Onokoro, the living quarters of the Kuregata and the large ship that lead their massive fleet. "Large ship" was a big understatement. Like every day aboard this vessel, there was routine drills and nonstop perimeter checks. A top of the line cloaking and force field system birthed by the Kuregata themselves prevented the thick fog from the area from entering. The ship had maintained its current position for months and the Triangle's weather proved no match for its supreme status of being great. The previous leader of the Kuregata Family manned this ship in the same area and preformed various raids on other ships, giving it's reputation of being haunted. The humongous guard towers were just a piece of its main security points. In one of the medium sized towers, power itself gazed over what regions of the ship it could see. It was not a secret to those aboard that they were apart of a menacing group to plagued it's contracted targets. They also knew that they would be a piece on the chess board that would rid the world of the tyranny that the current government was in control of. The source of power that the hazel eyes belonged to was different. He was a man with a plan. Sure he wasn't the main man, yet his name would perhaps be forever sour to the government's mouth. These eyes watched over the ship whenever they were present and he could literally see everything that was taking place within it, even if it was not physically in his visual perception field. His assistant entered the room and a warm breeze entered the already chilled meeting room from the only door of the room itself. The dark fog around them provided great cover from enemies yet it also blocked out the sky. One of his men with abilities dealing with light had helped with that problem. "Here's your tea, Dào-sama." The eyes continued to trace the ship. But for now the view was cut short as he turned to view the attendant. "Thank you, Hisume." Looking at the girl's face and then managing a slight smile, he retrieved the tea cup from the tray that she held, taking a sip and then sitting it down. This room was the only nearly dark room out of all the towers, as the rest had lights on that gave the others room a completely different mood than the one he was currently in. Moments later, he exited the watchtower room and then he flew off from the balcony, kicking off the air to go to his meeting place to wait for his comrade.
Meanwhile in Water 7..
"I must hurry up or Lord Dao will have my head!"
The thoughts of the Lieutenant was fuel to persuade him to move at very fast speeds, such speed that the aura from his Devil Fruit's abilities was unknowingly activated and plants that he passed by in a flowershop were rejuvenated, and grew to its full potential. Usually he would be more cautious but he did not want to upset his leader. Dao was a different man when angry and Shinji did not wish to interrupt. He still needed to reach the island where they would meet thus as soon as he got aboard a much smaller ship than the primary, his men set sail.
Another ship, humble in appearance, had been docked near the ship that had recently set sail. Although a humble vessel with a small crew, there was a ferocious intent locked behind the eyes of the man who spearheaded the group on it. "We shall give them thirty seconds and then set sail." A deep voice cut into the silence, leading to his group reorganizing themselves. The thirty seconds that would pass were agonizingly silent. The tension in the air could only be cut by the greatest of blades. Then it finally passed. "Set sail." Those words penetrated into the minds of his subordinates, who immediately performed their required duties.
The man in charge of the ship was named Ernest. He was a Vice Admiral of the Marines whose epithet, "The Devil's Bane" sowed fear into the hearts of those who would oppose the World Government. Although his normal behavior was to charge into battle, today he was assigned on reconnaissance. While his duties would ordinarily differ, the scale of this operation required someone of his skill set to be available. As his ship followed those of the "Lieutenant", he patiently observed and sensed his surroundings with all his concentration, knowing full well that the chance of a counterattack was very possible.
Though their speed was at a steady pace, Shinji only wished that it went further. His mind could only imagine Dao yelling at him for the first time. Dao had never yelled at any other member of the Kuregata so a small ember of fire within his mind burned with the question, "Why would he start with me?" Then he could only worry more as that flame was extinguished by a gigantic wave that was, "There's a first time for everything." Looking out upon the passing waves with a rather blank expression, his thoughts were interrupted by the ships first mate's voice. "Excuse me sir," He paused to wait for Shinji's acknowledgement. "A cabin boy spotted a ship not far behind us, what do we do?" Shinji was uninterested but replied. "Do not attack. Continue as planned and if they follow us directly to the destination then engage with full out force." The First Mate nodded and walked to prepare in the case that combat came.
"Hm, it appears they are accelerating." Ernest noted quietly. Knowing that he could not afford his crew, despite their individual abilities, to be plunged directly into combat, he had to use other means. "Rear Admiral Guimmard." Ernest voiced, as a man with two-toned black and white hair, clad in simple sailor clothes, appeared before him.
"Yes, sir?" The man asked, clearly quite focused and having interpreted the situation based on his commanding officer's tone.
"Take charge of the ship, and make a detour through the island at our west. Their paranoia has probably lead them to catch onto us, and I do not desire to involve you all in a naval battle outside of our current abilities." Ernest began walking down to the basement of the ship.
"As soon as I leave the ship from underneath the ground, continue to observe their position for thirty seconds before drifting to the west. Your movements should be gradual and have purpose, otherwise they shall suspect us." Ernest said, as his figure disappeared into the basement.
"Change of plans, everyone." The Rear Admiral, Guimmard Reiner, spoke. "We are not to trail the ship for any longer than thirty seconds. As soon as I give the signal, we make preparations to turn west. We will occupy the island from behind."
Ernest reached the bottom of the ship, where he opened a door that exposed the ship to the sea. "Here goes nothing." Ernest spoke, as he dived headfirst into the ocean. His body was completely submerged, although his senses were still available to him due to being cybernetically enhanced. He observed the underside of the ship he was following, and accelerated his swimming to match the speed of the ocean currents, concealing the vast majority of his movements from those he were tracking.
Minutes after his leave the First Mate returned and notified Shinji that the ship had changed course and was perhaps heading to another island. Shinji simply nodded. "Such a small ship like that is only for travel, Ken. You should have known better." The First Mate, Ken, walked away to get everyone from high alert. The Navigator of the ship yelled from his position. "We're five minutes out Lieutenant Shinji!" Shinji turned his attention to him and yelled back. "Alright! Tell the helmsman to pdock somewhere secluded to drop me off then you'll go on a perimeter check!"
With his senses enhanced by Kenbunshoku Haki, Ernest could feel the ship docking and a person leaving. He assumed it to be the target he was tracking, and quickly dived deeper into the ocean. As he did, he began to accelerate, using his depth as a means to track his movements. It took approximately five minutes at his maximum speed before he reached the island. Not hearing anyone close by for at least a kilometer, and ensuring the ship was nowhere near his position, he dived out of the water and scanned his horizons. He made his way towards his target, moving with the cover of the environment to stay out of sight.
Shinji sprinted into the confines of the island. Before he did so, he looked back as his men did not set sail again once more to check the perimeter. The Lieutenant nearly called them worthless before he could see the whirlpools forming in the ocean. "Of all the islands...why this one Dao?" He thought. Moments later, he saw Dao. He clearly had been waiting for him. He wore a black hooded cloak that Shinji figured was to conceal his appearance. "Dao, I-" He was cut short.
"Excuses are unnecessary for time being. We have a more ..opportune situation." Dao spoke softly. He had just closed an allying deal between the Revolutionaries and the islands inhabitants. A zephyr blew through the valley of plains that the men stood in. It had began to darken as a sign of the daylight fading away and he thought that the sunset was too beautiful to be the setting for such an encounter. The Head of the Kuregata Family was a master of reconnaissance and intelligence gathering with both of his organization's information collecting divisions to inform him, he was well aware of most people that opposed him. All it ever took for him was a few facts or recognition through appearance and he could remember someone. Through his Kenbunshoku Haki, he had already seen the man coming. "You may as well show yourself." The smirking assassin said, his hazel eyes looking in the direction of the spy, despite not being able to see him due to the edge of the island's jungle being an obstacle.
"I suppose reconnaissance on this level is never truly reconnaissance." Ernest said, as he escaped the shadows and came into visibility. He was confronted with one of the elites of the Kuregata Family, Munakata Shinji. But the man that addressed him was the one that piqued Ernest's interest. "Dao...the man known as the "God of Destruction", huh. So you must be the reason for the Kuregata's boldness as of late." Ernest kept his senses on-high and his guard maintained. Although it did not seem obvious without a stance, considering his hands were placed in his pockets, any sudden movement by either one of his enemies would result in a collision that no human body could surpass. However, the Vice Admiral ensured that no other individuals were in an immediate five kilometer radius between this confrontation, for he could not ensure that this battle would leave the security of this island in-tact.
"In the flesh." He raised his harms to his side so that his new interest could get a good look at him, flashing a slight smirk. "I suppose you are one of the many toys that belong to the government, aren't you Ernest?" He said. Dao's confidence and intelligence were a duo that complimented each other without any complications whatsoever. Allies and Enemies alike would grow agitated from witnessing them play in unison. The Revolutionary was not angry at Shinji, yet the fact that he allowed himself to be followed was not something that Dao took lightly. "What may I do for you?" He said, his soul clenching eyes gazing into those of Cyborg, hoping to unnerve him. Around the outline of his body, a transparent force came into play.
"You should be warned, toys are dangerous things when mishandled." Ernest responded to Dao's comment, slowly taking in the nature of his enemy before him. Although he acted as if there were no issues, the antagonism in his voice was clear. But Ernest remained steady, "The one you thing you may do for me is prostate yourself to the World Government." Ernest answered, before sighing, "Of course, doing that would mean you weren't worth my time. So tell me, Dao, why have you been toying with the Kuregata as of late? You can't possibly think I'm stupid enough to think I haven't been lead here?"
His smirk became fully defined when the man responded to the toy comment. "Hehe..Ernest..tell me..Why do you support the World Government? Because they gifted you with bodily modifications? What do you get out of being one of their hundred of thousands of pets?" Dao said, but he would not stop there. "Do you think it is fair for the world to be ran by a group of men who could destroy anything at their whim? You don't understand the very thing you are apart of. They..you are a group of greedy men who will lead the world into a disaster much like a black hole, due to fact that once that happens, those who are the light will be unable to heal." He paused momentarily but before the cyborg could reply he asked once again. "Why do you ally with them, Ernest?"
Ernest found himself unamused by this man's logic. It was a daily thing he encountered. There were several who found themselves questioning the nature of the World Government, including himself. "I support the World Government because it is the choice that allows me to validate my strength." Ernest answered without hesitation, "They have given me power, despite their selfish motives, and it is my duty to support their cause till my dying breath." Ernest turned the table, "I believe you are mistaken however, Dao. The world is not run by the World Government. They are, in name, a government. The world is run by a delicate balance of the Three Great Powers. To target just the World Government is a waste of time. If you occupy their position, you'll end up trapped by the same flaws and find yourself leading the world to the same disaster, won't you?"
Shinji's mouth widened slightly. He'd never seen his leader's Devil Fruit's nonphysical abilities into play before. Dao's smirk faded and a serious face came into view. "This is why the World Government will not prevail. Foolish man...this war is a ocean and the tides have changed." He said, staring at his target.
Fade to Black...
Dao stood in his same position with Shinji still in his. "Ready for departure, Ernest?"
Ernest's expression died down, as if the life were drained out of him. His head bowed down as he walked slowly towards the Kuregata leaders. His steps were slow and his actions were dull. It looked to be as if he were a doll, until he finally reached only a step away from his initial target.
Had Vice Admiral Ernest been defeated this easily?
"Dao." He spoke with monotony. "God of Destruction." Another statement was strung, "Revolutionary. Kuregata Family Head." Ernest's head moved upwards and his eyes stared down the man before him. That is, until they were darkened pitch-black. "Enemy." He spoke, his mouth left wide open. Bright gold energy gathered in his mouth and within an instant was projected outwards in the form of a laserbeam that intended to perfectly incinerate any target that came into contact with it. In this case, he wished to incinerate the head of Dao. Even if he did not, the next point of contact the beam possessed would undoubtedly release a shockwave great enough to stir the whole island awake and destroy all forest in this immediate area.
Without any time to spare, Ernest additionally ignited his metallic arms with roaring flames and gathered them towards his fists. He sent a barrage of punches towards his enemy's figure while the beam was firing. His actions were robotic and without any pattern, as his targets ranged from Dao's head to his abdomen and any point in-between. Truly, this was a merciless massacre.
It was a movement that even the likes of Dao could not predict, for in the brain of every cyborg affiliated with the World Government was a hive mind that connected to a central source. By cutting off Ernest's conscious loyalty, even if temporary, to the World Government, it triggered an automatic response to identify all recorded enemies of the World Government and destroy them without fail. Ernest was no mere toy; he was a weapon of mass destruction.
In a split second, Dao's eyes widened enough for instinct to come in. The invisible armor know as the Busoshoku Haki was still in it's active state, only due to Dao's suspection that the cyborg had not come alone. The armor wouldn't have been able to take the full out assault of the blast and the barrage of the incoming fists. That second half of the split second gave Dao enough time to move to his right in order to not only sidestep the attack while simultaneously grabbing his sword, channel his devil fruit ability into it, slash horizontally from right to left with his left hand but also shove Shinji a great distance out of the initial range. Dao also continued to the left after his sword attack connected or missed. Shinji's reflexes were no match for such speeds, yet that shove was easy to understand. Run.
Dao, now nearly twenty feet from his initial position. He was no longer playing. He felt a small amount of irritation as he realized that his tactic did not work. "I should've figured that they'd have at least some form of control as a backup..." He thought. "This wont be easy..." The Kuregata Family head stood firm with not one speck of dust on his clothing.
The body of Ernest locked his senses onto Dao. His figure displaced nigh-instantaneously and with a brief shimmer, appeared directly before the Revolutionary. Before his feet would touch the ground, Ernest instead kicked off from the air to perform a backflip that enabled him to swing his feet with enough velocity to release two crescent-shaped concentrated shockwaves of pressure that disturbed the very air. They formed slices of pressure that were no less dangerous than any Samurai's slashes, and would be enough to seamlessly cut through Dao's head and torso if it made contact. Not to mention that Ernest had applied a coat of translucent Busoshoku Haki in light of his awareness of Dao's powers.
However, the cyborg had not finished there. As he completed his backwards rotation in the air, the moment Ernest's eyes landed upon the Revolutionary, he released streams of highly pressurized flames from his feet enabling him to maintain an aerial position. At the same time, Ernest once again sent a wave of flames from the palm of his hand that quickly followed after the shockwaves of air he sent towards Dao's position. Even if his enemy had evaded the shockwaves, the culminating explosion from the contact between the flames and shockwaves would undoubtedly set the whole forest ablaze in its wake. For Ernest, it was simply due course.
Dao's speed was a key factor that assisted him in reacting to the attack. Pressure was a basically built up force. Dao's dominance of slicing dwarfed the cutting power of these slices tenfold and he would not hesitate to demonstrate. The added Busoshoku Haki proved to be ineffective but the crescents' target noted that it was present as he sliced through it like butter. Dao's instinct only caused him to raise his sword at the incoming horizontal slices. With a swift vertical slash the at the center of them, they each separated and were turned into four smaller slices that passed by him, creating a blast of force that shook the area behind their battlefield, cutting through several trees. The crescents would undoubtedly cut through other blades with ease."I've remained in this battle for too long." He thought at the same moment.
As the flames came, he was unready for their onslaught. A last moment Busō-shoku: Mugen no was the only thing he could possibly conjure in such a small amount of time. As the flames left his opponent's hand, a simple yet fierce glare at the area near Ernest was all that he needed to initiate an immediate push of gravitational force would not only send the flames back at its source as an effect of being repelled but also send the cyborg reeling with unimaginable force from it. He decided to go further with his Busoshoku Haki, but this time with the Busō-shoku: Shamen. An invisible barrier formed around him in the shape of a three hundred and sixty degree dome, with his feet at the center of the bottom. "I wonder what he'll do next." was the primary thought that rang throughout the assassin's mind. He waited for his opponent to recover and though he did not want to acknowledge it, he knew he would recover.
Although Ernest's flames were redirected towards him, they proved to be ineffective. He quickly planted himself on the ground with raw force and tackled his own flames head-on without a single burn on his body. Ernest then assimilated the data of Dao's techniques into his hive mind as an insurance that he would no longer succumb to them. Without fail, he pushed forward towards the barrier of Haki and sent his fist straight towards it. His fist bounced away, but it recognized the pattern of the barrier. The cyborg's data recognized the Haki and Ernest's body quickly coated his arms in Haki, saturating them in a black pigment.
The density of Ernest's Haki enabled him to repeatedly clash with the barrier using a series of jabs localized to a single area. The constant force exerted created a thunderous sound that forced shockwaves to reverberate in the immediate area, further causing destruction of the nearby habitat. Despite the barrier attempting to repel him back, the sheer velocity of his punches made it near-impossible to completely block the Vice Admiral's advance, and the moment the barrier broke through, Ernest would continue to move forward with the intent of destroying Dao entirely.
Dao's kicked his feet forward from the fornt of the barrier, leaping backwards one hundred feet, with his legs' strength being the source. The onslaught of his attacker's punched sent a shockwave through the barrier and into his leg, though the barrier lessened its effects. Dao groaned a bit at the unforeseen pain. Upon landing, he used his uninjured leg to catch himself and prevent damaging his leg more. There was one last thing he could do without completely damaging the area. He closed his eyes and he could see the cyborg walking his way continuously using the Kenbunshoku Haki. The cyborg had provided more trouble for him than Dao initially thought it would and that was a problem. "Locking" onto the cyborg, he grinned in an evil manner. Seemingly instantaneously, a forceful slash aimed at the cyborg as a whole from top to bottom came into play. If it was successful, it would undoubtedly cut Ernest in half.
Ernest, whose body radiated Kenbunshoku Haki much like a sonar, managed to pick up on the arrival of a new attack by way of reading his enemy's intentions. But the proximity of the attack was too close. He could not evade it completely in time, but it was of no matter. He placed both of his arms in an 'x' formation atop his head, tightly gripping and bracing himself for impact with the slash by reinforcing his body's organic components with the hardness of steel, courtesy of his training in the Rokushiki's Tekkai.
The ensuing clash between Dao's "slash" and Ernest's body created a screeching sword of the same vein as two blades colliding, the force of which created a shockwave around Ernest's immediate vicinity. The slash, moving downward, pushed Ernest downward with it, which the cyborg used to his advantage. Without thought, he bent his knees to distribute the oncoming force, before pushing himself away from the range of the attack by pushing his feet off from the ground.
Although the slash should have been perfect, it was anything but that. While Ernest's arms did gain moderate lacerations, they revealed a jet blue material within them that exposed another aspect of Ernest's true nature. He was a cyborg created by a metal directly infused with Seastone, its close proximity to Dao's current position was proving to be the reason why his powers were weakening ever-so-slightly. Truly, the Vice Admiral lived up to his title, "The Devil's Bane."
The cyborg calculated the newly made distance between himself and his enemy through his scanners and confirmed this distance was not beneficial for optimal functionality. Soon after, he gathered light energy within his mouth much like he did earlier and expelled it in the form of a wide encompassing beam. The light and power from the beam sought to hamper Dao's movement and senses for the briefest instant, as Ernest shot flames from his feet once more to close the distance. As he landed close to Dao, the cyborg outstretched both of his arms and coated them in electrical energy, seeking to land a flurry of blows on the Revolutionary's abdomen to cause a static discharge that would leave him paralyzed and vulnerable to a killing blow.
As the beam was being gathered noticeably, Dao decided that he needed to retreat. His main means of attack had been used to its near fullest potential and the seastone infused into the cyborg made it immune to his attack. As the beam was fired and the cyborg came his way, the reflexes of the revolutionary were in full effect. His injury would not allow him to use his leg to its full potential and probably would only get injured more if he tried to use it. After tossing his blade into the air, it swiftly cut through the air to reveal space itself, creating a portal into a void like world on the other side. Using the Busoshoku Haki in the same means for repulsion as he did before. But this time it was from his foot he jumped into the air from his unscathed leg. While moving upwards through the air, he retrieved and sheathed his falling sword. While looking down at the cyborg who had moved closer to the spot where he formerly stood, he was pulled into the void. Because he is able to put back together anything he's severed, immediately after he entered the portal it closed shut, leaving the place in sky looking as if nothing happened.
Color flashed back into the thoughts of the berserk cyborg, and memories of his interactions with the Revolutionary who just escaped had returned to him. "Aaaah!" He let out a scream as his consciousness returned with all the brain functions that had been supressed, including pain and exhaustion. The Vice Admiral began to pant, as his body was engraved with the memory of fighting Dao in the form of open slash wounds and bruises. "Tch..." Ernest found it difficult to move, and to allow himself to be susceptible to a mental attack of that kind...was disgraceful.
"Sir Ernest!" A voice called out to the Vice Admiral, which ended up being that of the Rear Admiral that accompanied him prior, Guimmard Reiner. "I see you have been damaged significantly. As much as I would like to take you to safety now..." Reiner kept his guard up and drew his nodachi, "There is still a threat here."
"Ngh...I see. I'll help you out too, Reiner." Ernest stood up and covered his arms in electrical energy, awaiting for the threat to reveal itself.
"Ahhh!" Dao screamed in agony as he cut open space once more. Leaped from the fissure of space onto an abundance of sand. Every bone in his body ached as he layed on lie onto the blazing hot sands. Each an every grain felt like a hot coal pressing into his skin. The Revolutionary stare at the clear sky. How... was the only thought that ran through his mind. He grew angrier. "How could I resort to retreating from from lab rat!" He yelled. The only reason the battle occurred was because Shinji had been followed.
Shinji was followed...
Dao blamed him for the battle. The Kuregata Family members each received a special seal or, empowered mark upon joining. When activated by Dao, the seal release an innumerable amount of cellular level slashes onto each cell of the victim. Shinji deserved to die for his error.
Meanwhile, Shinji was still on the island. He could not leave Dao to fight that thing alone. He leaped from the trees into the clearing and he saw two people, but neither was his leader. Where is Dao-sama? He thought. If he had been killed in battle, the second in command would surely have him executed. He drew his sword in anger and immediately ran at the two men. In the midst of doing so, his Kuregata brand began to burn but he ignored it due to his adrenaline. As he got closer, he faded from view as each and every single of his cells were destroyed. The only thing that remained was his clothing and sword.
Reiner and Ernest had kept themselves in guarding position with response to Shinji's assault. But their eyes widened as they witnessed the man's body fading away and began to drop their guard. Shinji's sword had only just completed its slash towards Ernest's neck, but it was too late. The man's entire body had faded from view, and with it, his sword and clothing dropped to the ground.
Ernest's anger began to boil, and Reiner could only look upon him with a degree of fear. "That man...to eradicate his own subordinate due to his own incompetence..." Ernest began to speak, fumes being released from his own body. Flashes of a young boy being abused came into mind. Of an emotionless child whose sole color in life was the crimson hair of a girl near him. Everything else was a faded grey. Those laughs, those tears. They were all blurred out to him; a boy who had earnestly given up on life.
"He's not any different..." Ernest spoke once more, "He seeks revolution..? What bullshit. If he seeks revolution so badly...I will grant it to him, through death!" Fumes began to surround the angered cyborg's body, tipping on the verge of losing control.
Rear Admiral Reiner had quickly reached behind Ernest and struck his back with an open palm that had been strapped with a particular black patch. Electricity surged throughout the Vice Admiral's body, and Ernest quickly went to sleep as a result of the charge disabling his functionality. Reiner had caught the falling Vice Admiral and placed his body over his shoulders, with a concerned look he said, "We must take you back to Professor Ecneics immediately." With that, he began to depart towards their ship docked nearby, having unfortunately failed part of their mission.