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The title of Chapter 004 is "Devotion."

Official Blurb[edit | edit source]

Firo squares off against the Phantom Father, but is he up to the task of bringing down the city's lunatic serial killer and finding Keith alive...?

Characters in order of Appearance[edit | edit source]

Synopsis[edit | edit source]

The chapter starts where the last one left off: Donatello dashes towards Firo Prochainezo as he says, "If you do three good deeds, I'll give you three candies. If you do three bad deeds...I'll give you three stakes." He raises a stake up and back into the air, preparing to strike.

Someone grabs Donatello's wrist and holds it in place. That someone is Claire Stanfield, who tells him, "In that case...I'll hit you with a pile driver." Claire proceeds to bring his knee up and slam it into Donatello's arm before punching him to the ground. Walking over to the bloodied man, Claire admits that he feels bad for hitting a priest, but there's no helping it given that Donatello tried to 'mess' with his family.

Firo thanks Claire for saving him, but asks him to dial 'it' back a little. Claire points out that as long as the priest is alive, they can wring the missing Keith Gandor's location from him any time they like. Besides, Luck Gandor had asked Claire to take on this incident as a 'job.'

As they talk, Donatello is quietly regenerating nearby. The two finally notice him when he sits up, hands at his face. Claire comments that the man is tougher than he thought, but Firo notes uneasily that something's off. At that moment, Donatello moves his hand back, and Firo exclaims in shock that the priest does not have a scratch on him.

Donatello leers at Claire.

Donatello announces that he is under divine protection, just like San Gennaro - who was burned in a furnace yet emerged from the flames unharmed - "the righteous will revive again and again." He charges towards Claire with another stake in his hand and adds, "That's why...I continue to wreak judgment on crimes that have gone unpunished."

Claire blithely kicks the stake out of Donatello's hand and grabs it mid-air. With one motion, he drives the stake through Donatello's wrist. He notices something as he tugs on the stake, but he has no time to dwell on it while the priest leers down at him

As the two fight, Firo observes how Donatello's wounds seem to be healing up and mumbles that something is 'really wrong' with the priest. He asks if Donatello is the 'Phantom Father' after all - and Claire brightly interrupts with "Oh, I see! It's a magic trick, huh?"

Donatello spreads his arms and announces that everything is all a part of God's plan. New York is currently depraved, but after the San Gennaro festival it will be reborn. He clarifies: at the end of the festival, the mafia will be given 'a warning.' With a small smile, Claire bluntly asks if Donatello means the Gandor boss Keith.

Rather than directly answer the question, Donatello continues that he is being kind in his own fashion. He says that he has been 'advised' to begin with organizations that can be easily crushed, and slyly adds that he could have started with another mafia outfit - what was it Firo had told him? The Martillo Family?

Firo coldly says that the Martillos are camorra, not mafia - and Donatello unconvincingly begs pardon, insulting the family. Firo is (predictably) riled by his comments, but Claire gestures at him to hold on - sure, Donatello 'dissed' the Martillos, of course Firo will be mad - but it is not as if Donatello is really all that far off base. After all, they are with the mob.

Claire prepares to strike.

Donatello rushes him once more, and Claire deals him a heavy kick to the stomach. Their fight resumes, and they use the fire escape by one of the buildings to take their fight to the rooftops. Firo complains that "this is the problem with supermen" and runs around the corner.

Back on the rooftop, Claire soundly thrashes Donatello. As Claire sends him reeling with another punch, Donatello wonders what on earth "...is this man? He leaves no room to strike back. He doesn't hesitate to hurt people...!" His face bloody and bruised, Donatello asks Claire what he is. Claire replies that it is hard to sum him up in a word, but that he is "Just a hitman. Don't worry about it." He immediately follows with an uppercut to Donatello's jaw.

A moment later, Firo emerges onto the rooftop and calls Claire's name. Donatello spots him and scrambles to his feet in order to run to the edge of the roof. Claire notes that Little Italy is in the other direction - he would have thought that Donatello would have tried to blend in with the festival crowd. Donatello runs along the edge, and Claire shouts at Firo in alarm, "Don't!" when he sees his childhood friend leap off the roof. He is too late; Firo wraps his arms around Donatello's torso, and uses his momentum to bring them off and over the roof's edge.

Donatello is impaled.

The two plummet towards the ground, and Firo snarls at Donatello that he was not about to let him get away. Donatello dislodges Firo with an elbow jab to his face; Firo's side hits the railing of the fire escape and he is separated in the fall. Donatello is not so lucky: he falls straight onto a pointed flagpole jutting out of the railing and is impaled through his torso. Firo, meanwhile, plunges into a large pile of bags and boxes.

Claire reaches the ground and runs toward the pile of items, asking if Firo is 'okay'. From the pile Firo sourly replies, "...Don't just come down here like it's easy, jerk." Claire is very pleased to see that Firo is still alive, and they tease each other while he helps Firo out of the pile. As Firo nurses his bruised jaw (from Donatello's elbow jab), Claire muses to himself that Firo "just moves, with no hesitation.Even when it looks nuts, he always survives with minimal damage. I bet the other guys haven't noticed. Maybe not even him."

Looking up, Firo slowly says Claire's name. Claire looks up too, and he sees that Donatello's corpse is no longer impaled on the flagpole. In fact, it has completely vanished.

The scene shifts to the crowded streets of Little Italy. Assistant Inspector Edward Noah spots a police officer on the street, and thinks to himself that he doesn't recognize the man. Another officer calls him over and reminds him that the scene of the crime is down another alley. Edward apologizes, and asks if they have identified the man who was strung up. The next panel is dark, followed by a panel of boxes. Someone (likely Donatello) thinks to himself that having an informant on the police force makes it much easier to move around.

Elsewhere at the Barnes Co. Granary, Barnes and two men (the truck driver from Chapter 002 and his friend) are currently engaged in their respective work. The truck driver loudly asks Barnes to check the 'liquor' - Barnes grunts that the man doesn't have to tell him. He knows. The truck driver tsks and mutters about Barnes being a 'surly old guy' to his friend. Barnes pays them no heed, and with a piping tool feeds his mouse a drop of the incomplete elixir. He binds the mouse's limbs, and brings a mallet forcefully down upon the mouse's vulnerable stomach.

The truck driver moseys over to watch alongside Barnes as blood droplets ooze their way back into the mouse's exposed interior. The driver exclaims "...And this is the 'failed' stuff?" Barnes answers that the 'Master' wants a complete product, not a failed liquor that "merely prevents physical death." The driver cannot help but feel that it is still a miracle that rivals San Gennaro's.

The scene cuts back to the alleyway with Claire and Firo. Claire has clambered up the fire escape to examine the flagpole. He notes that it was 'no wonder' that 'crazy priest' was babbling about a present from God - there is no blood whatsoever on the pole. Down on the ground, Firo curses in frustration. Now that the priest is gone, they won't be able to find Keith. Claire tells Firo to calm down - reminding him that this is Keith they are talking about. The Gandor don will not sit around and do nothing. After all, Claire says, "He's quiet, but what he does is bigger and louder than anybody else."

Claire hops down to the ground and rejoins Firo, whom he praises - thanks to Firo, they know at least roughly where the priest is headed. He tells Firo to leave Keith to him (Claire) - and Firo glares at him and asks if Claire is implying that he would not be of help. Claire denies this, claiming that he is simply worried about Firo. He tells Firo that he did what he needed to do, and that he should trust his family for the rest. They are not that weak, after all. Firo reluctantly agrees to leave the rest to Claire, and the two part ways.

Church ablaze.png

In another alleyway, Donatello unsteadily makes his way down the street with an arm clutched around his stomach and his hand pressed to his side. He curses under his breath, reassuring himself that he is not through yet and that he has not lost to evil. At the very least, he still has San Gennaro's protection.

He finally arrives at his church, and is horrified to see that it is ablaze.

The double front doors open, and out from the inferno steps Keith Gandor himself. Donatello's eyes widen when he sees that Keith is unharmed from the flames, and his mind stutters. All he can think is that Keith "...Might as well be San Gennaro."

Keith emerges from the flames unharmed.

A crowd soon gathers to watch the fire. In the throng, Claire waves at Keith and is happy to see that he is all right. He adds, "And geez man, you pulled out all the stops again!" - though the fire did make it easier for Claire to find him. The two walk away from the scene, and Claire apologizes - Luck had hired him for this job, but he ended up letting the perpetrator get away. As Keith looks at him silently, Claire vows that next time he sees the priest, he'll kill him for sure. He will "end him so good, [he will] leave a pool of blood..."

The pair return to Coraggioso, the Gandors' base of operations. Keith's brothers Luck and Berga Gandor surge to their feet when Claire and Keith descend the basement stairs, both exclaiming the eldest's name. Luck sighs, "You're all right! Thank heavens..." and Berga chimes in with, "Yeesh, that was bad on the heart." Keith walks past the two of them, and mutters, "No other outfits were in on it." Berga cries out, "So, what, you got caught on purpose!?" and at that Luck hisses, "That's insane! Bosses shouldn't do things like that!!"

Keith looks back at his brothers, and states firmly: "We still had two."

His two brothers are stunned into speechlessness. Luck clutches his head and splutters, "That isn't what I...for the love of...argh!"

Claire pipes up and says that the brothers ought to thank Firo too. If he had not found the priest first and kept him busy, Keith would have had a harder time moving around on his own. Berga is surprised to hear this, and asks if Firo is all right. Claire's grin is full of teeth, and he says that Firo is fine.

The scene cuts to Firo, standing in front of The Alveare. He is reluctant to enter, given that he'd ignored Yaguruma's warning earlier. He dawdles outside the entrance and is approached Maiza Avaro, who asks in alarm what happened to Firo's face. Firo greets him nervously, and Maiza grabs him and pulls him into the honey shop with the intention of finding Firo treatment. Firo smacks both of his cheeks and tells Maiza that he'll be right back.

Making his way through the speakeasy, Firo resolves to 'face the music.' After all, he had already decided to take whatever the Martillos dished out. He stops when he spots Molsa Martillo and Yaguruma sitting in a booth, Ronny Schiatto standing next to Molsa to light his cigarette. Molsa asks if Firo's family is all right, and Firo answers that he "did what he could" and that he has "no regrets." He'll now return to devoting his life to his other family, the Martillos.

Molsa calls out to Lia Lin-Shan to bring them food, but then supposes that they should have Firo's wound treated first. He remarks, "You went to help your family, didn't you? Then it's fine." Yaguruma hands Firo his knife back, and advises him to leave the sheath next time - think of the poor fellow who has to hold his knife for him.

Ronny informs Firo that he has heard that Keith is fine. Firo brightens. Ronny narrows his eyes and observes that Firo is "quite clumsy" - if he had only mentioned putting the Gandors in the Martillos' debt, he could have mobilized the entire Marillo Family.

Firo stares at him, dumbstruck. He splutters that he "didn't think of doing that" as Maiza drags him away to get him treated. Ronny huffs, smiles, and folds his arms. He wonders to himself what kind of gangster Firo will become as he watches Lia and others come over to talk to Firo.

Come nightfall, Donatello is kneeling at the ruins of his church. From behind, Szilard Quates approaches him and calls him a disgrace. He had given Donatello the liquor because he had thought he could use the priest, but...

Donatello's death.

Donatello turns, and gasps "My...my San Gennaro" upon spotting Szilard. He kneels at Szilard's feet and asks for his guidance, desperately repeating his mantra that the righteous must not bend to evil. Szilard pats him on the head and announces that they have transported the liquor on schedule. Donatello smiles.

The smile slips from his face a moment later as he realizes something is wrong. In the next moment Szilard devours him, having no more need of Donatello. As Donatello's robe and shoes fall to the ground, Szilard hmphs. Just as he thought, "eating incompetents...adds nothing" to his knowledge.

Trivia[edit | edit source]

Unanswered Questiions[edit | edit source]

  • Considering that Keith had blood on his jacket, what happened to his presumed injury?
  • Was Keith really responsible for the fire?
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