|Role-Play Name: Out of the Loop|
Date Started: June 22, 2018
Blue Sky Thinking Edit
It was a still, snow infested night in Asha. This time of year the island was normally blanketed by a soft trundle of snow, and tonight was of no exception. Small flakes fell from the murky clouds above, guided in direction by a steady breeze. Warmth was what the kingdom's inhabitants currently sought... and what better warmth was there on the island than the love of a woman with enormous knockers?
The brothel known as The Fat Angel was filled with the sweet moans of its many prostitutes. They were given their own stalls to pleasure their guests, concealed by a curtain for the sake of privacy. However, one such guest was in the midst of being pleasured out in the open, being treated by none other than the Sin of Lust herself.
In the foyer to the brothel itself, Rat Catcher Bon sat back into the softness of a dark red couch. His lofty white hair had been gelled back, his face kept concealed by way of a gas mask fitted around his skull. Matter of fact, every ounce of his flesh was kept covered up behind a sleeve or garb of some kind; his trench coat was sashed and kept tight around his knees, with a black jumpsuit worn beneath.
Bon eyed Katya silently through the goggles on his mask.
Katya didn't usually tend to the guests themselves, they were the Madame of this establishment after all. They paired their girls and boys with patrons, watched to make sure nothing got out of hand, and basically just moved around the place looking pretty. Being pretty was definitely one of the many things they did well. It helped immensely when one was a prostitute who ran the largest network of brothels in all the seas.
But when someone offered such a large sum for their services, who were they to decline? Katya was very wealthy, but they had expenses. Running so many establishments wasn't cheap. Which was why they were standing before the man clad in all those layers of clothing at the moment. They tried to maintain a completely androgynous appearance at all times, while wearing clothes that revealed enough to arouse but not enough to discern what was between their legs. Mystery was sexy, you know?
But the man wanted a busty woman, and busty woman he shall have. The flowing robe Katya wore filled out around her chest as breasts grew, expanding to a size that looked like it would give anyone back problems just by looking at them. Her curves became more prominent and her face became all the more effeminate, with full lips and delicate eyes. Her hair stayed the same, falling in a wild red mane around her shoulders. With her transformation complete, Katya gave the man a sharp toothed smile before taking a few steps forward in a sultry gait.
"Darling, why so many layers? This can't be all that fun for you if you can't feel anything." She was standing over him, a finger trailing along the gas mask curiously "Or do you get turned on by the undressing? If that's the case where should I start?" She tapped the side of the mask lightly "Here?" Her finger trailed down the mask and the man's neck to his chest, right above his heart "Here?" It trailed further down, down, down until her hand was caressing a thigh "Ah! Maybe here~?" She took to her knees and looked up at him with golden eyes that glittered seductively "Would you like that?"
There was no other way around it. Katya was just downright mesmerizing. She was a woman sought out by countless across the face of Asha and even still Bon was... unmoved.
To say Katya's charm did not work on him was far from the truth. Moreover, her charm simply couldn't work. Not anymore. Not with how he had become.
The tender warmth of love and romance... oh how he wished he could just rewind time an experience it all again, even if only for an instant. But those days were long gone.
Even while he considered Katya to be highly attractive, Bon couldn't get himself to feel aroused. No matter what he, Katya, nor his own wife did could ever change that.
Through a muffled voice, Bon spoke out from behind his mask. "P-Please, I did not come here to sleep with anyone. I-I ask that you kindly s-step away from me..." He was uneasy feeling her hands on him.
Katya chuckled, a high and musical sound. Also completely fabricated, along with almost everything else about the woman. Chosen and practiced as to make her all the more attractive to her patrons. She with drew her hands slightly, rising once more before situating herself on the couch next to Bon "If you didn't come here to sleep with someone then why did you come here?"
She took one of Bon's hands in her own and began to trace designs on his palms "If you haven't come seeking pleasure, then maybe you've come seeking a listening ear?" She chuckled again "Maybe not because you haven't been talking all that much. Or...perhaps you're just too tense. I'll help you relax." With quick hands, the redhead divested the man of his glove and looked down at his hand...
Her pause was almost imperceptible. She looked from the sallow limb back up to the masked face, smile still bright as ever. She was used to dealing with people who had scars or deformities, she was practiced hand at making them feel as normal as possible. The first step was making him feel at peace. Her fingers danced across his palm, the powers of her Devil Fruit attempting to coax his body to release calming hormones. But his body didn't respond. She tried to send a spike of pleasure to him. Again nothing. Pain. The same result. Katya was immediately on edge. There were only two things that would stop her ability from taking effect...
She leaned in close, her smile and eyes taking on a dangerous edge and the grip on the man's arm becoming almost bruising "What exactly are you? There are only two ways to resist the powers of my Devil Fruit: Haki and the dead. And I do not sense any use of Haki from you."
Bon slowly brought the slots of his goggles to match the level of Katya's own eyes. Indeed, for every Devil Fruit ability, there was another one somewhere out there on the seas capable of counteracting it. Ironically enough, Katya had come face to face with one whose own powers rejected hers.
In consuming the Kare Kare no Mi, Bon had not only become a Rotting Human, but his life had changed forever. Immediately upon ingestion of the Devil Fruit, his skin began to decay, until nothing was left of his flesh than a pile of dry and lifeless scraps. He was more akin to a zombie now, the way his body lacked the physical necessities most humans ordinarily required to be met. He had lived this way for the past 5 years, living each and every day in regret of what he had become.
Bon hesitated as Katya drew closer to him, albeit not as much as he thought he would. Normally, he'd have pulled away based on instinct alone, but now more than ever he just wanted someone to be able to accept him for what he was. This was a woman who had been prepared to mate with him; certainly she deserved to know what he truly was?
A long drawn out silence ensued as Bon sat upright. "P-Promise me y-you won't be afraid," his muffled voice rang out, and leaving his ungloved hand in Katya's own, he attended to his mask with the other.
Unstrapping it one strap at a time, Bon slowly slid the gas mask off of his visage, and the resulting image was downright horrifying. Not even a mother could love such a face; the way his eyes appeared to be bulging out from his sockets and pointing off into different directions, the way his upper lip was folded and pulled up over his nose so that the gums of his cracked teeth could be seen. This was perhaps why he struggled to speak and stuttered so very much. His ears were twisted, his face scarred and severely bruised. He was missing an entire eyebrow and his nose was slanted at a 90 degree angle, in the form of an "L".
Gazing into Kaya's eyes, he blinked, awaiting her horrification and obvious rejection. It was only a matter of time. "I a-am rotted to the b-bone. Anything I t-touch, I can make w-wither away. L-Like… me." His hand remained in her own. Was he going to rot her hand away?!
It was sad to say, but Katya was used to mentally unstable clients "I knew I should've gone to a different house today..." She sighed internally. Tip-toeing around someone wasn't something she was used to having to do with clients. Mostly because her powers never failed her, and if they did she was always able to use them on herself to toss out the rabble. If this man used his fruit on her, though...
'Fake it till you make it' was always a good game plan "How unfortunate for you." Katya moved a hand up to gently run a finger over Bon's nose "To gain such a power but to have all the pleasures of life taken from you as payment. I'm so sorry." She was trying to telegraph compassion with her voice and posture, but really she just wanted to get out of this situation and away from him. Who wouldn't? He looks like a damn crypt keeper.
She caressed the underside of his wrist with the hand he still held, hopefully he could still feel in general, or else any tactile pacification methods wouldn't work at all "I can't imagine the pain you must go through...Did you come here seeking to feel alive again?" Her head tilted to the side and her eyebrow raised "I'll tell you now that, in my experience at least, that leads to just making your situation feel worse than it already is..."
God she really hoped this worked. It would be hell finding someone who could return her flesh to a state of life if she even survived whatever this man decided to do if he snapped. Though attacking her would bring down the might of the kingdom on him, as she was a member of the Seven Deadly Sins, he had enough money to buy her time and that alone told her he held some power at least "Ya slishkom krasiv chtoby byt' trupom, chert poberi!" She thought to herself with a mental pout.
The door to the brothel suddenly slammed open as Tabart, cuddled in white and purples robes, hurriedly rushed into the establishment. His face was covered by his turban that acted as both a head piece and scarf, protecting both the top of his head and everything below his eyes as if crossing the desert amidst a sandstorm.
He rushed towards the bar, throwing down his hand immediately. “C-Can I get some hot chocolate or somethin’ please!!” he shivered. “I’m freezing out here!”
Tabart's sudden arrival into the brothel marked the end of Bon's showing. Though he had far from succumbed to Katya's charm, without his mask, he couldn't help but feel as though he had been caught with his pants down. "I-It's not what it looks l-like!"
In a hurry, Bon strapped the gas mask back to his face, standing up from the couch and dusting the rear of his coat with his hands.
And there they were. Face to face again, for the second time in two weeks. Only, the last time they had met, Tabart covered in bruised and not nearly as popular. Now the Giant Slayer was something of a celebrity; his name alone probably exceeded even that of the Seven Sins within their own home of Asha!
"O-Oh, it's y-you...!" Bon had indeed invited Tabart to the brothel, but he had done so through his underworld alias of "Saturn". To Tabart, the man before him was at current nothing more than a member of the Xros Pirates whom he had encountered in battle not long ago.
“What the hell? It’s you!!” Tabart announced, pulling a handful of seeds from his pocket as he leaped backwards from the counter that he had just arrived onto. There was no hesitation between his leap and the actual act of him crushing the seeds in his hands, letting pieces of them fall towards the floor of the brothel before sprouting back up again, manifesting into a garden of man-eating Venus-fly traps that surged towards Bon with the intent to devour him whole. Tabart provided him no opportunity to offer his condolences, to attack, to do whatever he was going to do. He had vowed upon Bedina that they would all remain his enemy.
Bon didn't know whether to be flattered or upset. The fact that Tabart managed to remember him when so few did made him feel somehow appreciated. What he didn't appreciate, however, were the many venus flytraps seeking to gnaw at his rotted flesh. The last thing he wanted at this moment was to fight!
"N-No, y-you've got it all wrong!" Fortunately for Bon, his powers were perhaps the perfect counter to Tabart's own. Plants were among the foremost forms of life that he could rot away, and he did exactly that.
"R-Rot!" Through a troubled and frantic voice, Bon brought his hands up before his face. The sequence of his movements appeared to be directed at protecting himself rather than inflicting any harm toward the actual plants; he seemed hesitant, afraid even, of the possibility of being struck by them.
As the plants came into contact with his arms, they immediately shriveled up, turning brown and rigid and withering away into lifeless heaps of dead crops. They fell to the floor in tattered pieces, floundering about like dead grass in the face of a forest fire.
Seeing the plants die, Bon sighed in relief. Was he doubting his own ability? Had he anticipated otherwise? Did he not believe in his power to rot away the plants when he had done the very same thing oh so many times in the past?
"Y-You've got it all wrong!" Bon cried out again, his voice shaky and sporadic, as if to keep Tabart from retaliating further. "I… I did not call you here to f-f-fight! I am he who is known as Saturn in the U-Underworld! I have a business proposal for you, G-Giant Slayer! Please, don't try and hurt me any further!"
Katya sighed dramatically at the exchange between the two men. She couldn't just get a normal customer with deep pockets and vanilla tastes. Nothing came easy to the beautiful it would seem. She stood and motioned to a maid at the bar, the buxom wench coming over quickly while eyeing Tabart and Bon with fear "Alicia, clear out the Angel. We're closing early tonight. Get the girls to safety and if anyone gives you trouble, remind them who I am and what my people are capable of." With a nod the girl scurried away and Katya turned to the two idiots that were probably about to complicate her life.
"Gentlemen, if you could please not destroy my brothel that would be amazing." She glared at the patch of floor where the plants had grown, inspecting it to see if there was any damage. She hated having to sink money into places for repairs, so she made sure that people understood fully the consequences of causing disruptions in her places of business. Her glare flicked to Tabart, losing none of it's intensity "I would appreciate it very much if you didn't try to fight in my brothel. You may get hurt, and I don't mean by mask-face there."
She moved behind the bar and grabbed a mug, pouring some liquid from a hot kettle into it before scooping a few spoons of a brown powder into it. She mixed the concoction until a distinct chocolaty aroma filled the room. She filled another mug and brought both over to a table, setting up three chairs "You wanted hot chocolate, correct? Velvet Red Insta-Cocoa is picking up popularity. Have you tried it before?" She held a mug out to Tabart before motioning to the chairs at the table "You two can it and talk or I can forcibly remove you from my building. Your choice." She took a seat herself and sipped from the second mug. She hadn't brought one for Bon because, well, he was dead. Or at least close to it. They didn't need refreshments.
Tabart sighed, graciously taking both a seat and the hot chocolate that Katya was offering him. “Thanks, and sorry about the bar,” he genuinely apologized, “But this man isn’t someone you should easily trust. He’s a member of the Xros Pirates, a high-ranking one at that! The fact that he called me here is fucking insane considering just two weeks ago he was trying to kill me, which begs the question….” Tabart turned to face Bon directly. “What do you want me for if you’re not here to kill me? What are you exactly working at?” Suddenly, Tabart’s eyes lit up in anger, forcing him up from his seat. “Don’t tell me you’re that one who helped Judas kidnap my fucking child!! Where is he!?”
Bon let out a sigh of relief once Tabart had settled down, then quickly shot up his hands in protest at being the suspected kidnapper of his child. "N-No, I had nothing to do with t-that, I swear!"
As for what he, as Saturn, had requested Tabart's services for... that would have to wait until the others had joined them.
An hour or so later, the majority of the mercenaries, brokers, and whomever else Bon could contact from the Underworld, sat around in a circle, facing one another over couches and sofas. These were guests of fair significance, many of whom carried apparent notoriety.
Seated along one of the couches with one leg drawn out over the top of the other was the man feared as the greatest bounty hunter in all of South Blue: Sperius Vesper, more commonly known as Vesper the Scavenger. His side swept bangs fell over one of his eyes, and he had come shrouded in the attire of a shinobi. He was an ordinarily sized human, comparable in size to Bon, yet possessing a degree of musculature upon his being. A mask extending from his chest covered the lower half of his face.
Vesper was a man who had made an enemy out of most, if not all other bounty hunters. Even those present here would be apparent of his infamy; he was known for stealing kills, or rather, "scavenging" targets that did not exactly belong to him. His style was such: he flyed around the seas interrupting ongoing fights often, killing both participants and claiming the bounties on both of their heads. He could feel the glares of each and every mercenary present upon him --he recognized a few of them as victims of his own work, resulting in a smug grin along his impeccable jawline.
Among these gathered associates sat on a sofa all to himself was someone no one had expected to attend, at least, not in person. He stood out among the crowd, dressed in bright colors and jewelry that caught the eye and kept it, displaying a smile as well trained and kept as Katya's own. "Hello, my wonderful associates. It's a pleasure to be here. I hope you don't mind, but I brought gifts." He said as he gestured to a selection of expensive products he's brought. Coin knew the rules of business, let everyone think they are your favorite, and keep the money flowing.
Behind Coin's cheerful demeanor, his mind paced. 'A brothel of all places? Important meetings shouldn't happen in whore houses. Whores pillow talk, and everyone expects places like this.' his eyes flickered to Katya, who he was sure would remember every word spoken here. 'I'd much prefer a busy club. No one pays attention in a club, and the music drowns out the talking. This better be good for me to have come out here in person.'
The next person to enter the borthel was none of than the captain of the Tai Pirates who had recently grown desperate in her attempts to keep the infamous pirate crew amongst the top of the food chain in spite of the fact that their former captain had abanonded his post to return home. In her desperation Rhiannon had accepted a great deal of money in exchange for a as of yet unnamed favor the only information she was given was that she was to meet at the brothel and wait for further instructions.
As she made her way through the brothel she took a careful note of each individual present inside, assessing the situation thoroughly taken in details that would seem irrelevant to one who wasnt an archer. Smell, clothing, pitch and tone of voice, all details where absorbed and stored in her memory should she be forced to take action against one of them. The desperate captain made her way towards a seat and the corner of the room and sat whilst she awaited further instructions.
They did not hear the next person walk in the door didn't even creak. He continued forwards, his footsteps not even startling the dust on the floor, each carefully placed and entirely silent. The man was dressed entirely in white desert robes that flowed behind him, emitting no sound as they fluttered. He continued into the room, speaking to no one as he made his way to a corner of the room and stood there, his hidden eyes locked on Bon. It was indeed him, one of the kings of the underworld, Arch Thief Prometheus. He was known to be the leader and sponsor of all the thieves in the underworld. To have hired him for a job, it must have been a necessity.
Bon had offered up that much money not for Katya's services exclusively, but to "rent" the brothel in some capacity for this meeting. The woman couldn't say this was the first time something along these lines had happened, but usually it wasn't such a large gathering. She was impressed and annoyed all at the same time. She got antsy with all these people around so she got up and busied herself with refreshments. All these bounty hunters in a room, she'll be damned if she didn't make at least a little bit of a profit from it.
There were way too many leers and catcalls in her direction as she went about her business, too many sneaking hands sliding up her skirt or landing on her backside. Usually she wouldn't mind the attention, in fact she would bask in it and stoke her ego, but she wasn't in the mood at the moment. Her soft curves faded somewhat, her chest flattening and her hips narrowing. The robed billowed around the new, more masculine form. Katya, having served anyone who wanted drinks, sat in a cushioned red chair that was really mostly pillows, a bored look settling on his face as he surveyed the room to make sure no one was breaking anything.
"It sure is crowdy here today," A voice arose from near Katya, along with a calm scribbling. "Wouldn't you say?" It pertained to a man fit in a suit, though, his signature hat and coat not present. Though he wrote in a small notebook, his eyes wandered around the entire settlement.
Certainly interesting people made themselves present, some of which had no relations to each other. That was what a normal person would think. But, the detective known as Wilhelm Conrad continued to survey the place.
No one of those he had known or met... Personally, that is.
Alone on one of the couches sat a man who could be mistaken for a corpse himself. A muscular, lanky body with almost unnaturally pale skin, he was practically naked. Something made more apparent by the chilly weather outside. The man known in the underworld as the Undertaker sat silent with a detached stare, hidden behind his metal mask. He wondered just how many of the people here he would end up burying by the end of this.
There was a whole cast of menacing figures all patched up into one single room. They had only one thing in common; being from the Underground, their reputations were obscure, hidden even, as were their true identities. This is why a brothel was the best place for them to meet. Here they perfectly blended in with the rest of the random people who came seeking worldly pleasure.
Bon coughed into his hand. "O-Okay. T-That seems to be e-everyone." He took a look around at the circle of pirates and hunters alike. "A-As I'm sure most of you are here seeking my p-promise of 500,000,000 in return for your services, I'll c-cut right to the chase over w-what it is I'd like you all to do for me.
"As you may all k-know by n-now, we are in the m-middle of a war. A war between the Y-Yonko." Bon hesitated for a moment. "A-All of them." He surveyed the room a second time. The reflection of Sperius Vesper glimmered within the slots of his goggles. "T-There is a certain m-man after me. T-The very man who started this entire w-war by earning my c-captain's wrath: the Public Enemy!
"H-He has tried to claim my l-life in times past, and as I am away from my crew's t-territory, I-I am almost certain he will somehow attempt to strike again. I... cannot share with you all why it is t-that he's after me. But I trust the hefty payment s-shall be enough to silence your curiosity over the m-matter. In a-any case, I wish to pay a visit to my home island of Permis, which is about a s-single days's trip here f-from Asha."
Bon grew silent once more. He bowed his head ever so slightly. "A m-man wishes to s-see his child and wife every now and then, n-no matter what s-sort of reputation that he may have." He rose his head, looking in the direction of the Giant Slayer. "Isn't that r-right, Tabart?
"A-All I wish for is to s-see them again. To s-see my family. But I can't travel w-without people by my s-side to p-protect me." He looked around the rest of the room.
Katya listened to what Bon had to say in silence, blinking several times in confusion as he gave his spiel about wanting to see his wife and child. There was one thing that was giving him pause, though, so the redhead spoke up once the other was done "Let me get this straight. You've gathered some of the most dangerous bounty hunters in the world in one place to offer them payment to escort you to your home? You are aware that you are not only an Underworld Broker, but a part of one of the Yonko's crews? And that the Government would probably rewards someone handsomely for handing you over? What's to stop one of these....."nice" gentleman from slapping some seastone cuffs on you and dragging you to the nearest marine base? They aren't exactly the most trustworthy of people, as I'm sure you know" Katya looked around the room before adding "All offense intended."
Not called, not properly noticed, not bothered. Conrad scribbled away at his notebook, eyes never leaving it, though, his ears were surely fixated upon the words leaving Bon's mouth. Not only that, but, their tone. The bounty hunters there were many and that made Conrad wonder if they would hurt people outside of wanted pirates. Even so, Conrad had done this many times, it was almost as he had no will on paying attention to the conversation at hand, therefore, one could say he was not even there.
After all, he had no intention of relaying what he was listening to. "Green Hairs..." Conrad muttered, face stern as his pen went against the paper. "The man who started this war..." Conrad tapped his pen against his chin, "Months ago, the Public Enemy was said to have allied with Legs, effectively putting himself in the care of an Emperor." Scribble.
Looking at his notebook from different angles, Conrad hummed, "This man, however, said that Green Hairs has tried to kill him numerous times... before..." Should one even look over his notebook, the only possible one being Katya, they would see a miniature drawing of a masked man and a man with green mane.
"Then," Conrad continued to think, not paying attention to Katya's own words, "Did Green Hairs seek shelter under a Yonko, because he was chased for having attacked Bon...?" Scribble, Conrad narrowed his eyes, the two figures he drew were high-fiving each other. "Bon is a part of a Yonko Crew... are they truly weakened to the point that they can't send someone... or do they not care for each other?" Conrad rubbed his chin and took a sip of his sudden drink.
Prometheus stood, listening to the unfolding events. While the money was great the prospect of capturing an ally to a Yonko and the man who started the war would be excellent. He'd sell Veno to the Marines for more than the reward for the job. "I'm still getting paid and maybe we'll get to beat the snot out of green haired punk. I feel like this is quite the deal honestly, we're even getting paid more than this stuttering fella is worth."
Coin turned to Katya and smiled "Oh don't be like that Mr Zamolodchikova. A lot of us are very trustworthy. We can't afford to lie. Our little underworld is built on trust, after-all. You betray one client, and nobody wants to work with you anymore." He said with a shrug in a sing song voice before turning back to Bon. "Normally, I'd just give you some bodyguards, and a good smuggling boat, but I like you, this seems exciting and it's been awhile since I smuggled anything personally, so I think you have yourself a deal."
Behind his smile facade his mind still paced. 'Really? That's it? With the people you had gathered here I was half expecting to say you planned to overthrow Shiguma. Seems I came all the way here for nothing. Well, a friend in the Xros would be valuable, so I'll go along with it for now...'
Rhiannon listened as the man spoke his peace, carefully listening to every word in an attempt to spot any possible deceptions. When she believed him to be speaking the truth she allowed her self to hear his offer with an open mind and to be honest his offer truly didn't seem complicated. Escort him to his home, avoid the green haired freak, and get paid, tada. As she listened to him speak she brought herself to her feet and began to stretch before she resumed making eye contact with the man.
The Tai Pirates needed resources if they had any hope of regaining their status within the world, and while it wasn't what she'd hope, Rhiannon would never turn down such a large sum of money which lead her to speak her next words with an annoyed resolve, "I'll do it, in exchange for the sum promised, I will go with this merry band of ...."people" so that you may once again see your beloved."
“Did you seriously just describe us as People sarcastically? I don’t even know why you’re here, you basically got handed your renown just by becoming the captain. At least these so-called people around you have bounties and fame of their own. In fact, we people would rather you stay behind and not get in our way. We’d hate to have to protect you just in case someone actually attacks,” Tabart snarked to Rhiannon following her comment, before clearing his throat with a cough to address Bon.
“Now for you, you’re a piece of shit. I’m someone you’re at war with, and you ask me to come back and help? I don’t really know if that’s stupid or just that desperate. Either way, it’s pathetic.” There was a slight pause. “However, it’s not your family’s fault that you turned out as you did. So, if it means that I can reunite a man with his family, then I guess I’ll help along, but only if your ass gives me my money, and I want it up front. Right now matter of fact. Frankly, I doubt you even have that much money to pay all of us. But, if you do that, I’ll get you home safely. That’s a promise.”
Merikh sat through his employer's stuttered spiel, stone-faced and unmoving. He wasn't overly interested in Bon's story about killing some man's wife and child, or whatever it was, nor did he care for what these other men had to say on the matter. He was only here for the job, and he would go through with it no matter how many children he was being asked to bury. Yoshi! I'm sure I can kill more kids than any of these guys.
No, instead his mind lied elsewhere. He was thinking about fluffy kittens, only occasionally tuning back in to make sure he wasn't missing anything. When he tuned in this time though, he noticed that no one was talking. Getting nervous that they might be waiting for him to speak up, he looked up and gave a guttural grunt. Oh no, something was stuck in my throat. I hope no one noticed.
Amidst the talk and tension of the ragtag group, the sound of shattering glass broke the air as a wooden barrel busted open a window that was conveniently placed directly next to the room's entrance. The person responsible was none other than Fluer Frida, a woman infamous for her strength and ties to one of the Four Horsemen. With barrel still in hand, she climbed through the busted window, glass shards crunching under her boots. Although her expression was seemingly calm at first, as she turned and locked eyes with Benjamin Tabart, who sat in the corner with his mercenaries, she was filled with rage. In a fit of anger she threw the barrel once more through yet another window, shattering that one as well, before she stomped over to where Tabart sat.
"Ya left me in the boat so you could go to a whorehouse, eh?! How dumb do ya think I am?!" Frida shook her hands angrily in the air, apparently ignoring the presence of other people in the room as she chewed Tabart out.
Tabart jumped up from his seat, raising his hands defensively. “N-No no! You have it all wrong!” He lowered one arm, pointing directly at Bon. “This guy is a Xros Pirate, but he’s being hunted. He’s promised me 500,000,000 Belli if I watch his back while he goes home! He said the trip is only a day, and he wants to visit his family. That’s it! I don’t even know why he wanted to have a meeting in a Brothel. Probably because it’s the last place anyone thought someone like him would go, specially since he was sitting at the bar just moping to himself.”
Tabart’s voice got soft as he reached for Frida’s hands. “Look, Frida, I promise. I haven’t even looked at any other women in here. You’re the only woman I’m worried about.”
Frida's eyes narrowed as if she was examining Tabart's face for any signature of a lie, yet apparently she found none as she grabbed Tabart's hands and pulled him slightly closer so that she could whisper in his ear. "God, you really are a dumbass..." she whispered before pulling away. Her expression was joking, but there were hints of worry in her face. Tabart got himself into trouble so often, one of these times, Frida feared that he'd run out of luck.
"Then who are these..." Frida spoke slyly.
"U-Up f-front?!" Bon stuttered with his wording when Tabart demanded he pay at least a portion of the payment up front. Well, he was always stuttering, but this time more than ever. His eyes nearly became visible under his goggles when Tabart somehow increased the payment to 500,000,000, as much as that former Shichibukai Salazar was now worth. Did Tabart honestly expect him to pay them an entire Salazar's worth each?!
The zombie eyed Frida with confusion, not knowing what to make of the scene. But he felt it was his duty to sort out their affairs and take ownership for Tabart's being there. "I-It's really b-because of me that he's here!" Bon insisted, hoping Frida would concur with the truth, "a-and I'm afraid I c-can't pay you upfront Tabart because I d-don't carry so much money on me at o-once. Sail with m-me to Permis, and I p-promise I'll p-pay you as s-soon as we arrive."
Anger, raw and powerful, was rolling off Katya in waves at the exchange between the apparent couple. She didn't care that the meeting had been disrupted, but this bitch had broken not one but two windows! She was going to pay...The arm of the chair Katya was lounging in cracked under his grip and he needed to take a deep breath "Oi! Grape-head! Since she's with you, you're going to be paying for my window and my floor! And trust me, I will hunt you to the ends of the earth for that money." Katya ground his teeth a bit before turning to Conrad "Get me everything you know on them, will you? Just so I know who I'll have to track if they try to give me the slip."
Bon was cowering beneath his mask. The same woman who had been all over him moments ago was now a man! Greater confusion filled Bon's mind; he could've sworn that he'd have read on the newspaper once before entailing Tabart's high profile relationship with the pirate known as Ashley. They were like a celebrity couple, a powerful pair of lovebirds that the sea looked towards as an example! Heck, Bon only wished he and his own wife could share even half the amount of romantic feelings for one another that Tabart and Ashley probably did. So then, was this her?
Bon eyed Frida. He wanted to make some conversation, to burst out of his comfort zone and for once spark life into himself again! "Y-You must b-be Ashley, c-correct?" Bon sat upright in his seat proudly. It had taken so much from him to muster enough courage to speak for himself. What a day!
Coin flashed an even larger smile, reached into his jacket, and pulled out a wad of beri. "Now, now, we are all friends here. I'd hate for something like this to ruin the evening, so I'll pay if that's okay. This should cover all the damages." he gestured the money towards Katya. He turned towards Tabart and Frida, and winked. He was curious, and wanted to hear more about the famous Giant Slayer, and what better way to go about it then befriending him?
"Sure, ma'an." Conrad closed his eyes in a smile and silently got out of his chair, asking for a quick drink at the balcony. His intentions lingered not one bit at Frida, whilst he waited for his drink and put his notebook into his pocket. If anything, Conrad was just another security guard of Katya's, "Nice, back from Dressrosa to do this." He didn't want to leave Fabian too alone.
He honestly prefferred to focus on Bon's story, within a sip of his drink, Conrad was already close to the entrance. "Hey!" He greeted the security guard, whose eyes widened at his presence, "You have their names, correct?" Conrad whispered, not even pointing towards both Tabart and Frida. A short glance at Coin was given, the guard nodded, "Good!" As he waited, Conrad fished his notebook out once again, digging out any entries he could have had about the three of them.
Katya took the money Coin offered idly. He looked at it, inspecting it as though they may be forgeries. He counted out the amount and determined that it would indeed be enough to cover the damages, maybe even enough for a little something something once they had been done. The money disappeared into the folds of Katya's robes and he turned a sickly sweet smile to Coin, his eyes flicking to Tabart for a moment "Thanks for the money, but he still has to pay. It's more about the principle than the damages, see. You break it, you have do what it takes to fix it."
The only that kept Frida from knocking the zombie's head off with one swift kick was sheer pity. He clearly didn't know what he was talking about, and it also appeared to take him a great deal of strength just to speak... so for now, he was safe.
"As an alternative, you could be happy that you got reimbursement in the first place, because God knows you could eat shit if you thought I would pay for that. Besides, the architecture of those windows was so outdated, completely 1530's-style..." Frida spoke, barely eyeing Katya, as though he didn't matter to her in the slightest.
Katya blinked in confusion, the chuckled "I'm sorry, I think you're under the impression that I was talking to or about you at any point. I just addressed blondie here and I was talking to your boyfriend a moment ago. When I want to talk to you or hear your worthless opinions on architecture, I'll say 'hey peasant girl with the fashion sense of a blind spinster'." Katya examined his nails for a moment, toying with the length and shape, trying to decide which style he wanted when he next painted them.
"Greedy aren't we..." Coin said quietly. He wasn't going to ask for his money back, he knew there was no point, but he made a mental note to open some rival brothels in the area. "Will this work?" he took out another wad of cash, and gestured it to Tabart and Frida. This was just an even better opportunity to get on their good side.
Tabart sat their idly, his mind flushed with so many different thoughts as Frida argued with Katya, as Katya threatened him, as Bon told him that he didn’t have the money, and then he mentioned her. Tabart heard nothing else, not even Coin’s kind gesture. “Hey! I told ya, the newspaper lied about me! I never had sexual relations with that woman, not once! They lied! This here is my fiancé, Frida. The only woman I’ll ever be with,” he defended.
“Anyway,” he begun, finally focusing his attention to everyone around them, “I’ll deal with the window when I get my money from him, that’s a promise. Or hell, I’ll fix the window for you; whatever will help you regardless. That sound okay?”
“And you,” Tabart said, turning to face Coin. “Thanks, but it’s no need for it. I appreciate the kindness though.” He exhaled deeply.
“Now, can we move on from this entire mess? Yes? Great!”
And move on they did.
The Pantheon of the Pentagon Edit
The waters of the Boffola Pentagon were incredulous; the tides varied it seemed greatly by the second and shifted every instant. There were no consistent patterns to this part of the sea either; and so, knowing this, Sperius Vesper had insisted that the dark masters accompany him aboard his own ship and under the prowess of his own navigational expertise, lest they lose themselves in such dismay.
The ship of Vesper was one of familiar origin, specifically to Tabart. Its blood red hull, its emasculate size and stature. It was all very nostalgic for the Giant Slayer, as it was the very same ship that birthed his renown in the first place; yes, this was the exact same ship that he had sailed upon to Elbaf with the aspirations to smuggle tons of Nerb Rum.
Aboard the ship, the famed bounty hunter stood firm, eyes beaming over the seas like that of a hawk. Before his own renown, he was but a humble shinobi with a vast multitude of skills under his sash, among which was Tenmon: a ninja's way of using the forecast to his own advantage.
"We're drawing ever closer upon Permis," Vesper announced nonchalantly. Though as calm a demeanor as he possessed, there was no slighting his feat in navigating the dark masters through the Boffola Pentagon and at that in such a short period of time. A day's trip had been amassed in only a few hours, though much of this was accredited to the big red ship they used for transportation.
Vesper's eyes narrowed. "There's a disturbance in the sea." The shinobi did not dare take his eyes off the sea to glance back at the cowering figure of Bon, who admittedly was not having the most pleasant experience traveling through such a staggering mess of a sea the pentagon was. "Judging based on the ripples of the water in the four o'clock direction and the taste of this breeze… I can thereby deduce that there is most certainly another ship sailing beyond us. But beyond that…"
Vesper leaned off the main deck, gazing down at the waters below. "There's a Sea King a ways beneath our ship. Seems Hades' seastone imbued rudder wasn't enough to fend it off." He turned now, alerting not only Bon as the leader of this bunch of underground hounds, but the rest of them at large. "If my suspicions hold true… then this is no ordinary Sea King at all. Hades is a ship fit for the largest of giants. The sheer amount of seastone that composes its rudder is staggering; for that alone to not buy us even a sliver of time leads me to believe that we ought to be on guard. Yes, even if it is 'just' a seaking."
A Sea King that would dare challenge the might of a ship as large as Hades; a Sea King who was intelligent enough to nullify the trickery of a seastone coated rudder. Most sea dwellers who sailed these seas made light of Sea Kings. Vesper was certain that even the dark masters would surely underestimate the cause for any concern. But Vesper, who could predict the slightest alteration in the weather like the back of his hand, had a bad feeling about this.
"What is your decree, Bon-san?" Why Vesper even looked back for Bon's acknowledgement was beyond him. The zombie was laying on his back, having fallen over from the impact of the ship climbing over a large wave. He was rolling around, trying desperately to stand back up to his feet.
Vesper merely tightened his face. "Might I suggest we pull up to this other ship? If we are to engage them as an enemy, then it would be in our best interest to strike first. If not for battle, then at the very least it will allow us to identify them by face."
Hades, while large, was a ship of great speed and sailing capability. Vesper was confident that they could easily get the one up on the other ship, meaning they held a definitive advantage. Still, the sails of the other ship were recognizable to the brim: a dark black jolly roger with a skull like pattern boasting an infamous mustache.
It was the Titan Pirates!
Merikh, the other zombie aboard the ship, was fairing a great deal better than their employer at the moment. He sat crosslegged in the middle of the ship, holding his enormous bladed weapon over his shoulder, unaffected by the stormy seas, even as he slid around the deck while remaining sedentary. Beneath his stony gaze, he was deep in thought. With a ship this large, just how many children are we going to have to kill to hit our quota? This may be more difficult of a job than had thought. Hell, how many kittens could I fit on here if this was mine?
Upon hearing Vesper's words, he was brought back to the present. Standing up, he successfully slid on his feet to the side of the ship that would allow him to see the other ship that the ninja had mentioned. Bumping into the guard rail, Merikh looked out, making slight note of the approaching vessel, before turning his eyes down towards the water. He always tried to not underestimate an opponent, so he was prepared for this sea beast to put up a fierce fight, but he simply couldn't view any animal as anything more than an adorable critter. He was hoping to catch a glimpse of the cutie.
Rhiannon was no stranger to the ever shifting ties of the seas, thus her body moved with the waves. When the massive ship known as bobbed, she weaved. The terbulent waters where just another day for the woman, after all, She was a captain, and what captain would allow the sea to make them ill. Thus her keen eyes began to scan the area as the words of the envoy quickly brought the woman to high alert.
While she wasn't usually scared of sea kings, she certainly wasn't fond of them in the least as such she allowed her Haki to probe the depths in an attempt to locate this beast, or atleast give her a general idea as to where it was located. What was revealed to her was the aura of a massive beast swimming and circling directly below. Whilst her mind was focused on the sea king, the shinobis words would bring another potental threat to her mind, that of a massive ship approaching the merry band. Instinctively her hand reached back and rested upon Nifhel, as she awaited any sort of confrontation on the part of either the ship or the sea king below.
Tabart had been listening deeply to the conversation between Bon and Vesper; he disagreed. “Hey, zombie-guy,” Tabart called out, approaching the two men, “Don’t approach as a hostile. Let me explain ourselves; I didn’t come here to fight the Titan Pirates. I came to defend you from Veno. I’m sure they’ll let us pass if I just do all the talking, and Bon hides. They’ll have no reason to stop us then.”
Vesper looked at Tabart impatiently. Arms crossed, he fiddled with his fingers against the bulk of his bicep. The Giant Slayer wanted to be civil? Vesper didn't know how to be civil. Life for him had never been that way; he was a hitman, a notorious bounty hunter who scavenged on prey and looted corpses as he saw fit. Where was the chance for a civil route long ago when his precious Iga Dojo was decimated without question?
"Y-You want to t-talk n-now?" Bon pondered, recalling Tabart's entrance into the Asha brothel in which he had staged an attack from the moment their eyes had met. "W-Well alright. If y-you think I'll b-be getting in the w-way, then I'll e-excuse m-myself." The zombie stood up to his feet and dismissed himself, stowing himself away into the inner regions of the ship, much to Vesper's dismay. The shinobi did not at all seem too thrilled at the prospect of having strangers lurking on his ship; he most preferred them to be out in the open where he could keep an eye on them.
"Very well, Tabart-san. I will honor your request. But realize that we're forfeiting the element of surprise. If anything goes wrong, you are to blame." Hades' sails came down, showcasing little intent to fight on part of the crew aboard. The Titan Pirates' ship remained everstill, even as Hades began to reel up along it.
But through the movement, Vesper noticed something bizarre up ahead. "Hold on a moment," Vesper thought aloud, "is it possible that I… miscalculated?" He looked on in disbelief, through a telescope in his hand at the island of Premis, which was lush and full of life. The leaves on each tree were healthy and of various colors; the grass appeared just as lively, as did the ensuing breeze of heat that welcomed Hades closer to the island still.
It was summertime on that island ahead, based on what Vesper could concur from what he saw. Only, it was supposed to be winter. "It is said that Asha and Premis were once both the same island. To this day they share the same season no matter the time of year. When we met inside of that brothel on Asha… it was snowing. So how is it that it's summertime on Premis?"
Preposterous! Vesper was a navigator of incredible magnitude. It was an insult against his pride to even consider the idea that perhaps he had somehow sailed to the wrong island. No, that was impossible! But the scenery that lay ahead was all too clear; Vesper even went the extent of wiping his eyes as if at the mercy of some form of illusion. No matter how many times he blinked, the reality before him did not change. It was summertime on Premis even while Asha was caught in the middle of a snowstorm.
Vesper glanced back at the rest of the dark masters, his expression sullied by uncertainty. "We're reeling in toward that other ship, boys. Brace yourselves."
The Titan pirates? Just great, running into a Yonko crew. Luckily, Tabart seemed to be on good enough terms to negotiate safe passage. What really bothered him was the Sea King and that the navigator seemed lost. Coin wasn’t fond of problems he couldn’t solve by throwing money at. This was an annoying situation, three major problems at once. This couldn’t be a coincidence. Coin looked for a place far from the edge where he wouldn’t get too much attention. It had been ages since Coin did anything adventurous himself. It was refreshing. Then came the cry to brace. Coin looked from side to side for something to hold on to and saw nothing. Using Tekkai, he hardened his body in the hopes of not getting flung off the boat.
As Hades drifted ever closer to the opposing ship, suspicions were at an all time high. Just who might be aboard; was it Montblanc Burling, the missing pirate the fifth division had been searching aimlessly for over the course of the past several months? Was it Count Mortas, the man who apparently sucked the blood of his victims? Or was it perhaps Raptor D. Baron, the Yonko himself aboard that vessel?!
Hades reeled up beside the ship. There was a singular figure aboard the ship, standing by its lonesome. Its back turned, there was a black gown worn over its shoulders with the crest of the Raptor Family emblem etched along the cape: a jagged three pronged footprint.
Peeking out from the same door he was meant to hide behind, Bon's heart dropped at the sight of the emblem. There was no mistaking it now; that was the emblem that haunted him even in his dreams! "B-B-Buh..!" The zombie stuttured with his words, fingers fumbling over the knob of the door. "B-B-Baron!! It's Raptor D. Baron!"
The figure aboard the ship turned at once. And it was at the point in time that whatever illusion the dark masters had painted within their minds began to wear off; for the figure aboard the ship was not nearly impressive enough to be that of a Yonko. The figure was of average height at best, standing a ways beneath the threshold of six feet; the figure was lanky, lacking any muscle at all, even, and eyes bigger than the two ships combined wobbled in its sockets.
This was most certainly not a Yonko. This was but a child, no more than 18 years in age, if even that. This was a boy draped in a black cape under which he wore a jeans jacket and black trouser pants, fitted tightly to the thigh. Messy black hair fell over the top of his head, likely in an attempt to mask the anxious expression that so frequently found its place over his face. The boy nervously eyed the other ship, a rifle tucked between his hands, which were trembling, noticeably so. "Uh… h-hello…"
Bon breathed a sigh of relief. Thank Shiguma that Baron was not aboard that ship.
Vesper recognized that pirate for who he was. Though not a Yonko by any means, he had gained fair notoriety as a super rookie, falling just short of the renown of the Four Horsemen. With a bounty of 184,000,000, the boy known as the "Hatchling" was high on his own personal "most wanted" list, though more so for his lineage than anything else.
"Raptor D. Malvin, vice-captain of the Titan Pirates' 4th Division, if I recall," Vesper stated aloud, his eyes running up and down the less than impressive figure of the lad aboard the other vessel like a hawk, "what are you doing here?"
“Malvin..” Tabart repeated to himself quietly, pronouncing the name under his breath so that he could when the time came. He stepped forward, putting his arm in front of Vesper. “Excuse my friend, he’s just a little cautious, vice-captain-sama. But, I must say, it’s finally a pleasure to meet you.” Tabart bowed. “I’m Benjamin Tabart. I fought alongside your fifth division against Shiguma on Bedina. Foxpack and I….” there was a pause between his words. “We were well acquainted, I must admit.”
“But that’s enough about me. What are you doing around here? Are you headed to Asha?”
Malvin recognized Tabart instantly. I mean, at this point… who wouldn't? The dude was a celebrity! Malvin looked up to a guy like Tabart --very much so. It wasn't every day that he happened along someone of his renown, either. And to top it all off… he was showing him the utmost respect!
"Oh, Tabart! I must tell you brother, I'm a real fan of your shit!!" The boy became much more relaxed. So these weren't enemies after all. "Yeah man, I heard all about your time on Bedina. Kettle-sama speaks very fondly of you, actually. Says if it wasn't for you, he'd never have even thought about joining our crew."
A sudden sway in the waters below returned the Hatchling back into the harsh reality that surrounded them at times present. "Yo, listen: you guys really shouldn't be here right now! I don't know if you're on your way to Permis, but even that isn't a very good idea. The island's under a hefty plague; border security is immense, and they're just not letting anyone in right now."
Bon showed himself fully from behind the door, stepping onto the scene where he could be entirely visible. "A p-p-plague?" His rotten heart was racing between his chest. His beloved Juliet was at the mercy of such a storm?!
"Yeah, a plague. At least, that's what they're calling it. Over half the island's population has been infected. No one knows what's causing it or how it's contracted, but I think it's best to stay clear of that." Malvin itched his chin. "Come to think of it, though, I was there for awhile not too long back. And well, nothing's happened to me." He smiled, flexing his bicep, which had no muscle to show, certainly not through the sleeve of his jacket. "But I'm a member of the Raptor Family! No silly plague is ever gonna do in a guy like me!!"
Under sudden sway. This time bigger. Malvin's ship moved back and forth, and the boy had to grab on to a nearby railing to keep himself balanced. "Wait, shit! Like I was saying earlier, you guys really shouldn't be here right now! Trust me, I'm a professional so I can say that!"
Vesper rose up a brow. "A professional?"
"Aye! Don't you know? The Titan Pirates' Fourth Division is made up of Monster Hunters! Long before my family members were ever considered pirates, they were notorious Monster Hunters who took contracts to silence incredible beasts; beasts the likes of which you have never seen! Matter of fact, I'm on contract as we speak!"
The entire ocean began to quake and ripple. This time, even Hades, despite its gruesome size and immense stature, was being thrown asunder. Malvin's ship nearly became submerged under water when a large wall of water splashed against it; the boy's rifle slipped from his hands and he hit the deck, hard.
"Get outta here! Leave this to me!" Malvin shouted as a gash opened across the top of his head. The quaking became even more prominent, and a pillar of water shot up suddenly. Something was coming… and it seemed angry.
A deep bellow resounded over the horizon. From the waters emerged an enormous serpent with red scales shielding its body; the size of its skull alone was comparable to the entirety of Hades, a ship deemed suitable for even the largest of giants.
Bon fell back on his rump. "R-R-R-R-R-Run!!!!"
At the sight of the truly enormous Sea King lifting back its head, Vesper gritted his teeth. "Men, brace for impact!"
Merikh's eyes sparkled at the sight of the Brobdingnagian Sea King that had emerged from the depths. It was simply too adorable. He wanted to take it home with him, and name it Mr. Fish, but knew that outcome would be rather difficult to accomplish. So instead, he would have to settle for playing with the little guy; a suitable word to describe his intended actions, as he doubted that anyone here could even deal a mortal wound to the beast.
As Hades rocked from the waves it created, Merikh jumped up, performing a surprisingly graceful backflip, before landing further away from the edge he was standing on. Looking up at the frisky sea creature, he smiled inwardly. It's play time.
"You've got to be kidding me." Prometheus spoke, finally taking action. He stepped forwards, staring the beast down as he drew a throwing knife from his pouch, It shimmered as it was coated in black. He let out a breath feeling the wind as he aimed at the beast's eye, daggers and throwing knives were his specialty after all. As he held the knife he activated his devil fruit power removing the dullness from the blade. The very air around it began to fracture as it moved with his breathing. The blade of the knife was now absolutely sharp, clear of impurities and ready to pierce all in its path. He gripped the handle tightly before tossing it with all his might as it soared towards the beast's eye, cutting through the very air as it did.
The winds that whipped up as a result of the Sea King tucking in its head were greater than that of the throwing knife soaring through the skies. Still, it was an impressive feat; a normal blade would have been dispelled by the air pressure alone, but this particular knife --cleansed through the basis of Prometheus' powers-- managed to go well beyond that.
The knife thrashed against the Sea King's left nostril, yet failed to draw any blood. The scales and hide that made up this beast was remarkably tough; staring it in the eyes in and of itself was fighting a losing battle, but the dark masters could hardly let up yet, lest they be rendered food for the beast.
The Sea King's head came crackling down on the other ship, grinding it into several thousands of pieces instantaneously. Thankfully Malvin had managed to jump away in time, and rolled about after sprawling onto Hades' main deck.
The super rookie was on his feet in a matter of seconds, not even wasting a single ounce of breath over his lost ship. "There it is!" the Hatchling declared, "they call her the Pantheon of the Boffola Pentagon! She, alongside Zunisha, is one of very few beasts to be rated SSS by the World Government!
"If only my brothers were here! Darn it, I've tried calling big bro Circus so many times, but the call just won't go through!" Malvin's eyes grew weary with a subtle string of tears. "My brothers… they embarked for Permis days before I did. They were the ones assigned to take on this monster and yet… I haven't heard from them in days!"
"Hoy, if you're going to step foot onto my ship, then don't you dare underestimate him!" Vesper scolded immediately. He wasn't at all thrilled with Malvin's decree; so what if his brothers apparently lost their lives to this monster? There was nothing Hades couldn't conquer with all the artillery power it possessed! "There's no such creature in this world that Hades alone can't conquer!"
Vesper turned towards the rest of the dark masters, a crackling grin plastered across his face. "A shinobi always has a trick up his sleeve." In Vesper's case, there was a remote strapped around his forearm with various dials; clicking away at it with his fingertips, he orchestrated a mode change within the ship, a transformation which defied logic itself.
Gears grinded and shifted into place, until the ship changed drastically in appearance and became something of a floating tank. A number of cannons flung out in different directions, which all began to point in the direction of the pantheon with another click of Vesper's remote.
"Hades will provide all the cover we need… let's go crazy!!" And with that, Vesper took off, his skin replaced with feathers, wings bursting out from his back. He became a blur, transforming into his full zoan form and racing off toward the Sea King.
As Hades completed its transformation, Rhiannon perched herself upon the rail as she drew Nifhel into her grasp. Three arrows were seemingly notched within the blink of an eye before they were imbued with Busoshoku Haki. The expert marksmen then launched the three arrows simultaneously at the beast. The arrows traveled flawlessly throughout the sky, seemingly twisting and turning to the will of the huntress before they made there way to the crown of the serpent, seeking to end it then and there.
Coin measured the size of the sea monster. Yep. He couldn't really deal with this without using Rokuogan. Coin was much better at dealing with people then giant monsters. For the time being, he decided to stay back and watch the others. He wanted to use his devil fruit as little as possible, as he didn't want to give any hints to his other identity, besides the others seemed to have it covered.
Frida clasped her hands to her breasts as the ships rocked to and fro and a giant serpent-like beast sprouted from the waters like a terrible tree. She reached out to Tabart, who she was standing next to, and clasped his arm to provide stability for herself. Instinctively, she sprouted her rabbit legs, which began tapping wildly out of nervousness.
Tabart nodded. “Yeah, this seems like it’s going to be an issue. If we want to get him home, we’re gonna hafta defeat this thing,” he concocted aloud, yet obviously rhetorically. “But how? It’s huge.” He cupped his chin. “Oh, I know,” he mumbled. He turned his face towards Frida’s, their eyes locked for only a moment before the duo sprung into action.
She let go of his arm and buckled her knees. The ship withstood the force of her massive hind legs as she backflipped tens, if not almost hundreds, of feet into the air. Meanwhile, Tabart had slid backwards, planting his palms on the surface of the ship and injecting into the wood several seeds. “Mosa-Mosa no Mi, Trampoila!” Tabart enthusiastically yelled, clapping his hands together, the sound of his palms spurring the seeds into growth. They formulated into a dense system of trampoline-like plants, so elastic in properties that a simple step was enough to send anyone on it several feet into the air.
Frida’s frame came crashing down onto the surface of the trampoila, the sheer potential energy stored from her descent made visible as the trampoila nearly ripped from her landing. Tabart touched the surface of the plant, forcing his Busoshoku Haki into it as means of reinforcement. Yet, it was only a single moment before Frida was successfully launched into the air, surging above the sea with such speed that the kinetic energy morphed into a purple cloak of aura.
Frida ripped through the air with little resistance, ignoring the laws of physics as she traveled at dizzying speeds as a mass of purple energy. Within seconds, Frida had shifted her hands into paws that were promptly set ablaze due to the immense friction of the wind against her skin. Her body soared downwards towards the beast, and the ships below her seemed to grow larger as a result of her rapid descent.
Now little more than a mass of purple flames, Frida was now less than a yard away before the shadowy flames she had become shouted, "Bun-Bun-Mosa: Hot Hands!" Frida was on a dead-on path towards the beast, and it appeared that nothing predictable could possibly transpire from this series of events.
Veno Bomb after Veno Bomb was fired from Hades' many barrels, granting the primordial Sea King with a very minor margin of error, if at that. It twisted and turned its body to the best of its ability, but to no avail; because it was so large, there was simply no dodging all of them.
The Sea King's scales were a decent measure of defense against the detonations, but even they began to wither away when the sheer number increased several fold. This opened up an opportunity for the others to slip in and strike.
First and most upfront was Vesper, who swooped in overhead and distracted the Sea King further by being something of a pest. The apparent and so called Pantheon flailed its head in anger, unable to catch the crimson bird in its maw. And that was when out of seemingly nowhere, Frida landed a heavy blow unto the Sea King.
The beast cried aloud, Frida's paws delving straight through its massive nostrils. And while the damage had surely been dealt, the rabbit-ningen would find that her limbs, as a result, had been effectively glued down by the snot inside. And seeing the Sea King take in a breath, Sperius' eyes widened. But the famed Bounty Hunter made no attempt at concerning himself with the girl's potential downfall. No, knowing they had gravely angered the beast, he opted rather, to retreat.
With another powerful cry, the Sea King emanated a powerful sneeze, sending Frida --now trapped inside a glob of snot-- in the direction entirely opposite to the ship. She would continue to fly through the air, immobile as a result of the way the snot had imprisoned her, and be carried tens if not hundreds of meters away and onto Permis itself.
“Frida!!” Tabart screamed desperately. His eyes snapped into a malicious glare. “I wasn’t going to fight you, but it seems I have no choice now.” He looked up towards the Sea King. “You’re going to pay for hurting my fucking wife.”
There was no hesitation between his declaration and his next action. He dug his hands into his pockets, pulling seeds from within, and slammed them into the deck of the ship. He clapped his hands afterwards, causing the seeds to grow and expand into what seemed to be a forest of massive vines, that grew from the deck of Hades. Like sentient tendrils, they grew, tearing through the atmosphere towards the Sea King like torpedoes, wrapping around every inch of the beast that it could.
The beast groaned and shrieked. It tugged but a single time, pulling the Hades an inch closer towards it. The waves erupted from its desperation to free itself from Tabart’s grasp. It wriggled and squirmed violently. Yet, Tabart had no mercy. The fact that was moving, somehow pissed him off even more.
“Wasn’t enough huh?” Tabart inquired rhetorically, pulling another batch of seeds from his pocket, his fleet planted firmly on the rocking ship. Slamming the seeds onto the surface of the vines, they immediately erupted into a torrent of flames that surged upwards the vines towards the Sea King, using the vines as a mode of transportation to encapsulate the beast in an aura of flames And so it did, and as the demon of the seas howled in pain as its snotty flesh caught fire, Tabart stood on the surface of Hades bearing a smile befitting a man who believed he had succeeded in his vengeance.
Tabart's smile did not last for long. For the pain and agony the Giant Slayer had infused within the beast caused it to lash out with even greater anger. And as the primordial and supposed Pantheon appeared to finally be done in, all aboard Hades knew that it would most certainly go down swinging. And swing it did.
With strength befitting ten giants, the Sea King thrusted back its head, yanking the entirety of the vessel into the air. How Tabart's vines managed to remain intact was likely another one of the Giant Slayer's profound miracles, but the Sea King managed to heave all of Hades over its head and towards Permis.
The Dark Masters, each likely clinging to parts and pieces of Hades, could only do so much to remain aboard. The wind pressure proved far too formidable, and as they flew over Permis, they all scattered to different locations. In the distance, the Sea King with glistening red scales fell into the waters, the agony of defeat coursing its every scale.
Out of the Loop Edit
An arduous bellow is heard resounding in the middle of the town known as Arkala. Famed for its rich and diverse marketplace, Arkala was easily the most populated of Permis' towns, and yet --in fear of the plague-- not a soul was seen in sight. That is, save for two rather well anointed pirates: the bellower and his respective tamer.
"C-Circus-sama! P-Please settle down! This town can't fathom your sorrow any longer!" Came the nettle of the long nosed, beaty eyed Barney Kettle, who had departed from Coachella in search of the greater good. He dared not lay his hands upon his superior commander, though this was more so out of the fear of being scorched more than it was out of respect or anything else.
For there was a powerful surge of heat emanating from the tall and well built weeping man, that whipped up around the rest of Arkala and caused some nearby buildings made of whole brick to start melting. This man, known, feared, and respected across the New World by the name of Raptor D. Circus, was --alongside his twin brother-- none other than the co-commander of the Titan Pirates' Fourth Division and a prolific Monster Hunter, at that.
Long, silver hair fell down his backside and was tied up into an elongated bun, eyes red as the heat emanating from around him. He was shirtless, and yet fur the same color as his mane crept up around the bulk of his figure, tucking away into the sash and shitabaki he wore beneath.
Rather ironically, the wave of heat caused several documents and papers to flutter away, one such being Circus' respective bounty, alongside a few others. There was a wanted poster for many big name pirates, including Reach, Montblanc Burling, Veno, and Circus' own. Only Circus' could be read in time by Kettle before it --alongside the others-- withered away into smokes of fume. A tease as it were, in the short glimpse Kettle caught of the others, he deduced that each bounty was seemingly larger than Circus' own of 1,080,000,000.
"Wahh!!! Just a few days after losing Foxpack, I lose my own brother to that damn Pantheon!!" Circus burrowed his face into his hands. "Do you see now, Kettle?! This world isn't big enough for us both; monsters like that should never have existed in the first place!!"
As Circus' sorrow shambled, the heat was rather miraculously exchanged with a cold winter's breeze. As if by the command of the Raptor itself, the ground was frozen solid, and the many buildings that had been melting into puddles of liquid were suddenly encased in blocks of whole ice.
"Cone!! Come back to me, Cone!!" Circus weeped further, chanting the name of his lost twin.
"C-Circus-sama! Please, a guy like you shouldn't be saying such nasty things! Besides, I thought you and Cone-sama were always fighting for superiority over your division? N-Now that he's gone, aren't you happy to be fully in charge?" Kettle quickly caught his hat as it flew off the top of his head, and it was that moment that he crept up into the sky and saw something of a spectacle headed their way. The infamous slaver narrowed his eyes. Was that… a person?!
As the robed and near mummified figure of the Arch Thief fell further from the sky, Kettle casted up his hand and, summoning a gravitational force by way of his Devil Fruit power, safely lowered him to the ground beside them. Though he had been airborne until mere moments ago, Prometheus would have undoubtedly have heard every word bellowed by Circus.
Kettle slipped suddenly on the ice and fell back onto his rump. He eyed Prometheus suspiciously, as Circus began to settle down, only just a little bit. "Hoy, hoy, where the heck are you coming from?"
It had not been a great day for Prometheus. First he'd been hired to protect some broker for a pretty measly price, a waste of time but he'd at least get some money for it. Next they'd been attacked by a gigantic red scaled sea king and flung through the sky. Now here he was before two big shot pirates. Kettle was popping up in papers right and left, when Kettle was on the black market the two had work together a couple times.Circus on the other hand was a monster of the New World, his bounty in the billions.
"Thanks for the save there." Prometheus spoke nodding to kettle. "I suppose you don't recognize me but I'd say where about even now. It's me Prometheus." As he recalled the conversation he'd overheard from the sky he turned to Circus. "My associates and I just took down some red scaled sea king, it took down our ship but we killed it. I happened to overhear your conversation and I believe it was the same one that took your brother." He brushed off his clothes with his hands, getting the various splinters of wood and a couple pieces of scale off. "I haven't seen you in quite some time Kettle. Hows life been?"
Kettle took a hard look at Prometheus. Not that it would help, since he was pretty covered up and all, but at the very least, the thief's words helped stir up his memory some. And then, something in Kettle's mind snapped. "Oh! Yeah, yeah, I remember you! You were the guy I sold that fishman to way back in the day, right?"
This conversation appeared to pique Circus' interest. For the weeping man silenced his weeping and rose up his head from his hands. A fishman was sold?
Kettle snapped his fingers around, trying to recall the name of fishman. "What was his name again? Shit, I heard he managed to escape and become a pirate who made quite a name for himself under the Public Enemy! What was his name now…"
"It wouldn't happen to be Worden Luhr, would it?" The suddenly calm Circus professed.
"Oh right!" Kettle's eyes lit up. "That was him, right? Luhr! The great white! Y'know, I saw him not too long ago on Bedina, actually. I was about to grab him and fly off in one instance, but I guess seeing me brought him to remember some horrible memories and well, he swam away into the water on his own."
Kettle shook his head. "But, I'm not really doing any work like that anymore. You see, my heart's not quite the same as before."
"Nevermind all that," Circus interrupted once more, "what was it you said to me before? You and your 'associates' managed to defeat that Sea King? Preposterous!" The Monster Hunter within Circus was quite riled up. "The Pantheon is a triple S rated Monster on par with Zunisha! I know that because I've fought both with my own two-" Realizing he had said more than he should have in his fit of anger, Circus suddenly paused once, before continuing.
"Listen, don't get your panties in a bunch! My brother would never be eaten by a creature capable of defeat by your hands. That red scaled Sea King you took on with all your might… that was merely one of the Pantheon's many children!"
Circus lunged forward, grabbing Prometheus by his collar. He shouted into the thief's face, the large sum of coins tied to his own sash dangling around audibly. "I killed about five of those damn red scales with just my fucking fart! The Pantheon itself has black scales; did you hear me? It has black scales!"
Kettle merely ducked his head, observing the ground as his superior yelled rather unnecessarily. What could he do other than that? Circus had an issue with anyone who talked back to him, which was a huge reason why him and Cone were always butting heads so often.
The large sum of coins continued to dangle about within Circus' sash, tucked away beside his Den Den Mushi. For a thief of Prometheus --no, Lupin's caliber, the distraction Circus' fit of anger molded was far too good an opportunity to let slip by.
"Oh yes Luhr, quite the feisty one. He escaped after a while. Never was entertaining though so I didn't really have a point in getting him back." Prometheus shrugged. "Nice to know he's still his same old self." He grinned under his mask and as he was about to bring up another point with Kettle he was cut off by the screams of Circus. It was interesting to hear his tale to say the least and the information was helpful. Prometheus just wished it was at a lower decibel.
"Listen I was just attempting to be helpful there's not need to.." The last part of his attempt to calm Circus down was drowned out by another scream and a hands grasping his collar. Daring to touch him was the last straw, though a fight right now was hardly of his concern it was virtually meaningless to his goal. However the sound of jangling money was appealing. "Might as well rob him if he's going to get handsy with me." His left arm quickly snaked into the man's sash gripping the bag and another hard objects as it pulled them stealthy out and into Prometheus' own large robes. At the same time his other hand made contact with Circus' arm. "Please let go of me." He spoke, the words and physical contact to draw his senses away from the theft. Circus would feel his hands completely lose their grip as Prometheus slipped from them.
As his feet touched the dirt he hopped back, away from Circus. "Please try not to place your hands on me again." He glared at Circus. "Thank you for the information though. Pantheon is the black scaled one."
Circus had no idea that he had been robbed. Even Kettle didn't take any notice of it. Circus himself was more focused on how easily Prometheus had managed to slip away from his grasp, almost as if something about his own hand had gone missing.
Just as Circus was ready to retaliate further, the squabble of a walking fish and his equally cloaked companion captured his immediate attention. "Come on, Damon! I think I heard someone talking about Luhr coming from this way."
As the two cloaked individuals made their entrance unto the ring of ice, Prometheus vanished without bringing much attention to himself. One of the cloaked men came closer and, upon gaining his balance over the ice, brought down his hood with both fins. It was Apu of the four horsemen!
"Apu?!" Kettle said in surprise. He slid towards the fishman and welcomed him with a embrace. "What're you doing here?"
"Kettle-sama! Fancy seeing you here!" Apu returned the formal greeting with a joyous smile. "I came here with the rest of the horsemen at Tabart's request. Seems there is some Xros Pirate activity around these parts. Any luck locating Burling-sama?"
"Oh, I see! No, unfortunately I have yet to find any such trail on him." Kettle frowned. "This is second island I've been to now since leaving Coachella."
Circus eyed Apu with an irritated expression. "Out of the kitchen are we, Fishboy?"
Apu in turn fixed his gaze upon the larger Circus. He refrained from saying much of anything. Why bother? It was no secret to the ranks of the Titan Pirates that there existed a great deal of conflict between the fourth and fifth divisions of the crew.
The Fourth Division was full of Monster Hunters who brought home tons of meat from the beasts they slaughtered for the Fifth Division to cook up. Beyond that, it was the Fifth Division's immediate duty to fill the stomach's of the rest of the crew; the Fourth Division had such notorious Monster Hunters within it that most of the cooking the Fifth Division did revolved around feeding them.
In short, the 4th were the hunters, the 5th the gatherers. Circus didn't see Apu as much more than his cook who he often bossed around. Recalling how great a pastry chef Foxpack had been, tears returned to Circus' eyes. "Oh, who will bake such scrumptious cupcakes now that Foxpack has bit the dust?!" He plunged his face back into his hands, his sorrow causing him to disregard the Haki of a fellow comrade he felt on the other half of Permis.
"Damon, right?" Kettle said, looking toward the other cloaked man. The two had met on Coachella briefly before Kettle had set off to search for Burling.
Having walked alongside Apu, Damon nodded and nodded each time his friend finished a sentence, acknowledging all of it. The Titan Pirates were certainly story-tellers, just like Foxpack- Damon's lips curved down, his entire focus being thrown into not crying. His mind let it go with each passing second and arriving to find Barney Kettle of all people, alongside a behemoth, helped it even more.
Yet, Damon's mind completely forgot the sorrow once Circus directed words at Apu, "Woah." His eyes widened, was this man another close friend of Apu's? Sweet! That would be another friend for him. What had been strange though, was neither of them exchanging further words. Clutching his cloak, Damon swiftly removed it, revealing that he was on his human form, and was about to make another comment.
Foxpack. Damon's eyes went teary once again, his mouth twisting into waves.
However, Kettle's greeting flew and slapped that out of his face, "Oh, you are the Pinochio Titan, granted you don't seem to lie. Wassup!" He waved a hand around and smiled, this should do it for then, grieving wouldn't do much.
Pinocchio?! Kettle became a little self conscious, tapping his elongated nose with his index finger. Wait a second… just what was he feeling so bad about, anyway?! He had fucked plenty of bad bitches with just his nose alone! "Good to see you too, Damon! It's nice to have you guys around here for backup in case things get a little out of hand like on Bedina. If the Xros Pirates are around, we could definitely use your help."
Circus' eyes ran up and down Damon's figure. "Ah. So you're the rookie everyone's talking about, hm? I heard you defeated that big ol' cat Mengis all by yourself. That's quite impressive, actually." Circus' observant eye became fluff with admiration. "Hey, do you cook by any chance? With Foxpack gone, we need someone to take his place as vice captain of the Fifth Division. Since you defeated Mengis, I'd say you're definitely stronger than he ever was, even at his best."
Apu and Kettle, as both members of the Fifth Division, looked at each other in disarray. Not that they had any issues with becoming subordinates to Damon; on the contrary, they weren't all that fond of Circus making so light of Foxpack's death all of a sudden. It almost seemed… disrespectful to consider a replacement for him so soon.
"I hope to hold true to that," Damon arched an eyebrow up, "Do I need to paint the ground najeem-colored again?" Both he and Tabart, actually. He took to glancing around, eyes flashing red for but a second, no arrogance detected for that moment.
Feeling Circus' stare upon his being, Damon took to look at him too, "Um, yeah, but, then again there is also Soen, Brobart, and Fishbro right here." He counted on his fingers, smile growing as their faces flashed by his mind. "Again that story?" Damon cowered, it reached even this place... if it reached this place, then... "Damn guys, I didn't beat Tigger!" Just who wrote these newspapers? Mengis was getting the bad side of this.
Damon scratched the back of his head with a nervous sigh, "You're Circus-san, right? Right." His eyes widened at the subsequent question, "Yeah... I do with my abilities, it comes in handy- Um, even so-" His hand tightened into a fist, shaking as its veins popped out. Replacement. He was sure if he even said anything, this man would jump at him and his spine would get to go back to heaven.
No, that was not it... The other two around him were clearly bothered by these words, Apu had been way before. His feelings were last on the line, Damon couldn't let this go on, "I don't think Foxpack is replaceable!! Ever, look around for new people, not replacements, C-Circus-san!" He flashed a wide smile and a thumbs-up. "Now, where is everyone?! Whoop whopp, everyone hiding as if we are playing some death-matched-hide-and-seek?"
"Whoop… whopp?" Damon was suddenly being a nuisance. Circus' hand flailed back instinctively, and he was forced to catch it with his other hand so as to diminish his sudden urge to swatt the boy like a fly. "Whoop… whopp," Circus repeated, yet again.
"I see, well whatever. So long as you know how to bake cupcakes, I couldn't care what position you take. As for why this town is so deserted..." For a moment, Circus' tongue flickered around outside his mouth. The word 'deserted' had made him think even more about savoring cupcakes as dessert. But he fought through his salivation to proceed. "From what I hear, there is some fear of a looming 'plague'. Citizens all across the island have kept themselves locked behind closed doors as a result. I myself am not too sure just what it is. All I do know is that in the week I've been here battling the Pantheon, I haven't so much as coughed nor sneezed."
"Right." Kettle nodded. "As much as I'd like to stick around, I have to get back to searching, you guys. I think I'm going to try my luck on the other half of the island." The long nosed man turned to Circus. "Hoy, Circus-sama, if it's not too much to ask, do you think you could find a single climate for the island and stick with it? It'll be hard to fly around with all the sudden changes in the wind."
Circus waved his hand dismissively. "Yeah, yeah, alright. Just get going already."
Kettle took off with another nod, flying up high into the skies.
With that, Circus turned his attention almost exclusively to Damon, directing his index finger around as he spoke. "Tell you what, Damon. I've taken a very sudden liking to you. So I'll let you choose whatever climate you want, and I'll revert this whole island to exactly that right before your eyes. You see, after eating the Kish Kish no Mi, I became a Climate Ningen. From the temperature of this here land all the way to its immediate environment, I control it all.
"Before I got here, this island was covered in snow. And while I like snow and all, the Pantheon likes it even more. As a Monster Hunter, it's important to know what climate a beast thrives in. Altering that climate and forcing the beast to adapt renders it very uncomfortable which, believe me, is very advantageous."
"RUNBITCHRUN." Some voice yelled within Damon's mind, it sounded oddly like his own, he poked a finger into his ear, it made his fist untighten. "Oh, I do," He pointed at Circus with his wax finger, finally he would get to show off his cooking skills. Mariel hadn't let in Ishitani, Apu didn't let him, even the woman who was Tabart's wife, Ashley, he remembered, didn't let him.
He really needed to cook sometime soon. Maybe when Soren would be back, they still hadn't caught up, but, Damon would distract himself with Circus. Apu was still oddly quiet, he offered a glance at the fish and turned to Circus.
"Plague..." Damon cupped his chin, lips arching down, hadn't something similar befallen Asha at some point? He really didn't know these things worked, there was nothing to compare it to, that wasn't good. Where were Soren to explain these complicated matters?
"Affecting the whole island..." He uttered, looking at the flying Kettle, "Damn, dude has the whole package, pinochio's nose, the neverlands' flight-" Damon's head whipped around, attention yet again drawn to Circus.
Climate? How that even worked? "Oh," Damon's mouth and eyes went spherical, he too liked snow, that was a good excuse, but, his mind had other ideas, "L-Like Elsa?! Damn, nice! Make it rain fire-" An image of an exploding Soren came to him, "-Wait, no, no!" Damon waved his palms, "MAKE IT RAIN VEGETABLES!" He shot a thumbs-up. "People will get cured in no time," He nodded.
Rain vegetables? VEGETABLES?!
The urge to slap Damon was now tremendous. But someway… somehow… Circus found it within himself to suppress that urge. He was an idiot on par with that weird Katashi guy. Circus decided that he was no longer going to leave it up to Damon to choose the climate.
"Alright y'know what, nevermind, kid. It's gonna stay nice and hot." A warm wisp of air escaped the man's legs, and the ice around him began to melt. But that wasn't all; due to the sudden change in temperature, a deep fog formed all around the town.
And when the fog finally dissipated, well, Circus was gone.
Damon stared at Circus throughout the whole ordeal, his own body maintaining its stillness, "Sure." He shrugged at the proposition, fists hidden with his crossed arms and boiling like he had some fire power, though they were quickly uncovered. Damon shielded his mouth, coughing with the sudden mist, and approached Apu.
Arms waved around, Damon looked to all sides. Upon deeming that Circus was truly gone, Damon released a long breath, "GRAAAAAAAH!" Veins suddenly appeared throughout his frame, his teeth grinded against one another, no reason to contain it all then.
Turning to Apu, Damon couldn't contain his yelling, "FUCKING HELL MAN!! HOW DO YOU PUT UP WITH THIS GUY?!" He pointed at nowhere in particular, stomping repeatedly against the ice. "Speaking about Foxpack as if he were his pet! As if you he were justa' cook!!" Damon clutched his own fists, head bouncing up and down while steam left his head.
He didn't care if they were just words, his anger had been tested for quite some time now, "AAAAAAAAH!" Damon kicked the ice, creating cracks in a small part of it. Though, as he did so, his eyes went red again, scanning if Circus was still in the vicinity. His mind read the entirety of the island, finding a multitude of auras.
Eviction Notice Edit
The fear of a plague had reached as far as Bellmare, Permis' premier port town. The city covered in trees bordered along the two sides of the island, neighboring the outskirts leading up to the Panther Jungle. Even in lieu of the plague, this jungle was a place very few dared tread into, due to the vast array of creatures that made their homes there. But beyond the epidemic and beastilia, there was also a rumor that one such ghost made its home within the jungle. Whether this was true or simply a myth, well, no one really knew for sure.
For the most part, the streets comprising Bellmare were as bare as an infant's bum, which was odd, given the nature of the city's purpose. Normally there were many ships coming in and out from here, as well as coastguards who armed the island's borders. But over the last several weeks, no one had bothered to come in, nor go out. Fearers of the plague of course had attempted to leave, but the Pantheon was awaiting them overseas, meaning they had such little choice in the way of what to do.
In Bellmare's town square, there was a single metallic cage assembled into the form of a cube. With prison bars set all around, the form of a human-sized chicken could be seen inside. Wings clutching the bars, the Chicken Man was doing his very best to rattle the metal and make as much noise as possible; in the past few days, he accomplished exactly this in the hopes of being set free.
Bizarre rings were strapped around the Chicken Man's neck, wrists and ankles, emanating a power opposite to any sea stone. The man was akin to Bellmare's prime exhibition; normally people paid good money to see him inside that cage, but ever since the plague came about and all those people fled, well, they left the Chicken Man behind and forgot to free him!
"Hoy!!! Come on, wake up lad!! Lemme outta here!!" The Chicken Man cucked, banging his beak against the bars that contained him. He eyed the figure of an unconscious man with deadly pale skin, who had fallen from the sky and landed on his backside a few meters away. Chicken Man didn't expect him to be alive, but it was the closest he had come to human interaction in whole days.
As grave a phenomenon as the Chicken Man was, there was a nearby landmark that exceeded even him. For there was an entire ship hanging upside down and being balanced by its mast against a thin light pole! The ship remained perfectly still at that, without giving up a trace of crookedness nor allowing any indication that it might collapse.
The Undertaker of the underworld appeared to be broken. Having been sent flying due to the fishy's playful attitude, he landed pretty rough. He had crashed back first into a light post, with his spine snapping as he folded around the post, before getting flung to the ground with the momentum, smashing his head into the ground before he rolled onto his back. Here he laid, the dead body of Merikh the Undertaker. Though, to be fair, he had been dead for many years now.
A cloaked figure was one of the only people to be walking through the town, almost as if it was unaware of the problems plaguing the town. His steps echoed along empty streets, the thud of each one belying the weight they carried. A large figure, easily seven feet tall. It walked along without stopping, without an apparent destination in sight. It merely wandered, whether lost or looking no one could tell.
The figure kept moving through town until it came across an unusual sight. A man, broken in half by some force lay dead on the ground, while another, a chicken of some variety was locked in a cage. Then there was a ship, resting upon its mast, yet strangely not falling over. The figure paused for a moment as it took in the scene before speeding up, checking first the dead man, seeing his body broken and beaten by the force of the impact. Unfortunately, nothing could be done for him.
But the chicken, calling out for help. That could be saved.
The cloaked figure quickly moved over towards the caged Chicken man. In a deep voice, the cloaked man assured the Chicken Man by exclaiming, "Don't worry Mr. Chicken Man, I will free you. Free Range Chickens are the Best Chickens."
He drew his hand back, allowing his cloak to slide down his arm as he raised it up and behind him. A flash of light could be seen as he slashed his hand down on the cage. Metal shrieked upon metal as his hand flew across the bars. However by the time his hand cleared the bars, they stood firm, several claw marks etched down them. These bars were clearly stronger than normal steel.
The cloaked man stared the Chicken straight in the eye for a moment before simply station, "Duck."
The cloaked man twisted, dragging his leg across the ground, the stone street furrowing underneath him. A bladed leg could be seen protruding from the cloak as the made it full circle and the man drew his leg of bladed steel off the ground and towards the cage.
This time durable metal bars groaned and shrieked as they gave way, the entire top of the metal cage leaping free from the bars as they were all cut in a single strike only to fall to the ground a short distance away.
The cloaked man's face could be seen clearly now, the force of his strike having lifted his hood off his head.
"Supa Slicer," Katashi quietly said as his leg settled back down. "Be free Mr. Chicken Man."
Free at last; the air never tasted so grand!! The Chicken Man leaped up and out from his cage and rushed towards Katashi, bowing his head in sheer gratitude. "Oh, my savior! Thank you, thank you so much!!" His beak fiddling about Katashi's shoes, he wasted little time in kissing his feet several times over. "You have no idea just how afraid I was! Oh goodness, how might I ever repay you?"
Then suddenly, the Chicken Man backed away and eyed Katashi very suspiciously. "Wait, hold on a second!" Just in case, the Chicken Man started spitting repeatedly, as if it would enable him to unkiss Katashi's shoes. "You're not affected by the plague, are you?!" Trusting anyone, savior or not, was really hard at a time like this. "Pull up your shirt! I want to see with my own eyes that you don't have those red marks all over your stomach!"
"Hold it right there." A voice spoke before Katashi had a chance to act on it, footsteps were heard approaching them as a long blonde hair girl calmly approached them. She was wearing a purple style outfit with a marine coat overcoat. "Katashi I am Marine Captain Tiger D. Kara and you are under arrest, come along quietly." She demanded as she glared at him with eyes as sharp as daggers. Kara was a recent transfer to the G-6 base and not long after arriving her latest mission was standing before her
"No, I don't want to, and see, no plague," Katashi said as he lifted his shirt to show abs free of plague, ignoring the Marine for the moment. "You marines act all high and mighty and arrest people like you think it's your job or something."
He then thought for a moment before asking the chicken man and the Marine. "Have either of you two seen a man about this tall, purple hair, dressed like he's from a desert and makes really good broccoli wandering about?" He held his hand at about 6 inches shorter than Tabart's height as he asked his question. "He's missing and maybe on this island somewhere." It would be obvious to both of the other people in the plaza that his body was tensed slightly. He may not feel threatened by the marine, but he wasn't dumb enough to ignore her completely.y.
Meanwhile, atop a nearby roof, a man of large build sat watching the trio of beings converse. He had his hand cuffed around his mouth, while the other held a lighter against a cigar as though he were in the middle of lighting it, but his emerald gaze was locked onto the man covered in the silhouette cloak.
"Now boy," the man hissed, flicking the lighter's fork but instead of getting the flame he hoped for he received nothing but sparks. "my momma' always told me," he paused trying to flick the lighter once again but he failed once more, "you can't always get what you want, it's about what you neeeeeed." The final word of the sentence rolled off his tongue as a soft tune.
He leaped from the building and landed a bit of a distance away from Katashi, yet at the same time his own seven foot five figure stood over Katashi at his distance. He wore a Marine coat which hung over his shoulders, only a justification of who'd he been sided with. Cigar Rette, a G-6 native, had been accompanying Kara in her arrest.
For the time being, while he may have seemed to be interested in the current situation, his mind was moreso bent on lighting the cigar resting in his mouth. So, once again, he flicked at the fork once more and finally he got the flame he hoped for. "But luckily for yo ass, Katashi." Rette inhaled on the cigar and his body thinned up a bit, giving the man an extra two inches as he held the smoke in. "The only "Bouncin'" you gone be doin', is inside of base's cell."
Rette exhaled the smoke and a thick cloud covered the area between the two, yet the four individuals standing there could see perfectly. "And you take that how you wanna'."
Chicken Man's eyes widened at the revelation of Katashi's origins. So he was a pirate?! Pirates, plagued or not, weren't saviours the last time he checked. Maybe he planned to turn him into a nice ol' bucket of fried wings?!
"I-I swear! I have nothing to do with him! Please just... just leave me outta this!" The Chicken Man covered his face with his wings and attempted to run away and out of the way of the what he assumed was a fight moments away from breaking out.
"What are you doing Rette? You know what this man is capable of. You should have stayed out of this while you were safe." Kara said to Rettes dramatic entrance while still keeping her eye on her enemy.
"Run Sir Chicken Man, they shall not hurt you," Katashi said as he turned to face the marines. There were two of now. He knew marines were tricky, but they were multiplying like rabbits.
Marines multiply like rabbits... Fluer is also a rabbit. Fluer might be a marine... questions for later. He thought to himself as he pondered the situation.
"I don't think you are going to leave if I say I take that as you saying you're going to leave right? I don't have time for you." Katashi said as he threw his cloak off, revealing his exquisitely muscular body. He'd rather not fight the pair, but the odds of not one but two marines letting him leave quietly was low.
He settled down on bended knees as he brought his hands up as a guard. He was ready for a fight.
Rette lifted a brow at Kara while taking another puff from his cigar. His emerald gaze went past Katashi and locked onto Kara, who at this current moment of time, had been speaking recklessly.
"You know what, Zara?" Rette dropped to his rear, crossed his legs and continued to smoke from his cigar. "Do ya thang, I'll sit right here and watch you single-handedly arrest this man. He beats you, then so be it, imma' let his ass leave since you wanna be cocky and shit." The man was as serious as a heart attack.
"And when he beatin' yo ass, bitch don't call my name." He ended, releasing another one of his large clouds of smoke and his eyes showed signs of insomnia.
Kara began to grow frustrated with Rette's attitude combined with his senseless act of ignoring his duties as a marine and letting her deal with it all alone, that just kept growing the more he talked until she became so furious that that a large vain pop onto her head symbolizing her anger. She tried to channel her anger so as not to lose her cool and flip out on a fellow marine and was trying too hard she was struggling so much that she began trembling. "errrghhhh." She focused her eyes back on Katashi. "Now come along quietly!" She shouted, her tone was more furious then normal, almost as if she was letting out her anger on the man before her. She raised her arm out and waved her hand up as electrical sparks emanating from her hand.
The waving of her hand was the activation of her power, as Katashi had his guard up, focusing soul on the people in front of him, the metal bars beneath Katashi's feet that had cut off leaped off the ground in order to attach itself onto his arms, bending itself to wrap itself around his arms and then force them to cling to each other on the others arms in an attempt to restrain him.
While a few of the metal bars were becoming his special set of handcuffs the remaining bars that had been cut off attracted to Kara and hovered above her. A total of three remained hovering above her, waiting for their next use. With her other arm she roughly pitched her arm forward, launching the remaining bars at him at the speed of a cannonball in an attempt to strike him down before he has a chance to resist.
Katashi moved at the same time Kara did, crouching lower as he brought his right arm back beneath him. His fingers hardened and sharpened as they touched the ground. He ripped his hand upwards, the claws of steel furrowing the ground as waves of sharpened air leapt from his hand, carving trenches through the city street as they raced through the street to tear the Marine asunder.
This left his hands apart as Kara's restraints clamped upon his wrists. Katashi could feel a great force trying to pull his wrists together, to bind him against his will for his arrest. Magnets were powerful, and Katashi had no idea how they worked. His hands slowly were pulled together, as if a giant was pushing them together.
But if there was one thing Katashi had in spades, it was strength. Pure, unadulterated, strength. His muscles bulged slightly as he pushed against the restraints. Despite the massive force pulling against them, his arms slowly pushed themselves farther apart as Katashi stood back up to his full height.
A thousand blades could be seen forming from him, every surface of his body becoming blade and steel. The metal bars shattered as they rammed into him, breaking into a dozen pieces as they bounced off his body, a walking behemoth of bulging blades. Many thought Katashi was known as Bouncing for his personality or the way he bounced from place to place as he moved around the battlefield. But the real reason he was known as Bouncing Katashi was the way that everything bounced off his body even as the Marines poured more fire into him. He was a Fullybody Bladed Human, eater of the Supa Supa no Mi.
Katashi's arms turned black as they twisted into blades, the shackles shrieking and groaning as they were warped around his arms before with a snap, they were cut in twain. They remained upon his wrists for the moment, but they were no longer long enough to bind him.
Katashi then gave a wordless bellow as he charged forward, bladed arm forward to run the woman through in a single strike.
"SUPA BONING KNIFE!"
Kara reeled her right arm across her left side and clenched her hand into a fist. Once the slicing airwave vastly approached her, she released her arm into a backhand swing and released a shock wave from her hand straight before she struck the airwave. This use of Eight-Impact Fist clashed with the slicing slash attack. "Ugrrrrr" Although it was a great struggle to endure the attack that it managed to drag her back several feet before she was eventually able to cancel the attack by bashing it away.
"Where did that attack come from?" She thought to herself after recovering. She placed her focus back at Katashi just as he busted free from his restraints. She was shocked by the incredible ounce of strength this man possesses. "Ugh! His brute force is incredible." He charged at her with blades all around his body. "Those are blades on his arm." She thought to herself before realizing how close he had gotten. She leapt back to gain a few more seconds of distance, just before the bladed arm came mere inches from her, his arm stopped. Using her magnetic force from her hand that was quickly held out to preventing his metal arm from reaching. She moved her arm from facing Katashi's arm to facing his body. "Repel" She thrust her hand forward causing the magnetic force to push again Katashi's metal body resulting in him getting repelled away with incredible force that he was shot away like a bullet. "So your Devil Fruit is the ability to turn your body into metal blades, not a good match up with my magnetic charm." She grind.
Katashi had no idea what caused him to be shot backwards. He didn't think the small woman had the power to repel him like that. He hadn't felt a hit bounce off of his body either. He hit the pavement hard, skidding for a few moments before he pushed himself off the ground, bouncing off the ground to reorient himself.
He used the momentum of the shot to his own advantage, however. He twisted in mid-air as he flew backwards, air collapsing along his bladed leg as he rotated. He kicked out, blades of force once again leaping away from his body. However, this one was far larger than the minor ones made by his fingers. A blade of sharpened air, similar to the Marine technique of Ranyaku, shot out to slice the Marine in two. It easily dwarfed her at twice her size. The momentum of her shooting him away plus his own immense strength combined to make a flying slash of great power.
But he wasn't done yet either. As his feet hit the ground nearly two hundred feet on the other side of the square, he slid across the ground, sparks flying as metal sliced across stone. He wound up near an edge of one of the buildings, a decorative log marking the corner of the structure.
He grabbed the log, pulling it off with the last of his rearwards momentum.
"If metal won't work, I hit you with NOT METAL!" He yelled as his muscles bulged further. His poor shirt, already stretched due to his size, was ripped asunder as his pectorals became more than it could contain. Various stones fell across the edge of the street as they were ripped off with the log Katashi was grabbing, a few bouncing off his steel body without effect.
Katashi raised the log over his head as he raised his arm to throw it. Then he stepped forward with such strength that the street cracked beneath him. The log roared towards Kara as a brown blur, propelled by Katashi's brute power and a lifetime of extreme physical training. He aimed it dead center on the woman, aiming to pierce it through her chest with a single impact.
Then he paused, watching to see how she'd react to this.
Kara kept track of both attacks with the assistance of her Observation Haki, relying on its ability to detect incoming attacks before they happen to watch over them despite their speeds in order to find the best possible scenario.
She raised her arms out and clapped her fists together releasing an explosive wall of shockwaves with the Eight Impact Fist, a much stronger wave compared to the last with the combination of both limbs put together in order to cancel out his slash attack like before. She was able to hold off before it was able to push her back and dispersed it.
Without giving herself time to recuperate, she braced herself for the next challenge. "This one's too fast!" She said just as the log was only feet away. "Eight Impact Fist!" She quickly reeled one arm back. "Dragon Buster!" She called thrusting her fist as it collided into the speeding log. The force of the impact sent shockwaves across the land and resulted in a large burst that sent Kara flying back while at the same time destroying the log. "Ugh!" The arm she used was severally damaged mainly the spot on the hand where it impacted the log. She struggled to get up and glared at Katashi. "Huhuh. This guy is a fool, but there's nothing foolish about his power." She looked at him with an unwavering glare. "He's a real monster."
Katashi watched the woman take his attack and then fail to counterattack afterwards. He wasn't sure why she didn't, so he decided to take advantage of it anyways.
Katashi swung his hands across the sky, again and again, pointing them at the woman. To many, this would do nothing, but to Katashi his bladed fingers allowed his hands to reach much further.
A hail of sharp slashes struck the area in front of him, many of them cutting into things indiscriminately. However, the majority of them flew true, aiming to cut the smaller woman into ribbons with dozens if blades of air.
As soon as he launched his attack Kara, lifted her arm forward with her hand out, almost like she was attempting to grab something in the air. With her powers, she magnetically Katashi up a few inches off the ground. "Attract." She caused his metallic body to become reeled in by her magnetic attraction with an incredible force very similar to her Repel that she used earlier, having him get flung into his own hail of slash he used to attack in order to dispose of them before they could reach her while also having him take the damage.
He continued to get pulled in as he came flying directly at her. She reeled back her other hand, bracing herself to attack. As he was coming in, showing no signs of slowing down or stopping, almost about to crash right into her, she threw her punch into him releasing Eight-Impact Fist shockwaves from her fist. The shockwaves would be colliding with the ringing of steel made from Katashi's body, amplifying the attack greatly.
The slashes dinged off of Katashi's body without doing much damage, the lack of Haki infused into them meaning they couldn't bypass the durability of his body. A series of plings could be heard from the impacts.
Katashi didn't even try to block the attack about to his midsection. He trusted his body to allow him to weather any storm. This wasn't the sniper from before that could shoot through his armour and Haki. This was just some Marine captain.
Instead, he started to clap his hands together on Kara from both sides, using the fact his arms were longer than the woman's to his advantage. His fingers were steel claws, jagged and wicked sharp. He aimed to pierce her sides with his claws, killing her in a single strike. She could step into Katashi, betting it all on that one strike taking him down before his arms wrapped around her and sliced her in two. Or she could back off, losing her attack in favour of saving her own skin. So she had a choice to make, and only an instant to make it. After all, this Titan wasn't backing down.
What resulted from Katashi's attack, however, was not at all what he would have expected. Perhaps he had secured victory over the Marine Captain in that moment; or perhaps Kara instead had unveiled something of her own from up her sleeve. Whatever may have occurred, only one thing was known for certain: that darn Rette truly didn't intend on intervening.
Shattered pieces of glass scattered across the ground. A clear, milky white substance spilled all over, drenching Katashi and Kara both. This had been Katashi's doing; for what stood before him and the marine was a man even larger than him, holding a now broken glass bottle of sake in one hand.
"Aray ray ray… what's all this commotion about?" The man was large and bulky, very much so. An untamed beard sat around the edge of his hard face, hair slicked back and cuffed around his nape. A feathered haul was stuffed along his shoulders, sprouting from an open waist jacket made of spotted pink fur. His offhand was imbued with Haki, and as he reached up to lick the sake off his elbow, he dispelled the blackness all at once.
"That was quite the impressive attack you made there. But if there's anything this island hates most, it's definitely marines and pirates making a war zone out of their senseless bickering." He shook off the arm, which had been trembling as a result of its head-on collision with Katashi.
From behind his safety, Chicken Man's eyes lit up. "Gulan the Jungle Beast! You've come to save the day, I knew you would!" He would have squawked out from there and kissed Gulan's feet, but he still had an uneasy feeling about all of this.
Dismissing Chicken Man's praise with a single glance, Gulan's eyes crept up further, settling upon Rette. "And you, I can tell from your spirit that you didn't intend on helping your own comrade. How rude." He shook his head, looking between pirate and marine. "Look, I'm sure the two of you have your differences in mind. But at the very least, could I ask that you take your fight off of this island? There are far more pressing matters at hand."
Gulan kneeled down, gathering the broken shards of the sake bottle into the palms of his hand; they were truly large enough to compile every shard like a dustpan. He didn't intend on threatening them either. The so-called 'Jungle Beast' had made it quite evident that should they opt to continue… he would be joining their little scuffle against his own will.
After the sudden arrival of the strange man, Kara reeled back her arm. "And just who might you be?" She asked, wanting to know more about this unknown man than just his name. "Some kind of protector of this island?"
Rette could sense the approachment of another individual, but intentionally he hesitated. The man reached where he “wanted” to be and finally spoke out to the trio, he had words directed at nearly all three of the individuals, but those for Rette and Kara seemed to be a bit more… direct.
“Ya’ sure is right.” he responded, inhaling on his cigar but holding the smoke in. She wanted ta’ be arrogant, those ain’t tha’ type of comrades I can work well with. But I guess it is rude, ya’.” Rette stood to his feet, the first time he’d done so in this entire battle.
Once more, he inhaled on the cigar and rubbed along the side of it. The man truly was in love with the substance rolled inside of it. He snapped his fingers a total of four times “Gulan, Gulan the Jungle Beast. Mulan, Mu-lan. I don’t know where I heard tha’ name before, or if I’ve ever heard it. But,” he finally released the smoke from his mouth, but it had been far less than what one would have thought to come from his two large inhalings. “What exactly, is more pressin’?”
Katashi just looked up at the new person, staring for a moment before stating with a shrug. "I have better things to do than fight anyways." His bladed body gradually turned back to flesh, it's sharpened edges no longer needed. Katashi turned fully towards the larger man before mentioning "Take good care of chicken man, he safe now. Also have you seen a small purple man who makes good broccoli? Trying to find him. And possibly marine rabbit woman. Not sure yet there." He then paused for a moment before saying to Rette, "Assume plague more important issue."
Merikh’s ears perked up for a moment. Don't I know a small purple man, and possibly a Marine rabbit woman? he pondered to himself. Oh yeah, on the boat meant to carry dead babies. There was a rabbit woman who punched a hole in Mr Fishy… wait did that actually happen?
Unsure about the continuity, the dead man rose, sitting straight up from his prone position despite his shattered spine. Grabbing hold of Lady Maria, he made his way over to the group of people, dragging her as he walked. He wasn't sure about the quality of his broccoli, but the purple man he saw certainly was small.
Upper body unsteady, flopping from side to side around the pivot of his broken back, he ignored the Marines and the jungle man, instead only focusing on the muscled man as he approached. Daunted from his previous attempt at talking, he instead reached his soul out to Katashi, communicating directly with the man. He showed him images of the two that Merikh saw on the ship with him, adding an air of questioning, asking if they were who he was looking for. He then also threw in a quick request for any milk, if available, at the end.
Katashi was confused for a moment when a voice randomly started speaking in his head. At first, he thought he was randomly thinking about things, and he remembered that lecture again.
"Well random voice in head, those the people I am looking for. I just don't know where they are. Probably should ask people who live here where to get milk. They know, probably. Unless there is no milk, but I can't help that either." Katashi said to himself as he scratched his head. "Now I miss Sir Foxy-Vice-Commander..."
At this point, he heard the shuffling before turning to look at the man walking for him. The corpse from before was walking. The dead corpse... The dead person was walking... The undead apocalypse was here.
Katashi moved, sprinting away in terror from the zombie as fast as he could while shouting, "EVERY MAN FOR HIMSELF, IT'S A GHOOOOOOOOOOOOST!"
A Tide to Ride Edit
The tides surrounding Permis had grown ever fierce, even more so than in the hours the Dark Masters had traversed them. A few ships scarcely comparable to Hades in size were out at sea now, battling the impossible currents that raged war against them. One of these ships was in fact a proud marine vessel, larger than most docked at any marine base; precisely so, it was not the sort of ship any ordinary marine sailed. No, this ship had been brought out especially to house the criminal locked aboard it.
"Arrrrgh, why won't those damn fools pick up, eh??" The man revered within the Navy as "Kumogani" barked, holding his transponder snail out in the cusp of his palm. "I didn't leave that chimney of a man Rette in charge to be so fuckin' irresponsible!!" In his fit of clear, unrestrained anger, the Marine Vice Admiral tossed the Den Den Mushi overboard.
Watching as the snail sunk deep into the trenches of the murky waters below, Rear Admiral Carter Pine gathered himself from along the railing and appeared beside his superior on the deck. He shifted his feet once, standing firm as he began to address him. "Batavia-sama, might I remind you that Margaret-chan is also present on Permis? Had you instead opted to reach out to her, I'm almost certain she would have returned your call by now."
"Well, erghh-" Batavia glanced over to Pine. Perhaps his tongue had been caught up into a bunch, for the Vice Admiral struggled to speak and uttered very little. Either that or, well, he was too embarrassed to admit that he hadn't considered doing that. "I'm gonna go check up on somethin' inside. You keep watch out here, Swine."
With that, Batavia retired from the main deck and into the inner confines of the ship, leaving Pine outside with Captain Grape, who --with the exit of the Vice Admiral-- was now free to complain to his heart's content.
"Goddamit! This doesn't make any sense. I was supposed to get a promotion after all that I did on Bedina!" The Captain projected his voice toward the present Pine, his hands tending to a wet mop. "I'm a friggin' Captain now, for crying out loud! I shouldn't have to be scrubbing the deck! How disgraceful!"
Grape plunged the mop back into the water bucket, rejuvenating its life for another go at the spottless deck. "This floor is already so clean as it is… that idiot Kumogani, making me sweep it for no reason! He doesn't even have any idea what he's ever doing!"
Per usual, Pine remained calm in the face of adversity. He waited to address the Marine Captain until he had effectively deduced the whole of the matter. When he spoke, Grape had nearly forgotten that he had even said anything to begin with.
"I understand your frustration, Grape-san. But believe me when I say that we've all been there." Pine gazed towards the skies above, rekindling memories from the times he served under Mengis. "In my case, I often times found myself with a fishing rod between my hands. You see, Mengis-sama was quite fond of fish; just know that you're fortunate for not having to catch the kind of fish that roam these waters on a daily basis."
That all felt like ages ago, now. Back when Pine was serving under Mengis, the G-6 marine base they all now called home wasn't even in the picture yet. Matter of fact, it was Pine and Mengis who laid siege to the island known as Ishitani, which now housed their beloved G-6.
"And don't speak ill of Batavia-sama, either. He is far more capable than you know."
Grape had a hard time believing that. The Batavia he knew hardly even remembered his name, always addressing him as "Vape" or "Snape". Just what was so special about a guy like that, anyway? "Oh yeah? I bet…"
Silence ensued. More thinking, then speaking. "You spent much of the past couple years stationed on Bedina, so I don't expect you to know of Batavia-sama's renown," Pine continued, "so allow me to put this into perspective for you: you see, Batavia-sama is unlike most marines of his upstanding. Rather than appointing his subordinates to do his work for him, Batavia-sama registers a very hands-on approach.
"He has disbanded more pirate crews by his lonesome than most marines have in groups, or so it is said. He doesn't believe in relying on others all that much; quite on the contrary, Batavia-sama prefers to sort matters out by himself and only himself. And from what I hear, he was a candidate to fill one of those vacant Admiral positions, though because he can't ever handle his business without making a huge mess out of it, the World Government ultimately decided otherwise." Pine studied Grape's expression as the Captain attempted to keep his jaw from crackling open of its own accord. "Have you seen Batavia-sama fight before, Grape-san? By the end of the battle --no matter who he's facing-- his clothes are always torn up. Some say he enjoys getting hurt, while others theorize that he simply loves a good fight and has a tendency to overestimate his opponents. Whatever the case…"
Pine suddenly blitzed past Grape in the blink of an eye, a shimmering flash blinding the tender Captain. "Batavia-sama is a man deserving of his position. Now if you'll excuse me for a moment, I do believe it is time to feed our prisoner."
Leaving Grape to mop the rest of the floor by himself as he reflected over the words he had spoken, Pine wandered into the ship's supply room and grabbed a stack of hay from atop a nearby shelf. Dragging the stack against the floor, the Rear Admiral carried along into a deeper room, one at the very hull of the ship.
Pine opened the door to the room and immediately before him was the head of a giant, laying over one of her ears, her massive form roped and confined by the web of a spider. Picking up the hay over his head, he made to toss it toward the giant's mouth. "Hoy. Wakey, wakey, you oversized cow. It's time for your lunch."
A massive eye larger than Pine rolled open and stared at him. The eye tensed, as though straining to make out the sight of him. "I take my name in pride. If you aren't going to bring me anything worth eating, I won't stay. I'm a gourmet you know." Despite the giant's bold retorts, she was in fact, starving to death. She had barely eaten since her capture. In better times, she had been known to accomplish such feats of strength as breaking the webs of one the four yonkou, Daddy L. Legs herself, but now lacked the strength to break the webs that bound her. The giant known as Lord MuuMuu stared down at Pine. Without warning, the colossal giant began to shake violently, thrashing ineffectively at her restraints. She roared angrily, a promise of vengeance and bloodshed in her voice before it fell into an almost faint whine of anguish, the once proud giant brought low, haunted by memories of her past trauma at the hands of the marines.
Pine was forced to drop the hay and hold onto the arch of the door as Lord MuuMuu flailed about in another fruitless attempt to pry herself free. The whole ship shook, and the Rear Admiral angrily kicked at the giant's head.
"What did I say about doing that?! Do it again and I swear, I'll put far more needles in that haystack than the last time!"
Unfortunately for Pine, he couldn't take credit for the giant's capture. She had been transported across inumerable marine vessels over the last several months as the Navy pondered over just what to do with her. She was simply too darn big to fit inside of Impel Down and too important to the Yonko, Legs, to be slaughtered so openly. Lord MuuMuu had been a huge pain in the butt; perhaps she was more of a nuisance now as a prisoner than she had been even as a pirate!
As the giant shifted about, the audible groans of a man sharing her cellar reminded Pine of another prisoner being held aboard the ship. How could he have forgotten about the fresh new catch?
"Oh yeah, I forgot you were in here too," Pine said to no one in particular, speaking more so to the room than he was the man himself, seeing as how Lord MuuMuu's impeccable size covered him from view, "Now, now, Lord MuuMuu, play nice and be sure to share some of that hay with Gerhard. And make sure not to squash him, either. Batavia-sama is hoping to have someone else turn him into the Navy so he can cash out on his bounty of like, 230,000,000, or however much it is now."
Pine swung the door shut behind him, leaving the two pirates to fend to their stay of hay. "Anyway, toodles."
The many vibrations provoked by MuuMuu only served to increase the trajectory of the other prisoner, Blumenthal Gerhard, the Conquest who was imprisoned... again. Certain friends of his would joke that he ended up eating the Bad-Luck Fruit, not the Game Fruit, but, they were not there... though, this island was the hometown of one.
"Sorry, s'I growlin'? I was meanin' to say this isn't comfortable t'all, fuckin' soyface." Gerhard grumbled out, constantly dangling from the ceiling by his legs, their pants torn off due to how tight the seastone chains were. "Fuckin' punkshit." One of his knees were bent, its foot resting at Gerhard's other leg, making it seem as if he was about to dance with the chains.
These same chains extended over to his torso and kept his hands caged to his hips. "Can'ya also gimme' my mask back?" Gerhard offered a tired glance at MuuMuu, "Gal's been fartin' like no end- Wait, Punkshit." He muttered as the Rear Admiral moved out of the room, "Fuck y'too."
"Yo... so, sup'," Gerhard said again at MuuMuu, "Sorry for th' comment, uh, don't worry on sharin' anythin', you're big, you need it." Was she going to be rescued? Then again, he couldn't say that the Yonko would send a whole fleet just to come to Permis. Gerhard himself, after escaping from that man's grasp through unexpected help, heard of the plague attacking the island of Permis, he just couldn't waste the chance.
After she calmed down or at least stopped shaking, Muu went still for a while. She even ignored being kicked in the head. She didn't move at all until Gerhard spoke. Muu slowly rolled over to look at Gerhard. Somehow she managed to fling the hay over to him with this movement, before turning back the other way. After a few moments from the apparent kindness, she spoke. "Pick out the needles from it. You can probably use your teeth or something." It was hard to tell if she meant it as instructions or as orders due to her monotone voice.
"Wait, ah-" Gerhard's eyes widened and, with a single push, he moved his body to intercept the food thrown his way. His mouth went wide and latched onto it, teeth sinking as he munched, his body hunched over so that his head rose, "Ok, thanks." Gerhard gulped the food down and held the large needles on his teeth, trembling slightly as he maintained his position.
The place smelled too much, not that it truly bothered him, Gerhard just really preferred his mask over his face. "Y're from th' Black Widows, aye?" He spoke out at her, not too loud, "How lon' ago were ya' captured? I heard it 'as a fight," Not that he would even judge her for it, regardless if their situations were similar or not. Voice wavering slightly, Gerhard continued nevertheless, "Do, do ya' think anyone'll come for us?"
Muu didn't turn over or move. "Dumbass. I wanted you to remove the needles for ME... I didn't want to eat it anyway." A little life seemed to return to Muu, but quickly faded when he mentioned the fight with Solomon, and the Black Widows. How would she ever return? How could she look Legs in the eye after THIS? No. It'd be fine, she'd go back the Black Widows and pretend nothing had happened. She got captured, she got out. No big deal, right? She shivered. "I'll break out once my strength is back..." She rolled over to look at Gerhard again, focusing a giant eye on his figure. "What are needles anyway?" she asked.
A snicker found its way out of Gerhard's mouth, "Fool, that's why I got 'em," He smirked and showed the needles between his teeth, "They serve fa' sewin' and are sharp as fuck." Gerhard moved a bit, dangling from one side to the other, quickly building up a pace.
The chains of seastone rattled a bit, Gerhard rasped some saliva, trying to move the needles within his teeth, "I... Am a bit tired, but... Seastone only blocks fruit powers."
"You're one of them demon fruit users?" Muu asked. She mulled the thought over in her head for a little while. "Can you get me out? I'll make it worth your while." Her tremendous eye finally seemed to take him in. "I've never lost to anyone who hasn't eaten a fruit, so if you want me to break someone..." She let the words hang in the air.
Rattle and rattle, Gerhard went back and forth like a pendulum, his expression faced against MuuMuu, "Yah and yah." He tried saying out aloud, not sure if his movement compromised it. MuuMuu's eyes shifted around quite a bit, he noted, his eyes softened a bit at it, she was always stopping, even if for a second, before laying out her words. "The fact th' she jus' called me one of 'em just confirms that... she's not one."
Even if Gerhard didn't know how much time he had, his movements continued even further, seconds having passed. "Jus' wait," Only two needles were present in his mouth, one pressed between different parts of his mouth, and they had suddenly acquired a black pigment over their entire figures. "Ishitoryu, Improvised Version," He muttered and, as the pendulum movement had him going in MuuMuu's direction, opened his mouth.
"Disart," Gerhard mouthed, whilst the two needles flew in different paths, leaving two small rings behind their initial location and ripping through the air of the room like it was nothing. Much like he had said earlier, seastone truly weakened him and prevented his fruit powers from being used, however, his Haki, even if it wasn't truly at peak, was still there.
With Busoshoku, he strenghtened the needles and, with Kenbunshoku, he localized the perfect parts to fire them at. Disart was the best combination for Haki, Gerhard's style had been based on his medical skills, after all. One of the needles would hit the webbing closest to one of MuuMuu's arms, while the other aimed directly at one arm, after a single second, they had both landed. Much like acupunture, Gerhard used Disart along with the Caladbolg to deal focused attacks and incite devastating effects. However, with needles and on a giant as large as MuuMuu, the effect could be more controlled.
The needle hitting the web would do just what it was supposed to, induce an implosion originating from where it was hit, no matter how strong the silk was, Gerhard had used Haki to localize a vital point and make sure it erupted apart in a spiral. At that same time, the needle hitting MuuMuu's arm provoked a completely different reaction, it landed on a specific nerve, easy to find due to its size, a nerve that played a role in dealing out reflexive reactions.
Although they hadn't talked before today, mainly due to both sleeping most of the time, Gerhard knew that MuuMuu didn't have strength to do it by herself. Rip apart a lot of the silk, that was. It would sting, but then, MuuMuu's arm would instinctively slash off of where it was, since the other needle removed the webbings from there, and proceed to rip off more of the silk, freeing her body. Due to how large MuuMuu was, however, the strike wouldn't end just there and possibly strike against the chains that held Gerhard's legs, as well as the walls of the room. Which he didn't mind at all, even if water would start to pour and he started to fall towards the ground, he knew she wasn't a user.
Muu was utterly surprised when with new found power her arm ripped through not only the binding webs but tore through the steel wall as well. She flexed her fingers, checking everything still worked. She looked at Gerhard, wondering if he had some sort of ability to control people and that if she had some yet another deeper well of untapped strength to find somewhere inside herself. She refrained from asking these questions aloud. Using her newly freed arm, she liberated herself from the rest of the silk, and then proceeded to get as close to standing as she could in the space afforded to her without breaking the ceiling. "My stuff was taken. A hammer and a pair of shoes. You said you had a mask? Think they might be in the same place? I need to get them back before anything else."
"KYA-" Crash, Gerhard landed straight against the metal floor, "I mean, argh, wow," He cursed, chains much loose on his body. "Damned fallin' damage," If MuuMuu broke through the ones from the ceiling, it could have meant that not all of them had seastone. Clothes getting wet rapidly, Gerhard tried getting up, he nearly fell but took a proper step and sustained himself, the chains continued to slip off, since the main one was destroyed by MuuMuu.
The water was beginning to cover his shoes, it coming in a small waterfall from the side of the room. This woman sure got strength for someone starving. At the very least, his strength was beginning to come back to him, "The impact must've already alerted 'em."'
Gerhard replied at Muu's words, "Possibly, but, we 'ot to hurry, those guys'll be 'ere any second." His eyes flashed red, looking around the entire ship, "The one t'our right side! If ya' break through, ya' could get 'em with your hand," He pointed at the wall, "Dungeon." Touching the ground with both hands, Gerhard summoned forth his powers, although the one generated was big enough to cover only half the ship.
"Chaos," The floor beneath them had its upper layer trashing around, violently moving off itself, "New Order." Each issued through one hand, Gerhard sent his commands through the metal, which flew like liquid and shaped itself as a toboggan around the hole in the wall, making the water get led by it. "Hurry!" The hand for Order still on the metal, Gerhard dashed across the room and touched his Chaos one upon the door, it broke apart seconds later. He moved the hand leading the metal again and made it all shape around the door, making a path between the hole and it, so that the rest of the ship would get flooded.
Muu grappled the wall, sticking her fingers deep into the metal and pulling, straining with the effort, she ripped a tear in the wall that both she and Gerhard could fit through. She smirked as she saw her hammer. She had missed its familiar weight in her hand. Not to mention her shoes, precious gifts to her from Daddy L. Legs from when she first joined the Black Widow Pirates. “See your mask thing anywhere? I want to get something to eat as soon as possible, I’m not really at my best. Honestly, aren’t there rules against starving prisoners to death or something?”
Water gushed into the vessel at a steady rate. The hull and nether levels of the ship were almost instantly flooded; to the dismay the fleeing pirates, it was Batavia who first took notice of the flowing water.
"Batavia, I just don't know what to do..!" the voice of a woman spoke out from the Den Den Mushi in the Vice Admiral's hand. Of course, this one was a spare he had gotten from one of the other marines aboard his ship; he had tossed his own overboard not too long ago. "Emily's illness just isn't getting any better… those red marks that were on her stomach have started spreading over the rest of the body!"
Batavia let out a deep sigh. Through his dark specs, he observed the form the transponder snail had taken in response to the female on the other end of the line. He could see it even now, her charming face. Hair as red as any fountain of blood he'd ever seen, skin pale like a full moon. Unfortunately the snail failed to mimic the woman's impressive bust, but it was enough of a demonstration to paint a vivid image in the Vice Admiral's head.
"Listen Juliet, everything is going to be just fine. I'm on my way as we speak; it won't be more than a couple of hours, I promise." The sudden pitter patter around his ankles brought the disorientated marine --who was much to concentrated on the image of the Den Den Mushi-- back into reality. A pool of water had gathered around his feet; growing taller by the second, it quickly climbed up to his knees!
"I.. I'm just so scared. Outside of you, Emily is all that I have now, Batavia. I've already lost everything else..!"
"Juliet," Batavia sounded firmly, needing to raise his voice over the roar of the invading water a second time around, "Juliet! Something's wrong, I'll have to call you back later!" He hung up abruptly, veins bulging around his head as he looked on at the water in anger.
"HOY!! GRAPE, YOU DUMBASS!" Batavia's shouts filled the halls of the ship, booming off of every imaginable wall. "What did I say about practicing your Devil Fruit powers aboard the ship, huh?! You've gone and drilled a hope in my ship!"
With the ascending waters leaving the Vice Admiral with little time to think, Batavia could only act out of instinct --as was characteristic of the man; with a simple leap, Kumogani plowed through numeral levels of the ship en route to the main deck.
He arrived unto the scene of Grape sweeping the floors, much to his confusion. "Hold on, wait a second! What are you doing here, you idiot?"
Grape sighed. He thrusted the back end of his mop against his forehead. Great. Just great. Talking to this guy made him lose more brain cells every time. "What do you mean, man? I'm mopping the floor like you told me to."
"Then who put a hole in my ship?!"
"...With all due and respect, I believe that would be you, sir." The voice of Carter Pine returned from behind Batavia, his meager frame standing along the crevices of the gaping hole Batavia had created through his leap from the ship's hull.
"No, no, no! You both are idiots! Water was already-" Suddenly the ship began to flip, as if all its weight was being distributed to one end entirely. The ship's bow shot up into the sky, causing the marines aboard to hold onto whatever was nearest to them and hope that it would be enough to secure a grasp.
"W-What the hell's going on?!" Grape wondered aloud.
In the next moment, a strong current --at least, that's what it appeared to be-- lashed out and split the ship in two; casting two separate sides of the ship into different directions. Batavia immediately turned his attention toward the end drifting away from his own: the prisoners! They were inside of that hunk!
Gerhard didn't know that the water would have acted faster than he anticipated, but, he wouldn't complain much. Except for the fact he was nearly falling into the water then, holding to the mask he found alongside MuuMuu's items, his precious one. She would be close to the water already, then again, the ship was quite big.
"YES, HELLO!" Gerhard opened his arms wide at the Marines upon noticing their confusion, though his shouts were soon muffled, while he wrapped the mask around his face. A good scent at last. "GIANTESS! Tis' where we part," Sparing a glance at MuuMuu, Gerhard couldn't wait anymore, his hand moved forward in order to take a grip of the water, his dungeon was still there, after all.
However, a bright light interrupted him, appearing between both halves of the marine warship. Not a light, it was... an orange flame travelling over the water. It didn't travel straight, instead, it moved like a serpent, Gerhard's eyes widened when it approached the sinking ship he stood on.
Boom. The gunpowder that hadn't been soaked by the water sent everything flying high, creating steam due to the water and smoke due to the wood. Gerhard braced himself, barely protected by the piece of wood he stood over, his body quickly fell towards the water, however, and he closed his eyes.
Instead, a pair of hands gripped his thigh and his arm, gloved hands holding him in a bride position. "Ohoho! You thought no one woulda' come to save your ass!" A feminine voice mused, prompting Gerhard to open his eyes and stare at none other than Brandt Abigail, the person he partened with shortly before his trip to Permis.
They both stood over the deck of her personalized ship, its hull covered with iron, its size didn't compare to the warship. His eyes took in her long brown hair, half of a frinje framing her forehead, her blue tight suit. It was then that her golden eyes stared back at his orange ones.
"What's it with you starin' so much?!" She bawled, mouth twisted, his attention going back to reality, "My arm's cramping, get down Ger!" Couldn't she just lower him? Gerhard did as asked, and Abigail crossed her arms, buffing. "Chop, chop! We got no time, marines on tow!" Then again, the explosion from earlier could have slowed the Marines down.
Frankly, he was better back with MuuMuu, "Ey, sure, nice to see ya' too." Not like he didn't use Haki to feel her presence coming.
Gerhard rolled his eyes, creating another Dungeon. Shortly after, he made part of the wood erupt and wrap itself around Abigail's legs, loosely, at that signal she jumped over the deck and into the ocean. "Bring 'em hell."
"No need to ask!" Abigail gave him a thumbs up and outstretched her arms which glowed, touching the ocean, the wood didn't let her fully fall in. "HELLO, STRANGERS!" She beamed at the Marines, "I was stuck between fighting you and leaving- SO I CHOSE BOTH!" At that very moment, the water around that entire area had acquired another sort of layer to itself in the form of a color.
"It's lit," Abigail beamed again.
A weak red layer appeared, indeed. Bubbles erupted everywhere, steam hissed upward from other areas, a tremendous wave of heat travelled, trying to slow down all of the ships present. The wood of some would likely be set ablaze, creating even more of a hot atmosphere around, "Maybe that'll be 'nuff," Gerhard commented, trying to see if the Marines bypassed that.
While trying to steer the wheel of Abigail's ship, Gerhard commanded the wood to bring her back into the deck. Though, his mistake was not looking, "DON'T TREAT ME LIKE ONE OF YOUR FRENCH DEAD BODIES," Abigail's voice ringed into his ears, whilst she crashed into him.
Gerhard's eyes widened, "FUCKIN' HEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEELL," The wheel, if no Marine had managed to interrupt them, would spin violently, thus, sending the ship into the island of Permis.
"Who the hell is that?" Batavia scoffed, eyes squinting behind his shades. But Abigail's renown was known well to Pine; he knew it was best not to take a pirate like that lightly.
"Sir, with all due respect, they seem to be getting away." Pine eyed Batavia, awaiting orders.
Batavia's response was more physical and less verbal. Rash thinking wasn't his strong suit; he simply lifted up Grape by his collar with one arm and chucked the lad across the waters and toward the other broken half of the ship, where he was certain MuuMuu was still trapped inside of. "Go get that giant, Grape! No pirate gets away from me!!"
Grape's eyes widened. He was being hurled at great speeds and against his will. Looking ahead, he knew a guy like him would surely be splattered if making contact with the ship's wooden structure; and so he braced for impact, calling forth the powers of the devil which he had yet to properly tame. "Kiri Kiri no…"
Grape's head morphed into a drill, refining into a singular rotating point. Upon contact, he seeped a hole through the ship's structure and burrowed his way inside, safely. "Head Scratcher!!!"
Wooden shavings littered the boiling sea. The end result of Grape's attack was one perfectly round circular gnawed into one side of the ship.
"Sir, what would you like me to-" Pine started, only to be interrupted.
"For fuck's sake, stop being so proper all the time, Pine! You don't need to wait around for me to tell you what to do; just make yourself useful, that's all I ask!" The Vice Admiral rolled up his sleeve some, showing off the bulk of his arm. Aiming his palm out in the direction of Abigail's fleeing vessel, he shot out and attached a fluid web from his wrist unto it. The web spun around and hacked onto the ship's mast, and, propelling himself forward, the man known as Kumogani began to zipline his way across.
The boiling waters contacted the broken halves of the marine vessel in seconds, leaving Pine with no choice but to retreat himself. Sprouting wings made of light from his backside, the Rear Admiral took to the skies, watching as the hunk of wood he had been floating on earlier was scorched into smithereens.
But for Gerhard and Abigail, there was a big problem headed their way. There was a reason the marines who despised Batavia's destructful nature had come to refer to him by the name of "Bad Bedlam". And that was precisely because the lunatic didn't ever make even the slightest attempt to secure his premises.
Many missions had been practically aborted due to Batavia's involvement within them. Such as in the year of 1572, when Batavia alongside Mengis and Kaldor infiltrated Suri, an island within the Xros Pirates' territory. Batavia, disagreeing with Kaldor's plan of approach, handled matters in the only way he knew how: his own. This nearly cost all of them their lives, though luckily for him, Mengis received most of the blame and was demoted per usual.
Now in charge of G-6, Batavia saw all the more reason to do things his way. Those who dared question his authority were immediately oppressed, while Batavia himself was free to act of his own accord.
The Vice Admiral swung around the ship by tugging along the web attached to the mast. And as he aimed two feet to collide against Gerhard's back, the caw of a hawk snapped his webbing and caused him to fall hard into some barrels.
A large red and gold bird swirled around the ship and landed aboard the main deck, stomping its foot once and cawing again at the fallen marine. In the next second, feathers were swapped for flesh, and the figure of the infamous Scavenger, Sperius Vesper, stood before Abigail and Gerhard.
"Seems he's giving you some trouble," Vesper sounded off, letting his grand appearance be taken in by the pirates. He glanced back, eyeing Gerhard. "Greetings, Gerhard. You and I are meeting now for the first time... however, there is a purpose in my being here, and that is that I require your help with something else.
"You see, in lending you a hand here, I expect you to return the favor."
"Easy come, easy go I guess." Said Muu, as Gerhard's quick departure. "... Maybe I shouldn't have called him a dumbass..." She pondered to herself aloud. “I guess maybe that’s why I don’t have any friends.”
Muu was just pondering what to do next and where to get something to eat, when she noticed a small purple marine come flying into her half of the ship. An idea popped into her head, and she started narrating her actions. "This is Lord MuuMuu. She's had a tough time with this hole in the past. She's lining up for the shot, and she swings!" Muu swung her hammer with both arms, intending to knock Grape flying like a golf ball.
At that point, Abigail and Gerhard tangled with one another, the latter tried to get off and move towards the web created by Batavia, while the former pushed forth towards the wheel. Unsurprisingly, both went nowhere and only proceeded to lose their breaths.
"Even if I like it- what're ya' doing?!" Abigail barked, frowing at Gerhard as their bodies pressed, "I need to get us outta' here!! It's your fault it ain't happening!" The ship rocked against the water, trying to stead itself and not fall over.
It was Gerhard's time to frown, "My fault? The fuck you on?" Then again, it wasn't going to be easy to concentrate then, "He's pullin' th'ship, we can't get away pressed together like this." Of all the times for her temper to attack him.
"We would if you got out of the way!" Her eyes budged out of her skull when Batavia came to hit them, that amount of speed wouldn't just push her, but Gerhard as well. Trying to shield him with her back, Abigail bellowed, "Ger!!! Loo-"
Instead of pain, they both felt... nothing and only heard a loud crash of flesh against wood, their heads whipped at the same time to glance at it. Despite noticing a large bird, they didn't stop hugging one another and went back to facing each other.
"How are you so hard to deal with?"
"It's in the name, Gerh-"
"No, don't." Abigail waved and turned to face the newcomer, "Oh, I know this guy!" It was then that the stranger adressed Gerhard, solidifying whom this was. "Vesperius Esper," Abigail nodded, smiled quietly, and elbowed Gerhard.
Coughing, Gerhard quickly adressed Vesper with a frown, "Right- Hmmmm, t'may depend on this somethin' else. Nice to meet'cha though, Esper," His eyes went up and down the masked man's figure, shining red, a mask flashed into his mind, "...He's 'ere, in Permis." Gerhard mouthed, eyes trembling for a second and eyebrows rising.
Abigail narrowed her eyes and pouted, "Huh-" She moved a hand to a large bandage on her hip, pondering if it was too late to draw her weapon. No way in hell he would leave her out of it.
"I'll do't and gladly return ta' favor," Hand touching the ground, Gerhard summoned another new Dungeon, walking to stay by Vesper's side and standing in front of Abigail, who frowned. His fingers stretching out, he watched out for Batavia, preparing one command or another to deliver through his hand. "So, Esper, how we handlin' this?"
Steps, Abigail went up to both their side, "Don't count me out!" But, even then, Gerhard put part of his body in front of her. All of them eyed the rising Batavia.