Just as it seemed Barbero was about to press Avilio...
“You jerk, I’ll kill you!”
“Very good, come at me! I’ll stop that small-town spirit!”
The shop flew into a frenzy. It seemed a drunken fight had broken out. The surrounding customers began to bet on who would win, and one side grew loud with cheers and applause.
“We were just at a good point, but it can’t be helped. I’ll go stop them a bit.”
Nero swung his arms and jumped into the fray.
“You guys, shut up! If you’re gonna have a stupid fight, go do it elsewhere! Or shall I be your opponent?”
“Fine with me, damned brat! Don’t go crying to your mother after!”
Rather than stopping the fight, Nero joined in and the noise level rose to a maximum. Barbero watched the scene with irritation.
“What’s this. What do we do, Avilio.”
“Have a glass and calm down, Corteo. It’s not on the level of your liquor, but since Barbero brought it it’s got a good amount of alcohol in it.”
Avilio smoked his cigarette without any change to his normal demeanor. The moment would soon come for that composed expression to crumble into something unsightly. Will he act defiant, or snap and go on a rant? Or perhaps he’ll beg for forgiveness while crying. What will Nero do when he sees that? While Barbero was thinking such things, a bloodstained man appeared to Nero miserably from one corner of the noisy room.
“W-wait a moment! I was wrong! I’ll apologize, so let up already!”
“Huh? Don’t tell me to stop now. I’m raring to go.”
The drunkard, beaten up by Nero, cast a wobbly gaze around the room. Then he ran at full speed towards the table Barbero and the others were at.
“Avilio! Oi, Avilio! Help me! I’ll be killed at this rate!”
When the drunkard clung to Avilio, as expected, Nero stopped swinging at him too.
“Huh? Avilio, do you know this guy?
Avilio quietly but clearly answered, “Nero, won’t you spare him? He’s a friend from the same orphanage. We came to Lawless together half a year ago. Oi, Guccio, are you alright?”
The worn-out drunkard leaned on Avilio’s shoulder. From there, it didn’t take long for the story to be resolved. The man’s name was [[Guccio Baltano]]. He came from an orphanage in a small town named Consto. It was far from Lawless. Half a year earlier, he had come to this town with Avilio to find work.
“Can I prove it? Well, I have my work certificate, and you can ask the landlord of the place we rented when we were here as many times as you like. Avilio was at mine for a while, but I’m not going to guarantee his identity for you or anything. He did help me, but if it’s to do with a mafia dispute, leave me out of it.”
Guccio spat out the words in one go and poured the alcohol on the table down his throat. “Ow, my mouth is all cut up inside.”
Just to be sure, they confirmed with the orphanage in Consto from a nearby public phone and found that Avilio and Guccio were indeed on the register. The check was quickly completed.
“So that’s that, but do you have any other questions?” Avilio asked. Nero let out a huge sigh and Barbero’s jaw was slack. Corteo’s lips were squeezed tightly together, not letting a word escape to the very end.
Nero clapped Barbero on the back.
“So you were just thinking too hard, Barbero. Avilio, don’t hold it against him. His deep distrust has gotten us out of many a pinch before.”
“I don’t mind.” Avilio laid a hand on Barbero’s shoulder. “That’s your job. I don’t know what went on, but as long as your doubts have cleared, it’s fine with me. I’ll send Guccio home.”
Avilio held back Corteo, who tried to follow him. “I’ll be back soon. Today’s on Barbero, so drink up.”
“That’s right, right! Today we’ll drink until your savings are gone! Old maan! Bring us the best booze you have!”
Turning their backs on the din, Avilio and Guccio left the bar. Corteo watched them worriedly.
The two of them walked silently after leaving the shop. After some distance, they stopped in a back alley.
Guccio waved his hands in front of Avilio. “Was that alright? I was beat up good. If you don’t hand over some sort of reward you’ll pay dearly.”
“Ahh, that’s right.”
Avilio pushed a bundle of bills into Guccio’s breast pocket.
“Seriously, you’re giving me this much?”
“You saved me, Guccio. By the way, take this too.”
The moment that Guccio, lost in counting the bills, looked up, a gunshot rang out in the alleyway.
Avilio threw Guccio’s corpse into a wooden box piled up to the side.
Upon learning that Barbero doubted him, Avilio hadn’t neglected to prepare. First, he looked for a man from an orphanage who had come to Lawless half a year before. It didn’t matter where he came from. The important thing was that he could prove those, and he soon found a man who met those prerequisites.
Next, he sent a donation to that orphanage and had them add the name Avilio to their register. In this day and age, the running of orphanages was just a power struggle between religious groups, and the adding of names to the register was a daily occurrence, so that was solved with the money and a single call.
Then, when Barbero called him out, Avilio, knowing that he would be cross-examined, arranged with Guccio to have that situation play out...
Finally, after completing the trick with Barbero and Nero, he quickly killed that man. Thus, the secret would stay safe forever. The corpse, as that of a nameless person who had collapsed and died on the street, would be disposed of. That was an everyday occurrence in this town.