by leaps and bounds every day this war lasted, so there 
were tons of moves pilots who died didn’t get a chance to learn, and 
it was great fun using all of those against them but even if they 
were dead they were still good pilots and bullets did hit my plane 
and Steven and Lisa Lisa had to help me change planes another 
four times. Any time I was in trouble, one of the two would be there 
instantly; I was totally saved by them, but oh well! The last plane I 
had was a Fokker E.III. One of the few German planes in the fight; 
I’d shot the German zombie in the head with a pistol, thrown his 
freshly dead again corpse out, and then gone back to fighting a 
Camel that had been on my ass for a while. The Camel's pilot was 
Jim Graham. Judging by the way he was flying, Antonio Torres 
wasn't inside; he was still hollowed out. Steven, flying next to me, 
asked, "Need a hand?" 

I shook my head. "Nah. I got this. I think," I said, but twenty 

seconds earlier he'd shot down another Camel I'd been flying. 
Damn it, Jim, you're a way better pilot now that you're a zombie. 
Does being hollowed out make it easier for you to move? I grabbed 
the Fokker's stick and yelled, "Let's try this again, Jim!" Jim's 
Camel had been wheeling around, as if waiting for me to get ready, 
but now he came hurtling towards me. I rolled to avoid the bullets, 
and pulled the trigger, the bullets on the Fokker's machine guns 
timed to fire through the propellers without hitting them. Click. 


What? They'd jammed? Shit. I looked front and Jim was 
grinning at me even though he was a zombie and I got mad so as 
we passed each other I waggled my wings and hit Jim in the head 
with the Fokker's wingtip, decapitating him. Splat! No blood came 
out of his neck stump. There was a huge hole in the cross-section, 
proving he'd been emptied out. There wasn't a single Antonio 
Torres anywhere in the skies over London. He must be somewhere 
else entirely, doing something else evil. I looked around and found 
the skies were quiet. Lisa Lisa had blown the last zombie away and 
brought its plane in diagonally above my Fokker. Then she hopped 
out of the cockpit. 

"Jorge!" "Yikes!" 

I let go of the stick, held up my arms, and caught her in mid 
air. She was doing a very good job keeping that skirt from showing 
too much, I thought. 

She gave me a big hug, and said, "That was incredible! 
Jorge, you really have become strong! Look! The three of us saved 
the skies of London!" 

I looked around. The clouds still glowed orange, but there 
were no more zombies flying. I could hear cheering. From the 
burning streets of London. I looked down, and the zombies we'd 
shot down were being chased around by crowds of people. The 
Hamon Warriors had arrived on the ground, and were turning 
zombie after zombie into ash and smoke. 

"Looks like they're done over there, too," Lisa Lisa said. I 
turned to look, and ten English planes were approaching from the 
North, flashing their lights in Morse Code to prove they weren't 
more zombies. Lisa Lisa could read Morse Code, and she translated 
for me. "'Good job taking back London. Thanks!"' When I saw who 
sent that signal, I almost wept. 

It was .John Moore-Brazabon. 

"'Sorry we’re late. We decided to control the perimeter and 
keep them trapped in London.' Hmph. Jorge, should I say they gave 
up too easily?" 

"Uh...ah ha ha, no, don't!" 


As we passed each other, John and I grinned and held our 
thumbs up, but when he saw Lisa Lisa sitting on my knees John 
looked surprised, then mimed a whistle. Then Steven came out 
from the Fokker's shadow, wings stretched out behind him, and 
John's eyes nearly popped out of his head. "Seems about right," 
Steven said, laughing. "That was John Moore-Brazabon," I said. 
"He's connected politically, might be able to parlay you helping 
save London into a pardon." 

Steven shot me a look. "I knew you were innocent, but 
couldn't do a thing to save you. And you make an offer like that 
back? You're too good for this world." 

I really didn't care about that. "We're war buddies now." 

We both reached out our hands, and I shook Steven's hand 
was we rode the wind. 

"Thanks, Jorge. Thanks for saving England. Thanks for 
saving the world." Tears started welling up in Steven's eyes, and I 
thought he was overstating things but we did win and maybe we 
had saved England and maybe we had saved the world. 

"The three of us did it together," I said. "Thank you, Steven. 
And thank you, Lisa Lisa." 

Her arm still around me, Lisa Lisa closed her eyes, smiled, 
and said not a word. Oh, I thought. This was what she did every 


Save the world. 

Hamon Warriors were sent to every corner of England, and 
reports came back that no further signs of zombie invasion had 
been found. But we knew a few thousand, possibly even tens of 
thousands of Antonio Torres were still hiding somewhere, so the 
Hamon Warriors kept digging, and instituted a national health exam 
to make sure there were none hiding inside ordinary citizens. 

Steven went back to the Motorize Manor, Lisa Lisa went 
back to the Hamon Warriors, and I went on with the war, and lost a 
lot of friends, but somehow boring dicks like William Cardinal 
stayed alive. Cardinal survived the attack on the Naval Air force 
Base by Antonio Torres with nothing worse than a broken leg, and 
then told everyone he’d ordered me to the fight in London and was 
treated like even more of a hero that I was, got himself promoted, 
and by the time the war ended and the Army and Naval Air forces 
had been merged into the English Air force, he was the supreme 
commander, never had to go to any dangerous fronts, and got to sit 
in his damn wheelchair acting like a big shot, but whatever, the war 
was finally wrapping up. 

The only good thing about wars was that they ended. 

So with the war over, I went back to Westwood and the 
Joestar Mansion, and wondered what to do with myself, flying 
fighter planes had been a great job but I'd quite like to get married 
and have some kids so maybe a less potentially fatal job would be 
good, like a pilot on a merchant plane. Maybe take it easy flying 
passengers around. But John Moore-Brazabon asked me to get 
involved in politics and since we'd had a lot of fun doing cars and 
planes together I could totally see the appeal of doing something 
new, but I'd been with John a while now and I thought that, as a 

man, it was high time I did something on my own so I kinda 
wanted to try something else, too. I thought about things for a while 
and man, Lisa Lisa was sure taking her time coming. Hunh. What 
was going on there? I figured she was busy, but Lisa Lisa was never 
not busy so that hardly presented a problem. 

Had she changed her mind? That thought made it feel like 
something was squeezing all the air out of my heart so I got real 
serious about it real fast. What had I done? 

Ever since the Attempted Zombie Invasion of London I'd 
just continued on with the war against humans, but...thinking about 
it, I remembered the stories my war buddies had told. "I was just" 
excuses never seemed to work with girlfriends and wives. Lots of 
times the thing they were 'just' doing was what caused the strife in 
the first place, and since they didn't do much of anything besides 
what they were 'just' doing, and it was often the case that their girls 
wanted them doing something else. 

It was hard for me to believe that Lisa Lisa disapproved of 
me going to war and flying planes in it. So the latter situation was 
more likely to apply here. All I'd done was the war, so I'd almost 
certainly failed to do something Lisa Lisa wanted me to do. Mm, if 
Lisa Lisa has been expecting something from me, I was absolutely 
confident I had failed to live up to that expectation. I'd seriously 
done nothing else but the war, and we hadn't even seen each other 
in three whole years. I hadn't called her at all, or even written her a 

But I mean, we'd always been that way, right? After Lisa 
Lisa joined the Hamon warriors and went off with Straits, I'd only 
seen her the night lots of people died in the church on La Palma, in 
the darkness of the underground shrine in Rome, in jail, and the day 
we exterminated all the zombies in London. Man. That wasn't 
nearly enough. Had we really only been together two weeks in the 
last seventeen years? Our time in jail was comparatively long, but 
otherwise we’d only met four times. 

Four? Eh? Really? I felt like we'd met and talked and been 

together a lot more than that but we really hadn't. It was like we just 
coincidentally bumped into each other during some crisis or other. 
Wait, I realized...that's what it was like when we were kids. We only 
met when I was in trouble. Like I only needed Lisa Lisa when my 
back was to the wall...and not just that, Lisa Lisa also only met me 
when she in a tight spot. Was that enough for both of us, then? 

But I was old enough to know better now. Couples, married 
or not, did not last long if they only met when absolutely necessary. 
It was vital they be together on ordinary days, and spend time 
together doing nothing in particular; that was what cemented their 
bonds. Oh, shit, I thought. This was bad. We needed a relationship 
revolution! With that wind in my sails I decided to go see Lisa Lisa. 
According to mum, she was in Switzerland. Switzerland? Nice. 
Nobody looked better backed by snow covered mountains than I 
did. All fired up I dashed off to Switzerland, grabbed Lisa Lisa, and 

"Damn it, Lisa Lisa, if you don't love me why'd you say you 
wanted to marry me!?" 

....uh. Hunh!? I had no idea why I'd said it like that. It was a 
total sulky whine, made me sound as dumb as I was, like a toddler. 
I'd planned on being very mature, and expressing my desire to date 
properly, to face our feelings, to strengthen our relationship over 
time, to take things to another level. And yet... 

I stood their flapping my lips and uttering strange gasps, 
unable to say anything else at all, much less correct course. Lisa 
Lisa stared at me for a moment, then burst out laughing. To my 
great relief. Lisa Lisa was just as she always was, and seeing that 
bright smile of hers was all I needed to know I'd been been trapped 
in a mental cage of my own devising. 

"Don't be ridiculous, Jorge," Lisa Lisa said, exactly as I'd 

secretly hoped she would. "Why would you ever think I didn't love 
you? Of course I love you. Can you not tell without seeing me? I'd 
think you should know that much even when we're apart. Loving 
you is a foundation of my personality! You know me better than 
anyone, so I think you know that much, too." 

I did. But I got scared anyway. 

Then Lisa Lisa said, "Sorry, I'm sure this is because the war 
ended but all I'm doing is Hamon warrior work." 

Yeah, well, exactly, yes. 

"I really am sorry," she went on. "I genuinely wanted to go 
running straight to you, Jorge. I've been waiting and waiting and 
waaaaiting for the war to end! Heh heh, sorry, I sound like a little 
girl, don’t I? I'm almost thirty! I act more grown up with everyone 
else, but when I'm with you, Jorge, I feel like we're kids again, and 
that shows in how I act." 

I mean, she didn't even look twenty yet, and to my eyes she 
basically hadn't changed at all since I was ten. 

But when I hastily tried to tell her this she said, "But I was 
just so scared. I mean, Master Tom Petty went and said something 
ridiculous about you dying around the time we get married." 

Uh, what? 

He can use Hamon to predict what will happen in the 


This old bald dude was how she'd been able to find me 
stranded in the North Sea. Ngapoi Ngawang Tom Petty. 

Lisa Lisa had started crying, so I said, "I’m not going to die, 
Lisa Lisa. I promise I won't. You remember my dad, right? Joestar 
men don't die and leave their wives or lovers. I won't wind up as 
just a head, though; me and all parts of me will stay with you." 

Lisa Lisa flung herself into my arms, nestled her head in my 
chest, and kept on crying so I got mad. Where was that bald son of 
a bitch? I was ready to kill him for spouting crap and making Lisa 

Lisa feel like this...was there any way to prevent his prophecy from 
coming true? 

Seeing red, I dragged a reluctant Lisa Lisa around looking 
for Tom Petty, and found him. Face to face, his intimidating aura 
instantly killed my rage, and I asked with a smile, "Sorry, about this 
prophecy that I'll die..." 

Tom Petty adjusted the layers of Eastern gowns he wore. 
"You'll die. What? You thought you wouldn't?" 

. "Not natural causes, right? I heard some nonsense 

about me dying right after Lisa Lisa and I get married." 

"I speak neither lies nor nonsense." 

"That's right," Lisa Lisa said, wiping her tears. "Tom Petty 
would never do that." 

C'mon Lisa Lisa, don’t you want to fight this thing, too? But 
I guess saying as much wouldn't do much to fate or destiny, and 
Lisa Lisa knew full well (and I kinda knew, too) that those things 
could absolutely be foretold by someone properly prophetic. So I 
guess we had to accept it. But just as my emotions were starting to 
settle down, Tom Petty looked puzzled, and said, "But maybe you 
won't die. Mm? No, you won't. I dunno. Up to you." 

Hunh? We both looked up, surprised. 

"You have, um..." Tom Petty said. "A god of sorts - not the 
God, mind you, but a god - looking out for you." 

This again. A god that chose an individual on a whim. 


For the first time in god knows how long, I remembered the 

words my friend Tsukumojuku had said. And I have a name for 
this thing guiding me from somewhere not of this world. I call 
it: Beyond. 

"It seems you're aware of the concept," Tom Petty said. "Up 
to you whether to believe in it or not, Jorge Joestar. If you believe 
in it, you won't die. If you can't put your faith in it, then you will be 
brutally murdered by something terrifying, as fated." 

"I believe," I blurted. 

Tsukumojuku had said, With Beyond at your side, your 
adventure will be without compare. 

Tom Petty's steely eyes softened in a smile. "Then I guess 
you won't die." 

Uh...was it that easy? Lisa Lisa looked pretty stunned by 
this, too. 

"That god may not have made up its mind, either. But if you 
wish to go on living, you must follow that god." 

Well, then, no help for it, I now believed in Beyond. But I 
wasn't exactly sure how to do this, so I just thought, thanks in 
advance! And didn't really do anything else about it. 

Then Lisa Lisa and I left Switzerland, went back home, 
announced our engagement, and started planning the wedding. This 
church, then a party in the garden at the Joestar mansion, so we'd 
need drinks and food, and what kind of music should the band play, 
anyway? Lisa Lisa and mom and Penelope went on and on and on 
and on about that sort of thing. 

I was relieved to see Penelope enjoying herself; she'd been 
at odds with Lisa Lisa before. Penelope picked up on my relief and 
explained, "But Lisa Lisa's amazing! I could never measure up. I'm 
glad it's Lisa Lisa, really. If it was anyone else I'd be jealous, but 
with Lisa Lisa I just can't bring myself to feel that way!" 

I remembered Darlington saying much the same thing. No, I 
think the truth is, very few girls can live up to someone so 

beautiful and...and amazing. I agreed, Lisa Lisa was beautiful and 
amazing and I was still laughing about it when I got her pregnant. 


But mom and Penelope were explosively happy. They both 
let out long, shrill shrieks of joy when they heard. Lisa Lisa was 
super embarrassed but also really happy, so I was relieved, but I 
wondered what Straits would think. 

"I don't think he'd think anything of it," Lisa Lisa said. "And 
it's really early still, so let's wait a bit, and let him know when 
things have settled down a bit." 

Then Lisa Lisa and mom and Penelope redid their whole 
plan. They considered trying to do it before she showed, but that 
was deemed too fast, so they decided to have it after the baby was 
born, and in the end our wedding was moved to the next year. 

With the child being bom first, everyone treated Lisa Lisa 
like an absolute queen. Old man Speedwagon sent presents at an 
shocking rate, one of everything for boys and girls. I let out my first 
ever happy scream. 

"Please, calm down!" I begged, unable to wipe the grin off 
my face. "I'll do as I damn well please!" Speedwagon said, standing 
his ground. Ah ha ha. 

Then the baby was bom. A boy. 

We named him Joseph Joestar. That way he'd be a Jojo, too. 
He inherited Lisa Lisa's talents, and even as a baby he defaulted to 
Hamon breathing, and whenever I tried to change his diaper or hold 
him I’d wind up hopping around going bzzzzt bzzzt, stunned. When 
Joseph cried in my arms electric shocks ran from the top of my 
head down my left hip and I nearly passed out, but I held fast and 
acted like nothing was wrong. Of course this was just me and it 
proved no problem for Lisa Lisa, so Lisa Lisa gave me a scarf made 
from the same stuff as hers. The Smrtipologian Beetle's thread. It 
blocked the Hamon and scattered it harmlessly, and now I could 
wrap Joseph in it to change his diaper, hold him, or take him in the 
bath...except the water conducted Hamon well, so the beetles 

weren't helpful there. 

Anyway, we set the wedding date late enough that Joseph 
would be able to hold his head up. Everything was prepared 
properly, and the only thing left to worry about was the weather. On 
the morning of November 11 th , I was all decked out in my air force 
full-dress uniform when John Moore-Brabazon came in, grinning 
ear to ear in his tuxedo. "So this best man of yours isn't here yet?" 
he asked. Hunh? Who, Steven Motorize? "Heh heh heh, he overdo 
it a bit at the bachelor party last night? Teh. Whatever, don't worry 
about it, I'll be happy to be the best man in his place." 

For some reason John was campaigning to be my best man, 
and frankly it had not been an easy choice on my part, but I simply 
couldn't pick anyone but my first friend in England, my neighbor, 
and the man who'd saved my life. 

So, to avoid upsetting my bride, I elected to sneak off to the 
Motorize home to check things out. I let Penelope, the maid of 
honor, know what was up. "Whaaat? Can't anyone else do it?" she 
said, but the Motorize family and I had a history, and since Ben 
Motorize had reclused himself William Cardinal had taken over the 
family affairs so I could see this being a bit of a problem. John was, 
in fact, constantly at odds with William Cardinal, an arrogant man 
who tended to abuse his power. It would just be faster if I went 

The Joestar mansion garden had been transformed into a 
wedding venue, and as I ducked through it I saw mum holding 
Joseph. I was pretty sure she saw me but I ignored that, hopped in 
my car, and headed for the Motorize manor. 

Steven and Cardinal didn't exactly get along, either, and 
there was a strong possibility Cardinal had forced Steven to do 
something just to get at me, again. I reached the Motorize Manor, 
and saw Steven's car still there. Guess he made it home from the 
party last night just fine. Well, he'd been sipping his drinks quietly 
while my army buddies yucked it up, and hadn't seemed all that 
drunk when he'd said his goodbyes, so I'd figured he got home all 


I got out of the car, and headed for the door, regretting the 
fact that I was still dressed for the ceremony in my full-dress 
uniform. That smug bastard could be absolutely intolerable with 
anyone he considered beneath him, and might well pretend his hand 
slipped and spill tea or coffee on my uniform. 

Well, if he did that to me today, I'd...maybe not say anything 
but Lisa Lisa sure as hell would. 

I rang the doorbell. Normally Faraday would, without ever 
running, answer the door in mere moments, but today there was no 
sign of him. I tried knocking. Still no answer, so I tried the knob, 
and the door wasn't locked. I opened the door, and took a step in. 
"Hello? Good morning!" I called, but there was still no reply. 

Weird, were they out? I didn't find that thought convincing, 
largely because I could sense someone in the house. 

Someone? That seemed like the wrong word. 

What was it? This awful feeling that had swept through me? 
"Steven? Hey, Steven Motorize! It's Jorge!" 

Should I go to Steven's room upstairs? But when I set foot 
on the staircase, I froze in my tracks. The carpet was seeped in 

This was bad. And the blood wasn't dry at fact, there 
was steam rising off it so it was very fresh indeed. 

There was a thud from somewhere deeper in the manor, and 
something that sounded like a groan. This wasn't over yet. It was 
still happening, right now. ...damn it. I grabbed the poker from the 
fireplace at the back of the entrance lobby, and took a firm grip on 
it with both hands. The sound had come from upstairs. To the right 
from the top of the staircase. Darlington's bedroom was most likely 
on the right. Steven's was on the left, but...would he have a gun 
hidden in his room? I didn't know. Fuck it. I ran up the stairs. 

I put my back to the wall, and peeked down the hallway to 
the right. At the back of the hall stood a girl, in pajamas, her head 
down. Covered in blood. 

"Darlington!" I said, and stepped out in the hall, but was that 
Darlington? She was taller and skinnier than Darlington, and her 
hair hung straight down, no sign of Darlington's meticulous little 
curls. But I recognized that hair, and her figure. 

The blood-stained girl raised her head when I stepped out 
into the hall. It was Kenton Motorize. As she'd been when she died 
fifteen years ago. 

I stopped in my tracks, stunned, and Kenton said, "Blaargh." 

She was a, perhaps she had been for quite some 
time now. 

While you were studying planes, Steven and my father 
have been studying ways to bring back the dead. And they 
found a place in South America that had stories about it, and 
found some sort of proof that some ritual had actually given life 
to the dead. 

Darlington had told me that, but Steven had worked with 
Lisa Lisa and the Hamon warriors, so there was no way he'd ever 
let Kenton be turned into a zombie. He'd abandoned the idea the 
first them he encountered real zombies. Steven himself had said I 

knew it would be an unforgivable sin to make Kenton into one 
of those horrible things. 

"Uh, Kenton...? How...?" 

"Duhhh blaghhh blaghh ffaahh!" There was no meaning in 
her utterances, no trace of Kenton's mind left. Mouth hanging open, 
the zombie flung itself at me and I jammed the poker in its face 
with out a second’s thought. Sorry! Goodbye, old friend. The girl 
who'd taught me about planes. I wanted to be like you; I wanted to 
fly like you did. 

"Dunh!" the zombie yelped. The poker came out the back of 
the zombies head, and it stopped moving. She was dead again. 

This wasn't Kenton, I told myself, again. And again. I let her 
frail body slump to the floor. Behind me, "Oh...what the...Jorge 
Joestar?" said William Cardinal, seated in a wheelchair. A gun 
pointed at me. 

This was his fault. Steven would never make Kenton a 
zombie. But why would William Cardinal have done it? 

Simple. Because he was an idiot. Not an ignorant kind of 
idiot, but the kind that should know better. He'd been attacked by 
zombies and suffered as a result, but the kind of doubled down idiot 
that idiotically try to find a way to use zombies anyway. 

"You thought you could use Kenton in war, Cardinal?" 

"Ha ha ha! Any true soldier would think the same...!" 

He was also the long-winded type of idiot, so I knew he’d 
be unable to resist launching into a monologue. So the second he 
started to boast, I yanked the poker out of Kenton's head, swung it 
hard, and knocked the gun out of his hand. Crack! Schiiing...the 
gun hit the wall and slid away across the floor. 

Cardinal looked surprised, and went silent. "Good," I said. 
"Not another word." 

"It didn't hurt," he whispered. 

".?" Well, we both had our adrenaline up, I thought, 

my mind mostly trying to decide it the army or the police should be 
called to judge his actions. Or should I do that, right here and now? 
Then I noticed there was no blood coming out of the cut on his 
hand, and stopped thinking at all. 

"Hunh? A wound this bad should hurt, shouldn't it? Joestar!" 
Cardinal yelled. He hadn’t realized it yet. But he was one, too. A 

But he was going to work every day as the commander of 
the air force...which necessitated working in the sunlight. So his 
exterior remained human flesh. Which this point, my legs 
started quivering. I asked - in Spanish - "Why do you hate me so 
much? What draws such loathing out of you?" 

Antonio Torres' muffled Spanish echoed from the back of 
William Cardinal’s throat. "It's how I get my kicks these days, balsa 
bianco. Heh heh heh. what I'd like to say, but that's not it at all, 
nitwit! Who cares about you? I'm just doing what my boss tells me 
to! Although it's all the more fun when you happen to be involved!" 

All the while there was this squelching crunching slurping sound 
going on, and Cardinal's skin was being pulled and twisted inward. 
He was clearly being eaten as we spoke. And Antonio's control over 
Cardinal's body was growing stronger. 

I started backing down the hallway. As I passed Kenton's 
body, the door to the room was open, and inside I saw half-eaten 
bits of Steven and Ben and Darlington, but they weren't lying still, 
but twitching and pulsing. They were getting ready to rise again as 
zombies. My friends...! 

"Pfft,'re a soldier, you know the boss's orders are 
absolute, right?" Antonio said, belching. "Today's your last day, 
Jorge Joestar. All that's left is for you to die." 

Antonio pushed the chair’s wheels forward with both hands, 
still wearing Cardinal. I kept backing up, but soon ran out of hall to 
back up into. 

"I can’t afford to die," I said. 

I was getting married today. Not dying. 

"You will die," Antonio said. "It's already decided. My boss 
said it was your destiny." 

"You keep going on about this boss...who is it? Anyone a 
shitbag like you would follow can't be worth much." 

"How dare you insult the boss!" Antonio roared. "A fucking 
insect like you has no right!" 

Heh, I grinned. "Big talk considering how many of you I 
shot down in my plane. We aren't kids any more, Antonio; I'm done 
putting up with your shit. You fucking midget. You think you can 
beat me just cause I'm not flying a plane?" 

"...I do, asshole. No way I'm losing barehanded." 

Antonio tried to stand Cardinal up, but Cardinal had been in 
that wheelchair so long he didn't have the muscles left, and he just 
collapsed in a heap on the floor...and then slapped both hands down 
hard, flinging himself bodily into the air, caught the light fixture, 
and dangled from it. Zombies sure were strong. Meanwhile I had a 
poker. Was that enough? Cardinal's flesh looked pretty firm. How 

deep would this poker really pierce? Hmm. I might be at a bit of a 
disadvantage, here. 

But I had a bride waiting for me! The ribbons were in the 
way, so I tossed my uniform aside, took a firm grip on my poker, 
and got ready. Just facing up to Antonio Torres was enough to make 
tears well up. My legs were shaking. I was the one still dragging 
our childhoods around with me. Damn it! "C'mon! Antonio Torres! 
You bullied me every damn day! About time I got a turn!" 

"Trying to sound tough?" Antonio sniggered, swinging from 
the light fixture. "Lisa Lisa's not coming to save you. Just watch." 

Antonio jerked Cardinal's chin, pointing at the window. In 
the sky outside was another Antonio Torres, gliding like a flying 
squirrel. Two of them., .three. No, even more. Close to the window I 
could tell. 

A flock of flying squirrel Antonios was coming in from the 
coast. "You know how many there are?" Antonio asked. 

"One flat ass zombie's as good as another." 

Antonio ignored this. "About 920,000." 

920,000!? I gaped at him, but Antonio'd been dead for 
twenty years, and if he’d been shedding to double his numbers 
every year, no matter how many of him we'd killed in the war he'd 
end up with that many. 

"We've got all of England surrounded now! Today's the day! 
Our boss is taking over this entire country! Heh heh heh! Our boss 
promised me I could have Lisa Lisa. I'll be inside her next! I can eat 
her slowly from within. I'll leave her brain for last, so she can savor 
having her blood drained, her organs chewed, and her bones 
crunched. I can’t wait! Heh heh heh!" 

Desperate to shut him up, I swing the poker wildly, but all it 
did was make Cardinal's bald skull about half the size. He was 
already dead, so this failed to kill him again. 

"No use!" Antonio said. "The boss said your death is set. 
Just accept it." 

"I'm not dying!" I yelled, and swung the poker again. 

Antonio caught it mid-swing, and shouted, "It's your fault 
Dar died!" but in Cardinal's voice. I looked again, and Cardinal's 
jaw was hanging open, his tongue out, but his face was toned like a 
living human, and the light was back in his eyes. "Jorge Joestar! It's 
all your fault! You brought death here! You're jinxed!" 

Cursing me, Cardinal began swinging his arm wildly, still 
clutching the other end of my poker. I was flung through the air, 
and when I hit the floor I no longer had a weapon in my hand. 

"Now it's over, Jorge,” Antonio's voice returned, laughing. 
"Honestly, I never thought the day would come I'd kill you. I’d have 
laughed if you died, but I just liked seeing you cry and run when 
you saw me coming. I never really considered actually killing you. 
Heh heh. But what will be will be. This was our fate all along. It 
was decided long ago." 

Antonio swung Cardinal's fist, and sent me flying. Wham! I 
hit my head hard on the opposite wall, and nearly passed out. For a 
brief moment I wondered if maybe I’d be better off if I did pass out 
here. Wouldn't that be easier? But I shook that thought off. I had 
Lisa Lisa and Joseph waiting for me. My friends and family, all 
gathered together in my home. 

I'd followed the rules of the Church of England and had my 
banns read out three times. Now the big day was finally here! I had 
to get back to it! 

"Heh heh heh! Well!?" Thwack! Antonio hit me in the side 
of the head with the poker he'd stolen from me. My head throbbed, 
but I ignored it, thinking furiously. "Resist! C'mon, Jorgel I thought 
you wanted to fight me! Wasn't this 'your turn'?" 


Cardinal struck me across the back where I lay. But I just 
kept thinking, didn't respond at all. There was no way I'd win this in 
a straight up fist fight. And the excitement of the fight would stop 
me thinking at all. No point in fighting to lose. 

Think! How could I survive this? Normally, Lisa Lisa would 
show up. But she wouldn't make it in time today. It was the busiest 

day for a bride. 

At this rate I would clearly be dead soon. If I was lay here 
waiting for Lisa Lisa to come running in her wedding dress, I'd die. 

No. I couldn't leave this in her hands. I had to cast out the 
urge to just wait for her to save me. Don’t make it Lisa Lisa's job to 
save your life! But what could I do? I was already half-dead. 

"C'mon, c'mon, c'mon! This is boring! God, you're pathetic, 
JorgeV' Antonio howled. "Can't you at least go out like a man!? Or 
are you gonna die like this!?" 

I'm not going to die! But why was I still so convinced of 
that? Because I thought Tsukumojuku was going to appear out of 
nowhere and save me again? 

I did. I mean, he'd said: 

We'll meet again, one more time. 

Cool. Then, could that be now? Come on! 

But he didn't. Of course not. There was no sign of him 
coming at all. No sign...? 

Fifteen years ago, when Tsukumojuku showed himself at the 
Motorize Manor, there’d been no 'signs' of him coming. So why had 
he come? 

He’d said, I'm here to help you. He'd been there for me. 
He'd come if I needed him. 

"Fuck it, then die! Heh heh! Your entire life was a waste! It 
was a waste of my time ever dealing with someone like you! You're 
such a worthless, pathetic fool that your very existence ruins the 
lives of everyone around you! You should never have been born!" 

Tsukumojuku had also said this: 

Your Beyond is making it happen. 

Right. He'd talked like that a lot, about the power I had. 
Beyond. I'd completely forgotten about it again, but I remembered 
now. I had some sort of god on my side. 

Believe in Beyond, and you will overcome your fate. 

I remembered something else, now. Tom Petty's prophecy. 

Master Tom Petty went and said something ridiculous about 

you dying around the time we get married, Lisa Lisa had said, 
and her fears had come to pass. I hadn't imagined it would actually 
be the day of, but anyway, I was destined to die here. But Tom 
Petty had said something else. I dunno. Up to you. That's right, 
this was up to me. That god may not have made up its mind, 
either. But if you wish to go on living, you must follow that god. 
There was no other way. If I was to survive this, I had to put my 
faith in this Beyond. 

Okay. Let's believe. With my head all woozy from the hail 
of poker thwacks Antonio was unleashing on it. 

"Arrghhhhh! You're this pointless without an airplane? Do 
you even have a cock!? Been a while, but let's find out!" Antonio 
moved Cardinal's hand and pulled my trousers and underwear off 
but I just let him. I couldn't afford to waste energy resisting. Think. 
What did believing in Beyond entail? 

It meant there was an author writing a story with me as the 
main character. 

Then come on and save me! I thought, but I know there was 
a reason why they couldn't. Once Tsukumojuku had vanished and I 
was all alone I’d read a lot of novels, so I knew. Stories had plots, 
they had narrative flow, and you couldn't have things that didn't 
make sense or just showed up out of the blue. 

I had to create the flow. 

Beyond existed. That's why Tsukumojuku had come fifteen 
years ago. He’d come even though I didn't believe in Beyond at the 
time because...I thought about that for a minute, and decided it was 
to convince me that Beyond existed. And at the same time, teach 
me how to use Beyond. 

"God damn, your ass is pale! Heh heh! Watch it bounce!" 
Antonio yelled, hitting me so hard with the poker half my cheek 
was tom off. "Just how soft is it!? What's it made of, gelatin!? Look 
at it wobble!" 

If I used Beyond, Tsukumojuku would come. What I needed 
was a way to use it. Think. 

What narrative would allow him to come? 

I remember the last thing he’d said to me. 

The nature of my name suggests that we'll meet again, 
one more time. 

Right. His name? Come to think of it, fifteen years ago he'd 
said some nonsense about his name. 


Tsukumojuku is 9,10, 9, 10, 9. 

My name has three all-powerful gods linked together by 
two crosses. 

The name of God. 

Right. Because he had the name of God he'd come for me 
again. But why had it put it like that? What was there to his name? 
There must be something. 

There must be a meaning to that 'all-powerful god' and 


I remembered that I'd borrowed a Japanese dictionary from 
Tsukumojuku once and flipped through it a bit. 

"Argh! Show me your cock! Heh heh heh! What the...that 
ain't your cock! What the hell! Grown-up cocks are gross! That's 
disgusting! Iin gonna puke!" Antonio shrieked, and warm vomit 
splattered down on my exposed crotch. Chewed up bits of William 
Cardinal's insides. 

Japanese characters don't just symbolize sounds. They also 
show meaning, and there's breadth to that meaning. This breadth is 
why fi could mean '9' and 'omnipotent god.' And why could be 
TO’ and a 'cross'. The shape of the kanji was a metaphorical symbol. 
In Japanese, you could manipulate that meaning to 'convey' that one 
thing was another. Force open a path, and allow meaning to pass 
down it. 

So back to Tsukumojuku. A+/L+ tl. Him giving me that 
dictionary when he left felt like the work of Beyond to me. It let me 
understand. I was extremely glad I’d learned just how broad the 
meaning of Japanese words could be. 

Japanese used kanji. Kanji had several different readings. 
The kanji fi had three readings. "Kyuu", "Kokono", and 


The kanji + had five. "Ji~", ”Juu", "Shuu", "To", and "Too". 
"Kokono" and "Too" sounded like "Here" and "Far". 

Here, far, here, far, here. 

A name that started 'here', went 'far' away twice, and then 
came back. 

"Shit! Your dick made me throw up!" Antonio yelled, and 
raised the poker, but I'd made it in time. I'd been trying to focus on 
thinking but I'd been panicking on the inside. Fortunately, I'd done 

He went far away, and came back twice. After he vanished 
in America, he'd come back once in the Motorize Manor, and 
vanished again. So he’d come back once more. Here. 

"That's right." 

And there he was, still fifteen years old, standing by my side 
and looking down at me. "At last you decided to believe in Beyond, 
Jorge," Tsukumojuku said. "It took you getting this bloody? You 
sure are a troublesome protagonist." He bent down, and took my 
shoulders. "What?" Antonio said. "Tsukumojuku Kato!? Why are 
you still young!?" He attacked, but his swing met only air. 

"Eh?" I said. "We're not going back to the wedding?" 
Tsukumojuku looked sorry. "You've got another role to play. 
But don't worry, it's a role your Beyond prepared for you. Although 
that doesn't guarantee it'll lead to a happy ending." 

"Uh...then what's the point?" 

"Don't worry! You'll find the meaning yourself!" 

"Oh, come on! So...where are we?" 

Tsukumojuku and I were standing in some foreign land. Not 
anywhere in Europe. I could see a cluster of houses in the distance 
that were nice-looking, sturdily constructed, but not anything you'd 
see in Europe. The green crops growing in square-cut, farm-like 
plots of mud were clearly not wheat. 

"This is Japan," Tsukumojuku said. "A country town called 
Morioh. Although at the moment, it is floating upside-down in the 

I had no idea what that last bit meant, but the rest came as 
quite a surprise. "Japanese!? Why are we here ]!" 

"Because your role is to be played here." 

"Wow,'s a beautiful country." 

"Thank you. I believe you're here to solve a mystery." 

"Hunh? What kind?" 

"Murder. I'm the victim. It's all yours, buddy." 

".!? Hunh!? What...." 

"Meeting you and being your friend has been an honor. I'm 
proud of you, Jorge Joestar. The world to come is in your hands!" 

And with that, Tsukumojuku vanished into thin air, or I 
woke from a waking dream. I wasn't sure which. Either way the 
instant he was gone the brightly lit Morioh landscape went black as 
pitch, and I found myself lying on a cold night road, with neither 
stars nor moon in the sky above. My body was covered in blood 
from the beating Antonio Torres gave me. My skull was fractured, 
and chunks of flesh had been torn from my back and ass. I was in a 
hell of a state. 

Barely alive, but alive. 

Antonio and his Cardinal suit were killed by Lisa Lisa, once 
she arrived. 

Kenton and the other zombies had been abducting and 
eating neighbors, and the house was filled with leftover bits of flesh 
and blood, and they found my uniform torn to pieces, so they were 
all convinced I'd died. 

Lisa Lisa cried. 

But not just Lisa Lisa, Penelope was crying too, and furious, 
so when 920,000 Antonios surrounded Great Britain, Penelope 
unleashed her fury and created a locked room. The locked room 
was made from the flying squirrel Antonios hovering over the 
bluffs, and the giant wall made from torn up bits of them 
surrounded the whole of Great Britain. "How dare you! You'll pay 
for this! I swear it!" Penelope screamed, her rage targeting the 
entire world. It may have looked like the wall made of Antonio was 
surrounding England, but it wasn't. Penelope had made a locked 
room that surrounded all of the world that wasn’t England. The 
920,000 Antonios that Penelope fused into a giant wall began to 
gobble up the world. 

The journey from Mars complete, all we had left to do was 
calculate the trajectory and land in the water, and I'd figured since 
we were landing smack in the middle of The Ocean we'd be totally 
fine but Morioh was waiting for us and we slammed straight into 
the Arrow Cross House, so whoops, too bad, we're all dead. Or so I 
thought but when I woke up I was there, alive, and Narancia and 
Pucci were waking up too looking surprised they'd both survived 
and I could tell the stuff around us wasn't the space ship but Cars 
turned into a sphere. Like a small version of the Eyed Balloon. Cars 
made a tear in the round walls, and we stepped out and it was 
either dusk or dawn cause it was chilly and dimly lit and there were 
stars and the moon in the sky. About half the sky was bright and 
half was dark. I looked for the North star. I found Cassiopeia and 
the Big Dipper, and then the North Star. The bright half of the sky 
was West, so this must be evening. Under the starry sky was an 
unfamiliar countryside, hilly, but no mountains, like Morioh but not 
the same. Wheat fields, not rice paddies. The houses I could see in 
the distance weren't Japanese style but brick and stone, like old 
European landscapes. Then a gust of wind blew by and I caught of 
whiff of something sweet and turned around. Remnants of the 
spaceship were stuck to the outside of the Cars sphere, and Cars' 
flesh was melting, smoke rising off it, making a bubbling noise. And 
the smell wasn't that of animal flesh burning, but weirdly sweet, 
like fruit. 

"Cars, you OK there?" I asked, and Cars slowly returned to 
humanoid form, but had clearly taken quite a bit of damage. He 
wasn't steady on his feet. 

"The extra mes covering the ship burned up just above the 
surface," he said, hoarsely. "Seems we were one me short." 

But he couldn't exactly have just waited one more loop and 
obtained another extra Cars. 

And in this thirty-seventh universe, I met an astronaut 

named Funnier Valentine, Cars had said. So even as the universe 
looped itself there were things that happened every time and 
things that didn't. 

"No, 36 should have been enough," Enrico Pucci unilaterally 
declared. Don't think the number 36 will just work everywhere 
forever, I thought, but Pucci was lost in thought and didn't even 
glance my way. 

Then I realized; Pucci was hung up on the idea of 36 souls. I 
could hear him muttering to himself. 

"It wouldn't have worked without 36. 36 is 12 x 3. 12 and 3 
are both holy numbers in Christianity." 

The code in the Way to Heaven had clearly possessed Pucci. 

Have the courage to cast aside your Stand, and as your 
Stand withers, it will gather 36 souls, and give birth to something 

It will befriend he who says the fourteen words. 

The place is 28.24 degrees North, 80.36 degrees West. 

As far as the first phrase went, the only part of that that 
had happened was the number 36. Thirty-six Cars were assembled, 
but that wasn't because anyone had thrown away a Stand. The 
ultimate thing had simply survived the death of the universe 36 
times. And nothing 'new' had been born. 

As far as the Fourteen Words, these did seem to be lining 

Spiral staircase" 
Rhinoceros beetle 

"Desolation Row" 
"Fig tart" 

"Rhinoceros beetle" 
"Via Dolorosa" 
"Rhinoceros beetle" 

"Rhinoceros beetle" 

"Secret Emperor" 

From this list, Pucci had clearly chosen to interpret Morioh 
and Nero Nero Island moving as 'rhinoceros beetles', and that 
made sense to me. They seemed to have pretty burly legs, and 
though they'd split open, they'd started out with those barriers on 
their back, armored. But if the phrase 'rhinoceros beetle' showed 
up four times, were there two other moving islands out there? 

I was also on board with calling our falling on the Arrow 
Cross House "Via Dolorosa". And because we'd fallen there, we 
were still alive, I guess? 

Giotto was clearly the probes Cars had made his ship out of. 

I went back through events, and understood why Pucci had 
reacted to what Cars said. Cars had described the Earth as a a 
water vessel, which was the etymology of the word 'hydrangea'. 

28.24 degrees North, 80.36 degrees West was the location 
on Mars where we'd found Cars. So considering all these symbols. 

it made sense that the Way to Heaven involved making friends 
with Cars, but did it really? The Ultimate Thing viewed us as food, 
so could we be friends? I couldn't imagine it, and the scale of his 
every action was petrifying, but he had protected us from burning 
up on reentry. The idea was only just starting to settle in, since I 
hadn't expected him to do anything like that, but saving us had 
come at no small sacrifice. He was standing bolt upright, his legs 
slightly apart, and the burns covering his body were visibly healing. 
A pus was squirting out of the wounds with an oozing, popping 
noise, and when it hit the ground it sizzled and evaporated. 

"Yikes, that looks painful. Anything we can do?" I asked, but 
he ignored me. Clearly, there was nothing I could do. But I said, 
"Thanks for saving us," anyway. 

"Oh, yeah!" Narancia said. "You saved our asses! Thanks, 
dude! But why did you save us?" 

Focused on healing himself, Cars did not deign to respond. 

"Yo," Narancia said, turning to me. "Maybe we should run 
for it right now. Seems like he ain't moving." 

"? Run? Where to?" 

"Where Buccellati is." 

"Narancia, look around you. This isn't Morioh or Nero Nero 


"Hunh?" He spun around, flustered. "Uh...hunh? Seriously? 
Where the fuck are we?" 

"I dunno." 

"But we fell right on top of Morioh and Nero Nero Island! I 
saw them!" 

"Yeah, so did I." Specifically, we'd fallen right on top of the 
Arrow Cross House. So what had happened? 

Where had we ended up this time? 

Narancia dropped a few hundred tiny Das Boots on the 
grass, and sent them out in all directions to scout. Which reminded 

me that I was still borrowing a Das Boot from Cars, so I did the 
same thing. 

"Unlike Mars, there's trees and grass! So nice! I Earth!" 
Narancia crowed. He had a point. The sky above us was the same 
sunset I'd seen all my life; the moon was bright, the stars were 
twinkling, and the countryside around us might be unfamiliar, but 
was comfortingly real. We could breathe without spacesuits, and 
the gravity didn't make our movements heavy or light. This was 
Earth. So what about it was bugging me so much? "I'm going in the 
houses, but there's nobody there," Narancia said, peering into his 
headset periscope. "Every house is empty. What the...? Oh, a town 
sign. Mm? Is this English? Wa...was...wast..." 

"Lemme see," I said, and kinda snatched the periscope off 

There was a dirt road that crossed a grassy creek via a stone 
bridge, and right in front of it was a wooden sign, painted green, 
that read "Wastewood." "Wastewood? Well, that does sound like 
English. Is this America somewhere?" But American countryside 
didn't look like this. America would have paved roads so the cars 
could drive easier. The rivers would have flood control. The bridges 
would be concrete or at least have guardrails. But I saw no signs of 
any government work like that. Were we just that deep in the 
country? But did anywhere still look like this, these days? There 
were wheat fields and homes. If people used the roads, they'd 
have to pave them so cars could use them...but as I looked through 
the periscope, I figured out the reason. One Das Boot found a large 
manor, and entered the grounds. There was indeed a car sitting in 
the driveway, but it was a classic car. Like in a Sherlock Holmes 
movie. Like they'd taken the horses off a rich man's carriage, and 
added four small tires. It matched the styling on the old manor, but 
it looked well-used for something a hobbyist kept. Like someone 
had just dumped it there. I got close, and this went beyond poorly 

maintained; it looked to have been straight up abandoned there, at 
the mercy of the elements. The entire body was covered in a thick 
layer of dust; I couldn't even see in through the square windows. 
But it didn't look like it had been left there a century ago, either. 

"Can't find anybody," Narancia said, looking at the 
periscope over my shoulder. 

"Yeah. But it doesn't see like the place was abandoned a 
hundred years or anything." 

"A hundred years?" 

"Look, see?" 

I showed him a view from a different Das Boot, one that 
was looking into a small shop. It was a general store, and the 
packaging on everything was antique. And there were newspapers 
on sale by the door. The Das Boot was parked next to them, close 
in on the title and date. The Daily Mirror. November 11 th , 1920. 

That was 92 years ago. Were these really for sale? But the 
paper looked real, and so did everything else in the shop. There 
was a reality to the details. 

"Woah," Narancia said. "1920? How many years ago is that?'s 2012, so...20-12=8 and 20-19=1 so 18 years ago!? Before I 
was born!" 

One should not become a gangster so young, I thought. "92 
years ago." 

"Fuck howl?" Narancia flew into a rage, but I was used to it 
by now. I ignored him and began checking other Das Boots. There 
were Das Boots riding fish and birds, and I saw a lot of animals 
besides humans. They all seemed to be doing just fine. Only the 
humans had gone missing. 

One riding...I guess a butterfly? I could see big white wings 
flapping on the sides of the screen, and it was bobbing up and 

down in the air as it flew. Anyway, it went in through the window 
of a home. Old art deco style furniture, and dishes on the table. 
Like they'd been eating a moment ago. Breakfast? They'd been 
eating a simple meal of bread and soup and coffee, but the people 
eating here had left more than a few minutes ago. These dishes 
had to have been there at least a month. The bread in the basket 
was almost all eaten by bugs, soup had dried in the bowls, the half- 
boiled vegetables rotting. The inside of the coffee cops was stained 
pitch black. What could have happened that caused the people 
living here to leave their dishes on the table, and never come 
back? The butterfly the Das Boot was riding fluttered further into 
the house when Narancia said, "Hey, Jorge, your name's Jorge 
Joestar, right?" 

"...? Yes. Why?" 


"What for?" 

"Look." I peered over at Narancia's screen, and saw a huge 
garden outside a large manor, with rows of tables and chairs, white 
ribbons and crosses hung everywhere. Also quite a lot of what had 
once been flowers. There were glasses and bottles on the tables. 
Like they'd been left there, not after the party, but, based on how 
little of the wine had been drunk, since before the party began. 
Beyond the tables was a white carpet running down the center, 
with rows of chairs lined up on either side, and an alter at the 
front. This was obviously a wedding venue, a wedding that had 
never taken place. In the dim evening light the abandoned party 
setup looked deeply forlorn. Near the garden entrance was some 
sort of welcome board, and as the bird Das Boot was riding passed 
by it, I had just enough time to read it. It read: 

Welcome to the Wedding Reception for Jorge Joestar and 

Elizabeth Straits. 

"Eh heh heh. See? Something to look forward to, eh?" 

While Narancia yucked it up, I remembered something. 

In my world, there is another Jorge Joestar. 

That Jorge spelled his name the same way I preferred, so I 
figured right away that this was the Jorge Joestar Tsukumojuku had 
talked about. 

Tsukumojuku had come from 1904, from a world with a 
weirdo map. So was this La Palma? No, the Canary Islands were 
Spanish, so I doubt there was anywhere named Wastewood there, 
and the English only welcome board made little sense either. Since 
this other Jorge Joestar was a pure-bred Englishman, perhaps this 
was England? As I thought, the bird Das Boot was riding flew away 
from the house out of the front gate, and I saw a post box outside. 
There was a name written it; Joestar. This must be Jorge Joestar's 
family home, and he'd been planning to get married in the garden. 
So perhaps there were more things belonging to this other Jorge 
inside the house. I wasn't sure what checking those out would tell 
us, but I was curious. 

"Narancia, I'd like to head to this Jorge Joestar's house." 

"Hunh? Fuck yeah! Let's do this! Ain't accomplishing shit 
just standing around here!" 

I turned towards Cars. Behind him Pucci seemed to have 
just become aware of his surroundings. " this? What 

"We aren't sure yet," I said. "But it's possible we've gone 
back in time. Speed is a big factor in time travel, so maybe the 
ship's falling speed was a little too fast." As I said it, I remembered 
that the speeds required would be close to light speed, and the air 
resistance on reentry would be so great that we'd never get 

anywhere close to that. Our speed was slow enough we'd have 
landed safely if we'd touched down in the ocean. So what had 
happened? I wondered if Cars had used some power, but guessing 
out loud wasn't going to get us anywhere. "Anyway, if we've time 
traveled, it's 1920, and...we appear to be in England. In a town 
called Wastewood." 

I waited to see if he reacted at all to this; after all, England 
was a myth, and was not supposed to actually exist. But Pucci just 
nodded. "I see. Then we should head for the capital, London." 

"? Why?" 

"Something waits for us in 'Desolation Row'," Pucci said, 
with great but unsubstantiated conviction. 

London? I still wasn't sure the place actually existed, but we 
definitely needed to start moving, either way. We'd definitely 
fallen on Morioh, but instead we found ourselves wherever this 
Wastewood was. There was an entrance in Morioh, and the exit lay 
here. If we found that exit, maybe we could get back. 

Narancia interrupted this chain of thought. "Mm? Hunh? 
Found someone." He was staring at my screen, so I took a look, 
and the butterfly from earlier had fluttered into a storehouse or 
closet or basement or I dunno, a dark room of some sorts, and in 
the center of it stood three people. They were all men, and looked 
pretty beat up. There were rips in their old-fashioned shirts and 
pants, and one's entire ass was exposed. The three of them were 
standing stock still in the center of the room, their faces very close 
together. Were they discussing something secret? But as the 
butterfly got closer, I could tell - it wasn't three men, but three 
men and a little girl, about five years old, and the three strong men 
all had their teeth sunk in her neck, leaving the rest of her dangling 
in the air, hiding her until we were right up close. "What in the 

name of fuck!?" Narancia yelped. I was pretty shocked myself. 

All three men had their eyes closed, but the man on the 
right swallowed, and the other two men twitched, and tried to pull 
the girl towards them. The man who'd swallowed wasn't about to 
give her up, and pulled back. Since all three men were fighting to 
sink their teeth in her neck I got a good look at them; their mouths 
were filled with fangs, sunk deep into the body of the little girl. 
Three men were fighting to eat this kid. Another one swallowed, so 
it seemed safe to assume they were drinking her blood. 

But they weren't just gulping away, so perhaps the three of 
them were taking their time, not wanting to waste her? After all, 
there was nobody else in town. 

"Shit! Load up!" Narancia yelled. "Fire! Shoot them!" 

Psst psst psst, three cruise missiles shot out of the Das 
Boot, leveled out, and hit each of the men in the head, thwack 
thwack thwack. Their heads split open but no blood or brains came 
out. The girl fell to the ground in the middle, and looked for all the 
world like she was already dead, but... 

It's like a zombie movie. The dead bite people, and those 
bit or who come in contact with their saliva turn and attack other 
humans, Shiobana had said. No way, I thought, and a moment 
later the girl stood up, her eyes showing only whites. Her little 
mouth opened wide enough her cheeks split, showing an awful lot 
of fangs. 

"...what the...that's not human!" Narancia shrieked. 

"It's a zombie," I said. 

"A zombie!?" 

"Narancia. Shoot the kid." 

"Ehh? I can't do that!" 

"Then Narancia, bring your Das Boots back here." 


"Quick." I'd just cottoned on to our surroundings. There 

were figures standing in the wheat fields around us. All I could 
make out was their silhouettes in the darkness, but they were 
shaped like people. But they didn't feel like people. Things that 
looked human but weren't were staring at us. We were already 

"Hurry!" I hissed, but I guess they heard me, because the 
shadows around us all started closing in, and we could soon see 
the drool running down their chins, the nasty bared fangs. 

"The dead are walking..." Pucci said. "The end of the world 
draws nigh." 

Brushing off his dire words, I called back my Das Boots, and 
let out a hail of missiles, roaring into the explosions. Zombie after 
zombie exploded. Narancia's Das Boots joined us, and we took out 
nearly all the zombies, but two made it through the fields and 
were right on top of us. 

"Augh...argghhhhh...aghhhh!" Horrible groans and horrible 
fangs and our missiles weren't gonna be in time but just before 
they got us Pucci's White Snake punched each one in the head so 
hard it split open. 

"The end of the world is but the prelude to the arrival of 
Heaven," Pucci said. That was ominous. 

More zombies were gathering. 

Narancia gathered his Das Boots and formed a big one, and 
we climbed in. Cars was still looming in place, emitting smoke, and 
when I suggested we get him on board Narancia looked reluctant, 
but Pucci insisted, "We need all elements gathered so far. We can't 
afford to leave anything behind." 

This astronaut was sounding more and more like a prophet. 
But apparently saying things with no discernible basis but oodles 
of confidence was the trick to overruling Narancia, like he assumed 

there must be some reason beyond his comprehension or no one 
would act like that, and just went along with it. The boy had no 
faith in his own ability to think through things or work things out, 
and thus was easily dragged into the flow of forceful personalities. 
So I put my own oar in, too. 

"For the same reason, we'll need to check out this Joestar 

At this, not just Pucci, but Cars, who'd been so busy healing 
he hadn't even adjusted his gaze all this while, turned and looked 
at me. 

"Joestar manor?" 

Hunh? Uh-oh, I thought, but I soon switched to 'oh well' 

I was feeling much the same way as Pucci was. 

Everything has meaning. 

Narancia's Das Boot took us through a meadow and some 
woods before we reached the Joestar manor. I hopped out of the 
sub and checked the mailbox. This was definitely the Joestar home. 
Then we sailed into the garden, knocking tables and chairs aside, 
did a circuit of the main building, parked outside the entrance, and 
I hopped out again, went up on the porch, and peered inside 
through the window nearest the front door. I was super careful 
while peeping, worried that there were a bunch of vampiric 
zombies clustered inside. The lofty entrance was empty, but I 
thought I saw someone moving down the back hallway. I reached 
my hand out to the door, and knocked. But there was no response. 
"Hello?" I called, softly, but aloud. No reply. 

I sensed someone behind me - Narancia, I figured - and 
turned around to receive quite a shock. 

The figure behind me had its face painted white, green 

stars around its eyes, larger lips painted over its actual lips, and 
brightly colored clothes. It was a clown. 

"Who are youuuuul?" the clown shrieked, in high-pitched 
English. As it did, there was a huge racket as the front porch came 
apart like a tornado struck it, but instead of falling the bits 
combined in mid-air forming a wall leading to the porch roof. 
Beyond the porch wreckage wall, I could hear Narancia screaming, 
"Jooooorge! What are you doing!? Ruuuun!" 

I was too surprised by the clown to react in time, and the 
walls were already closed around me. Locked in here, in the dark, 
face to face with a clown. Uh... 

Narancia started trying to break down the walls imprisoning 
me, and I gave it a kick or two and tried ripping bits of wood off 
with my hands, but I didn't get anywhere. In fact, I could no longer 
reach the walls. Before I knew it a rope made of the same wood 
bits as the walls had dropped down from the ceiling, wrapped 
itself around my neck, pulled tight, and was pulling at me, trying to 
drag me off the floor and strangle me. 

The clown laughed. "If you're not Penelope's friend, you'll 
have to hang yourself!" 

Penelope? A girl's name? 

A clown. A locked room. 

The noose on my neck pulled me high enough off the 
ground my feet couldn't reach the floor, and was getting very tight 
around my throat, but those two keywords jobbed my memory. 
"Stop! I'm not the Locked Room Maestro!" I yelled. The clown took 
a close look at my face. 

Thought so. "Unh...Ja...Javier Javier Cortez is 


The Spanish police on La Palma beat him to death with 
their nightsticks, and sank his body in the sea at night. 

It was like the soul left the clown's body. His whole body 
went stiff, then began to spin faster and faster until it exploded, 
and the walls around me and the rope on my neck went with it. 
The floor of the porch collapsed. As I sat their coughing, I heard 
footsteps come running. The front door was flung open, and a 
Latin beauty came out. 

"Jorge!?" she said, looking around, and without thinking, I 
said, "Here!" 

But when her gaze found me she looked very perplexed. 

"Nice to meet you," I said. "My name's Jorge Joestar." 

"Don't be ridiculous!" she said, fixing me with a furious 
glare. She was clearly looking for the other Jorge, Tsukumojuku's 

"I'm not, I swear! Penelope, right?" She'd been the one 
controlling that clown, then. I took my wallet out of my back 
pocked, pulled out a business card, and handed it to her. My name 
was written on it, and not using the spelling on my passport or 
other official documents. 

Jorge Joestar 

"? What do you mean, detective? Are you a cop?" 

"I'm a private detective," I said. "The kind that inevitably 
ends up solving the mystery." 

"? What are you talking about?" 

"Have you not read Sherlock Holmes?" Was this the real 
England? Had Conan Doyle not made the place up, after all? 

"Oh...but're a Chinaman, aren't you?" 

"...Japanese, but I'm an English citizen." 

"Japan...oh...are you friends with Tsukumojuku, then?" 

At the mention of his name every cell in my body shivered. 
I knew it. There was the world Tsukumojuku had come from. And 
after Tsukumojuku had left, something very strange had happened 
on this island. "I am," I said. "By the way, what in the hell is 
happening here? I mean, are you OK? Are you the only one here? 
Alive, I mean." As I was asking, Narancia yelled over me, "Hey, 
Jorge! Who is she?" in Italian, and Penelope's attitude changed 

"I am the only one here. I have no idea what is happening. 
You need not concern yourself with me. Please leave." And with 
that, she tried to shut the door. Clearly she did not want to invite 
strangers in, but from behind her came a gentle voice. 


A woman stepped into view, and the moment I saw her it 
felt as if the air around me had grown thin, and yet a strange 
warmth swept over me at the same time. Physics suggested if the 
air pressure dropped, so would the temperature, and yet...wait, 
that was irrelevant. Anyway, this woman was about forty years old, 
beautiful, and possessed of the sort of sincerity that ensured you'd 
feel horribly guilty if you ever betrayed or tricked her, a sort of 
solemnity that instantly stressed me out, but at the same time 
made you feel that if she was handling things, everything would 
work out just fine in the end. 

"Erina..." Penelope said. 

"Let me greet our guests, at least," Erina replied. "It's a 
pleasure to meet you. I'm Erina Joestar. You're Jorge Joestar?" 

She was just standing in front of me, but her class and 
elegance had me breathless. I took far too long to answer. "Urn, 

"You seem awfully young. If you don't mind me asking, how 
old are you?" 

"Er, sixteen." 

"Would you perhaps be Japanese?" 

"Urn, yes. Sorry, I keep stammering. I'm not usually this 
nervous meeting people." 

"Ha ha ha, that's quite all right. Please, be at ease." 

No, even your gentle chuckles are bowling me over here, no 
way I can relax. 

Behind me, Narancia was growing irritated. "Dude, stop 
fucking around! You learn anything from them yet?" God, he was 
rude. I went bright red. 

"Heh, your companion is certainly a lively one." Erina said, 
glancing over my shoulder. 

"Who the fuck is this granny? It's fuck dangerous around 
here! You bringing her with us or not? Make up your fucking 

"God damn it, Narancia! Shut up!" I yelled, wheeling 
around...and there were three zombies running up behind him 
that he hadn't noticed. "Look..." out, I began, but before I got the 
words out snap snap snap three phone booth sized boxes popped 
up and swallowed the zombies. These boxes were made from the 
dirt and grass in the yard. Just like the locked room that had 
swallowed me was made from the front porch. I caught Penelope's 
eye, and she just sniffed huffily. Scary, but a little bit cute. "These 
grounds are completely safe. But those things do keep trying." 

By those things, she must mean the zombies, but just what 
was happening inside those boxes? Was a clown appearing inside 
each of them to hang the zombies? I glanced around and there 

were several other booths dotted around the garden, some fully 
intact, others crumbling, with holes in them, or only the bottom of 
the walls remaining. Through the holes I could see what lay inside, 
and there was a zombie hanging from a noose, but there was 
nothing below the zombie's neck. Penelope saw me looking and 
said, "They struggle after being hung, so they rip their own heads 
off." No sooner were the words out of her mouth than three splats 
came from the new booths. "Yikes!" Narancia yelped. 

""See? But I'd prefer Erina not see that sort of thing. Would 
you please go now? Hmph, such weird clothes." 

I looked back at Erina. "Excuse me. How did you know I was 

"I've been running a trading company for some time now. 
I've done business with Japanese people in the past. Based on the 
inflections in your English, and...perhaps your facial features? You 
have a soft smile that's very particular to Japanese culture." 

"I do? I mean, I guess people do say I look like an idiot." 

She chuckled. "And I knew a boy about your age. I believe 
he called himself a detective as well." 

"Yeah...I assume you mean Tsukumojuku?" 

"Yes. He was friends with my son. Perhaps his only friend, 
at the time. So they were always together in middle school. We 
lived in the Canary Islands then, but that boy had to return to 
Japan quite suddenly, and my son was already quite upset by that 
when we learned that his ship had capsized. We kept the news 
from him for a while, but...if you know Tsukumojuku, then did he 
not die after all?" 

Well, not in the ship crash. "No." 

"Where are you from?" 

How should I answer that? From Morioh? From Mars? Urn. 
"Tsukumojuku had family in Japanese Fukui Prefecture, in a small 
town called Nishi Akatsuki. I live there, too. It's quite far away. But I 

met Tsukumojuku there, and quite a lot happened, and now I'm 
here." Really a lot had happened. 

"Quite a lot?" Erina echoed. Perhaps she picked up on the 
scale of things, though I doubted she could have known their full 


"But you did not arrive here by any ordinary means." 

", we didn't. Um, sorry, I forgot to ask is it 
that the dead come to walk around attacking the living?" 

"We still don't know the reason. But I supposed that is for 
me and you and your friends to figure out." 

ll ll 

"Jorge Joestar, do you believe in destiny?" Erina asked, 
looking me right in the eye. 

"Yes," I said, unable to suppress a smile at what I was about 
to say. "I not only believe in destiny, I make a living from doing so." 
Anyone calling themselves a detective did. 

Erina gave me that lovely laugh of hers again. "Well said. 
Jorge Joestar from very far away, I am glad that we met." 

"Um, yeah. Oh, sorry, l'm...aaaugh." 

"Ha ha ha." 

"Um, excuse me?" Penelope said. 

"Yes?" I asked. 

"Where are you going and what are you going to do there?' 

"Hunh? Well...apparently this is England, so we were talking 
about going to London." 

"What for?" 

"I'm not really sure, but we're looking for Desolation Row. 
Kinda seems like anyone still living will have fled London, too." 

"Desolation Row?" 


"Why are you looking for that?" 

Why were we? I wasn't sure, maybe just the narrative flow 
lead us to it? I laughed at the idea. We were finding Pucci's 
metaphors one after another, and using them to guide us. I 
couldn't offer any other explanation for our situation, and I 
couldn't help but laugh at that. "We're looking for the Way to 
Heaven. Ha ha ha." 

"The Way to Heaven!?" Erina said. 

I was surprised by her surprise. I wondered if this mess, 
with all the zombies, made that line sound like suicide. "No, I'm 
sure it's nothing all that serious..." I said, trying to cover. 

"Well...I know this is coming out of the blue," Penelope 
said. "But can I come with you? You came from far away, right? I 
can protect you, I'm sure. Erina, I'm sorry. Do you mind if I go? My 
clowns will still protect the manor even if I'm gone, and I'll come 
back as fast as I can." 

Hunh? But zombies weren't that big a threat. We didn't 
really need a girl to come protect us, I thought, but then rethought 
it; perhaps this was another important narrative being introduced. 

But Erina looked dubious. "You're a girl, after all." 



"...But Lisa Lisa...Elizabeth is already..." Penelope suddenly 
sounded like she was about to cry. "I...I do hate to put it like this, 
Erina, but if I stay where it's safe just because I'm a girl and it's 
scary and dangerous then I feel like I'll just wind up left behind by 
all the boys. Elizabeth puts herself in danger, and nearly dies, but in 
the end she got to be with Jorge when it really mattered! She was 
happy, I know it!" 

This seemed to strike a nerve with Erina, and she thought 
hard on it. 

Penelope turned to me. "I know it's a sudden request, but 
take me with you. I promise I won't get in the way." 

Hmm. "It's dangerous? You probably shouldn't?" 

"I know it's dangerous." 


"Please. And this whole mess is, in a large part, my fault. So 
I'd like to see if there's anything I can do about it." 

Her fault...? "You made the zombies?" 

"I wouldn't do that! But I did turn the entire island of Great 
Britain into a locked room." 

"Hunh....!?" The sheer scale of that statement left me at a 
loss for words. But at the same time, then she was definitely the 
cause of this state of affairs, I thought. "Then I guess you have a 
right to be involved." But holy hell, how big was this locked room? 
"Even so. I'd really advise against it..." I added. "I'm traveling with 
some pretty weird people." 

"But you're with them, too? Don't worry, I can look after 

The Ultimate Thing ignored basically everything that passed 
for common sense with humans, though... 

"I just can't agree, Penelope," Erina said. "It's too risky." 

Penelope wasn't having it. "I'm going. Erina, thank you for 
everything. I was very happy. But I can't take it any more. With 
Jorge gone, there's something dark and hot and heavy churning 
around inside my chest and stomach and down below, chewing 
away at me from the inside. If I don't hang every last zombie in 
England that churn is gonna eat me alive." 


"So please. I won't demand your approval, but at the least, 
don't stop me." 

ll | ll 

"Ha ha. But I promise I'm coming back! Coming back alive! 
At the very least I'll bring Elizabeth back with me. I'm not about to 
be the only one sitting around biding my time! Ah ha ha!" 

Even her laugh was choked with tears. Erina put her arms 
around Penelope, and drew her close. "Then go, Penelope. Just be 
sure you come back. I can't lose any more family!" 

"Mm! I'll come back safe and sound. Sorry, this means you'll 
have to look after Joseph all by yourself, I know." 

"Joseph will be fine. Straits and the others come to check 
on us from time to time." And like that, we'd gained a new 
companion, but...Joseph?. "Joseph Joestar?" 

Both women turned and stared at me as one. 

I had them show me baby Joseph Joestar. There was a baby 
carriage in the room just off the entrance hall, and he was sleeping 
inside. His father was Jorge, and his mother Lisa Lisa/Elizabeth 
Joestar. So he might be a Joseph Joestar, but not the same one 
who was my adopted great-grandfather. That Joseph Joestar's 
father was Jodoh, and his mother was Maria Urias Zeppeli. But I 
felt like there was some resemblance. Something inherently rascaly 
to him. Even as a baby. 

But most likely, this baby would become the man who went 
up against the Ultimate Cars this time, and sent him to the ends of 
space. He was a newborn, and already a bad ass. I grinned at the 
thought, but I had other fish to fry. 

"Hmm, so this is Joseph as a baby. You can already see it in 
his face," Cars said, leaning in beside me. His wounds were totally 

I froze to the spot, my mind utterly blank. Erina and 
Penelope both threw themselves between the half-naked man and 
the baby, protectively. 

"Bwa ha ha ha ha! Fear not! I do not make a habit of killing 
children! And because this man sent me to me every time I am 
here before you! Besides, if I harmed him who knows how history 

would be altered! Come, let us return to the place and time from 
whence we came, Jorge Joestar!" Cars said, and walked away. I was 
so relieved. My knees were rattling. 

"What was that!? What is he!?" Penelop said, tears in her 
eyes. "I never saw him come in!" 

"That' of my traveling companions," I said. "You sure 
you're up for traveling with a half-naked mystery man?" 

I definitely thought she shouldn't, but Penelope swallowed 
once, loudly, and said, "I'll be fine." She paused, then added, "But 
he's very scary." 

"Don't worry," I said. "I'm scared of him, too." 

Then I took Penelope de la Roza back to Das Boot. Narancia 
was hanging out inside, looking bored, and when he saw us he 
yelled, "Yo, what the fuck, you picked up a girl? Here? Now!? Are 
you completely stupid!? Are you fucked in the head?" He cackled 
wildly but I ignored him. Cars and Pucci were waiting inside, too, so 
I introduced Penelope to them, and explained that she was joining 
us on our trip to London, but neither of them seemed particularly 
interested. Pucci simply glanced at her face once, and went back to 
whatever he was thinking about it, so I let it be. 

"OK, motherfuckers! Let's go!" Narancia yelled, but I was 
the only one who yelled, "Yeah! Let's go!" back. 

"So, aren't you 'companions'? Why's the mood so tense?" 
Penelope asked. Right, I'd better fill her in. 

"Penelope, you met him a moment ago, but this is Cars. 
He's the Ultimate Living Being. And the gentleman in the space suit 
is the astronaut, Enrico Pucci." 

"Nice to meet you," Penelope said, but neither reacted. 
"This is a little uncomfortable," she whispered, but there was not 
much I could do to change that. 

But when Penelope explained what was happening here in 
England, Pucci's expression changed dramatically. Penelope told us 
of Jorge Joestar's life, of the fifteen locked room mysteries created 
by the Locked Room Maestro, Javier Cortez. She told us about her 
power to turn any material into a locked room, manifest a clown 
within to hang anyone trapped inside and make it look like a 
suicide. "Jorge Joestar called powers like this Wounds. They are 
abilities born of pain inflicted over and over again." 

I remembered what Cars had said about the bow and arrow 
he'd made. 

In protect their own lives from the fatal wound, 
their talents would blossom, the energy would heal the wounds, 
and they would discover special abilities previously hidden within 

A wound - being damaged - could give you powers beyond 
what others had. What did it mean to recover, to heal? 

As a body attempted to heal itself, it must want to avoid 
suffering the same injury again, and provide a tool to protect itself. 
In that sense, both Stands and Wounds were a manifestation of 
inner emotions. 

Emotions given form. 

Thinking about this and listening to Penelope, she got to 
the mass suicide in the church on La Palma. The pictures of the 
mothman drawn while on fire. "It took ten years for Jorge to find 
out," Penelope said, "But when humans are imagining something 
out of anxiety or fear, what they imagine remains behind, collects, 
haunts, and can even take on concrete form. That's how there can 
be a spider with gorilla legs lurking in the darkness underground, 
how people can die painting pictures of the mothman on land, and 
why gremlins appear in the air." 

Gremlins? Like Mogwai and them? The Joe Dante movie 
Spielberg produced? Come to think of it, there was a scene where 

a character is grumbling about having to send foreign made goods 
off to be repaired all the time because gremlins live inside and 
cause trouble. 

"Airplanes are very new, and changing rapidly, so there's a 
lot of trial and error, and people get anxious, which gave rise to the 
gremlins," Penelope explained. I was nodding as she spoke, but my 
understanding was quickly turned on its head. The zombie that 
had plagued Jorge Joestar as a child, Antonio Torres. "Antonio had 
a Wound that allowed him to shed his entire skin once a year. He'd 
followed Jorge to England, and was attacking airplane pilots - this 
was the start of the stories about gremlins." 

And at last her story took us to recent events, events from a 
month before. 

"A commander in the air force, where Jorge served, was 
actually possessed by Antonio Torres. When Jorge found out, he 
was killed..." Penelope was silent for a moment before continuing. 
"I went to the commander's house with Elizabeth. It was here, in 
Wastewood. I saw Elizabeth kill that commander. Antonio Torres 
was inside his body, and Elizabeth...she was beyond furious. I could 
tell it was all she could do to keep herself from going mad. She's 
normally so calm, and quick witted, but she said only one thing. 
'I'm going to kill every last one of you.' But I don't think there's any 
way she can do that. Before she killed Antonio Torres, he said, "Just 
go ahead and try! There's 920,000 of me!" And that same day, 
920,000 Antonios surrounded Great Britain, and I accidentally 
made a giant locked room out of his bodies." 

Penelope trailed off, dejected. Cars had been listening with 
a massive grin on his face. "The attempted invasion of England in 
1915," he began. "A few dozen units to attack the Hamon warriors, 
a few hundred to bombard London, but of those few hundred, the 
pilots themselves were zombies, and the sun wasn't out, so there 
was no need for Antonio Torres' power. In which case we can 

assume no more than a thousand Antonios, at most, were used up 
in the war. If Antonio Torres became a zombie in 1900, and each 
Antonio shed a skin once a year, that's 14 sheds by 1915, or two to 
the power of fourteen, so there should have been exactly 16,384 
Antonios. Assuming a thousand perished, that leaves us 15,384. 
Then five more years passed until 1920, and each of the previous 
fifteen years of Antonios increased by two to the power of six, 
leaving us with 984,576. In twenty years, Antonio increased 
himself to nearly a million. But according to Penelope de la Roza, 
her wall was made from 920,000. So what happened to the 60,000 
Antonios that did not die in the war or get turned into a wall?" 

Penelope had no answer. 

Cars chuckled. "What? Never thought to count the zombies 
before? If there was 60,000 zombies out there, they can turn ten 
times that many humans into zombies. I don't mean one can take 
on ten men - one can take on two. But if one has to go after ten 
men, then if it manages to turn the first two, that's three against 
seven, and a moment later all ten are zombies. Even if humans 
manage to win with their ten to one odds, seven versus seventy 
leads to all out panic, and if they have seventy zombies, a town of 
a thousand humans is wiped out. Ignoring the existence of 60,000 
zombies is rather foolish." 

Right. From what I'd heard, the zombies here were nothing 
like the living dead created by George A Romero. They could think, 
and they retained skills and knowledge they'd had in life. A former 
pilot could still fly a plane, and they could even learn to fly one 
after becoming a zombie. Even a trained fighting force would be 
thrown into a panic if zombies appeared amongst them. 

At least 60,000? Trying to picture that nightmare in any 
concrete terms made me dizzy. Antonio Torres was just a flat skin, 
so if we folded him up and put him away maybe he wouldn't 
spread out that much...but that was just my imagination running 

away from it. This was a zombie that could fly under his own 
power, and knew how to fly a plane, too. If he tried doing anything 
to humanity, he'd be a fearsome enemy. This reminded me of the 
news Shiobana had given me as we fell to Earth in the collection of 

There are actual reports of patients in Sardinia and the 
Touhoku region of Japan going berserk and attacking people. 
Their symptoms are contagious, and the number of victims is 
rising. It's like a zombie movie. 

I'd remembered far too late in all the commotion, but it 
sure sounded like zombies had shown up in modern Japan and 
Italy as well. But that was 2012, not here, and in modern times, a 
few dozen times through the birth and death of the universe. What 
connection could there be between the zombie outbreak here and 
the news of zombies in our own time? Was a massive zombie 
outbreak just something that happened at least once in every 

It wasn't out of the question. Our universe had produced 
Cars, the Ultimate Thing, every time, blown him out into space, 
and gathered him on the dark side of Mars. I'd gone my whole life 
without knowing the food chain had Cars and the other pillar men 
at the top, vampires below them, and zombies below that. They'd 
always been there. Of course, there were not many zombies who 
could fly. Zombies were humans to begin with, and there were 
almost no humans who could fly. 

Shiobana had also said, I suppose the key difference from 
the movies is that there are rumors of flying zombies. 

If flying zombies existed, then did that mean our time also 
had an Antonio Torres? 

Had something caused Antonio Torres to time travel? I soon 

realized the obvious way that might have occurred. Tsukumojuku 
had left La Palma, and fallen through time in the Bermuda Triangle. 
He'd arrived in Nishi Akatsuki, in 2012. 

I remembered what Tsukumojuku had said in the hospital. 

Come to think of it, I had Antonio Torres, 1900 - his skin - 
in my luggage...did it arrive here with me? I was gathering my 
belongings right before I passed out, and I'm certain I had the 
tube it was in slung over my shoulder. 

Tsukumojuku had disappeared in the Bermuda Triangle in 
1904. If a zombie Antonio Torres (zombified in 1900) had traded 
places with the skin sample, Antonio Torres, 1900, and traveled 
through time with Tsukumojuku, then...he'd been a zombie four 
years, so two to the power of four was sixteen, and that number 
was then reduced to fifteen. That number then doubled yearly and 
eleven years later, 1915, during the attempted invasion of England 
those fifteen would be two to the power of ten, and 15,360. 
Assuming a thousand had died that day, 14,360 would increase 
over the five years until 1920, and including the peeling day from 
'15, that was two to the power of six, giving us about 919,040 
Antonios. Since the assumption that a thousand had been lost in 
1915 was a high estimate, the final figure of 919,040 was fairly 
close to how many there actually were. So Antonio Torres wasn't 
hiding another 60,000 of himself somewhere, the two to the 
power of twenty math simply hadn't reflected all actual events. 

One Antonio Torres had left 1904 and was making zombies 
in 2012, in Nishi Akatsuki. How long had it been since Tsukumojuku 
arrived in Nishi Akatsuki? It was less than a day, I was sure. But if 
their movements were already visible, that spoke volumes about 
how fast and strong they were at propagating. No, in 2012 there 
were already zombies, I just hadn't known about them. Had they 

made contact with Antonio Torres and started the outbreak? In 
both Japan and Italy? Seemed a bit too far apart, but maybe it had 
something to do with Morioh and Nero Nero Island turning into 
rhinoceros beetles? 

Of course it did. There's no way that was just coincidence. 
Here in England, the island of Great Britain, Penelope had said 
she'd made a wall out of the zombies, but if that was the armor 
and it were to grow legs and this massive island turned into a really 
huge rhinoceros beetle...this thought made me jump to my feet. I 
went out of the room, up to the bridge, up a ladder, opened the 
hatch, and looked up at the orange Western sky from the highest 
place on Das Boot as it sailed through the forests and meadows on 
its way to London. The sky was still fairly bright. 

There was no substantial difference between the sky now 
and the sky when we'd first arrived. The west was bright and the 
east dark, stars and moon visible in only half the sky. We'd been 
here over two hours, but the sun still looked to have just vanished 
over the horizon, and stuck there. Or in this world, had time itself 

Or, I thought, was this island racing after the sun across the 
surface of the ocean? Onwards to the west. Towards the center of 
the Atlantic Ocean, the ocean that didn't exist in my world. 

But if we were keeping up with the sun, we must be going 
really fast. Was it the armor that kept us feeling the G-forces and 
wind? When Morioh started moving, we hadn't noticed until 
Arrow Cross House moved, and we looked down at the sea from 
the top of the hill. Same thing. No joke. Great Britain was the third 
rhinoceros beetle. We were riding the back of it again. 

Someone else came up on the bridge behind me, asking 
what was up, and of course it was Enrico Pucci, and I figured his 
religious fervor had sniffed it out. But there was no way to stop this 
flow now, and it would likely take us to whatever resolution lay in 


I filled Pucci in, and before I was even halfway he'd figured 
it out, and got that gleam in his eyes again. "We only need one 
more rhinoceros beetle, a spiral staircase, two singularities, and 
the secret emperor!" 

"Hmm? What about the fig tart?" 

Pucci turned and looked at me. "Didn't you notice?" 

"...notice what?" 

"When we fell to Earth, Cars' body began to burn. With a 
sweet scent. That was the smell of a fig tart." 

Uh...l was a bit disgusted, actually. I'd noticed it was a fruity 
scene, but the reason I hadn't compared it to smells in my memory 
because it was the smell of burning flesh - perhaps not human 
flesh, but of something humanoid that spoke like a man. Perhaps 
experiences akin to religious miracles overcame basic human 
impulses like that, or perhaps he just never cared for such things in 
the first place. 

"Also," Pucci said, heedless of the look on my face. "In 
many countries, figs are believed to be the fruit of immortality, and 
in the old testament, 2 Kings 20-7, they are described thusly. The 
prophet Isiah came to a sick man, Hezekiah, and knew at once 
there was no saving him. 'Set your house in order, for you shall die. 
You cannot live longer'. As Hezekiah wept, and prayed to God, Isiah 
turned to leave...and God spoke to him. Isiah returned to Hezekiah 
and said, 'Take some figs, and put them on that swelling, and you 
will be cured.' Well? Seems appropriate that Cars' body smelled of 
figs now, doesn't it?" 

He fixed his eyes on me, waiting as I desperately tried to 

come up with any sort of response when from down below I was 
surprised to hear the pebble phone go plu pon pin para para pon. 
Wow. I know they ignored the laws of physics but to this degree? 
Narancia called up to me. "Hey! Jorge? Where are you!?" 

"Up here!" I said, going back inside the ship. Narancia gave 
me the phone, muttering, "Not like I'd understand any of it." 


"Buccellati here. Where are you? Wasn't that you falling on 
Morioh earlier?" 

"I think it was. But we've wound up somewhere far away. In 
a way, even farther than Mars." 

"...? What do you mean? Stop beating around the bush and 
speak clearly." 

"We're in England. The island of Great Britain." 

"...what? No such country or island exists." 

"We're in a universe and time when they did. A world 
before the universe died and was reborn. Although I'm not sure 
saying that clears up much of anything." 

"It certainly doesn't. Be that as it may, are you able to get 
back here?" 

"We're attempting to begin looking for a way to do that." 


"How are things over there? Did anything happen to Arrow 
Cross House? I think our spaceship hit it." 

"It did. You crashed through the ceiling and made a dent in 
the floor, but it's fixed now. The building itself is basically a Stand, 
apparently. The Stand girl controlling it is fine, too." 

"Oh, good. That's a relief." 

"The main casualty is the manga artist's desk. He was quite 


"Ah ha ha. What about the American army?" 

"Thanks to you and Narancia, only minor injuries on either 

side. No one dead or seriously injured. The navy units that landed 
are already starting to surrender. Apparently they're unable to 
contact HQ at all. And nobody can get in or out. After you crashed, 
Morioh's barrier came back up. The sky's gone pitch black, no 
moon or stars. Since there's next to no functioning electricity, the 
entire town is shrouded in darkness. Only Arrow Cross House still 
has lights, water, and gas. Thankfully." 

"No moon or stars? We could see the sky just fine earlier in 
the day, so the barrier wasn't opaque or anything." 

"Right. But we can't see anything now. We saw Nero Nero 
Island rear up from the shock of your impact, but it's vanished 
now. I think it was knocked away outside of Morioh, but since the 
barrier came back up we can't be sure. Diavolo's minions remain, 
so we'd like to draw them out while we can." 

"That's right, you said you found this boss? Diavolo?" 

"His body, yes." 

"Who killed him?" 

"Who indeed? I've no idea." 

Was this a mafiaesque lie or evasion? "...can you tell me 
what you do know?" 

"Certainly," he said, and I must have sounded surprised, 
because he added, "Well, we have the other detectives here. Even 
without you there's a lot we can have inspected. They've proven 
quite useful. I'm learning how to handle detectives myself; seems 
like it'll come in handy." 

The mafia's pet detective? I could see that happening. 


"We found them both in the central room of the Arrow 
Cross House. The one Kishibe Rohan calls his study." 

".hunh? So?" 

"? That's we were found them. Both lying on the floor." 

"On the study carpet?" 

"I suppose." 

"Hunh? But that room was totally empty, nothing else in it 
but the desk!" 

"Yes. You've been in and out of it all day. But that's where 
the two bodies were. And judging by the progression of rigor 
mortis and the amount of blood in the carpet, and how dry that 
blood was, they were killed right there, and had been lying there 
for at least twelve hours." 

"Twelve hours!?" 

"Since eight this morning." 

"Eh...? But that's right after Tsukumojuku's body was found, 
and tons of cops were going in and out. And yet two people were 
murdered there and nobody noticed the bodies?" 

"That's the long and short of it. It is a mystery, but Joestar, 
is there really any need to solve it? The dead are a mafia boss and 
a serial killer. I'm not exactly an honest citizen myself, but we're 
better off with both of them dead." 

".! But you've verified both bodies' identities?" 

"Yes. Want to see?" 

"Eh? Uh, if there's a way to, sure." 

"Then I'll send them to you. Don't tell anyone, but this is 
Abbacchio's Stand, Videodrome." 

I wouldn't, I wouldn't, I swear. 

So a display screen appeared on the surface of the pebble, 
showing two files. 

First one. First shot was of two male corpses on the floor. 
I'd never seen either face before. One was Japanese, in a suit, thin, 
with hair that was well combed except for a few stray hairs clearly 
deliberately let loose to suggest 'fun' in a way that just made him 
seem all the more fastidious. He was reasonably handsome, but 
there was something plain and unmemorable about his face, a 
quality that I knew was really common with serial killers. This type 

made it a daily effort to not stand out, and not draw attention. 

The other had an obviously sinister set to his face. He had 
long hair, with a bizarre speckled pattern. His eyes were open, but 
not only were they not rounded, they were twisted, frayed, as if 
the evil dwelling within had caused an unnatural transformation. 
He was so obviously weird I didn't see how he could ever live in 
normal society. The reason he'd hidden himself so thoroughly was 
clearly because, looking like this, it would be nigh impossible to 
find a double if his life was in danger, and it would be very difficult 
to blend into the crowd or avoid being noticed when out in public. 

Both their throats had been slit. As deep as Tsukumojuku's 
wound, from ear to ear. They must have died instantly. 

This was filmed by someone crouching next to the blood¬ 
stained bodies. The crouching man was named Leone Abbacchio. 
One of Buccellati's men. He first moved to the Japanese man, 
removed the suit, peeled off the shirt, and once the man's scrawny 
torso was revealed, plunged his hand into his stomach. His hand 
went deep into the body, ten centimeters past the wrist, and felt 
around for something. When he pulled his hand out, there was a 
video tape in it. There was a title written on the spine, in Japanese. 

"Kira Yoshikage, July 24 th , 2012." 

There were control buttons directly on the corner of the 
tape, and when he pressed the triangular play button the tape 
unfolded until it was shaped like a man - the dead Japanese man. 
Kira Yoshikage, the serial killer who made people explode. He was 
in a state of absolute panic, covered in sweat, the last thing a man 
as fastidious and unassuming as this killer would want to be. 
Numbers appeared in the air, like a countdown in an old movie. 

3. 2. 1. 

"Ahh!" the man screamed, and offered no real resistance as 
his throat split open, blood sprayed out, and he fell to the floor, 
dead. Tah dah! The words, "The End" appears in the air. 

Hunh? Was that it? Kinda anti-climactic, I thought. Kira's 
form began to writhe, then folded itself back up into the video 
tape it had started as. 

Next, Abbacchio reached toward the corpse of the white 
man with the ultra weird hair and eyes, peeled off his shirt to 
expose his belly, and reached inside, rummaging around until he 
found a video tape. The title was written in Italian. "AKA Diavolo, 
July 24 th , 2012." 

The white man stood up, but he was as beside himself as 
Kira, his face crumpled in despair. There was a Stand behind him, 
humanoid but with a face like an insect, and another face on its 
forehead. The countdown began. 3. 2. 1. 

"Ahh!" His throat split up, sprayed blood, and he collapsed. 

Hunh!? The same thing here!? 

As I watched the tape fold itself back up, Buccellati said, 
"That's it. Shortly after that your ship fell. It was all we could do to 
grab the bodies and get out." 

ii ii 

"...OK, listen close, Joestar. Videodrome records everything 
that happens to someone for twenty-four hours after midnight, 
but cuts off at the moment of their death. realize what that 

"? What?" 

"There is no record of them from midnight until eight AM, 
the estimated time of their death. Normally Videodrome should be 
able to replay everything they did in that time. But no such thing 
exists for them. Until eight AM, these men were somewhere else, 
somewhere not of this world. They appeared out of nowhere in 
the Arrow Cross House just in time to die, lived for approximately 
one second, were killed, died, and then until quite recently, as piles 
of cops went in and out, and the home's residents went about 
their business, nobody noticed their bodies lying in the middle of 

the floor." 

"But...that's impossible!" 

"But it is the truth. Videodrome replays only truth. And yet, 
Jorge Joestar, this is a mafia boss, and a serial killer. I may be a cold 
hearted son of a bitch, but both of them were evil incarnate. This... 
Kira Yoshikage was calling himself Kawajiri Kosaku. He worked in 
manufacturing, did his job like anyone else. His wife's an election 
official, his kid is on the soccer team at his elementary school. They 
seem like an ordinary suburban family, but as the investigation 
grew close he brutally murdered both his wife and child. Someone 
on my team has a unique power that allows them to investigate 
these things, but he found trophies from over a hundred different 
women in that house. And Diavolo killed far more than a hundred. 
And not all of those victims were from enemy crime syndicates. If 
someone was a problem for him, or if he merely stood to gain an 
advantage, he would kill civilians, politicians, law enforcement, 
even his own men, without hesitation. He forced the desperate 
poor to work for him and then abandoned them, sold women and 
children, licked the marrow from the bones of the rich, and forced 
the world around him and everyone he came in contact with to 
rot. These two men deserved to die. The world is better off with 
them dead. So don't worry about it." 


"Get it? I'll put this plainly. Don't bother trying to figure out 
the truth behind their deaths. Don't do anything. If you want to 
write their killer a thank you note, that's one thing, but if you even 
consider trying to arrest my opinion you'll be barking up 
the wrong tree. Them dying is a good thing. Whoever killed them 
did us all a service. A service to all mankind." 

My head was going in circles, so I clutched it tight, asking. 

"Do we know their Stand powers?" 

"...yes. Between Abbacchio's Videodrome and the owner of 
the Arrow Cross House's Stand, we figured it out. This manga artist 
might be an eccentric, but he has the ideal Stand for uncovering 
people's secrets. Of course, he'll do nothing he doesn't want to, 
even if you threaten him with force, but if you just convince him 
it's the right thing to do, he'll jump at it." 

That got a laugh out of me. Wish I could have seen Kishibe 
Rohan face down the Mafia. 

"Kira Yoshikage's Stand was named Killer Queen," Buccellati 
continued. "It could make someone explode directly, or turn them 
into a bomb. Two types of bombs - bombs Killer Queen had to 
trigger with a switch, and bombs that would explode on contact if 
someone touched them. It could even remove its left hand and 
turn it into a tank-like Stand called Sheer Heart Attack that would 
operate automatically, tracking people via their heat signatures. 
And Killer Queen had one more power. Bites the Dust. It remains a 
bit of an enigma, but it could turn someone into a bomb that 
would go off if anyone asked about Kira, or the bomb said his 
name. The moment it killed whoever was searching for him, it 
would somehow turn back time an hour. Only the person he'd 
turned into a bomb would remember the previous version of that 
day, but the fate of those he blew up would not change, and they 
would again explode even if the bomb avoided contact with them. 
With no apparent cause at all." 

Kira Yoshikage's Bites the Dust had turned Kishibe Rohan 
into a bomb. And it could turn back time? Man, he really had the 
perfect power for what he was after. 

"And the boss of our Passione Family, who called himself 
the devil, Diavolo...his Stand was named King Crimson. He had a 
face type stand on his forehead called Epitaph, and this could 
accurately predict the future, albeit for only ten seconds. He could 

then erase that part of the future, leaving only the experience of it 
behind, with no other impact on what happened next. Say you ate 
something, and felt full. He could use King Crimson to remove the 
part where you ate, leaving you with no idea why you felt full. He 
could predict the future, and delete time! No wonder he survived 
so many assassination attempts." 

Buccellati explained a few mysterious events experienced 
during syndicate betrayals and conflicts, but I wasn't really listening 
-1 was thinking. 

Kira Yoshikage and Diavolo both had Stands that could, in 
some fashion, manipulate time. That was tugging at my mind. 


Arrow Cross House. 

Tsukumojuku had died in the Arrow Cross House, but he 
had traveled through time, too. He'd come from England, 1904, to 
Nishi Akatsuki, and died in Morioh in the Arrow Cross House, but 
appeared out of nowhere in the middle of everything and taken 
me to Mars. Tsukumojuku had been the first to time travel, and 
he'd talked about Beyond, Hey! I am your instrument. Someone 
needs you. I'll take you to him. The way he'd smiled made me just 
accept what he was saying, but the first time slip was entirely the 
fault of the Bermuda Triangle, or at least whatever it was that had 
created an area that, according to the legends, caused people and 
ships to vanish. I couldn't explain it, and the logistics of it remained 
unclear, but if felt like reason enough. But the second? When he'd 
taken me to Mars? What led to that? 

I couldn't see it. 

But obviously, time slip or whatever, if something happened 
there was a reason for it. I just didn't know what it was, but when 
Tsukumojuku had smiled he'd had a reason for it, knew why he was 
acting, and could have explained it. Otherwise nobody who called 
themselves a detective could ever be so carefree. He'd had no time 

for exposition, but Tsukumojuku had known everything. That was 
why all the confusion he'd displayed when he arrived in Nishi 
Akatsuki had disappeared. Yeah. Because Tsukumojuku had solved 
all the mysteries, he'd come to me, and died. 

And the reason he'd spoken in riddles wasn't just because 
he didn't have time explain properly, but because I was a detective 
too, and he was having a little fun at my expense. Like, you still 
don't get it, do you? He was ribbing me because I was struggling 
with something I should have worked out by now. Tsukumojuku 
knew that I would figure it out. 

That meant I should be able to solve this. 

Being flung out to Mars and winding up in England in the 
distant past may seem completely batshit, but it all had meaning. I 
knew that. There was no reason to think otherwise. The rules of 
this world hadn't changed at all. I just had to think it through. Time 
and the Arrow Cross House. 

We'd traveled through time one more time. Cars' ship had 
definitely crashed directly on top of the Arrow Cross House. But we 
didn't die in the wreck; instead we were thrown to England in 
1920. Thrown? 

That's right. We didn't come here. Arrow Cross House had 
sent us here. 

That was the purpose of the Arrow Cross House. It could 
send someone through time and space of its own free will. 

How? To pass through time, you needed a hole in the space 
time continuum, or a wormhole that linked to a different time and 
place, or you needed to somehow bend space time and take a 
shortcut. Wormholes were more or less fixed to specific points in 
space time, so the Bermuda Triangle was probably one of those. 
But the Arrow Cross House was different. We'd been thrown super 

far back, to England in 1920 in a different history of the universe, 
and it had used poor dead Tsukumojuku to take Narancia and me 
from Budogaoka Academy campus to a spaceship orbiting Mars. 
Thinking about it, how much free will had Tsukumojuku had? 

When he appeared before me, he'd seemed to know I was 


Hey! I am your instrument. Someone needs you. I'll take 
you to him. 

And after he took me to the H. G. Wells, he'd known there 
would be a spaceship, and wasn't surprised by it at all. 

Whoops. Brought an anomaly along, all means 
something, I'm sure. Bye! 

If he'd been just a victim, caught up in a time slip and flung 
here and there, he'd have been confused by it all. He'd never have 
noticed that Narancia came along. He'd been quite lost the night 
before, when he'd arrived in Nishi Akatsuki. 

Perdon. <LQue paso? iDonde estoy? 

That night, Tsukumojuku was not only super confused, he 
was even a bit frightened. But after he'd died, when he was taking 
us to Mars, he'd understood everything, was totally comfortable in 
his role, and even had time to give me the kind of smirk I could 
only take as a challenge. By then, he wasn't just aware of what was 
going on, Tsukumojuku was controlling the time traveling of his 
own free will. 

If Arrow Cross House was a device to bypass space time, 
then Tsukumojuku had learned to use it. 

Arrow Cross House could bend space time, and create short 
cuts. It could choose a place and time, and send us there. It could 
even act like a delivery service, picking someone up and putting 
them where they needed to go. But how? How was it bending 
space time? 

There were two ways that modern science was aware of. 

Speed and gravity. 

Giant celestial bodies like suns and black holes could bend 
the fabric of space time; light didn't proceed in a straight line past 
them. But in Morioh? Nothing with that powerful a gravitational 
field existed or could exist inside Arrow Cross House. After all, to 
increase gravitational pull, you had to increase mass. Morioh and 
the Arrow Cross House were two small to contain something that 
large. To compress the volume of that mass required even more 
power, and if they succeeded they'd just end up with a black hole. 
Could Tsukumojuku control something like that? He wasn't even a 
Stand Master. If Arrow Cross House's Stand power was having a 
black hole, there'd be more to what it did than just time travel. 
Things would disappear, be crushed, and it would absorb all light 
and sound. I'd been in Arrow Cross House, and sensed nothing so 
chaotic. It was quiet, calm, elegant, and relaxed, like you'd expect 
the home of a working author to be. Nothing I'd seen suggested 
there could be a black hole hidden somewhere. Absorbing...? 

No, that wasn't right, I realized. It couldn't just absorb. 

Tsukumojuku hadn't just traveled through time, he'd gone 
back to Arrow Cross House afterward, and died. If he'd just been 
absorbed, he could never have gone back. Maybe there was a way 
to reverse the gravitational pull, but before considering that I had 
to reconsider my initial premise. 

If Arrow Cross House was a device, could I determine the 
function from the construction and design? 

Arrow Cross House was a functional compass, but the core 
of it was still the Cube House. 

The Tesseract. 

The house was made of eight square rooms that allowed 
you to move indefinitely in any direction. The key quality lay in that 
infinite nature, not in any gravitational compression. 

OK then...l was about to start going over the idea of using 

speed, when I realized something. Damn it, I thought. I'd already 
peered directly into the heart of the Cube House's device. When 
we'd gone to Kishibe Rohan's study with Grand Blue, we'd opened 
the door in the floor and realized if we went four rooms down 
we'd end up where we started. Later on, when they were about to 
open the door again, Sugimoto Reimi said. Wait! Make sure you 
don't fall straight down. We'd all instantly pictured what would 

The room below the room below the room below this one 
was the study, so if I broke through all three, I'd fall forever. What 
would happen then? If gravity increased my fall speed here. I'd 
fall until I hit terminal velocity. 

That was as far as I'd thought through it then, but perhaps 
that velocity wouldn't be terminal, but instead bend space time. 

It already had. When we fell out of the sky, and landed on 
the Arrow Cross House. 

The main casualty is the manga artist's desk. He was quite 


We'd gone through the ceiling of the Cube House, smashed 
Kishibe Rohan's desk to bits, burst through the door underneath it, 
and the floor below and the floor below, and gotten lost in the 
infinite loop. Normally air resistance would have been slowing us 
down, but inside the Cube House, we'd sped up, until we were 
going fast enough that time and space bent around us. And then 
what? Which direction had it bent? 

Without knowing it was a time travel device, we'd simply 
fallen. No conscious will was at work. We didn't consciously want 
or try to go anywhere. If the device was activated, but received no 
orders, and we just kept going faster and faster, how would the 
device handle that? 

If the device could be controlled at will, and there was no 
will present within the device, then it must take input from outside 

sources. The device would then connect us to the will of someone 
far away. 

That was it. The infinite vertical shaft at the heart of the 
Arrow Cross House was a device to bend space time. If the people 
falling through it wanted to go somewhere, it would send them 
there. But if the people falling expressed no such desire, then it 
could pick up on the desire of someone outside. Tsukumojuku 
knew this, which explained why he'd said Hey! I am your 
instrument. Someone needs you. I'll take you to him. 

I had caught up with Tsukumojuku. 

All of this took about thirty seconds. Buccellati was still 
going on about what a piece of shit Diavolo had been, and did not 
seem to have noticed that I'd gone quiet. What he was saying 
made a certain amount of sense. But he was a gangster, and didn't 

"Buccellati," I said. "I can't move forward if I don't solve the 
mystery. That's the nature of a detective." 

"...oh," he said. And then said what anyone with a deep 
understanding of human work and duty would say. "In that case, 
go ahead." 

"Yo, we can see London!" Narancia said, so I hung up the 
phone and went up to the bridge, and saw a huge city covered in 
rubble from the fierce battles fought there. 

"This must be Desolation Row!" the priest said, collecting 
yet another of his symbols. 

We've been waiting for you! Our very own angel! Enrico 

Pucci," came a voice. 

We turned, and two men stood on the deck of Das Boot as 
it moved through the forest. I recognized one of them; a well- 
dressed man with distinctive swirls of hair. "I am the President of 
the United States, Funny Valentine," he said. This was not Funny 
from 2012, but the Funny from this world. He was young, but 
looked exactly like the Funny and Funnier and The Funniest I'd 
seen on TV. 

Funny ignored us, speaking only to Pucci, who appeared to 
be at a loss. "Ha ha ha! You look surprised. Father. As a man of 
faith, you did not think to be called an angel yourself? Be that as it 
may, all that remains is one rhinoceros beetle, two singularities, 
and a spiral staircase. For the last rhinoceros beetle, if you follow 
the bank of the Thames to the south, you'll soon see it. Or perhaps 
since I am here, you already understand? We've come to meet 
you. To take you to the island that will become the center of the 

" . !?" 

"It is, of course, in our United States." 

ii ii 

"Now, and when you were there." 

"....and there is a church." 

"Ha ha ha! Exactly! There is a also a church, named for that 
which we serve." 

"Trinity Church." 

"Indeed! There are three churches of that name in America, 
but only one on the island." 

"New York. Manhattan Island." 

"Precisely! I've just been to see it. The fourth Rhinoceros 
Beetle is Manhattan!" 

Great Britain was headed west, the mouth of the Thames at 
its fore. It had crossed the Atlantic, and clambered up onto the 
United States. The giant insect's countless legs straddled the 
Hudson, half in Connecticut, and half in New York. It headed north 
into New York harbor, the tips of the skyscrapers at eye level. But 
Great Britain showed no signs of slowing down. 

"But Manhattan is not a real rhinoceros beetle. I'm afraid," 
Funny said. Great Britain's southern extremity stepped up into 
Manhattan, tackling the skyscrapers and flattening the island. "As 
President, I find this situation regrettable, but to build greater 
prosperity for America, it is time to cut the country loose. This is, 
well, a sort of ritual. An initiation." 

Thanks to the wall surrounding Great Britain, we couldn't 
hear the sounds of it, or feel the vibrations, but we knew it must 
be a living hell down below. Narancia and Penelope were as shaken 
as I was. All three of us must have looked ready to faint. 

"We must move forward. Father Pucci," Funny said. "Have 
you found the singularity yet?" 

" . !?" 

"Think! What is a singularity but a point? A point is but part 
of a line. A line is a connection. And what is a connection?" 

Pucci stepped forward to stand beside me. "Time," he said. 
"Time's relation to man." 

"Ha ha ha!" Funny cried. "Well put. Two are enough. And 
what are the two times?" 

"Time I have lived through, and the time I am living." 

"Yes! That's it! And the two that connect them?" 

"Myself and what I would have said, but judging 
from your arrival, that may not be the case." 

"Ha ha!" 

"In which And myself." 

"You have it! You are connected to yourself, Father Pucci! 

As am I to me!" 

ll | ll 

"You know me well, but not this me. Correct?" 


"But we are linked. How so?" 

ll | ll 

"I am me but at the same time I am not. How can this be 
true? I believe you know the answer. Father Pucci." 

"Yes, I do." 

"Please share!" 

"Because I can make a connection. Because I can't make the 

ll | ll 

"Because what I create is the Spiral Staircase." 

"Very good! Just one last thing. Allow me to introduce the 
Secret Emperor!" Funny gestured to the man beside him, a tall, 
muscular man brimming with power. I'd seen him before. In the 
photo Cars projected. 

The sinister man floating in the air above Cape Canaveral. 
The adopted son of the Joestar family, the one who'd botched a 
train robbery. 

Dio Brando. 

"You may love me, Enrico Pucci," Dio said. There was a 
crown of thorns around his head. 

Holes in the hands he held out. 

And his bare feet. 

When he saw this stigmata, Pucci wept. "My lord...!" 

And Pucci began to cast aside his Stand. Arrows appeared 

all over White Snake's body, and Pucci began to levitate. In that 
instant, I could no longer stand normally on the desk of Das Boot. 
Unless I focused my mind on Pucci as he floated, I didn't feel like I 
was standing upright, didn't feel balanced. Everyone else was 
staggering, their gaze focused on Pucci's head, like a shot from the 
music video for Michael Jackson's Smooth Criminal. I could see 
Funny Valentine's coat flapping, though there was no wind. Pucci 
had become absolute up, the center of all things, and everything 
radiating out from around him was now down. Dio and Cars alone 
stood normally, as straight as they ever had, but not because this 
force wasn't acting on them, just they both possessed the physical 
strength needed to ignore the change in gravity. Cars' long hair and 
Dio's cape were pulled towards Pucci, just as we were. The higher 
Pucci rose, the closer we came to what had originally been bolt 
upright. Pucci was the center of gravity, and looking up at him, one 
thought ran through my mind. Gravity. If you could control it at 
will, you could bend space and time. And that was why Pucci was 
killing his own Stand. With the arrows covering every inch of it, 
cracks were beginning to run across the surface of White Snake, 
and as it shattered, a clock man on a two legged horse emerged. 

"So this is Made in Heaven!" Pucci said, enthralled. Cars 
stood behind us, paying Pucci no heed. His eyes were on Dio, who 
met his gaze, his smile as brazen as before. 

"Now, let us go to Heaven!" Pucci cried, and the moment 
before he activated Made in Heaven, Dio held up his hand, and the 
wall of air that covered Great Britain formed the upside-down 
upper half of a giant boy, which rose up and looked down at us. It's 
eyes were open, but it had no eyes. This was a combined version of 
all the Antonio Torres that Penelope had made the wall from. 
Hanging upside-down from the sky wall, it reached out it's massive 

hand, and snatched Pucci out of the air. 

Dio looked up at Pucci, and said, "Don't be in such a rush, 
gutter trash. Your job is to sweep and clear the outside." 

"How mean!" Penelope yelped, and clapped her hands over 
her mouth. But trapped in the giant's hand, Pucci's expression was 
as rapturous as ever. Fused Antonio Torres swallowed him whole, 
sending him outside the armor. Normal gravity returned, and 
above us, Pucci activated Made in Heaven. Outside the rhinoceros 
beetle called England, time sped up. 

The sun and moon whipped round us, but the zombies 
were hiding in shadow, and would not die. In the blink of an eye, 
the universe ended, and began again. Trembling, Penelope reached 
out and took hold of my sleeve, as I started counting universes. 
Outside England, in Antonio Torres's belly, the universe looped 
thirty-six times, bringing the island of Great Britain to the 2012 we 
had come from. 

We landed just in time to flip Morioh over. We were back. 

Had our six month journey back from Mars taken only four 
hours because of Pucci's Stand, too? I asked Cars. 

"Yes, but not quite," Cars said. "That man was in a small 
box, with a much more complicated time flow compressed within. 
At the same time as he was on the spaceship with us." 

"A small box?" 

"Somewhere beyond the ends of the world." 

".?" I didn't get this at all. "What was Pucci doing there?" 

"Killing a man." 

That cleared up nothing, but when I looked up out of the 
rhinoceros beetle, Pucci was no longer floating above us. 



tf 3 y K 

Lying half-dead on a back country road in Japan, the exact 
thing I needed to happen happened. 

When I woke up, the flesh from my back and ass was back 
in place, and the fracture in my skull was healed up. I was sleeping 
in a large bed surrounded by white walls and almost no other 
furniture, and a freckled young man sitting next to the bed said, in 
Italian, "Oh! You're awake, Jorge Joestar." 

? "How do you know my name?" I asked, also in Italian, a 
fact that took me by surprise. How come I spoke Italian now? 

"Ha ha ha! The Japanese man who lives here has quite a 
useful ability. He made it so everyone coming in and out of here 
can speak English and Italian and Japanese. Including you!" 

".? The hell does that mean...? Where is this? Japan?" 

"Japan. Morioh! My name is Vinegar Doppio. But I wasn't 
the one who saved you, that was my boss. Hang on," he said, and 
reached out for a book lying on the side table. There was a bizarre 
picture of a boy on the cover, and the book's title was Pink Dark 
Boy: Part 8. Volume 112. It was just a bit too large to comfortably 
hold in the palm of his hand, so Doppio curled it a bit, and held it to 
his ear. Then he pursed up his lips and began humming a weird 
little song, "Tomememememem S tomemememememem f" and 
proceeded to ignore me entirely, staring at nothing in particular and 
yet speaking to someone who wasn't even there. "Oh, hello! This is 
Doppio. Joestar's awake! ...yes, got it." Then he looked at me. "Yo." 

It M 

"Think you can get up?" 

I wasn't sure, but I pushed the duvet back and lowered my 
legs to the floor. I was still dressed for my wedding, oh god, but I 
didn't think mentioning that would be much use, and all I could 
manage was a groan as pain shot through me. My ass and back felt 
like they were going to rip apart, and my head felt like there was a 
wooden stake jammed through it. 

"Seems to be in a lot of pain." He was calmly reporting the 
facts to some unseen individual, and it hurt enough I really wanted 

to punch the little guy for it. "If you keep moving you'll get used to 
it. Come on." 

"No, I can't!" It hurt so much every part of my face was 
trying to go a different direction. 



"Who do you think you're fucking with?" he snarled, but my 
eyelids were twitching violently and I couldn’t even get a good look 
at his face. 


"I'm a fucking gangster, buddy. Pick your words and your 
answers carefully, got it?" Doppio pulled his shirt up and showed 
me the gun jammed in the trousers, and I instantly felt far better. 

I mean, there was no reason to hold back now! "Don't think 
I won't use this just cause you’re injured!" he said, and tried to 
lower his shirt, but I grabbed his wrist, snatched the gun with my 
other hand and smashed the grip up under his chin. Call yourself a 
gangster? You're like what, fifteen? Sixteen? I'd been shot down by 
the Germans twice, crashed landed and survived in a god damn 
hornet's nest so get fucking real. Doppio curled up, clutching his 
jaw, and I put the barrel of the gun to the back of his head. "Tell me 
what's going on here, wise guy." 

Doppio looked up and glared at me. Didn’t seem like he was 
trying to hide any fear at all. He might be young, but he had some 
stones. "Ahhh? Wait a minute, asshole..." he said, and raised Pink 
Dark Boy back to his ear. I found it hard to believe, but it seemed to 
be a phone. A book-shaped phone. Back in England, phones were 
the size of cuckoo clocks, and based on their planes and ships 
Japan's technology wasn't much more advanced, so if this was 
Japan it wasn't 1920. So my problem wasn't just where I 
was when. 

Suddenly the stake in my head went plu pon pin para para 
pon S shrill and high and vvvvvv vvvvv vibrated shaking my very 
brain. "Auuuughh!" What the hell!? The stake thing had just been a 

metaphor a moment ago but now I was sure there really was a stake 
in my head playing music and vibrating! 

"I said, don't fuck with me! You thought I was just the guy 
on the end of the fucking phone, did ya? You going behind my back 
calling me Doppio the small talk loving phone phreak?" Based on 
the crap the kid was saying he was the one sloshing my brains. He'd 
done something to me. With a phone. I had to make him stop. But 
the vibrations in my head seriously had me about to pass out and I 
couldn't get my body to obey any commands from my brain so I 
couldn't raise my arm, point the gun at Doppio, or pull the trigger. 
All I could do was feel my eyes roll back in my head, drool, and 
say "Ackackackackackack!" I was dying. I had a phone inside me 
somehow and it was ringing and vibrating. He was trying to kill 
me. I didn’t care how. I had to do what I could do. Point the barrel 
up. I couldn't aim it so I brought the barrel to my own head, used 
my head and the floor to keep it as steady as I could, and put my 
last strength into pulling that trigger. I didn't need to get a clean 
shot through. Mechanical things would stop working if even a bit of 
them broke! Bang! 

The bullet gouged out a gouge in my skin and skull seven 
centimeters long and seven millimeters deep, and clipped about two 
millimeters off the part of my skull that had been turned into a 
phone. That was enough. The vibration and ringing stopped. I never 
had feeling in my brain in the first place, but it was still a bit numb. 

"Motherfucker...!" Doppio yelped. I didn't miss the flash of 
fear this time. My hands weren't shaking any more. I turned the gun 
towards Doppio's face and didn't hesitate. Bam bam bam bam! 

But even though I was firing from less than a meter away, 
not one of the bullets hit; all wound up in the wall behind him. 

There was a man in a hat standing next to me, a gun in his 
hand. "Knock it off," he said. "He maybe a bit fucked in the head, 
but he's a mafia made man, and if something happens to him we'd 
have to pay it back. That's how the system works." 

He’d done something to make shots I'd never have missed 

with miss. Who the hell were these people? Making phones inside 
my the hell was any of this possible? 

"Hey! Shoot him, Mista!" Doppio yelled, and Mista turned 
his gun on Doppio. 

"Shut the fuck up! I wanna shoot you myself! Get your shit 
together, you're the fucking worst when you're like this!" 

"The fuck!? You saying I'm a phone-o-holic ring ring hello 
hello it's me, Doppio T*!?" 

"What!? I don't even know what the fuck you're talking 
about! Fucking halfwit!" 

Bang bang bang bang bang bang! Mista fired six shots right 
at Doppio. Uh, so you can shoot him? I thought, but then I saw... 
Well, I saw something. And heard them, too. Tiny little people in 
crazy peacock clothes riding on the backs of the bullets yelling, 
"Noooooo! Kya ha ha ha ha ha ha ha V V V V V !" in deep, hoarse 
voices. As I stared in disbelief, they each kicked their bullet aside 
just before it hit Doppio, deflecting them just enough that three 
shots went on either side of his face, brushing his cheeks and thud 
thud thud thud thud thud into the wall behind him. The bullet trails 
left marks on Doppio's cheeks like cat whiskers. Doppio must have 
seen what I saw because he froze in place, not moving a muscle, as 
Mista cackled wildly. "Da ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Look at the itty 
bitty kitty cat! You're so adorbs, Doppio! Wah ha ha ha ha ha!" The 
six tiny people hovering around Doppio's face laughed too. 

"OMG, Doppio, that looks soooo good on you!" "I love it, 
you've gotta keep the scars!" "Yeah, Mista, gunpowder! Imprint this 
shit now and it'll be the rendezvous of chic and avant garde!" "Oh! 
Cat ears!" "Ugh, no way, Back Left, that's pushing it." "You are just 
getting too earned away being in Japan." "You're the last person we 
need weebing out, Back Left." "Woah OTt? Front Center! You sure 
know how to bring it! 'AXXTX 1 " They were quite the rowdy bunch, 
but what were they!? Were they alive!? 

But just as I hit peak confusion, a blonde boy strode into the 
room, followed by several others. He looked no older than Doppio, 

with delicate yet not at all feminine features. Out of all the men I'd 
met, he was the only one to equal Tsukumojuku in beauty. It was 
like there was some blinding light pouring out of every cell in his 
body that made it hard to look directly at him. 

"Jorge Joestar, I apologize for my men's manners," he said. 

He was holding a cake of soap in his hand, and came over to 
inspect my wound. I was 189 centimeters tall, and he only came up 
to my chest, but he held the soap and his free hand up to the 
gunshot wound, and when he pulled his hands back the soap was 
gone, and he was holding a baseball cap instead. The boy looked 
the hat over, then turned to the bullet-filled wall. 

"Doppio, you turned this into a phone before you handed it 
to me?" 

Shaking like a leaf, Doppio fell to his knees. "I’m sorry, 
Giorno! I just couldn’t help myself!" 

"...once it's become a phone, that quality remains..." he said, 
staring down at the hat. It just looked like a hat to me. 

"Hello, Jorge Joestar," he said, looking up at me. "My name 
is Giorno Giovanna." 

There was a power to him, but it wasn't intimidating. That 
specific gnarled edge common to those in the life was nowhere to 
be found. He reminded me of a world-class swimmer standing on 
land. Like he'd focused on one simple thing and made himself 
better at it than anyone else. But there was more to him. This boy 
had turned thugs like Doppio and Mista into his men. And he had 
some kind of mysterious ability, too. He'd healed the wound in my 
head again. 

"What sort of power is this?" I asked. 

"I couldn't begin to explain," he said, meeting my gaze. "But 
we call them Stands. And those with them, Stand Masters." 

The Hamon masters call these Spirit Hamon, or Stands, 
A strange name, but people with this power can see the power 

standing next to them, like a ghost. 

That was fifteen years ago. The night of the mothman, when 
we'd decided to leave La Palma. As we sat before my father's head, 
Lisa Lisa had told us about them. Stands. 

"This manga artist, Kishibe Rohan, has a Stand that allows 
you to see Stands," Giovanna explained. "Just as he made it so we 
can all speak Italian. Puts us all on the same page." 

One of the men who'd come in with Giovanna was a thin 
man with a sullen face. When my eyes met his he sniffed loudly. "I 
just want you all to leave as soon as possible. That's the only reason 
I'm helping. You've got blood all over my bed! I'm high-strung, you 
know! And the clock in my study's gone missing! There's a thief 
among us!" 

The Italians all grinned, and the lone Japanese man looked 
even less happy. I was starting to get an idea what was going on 
here. Some bad guys were teasing the civilians. 

"So? Now we're on the same page, what? Why’d you want 
to talk to me?" 

"I understand you spent time in the company of a detective," 
Giovanna said. "I hear your time together left you with a new type 
of power called...a Beyond?" 

" . !?" 

How did he know that? 

"Oh, that was me, too," the Japanese man said, waving. "In 
times like these, I'm glad a man like you came along. Seems like 
you handled that mess with the air force commander well. I feel 
like you're the best man to solve this mystery." 


"Nobody said? The man who died here is your old friend, 
Kato Tsukumojuku. I suppose you wouldn't know, but the detective 
in charge of this case was your double, another Jorge Joestar. A 
detective from Fukui Prefecture. He seems to have switched places 

with you and wound up in England, in 1920. 

Murder. I'm the victim. It's all yours, buddy. 

Tsukumojuku had mentioned this just a while ago. But I had 
no clue what anyone was talking about. Tsukumojuku was dead? 
He'd only just brought me here! 

And what did he mean, my double? Detective Jorge Joestar? 
Who'd switched places with me? 

While my head was still spinning Kishibe Rohan proceeded 
to explain the gist of The Case of the Three Murdered Detectives 
(including Tsukumojuku) and how their bodies had been arranged. 
He explained how this other "Jorge Joestar" had come here from 
Fukui, and about all the insane things that had started happening in 
Morioh and to the world after he'd arrived here. This only served to 
deepen my confusion. What had once been an ordinary small town 
had suddenly split off from Japan, and was now an island floating 
in the middle of the ocean, and based on another floating island, 
Nero Nero Island, Morioh most likely had legs and was swimming 
with them. Apparently. Ah ha ha ha ha ha. What the fuck. 

"Jorge Joestar" had gone to Mars with one of the gangsters, 
returned with some American astronauts only to crash land in a ball 
of fire on Morioh, but his ship had vanished when it hit the house I 
was in, the Arrow Cross House, and he'd wound up in the England 
I'd come from. 

And on top of that, my dear old England had been overrun 
with zombies, and they were headed to London, certain it had been 
turned into "Desolation Row"...a fact that made me want to get the 
hell back but apparently Giorno Giovanna intended to take control 
of the Passione Family now that their boss was dead, and wanted 
me to solve the murder of their boss, Diavolo, and until then had no 
intention of letting anyone involved leave the Arrow Cross House. 

"What's critical is that we clarify exactly who it was killed Diavolo 
when nobody knew who he was," Giovanna said. "Diavolo was 
found with the body of a serial killer named Kira Yoshikage, so 
we'd also like to clarify their relationship. And we need to figure 
out if the murder of Kato Tsukumojuku, which also took place here 
in the Arrow Cross House, had anything to do with Diavolo's case. 
In other words, what I'm trying to do here is to understand the big 
picture view of these events, Joestar." 

I ignored Giovanna, and began by picking up the copy of 
Pink Dark Boy from the floor. But I didn't know how to use it. I had 
to ask Doppio. "Call England with this." He took it and glanced at 
Giovanna, who said, "Do it," so he did. 

" Hunh?" 

"Oh, come on, pull the other one," I said, annoyed. 

"No, seriously. Weird, my phones could call outer space and 
England but..." 

ft ft 

"Nah, Joestar," Mista said, glaring at Doppio. "I've never 
known him to lie about phones. He'd a bit weird that way." 

"Why, though? It was working a few minutes ago," Doppio 
said, tapping the phone and flipping it over, trying to get it working 
again. He did seem legitimately confused by it, so maybe Mista was 
right. A little square machine in Mista's pocket rang and when he 
answered Doppio swore. "See!? It does work! Problem isn't on this 
end, but over there. Dunno if theirs broke or something else went 
wrong but...I doubt theirs broke, Narancia's phone is just a pebble. 
Not that easily broken. If they dropped it or lost it, it would still 
ring just fine. Either they somehow broke a rock or they've wound 
up in some weird ass place where even my phones are out of 

Since he said it should call anywhere I got him to tell me 
how to work it and called the Joestar mansion, but couldn't get 

through. What was happening in England? 

Doppio took the lightbulb out of the lamp by the bed, turned 
it into a phone, and tried a few more things. "Well, we can connect 
to our Rome offices. And San Diego. Tijuana's still working. Guess 
it ain't the drugs, eh heh heh. Yeah, Joestar, only place that's fucked 
up is England. Although Morioh itself is pretty fucked up, too. Like 
the whole town's in a weird fucking mood." 

"Urn," said a mild-mannered looking gangster, raising his 
hand. Nearby, another man - one with a bob - answered like a 
school teacher, "Yes? Fugo?" 

Fugo pointed at the window. "That sky looked like the night 
sky, but I don't believe it is. We can't see the moon and stars, but 
there's no sign of any clouds covering them, either. Instead, there's 
something else...floating, or rather, swimming." 

The window of Kishibe Rohan's bedroom was at the top of a 
hill overlooking the harbor and bay. There were boats in the water, 
making quite a fuss. The boats had their lights aimed at the sky, 
illuminating a giant creature swimming overhead. It was a whale, 
and a big one; over two thousand meters long, swimming upside- 
down, its back to us. A great white sperm whale. 

Although at the moment, it is floating upside-down in 
the Pacific. 

"Well, there's Moby Dick," Fugo said. The others let out 
yelps of surprise. The giant white whale floating upside-down like a 
spaceship was not the only one, either. All kinds of giant fish were 
swimming upside-down, or flitting about in schools. Some schools 
were swimming around the sides of Morioh, and if you peered 
carefully you could see black shadows gliding over the top of the 

"So...I guess this means Morioh is floating upside-down in 
the water, then?" Mista said. "And is Morioh shrinking? Like...this 
sounds dumb, but from the water pressure?" He got a lot of shocked 
looks for that one, and a few derisive laughs, but no one argued his 
point. The giant white sperm whale passed over the fishermen, lit 

by their searchlights. It turned slightly, getting a good look at the 
upside-down town, then either lost interest or ran out of breath, 
because it turned and dropped away beyond Morioh's horizon; the 
surface was beneath us. 

"Yikes, the fuck is that?" said a pair of sturdily-built twins 
in school uniforms. I followed their gaze, and saw a giant octopus 
stuck to the side of the barrier surrounding Morioh, climbing up 
(down) the side, its suckers covering half the sky to the south. 

"Joestar, is this any time to be sky-gazing?" Giovanna said. 
But I'd already started thinking. Not about the murders, but about 
how to get back to England, how to see Lisa Lisa again, how to 
make sure she got that wedding. The zombies must have taken over 
after I got sent here, so I'd already missed my wedding day. 

But...Lisa Lisa would be fine. I knew she wouldn't die. She 
wasn't weak enough to get killed by any zombies. That alone I was 
certain of, no room for doubt in my mind. Thank you, Lisa Lisa, I 
thought. I may be in this crazy place in a huge old mess, but at least 
I can put my faith in your strength. 

I had to get back to her. But how? 

I had to use Beyond. In what way? What had I done before? 

I'd thought it through. But what had I thought, specifically? 

I'd been told, Believe in Beyond, and you will overcome 
your fate. So I'd tried to believe. 

Believing in Beyond meant...there was an author writing 
a story with me as the main character. And in a story, you 
couldn't have things that didn't make sense or just showed up 
out of the blue. So I had to create the flow. What did 'narrative 
flow’ mean here? 

If I first had to pay heed to the situation I was in, then I'd 
have to do as the mafia said, and solve the murder of their boss. 
Shit. I'm not Tsukumojuku! But before I yelled that, I had another 
thought. Maybe meeting Tsukumojuku and spending all that time 
with him on our adventures meant I could use that as a foundation 
to solve this mystery here? Yeah, that's exactly what I had to do. 

Fuck it. "Giovanna, tell me everything," I said. 
Giovanna smiled like a flower blooming. 

First, I'd do as I was asked. Diavolo and Kira Yoshikage's 
bodies were lined up on the floor of the study. "We were forced to 
grab them and haul ass out of the house temporarily when the damn 
spaceship crashed, but when the ship vanished and the house rebuilt 
itself we brought them back in. The police are a shit show right 
now, and with a case like this, you've really gotta be a fucking 
Stand Master to stand a chance of solving it," said a Stand 
belonging to one of the sturdily-built Japanese twins, Nijimura 
Fukashigi. It was called NYPD Blue. Some Stands had minds of 
their own, I was told. Not just him; Kishibe Rohan's girlfriend, 
Reimi, looked totally human, and was giggling and whispering in 
Kishibe's ear as he muttered sullenly about how unfair all of this 
was. Was this any time to flirt!? Anyway. 

Diavolo and Kira had had their throats slit from ear to ear. 
Loads of blood. When they told me Tsukumojuku's throat had been 
slit, too, I got pretty agitated, but I forced myself to concentrate. I 
had to look at these one at a time. Kishibe used his Stand, Heaven's 
Door, to turn the two bodies into books. The side of their faces split 
open, and their skin peeled back like pages, leaving a big hole 
where the eye had been. But every page was fdled with the word 
'death' in different languages. Apparently while people were still 
alive he could read all sorts of information about them, their past, 
their personality, even things they themselves had failed to notice or 
had long since forgotten. But at the moment of their death, all of 
this was overwritten with the word 'death'. 

I also took a look at the records made by Leone Abbacchio's 
Stand, Videodrome. Both Diavolo and Kira appeared in the study 
for an instant, let out a cry, had their throats slit, and died. Kishibe 
had him pause Videodrome a moment before their deaths, and 
turned these recordings into books, but both volumes were almost 

entirely blank, with only the most basic of personal information 
recorded within. Just their names and Stands. Everything about 
their feelings or memories was totally gone. 

"They knew they were about to die, and to a certain extent 
they'd accepted it. See?" Kishibe said, turning to a page that had 
already begun to be buried in the word 'death'. "Death begins while 
we are still alive." 

And these two were murdered, and their bodies abandoned, 
right where Kishibe and the police were moving in and out of here. 
How could that be? Were Japanese people way more self-absorbed 
than I'd ever imagined? I couldn’t tell what passed for morality here 
in the future. Didn’t matter. I just had to get all the facts lined up. 
Kishibe made it so they were no longer books. 

"Any images of the killer?" I asked. 

Abbacchio shook his head. "These are records of the victims 
lives only." 

"Were they brought here and killed at the same time, or is 
there a time lag between the two murders?" 

"We can't tell from the recordings," Abbacchio said. "All we 
can tell is what happened to each one individually. But we can say 
that the estimated time of death for both of them is twelve hours 
ago, at eight AM this morning." 

What happened to them...? "But there's no records of what 
they were doing before they appeared here?" 

"Yes. Which is very strange. The only way I can explain it is 
to say that these two men did not exist until they were killed, or that 
they were brought here to be killed from some day other than July 
24 th ." 

"You can't check records from yesterday or any other day?" 

"Videodrome can only check the day of. From midnight 
until midnight." 

"And that only gives us one second? Or, I suppose, if we 
look at it from another angle, they could have died a second after 
midnight. And the estimated time of death is what's wrong." 

"."He had no answer to that. 

I had Abbacchio replay the recordings, and did my best to 
soak in every detail. Just like Tsukumojuku used to do. If the facts 
were as stated, they'd been dead most of the day. Comparing the 3D 
images Videodrome made with the actual bodies, and considering 
this house appeared to have some sort of temperature control that 
kept it cool, even though it was summer, the condition of the bodies 
seemed to support that. I spent a bit of time looking from one to the 
other like I was trying to find the six differences, but nothing stood 
out. "Hmm, guess these god damn gangsters ain't trying to pull one 
over on us with their Stands," said NYPD Blue. He’d come up 
beside me at some point. 

"Eh? Yo, nitwit, the fuck you joining in for? Get back here!" 
Njimura Fukashigi yelled, but NYPD Blue was having none of it. 

"Shut the fuck up! This is a murder investigation! No damn 
way I'm leaving it up to some amateur!" He turned to me. "Sorry, 
buddy. Please, go on." Go on with what? I didn't have anything! 
But I went ahead and said, "Right!" and turned back to the bodies, 
and I guess because I'd been distracted, I noticed something. Kira's 
face was covered in sweat, and it was dripping off his face onto his 
shirt, but it dried the instant it hit. The way snow vanishes as soon 
as it hits the ground. 

? What did this mean? Sweat fell from his cheeks to his 
chest, but never landed. Could sweat really evaporate that quick? 

I started to reach out, then asked, "Does touching these let 
us feel the bodies?" 

Abbacchio nodded. "But it is a recording, so even if your 
hands or clothes appear to get blood on them, it's only temporary." 

"Oh, yeah?" I said, and, not making a big deal about it, I just 
reached out and touched Kira's shirt. There was no undershirt or 
anything between with the shirt and his skin, but it was dry as a 
bone. As sweaty as his face was, the rest of his body should be 
soaked, but the shirt wasn’t even damp. I wasn't up on advances in 
the textile industry since my day, but sweat generally took a bit of 

time to dry. It didn't just evaporate like it was dropped on a hot 
frying pan. If he'd been volcanic rock hot, I could see it, but from 
touching him I could tell he was a little warm, but well within the 
range of normal. This had to be a clue, I thought. "What? There 
something wrong with Kira Yoshikage's chest?" Abbacchio asked. 
He was standing next to me, watching my face intently, " 
found something? Don't even think about keeping it secret. Tell the 
truth now. I used to be a cop. I can tell if you're lying." 

I wasn't a good liar in the first place. But before I answered, 
the Stand behind me said, "Woah there, punk. You used to be a 
police? Then you know the drill. Before you resort to brow beating, 
have a think for your damn self." And with that, NYPD Blue 
reached out and started pawing Kira's clothes himself. "Hmm. I 
think you just might be on to something." 

"Teh," Abbaccho said, and stepped up next to NYPD Blue, 
putting his hands on the dead man's chest. Kira was looping rapidly, 
letting out shout after shout as his throat split opened and snapped 
closed again and again. I moved on to Diavolo, who was stuck in a 
very similar loop, and began watching him closely. Since I knew 
what I was looking for, I found it quick. A drop of sweat from his 
cheek that fell on his shoulder and was gone. Same thing. I reached 
out and touched the thin shirt that clung to Diavolo's body, but it 
was dry, too. He, too, was sweating all over, but...just to be sure, I 
peeled back his shirt, and put my hand inside. Yep. Diavolo's belly 
was drenched. But none of it got to his shirt. How could that be? 
"All three of you are acting like total freaks," Mista said, and he 
and Fugo cackled wildly, but I ignored it. There was something 
here. How could something like this happen? 

This wasn't some insta-drying shirt. If it was, Abbacchio and 
NYPD Blue would have pointed it out. Precisely because this was 
impossible, the two of them were looking baffled, and investigating 
further, ignoring the hecklers. 

So if it wasn’t a fast drying shirt, drying sweat? 
That seemed equally unlikely. No matter when I was, sweat was 

sweat. Physics remained physics. Drying takes time. Hmm...but to 
what extent did physics apply here? 

Look at what lay just in front of me. A tangible recording of 
a human's death. A humanoid superpower investigating a crime of 
its own free will. Everyone here was beyond my experience. They 
could turn books into phones, replace skulls with soap, and make 
six little drag queens ride bullets. 

The entire situation was fucked up. A town upside-down in 
the ocean, surrounded by an invisible wall. The fish swimming past 
us weren't gigantic; we'd been shrunk somehow. Could we judge 
anything based on conventional physics? 

We couldn’t. It seemed there were still rules in effect, but 
physics were only relevant to a limited extent. This was the work of 
a Stand; this sweat, this instant death, and the way he dragged them 
into this room and killed them without them even trying to resist. 

If physics didn't apply, then perhaps things that should take 
time not taking time was...wait...time? 

Kira Yoshikage's Stand, Killer Queen, could turn time back 
an hour with Bites the Dust. 

Diavolo's King Crimson could predict the future, and erase 
that time. 

Both Stand powers involved time. And both owners of those 
Stands lay here dead, together. 

Speaking of time, Tsukumojuku had fallen through time 
from England in 1904 to Japan in 2012, and then time traveled two 
more times before dying. 

And there was one more. 

"Mister Kishibe," I said. The thin artist turned towards me. 
"Didn't you say something about a clock?" 

"I did!" he exclaimed, thrilled someone had actually heard 
him. He strode forward. "There was a clock right here, in my study, 
on this very desk! And it's gone missing! It was the only way I had 
of telling time in this windowless room! It was hardly a valuable 
piece, so I'll gladly buy whoever took it one of their own, but I'd 

like mine back, thank you!” 

"What for?" Mista said. "Just buy a new one for yourself! 
Sensei <?!" 

"I have affection for my own things!" Kishibe snapped with 
such vigor that Mista actually backed off. 

"Uh, no need to shout," he said. Kishibe had a knack for 
making everything he said sound oddly convincing. "I mean, sure, I 
get you. I care about my stuff, too," Mista said. 

"So give it back! I won't let anyone leave until it's returned!" 
I thought the gangsters were keeping Kishibe here, but apparently 
he'd just turned those tables on them. I could hear people laughing 
quietly, impressed with his bravado, but I put my mind to thinking. 
A missing clock? 

There must be a reason for that. If Kishibe was telling the 
truth, and it was a cheap clock, there was no benefit to stealing it. 
Unless whoever stole it had a reason to think having a clock here 
would be bad news for them. 

Again, "time". That was the key word behind all of this. The 
only problem was how? 

Time for sweat to dry. Why did it dry in an instant? Ignore 
physics, and find the answer! Push through it! Sweat wouldn’t dry 
instantly. It took time to dry. It only appeared to take no time. That 
amount of time was sped up to look like only a moment. It looked 
instantaneous, but it was no such thing. 

And by the same principle, the second it took to kill these 
two was not actually a second. A much longer period of time just 
looked like a second. 

Time had been sped up. 

And he'd hidden the clock so we wouldn't noticed this had 

That was it, I thought. I was confident I had the answer. 

But thought they were clearly sped up, neither of them were 

moving like they were in a movie being cranked too fast. Humans 
bodies are never completely still, so when sped up their movements 
are always jerky, clearly unnatural to our eyes. But there was 
nothing unnatural about the way they were moving, or even the 
speed of the blood as it came gushing out of them. 

Only the sweat was strange. It formed on the cheeks slowly, 
like normal, then pooled and swelled and dangled and fell and dried 
unnaturally fast. Not just that. If this was all happening normally, 
I'd be able to put my hand beneath his chin, and catch the drop of 
sweat as it fell. But the speed of their sweat was so unnatural I 
couldn't figure out the timing of that. What did that mean? 

The people were moving normally, but their sweat was sped 
up...the instant it left their cheeks, it fell and dried really fast. Hmm. 
The instant it left their cheeks? 

So human skin was the borderline...border surface. And the 
flow of time was different within and without? Was it possible for 
time to flow differently inside your body than outside? 

It must be. Otherwise this situation wasn't possible. Proof 
lay in the Stands these two had. Killer Queen could make someone 
explode so hard they had to relive the last hour over again, but only 
the person who exploded remembered what had happened. Which 
meant time flowed differently for the bomb guy alone. 

King Crimson worked the same. Diavolo could predict the 
future and delete that amount of time, so if events happened in the 
following flow: A—>■ B—»C, and he deleted B, then for everyone but 
Diavolo events would flow as A—> C, but for Diavolo things would 
be A—> His prediction of B—■> deleting B—> C, extended by the act 
of using his Stand, but changing the flow of time for everyone else. 

In other words, time could flow differently inside a person 
and out. Most of the time, those times synced up, but if this type of 
Stand was used, they'd stop lining up. Diavolo created a smaller 
disconnect, but with Killer Queen, whoever he’d turned into a bomb 
would repeat that time more often the more they got scared and 
tried to get help. The gap between their time and real time would 

get bigger and bigger. 

And wasn't our internal sense of time always a little off? 
Even without the involvement of Stands? I couldn’t begin to believe 
that the time I'd spent being bullied on the Canary Islands, the time 
I'd spent fighting in the war, and the time I'd spent gazing at Lisa 
Lisa's hair streaming in the wind and gleaming in the sunlight could 
all have been flowing at the same speed. 

And the time I'd spent facing Antonio Torres inside William 
Cardinal in the Motorize Manor definitely didn't flow at the same 
speed as the time I’d spent deducing things next to a pair of corpses 
surrounded by gangsters here. When we concentrate, the flow of 
time within us speeds up. We can think an incredible number of 
things in mere minutes, seconds even, so compared to the external 
time, the time insides us passes in a flash. Like, wait, had it really 
only been a minute? So right this very moment as the wheels in my 
head spun furiously, I was building up a gap between my internal 
time and the time outside of me. If time within a human being was 
different from time outside of us, then if you were to control one of 
these times, which would it be? Killer Queen turned back time 
inside the bomb person only, and King Crimson deleted a portion of 
time that only he had experienced from the timeline outside of him. 
And here some unknown individual's Stand had sped up the 
external time for Diavolo and Kira. 

This one second they spent yelping and dying might well be 
only a second for them, but externally a much longer period of time 
was taking place, super compressed. 

I wasn't yet sure how long that was. But at the least, I had 
solved the mystery of the sweat. And I suppose I had also explained 
how no one had witnessed their murders. "Mister Kishibe, is it at all 
possible that this room could have been left empty for say, an hour, 
around eight this morning?" 

"Hunh? No way," Kishibe said. "That would have been the 
absolute busiest time. All the cops flooding in because we’d found 
Tsukumojuku's body." 

"Okay." Yeah, it wasn't just their murders nobody had seen; 
nobody had seen the bodies lying on the floor. So it seemed likely 
time had been sped up around them from midnight to the estimated 
time of death to the time they were found. If he would compress 
eight hours to a second to kill them why not keep it up and do 
another twelve, bringing us to eight PM, the present time? 

If eight hours took a second, and midnight to right now was 
twenty hours, then that was about 2.5 seconds. It was not out of the 
question for there to be 2.5 seconds in which nobody was in this 
study. Assuming the same scale; obviously they could have sped 
things up even more after their deaths and made those twelve hours 
into one second or . 1 seconds but for the moment I just needed a 
figure to theorize with, so let's go with 2.5 seconds. They were both 
killed in the first second, and in the next 1.5 seconds twelve hours 
worth of decomposition occurred. In only 1.5 seconds? 

Looking at the bodies, this had clearly happened, but...was 
there any way to be sure? "Mr. Kishibe, do you happen to have a 
body thermometer?" 

Kishibe grinned at me. "I do! Are you planning on doing an 

I was a bit taken aback, but I guess it wasn’t out of character 
for this guy. "Yeah. If you've got anything else that would help..." 

"I do indeed!" Kishibe said, far too happily. "I'm drawing a 
horror mystery manga, you see. I was curious to know just what 
coroners do! I've never tried them on a real dead human, but you 
find dead birds and cats as you wander around town, and they were 
most illuminating." 

ft !» 

I wasn't the only one who'd gone quiet, but Kishibe paid no 
heed at all, and began expounding the details of his experiments on 
dead animals until his girlfriend put her hand over his mouth. "Uh? 
Mmph...oh, the body thermometer, right. I'll bring the whole kit." 

"...thanks." I turned the duo glaring at the mystery of the dry 
clothes in Videodrome's recordings. "Abbacchio, NYPD, I'll need 

your help with this." 

Mm? What?" Abbacchio and NYPD Blue had clearly 
both been so preoccupied they'd missed what we'd just said. 

"We're going to perform a simple autopsy," I said. "Mind 
taking the rectal temperature?" 

"....? Whaaaaaat?" "Now look here, buddy, I'm just a regular 
police, I ain't up for no CSI shit." They both spoke at the same time, 
but when I said, "You can't let an amateur do it," they reluctantly 
agreed, and took the thermometer from Kishibe. He had two. "You 
did sterilize them, right?" Abbacchio said, suspiciously. 

Kishibe was indignant. "Of course I did! How rude. Who 
knows what awful bacteria lurk in the guts of wild birds and cats! I 
washed and disinfected them!" 


"The last time I used them was on a wild boar. It must have 
wandered down from the mountains and got hit by a car! But it was 
luckily hit in just such a manner that the body was intact, and I took 
a photo every hour, stuck that thermometer in its rectum, and kept 
detailed notes on the state of the body. I even edit together a video! 
If you have fifteen minutes to spare you can see a boar be entirely 
consumed by maggots and reduced to nothing but bone." 

Abbacchio was looking a little green. 

Kishibe hastily wrapped things up. "At any rate, those are 
quite clean." 

So Abbacchio and NYPD Blue took their temperatures, and 
they'd both gone down between ten and eleven degrees. Helpfully, 
Videodrome also allowed us to measure their initial temperature, 
from when both were still alive. Neither Diavolo or Kira Yoshikage 
were at all overweight, so their temperature would drop one degree 
an hour, for the first ten hours, and then half a degree for every hour 
after that, so it fit my theory exactly. 

Next we examined the inside of their mouths and their eyes. 
Their mucous membranes were partially dried. Comeal opacity was 
about half peak (usually reached between 24 and 48 hours after 

death.) Then the postmortem lividity. We lifted the bodies and 
checked, and the coloring was pretty much at max. This hit peak 
after twelve hours, so was also consistent. The bodies were quite 
stiff, right at the peak of rigor mortis - also reached ten to twelve 
hours after death. 

Good. "That's enough," I said. Both Abbacchio and NYPD 
Blue collapsed to the floor. 

"Figure anything out?" Abbacchio asked, but I ignored him. 
I dodged the thermometer that came flying, and thought. Thought 
through the sound of the thermometer shattering and Kishibe's yelp 
of anger. Explanations should only occur after all deductions were 
complete. Cops are always so impatient, no matter the time or the 

The bodies definitely had approximately twelve hours worth 
of decomposition. I'd been proceeding with my theory unchanged 
while we did the autopsy, so those first eight hours must have felt 
like one second to Diavolo and Kira. But their corpses seemed to 
have experienced the twelve hours since their deaths as twelve 
hours, not 2.5 seconds. So maybe this Stand’s time compression 
somehow excluded living people? 

No, humans weren't the only ones who experienced the flow 
of time. Animals felt it too. And zombies. 

OK, if this Stand could compress time while excluding 
those who could perceive time, then the differential between the 
two flows of time left the sweat hanging off their cheeks as inside, 
or a part of their body, and the moment it disconnected from their 
jaws it became external, and not part of their body. It looked like 
their clothes also counted as external, but could that be because 
Diavolo and Kira weren't in any condition to consider their clothes 
as part of their self-image? In other words, what counted as internal 
was based on what your mental image of 'yourself' extended to, 
and everything else counted as internal, and thus became affected 

by the other flow of time. 

So, I thought. Next. I had the killer's profile. He was a Stand 
Master with a Stand that could speed up time. He'd killed Diavolo 
and Kira in that sped up time. Slit their throats. 

But was it really possible to cut a living person's throat this 
deep, this easily? 

Neither one of them was bound in any way. And they were 
Stand Masters, so even if they couldn't move their Stands should 
have been free. Had the Stand Master been hiding somewhere, so 
they couldn't fight back? That didn't make sense. Diavolo had his 
Stand out, and King Crimson would know the attack was coming 
and make it so the attack never happened. Kira, too; if he just used 
Killer Queen he could make anything it touched explode or turn 
into a bomb, but somehow he couldn't defend himself? They were 
up against a Stand that could speed up time. There was a rule that 
there could only be one Stand per person, which meant we could 
also say that the killer couldn't do anything else. His Stand couldn't 
hide him. 

The only thing you could do with sped up time was move 
really fast. But was it that hard to avoid an opponent who was just 
moving fast when you had bombs at your disposal? 

I wasn't sure, so I did the math on it, and if eight hours were 
passing in a single second, and the killer came running at Diavolo 
and Kira at ten kilometers an hour, then relative to them he'd be 
going 288,000 kph. 800,000 meters a second. 241 times the speed 
of sound. That seemed pretty fucking insane. How would you even 
think to put a bomb out? 

At any rate, they clearly couldn’t use their Stands. Or didn't. 
Why? Was their opponent too fast for them to do anything? If he 
really was going 241 times the speed of sound that made sense. But 
they both had glazed over eyes, and were just staring at nothing, not 
even trying to resist. They looked like they'd already given up. But 

this was a mafia boss, who'd led a group of Stand Master gangsters 
like Giovanna, and a serial killer who's survived in a small town 
like Morioh while being chased by multiple other Stand Masters. 
Would they simultaneously give up on surviving this and just wait 
to die? 

No, no, absolutely not. Diavolo's predictions used his own 
internal time so it would still work, and however fast the killer was 
going he'd still predict the attack ten seconds ahead of time and 
make it not happen. He would have done that. Any soldier would. 
No soldier stood around with their gun holstered waiting to be shot. 
No matter how fucked you were if you still had your knife you’d 
use that, and if you were out of bullets you could use the pommel, 
and if your dander was up you’d give it a shot bare handed, and if 
you were so gravely wounded you couldn't move you could still try 
and bite them. 

But they didn’t even try to resist, I thought, forcing myself 
to think this through. What if they were in a situation where they 
couldn't use their Stands, or thought it wasn't necessary? 

Couldn't use them? They were uninjured until their throats 
split open, and if they themselves weren't hurt, their Stands should 
have been just fine, too. And vice versa. There was no way they 
couldn't have used their Stands. 

So if they thought they didn't need to? Hmm, yeah, that had 
to be it, it's the only thing that made sense, after all they were both 
sweating fiercely and yelping aloud, too surprised and confused to 
realize they were in danger. But what was it that surprised them? 
What confused them? 

Since the enemy Stand had sped up time, had the world in 
front of them turned into a swirling maelstrom? 

I looked around me. They'd died in this study, with nothing 
in it but a desk. There were no windows in the walls, just doors. No 
windows in the ceiling, either. What would change here even if an 
hour was compressed down to a second? 

Most likely nothing would change at all. There was nothing 

here I could see that would provoke such surprise or confusion. 

So what got to them? 

If there was nothing around them, then someone other than 
themselves must have been here, and that couldn't be the killer. The 
killer slit both their throats without them noticing. He would have 
been hiding. So what did Diavolo and Kira see, and what thoughts 
ran through their head that rattled them like that? 

Each other. 

Two Stand Masters who could control time. 

A mafia boss and a serial killer. 

And Giovanna and Kishibe seemed to believe they were the 
source of whatever power made Nero Nero Island and Morioh start 

They were together when they died. Why? 

Because they were fighting. 

I had it at last. 

Kira Yoshikage's Stand, Killer Queen, had a 3 rd power called 
Bites the Dust that turned people into bombs that would go off if 
anyone tried to find him through that person, and when it went off 
it would send them back in time an hour to start over. For a serial 
killer who wanted only to live his life without attracting attention, 
this was the ideal power. The bomb would go off if they so much as 
said his name, and if anyone unwanted died in the blast, he could 
just defuse the bomb after winding back an hour, and undo the fated 
death. But the one flaw is that the person he'd primed retained their 
memories and time, but Kira himself had no way of grasping what 
was happening. Since he had no idea who his bomb was killing, he 
had no way of knowing who was coming after him, and unless he 
looked into it, he had no way of knowing just how close they were 

Of course, he could just keep his distance from the person 
he'd turned into a bomb, and preserve his peaceful life that way, but 

while it was active he couldn't use any of Killer Queen's other 
powers, so he was left rather defenseless. And even if he was forced 
to defuse Bites the Dust without knowing what was going on with 
it, he might leave people after him alive, inadvertently sparing them 
their explosive fate. He'd have to make sure that didn't happen. And 
the only way to do that was to get close to the bomb, which also put 
him at risk of encountering those after him. 

The only way to compensate for this flaw was to avoid the 
fear and trouble caused by distance from the bomb, and become the 
bomb himself. Killer Queen's normal abilities were enough to kill 
anyone who got in his way normally, but by using Bites the Dust on 
himself, he could reset an hour of time when it went off, figure out 
a better way to kill whoever was after him, and correct any errors 
he'd made. He'd gain knowledge, experience, and foresight. Since 
he was a serial killer trying to hide his true identity, he had to pick 
the time and place to safely blow up his enemies, but Bites the Dust 
made that discretion unnecessary. No matter who was watching, he 
could just blow up whoever he wanted to. Then go back an hour, 
wait until the time that enemy blew up, at which point fate would 
kill them off for him, leaving no one around with any idea why they 
suddenly blew up. That hour reset was very effective. 

So, with a detective dead and more detectives gathering in 
Morioh, Kira set Bites the Dust on himself so he could be prepared 
for anything. At which point Diavolo appeared. 

What would happen then? 

Kira's Bites the Dust would activate, trying to kill Diavolo, 
but Diavolo's King Crimson would sense that future, and prevent it 
from ever happening. But since the result of the explosion was that 
time was fated to turn back an hour, Bites the Dust would still send 
him back. But in that case, Kira would have no memories of having 
blown Diavolo up, so he'd trying to blow Diavolo up again, King 
Crimson would delete it again, but the hour reset was still fated to 
happen - so every time Diavolo deleted his own death, time would 
be reset an hour. Kira and Diavolo would be trapped in an infinite 

time loop. 

The only one who could change fate in that hour was Kira, 
and the only way to escape the time loop was to defuse Bites the 
Dust, but when a serial killer and a mafia boss were facing off, was 
that something that would even occur to him? Especially since Kira 
would know that time was resetting, know he must have blown 
someone up, but have no memory of doing so. That would make 
him incredibly nervous. Kira had no way of knowing what King 
Crimson's power was, so his best option would always appear to be 
attacking him with Bites the Dust again. But no matter how hard he 
tried to get rid of Diavolo, Diavolo could make all his attacks not 
happen. And yet, the more desperate Kira got, the more he'd depend 
on Bites the Dust somehow bringing a better result. The time loop 
they were trapped in would shift a bit here and there, but essentially 

I was pretty sure that was the basic gist of it, anyway. Like 
Tsukumojuku always said, "When you're right, you know it without 
verifying." For the first time, I knew what he meant. He wasn't just 
referring to confidence. Detectives (and me) didn't just believe in 
themselves. They believed in everything. 

The world. And God. They were convinced that the state of 
all things existed for themselves. That gave Beyond power, and 
Beyond gave them power. 

With Beyond on my side, I could move forward without 
hesitation. To the next problem - why did this have to happen at the 
Arrow Cross House? 

The flow of time was divided by human consciousness. Was 
it possible for a Stand attack to penetrate that fuzzy barrier? 

No, and nor had they. If Diavolo and Kira had had their own 
perceptions of time sped up, that time would vanish at the moment 

of their deaths, the sped up effect would end, and their bodies 
would be left lying on the study floor. But despite no such thing 
happening, their bodies had begun to decompose, and Kishibe and 
the police had gone in and out of the room without ever seeing the 
two bodies because time in the Arrow Cross House room had been 
sped up. Arrow Cross House could do that. Strictly speaking, the 
former version of it, Cube House. 

A house was not a person. A house had no consciousness. 
With any normal house, if the killer's Stand tried to speed up time it 
would be left manipulating the boundless infinity of space time. 
Manipulating time for the world itself. And not just Earth, but all of 
the universe, which I could not begin to imagine, but even if that 
was possible, once time sped up humans would notice that it wasn't 
matching up to their internal time, and panic. For a killer just trying 
to kill two men in secret, mass hysteria was less than ideal. But the 
Arrow Cross House, the Cube House, was no ordinary house. 

It was a Stand. The area of consciousness of a Stand with a 
human name, Sugimoto Reimi. Its construction contained a space 
time of its own. A Tesseract. Arrow Cross House was built on top 
of the Cube House. 

With that in mind, I asked Kishibe, "Bring me all the clocks 
not in the study." 

Kishibe grinned at me. "You're starting to act like an old- 
time detective! No explanations along the way, hunh?" He and the 
other Japanese people started gathering clocks. How did modern 
detectives act? 

One clock from each of the four sunrooms, four clocks in 
all. I inspected them. All clocks showed the same time, 8:13 PM. 
"What the fuck, even the second hands are perfectly in sync! Hella 
creepy, Rohan!" "You seriously need a shrink," the massive twins 
said, but Rohan was having none of it. "I'm simply not as sloppy as 
you nitwits." 

I absently checked my own watch. 11:15 AM. I should be in 
the middle of the wedding ceremony, putting a ring on Lisa Lisa. 

Making my vows. Maybe defending myself after a service buddy 
jokingly objected to the wedding taking place. But I hadn't lost that 
time. It might be in the past, but the past still existed, and I'd get 
back there somehow....! 

I put my head back to deducing. The sped up effect occurred 
in this study. Put another way, it didn't happen in the additions that 
turn the place into the Arrow Cross House. The border was defined 
by the Cube House. 

"Reimi, mind if I ask you a few questions?" 

"Sure," she said, and trotted over to me. "Solving things is 
going swimmingly, is it? 

Swimmingly? Did it look like that? I was taken aback for a 
moment, then I realized time was flowing differently inside me than 
it was for the rest of them. 

"Reimi, I wanted to ask about this building...about the Cube 

"Yes, yes?" 

From what she told me, the 'facts' that Cube House had been 
in Nishi Akatsuki and that it had been moved to Morioh were both 
second-hand, and all she remembered was finding herself here in 
Morioh, as the Arrow Cross House, with next to no memories of 
anything that came before. "Stands can grow. They unexpectedly 
evolve," Kishibe added. He’d been listening to us talk. "It's only 
natural you're not the person you were then, Sugimoto." I suppose 
he meant that to be comforting, and she smiled back, but I spied a 
trace of sadness to it. The sadness of not being the person you once 
were, or of not having memories of your past was not something a 
full throttle forward type like Kishibe couldn’t really understand. 
"Muryotaisu's Grand Blue have increased in number. That sort of 
thing happens all the time," Kishibe said. 

"Has anyone else lost their memories when that happened?" 

I asked. 

"Eh? No, not the human Master. But the Stands themselves 
have been known to change inside and out, so it stands to reason 

they might wind up completely overwriting the old version." 

Reimi looked even more downcast. Time was flowing for 
her, too. I couldn't help myself. "Kishibe, have you ever felt the fear 
of forgetting what happened to you? Ever felt like you’d lost time 
you knew you'd lived through?" 

"Nothing frightening about it," Kishibe said, and it didn't 
seem like he was bluffing. "The vast majority of my life contains 
nothing of any consequence whatsoever. I've thrown all of myself 
into drawing manga, so that's all there is!" He hmphed arrogantly. 
Reimi just gaped at him. 

At this point the Japanese kids behind me, Hirose and the 
twins, put their two cents in. "Jeez, Rohan, you're being a real jerk 
here!" "That ain't Jorge's point! Don't you get that?" "C'mon, use 
your imagination! Man, you're useless when you aren't in front of 
the drawing board." Something in that seemed to get through to him 
and he abruptly turned towards Reimi. 

"Eh? Ah! Oh, no! I wasn't thinking! Just because I'd be fine 
doesn't mean you are! Sorry, how thoughtless of me!" 

He clapped his hands together in front of him and bowed his 
head low, and this was so desperate that Reimi almost burst out 
laughing. Ptbbbbbb. "OK, that's enough, Rohan! You really do live 
for manga, don't you? I understand the point you're making, too." 

"No, I'm really sorry. I sometimes forget to distinguish 
between myself and other people, and assume everyone else can do 
what I can do. Other manga artists criticize me for that all the time. 
I'm really not trying to be a conceited ass! I just expect too much 
from people! That's entirely my fault!" 

"That's the most arrogant thing you've said yet!" "What the? 
You expect too much from people? Just how amazing do you think 
you are!?" "Ah ha ha ha! You gotta be kidding! That's the dumbest 
thing I've ever heard! Aha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!" Hirose collapsed, 
laughing hysterically. I'd assumed Kishibe was joking, too, but he 
seemed genuinely pissed at us. 

"What's so funny!? Kouji! I'm trying to apologize seriously 

here, and you mock me for it!?" 

Eh? Seriously? Hirose's laughter subsided, replaced with a 
look of glazed horror. Reimi laughed. "You’re hopeless, Rohan!" 

I didn’t have enough hours in the world to deal with this, so 
I got the conversation back on track. "Reimi, I get that you're a very 
unusual stand, but fundamentally every Stand has a 'Master' and 
they're job is to 'stand by' that Master, right? I would definitely say 
a Stand forgetting their Master is kind of an exception, a pretty 
unique situation. Especially for Stands with minds of their own, 
forgetting their Master when they 'grow' or 'evolve' would be kind 
of a big problem." 

Reimi looked very serious suddenly, and the others went 
quiet to listen. 

"That's why I don't think you grew or evolved. I think it was 
more like...something shocking happened to you." Shocking? I was 
aware of something rather like that. 



Harm sustained could give you power. 

"Reimi, do you remember being injured, or suffering in any 
way?" I asked. Her eyes really did look like a human's. There was a 
light in them, and that light went out at my question. It was like I 
was tumbling into a deep abyss within them. My words had struck 
a nerve. "A wound," I said, the certainty of Beyond behind me. 

"I..." she said, and the light in her eyes flickered back on. 
The words she'd bottled up inside came flowing out. "My's 
been hurting for a while." 

"? Your back?" 

"Yeah. Oh..." Reimi went beet red. She screwed her eyes 
shut, and grit her teeth. 

"Hunh? Sugimoto..." Kishibe said. "What are you doing?" 

"....ah! Ah. Ahh. Ahhhhhhhh!" Her breathing heavy, Reimi's 

body suddenly jerked as if stabbed in the back. She hastily pulled 
the straps of her dress off her shoulders, and pulled her top down, 
baring her back. Sleazeball gangsters started making wolf-whistles 
and one even let out a particularly creepy "Ohhhhh!" and then an 
arrow showed up, right between her shoulder blades, and not just 
some symbol but an actual arrowhead inside her, raising the surface 
of her skin as it moved, and it looks so painful and uncanny that we 
all went deathly silent. 

"Ahhhhhhhhhh! It's burning up! It's on fire, Rohan!” Reimi 
screamed, and the skin on her back split open, and the arrowhead 
came sliding out onto the smooth surface, but no blood came with 
it. The arrowhead looked to be made of stone, and had elaborate 
carvings along the surface of it. Free of her body, it dropped to the 
floor, and Reimi collapsed beside it. 

"Sugimoto! Are you...!? Kishibe yelled, rushing to her side. 

Breathing heavily, she said, "I remember now, Rohan. About 
myself, and about my Master." She picked the arrowhead up off the 
floor. "I was asked to keep this arrowhead, and make sure nobody 
else took it. I locked myself up inside the Cube House, but then I 
accidentally - or maybe not, I'm not sure, but I stabbed myself with 
it." She moved the tip of the arrow head near her arm, and a strange 
wind swept up around it as if the arrowhead itself was pulling her 
skin towards it. 

This was clearly no ordinary arrowhead; it had a mind of its 


She pulled the arrow away from her skin, took a moment to 
catch her breath, and turned to me. "I remember now. It's been such 
a long time, Jorge Joestar." 

She smiled at me, as if looking at an old photograph. 

".? You know me?" 

"Of course. I've been searching for you for a long time. And 
protecting this arrowhead. I know why I came to Morioh, too. I was 
waiting for you to get here. All this time." 

".? What do you mean?" 

"I mean I love you." 

It 1 11 

I wasn't the only one blown away by that. Kishibe was left 
speechless, and the twins and Hirose all shrieked. 

Reimi turned to find Kishibe gaping at her. She smiled at 
him. "Well, not me. My Master loves him. Obviously. I, myself, 
have never even met Jorge." 

A high-pitched whine left Kishibe, like a leaky balloon, and 
then he made a show of coughing. "Well, that's not my problem," 
he said. 

The twins and Hirose all relaxed and began chattering at 
Kishibe, but I ignored them. "So who is your Master?" 

"There's only one girl waiting for you who can make locked 
rooms. Penelope de la Roza. Jorge, honestly. How could you not 
know that already? Boys are the worst." 

It was very like Penelope to treat a man about to turn thirty- 
one like a 'boy'. 

"So! Let's get back to Penelope, Jorge," Reimi said, standing 

"Yo, wait, you think we're just gonna let you leave?" Mista 

"Yeah, Jorge," Fugo said. "You still haven't figured out who 
killed Diavolo." 

"Why should he?" Reimi said. "Jorge has no obligation to 
do that whatsoever." 

"Obligation? We aren't talking about no 'obligation' here," 
Mista said. He was smiling, but his eyes were narrowing. "We ain't 
asking, either. We’re telling him to do it. However he has to." 

"Hmph," Reimi snorted. "You can act like big shots all you 
like, but remember where you are. You're inside me." 

Right. We were inside Reimi. Inside the realm of Reimi’s 
consciousness, so if time sped up here, it wouldn't affect anything 


"A moment ago I became my old self," Reimi said. "This 
isn't the old Arrow Cross. The arrow's not in me any more. This is 
the Cube House now. It has no doors or windows. If you don't do as 
I say, you're never getting out of here. And remember, when I say 
'never', I mean that literally." 

"What!?" Fugo and Mista ran to the doors and flung them 


"Shit! The furniture's still here, but no doors or windows!" 
"Fuck! A polar bear! Tch, why the fuck is this thing here!?" "Wait, 
wait, wait...why is your face over there!" "Mista? What are you 
doing back there?" 

As the two henchmen encountered the tesseract for the first 
time, Giovanna rose to his feet. 

"It looks to me like you've already figured everything out," 
he said. "Joestar. Will you share your answer with us?" 

I ran over my reasoning - if I could call it that - in my mind 
again. I knew what the killer's Stand must be. I could sketch a fairly 
complete picture of how he'd done it. There weren't any mitigating 
circumstances that countermanded it. But I didn't have the killer's 
name...what had Tsukumojuku done in moments like this? 

He’d just left it up to the mood, or the energy in the room. 
By acting the part, he'd get things going his way. That was what all 
detectives did. 

They'd create the flow, create the mood. The same way that 
Beyond did. 


"I dunno the killer's name," I said. "But I know their Stand. 
It has the power to speed up time. They lured Kira Yoshikage and 
Diavolo here. Kira had primed Bites the Dust on himself. The killer 
set them against each other, had them attack, and King Crimson 
deleted the moment where Bites the Dust blew him up. With both 
still alive, Bites the Dust turned back time an hour, and brought the 
same fate around again. As time began to loop, the same events 

happening again and again, the killer sped up time, compressing it 
until neither of them could move at all. Then he slit their throats." 

When I finished my speech, there was a long silence. Over 
by the corpses and Videodromes, Abbacchio and NYPD Blue were 
gaping at me. "I see...!" Giovanna said, trying unsuccessfully but 
adorably to conceal his surprise. "That's all," I said. "I don't have 
anything else worked out yet. But it seems like you might know 
something about a Stand that speeds up time, right?" 

Giovanna had been so quietly calm all this time. Why had 
that description rattled him so? But he just shook his head. 

"No idea, I'm afraid." 

".? So why were you so surprised..." No, maybe this 

wasn't surprise. There was a sadness in his eyes. "Why was this 
such a shock to you?" 

As if that brought him back to himself, Giovanna's usual 
mask slipped back over his features. 

"It didn't." 

There was clearly something here. Something not right. "Is 
your boss lying?" I said, turning to Bruno Buccellati. He'd been 
watching everything closely from behind Giovanna. 

Giovanna spun around, not expecting this, and his eyes must 
have met Buccellati's. 

It | ft 

Buccellati didn't answer immediately. ".? Mmm? ...I can 

smell it, Giomo. A smell I shouldn't be smelling." 

"Buccellati, don't." 

"I shouldn’t ever be smelling this in my own family, on my 
own team. So why the hell am I?" 

"You're imagining it." 

"I'm WHAT!?" Buccellati roared. 

Mista and Fugo came running back to the study. 

"What's up, Buccellati?" 

"Shut the fuck up, Fugo!" Buccellati snapped, seething with 
rage. His men fell silent. "This stench just got even more distinct. 
Giorno! You just lied to me! I'm not imagining this shit! You know 
damn well I can smell a lie a mile away! I've proven it countless 
times, Giorno! My nose for lies! Is! Never! Wrong! You're keeping 
something from us!" 

It | ft 

"I don't even need to lick that cold sweat off your brow! 
You're lying! Spit it out, Giorno! What the fuck are you hiding!?" 

"I..." Giorno said, then sighed. "I was just a bit thrown by 
Joestar's reasoning. I mean, this Stand speeds up time? How would 
you ever fight that?" 

He wasn't a Mafia leader for nothing. He’d recovered his 
calm, and the cold sweat was gone. 

Wait. The sweat that was on his shirt...was already gone? 

"LIAR!" Buccellati screamed. Then he grew deathly quiet. 
"Giomo...tell me the truth. If you're hiding something, I have to dig 
after it. It can't be that important! I'm not saying we can't have 
secrets from each other. I respect your privacy. This line of work, 
that's all we have sometimes. But right here? When Passione's top 
dog has just been murdered? There's nothing worth hiding, Giorno! 
Say it, Giornooooo! Say it!" he rose to a shriek at the end, and his 
Stand appeared behind him. It looked like a girl, and held a needle 
and thread in its hands. 

"Don't, Buccellati!" 

"If you don't tell the truth I'll stitch your mouth closed! Do 
it, Stepmom!" 

As the female Stand grabbed Giovanna's lips together, stuck 
the needle through them, pulled the thread after, and began sewing 
them together at fearsome speeds, Giovanna yelled, "Buccellati, no! 
I'm not the one lying! I was lied to!" 

"What?" Buccellati said, and stopped sewing. 

"I'm the one who was betrayed." 

"What do you mean!? Betrayed by who!?" 

"." Giovanna fell silent. 

Behind me, NYPD Blue suddenly said, "Mm? The fuck is 


I turned around and found NYPD Blue still examining the 
bodies. His hands were on Diavolo's corpse's face, but they weren't 
just resting there. Diavolo's face had opened up, and he was looking 
inside. Kishibe Rohan's Stand, Heaven’s Door, which turned people 
into books filled with their memories and history. NYPD Blue and 
Abbacchio had a brief whispered conversation about something, 
and then Abbacchio turned to me. "What do you make of this?" 

Diavolo's face was in book form, the pages spread open. 
The pages were all covered with the word 'death' in all kinds of 
languages, but Abbacchio was pointing at the very bottom corner of 
the page, some tiny, tiny letters in either corner. 

The right page read 121. The left read 123. 

"Hunh?" I said. This was weird. 

"Right?" Abbacchio said, and flipped to a different page. 

The right read 237. The left read 239. 

It only had odd pages. 

Were pages missing....? No. If that happened, two sequential 
pages would be missing. This was something else. I picked another 
page and looked at the front and back of it, and the front was 323 
and the back was 325. This book only had odd numbers in it. 

"What the...?" I looked up, and Kishibe had come up behind 
us, and was peering over our shoulders. 

"Any idea what this means?" I asked. 

Kishibe put his hand to his lips. 

"I've never seen anything like it. I can only think of one 

NYPD Blue and Abbacchio said as one, "Someone else had 
the even pages." 

Kishibe said much the same thing. "I stopped looking when 

I saw the word ’death’ everywhere! How careless of me! Diavolo 
had a split personality!" 

"C'mon, Giorno! Spit it out!" Buccellati yelled. "Who is it 
who betrayed you?" 

"I don't know..." Giovanna said, his eyes hollow. "God?" 
"Don't you even dream about fucking with me right now!" 
Buccellati yelled. Stepmom sewed more of Giovanna's mouth shut, 
and threw a few stitches through his cheek as well, completely 
wrecking his even features. "Tell me the damn truth, Giorno! You’re 
our fucking boss! What the fuck are you up to!?" 

"I'm telling the truth! I've been betrayed by God!" 
"Ar g hhhhh! Grit your fucking teeth, Giomo!" 

Wham! Buccellati just straight up punched Giovanna in the 


Reimi squeaked, and hid behind Kishibe. The twins and 
Hirose were completely at a loss now, frozen in place. 

Blood sprayed from Giovanna's mouth, and tears from his 
eyes. ...he was crying? Blood and tears fell to the floor. The blood 
dried, and the tears vanished. 

In an instant. 

Kishibe spoke up. "I've looked inside almost everyone alive 
in here, so Heaven's Door could make you all able to speak all three 
languages. Only two people I haven't looked at! Giovanna, who 
could already speak Japanese and Italian! And the empty-eyed boy 
who showed up late, following Giovanna. Vinegar Doppio! Where 
is he?" 

NYPD Blue and Abbacchio looked around, but there was no 
sign of Doppio. "Hunh? He was just here!" 

"Shit! Where is he?" Kishibe yelled. "Find him! Jacques! 
Enzo! Johana!" Nijimura Muryotaisu yelled, unleashing his Stand, 

which looked like three dolphins. 

"Might be faster to call him," Abbacchio said, grabbing Pink 
Dark Boy off the floor. A moment later, plu pon pin para para pon 
plu pon pin para para pon rang from under the floor. 

"(Click) Hello Hi What's up? Call me anytime! I'm shiny 
sparkling Doppio and I love phones!" 

His bright voice and then some dolphins squeaking and he 


"Augh! What the fuck!?" 

"Bring him back here, Grand Blue!" Muryotaisu yelled and 
the hole in the center of the study slammed open and a dolphin flew 
up out of it with Doppio on its back, and the door in the ceiling 
opened and the other two came back as well. 

"Hey? What the fuck, I'm on the phone!" Doppio snarled, 
holding his shoe to his ear, barely holding onto the dolphin with his 
other hand. 

"Ha! Trying to run!?" Kishibe cried. "You can't escape from 
the Cube House! Heaven's Door!" I wasn't super sure why he was 
shouting his Stand's name, but he rapidly drew a transparent figure 
in the air and Doppio's face exploded. The pages of his book flew 
open, his hand slipped off the dolphin's fin and he fell to the floor, 
rolling several times. "Everything you said was half-crazed and I've 
had my eye on you! Let's have a look!" Kishibe strode over to him, 
and checked the pages of Doppio's book. 

"Hunh?" he said, flipping through several more pages. "He's 
got odd and even numbers! He's normal! He's just a bit nutty!" 
Kishibe cried. 

All eyes shifted towards the only other candidate. 

With all eyes on him, Giovanna stared off in to space, and 
whispered, "Are you abandoning me, God?" 

Another tear rolled down his cheek, but the moment the tear 
left him, it sped up, and evaporated before it hit the floor. 

"Something stinks!" NYPD Blue yelled. 

"The bodies are rotting faster!" Abbacchio yelled. 

Time inside the Cube House had sped up again. 

"Yes, he has. Can you blame Him for it? Giorno Giovanna." 

The speaker was a man standing in the door to the North, 
dressed in a form-fitting silver garment that looked like something 
out of an H. G. Wells novel. There was a cross on the front. Who...? 

The Japanese twins and Hirose yelled, "Enrico Pucci!" 

So that was the name of the man who could speed up time. 

"God is gravely disappointed in your weakness," Pucci said. 
"Giomo Giovanna, you failed to bear the burden of your sins, failed 
to get your own hands dirty, pushed all the bad things onto a poor 
other mind you made within you just so you could be a good boy. 
Then you tried to play the hero, and punish Diavolo for handling 
you dirty deeds. What a shameful tale. Thus God forsake you. You 
can feel it, right? He hates sad stories like that more than anything. 
He won't have anything more to do with you. That's why He sent 
me to take care of you. You will never see His face again, but if you 
have any last words for him, say them now." 

Giovanna wiped his tears away with his arm. "You saying 
that will not make me believe it, and I will not be giving you a 
message to take back." 

Pucci said nothing, but crooked his head. ".?" 

Buccellati's half-sewn threads dangling from portions of his 
face, Giovanna smiled. "You don't get it. You aren't here to finish 
me off. I'll be finishing you. You're the one God has forsaken. This 
was always the plan, poor priest. If only you had never realized 
how you've been used, you might have been happy to the bitter end. 
But I am the son of a God who is both kind and cruel, and I must 
act accordingly. Father Pucci, my father never expected anything 

from you. He knew you would never be able to connect the loop. 
That was never possible for you, or for any version of you. He sent 
you on this path knowing that only too well - because you being on 
this path was part of his plan. You are a half-formed man, driven by 
fruitless desire. A narrow-minded man, unable to accept anything 
but your own ideals. A self-absorbed low-life who has the gall to 
try to bask in God’s love. So vain you'll do anything for a modest 
scrap of praise, and for a fleeting moment's emotion you'll act as if 
you've risen to Heaven and activate your bizarre power. He had a 
use for that power. But that use has been and gone. If you were but 
a little more rational, he might have allowed you to remain by his 
side, useful or not. But in the end, you are a man of no experience, 
incapable of deeper thought, incapable of seeing the big picture, a 
fool dancing at the whims of your betters. Since he saw no value in 
keeping you around, he has tossed you aside like yesterday's trash. 
Are you prepared?" 

There was an awful crackling sound all around us, and the 
Cube House's wallpaper and carpet faded, peeled, tore, rippled, 
rolled, and disintegrated. Time was going faster and faster. 

"Auuugh! The evidence!" I turned at the scream, and saw 
NYPD Blue hurriedly carrying the rapidly rotting bodies of Kira 
Yoshikage and Diavolo out through the east door. 

In the north door, Enrico Pucci had gone beet red. "Silence, 


Giovanna laughed aloud. "See? You know I'm right. That's 
why you've gone red. But you don't even realize that throwing a 
childish tantrum to deny that fact just proves how shallow you 
really are." 

635 "I said, shut up!" 

"You mean, 'I'm so flustered I can't come up with a come 
back so please stop talking, sir?"' 

M | It 

There was a snapping sound, and Kishibe's work desk in the 
center of the room collapsed. I looked at the clocks sitting on the 
rotting desk; those with needles had long since spun so fast the 
needles flew off, and those projecting numbers onto glass were 
changing so fast it was impossible to read the time. I could barely 
even read the date, but I could just about see the thousands place in 

the year changing., wow, I thought, they even 

included a fifth digit! The desk had turned to dust, and even the 
sturdiest of the clocks at last stopped working, and turned to dust as 

"You're going to die! But first I'm going to slaughter all your 
men!" Pucci yelled, and if he used this sped up time against us there 
was no way we could stop him. This was well beyond mach speed. 
He would be moving faster than the speed of light, which was 
supposed to be the fastest speed possible. 

But even now Giovanna just smiled. "Heh. Father Pucci, do 
you know what this insect is?" he said, pointing to the air. 

There was a rhinoceros beetle flying there. 

".?" Pucci frowned. 

"This is the arrowhead I just took from Reimi," Giovanna 
said. "I turned it into something living to prevent the flow of time 
from damaging it. Given the size, a Japanese rhinoceros beetle was 
a good fit. But you know, I've been thinking. Was there really only 
one arrowhead hidden in the Arrow Cross House?" 

".?" Pucci was still thinking. 

Giovanna didn't wait for him. "I mean, there's more than one 
arrow outside." 

"Ah! Ahhhhh! Ahhhhhhh it bums! Rohan, it bums! It's so 
hot I can't bear it! Auuuuughh!" Reimi screamed and grabbed onto 
Kishibe, her back thrashing violently as another three rhinoceros 
beetles surfaced on the skin of her back, tearing their way out of 

Giovanna laughed. "Heh heh. The four rhinoceros beetles. 
You see your mistake now? This is the real prophecy!" 

Pucci broke his silence at last. 

"Nooooooooo! It cannot be!" he yelled, trying to scream his 
way back to solid ground. But Giovonna pressed the advantage. 

"Useless useless useless useless useless useless useless!" 

The rhinoceros beetle near Giovanna's head turned back into 
an arrow head, and began rusting quickly in the sped up time, but 
he was fast enough. 

There was a sound that shook the air and a yellow humanoid 
Stand appeared behind Giovanna just as the arrowhead stabbed it. 

"Heaven's not waiting for you, Enrico Pucci! But you're 
such a coward you'd just speed up time in Hell to get through it! 
You'll get the fate you deserve - I'll trap you in the same loop you 
trapped Diavolo and Kira Yoshikage in when you killed them!" 

"Auuuughhh!" Pucci's scream turned into a shriek. "I've had 
enough of your smart mouth! Children should be seen and not 
heard! Die!" 

And he vanished. 

He wasn't gone, of course. The speed of his attack was just 
so great we couldn't see him any more. 

"Useless!" Giovanna yelled, and his Stand, which looked a 
bit different now that it had fused with the arrowhead, swung its fist 
once through the air. 

And the soft sound of everything inanimate in the room 
crumbling beyond dust into the component elements stopped. Only 

silence remained. The sped up time had stopped. I looked around 
me. All decorations had vanished, leaving nothing but the plain 
walls of the Cube House. All the Japanese and Italian gangsters 
were fine, standing there stunned. A thought struck me and I hastily 
checked my clothes, but they were intact. Good. But that didn't go 
for everyone; Mista's clothes had disintegrated and his fellow gang 
members started laughing as he smiled blissfully and bragged about 
how free he felt. I supposed it was up to your own consciousness 
where that boundary lay. 

I asked Giovanna, ".? Is it over?" 

He nodded. "Yep." 

"I don't see Pucci anywhere...?" 

"My Stand sent him to a world where he has nowhere to go 
and no way of getting there," Giovanna said. He was staring at his 
Stand, now reborn in a new visage, covered in arrows. "That world 
makes all his desires and actions be in vain. This is my evolved 
Stand, Gold Experience Requiem. Enrico Pucci is no longer even 
able to want to come back here. No matter where he tries to go he 
won't be able to get there. Even if he longs for death, he won’t be 
able to die. But if he tries to live no life worth calling such awaits 
him. It is not life, and not death; a place both connected to nothing 
and nowhere, where he'll wander lost for all of time." 

"Um," I said, "Isn't that a fate worse than death?" Maybe a 
bit too much, really, but I let that go unsaid. I really didn't know 
Enrico Pucci at all. 

"If you feel sympathy for him, don’t bother," Giovanna said, 
as if he’d read my mind. "This is the fate he deserved, and at the 
same time, a blessing. Since this is a punishment direct from God. 
It is quite simple to interpret endless punishment as endless love. 
For a man as self-absorbed as him, he’ll have done that already, and 
be rapturously happy." 

Really...? Even as I doubted it I picked up on a 

mismatch bodies and the number of souls, and turned to the artist 
Reimi was clutching. "Kishibe." 

»t cpyy 

"Heaven's Door." 

Thankfully he instantly grasped my meaning. He yelled, 
"Heaven's Door!" and swish swish swish sketched a drawing in the 
air and bam! Giorno Giovanna's face exploded into a book. We had 
to catch him by surprise to get past that Stand of his. Since we'd 
pulled it off, I stepped in to verify. Giorno Giovanna's book had 
only one page, and the only place with anything to read was the 
back of the cover, his face. The page number was 2. And the text 
was just 'death' in all sorts of languages. OK, so he was dead. As I 
pulled back his page, I found a hollow within, with his eyeballs 
floating in the air. Our eyes met. But those eyes were something 
he'd made with his Stand. 

Holding his cover open, I moved around his frozen body, 
and looked Giovanna in his handsome, eyeless face. "I see. You 
came here with Tsukumojuku, then? Antonio Torres." 

The cover of Giovanna's book began to laugh. "Heh heh heh 
heh! God damn, Jorgel You're all acting like a real detective!" It 
was Antonio, so he was speaking Spanish. 

I replied in kind. "I just got used to you being a constant 
pain in my ass." 

My knees weren't shaking any more. I'd been so scared of 
Antonio, but now I'd conquered him. I should have done this from 
the start. Never let Lisa Lisa save me, but fought him myself. 

Pop, pop. I looked towards the sound, and two balled up 
manuscript pages followed across the floor. Giovanna's eyes. There 
was a hiss as the air leaked out of the holes in his face, as Antonio 
went back to being an empty skin. Gasps went up from around us. 

Giovanna was gone. Dead...? I wasn't sure. 

"Heh heh! Well? Now what? Jorgel " Antonio Tomes said. 

On his forehead was a note written in Tsukumojuku's handwriting. 

"After the monster hunt on La Palma Island. Antonio Torres, 


Most likely, in all the commotion around the incident at the 
Torres home, he’d switched places with an ordinary skin, would up 
carried to school, and after the Alejandro attack Tsukumojuku had 
written that note on it. In other words, this was the original, before 
he split, the very same Antonio Torres that had tormented me years 

"Mm? What's up, balsa bianco? Yo! Don't fucking space out 
on me!" 

He could yell all he liked but there wasn't much he could do 
in book form. 

OK, I thought. What to do with this Antonio Torres? But as I 
thought, I found the answer to another question. "Are you the one 
who killed Tsukumojuku?" 

Light enough to get in and out of the Arrow Cross House 
without crunching the gravel, but strong enough to move a human, 
albeit a fifteen year old boy - only this paper-thin zombie fit both 

"Heh heh heh! There it is! Good job! You got old as shit but 
way less dumb!" 

Yeah, kinda of a lot happened. I didn't have time to catch up 
with him, though. "But you couldn't have done it all alone," I said. 
"I mean, they were arranged to look like Japanese folk tales. And 
the only people you could ever lead was that pack of kids you used 
to bully me with. Who's the boss controlling you? What is it you're 
trying to accomplish?" 

Who cares about you? I'm just doing what my boss tells 
me to! Although it's all the more fun when you happen to be 

involved! That's what he'd said during our big fight. Who was his 

"That would be me." 

I turned around, and the east door was open, and in it stood 
a man who should be dead. 


"Auugh!" "Shit!" "What the fuck are you doing, Giornoo!?" 
shouted Fugo, Mista, and Abbacchio, and each in turn attacked him, 
but all attacks came up empty. 

I could hardly believe this guy shared the same body as the 
fit but delicate Giorno Giovanna, but like R. L. Stevenson wrote in 
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, personality could 
change one's appearance and physique. And behind this man's 
broad back stood a Stand with a tiny face on it's forehead. King 
Crimson. Of course the gangster's attacks all missed. He was 
predicting the future, and deleting it. 

Giovanna, as Diavolo, pretty much walked straight from the 
east door over to me. This must not be a job he wanted to do. That's 
why he’d reverted to Diavolo. 

But I wasn't about to just take it! "Arrggghhhh!" I let go of 
Antonio Torres, and made a list. "Right then, Diavolo!" I gave him 
my best punch. Of course I didn't come anywhere near him but it 
didn't even feel like he'd needed to delete time which made me very 

Vvm! I felt a horrible blow, and looked down to find King 
Crimson's arm sticking through my chest. Quite a lot of blood was 
spilling down on the now-carpetless floor of the Cube House. I was 
about to pass out. 

"I avoided the heart, so you won’t die yet. You'll need to 
come with me, Jorge Joestar! For an audience with the Secret 


Fuck no, asshole! Is what I wanted to say, but all that came 
out of my mouth was a horrible whistling sound. He threw my body 
over his shoulder, hole and all, and began walking away. "Don't let 
him go!" "Stop!" "Look at me, asshole!" "The fuck do you think 
you're going?" The Japanese contingent joined the gangsters, trying 
to get after Diavolo, but King Crimson took care of them easily. A 
number got punched pretty hard. 

"Jorge! No, don't take him!" Reimi shouted through her 
tears, and my body suddenly felt weightless. Diavolo had jumped 
through the door in the floor of the study. 

King Crimson punched through the door below that, and we 
went down. Grand Blue had left the next door open, so we went 
right through. We hit the study again and everyone took a swing but 
King Crimson went nuts, and every blow was blocked or dodged 
and whhpp whhpp whhpp whhpp we were still falling and going 
faster and faster until I couldn't even tell what was happening. 

"Jorge! Hang in there!" Reimi yelled. "I'll come find you! 
Just don't die!" 

Uh, that last part seemed like a tall order. 

But when my eyes opened I could heard the sound of water 

The sea at night, dead bodies all around me. I was on the 
deck of a ship at sea, near the open lid of a black, wet box. 

Diavolo was standing at the base of it, looking inside. And 
smiling. "Heh heh heh..just as my dreams said. Wake up! Aren't you 
tired after your hundred year nap?" 

I'd never actually seen the box Diavolo was yelling at, but I 
recognized it. I'd imagined it, feared it, and it was as ominous as my 
mind had predicted. No wonder people had thought it was a coffin. 

The man who rose slowly out of the box was thin, just skin 
and bone, but he wore a crown of thorns on his head. There was a 
hole in the hand he placed on the box's edge. He stood up, stepped 
out of the box onto the deck. There were holes in his bare feet, too. 

It was like Jesus Christ had come back to life at last. But 
this man was not the son of the Christian God. 

This vampire was my father’s enemy, my mother's enemy, 
my grandfather’s enemy, and the enemy of every living thing. 

It was Dio Brando. 

For a while, Dio stood on the deck, gazing at the moonlit 
sea. His cheeks were su nk en and his skin a wreck but his profile 
was possessed of an unearthly beauty. 

"Hey! What are you doing?" Diavolo said. "We can't be here 
all that long. Let's go, vampire motherfucker." 

Without moving his gaze, Dio said, "I went one hundred 
years without a single dream." 


"I'm tired, Diavolo." 

"I don't care. Just get a move on, you doddering old man." 

"And I'm hungry. Since long before I slept." 

"Hunh? So...?" 

"So first, I eat. You may not look it, but you are my son. 
Your blood will agree with me," Dio reached his scrawny hand out 
towards Diavolo. 

"! What the fuck, asshole?" Diavolo said, and King Crimson 
popped out, but Dio's fingers were already in Diavolo's neck. "Ah!" 

"Your Stand can't see what happens while time is stopped." 

There was a gulping sound from his fingers; he was clearly 
drinking Diavolo's blood through them. Behind Dio stood a Stand, 
humanoid, with what looked like air tanks on its back. 

What the? I thought. This was the Stand that had tormented 

my mother. It could stop time? How the hell could anyone fight 
that? I was still dying here, so perhaps it didn't matter. There wasn't 
anything I could do. 

Dio let Diavolo fall to the floor, kneeling by his side.. "And 
when it comes to my blood, I can make prophecies of my own." 
The crown of thorns on his head began moving on its own. 

? Was that a Stand, too? 

But Buccellati had said there was a rule, only one Stand per 
person....then I saw it. As life returned to Dio's body, I saw a star 
shaped birthmark on his left shoulder. The mark of the Joestars. A 
mark an adopted son like Dio Brando should never have. 

He’d stolen that from my father. Stolen everything from the 
head down. And either the crown of thorns or the air tank guy was 
my father's Stand. 

"Heh heh...I thought so. Your blood agrees with me." Dio 
grinned. As color came back to him, he grew younger. Bathed in 
moonlight, he was almost glowing. "But it's not enough. You were 
originally such a tiny weak. Don't die!" he roared, yanking 
his fingers out, and kicking Diavolo in the head. 


"You still have work to do! Keep your wits about you. Or 
would you rather I made you into a filthy zombie?" 

At this, Diavolo reached out a trembling arm, as desiccated 
as Dio's had been before, and touched Dio's feet. 

"Take me there. And don't try anything funny. Bad children 
get punished by Daddy." 

He turned to me. "That goes for you, too. You even think of 
moving Daddy will make you fetch a switch. Ha ha ha ha! Come 
on, you fool!" And with that Dio stomped on Diavolo's head again, 
and there was a sound of bone cracking, and a groan, and Diavolo 
and Dio vanished. 

They'd traveled through time. Just as Diavolo and I had left 
the Cube House and come to this ship. 

646 The Cube House's tesseract construction worked precisely 

because it was a house, allowing for an infinite tunnel through the 
center. Anyone who fell through - by what logic I did not know - 
would wind up able to time travel, like Tsukumojuku had. 

Tsukumojuku had come here from Nishi Akatsuki to work 
as a detective, and figured out that Cube House was built to have a 
time travel device within. He'd led me places twice, and then been 
murdered by Antonio Torres, who'd been traveling with him. Said 
Antonio Torres had come to Nishi Akatsuki on his boss's orders. 
Which had been relayed to him by the Japanese-Italian gangster, 
Giorno Giovanna; but the main orders had all come from this true 
boss. If he ordered every appearance of eleven-year-old Antonio 
Torres, then he'd been on La Palma in 1900, Wastewood in 1904, 
and all over England, France and Germany in the war that started in 
1914. The only boss that could do that was a vampire that could 
time travel. Dio Brando. 

This was all that vampire's doing. He had not been sleeping 
quietly at the bottom of that ocean. He'd woken up, immediately 
broken through the space time barrier to attack us, and my family 
had now been tormented for more than thirty years by this dastardly 
adopted son. Even then, he was acting much too quickly, I thought. 
Like everything had been prepared, his actions scheduled, and he'd 
just been waiting for the right timing to start. Or...had he? 

That crown of thorns Stand. 

And when it comes to my blood, I can make prophecies 
of my own. 

Was that line just explaining the Stand's power literally? In 
that case, he may have predicted a lot about me. Maybe he'd known 
everything. I could only hope that wasn't true, but if he knew my 
entire life's story, perhaps even up to the moment of my death, right 
here. That would explain why he'd been unimpressed by our arrival; 
it was all part of his plan, and he was simply annoyed by anything 
that slowed him down. 

You may not look it, but you are my son. Your blood will 
agree with me. 

What did that mean? Was it possible he had a child bom and 
raised in Italy? Giovanna? Who's life and fate he knew as well as 
my own? 

How much of the future did Dio know? 

I went one hundred years without a single dream. 

Had he spent the entire time peering into the future with his 
crown of thorns Stand? At the bottom of the sea? For a hundred 
years? I passed out. And I dreamed. 

Of Lisa Lisa. 

"...wake up," Dio said, stomping on my face. I opened my 
eyes to find it was almost dawn. The sky was beginning to lighten. 
Diavolo was lying on the deck next to me, painfully thin, on the 
brink of death. And one other; a half naked man with long hair and 
horns on his forehead. This man's eyes were open but he did not 
appear to be alive. But from the color and pallor of his skin he 
didn't look dead, either. He had bite marks on his throat. Was he a 
zombie? But he was an unusually gorgeous man, and I found it hard 
to believe he could be a zombie. Plus those horns. I'd never seen a 
vampire or a zombie with horns. Who was he? What was he? 

648 "...we have no time. We must hurry. Before I'm no longer a 

vampire..." Dio was acting very odd. His step was unsteady, he was 
covered in sweat, and his gaze unfocused. Like he was sick. And he 
held a large Eastern sword in his trembling hands. Dio caught me 
looking, and as exhausted as he looked, he still managed a grin. 
"Heh...this is a Japanese katana, Jorge. Beautiful, isn't it? Supple 
and strong, the sharpest blade in the world. See?" And with that he 
held the sword aloft, the blade turned towards him, and with a sharp 
breath schunk! He brought it down upon his own head. The sword 

split Dio all the way to his chest in one blow. "Nnnnnnnnnn-! 

As they said...! No...resistance! One swing, and it cuts this far! Heh 

heh hell!" The two halves of his face was still grinning down at me. 
" something your father, Jonathan, taught me. My so 
strong I can be cut in half and not die. Heh heh heh. Observe! Your 
father’s sword only cut me to my guts, but...unhhhhhhh!" With a 
mighty grunt, Dio pushed the Japanese sword still further, straight 
down through his crotch until he'd cut his entire body in half. "See? 
I live! Even cut in two!" 

I was pretty flabbergasted, but I wasn't really sure if it was 
showing on my face. Dio didn't seem to care if I reacted one way or 
the other. That was fine, I thought. You're a damn fool, Dio. I dunno 
what the shit you're up to but while you're showing off, the sun is 
rising behind you! 

"And...farewell, Jorge Joestar. A man with no Hamon, no 
Stand, and nothing else to write home about." 

Dio raised the bloody sword, and I could do nothing to stop 
him. He was right. I couldn't use Hamon. I didn't have a Stand. 

But I did have Beyond! As I remembered that fact, I realized 
Diavolo had turned back into Giorno Giovanna, and had his Stand 
out. Gold Experience Requiem. The Stand that turned everything to 

Go for it! 

"Like I said...I know what my blood...will do." 

Dio's Stand was out; cut in half but still moving, its hand 
around Gold Experience Requiem's throat. 

"I don't care...if I kill you, Giomo. Do you die right 


Lying on the deck, red marks on his throat like he was being 
strangled by an invisible hand, Giovanna said, "I don't mind. But I 
do have one favor to ask." 

".? What...?" 

"Make me the one who gets your soul. Make me your...Dio 
Brando's double." 

"No. It won't work with you. The train robber's son doesn't 
have the star mark." 

Train robber? What? 

"But I have it!" Giovanna said. "I am your true son, father." 

"What...?" Dio pointed his sword at Giovanna, and cut his 
clothes at the left shoulder, checking. He did indeed have the star 
mark. "Are you...?" 

"I canceled my own death, survived in a place between life 
and death until I arrived here. I followed you here, to this far off 
universe, and waited. So I could be useful to you, father. So I could 
become you." 

As Giovanna spoke, the crown of thorns appeared on Dio's 
brow again. He was looking at the future. 

"Hmm...I didn’t pay much attention to you after you took 
Diavolo down. But it seems that is your fate." 

"It is the power of my will, father," Giovanna said, tearing 
up. Without hesitation, Dio thrust the sword into his heart. "Ngh!" 

As Giovanna died, Dio said, "No time for idle chatter." 

Giovanna reached his arm out towards Dio...then it fell to 
the deck. In Dio's Stand's hands, Gold Experience Requiem faded, 
and vanished. 

Something hot and furious rose up inside me, and I longed 
to fly into a violent rage, but I couldn't move so much as a finger. I 
wanted to scream, but couldn't make a nose, wanted to howl but all 
I could manage was some pathetic snivels. 

Dio looked annoyed. "That's no way to cry!" he said. "Are 
you not Jonathan's son? Your father...cried rather a lot, but never in 
quite that pathetic a manner." 

I couldn't keep my emotions in check. I kept crying, unable 
to stop the tears. 

"You heard him. This is what he wanted," Dio said, tossing 
his sword aside. Then he plunged his hand deep into his own left 

chest. Zumm! 

"Min mmm m! Heh...heh heh heh..." he laughed. "I have 
come to know the shape of life, to understand it. I can remove it!" 
He pulled his arm out of his chest, carrying with it a translucent 
half-Dio. He was holding half his own soul in his hand. "Heh heh 
heh heh heh! Thus I divide my own life!" The way he spoke, as if 
convincing himself, was how I behaved when trying to use Beyond. 

Forcing myself to believe, because in belief lies power. 

And in that instant the sun showed itself above the horizon, 
and we were bathed in the sunlight I'd been waiting for. 

With a whoosh, Dio's body burned, and I thanked Beyond. 
Yes! The sun rose in time! 

But then Dio yelled, "Arghhhh! This is bad! The sunlight 
doesn’t hurt that much!" 

It doesn't? 

"I must hurry! Rrraghhh!" he yelled, and took the left half of 
his soul soundlessly from the left half of his body, and shoved it 
into Giovanna’s dead body. Abruptly, Giovanna's flesh bulked up, 
his very bones growing, his limbs stretching, his features growing 
sharper, until he was another Dio. 

Dio's personality inhabiting Giovanna’s flesh had physically 
transformed it. Just as Diavolo had changed him. 

"Unhhh...shit...was I in time...?" Dio said, and staggered 
sideways till the two halves of his body were pressed together. The 
instant the two halves lined up, the cut vanished, and the two halves 
were one whole again. In the sunlight, his entire body was on fire, 
but the fury with which that fire burned was waning. This man had 
conquered the sun. 

Smoke rising off him, Dio picked up the sword from the 
deck, and sliced Giovanna's far too tight clothes off the other Dio. 
The other Dio fell to the floor, half-naked. The original Dio looked 
down at him, the crown of thorns appearing again. "Hmm, looks 

like I made it in time." Dio picked up 'Dio', threw him in the open 
coffin, and closed the lid. 

Then he sat down on the lid, and let out a long sigh. As he 
did, his body stopped smoking, and all trace of any burns vanished. 
He'd been breathing heavily, but now that, too, returned to normal. 

He let out one more long sigh, and looked up with a grin on 
his face. "I feel amazing! Ha ha ha! Such power! This is the world 
of the Ultimate Thing!? It's astounding! Ha ha ha ha ha!" 

Ultimate... Thing? 

Dio stood up and walked over to the man with the horns, 
lying on the desk beside me. He bent down beside him, and with a 
pleasant smile, bit him. He began drinking the man, chewing as he 
went, the speed with which he ate growing until he was straight up 
devouring the man. "Wa ha ha ha ha! I can eat him! I can eat the 
ultimate being and make his flesh my own! Blood! I just have to 
make the blood agree with me! Ha ha ha! Blood is everything! 
Becoming a vampire was the best decision I ever made! He's 
delicious! Cars is the best meal I've ever had! Ha ha ha ha! Hahh ha 
ha ha ha ! I've never felt better! WRYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!" 

He let out a shrill scream. He'd eaten Cars' face and brain 
and chest and belly and a third of his limbs and it was so disgusting 
I passed out again. 

Maybe I was better off dead. 

But I woke up to him kicking my face again. Dio had blood 
all over his face. "Wake up!" he said. "I could just leave you here 
and let the vampire 'me' snack on you when he wakes, but you're a 
Joestar, for better or for worse, and there's no telling what you'll do 
that I failed to predict. So I can't let you die here. Take me where 

I'm going while the Cube House effect is still on you." 

I didn't have the energy to do anything, go ahead and toss 
me aside, don't worry. 

"I'll hide and sleep for two years until the fake me that 
shares my mind and soul is killed. But come for me then so I can 
collect the Stand again. Then go to the Canary Islands, to England, 
and in the same place, on the back of Morioh, to 2012's England 
thirty-six times through the birth and death of the universe. Your 
wife is waiting for you there." 

Lisa Lisa. 

Even now that made me want to try a little harder. 

I managed to push myself up on my elbow, just high enough 
to see that there was something Japanese written on the deck in 
blood. A dying message left by Giorno Giovanna. 

Dio couldn't read it, but I knew hiragana well enough. 

"Courage", of course. He was telling me to be brave. Giorno 
Giovanna had sacrificed himself to save me. 

Shit! Shit! Shit! Because I didn’t have enough courage, he'd 
had to die! 

I couldn't just manufacture narrative flow. If I wanted this 
Beyond to work for all of us, not just myself, I needed courage. I 
had to start being more proactive. 

Chapter 16 
Beyond II 

Through my eyelids I could tell the blinding light that had 
enveloped us was dying down. I opened my eyes to see the night 
sky, with the moon and stars shining down on us. 

The giant Antonio Torres hanging from the sky let out a long 
sigh, and as if that was the signal, Dio spoke. 

"I've been waiting for this night for a hundred years," he 
said. He'd been standing bolt upright on the deck of Das Boot, 
grinning confidently, as if thirty-six times through the birth and 
death of the universe was nothing to him. (Next to him. Funny 
Valentine had closed his eyes, covered them with his hand, and 
turned his back to avoid the blinding light, much like we had.) 
"Cars! The wait had been unbearable. Not to eat you, I already 
know what you taste like. No, I'm just so excited to finally stand at 
the pinnacle of the world, of the universe, of all history, recorded 
or otherwise! I am in sight of that goal at last! All that's left is to 
step up and claim my place! Cars! Bwa ha ha ha! My very soul is 
quivering, so certain is my victory!" 

Cars, too, had paid no mind to the compressed light of 36 
universe's history washing over him. He put his hands on his hips, 
looking down at Dio with a faint smile on his lips. "Hmph. So be it. 
Come at me, vampire." 

Dio moved his arm out in front of him so fast it made an 
audible whoosh, and waggled his finger tips slightly. "The name of 
your new emperor is Dio! And as your emperor, you will come to 
me, Cars!" 

Cars betrayed no irritation at Dio's indomitable smile. His 
own smile grew still larger. He was clearly enjoying this. It was the 
happiest I'd ever seen him. 

I backed away, keeping Penelope behind me. Narancia also 
quietly stepped behind me. "What the fuck, these guys are nuts!" 

he muttered, but I thought him saying that was a sign of his own 
strength. My knees were knocking and my teeth were chattering 
and basically everything was shaking and it was super pathetic. My 
only comfort was the tight grip on my sleeve Penelope had; she 
was clearly every bit as scared as me. Having a scared girl around 
was the only thing that kept me from completely losing it. 

"Heh heh heh. Seems you've managed to sip a drop or two 
of my blood somewhere, vampire," Cars chuckled. "What more do 
you want? You've conquered the sun, will not die or age. What else 
is there? You know full well your body can never become the true 
Ultimate Thing, as I have. What's the appeal of being this 'pinnacle' 
you speak of? I merely wanted to conquer the sun. I personally 
slaughtered most of my kind in the war, then lost all of my kind 
that remained, and at last achieved my goal only to find myself 
alone. You waited a hundred years? I've waited a quadrillion. In all 
this universe, as far as my abilities reach, only Earth has any life 
worth mentioning. This is the only place in all the universe where 
life is worth living. Vampire, you are immortal. There is no need for 
you to rush into death here." 

But Dio just kept beckoning. "A quadrillion years spent not 
bothering to think can't begin to compare to the hundred years I 
spent furiously busy." 

Still smiling. Cars stared at Dio for a while, then let out a 
long breath. "Very well. As you have gnawed on my life, you will be 
a prime opportunity to test the limits of my life force. Perhaps I do 
need to experiment on just how a body that cannot die may die." 
He dropped down to the deck. 

Dio waited, grinning. "That's what piqued my curiosity, too. 
Can't die and can't be killed are two different things, after all. Can't 
have someone pulling an idea I never thought of out of their ass 
later on, so better to find out the truth right here. But curiosity is