|Role-Play Name: On Silent Wings
It was springtime as usual in the Kingdom of Alnora, a spring island in the first half of the grand line. It was raining, as it did often during the spring. The island was of moderate size, with two major cities and a number of towns both big and small. It was a rich kingdom, known for as the home for a number of Mercenary Legions that they hired out around the world. It was a great place to live...
If you were rich.
The bright side of Alnora disguised one that was just as dark. While it was a rich kingdom, only those that were rich themselves prospered. The lower class was heavily taxed, and most were in severe debt to the kingdom. those that did well only did so because they had made friends with the local government officials. The rest were basically owned by the company store. They had enough money to spend on the local amenities, but none had any true freedom. Just enough money to keep the economy going, that was the philosophy of the kingdom. The rest just went to make the already wealthy wealthier.
The Gunpowder PlotEdit
Most of this district was dead in the early evening, people still not home from work yet. The miners were still mining, the shippers still shipping, and the merchants still merching. But at least one tavern in this section of the Capital city of Alara was busy, music playing and people dancing on a foreigner's coin. For the last few days rumours had been flitting around the underworld of the city about a job coming up for those willing to take the risk. A big job, many were interested at first, but the rumours also contained a lot of negative information as well. This job was dangerous and may cause the people involved to no longer be able to live in the kingdom. A chance for wealth like they had been denied so long, yet at the same time a chance for them to never be able to go home again. All they needed to do in order to sign up was to go to a specific bar at a specific time.
Phim D. Sera sat in the corner of the bar, in a private room near the band. The noise allowed her to keep any conversations she had private. Privacy was paramount in this regard, as she had a bounty on her head, and what she had planned was anything but legal. A plot of gunpowder and treason, and a treasure beyond. She took a drink from her mug, some amber liquid within.
She had a plan, now she just hoped enough people showed up in order for her to go through with it.
Upon the stage within the bar stood a man carrying a trumpet. He tapped the mic, making sure it was in working order. "Hey everyone I'm Nathaniel and I'm going to be playing the trumpet for you all. Hope you like Jazz." He stepped back, bringing the trumpet to his lips as he blew into it. The noise it made was haunting, almost otherworldly. The song portrayed as sadness that no one could quite place but almost all could vibe with. The patrons swayed to the music as they continued their usual conversation.
Sitting at a table at the far back of the bar was a beautiful lady, she was seemingly working on a machine which was odd enough but she also had what seemed to be a robotic arm. She lifts her glasses as she listens to the enchanting music of the man on the stage. "Wow, that's sounds wonderful so haunting but yet so beautiful, I wonder if he would let me improve that trumpet I can amplify and improve that sound ten fold". She says as she continues to work on her gadgets. Soon the gadget starts to twitch and almost like a bird it flies upon her shoulder like a parrot upon a pirates shoulder. "Hey little guy, looks like your all fixed up and working but just in case run a full scan of your systems and functioning". She says closing up her tools and petting the bird on her shoulder
Much to Sera's side stood none other than her very companion and crewmate, Brisei Augus, who sat on a chair at the corner of the room. "Ugh," Bandages still covered his body, "Do you really think these people will come, Cap?" Augus gestured at Sera and slouched more over the chair, that battle sure went more wrong for him than for Sera, but, not someone he would beat himself over.
Unlike his captain, Augus was already finished with whatever food and beverage he had ordered prior to the proper meeting, he had the energy to recover after all.
The atmosphere of the bar changed quickly when the music abruptly stopped in response to a new visitor, who stood near the doorway. This woman was absolutely massive, and she was visibly stooped down to avoid brushing the ceiling of the establishment, even though it was at least 15 feet high. Clearly, she was an oddity; she possessed skin with the hue of a green olive, and brown freckles dotted her face and shoulders. Other than her height, her other most outstanding trait was the discernible gills that were on either side of her neck.
Apparently gleefully oblivious of the attention she gained, she scooted her way over to the bar, careful not to knock anything over. Being much too big for a bar chair, she sat at the end off the bar on the ground, looking like a lost tourist as she beamed happily.
"Heyheyheyheyhey~! How's everyone!"
The moment of silence that everyone had felt had been disrupted by a loud voice. One can assume that no one enjoyed such sudden burst loudness, no matter how cheery it seemed. Everyone's eyes went from the giant woman to this... person.
As soon as the door panels burst opened, the woman had entered — giving off a somewhat positive vibe, despite looking average. Spotting the giant woman, she quickly went to their side. For some reason, she was more chipper than normal, but from the look of things, she was a doctor — rather obvious by the medical bag held in her hand, her white lab coat, and the stethoscope hanging around her neck.
Though Perserius Lamia was aware she was "front and centre", she didn't mind and went about her business. The only thing that mattered to her was the person she was going towards, which she knew for quite a while.
"Hey, sorry about that! I'm just in a very good mood today. I got lucky with some supplies I found in town. Helps me make some new medicine~!"
She seemed... flighty. But her happiness was well-founded, given her profession. She found some good supplies for a good deal, so who wouldn't be happy? As soon as she reached the bar, she ordered four shots of Hennessey and a glass of water. The bartender pouring her order and slide to her, she downed all four in an instant and slowly drank her water — the alcohol reaching her brain quickly, and needed something to mitigate the liquor that hit her brain.
"Anyways, drinks in me aside, how're my favourite people doing?" She said looking at the rest of the people she knew. "Especially you, big girl!" She said looking at the giant woman next to her.
The large woman's eyes widened and she blinked a few times, as though she hadn't expected the reaction that she got; and frankly, she didn't. Her expression changed from curious to gleeful within seconds, and a large smile creeped across her face.
"I'm so so good, thanks for asking! My name is Oliviana Ceus by the way, Ceu for short, Ce for shorter, and Miss Fish if you're nasty!" She spouted happily at a rapid speed, grabbing Lamia's hand and shaking it vigorously. Ceus appeared to be... terminally delightful, to say the least.
Extending her hand to meet with the giant mermaid, Lamia extended her greetings.
"The name's Lamia. Perserius Lamia, but call me Lamy for short. We're friends after all." Lamia was in an especially good mood for multiple reasons, as she would normally feel neutral about things happening around her. But... her life would change, finally having a chance to achieve her dreams.
The crew's new doctor ordering more drinks for herself and the mermaid, on the house, of course, the two continued their pleasantries, waiting for the moment for their new captain to make their appearance.
Sera walked out of the side room as the clock struck ten, the hour she had appointed for the meeting had arrived. She knew the majority of the people here weren't her for her job, but her to party and relax instead. Most were poor and marginalized folk, none who would come here were likely to talk to the authorities, it's why she had chosen the place.
She yelled to the bartender over the noise, "Next round is on me, keeps. For new jobs and new beginnings!" Something that was met by more merrymaking and joy.
She returned to the room she was in, just as quickly as she walked out, though she took a moment to flip a sign next to the door to say Now Hiring. She was not being stealthy, not even worried about people coming after her. Sera was more than aware of the power of this country, and was acting brazen even in the face of it. She went to the front of the room, leaning up against it as several people filed in.
She waited for what seemed to be everyone to walk in, before speaking you to the small group in front of her, letting the music cover her sounds from reaching beyond the room.
"Thank you all for coming tonight. Hopefully, all of you here came because you heard about the rumours of a big job that's been spreading about the underground here. If not, I will now give you one of the several chances I will give for you to leave." She spoke firmly, wanting people who weren't here for her business to leave.
She will pause as one or two people leave, having merely been curious as to what was going on. Sera didn't want to deal with people trying to back out of the job at the last minute. Better to get anyone not willing to go through with it at the beginning.
"Now then, for those that are still here. I am Phim D. Sera, Captain of the Feather Pirates, you may have heard of me. I am here to offer you all a spot on a job, a big one. I am just going to say this now, however, because once you sign on I will not be letting you back out. What I am here to hire you tonight is not only illegal but will be dangerous and will likely cause you to have the need to flee this country. I know more than a few of you will probably be okay with this, I will also be offering some other things to help make the decision easier. Anyone who makes it through this job I will extend an offer to join my crew barring extreme circumstances. Now then, any questions?"
"Yeah, I have one." This came from Lamia herself. She was quite worried about what she just heard; though the life of piracy sounds appealing, she recognized that she had little combat experience.
"As a doctor, my profession to make sure to keep not only myself but my patients alive to the best of my ability. Is this little exercise of yours life-threatening for the rest of us?"
At this moment, she was completely serious. She wanted to help others and develop bonds with people she's looking forward to having as friends. Them dying is out of the question for her. It's unknown whether this was some kinda doctoral thing or just out of morality, but she won't have any of it if someone dies on her watch. Though she didn't care for illegal activities — they could do whatever, but if it means failing to save a life when she has the power to do so, then that's problematic on her end.
"I won't lie and say there is no danger involved in this. Without giving away too much in the way of details, I can say that as long as the plan goes mostly right, the danger will be manageable to everyone involved. If it goes perfectly, the only person in any serious danger will be myself. And I am more than confident in my ability to deal with it." Sera will respond to the reasonable question with a smile. "Any job that claims to be both risk free and lucrative is probably a trap. There will be a good payout on this one if we succeed, but there will be at least some risk involved. You all deserve to know that going in."
At least Sera was being honest... With operations like these, the leaders have one or two things to hide from the underlings until it's too late and everyone's pretty much dead, save said leader. In this case, they have some insight on what to expect.
"Good answer... Sera, was it? This makes my job much easier." Lamia was relieved, needless deaths can now be avoided. "Anyways, as long as injuries need attending to, I'll assist to the best of my ability." Lamia said in a reassuring manner. "It's my job as a doctor after all! This is my chance to be more proactive with myself!" At this point, she was smiling knowing she can show how dependable as a medic she is to the group.
The music began to fade as cheering was heard and Nathaniel gave his thanks to the audience, hopping off the stage as the next performance came on. It was a band known as King, a rock group devoted to royalty. It was then that footsteps and scuffling were heard as a man zipped by the room only to double back and peer in. It was the same man who had been playing on stage recently. He glanced to the hiring sign and back to Sera and the rest of the room. "So I hear you're hiring huh. I'm Jazzman G. Nathaniel, you may have umm. Heard me playing earlier. That was me. On stage. Jazzman." He glanced back and forth at the general blank look he was given. "I umm, like your hair?"
Sera was going on a roll when the jazz man walked in before interrupting her. She just stared at him with a look of confusion upon her face. "Yes, we are... I am Sera... Thank you I guess?"
"Uh yeah welcome. Okay, cool cool." Nathaniel nodded ushering himself into one of the empty seats. "So what is up folks, what are you all talking about?" He awkwardly clasped his hands, undoing them multiple times to finally settle on a position.
"We're talking about a mission that me and my crew are currently putting together. You did read the flyer right?" Sera responded with a continued look of conclusion.
"I suppose you'll need a navigator, huh? That'd be me!" Ceus erupted spontaneously, posing broadly as though she were a superhero saving the day. "With my superior fishman navigational skills, we'll never get lost!" She continued, flinging her hands out and mimicking the shape of a telescope, nearly taking out Lamia with her large arms. Ceus's motives were unclear, but judging by the ecstatic look on her face, it seemed as though she was just happy to be included.
"I shall keep that in mind," Sera responded to the next comment. She wasn't particularly used to such large people, but she figured that a fishman hybrid would, in fact, be a rather good navigator.
"Huh..." Augus dozed off, head going up at the many voices that filled the space. He was still dizzy over the previous fight, thus, he figured he should rest as much as possible and remained where he and Sere were sitting at. Though not exactly in the chair, instead, he was hanging from a piece of wood in the ceiling, body upside down.
Nodding at Sera's words, he commented, although his eyes were closed, "If there is one person to trust here, it is Cap'n, I suppose." He hadn't even spared a glance at the new people, sucking in a breath.
Augus narrowed his closed eyes, these people were coming rather fast and rather easily to join their group. Though his eyes saw nothing, his bat ears were paying full attention. The guy was nervous and the women were quite odd, "Huh... you are more charismatic than we thought, Cap. I suppose I should act like a proper senpai."
"Ah, where are my manners. Everyone, this is Augus, my first mate. He is my number two on this job, and outside direct orders from me anything he says goes." Sera responded diplomatically as she pointed to the man on the ceiling. Most people in the room probably hadn't noticed him, but she was more surprised that no one who did had mentioned him.
"Oh yes right sorry. Umm, I play the trumpet like really well. At least I think I do and I've been told I do." He glanced around nervously. "I have experience in umm underworld dealings and such. I robbed a bank once or twice. Y-you guys won't tell right." No one getting up to leave seemed to temporarily calm his nerves. "A pleasure to meet you Augus, I don't know what it is about you but I think you like music," His voice cut out, "Sorry was that weird? That was weird I'm sorry. I... yeah no I'm just sorry."
"Sorry to Interpose myself in your conversation, but based on your conversation so far I've intuited you might need an engineer, am I right? If I'm wrong I sincerely apologize for cutting in on your conversation". She says trying to hide her shyness with a cool facade. "oh there I go again apologizing unnecessarily". she says under her breath scrambling into an open seat carrying her many tools and materials. She settles down in her seat slamming her materials down with a rather loud clang. "You do need an engineer right ?". She says with an uneasy laugh pulling out the flyer with the recruitment details.
"One would be appreciated for this. But recruitment for my crew is a secondary aspect of this meeting, not the main one..." Sera will say before dropping off the statement.
We do really need a navigator, and an engineer for that matter, or a doctor, I suppose a musician would be nice... She'll think to herself.
"We can discuss what occurs after this when we move to our base if that's fine for everyone else. For now, I just need a straight answer. Are you in, or are you out? Once you accept, there's not going to be any turning back. I will fill everyone who signs up on the details once we reach my base."
"I'll go along with this operation." Lamia was straight in her response, knowing that this will be the only chance to encounter a sane group of Pirates she can safely work under while having her liberties. "But I hope to whatever God you believe in that whoever goes with you makes it out alive. It would bad for a future Pirate captain if they let their future subordinates die." She said with a sly look, wanting to know what her future "captain" is capable of.
"Yeah, count me in too! It'll be an adventure!" Ceus shouted before jumping up in the air with her fist raised, accidentally punching through the roof of the establishment because of her immense strength and size.
Jazzman nodded. "I suppose I'm in then huh, yeah, yup. I'm in let's do this then." He held his trumpet high. "You guys got yourselves a musician."
Alana nicely nods. "I guess it could be quite the adventure, you guys have also acquired yourselves an engineer a quite good one I might add". handing her incredibly heavy tools to a small mechanical bird flying next to her, The bird effortlessly carries the tools without reaction. "oh i don't think I ever mentioned my name, to formally introduce myself. Hello, my name is Archimedes D. Alana it is a pleasure to be travelling with you". Alana says with a soft smile towards her new peers.
A majority of the group had turned her offer down, not willing to take the risks associated with it, but enough had stayed to make this trip worthwhile. In particular, Sera was pretty sure the most useful ones had signed on. "Well then, I thank you for all putting your faith in me. Welcome aboard; may fame and fortune await us all." She'll say with a soft smile.
"Lamia, Ceus, Nathaniel, Alana. I look forward to working together with each of you." Sera paused for a moment to take a breath. "If you would all follow me and Augus, I shall take you to where we are staying until we take our leave of this kingdom."
The Bird HouseEdit
The group travelled out of the city to the nearby countryside, a place of wealth compared to where they had been. She took them down the back roads, not trusting the main ones with one of her new recruit's rather large size. They went through several orchards of splendid looking fruits, over a few charming looking bridges, and around several magnificent houses.
Eventually, they reached their destination, a large mansion overlooking the town. While not the largest one in the area, it commanded an impressive view of the surrounding area. As Sera reaches the front door, she will spin around and face her new recruits. "Welcome to Casa Vista, home of Count Monterey. This is where we will be all staying while on this island."
"Not too shabby. This will do for now until the operation's over." Lamia was rather impressed with the place since it was spacey enough to perform an operation if needed. "How many vacant rooms are available, if you don't mind me asking?" Precautions needed to be taken, so such a question is important.
A part of Augus still wondered why all of this was necessary, all the comfiness, that was. Sera had told about it earlier with him, they talked over even if he had been a bit dizzy, but he still couldn't be too bothered. He needed some tea.
"Are we going to be planning anything now?" Scratching his neck, Augus approached a nearby tree, tapping it repeatedly with his knuckles, it was good enough. "If not, call me then, please!" Augus beamed at Sera and shifted into his hybrid form, large black wings sticking out of his back. The tree had so many leaves that it didn't allow for much light to pass through it, making the area beneath it rather dark.
Augus jumped and flipped himself upside-down, claws sticking on a wood branch, his wings wrapped themselves around his figure and his body meshed within the colours.
"It looks quite nice, though I wonder do you have enough space for all of my experiments and supplies ? ". She signals her bird to drop her supplies and she slings them over her shoulder. "Thank you, Tweety I will need you to get the rest of my equipment tho". She signals off the bird as it takes off at high speeds to get her things. "Hm, I wonder if this building can withstand my projects, I do use a lot of electricity". She thinks to herself.
Ceus imagined that she would most likely have to sleep in some sort of ballroom or other larger-than-average room, but she didn't much care. She did care about how eager her compatriots were to drain the building of its space and resources, however, because it didn't seem very fair to the generous owners of the establishment to be used in such a way.
"I'm sure there will be enough space and electricity..." Ceus said in response to the two girls. "And if not, then I suppose we'll have to wait, r-right?"
Nathaniel marvelled at the size of the place it was a damn mansion, possibly the biggest house he'd ever seen. "Umm, Seras hey yeah umm." He walked up tapping her on the shoulder. "How can a pirate like you afford a place like this like even renting this is probably more than you're worth." He drummed his fingers on his head. "So like are we just stealing this house or..." He trailed off.
"You could say that the owner owes me for some... past transgressions," Sera said as she seemed like she was weighing her words and options on how to say this. Seeing that she probably would have to explain further, she gave a slight sigh before continuing. "Last time I was here was about two years ago, for a lot of different reasons. The Count is one of the richest tax collectors in the country. He took a fancy into me and tried to blackmail me into staying on the island. It didn't work, considering how much money the group I was part of was willing to spend here. But it spawned such great lines such as, and I quote, 'I'm going to tax that ass so hard it will wish it could declare independence.'"
Sera will pause for a moment to catch her breath. "So I pretended to be more desperate this time and made him think I came back for him. So I knocked him and his staff out and they are currently staying in the basement until we leave." She finished with a shrug.
"As for accommodations, feel free to pick a room, there's plenty. We're only going to be here for a few days and the Count has more than enough wealth to easily replace everything in the house twice over or more. And right before we leave I'll drop a tip to the local guards that he's trapped in the basement and we were using this as a base. They raid it, free the count, and no one is particularly worse for the wear."
"And well, if that seems a bit... crude of me, well I told you nothing about this operation was legal before you signed on. I am a wanted woman after all." She will stop with another shrug. "Also Augus, you're free for now, I don't plan on doing any more planning until after dinner. Everyone else, welcome to your home for the next couple days."
As much as Augus wanted to sleep, Sera's words were music for his super ears. He heard her just as easily as the people standing beside her did, "Pfff," He muffled some of his laughter, eyes still closed. Memories of when Sera first told it to him flooded his mind, she always changed the way she said it, but, it was always the same.
Nathaniel stared wide eyed at Sera, it grew very uncomfortable he was just staring dead on into her eyes. Unblinking. Unmoving. Then a slight grin came to his face. "T-tax that ass." The words slipped from his mouth as he broke down into laughter. His whole face was split wide with a grin as caught himself from falling over. "Oh man we should kill him huh." He spoke between giggles as he finally picked himself up. He grinned as he continued to chuckle. "I'll demand whatever room is the most soundproof though." He let out a final laugh as he breathed in and out deeply, calming himself from the joke. "I-I play music umm a lot so like I umm. I don't wanna disturb any of you."
"Probably should just pick a room slightly away from everyone else then. I didn't really test the soundproofing on the rooms..."
"O..oh yeah for sure I can just umm. I can probably get some foam or something maybe. Umm yeah I'll take the room at the far end near the room with th..the piano yeah." Nathaniel replied, glancing off down the hallway.
"Well... that answers that question." Sera's explanation was... interesting, but Lamia heard stranger. "Anyways, if you don't mind me, I'll be needing two or three of the rooms. One for myself, of course, and the other two as both a resting area and emergency operations ward, just in case surgery is necessary. I hope all of you understand."
"Reasonable enough, go ahead." Sera responded to Lamia. "Everyone but Ceu can pretty much choose rooms as they please. Ceu I have a few guys clearing out the secondary study, I radio'd ahead with a baby den den mushi. The door is tall enough for you to get through with only having to duck a little bit. Softer carpet floors should be a bit more comfortable than a hardwood floor. Best I can do."
"Thank you s-" Ceus's thoughts were interrupted by an apparent thought. "Oohhh, wait a hot second!" She shouted happily before clapping her hands together like a small child in a candy store.
Ceus reached her hand out and stood in a comical superhero-like stance and declared, "Pow!"
As she did this, a massive structure erupted in the front garden of the estate almost instantaneously in a large cloud of smoke. As the smoke cleared, the structure appeared to be nothing else but what would normally be a small cottage; instead of being small, however, it was much larger and tailored perfectly to Ceus's great size.
"Hah! I forgot I could do that! Also, don't worry about the permanence, my houses disappear after two days." Ceus declared, placing her hands on her hips and a happy beam on her face.
"Hm, it seems little ol tweety has come back faster than expected. My house must be fairly close to here". She says waving down tweety bird. "Right here tweety, just place them down at the door ill get it from there thanks". The small bird in the horizon is dwarfed by the almost house sized cluster of luggage and gadgets connected on its claws. Tweety quickly and carefully places a large amount of Luggage down on the front lawn with a large wave spreading through the floor as he put it down. "So, its imperative I get the biggest room, and we don't have time to bicker about who gets what room my projects need to maintain a constant flow of energy and electricity at all times. I have a max of 2 hours before it runs out of its emergency supply". She says hooking her robotic arm onto the huge pile of luggage dragging it towards the biggest room in the house
Sera didn't even question the further oddities of the people she hired. This was going to be a long job...
- This section is for side interactions between individuals that you don't want to do in a group setting.
Sera returned to the suite she had already picked out for the duration of her stay in this building, planning on relaxing a bit before they continued their meeting at dinner. Probably take a shower before then too. Sera had grown up in relative luxury, it was always nice to return to that after the spartanness of a pirate's life.
This might not be a master suite, but it suited her quite nicely.
Either way, Sera changed clothing into something more suited to her devil fruit after a shower. She was still drying out her hair when she noticed that she was no longer alone in the bedroom. There was a man she didn't recognize in her bed.
Sera just paused for a moment as she just stared at the random person in the bed. She manifested one of her wings, pointing it at the stranger in front of her before stating, "Who in the blazes are you, and what are you doing in my bed?"
A large yawn echoed within the smaller room. The black-haired man, calmly sleeping in Sera's bed, slowly awoke his lazy eyes. He looked at the feathers that threatened him and felt a slight bit of urgency, waking up and, still lazily, saying, "Mofu Mofu Shield..." From his hands, a snow-white, fluffy substance formed into a loosely formed circular shield that was...supposed to protect him from an assault, though it likely didn't do all that much.
"Um...my name is Aries Ovis. I...yawn...saw your job post at the tavern...B-but I got sleepy...so I thought...I'd see you later..." Waning in and out of consciousness, the words the man said were barely legible. "A-anyway...calm down..."
The man sent a small part of the shield he made towards Sera's face. At the moment its fluffy texture would make contact with the Pirate Captain, she would find herself falling drowsy and automatically calming down, which was the side-effect of Ovis' peculiar Devil Fruit, the Mofu Mofu no Mi.
"For Feather's sake..." Sera said as she stared incredulously at the man in front of her. She raised her hand up to swat the ball of fluff before it made contact with her face. "Why didn't you ju..." She started before touching the ball. Her eyes quickly became heavy and she wobbled a bit before falling over on her front, soundly asleep in seconds.
"O-oh...she's asleep..." Ovis yawned, before realizing that he really needed money. He didn't really care about the stuff that much, but if he didn't have it, he couldn't roam around in the comfort of a waving ship. "U-uhm...Sera-san..." Ovis began to mutter, though Sera couldn't hear him.
"Eh...it should be...yawns...okay..." Ovis muttered softly, as his body fell crashing onto the ground as he fell asleep, making a large noise that would probably wake Sera up with a startle.
Sera jerked awake at the loud noise. "What in the Feather am I doing on the floor?" She said to herself as she sat up. She saw the man had fallen on the floor as well, though she wasn't sure why. Sera stood up and brushed herself off. "That was weird. But if there is something in this room that's causing people to fall asleep I should probably get him out as well. Then I can figure out why he decided he needed to be in my bed." She mumbled to herself as she bent down to shake the man awake.
Only to pass out again as she touched the fluff surrounding him, landing on top of the sleeping stranger this time.
Dinner and a PlanEdit
After a few hours, dinner was convened courtesy of the Estate's conscripted chefs and several low ranking members of the Feather Pirates. While not some grand feast of all shapes and sizes, it was probably more food than many of the individuals here would see in a week. There was even food sized for the Wotan in the room, larger portions and bigger dishes.
Sera herself ate with her proper manners, calmly taking apart the steak that was in front of her with a knife. There was a variety of other choices in front of her, but she always did enjoy a good steak.
Much to Sera's side, unsurprisingly, was Augus, who sat in a chair. He seemed to eat faster than she did, although he still used the utensils with calmness. With his mouth busy, Augus took to saying nothing for that moment, even if he was aware that the upcoming mission could be discussed.
Nathaniel of all people was sitting in the chair next to Sera, granted he had been in the chair since before the table was set. So technically she sat next to him. He was currently munching on various kebabs of meat and veggies among other finger foods. His utensils sat unused upon the table. "So um Sera..uhhh, wow this is amazing. Like this is probably like the..um..uhhh best, yeah best meal I've ever had. Like mansion, banquet, next your gonna like ummmm. Uh tell us that....we got like just tons of free gold and we can buy an island or something umm uh wild like that yeah."
On the table surrounded by strangers was Ovis, who had invited himself into the mission after his little encounter with Sera in her bedroom. "Hello...I'm Aries Ovis...glad to join you..." He yawned, before consuming some of the curry and rice slowly. His drowsy eyes could easily tell most of the eyes in the room were on him, but the sleepy sailor didn't really mind and continued eating without saying a word.
"Oh my, is he gonna be alright? Should I get him to the room I prepared? From the looks of things, he's suffering from acute symptoms of parasomnia. That isn't good." Apparently, Lamia was worried for Ovis' safety as performing any kind of activity while drowsy can be quite perilous. From the looks of her plate, Lamia finished eating, but her portion was small since she doesn't consume much food these days and trained herself to live off of small portions for a variety of purposes.
"Well, if need be I can give Mr. Ovis over there a quick jolt, to ya know keep him awake".She says as she sends an electric current through her gauntlet. She continues to eat, her napkin in her lap, knife in her right hand and fork in her left. She sat and ate in a refined manner through her position sizes were anything but refined, the amount of food she had eaten was equal to the Wotan in the room. "Is there any way can be giving another serving, you may think 8 servings is enough but, my body burns through food quite fast". Alana says with a shy smile looking at the large stack of plates she has made.
"I'm glad you all are enjoying it. I do my best to treat my people well. But before you all go to wondering why he's so sleepy, he is a devil fruit user whose fruit makes people go to sleep. I can confirm its effectiveness..." She will end with a sigh.
Ceus observed the conversation from her seat on the opposite side of the table, where she occupied the space equivalent to about four to five seats. She sat silent, however, gazing down at the tablecloth until something inside of her clicked. She knew what it was, because of how familiar it felt. But that feeling was overwhelmed by another feeling of... annoyance. It seemed she was just now realizing how immensely unbearable these people surrounding her were... if it wasn't Miss Books yapping about how much she knows, it was the idiot who could barely form sentences without stumbling over words.
It was nearly too much for her, and she was seconds away from an outburst when she caught something out of the corner of her eye. A butterfly landed on a flower that was resting just outside the dining room window. It ticked again.
Sera finished the portion of food that she had gotten for herself so far before turning to address the group. "So, it's about time I tell you guys what this is about. Feel free to keep eating, I will go over everything in more detail later."
She paused for a moment before continuing. "To start off, I am going to explain some background on the social structure of this island for those that aren't familiar with it. Alnora is a fairly wealthy kingdom, made rich by the numerous mercenary armies that originate from here. It is ruled by a king, with King Sonam as the current ruler. It also has a relatively large nobility for a kingdom of its size. Its nobility is relatively unique for the fact almost all of them share a profession."
"Almost every noble in this kingdom is a tax collector."
"This kingdom's entire revenue setup is purely about collecting the most taxes physically possible without destroying the local economy. Land taxes, income taxes, sales taxes, and at one point even a savings tax. Most of the citizens of this kingdom are in deep debt to government financiers as a result, rendering them slaves to the kingdom in all but name. The collectors themselves take a percentage of all taxes they collect. The kicker is an official collector has to be present when taxes are collected."
"Now then, for the plan itself. Three days from now, the Tax Collection Union is having its annual gala. The king will be in attendance. I have an invite via the dear count."
"After talking with some friends of mine here, I have a map of the Royal Compound. This includes the location of King's personal treasury."
"So, there are two parts to this operation. One will be lead by me, and one will be lead by Augus. I will be taking one other person with me to the party, where our job is to cause a ruckus, drawing the attention of the Royal guard away from the compound to the location the Gala is held at. Which while not that far, should be far enough away to make the second part easier. The second group's job is to break into the king's treasury and rob it. My friends have some people there to help you cart the money away that are part of the staff. The haul is split at first fifty-fifty with my contacts, and then I will split it up with you guys and the rest of the crew. Everyone should receive between five and seven million belly for this job unless the king's treasury is far smaller than we expect. At that point me and the rest of the Feathers will be leaving for the next island, our log pose is already acclimated. You will have to make the choice to come with us then and there. Any questions?"
This had actually been the first time Sera fully detailed her plan, which made him assume that she had finished it recently. It made a chuckle escape his lips and a smirk fills his face, "I didn't hear of any notable Marines to be in there, either," He began, "However, always make sure to keep your guard up." They didn't think there would be so many notable marines at the reverse cape, and this was the Grand Line.
"If none of you have any questions, like Cap'n said," Augus offered a smile and cleaned his mouth with a handkerchief, "I'll be happy to lay out my infiltration method."
"Oh Oh Oh OH." Nathaniel thrust his hand into the air, waving it excitedly. "Take me to the party with you!" He cried excitedly. "Causing a ruckus or like a umm general distraction is what I do best!" He was already preparing the suit he'd wear in his head.
"Considering that my invitation is as a date, and this is a masquerade party, my partner would need to be male." Sera will muse to herself and the others. She then spoke up to Nathaniel directly. "With that in mind it leaves me three choices, Augus, Ovir, or yourself. Augus is leading the infiltration team, and Ovir's abilities cause the opposite of a ruckus. That would leave you as the best person to accompany me Nathaniel. I'll make sure you have something suitable to wear. Ceus, Alana, Ovir, and Lamia will be in the infiltration group under Augus. The more guards Nathaniel and I can draw away, the easier the infiltration group's job will be. Any further questions from you guys for now?"
"YES" Nathaniel shouted excitedly, pumping his fist in the air. "I-I already got a suit and everything." His grin widened as the thoughts of the party filled his head. It was a masquerade, perfect for him. Hiding behind a mask was easy enough, they could escape easily too. "It won't be a problem drawing them away, heck they'll have to bring their whole army to stop us." Nathaniel boasted, puffing out his chest in a futile attempt to make himself look big. "I suppose we should go prepare r-right?" He spoke, finally coming down from his excitement high.
The heels of Sera's sky blue shoes clicked as her and her Date walked down a stone path to the Union's party. She had always hated wearing court shoes, but times like this the training to wear them she had been forced into had come in handy. To compliment her shoes Sera was clad in a black silken backless dress highlighted in gold. One shoulder was bare while the straps of the dress hid the burns marring her other shoulder and arm. Her face was likewise hidden behind a snow white mask.
The pair was currently walking down a secluded stone path to the mansion the party was taking place at, Sera having opted for a more scenic route than just pulling a carriage up to a front gate. It gave more time for the pair to get into their respective roles before hitting the party itself.
Sera cleared her throat for a moment before addressing Nathaniel, "We're nearly there now, Nathaniel. So I'll go over the plan one more time. We'll arrive shortly before eight o'clock. That leaves us a hour and a half before we start off the operation. As far as everyone will be concerned, you're the ill Count's son and I'm your date. Mingle around the party until it's time to to start. The guard shift changes at nine, so the half hour should be enough for the previous shift to leave the grounds. Once we hit the time, we disrupt the party in any way possible to draw the guards broken bones and bleeding wounds are fine, but try not to kill anyone. We'll take the king prisoner, and then fight the guard when they show up. Once we've distracted them for one hour, we jump off the balcony and I'll fly us out. Anything else you want to know before we are fully committed to this?" Sera's clicking heels were the only remaining sound that could be heard as she waited for Nathaniel to respond.
Nathaniel walked along next to Sera, his arm linked with hers. It was a little odd, pretending to be his employer's date, but it wasn't like this was his first time playing a part. He'd grown up acting and while during their other meeting he'd been quite a meek man, this was his stage. He wore an impeccable white suit, glistening in the moonlight. It matched perfectly with Sera's black and gold attire. His undershirt was a scarlet red, matching the mask he wore. He wore the face of a festive demon, a mask of red with white and silver accents.
He nodded to Sera's words, a smile grew under his mask. "You've no idea how excited I am my dear. A party of this magnitude. A masquerade of splendor. Truly a wonderful time we shall have my sweet." He spoke aloud, nodding to Sera. His tone was different now, much more confident and composed than his normal self. "I feel like that's a pretty good persona for a Count's son." He continued, dropping the tone briefly. "I have no real quarrels with the plan. I can't make any promises about not killing people but I don't intend to use lethal force." He shrugged apologetically, "Just saying." As to two continued to approach the massive mansion Nathaniel had one more question. "So Sera one other thing I want to get clear. We're supposed to be dating right and I'm supposed to be the count's son. Are we just using our names? Cause I don't know if these people have met who we're "supposed" to be. So am I calling you Sera, another name, or just using pet names like love or my sweet? Also what are you calling me?"
"Good question, I suppose I didn't think of everything. You can call me whatever you wish, though Sera isn't exactly an uncommon name. The count's son was named Devin if I remember right. He isn't particularly well known among the major nobles due to having studied at a different island for several years. I'll probably either call you that or something like milord. As for the casualties, if it happens it happens, I'd just rather not kill anyone of at all possible. I may be a pirate now but I still attempt to stick to my moral code as much as I can."
"Of course, just saying it may happen." Nathaniel replied. "Hmm Devin, not a terrible name at all, shorter than mine though. Well whatever. Sera my dear, let us enter this grand masquerade." He spoke triumphantly, lifting his hand into the air as he held her with his other. He'd looked like some sort of noble villain in a comic, if not for the fact that he was talking to no one but the woman next to him.
"Yes let's, it should be a night to remember..."
The pair left the forest shortly afterwards, arriving near the entrance of the mansion as various coaches. People of every shape and size were filtering into the front door of the mansion, many arriving by coach, but more than a few were trickling in on foot like they were.
As Sera and Nathan approached the door, a guard could be seen checking the invitations of the guest, a guest book for them to sign afterwards could be seen behind him.
Like all the others, the guard asked for their invitations.
Sera took the chance to ask in an endearing manner, "Devin dear, you did remember to bring them right?"
"Why of course I did my silly Sera. How could I possibly forget them." 'Devin' chuckled, producing two purple envelopes from his pocket and handing them to the guard. The guard checked their invites and nodded them through to the guest book. While it probably didn't matter if the signature was perfect it mattered to Nathaniel. It would be an insult if he couldn't properly forge it. He'd taken a look at a couple documents in the mansion, memorizing Devin's signature. He grasped the pen and signed his name, a perfect replica. "Alright then, let us proceed to the masquerade."
Sera on the other hand took no suck precautions, signing her full name upon the list. No one was likely to look at the names on the book until after the party, and it would be another hint leading the kingdom back to her unwilling hosts. She had no desire to head back there after the operation but also didn't want to leave her hostages to starve.
She nodded in approval to Nathaniel's comment as they walked inside.
Hundreds of people could be seen milling about the place, nobles of every shape, size, and age. Each one was clad in a mask, their displays showing off a myriad colors.
The place itself had attractions of various types, ranging from several buffet tables full of regularly refilled food to as much drink as anybody could handle. There was even a live band as well as several other activities to partake in.
The king sat at a table at the head of the party, talking to various guests as he enjoyed the food and drink. King Marion of Alnora was one of the largest people here, nine feet tall and extremely rotund.
After taking this all in, Sera turned more to her companion. "So dear, do you want to go mingle by yourself or together?"
"I'd much rather mingle with you darling." Nathaniel replied, gazing through the masquerade. The tables were piled high with delicious looking food that the guests gorged on. The dance floor was alight with energy, a sea of colors and masks swaying to the rhythm. It almost made him want to play his trumpet. But he couldn't, not yet at least. However what drew his wandering eye most was the throne and the man upon it. King Marion in all his glory, a massive man he was. Nathaniel was no stranger to tall people but this man looked more like a bowling ball than a looming figure.
"I suppose we could grab a bite to eat and then work it off on the dance floor my love." 'Devin' spoke sweetly, escorting Sera to the buffet. He grabbed a plate and quickly filled it with various fruits and meat.
Sera followed her erstwhile date to the buffet, thinking that they might as well enjoy one more fancy night of food before it was back to the hum and drum of ship life. Though all the food they had commandeered from the count would help with that. She had even liberated the man's wine store for later celebration.
She put a number of sweets and other fancier foods that she would no longer have access to once she left onto her plate, enjoying the one last night of luxury.
After she had finished her food she held out her arm and offered, "Care to dance?"
"A most excellent idea my love." 'Devin' nodded, finishing his own meal as they clasped hands, making their way to the dance floor. The two stepped into the uneven swaying of the other dancers as soft music played in the background. Nathaniel paused a moment and turned to Sera. "This will not do at all my dear. This music is so, droll. A moment." He whisked himself away to the musicians.
"Excuse me gentlemen could you maybe play something more, lively perhaps." A gold piece landed at their feet as he grinned up at them.
"Of course sir." The violinist replied, grabbing the coin and readying his bow. A booming ballroom tune wafted through the air. Powerful and calm it surprised the other dancers as they paused to prepare for the dance.
"Now then Sera, shall we show them how real dancing is done?" Nathaniel grinned, grasping her hand as they prepared to waltz.
Not a single whisper, nor a single breath.
Body upside-down, Augus hang from the ceiling of the hallway and was encased in his wings, forming out a cocoon of darkness. Not a single breath, all the sound came from the chatter and utensils being used on the room next door. In fact, Augus had chosen to stay on the main hallway of the castle, not only to survey any activity from the nearby Gala, but, also, the movements of his fellow culprits.
His mind reviewed the plan for the third time that night:
"So, here it is." Augus mused out at the members set under him. He pointed to the blueprint given to him by Sera, "The thing about this mansion is that... its large dinner room comes before the house's main hallway." Glancing quickly to see if anyone paid attention, Augus continued, "The outdoors of the mansion's wings are heavily secured, moreso than its entrance. That is why, we must use the help o Cap'n's associates and get into the hallway, please!"
Truly, they didn't all need to do it at the same moment, but, Augus was sure they knew of that. "By the time of the operation, I shall expect everyone to be there." Taking a sip of his tea, Augus marvelled, "I can use my transformation to control my sounds, therefore, I can communicate through echolocation."
Another sip, he needed to refil his mug. "Through it, I shall know where each of you are... then, I will be capable of alerting any of you should it be needed, by making an object next to you shake." Augus used his free hand to draw motions through the blueprint, from the hallway to the treasure room. "That is the basic premise, friends! Each of you know your roles."
And there he was, hanging out from the hallway's ceiling. "I'm to embody the bat..." Augus thought, still waiting for when the time was nigh and all of the members were there.
Ovis, as sleepy as he was throughout the meeting, somehow managed to fulfill his job excellently. Perhaps it was his naturally aloof nature that allowed him to play the part, but as he walked through the party, there was little interference from others in the room, though part of that might have been due to some of his clothes being laden with his signature wool, causing others around him to become drowsy by proximity.
He seemed to reach the intended location without much interference, but was confused as to where the leader of this operation was. Softly yawning, Ovis patiently awaited his orders, while trying not to sleep.