rey infinito - Guatemala Arc
rey infinito - Guatemala Arc (無限の王 グアテマラ編, Mugen no Ō Guatemara-hen, lit. Infinity King - Guatemala Arc) is the first arc of rey infinito, a light novel written by Junjo Shindo. It was published in the Spring 2022 issue of JOJO magazine on March 19, 2022 with 3 chapters.
Set between Battle Tendency and Stardust Crusaders in 1973, a research group from the Speedwagon Foundation is dispatched to Antigua, Guatemala under Lisa Lisa's orders to investigate the identity of a serial killer with an unknown power.
After a Mexican journalist publishes an opinion piece titled "A Killer Lurking in the War-Torn Streets of Guatemala" in an American magazine, the Speedwagon Foundation learns about a serial killer nicknamed the "Monstruo of Antigua" who has mysteriously murdered 27 people in locked rooms without leaving any evidence behind. Around November 1972, the Foundation dispatches investigators to Antigua, Guatemala to examine each crime scene and interview the locals. Their investigation lasts for 5 months and the group's representative, J.D. Hernández, sends a detailed report back to the Foundation headquarters in Dallas, Texas. The report details that all of the victims were shot to death but no shell casings were found on the scene, so the investigators are calling them "invisible bullets"; all of the victims were devout Christians; and the killer might be hierophobic as incidents of holy icons such as crucifixes and statues at churches being shattered increased when the killings began. Furthermore, J.D. theorizes that since the invisible bullets defy the law of physics, there might be a link to the Ripple. The Foundation determines that the killer will strike again during Semana Santa, Antigua's biggest parade of the year in April where the streets will be filled with holy iconography. To aid their investigation, J.D. enlists the help of two local teenagers: Octavio Luna Kan and Joaquín Ruiz-Jorruda. Octavio and Joaquín were orphans who were kicked out of the missionary-run orphanage when they refused to join a seminary. They have a back-alley network of other orphans, homeless people, and peddlers, who helps them gather information.
Thus, Semana Santa begins on Friday, April 20, 1973. At night, J.D. passes by the ruins of the Convento Santa Clara and meets up with Octavio and Joaquín. Octavio informs him that the killer is on the move, and Joaquín grunts and gestures with his arms and body to communicate. Joaquín has a speech impediment and could not speak, but J.D. is still able to understand what he is trying to say through his expressions. J.D. learns that the killer attacked the sacristan at the La Merced church. Before leaving, J.D. tells Octavio and Joaquín not to engage with the killer if they find him, although Octavio retorts that he could be really useful in a fight. At the church, J.D. speaks with the priest, who states that he had been staying late to write entries in the parish register when he suddenly heard the sound of a stone statue shattering. The priest searched the sanctuary and found the statue of Saint Francis destroyed. When he looked outside, he spotted an indigenous man swaying from side to side, hiding his face in his hands and moaning. The priest assumed he was a drug addict and was about to question him, but the priest was suddenly shot by an invisible bullet that pierced his shoulder and then instantly seemed to turn around to pierce through his stomach.
Borrowing a lantern, J.D. follows the path the killer could have taken and keeps his gun ready for self-defense. A souvenir vendor tells J.D. that she saw a man crouching over an unconscious nun, looking like he was about to vomit. However, the man fled deeper into the convent when the souvenir vendor screamed upon seeing him. J.D. goes to the atrium of the convent and orders the frightened nuns to go back into their rooms while he investigates. He finds a wooden pillar engraved with the image of the archangel Gabriel toppled over. Behind it, there's a stairway that descends underground with the door ripped off its hinges, so J.D. enters the tunnel. While J.D. feels like he just entered Hell, his lantern suddenly shatters and would no longer relight, leaving him in complete darkness. He worries about why the killer shot his lantern instead of shooting his head or heart, wondering if he was just being toyed with. Joaquín then appears and grabs J.D.'s hand, forcefully running so that they could escape from the tunnel. As J.D. wonders how Joaquín managed to find his way there and avoid all the obstacles without any light, a swarm of flies suddenly rains down on them. J.D. realizes that these flies must be the invisible bullets, which isn't the Ripple at all but some other power entirely.
Joaquín and J.D. manage to escape from the tunnel and emerge in the plaza in front of a cathedral thanks to Joaquín's navigational skills. The plaza is filled with spectators due to the climax of the parade. Octavio then calls out that he caught the killer. The boy was aware of the underground passage and staged an ambush at the other end, knowing the killer would exit from this side. Octavio pins the man down while J.D., other Foundation workers, soldiers, an old homeless lady, and merchant children rush over to the scene. Before J.D. could yell at the locals to leave, a massive swarm of flies covers the entire sky. The killer flicks his wrist, sending the flies raining down like artillery toward Octavio. Octavio is shot in the shoulder and back, but manages to crawl away and take cover, letting the man go.
The killer cries as the flies rain down on everyone around him, confusing J.D. as to what sort of emotion the man is actually feeling. Lisa Lisa reveals that she was disguised as the old homeless lady, and activates her Ripple technique, Thousand-Color Overdrive. Leaves, flowers, and the dyed sawdust from destroyed rugs pile on top of each other in layers, forming a massive electrified dome that covers the plaza and acts as a fly net. The killer shrieks in his language when Lisa Lisa approaches him, shocked as to what Lisa Lisa just did and wondering why he can't control the flies anymore. He sends out a swarm of flies from his mouth but Lisa Lisa simply redirects them to her left using her muffler. Lisa Lisa then grabs his throat and floods his body with the Ripple, causing him to fall unconscious as if he had just been shocked.
Lisa Lisa apologizes for arriving late as an incident in Peru kept her occupied for longer than she expected. She points out that the flies were ferocious and had hardened skin before, but now returned to their natural form once the killer fell unconscious. She confirms that the ability isn't actually the Ripple but something else, and suspects that the killer must have been struck by the Bow and Arrow, which awakened his powers.
In the 1520s, conquistadors massacred the K'iche' people, taking over their land and replacing their holy sites with churches. Although the K'iche' people stopped rebelling and gave in to their demands, they maintained their own religion in secret while acting as if they converted to Christianity. The killer's name is revealed as Fabio Ubuh, a 30-year-old man who is from a K'iche' family. The Speedwagon Foundation hands Fabio over to the Guatemalan police and informs them how to safely keep him in custody. Since he cannot generate flies from thin air, he is confined to a sterilized room with no ventilation shafts and wears a straitjacket.
J.D. visits Fabio several times but Fabio refuses to speak, so they sit in silence each time. However, Fabio finally caves in and explains his past. He and his younger brother and sister were raised by their mother in Chichicastenango and he received an elementary education at a Catholic boarding school. During the Guatemalan Civil War, his family had offered refuge to guerrilla fighters. However, the same soldiers rounded up his family in the town square and massacred them as a warning for the other Mayans. Fabio tried to sneak out of Guatemala and gave a pollero all of his money to smuggle him across the border. However, the trafficker robbed him of all his possessions and left him for dead. Brought back to Antigua, Fabio realized how much he hated seeing all the Christian iconography in the city. Believing that the money coming in from larger countries, coup d'etats backed by the CIA, and the civil war were due to Christianity, Fabio strove to annihilate the religion. At some point, he worked at a dairy-processing maquiladora and told his coworkers about his attempt to cross the border. He was later laid off from his job. He reveals that his ability is named El Señor de las Moscas, but once he begins speaking about it, he starts rambling in excitement, resulting in the latter half of his testimony being unintelligible.
Several days after the Semana Santa, Lisa Lisa walks through the streets of Guatemala while listening to J.D.'s report. He takes full responsibility for putting Octavio and Joaquín in danger and informs Lisa Lisa that he had them get treated by the Foundation's doctors. He also mentions that they've been demanding to speak with a representative of the investigation team, so Lisa Lisa agrees to go see them since she wanted to anyways.
It is revealed that Octavio also has K'iche' blood, whereas Joaquín is mixed, being the son of white and indigenous parents. Octavio is angry about Fabio tarnishing the reputation of his people, claiming that he could have been the savior of the city rather than Lisa Lisa if the man didn't summon those flies. Octavio slowly introduces himself after Lisa Lisa asks for his name, offended that she doesn't know it already. He disrespects Lisa Lisa by calling her an abuela (grandmother), before deciding that he'll just call her Lisa Lisa like the others. Octavio asks how Lisa Lisa pulled off those techniques at her age but J.D. admonishes him, claiming that they made a deal that the boys wouldn't get involved any further after the killer is captured. Lisa Lisa asks Octavio and Joaquín if they want money to keep quiet or if they would rather learn her tricks. Octavio reveals the duo's ambitions of wanting to leave the war-torn city so they can experience an adventure beyond the borders. He begs Lisa Lisa to recruit them as investigators for the Foundation but she isn't swayed by their story, and refuses to bend the rules the Speedwagon Foundation has about not involving itself with humanitarian aid or recruiting local hires. Octavio and Joaquín persist but J.D. rejects them in Lisa Lisa's stead. Octavio then reveals that both he and Joaquín possess a special power that allows them to perceive the morality of people, which they believe they acquired from being close to their gods. Although Lisa Lisa questions whether he's speaking the truth, she picks up on their worth and resolve, and presents them with a challenge if they want to join.
Octavio and Joaquín are introduced as a legendary duo who would one day surpass both J.D. Hernández and Lisa Lisa. Their first task from Lisa Lisa is to investigate whether there are more people hiding abilities like Fabio's. They use their massive network of informants to amass information from anyone they could find. They also craft sob stories to appeal to people's emotions, such as an eccentric old lady who refused to answer anything. Their second task is to discover how Fabio had acquired his ability. They travel to the maquiladora where he worked and interview the landlord of the apartment where he lived. They realize that J.D. and his team already investigated the same areas and wonder if this is a competition Lisa Lisa set up to see which group would find the truth first. They think back to Fabio's backstory and decide to find the trafficker that scammed Fabio. Octavio knew that most traffickers had bad intentions, robbing customers who couldn't pay and then leaving them in the forest, such as what happened to Pedro Ochoa and Enrique. Octavio and Joaquín's informants expand their search to neighboring villages and they gather together all the rumors and secrets they heard. They eventually learn that the boss of the trafficker in charge of Fabio's home village changed right before Fabio's plan to cross the border. Since then, the organization got a lot shadier, demanding exorbitant fees, forcing people to walk through dangerous areas, and shooting them with arrows.
The duo hands their report to Lisa Lisa four days after she gave them the challenge, before the deadline elapsed. They found one of the trafficker gangs stationed in the forests northeast of Guatemala City and know its general location, so they offer to accompany Lisa Lisa there as official members of the team. After reading the report, Lisa Lisa gives them a speech about fluorescent lights flickering at an imperceptible rate. She compares herself and the boys as living beneath the light, but there are some who live beneath the flickers of darkness. It's the Speedwagon Foundation's duty to capture the flicker of darkness. She asks if they're ready to hide from society by becoming members of the Foundation, and finally asks what the biggest lie they've ever told is. Octavio responds first by saying that he hates lying so he's done violent things to avoid having to lie. Joaquín grabs a notepad and writes down that saying he hasn't ever lied is the biggest lie he's ever told. Lisa Lisa appreciates his answer and accepts them as members.
Accompanied by Lisa Lisa, Octavio, and Joaquín, the research group led by J. D. travel by car to their destination. They pass by Mayan ruins and Lisa Lisa gives them a history lesson while Octavio dozes off. They reach their destination, arriving at a small settlement where the human traffickers are rumored to be. However, the place appears to be deserted. They decide to investigate anyways since they came all this way. As soon as Octavio exits the car, he steps on the prongs of a half-buried rake, severely injuring the toes of one foot. The group also notice circles and squares drawn in chalk on the ground. J.D., his team members, and Joaquín exit the car, while Lisa Lisa stays behind. Suddenly, a pit appears beneath one investigator, causing him to fall. J.D. tries calling out the member's name and dashes to the pitfall with another investigator but it was too deep for them to see anything. As the other investigators tried rushing back to help their allies, more of them fall into holes.
Joaquín notices the chalk and makes noises while pointing to it. J.D. understands what he's trying to say, deducing that anyone who steps inside of a shape drawn in chalk will fall into a hole. However, Octavio reveals that he's already stepping inside one but hasn't fallen. Joaquín copies Octavio's posture with one foot up causing Octavio and J.D. to realize that this is a game of hopscotch. As the group stands on one foot, J.D. orders them to focus on getting back to the car before thinking of a rescue plan. Suddenly, they see a large number of shapes being drawn on the ground by an invisible evil spirit, covering the ground with patterns. Making matters worse, a rusty sickle is thrown at J.D.'s thigh, making it difficult for him to keep his balance. Several sickles, hatchets, knives, and rakes are sent flying toward the investigators, causing more of them to fall into holes.
Octavio's uninjured leg is struck by a knife but he manages to stop his fall by slamming his hand outside the lines of chalk. He grabs J.D. and carries him on his back, managing to hop on one foot with the weight of two people. Meanwhile, Joaquín had evaded getting injured and nimbly hops back faster than the others, almost reaching the cars. However, he yells and points to the ground by the cars. The evil spirit drew lines of chalk below the cars, enclosing them in a square. Since cars had four points of contact with the ground as opposed to one, the trap works on them as well. The ground collapses below the cars, but Lisa Lisa imbues her muffler with the Ripple and uses it as a powerful spring, allowing her to leap out of the abyss. After she bounces back up, the muffler stands upright with its tip being the only part touching the ground rather than her legs, so she was safe from the chalk's trap.
Lisa Lisa informs them that there is no need to retreat. Instead, they now have more data about these abilities. She thinks that the ability can't spread its power over a wide range, so the user must be hiding nearby like with Fabio. Octavio and Joaquín both understand what she means, thinking the user might be hiding in the water tank in the corner of the plaza. Octavio hops to the water tank while ignoring his injured feet and discovers that his assumption was correct once he takes off the lid of the tank. A 15-year-old mixed orphan named Izahela Mena-Mena was the user of an ability later named "Hopscotch" in the investigation files. She collapses from exhaustion and they find that she was assisted by other children who were throwing the weapons. All of the holes vanish and the investigators who fell are found unconscious, all of them severely injured, with two of them unable to recover. The children are taken into custody by the SPW Foundation and they go back to the Foundation's base, which used to be a large ruin in Guatemala but was converted into a facility.
When she's awake, Izahela reveals that the human traffickers shot her family with an ancient-looking bow when they tried to emigrate from Guatemala to Mexico. She witnessed her father and little brother die, but she survived and was taken to a dark place. Nine other men and women were also taken there. They were only given scraps to eat and had nothing to do. Izahela passed their test and was eventually taken out of confinement and put to work like a servant. In the briefing room for the research group later, Lisa Lisa recounts the magnitude 8.1 earthquake causing widespread crustal movement in the mountain ranges of Peru back in 1966. Strangely, the research body which attempted to conduct a geographical survey of this area were infected by an unidentified illness causing mostly death, but survivors exhibited unnatural bodily changes such as spontaneous combustion and electric discharge. Presumably, a pathogen which was hitherto confined underground was released. This virus derived from minerals may not be limited to just Peru; it may exist inside an earth-wide stratum. Moreover, the virus most likely encroaches the intrinsic soul and consciousness of humans to overwrite its very foundations. Lisa Lisa reveals she had been investigating this subject for many years, and alongside informed circles and researchers, hypothesized that somebody who wished for the power of a perfect god had become aware of the existence of these minerals. That person processed the ore into the shape of an arrow as a source of a transcendent virus metamorphizing human existence, awakening an ability of extraordinary power surpassing human understanding.
Lisa Lisa goes on to explain that there are several Arrows that must have traversed the world and emerged even in battlefields and conflicts. Based on Izahela's testimony, it seems that several Arrows belong to the leader of the traffickers, Alhorn. Lisa Lisa states that it is now the Speedwagon Foundation's duty to retrieve every arrow in circulation. For the present, they will focus on capturing the subordinates of Alhorn and recover the arrows they possess in Latin America. At night, Octavio feels restless from Lisa Lisa's speech, excited that he has a new opportunity for gaining power. Never seeing Octavio in this state before, even Joaquín feels excited about the potential that awaits them.