Phantom Blood - Chapter 24
Ripple Overdrive, Part 2 (
After the defeat of Jack the Ripper, Jonathan, Zeppeli and Speedwagon exit the long tunnel and continue towards Windknight's Lot. The town and surrounding farmland seem peaceful enough at the time, but Jonathan is aware that Dio is somewhere nearby, ready to wreak havoc. As the group continues to hike, Speedwagon asks Zeppeli to teach him the secrets of the Ripple techniques. After a quick look at him, Zeppeli states that it would not be possible. Angered by the blunt answer, Speedwagon demands to know why. Zeppeli explains that Jonathan is constantly practicing the breathing techniques that had been taught to him, so much to the point where it has become a subconscious habit; his aptitude for Ripple is said to be one in ten-thousand. Zeppeli attributes this to Jonathan's troubled past and knowledge of his difficult future, as it has given him incredible mental fortitude. Zeppeli explains that he studied for decades under a Ripple master until he mastered the technique himself. Zeppeli tells Speedwagon that he does not have the experiences needed to master the Ripple.
Undeterred, Speedwagon says he still wants to be of use to the two of them, refusing to sit back and watch the two of them fight a despicable monster such as Dio. Zeppeli then proposes that he strike Speedwagon in his diaphragm, similar to how he did to Jonathan, in an attempt to have him generate a small amount of Ripple. Speedwagon jumps at the opportunity and insists he tries. Zeppeli proceeds to hit him in the diaphragm, but it does not have the desired effect; the strike only succeeds in causing Speedwagon to double over in pain.
Unbeknownst to the trio, a figure watches them from afar. As they approach, he cuts a rope that causes a tree to fling him into the air. To the surprise of the three men, a young farm boy takes their bag. The boy lands in the lake nearby and quickly swims to the opposite shore, taking a moment to mock them before climbing the nearby cliff face. Zeppeli proposes that they follow the child to the village. He raises his hands and strikes the surface of the lake with them, causing several ripples to form. Speedwagon and the boy are both shocked to see Zeppeli skipping out onto the surface of the water, followed closely by Jonathan. As the two of them cross the lake quickly, Speedwagon tries to follow as well, but falls through the water's surface and into the lake.
Still shocked by what he has seen, the boy insists that the three of them will still be unable to catch him and teases them again. After reaching the base of the cliff, Jonathan retaliates by punching the rock's surface. The cliff ripples, and the face of the rock pushes the boy from his hold. He plummets toward the ground, where he is caught by Jonathan. Jonathan notices that there is something strange about the boy, and Zeppeli realizes that they are now in a graveyard, and the boy was simply a pawn used to lure them into a trap. As hands erupt from the dirt around them, Jonathan sees Dio watching them from the top of the cliff. While zombies rise from their graves, Dio announces to Jonathan that night has fallen and it is time for him to die.