A/N: A contest fic of 5947 words for KHR-undercover at LiveJournal. Won nothing, tied with three other fics, and was a ton of fun to write. I predict that ff-net will eff up my original formatting, which was livejournal-oriented and thus includes strings of symbols that ff-net strips down. I've tried to replicate as best as I can since it's somewhat important to the story.

Warnings: PG-13+ (for some slight violence); otherwise worksafe

Disclaimer: Reborn! is the intellectual property of Amano Akira and all associated companies. I claim no association with any of them, no profit is being made from this and no copyright infringement intended with this fan-made piece of fiction.

The World Becomes Us

Or "The [salvaged] writings of an Italian chronicler whose eyes saw the ascension of Vongola as written down by one B- M-"

In the vast library of Vongola, located in the headquarters of Vongola Nono, there is one book of which existence only the librarian and the record keeper still remember. Everyone else has long since forgotten it, and most have never even known about it. It is a compilation of badly-preserved pieces of a manuscript documenting the very beginnings of Vongola, written down by a contemporary of Vongola Primo. The full name of the chronicler himself has been erased by poor keeping, fire, water, bad weather, and old age. Only his initials remain, though some non-mafia annals speculate that his last name could have been Marzoni – the only record keeper known to have spent a lot of time with the Vongola during the reign of the Secondo. However, amid the few records left from Secondo's time, not one has the same style and handwriting as that from Primo's.

The accounts are sparse in detail, any extensive information presumably appearing on the ruined parts or the missing pages of the script, but they give a – we would like to believe – rather accurate account of the very beginning, certain details notwithstanding. Though it does not include the names of the opposing families and most dates are mostly incomprehensible, some insight can still be gained. Oftentimes, the events mentioned do not fall in chronological order, presumably because the pages have no visible markings of order; no numbering of any sort, therefore it is quite possible that many have gotten mixed up. On some pages there are writings that have obviously been added much later, where the words from the original quill had already faded: the hand is different, the writing is less even, and the language is less antique. What purpose these additions are meant to serve remains questionable.

During the time of Vongola Ottavo an attempt was made to rewrite the manuscript into a language more modern, as well as to better preserve this rare document and the information within it. The page order was kept the same as it was at that moment, so as to preserve authenticity, though at the same time it only serves to further prove its unreliability. Some general conclusions in regards to these events can still be drawn with the help of other sources – such as police reports, general chronicles, and Church books.

The following is a short excerpt of what have been deemed as the oldest and least preserved pages of the script, relayed in a manner that shows the damage done to them. The later textual additions of an unknown writer (separated from the original by, maybe, 50 years) in a different handwriting have been marked as such with a different script.

. . .

12 Ju.., 1…, M…...

Day one starts with the distant rumble of cannons under an overcast sky. In reality, it is already the fifth day of the siege on the ...
... city, but the first when Giotto and his allies stand together as one.
For the first time Alaude doesn't stand with the police forces.
For the first time Lampo is up front leading the charge – reluctant, but unyielding all the same.
For the first time Daemon doesn't saunter all over the place as is his usual wont, and instead of an amused expression, there is a permanent scowl on his face.
Only Knuckle seems to be as fired up as usual; only Asari stands to the side looking as serene as ever;
and Giotto appears to be lost in deep thought ...

(a contemplative look on his face while he gazes out over the walls of the fortress, his eyes privy to something in the distance which the others are not. His right fist is loosely held above his heart, sky flame burning calmly, and his thoughts wander, wander...)

9 …., ...4, M…...

(Before this day, there are others. Before this morning when they stand together, poised for battle, there are others. There are others who tried to put them down, who tried to scatter them and crush them in their solitude. But the harder they tried to drive them apart, the closer together they pushed them instead. The more they tried to cut the branches, the deeper the roots stretched and the harder they clung in place.)

- Ju.., 1…4, M…...

... day, there is one where Alaude's investigation runs aground, all loose ends and no clues.
His men search and double-check every little corner of the ...
every single place they can think of, every small relation that there is, and unearth nothing. The ...
seeking to extend its dominion is smart and careful. It doesn't leave evidence and eyewitnesses.

(It doesn't leave any bumps to trip over; it doesn't leave any threads hanging that could lead back to them.)

It is by chance and accident that one of Alaude's men taps into the enemy's dominion and comes close enough – which is too close. So close that he loses his life. Alaude is furious. So are his men.
They expand their search, they chase and chase until they are chased into a corner – Alaude caught in a deadlock with a group of ... hitmen elsewhere – and mercilessly killed one by one.
After Alaude returns from his fight, battered and furious, but victorious, he finds his team missing.

The small trophies of ... kill – pieces of the bodies of the men whom he worked with side by side – arrive on his desk, all neatly packed in boxes and tied with ribbons; wrapped like small presents.

(On day one of Vongola unity, this is the reason why Alaude doesn't stand with his men – he has none left to side with.)

-9 …., 1-, M…...

Before this ..., there is ...
when Lampo witnesses the death of his ... and the ...
of his home. Dethroned and exiled, with no place ...
he has to rebuild his own dominion.

He has to reclaim what is rightfully his. For that, he ...
(stands up front with Primo, fearing to fail, fearing to lose, fearing the battle. But he can't go back – there is no place left for him.)

- …., …., M…...

... when Daemon Sp... loses.

(He is a mastermind of scheming, always with a way out of any predicament. Always with a ploy to attain victory.)

He was winning ... ... ... ... when his enemy introduced a genius - -man who couldn't be deceived by illusions.
Because the blind have not the eyes to see and this man had been ... since childhood in the arts of the sword. ... the opposing family's executioner – a man who didn't know ... he cut down, who couldn't see and whose ... burdened with the weight of the knowledge.

(... Spade was cut down, but what suffered more was his pride.)

-unmarked; tears on both ends suggest it may be a part of a longer page-

... ... ... ...ay, G arrives late to the scene, angry and s...
(smoking like a chimney on a cold winter day)
... marks of a recent scuffle visible on his clothes.
Giotto turns to him, but his Storm ... shakes his head and ... ... ...
The message has not reached Shimon. The messenger lies dead not too far from the city walls.
This is ... ... ...

12 Ju.., 1…, M…...

... ... ... ... Von- ... ... united while the battle draws nearer and nearer. All roads are blocked, all solitary houses outside the city are burning, and the booming of ... ... ...

(Standing their ground, keeping vigil over the city, and waiting are the only things ... ... ...)

- …., 1…, M…...

On day two, the cannons come in sight. They advance ... and once the clock tower of ... ... strikes midday, the first cannonballs fall. They fly over the walls and cleave through roofs, windows and walls without regard ... ... ...
Splinters and shards and debris kill as many as ... ... ... ... ... upon impact. The Vongola defend as they ... ... ...

G takes out as many cannons as he can with his archery and Daemon deceives the men operating them with illusions to cause misaims ... before several cannonballs collapse the part of the wall they are standing on. They escape only narrowly with their lives intact.
There are illusionists on the side of the opposition as well.

(The city is burning and the fires are hard to put out – possibly infused with storm flames. That night, the city doesn't sleep; its streets bathed in red light. The smoke sinks down and crawls along the streets, filling the air and making it hard to breathe.)

14 …., 1…, …...

... ... three it rains all morning and not a single cannonball falls. The gunpowder is wet and doesn't want to light ... ... ... and the fires in the city are extinguished.
The battering ram is drawn up to the gate, but citizens pour burning tar and scalding oil and throw debris from the ruined buildings to stop it. It burns outside the gate.

With the afternoon sun emerging from heavy clouds, a few cannons rumble again and take city ... ... ... wall and its gate shatters, a cannonball ploughing through it and the people gathered behind it. A streak of blood, severed limbs, and rubble line its path.

The enemy advances and the Vongola meet it inside the gate.

- …., .…, …...

... ... four is filled with battle and blood, as the city struggles to force the enemy back. The Vo- -
has been driven further away from the gate ...
the army can get inside the city ... ...

(It's not through the lack of trying that the Vongola lets this happen; no, they already have their hands full.)

-6 …., .…, …...i

Day fi- ... ... ... the end of the battle and the city smouldering, its streets filled with the dead. ... ...
The survivors can barely ... ... ... and their ... ... ... still expecting the enemy to jump out at or sneak up on them.

But any enemy who could still move has already fled the city.

17 …., .…, …...i

... ... ... six is ... ...
The corpses are moved away and buried, ...
so is the rubble of the burnt and the collapsed houses.
There is ... ... ...

- …., .…, …...i

Vongola stands victorious and claims the ... ... for their own. It is day seven of their unity and day eleven since the beginning of ... ... ...
and it does not feel like a victory at all.

My eyes have seen the rise of ... ...
... and will no doubt ... ... ... Primo.

. . .

This book lies on its shelf, forgotten by almost everyone. There have been others written to show the past of the Vongola; ones with more detail and flourish, ones where legends and myths have entwined with the truth while this – the only real account – gathers dust and disappears from the memories of people.

A pity, for this book still holds a multitude of secrets within its tattered pages. It carries hidden hints at where some of its components are still waiting to be discovered; it keeps the riddles of the people who can no longer tell them – small secrets and big lies, truth hiding in plain sight if anyone were willing enough to look. It has the key to many events of the Primo family that nowadays nobody but Daemon Spade could tell if one were willing to ask him – and many more which the First Generation's Mist guardian wasn't even privy to. Because, before him, there were others by Primo's side, all joining him at the right time. Before he joined them, the Vongola was already growing, one man at a time.

If you were to pick up this book and leaf through the brittle yellowed pages with utmost care, an open heart, and a mind willing to discover and unearth the full truth – the manuscript would reward you most generously. But the Vongola library has books unnumbered, shelves uncountable, and not everything is laid out for everyone to see. Moreover, the chronicles are never complete. They never recount the past fully, and most of them never make it to this day in one piece. There are too many details left out to more efficiently convey the main event and the things that shaped it, but they do not expand on the minutiae details. The purpose of any chronicle is to objectively show the past, to give us an accurate outline, but revealing the entire picture is often too time-consuming for the person writing it down to even attempt. (The past is always shaped by the winning part, and painting itself in a positive light while belittling the opposition is yet another factor to consider.) Therefore, the past as it happened may not coincide with the past as it was written down. The things recounted by the incomplete chronicle above are but one example of this.

Those who followed Vongola Primo saw things differently than those who read about his time in a book. Most of the happenings remain only in the memories of people who, at this day and hour, are nothing but bare bones in a cold grave. And what really transpired…

Or "The crusade of the Boniventi family, the siege of the city of Maiolati, and the rise of the Vongola family as seen through the eyes of one Bastilio Marzoni"

Alaude and his men had an overwhelming amount of work to attend to that summer. Which, all things considered, shouldn't have been anything unusual for the season. With the stifling hot weather, the minds of the people were overheated and tempers often ran short. This time of year usually saw the biggest brawls, but even compared to the previous years, this one seemed to be bordering on ridiculous already. What was even more unusual – most of the culprits couldn't be caught. The victims claimed that the attackers moved too fast to get a good glimpse at their faces. Most of the time the culprits had been masked.

No amount of investigation could fully shed light on these events. While the local law-breakers were quickly tracked down and apprehended, the number of unresolved cases kept piling up. At that time, Alaude was still a part of the police forces and was responsible for an entire squad of highly-skilled men in the city of Maiolati. They worked as a united mechanism to uncover the truth and enforce the order, always efficient in their work. But even though some of Alaude's best men volunteered to go undercover in hopes of penetrating the circles of this new group of troublemakers, they didn't get closer to the core. The investigation, long and wide-scale as it was, bore no fruit, and all that they managed to unearth were meaningless loose ends that kept leading them in circles. A layer of impenetrable silence lay over all of the evidence.

Just a few months prior to this influx of felonies, trouble had reared its ugly head for Prince Lampo and his family. Some of their distant and power-hungry relatives, spurred on by their greed and something else besides, had extracted a coup d'état. How and where had they acquired the necessary means remained undiscovered, though rumour had it that a strong mafia family might have been behind it. With Prince Lampo being the only son of the ruler, still too young, too soft, and with precarious health, it was truly the perfect opportunity for a turnover in the regime. Only a miracle and the Prince's loyal and selfless guardians saved him from a certain death. Fleeing the burning palace in a simple peasant cart (though drawn by one of the King's horses) and bundled up in rags, the teenage boy watched his glory going up in smoke. Everything he had grown into and had thought indestructible was falling apart in blood and black rubble. A barrel of gunpowder exploded in the high tower – his tower – and it collapsed. At that moment, Lampo knew that his parents had died. He kept gazing at the fiery ruin until it disappeared behind the trees, and he kept his eyes turned to the red gleam on the horizon until he passed out from exhaustion. (It burned all night and far into the day, but he never found out.)

Lampo woke up when it was already nearing sunrise. They had stopped in the yard of a roadside trattoria where his guardians exchanged the tired horse for a well-rested one and bought some food before continuing their way. It wasn't smart to linger in one place for too long – the Prince's relatives could soon discover that their main target had escaped and send a death convoy after him. The food was poor and too bland for the young royalty, and he refused to eat more than a few bites. He was shivering from the cold, without his down blankets and fluffy pillows to curl up in. One of the guards gave up his own cape and Lampo wrapped himself in it tightly, making a nest in the pile of hay he had been sleeping on. After a while he drifted off to a troubled sleep where the world was burning while he himself was trapped in a piece of ice.

Lampo woke up and jerked upright every time they stopped to exchange the horses, jostled by the sudden loss of movement and the rise in the voices of his guardians. A sudden panic attack seized the boy, making him think that he was about to die. But nobody hovered over him with a raised sword, and the tiresome travel soon resumed, permitting him to doze off again. The final time he was jostled awake was when the cart rumbled over a drawbridge and passed under the spiked arch of a city wall; the city which would become his refuge until the time he gained enough skill, power, and support to reclaim his throne – or until the hand of an assassin struck him down. (His guardians only stressed the first option and made sure to never mention the second.)

It took Giotto less than a month to meet the royal boy, and then less than a week to befriend him and sneak him right out from under the noses of his guardians. Thus, Lampo joined the steadily growing Vongola – a dream for a better world. He exchanged his solitude, the glum attic residence (with a view on the city's clock tower) and his kingly house arrest for friends. At the time, Vongola already consisted of G who had grown up together with Giotto, Knuckle who had come to Giotto's aid in a marketplace brawl, and Asari Ugetsu.

Asari had first come to Italy on board a trade ship with his father who had dealings with Italian manufacturers and merchants and who hoped that one of his two sons would continue his business. Three years before, Asari's older brother had accompanied him on this same trip. In a coastal town not too far away from Giotto's birthplace, the ship remained moored for three weeks, as the crew prepared her for the return trip while the merchants traded goods. There, the Japanese boy met Giotto, the latter wandering into the city seeking adventure and lured to the docks by the foreign melody Asari played on the flute. Shortly after sunset when shadows turned dark and lanterns lit up alongside the road where rowdy sailors and bright women meshed, the serene melody had travelled to the right ears. The two became friends over the gentle notes of music before they even spoke a word to one another.

When Giotto, pursuing an adventure, ended up on a Japan-bound ship with the loyal G right on his heels, he couldn't wait to see the land of the boy who had played such gentle songs to the sea and the Italian coastal town. It took him a while to meet the boy himself, and Asari's surprise was as great as Giotto's joy at meeting a dear friend. They spoke for the first time, and Giotto learned that Asari was more that just a musician. Giotto crossed paths with a small clan that would later develop into a powerful yakuza group, and Asari had to pick up a sword to defend him – and himself as well, in the end. There, Giotto learned that Asari used a sword with the same grace which he made music with.

Following that incident, the three of them couldn't stay in Japan as their newfound foe's vengeful comrades came to retaliate. So, Asari moved to Italy with only his flute, a spare set of clothes, and what little money he had from his allowances. On the way back, the ship bypassed Italy and stopped in the Crimea. At the time, it was a trading centre for a wide variety of nations where one could purchase everything from grains to slaves, to kingdoms. During their time there, the trio ended up in too many dangerous adventures and would have lost their lives if a local boy nicknamed Knuckle hadn't stood up for them, letting his fists speak where words proved futile. G could only sigh at the entire ordeal and comment on how Giotto was bringing in strays again. The latter only laughed and waved the issue off, insisting that home was only what they made it to be.

Upon their return to Maiolati, they found the city in disarray. Alaude and his men were trying to uphold the order and nix the uproars without any real success. They had brushed shoulders before – Giotto and Alaude – a few times when Giotto was almost caught red-handed stealing from the rich to give to the poor. They were acquainted, but they weren't anything even remotely resembling friends – at least on Alaude's end. And so it continued up until the day when one of Alaude's men got close enough to the culprits behind the attacks, except that 'close enough' meant too close and that man lost his life. From there on, more leads came up, and suddenly they weren't chasing wind anymore.

Of course, Alaude was suspicious of the sudden turn-about, but still he went after the target. Even feeling led around, they pressed onward until one day found Alaude cornered and alone. One by one, all of his men had been lured away and easily overpowered by a carefully-built army. The setup was perfect. The police force had no chance of winning, and only Giotto's intervention saved Alaude's life.

Soon after that, Daemon Spade suffered the first loss in his life. Being the master tactician of the province's army meant that he rarely got caught up in the actual heat of the battle – though not because he was afraid of it. Tacticians were valuable and spent most of their time debating plans with generals and people of importance, poring over strategies to cleave out a victory in any situation. Yet the rapier he carried at his side wasn't just an accessory of the military uniform. He prided himself in his skill with a sword, though his illusions were truly unrivalled and he preferred using them instead.

A small distance away from his destination in Maiolati, an ambush caught him off guard only long enough to lose his horse. He hadn't, after all, earned his high rank for nothing, and his retaliation was swift and successful. His illusions blasted away all that tried to come near, right until one of his opponents walked right through a roaring fire, shattering the illusion. Daemon was taken aback and promptly doubled his efforts. To no avail – the man walked right across a giant pit on the ground, passed through a roaring bear about to tear him apart, and swung at Daemon. Daemon dodged the brunt of the blow, but the edge of his opponent's sword managed to cleave a line down his upper arm, slicing cloth and leaving a shallow cut behind. Daemon's first thought was that the man was an illusionist as well, but he dismissed it almost immediately. He could not detect any other mist flames in the area.

Blind, Daemon realised with an odd feeling of unease after a moment of observation. His opponent was blind, but he wielded his sword as any other skilled man. Blind from his birth, he had been trained in the art of sword from the day he could walk, becoming the perfect executioner for his family - the Boniventi. As one who couldn't see whom he was cutting down, and therefore couldn't feel remorse or guilt, he was the best man for a variety of tasks – including taking down powerful illusionists. It was the hardest battle that Demon Spade had to take part in. His skill without illusions to back him up was not enough, and he was reduced to fleeing the site. His injuries were not life-threatening, but the scars of his pride wouldn't heal for decades.

Royalty, sensing trouble, moved away from Maiolati in a timely fashion, taking its personal guard forces with and leaving the citizens to fend for themselves. When Daemon arrived, he found that the people he was supposed to meet were already gone. Only rogue groups of the regular citizens and the remains of the police forces were building up defence. Giotto found himself in the role of a leader of the citizens the same way Alaude was leading the police. Persuaded by Giotto, Daemon stayed, and it was by his advice that Giotto sent a message out to Shimon, asking for aid in battle. Daemon had more accurate information on the enemy than the rough estimate Alaude had managed to provide. While Daemon had been sent to warn the aristocracy and lead them away to safety, leaving the commoners to sure death, he found himself in a reversed position. For the first time in his career, he aided the plebeians. The strategically important parts of the city were fortified as per Daemon's suggestions, and before long, they all worked together.

Days passed, but no response came from Shimon, and the Boniventi family's forces were drawing ever nearer. At nights, they could see a red haze rising behind the trees and colouring the horizon. There burned solitary households as the advancing enemy cleared a path of victory. At dusk on the second day of the open siege on the city, G slipped outside its walls and headed for the Shimon residence in a neighbouring province. There was nobody else they could send, and moreover – nobody else willing to go.

G didn't have to travel far. Around midday of the next day, he came upon the ruins of a destroyed carriage, corpses of its passengers and convoys strewn about. He recognised the now-partial insignia on the broken and burnt door of the carriage – it belonged to a family that had fled Maiolati days prior. They hadn't made it further than this. As he continued onwards at a faster pace, he came upon more and more similar sights. The carriages lay in shambles, the luggage was strewn all over the place, the dead bodies were robbed and left to rot under the sun, and most of the horses were gone. He only saw three dead horses. One had been shot, two of them had broken legs, and a merciful hand had ended their suffering. That same hand, however, had shown no mercy to those the horses had carried. By the dusk of the same day, he found the horse of the rider who they sent to the Shimon. G had approached it with curiosity, wondering why it was here, so far apart from the others. The brown stallion lay dead in a trench, and below it was the messenger, pinned by the animal's weight and his neck slit wide open. G didn't doubt that, if he were to search the man's pockets, he wouldn't find the letter written and sealed by Giotto.

G noticed the enemy scouts a moment earlier than they noticed him, and before long, he had to fight for his life. Boniventi had the city surrounded. The road forward was blocked. Shimon wouldn't be coming. G's only goal was to return to the city alive and relay the news.

Tired and worn, G made it back on the same day when the cannons began rolling in. Giotto and the others were already out on the frontal fortress, watching them come, without anything to oppose them. The armoury had been emptied years prior, and the only cannon they had was doomed to stand mute without cannonballs to load it. Giotto's face darkened when he received G's message. So passed day one of Vongola unity – the seven of them standing on the wall overlooking the battlefield and watching how the undisturbed enemy took the positions. It became clear that the populace of Maiolati was far outnumbered.

On day two, all of the cannons were finally in sight, and the Boniventi didn't waste time to set them in position and prepare them for the final siege. The first cannon fired at the midday bells, and the shot fell inside the wall, burying its first victim in the rubble of a collapsed roof. G and Daemon worked together, managing almost the entire span of the wall, spending most of the time near the drawbridge. Daemon crafted illusions to deceive the men operating the cannons, making them direct their shots elsewhere. But there were illusionists on the enemy's side as well, and they could counter his illusions with their own. An entire city couldn't be hidden from view – not unless the illusionist doing that wanted to pass out from sheer exhaustion ten minutes into the war.

G, on the whole, was doing a better job, taking down cannons one by one with his archery; right until the cannonballs barrelled through his part of the wall. Often he had to aim through Daemon's illusions and his storm flame ate some of them away, letting the enemy know which direction the shots were coming from. Even without these little hints, they didn't need to see the entirety of the city to get their aim right. Their tacticians had studied the city plans, provided to them by the rogues who had scouted the city in disguise. They knew all the relevant heights and targets, and they only needed to match the positioning of the cannons accordingly to shoot at them blindly – and not miss. Daemon's illusions might have hidden the city from sight, but it didn't matter – the city couldn't move around and dodge attacks the way a human would. (At the time, Daemon hadn't yet mastered the bending of time and space, and therefore couldn't shift the city to an illusory plane of existence, as he would often do years later.) It didn't take long for the top half of the wall to collapse, sending both G and Daemon tumbling.

Sometime after midnight, it began raining and it continued to pour throughout the next day – day three. The cannons remained silent; by an incredible turn of luck, the gunpowder was soaked and was useless now. Eventually, the fires inside the city died out. Meanwhile, the enemy pulled a battering ram up to the gate, all too eager to take the city. The citizens retaliated by pouring burning tar and boiling oil over walls at the ram. Those who didn't have anything better at hand used the rubble from collapsed buildings to throw at the men outside the gate.

In the afternoon, the rain stopped, and a few cannons rumbled to life again. All of them were turned toward the gate, and once it was destroyed, the Boniventi charged. They clashed with Vongola and the citizens of Maiolati inside the gate. Step by step, the protectors had to withdraw. The overwhelming opposition forced them further back into the city, forced them to scatter and lose sight of each other. The battle carried well into day four, driving the resistance into corners while the enemy pillaged and burned houses, wreaking as much damage as it possibly could.

When day five rolled around, the death toll had climbed high for both sides, and only Giotto and his friends were still fighting in earnest. The rest of the city had withdrawn in despair and fear. Giotto's decision to put Lampo in the lead had paid off because his offensive shield made a path for them through the overwhelming rows of the attackers. The otherwise cowardly Prince pushed forward through the rows (still guided by fear and the thought that if he stopped now, the world would fall down and burn again), and wherever he went, the enemy had to flee or otherwise be killed by lightning bolts.

Alaude fought like a monster let loose, each hit a return blow for his dead men, and when he turned, the enemy turned as well – turned tail and fled at the mere sight of him. Alaude was out for blood that day. Not too far away from him, Asari swept through the streets with men falling left and right, cut down by his swords. He'd paid a fortune for them – his own dream – and with them he would create the future from Giotto's dream.

Knuckle was caught in a vicious grapple with his last opponent while G guided those haphazardly running for their lives through the gate with his archery. Daemon moved around the city like a leaf on the wind, searching for the blind swordmaster he'd fought with before. He was itching to finish him off, but couldn't find him anywhere and cut down anyone who got into his path without care. Similarly, Giotto moved throughout the city, looking for the places where he was needed the most. The surviving citizens were still on alert, raising their weapons at anyone who approached, unable to determine who was friend or foe in the post-battle daze. Even after the nightfall, the clamour still broke out here and there, and by morning nobody could tell whom they had clashed with.

Day six was spent cleaning away the rubble and moving the dead to a spot outside the city's walls where people were digging out a huge grave for the fallen. The enemy had left their dead behind, and the citizens had ruled to burn them after they were done burying their own. The damage had been already assessed; the losses were huge. Cleaning the city would take weeks, rebuilding – months, and even if the city wall was fortified again, it wouldn't be as strong as before. Late into the night, the city of Maiolati was filled with the clangs and booms of repair and the creaks of carts transporting the dead outside. The seven members of Vongola family only caught glimpses of each other, and only on day seven did they come together.

They met at the main gate on the rubble that still hadn't been cleared away and looked back at the city. After this battle, they had claimed Maiolati for their own, but if this was a victory, it certainly didn't feel like one. There was too much death and too much ruin, and when they looked over what used to be a blooming city, all they could see was despair and destruction. That was the future they were looking forward to; the Vongola family – the future strongest of all mafia families.