Knuckleduster arrives just in time to save Koichi Haimawari and Soga Kugizaki. Stendhal recognizes Knuckleduster as the "Vigilante of Naruhata" and has no intention of fighting him because he views him as someone who is forging the path of righteousness in this crooked society and as a result they share similar ambitions. However, Knuckleduster does not view himself as being similar to Stendhal as he is a champion of justice while Stendhal is nothing more than an insane street murderer.
Stendhal is disappointed that he and Knuckleduster cannot reach a mutual understanding, but Knuckleduster knows that Stendhal is disappointed that he lost the chance to launch a surprise attack after noticing Stendhal gauge the distance between them. Being a nice guy, Knuckleduster throws down a rope to help Stendhal easily gauge the distance between them. Knuckleduster gives Stendhal the option to withdraw but if he chooses to fight he will drive his fist into Stendhal's mask.
Stendhal steps back and charges forward at great speed, attempting to strike down Knuckleduster first. However, Knuckleduster is able to close the distance between them first, which causes Stendhal to lose the chance to land the initial strike. Knuckleduster slams his fist into Stendhal's mask which sends Stendhal flying back and badly injuring his face. Knuckleduster picks up Stendhal's mask and comments that people like Stendhal put on some sort of disguise and become convinced that they are a completely different person, believing that they are invincible. Knuckleduster comments that these people can be troublesome to deal with since they lack regard for their well-being but conversely stepping into their territory makes them fragile. Knuckleduster comments that people who forget this fact, like Stendhal, lack resolve.
Lying on the ground with blood all over his badly injured face, Stendhal understands better after hearing Knuckleduster's statement. Stendhal charges at Knuckleduster with great speed and attacks him with knives. Knuckleduster blocks Stendhal's attack but is cut in the process. Stendhal retreats onto an air conditioning unit, having realized that there are people whose sins are greater than that of villains, who lack any resolve whatsoever; false Heroes. Stendhal licks his bloodied knife and activates his Quirk, which immobilizes Knuckleduster. Stendhal is happy because he feels enlightened and thanks Knuckleduster for his teachings. Stendhal jumps towards a building and disappears.
Kazuho Haneyama arrives with a first aid kit and begins applying bandages to Koichi and Knuckleduster. Knuckleduster asks Kazuho to tend to Soga's injuries, which she begrudgingly does. Koichi is glad to have made it out of this incident alive. Soga is annoyed by Koichi's optimism and questions Kazuho about it, to which she replies that he is nothing but a happy-go-lucky idiot.
Back at his run-down apartment, Stendhal realizes that he lacks many things such as power, speed, and tactics but most importantly: resolve. Kuin Hachisuka questions his need for resolve, for which he strikes her in the face with a knife. He sees that he no longer has a mask and finds it to be most suitable. He walks away and notes that without a mask he can finally see the truth of the world with his own eyes. Having managed to block Stendhal's knife thanks to her worker bees, Kuin sits up and listens to Stendhal muttering to himself, but she is content with it since he makes things all the more interesting.
Walking in a passageway, Stendhal preaches that he will dye the world with not only his blood but the blood he draws from his victims and wherever he travels, he will leave guiding blood stains that cannot be wiped away.
Characters In Order of Appearance
- This chapter was initially titled Mask (仮面 Kamen?), but this was amended in the volume release.
|Chapters||9 • 9+α • 10 • 11|
|Battles and Events||Stendhal vs. Abegawa Tenchu Kai • The Crawler & Stendhal vs. Akira • The Crawler, Knuckleduster & Soga vs. Stendhal|