BLOODY BAT ROMEO
“What do you mean, he’s gone!?”
Tama, with his hands on his hips, leans closer to a very intimidated follower of Cutter Knife Matsuri.
“I-I mean exactly that, Mr. Fire Jet Tamaya, sir! Some guy came here this morning and took his knife! T-Then he told us he’s gonna be gone for a while, and they left just like that! We can’t reach him or anything!”
Romeo and Jojo are close by, looking around the park for clues as to what happened to Matsuri. Tama pats the lackey’s back reassuringly.
“Aw, come on. No need to be so formal with me! I've retired from the Summer Fireworks, too. Planning on starting my own gang and all. You’re free to join if Cutter Knifer Matsuri doesn’t come back! Hehe.”
“Maybe this is for the best, Boss,” Jojo says as he lifts a wooden plank from the ground, as if he would find Matsuri hiding underneath. “We can just tell Amon that Cutter Knife Matsuri’s already gone, so there was no need to take him down!”
Romeo frowns, nudging away some dirt on the ground with his foot.
“No. Amon would never believe that. Plus, the timing of this attack is pretty suspicious.”
Jojo nods. “Yeah, super sus.”
Tama walks back towards them, shaking his head.
“Sorry, guys. Matsuri’s gone. There’s no way we’re getting that knife.”
Romeo sighs, fixing the headband over his hair in frustration.
“What if we bought a new cutter knife and gave it to him instead!?” Jojo gestures grandly with his arms, as if he had just been hit with an epiphany. “Amon won’t know the difference!”
“He will,” Tama and Romeo respond at the same time.
Romeo rests his bat on his shoulder, closing his eyes. He taps it lightly against himself, lost in thought.
“... Right. Whatever. I’ll give what I’ve got to Amon. Cutter Knife Matsuri being out of the picture isn’t my fault, either way. He can either take it or leave it.”
“Boss!?” Jojo tangles his hands in his hair and starts messing it up nervously. “Are you sure!?”
Romeo opens his eyes and looks at them both, his voice calm and resigned.
“I have no choice, do I?”
“I—I mean, I guess not…”
Romeo slips his free hand into his pocket to pull out his phone before typing with his thumb. A ding comes from it a moment later, indicating his message sent.
“... There. I asked him to meet me at the hideout.”
* * *
Despite Jojo's misgivings, the three of them find themselves at the Makai gang hideout later that day. Romeo’s the first to stride in. Amon sits on his high throne, with Oue grinning at the base of the wreckage, looking better than ever. This time, other Makai members are sitting with looks of intimidation around the abandoned warehouse.
When Romeo enters, all eyes are on him. Jojo trails behind him, scared out of his mind.
“Well, well, well! Bloody Bat Romeo!” Oue opens his arms with a smile from ear to ear. “How lovely it is to see you back so soon! I see you brought your pet with you, as usual?”
“Zip it, Pain Killer Oue!” Jojo growls, flipping him off. “Boss saved your ass by taking you to the hospital and you never so much as thanked him!”
“Why, I simply didn’t get the chance! But now that we’re all here, and we’re all friends, I’d be more than happy to—”
“I did what you asked me to, Amon.”
Romeo interrupts, and the building goes quiet. Amon simply looks down at him from his throne, resting his chin on his hand.
“... Show me.”
Romeo takes out the whip he took from Kagiya and the lighter he took from Tamaya, throwing them both at the floor near Oue’s feet.
Amon takes a glance down at the objects, then looks at Romeo again.
“I count two.”
“Yeah, well. Cutter Knife Matsuri was nowhere to be found. Apparently, someone else took him out before I got there.”
“Oh, dear!” Oue gasps, dramatically. “Is that an excuse I hear?”
Romeo glares at him.
“It’s the truth.”
“Well, we don’t believe you,” Oue answers in Amon’s stead, placing his hands on his hips. “So sorry, Bloody Bat Romeo, but unless you do exactly as you were told, you’ll be staying in the Makai gang for a long, looooong time.”
Romeo’s response is calm and direct. Oue raises an eyebrow, tilting his head.
“No? What do you mean, no?”
“I mean I had it with your games,” he glares up at Amon. “I did what you asked me to do, and I’m done with it, so now I walk away.”
The thugs all around start whispering to each other, some in amusement, some enraged. Amon simply narrows his eyes.
“Is that so?”
“Yes,” Romeo reaches behind him for his bat, taking off the bandages. Oue shrieks.
“Stop! W-What do you think you’re doing!? Are you planning to attack our leader, you—”
The bat makes a loud, metallic noise as it hits the ground and rolls forward. Oue looks at it with surprise as it rolls to his feet, resting next to the whip and the lighter.
“I said I’m done.”
Murmurs erupt around them, the Makai thugs loudly wondering what's going on. Romeo fixes his headband again.
“Boss!?” Jojo steps closer in a panic. “W-Why did you throw away your bat like that!?”
Romeo doesn’t answer. Instead, he simply turns around and begins walking away, back to the entrance.
“Let’s go, Jojo.”
“Boss!!!” Jojo rushes after him.
Oue, completely taken off-guard, can only babble incoherently; he keeps opening and closing his mouth, starting to say something each time but finding that all his words fail him. He can't even begin to grasp how he could react to that.
“Yo, boss!” One of the Makai thugs picks up a pipe and grips it tightly in his hands. “We’ll stop that little bitch for ya!”
A roar explodes from the other delinquents after this bold declaration, and Oue gasps, turning to look at Amon.
“B-Boss… What should we do!? D-Do we just… let him go!?”
Amon’s eyes remain fixed on Romeo’s back as he blends into the dark edges of the hideout. He looks largely unfazed, taking out a cigarette and lighting it up, before bringing it to his lips. He closes his eyes for a long moment, then they suddenly pop open once more.
“... What you told me about Bloody Bat Romeo’s reason to leave… is that true?”
“Huh?” Oue blinks, then gasps. “Oh, the thing about Raging Fist Endo’s sister? Yes, it is one hundred percent true!”
Amon takes a long drag of his cigarette and exhales.
“... Good. Tell Silent Step Meru to move.”
Oue grins from ear to ear.
“You’ll be pleased to know, sir, I already did.”