You are not logged in.
A wave of uneasiness passed through Davy as he watched Kat hide behind the shades of Gillian and Erik, who were yelling some words of distress which he could not catch. He had made a large mistake earlier, but could naught but feel indifference; what was the fruit doing to him? Was he truly becoming the monster he had feared just days ago?
Davy threw himself towards the ground, trying to find words of apology while staring at the empty, cold floor, but he could not; indifference was what he felt, and it was painful to admit it. Not even, as he gazed at Kat’s tearful eyes, did he manage to feel anything. Nothing at all.
From somewhere within the iceberg, Irohk and Graphite were launched together towards the ceiling, barely managing to control their flying combo, and were approaching the ship. Despite the surprise of seeing the two men fly, Davy used the chance to try to talk with Kat; Gillian and Erik, stunned, were simply gaping at the combination which was heading their way.
“Kat, please, listen to me…I’m sorry…” Davy spoke and noticed again his lack of emotions. Not even a senseless fool would take his words for genuine.
”No…” Kat began again, seeing how the man approached her. He could not be Davy. The reflection of the fiery eyes still shone through and she remembered them in dread. She carefully stepped backwards, and witnessed how the combination of Irohk and Graphite found their landing-spot.
For at the same times as Davy reached out for Kat’s hand, he ignored the incoming pair, who had accumulated an unbelievable speed as they flew; the conversation, not surprisingly, ended quite abruptly.
A sequence of sharp sounds and small explosions ended in a cloud of dust, which, soon enough appeared to hide a hole on the floor of the deck. Graphite, Irohk and Davy were situated at the bottom floor of the ship, clearly shaken by the fall, but still alive; they all coughed and tried to break away from the weird position they had fallen in.
A voice from above resulted in a simultaneous sigh from the trio:
“That’s why they call us the Gay Pirates…you see?”
Kat watched from a distance as the three rushed over to the new large hole in the ship. She tried to take the opportunity to get out of there, but as soon as she turned to escape she heard a sound.
"You haven't grown up at all have you?" She stopped walking as Meano spoke but didn't say anything. "How long do you think you'll be able to keep running away?"
"So even the ships pet knew about it huh?" Said Kat clenching her fists in attempt to stop the shaking.
"I know a lotta things." Said Meano, licking one of his tiny paws. "Hes still the same lad he always was you know."
"Isn't there a longer rope?"
"None that I can find."
"Oh man... I guess you two will have to stay there until we reach the next island."
"Like hell! It smells weird down here!"
"Oh sorry... my bad."
"Oh hang on, I know someone who can whip up a longer rope."
"Hey Mirage! Could you come over here for a minute to lend us a ha- Hey Valancius get off her!"
"God you could at least wait until she helps us get out of here befo- Ouch! What?"
Kat listened in silence to the voices behind her.
"Your wrong." She whispered.
"What?" Asked Meano.
"Im not the same person I was when I first arrived on this ship. I decided I wasn't going to get scared anymore. I decided not to run away anymore. But that person..." She thought about those cold eyes, the way he slaughtered the pirate and the emotionless way he apologised after. "If that person is the same guy he always was, I guess I never really knew him after all." She took a deep breath and realised she wasnt shaking anymore, but the heavy feeling inside her was still there. She frowned and started walking away again. "Im not so sure I ever want to get to know him either."
By the time Irohk climbed out of the hole with his crew mates, he walked to his bed. He lay down comfortably, when he suddenly realized.
"What the hell!"? he yelped. Gillian walked in just in time to hear what he had just said.
"What are you yelling about Irohk?" Said Gillian as he walked to his hammock, and pulled off his cape.
"It's only been 2 or 3 days, but in my battle with the second mate....He broke my cheek bones and pretty much cracked the top of my skull" Said Irohk
"Yet....i feel perfectly fine" Continued Irohk
"Come to think of it, I haven't seen one injury on any of us from our battles after we left Riddle Island"
Irohk and Gillian stared at each other bewildered.
"well..I guess what's done is done" Said Irohk
"Yea..I guess so.." Replied Gillian as they both lay down on their hammocks and drifted into a wary sleep.
Everyone went to their beds, overwhelmed by the afterbattle fagitue. Soon, the whole ship fell silent, it's peace disturbed only by occasional snores of tired crewmen. The full moon's serene light flowed through the windows, creating a view of a mystical world, overwhelmed by eternal sleep. Yet one person was still uneasy. Velencius Cotez, crew's sharpshooter, an assasin, a cold and ruthless man could not fall asleep. He lay on his bed, staring into the planks of the cabin's roof, thinking about himself and the people surrounding him. He had strange thoughts, ones that he had never experienced before. That made him feel worried, restless even. His doubt wouldn't let him sleep. He closed his eyes, and when he opened them again, he knew what had to be done.
Not even a tiniest sound could be heard, as the man left his bed. He carefully sneaked through the room, all the way to the door and the nearby coathanger. He took something out of his coat, and hid it in his pocket. Valencius looked back, at his roommates. Graphit, Davy, Erik. - "Yes. They too. But someone else is first."
A cat-like moving shadow slowly passed through the ship's interior. He stopped at the captain's door, and slowly opened it. Valencius used utmost care, not to let even one sound to be made. He walked up to the captain's bed, and looked at Gillian. The captain of their crew, their leader, a man of undeniable virtue, one that would be worthy of the name of a true knight and noble, had these relics of the past still existed in the ranks of peacekeepers. He had a truly pure soul. And that's why he had to die first.
Cotez took out the thing he had hidden in his pocket. A cold, steel blade seemed almost to glow in the eerie moonlight. He looked at the knife. It was his weapon of last resort, and he somehow felt this had a huge relevance to his current situation. Only by this tool of murder could he get rid of these feelings that had been overflowing him lately. Only by doing this could he regain peace. He had to kill them all.
Valencius was laying on the deck, looking at the beautiful full moon. He was now calm. As he gazed at the silver, crater-spotted globe, he felt strangely sad, and at the same time happy and relieved. He knew, that what happened was the right thing to do. He felt that something good had ended, and yet, at the same time, something bigger, maybe better, had begun. He thought those stangely calming thoughts, as some shadow appeared above him and covered the moon with it's blackness.
-"You know, I wasn't sleeping then." - said Gillian.
-"Yeah, I know." - Valencius replied, not moving even a bit. The captain stepped back, and gazed into the moon.
-"I could feel your anguish. You were truly lost, driven to the edge of despair. And yet, you stopped your blade before it reached my throath."
-"I have become weak. There was no human on this earth I wasn't able to kill, be it a man, a woman or a child. And despite that, I couldn't harm you. I am soft. And I feel that one day I will have to pay with my life for what happened tonight." - He said, closing his eyes. Gillian closed his too, and let out a deep sigh. He walked over to Cotez, and sat down beside him.
-"A strong person usually kills his own heart, to be able to kill others. But there comes a day, when one finds something, that he holds dear, something he needs to protect, not harm. I think you've found yours. Here, among us, you've found your friends, your family, your nakama. You've found the home that you've never had. I think that the child that you were, and that you've killed to survive, is still inside you. And it's the same as every human - needing love, compassion, understanding. By letting it's voice come through the thick walls you've built around your soul, you've become a better, more complete person."
-"What good comes of this, if I have lost my ability to fight. It has been the only thing I ever did, and now, I am weaker than ever."
-"There is one time in the life of a man, when he becomes stronger than he would have ever imagined. And that is, when he has something to live for, something to protect. Such a man will never lose."- The captain stood up, and started walking away. After few steps, he had been stopped.
-"Gillian..." - said Valencius, still laying on the ground.
-"Yeah?"- replied Graham, not turning around.
-"I still think your speech was gay." - Both men burst out in a loud, cheerfull laugh.
Last edited by Winxorz (2007-11-21 13:17:00)
It had been less than an hour since the sun had set and already Erik felt exhausted. Seated at a desk in what passed as both his personal quarters and the infirmary, head resting atop folded arms, the young doctor stared blankly at the wall.
Too much is happening in far too short a span of time. Sighing, Erik forced his eyes shut. I'm tired.... I just need to rest and then I'll feel better.... His mind turning to thoughts of his new nakama, Erik couldn't help but smile and relax a little. It had been over two years since he had last felt so at peace with both himself and those who surrounded him. Perhaps...perhaps I've grow accustomed to be alone and that's why everything seems so out-of-place of late....
A soft knocking at the door interrupted the chain of thought.
"Come in...." Erik neither moved nor opened his eyes.
"It's me.... Can I come in...?" Came the soft reply.
Kat? Erik stood and opened the door with little hesitation. Why would Kat be coming here at this hour...? It doesn't sound as if she's injured....
"Hi." She sounded...nervous?
"Hello, Kat." Erik smiled invitingly and stepped away from the door to allow her inside. "Is there something wrong?"
"Well, I wanted to talk, but it's a little..." She sat down on a simple wooden stool and looked down at the ground. "Gillian told me what happened with the angel and I wanted to say 'Thank you'."
"Oh." Erik's smile brightened a little, looking more genuine than normal, and he sat back down facing Kat, arms folded across the chair's back. "There's nothing to thank me for; I did what I would have done for any of my nakama." Though it went unheard by Kat, something faltered in Erik's voice toward the end of the sentence.
"Of course I have to thank you, Erik." Kat stood up and looked at him; she had not shouted, but there was an intensity in her voice that commanded attention far more than could mere volume. "You shot yourself...for all you knew you were killing yourself...." It seemed as if Erik was about to speak when Kat cut him off. "Did you know - or at least have some idea - that everything would turn out alright?" Whether he responded 'yes' or 'no', Kat knew the answer would speak volumes about her nakama. What answer did she hope for, though....
"I...." Erik paused and looked closely at Kat; was she crying? "The angel said one of us had to die; I couldn't let it be you or any of the others..." The doctor smiled wryly, "Not even Valencious.... Who else was there?" No, it must have been a trick of the light; her eyes were dry as could be.
"Please, then, Erik...and try, try to understand why this is so important to me...." He nodded gravely in response, "How could you shoot yourself for me?" Kat had expected Erik to smile reasuringly, or try to downplay what had happened, but instead he simply looked at her, steadily meeting her gaze.
"I look at you and imagine what Elisabeth was like before we met.... I imagine the young woman that Maria could have grown to be...." Once again sighing, Erik closed his eyes and leaned back in his chair. "I'm also a doctor now, Kat. I save lives, yes, but I have also seen lives cut short in their prime." The young sorceress sat down in her chair and listened closely, "To dedicate one's life to a goal, to surrender one's life for a dream is...acceptable...to me. Watching a life end that has not even begun to imagine its own potential, though, that is unacceptable to me!" There was anger in his voice, a vehemence that sent a shiver down Kat's spine and which, for a moment, made her question the wisdom of her approaching Erik on this subject. But after a moment, Erik was smiling again, a bitter yet familar, and strangely comforting sight.
"I think I understand." Kat nodded, thoughts turning toward her past and future. With a smile, she gave Erik a quick hug, much to the doctor's surprise, and then walked toward the door. She paused, half-way out the door, turning back toward the slightly muddled young man: "Don't forget that it's just as important to live for your dreams, right?" Erik smiled brightly and with that, Kat left the room, both their moods immensely lightened.
Last edited by Tenebrous (2007-12-01 09:54:57)
Kat frowned as the flames on the candles beside her flickered. It had been a completely uneventful week or two since the incident with Davy. Some of the crew welcomed the time off and made the best of it while others became restless, craving a little more action. Kat on the other hand grew more and more nervous with every passing day. The crew wasnt on this ship to have fun, they now know they have a mission to accomplish and she found it hard to relax knowing wherever the ship was taking them was probably just as dangerous as riddle island, or more likely a lot worse. During the past few days her worries intensified even further due to abnormalities in the weather. Four days ago was a wonderful cloudy day, but gradually the clouds got bigger, thicker and darker. Layer after layer of these clouds piled over one another in the sky until not a single ray of light, from the sun, the moon or the stars, could shine through. They were now sailing blindly in an ocean where 12 noon was as dark as 12 midnight.
"C-Check mate" Kat was in her own world of thoughts and barely heard Mirages words, but when she realised what Mirage had said she plied her eyes away from the candles and onto the chess board infront of her.
"Aww havent you ever heard of going easy on beginners? Cut me some slack will ya." whined Kat scanning the board trying to figure out why she lost.
"If she did that you wouldnt learn anything." Said Irhok opening a few draws and ruffling through the items inside.
"Besides, you'd probably lose just as badly anyway." Snorted Graphit from across the room, slightly out of breath and drenched in sweat as he just finished the afternoons self training session. "Right Doc?"
"Mhmm..." replied Erik who had his face buried in a book and obviously had no idea what the conversation was about.
Kat twitched slightly and considered throwing the nearest sharp object at his pointy head, but in the end she was too exhausted to even think of a witty comeback. She needed to stop worrying and start sleeping at night.
"Not here either huh..." Mumbled Irhok closing the draws then bending down to look under the table.
"Need a hand looking for something?" Ask Graphit standing up.
"No, no its fine. The captain just had to light our last candle. It was a long shot, but I was hoping I'd find a few more somewhere on the ship. You know how strange things pop up on this thing every now and then."
"We s-should save the remaining ones for emergencies then. " Said Mirage, then stood up to blow out the candles one by one.
"W-wait, are we supposed to just sit here in the dark until then?" Said Kat nervously standing up before Mirage could blow out anymore. She didnt like the dark at all. "If we need light than I can help out" Said Kat raising her right hand.
“NOOOO!” Yelled everyone in the room simultaneously just as Gillian opened the door to kitchen and stepped inside. The broad grin on the captains face dropped and he slowly backed out of the room again.
“I don’t think they were talking to you.” Laughed Davy looking in from the doorway from behind then captain. He glanced at Kat and smiled when he saw her raised hand. Kat flashed red with embarrassment, then looked away with an annoyed expression on her face.
“Aah, just remembered that I have to… uh clean something.” She said and made her way to the exit just as she’d done every other time Davy walked in the room since that day.
“Clean something…” repeated Davy with a raised eyebrow.
“Yah, clean something.” Said Kat raising her own eyebrow. The room fell into an awkward silence for a few moments until an impatient Valencius spoke up from behind Davy.
“Hurry up and tell them already.” He said to Gillain who was looking back and forth between Kat and Davy.
“Oh yah, wait a moment Kat, you’ll want to hear this too.” Said Gillain his broad grin back on his face. He struck his latest pose and cleared his throat. “By the looks of things we should be arriving at the next island in a day or two. Davy’s been marking our course on the map and according to our current position, speed etc. we should be heading straight for Midnight Island.”
“So the lights over the ocean in the distance…” Said Graphit.
“Yah, those lights are most probably coming from one of the greatest night life islands in the world.” Grinned Valencius barely suppressing his excitement. “ I’ve never been there personally but I’ve heard stories of an island somewhere around these parts of the ocean shaped like a diamond, where it is night time 24 hours a day, all year round. There’s supposed to be thousands of huge casinos, clubs, bars AND world class hotels, resorts, chefs and women. Booze, drugs and money, the perfect place for young handsome bachelors.” He nudged Davy who was closest to him as his said the last words.
“Sounds a little interesting.” Said Irhok.
“Sounds a little illegal.” Said Erik.
“Yes the island is dangerous. It is known for its high crime rates, and frequency of murder and robbery but there’s only so much the marines can do in remote places like these…” Began Gillain.
“There’s a lot the marines can do in remote places like these,” Said Valencius. “But the locals pay a certain fee to certain top notch marines. In the end of the day the casinos stay open, the marines have more money for more guns and a place to retire.”
“Sounds like a waste of time.” Said Kat.
“S-shes right. How d-do we know there are any keys on the island?” Ask Mirage.
“Why does it matter?” Asked Valencius wide eyed. “You tell ‘em Davy.” He sighed.
“Apparently among the many casinos on the island there is one that deals with the richest of the rich. However people don’t gamble for money there. People win anything from slaves, to rare animals, to ancient treasures, to body organs. It’s a gamble but if there is anywhere in the world that a key would be hiding this would be it.”
”Booze,” Valencius exclaimed, and the rest of the conversation disappeared for Davy’s part. He was low on sake; in fact, both storage 3 and 10 seemed to be empty, which was a little depressing, when Davy gave it a thought. Lately, he had been either honing his skills late at night, when Kat would be asleep, or drinking sake while scouting for approaching islands and ships. Nevertheless, no matter how much Davy attempted to stay indifferent towards Kat, being casual and nonchalant, something pierced his heart with agony every time she placed those sad eyes on him. The sake was his escape, and though he tried to succumb to the excitement and the possible battles ahead, Davy saw this island as a possibility to fill the empty sake-storages.
Valencius on the other hand, emitted an aura of excitement and eagerness. He seemed like a bubble about to burst, and ready to encounter the ‘good’ life again; this place was his playground. Swiftly, he noticed Davy’s blank stare and approached him with a mischievous grin. “You need a brothel, my friend, and I believe this island can offer you just the thing!” he growled, but was promptly ignored by a thoughtful Davy, who replied by a simple: "When sorrows come, they come not single spies, but in battalions"
“Fool!” Valencius jumped on the elevated part of the deck, and seemed to shine as he performed some kind of stylish dance while speaking: “The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool, and now you’re being one! Endless brothels, casinos, bars and resorts await us at the island and you are acting like a man of sorrow” Yes, this truly the playground of the marksman, and Davy felt that he was being dragged towards trouble already before their journey began. Then, he glimpsed at Kat, who was following the little conversation, and turned back to a Valencius who was sparkling of anticipation: “You are right, I am a fool, and I accept your offer! Please guide me in my search of eternal fun!”
The rest of the crew was apparently ignoring the flamboyant conversation, and while Erik was observing the distant city, Mirage, Irohk and Graphite seemed to be in their own thoughts, each and one of them thinking about what awaited them in the city, while fighting off drowsiness. However, Gillian caught the attention of the whole crew with a loud cough, and stroke no poses while he spoke to the crew: “Just remember, if there’s a key here, there will also be trouble awaiting us. We should split into groups.”
The storm clouds loomed larger and larger as the ship drew closer to Midnight Island. While the others carried on their conversations or simply stared with wonder or anticipation at what awaited them at their next destination, Erik frowned slightly. His knowledge of the island left much to be desired: when it first came to public knowledge, the enslavement and subsequent near-genocide of the native population, and even the accepted theory behind the unique phenomenon for which the island had earned its name. In other words, nothing useful to their current purpose. Frowning deeper, the doctor turned away and headed for the infirmary.
From what little of use that Valencious had told them, Erik surmised the next key would indeed be on the island - assuming the so-called angels knew what they were doing in guiding the ship here - and most likely it would be in the possession of one of the casinos' owners. Any other situation would make this all too easy.... His frown gave way to a rueful smile as he continued packing what supplies he felt would be necessary. That means we'll either have to win the key, or barring that, steal it. But how.... Erik sat down and put his mind to working at a solution.
As the group broke into discussion about pairing off, Gillian made his way over to where Erik was sitting. Standing next to Erik, Gillian was only slightly higher than eye level on him. putting an arm on His friend’s shoulder, Gillian spoke. “Erik, You’ve been trustworthy crewman since the very beginning. There’s nobody I’d rather have covering me in a fight, and I hope you know it.” Erik smiled, rather sheepishly. “Now that we have that established, I’d like to ask you if you’d help execute a plan that I’ve been thinking of. We know that there’s a key on this island, correct?” Erik nodded, still obviously deep in thought. “We don’t know where exactly the key is. I propose that we do a little marine work to find out.” Erik gave him a funny look. “What exactly do you mean, Gillian?” “I mean,” Said Gillian “that we should dress up as marines, and inspect the goods that each casino has for prizes. If a marine vice admiral and captain knocked on your door, I’d suspect that you’d open up for them. Of course, it might be even better if the vice admiral and captain were corrupt and actually participated in the auction…” Erik gave him a bit of a deadpan stare. “Where on earth are we going to get a marine vice admiral? Or a captain for that matter?” Gillian just grinned back. “Watch this.” He walked up to his cabin door, “I WOULD LIKE A MARINE VICE ADMIRAL’S UNIFORM, PLEASE!” Gillian stepped into the cabin, and after several minutes of shuffling, emerged in a brand new vice admiral’s uniform. Erik gaped, but then regained his composure. “I always wondered why I’ve had adequate medical supplies while on this ship. So that’s it…. You just ask and the ship will give it to you?” Gillian shook his head. “I’ve known about this for about a week. In that time, I figured out that besides necessities, the ship can make maybe 75 pounds of extra stuff every couple days. I’m not sure how, but it does it, and the stuff doesn’t seem to go away. At any rate, get your uniform, and we’ll tell the rest of the crew about our little plan.” With that, Gillian strode off, Erik merely rolled his eyes and muttered “I never agreed to that plan”.
Back with the group, Gillian explained his plan. Kat’s hand shot up as soon as he had finished talking. “Gillian… Can I go with you guys?” Gillian’s face flashed surprise, and Davy’s flashed shock, but both only for a moment. “Of course you can come with us; But You should know perfectly well that this is going to be dangerous. I’d rather you go with one of the groups who aren’t going to be up close and personal with the goons who run the casinos, but I know you’re just as capable as any one of us. So, grab a captain’s uniform, and get ready for an adventure!
Less than one hundred miles away, trouble was brewing on a small island not marked on any map.
“You damnable fool! How could you possibly let him escape? You had them with two ships, for godsakes! A shadowy figure held a beaten-bloody captain Red-Boddom by the collar of his uniform. Barely choking out an “I’m sorry”, The shadowy figure dropped him to the ground. The shadowy figure paced back and forth several times, and then snapped his fingers.
“Ms. Graham! I have something that needs immediate attention. Please send these bounties into headquarters immediately, along with pictures taken from the Redboddom’s fight.” A tall woman with black hair snapped to attention, and then began speaking into a den-den mushi. The shadowy figure smiled, white teeth showing, and then muttered to himself “You and your “crew” will rue the day that you were born, Gillian Graham.”
Valencius stood, mouth agape, his chin softly scraping the deck, as Gillian presented his miraclously attained garments. He looked at Davy, standing beside him in a similar manner. A jolt of understanding jumped between their eyes, as one word, one simple, short, yet how sweet and wonderful a word appeared in their minds. They nodded in silent agreement, and they walked slowly, trying not to attract attention. Yet excitement prevailed - they dashed down the corridor and to the storage room as soon as they were sure no one else watched them. Valencius stood before the door, his palms sweaty, his legs weak, and butterflies carelessly speeding through his stomach, proppeled with what felt like tiny, little scramjet engines. He cleared his troath, and with a trembling voice said: "We would like BOOZE!"
The doors opened with a screak that promised unfathomable wonders of the inside. Two figures, full of anxiety, slid inside and closed the door.
"Do you see any booze?" - asked Davy.
"I can't see anything, it's too dark. I think I can hear something" - Answered Val
"Yeah, kinda like watter pouring from an open tap. Damn, something IS wet in here. My shoes just got soaked."
"You probably tripped a bottle over. I sure hope there's a LOT of booze here. Still, it's really dark. I'm gonna light a match."
The trembling light of the match revealed before them a sight to marvel. Out of thin air, from absolute emptiness, there poured a thumb-thick stream of high-quality ethanol - pure, wondrous C2H5OH. The alcohol level in the room already reached their ankles.
"Booze" - Davy said, drooling slightly.
"Booze indeed, my friend. It would be better bottled, but it's good as long as there's a LOT."
Suddenly, as if the LOT repeated by Valencius in near-sightness friendly upper-case reached it, the booze stream widened. It now had the diameter roughly equalling that of an arm's thickness. The pirates' smiles widened. Then they vanished. The booze lake was already at their belts, rising with every second.
"Isn't alcohol flammable?" - Davy muttered
"I'm not gonna drop the match, relax"
"No, isn't, like, it's vapour flammable"
The only answer was the darkness that followed.
Davy and Valencius stood in darkness, chest-deep in booze, knowing the only thing that could be done. Yet, they feared it, they were almost thinking about sacrificing their lives for the greater booze. Finally, they overcame their greatest fear.
"We... we want NO BOOZE." - They said.
All of it disappeared. Davy opened the door to let the light from the corridor in. Even the bottles that were there earlier were gone.
Kat was walking by the door to the lower deck, when they opened. From the doorway emerged the figures of Davy and Valencius, crying rivers of despair and torment, their clothes completely wet, reeking with alcohol.
"What the..." - she explained with wit hitherto unseen in the crew - "Wait... I don't even want to know." - she sighed and walked away, leaving the two men with their overwhelming pain of loss.
At first glance the city was beautiful. Amidst the empty darkness caused by the dark clouds above, glowing lights flickered from each lantern on the street and each window of each tall building so that Kat felt almost like she was walking amongst the stars. However, once the initial excitement vanished she could see the city for what it really was. The alleys were filled with drunks and beggars who let the casinos get the best of them. There was trash all over the streets and the air smelt of alcohol and felt thick and polluted. She didnt like the atmosphere of the island one bit but decided it was at least better than staying on the ship alone with Meano.
'Not exactly what I expected.' Muttered Irhok.
'Well we're not here to have fun. Remember things could get dangerous in a second so- Hey were are you two off to!?' Yelled Gillian after Valencious and David who had just walked off in a random direction, but they were too busy mumbling to each other with excitement to hear him. 'Ok, then if your leaving don't forget that we're meeting in the town center tomorow night! And dont forget-'
'Don't worry, we've been over the plan a thousand times. Find out where the underground casino is and find a way to get there, but dont do anything stupid until after meeting with the rest of the group right?' Said Graphit smiling at Gillain. 'Lets go guys.' He said as he walked of the another direction leading Mirage and Irhok.
'I guess that just leaves us then.' Said Erik. Kat turned to look at him and suppressed a giggle. She wasnt used to seeing him in a marine outfit and she herself felt ridiculous in hers. She wondered if it was a good idea for her to be there, after all who in their right mind would believe she was a marine? Erik caught her eye at that moment and smiled back at her. It was too late to back out anyway, so she figured she might as well enjoy herself.
'So Captain, whats comes next in this genius plan of yours?
“So Captain, what comes next in this genius plan of yours?” Kat looked Gillian in the eye as she spoke; there was simply no other option for her.
“I’m glad you asked, Kat.” Gillian’s smile was broad and hearty as he clapped Erik on the shoulder. “Fortunately, the two of us have our ship’s most brilliant mind to come up with a plan for us!” Erik smiled as well, for all of about ten seconds, before their captain’s words fully registered with him.
“Wh-what…?” It was all Erik could do but to blink and stammer out the simple question.
“Erik, a good captain becomes such by delegating responsibility. So that’s what I’m doing right now: being a good captain.” The smile never faded from his face, but now Erik could see past the goofiness to the shrewd, manipulative mastermind with whom he was really dealing. Then Erik remembered that it was just Gillian.
“Of course, Captain….” Erik sighed and shook his head, but was once again smiling, though perhaps a bit more wryly than before.
The three moved aside to a quieter section of the street, where they were certain not to be overheard and where any overly curious passersby could be easily spotted before getting within hearing distance. A wise precaution, as three marine officers, one being a small girl at that, were definitely raising more than a few eyebrows.
“Since you told me of your plan, captain, I’ve been thinking over several ideas,” Erik explained, his smile now gone and replaced with a serious expression which the others recognized as very close to excited. “Our best course of action is to play our cards close to the chest, so to speak. The more we keep our eventual targets, as well as the less savory elements of this island, guessing about our intentions and true nature, the more likely we will remain safe.”
“No one wants to go blindly into a fight, eh?” Gillian chimed-in.
“Exactly.” Erik nodded and smiled in acknowledgement of the captain’s comment before continuing. “I propose that we pass ourselves off as ‘art collectors’ who are looking for some works that cannot be otherwise acquired legally. That way we can mingle with the criminal element while still keeping ourselves separate; we are outsiders but we’re also…customers, if you like.” Kat nodded in understanding, though not feeling entirely safe with the plan.
It’s just the island.... She thought to herself, turning to notice a man down a ways on the other side of the street who all-but leering at her. She shot him a scathing glance before turning her attention back to Gillian and Erik, moving a little closer to her nakama.
“….it sounds like a good plan, Erik.” Gillian cheerily grinned, striking a resolute pose, hands planted firmly on his hips. “This way we should be free to pursue whatever curious items might come to our attention without raising any suspicion.”
“And even if our quarry becomes suspicious, they still shouldn’t suspect us of being any more than what we claim; very determined, if somewhat eccentric, collectors….” Erik nodded with a note of finality.
“Then there’s no course left to set but forward!” Finger in the air, pointing in no direction in particular, Gillian struck another of his patented poses. Erik simply shook his head, smiling faintly, while Kat grinned considerably, her mood definitely lightened by the company.
‘Eric, I’ve been thinking about this for a while now, but what do you make of the crests on all of these buildings?’ Asked Gillain. They had been walking for almost twenty minutes towards the centre of the town where they were told the biggest casinos would be, but it wasn’t until Gillain had asked the question that Kat suddenly noticed that each building had one of three different symbols. A green peacock, a golden lion or a blue rhino.
‘Yes I noticed them as well. I’m not sure about the blue rhino, but the golden lion is the Ryona family crest. The Ryona family is famous world wide for owning 74% of the worlds museums, libraries and universities. They are known for their interest in history and apparently own their own private collection of rare artefacts. It wouldn’t surprise me that a family like that would own casinos all the way out here as a source of income.’
‘Rare atifacts… like gem keys?’ Asked Kat.
‘Probably’ Said Gillain ‘The Ryona family is well known in the marines as well for their large and generous donations. What about the green peacock?’
‘I’m not as sure about this one, but I have seen the green peacock on several high class stores during my travels. Looking around here, most of the bars, women’s shopping centres and jewellery shops have that crest on them.’ Said Erik.
‘The green peacock is a symbol of the Shaws family, who initially became rich by selling gems and diamonds on rich islands. Eight years ago the marines had to investigate the sudden murder of the head of the family. A group of pirates were arrested later on but most say it was just a cover up. The wife, who was forced to marry him at the age of 13, was left with all the money. It was obvious that she had something to do with it but we couldn’t prove it. Last I heard she expanded his business and opened several bars and casinos were only women were allowed to work and only male customers were served. Great place for bachelors and married men who need an escape. She made millions.’
‘Selling gems, so maybe the Shaws family is a better place to start then.’ Said Kat frowning because she didn’t have anything more useful to contribute to the conversation.
‘Maybe,’ Said Gillain ‘The blue rhino is the Draken family crest, well known in the marines for their interest in violence and illegal activities. They are the most likely to have an underground black market.’
‘I noticed that most of the weapon shops had their crest on them.’ Said Erik.
‘Apparently the Draken family makes most of its money by holding battles to the death. People come to watch and place bets, and anyone is allowed to compete for only a small sum of money. The winners of each tournament receive a lot of money and a hidden prize not revealed until the end of the tournament.’
‘Ok then we should start by entering a tournament and aiming for the hidden prize?’ Said Kat looking from Gillian to Erik.
‘I don’t think jumping into a battle to the death is such a good idea, especially since we have no idea what the hidden prize is till the end. The Shaws family casino wouldn’t allow a girl in so they are out too. Also neither of them have a very good relation ship with the marines anyway.’
‘So that just leaves the Ryona family casino.’ Said Gillain striking a pose with one arm pointing at a humongous casino with a golden dragon crest right above the entrance. Kat looked up but couldn’t even see the top of the building from were she was standing. This was with out a doubt the main Ryona family casino.
‘Well lets go in then.’ Said Kat taking a step forward. But just as she was about to enter the doors burst open from the inside and a skinny, filthy looking man was thrown out by two large men in black suits and ties.
‘Please! I beg you! I’m about to win! All I need is one more chance! Just one more! Pleaasee!!’ Begged the skinny man.
‘You have nothing left to bet, so I suggest you leave before things get really ugly.’ Growled the bigger guard in a deep voice, threatening the man with his fist.
‘I don’t have any family left! I don’t have anything to go home to. Gambling is my life! I just need a second chance and-‘
‘This is Midnight island. No one gets a second chance.’ That’s when Kat noticed him for the first time. A young boy around her age with black hair, black and cold dark eyes and a black suite, white shirt un tucked and un buttoned from the top. With a cold and almost bored expression he turned to go back in to the casino.
‘No! NOOOOO!!’ The skinny man was screaming now, tears running down his face. He ran towards the boy ready to attack. Kat took a few steps forward and opened her mouth to warn him but Gillain told her to hold her back. The boy didn’t even turn to face the man. He took a step to the side, threw his leg out to trip the man and before the man fell forward on his face into the casino the boy grabbed him by the arm and swung he effortlessly back out on the street. But the man wasn’t going to give up so easily, he jumped to his feet and grabbed Kat.
‘HaHAha! You will left me in!!! You will give me another chance!!’ Laughed the man breaking a bottle he picked up from the ground then pointed the sharp shards at her neck.
‘Kat!’ Yelled Erik and Gillain. But the boy who was still facing the other way just yawned.
‘Like I said, no one gets a second chance.’ In a split second the boy turned and shot once. The bullet hit the man right between the eyes. The boy yawned again then went back into the casino without saying another word.
Fifteen minutes later the three of them were in a warm lavishly decorated room, sitting on a table with a huge feast set out in front of them.
‘I humbly apologise for my younger brothers actions earlier. Just so you know he is being punished by my father as we speak for letting that filth attack you and shooting at you without warning. He will be down again later to apologise himself and as a token from us he will escort you throughout your stay as your guide.’ The tall beautiful brunet with thin framed glasses, in a black skirt suit had just escorted them into the room. ‘My name is Angela Ryoma, and if you need anything please contact me.’ She smiled a smile she must have practiced a thousand times in front of a mirror, then gave Erik her business card with a slight blush and a wink. ‘If you had told us in advance that you were arriving today we could have sent some of our people to pick you up straight off the ship. We do treasure our relationship with the marines so please accept this complimentary feast in place of our usual transportation to the casino. I hope you enjoy your stay with us.’
Erik watched her leave then looked at the business card in his had. ‘Don’t you think they are trusting us a little too much?’
‘Its all just for show. They’ll be keeping a close watch on us from here, which is probably why the Ryoma family’s boss’s son is going to be our escort.’ Replied Gillain, but Kat was barely listening to the conversation. She looked at the food and frowned, she had completely lost her apetite. No matter how many times it happened she would never get used to that ‘near death experience’ feeling.
Last edited by Infinity (2008-02-16 06:38:24)
The gigantic neon illuminated the whole alley with a pale green light. A peacock, the size of a grown man, hanged above a two-winged doorway glistening with gold ornaments. The windows, coated with a red barrier of thick, red curtains wouldn't allow to look inside, but the flickering lights that passed through it and a mix of laughter and shouting assured any passerby, that it was worth to walk in. Valencius and Davy barely needed further encouragement. As they walked up, a small sliding window opened in the doors, and a cold eye looked at them dully, yet carefully. A lock clicked, and the doorway opened, letting them enter the world of booze, lust and high stakes.
To say that the casino was crowded, would be a strong euphemism. So would be saying, that the staff's outfits were skimpy, or that the VD duo was content. The only word they could think of right now was WHOAH! To tell the truth, the only word their brains combined would be able to produce right now, would be just a bigger WHOAH! As they were about to happily rush in, a large figure stepped in front of them, blocking the way. A female bouncer, almost two meters high, clad in a way too tight tuxedo, only to show more than discouraging muscles, asked them to leave their weapons at the counter. More carefully now, the two proceeded through the entrance hallway.
There were tables for everything - Grand Line Hold'em, Goldjack, the Treasure Roulette. The hall was filled with happy, and definitely far from sober men, accompanied by a swarm of girls in all kinds of kinky outfits - from nurses to maids to bikini-clad models. In the center of the room was a fountain of ever-flowing champagne. This place was a dream come true for every pervert, every gambler and every alcohol crazed booze-maniac. And Valencius was all of them.
Davy’s eyes bulged at the astonishing fountain in front of him, barely avoiding the female bouncer who impetuously passed in between him and Valencius. Had he not been too busy observing and approaching the maid costumed females, Davy would notice how Valencius’ expression was filled with content and composure; this was home, or rather, better than home.
Behind the countless tables which filled the main hall, opal letters in the floor spelled out “The Green Peacock” on the scarlet wall, and beneath, the magnificent sight of a green peacock, made by several large jewels it filled the whole wall. Although Davy tried to remove focus from the shiny object on the distant wall, his eyes were as if enthralled by the masterpiece. For a time, he just stared, and assumingly ignored the bunny-costumed ladies who were winking towards him, greeting him with champagne and liquor.
Having succumbed to the familiarity of the place, Valencius was long gone. Frenzied by the view of card-games and women, he was already betting high stakes at the Grand Line Hold’em table, focused only on the pleasure of betting away huge amounts of money; once you knew of the bon vivant lifestyle of a player, you could never completely distance yourself from its grasp.
Davy walked through the main hall in ecstasy, sliding through large groups of nurses, bunnies and teachers, all of them female, and clothed in a manner which would certainly increase the level of motivated students. Finally, after having drunk several glasses of champagne, he stood before the large Peacock, gazing towards it in a manner which a religious fanatic would envy him for. ‘It is unbelievably magnificent’ he thought. Though in trance, Davy noticed an approaching man in the corner of his sight, and turned around, finally breaking the spell which the peacock had put on him. “Ah, I see you are captivated by my work, monsieur, I am glad!” the white bearded, old man grinned widely, extending both his eyes and mouth in length. His eyes could hardly be seen when the grin appeared, and though small, the man seemed important and wore clothes which confirmed just that. “This peacock is my magnum opus, I care to say, monsieur, and my greatest gift to the Shaws” his eyes turned thoughtful, but he remained his calm look. “It’s wonderful, sir, and I bet the owner of this casino is richer than West Blue” Davy replied, respectfully speaking to the elder. He nodded and seemed amused: “Yes, you are correct, monsieur; Miss Shaw is richer than you can imagine…perhaps you would like to meet her right now?” Davy was set back by the offer, but accepted humbly, hiding a slight grin in his face. “I would certainly, if she has time? Mr..?” “Mr. Tenom, sir, and yes, you will be most welcome. Judging from your accent and manner of speech, you are a long way from home, and the Miss always likes to greet visitors from distant shores.”
Mr. Tenom led him through a narrow door, camouflaged in scarlet, near the peacock, and walked slowly through several halls and hallways while elaborating the history of the Shaws, the town and the whole Grand Line for that matter. They passed several elevators, business men, more bunnies and even a Marine on his way out; the place was huge.
Finally, at the end of a long hallway which turned colour every ten seconds, a door was illuminated by lights which were reflected in the golden seals forming out ancient images on the door. As Mr. Tenom approached, the doors encountered the guests by automatically opening. Bright smoke emerged from the floor and blocked for Davy’s eyesight as he entered the room.
”Mr. Tenom, what have you for me today?” a voice echoed from nearby. “I bring a traveller, one who recognizes true art when he sees it, Madame” he bowed respectfully, and hinted Davy to do the same, even though the smoke was still heavy in the room. As soon as it disappeared, Davy saw Miss Shaw behind the silver table at the far end of the room. With luminously golden hair she seemed like a demigod, and even though her sensual red lips did not match her face too well, her curves made up for it. She was a beauty, magnified by the silk clothes which she wore, and her eyes demanded respect. Davy bowed deeply, he was too afraid to get captivated by her looks; in the end he had to meet her eyes.
Davy felt dizzy, almost nauseous, but managed to stand up; there was something with this woman. She was too much for him, and as he bowed again, he thought to himself: ‘ Oh God, what have I done now…I’m sure Valencius would handle Miss Shaw with no problems…’
“Welcome to my Palace, man of the Ocean” her voice resounded in the room and Davy responded with another gracious bow. “My mother is out on business, but I will ensure that your stay will be pleasant, and if you do not mind, I would like to show you more of this place” Davy gasped for air; she was the daughter? An image started to form in his mind, and he promised himself to do everything he could not to encounter Mother Shaw. He smiled towards her, and muttered a shy ‘yes’. Instantly, she replied: “Excellent! I shall show you the Hall of Art, then.”
“Too late to turn back now…”
Gillian looked down at the meal with more than a small bit of distrust. He absolutely KNEW it hadn’t been tampered with, but the whole situation gave him a queasy feeling in his stomach, and the constant glare of that boy was getting to him. Not even so much as touching his silverware, Gillian stood up. With a nod to their guard, Gillian headed for the door. The boy didn’t budge an inch from his post. “I kind of need to get to a restroom. When nature calls, you answer!” said Gillian in what he knew was an overly cheerful voice. Still, the boy didn’t move an inch from in front of the door. Gillian stood facing the boy for moment, and then went back to his seat. In a whisper, He spoke to his nakama. “This kid is a professional. There’s no emotion there, only cold, hard, calculating wit. I shudder to think what that kid could do if truly provoked. Now, we have to think of a way to find the galleries they have here, and search them for-“
But before Gillian could finish his sentence, there was a loud knock on the door. The Ryoma boy opened it, and in strode a man with a moustache and hair that could only be described as “greasy”. He was of average height, and he wore a suit that had glistening sequins on it. The moustache stuck out a 6 inches from either side of his face, and the ends came to wicked points. The hair was slicked back, and his eyes were as cold as a north blue winter. His skin and hair shimmered in the light, as did his perfect white teeth, which were currently smiling at them.
“I AM truly pleased that we could entertain such…important guests as you. It has been ever so dreadfully boring as of late. Please, if you have finished with your meals, come with me.” Gillian glanced across to his companions, and they nodded to him.
They followed the “Greasy Man” through the labyrinthine twists, turns, double backs, hairpins, and flights of stairs that made up the bowels of the Ryoma Casino. After what seemed to be hours of walking, with the Boy guard following them all the while, they finally arrived in front of a gigantic vault door. The greasy man produced a key from his suit sleeve, and motioned for the group to come closer. “I do not suppose you have yet read today’s paper. That is truly a shame and a misfortune for you, and only you. Because, if you had read today’s paper, you would have seen the new bounties that had come out.” The group’s faces were masks of confusion. Then the greasy man pointed at Gillian. “Mr. Gillian “The Destroyer” Graham, I presume?” In a moment, the truth dawned on all three of them. Erik was the first to recover from the shock. “You’re obviously mistaken. This is vice admiral Gerrard Ivers of west blue. I’m one of his captains, Gregory Swift, and the girl is Samantha Peters, another captain. We have no idea who this “Gillian Graham” character is.
“An excellently crafted story” Said the Greasy man, twirling his moustache. “Unfortunately, Gerrard Ivers was killed in action nearly two weeks ago, in a massive raid on a pirate stronghold. Gregory Swift, his first captain, was also killed. Samantha Peters survived, but is 25 years old, something this girl clearly is not. Our information network is not to be underestimated, you imposters.” And with that, he flipped the key back up his sleeve, and pushed an alarm that was next to the vault door. Sirens blared throughout the corridors, and the stomp of boots was heard echoing above them. “I also suggest you do not underestimate me, The Ryoma chief of security, Francis Gullard!”
Gillian glanced at Erik, who had already removed a pistol from his belt, and then at Kat, who was visibly shaken from their cover being blown. He thought about how they might die if nothing was done, and about the person who could have but bounties on them… and he grew to the height a 8 feet, and threw a power punch straight into the casually grinning face of Francis Gullard. The fist connected, and his head exploded with the force put into the punch. Gillian went wide eyed when the now apparently VERY DEAD chief of security’s neck began to bubble, and then reform the cackling head of Francis Gullard. “Ah, such a shame that you have underestimated me! I ate the fruit of the devil, just as you did, Gillian Graham, The Logia type Gurisu Gurisu Fruit, giving me the power to control all forms of grease! From the sound of those footsteps, you have less than 5 minutes before over 200 guards arrive. You have me and Toushi to contend with, so you have no chance, no matter how important the Government thinks you are.” Francis nodded to Toushi, and spoke again. “You take the one that the posters refer to as ‘The Dueling Doctor’ Eric Kliest. I’ll take on Gillian Graham, the girl shouldn’t be a problem, She doesn’t look her 18,000,000 Bounty, even if the do call her a magician, everyone knows there’s no such thing as magic...”
Well, wasn't it just peachy. The tophat had a cheesy red ribbon on it, the monocle made him feel like scratching his face off along with the itch, the gold-coated stick was a bit too short, and the tuxedo was way too tight near the collar. But what else could you expect from an exclusive tailor being practically hit over the head with money only to work faster. Yup, the Goldjack session certainly paid off, and he ran off with the money before anyone from the staff realized he could count cards. Now, with 200,000,000 B left, a nice new haircut, and a pair of shoes that were polished so much they shined with their own light, he was ready to go back into the casino. No one would recognize him now, and most importantly, he would have never been able to get into the back room in the rugged, dirty, pathed-up clothes he had on him before.
The "secret" room. Every big, self-respecting casino had one. After all, no one would expectthe really big fish, the VIP, the richest people to play their mind-blowingly high staked games among the commoners. There would be too many fatalities. But, to step into the world of the most risky gambles, you couldn't come looking like a bloodthirsty, not to mention poor, swashbuckler. The second thing you had to do was to let the bouncer know, where you're headed to.
The aforementioned bouncer sent him an understanding smile, when she felt a 500.000 B bill entering her hand along with a strong handshake from the extravagantly dressed stranger. There were no further questions asked, as the bouncer called a girl in a highly transparent dress to show Valencius the way. As he entered a small room practically overflowing with gold and jewels, he didn't show any sign of astonishment. Instead, he greeted the men already seating at the table:
-"Good day to you, gentlemen. I hope the spirits are high, and the stakes are even more so."
-"Ah, just what we needed. After all, a game of GL Hold'em is played best with five, isn't it?" - asked a fat man in a silken vest, vigorously smoking an even fatter cigaro.
-"Indeed it is, my dear sir, indeed it is." - replied Cotez, seating himself on a chair directly across the man. - "So, may the best one win." - he said, taking his hat off. The only answer was that of four smug smiles, each one belonging to a person happy to meet a rookie whom they can easily strip of large amounts of money. Valencius smiled widely, with a naive look on his face. But inside, he was laughing at their stupidity.
-"Why the long faces, my friends?" - Said Val cheerfully, barely to be seen behind a humongous wall of chips. - "The game's not over yet, and there still about... let's see... 300,000,000 B in the pot. Come on, show the cards. I'm sure you have something to beat a mere... Gold King Flush? Oh my, what are the chances?" - Cotez smiled widely. He felt ALIVE. He was overflowing with joy. This was his true place in the world. The winner's seat.
Suddenly, one of the players banged his fist on the table, scattering the carefully built tower of chips. The man, sporting a small moustache and donning a gigantic diamond ring stood up and shouted. - "I've had enough of this! You are nothing but a cheating bastard. I swear, I'll punch your stupid smile right off your face."- The angry man jumped at Cotez. Val quickly grabbed his walking stick and twisted off the handle, revealing a thin blade. He pointed it at his adversary, stopping it's razor-sharp tip right before his throat. The players nearly fell off their chairs, with the fat one taking this idiom a bit too literally. -"Security, security!" - He squealed in a high-pitched voice filed with terror. -"Well, ain't that just perfect" - sighed Valencius to himself. He took a quick step forward and knocked out the man with the ring using the handle of the blade. He jumped over the still shouting fatty and opened the door, only to be brutally and quickly subdued, or rather tackled, by two bulky guards. - "Take his weapon and get him over to the boss. She'll decide what to do with him." - Valencius heard, as he fainted away.
When he woke up, he was dragged by the guards through a hallway resembling more a museum then a casino. As he was forcefully brought to his feet, he saw three figures contemplating a piece of art. There was an old man, there was Davy, and there was...
"Oh shit... I'm a dead man." - Valencius thought, as he nearly fainted again.
The woman turned around, and as she saw Val, she smiled maliciously. - "Bill Dawnings... or should I say, Valencius Cotez." - she said, walking up to him. - "Rita Frague... or, should I say, miss Shaw. Guess that buisness trip you told me you were on really was one." - "And I guess that buisness trip YOU told me you were on was just a cheap trick to let an innocent girl think you're someone important. Well, you made one mistake." She said, leaning over, and whispering directly into his ear. - "The girl isn't as innocent as you've thought" - Val felt a sharp, cold thing pressing against a place he would wish no cold, and definitely NO sharp things pressed against. - "I'm sure we could talk about it."- Cotez said, without much confidence in his voice.
After a short, hushed and unpleasant exchange of stares, Davy and Valencius both nodded swiftly to agree that it was best not to reveal any kind of connection between the two. ’Blood and ashes, Miss Shaw looked as if she was about to start cutting body parts…’
Impassively, perhaps a little clumsily, Davy straightened himself up and ignored everything aside from yet another piece of art hanging from the scarlet wall. Mr. Tenom eagerly turned to the painting, and began to pour out his tales of how great artists had begun painting images centuries ago, using the nature of the Grand Line as their motive. Though unfocused, Davy gave heed to Mr. Tenoms speech and gradually nodded as the white-bearded man kept on with his tale. ‘Light burn me, Valencius, don’t be too brave there’ He grimaced and imaged to himself a chamber of torture, and Miss Shaw. They were both out of his sight now.
The Hall of Art was illuminated by soft, green neon lights emitting an eerie light, concealed by the deep smoke from somewhere beneath the Hall. At the far end of the Hall stood an imposing statue, branded with the signature “Arthur Tenom – Endorsement from the Association of East Grand Line Devil Fruit Users” The Hall itself was constructed differently from the rest of the immensely large casino: several wide and large pillars of white stone held the roof aloft while mirrors were embedded to fit alongside with the art hanging on the wall. At first, Davy had been amazed and impressed by the impact and physical sensation which the room would bring forth. Gradually, though, his calm vanished; the statue was of ill omen. Did Tenom possess the power of a Fruit? Or was it a mere gesture of endorsing his art? The first seemed logical, but still a fragile theory as Davy had seen no sign of a Devil’s Fruit.
A hoarse cough from behind made Davy jump, and only after several seconds did he manage to turn around curtly.
“Welcome to my playground, monsieur” Mr. Tenom manoeuvred himself through the pillars and camouflaged himself in the smoke. Davy gaped widely as the old man suddenly appeared on the other side of the room, nonchalantly emerging from between a painting of Elbaf and one of Water 7.
“I may be old and weak, monsieur; Madame Shaw even calls me senile sometimes.” Something which could remind one of a grin appeared in Tenoms face, as if he was reminiscing of some age far past, of good times. “Yet, I possess…a skill which is useful when intruders disguised as guests enter the Palace. Mira Mira no Mi, the Devil’s Fruit which makes all the mirrors in the world into ways for my use only, is ready for yet another battle.”
Davy uttered a sudden yell made of surprise, but he was interrupted by the old man: “It is a shame, monsieur. You appreciated true art and managed to see my intentions in their motives. You even remind me of my grandson who passed away long ago...It does hurt me to kill you, but for the Shaw family, I must.”
Smoke billowed gently towards the left part of the room. Before Davy could flinch, Tenom was gone. “Old man! Stop this madness…I am not an enemy” Cheerless laughter echoed throughout the room, and a suddenly, a whisper entered Davy’s ear: “You are familiar with the new prisoner, and Madame Shaw requested your elimination…my orders are clear.” Davy saw a shiny obstacle at the corner of his eyesight, and immediately fell into staggering pain as Tenom thrust the dagger into his flesh from the left side. He stumbled with increasing pain and held both his hands on the wound, as if to mend it with his bare hands. The old man was already gone and Davy had entered mortal combat. Words were of little use anymore.
Davy surrendered to the desire which had been present throughout the last hours of his adventure in the Shaw Casino. The sensation of becoming something more, something far greater, would never cease to amaze him, nor would it stop making him wanting to vomit. It was dangerous yet pleasant, but after long hours of training, Davy had started to adapt more and more. It was time to turn into a beast and devour the prey.
Davy felt limbs emerging, hair growing and eyes shifting as he forced the process to commence. For this prey, he would only need the hybrid form; old meat would taste awful, he thought.
Last edited by Slackbeard (2008-03-01 13:59:53)
No such thing as magic…. Though she had disliked something about this man from the beginning, Kat really disliked him now.
“I’ll show you what I can…!” Kat’s invective was cut short as Erik pulled her to the ground behind a small, over-turned table, narrowly dodging a bullet from Toushi, who might have been smirking, though it was hard to tell with the boy’s unusually impassive face.
“Kat, keep your head down!” Erik yelled at her, stern faced. “Leave him to me!” Running for a narrow pillar on the other side of the room, he fired twice, narrowly missing the young Ryoma, who had not even bothered to dodge.
“Do you think I’m useless?!” Kat yelled back, red in face both with anger and embarrassment at having nearly been shot.
“No, but Gillian needs you to think!” Erik shouted back to Kat, ducking back behind the pillar as a bullet struck it less than an inch from his face. Kat could see Erik desperately reloading while Toushi was calmly approaching his hiding spot. Then she turned to look for Gillian, and gasped.
“I told you, it’s over; you don’t stand a chance…no matter how large you grow.” The captain lay on his hands and knees, his white clothes now grey and soaked through with grease. He could barely even stay as he was, with both himself and the floor covered in the slippery stuff. “Stop struggling and just surrender already, will you?” Gullard looked at Gillian with a mixture of disgust and boredom.
“I’ll never…surrender to the likes of you….” Gillian made an attempt to stand, but his hands slipped out from under him and he fell face down in the greasy mess. Gullard laughed uproariously at this, laughing even harder when the fallen marine glared at him. Gillian felt humiliated and disgraced: here he was, laying in a puddle of filth, unable to even stand, mocked by a man who obviously delighted in robbing others of their dignity, and forced to watch his friends hide from an urchin who most likely wasn’t even old enough to shave. It made him angry: it made him furious!
“What, what are you doing?!” Gullard leapt back, mouth-agape and eyes wide, as Gillian began growing quite rapidly. In a matter of seconds his shoulders were cramped by the walls and his back brushed the ceiling.
“Good, now I don’t need to stand!” Gillian lashed out a mighty fist, splattering his opponent across the room.
Gillian’s ‘growth-spurt’ had provided enough of a distraction that Erik was able to reload his pistols and get behind another, wider pillar. Still, he had cover, but Kat was wide open and he wasn’t sure if she was entirely alright. The last battle we were in, she saw Davy transform…. Is she still in shock…? The sound of a boot heel scraping on marble brought his attention back to his situation, as Toushi spun around the corner of the pillar, the barrel of his gun flashing in the light.
“It seems that we have a stand-off, doctor.” The Ryoma boy’s voice was perfectly calm despite the barrel pressed against his chin. Perhaps it had something to do with the barrel nearly pressed against Erik’s nose; or perhaps it was just part of his nature.
“I…told…you….” Gullard’s head had nearly reformed in its entirety, and Gillian was quickly tiring from the exertion, exhaustion replacing rage. “…it’s…over...you don’t stand a chance.” With a sickening, bubbling sound, Gullard’s head was restored and the greasy man cackled loudly, spreading his arms in triumphant challenge, inviting Gillian to strike him again.
I can’t grow any larger, the captain told himself, laboring to breath, if I do, I could bring down the whole casino. I might survive, but Kat and Erik…. Not to mention the innocent citizens above us…. With a sigh, Gillian released his anger and began to shrink back down to a mere seven feet in height.
“Good! You’ve finally smartened-up!” Gullard laughed and approached the fallen captain
Think Kat, think! The sorceress had been dividing her attention between Gillian and Erik for the last several minutes, both were in a pinch and she had to help one before the other. Her eyes turned to Erik, he and Toushi standing calmly, each with a gun ready to kill the other the second one or the dropped his guard. Then she looked to Gillian, who had shrunk back down to a more normal size. Erik’s in the most danger…. she told herself, turning her attention back to the doctor. But then she remembered the last words her nakama had uttered before the chaos broke loose.
Biting her lip and uttering a silent apology, she turned toward Gillian and Gullard, and began her invocation.
Last edited by Tenebrous (2008-03-18 07:28:18)
"This is weird" said Graphit, walking casually, in a dark back ally, "How did we get here? We were at the main street only seconds ago" he asked.
"Beats me" replied Irohk, "I thought we walked in a straight line…"
"L-lets just had back s-shall we?" suggested Mirage with slight annoyance sneaking in to her voice
"Wait" said Graphit "maybe we should ask for directions" he looked around at the floor, there was a bleeding mass of bodied there, filled with sword cuts, bruises and pencil shaped stab wounds. Graphit grabbed one lively looking men from the pile, and tried to restore his consciousness but shaking him wildly slapping him.
"Hey! do you know where we can find a key gem?" asked Graphit but the man seemed like he was unable to answer.
"I d-don't think you be getting any help from th-these guys" said Mirage " L-lets just had back"
"Wait, I'll get him to talk, his not dead yet!" said Graphit and started shaking the man even harder. a single chip jumped off the man and rolled around on the ally's floor and hit Irohk's foot, he picked it up and examined it, it had a mark of a blue rhino and the words 'good for one entry to any tournament' were engraved on its back.
"Hey guys look at this" he said
"What did you find?" aksed Graphit, tossing the poor man he was abusing back to the pile and walking towards Irohk
"It’s a ticket to some tournament" said Irhok
"A tournament?" asked Graphit, his light lighting up with excitement
"You k-know" said Mirage "If w-we participate in the t-tournament we might get a chance at f-finding the key gem. D-Davy said that p-people g-gamble everything in these p-place so we m-might get it if we gamble too, and it c-could also be a prize for the winner. Any w-way I think its at l-least worth a ch-check"
"The its settled!" cried Graphit with joy "we're entering the tournament!"
"But it says here ''good for one entry' we can’t all go" said Irohk.
"Maybe one of the others got another ticket" said Graphit, and immediately searched the other bodies for other chips. He quickly found some, pocketed one and passed another to Mirage.
"Come on lets move!" said Graphit and started walking out of the ally
"Wait" said Irohk, "Do you even know where to go?!"
Graphit froze and took out the chip out of his pocket and searched for indications of the tournament's address. And after he failed to find any he looked back at Mirage and Irohk.
"W-well the m-mark on the chip is s-similar to the one above the of the sh-shops in this area, s-so lets ask around there"
The most powerful and mind-controlling instinct of any living being is the urge to breed his genes' inheritors, thus preserving the line of heritage, leaving the possibility of improvements of the DNA chain already made being sustained and further developed. Aside from the strictly scientific aspect of procreation, it also holds a strong metaphysical meaning to us of the homo sapiens sapiens. Put in simple words, the posession of children allows a man to attain a state of serenity and fulfillment by assuring that in the end, he truly can say Non omnis moriar - the memory of his life, and a part of his own blood and flesh will be passed on. For an aspect of life so meaningful, so crucial to life itself it is not strange to possess an overwhelming impact on the social life, and the psyche of a man. The most prominent fear, as well as the most primitive one - excluding the fear of death - is the fear of being deprived of the possession of his own descendants. Thus, for a male, the biggest fear, the biggest trauma would be the loss of the reproductory system.
Valencius, right now, could really say that his balls were on the line.
The knife pressed harder against his groin, as he desperately tried to move his hips backwards, almost to the point of dislocating his joints.
-"Why do you have to do this?" - He muttered, partially to himself, as he already bid farewell to his nether region's integrity. The Shaw family daughter looked him in the eyes. Suddenly, she smiled, and withdrew her blade. Valencius was so relieved that he barely noticed that the smile was far from a pleasant one.
-"You're right, I don't have to." - She smiled even wider. - "They're right, you know?"
-"Who is?" - Cotez asked, confused.
-"Those who say, that revenge is a dish best served cold." - She paused for a while, playing with one of her magnificent golden locks. - "I followed their advice."
-"In what?" - Val didn't really catch up with her way of thoughts.
-"I've stopped my blade, and thought. Thought about what would hurt you the most, more even than the blade i had for you. And now I know." - She walked up to him, her dress glistening in the light. - "You're a free man, and that is what you prize most in your petty little life. And now I'm going to take it away from you" - She smiled, bathing in her own malevolence.
-"What?" - Valencius was shocked, but in a different way than miss Shaw expected him to be. He laughed. - "How? You're going to shut me down in a small cage in your dungeon?" - He said, his voice full of sarcasm. - "You know it's not going to keep me imprisoned. No cell can do that."
-"Oh no, that's not what i meant for you at all." - She smirked at his naiveness. - "Do you know, that on this very island, there are over 200 casinos, big and small? But there is one, which shines with glory far exceeding the other. People do not gamble for money there. They have so much of it, that such a bet would bring them no thrill, even if the stakes would be counted in thousands of millions beli. Instead, they play for all kinds of goods - exotic animals, rare paintings, ancient artifacts, powerful weapons, whole companies, even... - she seemed to savour the word - slaves.
Valencius gulped, as a cold chill ran down his spine. He tried to keep his composure. - "You know you won't force me. I'd rather die than live as a slave." - Miss Shaw laughed - "And again, I don't have to. You see, I've changed. I'm much more dangerous now. And it doesn't end on the knife. I've aquired another... power."
She walked up to him, grabbed him by the head, holding his face against hers and looked into his eyes. Deep. Deep...
"Bae Bae no Mi - Total Control."
Her eyes were the whole world. He fell into them and drowned, like a boy drowning in a well far deeper than the world itself. His body loosened, and dissapeared, as if dissolving in the darkness of her pupils. He barely felt, that the two guard that caught him earlier grabbed him by his arms and dragged him out of the room. He was happy. Happy that he fell into hose eyes. Happy, that he drowned. Happy, that was no longer free.
It felt as if Davy had fallen into a maelstrom. He was a barrel spinning wildly in a deadly maelstrom, about to meet the bottom of the ocean. The nausea taking hold of him, Davy fell on the red carpet and noticed how the carrots and meat he had eaten earlier filled the floor in a stinking mixture which would require an extra effort from the man or woman who had the responsibility of washing the room. Davy soon felt empty. There was no food left inside him, but that was not all. His soul felt empty, like an empty balloon on the floor, an emotion he had not yet encountered in a battle. Davy had won the battle, but lost something else.
** 15 minutes earlier **
Davy felt a furious throb from the wound. Pain and other emotions would often be amplified when Davy used his powers. At times, he had been too careless after sobering up from yet another evening of drinking, and the augmented pain of his headache had knocked him cold, but he would manage to kill the old man before the throbbing pain took over. He had to save his “special move” for a fight which mattered. This one did matter, but in a different way.
Davy hissed and reacted automatically to the clang from the behind, using all of his 7 legs and hands to jump backwards, destroying several columns of pillars. He held back a small grimace and turned to Mr. Tenom, wondering if the ceiling would collapse if the pillars were destroyed.
“Now why did you not tell me of this fantastic skill you possess, monsieur? This makes our encounter a little more…interesting. It is time for me to use my full strength”
Raising his left front limb, Davy moved to block Mr. Tenom’s move, without thought assuming a stance influenced by his training with the Grosses Messer. Only a trained eye would see that he had indeed managed to balance himself by using a basic duel stand, but it would not help Davy’s opponent; this single hit would be enough to hit the man off his balance, and his poisonous teeth would do the rest of the job, if required.
For a moment, it seemed to Davy as if the man was unaware he had been hit. He took a step backwards, began to form his mouth to something that looked like a grin, and disappear. Davy’s eyes widened and he staggered. The image of Mr. Tenom was stretching in a vertical space towards one of the mirrors. He tried to touch the image, but there was nothing to touch; he was clutching air.
Davy could feel sweat rolling down his spider-like face, stinging his eyes. Obviously, this trick had some relation to the fruit which the man possessed, but he could not be sure how it functioned or how it could be countered. The predator instincts were not enough to calm the panic which was starting to form in his mind and Davy was already considering using “it” for this battle. ‘No, no…too early!’
Mr. Tenom however, did not use any time maneuvering. The instant Davy started to panic; he appeared behind him, the dagger flashing straight past Davy’s neck, avoided by inches. The reaction came just in time, thanks to the powers of the fruit, and by then, Davy knew the trick behind the illusion.
How long they fought, he could not have said. Davy was becoming winded by the dodging and the attempts of capturing his opponent while he was moving in the speed of light. That was the trick. Not only did the fruit grant Mr. Tenom passage through mirrors, but it also made him an image which could be reflected from mirror to mirror. A handy skill in a tight spot, Davy figured, and retreated from yet another attack.
There was no time in this battle, only the moment. For Davy, after finally having reached a certain stage of his fruit’s power, it seemed as if like they were moving under water, unable to see each other, yet in slow motion.
And then, when his strength was failing and sweat pouring down his face, he became a spider. Davy was a hungry monster in seek of food, and saw an insect which was flying carelessly in the air. He snatched the insect from its line of movement, and held him down, getting ready to eat it. It was just a second before his additional teeth were about to bite into the flesh when Davy returned; he had captured Mr. Tenom, who already seemed dying from the powerful hits made just below his rib-cage.
Davy returned from his hybrid state and swiftly embraced Mr. Tenom, as if trying to save him from the inevitable. The loud coughs from the man were followed by a river of blood, and the strangest thing of all: a smile.
“That was beautiful…being able to see a true beast act according to its instincts…wonderful”
Davy gaped, unable to express anything in words. This man had just acknowledged his powers as something genuinely beautiful. Tenom coughed and laughed, still focusing his eyes on Davy.
“Yes, you certainly remind me of my grandson. He became a pirate, you know…Just like you, I expect. Well, no matter, I just want to thank you, for giving me a worthy farewell.”
Davy was still speechless, but noticed how a mutual respect had been created between them. It was a worthy fight.
“It is time for me to leave, monsieur. I have two requests…Please, tell my grandson about what happened, and please participate in the tournament…for the Shaw family. Please, my friend”
And then Mr. Tenom was silent. No coughing, no laughing. There was only silence. Davy muttered to himself that he would keep the promises, but kept silent.
In a few minutes, Davy realized how it felt like, losing a friend, and fell into an endless maelstrom of emotions.
"It's over, doctor." There was a hint of contempt in the young Ryoma boy's voice, a thin but otherwise self-satisfied smile upon his face. "Gullard has defeated your...captain...and that girl seems to have run and found herself a decent little hiding place."
Erik didn't respond; he didn't even blink, which seemed to amuse the child even more, as his smile widen in response to the doctor's determination. Kat...hurry....
"Well, so you've finally decided to stop the temper tantrum, have you?" Gullard sneered down at the humbled Gillian, who lay on his hands and knees, covered in grease. "Now, what happened to the girl...?" His voice trailing away, the slick dressed member of the Ryoma household glanced around the room half-heartedly - she was only a girl.
At the sound of Kat's name, Gillian's eyes flashed open. Rage could be a double-edged sword in more ways than one might expect; he had become so caught-up with defeating his opponent, and so overwhelmed with exhaustion after finally releasing his anger, that the captain had forgotten Kat and Erik were still counting on him. Making a supreme effort, Gillian pushed himself against the grit-covered ground and slowly rose to his knees.
"There you are, girl." A broad smile spread across Gullard's face, "What are you doing?" Kat ignored the words of the slimey man; she was ignoring everything outside of herself at the moment. She had never been the best at conjurations, and what the young sorceress was now attempting required a large amount of her personal energies as well as a extraordinary control.
"Well, it's over," Gullard took another step closer to Kat, "Your friends are finished, you might as-" he broke into a fit of sudden coughing, the taste of fine sand on his tongue. "Wha...?" Gullard could not even manage to get the question out properly, but Kat smirked in satisfaction: This should be enough.
"You don't believe in magic?" The coughing had passed, but Gullard was still confused by what was happening. He was covered in a fine film of softly glittering, golden-brown grit. Not only he, but the entire room was filled with several centimeters of the stuff.
"I don't know what kind of trick this is," Gullard sneered and glared at Kat, murder in his eyes. "But you should have just come along quietly!" A large glob three times the size of Kat's head flew toward that very same target. Eyes wide, she just managed to throw herself to the ground, choking on a cloud of sand and wondering if she might have been mistaken.
"Gullard...." The next sound Kat heard was a low, tightly controlled voice. Gullard turned to face the source of the voice, a now eight-foot tall Gillian who sprang toward him with sudden ferocity.
"Oh, really, haven't we done this enough...?" Gullard smiled and shrugged his shoulders dismissively seconds before the former marine captain's fist connected with his face, breaking his nose and cracking several teeth. Without even a chance to cryout in pain, Gullard dropped to the ground with a sickening thud. Triumphantly, Kat stuck her tongue out at the now unconscious man.
Erik had let himself be distracted by the sand. It must have been Kat's doing, and he wasn't expecting it, but still, he should have been prepared for something. That's when he heard the click of the trigger.
But nothing happened.
Throwing himself to the ground and rolling away, neither Erik nor Touma were bothering to hide their confusion over what had happened. The sand! Of course! Tossing his currently useless pistol aside, Erik dove at the smaller boy, tackling him to the ground and attempting to restrain his hands. Kat had given them a second chance and, even if she and Gillian could not defeat Gullard, if Erik could manage to remove this boy from the fight, he could always handle the grease-man himself.
"Get off me!" Touma thrashed about, kicking at Erik and creating a large cloud of sand in the process. "Let GO!" Placing both feet firmly against his opponent's midsection and mustering as much strength as he could manage, the young boy dislodged himself from Erik's grip, leaving the doctor gasping for breath in the process. Scrambling for his gun, Touma found it half buried in the sand. Opening the clogged chamber and replacing the bullet, the Ryoma boy clicked the chamber shut and leveled the barrel at Erik's still prone figure.
"Die." Though it never rose above a calm whisper, there was a sense of immense satisfaction, a sense of restrained glee, in his voice.
Moments before the still unconscious form of Gullard smashed into him and sent both of the Ryoma enforcers crashing into a pillar opposite of Erik. Kat was immediately at his side, helping Erik to stand, while a fifteen-foot Gillian gradually returned to his usual less-than-average height.
"Well, I think we handled that quite well." Smiling brightly, Gillian dropped to his knees with a sigh, the sound of booted feet still ringing about their heads.
Last edited by Tenebrous (2008-04-01 08:43:01)
*clap* *clap* *clap* The three turned to face the only exit to find Angela Ryoma laughing softly and applauding their victory.
'Well, Well. I have to say I truely am impressed.' She said looking at her brother and Gullard then picking up a pinch of sand from the ground and examining it.
'Lets get out of here.' Said Kat ignoring the woman.
Angel raised an eyebrow slightly annoyed by her rudeness.
'Wait, we came here for a reason didnt we? What is the point of leaving now without any answers...' Said Erik dusting sand off himself.
'Yes I was wondering about that. Why would a bunch of filthy pirates dare to approach the Ryoma family? I insisted that we observe you first but those two over there arent really the patient type.' By the time Angela finished speaking hundreds of guards were by her side, guns aimed at the three heads in the vault ready to fire.
'We are looking for a rare item. A key with a gem on it... or something similer... and um...' Said Gillain struggling to find a better description for the key they were after. At first Angela gave a confused look but slowly she seemed to realize something.
'Wait. You cant possibly be talking about-'
'What are you idiots waiting for!? Fire at the damn intruders already!' The Ryoma boys voice echoed through the vault and in the time it took for Gillain and Erik to recover from the shock, the highly trained Ryoma guards had already pulled the triggers.
It only took split second for those hundreds of bullets to reach them, but even that was enough time Eric and Gillains instincts to kick in. 'Protect' That was the one thing on their minds as they both moved in front of Kat and waited for the bullets to pierce through them. However the bullets never got to them and Kat was thrown a few feet backwards instead. The bullets had stopped just before reaching them and returned back to the guards at double the speed. Instantly a wall of sand shot up to protect Angela and the Ryoma Guards. It was over in seconds and it took a moment for what happened to actually sink in.
Kat had landed in the sand and was coughing blood. Erik rushed to her side then looked up at Gillain. 'There are no external injuries. I've seen her like this before.' Gillain nodded, when Redboddoms crew attacked their ship at the beginning of their journey Kat had used the same shield to stop a canon. It appears that the shield didnt need an incantation so it was the fastest she could use. But it has a downside as well as she takes a certain amount of damage everytime she uses it. He didnt remember the canon bouncing back at the enemy that time though. She must have worked very hard to improve that spell, there was no doubt that she was slowly but surely getting better.
Gillain let Erik take care of Kat and shifted his focus back on the enemy. As the dust cleared he wondered where the wall of sand had come from. Was one of them a devil fruit user? He thought before he saw it. A magnificent sword with the Ryoma family symbol, a ferocious golden lion, decorating its hilt. The Ryoma family eldest daughter stood in a stance he had never seen before wielding the sword with grace.
'Hold your fire!' She ordered the men behind her. The sword began to glow bright gold and break away, until finally it was reduced to a bracelet on her hand. so thats were her sword came from though Gillain.
'No fire again.' Yelled her brother with an angry bark.
'Wait Toushi, they could might be the ones we were waiting for.'
Toushi examined the three pirates in front of him then looked at his sister. 'like hell they are-'
*beep* *beep* Toushi pulled his phone out of his pocket and answered it. 'Father... what!?... No thats... I..' Toushis voice trailed off as he left the vault steaming with anger.
'Well then, I think we need to talk and it appears like my father agrees.' smiled Angela.