Chapter 37:

In Plain Sight


Inside the building, chaos reigns.

The sound of glass shattering echoes across the first floor as a wave of Kappore wreak havoc, breaking half-finished structures and slamming down empty shelves with brutish audacity. Kappore thugs clash with Makai in the bedlam, advancing up the escalators as Makai forces them back down to the first floor. Further, waves of Makai delinquents jump down to join the battle downstairs with fists at the ready.

Romeo and Tama slip in unnoticed within the brawling. One Kappore thug catches sight of Romeo and sneers, recognizing him. He lunges— but Romeo is quicker, knocking him out with a swift uppercut.

“So you can fight without your bat! I always wondered!” Tama remarks cheerfully.

Romeo looks at the second floor.

“... Amon is upstairs.”

“Eh? How do you know?”

Catching sight of his chance to get onto the escalator, Romeo quickly snakes through the skirmishes and starts heading up.

“Smoke and idiots like high places, and Amon is the king of all idiots.”

Tama laughs.

“Hurry up, Romeo! I’ll stay here and stop anyone who wants to get up there!”


When he reaches the second floor, he notices that only a couple of Makai thugs are still up there. Two of them beat someone up in a corner while laughing. But it’s not there that Romeo focuses on. His eyes immediately dart to the center of the floor—right there, where a makeshift crate tower stands: Amon's throne. He can clearly picture Amon's impassive gaze as he takes a long drag of his cigarette, as if indifferent to the raucous free-for-all barely a floor below.

Romeo narrows his eyes and sprints forward, skidding to a stop as Oue dashes to intercept him. Oue spreads his arms wide with an equally wide smile on his face.

“... Move, Pain Killer Oue.”

“Bloody Bat Romeo! How nice of you to join us!” Oue claps his hands together. “Are you sure you want to go this way, though? Don’t you want to save your friend, first?”

Romeo looks at Oue, waiting for an explanation. At that moment, he hears a familiar voice crying behind him.

He spins around, only just noticing the person the two thugs are beating up in the corner is none other than Franz.


I forgot his maid told me he was in here!!

Oue laughs hysterically as Romeo scrambles over with a flying kick to one thug's head, knocking him out. The other swings a fist at him, but Romeo narrowly dodges by dropping to the ground and sweeping his leg under the thug’s feet, knocking him head-first into the ground with a crash.

When Franz takes his trembling hands away from his head, Romeo can see that his face is all bloody and bruised, and it looks like he had been crying.

“R-R-Romeo…” Franz sniffles. “Y-You…”

Romeo extends his hand to him.

“Can you stand?”

Franz stays crouched on the floor, gasping for air. He shakes his head frantically.

“I-I couldn’t do it, Romeo! I couldn’t move! The moment I saw her, I—I...”

Romeo’s eyes go wide, reaching down towards Franz’s collar to yank him to his feet.

Her? Do you mean Yuri!? Where is she!?”

Franz swallows some sobs before he can speak, and it feels like an eternity to Romeo.

“S-She’s… inside... the elevator…”


Romeo gasps, whipping his head towards the closed elevator pillar between the two escalators leading to the third floor. He feels his own fingers tremble at the thought of her being so close, and almost forgets to breathe for a second. His immediate instinct is to abandon Franz to break it open, but instead, he turns his head back to Franz, clicking his tongue in frustration at himself.

“... Come on, let’s get you out of here.”


Romeo helps Franz put an arm around his shoulders and walks in the direction of the elevator, sharply ignoring it and heading towards the escalator instead. Franz looks at him with a strange sense of admiration.

“... Romeo… Are you really saving me first?”

“I can’t leave you here, can I?”

“I… W—Why?

Romeo scoffs, gently moving his arm away from his shoulders once at the top of the escalator.

“Look, I don’t hate you, you know. And I don’t care if you hate me. ... Either way, you—” Romeo pauses, then averts his eyes. “You’re important to Yuri, right? She’d be sad if you got hurt.”

Franz looks at him, surprised. He’s quiet for a long moment as he examines Romeo’s face, and then, he slowly shakes his head with a bitter smile.

Hah. Here I thought… that a delinquent like you would leave me here to die, but... it turns out you’re actually a good guy, aren’t you?”

He wipes his nose with his torn sleeve and spits out some blood with no elegance.

“Romeo… you’re like a real prince.”

Romeo cracks a smile at the absurd remark, shaking his head.

“Stay near the bottom of the stairs. Tamaya’s down there making sure no one comes up here. He’ll have your back if you need it— You'll know him when you see him.”

Franz nods, taking a painful step downwards. Romeo turns around to go back.

“Romeo— Please, save her as soon as you can!”

Hah. You don’t need to tell me twice.

Rushing back to the elevator, he wastes no time trying to beat it open, kicking the door over and over until it begins to dent. With the metal at the middle warped from the beating just enough for him to get a grip where the doors split, he takes hold of each door and begins wrenching the doors apart, gritting his teeth from the exertion.


Slowly, very slowly, the doors start to give in to his pulls, until he finally gets it open wide enough to look inside. His eyes dart to the center of the dark elevator. There are some boxes and crates haphazardly piled together, and in the middle, sitting blindfolded with her hands tied behind her back and scared out of her wits, is Yuri.

Romeo's heart twists at the sight.


Yuri lifts her head, unable to see who just spoke.

“R… Romeo…?”

“Hold on tight! I’ll get you out of there!”

Gripping the doors again, he pulls them apart with all his might. As the metal groans and squeals, Yuri shakes her head to loosen her blindfold.

“Romeo! It’s you, isn’t it!? Where am I…?”

“I’ll explain everything later, just—”

The blindfold on Yuri’s eyes finally comes loose enough for her to see through one eye, and it’s at that exact moment when a powerful kick from Amon sends Romeo flying to the side.

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