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The sun rose on Harborville quite nicely... It was bright. It was sunny... it was thoroughly enjoyable to all.
Except... one man.
His name, was Lucky Century. There... were some problems last night at the Double Duece, the casino he owned that rested just outside of Harborville.
Honestly, he didn't mind. The Double Duece still raked in the cash. It was a good support for him. Besides, he planned on seeing the world anyway so he couldn't let the day to day matters bothered him. He just hoped that he wasn't misplacing his trust with who he was leaving the casino to. He... didn't dwell on it as he completed his morning ritual.
"And now... the day starts..." Lucky says, dressed immaculately in his white, silk suit. He was off to the Doulbe Duece. The last time he'll enter that office in a long time. With all the signs place around the town in the last few days, he should get a lot of applicants. And that's what he did... wait for the people to... try their luck at joining his... expedition.
Blood spilled over Chiani’s hands in a wave, assisting in the delivery of the baby. Her hands shook uncontrollably, and her fingers fumbled with the slick of the umbilical cord ‘round the child’s neck. In no short order, the skilled doctor was quickly replaced by a midwife, who none so kindly shoved her away from the mother and child. Chiani stumbled and slipped in the blood slick, and perceived that she was falling foreword, but could do nothing to stop her swift decline.
Chaini woke with a muted oath, sat up and spent a full minute stubbornly willing the pretty colors to vacate her vision. There was a crude gauze bandage on her head, she swiftly removed it and slung her legs over the side of the cot. With her toes she sought out her shoes, but found nothing. Swearing softly, she stood without them, and felt her way out of the little room in the darkness.
The elder midwife, however, was standing guard at the door. She cursed loudly at Chiani’s appearance, but with a shrug, took her arm and wrapped it around her shoulder and helped her to the mother’s bedside. There the exhausted woman lay with her babe beside her, sucking greedily at her breast. The mother started slowly when Chiani appeared. A slow smile crept across her face, but she hadn’t the strength to speak. After three days of rather intense and complicated labor, Chiani could not blame her.
Satisfied that both mother and child had survived, Chiani allowed herself to be led back to bed. In those three days she had had very little rest, opting instead to spend every minute at the mother’s bedside. Several times she had to delve into the woman to turn her baby round, and each time, the child found itself back in the same position. After a few more hours rest, however, she was awake again. The shoes at her bedside were new, and though cheap, served their function. The child was strong and healthy, large lungs aiding in his greeting to his doe-eyed father. The boy was an apprentice carpenter, and the young family had very little.
“He is a blessing,” Chiani agreed, returning the child to his father. “If you’ll excuse me.”
Chiani’s examination of the mother was more thorough. The midwife, it seemed, had abandoned the couple shortly after she recovered. Chiani instructed the grandmother on herbs that would hold a probable infection at bay, and prescribed a strict diet meant to aide her long recovery.
A few days later, having treated a variety of ailments from a child's running nose to a particularly large man's bleeding ulcer, Chiani was exhausted. She stumbled into a nameless tavern for a mug of ale and some food. She counted the coins as she sipped daintily at the ale. Haggard as she was, she did not blame the young men at the bar for not treating her, but she valued the few belli she had saved up. She tired of Harborville, more accurately, she tired of the inability of her the majority of her clients to pay her. Of course, this was mostly her fault, for seeing them to begin with, but she was not one to ignore a person's suffering.
While settling the bill, Chiani's blurring vision made out an advertisement. Sailing... money - Double Duece. She sighed and forked over the coin, with a few left over for to tip the barmaid. Though her feet, lower back and neck ached, she had several more appointments before she could afford to rest again.
Last edited by Ed_D_Mighty (2007-05-09 20:06:09)
Symon sat idly underneath a large willow overlooking the city below. Reading one of his favorite books, he was perfectly content with the world...if only a little bored. Eventually, two tough-looking youths walked past him heading into the town.
"Didja see that sign? 'Your Lucky Day!' Sounds like a money-making opportunity to me!" said one excitedly to his comrade. "Yeah, we're gonna go on the sea and stuff!" replied the other.
Symon sighed quietly to himself at their conversation. "However", he thought to himself, "it's a good thing they mentioned it. I would have never noticed those signs..."
He picked himself up, neatly sliding his book into one of his pockets. He felt a tingle of excitement at the prospect of adventure. After all, he'd done nothing lately except read and sleep, and felt it was about time he get back in the game. He brushed himself off and followed the youths to their destination, wondering all the while what awaited him.
Do you wish to sail the four oceans? Do you wish to meet new people? Do you wish to make lots of money doing both? Then this just might be your... lucky day!
If interested, come to the Double Deuce. More information at the office.
Another sign!? Synire thought as she saw what must have been the millionth sign for something that sounded like a recruitment- or some kind of new game at the casino. Or both. Annoyed at the signs and bored, Synire decided to take a look. She began her walk towards the Double Deuce, the giant casino in the city's center. As she approached the doors, a hulking black-suited man blocked her way.
"ID, missy. You gotta be twenty-one or older to come in here unaccompanied," the man said in a gruff voice.
Synire said nothing but continued walking. The man got in her way once more.
"I said, show some ID or you're not getting in!"
Synire faked a smile. "I'm sorry, I don't seem to have an ID."
"Then you're not getting in."
"But I have these-" Synire held out her hand and opened it. In her hand lay three gold coins. "You never met me?"
The bouncer's eyes looked from side to side before he took the money. "Why? Your ID is fine." Synire grinned and entered the casino. She slowed down as the cool air from inside washed over her. Glad to be out of the heat, Synire looked around for the office. Spotting it, she headed straight for it. A sign on the door told her to wait for a Mr. Lucky Century.
Mr. Lucky Century... Century... the owner of the Double Deuce!? Synire thought as she sat down to wait. Never thought I'd meet him...
Several passerbys looked at the wierd tattooed man on the ground, playing a soft tune on his guitar as he held a small tin cup up by his toes. A few more coins bounced into the cup, and Den smiled and nodded and said, "Thank you very mushi mushi man." To most, Den was laying still on the ground, but many many small vines moved him slowly along the ground toward the Double Deuce casino.
Do you wish to sail the four oceans? Do you wish to meet new people? Do you wish to make lots of money doing both? Then this just might be your... lucky day!
If interested, come to the Double Deuce. More information at the office.
That was the sign Den found eariler, and Den decided that it would be good to get out to sea after a while of traveling on this island, moving along at a Den Den Mushi's pace. Den yawned, and after another coin dropped into the tin, he decided it was time to move a bit faster, just so he was sure he didn't miss the fun.
Standing up, all of the vines on the ground streched out, and Den kneeled by them and said, "Thanks little mushi mushi, if I return and you have grown out, I'll make sure you bloom beautyful mushi mushi." The vines seemed to move to his voice, and Den stood up and walked toward what he could only believe was the casino.
Den walked past the bouncer, who was currently testing a golden coin by biting it. Den continued walking into the casino, almost falling asleep from the cool air that washed over him. He looked up, yawning as he spotted what he thought was the place to go and he saw a girl there as well.
"Yo, is this the place for the mushi mushi thing?"
“And Stay out, you little punk!”
Seamus, for the umpteenth time, was thrown headlong out of a bar. It really didn’t even hurt much this time, but it was still insulting.
“You stupid jerk, why’d you throw me out?” yelled Seamus at the bouncer who had effortlessly tossed him out the door
“Kid, read the Sign! Only Adults are allowed in here!”
Puffing out his chest, Seamus replied: “I’m more man than you’ll ever be, you big jerk! I’ll show you!”
The bouncer laughed long and hard at this. Finally, sobering up, he pulled out a sign. “If you’re such a manly man, than you should have no problem with this. I’m guessing we’ve had 40 people today go off to this casino for the offer.”
Seamus read the sign, slowly. “Wish to sail the four oceans... meet new people... make money...my lucky day? Come to the double De-oo-chee... Hey, mister, what’s the Double De-oo-chee?”
Again, the bouncer laughed. “It’s the double 'Deuce' kid. And that’s where you go to find fame, fortune, women in this town.”
“I like the first two, but Girls? Icky. I don’t want to have to do anything with them if I don’t have to.” said Seamus sticking out his tongue in disgust. “So, where can I find this double deuce place?”
“4 blocks west, 3 north, and you’ll be at the entrance. They probably won’t let you in, so don’t say I didn’t warn you.”
And so Seamus dashed off down the street, towards Fame fortune, and adventure.
"Thank you! I apprieciate it!" Akio Zensoku plodded down the main street of the city, not paying attention to where he was going. Unconciously stepping around people and other obstacles he continued along. He was completely absorbed in his quick, cheap, lunch and his thoughts. His lunch consisted of a small loaf of hot bread and a wedge of fresh cheese. He nibbled carefully at the end of each, not dropping a single crumb.
His thoughts fell upon a myriad of things, 'If I eat bread and cheese for lunch every day and spend only this much for dinner then I could save 2,000 beli a year. If I cut out a meal altogether I can get another 5,000 beli. Proper nutrients? Err.. no. Perhaps alternate some fruit in there. That would balance out and still save. Yes. Time management. I should finish eating soon, I'm wasting time here.' He shoves the last of his lunch down his throat in one shot and continued his neverending thought sequence. 'What can I do in this city to maximize efficiency? I need money and food, not to mention my main goal. Shall I ever be content after leaving home? My mind won't ever stop this incessant rambling! I especially hate it when I think about thinking! AHHHH! I need to divert my thoughts, divert, divert...'
His eyes flitted around looking for stimulus, anything to occupy himself with. His eyes came to fall upon a flier posted on a wall. 'Hmmm let's see judging from the quality of the adhesive and the quantity of dust I estimate it to have been posted 27 hours 51 minutes ago. I'm not going to bother being accurate in that. Wait... what is it? Sail? People? Money? I like it, at least it'll be of some use of my time if nothing else. Double Deuce? Direct route? Due north. Fastest route? Direct route is heavily crowded, the alley between the buildings on the west side should be quite speedy.' With great impatience and haste he hustled down an alley and then north again toward the Double Deuce casino.
"Correct once again. I knew it was the quickest route." He stood for a moment and stared up at the grandour of the building that stood before him, studying it's architechture. He smiled and headed inside. He followed the signs until he came upon a small group crowding around the office door. His mind immiediatly raced taking in this new information and analyzing it. He came to judge the people in the moment he saw them. He found them to be good company and seemed combatworthy. "Hello! You all here for the... thing? The poster didn't really say what it was advertising, but you get the idea. I hope it will be interesting. I can't stand boring things. I wonder if Mr. Century will be here soon, ugh it's taking so long." He acted as if he had been waiting there for an eternity and alternated pacing and twiddling his fingers.
- A bead of sweat rolled down the forehead of one Faye Aceta, and after being carefully wiped away by the back of her hand, Faye continued harassing the bartender of the Broke Works Pub. "And I better be getting paid extra for having to, against my will, mind you, become your bleedin' bouncer!" Normally, the bartender looked like the kind of man that you don't want to cause trouble with, but right now he was being cowed by a woman almost half his size. "Y-yes ma'am!" Faye cracked her neck and grabbed the handle of her large mallet.
"That's on top of what you ALREADY owe me for fixing your bar."
The man glared. "YOU were the one that broke it!"
Faye glared right back. "No, THAT guy broke it, I just threw him!" She pointed to one of the unconscious men lying in a pile on the floor.
"Same thing!" The bartender's face was turning red.
"Bah, whatever. You owe me either way." Faye leaned up against the newly fixed bar counter and struck a match to light her cigar. "And I expect to be paid. NOW."
"Fine! Sheesh!" The barman disappears behind the counter to crack open his safe. Returning to the top, he slams the stack of Belli in the counter. "You're a witch, you know that? These repairs are going to break me!"
Faye laughed. "Well, either your bank's going to be broken, or your bar is." She walked towards the door after hoisting her mallet over her shoulder, making sure to step on one of the men she knocked out earlier. "And you were smart to pay me or you would have chosen the third option."
"What's the third option?" The barman manages to ask as soon as Faye opens the door.
"I break your jaw." With that, Faye disappears out the door.
- After thumbing through her newly aquired stack of Belli, Faye happened to come across an advertisement. Well, not so much "come across" as "was hit by a flying piece of scrap paper that happened to have writing on it." Pulling the ad off from her front, Faye read the print. "Hm... Four oceans... new people... blah. Lots of money? Might be worth looking into. The Double Deuce, hm? I think I built a cabenet or something for a guy there some time ago...." Faye shrugged. "Or not. I've been working in this town for longer than I care to remember." Starting off for the Double Deuce, Faye exhaled a plume of cigar smoke into the air. "Looks like this just might be my lucky day..."
A large man stood in the shade of a small building, the breeze coming from the sea cooling him, as it caused the loose fabric of his pants to move, almost as if dancing. He looked once more at the sign on the wall, before deciding that he would atleast obtain some more information before dismissing it. He needed something long term, he needed work and somewhere he could have plants, his savings hadn't fared well during his travels, and he couldn't afford to stay much longer. Joseph decided that if he couldn't find emplotyment today, he would head to another port tomorrow.
Leaving the shade, Joseph headed toward the massive building known as "The Double Deuce.". The town seemed busy, he weaved his way through the crowds, until he stopped to buy a few pieces of fruit from a small market stall. Eating as he continued on his way, Joseph was just finishing his pear as he approached the entrance to the casino. A man standing near the door, most probably a bouncer, smiled strangely as he noticed Joseph, as if he had thought of something clever.
"No shirt, no entry, mister." The bouncer said with a slight grin, pointing at a sign about a dress code.
Joseph raised an eyebrow questioningly. "But I am wearing a shirt." he replied calmly, before unlocking eyes with the man, and pointing at the colourful fabric hanging from his torso.
"R..right you are." the bouncer said, stepping aside, with a bewildered look on his face, failling to notice Joseph's lack of shoes.
The cool air felt good after his walk in the sun, Joseph wandered through the casino, until he noticed a few people milling around outside what he assumed was the office. He walked up quietly and joined the group.
Dark opened his eyes and made a vulgar facial expression towards the little rascal in front of him. The impolite youngling had been staring at Dark for several minutes and been brave enough to ask if he was alive. “You’re a hundred years too young to ask me anything, brat.” Dark mumbled and met the eyes of the rascal. Cheerful eyes, but still a fools eyes.
Dark beckoned the boy away nonchalantly and fell asleep in some distant back alley of Harborville. He was indeed no kind person or someone you would make friends with, but the lack of money had brought him to the town. Having the experience of 50 years in pirate ships did not grant you a job anymore; the world was changing too fast.
His rugged clothes and tired appearance made Dark seem like a homeless bloke, and this was not far from truth. Dark had been fired from his latest job, and the reason was nothing else than sleeping on duty. This fatal mistake had left him in this foul city with nothing else than his rugged clothes and the worn naginata.
Rumours on the streets told Dark that a casino named “Double Deuce” was recruiting for some kind of job. Perhaps it was an opportunity to make some quick money? Dark had his doubts, but he had no other chance than to try. Starvation was his only other option.
Dark stood on the spot for a moment and disappeared into the crowd on the busy streets. He found his way swiftly and shrugged at the casino in front him. ‘Double Deuce…..disgusting. Never thought I had to walk into a casino for a job’ he thought and walked in without even glancing at the guards.
“Hey there…you need a little more than that to enter this place, sir.” the largest of the guards declared, looking towards Dark with a sneer. Dark shook his head and pointed his naginata towards the guard; “Listen boy, I’m not here for trouble, I’m here for a job.”
The guard sneered at Dark again and opened the door clearly unsatisfied by the situation. The world had indeed changed.
An earthy aroma filled Luciana's nostrils as she extracted another Lepista Nuda. Briefly removing most of the soil with a small brush, she dropped both mushroom and brush into a small hessian sack, which, in turn, was placed into her handbag. Standing up, she stretched to the sky, and sighed deeply, savouring the midday sun. Admiring her surroundings, she set off back towards the port, another day's hunting completed. Strolling through the market, she spotted a noisy group of men crowded around a sign as she stopped to buy some chives. Thinking nothing of it, she carried on walking through the town. Luciana soon became curious after seeing the same odd situation occurring at almost every major crossroads she came to, but she dismissed it as no more than a town event of some sort. Rounding the corner to the port, she looked up, and her jaw dropped in dismay. The ship she had been cruising on was nearing the horizon. Distraught, she ran to the end of the pier, and cried out towards them. Slumping on a bench as the boat finally left her field of vision, began to panic. Frantically looking around, she saw one of the signs from earlier, and having nothing better to do, went to read it.
"Do you wish to sail the four oceans? Do you wish to meet new people? Do you wish to make lots of money doing both? Then this just might be your.... LUCKY DAY!" Luciana read the details as she pondered her situation. “The Double Deuce?” she mused aloud. She remembered seeing it on her journey, and decided that she may as well take a look. She needed another boat now, so she should at least see where they were going.
She arrived at the casino shortly after, only to be greeted by a long queue, and an obviously steroid enhanced bouncer. Walking straight past the others, she headed straight to the doors, waiting to be stopped. An arm shot out. “Sorry, we’re full. Join the line if you want to get in.” he said, as Luciana looked down.
“Well that’s too bad.“ she said, flicking her hair over her shoulder.
Getting a good look at the woman before him, the bouncer had a change of heart. “If you have some ID, I suppose there could be room for one more.”
“Oh my… I left it on my ship, but it sailed away without me. I came here hoping to find a big,” she looked up, “strong man to look after me.”
Almost drooling, the bouncer could only stand aside and let Luciana pass, much to the annoyance of the queue. Adding another notch to a mental belt, she glanced around to find the meeting area, and walked over to the group stood by the door.
The casino was a mixture of noises... the sound of slot machines and roulette wheels and the shuffling of cards. The cheers of winners... and the jeers of losers.
However, what could be heard over the din of the casino was a singular voice.
"Stop that man! He's takin' one of the cash boxes!" The man that spoke was one of the employees... not a floor employee, probably one of the admins... the man he referred too... was some long haired smoking fellow running like the devil was on his heels.
Which... wasn't a bad euphenism.
Unfortunately, he was too busy looking behind him to notice one of the Double Deuce's steroid enhanced bouncers.
Tonfa right to the throat.
The guard looked over the would be thief.
"New record... this bastard actually got to taste fresh oxygen. Damn hippie." He muttered to himself as he dragged the unconsious body out the door.
Yeah, seems that Mr. Century didn't take no guff when it came to stealing, as evident by the very heavy hands used by his personel.
That's when the door to Mr. Century's office opened up and two roughs were thrown out.
"And if I ever see you two try and enter my casino again, I'll have you shot on sight!"
Seems the man himself took a heavy hand in his own hiring policies.
"Alright, next interviewee... a Miss... Synire, is it? Please come in."
"Alright, next interviewee... a Miss... Synire, is it? Please come in."
Synire stood. "That is me." Synire followed the man into his office.
"So..." The man starts, sitting behind an antique oak desk. "What position would you like to have? I'm sorry, I'm getting ahead of my self. You see... I"m thoroughly bored and would like to sail around the world. See it, you see. For that, I'll need a sturdy set of officers to crew my ship, the Queen's Gambit."
Synire nodded. "That sounds interesting. Please go on."
"Well... I need officers. A captain... a first mate... a cooper... a doctor... a musician... a black smith... a cook. And so on. What do you want to be?"
Synire thought for a short moment. "Well, I have no skill in cooking, smithing, doctoring, or music... it would have to be one of the other three. And I definitely can't do carpentry... so I would have to be captain or first mate."
The man got up... and started to pace around his office. "I need someone capable of... not so much thinking fast... but able to make quick definite decisions..." And he grabbed a glass orb off a shelf... tossed it once... twice... then threw it at Synire.
Synire smiled. She stood, calmly, and reached out her hand. A split second later, the orb was nestled safely between her first two fingers.
"That's... fairly interesting. I was expecting a dodge."
Synire grinned. "But that would be a waste of a perfectly good glass sphere."
Synire tossed the glass orb back to the man. "So?"
"You can grab an orb... that's one thing." The man says, reaching a hand into his pocket... before smirking and withdrawing it... and then he did it.
"Money Shot!" And he threw a... coin at Synire... spinning as it came out towards her... cutting through the air...
Synire glanced at the spinning coin. Her mind instantly realized that it would not be safe to catch. She smiled and waved her hand in an arc. A silver chain shot out from her palm, a shining blade on the end slicing through the deadly coin. She whirled the chain once before allowing it to fold back into her palm.
"Nice use of a rope dart. Congrats. You're in."
Synire smiled again. "Thank you." She let the chain drop from her hand. "But a rope dart...?"
"The weapon you are using. Most people would call it a rope dart."
"I see... then they are mistaken." Synire laughed softly before snapping the chain back into her hand.
"Either way... go on in... and call in the next one." He looked over to his side. "A Mr. Akio Zensoku."
Synire nodded. She exited the office. "Mr. Akio Zensoku."
Akio walks into the room and quickly glances around but then focuses on his interviewer, His hands go behind his back to hide his nevousness, "I'm Akio. Pleased to meet you."
That man in the white suit looked at him over the top of his glasses. "Yes. I'm sure."
Nervously Akio says back, "So what exactly is this? I know it is to apply for a crew, but what exactly would we be doing? The poster wasn't specific."
"Sailing. Around the world." The man replies curtly. "So... which position are you applying for?"
Calming down a bit he replied, "Ok, well I used to help run a store, I could help manage the supplies of the ship, what's thats called... uh... quartermaster! That's it."
"Really? Are you any good at numbers?"
Smiling Akio said, "Of course, I had to keep track of what we had and calculate what we should charge to make a decent profit."
"Really now? What is one thousand nine hundred and three divided by twelve times four hundred minus six?"
Stunned he looked down at the floor and his eyes flitted back and forth in thought and after about a minute said hesitently, "one hundred ninty thousand.....two...hundred..eighty...... err...two? thirds. I think that's right."
"Close enough." Mr. Century said. "Congrats. If you can only be off by one, then that's good enough for me. However, I don't expect that happening much."
He sighed in relief and grinned, "Of course I'll be sure to never be off again! Thank you! You won't regret it!"
"Make sure I don't."
He came back down to Earth and realized he was just standing there, "So will that be all? No other questions?"
"That will be all."
"Who should I send in?"
"Whoever you think you should. I'm sure there's more out there looking for a job..."
He nodded and leaves the office hastily.
He looked around at the remaining people, "You can go in now I guess." He said gesturing to the man with a guitar, Den.
- "You can go in now I guess." The nervous interviewee pointed to the tattooed man with a guitar as he was busy tuning it. He looked up at Akio when his concentration was broken. "Mushi mushi? Alright." Slowly, he started to stand up. In fact, he took a full minute to pull himself off of the bench he was sitting on. As soon as he pulled himself to his feet, a woman carrying a large mallet shoved him back down and almost growled at him. "Outta my way." She said this in such a way that none of the interviewees said a word. The woman then marched right into Lucky's office, and slammed the door behind her. Everyone stared and wondered what just happened, while the man with the guitar sat disheveled on the bench "What just mushi mushi happened?"
- Faye entered the room and stared straight at Lucky. Lucky stared straight back. There was nothing but silence in the air until both of them simultaneously said "Oh. It's you." Faye grabbed a chair and sat down across from Lucky, while Lucky grabbed a clove cigarette from a small golden case he kept in his breast pocket. As he flicked his lighter open, he glanced across at Faye. "Wanna light?" Faye laughed. "I thought you'd never ask."
- As they both lit up, Faye took a close look at Lucky's desk. What she saw didn't make her happy. "What the hell did you do here?" Lucky took a drag from his black cigarette and cocked his eyebrow. "What are you talking about?" Faye slammed her palm on the desk. "The finish work! Look at this! It's got stains all over it! And look right here! What the hell did you do to cause these chips?" Lucky looked at the desk. "I don't see anything." Faye glared. "Yeah right. When I built this desk for you, it was perfect. I didn't expect to come back to see my work getting mistreated like this." Lucky cracked his knuckles. "Is that the reason you came back? To inspect your work?" Faye laughed. "Sorry, but I'm here because I saw an ad. Heard it pays pretty well." Lucky grinned. "That's correct. So what are you going to try out for? I could still use a carpenter." As she took a drag from her cigar, Faye looked at Lucky out of the corner of her eye. "How much does it pay?"
"The going rate for a cooper is 25,000 belli a month. That's excluding your supply allowance."
Faye cocked her eyebrow. "25,000 a month? I think I could do better. How about 30 grand per month? That's be enough to keep me interested."
Lucky narrowed his eyes. "What makes you think that I want you?"
Faye gave Lucky a sly smile. "Hun, I'm the best there is... and certainly the best on this island. It's either me, or the second-best, and a guy like you wants only the best. Am I right?"
Lucky smiled once again. "I never settle for second-best. Alright, you're hired. Hang around the casino until I contact the crew. Until then, drinks are on me."
- As she stood up, Faye laughed. "You might regret that. Anyway, it's 30 grand, got it?" Lucky looked out the window. "I'll see what I can do." Grabbing her mallet, Faye exited the room laughing. As she passed the guitarist she knocked over earlier, she helped him to his feet. "Sorry about that, hun, but you gotta sieze the moment."
Den rubbed the back of his head and said, "No mushi mushi, all's good." Den looked at the group, and with a wave, Den said, "Wish me mushi mushi all."
Den opened the door and went in, and Den closed it behind him. After a few moments, soft music could be heard from inside the room, then the music increased tempo and then moved to rock.
After a few more moments, Den walked out, a smile on his sleepy face. "Yay, I got in, who ever wants to mushi mushi next, then go on in." Den said, sitting down and yawning again, putting his backpack next to him.
After several days of walking, the inexpensive shoes Chiani had received as a gratuity in lew of payment for the delivery of a healthy babe had worn uncomfortably, and the swelling in her ankles and in blisters on several delicate portions of her skin dictated purchase of a more sturdy shoe. She staggered through the market place, bumping shoulders sometimes with a familiar face who would smile, or a busy person who sneered and cursed at being interrupted. Only once did a particularly well mannered, if unkempt, child pause to offer his apologies for the collision. Chiani practically doubled over when he beamed at her so gaily, and the friendly gesture was much appreciated, if only till the next shock of pain shot up her nerves.
At long last she discovered a vendor of wears suitable for work. Indeed, it seemed the inhabitants of this island had less to care of in their lives than proper arch support from the designs of their shoes. Infinitely more fortuitous was that the vendor carried a pair of the style she desired in her size. Granted the box was more than slightly dusty, but... the shoes fit like a dream. Chiani actually giggled and wiggled her toes inside them like a child. The vendor was very eager when she reached for her purse, only to find it missing. It suddenly occurred to Chiani that the child's smile might not have been friendly. Indeed, he fit the profile of a pick pocket through and through...
Cursing her lack of response, Chiani stormed out of the vender's small shop. Two months she'd saved that purse, spending oh so little, devoting every possible moment to treatment, and now her savings were gone. She wandered aimlessly, heart broken and ashamed and eventually found herself staring at a poster:
Do you wish to sail the four oceans? Do you wish to meet new people? Do you wish to make lots of money doing both? Then this just might be your... lucky day!
If interested, come to the Double Deuce. More information at the office.
Sighing, with her medical supplies seeming only slightly less of a burden now, she adjusted them on her slim shoulders and started walking. One could help but recognize this Double Deuce. Its lights could be seen at all hours of the night, drowning out the stars. Chiani oriented herself and began walking towards the hazy glow they were beginning to adopt in the twilight, silently cursing each step.
Dark opened his left eye only to see another of those young, brave fools walking out of the interview-room."Yay, I got in, who ever wants to mushi mushi next, then go on in." the young, sleepy lad exclaimed, as he entered the waiting room again.
Dark had started to feel slightly tired after the long waiting, and knew it was either time to sleep or finish off the interview.
Without further wavering, Dark stood up and raised his hand to indicate that he could be the next, if needed. No one complained, and therefore Dark stepped into the simple room in front of him.
Before Dark could seat himself on the cosy chair, a voice from the other side of the counter reached his ears: “So, old man, what position are you after?”
Dark sat down and sneered at the well-dressed young man: “Whatever gives profit.”
The man studied Dark for a while with a slightly dissatisfied look, as if searching for something. Just before he could open his mouth, Dark spoke with a quiet voice: “If you’re gonna ask about my age, I’ll snap your ear,”
Dark, feeling slightly discomforted, continued the conversation: “Listen, young man, I have 50 years of experience in various pirate ships…and” before he could continue, Lucky hushed him and made a confused grin towards Dark:
“Sure, sounds like you could make a First Mate…but old man…you need to work on that attitude of yours, okay?”
Dark was about to begin and argument when he suddenly realized he didn’t afford losing this job; he nodded and reluctantly whispered: “I will….sir.” the last sentence really took an effort.
Dark walked out of the room without any words, holding his anger back, and continued as well out of the casino; the other people would probably enter the interview eventually. The last thought Dark had, before falling asleep, was simply: ‘Damn those young people nowadays…If the captain turns out to be another of those…then I’m gonna…gonna…”
Luciana sighed. This was taking far too long. She only wanted to see if she could hitch a ride for a while, but now she was stuck waiting outside an office, with no idea how long she'd have to wait for her turn. Growing impatient, and thinking about when the next passenger boat would arrive, she decided that she would be seen now, or never. Looking around, she spotted a waiter coming out from a staff only room. She stood up, and made her way to the receptionist outside the office door. "Could you please tell Mr Century that I'll be waiting in the kitchen? I'm on a tight schedule." Turning around before the woman could stop her, she sped towards the kitchen. Reaching the door, she flung it open and pushed past an obese man in a chef's uniform. Surveying the kitchen, she made her way over to the knives, selected one, and began to sharpen it.
Lucky thought about what his receptionist said... and waited a full ten minutes. Plenty of time for the hopeful to do... well... anything. He got up, burning kretek in mouth and made his way to the kitchen. When he go there, he saw the head chef, Lionardo Acquistapace throwing his temper, and his bulk, around. "THIS. IS. IT!" He bellowed, turned to face Lucky. He crumpled his hat in his meaty hands, bent down to look at the shorter man and spoke. "I QUIT!" The amount of hot hair was enough that Lucky had to reach out and grab his hat.
"I see. And what has brought this upon?" The chef pointed to the girl.
"That girl... is touching everything in this kitchen. Is unauthorized. And is in my way. Good bye." And the large man headed for the exit.
Lucky realized then that the chef was serious. "Wait! Signore Acquistapace, you don't have to leave! Really, the Casino needs you, she's for a side project."
"NO! I'm gone!"
"I'll order the Alabastian Truffles." The man stopped.
"No. I will not be bought by your bribes."
"And the hippo meat."
"And new pots and pans and cutlery. Don't like the staff, fine! You get a new one!" Lucky took a deep breath. "What will it take for you to stay!?"
"New ovens and stoves." The man replied after some thought.
"Done. Cheque boy!" And by his side was a little kid... with a pen and chequebook. Lucky wrote off one. "Here you go. Ten million beli, Signore."
The large man took the check and looked at Lucky. "Thank you."
Lucky then turned to the girl. "You best be the damn cook on the planet to justify that!"
Putting down the onion she had just been slicing, Luciana strolled over to Lucky. "Mr Century, I presume?"
"The one and only."
"My, my... aren't we humble? I love a man with authority." she said, stroking his face. "I suppose you wouldn't mind telling me what these auditions are all about, would you?"
"I'm looking for a crew that wouldn't mind sailing the seas. That's all. You wouldn't mind joining, would you Miss?"
"That depends. Where are you sailing, captain?"
"Away. No particular place. Just away from here. Around the world. To all the oceans and the grand line." He shrugs. "I hope to turn a tidy profit along the way. Not sure how yet, though."
"That sounds good to me." she smiled, "If you take me with you, I'll be 'the best damn cook on the planet' for you... for a price."
"There is pay." Lucky says, nodding as he crunches the numbers. "Going rate is 50,000 a month."
"Fifty thousand? Does that include supplies?"
"Basic supplies and equipment. However, if you wish for a special spice or piece of food... you'll have to buy it yourself."
"Hmm... that isn't so bad at all, Mr Century. My name is Luciana Rossini. It has been a pleasure meeting you, Mr Century." she said, giving him a kiss on the cheek. Hearing boiling oil begin to jump out of the pan she was using, Luciana turned towards it, pointing her hand at it. The oil immediately stopped bubbling, and Luciana turned back towards Lucky. "I presume I will have some privacy in the kitchen, so as not to ruin any dishes."
"If you want. I did plan on you having a full staff. These guys have to go somewhere, now that the head chef is getting fresh blood. In fact," he turned to the rest of the people inside. "Acquistapace, you have the rest of the day off. Vacation over time pay. Everyone else, Miss Rossini is the new boss for the rest of the day. Make sure you can work with her. It'll be a long swim home."
"Thank you, Mr Century. I will be happy to have some assistants, but if they prove to be incompetent, they shall have to find something else to do."
"Miss Rossini, you'll soon learn that I never settle for less then spectacular. You'll find them worth working with."
"I look forward to it. Now, if you don't mind Mr Century, could you please leave the kitchen? It can be a little hard to work with untrained individuals in the environment. I wouldn't want any accidents to occur." she smiled. Turning back to the pan, she dropped the diced onion into the cold oil. Extending one hand, she stirred with the other as the onions instantly began to fry.
Lucky turned to leave and when he did... all the others started back to work. A well oiled machine. Even though each was an individual... each one took to their duties. Some were frying up... doing dishes... prepping it for service. One that was wearing an open chefs jacket and bandanna took his place next to her, pan in hand filled with several cuts of meats and vegetables. "Hi." He said to her.
"Hello dear." Luciana said softly, "What's your name?"
"Me? Bobby. Nice ta meet'cha." He says. He can't be that old. Maybe 16 at the most. A squirt of oil goes into the pan, followed by some sherry... and voom! Up in flames as he tosses it around. "Looks like you're the new boss."
Luciana giggled. "It certainly does. How long have you been cooking?"
"Long enough." Bobby says. There's a holler deeper in the kitchen. "Alright. Who ordered the orange raspberry sauce for the roast duckling?" Strangely enough... it sounded like a little kid. And it was. No more then 10 running around with a saucier in his hand, heading past Luciana towards the ovens.
"Whoa!" Luciana cried out, "Don't run in the kitchen! Think of the consequences first." She took the dish from the boy, she asked him "Who are you, and why are you in such a hurry?"
"Hey!" He took it back from her. "That's for the roast ducks in oven four!" And he was off again. Bobby started to chuckle. "That's Cecil. One of the assistant cooks."
"I hope he isn't too much of a handful. Who is that, then?" she asked, pointing to somebody huddled over a sink.
"He isn't. A bit anxious." He turns to where she pointed. "Santiago. He doesn't talk. But he's the butcher and pastry chef."
"He doesn't talk? That's odd." she mumbled.
"Not really." He looks to the man. "Hey Boris, go ahhh." The man turns around, does so... showing he has no tongue, flips Bobby off, then goes back to the sink.
"Oh my..." Luciana mumbled, taken aback. "Wh-who else works here? This is the weirdest kitchen I've ever been in..."
"Well... we got all sorts of crazyness going on here. Like Haikodoushi. He's a weird one."
"He's a gourmet, you know?" Bobby says. "He'll... well... he'll do something very very weird. Like... sever a slab of broil on a mahogany plank with a side of steamed vegetables."
"I'm not sure what to make of that..."
"Neither am I."
"Yeah." Bobby pointed to the far corner of the kitchen, where a young girl was 'tenderising' a steak with a sledgehammer, "That's Ellen. She's good at what she does... but she tends to be a little extreme in her methods." he said, as she drew a sword to chop some carrots.
"Finally," he said, as an old woman stepped out from a walk-in freezer, "that's Doris. She's a lovely old lady. She makes incredible food, but she's a bit deaf."
"You've got quite the mixed bunch in here, haven't you?"
"We certainly have." he laughed, "Welcome aboard. It'll be a hell of a time."
Symon casually entered the casino, letting the sounds of the slot machines, roulette wheels, and various other tables wash over him. He enjoyed noisy, busy places like this. He moved aimlessly through the aisles, trying to pick up a conversation that would tell him the way to the.."try-outs."
"HEY! Just what the hell d'you think YOU'RE doin' here?"
Symon spun around to see a very tall, skinny, official looking man with a scowl on his face. In his hand he held a clipboard upon which he drummed his fingers irritatedly. "You aren't old enough to be in here! And why're you hidin' your face like that? You got a bounty on your head?"
"Huh?" Symon stammered, taken aback by the sudden beratement, "No, no, I'm here for the job..."
"HAH! That's real funny, kid. Now I'm gonna have to ask you to leave, or I'll have to call in my large, unkind coworkers." He brought out a small, regal looking Den Den Mushi. "Do I make myself clear?"
Symon stepped up the the man, bringing their faces closer together. "You won't be telling anyone anything for the next hour."
"Oh really?" retorted the man disdainfully, "What do you have to say for yourself?"
With that, Symon placed his thumb swiftly on the man's Adam's apple and said, "Stun Note." A pulse went through his finger into the gentleman's neck, leaving him with a suprised look on his face.
"Don't worry," Symon said, "your vocal cord's will be fine in a while, so you can get back to being an assHOLY SHIT!"
The man had collapsed on the ground, clutching his throat and gagging, clearly unable to breathe! Something had gone terribly wrong. Symon stooped down quickly and laid his hands on his victim's neck, and began rubbing it slowly.
"Shhh...it's gonna be okay...I'm sorry, that was NOT supposed to happen, just relax...wait a minute."
Symon had noticed something odd. He tightened his grip on the distraught man's neck and, despite his frightened expression and attempts to stop him, he jerked the man's head quickly to one side. An audible crack went through the air, muffled by the ambient noise of the casino. After several moments, the man lifted his head, clearly amazed at the fact that he was still alive. He stared at Symon, puzzled, as if waiting for an explaination.
"You had a few bones in your neck out of whack. I just knocked them back into place for you. Sorry about the choking thing, that wasn't supposed to happen."
The man stood up, a look of joy and amazement on his face. "Kid...I've had that neck problem since the day I was born. I've dealt with pain everyday...and you just fixed it! Thank you so much!"
"Ah, it was nothing," Symon hastily replied, "after all, I did almost accidentally kill you..."
"No, really! Thank you so much! In fact, go on in to Mr. Century's office! Whatever the hell you just did, I'm sure he'll get a kick out of it!"
After getting directions and more praise from the man, Symon went on his way to the auditions, happy to have helped someone.
From what he could tell, it looked grim for Seamus. The entrance to the double deuce was crawling with security. Seamus gulped.
“I’m more man than you’ll ever be, you big jerk! I’ll show you!”
These words echoed in Seamus’ mind. He had to focus on the task ahead. He moved out from his position behind a lamppost, and headed to the casino. Teeth gritted, he came up to a guard that was standing by one of the many doors to the casino. Seamus cleared his throat. The guard paid no attention to him. He cleared it again. No reaction from the guard. Seamus thought for a moment. In one swift motion, he flipped around and was past the guard and pushing the casino doors open. And that’s when the huge hand came down and grabbed his head.
“Where do you think you’re going, boy?” growled the guard.
Puffing out his chest, Seamus replied: “I’m going to be a real man and take the job offer!”
The guard gave a belly laugh. “Do you even know what the offer is for, boy? Do you have any idea of the danger and peril you’ll face? Can you fathom what kind of journey this will be?”
“Yes. And that’s why it’ll need a gunner.” At this, Seamus merely opened his shirt, displaying to all his scrawny chest... and the multiple guns that were secured to it.
The guard was definitely surprised by this. “Hmmm... normally it wouldn’t be my policy to let a kid in for a job offer, but, I think I might make an exception in your case.” The guard stepped aside and let Seamus pass through.
Finally entering the Double Deuce, Seamus felt a wave of relief. He’d managed to complete the first part of his little wager with the bouncer. Now... all he had to do was get accepted. That’d be easy, right? He then looked up, and saw the massive line that was standing outside of the office. At that precise moment, most of Seamus’ spirit was crushed. There was no way that he was the only gunner in attendance. Steeling himself for failure, he joined the crowd.
Symon waited outside Mr. Century's office. He slowly turned his head and scanned the room. Tough looking people, he thinks, but not many of them look all that serious about the job. He silently swore to himself that if anyone else he had to work with looked like that, he'd quit on the spot. Just as he finished his thought he was called inside.
"Hello there Mr...D'Arturro, is it?" Mr. Century said politely, "My employee Lottino told me about you."
Symon tilted his head slightly. "I'm sorry, who?"
"The man whose neck you fixed. The tall, skinny, and...ahem...belligerent one?"
"Oh, right, yeah. Nice guy."
"Indeed. He had nothing but praise for you. He also spoke of some ability of yours...?"
Symon nodded. "Yes. I can produce vibration and sounds. It's-"
"A Devil's Fruit, I assume?" Lucky interrupted, "I apologize, but it seems fairly obvious. Now let's get down to business. I'm planning a voyage. I am looking for talented, able, and competant people to crew my ship. What can you bring to this venture?"
Raising an eyebrow, Symon replied, "Well, I have some mercantile experience, I'm a pretty competant bonesetter-"
Lucky interrupted again, "Yes, yes, all well and good, but I'm afraid posistions of those natures have been filled already."
Symon twitched. He wasn't about to lose a chance at adventure. "Well, I, uh...I can navigate fairly well."
Lucky sat up. "Fairly well? Explain."
"I can find any island within 100 to 150 miles, depending on conditions." Symon said confidently.
"That is certainly useful. Very well. Welcome aboard, Mr. D'Arturro. You will be supplied with maps and cartographical tools once you arrive at the ship. Now, about your pay..."
Symon now found his chance to interrupt. "Take half my first paycheck, and take all the tools and maps back to where you get them. Visit this man, tell him my name, and he'll know what to do..." Symon began to scribble an address and a name on a piece of paper on Lucky's desk.
"Mr. D'Arturro, I assure you," Lucky said indignantly, "the maps I have provided for you are of the highest-"
Symom, without looking up or stopping to write, said simply, "I'm blind, Mr. Century."
It was several moments before Lucky could speak. He stared at Symon, first at what he was writing, then at the lenses that covered his eyes, then again at the fact that he was writing at all.
"I know what you're thinking. I can 'see' the way I navigate: sound. I can write only because I press down really, really, hard so I can see the impressions in the paper. The man I'm sending you to knows me, and can make maps I can read."
He handed the paper to Lucky. He took it, still recovering from the revelation. He read what was on it, and brightened up a bit. "I know this man," He said, "he's the one I went to in the first place. Don't worry about your paycheck, it's no trouble. Is there anything else I should know about? An artificial limb? Large, deforming scar?"
Symon thought for a moment, then lowered his collar, showing a large, slightly creepy smile. Without moving a muscle, he spoke. "My vocal chords are amplified by my powers. The added strain kinda messed with the muscles near my mouth, so...yeah. I use my powers to speak now. I keep it covered so people don't stare."
Lucky simply smiled and said, "That's...interesting. Don't worry about it." He stood up and extended his hand. "Welcome aboard, Symon."
Symon rose and shook Lucky's hand. "It will be a pleasure to work with you. When do we set sail?"
"As soon as we get everyone we need. Just arrive at the docks tonight, we should be ready by then."
Symon walked out of the office, satisfied with the outcome. Things, as they say, were looking up.
Synire looked at the line of people in front of Mr. Century's office. Good thing I got here early... she thought. But now I've got a lot of time to kill... I guess I'll go win some money... She grinned. Playing cards was probably her favorite way of passing time. And she was good at cards. Very good. She ambled over to a table where a dealer was taking bets.
"Blackjack. In or out?" the dealer asked her.
"I'm in." Synire tossed five golden coins on the table and seated herself at the table. The dealer quickly dealt two cards to each player. Synire glanced at her hand. An ace and a four. "Hit me," she said when it was her turn.
The dealer handed Synire a third card. A nine. Synire looked around the table at the face-up cards and quickly calculated her odds.
"Hit me." A fourth card came sliding towards Synire. She smiled. A seven. Perfect twenty-one. "I'll stay."
The dealer called the end of the game, and the players laid down their hands. Most had fairly high hands, though no one else had blackjack. Synire grinned, drew the coins toward her, and waited for another game to start.
Akio fidgeted around in his seat for a couple minutes after his interview, then got up paced for a few more minutes. He looked like he was literally going to die of bordom. He looked all around for something, anything, to do until Mr. Century was done with interviews. He found an unused corner of space by the office that was clearly neglected by the janitorial staff. There was a light coat of dust over the floor. 'Perfect. I could use this to mess around for a little while.' He thought to himself.
Akio took a finger and began tracing out numbers and equations in the dust, followed by lists of materials he thought Mr. Century's ship would need. Before long every inch of dust was in an intricate web of formulas and lists and to anyone but Akio it would look chaotic.
He ran out of space, however, and was forced to move on. With a sigh he stood up and walked over to some of the others standing around the office and thought that conversation might make the time pass a little faster. "So... I'm Akio, who else here has already been accepted by Mr. Century? I'm am the quartermaster."
He was replied by a few strange looks from some of the interviewees and even got a, "Shut up, no one cares." from a particularly rude man. Akio just sighed and looked down at the floor disappointed. 'Maybe this wasn't such a good idea. All these guys are just... ugh...'
The running of a casino includes many many many functions.
One such function is security. Which is less about making sure that fights and theft is controlled then it is to keep cheaters from prospering.
Some of the regulars knew how to count cards or how to play the roulette wheels, and the money lost to them wasn't enough to take a heavy hand... but when a man was blatantly cheating, Lucky's boys dropped a train on him.
Take the man in the burgundy suit. Laughing. Acting Nonchalant. Sleighting his cards from out his sleeve.
It took an hour for him to be discovered.
And when he was... well, two of Lucky's steroid avengers walked up behind him, one kicking the chair from out under the cheater.
This caused two things: One, he fell. Two, he hit his head on the table.
After that, both picked him up and slammed him into a row of slot machines a few times for good measure, before taking him to the door and tossing him out.
Heavy handed in deed.