At a local harbor, Avilio is shown waiting to board a boat. Gianni is shown spying on him from behind a newspaper. A man tells the group that they can now board so Angelo stands up with his trunk. As he's about to board, he notices Tigre watching him, surprising him. Tigre is initially taken back by being caught, but then smiles at him.
The two talk in an alley. Tigre initially talks about Lawless Heaven and apologizes for spying on him. He pauses briefly and then expresses his sadness about Corteo; saying that he's a good guy and that Fango probably fed him a line. Nevertheless, he still has to die. Angelo maintains a blank expression throughout. The boat honks and and they both look towards it. Tigre waves Gianni over who is staring at the boat. Angelo asks if he can go and Tigre says it's fine. As the boat sails away, they send him off.
As the boat gets farther and farther away, Angelo stands at the edge of the boat, staring at the port. A man approches him, so Angelo turns around. He smiles, finding Corteo standing there, and compliments him on his hat. Corteo smiles back at him.
Back at the Vanetti mansion, Nero. Barbero, Tigre, and Ganzo sit together in Nero's office. Barbero asks if Corteo showed up at the boat and Tigre tells him that he hadn't. Nero asks how many times he has to say that he isn't in on it. Ganzo doesn't say anything, as he's thinking about the previous night.
After Angelo confirms that Ganzo did send the letter, he comes inside the house. Angelo asks why he sent the letter to him. Ganzo says "Vincent kept worrying himself over Testa's son, the one who got away. He told me to track you down by any means necessary. Don't worry. You're dead, as far as he knows. To be honest, my hopes weren't high, but you did well. You made a few blunders along the way, but the way you killed Vanno had style." Angelo asks why he wants the Vanettis dead. Ganzo admits that he wanted the town of Lawless and everything that comes with it to himself. Ganzo asks if he killed Nero. Angelo says that he can kill Nero any time, but Vincent won't go down that easily. He says that to kill Vince, he needs Ganzo's help, since he needs Angelo as well. Angelo says that he wants Corteo and that once he's safe, he'd come back. Ganzo asks what happens if he refuses, and Angelo says that he entrusted the letter to a certain man, and that if he dies, it will be sent to Nero with his name on it. Ganzo gets up and opens a door. Corteo is sitting on the other side of it. Ganzo says that, for now, he should pick a familiar place to lay low.
At Angelo's old apartment, the two enter together. As he enters, a group of women are shocked to see him. The woman asks where he's been and says he owes her rent. Corteo hands her a bunch of money and asks if it will cover it. The woman looks through it and says that it's too much. Smiling, he says to take it as an advance on future rent.
In the apartment, Corteo notes that it's very spartan. Angelo agrees. Smiling, Corteo sits on the table and says that he'll sleep there that night. He notices a wallet laying on the ground, but as he picks it up, he realizes that there's a pile of them. Angelo says that when he lived in this room, he was an empty shell until that letter came.
The next morning, Corteo is awakened by the sounds of cooking. He goes into the kitchen where he finds Angelo making coffee. They greet each other and Angelo notes that Corteo slept well. Corteo says that lately, he hadn't been sleeping much. Angelo asks if he wants some coffee and they both go into his room to sit on the bed and drink it. Angelo takes a sip and says that he only has the one cup as he passes it to Corteo. Corteo takes a drink but says that it's too sweet. Corteo says that Angelo did always love sweet stuff as he passes it back to Angelo.
Corteo says that he needs to go shopping. Angelo asks what for, so he says that he needs blankets, utensils, and says that since they're there, Angelo should take him to show his favorite places.
The two head out and go to the grocery store. They buy bread and cooking supplies. They use these to make supper. Angelo really enjoys it and Corteo smiles at him. That night, they switch beds as Corteo sleeps on Angelo's bed and Angelo sleeps on the table. Though Corteo fell asleep, Angelo can't seem to and sits up. He goes to the window where a bottle of Lawless Heaven sits. He drinks it from the bottle. He sits down in a chair there and looks over at Corteo's back before looking out the window. The camera pans over to show that Corteo is actually awake as well.
At the grocery store, Angelo makes a phone call where he says to "Give [his] regards to Mr. Strega." He leaves the store and Corteo is standing outside, waiting for him and smoking. As Angelo leans against the store, Corteo hands him a cigarette and lights it for him. Angelo begins to speak, but Corteo interups him by asking if he's going back to Lawless. Angelo confirms this, but says he has to go to Chicago first, then head straight back. Concerned, Corteo asks if he'll come back to see him. Angelo says that he will, as he puts out his cigarette as he starts to walk away.
Corteo calls out to him so he turns around. Corteo waves in his special way and Angelo smiles at him as he walks away.
Back at the Vanetti mansion, Vincent asks how the playhouse is coming along. Nero says that it's right on schedule and that the orchestra they've got rehearsing is saying good things about it, too. Vincent reaches beside him with a shaky hand to his cigar box. Nero looks displeased at this. He stands up and tears the end of it. Del Toro lights it for him. Vince says that it's been a long road. But if they can patch up their relationship with the Galassias, that should clear up the last of their worries. Nero agrees and says that if you can't beat them, join them. Vince says that the Galassias want is to expand steadily, not to destroy. He says that as long as they're corteous toward them, they won't be unreasonable. Nero says that they won't let them live, but they won't let them die either. They'll just hang over them at all times, taking kickbacks and growing fat. Vince says that he understands how he feels, but that the Galassias could wipe them out if they wanted to. Nero tells him not to worry, as he's not stupid enough to try to do something about it now. Nero quotes his father saying "Think carefully, then walk forward with purpose. The faster you rush out, the more likely you are to trip and fall." Vince smiles at this. Nero tells his father that no matter what happens, he'll protect the family.
Tigre laments that they can't find Corteo anywhere. Barbero says that he's worried about Corteo, but about Avilio as well. Tigre says that he did call from Chicago and that he said the deal went great. Nero says that the Galassias corroborated too. Barbero says that he's been gone a whole week, and that if he'd gone straight to Chicago, it should have only taken him one day. Tigre says that it's his big trip to Chicago and that there's nothing wrong with spending a few days living the high life. He says that the women there aren't like the ones in Lawless. Ganzo agrees, saying that a woman he took to bed in Chicago left him limp for a week, sickly even. Smiling, Angelo suddenly appears at the door, and asks what they're talking about. This suprises everyone and Tigre greets him, asking if he wants a drink. Nero says that it sounds like business went well. Angelo agrees, saying that they got almost everything they wanted. Looking displeased, Barbero says that it took him quite a while. Angelo says that there was a lot in Chicago he had to try out. Barbero doesn't seem happy with this answer, but Tigre happily asks how it was over there. Angelo, to the surprise of Tigre, says that it wasn't great and that the alcohol quality was poor. He says that they can mix it into cocktails to hide it, but the straight stuff is nothing. He says that there is no Chicago booze that can top Lawless Heaven. Don Galassia and his underboss, Straga both agreed. Nero says they should toast and tells Angelo to tell them stories of his trip.
Back at Ganzo's house, he says that he's relieved that he returned because he was worried that he might run off with Corteo. Angelo says that his revenge isn't finished. Ganzo says that the playhouse will be opening in three days, so Vince will be leaving his mansion for the first time in a long while. Ganzo hands him a gun and says that he should keep him safe while smiling. Angelo doesn't pick up the gun, so Ganzo asks what's wrong. He says that it's nothing as he picks it up and puts it in his pocket. He gulps down the rest of his drink then stands up to leave. As he reaches the door, Ganzo throws him a bag full of bullets. He tells him to use it well.
At the playhouse, Nero says that he can't believe that it will only be two days until it's open. Ganzo says that Don Galassia will come, as promised and that that means he officially accepts the Vanettis as friends. Tigre happily says that Lawless is now his. Nero says that it isn't yet, since there are still those with lingering loyalty to Fango and there's also Corteo. Ganzo puts his hand on Nero's shoulderand says that he and his father will need the best security there is to protect the guests. He says to leave it to him. Nero agrees and then asks where Barbero is. Tigre says that he went to go meet someone at the pier.
At the pier, Barbero asks a sailor if he'd seen Corteo with a picture. The man says that he can't seem to remember, so he takes out some money.
At Angelo's, he receives a phone call from Tigre asking if he can come now. He says that they got a lead about Corteo. Angelo agrees and hangs up. He leans back in his chair and sighs.
At the Vanetti mansion, Angelo knocks on the door. He enters a room with Barbero, Ganzo, Nero, and Tigre. They all seem surprised to see him. Angelo asks if they found where Corteo is hiding, and Nero says that they hadn't. Barbero walks up to Avilio and asks if he let Corteo escape. He cocks his gun and says that they day he left for Chicago, Corteo was at the pier. Angelo doesn't say anything as Barbero holds a gun to Angelo's head. Gianni knocks on the door, but Barbero tells for him to wait. Though he tries to stop him, Corteo barges in. This shocks everyone and horrifies Angelo.
Going back to Angelo's old apartment, Corteo lays in bed awake, staring at the ceiling. He sits up and looks at the bottles of whisky around the apartment. He puts them into a bag and walks outside. On his way out, he is stopped by the landlady. She asks if he's a friend of Angelo's. She says that it's better if he stays away from him because "He doesn't have a proper job, yet he has all that money..." Smiling, Corteo says that they're brothers. The woman apologizes and Corteo walks away. As he does, he says "Forever. No matter what happens."
Down by a small river, Corteo opens his bag and takes out a bottle of Lawless Heaven and thinks about their time together. At a zoo, Corteo asks if that's his favorite place. Avilio says that it is, so Corteo asks if he comes there a lot. Angelo says that he doesn't, and that it's his first time. He says on that day, Luce told him he wanted to go to the zoo someday. Back in the present, Corteo opens a bottle and pours it out, saying that they can start over together. He then throws the bottle into the water. He then starts throwing them in one by one.
One morning, he is awoken by the landlady knocking on his door. She says that he has a call from Angelo Lagusa. He answers the call and doesn't say anything until he hears someone on the other line. It's actually Ganzo who tells him to come back at once because he has to save Angelo.
Back in the office, Barbero drags Corteo to sit in a chair. He pulls his gun on him and asks why he tried to kill Nero. Nero walks over to him and says that he doesn't remember doing anything to earn his hatred. He says that he wanted to save Avilio from this ridiculous place. Tigre curses at him and Barbero asks if he and Avilio were working together. He denies this and says that he did it himself. Barbero asks if it was Avilio who got him out of the garage, and he refuses this as well. Barbero says that someone saw him on the pier the day Avilio left for Chicago. Corteo says that he never went there. Barbero calls him a liar and says that they both went after Nero together. Smiling, Corteo looks up at Barbero and asks "Avilio's in your way, isn't he? He could steal your position as Nero's right hand." Barbero slaps him twice and is about to punch him when Nero calmly says that it's enough.
Barbero begins to protest, but then looks at Nero and stops. Nero pulls out his gun and points it at Corteo and cocks it. He looks over at Angelo and stops. He walks over to him with the gun and, smiling, gives it to him. He tells him to kill Corteo. Angelo looks upset and slowly takes the gun. They all exit the room with Barbero stopping momentary to stare at Angelo.
As the last man leaves the room, Angelo puts the gun by his side and walks over to Corteo. He sadly asks why he would come back, and Corteo says that it was because Ganzo said that Angelo was in danger. This angers Angelo and Corteo says that even if he hadn't, it would have been the same way with him dying. He says that with his gun, he can clear any suspicion of him. After that, no one will get in his way. Angelo says that he's there to get revenge and he's not done yet. Smiling, Corteo sits back in his chair and closes his eyes, saying that it's been a crazy ride. He notes that it's only been three months since Avilio came back to Lawless. He opens his eyes and says that he's glad he got to see him again. With a shaky voice, Angelo again asks why he came back, so Corteo smiles and says "Angelo, because we're" and then trails off, smiling and then does his special wave. Angelo shoots him and then sadly begins to smile. He finished his words, saying "because we're brothers, right?" With his face quivering, he promises to "see him soon."
“Are you going to Chicago too?”
In the third-class train carriage headed to Chicago, Avilio was drawn into conversation.
Seated across from him was a Caucasian girl around his age, currently facing him and gazing at him with interest. Avilio’s response was brief.
“Are you a student? Or are you already working? Do you have some job to do in Chicago? Or are you on your way home?”
Inwardly dissatisfied at being bothered like this, Avilio was about to reply when the girl hastily cut him off.
“Ah, hold on. Let me guess.”
Having spoken, the girl immediately sank into thought. Upon seeing this, Avilio sighed quietly. It was good that he was just being disregarded like this, but on second thought, chatting with her a little might not be too bad.
It had already been three days since he left Lawless on the pretext of heading to Chicago. In reality, if traveling straight from Lawless to Chicago via the waterways, it would only take one day to get there.
However, in order to get Corteo settled, Avilio had had to visit the hideout - the small town where he had previously resided - and had stayed there for two days. Corteo had been mindful of his own safety, and naturally didn’t want the Vanetti Family to pick up on his tracks.
For this reason, Avilio had chosen a land route that one would not usually take. He was deliberately riding in a crowded third-class train carriage, and had also made a small detour some distance, but he could no longer delay his arrival in Chicago.
“It’s for work. I’m going to Chicago to meet with a client, and hand over a contract.”
“Why did you have to give away the answer?”
Looking at the girl indignantly puffing her cheeks, Avilio smiled slightly. That childish expression and fluffy blonde hair reminded him a little of Luce.
In the northern United States, it was extremely easy to travel to Chicago from the region termed the East North Central States. By taking the railway trains - jam-packed with passengers, luggage, or both - one was sure to arrive at Chicago.
People and luggage were crammed indiscriminately into freight cars; Avilio and the other passengers in the third-class carriage had already been sitting on the hard wooden chairs for three hours. There should still be almost four hours to go before their arrival at Chicago.
In a nutshell, it was dull.
Avilio figured that saying nothing at a time like this wasn’t the best course of action, as it would instead make him seem rude and draw more attention to him. Thus, he turned the conversation back to this girl named Amy, who just happened to be sitting in the same carriage as him. Because he himself had nothing interesting that he could tell others.
“I’m a student at the University of Chicago, and I’m thinking of specializing in sociology.”
“That… it’s a field of study that focuses on societal phenomena, and researches the causal relationship between their origins and their results. If we were to take an example… say, investigating the effect that the Prohibition Act has produced on society.”
Hearing the words “Prohibition Act”, Avilio looked up slightly.
“Do you think the Prohibition Act is a mistake?”
“Exploring questions like this is precisely what sociology does. From now on, the United States - hmm… not just the United States, but the entire world - will see major transformations. I believe sociology will be of great use when that time comes.”
“I see. That’s impressive,” Avilio said with feeling, when he heard Amy’s reply.
At the same time, Avilio also understood why he himself was able to relax slightly in this meaningless conversation.
Because he and this girl lived in completely different worlds.
A girl the same age as him, who dreamed of the future and studied diligently. And the mafia whose lives were under the sway of the single piece of paper known as the Prohibition Act, manipulated to run about in all directions, even to the point of murdering each other. They really were talking about two different worlds.
“It’s not impressive at all, really. And my grades are just scraping by.”
“I’m sure you’ll make it.”
“Really? Thank you! You truly are a good person.”
After all, this was a topic from another world. Considering this, Avilio was able to respond with honest feeling, and could also reply with feigned emotion, and could even put on a smile.
But somewhere deep in his heart, Avilio was savoring this exchange. Or perhaps it was because he was relieved to find that he could still engage in normal conversation. Avilio was irresistibly reminded of how he used to listen to Corteo cheerfully talking about topics that were difficult to understand.
The train made of steel, laden with people, luggage, money, and dreams, advanced on its way towards Chicago.
Along with this idle chatter, the dull journey finally approached its end.
“Then, is this your first time visiting Chicago?”
“Yes, didn’t I say that?”
“Then let me show you around! Everything here will be a big surprise for you.”
Amy stole a glance at Avilio’s face with avid curiosity.
Avilio lifted the suitcase he’d placed on his knee, and said as apologetically as he could, “I don’t have time to sightsee. I need to head to the client’s place right away.”
The suitcase contained no documents at all; it only held several bottles of Lawless Heaven for use in negotiating with the Galassias, a gun, and a box of reserve ammunition. Other than this, there was only the resolve to kill and be killed.
The luggage that Avilio carried was the only thing out of place in this ordinary train carriage. But facing this Avilio, Amy was completely undaunted.
“But before you go see the client, you must still have time for a meal? I know a restaurant that’s both good and cheap - how about it? Surely you won’t turn down a girl’s invitation?”
Avilio involuntarily cracked a bitter smile. Most likely Amy would never even dream that the person before her was a member of the mafia.
If the other party were a mafioso, Avilio was confident in his own ability to reject any of their requests with cutting words. In contrast, when faced with girls - with whom he didn’t usually interact - Avilio did not have the knack of gracefully turning down their invitations. Even after reflecting briefly, Avilio still had no good way in mind to refuse.
But that being said, it occurred to him that he hadn’t eaten anything since setting out from the hideout; he still needed to find somewhere to fill his stomach.
“Alright, I’ll go with you. You made this journey less boring; let me treat you to a meal as thanks.”
“Really? That’s great! There’s a place very near the station; it won’t take too much of your time. Also, I’ll pay for my own meal. I certainly didn’t invite you because I wanted you to foot the bill.”
Hearing Amy’s words, Avilio inadvertently smiled wryly again. Not long after, the train pulled into Chicago’s Union Station.
Moving through the crowd with his suitcase, Avilio finally emerged from the jostling throngs of people and stepped out of the station, only to be greeted by a sight that shocked him speechless.
“I did say it’d be a big surprise, didn’t I?” Amy said with some pride. Avilio nodded, slowly surveying the scenery all around him.
Chicago was the second largest city in the United States, only outranked by New York. Although Avilio had previously seen photographs of it in the newspapers, it was a far cry from actually witnessing it with his own eyes now.
In front of the station was an endless stream of people headed in all directions, dressed in various styles of clothing and of different races. Even just the number of people walking about the streets might already exceed the entire population of Lawless. Perfectly laid out roads with numerous lanes extended in every direction, and innumerable bicycles and streetcars passed back and forth. The tips of quite a few skyscrapers were visible in the distance.
Back in Lawless, the playhouse was already considered to be quite imposing, but the buildings here were on a completely different scale.
So humans could create something this big -
Faced with this overwhelming sight, Avilio was unable to say a word.
“It’s amazing, isn’t it? That futures trading center was just completed not too long ago.”
“About how tall is it?”
“600 feet, I think? I hear it has 45 floors.”
Avilio’s breath was taken away; Amy glanced at him and laughed. At that moment, a group of children shoved their way between the two of them.
“Hey you, watch out!”
“You watch out! Hahaha!” The children moved away, leaving behind only the sound of their laughter.
As Avilio watched their departing backs, he started to think -
Now, what next?
While Avilio thought, he took out a cigarette from his breast pocket, put it in his mouth, and lit it. As the smoke he breathed in filled his lungs, Avilio felt his train of thought slowly become clearer.
Amy watched with keen interest. “Hey, could you give me one too?”
“Yes, help yourself.”
Avilio passed her a cigarette, and helped her to light it with a lighter.
Amy gazed intently at the smoke from the lit cigarette, and lightly inhaled a mouthful.
“So you smoke too. It really doesn’t suit you.” Avilio bluntly stated his impression.
“Ack, ack! Wait, wait, I really can’t do this! It tastes awful!”
Choking on a large quantity of smoke, Amy glared up at Avilio, as though blaming him completely for her current plight.
“Th- this was my first time smoking. Because you looked like you were savoring it so much.”
“It’s not my fault that cigarettes don’t taste good. Blame yourself for being a fool.”
“What did you say?! I can’t just let that slide-”
Before Amy’s words were fully out, Avilio had already circled around behind her and torn off something that was stuck to her; he handed it over.
“Eh! Whoa! What is this?!”
It was a small sticker with “Oops, I’m a fool!” written on it; there was even a doodle of a crying girl included next to the words. It was probably a prank by those children who had brushed past just now.
“Why didn’t you tell me right away? You noticed it earlier, didn’t you?”
“I was still deciding when to tell you. After all, I had to honor their handiwork. It’s quite a good drawing, isn’t it?” As Avilio said this, he folded up the sticker and put it away in his breast pocket.
“The handiwork of a prank? Your mind sure works in interesting ways.”
“Is that so.”
“You might be quite well suited for academia.”
“As if.” Avilio smiled bitterly. That comment would make for a pretty good joke, if she had any inkling of Avilio’s real identity.
“Well, at least now I know that cigarettes taste foul - that counts as a gain. It’s good to experience everything once.”
“Don’t play around with this kind of thing. It’s better not to smoke if you can avoid it.”
“Coming from you, that’s not convincing at all.”
Avilio extinguished his finished cigarette under his foot, while Amy continued to walk forward without him.
“If you wander off, you’ll get lost. You don’t have much time, do you?”
“Ah, yes, wait for me.” Avilio hurriedly caught up with her.
If left alone in the streets of such a large city, even Avilio would feel a little uneasy.
Their destination was a restaurant near the avenue in front of the station.
“I’m back, Paul. I’ve brought a customer,” Amy called out as she pushed the door open. A young chef came dashing out from the back of the restaurant.
“Amy! How’s your father doing?”
“Like I expected, it’s not too bad; he just sprained his back. Never mind that, I’d like a quick bite to eat-”
“That’s no problem. Who is this?”
The chef called Paul seemed to have only just noticed Avilio’s presence; the gaze he cast at him was brimming with clear hostility. Of course, to Avilio, this degree of antagonism was mere child’s play.
“Didn’t I say he’s a guest? I met him on the train back.”
“Oh? On the train, huh…”
“We’re famished - please just rustle up something.”
“I know, I’m on it.”
Despite saying this, Paul instead looked at Avilio.
“You’re from the countryside, aren’t you? I’ll give you something to remember about your Chicago visit - I’ll cook you something heavenly. Be sure to go back and brag to your friends at home.” Having said his piece, Paul returned to the kitchen.
Honestly. Avilio grudgingly shrugged his shoulders.
“I’m sorry. He’s got a sharp tongue, but he really is an excellent chef. You know the food is something special if it can get me to visit so often - I can vouch for the taste.”
This meant that Amy was a regular at the restaurant, but she seemed to have absolutely no idea why the chef Paul was being so aggressive towards the guest she’d brought.
Avilio couldn’t help but think that he really had gotten caught up in an odd farce.
While waiting for the food to be served, Avilio took a map of downtown Chicago from his pocket, and spread it out on the table. Amy leaned over to look at the map.
“That… is where we are right now. Do you know where you’re meeting the client?”
“What’s it called… hold on.”
Avilio’s finger glided across the map as though seeking a target. When his fingertip stopped at a certain point, Amy said in a tone of distaste, “That’s a really bad part of town. It’s better to stay away if you can help it.”
“I know. I’ll be careful.”
Avilio nodded his head, and silently fixed his gaze upon that spot on the map. Unfortunately, his destination was in that very place.
Avilio then casually asked about the names of some commercial districts, and Amy told him how to ride the streetcars. At that time, Paul brought out the freshly prepared dishes.
“Chicago’s specialty is steak. But don’t think it’s as simple as me grilling the meat until it’s done - anyway, just try it.”
Numerous thinly-sliced pieces of beef were stacked together, and various types of sautéd vegetables were sandwiched between every layer.
Avilio ate a mouthful, and his eyes involuntarily went wide. “…It’s delicious.”
Until now, Avilio had always lived with the mindset that as long as he had something to eat, that was all which mattered. Whether the food was tasty or unpalatable was utterly meaningless. Sometimes, when he didn’t even have the time to eat, he simply got through the day by drinking liquor. When it came down to it, his sweet tooth, too, was nothing more than a preference he’d developed as a child.
But now, Avilio was eating with utmost concentration; he even ate the vegetables sandwiched among the beef, and the sauce sprinkled on the vegetables. Although he had no idea what the ingredients were, it didn’t matter - at any rate, they were delicious.
In no time at all, the food had been polished off. After a short breather, Avilio asked Paul, “What’s this dish called?”
Could it be that there was such delicious food to be found all over Chicago?
“Called? Oh, uh, the dish’s name? I haven’t thought of it yet…”
“Haven’t thought of it? What does that mean.”
“This is a recipe I just came up with. My father said that if Amy thinks it’s tasty, then it can be added to the menu. So I’ve been waiting for her to come back.”
“Mm, it’s scrumptious! This dish is bound to be a hit. You have to be sure to think of a good name.”
“It really is very delicious. If Nero tried it, he’d definitely be beside himself with joy.”
“Nero? Is he your friend from your hometown?”
Avilio’s head abruptly jerked up at Amy’s words.
“Did I just say Nero?”
“You did. You said that if Nero tried it, he’d definitely be beside himself with joy.”
“…Is that so.”
He’d unconsciously said Nero’s name - this unexpected fact made Avilio feel somewhat uneasy.
Thinking back, Nero was always the one who made a fuss about the taste of food. Back when they were on the run, Nero had reacted in an extremely over-the-top way to the flavor of the pancakes at that roadside diner. Avilio couldn’t help but recollect Nero’s expression at that time.
His memories of the seven years from losing his family till receiving the letter were extremely vague. And yet, Avilio now discovered that he could vividly recall everything which had taken place in the past three months.
Though it was for the sake of revenge, Avilio had indeed always stayed by Nero’s side. Somehow, without realizing it, he had already accumulated so many memories of being together with Nero. It was with complicated emotions that Avilio reflected on this.
Together with this name, Avilio’s sigh also contained the inarticulate feelings that filled his heart. But after a brief pause, his mood promptly returned to its original state.
“I wouldn’t call him… a friend.”
In fact, this person was a mafia don, and was furthermore the target of his revenge. But after all, there was no way he could tell them this.
Hearing Nero’s name had completely dispelled Avilio’s frame of mind for being a tourist. He began to remember his purpose in coming to Chicago.
“I should be going. How much is the bill?”
Avilio rose from his seat; Paul, looking at him, shook his head.
“No need to pay. After all, I got you to sample my new dish, and you even praised my cooking. That’s more than enough.”
“Mm, it really is something to remember. When I get back to the countryside I’ll boast about this to my friends.”
Hearing Avilio’s reply, Paul and Amy exchanged a look and smiled happily.
It was time to part.
“We’ll see each other again, won’t we?”
“Of course. If I come back to Chicago, I’ll be sure to visit this restaurant,” Avilio said with a smile, but in his heart, he was certain that they would never meet again.
Paul extended his arm to shake Avilio’s hand. “Then we’re friends now. That… Come to think of it, I still haven’t asked your name. What are you called?”
“Ah, I still don’t know either!”
Truth be told, from beginning to end, Avilio had done his best to guide the conversation in a direction where there was no need to declare his name. On the train, when he was chatting with Amy one-on-one, they had only needed to address each other as “you”. If need be, he could randomly invent a one-off alias.
He had already decided this since the day he returned to Lawless, and this was what he had been doing so far.
“…My name is Angelo.”
Avilio - no, Angelo - told his real name to two people. Because he felt that Avilio Bruno was not fit to possess a memory like this.
“Angelo… that’s a good name.”
“Thank you.” Having said that, Angelo headed out to the street.
Amy and Paul watched Angelo as he left, all the way until his figure was completely out of sight.
After passing through many winding streets, Avilio got some distance away from the restaurant; only then did he finally let out a sigh, as though to himself.
He took out a cigarette, lit it, and inhaled the fumes. With this, “Angelo’s time” came to an end.
Going over the map that was already firmly imprinted in his mind, Avilio set out for the dangerous area that Amy had told him about.
As he walked, Avilio thought - So there’s still a world like that, huh.
Amy and Paul were both living for their own dreams, and there would eventually come a day when their dreams would be realized.
The thought abruptly struck him - if he hadn’t taken a wrong turn somewhere, might he himself perhaps be able to live like them? Avilio searched his heart with this question.
He very swiftly arrived at the answer. There was no other path for him to choose.
If he was living for revenge, perhaps he could give up at some point.
But the fact was that Avilio had chosen revenge for the sake of survival.
Avilio’s parents and younger brother had all been murdered, and he had lost everything. The only thing he had left that kept his heart beating was the survival instinct of not wanting to die. Those days of eking out an existence by stealing others’ money - could that even be considered living?
Every day was merely another day of not being dead. But no matter what, it was impossible to call this “living”.
Since the day he received Ganzo’s letter, Avilio’s existence had regained meaning. It was for this reason that his heart throbbed and his blood flowed; his hands trembled from excitement at the thought of taking revenge on the people who had killed his parents and Luce.
From that moment on, only the drive for vengeance had sustained Avilio and kept him going until today.
He would never regret it.
Neither did he intend to repent.
Because there was already no turning back.
Amy and Paul’s smiles were dazzling, but their radiance had absolutely no way of reaching Avilio.
Avilio realized that the reason why he’d taken notice of these two people was because they were very much like Corteo’s future - no, the future he himself wanted for Corteo.
He didn’t know whether Corteo would use the money he had given him to go to school. If possible, he hoped that Corteo could live on in the same way as these two people. If he could take it one step further, he also hoped that he himself could be by Corteo’s side as Angelo - but that was far too extravagant a wish. Avilio was well aware of this.
It was likewise clear to Avilio that he had already hurt Corteo through his own willfulness.
When leaving the hideout, he’d made a promise that he would be sure to return. That promise was definitely impossible to fulfil.
Avilio lifted his head and looked up at the gray sky of Chicago, and all the unhappiness accumulated in his heart escaped as a single sigh.
He had to get to work.
Avilio did not lose his way at all, and arrived at the Galassia mansion without a hitch.
Standing at the main entrance, Avilio said to someone who was unmistakably a mafioso, “I’m here representing the Vanetti Family. They should already have sent word.”
Passing through the heavy iron door, Avilio walked into the mansion, and took in the sight of lavish decorations and expensive artworks.
After he had been searched, Avilio handed over his gun and ammunition, and was then brought into a plain, unadorned room. He sat waiting for a while on the unyielding couch, but the eventual arrival was not Don Galassia - instead, it was several young mafiosos.
“Didn’t I say - go fetch Don Galassia,” Avilio said to this group of people, not budging from where he sat.
“Be a good boy and take a hike. The Don won’t meet a wet-behind-the-ears errand boy like you. If you want to apologize for what happened with Mr. Ronaldo, let Nero Vanetti come.”
The man who spoke carried a submachine gun - a Thompson submachine gun, or in other words, the so-called tommy gun. If he wanted, he could reduce Avilio to a patchwork of bulletholes in an instant. Apart from him, the other people were all armed with handguns as well.
Avilio unhurriedly raised his head, and gazed past the gun muzzle pointed at him, straight into the man’s face.
“Isn’t that my line? My business isn’t with small fry like you. To repeat, I’m here as a representative of Nero Vanetti, to apologize for the matter of Mr. Ronaldo. Go give that message to your Don.”
“There’s a time and place for acting tough. Now hurry up and get lost before we blow your head off.”
The man, somewhat aggravated at being taken for a low-level ruffian, pressed the muzzle of the gun against Avilio’s head. In contrast, Avilio’s gaze didn’t waver in the slightest.
“If you want to get rid of me, then shoot.”
“Huh? Are you out of your mind?”
“So the Galassia mobsters won’t kill someone who’s out of their mind. How gentle. But it’s a pity - I’m perfectly sane. Come on, quick, shoot.”
The man recoiled slightly at Avilio’s words. Avilio continued to speak.
“Just like I said, I’m here as Nero Vanetti’s official representative. Pointing a gun at me is the same as pointing a gun at the Don of the Vanetti Family.”
“But, but- the second son of you small-town gangsters - how could his life count for as much as a Galassia Family executive? You think we’ll write it off just like that? Quit your wishful thinking.”
What he said was correct, and unfortunately, it seemed that Don Galassia shared the same thought. In the present situation, it was clear that the Vanetti Family, which had brought about this disturbance, was at a disadvantage. The question of how to settle this debt was completely up to the Galassias - it was as simple as that. The Galassia faction, too, was probably planning to use Ronaldo’s death as leverage to make unreasonable demands of the Vanettis.
“Yes, yes, that’s how it is. Which is why I came to apologize and make amends; I can’t go back before I’ve spoken with the Don. If you want to get rid of me, then kill me.”
From the perspective of this group, Avilio was simply here to throw away his life.
Flustered, the man was just about to move his gun away, but Avilio instead seized the barrel of the gun, and pressed it against his own forehead.
“Special service. I’ll give you a hand to make sure you don’t miss.”
“But first let me say this.”
Avilio deliberately stared at that man.
“If I am killed, we will no longer owe each other anything for the Ronaldo affair. Not just that - from then on the two families will be in a relationship of equals, and we will be on the same footing in all matters. Unless this is done, the two families won’t be able to talk terms - but if things turn out that way, the Galassia Family will be the one to lose face.”
This group of people had no authority to make decisions; most likely they had merely been ordered to chase him off. And after the speech they had just heard, there was no way they could kill Avilio either - because in the slim chance that something happened, they couldn’t answer for the consequences.
To tell the truth, there was no way that Avilio’s death would carry so much weight when dealing with the powerful Galassia Family. But he could only brazen it out if he wanted to meet Don Galassia.
Unrelenting, Avilio took it a step further with his next words.
“Either you let me see the Don, or you kill me. That’s it. Since you won’t let me see him, then just shoot. What, is this gun a toy? Or did you leave your ‘balls’ back in your mother?”
Just as the enraged man was about to pull the trigger, in the depths of the room, a door opened.
“That’s enough. The Don says he will see him.”
“Mr. Strega!” the men cried in unison, putting away their guns. But the man carrying the tommy gun was unable to recover it from Avilio’s grip; at a loss, he looked towards the person addressed as Strega.
Strega, although young, had an elegant bearing that clearly set him apart from this group of ruffians before him; he was probably at least an executive-rank figure. He watched Avilio with a piercing gaze.
Avilio released the gun barrel, stood up, and walked towards the executive.
“I deeply apologize for the disturbance. I would like to meet with the Don.”
“…Come this way.”
This time, he was escorted to a spacious reception room. The walls were hung with paintings, and also decorated with various animal specimens and artworks.
Strega stopped in front of the Don. Don Galassia was seated on a velvet-covered couch.
“I am Galassia.”
“My name is Avilio Bruno. I am here as the representative of Nero Vanetti.”
Galassia sized Avilio up with an appraising gaze.
“Why did you provoke the youngsters from my family? You don’t have enough lives to spare to be behaving in such a way. Does everyone from the Vanetti Family take this kind of attitude when they’re negotiating with someone?”
Although his tone was mild, the look in Galassia’s eyes was severe.
Faced with this inarguably valid question, Avilio said, “My apologies. I am not too good at negotiation.”
“Oh? …Then what are you doing here?”
“I am here simply because Nero assigned me. But-”
Avilio lifted his head, and said, looking at Galassia, “I’m sure you already have something in mind; this negotiation is just secondary. If my life can compensate for Ronaldo’s death in the slightest, I think I will not have made this trip in vain.”
Galassia straightened up and studied Avilio’s face with strong interest.
“That is to say, you came here to die for your family?”
“Yes. As for the negotiations, someone who’s better at it can be sent to settle things afterwards.”
The Don didn’t even bat an eye, and looked straight at Avilio.
“…Mm. Then, on account of your courage, I’ll let you handle the negotiations. You should have brought some collateral.”
The game was on.
Avilio’s suitcase was by his feet; he now set it on the table and opened it.
“We hope that we can draw on the support of the Galassia Family to sell this liquor in Chicago,” Avilio said as he quietly poured the liquor into a glass.
“We call it Lawless Heaven. Please try it.” Avilio proffered the glass full of amber liquid to the Don.
After tasting a mouthful, Galassia involuntarily rose to his feet, and then drained the glass in a single breath. Avilio laughed inwardly at this sight.
“This is truly… a remarkable brew. Can the Vanettis produce this liquor in large quantities?”
Refilling Galassia’s glass, Avilio nodded.
“I thought you would like it.” Avilio had absolute confidence in the quality of Lawless Heaven.
At this point, the negotiation could already be said to be a success.
“The recipe for the liquor is guaranteed. The production facilities are also completely prepared, and we plan to expand the scale from now on. Orco, the former enemy, is gone, and the Fango Family that took its place has come under our command as well. In other words, there are no obstacles at all to us manufacturing Lawless Heaven.”
Galassia listened, swirling the Lawless Heaven in his glass.
Having said his piece, Avilio slowly knelt down before the Don.
“I should have said this first: it was an internal feud within our Family that led to Mr. Ronaldo’s death, and on behalf of Don Vanetti, I express our sincere apologies. Mr. Ronaldo was greatly respected by everyone in the Family; he and Miss Fio were happily married, and we all regarded him as one of the Family. It truly was… most regrettable.”
Galassia looked upon Avilio’s bowed head, at a loss, and then put his hand on Avilio’s shoulder.
“Stand up, Avilio. What happened to Ronaldo is not easily forgotten, but the Vanetti Family, too, has paid a corresponding price in blood. I hear that Nero killed his younger brother with his own hands; this is not something that is easily done.”
Avilio raised his head, and Don Galassia nodded with satisfaction.
“Your negotiation has succeeded. Lawless Heaven is an outstanding liquor; it is sure to sell extremely well, even in Chicago. The specific arrangements can be discussed later.”
The Don let out a soft sigh, and then continued speaking gravely, “The matter of Ronaldo is now put behind us. I swear on the title of Don Galassia that henceforth I will not demand anything of the Vanettis regarding this issue. Inform Nero - no, please inform Don Vanetti of this news.”
“Thank you very much.”
Avilio once again bowed his head deeply. In contrast, Strega stood to one side, silently looking on.
After this, Avilio finally stood up, and Don Galassia once again leaned back against the couch. He gestured to Avilio to be seated; only then did Avilio sit on the couch opposite him.
“That being said, Nero might be young, but he has unexpected depths. To have an excellent subordinate like you, but instead treat you as an expendable-”
“I do not know what Nero intended.”
“How is that so?”
“I did wonder why Nero gave me no bodyguards, and let me come alone to negotiate. But whether he dispatched me out of trust, or because he was treating me as expendable - I can only guess.”
Avilio thought back to Nero’s expression when he had said he was sending Avilio to Chicago.
Had that been affection, or abandonment? Perhaps, just maybe, he had been giving Avilio and Corteo a chance to escape together. But, no matter what -
“No matter whether I live or die, all I can do is respond to Nero’s faith. I know no other way.”
This, too, was for the sake of returning to Lawless to complete his revenge.
That evening, Avilio accompanied Galassia on a tour of the streets of Chicago.
The southern avenues glittered with gorgeous neon lights. Avilio dined at numerous top-grade restaurants, but in his opinion, they all fell far short of Paul’s cooking.
After the meal, Avilio was brought to an underground speakeasy run by the Galassias. In terms of its scale and the number of people there, it far outstripped even the largest speakeasy in Lawless, “the Island”. Avilio was astonished.
“Are there really no problems with being this conspicuous?”
“For a long time, the mayor had the final say in this city, but right now I expect he’s too busy dealing with creditors. He doesn’t have the time to come out and enjoy himself in the evening.”
Galassia tilted his wineglass meaningfully.
“And Alphonse is done for too. This is the very moment - our time has come.”
“I think so too.”
As Avilio spoke, he drained his drink in one gulp. If they wanted a liquor that could win over the next generation of power brokers, a flavor like this wouldn’t pass muster. Lawless Heaven was certain to take Chicago by storm.
In the depths of the speakeasy, a band put on a lively performance; the guests were drinking and reveling in the music, and a few of them started dancing merrily. To Avilio, even the used matchbox printed with the name of the establishment seemed to carry a trace of elegance.
“…It’s nothing like Lawless.”
“Indeed. Enjoy the Chicago night to the utmost.” Galassia cheerfully patted Avilio on the back.
A new era was about to dawn.
Avilio had been acutely aware of this since the moment he had arrived in Chicago. Here was the vital energy that drove the thoughts and emotions of multitudes, and the city of Chicago was the very vessel that encompassed all of this - Avilio sensed this keenly.
However, all of this was irrelevant to Avilio. As soon as day broke, he would be on the way back to Lawless.
And then it would be time to play out the final act of his revenge drama.
While Avilio was in the speakeasy imagining the future, at the same time, in a certain room of the Galassia mansion, Strega received a telephone call.
“Mm, he’s still alive. No, that’s not it. I apologize in advance, but I have no intention of allowing him to return alive. About what happened to Ronaldo - it was you who told me that bastard had a hand in it.” Strega lit the cigarette he held in his mouth.
“The Don may forgive, but I will not. Ronaldo was my cousin and the person I trusted most. He was supposed to be my right-hand man, we were going to do great things together, but instead…” Strega slammed his fist on the table.
“The Don already knows about the liquor. But I want to kill Avilio, and I won’t give you any trouble. That’s fine, isn’t it… Thank you very much, Mr. Ganzo.”
After ending the conversation and hanging up the phone, Strega expelled a mouthful of smoke, and took a look at the clock on the wall.
Perhaps, if Strega had not known the truth, he would have spared Avilio. But now that he knew the facts of the matter, he had to settle the score with his enemy. It was all arranged already.
Strega leaned against the back of the chair, and silently shut his eyes.
“Why not just stay at my mansion?”
Faced with Galassia pressing him to stay, Avilio solemnly declined.
“I can’t impose upon you like that. I’ve already found a place to stay.”
“Hmm… Perhaps you youngsters have your own ways of having fun; I suppose I’m old,” Galassia said with a laugh. “Then, what kind of women do you like? No need to be shy.”
“Thank you for your offer, but I have no need for that. When I return to the hotel, I’ll just be going straight to sleep.”
“Even if not women - if there’s anything else you need, just say the word and I can arrange for-”
Hearing Galassia’s words, even Avilio couldn’t help but let slip a wry smile.
“Apologies, apologies, I shouldn’t force you. But come see me again before you head back. Be sure to come.”
“Alright, I promise.”
Avilio walked out of the Galassia mansion, got into a taxi that had already been prepared, and told the driver where his destination was. Of course, that wasn’t the address of the hotel where Avilio had actually made a reservation.
Avilio alighted at a randomly chosen intersection, and made his way on foot to the place where he was staying.
He had already found an inexpensive motel the evening before he had gone to the Galassia mansion.
The reception desk was surrounded by curtains; Avilio gave his room number to the elderly person seated within, who wordlessly tossed over the room key.
“So it seems Don Galassia’s taken a liking to me-”
Naturally, there were people among the Galassia Family who were hostile towards Avilio, like the underlings who had previously confronted him. It would be no surprise if there were people who harbored a grudge over what happened with Ronaldo and came in search of revenge.
Under these circumstances, it would prove fatal if the place where he was staying became known. If he spent the night inside the Galassia mansion, no matter what he did, they would find some excuse to get rid of him, and it would be extremely easy to dispose of the evidence.
The room he had been given was the semi-basement type; there was a narrow air vent in a spot close to the ceiling, but there were no windows. Because of the heavy humidity, there was also a faint smell of mold in the room; he might just be imagining it, but even the hard bed looked damp.
The room door was both thick and heavy, and could only be shut tight with some effort. Moreover, it was so old-fashioned that the key had to be used even when locking the door from within. After inspecting the condition of the room, Avilio exerted all his strength to close the door, and then turned the key to lock it.
“This room isn’t too bad. I should be able to sleep in peace,” Avilio murmured to himself, placing his luggage on the wooden table.
“Then how about you sleep forever.”
Suddenly, a voice spoke from behind him.
In a flash Avilio crouched down, flung himself onto the floor, and rolled to one side. But in that split second, the suitcase and wooden table were already cleft in two.
“Dammit, when did you get in?” Avilio kept moving; after having created some distance between them, he looked at the other person.
It was an Oriental person, dressed in a white suit; in one hand he gripped a long sword - a Qing Long saber.
The man slowly swiveled his head, and turned his composed face to Avilio.
“You dodged it.”
The wooden table lay in scattered pieces, and the unopened bottle of Lawless Heaven rolled over next to the leg of Avilio, who was prostrate on the floor.
The man once again raised his weapon; Avilio, the silver blade, and the assassin’s cold eyes were aligned into a single line.
“You stand no chance - face your death head-on.”
Before the words were out, the blade slashed again, moving as fast as the wind; Avilio just dodged it by a hair’s breadth.
But it was pure chance that Avilio had avoided this strike; Avilio couldn’t even detect the slightest trace of his opponent’s killing intent, let alone any change in his breathing.
“Who sent you? You’re going to kill me anyway, so it shouldn’t matter if you tell me.”
“An assassin does not reveal the name of the employer. This is what is called a code,” he replied in fluent British English.
Avilio’s intuition told him that this fellow was very hard to deal with.
The so-called killing intent was not something so easily hidden. At the very least, during a direct confrontation, one should be able to predict to some extent when the opponent was going to launch an attack - based on the opponent’s shifting gaze, their special quirks, the rise and fall of their breath, their preparation to move, and so on.
However, the person before him was completely devoid of these tells. It seemed that, to him, killing people was as ordinary an occurrence as peeling an apple. As a result, no such thing as killing intent even existed for him.
“Is killing people with a sword also part of your code? Wouldn’t a gun be easier?”
“No, I am better at wielding this weapon. You cannot escape from under this blade.”
“You sure are cocky. Then let me try.”
Avilio rose, and with his right hand he grabbed hold of the Lawless Heaven that had tumbled onto the floor, and flung it towards the assassin. The assassin retreated a step; the liquor bottle smashed against the floor, and shattered all over the place.
As Avilio spoke, he ignited the cigarette lighter in his left hand, and set the flame to the spilled Lawless Heaven flowing towards the assassin’s feet.
“I wonder if you’ll still be so calm after bursting into flames?”
The assassin’s expression changed, and he swiftly dodged backwards; seeing this chance, Avilio immediately dashed to the room door. The lighter fell to the floor with a metallic sound, and then the flame was extinguished with a hiss.
“…What did you say?”
Before the assassin could react, Avilio had already escaped into the corridor, slammed the door, and locked it.
“You really thought it’d catch fire? Get back to school for a few years.”
There was a tremendous crashing noise, and the room door began to shake; it seemed that the assassin was hacking at the door with the Qing Long saber. But this door would hold up for a while.
Avilio ran out of the motel without a backward glance.
There was no need to truly overcome the opponent. As long as he himself wasn’t killed, he’d count that as a win. He had considered fleeing to the Galassia mansion, but if this assassin was sent by the Galassias, that would instead be even more dangerous.
Avilio threaded through Chicago’s dusky alleyways, mentally reviewing the map of the city; he then gave up on the Galassia mansion, and sprinted straight towards the bustling streets.
After much furious swinging of his sword and chopping at the door, the assassin finally emerged from the room. In the instant he crossed the threshold of the motel, he came to a halt.
His figure was reflected in the glass window of the entrance. “No matter what little tricks they play, none of them can escape my grasp. Don’t you agree?”
As the assassin spoke, he brushed his fingers across the glass.
Never before had he made a misstep; this was his sole pride, and it was also the reputation by which he made his living. And now a small-time rustic ruffian had made a fool of him; this certainly could not be borne. But there was no need to worry either.
“Then, go kill him.”
The assassin nodded at himself in the glass window.
Dressed from head to toe in a pure white suit, the assassin vanished into the dark alleyway.
“This is bad. I can’t get back my extra ammo.”
After having run for a while and gotten some distance away from the motel, Avilio now caught his breath. He drew the handgun at his waist, and verified the number of remaining bullets.
That assassin was probably just getting out of the door.
Rather than running here and there drawing attention to himself, it might be better to hide in the darkness like he was doing now, and keep moving stealthily. He should have evaded the pursuit at last.
When Avilio snapped out of his thoughts, that Oriental person had already appeared before his eyes.
He’d arrived with no more effort than the blink of an eye - no, that wasn’t the case. Even if this man had destroyed the room door in less than minute, his showing up here at this time was just too uncanny. How on earth did he know where Avilio was? How did he catch up?
Still scrambling for answers, Avilio had already drawn his gun and pulled the trigger. However, the bullet he fired just disappeared into the darkness.
“You cannot hit me like this. Something like a gun, besides having a limited effective range, also easily reflects the wavering of your heart. As long as carefully timed, the sword will have the upper hand.”
With this matter-of-fact explanation, the Qing Long saber glided through the air, sweeping towards Avilio’s feet.
Avilio sprang forward as though he had been tripped; he managed to dodge the blow, but the blade suspended in the air immediately changed its course. This time it sliced downwards from directly over his head.
The clash of metal striking metal rang out through the alleyway; the sparks from the collision momentarily illuminated the two faces.
“Oh? You have a good gun, for it to not be chopped in half by this sword.”
“I’m very particular with the tools of my trade.”
Despite the bravado of Avilio’s words, his heart was pounding ferociously as though it was about to burst.
In the moment he was faced with his death, Avilio had unconsciously raised the gun in his hand; it was mere coincidence that he had been able to block the blade. There was also a huge gash on the gun barrel where it had caught the sword.
Staggering backward a step, Avilio immediately calmed himself, and this time he precisely fired off two shots at his opponent. Avilio was fully confident that he would not miss his mark at this distance.
But the assassin’s voice issued again from the darkness.
“You actually sorted out your mental state in an instant. That’s impressive, but-” the assassin hefted the Qing Long saber before his eyes, “this time your aim was too accurate.”
He had seen through Avilio’s attack, and used the Qing Long saber to block the bullets.
“Tch… You monster!”
Compared to the giant who had previously ambushed him in the village, the two killers were as different as heaven and earth. If Avilio tried to meet force with force, even having multiple lives wouldn’t be enough. Here again, Avilio could perceive what set a large city like Chicago apart from the rest; something like this was beyond even his dreams.
There was nothing left but to run.
Steeling his resolve, Avilio fired another shot towards the assassin’s forehead. The assassin unflinchingly raised the sword and deflected the bullet; in that instant, the Qing Long saber blocked his line of sight.
Avilio seized this opening and fled further into the depths of the alleyways.
“As long as I can make it to the main streets, there’ll be some way…”
Chicago had experienced a great fire, and the city center had subsequently been rebuilt according to an urban plan. But the area Avilio was currently weaving through had not been affected by the fire; all around stood the haphazard remains of old buildings, and the alleyways twisted and crisscrossed, with many forks in the road.
He’d finally shaken off the pursuit; now he just needed to get to the main road and board a taxi in order to successfully escape. Avilio had no time to think; he took a few turnoffs at random, and blindly raced through the dark lanes.
“No way through.”
As he turned into some street, the assassin appeared before him. Clad completely in pure white, he was like a ghost floating in the darkness.
“Dammit, how is this-!”
Avilio turned tail and ran into another alley.
When had the assassin caught up? Could it be that Avilio had gotten turned around? Although his opponent had the advantage of knowing the terrain, Avilio also remembered the map, and he had considerable confidence in his own speed. Surely there wasn’t some kind of magic or superpower involved?
The assassin appeared yet again on Avilio’s escape route. Avilio initially assumed that he would attack head-on, but the next moment, he delivered a cut from behind instead. Avilio was not fatally injured, but after evading multiple blows, he finally failed to dodge in time; fresh blood seeped from within his torn shirt.
“How about it? Are you not running anymore?”
The voice sounded, right by his ear. Avilio could only dash onwards without looking back.
Avilio then ran continuously for close to half an hour. His heart was pounding frantically and he was panting non-stop, but even dripping with sweat, he had no choice but to lift his leaden feet and keep sprinting.
“Where to run, what to do…”
Avilio mumbled to himself in a low voice, racking his brain for a way out. No matter how wretched he was, he could not give up. If he died here, then he would be unable to complete his revenge.
“Still two bullets left…”
If he did not choose his shots with care, they would just be dodged or deflected.
The reason why the assassin had not killed Avilio immediately was because he had too much pride. He intended to force his quarry into a dead end, and after letting it fully experience the loss of all hope, only then would he deliver the final blow.
If Avilio wanted to find some loophole, he should probably latch on to this point. What could he do that would enrage the other party? No, even if he managed to enrage him, it would still be difficult to get an opportunity to exploit. This assassin was not such a low-level opponent.
“From the look in your eyes, it seems like you haven’t lost hope yet.” The assassin’s voice drifted from above.
Here it comes again, Avilio thought. No matter how exhausted he was, it was still too strange that he’d been overtaken so many times.
“Same to you. How long must I run before you’ll give up?”
“Until you’re crying and begging me to spare your life, and when I have taken your severed head - then I will stop. Go on, aren’t you running anymore?”
The assassin stood in Avilio’s path, taunting him.
“Ah!” Avilio mustered all the strength in his body to charge straight at his opponent.
The assassin had originally expected that the prey would continue to run away like before; he had not anticipated a counterattack. However, Avilio’s strength was already depleted; he stumbled before the enemy’s eyes, and his opponent was able to dodge.
Seeing Avilio in this state, the assassin drew him into a tender embrace, as though handling a lover.
“You cannot kill me like this. Put a bit more killing intent into it - and then, in the instant of the attack, when you believe you can kill me, I will crush your hopes to dust. Let me see your expression in that moment.”
Avilio wrenched himself free of the assassin with great effort, and continued hurtling forward.
Behind Avilio, whose mind was consumed by thoughts of escape, the assassin’s laughter echoed.
Avilio brought up a projection of the map in his head, only to realize that he was making no progress at all in his estimated direction. It finally sank in that he had been led astray by the assassin.
“This is bad. I’m getting further away from the main streets.”
What awaited him ahead was - a dead end.
Avilio understood that now, even the option of flight had been stripped from him. It seemed that the assassin intended to finish things here.
Since there was only one route to be taken, then he had no choice but to carve his own way through.
“Nowhere left to go, is there…”
In that blind alley shone a tiny streetlight. It was just like a spotlight illuminating Avilio’s execution.
“Cast aside that so-called readiness to be killed. What I want is despair.”
The assassin stood right behind him.
“From now on, until you have lost all hope, I will flay off your skin bit by bit, peel open your veins one by one, cut off your fingers one after the other. And until you are crying and begging me to kill you, I will not finish you off. Rest easy.”
The assassin’s regular features twisted and warped; like a performer on a stage, he paced onward while talking unceasingly.
Avilio leaned against the wall and watched him. From the pocket of his bloodstained jacket, he took out a cigarette.
It occurred to him that he had left his lighter back in the motel room.
“I’ve messed up. Like this, there’s no way to finish it.”
“No final libation - you’ll have to make do with one last cigarette. It looks like you already understand there’s no way out-”
“No, I’m just a little frustrated. So it turns out my opponent is this much of a fool.”
“…A fool - surely you don’t mean me?” The assassin raised his eyebrows slightly.
“You don’t think you are?”
“At least not so much that you can call me one.”
“Fine, you’re not a fool. My apologies.”
Avilio, still dangling the unlit cigarette in his mouth, walked slowly to the middle of the blind alley. Once again, he grasped his gun and took aim at the assassin’s heart.
“You think you can hit the target?”
“We’ll see, won’t we?”
Before the words were out, Avilio swiftly jammed the gun under his left armpit, and fired off a shot behind his back.
A brief wail sounded, and someone collapsed with a thump.
“You- you, why…”
The assassin before Avilio stared ashen-faced at him.
Behind Avilio lay a man who was utterly indistinguishable from the assassin. The features, the pure white suit, the Qing Long saber gripped in his hand - every single detail was completely identical.
However, there was one discrepancy -
“When I said fool, I meant him.”
The assassin lying on the ground had a tiny smear of blood on his back, and the bullet had hit him in the chest. Naturally, that was not the assassin’s own blood.
“It’s my blood. It got swiped on when I crashed into him.”
That, in itself, had been no more than Avilio’s last-ditch struggle.
When shoving away the assassin to flee, Avilio had smeared his own crimson blood onto the back of the pure white suit; that image was deeply imprinted in his mind.
“But as for you, waiting here for your prey - there was no trace of blood on your body. You couldn’t possibly be carrying a change of clothes with you. So why was that?”
Being outflanked repeatedly on his escape route, being attacked from multiple directions - this was no magic.
Rather, it was because there had been two assassins from the very beginning.
“How did you know that my younger brother would ambush you from behind?”
“After repeating this so many times? Only a total idiot wouldn’t have their guard up somewhat. Not to mention that I also knew there were two opponents. I suppose you were planning to behead me in the moment I fired the gun? Once I’d figured this out, your ploy was nothing more than a cheap trick.”
Avilio disinterestedly brushed off the dust that clung to his jacket.
“The two of you - this time your aim was too accurate.”
Avilio suddenly thought of something; from his pocket, he took out the small sticker with “Oops, I’m a fool!” written on it. Making as though to press it onto the assassin’s face, he held it out for him to see.
“Well then, who’s the fool - you or your brother? Would you like me to help paste it on, just to make it clear?”
The assassin looked at the sticker, and his shoulders shook with uncontrollable fury.
“You dare- you dare to do that to my brother…!!”
In a towering rage, the assassin charged towards Avilio; the paper with “fool” written on it was split into two halves, and drifted through the air.
However, Avilio nimbly dodged the sword as it chopped straight down; from the side, he knocked the assassin away with a single kick.
“Calm yourself. I can tell just how badly your heart is wavering - I learned this from you.”
“Stop kidding around! We, we two brothers have always-”
An ice-cold gunshot resounded in the blind alley.
The assassin, pierced through the temple by a single shot, collapsed atop his younger brother’s body. Avilio gazed down at the two corpses lying in a heap.
“It’s not such a bad ending, is it? I let you both go down to hell together.”
With those parting words, Avilio vanished into the pitch-black streets.
The next day, Avilio showed up at the Galassia mansion at dawn.
“Are you going back just like that? I’ve been in touch with the Vanettis. It’s fine if you stay here for a few more days.”
Despite Galassia urging him to stay, Avilio smiled slightly and replied, “I’ve already enjoyed Chicago to the fullest. To be honest, I’m starting to miss Lawless a little.”
The wound under his shirt still ached with a keen stabbing pain, but Avilio could not let this show.
His shirt, jacket, and suitcase - they were all identical replacements that he had purchased before coming to the mansion.
“I’m also indebted to Mr. Strega for your hospitality.”
“…Mm,” Strega replied without changing his expression.
Galassia lowered his voice slightly and said to Avilio, “Just between us: Avilio, are you interested in remaining in Chicago like this?”
This was an invitation to him to leave the Vanettis, and go over to the Galassia Family instead. So Galassia had taken this much of a fancy to Avilio.
“In my position, I’ve developed a good eye for people. Of course, I will find someone to settle things over there with the Vanettis. As long as you are willing, you are very welcome to stay.”
“I’m extremely grateful for your kindness. But I have unfinished business with the Vanetti Family.”
“Is that so… No, my offer is open anytime. Think it over.”
Seeing Galassia’s expression of regret, Strega chimed in.
“The Don thinks very highly of you. The next time we meet should be when the Lawless playhouse is completed. I hope that before then, you will consider your answer carefully.”
Strega was surprised that Avilio was still alive, but this was also a reflection of Avilio’s ability. If he could be won over, he was bound to be of use someday - or so Strega calculated.
For now, Strega chose to remain on the sidelines, and silently observe this young man burning with the fire of vengeance, as he walked towards the stage for his performance.
And thus, Avilio’s short trip was concluded.
The ship advanced along the canal; Avilio, standing on deck, lit a cigarette. The memories of his journey wafted outwards with the smoke.
Corteo had departed Lawless safe and sound; although only briefly, Avilio had gotten to spend a time together with him that was just like before.
The girl he had met on the train - her life was, like Corteo’s rightful future, dazzlingly bright. The food had also been delicious. However, Avilio thought, he had no need for such things; they belonged to a world he could never reach.
He was far better suited to the bloody slaughter with the assassins.
He should be back at Lawless in less than a day.
Unlike when he had departed for Chicago, Avilio felt his heart leaping.
His mission was complete, and his plan had thus progressed yet another step.
Avilio once again felt it - this was the motivation that propelled him forward.
The day his revenge would come to fruition was close at hand.
When the time came, he did not know what would happen to him.
For him, who had chosen vengeance in order to live, what else could be left…
Even if he lost everything, it did not matter.
“Still three people left-”
Avilio’s murmur went unheard, drowned out and fading into the rushing waves.
===Day 12Sitting in a meeting with Tigre, Ganzo, Barbero, and Nero, Barbero asks Avilio is the Galassias were receptive when he brought them the whisky. Avilio says they were, and that they called what happened with Ronald "water under the bridge." Nero says that he remembers Strega going to Ronald's funeral. Barbero explains that Strega is Don Galassia's nephew and Ronald's cousin. He asks Avilio if he met him in Chicago. Having just killed Corteo, we see that Avilio has bags under his eyes and looks very troubled. He doesn't reply until Nero calls out to him. Concerned, Nero slept at all. Barbero says that either way, it's best that they proceed with caution. Tigre says that there is no need to be so nervous and Ganzo replies that they are the big family that controls Chicago, so they shouldn't do anything to offend them. Hearing cars pull up, Ganzo announces that the Galassias have arrived.
Nero greets Don Galassia and says that it's an honor to meet him as they shake hands. Don Galassia says that he looks like his father as a young man. Looking nervous, Nero begins to bring up Ronald, but Don Galassia tells him not to worry as Nero took responsibility for that himself. He says they should instead both moe forward and build a relationship together as he puts his hand on his shoulder. Nero replies that he's grateful to hear him say that. Galassia introduces Strega, saying that he's a capable man and that he hopes that they can get along as the two young men shake hands.
The door suddenly opens as Del Toro opens it for Vince.Vince says that it's good to see him. Galassia greets him, calling him "Don Vanetti," but corrects himself as Nero is now the don. Vince confirms this, saying that he pushed all the hard work onto him so that he can take it easy. Galassia laughs, saying that he's envious. Nero walks over to some wine and asks who would like a drink. Galassia says that the wine Avilio brought will surely be popular in Chicago as well. As he finishes saying this, Vince begins coughing into a napkin. Galassia asks if he's alright, so Vince looks down to see blood in his napkin before excusing himself and closing him hand over it.
Outside, Don Galassia asks if Avilio is ready to come to Chicago. He says that he'd never be able to abandon that place. Strega says that Nero seems like an interesting guy, but calls him a "naive child [who] will trip sooner or later." Galassia tells Avilio to look ahead to the future because Lawless it too small a town for him.
Later, at a bar, Avilio and Ganzo sit together. Ganzo says that he doesn't look very well. Avilio doesn't reply to this and asks if there are any changes to the plan tomorrow. Ganzo says that there isn't and tells him that their room is the furthest down the hall on the second floor. He says that the door is bulletproof, so to kill Vincent, he'll have to get inside. It's the one door without an outside knob, so it's set up so that you can't get in from the outside without a key. Motioning to two other men sitting at another seat in the bar, he says that they'll finish off Del Toro, who'll be in front of the door. After that, Nero should open the door. Avilio says that he'll let Galassia escape first, then kill Vince and Nero. He takes out the letter and tells Ganzo to add his name to it since if his name is on it, it means that he's him enemy. As Ganzo begins to sign it, Avilio asks if he was there that day. Ganzo seems to be slightly taken back that he knew, but Avilio reassures him that he knows he didn't fire a shot. Ganzo tells Avilio that back then, Vincent was colluding with the Galassias. Testa found that out, so he killed him and his family. Ganzo puts the letter back in its envelop and says that Avilio should be the one to kill Vincent and Nero. Avilio looks away and tells him not to rush him, as everything is in its proper order. Ganzo looks over to an empty table beside them and asks what he's talking about. Avilio says that it's nothing as he stands up and puts the letter in his pocket. He leaves the bar. As soon as he does this, Strega walks in and asks Ganzo if he's sure Avilio can be counted on, and that nothing can happen to the Don. Smiling, Ganzo says that Avilio's capable. He says that once Vincent is dead, and Strega continues to say that in two days, Ganzo will be the one unifying the family, so not to mess it up. Ganzo agrees, saying that unlike Nero, he does as he' told. He asks if Don Galassia knows about it. Strega says that he doesn't have to know, as he's "gone soft, though and through."
Back at the mansion, Nero sits in his office drinking Lawless Heaven. Barbero walks in and asks if he could have a moment. Nero asks if it's about Avilio. Barbero says that he thinks they should take him off security at the playhouse. He feels that Avilio resents them over what happened to Corteo, especially Nero. Nero interrupts him, saying that he cleared all suspicion on himself yesterday and that he would have no reason to resent them. He's says that Avilio's like an empty shell now, but that "[he]'ll give [him] something to live for."
In Vincent's room, he lies in his bed as Del Toro sits on a chair beside him. Nero enters the room and they both turn to look at him. Nero smiles at his father and asks how he's feeling. His father says well enough and asks if he spoke to the doctor. Nero says that the doctor said he'd be right as rain. Still smiling, Vince tells him not to hide it; he knows he's on his way out. Nero looks solemnly back before nodding slowly. The two wait silently as Del Toro exits the room before Vince begins to speak again.
Vince tells his son about his constant regret about killing the Lagusa family and how he is constantly thinking about if there could have been another way to stop them from getting swallowed up by the Galassias besides killing his best friend. Nero, who had been listening quietly, waits until Vince is finished and then tells him that the Vanetti name is more important than anything. He says that he's ready to do what he must. Vince smiles at him and begins lifting up his right hand, weakly, to Nero. Nero is sadden by this, but clasps his hands over his father's; covering up the scar left by Testa. He lovingly holds it close to his face as his father looks up at him.
Angelo returns home to his apartment. He announces to no one that he's home with a gloomy voice. Smiling and pouring a drink, he says that he's been waiting for so long for this day to come. It's shown that he poured a second glass as well. Still smiling, he says to himself that he wonders if he actually had been waiting and says that he can't tell anymore. The camera pans over to show that someone is sitting quietly across from him. Angelo asks himself why he came back and what he's been killing for. Still smiling, he then directs the question at Corteo. It's shown that the other people is a hallucination of him. He sits quietly staring back at him, with a small smile on his face as well. Angelo downs his glass as Corteo's remains untouched. Over Angelo's shoulder, it's shown that no one is there and Angelo quietly says that everything will be over tomorrow.
The next day, at the Playhouse, a large group of reporters stand waiting for Vincent Vanetti to make an appearance. As a car pulls up, Tigre is shown trying to hold them back. Del Toro opens Vince's door and he comes out. Nero walks around to support his father as reporters begin shouting questions and snapping pictures. One asking if he has anything to say after not been seen in public in 3 years. As he and Nero walk towards the playhouse, Vince stops and marvels at its beauty. Nero smiles and agrees and they press on. Helping keep the reporters back, Angelo looks over his shoulder at the two. He has bags under his eyes and he turns around further to show Barbero looking at him suspiciously. Angelo looks back for a moment before being interrupted by a car pulling up. Don Galassia steps out of his car and waves while smiling. Some photographers take his picture.
Inside, Del Toro stands outside the door as Vince and Ganzo talk. Vince asks how he likes the playhouse. He says that he modeled it after La Scala in Milan. Ganzo finishes that Vince called in an Italian architect to come build it, and that he's said that 50 times as he puts out his cigarette. Vince says that the playhouse was his dream. Ganzo looks at him with no expression before smiling and saying that he's envious. He says that he now has everything. Standing up, he says that once they work things out with Galassia, it'll all be secured. Walking towards the door with his back facing Vince, he stops smiling and says that he's sure Testa would understand before walking out.
That night, Tigre looks over at an armed man and says that they have no class; standing around with their giant guns. Barbero says that have no choice because they can't risk anything happening. The two and Gianni are interruped by applause. Tigre spits into his wine glass and, smiling, says that it seems they're about to start. Angelo, who had been leaning against a pole beside them, sees the silhouette of Corteo standing on the stairs. He tells the group that he's going to look around. Though Gianni and Tigre watch the stage, Barbero watches Angelo suspiciously.
On stage, the mayor announces that he's never been so proud to be mayor of Lawless. He asks that they have another round of applause for Vince as a spotlight begins shining to their booth. The crowd applauds as many stand up. Vince stands up as Nero and Galassia also clap beside him. Vince smiles and waves at the people below him. Smiling, Galassia says he's impressed and that they don't even have a theater that nice in Chicago. Also smiling, Nero says he's honored. Galassia smiles and he and Vince each pick up a class. Galassia says that should make a toast to a new start with the Vanetti family. They raise their glasses before drinking. Vince looks slightly suspicious of his words.
In another booth, Ganzo and Strega sit together, watching them. Strega smiles as he looks around to see all his men standing with guns and the show begins.
Angelo walks up the stairs slowly. Del Toro stands in front of Vince's door quietly. A group of guards swap and new men begin supervising. One of the men say to the other that he's happy they're so understanding because he'd go crazy after standing for 3 hours as he begins to pull out a cigarette. The other man scolds him and tells him to smoke past where Del Toro stands. The man relents and begins walking over. Just as he walked past Del Toro, he suddenly stops and begins digging in his pockets. Smiling, he turns to Del Toro and asks if he could lend him a match. Del Toro completely ignores him. The man, still smiling, takes a step towards him and teases that there's no need to ignore him. The man suddenly pushes Del Toro into the wall while stabbing him with a knife. He begins twisting it before Del Toro starts to push him off. As he does this the other man comes from behind and stabs him in the back. He puts his hand over his mouth and tells him to be silent forever. Del Toro suddenly forces the two off and snaps the first one's neck. As he falls to the ground the other man runs at Del Toro and stabs him again. Del Toro takes the knife out and stabs the man in the throat. The man falls back to the floor, dead.
Panting, Del Toro begins limping over to the door. Someone suddenly begins running towards him. Just before reaching the door, he turns only to have Angelo stab him in the chest, finally killing him. As Angelo stands over his corpse with a knife still in his hand, Barbero interject that he "thought so" and the two stand staring at each other with a blank expression as Tigre looks on with shock.
In the basement, Barbero and Tigre stand over Angelo as he sits in a chair. Barbero asks if he wanted to avenge Corteo. At his words, Angelo begins smiling faintly while looking down, but ignores his question. Barbero walks forward and pushes Angelo's knife into his shoulder. He twists it and Angelo gasps quietly in pain. As blood flows out of his wound, Angelo chokes out that his comrades are after Nero as they speak. Tigre and Barbero look unfazed by this and Barbero tells him not to change the subject. Tigre interrupts that he didn't see the bodies of Galassia's watch guys up there. He says he's worried.
Barbero looks back over as Angelo tells them that there's a letter in his jacket pocket from the man who called him to Lawless. Barbero reads that it's addressed to "Angelo Lagusa." Ge quickly reads it over and Tigre asks what it says. He reads that "The ones who killed your father, mother, and little brother, who now rest in peace in Lawless are Vincent Vanetti, his son, Nero, and Vanno Clemente and Ganzo Alary. Barbero angrily asks who sent it. He doesn't answer so Barbero demands to know who this "best friend" is supposed to be. Angelo ignores him so Barbero begins striking him. After a few blows, the two are both out of breath and Tigre says that he'll call Nero and Ganzo. Before he leaves, Barbero stops him and tells him not to tell Nero.
Vince, Nero, and Galassia sit together in their booth when Nero notices Ganzo talking to Tigre at the door as Strega continues watching the show. Ganzo looks over his shoulder as he walks out the door and Tigre closes it behind him. Nero furrows his brows at this.
As they walk downstairs, Ganzo feigns surprise at what Avilio did. Tigre says that Barbero said not to call Nero. Continuing walking, Ganzo tells him to call Nero. Tigre stops and Ganzo tells him that Nero's the don, not Barbero. Tigre goes to get him as Ganzo continues going down.
Inside, Barbero turns to see Ganzo come in. Ganzo asks him what happened. Barbero shows Ganzo his letter and says that he was right about Angelo being after Nero, as well as Vince and Ganzo. He says that whoever sent the letter is behind everything. Ganzo looks at the letter blankly. Barbero asks if he has any idea who could have sent it, and Ganzo replies no. Barbero asks where Tigre went and Ganzo tells him. Barbero is taken back by this and asks why. Ganzo says that Nero should get to decide what to do, since Angelo was his right hand.
Barbero becomes frantic at this and says that Nero won't kill him. Ganzo tells him to calm down. Barbero kneels down and says that Vanno and Del Toro, and the deaths of so many others... they were all his fault. Ganzo shows no emotion at this until sighing in annoyance.
He tells Angelo that Nero said he was like an empty shell but said he would give Angelo something to live for. He accuses Angelo of driving Nero mad and begins to say that if he hadn't shown up, but Angelo looks up and smiles, calling him pathetic. Barbero is further enraged by this and reaches into his coat for his gun. Aiming it at Angelo, he calls him a "devil who possessed the family and infested Nero's mind." As he's about to shoot, he says that he'll protect Nero himself but he is suddenly shot before he can by Ganzo and falls to the ground. Ganzo looks at his body unemotionally and says that he guesses it's all over. He looks at Angelo and asks where he messed up. Angelo smiles and looks up. He tells Ganzo that things are going perfectly.
Tigre knocks on their door and calls Nero. He excuses himself and goes to answer it. Nero asks what's wrong, and Tigre says that Barbero's got Avilio. Nero looks over his shoulder then nods, following him out.
Nero gits his teeth as they slowly walk down the stairs together. On their way, Ganzo stands kneeled over. Nero calls out to him and runs over. Ganzo says that Angelo got away and that they just missed him. The two look over to see Barbero laying in a pool of blood. Nero is horrified, as is Tigre. Tigre runs over to him but Nero stands there, suddenly angry. Tigre curses and throws his fists into his thighs. Ganzo walks beside Nero and watches Tigre blankly. Nero mutters "Avilio." Ganzo hands him the letter and says that he's after Vincent, him, and Nero, it seems. Nero quickly reads over the letter and is shocked. Tigre asks about the don and Ganzo replies that he can't get inside without the key. Tigre is furious, but Nero manages to calm down and says to send someone, just to be safe. Tigre yells that he'll find and kill him.
Suddenly, Strega Galassia comes in with two of his men. Smiling, he asks what's going on. He asks if Barbero is a stage prop. Suddenly serious, he says that if anything happens to the don, and then asks if they know what would happen. Ganzo says that if he was him, he'd go with a rifle. Nero is taken back by this and Ganzo finishes that he could snipe him easily from the box across from his. Nero pushes Strega out of the way and runs past him. Tigre quickly follows. Smiling, Ganzo turns to Strega and says that they'd better get searching too.
Angelo limps up the stairs, clutching his wounded shoulder. Running below, Nero yells at Tigre to check the fourth floor. As Angelo continues walking, Nero comes to the door across and kicks it open. At the same time, someone knocks on Vince and Galassia's booth.
He tells them that he was told to lead them outside through the back entrance. Vince asks where Del Toro is and Angelo replies that he doesn't know but that he isn't there. Vince ask who he is and he says that he's Avilio. Vince tells him to bring Nero. Angelo pauses for a second before asking Galassia to open the door as they "don't have time." This angers Vince and he tells him to watch his mouth. Galassia tells him that he doesn't need to get angry. He says that he himself knows him well and that he's Nero's right hand. He gets up to open the door.
From across the playhouse, Nero sees Galassia going to open the door so he sprints out, leaving Ganzo and Strega behind. They watch on as Angelo enters their room while pointing a gun. They both smile and Strega says that it looks like they've reached the climax, though it didn't go quite by the script.
Angelo enters the room and points his gun at Vince. Galassia asks what he's doing. He points his gun at Vince and says that he killed his family. Vince says that he doesn't know him. He says that his father was Testa Lagusa. This shocks Vincent.
Galassia remarks that "This is great! Is he part of the performance?" while smiling. He says that "He just keeps getting more interesting!" Angelo says that he returned to Lawless for this day. He says that "This time, I'm the one who will take everything away." Vincent is still shocked but closes his eyes and seems to accept his fate. A gunshot echos through the playhouse and silences the singer. The crowd looks around confused.
Vincent opens his eyes to see that Angelo shot Galassia instead. He shoots him four times in total in the stomach and he falls to the ground. A woman screams and people begin fleeing out of the playhouse. Vincent crawls over to Galassia's body and yells for someone to call a doctor. Angelo calmly walks out of the room.
Having watched his don's murder play out, an enraged Strega pulls out his gun and aims it at Ganzo. He begins to protest, saying he didn't know about it, but Strega doesn't hesitate and shoots him twice in the chest, killing him. Strega looks down at his body and asks what is going on. He begins smiling and says that it isn't a bad development and turns to his men and orders them to kill the rest of the Vanettis. This begins a shootout and many Vanetti men die.
As Nero runs through a hallway, he spots Angelo. He seems to be about to go after him but his father calls out to him from behind. He turns around to see his sickly father. Vince falls to his knees and begins coughing up blood. Nero runs over to him and holds him up. Vince places his bloody hand on Nero's shoulder and tells him that "It's over," and that "It was all for nothing" before dying in Nero's arms. Nero hugs him close in grief before becoming angry as he looks past his shoulder with a murderous glint in his eyes.
Outside the playhouse, Angelo hides in a dark alley. He gasps for air as he notices a shadowy figure standing close to the alley's entrance. He thinks it to be Corteo and tells him that he "did it" before falling unconscious. We then see that it's actually Strega. He looks down at Angelo with a blank expression.
At Hotel Lawless, two of Strega's men stay in a hotel room with Angelo. Nero is shown going up the elevator while thinking about why he trusted him. They question why he is aloud to live, as he killed their previous don. One looks at a magazine about Florida and says that it's ridiculous. As he throws it on the ground, a large explosion can be seen out the window on the Island. The two rush over to see, but Angelo just looks on without any expression.
One remarks that the Vanettis must all be dead by now, then the other replies that it's the perfect presentation for Don Strega. As they talk, Angelo notices a car parked outside of the hotel with Cerotto sitting in the driver's seat. The two men don't notice this and one begins eating Angelo's food, as he doesn't want it. As one of the men begin to leave the room, he is attacked. The eating man is shocked and tries to pull out his gun but is too slow and is also attacked. Through this, Angelo doesn't stop looking out the window. After taking them both out, Nero stares at Angelo, infuriated. Angelo finally looks up and smiles at him.
At the island, a large group of men stand outside of a church. They say that if they throw down their weapons, they won't be hurt. Strega watches on from his car. Someone waves a white cloth out of the window and says that they're coming out but they instead throw a bomb. This causes a shoot out as both sides begin firing. The shooting eventually leads to one of the Galassia cars exploding.
At Fango's mansion, Tigre and Nero sit in a room together. Tigre says that they keep coming in swarms, so even if all of their bullets hit, they wouldn't have enough. Nero receives a phone call from Cerotto. He says that Angelo is in room 501 of Hotel Lawless and that everyone's been sent over to the Island. Nero says that he's going and that Tigre and the rest should as well, as he doesn't want to "die in the same place Fango did." Tigre laughs, agreeing, and then adds that they're only after Nero anyways. Nero chugs down the rest of his drink and then says "later." Tigre stops him briefly, starting to says that it's their something, but then says to never mind and instead tells him to sock Avilio for him.
Now in the car with Angelo, Nero, and Cerotto, Cerotto asks where they're going, but notes that there's no way they can escape anyways. Angelo asks Cerotto why he's there. This angers Cerotto and he instead turns the question on him and asks why he's still alive since he's done killing all the Vanettis. Angelo doesn't reply, so he begins talking about Corteo; saying that he never wanted to join the family, no matter how much money he could get from it, he wouldn't even consider it. He blames Angelo and says that it's all his fault and that Corteo had never even been with a woman. He begins crying and demands to know why Avilio should live when he's dead. The whole time, Angelo looks out his window and doesn't react. At Cerotto's shouting, Nero tells him to pipe down. Cerotto wipes his eyes and drinks some alcohol.
Nero pulls the letter from his coat pocket and asks who sent it. Angelo tells the truth and Nero says that he was "being deceived from all sides." Angelo then admits that he is the reason that Frate, Volpe, Del Toro, Barbero, and Vanno are all dead. Nero sadly looks down at the letter and notes that he's the only named person in it who's still alive. He asks why he wasn't killed as well. Angelo says that Vincent holed up in his mansion and wouldn't come out. So he would have to get close to his son first. Still looking down, Nero asks then why he would let him live when he seen him at the play house, as he had already gotten to his father. He says that it was because he wanted them to both feel the same pain that he did. "A pain worse than death." Angelo chuckles, causing Nero to look over at him. He says that it was "a shame Vincent died so soon."
Nero pulls out a gun and pushes it into Angelo's forehead, as he breathes heavily in anger. Though Angelo again has no real response to this, Cerotto is distressed and tells him not to shoot him where they are. Nero seems to be about to pull the trigger when Angelo tells him to "do it." He instead clocks him, and he passes out. Nero says that he'll save it for later.
At the Island, Tigre and a group of men are about to try and make an escape. Tigre is drinking and he hands it over to a man beside him. The man chokes on it. Tigre reassures him that he'll be fine, and the man smiles at him with tears in his eyes. Another man appears and says that the boats ready. The man run out into an open area and are ambushed. Tigre begins shooting and he tells the other men to go on ahead. They do and one of them is gunned down. Tigre is shot twice in the leg but continues to shoot at them. When his bullets run out, he is shot to death in a shower of bullets. None of the Vanetti men make it off the island. Afterwards, their bodies are all lined up in a row as Strega looks around smiling. He says that "the king's arms are long, Nero."
At a gas station, Cerotto fills up his car. He asks if they want some breakfast. No one answers so he scoffs and walks away towards a store across the street. Nero notes that he's too trusting.
Cerotto walks up to the counter with an arm full of cans. He hears honking so he turns and looks out the window to see his car driving away. He runs out of the store in disbelief, but the clerk assumes he's stealing so he punches him out. In the car, Nero says that he's hungry.
Angelo wakes up and notices a man close to the end of his bed. The man, noticing that Angelo's awake, rushes out of the room. With Strega now in the room, he asks why he killed Don Galassia. He says that he lived a happy life and that it was just because it was convenient since the Vanetti's killed his family. Strega finds this amusing and says that he's just been manipulating everyone. Angelo asks why he saved him, and he says that it was as thanks. He says that he sped up his plans to be don next.
With cars following the two, Nero shoots at the Galassia cars as Tigre drives. Strega says that they fled to the Island. Angelo says that prohibition will end soon, making the town worthless. He asks what the point is. Strega says that Nero killed Ronald, but he thinks that Angelo might be more useful as he's "a man with no inconvenient ambitions." He says that if he kills someone on the Island, he can be free. He asks if he'll come with him, and Angelo says that he doesn't care anymore. He looks over at the Florida magazine.
At the Barton Diner, Nero and Angelo sit together at a booth. Nero looks around nervously. A man brings Nero a meal before staring at Angelo whose hands are tide up. Noticing, Nero says that he's escorting a dangerous prisoner. He says that he shouldn't stare at him because everyone who's gotten involved with him has ended up dead. After finishing his meal, Nero lights up a smoke. He tosses the pack at Angelo and he lights one up too. A suited man walks in to the diner and sits at the front. Nero observes him from the side of his eye. He then pays and they bother walk out.
Back in the car once again, Nero looks at a map using a lighter to see. Angelo tells him to go right and how to get onto his route. Nero asks where they're going, and Angelo says to the sea. Angelo asks if he's ever seen it, and Nero says that he hasn't. They then head in that direction.
The two eventually set up a fire to camp out. Nero passes Angelo some alcohol and then asks why he didn't just leave the city. He says that he wanted to see his revenge play out. Nero takes the letter from his pocket and throws it into the fire. Nero asks if he was satisfied. Angelo says that he thought that by completing his revenge and making his family's killers pay, he would find a reason to live again. But he says that "there was nothing left." and that "It was all for nothing." This infuriates Nero and he grabs Angelo by the collar and pushes him against a tree. He demands to know what was the point of all their deaths as he punches him in the face. He sadly asks why he didn't just kill him too. and that he trusted him. Angelo screams back that he should have just killed him seven years ago as he ran away. For the first time showing his pain, Nero is shocked as Angelo begins to cry. A car drives by in the background.
Nero thinks back to seven years ago, when he went to the Lagusa house with his family.
When he was looking downstairs in a closet, he finds a birthday gift to Angelo. As he stares at it, he hears a loud noise and rushes out to see. Angelo runs out the door. Nero aims at him with a pained expression on his face. He pulls the trigger without opening his eyes and Angelo isn't hit.
Nero sits against a tree staring at the dying fire. Angelo is asleep on the ground laying on top of a blanket. Nero looks at him before looking up at the moon that just appeared from behind the clouds.
At another diner, they both sit at a booth as Angelo is still tied up and Nero is eating. Angelo says something then Nero looks annoyed before Angelo raises his tied hands. Nero cuts his hands loose and they then share his meal.
Angelo is driving and Nero sits scared. Angelo almost hits a tree but then swerves away from it. In an open field, they pass by a mother and baby horse and after a small bridge. Nero is again driving as Angelo smokes a cigarette as he looks out the window. Nero lays awake in the sun smoking as Angelo fixes a tire on the car. In the middle of the night, Nero yawns as Angelo sleeps in the passenger seat.
Finally, they arrive at a cloudy beach. They climb over a small hill to reach it with the car parked on the other side. On top of the hill, they look out at the sea. As they walk down the beach, Nero says that "You don't need a reason to live. You just live." As they walk, Angelo begins to say why he didn't kill him. Nero stops walking but Angelo continues forward. He says that it is because he "didn't want to kill [him]." Nero points his gun at him. He closes his eyes before looking forward and shooting.
As Nero drives back alone, he passes by the same car and man that he seen earlier. As he passes the other man brakes and looks at Nero's car, implying that he is following him. In Nero's car, he looks over at a can of "Royal Palm Sliced Hawaiian Pineapple" sat on his passenger seat. He looks forward before beginning to smile.
As the credits roll, we see the waves washing up onto the shore. Their footprints are erased by the waves, and there is no trace of them left.
The United States of America enacted Prohibition in 1920, and repealed it in 1933; in total, it lasted for 13 years. During this period, all manufacture, retail, and distribution of beverages with alcohol content of more than 0.5% was declared illegal.
The most obvious result of this act was the rise of the mafia. Before this, the mafia had mostly earned its money from gambling, robbery, and so-called protection fees. But now, through the sale of moonshine, the mafia’s profits swelled by leaps and bounds.
As the mafia’s power grew, violent incidents erupted more and more frequently. Conflicts between the different mafia factions also intensified, due to the greater sums of money at stake. The powerful mafia was able to foment corruption among the police force through methods such as threats and bribery, and even managed to intimidate the officers of the Bureau of Prohibition.
It was not just the mafia who grew wealthy from Prohibition; the countries neighboring the United States, which had not enacted laws against manufacturing alcohol, also took advantage of this to rake in a profit. One might say that the proliferation of smuggling was another distinctive consequence of the Prohibition edict.
After Prohibition was repealed, value-for-money liquor could be openly sold, and the underground distilleries were also eliminated. This meant that the mafia’s core source of revenue thus vanished.
From a distance came the laughter of children.
Cerotto, seeing his own child among the group, couldn’t hold back a smile.
Today the church had organized an event - a picnic after the Sunday service. The moment the children had been waiting for, the time for smashing the piñata, had finally arrived.
The animal-shaped object stuffed full of candy was raised up high, and swayed back and forth with each strike from the sticks.
After innumerable blows, the head portion of the piñata was finally split by a single crack, and the candy that filled it began tumbling out. The children cheered.
The children dashed here and there, competing to grab the candy. The parents instead sat on the picnic mats spread out on the lawn, and called encouragement to their children. A few among them were holding cups brimming with wine or beer.
Just a few years ago, this would have been an illegal activity. But now, it was something they could do openly under the warm sunlight.
Such was the change in times.
Cerotto’s past must have been rather ghastly, for it to be summed up in that one sentence.
Cerotto had been an information broker in this town that was under the mafia’s grip.
Of the people who had been close to him at the time, so few of them were still alive and about. The person he’d called his older brother, the residents who had fled after betraying the cops, the friend he’d known since he started out as an information broker, and this friend’s best friend…
Even the head of the Family, too, had…
Recalling them, Cerotto couldn’t help but feel somewhat sad. He took a swig of the beer that his wife handed to him.
As he drank this weak liquor which had absolutely no kick to it, Cerotto remembered that liquor which had been many degrees stronger and extraordinarily delicious.
At first, it had just been a liquor secretly brewed in that person’s kitchen, but later it was bestowed the grand name of Lawless Heaven, and entered large-scale production - and yet today it was gone without a trace.
Like the spinning of a zoetrope, the memories of that time drifted in a stream through Cerotto’s mind.
As though it wasn’t enough getting my car stolen by Nero and Avilio, I’d also been taken for a thief by the shopkeeper. Talk about bad luck. I was knocked out by that punch, and when I finally managed to regain consciousness, it was to find myself about to be handed over to the police to be dealt with.
The people I was traveling with stole my car, and I was so shocked I dashed out of the store. I have money, and I’ll be sure to pay.
Even during such a simple explanation, I could sense several times that my life hung in the balance. If not for the shopkeeper’s daughter next to me lending her support, I’d probably have been left to the tender mercies of the police.
I managed to pay for the cans, but I didn’t have the money to buy a new car. Besides, I had no idea if I’d be safe if I returned to Lawless. After all, the people I was dealing with this time were the Galassias - big shots in Chicago.
I’d driven the car that carried Nero and Avilio. If a single word of this were to get out, I’d definitely be done for.
“There’s no going back for a while…”
I muttered these words to myself, but for some reason, they won me the deep sympathy of the shopkeeper’s daughter. She asked her father to hire me to work in the store. While he gave in to his darling daughter’s request, the gaze he turned on me grew increasingly harsh.
I dutifully followed orders and worked hard. One day, out of the blue, Nero appeared in the store to buy something, causing me a real fright.
“Hey, hey, what are you doing here? This can’t be good!”
I involuntarily let out a yell, but Nero just smiled wryly and said, “You’re as much of a pushover as ever, I see.”
“I haven’t forgotten that you two stole my car!” I bellowed.
“If the car was really returned, you’d be the one in trouble,” Nero replied with a laugh.
It seemed that Nero had already been found by the Galassia underlings.
While on the run, aimless and with no real plan in mind, he’d just happened to pass by this spot. It seemed that it was actually easier to hide right under your pursuers’ noses, by laying low in nearby places. Cities were the best place to lose yourself. Nero said all this with a smile.
But I couldn’t help but think - Could it be that this guy actually wants to die…?
Throughout the conversation, there was no mention of Avilio, who should have been traveling with him.
He wasn’t by Nero’s side. I also sensed that this was something which couldn’t be discussed.
Apparently it had been Nero and his lot who had murdered Avilio’s family. The one who had given the order to kill Corteo was also Nero. And so Avilio had taken away Nero’s kin, his companions, even the Family.
These two people couldn’t possibly continue to coexist amiably.
But for some reason, on the front passenger seat of the car lay a pineapple can, and Nero kept glancing over at it many times.
It was as though Avilio was there…
Just as I had liked Corteo, Nero too had liked Avilio.
He must have been rather fond of him; he’d brought him everywhere he went.
Avilio, too, had gotten along very well with Nero. Although their personalities were exact opposites, no matter what, they were a good match for each other.
And yet, despite all that… This mafia crowd really was beyond saving.
No wonder Corteo had hated them.
Nero gave me a sizable sum of money, and departed this town in that hopelessly beaten-up car.
The shopkeeper’s daughter asked, “Was that a friend of yours?”
I laughed bitterly and shook my head, and told her it was the car thief. She was furious for a while, but eventually she started laughing.
I took out the money Nero had given me. She said, “It won’t buy a car, but it should be enough to pay for two train tickets and still have some left over.”
Before I managed to sort out what on earth this sentence meant, a cry had already escaped my mouth, “No!”
I couldn’t put the woman I loved in danger. I couldn’t bring her to Lawless.
Faced with her tears, I found it extraordinarily difficult to explain the whole situation. And the shopkeeper even charged forward to hit me.
Can you just let people finish talking before you start hitting them! Please!
In the end, I had to tell the whole story in full detail.
“Please don’t tell the Galassias…”
Trembling with fear, I begged them to keep the secret. This wasn’t for my sake, but for Nero’s.
“Hmph! Like we’d want to get mixed up with that mafia sort!”
The shopkeeper told me to stay here for the time being. Hearing this, I let out a sigh of relief, though even the shopkeeper’s daughter called me “a pushover”.
Taking my hand in hers, she said, “After everything’s settled down, how about we go back together?”
Because of this, I got hit by the shopkeeper again - but the incredible thing was that this time, I didn’t feel any pain. Even when the spot where I was struck became swollen, with her tender care, the pain was nothing to speak of! …or at least I could bluff that much.
Before we received any news of Lawless, Prohibition was repealed.
Even the grocery store run by the shopkeeper began to sell low-proof alcohol.
The moonshine breweries in this town vanished one by one, replaced by ordinary stores that could sell alcohol.
Everyone said that the times had changed.
The newspapers said that the mafia in Chicago had gotten involved in a fierce battle with the FBI. After that, together with the shopkeeper’s daughter who was now my wife, I returned to Lawless.
In Lawless, no one knew what had become of Nero afterwards.
No one had any idea whether he was dead or alive.
With Orco, Fango, and Vincent all gone now, Lawless could be said to be incomparably peaceful. Apparently the Galassias had returned to Chicago without having taken control of the town. With the end of Prohibition, the Galassias had most likely lost the power to control somewhere as distant as Lawless.
I’d assumed that the playhouse where the tragedy took place would have been shut down, but in fact, it was operating just fine. The house where Corteo formerly lived now had a new tenant. The church on the island, in contrast, was unsurprisingly abandoned, given how severely the past shootouts had damaged the buildings. As for the Island, it seemed that it was soon to be reopened. Orco’s restaurant and the Vanetti mansion, too, now had new owners.
Ah, the times really had changed. I felt this very keenly.
Bearing flowers, my wife and I went to pay our respects at the graves of Corteo, my brother, and others.
At the same time, I said a small prayer for Avilio and Nero.
Although I have no idea what became of you two…
I didn’t have the slightest wish to know how those two guys ended up. I never wanted to find out.
“Papa! Mama! Look at this!” Hearing his son’s voice, Cerotto opened his eyes that had been tightly shut. His son’s small hands were brimming with sweets, chocolate, and packets of cookies.
“Whoa, are you sharing these with Papa and Mama?”
“What a good child.”
His son broke into a satisfied smile at the praise and the pat to his head. But in the moment Cerotto took away the chocolate he loved, a trace of sadness was visible on his little face.
Cerotto tore open the wrapper, and fed him the chocolate. His son’s downcast face instantly brightened with happiness.
“Mmhmm, it’s good, isn’t it.”
“Papa! I love you soooooooo much!”
As Cerotto took his son in his arms, he could smell the unique fragrance that children have…
Lawless had become a peaceful place. I was running a grocery store in this town that was slightly larger than my wife’s hometown. For some reason, the shop on that small street was the original store, and this one in Lawless was only considered the second branch. This had been the condition for marrying her, and I had to agree.
My store had no need to be scarred with bullet holes. I never wanted a time like that to come again.
Instead, I wished that peace could last forever. This was what I prayed for.
Corteo, Nero, and Avilio were smiling and nodding-
That’s the feeling I had.