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The title of Chapter 021 is "Showdown."

Official Blurb[edit | edit source]

Two people get what they deserve, while several others manage to dodge their personal bullets.[1]

Characters in order of Appearance[edit | edit source]

Synopsis[edit | edit source]

Assistant Inspector Edward Noah and multiple police officers arrive at Alveare, having received reports of gunfire from concerned citizens. Upon entering the honey shop, they find the proprietress Seina groaning on the floor. Seina cannot offer any testimony; all she knows is that an old man hit her on her head, knocking her out. Upon venturing further inside, they find the speakeasy in tatters but no corpses in sight.

In the alleyway, Firo Prochainezo stands protectively between Ennis and Szilard Quates—alive and well despite the bullet holes in his shirt and jacket. Szilard sneers that protecting Ennis will not save her, as her cells have already begun breaking down; outraged at their heroine's plight, Isaac & Miria pepper him with lime-pepper bombs and demand an explanation.

Szilard coughs from the powdery mixture, giving Firo the opportunity to haul Ennis over to Maiza Avaro and ask if Maiza is all right. Maiza grits his teeth as the bullet in his thighs continue regenerating and dismisses Firo's concern, redirecting it toward Ennis. Ennis studies Firo and says that he must have acquired immortality; shocked, Maiza demands to know what she means, but Firo is clueless as to how it happened.

Regardless, Ennis asks Firo to devour her, describing how it can be done. He objects at the notion, but she explains that she has much she still wants to tell Isaac and Miria, and she wants Firo to deliver her thoughts in her stead. She then thanks Firo, as he was the first to ever call her pretty.

Firo refuses on the grounds that she should tell them herself, as he intends to kill Szilard for her instead. In fact, he does not intend to let her die at all; standing, he pulls out his knife and dashes in Szilard's direction. Szilard has recovered enough from the bombs that he is able to dodge the knife's thrust, and kicks Firo away from him with ease. He is fully confident that he can defeat Firo—and he freezes as oil splashes against his head.

Turning, he finds Randy and Pezzo grinning at him from an open window—the latter with a can of oil and the former lighting a match and throwing it Szilard's way. Szilard has just enough time to recognize them as two of the Martillos he gunned down before the match sets his head ablaze. Raging, he swears that it is impossible for them to be alive: there was liquor in the crate, and Maiza would have never given them the liquor besides.

As he rages, more and more Martillos—as well as the three Gandor brothers—file into the alleyway, all newly alive. The inexorable reality that they are all immortals does not escape Szilard, nor the threat they pose, and he thrusts out his right hand at Firo's head. Firo swings his knife down, slicing between Szilard's index and ring fingers and down through the palm, and brings his own right hand around and up.

Maiza, clutching his right wrist as he kneels on the ground, is deeply conflicted over what he is witnessing. Bearing three centuries' worth of memories was supposed to be his burden, and he watches helplessly as Firo devours Szilard, inheriting the burden in his place. Firo, determined to acquire the knowledge needed to save Ennis' life, devours Szilard without any hesitation. Szilard disappears into his hand, leaving his clothing behind.

Ennis opens her eyes, finding that she is free of pain and that she can breathe easily once more. Maiza helps her sit up, and she looks over to find Firo standing over Szilard's clothes. Comprehension dawns on her; as Isaac and Miria worriedly call her name, she silently asks: "Then does that mean that I...I can... live for my own sake now?"

She knows that Szilard kept her alive to serve as his tool—she does not yet know why Firo has decided to keep her alive. What she does know is that his words were "straightforward...and very warm."

References[edit | edit source]

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