The Justice Arc is the first arc of Death Note: Our Truths. It takes place before the Ambition Arc. In this season, Haruki Kiryu receives a Death Note from the Shinigami Ryuk, and becomes Kira. This arc details of what happens thereafter.
Opening Theme - Angel Terreste by Immediate Music
Closing Theme - Orchard Of Mines by Globus
A pair of Shinigami crouched over a stone table, their bone-bowls rattling despondently. A faint wind was blowing through the desolation, spurring dust to the air. The portal looking down to the human realm was the same one he had come to almost nine years ago. Nothing much had changed.
He hadn’t been to this one since then… not since he had gone to the human realm.
“Hey Ryuk. Wanna gamble?” Elir Mepherik asked, looking up from the table, a bowl full of animal bones clutched between his arms.
The skeletal face of Raght, as he liked to be called now, looked up at him. “Yeah Ryuk, are you in?” He could almost sense the slightest hint of a threat in the Shinigami’s tone.
It was a grey day, like all the rest. A phantom pain coursed from Ryuk’s stomach to his fingertips. His hands shook, contorting slightly; his eyes were on the portal looking down at the human world, so full of… Apples.
With a sigh, Ryuk replied, “Nah I think I’m good, you guys.”
“Ah, don’t be like that. Join us. Three’s better than two. Raght’s smokin’ me anyways…”
“I would go down to the human realm,” Ryuk said miserably, eyeing the portal, “if I had another–”
That was when he saw it: a Death Note, its cover white, poking like a bone up from the ashy sandy that coated much of the Shinigami Realm’s surface. It was stuck next to a rock, buried up to its rich cursive black-font cover in ash when Ryuk plucked it out.
“H-hey,” he said, looking around, “whose notebook is this?”
Mepherik, whose real face hid behind a long-chinned mask, painted grey and red, and a smattering of animal hair for a wig, wheezed out in a sneering way, “Never seen that book before. Never seen one without a black cover before.”
“It’s uncommon but not unheard of,” Raght replied simply. “That notebook belonged to the Shinigami Baloucher who committed suicide three weeks ago sitting on that very rock,” he said in a cool, calm voice. Ryuk detected not a hint of malice coming from him.
“Oh did he? Why’d he do that?”
“He grew bored with this place too. But unlike you, he saw no hope in the human realm.”
Ryuk chuckled. He had no hope in the human realm either. Apples were all that mattered to him: juicy, crispy apples. Nearby, a tree, covered in ash, loomed impressively. Looking back to Raght, he remembered something Kira had once told him: This world is rotten. More often than not, more and more lately, he had found the Shinigami Realm to be of little difference to nothingness itself, with the vast stretches of desolation extending in all directions. The meager groups of Shinigami who remained were little more than the dwindling watchkeepers of a kingdom so long fallen their purpose had faded even from their minds.
Ryuk’s wings unfurled wide. He was not ready to give up. “Sorry I can’t stay boys.” He pocketed the white notebook, grinning. “I’m going back to the human realm.”
Rain. It was always raining. But that wasn’t especially uncommon on Jeju Island. Near was sitting in the ambulance, watching what was going on outside. The SPK, or Special Provision for Kira, was still his to command, but with its prime suspect now dead, their funding had gone dry. Only he and Commander Rester remained. It was just the two of them on this operation.
But it hadn’t always been so. Just a few months ago, both Gevanni and Lidner had still been alive–before the accident, anyways. He had held onto a two percent suspicion that Kira still lived and that he had killed them, but no other unusual deaths had occurred since Light Yagami’s death. There was no logic to believing Kira still lived. He couldn’t chase ghosts.
And all this rain. Near didn’t understand how people could live in it, as warm and humid as it was. The constant noise was hampering Near’s abilities by six point two percent. Near sighed, tired. He would be glad to leave Jeju City soon. He looked down at the marbles he was playing with. They were so messy, so disorganized, so unpredictable.
Commander Anthony Rester opened the passenger door of the ambulance and got in. He was soaked. “You were right, L. Like always. And he had the girl too,” Rester coughed.
“Did she survive?” Near diverted twenty-two percent of his attention to Rester, continuing to play with the marbles. He picked one up and tried to balance it on another.
Rester wasn’t paying attention. Gruffly, he said, “Yeah, he cut her once on the cheek before we took him out. We were lucky this time.” He peered out the window, trying to see through the downpouring tropical storm. “They’re bringing her out. You’re going to need to move, L.”
Just at that time, the back doors swung open; EMTs and Paramedics swarmed in. Near, unmoving, was pushed aside, his marbles flying about. An EMT slipped on several of his bigger ones, and the room went quiet.
A woman with a pudgy face glared at him, shouting something vitriolic in Korean.
Near was not listening. He got up and delicately picked up each and every marble, placing them into his pocket. “You can bring her in now.”
Another EMT snapped something crude at Near.
Within moments the victim was brought into the ambulance, and the vehicle was on its way. The remaining EMTs inside stared at Near, who simply stared back. They got off three blocks later, walking the rest of the way back to their hotel in the warm mid-afternoon rain.
“Commander Rester, how many men did it take to pull this off?” Near asked.
“Uh… I think it was… it was a dozen. Yeah, a dozen. But that doesn’t count the paramedics,” Rester pointed around at the paramedics in the ambulance. “Yeah, without them, Ms. Ozaki would have probably died. It’s a good thing you thought of them.”
“What of Genzo Ozaki?”
“I guess that’ll make finding his brother all the more trickier.”
“Yeah, you can count on that. He’s going to cancel all of his business meetings after he learns of this, and he’ll only send proxies–”
“I want to go back to the UN. Surely, they’ll see that I can’t catch the Ozaki Brothers without my own men. The costs will become unmanageable if this continues.” Near paused politely, waiting for his commander’s response. When none came, he said, “Rester?”
“Yeah, fine. We’ll go. But it’ll all be the same. They’ll deny the request.”
“Maybe. But we have to try. It’s the only way to win this game.” Near, fascinated by a single marble in his hand blinked. “I’ve grown bored as it is.”
“Well, in any case, we’re here,” Rester said, gesturing to the nearest grey-drenched building.
The commander had booked a simple hotel room with two beds. It had been a while since Near had gotten to stay in a suite–not since Light Yagami had been alive. Inside was quiet, cold, as if abandoned. But this place would be their base of operations for the foreseeable future–until the last of the Ozaki Brothers was captured, dead or alive.
There was enough money left for Near to work on at least a few more cases. But now the funding had gone dry, and the two SPK survivors were reduced to helping in whatever cases were available, with little chance of selecting their preferences.
It didn’t help that C-Kira was the most recent Kira to surface. If not for him, perhaps the funders would see pursuing the Kira cases as meaningful. But the Kira’s weren’t meaningful anymore. Indeed, not a single one had put up any kind of challenge, apart from Light Yagami. Kira had one thing, even in death, that Near could never have: the people. Somehow, his perverse sense of justice had struck a chord with the most of the people around the world. To Near, that only made him despise them more.
Several pundits and news analysts had even called for L to reveal himself to the public to atone for his crime of finding and killing Kira. Near wouldn’t play that game though. The real L only revealed himself to a select few, and only because of the seriousness of the Kira case. Near had to think like L, to be like L. And L would never give himself up.
“Hey Near, letter for you,” Rester said, walking into the room, a crisp white envelope in one hand. “From the front desk. I checked it myself–it’s clean.”
Near paused, looking up. No one knew he was here; no one knew he was Near. After all, he was L. Therefore, it had been a while since he’d gotten a letter. Nevertheless, he trusted Rester, so he took it. On its face was written only one word: Asahi–the name of the third most popular detective in the world.
Who knows I’m here? Who knows L uses that alias?
This questions bloomed like marbles rolling from the lightless corners of Near’s mind. He felt excited, drawn in by the mystery of this. In the upper corner, a return address listed no name save for the letter C. Near stared at that, thinking a dozen different thoughts. He knew no C. Surely this was somebody from Wammy’s House, but could it really be that C?
Near wouldn’t believe it. He tore open the envelope and found a simple message:
“Hello Nathaniel. It appears you are in a bit of a dicey situation at the present moment. I should not like to have to be the one to reveal your identity to the public, but should the files on the Kira case not be made publically available within a week’s time… well, perhaps you will force my hand. I sure hope it doesn’t come to that, L. With Kindest Regards, C”
“What’s it say?” Rester asked, peering at him steadily.
“Nothing,” Near said quietly, folding the piece of paper several times before pocketing it. “In the morning, we’ll interview Genzo Osaki’s daughter, provided she’s recovered from her wounds,” Near said flatly.
Rester needs not know. Whoever this C is, he has no idea who he’s up against.
Ryuk emerged into the human realm, greeted by a blinding sun piercing through the cloudless sky. Squinting, the Shinigami looked around for signs of humankind. Below him was a town, modest in appearance, located on the outskirts of what looked like a pretty big city. Ryuk descended to the ground, noting the warm weather.
"Ah, this is better. No more cold, no more gambling and, best of all, plenty of apples!” Ryuk walked up to a nearby apple tree and carefully plucked one out. He took a bite, and another, and then another. “Oh… it’s so good. So juicy sweet! Hahah, I’ve missed the human realm.”
A girl standing on the sidewalk screamed, having witnessed an apple pick itself from the tree and then proceed to disappear in bite-sized chunks in front of her. Ryuk ate another apple, and then another, and soon enough the girl was running down the street screaming. She wouldn’t be the one. She was too young anyways.
Next to the apple tree was a window showing a classroom full of high school students inside. Like Light Yagami, they were Japanese, and Ryuk could understand their language perfectly. His stomach feeling warm and full, the Shinigami, instead of reaching for a fourth apple, instead stepped through the wall, looking for his prey.
Their voices went from being muffled to being annoying loud and cranky. They were high school students alright–some no older than Light had been. Ryuk noticed several paper banners pinned to a bulletin board near the door:
Ryuk grinned. It was perfect.Not constrained by earthly limitations, the Shinigami simply walked through the students and desks and sat down in an empty desk in the back. The class had just begun.
“As you can see, class, I’ve put up several names on the board. I want someone to tell me the significance of each of them.” The man speaking was obviously the teacher. He looked around, as no one raised their hands. “No one? Has no one followed the Kira case? Do none of you remember it? It was only nine years ago.”
A student in the front raised his hand. “Sir, we were all children when the Kira case took place. I don’t think any of us can remember it that well.”
“Ah. Well then, I’ll give us all a brief history of the main players in the investigation,” the teacher said. He was surprisingly nonchalant. “This class will explore all of the Kiras, their motives and histories, no matter how feeble they may seem, when compared to True Kira. First, Kyosuke Higuchi. I doubt any of you would remember him. He was one of the Kiras–one of the lesser Kiras. We know quite a lot about this man actually and his actions as Kira. This may be because he was not personally connected to True Kira.”
Ryuk looked at the students as they discussed Light. They didn’t know his name nor even the details of his death. Only Ryuk knew the truth. Maybe I should have been their teacher, heh.
The teacher proceeded up to the boy whose nametag read: Kiryu Haruki. The boy with messy brown hair and dark eyes had not been paying attention. “Tell me, Haruki. Why did True Kira give Mr. Kyosuke his power?”
The boy yawned, blinking effeminately. “He probably didn’t want to get caught and wanted to divert attention away from himself.”
A horse-faced boy in the back of the class spoke up, “Yeah, but he killed that one guy, right in front of everyone! I feel like that was kind of a bold move.”
The teacher sat on the edge of his desk listening to the discussion. He looked over at Haruki, who was staring back at him. “So, Haruki, now that you know all about what I am going to teach, tell me… why do you think True Kira never intended on contacting the world about his noble purpose?”
Haruki began again in his calm, unblinking manner, “I don’t think he intended to be found out. Not at first, at least. It was a personal to him–to rid the world of evil. Kira was acting as justice by only targeting criminals. That’s how he saw it, anyways.”
Another student turned to Haruki. She had long black hair, a pale, thin face, and water muddy green eyes. Plastered above the left breast of her uniform was a nametag: Miyamoto Misaki. “Yeah, but he killed everyone the same way. I mean a guy as smart as that should’ve known that the cops would see a pattern, eventually… He should have been ready for it. That’s all I’m saying. L tracked him here pretty fast. He was too arrogant. That was his downfall.”
Without pause, Haruki continued, “We don’t know how Kira killed his victims, but I think even he didn’t know how to use his powers at first. And it’s possible that heart attacks are the only way to kill people with whatever he used.”
The teacher stood up with his mechanical, academic poses. “Perhaps, subconsciously, our Kira wanted the world to know about his presence? So then, why didn’t he immediately use the televisions to contact us first?”
Haruki sighed. He obviously wanted to leave. But instead, he continued on, “I know if I had Kira’s power, I’d want the world to know, but it would be too risky to do that. It‘s actually quite smart the way he revealed himself.”
At the end of the day, Ryuk slipped the Death Note with the white cover into Misaki Miyamoto’s bag. Haruki had stayed after school for soccer practice. But now, he was walking home with Misaki, who had stayed behind to do homework, seemingly to wait for him. It was strange. Ryuk didn’t understand humans sometimes.
The sky was tinged a sharp shade of orange, brimming with the sounds of distant trains and starved seabirds.
The two returned to the same home together. They had been talking gossip the whole way. All Ryuk could think was when his next apple would be. The sun was setting fast. Ryuk only hoped that she wouldn’t pick up the notebook in front of her family, let alone Haruki–the boy who curiously reminded Ryuk of Light.
A woman came around a corner to greet Haruki and Misaki and Ryuk as they stepped through the front door. “Haruki, you’re late!”
“Oh, hi mother. Sorry I’m late. Soccer practice went long today. Misaki stayed late with me. I thought she could come over for dinner?”
“It’s no matter, Haruki, but we started eating already. Your plate is in the kitchen. I’ll get another for your friend.”
“Okay, we’ll be down in a minute.”
Haruki walked passed his mother and to the stairs. Good. Ryuk would need to know which room was his. Haruki’s room was more or less as Ryuk imagined: neat, organized, but minimalist. He wondered if either of them would scream. He had picked Misaki primarily because he expected she would not. As for the boy, however… Ryuk had not meant for him to ever behold the Shinigami. But if they were this close, it would be impossible to keep Haruki oblivious to the Death Note for long. Ryuk knew he shouldn’t bother trying.
He waited in the boy’s closet, peering out the opening as the two of them continued talking for what seemed like at least ten minutes (a life-age in Shinigami time). At one point the two sat on the bed and began going over homework problems, and Ryuk nearly fell asleep. Misaki showed no sign of seeing the strange new book in her bag, or if she had, she hadn’t mentioned it at all.
They snogged for a while, which was alright, but then they were called down for dinner. Ryuk snuck out of the closet only after they had left. The door was long shut behind him before he pulled the white-covered book from the bag and set it gently on top of Misaki’s bag, making it clearly visible. There was no way they’d miss it when they got back. He only wondered who would pick it up first. In Ryuk’s mind, though he had had a clear target in mind, this added bit of chaos only made him more inquisitive and eager to see how these humans would react.
Impatience, however, was a deep and cutting emotion, affecting even seasoned gods such as Ryuk. He was the sixth-ranked Shinigami, and supposedly that meant something, but he had forgotten what that was. He waited only three to four more minutes in silence before flying out the window–or rather, through the window–to the apple tree outside Haruki’s home.
There’s a lot of apples in this town, Ryuk thought to himself. Dying sunlight slanted on the glistening, summer-ripe fruit hanging by the scores on the twenty-foot tree. Eh, he thought, reaching for one high up in the tree, wondering if anyone would see him this time and knowing that he did not care if they did, at least this’ll be a little interesting, no matter what happens. Who knows. Maybe one of them could turn out to be like Light…
The bone-bowl was empty. A smattering of dust whisked through the air, uncurling itself like marrow powder. “You got me again, Raght,” Elir Mepherik growled softly. “Damn luck, I say.”
“I’m going,” Raght said suddenly. “If anyone asks, tell them I lost my Death Note in the human realm.”
“Y-you did what…?!” The mask-wearing Shinigami’s eyes were wide with surprise. “R-raght…”
“Oh, I have more than one Death Note. You see, I’m something of a prodigy in bone gambling. Everyone I’ve played has lost bigtime to me. I won several notebooks from Armonia Justin Beyondormason that way, heh. Now I’m going to go have some fun. This place is so rotten,” he snarled, looking around at the vast expanses of rubble and lifelessness. “The human realm was said to be a fun place. I’ll go have fun there. Good luck paying me back, Mepherik,” he said, eyeing the less Shinigami fouly as he stood amongst the ash. “If your debt is not returned to me in twenty-three days, you will surrender your Death Note to me as payment.”
“B-but then how will I write down names and keep on living, Raght?!”
The Shinigami shrugged and kicked off, angling himself at the portal. “Figure it out. I’m sure you’re smart enough. A Shinigami with as high a rank as you should have no problem coming up with what you need to.”
He cackled, silencing the fourteenth-ranked Shinigami with ease. It had taken a bribe of only seventy-two bananas and apples from the human realm for the old man to allow Raght to take Rem’s old place as the fourth-ranked Shinigami, bypassing more than a dozen senior candidates. There were grumblings, but few would question Raght to his face, for he knew he intimidated them.
Good, he thought, and he jumped through the portal leading to Japan.
His mother gave him a look before he closed the door behind them. I’m in high school now, Haruki thought. Come on Mom, this isn’t weird, I promise. Dad would be proud, he thought, sighing. Still, his mother’s look worried him, so he promised himself they wouldn’t go all the way tonight. I’m only fifteen. Most other guys my age haven’t done it yet.
Misaki sat on his the edge of his bed, looking down at her backpack. She had been going on about his mother’s cooking, almost to an annoying degree, when suddenly her voice broke and she stopped, staring blankly down at her bag.
“What is it?”
“D-death… Note…?” she read aloud slowly. “Come here, look. Is this yours, Haruki?”
The boy walked over, immediately noticing the white-covered book lying on top of Misaki’s backpack. That wasn’t there when we left. I know it wasn’t. He shivered and peered around, finding nothing but familiarity, hazy, yet indiscreet. The cover’s headnote was written in English, and thus was somewhat awkward for either of them to try to pronounce. Misaki was better at English than Haruki, but even she said she had never seen these two words put together and hardly knew what to make of the meaning.
The instructions inside were in English as well. This was almost like homework, trying to decipher the meaning. The two of them sat on his bed, shoulders rubbing against one another, huddled over the book, trying to read out what it said. And though he could feel his girlfriend’s heart fluttering, Haruki himself remained calm and a little perplexed. He turned the page and continued reading the rules aloud as Misaki listened patiently. This doesn’t seem like it’s real. More like a prank. What are we doing, reading this? Are we really this gullible?
“Hey, I think we should stop,” Haruki said after finishing reading aloud the fourth rule. “This has to be a joke.”
“Does it?” she asked him. “What if it works?”
“You’re going to write someone’s name in there? Come on, Misaki. It’s a prank,” Haruki continued. “It says anyone will die of a heart attack if their name is written in there,” he pointed emphatically at the little white book. “That sounds just like how Kira kills people. Don’t you see, Misaki? It’s a hoax. They’re making up a way to pretend you’re Kira and–”
“Would you object if I wrote down a criminal’s name and wait to see what happens?”
“Haruki, come on,” her voice rose earnestly. “Are you really going to be like this? Are we going to have to have a fight over this?”
That was the last thing Haruki wanted. Really, all he wanted was the continuation of his species. “No, no, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, gosh!” he said, his cheeks going red. He felt ashamed of how un-manly he felt in that moment, her cold gaze upon him, peeling back the layers.
“So I can write someone’s name in it? Would you allow that, Haruki?” Her tone was bitter.
Haruki shrugged. “It’s a prank,” he said. “This is ridiculous.”
“Why’s it written in English then, huh?”
“Why would the gods speak English?” Haruki retorted. “Of all the languages… Someone just did it to be a little cheeky. It’s almost like putting all the rules in a secret code. You have to be good enough at English to read it out…”
“You were almost good enough,” Misaki smiled at Haruki.
His ears went red and tingled and he smiled uncontrollably in response, that dumb oaf he was. He had nothing–no response, no way to console her or egg her on. He was paralyzed by her beauty for a moment. And in that moment, Misaki reached forward, clicking on her pen, and wrote down the name of a man they had been discussing earlier–a former yakuza who had lost at least three fingers in his wet ops, the details of which had been discussed on last night’s evening news all throughout Japan.
Haruki faintly knew this was a bad idea, but he could not stop her now. The name was written: Hattori Kiyoshi. He was currently on trial–at this very moment–so if he suddenly died of a heart attack…
She was one step ahead of him. The remote was in Misaki’s slender hand, and in one click, the boy’s television hummed on. It was already on the evening news. There had been an earthquake in Hokkaido–nothing serious, but one building had been damaged to the point of requiring evacuation, and the business owner and others were at present discussing whether to demolish it and rebuild it, or try to reinforce it in case of another earthquake in the future. Nothing about Hattori was being played. They watched for five minutes in silence.
“It’s fake,” Haruki said to her, grasping her hand and squeezing it. His girlfriend was left-handed, and he didn’t know why, but he had always loved that about her.
Misaki’s grin was fierce, just as it had been when she had scolded him in that stupid Kira philosophy class. “Just you wait. It hasn’t even been a minute yet.”
“I thought it was supposed to take forty seconds.”
“Hey, you were the one translating it, not me. I thought you got a B- in English last year–”
“Shut up!” he snapped at her suddenly, the color surging into his cheeks again. But this time it was not lust that tempered his cheeks, but shame and ire mixed into one hideous beast. “Why do you always have to bring that up?! And besides, I’m sure it said forty seconds… I know how to read numbers…”
She had cut him deep and she realized that. “H-hey, Haruki, look,” she said soothingly, “you’re about the smartest person I’ve ever known and–”
“Oh shit, look!”
On the television, the lights all turned to red and black, flashing impatiently, making Haruki’s eye twitch subtly. “We’re sorry to interrupt your current broadcast, but this is Breaking News: moments ago while on the witness stand, defendant Kiyoshi Hattori fell over, grabbing his chest, and collapsed. Several people attempted CPR but were unsuccessful in reviving him. He was then rushed to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead at 9:13 pm. The initial report given to us is that he died of a heart attack.”
There was something uplifting in that reporter’s voice. Yukari Yamaguchi, he thought dreamily for the faintest of moments before it all came crashing down to reality.
“H-haruki…” Misaki had gone white as a ghost. Her lips and fingers were trembling. “I-I-I k-killed him…”
Tears formed in fresh waves at the corners of her eyes. His girlfriend’s long and pale neck glistened with sweat. “It was just a…” he was saying, when out from the wall, a floating monster with wings appeared.
Neither one of them screamed.
“Hey there,” the monster said stoically, looking directly at Misaki. “My name’s Ryuk. That’s my Death Note you’ve got.”