Sun dawned upon the grasslands of Liverpool, gracing the flora with its gentle yet bright rays. Amid such grassy landscape stood a three-story mansion, made out of bricks just like manors of the period. Guarded with a brick wall, the prestigious mansion served as a residence to the famously rich family of Joestars. Thanks to George Joestar's efforts in trading business, the family maintained such wealth that it competed royals of other countries. However, despite the luxury, strict code of conduct was maintained in the family, in order to maintain their image of true examples of refined gentlemen.
Inside of the mansion, George was walking up stairs, with his goal being alerting Jonathan about the importance of the day. The stairs were covered with a red carpet, which reigned above the checkered floor. As a true testament of its prestige, the interior was decorated with various exotic objects, such a statue of a fine woman holding a vase and a stone mask on the wall. The hall was usually sparsely populated, so George's footsteps calmly echoed through out the building. One could easily get lost in it, since it was rather a large one to boot. After navigating through the mansion, George arrived in front of the room of Jonathan Joestar. He grabbed the doorknob and opened it.
"Jonathan, are you-" piqued George Joestar, just to remind his son to prepare himself. However, Jonathan already prepared himself for the day in advance, surprising his own father in the process. It felt like he was already dressed up for the day since very early in the morning. "Pardon me for assuming. I see you are already ready.".
"Good morning, father. I have woken up much earlier than usual." greeted Jonathan with a gentlemanly bow, to show respect to his father.
"Very well, but you still have a long way to go." complimented George, although he reminded his own son that the path of a proper gentleman was still a long one.
"I am well aware of that, father." although Jonathan knew of that fact, he wasn't too confident in himself about it. To be a proper gentleman seemed like an endlessly continuous journey.
"Now listen carefully, my son. Today is a very important day for the bloodline of Joestars." George began talking about the event which might change their destiny forever.
"What is going to happen today, if I may ask?" piqued Jonathan with a curious tone in his voice. Any time his father said that the day was going to be special, he truly meant it.
"Today shall be the day when your life will take a different path. We have adopted a son of a father who saved my life. To take him with us is Joestar's sign of gratitude. Make sure he feels at home." revealed George that the family has taken a certain boy under their wing. After Dario's death, his son would live in the residence for rest of his life.
"Oh, an adoptive brother! I'll make sure that he feels as welcome as possible!" approved Jonathan almost instantly. He never really had a peer on his side, since the only true friend of him was a Great Dane which was named Danny. Although the bond between the boy and the dog wasn't as strong at first, they became truly inseparable after Danny saved his life.
"That is expected of you, Jonathan." nodded George, with a slight sense of pride in his voice, despite having an incredibly stern outlook on his face.
"Well, I will try my best about it…" promised Jonathan as both of them stepped forth, going outside, since the arrival of Brando's son was coming close.
As both Joestar's exited the mansion in order to greet their guest, they could heard the steps of horses, accompanied with the sound of wheels rolling getting louder. A carriage was approaching faster they have initially imagined. After a minute or two, the carriage stopped, as the blond boy leaped out of it. Somehow, he landed right on his feet without any issues. The son of Brando had a particularly cold look in his orange eyes. The frown on his face didn't help either. However, Joestars didn't focus much on his appearance as they were about to invite him. Jonathan was in front of the brick wall, while George stayed behind, just in front of the entrance. He wanted Jonathan to take care of the guest alone, also to give him some experience.
"Oh, is that the boy my father's been talking about? Alright, I should do like I promised." Jonathan thought about it before he checked himself to see if he was in good condition. Once he determined that he was, he stepped forth to greet their new member. "Good morning. Welcome to the residence of Joestar's. My name is Jonathan Joestar, although people refer to me as Jojo. What's yours?".
"My name is Dio." the son of Brando introduced himself with a level of pride of his voice, a tone not noticed by the Joestar.
"Ah, nice to meet you. I hope that we will get along well." said Jonathan in a much more innocent tone than the one which the guest used. Suddenly, both of them heard barking. It was Danny, who was just happily running towards them. Waggling with his tail, Danny was more than welcoming to meet the new guest.
"Danny!" Jonathan called him out in a joyful tone, crouching down to give him some gentle scratches behind his ear. Then he showed Dio his dog as if were his human friend. "See him? That's my dog. He's really friendly and would never bite anyone. Seems like he's also excited to meet you.".
However, Dio only glared at the canine, showing nothing short of repulsion at Great Dane's existence. If it wasn't for patriarch of Joestar in the back, he would have kicked Danny without hesitation. Instead, he wanted to show it off slightly more covertly.
"Get that filthy mutt out of my sight." rasped Dio as his irises shrunk, even clenching his fist to show that he truly wanted Danny gone. The sudden response startled Jonathan greatly.
"Huh? What do you mean? Danny hasn't done anything wrong, has he?" asked Jonathan, wondering why Dio had such an intense reaction to just seeing his dog.
"Apologies, I just do not like dogs very much. It has to due with an incident in the past and ever since that day, I have preferred for dogs to stay away from me." Dio suddenly toned down his aggression as he calmly explained his distaste for canines. His elaboration seemed rather believable enough, at the very least he didn't attack Danny, otherwise he would have exposed himself.
"Oh, I see….I'm gonna make sure that Danny's not gonna come close to you." frowned Jonathan as he invited his hound to return to his dog house. "Come here, Danny!"
"He fell for it. Heir of a Joestar, yet an utter fool. This will be easy." Dio smirked to himself, already deciding that toppling down Joestars will be a breeze of a job. However, George took a notice of their interactions and intervened, stepping forth to check on them. Jonathan returned as well.
"Ah, you two have already met. How has it went so far?" asked George, curious on what was their first impression of each other.
"I think it went well, but I must say that I did not expect Dio to dislike dogs that much." Jonathan expressed his opinion on the matter. While he hesitated, he was willing to give Dio more chances. Perhaps there must be something about him that he did not know. In fact, he didn't know much at all.
"It is what it is, you cannot change such fact. Other than that, I'd say it was a solid impression." Dio stated his own opinion in a calm yet polite tone. Hard to tell if it was an honest tone, though.
"That's very good to hear. Now, come inside. We'll make sure to bring your belongings safely." said George as he invited both of them to go inside.
"Your hospitality is much appreciated, ." Dio bowed down to show respect as they all went towards the mansion. Servants took care of luggage as they carried it towards where Dio's room was supposed to be. George also joined with servants to take care of luggage, before he went out to prepare others rooms to ensure maximum comfort for the guest. Meanwhile, Jonathan and Dio remained in the hall, all alone.
"Is there anything I can do to help you, Dio?" Jonathan offered his assistance to carry his bags, just to make his job easier.
"Help? Hmph, don't be ridiculous. As if I need help from someone like you." scoffed Dio, already dismissing him Jonathan as someone below him. Jonathan was once again startled by the sudden tension, with him behaving to him just like he did to Danny. Yet why exactly was he polite to George, Jonathan didn't exactly know. Perhaps he didn't like peers that much or was there an ulterior motive in him.
"Huh? Why such hostility? I only want to help." retorted Jonathan slightly more harshly than before, since Dio's behavior was starting to get on his nerves.
"Listen, JoJo. I, Dio, will not take it from peasants like you, but if you insist so hard about it, then you can fulfill my demand." Dio gave him quite a glare in order to put him down, to "let him know his place". The intimidation didn't particularly work on Jonathan, since he was more baffled by his behavior rather than scared, but the noble boy started to feel like further arguments could escalate tensions. He opted to hear his words, but with an increased amount of caution.
"Then….what it is?" Jonathan squinted at him, but still following his words regardless.
"The library. Where it is?" Dio gave out a simple demand.
"Oh…I can guide you there...but-no, nevermind. Pardon me for prying too much." Jonathan almost slipped with his tongue, but decided to back down. Not worth escalating the situation even more.
"You are finally knowing your place. Now, guide me there." smirked Dio as Jonathan began guiding him, climbing upstairs to reach the destined floor. Once they reached it, they navigated on it to find the place that Dio wanted to visit.
"Sheesh….why is Dio so hostile already? First to Danny, now to me. Did I not do a good first impression? I do just want to be friends with him...but I need to address my father first." Jonathan thought to himself as he was showing the path to the library. Once they reached it, two boys stopped in front of the door of the destined place.
"There it is, the library." Jonathan opened the door to him, letting him go inside.
"Hm, you won't be useful anymore. Now scram!" Dio's idea of expressing gratitude was to tell him to sod off as he went inside, closing the door by himself. He did it gently, just to not cause any attention. It was at that moment that Jonathan knew he needed someone to confide regarding the guest.
"….Not even a thank you, huh?" sighed Jonathan as he went to the dining hall, where his father was. After walking alone in peace, he arrived to the place, opened the door and went inside. George Joestar was already preparing the table for dinner, even though there was still some time.
"Ah, Jonathan. I was awaiting you. Where is Dio?" asked George once he saw his son in the same room as him. He was wondering why Jonathan's mood seemed rather sour.
"He said that he wanted to go to the library. He is going to be there for some time." explained Jonathan as he pointed at the direction of the library.
"Hmm, I see. I shall let him, but he must be right on time when there will be dinner." George reminded his son to alert Dio once the dinner would be ready. A brief silence followed, only for it to be broken by son's words.
"Father, there's something I must talk about regarding Dio." addressed Jonathan regarding how the situation was with him and Dio.
"What's wrong? Are you two not getting along well?" George raised his eyebrow, noticing that something was not going right. Even when he observed from distance, he could feel some kind of tension.
"Well, I hate to admit it, but our first impression has not been so well. I tried my best to express as much hospitality as possible, but he is just so hostile not only towards me, but to Danny too." admitted Jonathan as he told how Dio acted around him and Danny. His father wondered why Dio was so hostile to him.
"Hmm….I will discuss that with Dio as well. I believe that you haven't been antagonizing him, have you?" George promised to address the problem, but at the same time, he wanted to know if Dio's behavior came out of nowhere or was Dio provoked first.
"I would never think about antagonizing. It's against our conduct." said Jonathan with a rather decent amount of confidence, believing that no gentleman should go out of the way to provoke others.
"That's expected of you. However, I must tell you this, Jonathan. Do not let the first impression fool you. Dio might have been hostile at first, but I am pretty sure that there must be a reason. Perhaps it is a defense mechanism caused by his rough life. Do not cease trying to approach him, I am very sure that one day you two will be like true brothers." advised George to try to understand Dio in order to get along with him, perhaps even shape him to become a better person.
"….I will try." nodded Jonathan, although with great amount of hesitation.
"Now then. Make sure to take your time to approach Dio." requested George once again to keep trying. Jonathan chose to remain in the dining hall, helping his father to prepare dinner.
Meanwhile in the library, Dio was all by himself, smirking with confidence that his plan was going smoothly. Unexpectedly smooth, he thought. The library itself was rather large in size, although it was hidden by darkness. Only a candle provided some light to it, which allowed readers inside to truly immerse themselves. A magnificent amount of books were stored inside the library, neatly placed in order on shelves. Dio was sitting on a chair, both wondering what he could read and what do to with Joestars.
"Jonathan, what an utter buffoon he is. Usurping Joestar's legacy is going to be easier than I ever imagined. Now I just need to think about how to completely crush Jonathan first, so that he won't-" Dio thought with a smirk on his face, already imagining how would he destroy Jonathan's life. However, such thoughts came to an abrupt halt. Then he glanced over to a shelf, looking at one very specific book. "What is this?".
He stood up from the chair, walked towards it and grabbed it. He brushed off dust of it, only to reveal that the book seemed to be blank. No title, no cover, just something one would use as a decoration. Only thing truly noticeable was its size, it seemed to be way bigger than any other book.
"It's just…a book, without a title or a cover,….yet why I was I compelled to grab this book? What's so significant about it?" wondered Dio, yet he could not resist using that book for a reading session. He took it with him, returned to the table and sat down, as he opened the book. "Alright then, I shall read it."
The first page of the book, colored in light sepia due to age, was almost blank, had it not been for a single warning:
"Beware those who have chosen to read this artifact! The content is not meant for weak minded, or else there shall be severe consequences!"
"What sort of joke is this? A book having supernatural powers? That's just mere fiction, thought up by a drunkard on the streets!" Dio raised his eyebrow, curious on what was the warning meant for. It was just a mere object, something that has no sentience or sapience...or so he thought. "Lets see if this book is as perilous as it says it is.".
He then turned to the next page, noticing that it didn't even have index, just blank pages. Skipping those, he found the content of it, long paragraphs, just like he expected. Then he truly began reading it, starting of with what seemed to be a recap of Prometheus myth. Since Dio always loved reading books, he was quite familiar with Greek mythology. He scoffed the idea of mere myths being dangerous. He read on, thinking that the book was just a mere time killer. Then, after the recap was concluded, he found one line that completely changed his perception of the book.
"Gods are mere pawns of higher forces.".
His irises shrunk, startled by what essentially was a bonafide definition of blasphemy. Even in the times of industrial revolution, defying divine beings was a move of great and often unrewarding risk. Dio was fascinated with how utterly defiant book seemed to be.
"I must say….this is a lot more intriguing than I initially imagined." Dio admitted to himself, as he fully immersed himself in. Then he continued on the next part of the book, which seemed to confirm that deities do exist. It described their role, weirdly enough beginning at the first appearance of humans. Before that, it seemed like gods were not exactly defined. As the civilization in Mesopotamia grew, so did gods as well. However, at the time of Ancient Greece and Persian Empire, decadence struck pantheons. Gods grew too complacent, too confident in for their status. Even so called mortal noticed that their masters have grown to be unfit to be called divine. It was at that moment when Dio suddenly felt raised temperature in his head, accompanied with a mild headache.
"...Why is my head getting hotter? I've only just started reading." Dio placed his hand on his forehead, confirming that it was starting to act strange. The pages he read could be counted on one hand, yet it started to have effects. None than less, he continued. The recap of Prometheus myth was not a coincidence, but in fact example of multiple attempts for mortal kind to reach the same power as gods. All of the attempts failed, with those who have tried receiving punishment. The one given to Prometheus seemed to be one of the harsher, but not worst examples of what a person could receive. As the time passed, very few of those who knew what was happening in pantheons were satisfied with the status quo. Rebellions against divinity were all over the place, to the point gods were unsure what to do. Luckily, those who knew were rare, most of the populace was living with peace for their gods. However, those who resisted were powerful themselves, even if they were human or not. Suddenly, Dio's heart started beating unnaturally fast, he could hear his heart beat out loud.
"My heart is beating fast? How odd, there's no sign of any threat." Dio placed his hand on the arm to check his pulse, confirming that his body was starting to act even stranger than before. He still opted to ignore warnings as he continued on. More or less, it were just descriptions of rebellions, with all of them failing. However, as the time passed, rebellions came closer and closer to achieving their goals. Something about that fact unsettled Dio, despite the fact he was starting to get fascinated by the concept of overthrowing gods.
"Yet why I do have a feeling that the book is impending me to a calamity? It's just a mere paper, written someone by-" Dio started to have reservations regarding reading the book, but he couldn't turn back anymore. He was to engrossed in it, it was like the book took control over him. Further descriptions of rebellions were there until a certain point. Dio finally started to grasp on why was this book deemed dangerous the moment he read the name of a higher being that has successfully rebelled against the divine.
Suddenly, he started to have flashes of a giant horned higher being of darkness standing above the burning ruins of a town amid the fierce storm, staring right into Dio's soul with its glowing emerald like eyes. The blond boy started hyperventilating as he sprung up from his chair, grabbing the candle in order to burn the book. The warning was right, yet he didn't heed its words. Despite him attempting to burn it, he just couldn't, as if some greater force was controlling him.
"What is this?! What is this monstrosity of a book? Why does it have so much power?!" Dio panicked within as he still tried to burn the book, but he just couldn't. He was simply unable to. "I...I can't even burn it? What is preventing me to do so?!".
Suddenly the door opened, startling Dio in the process. Jonathan was one responsible for the door opening, just wanting to check his guest, since he heard some noises from the library.
"Dio! What's going on?" asked Jonathan out of concern. Dio, fearing that Joestars would obtain powers of the book, leaned back, just to make it seem like it was an accident.
"Ah….I just nearly tripped with the candle in my hand. My bad, I ought to be more careful." Dio clarified with a lie, although he spoke with such casual yet polite tone that it seemed genuine. Jonathan noticed his sudden burst of politeness, wondering if it meant something. However, he believed his father's words to not have assumptions in general.
"I'm glad you are safe, Dio. Now, I won't bother you much. Continue relaxing in the library." smiled Jonathan as he left Dio alone, respecting his wish just to relax. That's what he thought, Dio had something else on his mind. However, Dio also realized that the book could be used in hands not his, wondering how did Joestars even got such object in the first place.
"...Joestar aren't even aware of what power they are possessing. They should not have their filthy hands on...whatever this is." Dio thought to himself, deciding to hide away the book as much as possible, even if Joestars couldn't embrace the book's power. However, he tried to read something else, something calmer than the thing he was reading. "Anyway, I should probably ease off my mind and read-".
However, the book he chose to read was the one he already was in the first place.
"...This book? It's like it wants to be read…yet my intrigue keeps growing. I'll continue it. It's not like I will finish this door stopper in one sitting." perplexed Dio, but he caved in, continuing it in the process. The son of Brando would not bow down to a mere book. "But my mind must remain strong...must become stronger!".
Thus he continued reading it, thankfully only at the beginning. The part he was at was biography of Shah Hzalazan, which seemed to be as long as an entire standalone novel itself. The entire book was possibly the largest he has ever seen, but that didn't intimidate him. He just kept going.
Hours passed and Dio only has covered the early life of Hzalazan. Covering his birth in Persia, the ancient king seemed to have some human attributes, cursed by gaining overwhelming powers thanks to his bloodline. Even as a child, he always seemed to be ambitious, striving for power. Rest of it has yet to be explored, but his reading was interrupted by Jonathan again.
"Dio, I have come to tell you that the dinner is read." reminded Jonathan earlier than the dinner was supposed to be. Better earlier than late, especially how ungentlemanly would be if both of them were late.
"Alright then, I shall arrive to it. Mr. Joestar would not be pleased otherwise." Dio stood up as both of them went to the dining hall. Once they reached it, the table was already prepared, with three plates on it. That day's dinner was just a steak, accompanied with peas and red wine. George was already sitting behind the table and he was satisfied that both of them arrived on time, even earlier than he expected. Thus, the dinner began, with all of them eating properly, like true gentlemen.
"So, if I may ask, what do you feel of your new home, Dio?" began George with a casual conversation.
"I have already heard tales of Joestar's prestige and I must say that those are no mere hearsay." Dio approved of his new home, sipping a glass of wine.
"That is wonderful to hear. We are very glad that we could provide you a new comfortable residence." smiled George, glad that he seems to enjoy it, although he has not forgotten what Jonathan said to him. "Now, I do want to hear this: Jonathan told me you have not been the most friendly with him. Is there anything wrong?".
"Ah, that's nothing to be concerned about, I just need to adapt to this residence. I am very sure that me and Jonathan would get along well. He won't cause trouble after all." Dio clarified his behavior that his competitive nature got the best of him. He then reassured with a smirk, although Jonathan felt like something was off with the last remark.
"Yeah, we will try our best to get along." nodded Jonathan, although he was starting to have suspicions. "Won't cause trouble? Is Dio up to something?".
The dinner went on without any arguments. They finished it with peace, cleaning themselves up with handkerchiefs.
"Very well then, now finish your dinner and prepare yourselves for the night. Make sure that you are in your beds at the exact time." said George, picking up his plate in order to put it in cleaning.
"As you have said, Father." nodded Jonathan before he picked up his own plate, intending to do the same.
"We will make sure it will be exact on time." Dio followed the suite, as they all departed their own ways after they put their plates for cleaning. Jonathan went outside to play with Danny, where as Dio returned to the library, desiring to continue reading it.
"Is the book still there?" wondered Dio before he opened up the door, revealing that the book was still there. With a sight of relief, he stepped in. "Phew, it is. I have to continue it….there's something beyond it...perhaps some kind of power…"
Dio Brando continued reading the book for the rest of the day until he had to go to sleep. The journey of reading was still a lengthy one, but what awaited him in the future was something that could change destiny not only of him, but of Joestar lineage as well. The enigma of the book lingered, as it was only a matter of time….