Cursed Warriors is an article presented and written by KingAtum00

Cursed Warriors is an article presented and written by KamiGuru

Eleven Years Ago

On her walls lied the wanted posters of dozens, no hundreds of wanted criminals throughout the Grand line. Some of the most fearsome beasts the world has ever known stared at her, day in and day out. It was kind of a quirk of her's developed through her previous occupation; bounty hunting. It allowed her to visualize her target and mentally prepare herself to slaughter each and every one of them.

Days following the release of a new set of bounties, Vice-Admiral Nakano Takeko found herself updating her wall with new wanted posters. "Be it today or in the upcoming decade, I will kill all you..." she thought to herself, replacing many of her old posters with newer ones. Upon picking up another poster, she had noticed a new face would be joining her collection. "Scum like you are even worse. Killing people with no sense of remorse. King of the Undead, Dracula, your days are numbered."

And she meant those words. In the upcoming days, Takeko dedicated her time to locating the infamous demon. While his bounty was not large by her standards, usually facing pirates over Beli500,000,000, his evil tendencies were despicable by all means. In the eyes of most bounty hunters, Dracula's probably a fish not even worth fighting for as his bounty probably did not truly correlate to his skill. But to Takeko, the amount was insignificant. She had a feeling if this beast was not put to rest, he'd only bring about more chaos.

Through her skills she attained during his days navigating through the sea alone along with the expendable resources of the Navy and World Government, it would not take long for Takeko to catch onto Barbarossa's scent. Like wolf stalking a lamb, she patiently waited her time. Following him back to Paradise, Dracula's destination eventually became very clear: Little Garden.

Eventually reaching the island herself, Takeko had the crew remain at sea as she knew they'd be no match for a beast of his proportions. "Don't let the ship sink while I'm gone." she commanded, before leaping off the ship. But rather than summoning a loud splash, Takeko gently landed on the surface of the sea, standing tall as if it were solid ground.

"So this is the power of the Ninja Arts. The ability to walk on the sea?!?" one of her subordinates noted, completely blown away by her exceptional skill. But the fact remained aloof to the young soldier as her talent as a ninja had nothing to do with the former. It was a product of her unique uniform; a custom Marine-designed Raid Suit. The power to travel through any surface with no restraint was at her disposal.

Crossing the sea, Takeko slowly drew closer to the island. "I can sense him...he's here!" she thought, placing her strong hand on the hilt of her blade. Yet, despite her sudden eagerness to rush onwards, she continued at the same pace but from now on with her guard on high alert.

The King of the Undead often sought refuge on the prehistoric island after successfully feasting, in order to plot his next moves. Desdending from the skies, Dracula landed on what appeared to be his base of the operations on the island. The hundred of creatures who were long since their expiration date, paid homage to his arrival, by howling, conceding to their habitats, etc. "That was quite the feast.."

As he wandered onto his base, a barrage of signs alarming him to the presence of another hit at full force. The smell of female human body. The sounds of a calm yet active heartbeat. The presence of significant soul energy. All these signals were caught by the senses of the Undead King. "Seems I have an unwanted visitor." he noted, utilizing his haki to pinpoint her exact location.

Uninterested in waiting on the inferior being to make the first move, Dracula exerted an ominous wave of energy across the island. As a result of the surge of energy, the prehistoric creatures that have seemed to be conquered by the Cursed Pirate, began to rush towards the Marine woman who seemed to have been waiting for an opening to present itself for her to strike him down.

Feeling the overwhelming presence, the Undead King exerted, Takeko remained ready for combat. “Seems his senses are superior that what I initially anticipated.” She noted, upon hearing the the battle cries of various creatures.

A disappointing look emerged on the Shinigami’s face as she released the hilt of her signature blade. “You think I would sully my blade for mindless beasts like yourselves.” She told the hungry dinosaurs who charged at her. Withdrawing a kunai from her ninja pouch, she span it across his index finger before gripping it with her palm. “You’re dead!”

In an instant, blood of the creatures who were within ten meters of her was split. She did not have any interest in spending more time than required dealing with such insignificant beasts. As such, she hit each of them in vital organ locations; effectively killing them in the process. “Come on out, you filthy pirate!” she yelled into the forest. “You’re just prolonging the inevitable!” “And who gave you the right to decide such things?” Dracula noted, arriving from the skies with wings of darkness attached to his back. “Because the only one who has the power here to determined who lives and who dies is me!” he continued, as he overwhelming presence emerged once more, this time bearing murderous intent. The creatures who managed to escape Nakano’s slash of death scattered in fear.

In an instant, Dracula disappeared from the sky, and reappeared behind the marine with his sword withdrawn and, in the process, slashing down vertically. The clouds that lurked behind him while he was airborne were completely cleared as a result of the sheer force that allowed him to maneuver so quickly towards his opponent. While currently only in his hybrid state, the power of his slash would be more than sufficient to cut down the marine along with the trees that lurked behind her for kilometers.

Despite Dracula’s supernatural speed, Takeko was not aloof to the situation. As a marine serving under the tenure of Fleet Admiral Kurama, she has undergone years of training in the use of Haki. While her usage in the art dates past her time with the marines, she’s refined it to the point expected of her as a Vice-Admiral. As such, she possesses Haki of the Fourth Dan. With this mastery over her haki, she’s been granted the gift of precognition through Kenbunshoku. Yet being aware didn’t make this confrontation much easier.

Outclassed in regards to speed and agility, Takeko had to think rather quickly to even keep up. Utilizing Soru and Kami-e, she was able to pivot completely before he swung his sword. Not having the time to switch weapons, she coated her kunai in darkness in order to give it the durability to survive the attack. Finally, in order to secure her ground and face his brutish strength, she activated Tekkai at the last possible second which allowed her to remain steady through the attack. This combination of abilities and how spontaneous she utilized them served as an accurate demonstration of why she was a Marine Vice-Admiral. “Please don’t tell me that’s the best you can do?”

As quickly as Dracula launched his primary attack, his follow-up was even superior. “She’s using that Marine fighting style…” he contemplated. With this in mind, he had a feeling the ability to harden her body to levels of metal was in use. “You think pathetic metal is strong enough to protect you?!?” With blade in his right, Dracula clenched his free left hand to a fist and targeted her open gut. The sheer force of his attack would easily surpass the defensive capabilities generated by the strength of even a high-level Tekkai user.

While instinct and battle experience told her to dodge, Takeko endured through the punch. Maintaining her iron body and then further strengthening her core with Busoshoku: Koka, she took the punch head on. The sheer force of the blow was powerful enough to send her hurdling through the island, however, her defensive capabilities allowed her to resist any significant damage. As she rocketed through the forest, her clothes began to glow. “Raid Suit…” she mumbled, as her outfit shifted in appearance drastically.

Once the transformation was complete, the Shinigami easily controlled her body and landed gracefully. Despite it’s rather odd design, with extended shoulder pads and more cleavage, this active variation of the Raid Suit empowered the Vice-Admiral. Dropping her kunai, Takeko lifted her the sheath that held her blade and placed her right hand along the hilt. "Llora, captura a los muertos con tu oscilación impío, Muramasa." She chanted in a distinct language, as she unsheathed her weapon. “Now, we see what you’re truly made of…”

Despite being sent flying for kilometers, Takeko returned to their location in moments. Her use of Geppo and Soru, were both enhanced due to the augmentation of her physical capabilities through her Raid Suit. Now with blinding speeds at her side, she held her blade with both hands and came down with a fierce slash as if her blade was a guillotine.

Dracula appeared to be unfazed by Takeko's rather extreme speed increase. While her speed was reminiscent to his own while in the state, he found her movements to be rather stale and one dimensional. Even without the use of Haki, he could deduce the trajectory of her path based on her overwhelmingly obvious blade path.

But rather than dodging the attack, Dracula's sense of superiority and hubris took root. Wishing to demoralize her completely, he maintained his ground and simply shifted his grip on his blade, alternating to a Reverse Grip Technique: Edge In, to hold his blade horizontally in order to effectively intercept the attack.

As the two blades connected, a shockwave from the sheer force was generated, clearing the trees and their stomps within the fight's direct vicinity. The ground below Dracula started to give in, cracking and sinking as the two blades remained connected. "Even with your transformation, is this the best you can do?" Dracula questioned as his free hand once again prepared for another attack. However this time black flames engulfed his hand.

Before the flames could take engulf her entire physique, Takeko was quickly responded. As a Marine Vice-Admiral, her use of Haki had reached the fourth dan: subsequently allowing her to utilize the technique Busoshoku: Yura. By exerting her armor into the molecules around, she'd generate an invisible aura that would protect her from the flames. "Filthy pirates like yourself have no right talking to me like this..."

Following the shielding of herself, the Shinigami activated another facet of her suit. "Now, die you measily scumb." At that moment, a grey-black mist emerged from Takeko's suit. While it would initially appear as a poison, it was something far worse, at least to Dracula. Through years of experimentation, the Marine Science and Research division developed a gas that consists of the same substance within sea stone. While this gas would have a lethal effect on Dracula, it would solely hinder Takeko oscular vision.

At that moment, Takeko immediately performed one of her signature ninja arts: Silent Killing. By using the dark gas as cover, she maneuvered throughout the vicinity with incredible speed, "You're already dead." she thought, hoping to punish Dracula from behind and finish him with a single strike.