Purple Haze Feedback
Purple Haze Feedback
The light novel tells an original story focusing on Pannacotta Fugo, set six months after the events of Vento Aureo.
- 1 Plot
- 1.1 Bonus Chapter: The Mourning
- 2 Appearances
- 3 Gallery
- 4 Trivia
- 5 External links
- 6 Site Navigation
The story begins in the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza in Milan, six months after the events of Vento Aureo, in which Pannacotta Fugo meets Guido Mista. Mista orders Fugo to assassinate Massimo Volpe and the rest of Passione’s narcotic team to prove his loyalty. He also assigns Sheila E to accompany Fugo to help him.
Meanwhile, the narcotic team meets in Villa San Giovanni W with Sale, who is provoked into attacking by Vittorio Cataldi and killed by Vittorio’s Dolly Dagger.
Fugo and Sheila meet Cannolo Murolo in a hotel and exchange information on the narcotic team; Passione had apparently used Volpe’s Manic Depression to synthesize high-quality drugs for free, leading to Passione’s quick ascension in the drug business. Fugo reveals that Volpe was once his classmate, albeit they weren’t familiar with each other. Sheila also reveals that she joined Passione to kill Illuso, an assassin responsible for killing Sheila’s sister; and felt grateful to Giorno Giovanna for avenging her. Murolo’s stand All Along Watchtower divines the location of the narcotic team in Taormina, Sicily. They decide to investigate the island.
In Sicily, Fugo wonders why Giorno specifically handpicked him to assassinate Volpe. Sheila is lured away from her team by Mario Zucchero, who, after a brief fight, is revealed to be a bait. Meanwhile, Vladimir Kocaqi goes on to meet Fugo and Murolo in the Teatro Greco and both are trapped by his stand, Rainy Day Dream Away. Sheila finally meets Kocaqi, who reveals his tragic past during World War II and defeats her as well. Fugo then throws himself into the sky and exploits Kocaqi’s stand to hit him fatally with Purple Haze.
After learning of Kocaqi’s death, the narcotics team decides to go retrieve a Stone Mask in an old Nazi bunker to power Volpe up. Meanwhile, Fugo, Sheila, and Murolo track them up to Ortygia, Syracuse. On the way, their helicopter is attacked by Angelica Attanasio’s Nightbird Flying, which incapacitates the pilot, Murolo, Sheila, and Fugo, sending their helicopter into the sea. Fugo wakes Sheila up accidentally, who saves them both, letting Murolo’s fate unknown. They decide to steal a car. The local population then controlled By Angelica goes on to attack Fugo and Sheila but they escape with the car. Fugo is then thrown out of the car by Voodoo Child as Sheila wanted the team to split up.
While a weakened Angelica goes to look for Fugo, Sheila finally meets Volpe on the road; she tries to run over him, but Volpe, using his stand Manic Depression to power himself to the human limits, destroys the car instead. Meanwhile, in the Syracuse cathedral, Vittorio retrieves the Stone Mask, but it is stolen by Murolo. Murolo destroys the Mask and revealing the true nature of his All Along Watchtower, killing Vittorio. Murolo also reveals that destroying the Mask was a secret part of the mission, an agreement between Passione and the Speedwagon Foundation to stop that menace.
At the same time, Volpe remembers his own past during his fight with Sheila, revealing an apathy for the world around him and that he is, in fact, Tonio Trussardi’s brother. Assailed by a mob, Fugo almost succumbs to them when Angelica expires, freeing Fugo again. Sheila, having been defeated, is held hostage at the Temple of Apollo.
Up until now, the storyline is often marked by Fugo’s flashbacks, revealing his past. Fugo was an intelligent child who didn’t get along with either his wealthy family who pushed him to academic excellence, nor his peers who looked down on him because of his lineage. The only person he loved was his grandmother, but unable to attend to her funeral because of his studies, he bashed a teacher in the head with a dictionary who taunted him about his grandmother and was thrown out of the university for it. Meeting Bruno Bucciarati in prison, they sympathized and Fugo joined Passione. Fugo bonded with his team, especially Narancia whom he introduced to Bucciarati. At the same time Fugo had been carrying out multiple assassinations, missions he kept secret from Bruno, knowing he wouldn’t condone such actions. Fugo found himself conflicted between the moral wrongness of his world and his incapacity in changing it. Fugo then reminisces his time during his mission with Trish Una, during which he noticed Giorno Giovanna’s potential. He finally remembers how every member of his team went on to do the right thing, accompanying Bruno in his revolt against Diavolo while he alone remained behind, a decision he didn’t understand.
Fugo finally confronts Volpe, and having finally found a common point with Sheila, understands the empathy his old companions felt for each other. His newfound resolution upgrades Purple Haze in time before Volpe can make a fatal blow, Fugo, having kept a virus capsule in his mouth, breaks it and sprays the virus into Volpe’s face, who dies horribly. Fugo then breaks another capsule to counter the previous virus and manages to survive. Hospitalized, Fugo nevertheless notices that his Stand isn’t the same as before.
A week later, Fugo meets Giorno in a restaurant and, after a brief chat, Giorno tells Fugo that he always thought differently from his peers, and this difference unconsciously infuriated Fugo, leading to his short temper and that the assassination’s true purpose was to make Fugo overcome his own demons. Given a photo of his old team, Fugo finally swears loyalty to Giorno.
Bonus Chapter: The Mourning
After the events of Vento Aureo, Trish Una visits the tombstone of Bruno Bucciarati to say a few words to him. Incidentally, Bucciarati’s mother also arrives there and asks Trish how Bucciarati died, triggering the memory of the group discovering Bucciarati’s corpse in the Colosseum. Giorno then admitted that he knew that Bucciarati was dead all along and that they worked together to topple Diavolo. Angered at the betrayal, Mista almost shot Giorno but Giorno persuaded him to let him live as a member of Team Bucciarati. In the present, Trish and Bucciarati’s mother then discuss their respective memories of Bucciarati and his righteousness. The two ultimately weep over Bucciarati’s tombstone.Purple Haze Feedback(恥知らずのパープルヘイズ,Hajishirazu no Pāpuru Heizu, lit. "Shameless Purple Haze")is a light novel written by Kohei Kadono with illustrations by Hirohiko Araki. It was released as part of the special JoJo 25th anniversary project "VS JOJO." The light novel tells an original story…
Le Bizzarre Avventure Di JoJo – Purple Haze Feedback ENG
Published on May 10, 2016
Purple Haze di feedback ( 恥知らずのパープルヘイズ Hajishirazu Pāpuru Heizu ? , Letteralmente “Shameless Purple Haze”) è una Light Novel scritta da Kouhei Kadono con le illustrazioni di Araki Hirohiko .
E’ stato rilasciato come parte speciale del 25 °anniversario di JoJo del progetto ” VS JOJO “.
Una storia originale su Fugo Pannacotta , incentrata sei mesi dopo che Giorno diventa il capo di Passione.
Inguaiato dopo aver rifiutato di tradire il boss precedente, Fugo torna a Passione.
Giorno gli da un incarico per riacquistare la fiducia di Passione.
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- 1. Purple Haze Feedback A Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure novel by Kadano Kouhei Illustrated and based on the manga by Araki Hirohiko
- 2. Purple Haze Feedback Lost in distant memories Days with companions long gone Drunk on the honor of friendship Certain it would never end Now vanished like a dream Faded, no warmth remaining Covered in a silent, deadly haze
- 3. INDICE. I. vitti ‘na crozza. 7 II. me voglio fa ‘na casa. 28 III. ‘a vucchella. 49 IV. tu ca nun chiagne. 71 V. mi votu e mi rivotu. 93 VI. fantasia siciliana. 113 VII. luna nova. 141 VIII. ‘o surdato ‘nnammurato. 158
- 4. An empty dream A selfish, horrific vision Passed on like the deadliest of viruses – Rage Against the Machine, Snakecharmer
- 5. There were two figures in the Temple of Apollo. One male, one female. It was night; a new moon. The female lay on her side, barely visible in the faint light of the stars; the man stood looking down at her. She groaned, in pain. “Call him,” the man said, his tone cold. She groaned again. “Call Fugo. Call him here. Scream, and beg him to come save you.” The man’s voice betrayed no hint of mercy. Only hostility and murder calcified into dark cruelty. The girl only groaned. She did not move. Her arms and legs were twisted in directions they were not meant to go. She could not escape on her own. “Don’t try and fight me,” the man said. It was not a threat, but a statement of fact. “Manic Depression can control you completely. You no longer have free will.” His hand shot out, clutching her throat. His fingers slid beneath her skin, into her flesh. Her scream echoed through the darkness. * This is a story about people unable to take action. They have no plans for the future, no comfort in memories. The past and the future are not for them; they exist only in the present, struggling to no avail. Do they struggle to find purchase? To move forward? To retreat? Who knows. They could not tell you. The world that left them to this fate provides no answers. They know only one thing for sure – the ground under their feet is crumbling, and they can no longer remain still. They have no tomorrow, no home. How can they find hope?
- 6. What can they lash out at, in their despair? Let us examine one boy, a boy in such a predicament. The boy’s name is Pannacotta Fugo. There are those who call him a traitor, those who dismiss him as one without shame. His choices will decide what his fate will be.
- 7. I. vitti ‘na crozza …. I Saw a Skull.
- 8. Milano, Italy – the Stadio Guiseppe Meazza. One of the most famous soccer stadiums in the world. Something there was very wrong. There was no noise. There was always noise. Crowds of chanting fans, the shouts of vendors, of police struggling to maintain order. At this time of day, the Stadio was never quiet. Especially on game day – and the hometown favorites were supposed to be playing their arch-rivals to a sold-out crowd. Yet all 80,018 seats were empty. No one watching; no one playing. No one there at all. Only a terrifying stillness beneath the open sky. In that sky was a blimp – hovering overhead, as if filming the game that was not being played. On the side of the blimp, in small, unobtrusive lettering, was written: “Speedwagon.” In the gondola, the blimp’s staff looked down at the empty stadium nervously. They looked at each other, and nodded. One of them spoke into a transceiver. “The Stadio’s deserted. You’re clear to proceed.” “Roger that.” The man on other end of the line stepped forward into the empty seats, and waved at the blimp overhead. A light flashed; they’d seen him. “Keep a close watch. Like I said, anything happens to me, scram.” “Understood. Be careful, Guido Mista.” Switching off the receiver, the man – Mista – reached down and pulled a gun out of his boot. With practiced ease, he took aim at the tunnel the players entered from. “Okay. Come on out, Sheila E.” His voice was low, but it carried, projected like a opera singer’s. For ten full seconds, there was silence. Then two figures
- 9. emerged from the shadows, their movements a far cry from the intensity the home team athletes typically displayed. One was a girl – Sheila E. Her features were young, suggested she had not yet fully matured, but her eyes were something else entirely. They were the eyes of a wild thing, prepared to lunge forward and sink her teeth into the throat of all she surveyed. Prepared to tear it asunder. There were a number of scars on her face; she showed no signs of self-consciousness about them. She was escorting a boy, who stepped gingerly onto the pitch, head down, his strawberry earrings aflutter. When the two of them had reached a point twenty meters in front of Mista, he yelled out. “Stop.” They did. Sheila E stopped on a dime, like a soldier doing drills, but the boy flinched, and stood there twitching. Mista’s gun was aimed at him. The barrel trained directly on his face, between his brow and his lips, towards the upper end of the bridge of his nose. It did not waver. “Hmph,” Mista grunted. He looked the boy over, then stuck his lips out and said, “Long time no see.” The boy’s head jerked up, looking at him for the first time. Mista’s eyes were cold, like ice. “Tell me, Fugo. what have you been up to?” The boy didn’t answer. He seemed at a loss for words. “As far as we can tell, you spent the last six months playing piano in a bar. You play piano? I had no idea. All that time we knew each other. ” “…. ” “Guess rich kids get to learn all sorts of fancy tricks.” Fugo muttered something under his breath. “Mm?” Mista said, not about to let that slide. “What did you say? You got something to say, spit it out.” Fugo twisted his lips to one side. “It was nothing,” he squeaked. It wasn’t nothing; he’d
- 10. rejected Mista’s implication out of hand. Mista cocked an eyebrow, but let it drop. “Okay, then tell me. you got anything to say to me? Anything you want to know? I’ll answer what I can.” Fugo stood in silence for a long moment. Then he made up his mind. “Is he really. dead?” There was a raw grief in his eyes. When he saw that, Mista frowned, and glanced at Sheila E. “Sheila E, cover your ears.” She nodded curtly, and jammed her fingers in her ears with such force it was a wonder they didn’t bleed. Sealing off all outside sound. Her obedience was downright pathological. Mista did not seem concerned. He looked back at Fugo, and said, “You heard about Buccellati’s death, then?” The color drained from Fugo’s face. His whole body began to shake, and his teeth began to chatter. It was like he’d suddenly been flung out into a blizzard. “Narancia and Abbacchio died too. You remember what you said?” Fugo did not answer. “You aren’t looking at reality. You can’t survive on ideals alone. We can’t live outside the mob.” Fugo remembered those words. He would never forget them. Those words had led directly to him leaving the man he’d bet his life on. Had he made a mistake? Had he been the one ignorant of what was really going on? He’d wrestled with that question every day since. And now the answer – or part of it – stood before him. One of the five people he’d abandoned that day.
- 11. “Mista. is it true?” His voice shook. His question was not particularly specific, but Mista smiled faintly. “You’ve heard rumors, then? What did you hear?” “That. ” Fugo stopped, and looked a Sheila E. Mista had made her cover her ears so she wouldn’t hear what they were about to say. It took a lot of nerve for him to speak further. “What I heard was that the boss had finally shown himself. And his name. ” “His name?” “Was Giorno Giovanna. They said that Passione’s boss was only sixteen – and his youth was the reason he’d kept his identity a secret. But traitors emerged, and tried to uncover his identity, which got an innocent girl mixed up in mob affairs, and nearly led to all out war. so he saw no further reason to hide, and revealed himself at last.” “Yeah. You know that’s a lie. You were with us right before it all went down.” Mista’s gun remained pointed right at Fugo’s head. “You were with us before Diavolo – the real boss – killed Buccellati and the others.” Fugo’s throat felt dry, but he didn’t dare swallow. “Giorno joined the gang specifically to defeat the boss and take over. Buccellati was helping him all along. Makes sense, doesn’t it? You don’t look surprised. The moment he joined our team, Giorno was no ordinary recruit. He never seemed like a rookie, and Buccellati always treated him like a trusted partner, not a subordinate. Giorno insists they were even partners, but truth is. Buccellati was working for Giorno. That’s how it felt to me, anyway. He was ready to give his life for Giorno’s dream – and he did. Took Diavolo with him.” “…. ” “Giorno moved quickly and efficiently, solidifying his power. It was beautiful to behold. This is the part you heard, right? We weren’t exactly hiding.”
- 12. “Yeah. the secret gangster prince cleaning house in the underworld. It’s an urban legend. And they say you’re his number two, Mista.” “Woah, that bit’s all wrong. People just assume the gunman’s the right-hand man, but the real number two’s Polnareff. I’m number three. Think about it – you take the number two twice, you get four. Four’s bad luck. I’m not getting anywhere near that. Three is much safer.” Mista’s tone had lightened somewhat. “Polnareff? That’s a French name.” “You never met him. And his name won’t do you any good. You won’t find out anything about him.” “…. ” All of this was clearly very secret information. Once again Fugo found himself wondering why he was here. It had all been too much for him. Killing the boss and taking over? That was insane. So he’d left Buccellati’s team. Then, last night, Sheila E had found him. Sent by the reformed Passione. He’d known this day might come. but had not expected this. They have more power than the old boss ever dreamed of. Six months ago, Passione had been powerful. as far as organized crime syndicates went. They had connections in business, on the force, in government; bribes and coercion got them almost anything they wanted. But not this. Summoning him to a UEFA five star stadium like the Guiseppe Meazza meant turning away tens of thousands of rabid fans, and postponing a match despite broadcast contracts with television stations around the world. That took power beyond any president. Beyond anything the old Passione ever dreamed of. And the blimp above them belonged to the Speedwagon Foundation. One of the most famous research facilities in the world, not prone to granting favors to crime lords. Fugo had no idea how someone would contact them. But if they were here to research something, it
- 13. must be. . me. Who else could it be? Fugo could feel Mista’s eyes boring into him. Sheila E was watching him, too. “Fugo! What do you think?” Mista asked. “Do you consider yourself a traitor? Did you heartlessly abandon Buccellati in his hour of need? Does the guilt keep you up at night?” “…. ” “I gotta admit. you may have been right. I mean, Buccellati kicked the bucket. You didn’t come with, so you survived. I only survived because I’m a super lucky mega-nice guy born under a blessed star, but you didn’t have that to fall back on. You’d never have made it. You had no shot at surviving the insane fight Diavolo and Giorno had. You were smart enough to see that. Always were.” “…. ” “So on that point: we’re cool. The problem is now. What do you intend?” “…. ” When Fugo said nothing, Mista made a show of pulling his fingers out of his ears. Sheila E followed suit with an audible pop, and stood at attention. Ready to fight at any second. “Fugo,” Mista said, quietly. “Show your stand.” Sheila E’s eyes were even more like daggers. Fugo’s face found a new shade of pale. “Show us Purple Haze.” “…. ” Fugo grit his teeth, but did as he was told. Fugo’s body appeared to blur, then double, like a heat haze. Then the double stepped forward. It was like his soul had stepped free of his flesh, moving of its own accord. A part of his personality given form – this was his ‘stand.’ A patchwork thing, more zombie than man, eyes peeled
- 14. wide and bloodshot. He called it Purple Haze. Another aspect of Fugo, a power all his own – one of the most fearsome in all the world. “Grrrrrrrr. ssllluuurrrrrrr” Purple Haze ground his teeth irritably, drool running down his chin. Fugo hated looking at him. It was creepy. Too creepy. But Mista did not flinch at the sight. “So, Fugo,” he said, quietly keeping his aim steady. “You know why we called you to a place like this, in broad daylight. Don’t you?” Fugo said nothing. “Fugo, your stand is crazy dangerous. The killer virus your Purple Haze spreads rots anything it infects. They melt to death. There’s no way to guard against it. No way to control what it infects. Indiscriminate. Vicious. Murder incarnate.” Fugo remained silent. “But I know that virus isn’t fond of light. I know the range it spreads is only five meters. You know I know.” “I do.” “So. Here, this place, this distance, this weather – your Purple Haze has no chance of fighting my Pistols.” The gun Mista was holding was just an ordinary gun, loaded with ordinary bullets. but Fugo could see tiny little things floating in the air between them, like nasty little fairies. This was Mista’s stand. The bullets he fired would follow unexpected paths, slip past all defenses, and strike where the most damage could be done. Fugo could spread his virus all he wanted, but Mista was twenty meters away – it would never reach him. In an open field with the sun beating down. the virus would wither in no time at all,
- 15. and be harmless. No one else would get involved; Fugo alone was certain to die. And the girl. Fugo could feel Sheila’s eyes drilling into his back. She was a sacrificial pawn. If he did anything unexpected, it was her job to throw herself at him. She knew the virus would infect her, kill her. But she would not hesitate to throw her life away. He’d known she would do that the moment he first laid eyes on her. She seemed like the type. There was no way out. “I know, Mista,” Fugo said. He could hear his voice shaking. But he forced himself to speak. “I know if you meant to kill me, you’d have done it by now.” “Oh. ” Mista raised an eyebrow. “This isn’t like you, Fugo. Once was, when your back was against the wall you’d snap and do something crazy.” “…. ” “I gotta admit, when you decided not to follow Buccellati, I was relieved. You snap at the wrong time, spray that virus around everywhere, we all die. That would be just dumb, yeah?” He was insulting Fugo. That was clear. But even clearer. He’s doing this deliberately. Trying to wind me up. He wants me to fight him. Give him an excuse to shoot me. He’s sure he can kill me before I hurt Sheila E. Fugo was sure now – sure about why he’d been brought here. He took a deep breath, and said. “Not everywhere.” “Hunh?” “I can’t spread the virus everywhere. Only six times. There’s only six virus capsules on Purple Haze’s hands. I can only attack six times in a single day. You know this.”
- 16. Mista narrowed his eyes. Fugo sounded calm. He’d worked it out. “Then I’ll ask again, Fugo. What are you thinking? Right now?” “I’ve never betrayed Passione. Have I, Mista?” “I see,” Mista pursed his lips, then sighed. “Those words were chosen carefully. You always were clever. You know what you have to do, don’t you? How you can prove your loyalty to Giorno?” “Prove. ” “To prove you aren’t our enemy, go kill someone who is. If you can’t, then we’ll kill you.” There was nothing false in his tone. It was not an empty threat, not false bravado. Simply the truth. An order – one delivered with authority. Six months ago, when they were both low ranking hoods, he could never have sounded this intimidating. He’d grown. The gulf between them was immense. Fugo’s teeth wanted to chatter, but he forced them to lie still. He felt like a frog frozen in a snake’s glare, but at least he had earned a stay of execution. Again. This should have been a relief, but instead, Fugo found himself extremely. out of sorts. Bitterness bubbled up inside him, and it was all he could do to keep it inside. It was a thorny bile that burned as if on fire, yet remained terribly cold. “Grrrrrraaaagghhh.” Purple Haze suddenly began to roar. The sound yanked Fugo’s attention outward. “Enough,” Mista said, frowning. “Put him away.” Fugo allowed his double to slip back inside him. Behind him, Sheila E snorted. “You can’t even keep your own thing quiet? Do you have no self-control at all?”
- 17. Fugo could not argue that. “Don’t start fighting yet,” Mista said. “You’re gonna be working together.” Fugo blinked at him. “We are?” “Not just the two of you – you’ll have help. These aren’t the kinda guys you take on alone.” “Guys?” “Your target is one man, but he’s got a team protecting him. If you don’t have a team, you won’t win. Tactics 101.” Mista caught Fugo’s eye, and held it. His gaze told Fugo all he needed to know. This target meant business. A chill went down his spine. “If he has a team, then. ” Mista nodded. “Leftovers from the old Passione. The narcotics team.” * At roughly the same point in time, in a warehouse at the edge of Villa San Giovanni – a small town on the Strait of Messina – affairs were already set in motion. A man’s sobs echoed through the dimly lit room. A boy stood in front of him. Sunken cheeks, shockingly large eyes. Cuts ran this way and that all over him, even his eyelids and lips. These were not old wounds. Most still had scabs on them, in all sorts of unpleasant colors. Even now, the boy was carving a new gash with a dagger. Cutting his own cheek open. “Gigigigigigigigigigigi!” The boy helpfully provided oral renditions of the sound effects he imagined would accompany his cutting. He looked barely alive, his eyes unfocused. Once he had more or less finished slicing his own flesh
- 18. open, he began mumbling incoherently. “Modern man,” he began, “Is incomplete. All kinds of shit is just. not enough. I don’t mean like, nutrition or exercise or. I mean in comparison to primitive man, there’s something in their lives, their daily lives, that just isn’t there!” There was a sudden crackle in his throat, and something came flying out. He’d coughed up a scab from a wound on the inside of his throat. “Like, they say they don’t ever feel alive, not really. I’m serious, no legs being pulled, serrrrrious bizzzzznesss.” Blood was now oozing down the side of his mouth, but the boy did not appear to notice. “So what of it? Well, this is the really extra serious bit. When a lifeform doesn’t have enough life power. they go extinct. Without fail. Like the pandas! They’re dooooomed. They only eat bamboo. Nothing else. There’s no hope for them. Mankind’s not much better off. We’re trying so hard to be civilized to hide the fact that we got nothing else to live for! I dunno who said any of this shit, but someone did, and I. I gotta avoid that, I gotta feel alive, so. ” He started cutting himself again. “The pain makes everything feel real. Calls forth the life within me! Without that I’ll go extinct and. and. and I don’t wanna be extinct. ” “…. ” “Um, so. what? You. was it Harry? Halley? No, Sale? Something like that, right?” There was a lightness to his tone, like he was addressing an old friend. The man, whose name was actually Sale, was covered in sweat, his forehead creased with lines of worry. This was a moment of crisis for him. He, too, was a former member of Passione; in times passed he had clashed with Mista and Giorno in pursuit of treasure left by one of the gang’s leaders, Polpo. Much like Fugo,
- 19. he had been ordered to make amends. “But the name Sale. that’s a very salty name! Get it? Because it means salt! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha hah! Sale! Salty! God damn, that’s funny!” He laughed so hard he was gasping for breath, but when he realized Sale wasn’t laughing with him, the laughter dissipated. “I’m talking to you, here,” he growled. “And when Vittorio Cataldi speaks to you, you’d best not ignore him. Or wait. do you. not have manners?” “…. ” “Hello? Which of us is in the right, here? Me? Being all polite, speaking clearly, making sense? Or you? Sitting there in rude, stony silence. Not saying a blessed thing? No matter how you look at it the answer’s me, ain’t it? You got no arguments with that, do you? Not surprised.” “…. ” “Or do you? If you’ve got a problem with me, show it. Show me your stand. Let me see what Kraftwerk can do.” Sale was a good deal older than Vittorio, but the boy clearly had the upper hand. “…. ” Everything about the younger boy made Sale’s hair stand on end. He’d been through his share of close calls – even fought Mista and lived to tell the tale. But he’d never been this scared. The boy’s bugcrazy eyes were staring at him. Windows to a soul found wanting. For all his talk of mankind and civilization, this boy’s eyes proved he had no future. There was no glimmer, no sign of what he might become. No dream, no hope, no passion. Only the hostility that came tumbling out of his mouth. I-Is he really part of the narcotics team? The team that
- 20. turned an eleven figure profit? Sale found it hard to believe. In the old Passione, they had been the team everyone dreamed of joining, the team that got everything they wanted, that sucked at the teat of God. They were kings of the world, with all the money and women they could ask for, able to do anything they wanted. Or so everyone thought. Yet this kid was simple-minded, oblivious, uneducated, concerned with nothing but what irritated him the most at any given second. And. Erp. Sale’s gaze drifted away from Vittorio. There was a third figure in the room, sitting in the corner, barely moving enough to breathe. Her skin was shockingly pale, her lips almost as pale, with only the faintest hint of red. Her figure obscured in shadows. Empty eyes stared vacantly at nothing. She was humming a song so faintly it could scarcely be heard. “La, la la. lalalala, lala, la. ” It was a famous Sicilian song, Vitti ‘na crozza (“I Saw a Skull”). What should have been a fast, buoyant song was almost unrecognizable, so sluggish and slurred the delivery. She was young, still a girl. Her hair spilled out across the floor. It was very, very long, like she had forgotten to cut it, or forgotten this was even an option. Sitting limp on the ground, her frame was withered and frail, her pale neck trembling under the weight of her head, looking like it might snap at any second. “La, lala, ley lo ley la, ley, la la. ” Her name was Angelica Attanasio. Her stand was called Night Bird Flying. It appeared to be
- 21. nothing but a little bird flying around. No threat at all. But it had led Sale and his partner Zucchero here, to this place of death. Sale glared at Angelica with all his might, but she ignored it. This was not a display of bravado; she simply wasn’t even aware of his presence. 036 A trickle of drool ran down her chin. There was blood in it. She was bleeding from the mouth. She was obviously a junkie. But this thoughtless kid with no thoughts for the future, and this junkie girl with not much longer to live. these pathetic failures had driven Sale into a corner, a fact that enraged him. He’d bit his lip so hard it was bleeding, but he couldn’t feel the pain. And not because he was too angry to feel it. He’d been tainted by Night Bird Flying, and no longer felt pain. The world beneath his feet felt shaky. It was all he could do to remain on his own two feet. He felt dizzy, but the dizziness would not fade, his sense of balance would not return. Advanced movement was out of the question – none of his usual tricks were even remotely possible. A direct assault was the only option. Sale glared at Vittorio. “Ki, kikikikikiki, kikiiiii!” The boy was cutting himself again. The flat of his blade was like a mirror, and Sale could see himself reflected in it. That dagger. Sale had been keeping an eye on the dagger. In the same way that Mista was a gunslinger, Vittorio was a knife specialist. But in a battle between stands, an ordinary blade would be nearly useless. so what secret function did it serve? Sale’s Kraftwerk had the ability to make objects stick where they were. He could be shot with bullets, stabbed with blades, and the moment they touched his skin he could fix them in place, and
- 22. they would not harm him. So a dagger would normally be of no concern. Normally. Right. I have nothing to fear! By this point, he had lost the ability to make rational decisions. He had survived to this point by respecting the limitations of his own stand, and fleeing whenever he believed himself to be in danger – but he failed to do that here. “La, lala, ley la ley la, leylalala. ” Much like Angelica, he could no longer think things through. Vittorio stopped cutting, and gave him a frosty look. “Come on. Your stand. and my Dolly Dagger. which one has the right to exist? Let’s find out!” The moment the dagger’s tip left the boy’s flesh, Sale lunged forward. If Vittorio was going to try and stab him, Sale was going to let him. He would fix it in place, then do the same to the boy’s body. But even as he closed the distance, the blade’s tip never pointed at him. Not only did he make no move to attack with the blade, he made no move at all. He just stood there, waiting, not even trying to defend. It was strange, unnatural – but Sale was too close to stop himself now. He had to follow through. and he did, slamming his fist into Vittorio’s unguarded chest. He fixed the boy’s heart in place, killing him instantly. There was no way for him to avoid it. He had won. or so he thought. The boy’s foot raised up. . and kicked him. Sale went flying, rolling across the ground. Impossible, he thought. He’d struck the boy’s chest! He
- 23. looked up, and Vittorio was doubled over, clutching his chest, in obvious pain. “Unh. ” he groaned, sweat pouring down his face. But he should have been dead. How – Sale wondered, then noticed something downright bizarre. There was something floating in the air between them. It was a reddish pink, and looked. sticky. Like meat. Like an organ. small, compact, round. Sale recognized it. A heart. A heart, torn out of someone’s chest, fixed in space. . but. whose. Sale’s head suddenly looked downwards. He had suddenly lost the strength to support it, and the weight of his head had pulled it down. giving him a look at the gaping hole in his chest. Sale’s attack had reflected back on him. But he no longer had the time to wonder why. With no heart to pump it, his body was starved for blood, and his consciousness faded, never to awaken again. With a splat, Sale’s heart fell to the ground, free of the power that held it suspended. “Auuugghhh. ” Vittorio writhed on the ground in agony. “Massimo!” he cried, calling someone outside the warehouse. “Massimo, help!” The warehouse door was flung open. Light poured in, and a tall man stepped inside. He was dragging something – it looked like a plastic sheet of some kind – but he dropped it when he saw Vittorio. “You do something crazy again?” he said, his voice like the wind whistling through a crack in the wall. “Hurry! My heart! It’s not beating right! Stopping. thirty percent stopped!” “I keep warning you, Vittorio, your Dolly Dagger can only
- 24. reflect seventy percent of damage. You can’t let just anybody hit you and expect to get away with it.” As he spoke, the tall man strode over to the boy, and thumped him hard on the chest. Knocking Vittorio down. Angelica cackled hysterically. “Christ, take it easy!” Vittorio said, getting back up. He was no longer in pain. When the man touched him, all bodily functions had returned to normal. The man ignored him, and walked over to Angelica. “This all?” he asked. She nodded. “There’s nobody else around. Nobody at all. Nobody looking at us.” Then she pointed at the plastic thing he’d tossed aside. “Except that.” “Mm,” he said, looking at it. “Oh, is that him?” Vittorio said. “Zucchero? I heard he can deflate things?” He came walking over to get a closer look. Examined closely, it was shaped like a man. Like a man shaped balloon with the air let out of it. and it was twitching. “Most of the time, you can’t use your power on yourself, but this guy clearly can.” “Yes. And when he’s flat like that, he can slip through narrow gaps, and get close to his targets. That’s how he and Sale made their approach.” “Ha ha ha, bad luck! We’ve got Angelica, nobody gets the drop on us.” Vittorio stomped on the flat man, grinding his foot against him. “Ew, gross, he’s pulsing.” “Even deflated, his heart’s still beating. Even now my Manic Depression’s made it impossible for him to control himself.” The tall man looked down at his defeated opponent without emotion.
- 25. Massimo Volpe. This was the man’s name, the man so dangerous he was at the top of Giorno Giovanni’s hit list. His existence was seen as such a problem that as long as he could be eliminated, the others would be allowed to flee. But to look at him, he seemed the quiet type. Not someone who made a strong impression. He was Italian, but of an angular, bony build that made him look more Irish. His nose was thin, as were his eyes and eyebrows. Vittorio continued toying with Zucchero’s remains. “So he can’t inflate himself, but now we can’t torture him either? Or can he talk like this?” “Who knows. there’s no saving him now.” “Man, your Manic Depression is nasty. Textbook overkill.” One final member of their team entered the room. An old man. “God damn it, Massimo. I told you not to fight unless you have to. Vittorio and I can handle mooks like this. You and Angelica should let us protect you.” The old man’s face was covered in deep wrinkles, but his back was straight, and his movements lively. “Oh, Kocaqi!” Angelica said, happily, and wafted over to him. She rubbed her face on his thigh like a cat greeting her owner. He patted her head tenderly, but never took his eyes off Massimo. “You hear me, Massimo? You’re the heart of this team. We only exist for you.” “But you’re the leader, Vladimir. I just do what you say.” Massimo’s heart did not appear to be in it. They had had this conversation before. “I know you don’t see it,” Vladimir Kocaqi sighed. “You could rule the world, you know. With a stand like yours, you could place yourself above all other men.” “So could you. No one can beat your Rainy Day Dream Away.”
- 26. “Oooh, ooh, and me? My Dolly Dagger’s pretty good too, right?” “Ahahahahahahahaha, we’re all great!” A sharp mind in an old body. A man who didn’t care. A thoughtless boy. And a junkie girl. This was the narcotics team all Passione was frantically searching for.
- 27. Stand Name: Dolly Dagger Owner: Vittorio Cataldi (16) Destruction=A Speed=A Range=C Duration=A Control=B Potential=C Power= 70% of damaged received is transferred to whoever is reflected in the dagger’s blade. (The remaining 30% is received normally.) The stand possesses an ancient short sword from the Napoleonic era. Reflects all damage, including bullets and viral attacks. A stand born of a strong desire to prove personal innocence and transfer blame and responsibility to others.
- 28. II. me voglio fà ‘na casa. Sailor’s Love.
- 29. When the assassin team member Illuso was doing his due diligence before his fight with Fugo, the report he was given read as follows: “Born 1985 to a wealthy Neapolitan family. Extremely intelligent, with an IQ of 152; accepted to university at the age of thirteen. However. proved to be possessed of a surprisingly short temper, argued with many professors, eventually hitting one with a 4kg dictionary. Expelled, the downward spiral continued until Buccellati took him in.” This summary was not mistaken, yet was not the whole story. He had been admitted to university not as a recognition of his superior mind, but in exchange for a healthy bribe. The Fugo family was not old money. They had acquired their fortune through legally questionable trade, and by encouraging risky investments in Africa shortly before the second world war that ruined their creditors but lined their pockets. “We must have a title!” was the oft repeated mantra of Fugo’s common born grandfather. To achieve that goal, he married off Fugo’s father to the daughter of a bankrupt noble, and the third son from that marriage was Pannacotta Fugo. His elder brothers were ordinary, with nothing remarkable to their names or natures. Fugo alone showed promise from an early age. His grandfather doted on him, certain he would make the family’s reputation. while in turn pressuring him to succeed. He was taught everything that could be taught, and deemed to be something of a genius in virtually every field. His education was correspondingly accelerated. He was incredibly skilled, and mastered nearly everything put to hand, but that very excellence meant there were limits only he perceived.
- 30. As there are to us all, there were limits to his talents. but what mattered more to him was the limits he encountered in the arts, and in academia. Music had peaked with Bach and Mozart. Sculpture and painting had peaked with Michelangelo and Da Vinci. Architecture had ended with Scamozzi and Bernini. Mathematics with Gauss and Hegel. If the best of the best lived hundreds of years ago, what remains for me to do? As a child, he found this thought demoralizing. But if he attempting to express the sentiment to his tutors, they were patronizing and hostile. Fugo found himself friendless and loathed. Those around him had been born upper class, and for someone whose family had bought their title to be so obviously superior was unbearable. His sole source of solace was his grandmother. “Don’t worry, Panni. Things may be tough right now, but the Lord will protect you.” Time and again she told him this, a cake always in the oven. She was the only person who let him relax. But the rest of the family considered her an embarrassment. She was the daughter of a farmer, matched to his grandfather before he struck it rich, stuck in her old ways while the rest of the family strove to better themselves. If Italy had not be a Catholic country, if divorce had not been a sin, she would have been cast aside long ago. But she was the one member of the family who spoke to Pannacotta Fugo from the heart. Everyone else only saw what they needed him to be. He barely spoke to his parents; his brothers envied the attention he received, and bullied him whenever they were alone together. But his grandmother’s smile made it all bearable. And then she died. By then, Fugo was already living away from home, studying at the Università di Bologna.
- 31. He wanted to fly home at once, and attend her funeral, but his grandfather forbade it. There was no need. Fugo couldn’t believe his ears. He took a test the day she died. He failed it. He was summoned to the professor’s office. The moment he stepped in the door the professor was furious. He believed the results showed Fugo didn’t take him seriously; he was so good in all the other classes, how else could he be so bad in his? “What are you thinking? This is a core subject! Take it seriously! How dare you look at me like that!” Blindsided by this, Fugo admitted that his grandmother had died. This only enraged the professor further. “Don’t be ridiculous! Your family said no such thing. Even if it were true, it’s a pathetic, childish excuse. Your grandmother? Grow up! You can’t hang off her apron strings forever.” By this point Fugo was no longer listening. The next thing he knew, he’d picked up the dictionary on the professor’s desk, and was beating him over the head with it. He didn’t even feel the anger. He felt no hate; no desire to kill the man. His heart was filled with a stony, implacable certainty that this man could not be forgiven. No other course of action existed. From that day forth, Fugo was no longer upper class. He beat up the security guards who came running, and was arrested. In the interview room, the confused police explained, “We contacted your family, but they said they didn’t know you. No one’s coming to bail you. If they don’t change their minds, you’ll be sent to a home.” Fugo said nothing in response. He remained silently in his cell for as long as they could hold him. until one man came to see him. He’d never seen the man before, but he was young. When he asked, the man said he was only seventeen. “My name is Bruno Buccellati. I’ve been checking up on
- 32. you. Seemed like you might be worth meeting.” Fugo knew what he was at a glance. “You’re a gangster?” he asked. Buccellati nodded. “I am. How did you know?” “You’re dressed well, but you don’t seem high class. You move too well to be a student. But you don’t have the posture of a soldier. What else could you be?” “I see you’re as quick as they say, and as bold. You don’t seem like you’re afraid of me. Why is that?” “It’s not that I’m not scared. ” “Not only that, but the situation you find yourself in should be pretty terrifying. Your parents have abandoned you.” Fugo laughed, bitterly. “No – they’re afraid of me, now.” “?” “If what I did gets out, they think it’ll damage the family’s reputation. Their only option is to disinherit me, insist I have no ties to them. They’re terrified.” Buccellati frowned. “You seem awfully calm about it. Did you beat that man to hurt your parents?” “No, they never entered my mind. I simply couldn’t forgive him. Or anything else.” “Hmm. ” Buccellati put his hand to his chin, thinking. “If you end up in the home, what’ll happen to you?” “Nothing much,” Fugo shrugged. “They’ll put me through whatever the minimum educational requirements are, then put me out on the street.” “So you have no intention of going home?” “Home?” For a second, Fugo didn’t know what he meant. When he saw that, Buccellati nodded. “If you’ve got nowhere better to go, what say you help me with my work?” At long last, Fugo realized the young gangster had been interviewing him. “You mean. join your gang?”
- 33. “It’s not mine. I’m still bottom rung. I don’t have even have any men to call my own. Like you said, I’m low born – I’m a fisherman’s son. My father was proud of his work, and I’m not embarrassed by it – but I’m not exactly well-educated. I need friends with knowledge and wits. Friends like you.” Buccellati looked straight into his eyes. Fugo met his gaze and held it. It was a strange sensation. He was being asked to join a criminal organization, to rank beneath a bottom rung thug. Yet he reminded Fugo of his grandmother. Was it because he wasn’t lying? Because he was simply stating what he genuinely felt? “You need me?” “I do.” “What makes you say that?” “When you spoke of your parents, I saw no desire for revenge. You must hate them, but not obsessively. I get worked up too easily. I could use a level head around.” “A level head? My temper’s so short I beat a professor over the head with a dictionary.” Buccellati’s eyes narrowed. “He was lucky.” “Hunh?” “He was lucky you didn’t kill him. You’d lost it completely. You never once stopped to think that he might die.” Fugo was at a loss for words. “I came to see you because I wanted to look you in the eye,” Buccellati continued. “I wanted to see what kind of guy you were.” “…. ” “You have the same eyes I did when I was twelve. The eyes of a killer. Whatever the reason may be, you have the eyes of someone who could kill without a second’s thought.” Buccellati paused to see what effect his words were having. “You have no shot at rehabilitation. That’s why I’m inviting
- 34. you. You can no longer live in their world.” * Fugo lay on an uncomfortable bed in a cheap hotel, staring at the ceiling. If Buccellati had not come to see him, what would have happened to him? He could never have survived in the normal world, but being a member of the mob from the get go had been such a huge advantage it was hard to imagine what other course he could have taken. No. I saw it with my own eyes. Fugo had seen a boy whose life had been very much like Fugo’s could have been. Narancia Ghirga. If I hadn’t. A knock on the door interrupted his reverie. The door was open, but Sheila E knocked anyway. “Hello, I’m knocking,” she said. Fugo sat up, and looked at her. She jerked her chin at him. “Come. They sent reinforcements.” Fugo stood up, and headed down the hall. Sheila E followed him, letting him lead. “Why’d you leave the door open? Anyone could get in.” “Can’t hear people coming if I shut it.” “You claustrophobic?” “…. ” “I hear your stand will kill you if you get infected. How’d you figure that out?” “Buccellati helped. Infected just a bit of flesh on my side, and it began to melt. Quickly cut the flesh away, saved the rest of me.” “Bruno Buccellati, the one who died? They say he was very good. Giorno trusted him completely. You were wasted on him.”
- 35. The story as she’d heard it was a little different, but. “Yeah,” Fugo said, having no argument with that. “Your power only works at about five meters,” Sheila E continued. “But if it can infect you, then you need to keep at least a meter away from that. You need to get in close, but can’t get too close. Tough stand to use.” “…. ” “I can understand why you’d prefer to be out in the open. But enemies won’t be so accommodating.” “I know.” Sheila E didn’t seem to hear him. She frowned, and lowered her voice. “So. this guy they’ve sent to help. Murolo. You ever heard of him?” “No. The name doesn’t ring a bell.” “Maybe I shouldn’t say this. but I find it hard to trust him. We’d better be careful.” “What do you mean?” “You’ll know when you see him,” she said, scowling. At the far end of the floor was a door. As they approached, a grumpy voice from inside called out. “Ahhhh, ah ah ah, stop! Don’t knock! The vibrations drive me batty! I know you’re there, so don’t knock!” The words tumbled out of him. Fugo glanced at Sheila E, but she just scowled, and said nothing. He shrugged, and tried to go in without knocking. But the door was locked, and didn’t open. “Um. do you mind unlocking it?” he asked, politely. “This will never do,” the voice sounded even grumpier. “Um. what. ” “What you just said. Which is it?” “Which what. ” “Were you polite because you know deep down you can never match Mr. Murolo, and wished to show your respect? Or were you just making a nominal show of politeness to someone
- 36. who you have no real opinion of? Be clear!” Fugo turned and looked at Sheila E again. Her lower lip jutted out, but she said nothing. “Um,” Fugo said, “If you’re the man Mista sent, then I believe he said we’re to follow your instructions.” That seemed safe enough. There was a long silence, but at last he heard the sound of the lock turning. He waited for the door to open, but this did not happen, and eventually he reached out and opened it himself. The room was much larger than Fugo’s, but it was a cheap hotel, so. not remarkably large. A man sat on a chair in the center of it. An. old-fashioned man. He looked like he’d stepped out of a 1930s mob movie, wearing clothes designed to advertise his position in the mob. He wore a Borsalino hat. even though he was indoors. There was a scarf around his shoulders. The overall impression was that he was trying so hard to look slick it wound up being oddly comical. Fugo tried not to let it show, but this man reminded him of the first person Polpo had ordered him to kill with Purple Haze. His target had been a made man in another syndicate, responsible for selling drugs in town. He’d dressed to the nines, but begged for his life, selling out his own people. This man had the same smell to him. “So. ” the man said, looking Fugo over. “You’re the one with the extremely dangerous stand? Pannacotta Fugo?” “Yes, I am.” “Well, you look pretty weak. A green kid, all book smarts, no street smarts. I thought you’d be a hardened killer! Oh well. My name is Cannolo Murolo. I’m a proper Passione member. I run the information analysis team.” “You don’t run it. You’re the only member,” Sheila E snapped. Murolo glared at her. “Shut up, Sheila E. I know you were
- 37. the go between for the boss’s bodyguards and those traitors on the assassin team. They don’t trust you, so they’ve sent you on this mission to clear your name.” Sheila E didn’t bat an eye. “You got the same deal, Murolo. Mista told me. You gave information to Risotto after he turned traitor.” Murolo went white as a sheet, then turned bright red. He jumped to his feet, nearly knocking his chair over. “N-no! Don’t be ridiculous! I just. didn’t know he’d turned traitor! And. and it’s not like I gave him any critical information! I just. reconstructed a burned photograph they brought in. There was nothing in the photo but a picture of Santa Lucia Station, in Venice. The one with the lion statues – there are pictures of it everywhere. Who cares!? It couldn’t have meant anything!” “I dunno, Mista made it sound like you screwed them pretty bad.” “Aaaaaaaaaaaaagh, stop making stuff up! You didn’t feed him any lies about me, did you!?” “I simply told the truth.” “By whose definition!?” The two of them seemed ready to start throwing punches. Annoyed, Fugo interrupted. “If you don’t mind, I’d like to talk about the job. Clearly they’ve lit a fire under all our asses, so I don’t think this is the time for petty squabbles.” Murolo clamped his mouth shut, looking sulky, and sat down on his chair. Sheila E remained impassive, but snorted defiantly. Murolo coughed, composing himself, then began laying documents out on the table. One of the photographs made Fugo frown. He recognized the person in it. “Is he. ” “Mm? You know him? Suspicious!” “He was part of Passione?”
- 38. “I’m asking the questions here! How do you know this man? Massimo Volpe was top secret! Nobody knew about him!” “Secret?” Fugo couldn’t hide his confusion. What was going on? He knew the man. But before he threw himself into this blood-stenched underworld. “Volpe’s. an old friend of mine,” he said. Murolo and Sheila E both gave him looks of deep suspicion. “What are you talking about? He’s ten years older than you!” “I was in college when I was thirteen. Università di Bologna. Volpe was in the same class as me.” Fugo picked up the picture, and looked closer at it. The same dark rings under his eyes, the eyes like clouded glass. He’d barely changed at all. * Passione, in its early days, had gained the trust of the people by fighting against the abuses of older organizations. This was all for show; the founder, Diavolo, simply saw it as an effective way to broaden his power quickly. Once he had an area under his thumb, the drug trade he had claimed to be fighting would be an open market for his own drugs. But dealing drugs requires connections in the countries where the raw materials are grown, and importing it is no easy manner. There were too many hurdles for an upstart crime syndicate to clear. But just as a young black man named Frank Lucas had used the Vietnam War to smuggle heroin into America using military transport free of customs inspections, forming direct connections to jungle farms through enlisted soldiers, Passione’s drug trade was launched to great success, thanks to a special trick all their own. The trick’s name. was Manic Depression. Massimo Volpe’s
- 39. stand. “The simplest way to put it is that his stand lets him create narcotics,” Murolo explained. He was briefing Fugo and Sheila E on what little he’d been told. “Even Giorno didn’t know he existed, but after Buccellati killed Diavolo, everything he’d been hiding started surfacing. Including the true nature of his narcotics business. Ask any other syndicate, and they’ll look baffled, and tell you they have no clue how he’s importing the drugs. They’ll tell you the stuff just shows up on the street like magic. Cause it is. Volpe’s using his stand to turn salt water or rock salt into drugs.” “I heard rumors that Passione’s drugs weren’t the same as everyone else’s – that they were ‘fresh’ and expired quickly.” “That rumor would be true. Once the stand’s effect expires, the drugs turn back into ordinary salt. And that time limit was perfect for keeping the business under control. If someone tried to stock up on it, or water it down, it was obvious. Part of the reason Diavolo got so much power so quickly was that he had a knack for finding out who was going to betray him, and take action against them.” “At least until Giorno found out.” “Risotto’s team tried to take Diavolo out, assuming they’d be able to take over his import route and monopolize his business. Those idiots had no idea what was really going on. There was no route! Even if they’d won, they’d have had nothing to show for it.” “They were total scumbags. Good riddance,” Sheila E snarled. Fugo raised an eyebrow. She sounded a little too heated. Murolo picked up on it as well. “What, you have something against them?” he asked. For a second, Sheila E’s eyes went frosty. “I joined Passione to kill someone on that team.” “Eh?” “It took a long time for me to track him down, but I know he was part of that team. A man named Illuso – less a man than a filthy
- 40. scumbag demon piece of shit from hell.” “Illuso? What’d he ever do to you?” Murolo grinned. “He killed my sister,” Sheila E hissed. Murolo’s grin faded. Sheila E gave him a nasty smile. “My only living relative. Clara raised me after my parents died. After he killed her, I came looking for him. Ready to die to get to him. But he died before I could. It was all for nothing. But you know what Giorno said to me?” “Illuso died in the worst way imaginable. He suffered more than you can imagine. I don’t know if that will help at all, but in the thirty seconds it took him to die, he regretted every decision he’d made in life. Including killing your sister. We watched it happen.” “It felt like the sun had come out from behind a cloud and shone down on me. All those years I’d spent on my quest for revenge, telling myself that if I killed Illuso, my sister could rest in peace. but secretly wondering if it was all actually for me. If it was just a selfish little vendetta. That thought preyed upon me. But Illuso paid for killing Clara. Justice won. And I owed Giorno everything. I would do anything to pay him back for that. I no longer need worry about anything.” There was a light in her eyes, like she was bewitched. It was less like she was grateful, and more like the spirit of her dead sister had possessed her. “Wait. Wait wait wait wait wait,” Murolo said, scowling. “So you joined us for revenge? That’s why you worked as a messenger for the assassin team? Then. you basically joined us to betray us! You think we can trust you after you tell us something like that!?” “I fully intended to get the boss’s permission before killing Illuso. I don’t consider that a betrayal.” “But you’d never spoken to Giorno at the time! You didn’t even know Diavolo wasn’t the boss!” “Well. “
- 41. “This is bad. You’re a liability! Like a horse with blinders. Can’t see the big picture. We can’t afford that against these guys.” Sheila E looked sullen. “I’m more useful than you,” she muttered. Murolo ignored this, and just stared at her suspiciously. Throughout all of this, Fugo said not a word. He had no idea what to say. Diavolo had ordered him and his friends to fight the assassin team. Fugo himself had fought Illuso, alongside Abbacchio and Giorno. If I said as much, she wouldn’t believe it. And Giorno and Abbacchio did most of the work; I just finished him off. I don’t know how much good I really was. He was already powerless. He didn’t need Sheila E to point that out. “So. do we know where Volpe is?” he asked, trying to change the subject. Murolo glared at him. “This will never do,” he said. “…um?” “It simply won’t do. You simply aren’t showing me the respect I deserve! Mista told me to do what I could. Orders from on high made it clear I was in charge, so maybe I should just let it pass. but it irks me. I think I’d better teach you a lesson.” Murolo pulled something out of the inside pocket of his suit. It was a deck of cards. No box, just the cards. He began shuffling – expertly. Cutting the cards like a magician. He put them on his shoulder and slid them down to his hand, then spread them out on the table and flipped them all back to front in a single motion. “What are you doing?” Fugo asked. Murolo ignored him, and continued shuffling. At length he took off his hat, and shot the cards into it. Then he flipped it over onto the table, the cards still inside.
- 42. Murolo began imitating a drum roll with his mouth, beckoning to the two of them expectantly. They just stared at him blankly. “Applaud!” he whispered. “If you don’t applaud, they won’t respond!” Awkwardly, Fugo clapped his hands. Sheila E did not. Murolo scowled at her, but let it pass. He began making the drum roll sound again, and slowly raised his hat. The cards were underneath. But, like magic, they had arranged themselves into a tower. A tower seven times taller than his hat. Murolo put the hat back on his head, and the tower began moving with a life of its own. Each card sprouted tiny legs and arms, and began spinning. “We are the the Watchtower Troupe!” The cards chanted like a scene from a children’s cartoon. All Along the Watchtower – this was Cannolo Murolo’s stand. * “Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the show! There are fifty-three of us, here to entertain you! I’m the joker, and I’ll be your host for this evening.” “Ah, joker, joker. You always did like to joke around.” “These are the spades! If they get their dander up, there’s nothing they can’t do! As stubborn as they are deadly!” “Oh, spades, spades, whatever that symbol is supposed to be.” “And those are the hearts! Their hearts inspire envy, and their envy inspires fear.”
- 43. “Ha ha, hearts, hearts, actually kinda gross if you think about it.” “And these would be the clubs – they look like clovers, and trust in their luck. Which is only fifty fifty.” “Ho ho, clubs, clubs, you all have three leaves yet four-leaf clovers are so very common.” “And last but not least, the diamonds! They’re sure that money makes the world go round, and that they’re the most valuable.” “Pfft, diamonds! Rhinestones are all you need to impress!” The cards sang and danced through this whole routine. “What the. ” Fugo whispered. “Shut up and watch,” Murolo hissed. The cards continued their number. “Today we’re after Vladimir Kocaqi and his narcotics team. Where oh where could they be?” “Ugh, Kocaqi, keep that old fart away from me.” “He was a gangster long before Passione, a quiet man until you cross him. Then he’ll kill you and everyone you know.” “He helped Diavolo out, but when he died, he and his team went into hiding.” “All three of them are every bit as insane.” “Volpe!” “Vittorio!” “Angelica!” “Each and every one of them addicted to their own drugs!” “So?” “So!” “They know no pain! You can hit them, it won’t work!” “Oh crap, oh crap, oh crap, oh crap, oh crap! These guys are baaaaad news! The baddest news!”
- 44. “So. it’s a kind of. fortune telling?” Sheila E said, pointing at the cards. “I’ve heard of stands that can see things that are far away. In your case, these cards work like a kind of ouija board, telling you what you need to know?” “Nothing so unreliable. My cards tell the truth. Nothing more.” “Really? They aren’t exactly being very specific. ” Sheila E frowned. The show, meanwhile, was going off the rails. “Crazy people are just dumb!” “Not as dumb as you are!” “Shut up, seven of diamonds! Get back in the middle of the deck where you belong!” “What!? You’re only the six of spades! I’m one higher than you!” “At least I’m not as crap as you.” “Who you calling crap!?” “Stop fighting, you’re both idiots.” “You’ve got a lot of nerve!” “Who do you think you are?” “I never did like you! Putting on airs like I shouldn’t wonder!” “You’re the one who interrupted when I was about to say my line.” “I can’t believe you guys are arguing about this.” “Mind your own business!” “You want some!?” Now they were fighting. Punching each other’s numbers, knocking each other out. If all a card’s number were hit, the card would go blank, and fall over. The kings and queens were strangling each other, while the jacks hovered anxiously, eventually mobbed by the numbers. Card after card fell off the tower,
- 45. fluttering down to the table. Soon the whole thing came crashing down in a heap. The four of hearts staggered upright on top of the pile, whispered, “Taormina!” and fell over. Murolo applauded. Then he gestured for the others to follow suit. Fugo reluctantly did; Sheila E did not. Without standing up, the cards slid along the table, and into Murolo’s suit pocket. The show was over. “What the shit?” Sheila E said. “Our stands reflect our own minds. very obviously, in your case. So obsessed with pointless hierarchy, the actual fortune telling was half-assed.” “It’s not half-assed! He said where they are! We know where Kocaqi is hiding!” Murolo puffed up his chest. Fugo put his chin on his hand, pondering this. “Taormina’s in Sicily,” he said. That could pose a problem. Sicily usually did. * “Fugo?” Sitting in the dark, Massimo Volpe couldn’t help but ask again. “Pannacotta Fugo?” Mario Zucchero was draped on the chair in front of him like a wet shirt hung there to dry. Flattened out like this he could barely produce any audible sounds at all, and none that he did formed recognizable words. Fortunately, Massimo had experience picking up on subtle shifts of the flesh, and could understand what Zucchero said based solely on the way his lips fluttered. “Enough about the time you fought Buccellati’s team. The point is, a man named Fugo was part of his team?” Zucchero whimpered something. “About the same age, then. I can’t say I’d spared a single thought to him since he was expelled, but. I can see him ending up in the mob.”
- 46. A faint whine. “You saw Narancia and Fugo’s stands as the two greatest threats, so went after them first?” “That boy Narancia’s already dead,” Kocaqi said. “Giorno Giovanna made a generous donation in his name to a church in Naples. Same church where they held his funeral. But I’ve heard nothing like that for Fugo.” “So I guess that means he really is our enemy.” “So what, you guys were friends?” Angelica asked. “He didn’t have any friends,” Massimo laughed. “He was conceited, stuck up, full of himself, and had a terrible temper.” “Yeah?” Vittorio said. “Worse than mine?” “Almost. I can’t believe someone like him would ever be part of a team.” “Buccellati moved up by earning Polpo’s favor,” Kocaqi explained. “And one reason for that was that he had a man who could kill a lot of enemies very quickly. According to some pretty plausible rumors, anyway. People were afraid to go after him, and he took advantage of that.” “And that was Fugo? I can see that. He seemed like the type, somehow. Pretending like he was studious, but hiding what he really thought.” “What’s it like to fight a friend?” Angelica asked. “Like I said, he didn’t have any.” Angelica came wafting over to him, and draped her arms around him. “Aw, Massimo! Why are you always frowning? Are you hungry?” “I’m not frowning.” “I’ve been wondering about something for a looooong time. I think you’d be cute if you smiled. Can you try? For me?” “I’m smiling. See?” “No, I mean a real smile.” She grabbed the corners of his phony grin, and tried to pull
- 47. them higher. “No good,” she muttered. A stream of blood escaped her mouth. Massimo wiped it away in silence. He called out Manic Depression, and had it stroke her back. Angelica Attanasio had been born with a horrible blood disease. It made it feel like tiny needles were flowing through her veins. No medicine, no stand could make her healthy. Only Massimo Volpe had been able to free her from that pain, to slow the progression of her sickness. Kocaqi and Vittorio watched the two of them in silence. At last Kocaqi turned to Zucchero. “If these guys found us, we should assume a more powerful team is on the way. We may not be able to slip away.” “Then let’s take the fight to them! I’ll protect everyone!” Vittorio proclaimed, waving his dagger. “No,” Kocaqi said, his tone all business. “You stay with Angelica and Massimo. I’ll go. If Fugo’s specialty is indiscriminate massacres, then I’m the best choice for the job.”
- 48. Stand Name: Manic Depression Owner: Massimo Volpe (25) Destruction=C Speed=A Range=E Duration=B Drugs last 2 weeks Control=B Potential=C Power=Extreme acceleration of life energy. If used to alter salt, then melted and injected into the blood, provokes a powerful narcotic reaction in the brain, as effective or more effective than existing illegal drugs. This alteration remains temporarily when removed from the stand. If the stand’s thorns pierce someone directly their flesh reacts; their heart may burst, their organs may melt – the effects are many, making the stand unpredictable.
- 49. III. ‘a vucchella. Tempting Lips.
- 50. Travelers in Italy must be prepared to encounter strikes – or sciopero, as the locals call them. A national strike will stop all transportation, close museums, and leave sightseers unable to see many sights at all. Workers in the ports around the Strait of Messina happened to be on sciopero that day, shutting down all the ferries, and turning the bustling port into a ghost town. “Is this sciopero our doing?” Fugo asked. Murolo just grinned at him, but would not answer. Passione may well have ordered it. There was usually some sort of underworld influence behind most strikes. The sight of made men standing between striking laborers, hashing out the details of illegal business deals was an everyday sight in Italy. “OK. The warehouse where they found bloodstains is this way,” Sheila E said, taking the lead. The others followed. The door of the warehouse had a no trespassing sign hung on it. Sheila E gave it a tug, and when it proved locked, she produced her stand. “Voodoo Child. ” she whispered, and the door exploded inwards. A powerful blow ordinary eyes could never have seen. “I had the key,” Murolo said, but Sheila E ignored him. She stepped inside, her stand following after. Voodoo Child was a short-range power type, and the spike-covered shadow never moved far from her side. When Sheila E reached the darkened stain on the flood, Voodoo Child began punching the floor around it with iron-like fists. “Erierierierierierierierieri. ” Shrieking at the top of its lungs, it pounded the floor. like a child throwing a tantrum. The concrete floor soon began to break, countless cracks running across it. A moment later, those cracks began to change.
- 51. Each of the cracks became a pair of lips. The lips pursed themselves, then began speaking, all at once. “Asshole already has another girl on the side.” “They don’t know how much I’ve lost gambling.” “Got to blame him for my screw up somehow.” “Maybe I beat the kid too much.” “I hate him so much! Got to start another rumor about him.” There was no connection, no context, no sense that these were a conversation, just. Oh, Fugo thought. These are all things people who’ve worked in this warehouse said. Things they didn’t want anyone else to hear – thoughts and feelings that seeped into the ground, their guilty and self-loathing trapping them here, haunting the place until Sheila E’s stand pulled them to the surface. She’d said she was looking for the man who killed her sister; this search was reflected in her stand’s power. It allowed her to hunt for clues, uncover sins, and get revenge. As focused and clear a personality as there was. So unlike my own. Fugo broke off that light of thought. It wasn’t leading anywhere good. He preferred not to dwell on what Purple Haze’s killer virus said about his own state of mind. Sheila E dismissed meaningless voice after meaningless voice until only one remained. “I obey you. Obey you. Obey you. Obey you.” “That’s him!” Fugo said. “That’s Volpe’s voice!” “So they did fight here,” Murolo nodded. “We aren’t the first sent after them – the last group got taken out here. The bodies will be sleeping with the fishes by now.” “But what does it mean?” Sheila E asked. “Does Volpe feel guilty about following Kocaqi’s lead? I don’t get it. If he wanted to be in charge, and was hiding that, Voodoo Child would have said so.”
- 52. She looked at Fugo. “I don’t know,” he said. “It’s not like I knew him well.” Murolo waved a hand dismissively. “Not like we need to profile him. What’s important is that this proves my Watchtower’s prophecy was right. They left this harbor, crossed the strait, and headed to Taormina!” He puffed out his chest with pride. Sheila E gave him a look, then sighed. “I guess you’re right.” “We came here to be sure, and now we are. Let’s go.” They headed for the yacht waiting in the harbor. The only way to Sicily during a strike was to use a privately owned vessel. When he saw the yacht provided for them, Fugo gulped. It was the same model as the Lagoon Buccellati had owned. He remembered the first time he’d seen the Lagoon. * “Hot damn! That’s so sweet! Is this really Buccellati’s!?” Narancia was straight up dancing with excitement. He was seventeen, but his eyes shone like a six-year-old’s. “That’s what he said,” Fugo answered. He was sure Buccellati had invited them to the yacht for some secret mission, and was too tense to enjoy any of it. But the idea had clearly never entered Narancia’s head – he was able to simply enjoy the prospect of a yachting expedition. Fugo shook his head. “What do you think, Abbacchio?” Abbacchio had said nothing for some time, and said nothing in response. He’d been a cop once, and his silence carried weight. Fugo had grown used to it, but he’d seen Abbacchio make children cry with silence alone. then glare at them, without a shred of guilt. He was that kind of man. “I wonder if this is it,” Fugo said. “…. “
- 53. “I don’t know what this Giorno is capable of, but if we’re bringing someone new on board, it must be time.” “…. ” “I’m sure they’re making Buccellati capo,” Fugo said, excitedly. “He’s got the results. He’s got the support. He should have been promoted by now, but. ” “Don’t speculate,” Abbacchio hissed. “It’s a weakness of yours, Fugo. You think too much. You think on things best left unthought.” Fugo bit his tongue. “Our role is to do as Buccellati tells us. Put our faith in him. That’s all. Am I wrong? Trust him. but not this new guy. Be on your guard with him.” “Really? But Buccellati brought him in. Trust Buccellati, but not the man he trusts? Isn’t that contradictory?” “Shush. They’re different and you know it.” Narancia came running back to them. “Let’s take a picture! Everyone line up in front of the boat!” Fugo couldn’t help but smile. “Good idea,” Mista said, behind them. “Buccellati, you too. New guy, you take the picture.” He tossed Giorno a camera, and stood in front of the yacht. Buccellati shook his head, but followed suit. “Okay, everyone. Look this way,” Giorno said, like he’d done this a hundred times before. He lined up the shot with the five of them, and the Lagoon behind them, and snapped the photo. The clear blue sky behind them. * But the sky today was gray and cloudy. I wonder what happened to that photo. He’d forgotten about it completely. They’d taken the yacht to Marina Grande, on Capri. Buccellati had been made capo, but in
- 54. return was charged with guarding the boss’s daughter, who was being targeted by the assassin team. None of them had a chance to get the film developed. It might be in the camera still. It could be anywhere. By the time Fugo dragged himself from his reverie, land was in sight, and Murolo was guiding them closer to the shore. Sicily. The island had been conquered by Phoenicians, Greeks, Arabs, Normans, and more, but to this day the inhabitants called themselves Sicilians – not Italians. But the culture had assimilated so many influences it was no longer possible to tell what was uniquely Sicilian. More than one church bore trademarks of both Arabic styles and Norse. As a trade center in the middle of the sea, it had been a part of all history. One of the greatest Greek philosophers, Archimedes, made Sicily his home, choosing it as the place to pass on his knowledge. before being struck down at the hands of invaders. The place bred darkness and light in equal measures. “The great human spectacle, comedy and tragedy in equal measure,” wrote the author Giuseppe Fava, before being assassinated by the mafia he campaigned against. When Allied forces landed here during the second world war, the Axis defeat became a certainty, and history would never be the same. It was that sort of place. Fugo stood, staring at the cliffs as they drew near. “Earth to Fugo?” Sheila E said, from right behind him. Fugo jumped. “Um, hi,” he said, awkwardly. “Please tell me you aren’t getting cold feet just because you and Volpe used to hang out.” “No, nothing like that.” “He is the root of all evil. He can’t be allowed to live.” “Yeah, yeah, drugs are bad.” “You don’t get it,” Sheila E said. “I know what you’re
- 55. thinking. ‘If they want to do drugs, let them. Their choice. If they want to die, who cares how they do it?’ Right?” “…. ” “That’s a mistake. It isn’t the flesh drugs devour – it’s the soul. Human bodies naturally produce narcotics in response to suffering – to help us overcome that suffering. But if we give ourselves narcotics, that doesn’t do squat to the cause of said suffering. Instead, it multiplies it. But the person taking the drugs is less and less aware of it. The suffering spreads to their families, to innocents around them. Taking advantage of their weakness. Those who sells drugs are insulting the world and everyone in it. Insulting humanity, insulting dignity, insulting the future, insulting life itself. They deserve what’s coming to them.” Sheila E spoke as if reading a script. Like she’d memorized a speech someone else had told her, and was repeating it verbatim. Someone whose word she trusted implicitly. Giorno Giovanna. She followed him blindly. If he told her to die, she would not hesitate. She would let Fugo’s virus take her life. That’s why she’d been sent to meet him. Fugo had seen people trust others this way before – trust them more than they did themselves. He recognized the desperation that lay behind it. He remembered what that boy had said. “Buccellati. what should I do? Should I come? I’m scared. But if you order me to come, if you say, ‘Come with me!’ then I’ll find the courage. I’m not scared of anything you tell me to do.” Sheila E’s eyes were the same as Narancia’s had been. Narancia. He hadn’t always been that way. His faith in Buccellati was not earned overnight. Narancia had led his own life before Buccellati, had suffered his own way, had picked his own battles. Fugo knew this better than anyone. After all.
- 56. I was the one who introduced Narancia to Buccellati. * Fugo had been summoned to Buccellati’s favorite restaurant to discuss a job. He was running late and in a hurry when he saw the boy. The boy was rummaging through the garbage bins out back, eating vegetable scraps and picking the meat off used soup bones. He looked like any other homeless kid. The economy was a mess, and there were people like him on every corner. Normally Fugo would have passed him without a second glance. So why did he stop and look? Because when the boy saw Fugo staring at him, he didn’t look guilty, ashamed, or even angry. There was an air of resignation to him, as if he’d long ago learned that nothing said to him and nothing he could say would change anything. Fugo would later learn that the infection in the boy’s eyes had grown so bad he’d been told he would die from it. But what Fugo sensed in that moment was not that kind of resignation; nothing that intense. It was a very casual resignation. Too casual for Fugo to pity him, or view him with contempt. The boy’s name was Narancia Ghirga. Their eyes met, and a second later – for reasons he himself did not understand – Fugo walked over to the boy, took his arm, and dragged him to the restaurant. The boy didn’t fight it, just let himself be led. Fugo did not stop to see how he would react. The moment he set foot inside the restaurant, he called out to Buccellati, “I want to feed him some spaghetti. You don’t mind, right?” The restaurant owner looked surprised, but Buccellati didn’t bat an eye. He motioned the two of them over, and pushed his own plate over to Narancia. Without even looking in Fugo’s direction. Fugo had known he would do this. Buccellati had a soft spot for kids. Especially ones in trouble. Fugo later wondered if he’d only brought Narancia along to cover his own lateness, but only
- 57. because he was so unsure of the real reason. When Buccellati noticed Narancia’s illness, he called a taxi, and took him directly to the hospital. Fugo was left alone in the restaurant. He found himself with no appetite, pushing the food listlessly around his plate. Narancia’s gaze haunted him. He felt as if he’d seen it somewhere before. He felt like he knew that emptiness in the boy’s eyes. “I hate to say it, Mr. Fugo,” the restaurant owner said. This was Buccellati’s territory, and it was part of Fugo’s job to protect the businesses in it. “But you can’t just give hand outs to kids like that. If word spread, we could have a mob of them gathering outside.” He said it as delicately as possible. “Don’t worry,” Fugo said, curtly. “He doesn’t have any friends.” Why was he so certain? He wasn’t sure, but he knew for a fact he was right. “Even so. ” “I hear you. I won’t do it again, and I’ll make sure Buccellati gets the message.” The owner sighed. “Buccellati can be quite a softy. I supposed that’s why my mother’s such a fan of his, but honestly. I’d rather pay a little more protection money in return for his laying down the law on these matters.” “Nobody’s making trouble for you now, are they? Let it be.” “I’d like a better class of customers. With deeper pockets. With all these poor people coming. ” The owner’s words suddenly made Fugo’s blood boil. He slammed his fist down on his plate of hot food, breaking the plate. He’d snapped. When these violent fits of rage came upon him, he couldn’t stop himself. He had no idea what he would do.
- 58. The owner jumped back, frightened. Expressionless, not glancing at him, Fugo pulled out his wallet. Bits of plate sticking out of his burned, bleeding hand. He tossed the wallet at the owner. “For the plate and the trouble. Keep the change.” And with that, he stormed out of the shop. He couldn’t be bothered wondering why he’d been so mad. Six months later, he ran into Narancia on the street. The boy came running over to him. “Y-yo! It’s you, right? You helped me out.” Narancia’s eye disease had been cured, and he was healthy again. Fugo almost regretted it. He didn’t like it when strangers were friendly like this. But Narancia spoke with evident desperation. “I was looking for you. I don’t know who else could help.” When he saw the boy’s eyes, Fugo stopped. They were different. These weren’t the same eyes he’d seen before. “You’re a gangster, right? Word on the street says you’re Buccellati’s right hand man. Everyone looks up to you.” “Narancia, was it? What do you want?” “Um, I really need a favor. I’m grateful for all you did, of course. I want to make it up for you. Can I join your gang?” “What did Buccellati say?” Fugo knew exactly what he’d said. Narancia stared at his feet, sullen. “‘Go home, kid. Go to school.'” “Then do that.” “Don’t say that! I. I mean, like. um. ” Narancia spluttered, unable to form any coherent protest. Yet somehow Fugo felt he knew exactly what the boy was trying to say. “You can’t trust your parents and the school teaches you nothing but lies, right?” Narancia looked surprise. “Y-yeah. how’d you know?” “Give it up, kid. That’s just how the world is.” “Gimme a break, man. You know how it is. You see him,
- 59. you feel it, like. in your chest, right here, everything just feels at peace. You feel strong enough to face anything. The way he got all mad at a dirty kid like me, genuinely angry at me. My parents, those teachers – the only got mad because it was their job to scold me. But he. ” There were tears in Narancia’s eyes. But they couldn’t dull the gleam. That resignation was gone. The hopelessness in his eyes as he’d rooted through the dumpster was gone. Meeting Buccellati had given him a future. Given him a dream. of how he wished to live. At last Fugo understood why he’d helped Narancia that day. He’s just like I used to be. Like I was, alone in the police station before Buccellati saved me. Certain there was no help coming, he’d given up on everything. When he saw that, Fugo had reached out to help. But he was different now. His eyes were nothing like Fugo’s. Nothing like the old Fugo, nothing like the new Fugo – the light in his eyes was something else entirely. “Please, man. I promise I won’t tell Buccellati. ” He was practically begging. Clutching Fugo’s sleeve. If Fugo turned him down, he wouldn’t give up. But if he went around asking to join Passione it could get him killed. Fugo took a deep breath, and sighed. “Turn around, Narancia,” he said, quietly. “Mm? Why?” “Just do it.” Confused, Narancia turned his head. He frowned. then yelped. “Wh-what the hell is that? Like a ghost or. I can see through it!” Fugo nodded. “If you can see Purple Haze, you’ve got the potential.”
- 60. “Hunh? What?” “You should be able to pass Polpo’s test with no problem. It won’t get you killed.” Fugo dismissed Purple Haze. Narancia stared at him. “Is that a yes, then? You’ll let me join?” “I’ll make the introductions. After that it’s up to you. When you meet the capo, try not to act like an idiot.” Narancia scowled. “I’m not an idiot!” “Saying that is a great way to look like you are, kid.” “Why you gotta talk down to me like that?” “Like what?” “Calling me kid. You know I’m older than you, right?” “So? I’ve been a made man for over a year.” “Yeah, but. ” Narancia didn’t look happy about it. Fugo knew why. He didn’t want to be beholden to anyone but Buccellati – he didn’t care about Passione’s hierarchy. “Okay, I promise not to call you kid.” “Are you making fun of me?” “You can call me Fugo. We’re even.” “Sure I can’t talk you into calling me ‘sir’?” “Hell no. I’m not calling an idiot ‘sir.’ Besides, Buccellati’s doesn’t even let us call him that.” “Oh? Wait, did you just call me an idiot?” “Buccellati hates idiots.” “Uh-oh.” . back then, Fugo and Narancia were on even ground. Buccellati had saved them both. They were both working to pay him back. There was little difference between them. But now? Narancia was dead. And Fugo had to kill the narcotics team to prove he wasn’t a traitor. Which of them was superior? Narancia had been convinced
- 61. age was most important. What would he think of it? It didn’t matter. Narancia was no more. Fugo would have to find the answer for himself. What did you mean, Narancia? What you said on San Giorgio Maggiore? The last thing I ever heard you say. Lost in thought, Fugo scarcely noticed the shores of Sicily approaching. “It’s starting to rain,” Sheila E said, gazing up at the sky. Raindrops splattering on her cheeks. * Murolo had decided they were better off avoiding the ports, so they anchored off the rocky coast and made landfall in a lifeboat. The coast of the island was lined with rocky cliffs that made landing impossible, but they used the power of their stands to ascend the sheer cliff face. That is, Fugo and Sheila E used Purple Haze and Voodoo Child to carry them and Murolo, whose stand was not really suited to feats of strength. Fugo had to be very careful not to release his virus. “Will the yacht be okay?” “There’s a security system on board. Anyone tries to board it, we’ll know. If the cameras see Volpe or the others, the ship’s rigged to explode.” “What if innocent bystanders board it with them?” “Details, schmetails. Sucks to be them.” Sheila E stared down at the yacht a moment, then had Voodoo Child pick up a boulder and fling it at the yacht. “Eriiiiiii!” It hit the yacht at such high speed it went all the way through, and the ship sank. “Jesus,” Murolo said. Sheila E ignored him. “Let’s go,” she said, and walked away. The others followed.
- 62. No paths led near the cliff, and they were forced to pick their way across perilous slopes. This mist-like rain showed no signs of turning into a full-on downpour, but seemed equally unwilling to stop. He looked up, but couldn’t see a single crack in the wall of clouds overhead. The weather was often unpleasant on the coast this time of year, but. It helped us land undetected, but somehow, it just feels too easy. After all, the narcotics team had managed to slip through Giorno’s network and escape to Sicily. Who knew what they were capable of? Fugo shivered. Every time he thought about Giorno, a chill ran down his spine. He hadn’t worked with Giorno for long, but when he thought back, he couldn’t think of a single thing the blonde boy had said that was wrong. Every move he made was right, every action a step towards the larger goals to come. Every time Fugo had been convinced there was nothing to be done, Giorno had fixed things effortlessly. Why did Giorno send me after the narcotics team? That boy did nothing without purpose. There must be some clear reason behind this plan. He simply couldn’t see Giorno throwing suspected traitors after actual traitors in the hopes of clearing the deck. He must have a reason – some hidden, ulterior motive. At this point he realized Sheila E was staring at him. “Wh-what?” he asked. Sheila E kept her eyes on him, never once glancing forward, yet never stumbled. One wrong step on this rocky ground and you’d fall, but she never put a foot wrong. It was like watching a mountain cat or a ninja. “You were thinking about Giorno, right?” she said. Fugo gulped. “Nothing bad!” he said. “I was just wondering if he really
- 63. intends for this strategy to succeed.” “When you first met Giorno, what did you think?” “Think?” “Feel.” “Um,” Fugo hesitated. Sheila E’s eyes seemed to see right through him. They’d catch him if he lied. So he told the truth. “We didn’t know who he really was, so we didn’t. size him up, exactly. I thought. the way he presented himself could have been mistaken for weakness. But it seemed like he had the potential to be much more.” “…. ” “That’s what I thought at the time, anyway. We all thought he was a new recruit Buccellati had found.” Sheila E seemed dubious. At length, she said, “Giorno said this to me. ‘You take me for an honest man because you yourself are honest.'” “Hunh?” “I asked Mista the same question. He said he thought Giorno was lucky, someone who’d bring luck to the team. You see what I mean?” “Um. ” “Mista’s the lucky one, isn’t he? When people look at Giorno, they see something so unfathomable they see themselves reflected in him. They’re swallowed up in his potential, and wind up seeing only themselves.” She had no way of knowing, but a boy named Hirose Kouichi had once described Giorno as, “A gentle soul. A strange thing to say, considering he stole my luggage.” Kouichi himself was a gentle soul, one who inspired devotion in the unlikeliest of friends. Fugo was at a loss for words. “By that logic, the one with untapped potential. is you,” Sheila E said, skeptically. “At the very least, you believe as much, deep down. But I look at your stand, at the deadly virus Purple
- 64. Haze spreads. and I see finality. The end of the line. Where is the potential there?” Fugo had no answer. “I really don’t know,” he said. “Stop squabbling, you two!” Murolo called out. He was struggling to keep up with them. “Mista and Giorno are our superiors! We’re not fit to talk about them like that. Disrespectful!” Sheila E didn’t look back. Instead, she started sniffing the air. “That smell. ” “What?” “It smells like vomit. But if the stomach acid is this heavy, rotting, but not fermenting. it must be. ” she muttered, then started flat-out running, feet dancing across the points of the rocks. “Hey!” Fugo yelled. “You wait for me in town. I’ve got to check on something!” she yelled, without breaking stride. A moment later she was out of sight. “Check on what?” “I dunno.” Murolo and Fugo stared after her, confused. * Roads in Sicilian cliff side towns are generally quite narrow. Where the hills are steep, people take what land can be built upon, and make the most efficient use of it, clustering homes together. Many ‘roads’ are too small for cars, so small people can barely pass each other without rubbing shoulders. Likewise, yards are an unheard of luxury, and the walls of the buildings face directly onto the road. If you look towards the sea, you have a glorious view, but in all other directions things get claustrophobic. The contrast proves a source of great interest to tourists, but for the locals. well, you’d have to live there to know.
- 65. Sheila E found herself on a narrow street like this. The aging population had left this area without residents, the homes abandoned as the council tried to decide whether to flatten them or preserve them for their historical value. The pavement was wet from the rain. She crouched down, staring at a stain. She leaned in, and sniffed. She did not touch. She kept her eyes open. On her guard, mindful of her surroundings. No closer to it than she needed to be. She checked it again, and again, then nodded. “A man. drank often, but did not habitually do drugs. Not a member of the team, then?” Her sense of smell was good enough that she could tell whoever’s puke this was had thrown up under the influence of Manic Depression. This was not a talent given by her stand, but something she had been born with. A sense she had honed as a child, running around the woods with her pet dog. That dog had been her best friend, until the day some local thugs had beaten him to death, laughing all the while. The anger she’d felt then had never left her. It was one of the main reasons she detested humanity. Why she was quick to judge. Part of her remained convinced that right below the surface, everyone was like the bastards that had killed Toto. Her sister’s murder had only cemented this state of mind; there was little chance of it changing again. “But the reaction’s too powerful. too raw. He didn’t take this as a drug.” As she muttered, something bizarre happened to the wall behind her. It moved. The flat, solid surface. rippled, like the surface of a pond. The ripple was moving towards her, down the wall, and along the ground, towards her feet. Then something reached up from the gap between the paving stones. A hand. As thin as a piece of paper. The hand was holding a needle, the tip of it poised to poke
- 66. Sheila E in the back. But she was already gone. She’d jumped. Like a mountain goat, she’d kicked the ground, flung herself to the wall, caught it with the tips of her fingers, and hung there like a spider. The flattened hand realized it had failed, and withdrew. “That was. ” Sheila E had a good idea who her enemy was. “Soft Machine. the power to remove all thickness from things. You’re supposed to be on our side, Mario Zucchero!” As she spoke, her eyes darted this way and that. Checking the cracks in the pavement, the chinks in the wall, every microscopic gap Soft Machine could hid in. He must be on the move. “Zucchero, you were sent after Volpe before us. did you betray us? Or did they fill you with drugs, turning you into their puppet?” Sheila E bounded away from the wall, moving into the open, up to a lightning rod on the roof of the building. From here she had a good view of the town – of the narrow, twisting roads. “I see – Soft Machine is helpless in the open, but Taormina’s full of hiding places. The perfect hunting ground.” Sheila E sniffed the air, but the scent of vomit was too strong, completely covering the scent of Zucchero’s body. The rain was covering his scent as well. And when it’s raining, he can hide in the gap between the pavement and the water. Ideal weather for him. She was in trouble. yet her grin suggested otherwise. The grin was more of a sneer, really. “You know who I am, Zucchero?” she called. “You worked for a team in Rome, so you must have heard the name Sheila E. I’m the one who crushed the Milanze’s gambling operation, letting
- 67. Passione move in on their territory. when I was only ten years old. That’s why I was promoted to the boss’s personal guard.” No reaction. She kept talking. “The E stands for Erinni – The Furies. The name is my vow to show no mercy to any enemy. Well, Zucchero? Do you have the balls to take up arms against my name?” No matter how much she baited him, Zucchero made no reply. There was a shimmer at the corner of a wall. Sheila E sprang into action. Voodoo Child hurtled towards it, slamming its fist into the wall. But it had been nothing but a spurt of rainwater. Nothing more. Even so, on guard against the enemy taking advantage of her attack, Sheila E unleashed a barrage of blows in all directions. The walls and ground began to crumble, but Zucchero was nowhere to be found. Still her barrage continued. “Erierierierierierierierierierierierierierierieri!” The vibrations reached Zucchero where he hid. but unless she scored a direct hit, it didn’t matter. All he could feel was heat, like he was burning up inside. The sensation forced him to remain flattened. He attacked anyone who approached – he’d been turned into a land mine. The instincts and techniques he’d mastered crawling his way up from poverty to a position of some influence in the mob had been reduced to reflexive responses. A robot, following a program – no, less than that. He was little more than the sensor that tells a door to open. Mixed with the pounding was the sound of Sheila E muttering. “Zucchero, Zucchero, Zucchero. ” Changing his name. She sounded mad, but Zucchero was beyond such nuance.
- 68. He simply headed toward the voice, instinctively trying to get behind her. His body remembered the right distance to strike. Without conscious thought, he flew forward, Soft Machine’s needle piercing her back. Or piercing empty air. Zucchero’s instincts failed him. Deprived of a clear goal, he fell into a panic. Sheila E was there, except she wasn’t. He slid his flattened head out from the gap in the stones, confirming this incomprehensible state of affairs with his own eyes. But what he saw. Lips? Just. lips? The cracks she’d made in the pavement had formed a pair of lips. The lips were chanting his name. Voodoo Child’s power was echoing Sheila E’s words. She’d made her speech not to wind him up or build herself up but to set this trap. And a moment later, the trap snapped shut. The crack he was peering out of, and all the cracks around it, turned into a giant pair of lips. Snap. The lips parted, and bit down. Zucchero’s wafer-thin body strained against the teeth, like someone trying to tear open a plastic bag. He couldn’t move. The lips began sliding across the ground, stretching him. Like a hunter skinning an animal to make a rug. “I thought you’d stretch more than that,” Sheila E said, walking toward him. She’d planned all of this – the moment he’d vanished, she’d guessed he must be using sound to navigate, and used that to her advantage. She always planned to capture, not kill. He was a valuable clue. “I thought you’d stretch like chewing gum, but I guess not. You’re flat, but that’s all.”
- 69. Zucchero’s lips flapped, unable to speak clearly. “Oh, you can’t talk? Don’t worry. I can read lips. Say whatever you need to say. What? ‘Gotta. gotta. ‘ Gotta what? Speak clearly.” She grabbed his face with both hands, and tugged on it, trying to get a better look. Zucchero’s behavior didn’t change at all. His lips just kept on repeating the same thing. His lips barely moving, as if he was whispering the same mantra to himself over and over and over. Sheila E could just barely make it out. “Um. ‘Gotta move, gotta move, gotta move, move, move. ‘” Got to move. or what? Before she could wonder, his body crumpled, then tore. All the blood in his veins came gushing out, spraying in all directions. His bodily functions had been amped up so high his flesh could not longer stand up to the force of his own blood pressure. Sheila E leapt backwards. Zucchero’s body inflated – in death, his Soft Machine no longer in effect. Every part of his body had been destroyed, his very bones turned to dust, so that his body looked less like a human than a rolled up wet blanket. “Jesus!” Sheila E grimaced. Zucchero had not just been turned into a puppet – he’d been killed. His enemy had been so much stronger than him that. but that meant. “Shit!” Sheila E turned on her heel, and ran back the way she’d come. Zucchero was a decoy, buying time! A decoy to draw her away from Fugo and Murolo. The enemy had been waiting for them.
- 70. Stand Name: Voodoo Child Owner: Sheila Capezzuto (15) Destruction=B Speed=A Range=E Duration=E Control=B Potential=B Power= When it punches something, that thing grows lips, which repeat words spoken in secret nearby. Words the owners know will make others think less of them have power, and stain the area around them. All humans are hiding something, and Voodoo Child can find out what. A close range power type, it can also punch people, growing lips that blather that person’s innermost secrets. This causes most to die of shock.
- 71. IV. tu ca nun chiagne. You, Who Do Not Weep.
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