Grazhir :: Crossover :: Hisui :: 14

14: 2015

“Now that’s bad news,” Renato said, glancing up from his computer.

“What now?”

“Xanxus somehow freed himself, or was freed, and he knows about the kitten. He learns his brothers are dead, thinks he’s next in line, only to find out he’s been bypassed. This is not going to be fun.”

“Eh, I’m missing something here, but then I never paid much attention to politics in the first place.”

Renato shrugged. “Yes. When there are multiple contenders for the position there can be scuffles. Obviously, Nono chose Tsuna as his successor, but Xanxus might kick up one hell of a fuss. Still, so long as he and Iemitsu agree on the choice, it’s a moot point for the most part.”

“No, you lost me. I know Iemitsu-san is the head of CEDEF, but what does that mean in this hypothetical situation?”

“CEDEF is, at its heart, an intelligence organization answering to the Vongola. They remain outside the direct control of the Vongola and have very little power during times of peace. But, should a crisis or emergency erupt, the head of CEDEF becomes second in command of the famiglia. The leader also has equal voting power on who the next boss should be, though it’s rare that they ever disagree.”

“So if Xanxus pushes the issue, it gives Iemitsu-san more power. But they both already agreed on Tsuna-kun. Wouldn’t Xanxus kicking up a fuss just potentially end up with him being iced again?”

“I have no idea. I think Nono was quite regretful that he had to do it in the first place, but at least he could do that instead of a more permanent solution. If it happens again he might well just kill him.”

At the weekend they went over to have dinner in the Sawada home and found Nana cooking enough food for an army. After an exchange of looks they took seats. She was singing to herself the entire time, had stars in her eyes and bore a goofy smile, and kept loading more dishes onto the table, making space for actually eating a bit difficult. That did not stop them from tucking in.

Tsuna called from the hallway, “Is dinner ready yet?” He rounded the door frame and stopped in surprise. “Oh.”

The others of the household crowded in behind him with equally surprised looks. “Tsuna, what’s going on?” Bianchi asked as she took a seat.

“Did you get a one hundred on a test?” Fūta asked.

“Kaa-san?” When she failed to snap out of her dream world Tsuna tried again, more loudly.

Nana jerked, then turned and waved with the knife in her hand. “Oh, Tsu~kun!”

“Careful with the knife!” he said, hands coming up defensively. “What’s wrong? You’re acting strange.”

“Oh my, is that so? Oh yes, I haven’t told you yet. Daddy’s coming back after being away for years!” Her smile could light up the darkness, though the way that knife kept moving around, it might bring it on.

He sighed and ate a little more. He did not want to be in the house for that meeting, though it might be wise to be present.

“Is that something to be surprised about?” Bianchi asked, eyeing Tsuna curiously.

“He’s finally been found!?” Tsuna asked his mother.

“Found…? What are you talking about?” At least the knife had been set down, so when she turned that time she wasn’t waving it in her son’s face.

“Dad disappeared somewhere, didn’t he?”

“My goodness, Tsu-kun! Who do think earns all the funding for your school and food?” she asked reasonably.

Tsuna stuttered a bit as a look of surprised realization stole over his face. “That’s true…?”

“I’ve kept in touch with him all this time, of course,” Nana said dreamily. “Tsu-kun’s daddy is digging up oil in a foreign country. He’s a man of dirt.”

“Well, I can see why Tsuna-nii would be confused,” Fūta offered. “Since Mama doesn’t talk about Papa at all, I thought it was taboo to talk about him. I thought he was already dead.”

Tsuna blinked, then said loudly, “But—you said Dad disappeared!”

“Oh my, that? That’s because Daddy said…” A finger came up to press against her lower lip as her eyes went hazy in remembrance. “Before he left he said, ‘I’m going, Nana. You like men who are romantic, right?’ And I agreed. Then he said, ‘Then tell Tsu-kun that I disappeared and became a star in the sky or something. That way, it sounds more romantic.’ Like that!”

Tsuna’s face fell.

“Papa is a funny person,” Bianchi commented.

Fūta asked, “When is he coming back?”

“Soon,” Nana chirped. “A post card came!” She fished it out of her apron and handed it to Tsuna, who examined it with a confused look on his face.

Hisui could see that it was a picture of penguins in the Antarctic. ‘Way to go, Iemitsu-san. Keep on building that trust with your future boss.’

Later that night, at home, Renato looked at him and sighed. “I’m going to hope that he’s visiting just because. I also wonder if Nono told him off.”

He shrugged. “We can hope, on both counts, but let’s not assume so.”

The next day they slipped on their earpieces tied to Tsuna and lazed around the house. Hisui was deep into a new novel when he heard an explosion. The book was snapped shut and tossed onto the table. Renato dashed into the room—he had been maintaining his gun collection—and offered an arm. Hisui took it and apparated them to the blind spot he had long ago warded.

When they arrived at the shopping district it was to see Tsuna sprawled on the ground with a boy on top of him; but that boy had blue Dying Will Flames ignited on his forehead.

“Oh,” Renato said. “That looks like Basil. This is bad.”

“I knew I should have asked more questions last night,” he muttered.

Before much of anything could be said amongst those clustered around the collision he heard, “Voooiii!”

He looked over and up toward the sound and saw a man there, with long silver-white hair and wearing some kind of uniform. A sword was strapped to his left arm.

“What’s this? Outsiders parading around?” the man called down. “I’ll slice up any trash who gets in the way!”

Renato groaned softly. “That’s just brilliant. He’s Superbi Squalo, one of the Varia. We can now assume the succession is in doubt.”

“Great.”

“What’s going on?” Tsuna asked. “He looks like serious trouble.”

‘Kami-sama,’ he thought, then nimbly skipped over to Kyoko. “Please get the children away from here. Now.”

She blinked stupidly at him for a moment, then nodded and grabbed for Lambo and I-Pin. She called to Fūta and started off, casting glances back over her shoulder.

“My apologies, Sawada-dono,” Basil said. “I’ve been followed.”

“Eh…”

“I have just met thee, yet I’ve already dragged thee into such a dangerous situation.”

“Eh…” Tsuna repeated. Hisui counted it as a plus that the boy was not freaking out yet. “Ano… Who are you?”

Basil did not answer; instead he jumped up, grabbed Tsuna’s hand, and dragged him off. Hayato and Takeshi gawked.

“Hey!” Tsuna cried. “What is it!?”

“Let us find a safe place!” Basil urged, hauling Tsuna around a corner. “I would like to tell thee something!”

“Voooiii!” Squalo dropped down near the two. “Let’s quit this game of tag.” He stood up from his landing crouch and stared for a moment. “And, who are these guys?”

Basil’s expression went rueful.

“Let’s get you to spill everything now, shall we?” Squalo attacked and Basil parried.

“He uses a boomerang?” he whispered to Renato in disbelief. The more he watched, though, the more he realized it was more than that, but could be used as one.

Squalo sent the teen flying backward to crash into a wall. “Voi!”

Tsuna’s head snapped around from the impact to Squalo.

“Yeah, you. What’s your relationship with this kid?” Squalo asked, sword pointed forward. “If you don’t spit it out, I’ll slice you.”

Tsuna started stuttering, but was interrupted when Hayato finally acted and flung dynamite out. Squalo was not a member of the Varia for nothing, and easily evaded by wall jumping out of range and landing a distance away.

Hayato had more dynamite ready and Takeshi had his sword resting against his shoulder. “Lay a hand on that person,” Hayato said, “and I won’t let you go free.”

“Yeah,” Takeshi said, “something like that. I’ll be your opponent.” Then he laughed. “Somehow my bat was handy even though I hadn’t brought it along.”

“Something we need to discuss, it seems,” he whispered.

“Good thing I keep spares,” Renato whispered back.

“You guys are also related in some way, huh? I don’t get it, but I’ll tell you something I know for sure. If you go against me, you’ll die.”

“Right back at you,” Hayato replied.

“That’s a sword he has, right? I’ll go.”

“What are the odds that Tsuna left the gloves at home?” Renato asked.

“Extreme. Be right back.” He sped off and located them carelessly stashed on a shelf in Tsuna’s room, and was back before a minute had passed. Renato took them.

“Please don’t!” Basil cried, having finally worked his way free of the wall. “He isn’t a man thou can win against!”

“It’s too late to regret,” Squalo said gleefully, and charged.

“Let’s go!” Takeshi responded, and started his own charge.

It was a decidedly one-sided fight. Squalo revealed that his sword was more of a type of gun-blade. Next he humiliated Hayato by slicing the tops off all the dynamite he was holding, then kicked him into a wall. “Voi… These guys aren’t even worth talking about. Just die!”

Basil blocked the blow meant to kill Hayato.

“You piece of trash. You plan to spill now?”

“I refuse!”

“Then this will be your grave.”

Tsuna went into panic mode at having two friends down and a seemingly friendly stranger in a fight for his life. Renato sighed and slipped over to Tsuna long enough to shove the gloves at him. “It doesn’t matter what you’re doing or where you go, you should always have these on you. Kitten, you’ve had how many assassins come after you already? Be prepared!” When Tsuna tried to waste time with useless questions he added, “Hey! Battle going on here! Pay attention!”

Tsuna looked back to see Basil in dire straits and slipped the gloves on as Renato zipped back over to where Hisui was standing, reasonably out of the danger zone. Basil hit the stone pavers with a grunt of pain and a splash of blood.

“Voi! Did you really think you could beat me?”

Renato took aim and fired.

“You stray dog. I’ll just ask the other kid for answers. You can die!”

Tsuna caught the “hilt” of the blade as it came down to end Basil’s life. “Long hair, I’ll beat you with my Dying Will!”

Squalo blinked, his upper lip curling back at one side in confusion. “Eh?” He looked Tsuna over, from head to hands. “Don’t tell me you’re the one in Japan I heard… I see… To get in contact with you…” A psychotic grin appeared. “Now I need to ask what you’re planning even more! I’ll have you spit it out even if you die, damn it!”

“Mio Dio,” Renato said thirty seconds later. “I knew it wouldn’t be enough, but…”

It did give Basil time to recover enough to intervene again, and use his boomerang to great effect. During the distraction he was able to haul Tsuna off again and offer him a box. Hisui looked at his lover questioningly.

“The half rings. It’s come down to a decision battle between the kitten and Xanxus, then. But why? They already agreed on Tsuna.”

Dino breezed by, giving them a little wave and a smile, then put his “hard ass” face on and prepared his whip. Romario and the other guardians had his back. “Isn’t it embarrassing being so rough on kids?” he asked Squalo, who had just threatened to kill all of them. “If you don’t stop this distasteful game of yours, then I’ll be your opponent.”

Squalo paused before answering. “Voi, Bucking Horse. I have no problem with killing you right here. But if I fight people from allied families, the higher-ups will be nagging me. For today I’ll—” He dashed toward Tsuna in a flash and wrested the box from his hands. “—not go home empty-handed!”

Before Dino could respond Squalo used the explosive capabilities of his sword to create a smokescreen. By the time it cleared enough he was some distance away, but Tsuna and Basil were fine, relatively speaking.

“For your sake,” Squalo said, from some distance away, “I’ll leave their lives in your hands. But I’ll take this.” He held up the box and grinned like a shark, then leaped away, quickly leaving their sight.

He went to Tsuna and Basil as Renato checked on Hayato and Takeshi. Ivan, Brizio, and Michael went with him to help check the two over, while the others stayed with Dino.

“Why did you only appear again just now!?” Tsuna demanded. “Why didn’t you help me!?”

“Always with the yelling,” he said with a exasperated shake of his head. “We’re not allowed to attack him. He’s a member of the Vongola.”

“Eh? Say what!? I was nearly killed by someone from the Vongola!? What is going on!?”

He shrugged. The middle of the shopping district was not the place to discuss any of it.

“Capo,” Romario said, “the cops.”

Indeed, he could hear the sounds of one of their cars.

“Tsuna, we’ll talk about this later,” Dino said, helping Basil to his feet. “I’ve prepared an unused hospital. Let’s go.”

Hayato and Takeshi ran up, with Renato and the guardians trailing behind them. “Are you okay?” Takeshi asked Tsuna.

“What was up with that guy?” Hayato complained.

Renato sighed and rolled his eyes slightly. “You two can go home now.”

Hayato and Takeshi looked at him in confusion.

“The level you’re fighting at right now will be nothing but a bother,” Renato said flatly, then grabbed Tsuna by the hand and dragged him away. Dino and his men quickly followed with Basil, but diverted Renato before they got too far, off to whatever hospital he had in mind.

Hisui cast a look at the boys and went to catch up. True, they had not expected any of them to do well when being faced unexpectedly by a member of the Varia, but after their defeat and being called on their performance—the fact that they looked pissed off meant one of two things. They were angry at Renato for being brutal, or angry at themselves for being beaten so quickly. Or both.

*

“How’s Basil doing, Romario?” Dino asked.

The hospital Dino had led them to was ghostly inside with the lack of people or sound or movement, but someone in one of the two famiglie had brought parts of the place back to working order.

“His life’s not in danger,” Romario replied. “Looks like he’s been trained well. His wounds are not severe, capo.”

“Ano… Who … is he?” Tsuna said uncertainly. “Is he a member of the Vongola, too?”

“No,” Dino said, “well, sort of, but not really. It’s … complicated. But I can tell you for sure that he’s on your side.”

“What’s going on?” Tsuna whined. “Vongola is the enemy and… I mean, I don’t need enemies or allies.”

“Tsuna, you can’t say that anymore,” Dino said seriously.

“The rings are on the move,” Renato said.

“Rings? This boy said something about that, too. The long-haired guy stole them.”

“The proper name is the Vongola Half-Rings. It’s a treasure of the Vongola Famiglia that was supposed to be left in storage for another three years.”

“Are they really pricey or something?” Tsuna asked.

“Yes, so valuable that you cannot put a price tag to them. But in the long history of the Vongola, it’s not known how much blood has been shed for these rings.”

Tsuna freaked for a moment, then heaved a sigh of relief. “Thank goodness that long-haired guy took the box, then.”

Dino chuckled and reached into his jacket. He brought out a box and showed it to Tsuna. “But I have it right here. These are the real ones.”

Hisui rolled his eyes. “Iemitsu-san brainwashed the kid, didn’t he?” he whispered to Renato.

“More than likely, yes. He’s only a few months older than Tsuna, so he was probably recruited into CEDEF early to be as good as he is now. Iemitsu probably taught him Japanese and thought it’d be funny to use an archaic form.”

“I really dread him showing up.”

“I know, tesoro.”

“Stop!” Tsuna shrieked. “I have to go home and study for my classes! I’d better work hard!” He turned and fled.

“Does he honestly think it’s that easy?” Renato said. “Basil was a decoy, yes?”

“Yeah,” Dino said with a sigh. “Basil himself probably wasn’t told, just to maintain realism.”

“Iemitsu probably figured something like this would happen, but I’d like to think it was a hard decision for him.”

Dino shrugged. “He should have just given these to Tsuna directly. He came to Japan with me, you know?”

“We should go,” he said. “If he’s here…”

“Don’t worry,” Dino said and smiled at them. “We’ll make sure Basil recovers!”

“Dino,” he said, including Romario in his look, “thank you.”

They caught up to Tsuna and shadowed him home. Squalo had probably set off on a journey back to Italy, to Varia Headquarters, so Tsuna ought to be safe for the time being. But they had no intention of being careless.

The boy in question was in for a surprise. When they arrived at the Sawada house Tsuna veered to walk through the gate and stopped dead. There were multiple drying racks out in the side yard, from which hung shirts, trousers, jumpsuits, wife-beaters—and several baskets of laundry yet to be hung were scattered around. On the porch was a set of tall, muddy boots.

Tsuna freaked. Inside the front door was a hard hat on the console table and a pickaxe leaned up against it. Bianchi was just coming down the stairs. “Oh, Tsuna, you’re fine? Papa is back. Mama went out to buy food because Papa quickly devoured the food she’d already made, enough for twenty people.”

Fūta came dashing in. “Tsuna-nii, you’re fine!?” He stopped, cheeks flushed red and eyes hazy. “I are sooooo worrieded.”

Lambo staggered into the hall, swaying. “There are four Tsuna-kuns,” he slurred and giggled madly.

“You two reek of alcohol!” Tsuna shrieked and snatched the bottle out of Fūta’s hand. “What are you holding!? This is sake!”

Fūta hiccuped and smiled lazily. “Papa said it was magic water.”

Tsuna caught sight of I-Pin wobbling down the hall and shrieked again, then dashed into the living room. Iemitsu was sprawled on his back, wearing only boxers and a wife-beater, fast asleep, and snoring. Several empty sake bottles were off to the side, multiple empty cans of beer, and many empty plates and platters. To properly finish off the scene, Iemitsu rolled to one side and broke wind, then mumbled happily, “Nana.”

Tsuna fled upstairs.

Renato snorted and eyed Iemitsu with something akin to disgust.

“Now I know where the kitten’s odd choices in boxers come from,” he whispered to his lover, then turned away to capture Lambo and haul him up. He shook his head at seeing inebriated children and cursed how unbelievably irresponsible Tsuna’s father was with them. “What am I going to do with you?” he muttered, gazing at the cloudy green eyes of his little student.

Lambo giggled at him as his head lolled to the side. “Nagi~san loves Lambo-san!”

‘Gods help me, but I kind of do. And since when did I gain a nickname?’ “We need to get you to sleep this off, chibi.”

“Lambo-san feels warm and fuzzy. And dizzy.” He giggled again.

He sighed and crouched back down to grab I-Pin, then headed upstairs to Tsuna’s room, tapping the door with his foot until the boy opened it. “Where do these two normally bed down? They really need to sleep this off. And Fūta-kun, too, but we can get him in a minute.”

A minute later he was tucking Lambo into a bed, staring at the child a bit sadly. Hopefully he would wake up fine. Children were generally resilient, though this should never have happened in the first place. He felt Renato look in briefly. Once he was done he sought out Tsuna again. “Do me a favor, kitten.”

“Hm?”

“If you notice your father giving the kids alcohol again, let me know?”

Tsuna nodded, a frown marring his brow.

Renato was on duty the next morning, and it was a normal enough situation right up until the point when Hisui realized that Lambo had not shown up for a lesson. Of course, the kid had gone to bed blitzed out of his mind, so perhaps he had just slept more heavily and longer than normal. Or, perhaps, he was interested in a new face at the house. Missing a lesson wasn’t the end of the world, but if it started to become a habit he would have to have a little talk with the cow.

He turned on his earpiece and listened in for the day, splitting his attention between that and a book. Tsuna flipped out when he realized what the rings meant and he was worried that they would have to explain about the most recent assassination attempt. Tsuna was back to denying his heritage, even though Hayato and Takeshi were thrilled to take part (though it took Tsuna trying to use the ‘long-haired man’ as a reason not to be involved for Takeshi to do a one-eighty from his initial thought to refuse).

Ryohei fell into place, excited beyond reason at the idea that Master Paopao would be teaching him, then switched his attention when Colonnello arrived to take him in hand. Dino went after Hibari. Hisui got the feeling Hayato would try for Shamal, but who knew how that would turn out. He felt a mild sense of regret that they had not gotten around to deviously leading Hayato to the realization that his life mattered too. Takeshi would most likely seek out his father for training.

That left Mist and Lightning, and he was already fairly certain who Lightning was.

Then came the sound of a gun being fired. School was definitely off the table. “Couldn’t all this have waited until their break?” he muttered. “You’re an asshole, Xanxus. Fuck this.” He set down his book and headed to the Sawada house.

Nana let him in, stars in her eyes and a dreamy smile on her lips. He held back a sigh as he stepped inside and glanced around. “Nana-chan, where is Lambo-kun?”

A finger came up to press against her lower lip as she thought. “I’m not sure!” she said brightly.

“I see. Well, don’t let me interrupt. I’m going to take Lambo-kun for a while, all right?”

She nodded and skipped off to the kitchen, presumably to cook yet more food, or possibly to do more laundry. How in hell Iemitsu had managed to bring home an entire wardrobe’s worth of clothing for his wife to clean…

As soon as she was out of hearing range he gave in to the urge to sigh, then poked his head into the living room. Lambo was sprawled on the floor near yet another empty sake bottle. He went over and hefted the child up, and was disgusted to realize the chibi reeked of alcohol. ‘I must not kill allies,’ he thought, then exited the house and took the boy home with him.

He deposited the child on the loveseat and laid a light blanket over him, then resumed reading his book after getting himself a soda. He burned through several cigarettes before the little cow woke up and gazed at him blearily.

“Nagi-san?”

“Yes. I take it that Papa gave you more magic water?”

Lambo nodded slowly. “He was playing with Lambo-san, tossing him up in the air, but he missed, so he gave Lambo-san magic water for the ouchies.”

He sighed. “And you fell asleep, which is why you missed your lesson.”

Lambo’s eyes went all teary. He sat up and sniffled. “Lambo-san is sorry.”

“It’s not your fault, chibi, but I appreciate that you’re willing to apologize. Let’s get something straight, though. No more magic water.”

Lambo blinked at him. “Why?”

“Magic water is alcohol. It’s an adult beverage. You are much too young to be drinking like that, and I really don’t want to see just how much lasting harm it may cause you.” He waited, and when all Lambo did was nod again he said, “Verbally, please.”

“…Lambo-san won’t drink any more magic water.”

He nodded. “Did you even eat breakfast?”

Lambo’s eyes cut to the side and his brow furrowed. “Lambo-san doesn’t remember.”

‘Kami-sama. This is obviously a trial from the gods as a test of my patience, to see if I can manage not to use Iemitsu as an acupuncture dummy.’ “Are you hungry?”

“…A little.”

He closed his book and set it aside, then got up and picked Lambo up. “Let’s have a snack, then.” He brought the chibi into the kitchen, parked him on a boosted seat, and put some grapes in a bowl for him. For himself he quickly peeled an apple and cored it, cut it into slices, and tossed those in a bowl. While they were eating he asked, “Did Papa give you anything? Aside from magic water, that is.”

Lambo nodded vigorously and finished his current grape before saying, “Lambo-san was given a pretty ring! Papa said Lambo-san could earn the other half.”

His eyes closed briefly. ‘There are days when I truly loathe you, Iemitsu-san.’ Regret, grief, fear, anger—he was not happy. “It’s possible you could die,” he said bluntly.

Lambo laughed.

If Iemitsu had made Lambo the Lightning Guardian it was entirely likely that his idea of strategy was for Lambo to use the Ten Year Bazooka. “If you really mean to do it, you need to start training.”

“Lambo-san is a skilled hitman!”

He nodded. “I see. I need some idea of your skill level. How many people have you killed so far?”

Lambo became very interested in his snack, pretending to have trouble choosing which grape to eat next.

“Uh huh. How many jobs have you been sent on?”

“Oh look! Lambo-san has found a perfect grape!” The boy plucked one out and stuffed it in his mouth, then chewed slooooowly.

He stifled the urge to chuckle at the obvious delaying tactic and mentally praised his student for using one of the rules to his advantage. “Pretending you don’t hear me is amusing, but ultimately pointless, chibi.”

Lambo’s brow furrowed in consternation.

“You are very clever and very smart. But you are also very inexperienced. I told you quite a ways back that I would help if you asked. So?”

“…Nagi-san will help Lambo-san?”

His brow went up. “I already answered that. Perhaps you should rephrase the question.”

Lambo frowned cutely. “Will Nagi-san help Lambo-san?”

He smiled faintly and nodded. “Yes. Finish up those grapes and we’ll do some stamina work.” The odds of the child actually winning were negligible, but he agreed with his assumption of Iemitsu’s plan; Lambo would get upset at the first “ouchie”, cry, and use the Ten Year Bazooka. Fifteen year old Lambo was not necessarily a vast improvement, but he would still be an improvement. And if he got flustered enough?

Lambo beamed at him and fished out another grape to eat.

‘I can’t push him very far because one, he’s practically a baby, and two, he’s probably still metabolizing off the effects of the booze. But, I can get him jogging, zap him repeatedly with low levels of electricity, and—I wonder if there’d be any point in teaching him hand-to-hand? Long term, anyway. Though I’m having trouble seeing him in a dojo, not with his tendency to flip out and fling grenades like they were candy. On the other hand, if I lay down rules for that, he might actually listen to me and behave.’

Once the boy was finished with his snack he hustled him out back and into the training area he normally brought Tsuna to, making sure he had plenty of sports drinks and water. “Two things, chibi. First, you’re going to be jogging. The better your stamina, the longer you can fight, and the better you’ll be able to use your flames once we get those ignited. Second, I’m going to be hitting you with some electricity to get you used to it. You’re a Lightning, so you should be able to learn how to absorb it.”

“Eh?”

“One of the times we saw your fifteen year old self he used lightning to power his horns. That meant getting hit with a bolt of lightning. It did him no harm, but I figure he had to work his way up to that. So, the younger you start, the sooner you can get on with that. All right?”

“O~kay!”

“Good. Start jogging around the track, then. A steady pace, if you please. Don’t sprint.”

Lambo gave him a confused look, but complied.

“Now, be prepared for the electricity, chibi. I won’t use too much at first.” And he did, sending magical shocks at the child. Lambo squealed each time, but did not seem to be in any real pain. He kept it up for fifteen minutes before calling for a break and handing Lambo a small sports drink. “Think you can go another round?” he asked once it was consumed. Young children were generally bundles of energy, but frequently only for a given thing for a short time.

Lambo looked more than a little done in, but he nodded.

“All right. One more round of this, then we’ll cool you down and move onto the next thing.”

That evening Renato breezed in after escorting Tsuna home. “Haru showed up at the mountain. How she managed to find us is beyond me, but she ended up at the cliff. Brought the kitten something to eat.”

“At least she’s a bit more practical than most fangirls,” he commented.

“Hayato was also on the mountain. Unfortunately, he was alone up there, which means his bid to get Shamal’s help failed.”

He groaned softly. “I suppose I could—”

“No,” Renato interrupted. “The kitten took off as soon as Haru mentioned he was on the mountain, as well, worried about his friend. Hayato wasn’t doing so well and was pretty beat up. Shamal was there, though, watching. But so was Iemitsu, and he was the one to finally clue Hayato in to where he was going wrong, how he wasn’t valuing his own life. Shamal stepped in at that point to reinstate himself as the brat’s tutor.”

He furrowed his brow. “And the reason I haven’t seen Iemitsu-san is because he’s probably been flitting around between guardians. He wouldn’t have any reason to bother looking in on Lambo because of his expectations.”

“I assume you’ve been working with the cow today, then?”

He nodded. “Once he sobered up, yes. Not much, but he’s so young, and we all know he’ll use the bazooka. And yes, I’ve been hitting him with increasing amounts of electricity. He’s a stubborn little thing. Said he wanted to do the fight.”

Renato scoffed. “Yeah, Iemitsu was free with the sake again this morning. The kitten wanted me to make sure you knew that. Oh, I’ll get Shamal to write up some excuses for the kids and turn them into the school. They all came down with chicken pox or something. They won’t care about Hibari. He’s practically a law unto himself.”

“You going to push the kitten to learn Zero Point Breakthrough?”

“Of course. Dino let me know that Basil is back up and about, between a visit from Iemitsu and help from Romario, so he can act as a sparring partner. The kid can fight mostly defensively for that, and be a living example of part of what the kitten needs to learn. With as much as you’ve been running the kitten into the ground, he shouldn’t need a Dying Will Bullet. Damn stubbornness is driving me a bit mad.”

Renato’s birthday passed with little fanfare, though Hisui made dinner specifically to his tastes that evening, and spoiled the hell out of him in bed. Tsuna was not let off early the day following for his own. Nana would be making yet another feast anyway, they presumed, though it would be more geared toward Iemitsu than her child.

“I gave him our gift before he went inside,” Renato said.

It was getting on toward dinner on Friday when unease crawled up his spine and put him on alert. They were supposed to have it at the Sawada house and he had already set out to go there, but he was not about to ignore his intuition. Thus he concentrated, trying to figure out who was triggering it. It wasn’t Nana, or Renato, or Tsuna—Lambo? “Shit, I really have fallen for the little cow.”

He snapped off a locater and set out, slipping the earpiece tied to Renato into place and tapping it. When he did not receive a response he pulled his phone out to send a text, but that was when Renato responded.

“Lambo’s in danger.”

“Yeah, I’m trying to find him now.”

“Heading?”

“East-northeast. I think he’s somewhere between the shopping district and Nana-chan’s.”

“The Varia is here.”

“Shit. Which means we can’t fight directly.”

“Yes, but Iemitsu went off to check on and warn the other guardians. But if necessary we’ll just have to shoot the kitten.”

He heard a squawk in the background, but by then he had found the cow. He was with Fūta and I-Pin, and they were running from a sword-wielding adult. Hisui might not be able to fight directly, but he could delay, and do it subtly, from the shadows. To that end he slowed down the pursuer. “Found him,” he sent in a whisper. “The kids are on twelfth right now.”

“Almost there.”

“Stay away!” Fūta cried, still dragging the little ones with him.

Renato and Tsuna came barreling around the corner, but before either of them could react Ryohei barged in from the other end of the street and punched the aggressor so hard he went flying. His hand was aflame.

“Vongola Famiglia’s Guardian of the Sun and Colonnello’s best disciple, Sasagawa Ryohei, is here!”

He rolled his eyes at the needless introduction. After all, the guy Ryohei hit seemed to be unconscious.

Tsuna went to run forward, but Renato held him back. “Not yet.”

A second man jumped in from the top of the street’s east-side retaining wall and was promptly knocked out of the park. A third also tried and was blown into unconsciousness by Hayato. Lambo, Fūta, and I-Pin raced for the three and crowded in close.

“Geez, why does the dumb cow have a ring?” Hayato complained.

Renato removed his restraining hand from Tsuna and let the kitten run to join his friends. Hisui ghosted over and said quietly, “We’re not done yet.”

“They’re much weaker than I thought they’d be,” Ryohei commented while Tsuna was busy trying to appease a tired and hungry Lambo. “That was an easy victory!”

“You’re thinking too simplistically,” Renato said. “Those three are just underlings of the Varia. The really scary ones—” He broke off and looked toward the retaining wall that separated a park from the street. “He’s here.”

Hisui followed his gaze to see a tall man in a Varia uniform. On his back was a strange harness with eight hilts of some kind sticking out, four to a side. He had spiky dark hair and odd facial hair.

“So, you guys did that.”

“Levi, or Leviathan, whichever,” Renato commented.

“My opponent who wields the Lightning Ring is the funny little cow kid,” Levi said menacingly, glaring at the child.

Lambo gulped, then noticed that Hisui was there, and scrambled away from the guardians to cling to him instead.

Levi reached back for the uppermost hilts on his back and started to pull them free.

“Hold it, Levi!” Four others appeared on the retaining wall, though one of them looked more like a machine, and one was Arcobaleno Mammon. Judging by the hair, one was Lussuria. The other was Belphegor based on the tiara in his blond hair. “Don’t hunt them all on your own,” Lussuria added.

“It looks like there are other wielders of rings here, as well,” Mammon remarked.

And then, of course, came a familiar, “Voooiii! How dare you trick me, you piece of trash! Which one of you wields the Ring of Rain?”

“Me,” Takeshi said with a dark expression.

“Oh, it’s you.” Squalo grinned sharply. “Three seconds. I’ll slice you up in three seconds.”

There was some jostling happening up there, and another figure appeared.

“Xanxus,” Renato whispered.

The killing intent in the air froze Tsuna and his guardians in place, though Tsuna somehow ended up on his ass. “Sawada Tsunayoshi,” Xanxus growled. He brought his hand up; it ignited with a dark flame.

“No way, boss,” Lussuria cried. “You’re suddenly using that!?”

“Are you planning to kill us, too?” Squalo asked, hunching away a bit.

“This is bad,” Renato called to the guardians. “Run!”

“Die!” Xanxus snarled.

“Hold it, Xanxus!” Iemitsu called out. He appeared on the next section over, with Basil and another man at his side. “That’s enough. From here on, I’ll take charge of things.”

“Dad?” Tsuna said weakly.

“Iemitsu!”

“Y-you—what are you doing here?” Squalo demanded, his sword arm coming up.

“Xanxus… Is one of your minions planning to lift up a sword against me, the external advisor?”

“Don’t stick your comments in now, Iemitsu!” Squalo said with loathing. “You’re the wuss who can do nothing but run around.”

“What!?”

“Wait, Basil,” Iemitsu said firmly, causing Basil to back down and lower his weapon. “I wasn’t running. I was just waiting for an answer from Nono. I was questioning the way you guys have been doing your stuff lately, along with Nono’s approval. So I sent messages to Nono with some significant questions. And, an order that I assume is his reply has just arrived.”

“I don’t get what’s going on!” Tsuna whined. “Besides, why Dad—!?”

Renato sighed. “He’s the external advisor to the Vongola Famiglia. He both is, and is not, Vongola. He’s not involved during peaceful times, but when the famiglia is in a crisis he becomes second in command to Nono. I’ll explain more later. Now isn’t the time. Right now you have one half of the rings; the Varia has the other half. The side that fully claims them has proof of the claim to be heir. It’s rare that the boss and the external advisor choose different candidates.”

Basil had jumped down and just then arrived in front of Tsuna. He offered up a scroll as Iemitsu made sure one got to Xanxus. “Sawada-dono, these are direct orders from the Vongola Nono.”

Tsuna took the scroll and undid the tie, then pulled it open. It was sealed at the top with Sky Flame. The same was true of the one Xanxus held.

“That’s Nono’s stamp of Dying Will Flame,” Mammon said. “There’s no mistake. It’s a real order.”

“Ano… It’s written in Italian,” Tsuna observed. “I can’t read it! We didn’t get that far yet.”

Iemitsu barked out a laugh. “Translated, this is what it basically says: Until now I thought that the one worthy to become heir was Iemitsu’s son, Sawada Tsunayoshi, and so I decided that way. However, lately, because I am nearing the end of my life, my intuition has sharpened, and I’ve decided to select a more worthy heir. My son, Xanxus, is the one worthy to become the Vongola Decimo. But, there will be people unsatisfied with this change. Currently, Iemitsu has refused to give Xanxus his half of the rings.”

Tsuna’s brain started melting if his expression said anything. He looked at his father with confused despair.

“However, I have no intent for members of my own famiglia to indulge in useless battles. Therefore, let us start the traditional Vongola battle that everyone might be satisfied. So, what this means is, those who wield the same type of ring will fight each other in a one-on-one battle.”

Iemitsu smiled broadly, plasticly. “So, you can all go back to wherever you’re staying for the moment while this gets set up. You’ll be informed soon enough of the arrangements. Further instructions will be forthcoming.”

Hisui was about to gather up the children and go when two women appeared. They looked like twins and had darkly-tanned skin, long pink hair, and black half masks with white screens over the eyes.

“Thank you for waiting,” one of them said. “In this scramble for the rings, we’ll serve as judges. We are the Cervello Organization, serving directly under the Vongola Nono.” She held up another flame-stamped parchment. “Please consider our decisions regarding the scramble battle for the rings as Nono’s decision. Nono said that this is the most risky step to satisfy the entire famiglia. Do you have any objections? Xanxus-sama?”

When he said nothing she continued, “Thank you very much.”

“Wait,” interjected Iemitsu, “I do. I’ve never heard of the Cervello Organization. How can I leave the judging to someone like that?”

The second girl replied, “We cannot accept your objection. We serve the ninth directly, and thus you have no authority over us.”

“What…”

“Oh my,” Lussuria chirped, “too bad…”

“So, the ninth has chosen Xanxus-sama, and Iemitsu-san has chosen Tsunayoshi-san. In this battle, the ones who are truly worthy to wield the rings will prove so with their lives. The location is Namimori Middle at midnight. Further details will be revealed later. We shall await you all at eleven o’clock tomorrow at the school.”

“Good-bye.”

The two women leaped away, out of sight.

Hisui plucked Lambo off his leg and settled him in his arms, then went over to collect I-Pin. “Come along, Fūta-kun,” he said, and waited for the boy to start moving before walking with him toward the Sawada home. “You all right, chibi?” he asked along the way.

“Lambo-san is fine,” Lambo insisted.

“Do you understand now why I was worried about you agreeing to this fight?”

“Ano… Lambo-san will be fine!”

He rolled his eyes slightly. “If you die, I will never forgive you,” he threatened. “Fūta-kun? I-Pin-chan? Are you two unharmed?”

Fūta looked up at him and smiled. “We’re fine, Nagi-san,” he said, and I-Pin nodded.

‘Great, now it’s not just Lambo-kun using that name.’

When they got to the Sawada home Fūta opened the door and held it for them. Hisui set his two burdens down before removing his shoes and tucking them into one of the cubbies, then wandered into the kitchen. Nana had cooked enough for an army again.

Dinner itself was fairly quiet. There was too much that could be said that should never be spoken of in front of Nana, so options for small talk were quickly exhausted. He tucked Lambo in for the night before he left, then went home with Renato.

“So, I have to assume our kitten has flipped into denial again.”

“I expect so. I’ll be over there bright and early, just in case,” Renato replied wearily. “Why the hell couldn’t he have stayed on ice? I’ll just have to push that much harder for Tsuna to learn that technique. I don’t see what else would help. At least the others take pride in their abilities.”

“They only need to win four,” he reminded his lover. “Has Iemitsu-san said anything about the Mist Guardian?”

Renato shook his head. “He’s being a tight-lipped bastard on that one. But, hey, you know, we’re only responsible for Tsuna, so it’s not like we need to know anything.”

“Look on the bright side,” he said flatly. “If they fail, Xanxus will more than likely kill them all, and we can run away to go live in shame on a deserted island.”

His lover snorted in amusement. “Right.”

He got a text the next morning while he was waiting for Lambo to arrive. Tsuna had indeed flipped into denial. Renato told him to go to school then if he didn’t care about how all of them were going to end up dead, and seemingly walked away.

In the middle of supervising Lambo during his morning exercises he got another text, this time to let him know just how amused Renato was at Tsuna’s reaction to Kyoko revealing that not only was Colonnello staying at their house, but that they cooked together, played together, and even bathed together. And apparently, the boys were involved in a sumo wrestling competition. Kyoko accepted it without a second thought.

That evening they went to the Sawada home after dinner. Hisui did something he was not happy about and compulsed Nana to retire early to her room and read before bed, and to not pay attention when they would inevitably all end up leaving the house.

Tsuna was unhappy, too. “Hey… Are we really going to take Lambo-kun?”

“Of course,” he said. “He’s one of your guardians.”

“Lambo-san will go!” Lambo said firmly.

“He has no idea,” Tsuna muttered.

‘Joke’s on you, kitten,’ he thought. ‘Lambo may not be ready, but he does have a clue.’

“And how was school?” Renato asked Tsuna. “Did you calm down after seeing your famiglia?”

Tsuna scowled. “No way! They aren’t my famiglia! I’m not satisfied one bit! Why do I have to be involved in all of this? There are others much stronger than me.”

He watched as Renato tried valiantly not to roll his eyes in exasperation. “Don’t misunderstand the situation, kitten. Iemitsu didn’t give you the rings just to prevent Xanxus from becoming the heir. He gave them to you because he thinks you’re worthy of being the successor. Stop living in a dream world. I’ve already told you you’re likely to end up dead if you don’t take this seriously. If you fail, even if you don’t die in the process, Xanxus will have you and your men killed because you’re a threat. Denial is just a way of you saying you’re ready to lie down and die, and to take your friends with you. Is that really the kind of person you want to be?”

“Come on,” he said, picking up Lambo, “it’s time we got going.”

The walk to the school was quiet, but when they arrived Tsuna dashed on ahead when he saw his friends. “Sorry for being late.”

They weren’t.

“But then,” Takeshi said, “there are those who aren’t even here yet.”

“The Mist guy hasn’t shown up,” Ryohei added.

“It’s so quiet,” Tsuna said, looking around warily. “Are they not here yet?”

“They’re already standing by,” came from the top of the school. Two Cervello were standing there, along with members of the Varia. “After a strict conference, the pairing for the scramble battle this night has been decided. The first match is the battle between the Sun Guardians.”

After a tiny pause the two Cervello leaped down to the ground, followed by the Varia. “Thank you for gathering,” one of the Cervello said. “Now we shall explain the scramble battle for the rings for the successor’s seat. Please look over there.” She pointed at a cage that most of them had not seemed to notice until that point, which meant it had been covered in illusion. “It’s a special arena that we’ve prepared for the match between the Sun Guardians.”

The other continued, “This time, we took the traits of the Sun Guardians into account and prepared this arena, although each match will be in different areas.”

While the others were talking out their reactions, Hisui was eyeing the child in his arms. Lambo was snoozing against his shoulder.

When the time came a Cervello said, “Well, then, Sun Guardians, please come to the center of the ring.”

Lussuria clasped his hands together happily. “Time to play~!”

While the Cervello were verifying the half rings of both Lussuria and Ryohei, Iemitsu and Basil showed up, along with that as yet unnamed dark-haired male. Iemitsu said something Hisui did not bother to pay attention to, as Lussuria was amusing himself by flirting with Ryohei. Ryohei … simply looked confused.

“I feel like I’m watching a train wreck about to happen,” he muttered.

Renato snorted softly. “I’m sure Colonnello did a damn fine job training the kid.”

“The wielders of the Sun Rings, Lussuria versus Sasagawa Ryohei—begin!” exclaimed a Cervello. Blindingly bright lights at the top of the cage turned on. Renato immediately tipped his hat down, but Hisui simply cast a quick spell to shield his own eyes from the intensity.

“I get why the lights, to an extent,” he murmured, “but how convenient that Lussuria is wearing sunglasses.”

“I understand that they’re prescription,” Renato said as he fished a pair of sunglasses out of his pocket and put them on.

“This special ring was remodeled for the Sun Guardian battle; it’s a coliseum lit by a fake sun.”

“What!? I can’t see anything!” Tsuna complained.

Renato sighed and fished out another pair of sunglasses, then shoved them into Tsuna’s hand.

Once he could see Tsuna realized that Lussuria had an advantage and started shouting about unfairness at the Cervello.

“We will not accept any contact with one of the guardians during the battle. If you should do so, we will consider it a disqualification and the ring will be forfeit to the other side.”

Lussuria continued to flirt as Ryohei struck out around himself blindly, then punched him into the ropes. Ryohei hit and sizzled, then fell back to land on the cage floor.

“The ropes are wired,” a Cervello explained, “and heated to several hundred degrees.”

Lussuria hummed happily. “You’re slowly becoming my perfect, ideal body,” he told Ryohei as he forced himself back up. “My ultimate sense of beauty for the body is a cold, deteriorating, unmoving body.”

“So, necrophiliac?”

He sighed and wished he did not have to be present. ‘Well, I don’t, I suppose, but not being here would be incredibly rude and disrespectful. I have to wonder what Primo was thinking when he thought this stuff up. Better command of your powers or tactics is one thing, but that doesn’t mean the winner shares your philosophy as to how to go on with the Vongola. On the other hand, I suppose the “you might die” part helps to motivate the participants.’

Colonnello arrived, carried by his hawk, just as Ryohei was tricked into punching Lussuria’s metal knee plate.

“It’s about time,” Renato said dryly.

“I got caught by Kyoko,” Colonnello said sourly. “Damn girl tucked me into a bed and read me a bedtime story.”

Hisui bit the inside of his mouth so as not to laugh at the imagery.

“He’s dehydrating!” Tsuna cried in alarm.

“It’s about time,” Colonnello said. “Go and show him your true strength, Ryohei!”

“No matter who talks, it’s useless,” Lussuria practically sang. “This boy is finished. I’ll have him.”

“Colonnello-shishō… I’ve been waiting for those words!”

“He’s getting up!”

“Yeah!” Hayato said.

“B-but is he all right?” Tsuna asked.

“His sweat is steaming and making sizzling sounds.” Takeshi looked disturbed by that.

Lussuria extended an arm, his hand fisted except for his pinky. “The way your body is made is different from mine. I bet you can’t last in the scorching light. Hurry up and die so you can be a part of my corpse collection.”

“I see what you mean about the sanity issues and interpersonal skills,” he commented, wrinkling his nose, then looked down at Lambo. The little cow was still sleeping, one hand firmly clutching Hisui’s shirt.

“Maximum canon!” Ryohei shouted.

He looked up in time to see the boy nail Lussuria in the face, in the process cracking one of the lenses of the man’s glasses. But Lussuria got back up and taunted Ryohei. Then the lights above shattered and rained glass shards down into the cage.

“I see. It’s because of the sweat he produced from dehydration,” Lussuria said. “The water in his sweat evaporated due to the heat and left behind salt crystals. Then he put the salt on his fist and shot it like pellets. Ooookay. But a cheap trick like this? Even I can do that.” He blurred forward and took a swipe at Ryohei. A moment later a bank of lights overhead rained down more glass.

“He grazed the salt off lawn head!?”

“No,” Renato said, “it requires more technique than that. He blew the crystals off Ryohei’s body with the power of his fist. That’s what you call Varia Quality.”

“Varia Quality?” Tsuna said, looking at Renato for an explanation.

“The Varia takes on missions that are said to be impossible for regular humans to do,” he obliged. “They are a group of genius assassins who complete their missions to perfection, regardless of the situation they’re placed in. Their so-called demonic works or their high-level skills in killing, is considered Varia Quality.”

Hisui wandered a short way away and sat down, bored. He was an assassin, not the sort to get into fist fights or wave a damn sword around. It was true that Ryohei’s life was on the line, but he simply couldn’t help but be bored. He was tempted to toss out a quick and dirty ward set and take a nap.

And then—“Kyoko-chan!? Wha—? Why is she here!?” Tsuna shrieked.

“The girls were looking for Colonnello, so I escorted them here,” Iemitsu replied, looking smug.

He yawned when Lussuria lost. Ryohei shattered the man’s knee, simply so Kyoko wouldn’t cry.

“Hey, you did well, Ryohei,” Colonnello said, and signaled to his hawk to take flight. “Well, let’s go home, Kyoko! I’m sleepy!” He flew off, Kyoko giving one last look at her brother before racing after him, Hana on her heels.

“It was a good, tense battle,” Ryohei said. “Now give me the ring.”

“No! I don’t want to!” Lussuria whined fearfully, and forced himself to a uncertain crouch. “I’m part of the Varia. I can win with only one leg! It’s easy!” He laughed nervously.

“What amazing persistence,” Tsuna murmured.

“That’s not it,” Renato replied, a second before Lussuria was shot from behind and knocked to the ground in a spray of blood.

“When you do it, you really do it, isn’t that right, Gola Mosca?” Mammon remarked.

“ ‘Erasing the weak.’ One of the reasons why Varia is the strongest team of all,” Renato explained calmly. “Lussuria was scared of that; that’s why he was so anxious to continue.”

Ryohei approached his fallen foe. “Hey! Wake up!”

The Cervello blocked his way. “Don’t get any closer,” one warned. “At this moment, Lussuria is unable to continue fighting. Therefore, Sasagawa Ryohei is the victor of the scramble battle for the Sun Ring. This is the end of tonight’s match. We shall now announce the next battle’s participants.”

The Cervello waited out a few comments, then one said, “Tomorrow evening’s battle will be the match between the Lightning Guardians.”

Hisui got up and walked away. When he arrived at the Sawada house he tucked a still sleeping Lambo into his bed, kissed him on the forehead, and left. He settled in with a butterbeer and a cigarette when he got home, and stared at the wall. When Renato arrived he sat next to him on the loveseat, not saying a word, and just slipped an arm around his shoulders and leaned into him.

When Lambo arrived the next morning Hisui skipped any semblance of training and instead got out the bucket of modeling clay. “Let’s make something we can put on display, chibi,” he said. “Maybe something we can hang in a window.”

“O~kay!” Lambo said cheerfully. “But what should Lambo-san make?”

“Do you have a favorite animal? You like takoyaki, so how about an octopus?”

Lambo squealed happily and nodded, then dug a hand into the clay. Hisui waited until he had enough and got some for himself. He was shit at this sort of thing, but that was not the point. He was not getting any screaming sensation of extreme danger, but that did not stop him from feeling uneasy about the entire situation. Lambo would, if nothing else, have a fun day with him. There was no particular reason to burden him with training when he was going to have to fight at midnight.

For his own creation he decided to try his hand at making a seahorse. He preferred leafy seadragons, but to make one of those in clay was to invite pieces snapping off if he breathed too hard. Besides, they had such delicate, translucent extensions, and clay was probably not the best choice for a medium.

Lambo seemed very pleased with his first attempt, but decided he could do better and dug out more clay. Hisui went ahead and transferred the first one to a tray he had lined with parchment paper and set off to the side. By the time Lambo scampered off to return to Nana’s there were six each of octopi and seahorses on the tray.

*

They arrived again at the Sawada home after dinner and went up to Tsuna’s room. Nana was under another compulsion to retire early, to Hisui’s displeasure. He supposed they could all sneak out Tsuna’s window and down the tree, but that was a little too absurd for his sense of decorum. Rain streaked that window with rivulets of water, blurring what view there was of the night sky. It made him wonder if the Cervello were just that good at weather forecasting, and if an approaching storm was the very reason they chose the Lightning Battle to be held second. The rain was even worse when they set out. Hisui used gravity to keep the rain off himself, Lambo, and Renato, but all the others were sporting umbrellas.

“I wonder if there’s some way we can withdraw,” Tsuna wondered out loud.

“Don’t worry,” Takeshi said. “If anything happens, we’ll jump in.”

“Actions such as that will result in a disqualification,” said a Cervello. Two of them had appeared up high again, wearing hooded, black raincoats. “Any who interrupt, as well as the one saved, will forfeit their rings to the opponent.”

“Damn them,” Hayato muttered. “They’ve got to be kidding.”

‘And yet having Gola Mosca target and shoot Lussuria did not immediately forfeit last night’s battle?’

“Please look over there,” one said, and both pointed. “That will be tonight’s battle field.”

“The roof!?” Tsuna cried, just as arcs of lightning came down to strike several of the rods rising up from the roof.

“Gyupaa!”