A Winter's Breeze is an article presented and written by Njalm2

A Winter's Breeze is an article presented and written by Dal101

Saobody LifeEdit

It was a cool morning in Saobody Archipelago, the sun warming the tops of the trees as they shaded the ground below. A small mist still hugged the ground in places as people went about their morning business. Many were heading to work during the early morning, many were heading home after a long night. It was peaceful morning, as the area was well away from the lawless areas of the archipelago. Many people lived here, but just as many were passing through. Such as a man named Jack, who was currently eating a small breakfast in one of the towns many cafes.

A wanted man. he was none the less ignored, as many pirates frequented Saobody on their way to the new world. It was the main way to Fishman Island, where they would go on to the final sea. Nobody on the island cared, except for a few marines here and there. So he was left in peace for the moment.

Jack was eating when the paper came in, dropped by one of the birds that traveled the world. It contained a poster, of a man with a black sword, as well as the news of his attack on the marines. "Appears my bounty has shot up, I wonder if that means more marines will be on my tail." Jack said as he looked at the poster. "Beli Small211,000,000 huh? I figured it might, but not that much. Oh well, at least there's only one more ocean to go before I can disappear. Then I can go home..." Unfortunately, he would soon find out that getting there wasn't going to be happening soon...

"Sir, we have just received reports that the renegade swordsman that has lead to the deaths of several vice-admirals has been sighted in the Sabaody Archipelago."

A tall woman with handsome features stood at attention in the office of Ravinger Terell, an Admiral of the Marines, fairly recently appointed. At her entry, the man had looked up from a medley of reports handed to him by his suboridinates.

The woman continued, now that she knew she had his attention. "Should we send a Vice-Admiral to handle him, Sir?"

Ravinger shook his head. "No, he's already responsible for the death of a Vice-Admiral, and severely wounded two others sent after him. We do not have the manpower to let this man run free, I will see to this matter personally.

She opened her mouth to speak, but she was cut off by Terell. "I know you want to accompany me, but you know the nature of my Devil Fruit. Its imperative that I do not have any distractions. Where was he sighted, precisely?"

He'd learned his quarries position from his subordinate, and now he found himself in the Sabaody Archipelago, ordinarily it took minutes to travel inbetween. But by using his Devil Fruit to enhance his movement, it took him a quarter of the time and through excellent use of Kenbunshoku Haki, he managed to find who he was searching for and emerged a few yards in front of him. 

To Jack, the first thing he might notice was falling snow all around him, and a cool draft in the air. Flurries danced around them, and people quickly cleared the area, well knowing of what snow in the Archipelago meant. The snow gathered in a single point, where they formed the silhouette of a man, and that silhouette became reality as Admiral Fuyuki stepped out of the empty air. His marine coat was draped across his shoulders like a cape, with the kanji for justice written on the back.

Although he was confronting a criminal, he met Jack's gaze with no immediate hatred or hostility. "We lost a good man because of you, Samurai; and your reckless actions have endangered many, and weakened the Marines as a whole. My superiours would likely insist that I kill you, but I believe in justice, and thus I'm willing to offer you a spot as a Shichibukai instead. Accept and pay off your debt to society, and fill the void you left."

"You've come a long ways just to come after me, marine." Jack said as he studied the new arrival. The man was obviously a Logia user with that display, likely of snow. He wasn't fond of devil fruit users personally, The man was clearly confident though, so Jack doubted he was weak. He was unfamiliar with the marine ranks, so he knew not exactly who this man was. He looked like a few of those who had attempted to stop him before, though his shoulder tassels were a solid gold, not blue capped.

Jack could sense the ability of the man through his Haki. Definitely wasn't weak. Looking at him through the eyes of his spirit, it was like a barely contained blizzard rested in front of him. I guess I have to be careful here, this won't be simple

Jack personally remained seated, though his hand rested upon the sword at his waist. "Do you normally offer those you have been sent after a job sir...? I must apologize, I am afraid I do not know your name, even though you know mine."

Ravinger looked surprised, "You don't know who I am? Very well, introductions are in order, although my real name is confidential, I go by the name Fuyuki, Admiral Fuyuki." Taking in the man's apparent form with his eyes, Terell answered his question. "No, I don't often extend such offers, the position of Shichibukai has seen much abuse in the past. But it is a begrudging neccessity, I offer you the chance because I sense no true malice in you. Whatever drove you to kill one of our Vice-Admirals, I suspect it was an accident, one you haven't repeated."

Looking around, Ravinger's foremost concern was the safety of the Archipelago, and its ecosystem. Were he to unleash his powers here, it might cause great devastation to the climate and generate natural catastrophes. "There is a barren island southwest of the Sabaody Archipelago, I would take you there so that we can settle this matter away from civilians and innocents. As I assume you have no intention of accepting my proposal quietly."

"No, I do not intend to give up my freedom without some sort of resistance. As to your man, we fought, and things happened. You can't stop everyone from dying..." Jack response faded away to the refreshingly civil response of the man in front of him. Usually the Marines just called him a criminal and attempted to kill him, not that it had worked out in their favor yet. The Vice-Admiral in question had constantly called his honor into question, and Jack had put slightly more force into his final few blows than necessary. A regrettable death, but not one without reason.

The most surprising part was the offer to move their fight to somewhere where only they would get hurt. Patience and restraint, maybe there is some worth to these Marines after all.

"As for your offer of a... more private location for our little disagreement. Collateral damage is almost never necessary." Jack picked up as he got onto his feet. "I accept on a few conditions, though I hope you'll understand if I don't shake your hand on it. I'm not a fan of Devil Fruits, though you seem to have more honor than most. Though I have two requests that I would ask you to fulfill. If I win, you allow me to pass to the New World peacefully, and if I die, see to it these swords reach my home island of Eirombas in North Blue, not that I have any plans to. Under those conditions, I will submit to your proposal if I were to lose this duel. Are these proposals reasonable to you, Admiral Fuyuki?"

Ravinger listened to the man's conditions and nodded slowly. "Agreed, I will ensure that your swords find their way back to your home; although I'll strive to hold back sufficiently so that you might live." As he spoke, a massive snow crystal manifested out of thin air, large enough to support several individuals, and hovered down to just above the ground. Fuyuki stepped ontop of it, and despite it's brittle appearance it was made to be extremely resilent, it would not easily break.

"Step on top of this, and I will take us to the closest uninhabited island where we might settle this." While awaiting Jack's compliance, the Admiral reached into her jacket and pulled out a Den Den Mushi dressed up in the likeness of one of his direct subordinates. "Tenju-san, deliver medical supplies towards frostbite and hypothermia to Fullrock island." The creature mumbled forth an affirmative in the voice of the officer in question before it went silent.

"As you've likely deduced, I ate a Devil Fruit that allows me to manipulate snow, the Yuki Yuki no Mi to be precise. In order to ensure that I do not render you a cripple by mistake, I've sent for medical supplies for your treatment."

"In return for informing me about your abilities, I shall tell you something as well." Jack said as he stepped upon the snowflake. It was foolish to willingly step upon an opponent's power, yet he did not feel as if this man was going to renege upon their deal. "These blades of mine, they are ancient swords made from Sea Prism stone, your intangibility won't protect you." He did not wish for this man to lose his life over a careless mistake, and if he was too weak to really fight Jack, well... knowledge about Jack's weapons wouldn't help him all that much. A swordsman was more than a sword and a man combined, it was a single being that was greater than the sum of its parts. Jack was the definition of a swordsman, able to use his blades as if they were parts of his body, not simple tools.

The crystal lifted them up and away from Saobody, and the two men could almost see the palpable relief from the civilians below as they left. Whenever pirates and marines fought on the island, collateral damage was sure to follow. Especially since most of them recognized the uniform of an Admiral. Most paid attention to the World Government more than Jack did, and the uniform was distinct. But one thing was for certain, they wouldn't have to worry about a fight today.

The Abominable SnowmanEdit

They eventually arrived at Fullrock island, Fuyuki hadn't made attempts to get to know his opponent better; the man was after all a criminal and one he intended to make into a Shichibukai. The name of the island was well chosen, for it was composed almost entirely of rocky formations, it often served as one of several training islands for the Marine forces stationed at Mariejois. It was uninhabited and perfect to settle this dispute.

As the snowflake settled, Ravinger vanished in a flurry of snow before reappearing some ways ahead of Jack; as the snow crystal dispersed unto nothing. The Admiral had both hands behind his back, with chest puffed out, almost as though he was here on an inspection, his poise was relaxed and truthfully full of openings that simply begged to be exploited.

Jack's revelation that his swords were imbued with seastone was surprising, but hardly alarming; it was a simple matter to evade attacks after all. As if to emphasize this, he slipped into the way of Kenbunshoku Haki as he focused upon his adversary to be. Finally he spoke softly:

"I offer you the first move, Bimore. O. Jack."

Looking around at the place, it was more than suitable. "In deference to your rank, I'll spare you my usual opening. most people aren't worth drawing Shodai Kitetsu for." Jack said as he drew both of his blades. Shodai Kitetsu had a curse of bloodshed upon it, unable to be sheathed until it has drawn blood. As such, he didn't draw it unless he felt he had to, as he wasn't one to kill without reason.

He drew a breath as a low hum filled the field, the arms of his shirt slowly undulating in the wind. It was time to see exactly what he was dealing with. He raised his left arm and Nidai Kitetsu at a forty-five degree upward slanting angle towards his opponent while his right arm and Shodai Kitetsu were inverted in the other direction. It was a stance that contained both offense and defense, suitable for an unknown opponent. "Be ready." he said softly.

Then Jack took a strong step forward, the ground cracking underneath the force of the opening step as the air flowed away from his step. "First Aria: Wind-Chasing Sword" he exclaimed as a wave of force rose from the balls of his feet all the way to the top of his blade. He disappeared after the step, appearing right in front of his opponent with a straight jab of his right arm, Shodai Kitetsu glaring in the sunlight. A fast and direct stab, designed to test the reflexes of his opponent. If Ravinger was worth his time, he'd easily dodge it, though there was more to this stab than meets the eye. Flowing with his blade, a forceful gale followed. It would drag the man in front of him in the direction of the blade, threatening to throw him off his balance.

Continuing his rotation from his arm's rear ready position to the stab, Jack changed his momentum on a dime. He used the weight of Shodai Kitetsu to force his rotation, dragging his back left foot around. He spun towards Ravinger before shifting his weight to his rear foot, turning that into his pivot point. He let his pivot leg collapse shortly after, pulling him into a tighter and faster spin before pushing off of the leg with a jump to open the space back up between him and his opponent. As he did so he made an off-handed slash with his left arm and Nidai Kitetsu, aimed to strike his opponent on the back, though unlike the first blow he enhanced this one with a light coating of haki to make up for the lessened power.

As he cleared his opponent, the rest of his opening salvo would come into sight. What looked like a flock of sparrows was approaching the man. It was a series of flying slashes that had leaked off of his blades during his movement, his control over the Wind and the Gogyō Shizora-ryū was great enough that he didn't even necessarily need to move his sword to do this much. Each one looked like a sparrow, but each had the power of a cannon ball.

To finish off his test of the man in front of him, Jack swung Shodai Kitetsu in earnest. As it rose from the ground the air collapsed in front of it, forming a towering shock-wave of wind, nearly twice Jack's height that rushed towards his opponent, splitting the rocks in its path.

As he settled back into his stance, a small whirlwind formed around him, ready to leap to his aid at any moment.

Fuyuki appreciated the sentiment and watched with interest as Jack unveiled his flawless technique, a nigh-instantaneous thrust meant to test the Admiral. His style was impeccable, his footwork extraordinary and his sense of battle highly refined, yes, Ravinger could easily see how he might've given the Vice-Admirals so much trouble. Through his Haki of Observation, Ravinger read his movements perfectly, he noticed every angle, the intention of every gesture and as Jack sprang forth to attack he was already in the process of avoidance.

With both arms folded behind his back, Ravinger bended sideways and beneath Shodai Kitetsu towards the swordsman, the forceful gale of the man's technique made the motion significantly easier to accomplish alongside Ravinger's own extraordinary speed and reflexes. Their eyes locked momentarily as Ravinger took a single breath, then he exhaled...

Terell's breath produced a howl of ice-cold air that traveled alongside the backdraft generated by Jack's swordsmanship, vastly increasing its wind speed as it attempted to scour past him; like a white thief of wind and snow it'd seek to strip him of all heat and energy in one fell motion. Turning his muscles numb and inoperate, but bringing him no pain, for so cold was Ravinger's breath that the very nerves in ones body were numbed.

Yet his adversaries' assault was far from finished, and this pleased Admiral Fuyuki. Changing his momentum, Ravinger followed the lead in their dance of death, shifting into a raging blizzard of icy cold that followed the movement of Jack's blade perfectly, sending ripples of deathly chill towards him as the surrounding temperature began to plummet, with the aim of rapidly making it increasingly difficult to use his body as hypothermia rapidly began to set in at an accelerated pace.

At this point the ground was coated in snow, and a frost-tinted mist hang above the battlefield. Under these circumstances, taking a breath might be a painful experience, and difficult, as the oxygen was thinning out and freezing on its own. Mist and flurries of snow were thrown about as Jack spun around to generate distance between them, and Ravinger's silhouette vanished alongside the creeping blizzard that sought to continuously steal away Jack's strength.

Thus Nidai Kitetsu connected only with empty air, but Ravinger soon reappeared to his senses; although by this time the visibility in the air was extremely low. A flock of sparrows effigies emerged beautifully from the swordsman's masterful swordplay, and in flight they shot forth towards Fuyuki, animated tributes to Jack's transcendent skill with the blade. But before they reached him they crashed into what appeared to be an invisible obstruction and generated a crescendo of booming sounds.

Shodai Kitetsu's simple slash generated a towering shock-wave that cut a swath through the snow; as it impacted the invisible barrier protecting the Admiral with immense force. There was a screech akin to metal against metal as the powerful attack sought to gain ground. But after a short struggle it gave ground and dissipated into thin air, with the Admiral's hands still secured behind his back. So great was his mastery of his Devil Fruit that he could manipulate its power with his mind alone.

But then towering silhouettes began to appear in the frost-tinted mist, rapidly enclosing upon Jack's location. A moments realization would reveal them as enormous masses of pure snow, and it was in that very moment they striked. From every conceivable direction, a mighty avalanche issued forth, with Jack himself appearing like a speck in comparison to their enormous natural fury, as they dressed the island in snow and attempted to completely bury the swordsman under their tremendous weight. Whereupon he might be easily extracted by Ravinger.

A careless move often spells one's doom.

Jack remembered these words from his master, spoken over twenty years ago. They seemed applicable here. One wrong move could mean his downfall. It was exhilarating, though that didn't mean it was easy.

His opponent's reactions were great, that much he could surmise. He responded about 1/4th of a second faster than Jack expected however, and that would cost him. A breath of air, frosty enough to freeze a man solid, slid along his blade as he made the first attack. Jack's maneuver using the weight of his right sword to turn saved him from it, though not completely. He left arm only finished his second slash because of the momentum, but for the moment it was too heavy to move. The constant freezing in the air meant that the rest of his body was not far behind.

Jack activated the well known and defined ability of Bosushoku: Koka, turning his left arm black. He shivered as the air around him reminded him of home, swirling of snow and cold as if he was back on that mountain top, though he could not remain stoic for but a moment. His eyes briefly flashed an internal shame as he used his Haki to vibrate his arm via will alone. Unlike his normal Melody of Wind, which relied on circular movements to push and pull the air, this was a Melody of Flame. It was his weakest style among the Gogyō Shizora-ryū, and he hated to be forced to rely on it. It was simultaneously the simplest and most difficult of the styles, and it was a simple side to side movement, leaving a shrill whistle to join the low hum in the air. As the black ichor of his will slid down his body, encompassing his entire left side from the neck down, a wreath of flames rose from the tip of his sword all the way across his blackened side as warmth returned to his body. His movement was restored, at least for a moment.

"My arm is still damaged, though I can still move it. Still, it'll be an issue." Jack said to himself as he quickly took stock of the situation. He was surrounded by a blizzard, his offense had been stalled, and the snow was approaching from all sides. "Heh, I guess he's turning up the heat, I guess it's time for me to do so as well."

Jack stepped, then again, and again. Leaping from place to place in a circle with flawless footwork as the world seemed to be closing in around him. It was a physical representation of the same movements he made with his style of wind. After the first rotation, he started spinning, adding his own rotation to the swirling mass of air, snow, and fire that was forming. It almost seemed to be drawing the walls of snow in faster as the swirling inferno burned around him. Then at the last second, his mad dance stopped with one final flourish, his muscles bulging out from his entire body in a manner similar to the late swordsman of the Straw Hats. With a mighty step that shattered the ground beneath him, he heaved his blades towards the heavens, drawing the swirling inferno of fire and wind with them while his left arm screamed in agony as the snow came crashing down. For a moment, it seemed like even this mighty effort was destined to fail as the snow pushed back the wall of flames, but only for a moment.

The hurricane of fire grabbed the snow and pulled it along its ascent, turning what had been a vortex of fire and air into a torrent of cold water, twisting about as it's climbed higher. Jack continued his response by grabbing the watery vortex with his wind as the air cleared for a moment, but just a moment. The wind pulled the water above, drawing it down in a spiral towards his opponent with all the weight of a fierce dragon.

But Jack was not done, not yet. While most of his body shrunk down to normal size, his arms kept their expansion in full. The flames covering his left side were depleted by the previous stroke, and he could feel the chill in the air again. He however expanded the cover of his Haki through his entire as he took another step forward. He started to spin while quickly sheathing his left blade. Putting two hands on the hilt of Shodai Kitetsu, he would show this admiral the true breath of the wind. "Twenty-Second Aria: GREAT TIGER HUNT" He shouted. A hurricane was drawn along his blade as he bright it across his body in a powerful slash, the mass of air flowing along in a terrifying cacophony towards the Admiral, taking the form of a great tiger made from the wind as it soared two the man in front of him. It had two purposes, first it would stop the water of the dragon from above from reaching him before it froze, second it should shatter whatever had stopped his previous slash, at least he hoped.

Jack adopted a more defensive pose after this as his Haki faded from around his body, blades out to the side as tornadoes coiled upon them, taking up position around Jack as two dragons guarding their young.

"I don't think I can do that again with this arm," he muttered to himself. "But this fight will be over quickly, one way or the other..."

As before, Terell found himself taken in by the complexity and grace of Jack's swordplay, they were deeply fascinating to behold. He had no idea a style of swordsmanship like this even existed, perhaps he'd underestimated swordsmen and their role in this world. And as the Samurai overcame his avalanche with a stunning mixture of air and fire he felt like he might've actually learned something from this fight, and gotten a newfound respect for swordsmen as a whole.

Perhaps most impressive by far was the ability of Jack to keep fighting to this extent even with an arm that was quickly turning gangrenous, and was in effect dead. Ravinger supposed the agony must be excruciating. It reminded him that although the powers of his Yuki Yuki no Mi were extremely powerful, they were still a power that could easily kill and needed to constantly be kept in check if he were to stick true of his view of True Justice.

Water expanded across the sky above him, his avalanche melted down by Jack's mastery of his personal style of swordplay. Yet as soon as they turned to water, they returned to their state of snow and began descending harmlessly from above; although this descent was soon interrupted by the raging roar of an angry tiger of wind that leapt forth from nothingness to attempt to breach his protective measures. It brought with it a powerful rush of wind that caused the snow to whirl about in the air above and around them.

It then crashed into his barrier with a cacophonous roar, grinding against the obstruction as it desperately tried to reach Fuyuki himself. But even as Jack watched, the snow that surrounded them pooled around and channeled itself into whatever protected Fuyuki, regenerating the barrier just as quickly as it took damage. And in this battle of attrition it naturally won out in the end; although a stray ray of light from the sun revealed the obstruction for what it truly was.

A stunning collection of intertwining snow crystals barred the path to the Admiral, due to the surrounding environment they'd blended in perfectly, becoming almost invisible to the naked eye. But the sun's gaze revealed intricate lines and patterns in the air proper and showed the swordsman that despite his best efforts, the barrier was fully whole, in his earlier days his ability to protect himself was more limited he remembered - for he lacked the ability to dominate the environment that he possessed in this present day. But nowadays any who wished to overwhelm one of his crystalline barriers needed to overwhelm the very element it was derived from, of which Ravinger was in limitless supply.

Jack's tornadoes attempted to shield him, but under the circumstances they were seized a hold of by the Yuki Yuki no Mi's power and turned into raging blizzards which caused the temperature around Jack to drop so quickly that his body might grow completely numb and weakened in an instant, before Ravinger's will commanded them to disperse, intending to leave the swordsman open to a finishing blow.

In an instant, Ravinger had closed the gap between them by exchanging position with the raging blizzards generated from Jack's very own tornadoes. And to the swordsman, he'd soon find himself looking directly into Fuyuki's eyes, their faces mere inches apart as the Admiral exhaled one more time, directly in his face. With this he attempted to chill his very consciousness and muddle his mind, drawing him into a deep coma, and even if it failed, the icy winds would serve to further restrict his ability to fight.

"My arm is more damaged than I thought." Jack said as Nidai slipped from his fingers. He refortified his arm with the black miasma that was his Haki, using his will to control it. He had certainly underestimated the power of an admiral compared to what he had fought before. It was on an entirely different level. Great Tiger Hunt had been stopped before, it wasn't invulnerable, but never so easily. Being overwhelmed was an entirely new concept for him. Master would likely have trouble with this guy.. Jack thought, which was the weirdest thing for him. The headmaster of the Gogyō Shizora-ryū was one of the most powerful people in the world, and Jack had never seen him once struggle in a fight. His own swordsmanship paled in comparison. But he didn't have time to think about that right now.

He reflexively Haki'd his entire body as his dragons turned to blizzards, which slowed down the rapid loss of body heat that he would have experienced, though he was still chilled to his bones. Only one or two more steps left to this dance...

Jack breathed in the frigid air and held it, utilizing his Haki and an application of the Melody of Fire on his tongue to heat it up to a safe temperature while his will also sealed his nose. Then he took another step forward, one at a time to reach his goal of the man standing right in front of him. One.

But with this step he grabbed Shodai Kitetsu with both hands again, he spun the blade around as it gathered the air around him. But unlike last time where the air collapsed along the edge of the, here it seemed to flow all around the sword, coalescing into what almost seemed like a liquid around the blade. With a flourish Jack spun into a mighty swing. Whereas most of the air formed into the raging tiger last time, here it did not. The air moved away from Jack, almost like he was the eye of a great storm. A third of the island became without air in an instant. The dragons faded even as Ravinger dispersed them, as their was no air to sustain their plight. It was the Fifty-Eighth Aria: Empty Sky.

Jack had predicted Ravinger's movement via his own Kenbunshoku Haki, and so as the man appeared in front of Jack he would find his breath gone, stolen with the air around him. Here they were, face to face. Ravinger had left his shield of snowflakes, and for an instant he was vulnerable. So Jack didn't retreat, he stepped forward into the monster in front of him, and brought Shodai Kitetsu, now infused with Haki, up and into the man, attempting to slice cleanly through him with all of his remaining strength. Two steps it is.

Ravinger's eyes widened for a moment in the realization that his breath had been stolen away; and for a moment he could sense renewed confidence within his adversary. Perhaps out of the belief that he'd neutralized most of Fuyuki's dangers, while the vacuum presented an annoyance factor, it was not something that could greatly restrict his powers. If there was no air to carry his snow he could do so manually, but despite this knowledge he didn't. Instead he opted to do something he rarely did, engage in a brief bout of martial combat, to show the man that whether it was through his overwhelming power as the wielder of the Yuki Yuki no Mi, or through his extraordinary physical prowess, a Marine Admiral was a monster in every single regard.

His Haki revealed the nature of Jack's attack and when it came the man swerved gently out of position like a willow in the breeze, causing the blade to pass harmlessly by his side. But the dance had only begun and using his sudden momentum, he swung around, pivoting on his heel as he brought his leg down in a blindingly fast roundhouse kick to Jack's midsection, the attack collided with overwhelming force as he found that his adversary made no attempt to evade, whether it was by choice or if he was simply unable to.

While Fuyuki was indeed holding back a large portion of his strength, the force of the attack was such that the swordsman was sent shooting through the air out to sea like a stray comet. The air pressure generated by his hurled body caused the surface of the sea to part into two symmetrical walls, rising up at his sides like flowing blue pillars. And as the man passed them they collapsed into towering geysers of water, reaching hundreds of feet into the air.

Then, roughly one kilometer from the islands coast he impacted the water with a mighty splash. As seawater fell like rain all around the local area.

Jack just laid in the water, floating face up towards the clear blue sky. His hands were empty, having lost control of Shodai Kitetsu when his opponent had flung him so far. "It's been a long time since I've simply just looked up. Maybe losing isn't so bad at all. I've neglected to train further, I should rectify that." Jack said to no one in particular as his consciousness began fading. Realizing he was about to pass out, he hit his good arm against his broken ribs. The pain brought the world back into crystal clarity. Reorienting himself in the water, he began his slow swim back to the shore.

It took Jack nearly half an hour to complete his journey back to the island, with him going much slower than usual due to his damaged side and useless left arm. The residual cold combined with his drenched body left him shivering as he walked back, as though it was his penance for failure. He approached the man, still standing where he was. Jack detoured in his trek back to the victor to pick up his sword. However Shodai had not tasted blood, so it wouldn't acquiesce to being sheathed quite yet. Jack brought the blade across the top of his left arm, drawing open a cut to satisfy it. "Shodai Kitetsu is cursed with a lust for blood. As I've lost here, the price shall be paid with mine." He explained to the Admiral as he sheathed his sword, though an observant eye would notice the blood had already disappeared from it. Returning to the man entirely after picking up and sheathing his second blade, he stood a mere five paces away. "Assuming your offer is still on the table, I will accept your conditions." Jack finished with a short bow. Looking Ravinger straight in the eyes, he finished, "You have won."