|Role-Play Name: Man Up|
Date Started: March 10, 2019
"Which one, which one... which one should we do first?" Graham Alexander said as he looked over the wanted posters sprawled across the table. Dozens of posters were laid about, grouped into eight distinct piles. Eight crews, rookies all. Eight prizes that the Manly Pirates planned on gifting to the world government. This new wave of blue was their ticket to a life free from persecution until they could retire. This wave was their captain's path to becoming a warlord.
Alexander discarded three piles out of hand, removing the lowest of the crews out for their first effort. Easy prey wouldn't impress the Marines they had talked to. It would be better to take them out in the middle, taking a couple of the targets who may be able to fight back first, that left five crews.
Ghosts, Dreads, Busters, Bandits, and Feathers. The Ghost's location was unknown, and they had amassed quite a crew. They would be best handled last. Like the others, they were set aside. The Bandits only had a single member worth mentioning, as such, they could be handled at leisure. The captain of the Busters was a small fry, outshone by one of his own crewmembers.
That left two, two targets that would be both worth the effort and tough enough that the Manly Men could impress. Alexander decided that those two should be handled first, taking them out with a quick one-two punch.
"Heads Dreads, Tails Feathers it is then," Alexander mumbled as he pulled out a coin. As it hit the ground, it bounced once before settling, exposing it's back to the words.
"I guess it is the Angel's unlucky day then," Alexander uttered as he held up a poster of a young blonde woman. A halo shone over her head as she flew on snow white wings.
Alexander held up his thumb to his ear as his pinky lay across his lips.
A ringing sound could be faintly heard as he commanded, "Phim D. Sera."
Sera was flipping through the inventory of their latest heist, the sacking of a ship filled with part of the Heavenly tribute, when she heard the Den Den Mushi at the desk of her small cabin ring. She walked over to the snail hanging upon the wall before picking up.
"Hello, who is this," Sera questioned to the snail as she picked up the call.
"Phim D. Sera." was all that was heard before the caller hung up.
Sera scratched her head for a few moments before softly putting the receiver back. Then with a shrug, she exited her cabin. Today was their last day on Gallanholm Atoll. The Feather Pirates were making their final preparations to leave before setting sail to their next destination. All the supplies for their voyage were bought, her people had had plenty of time for rest, the log pose had finished setting, and they needed to head out soon before the Marines found them.
She walked out on the deck, smiling as the crewmembers smoothly packed the last few crates of supplies down into the hold.
She spied her first mate managing everything, the ever-capable Brisei Augus. Walking over to him she ask, "Any problems Augus, or is everything going as good as it looks?"
Wind breezing by his hair, Augus stood around, arms crossed, and face stern. After all, just like Sera noticed, he had been managing everything that happened around them, that was his duty as Batma- As the first mate of the Feather Pirates. Sera's sudden question had him turning around, though, he kept a calm expression, "Yes, Cap'n!" Augus blinked, "I mean, it's all going fine!"
Augus, much like Sera, also harboured a Log Pose, picking it from his pocket. "I have already given some instructions to the rest of the crew..." Sweat covered his face, "Since... well... our navigator disappeared." And people insisted he was the shady one, sure, right.
"I figured she had gotten cold feet after she didn't follow us around. Oh well, she's the one who's still going to end up with a bounty and no one around to protect her." Sera finished with a sigh. "Nothing to do about it now but get going."
Sera turned towards the rest of the crew looking over them before shouting loud enough to carry across the deck and over the noise. "Finish packing everyone, Anchor up in thirty."
Turning back towards Augus she'll just smile as she states, "I have a good feeling about this trip."
The sound of light breathing could be heard from near the helm of the ship. As one peered forward, they would find the figure of Aries Ovis lightly sleeping as the ship was docked, using a soft, woollen pillow to do so. One would think that being the Helmsman of the crew, he would be the most attentive to their course, but that wasn't true at all. Whether someone could wake him up or not, was another story entirely...
Up in the crow's nest, the loud sound of jazz blared across the ship. A symphony of trumpets spouted their sweet music from the back of Jazzman G. Nathaniel, the crew's musician and temporary lookout. He'd already clambered up to his perch with glee and was just biding his time as he stared at the waves.
"Well, it's about time to get going," Sera announced to Augus as a small white light formed in her hand. A small stone made out of light materialized, Sera applying just enough power to create it. "Now to wake Ovis up, and hopefully not end up passed out on the deck in the process..." Sera added dryly. She had become extremely wary of the effect Ovis's power had on her over the time she's known him.
A small pop could be heard as the bolt of light struck the helmsman on the ear. Hopefully, it'd sting him enough in order to get him up enough to take the ship out, if not there were always bigger bolts.
The sleeping helmsman suddenly felt something akin to a needle being shoved deep inside his ear. "Aaaah!" Suddenly, Ovis exclaimed for the first time in his life in front of the crew. They were so used to hearing a muffled sound from his voice that something like this would have no doubt shocked them.
"Ow ow ow ow...what was that for?!" Ovis was visibly irritated for a moment before the pain subsided and he calmed down. "Ah...sorry..." The helmsman returned to his naturally lethargic way of speaking. "I'm extra sensitive to pain, for some reason, so even small things cause me to scream like that..."
Shaking his head, Ovis looked to his Captain and Augus. "We're going now?"
"Indeed! Much like Cap'n said," Augus yelled with a smile and eyebrows high. He pointed in the aforementioned direction while covering part of his body with a wing that had suddenly sprouted from his shoulder, "The one we are to go to is..." Augus glanced upward, finger falling, "Is..." He glanced to his sides, using his finger to scratch the side of his head.
Everyone was quiet, but Augus almost exploded in beads of sweat. "I-I don't work well during the day, okay?!" Suddenly again, he had pointed at Ovis, "You- This is your power destroying me!" Tears flowed out of his eyes.
"Next stop is the island of Schluesselschloss, Ovis." Sera explained with a hint of annoyance. "You slept through me explaining this the last time I talked to you about it, then buried me in wool." She turned to Augus before adding, "Augus, if you need to get out of the sun for a bit, I can handle things from here."
Turning back to Ovis, she added, "Take the ship out and set us for course 13-24-81. Should take us where we want to go."
"Oh...sorry, Captain, Augus-san. I'll...yawn...try to keep awake." Ovis responded to Sera and Augus affirmatively and took hold of the helm. He began to follow the coordinates that Sera asked for, as he began to turn the wheel to hoist the ship in the appropriate direction. "Sails are good, the wind is in our favour and the sea is calm. We should reach our destination in good time, although...this is the Grand Line..." Ovis said with a hunch of uncertainty. He was used to calmer waters in the Blues. He'd hoped that the Grand Line's erratic weather did not cause the ship to veer off course.
"Please do that, I'd like to not have a repeat of the Pudding Island incident," Sera responded with a shiver. She didn't like to speak about the Pudding Island incident.
Augus crossed his arms but tried to give out a reassuring smile. Not that Ovis could even see it. "I can keep you awake with my echolocation bullets, Ovis-kun!!" Of course, just a bat's specialization, "No rush on our destination." Or should they rush? He honestly forgot if the Captain wanted to go as soon as possible. Augus, too, shuddered at the mention of the incident.
Taking a few steps towards Ovis, Augus stood between him and Sera, then turning to the latter. "Why don't we explain the isle to him again, Cap'n?" Another smile, "After all, as you said, he did sleep through it all." A chuckle escaped Augus' lips.
"Probably should." Sera agreed with a pause before continuing on. "Schluesselschloss is an island that a lot of trade goes through because it's where another grand line path merges into ours. It's a winter island, though a mild one. There is a moderate Marine presence, just due to its rather strategic location. On the bright side, however, the log pose reset time is only two days. They also are one of the largest exporters of mint in paradise. Most toothpaste contains mint from this island, and they even have their own brand of floss known as Schluesselfloss."
"Schluess..-" Ovis bit his tongue trying to get his head around using the island's name. "Can I call it SLS, Captain..?" Ovis asked, almost pleading, not wanting to put in the effort into saying that island's name repeatedly. "Well, anyway...If there are Marines there, do we want to port away from the official docks?" He tried to hold back his yawns, though one could just feel the tiredness oozing out of his eyes. "Mint...mint is nice..."
Augus scoffed, "Who would ever guess we would visit a tooth-paste island? But, yes," He clapped loudly and looked to overboard, "Mint is nice! During a cold night, aaaaaah." Augus inhaled the sea air and coughed for a second. "If there are Marines there," Face wide, he pointed towards the sky, "We shall defeat them!"
Alexander walked through the halls of the manliest of ships, The Mountain's Rest. An island sized ship that floated through the grand line. Built by the ancestors of their captain to rival the ark Noah itself. Now it served as a base for the Manly Pirates, a crew of pirates and thieves that had plied the oceans for over a decade now. Nearly a thousand strong, the crew was one of the most formidable groups left in Paradise. Unlike so many others seeking out dreams of grandeur in the New World only to be crushed under the heels of the Yonko, they had been successful enough in Paradise that they had simply decided to ignore the New World entirely. Nearly a dozen crews had come under their sway, leading to a crew of nearly two thousand at their fingertips. A good sized number for a ship such as theirs.
Alexander reached the captain's hall, a massive room at the heart of the ship where his old friend could command the crew. Nearly a dozen aides ran to and fro, bringing and leaving with messages to across the entire island ship.
Alexander gave an informal bow as he addressed his old friend and captain, Drax Douglas. "Captain, I have done as you asked. The Feathers are on their way here." He announced as he held up four wanted posters showing Sera, Augus, Quinn, and Ovis. "I've also alerted the Marines that they will soon have their first set of gifts."
"A-Alexander-san!!" A crewmember yelled, which prompted Alexander to notice the absence of his very captain. "Cap'n's gone for a swim, b-but!!" The person pointed for the sea shakingly, wherein waves formed and rose through the air, a large shadow crept from the waters.
Sharp teeth, many rows of those, became visible, pertaining to a dark snake-like monster. "HE GOT EATEN BY T-T-THAT!!" The same crewmember let tears flow out of his eyes, shaking uncontrollably. And then it would surely devour all of them.
Saliva flew into the sea, the monster roaring with all its might, or so it seemed. Its cheeks bloted, eyes widening and part of its body hunching backward, it roared again and moved around, sending myriads of ripples in all directions. The ship likely went from one side to the other, gradually meeting with the waves.
Yet, even as that happened, the monster roared another time, which shot an immense amount of saliva. Though, it had red mixed in. From inside, an observant person could see someone... spinning inside the saliva. This shot flew towards their ship and soundly landed with a large explosion, another shadow stepped from this mass of saliva, one with red skin and large form.
Drax Douglas stepped out of the mess on his tip-toes, arms waving around. "HMHMHMHM!!" He mused, eyes closed.
"Grand Show, Captain." Alexander announced as he flexed his flagrant pectorals in appreciation.
"I see you've opted for some manly exercise first thing in the morning, my old friend. If it wasn't for the fact that I can no longer swim I would have been more than willing to join you." He continued with bemused laughter.
"OARARARARARARARARARA!!" Douglas rested both fists as his hips, closing his eyes in a loud laughter. They opened and he winked at Alexander, "Yes, my boy!" Then, smile still full, Douglas pointed at the fleeing Sea King. "I was taking a BEAUUUUUTIFUl wash time inside that beast's stomach!" Hands rising and being brought together above his head, Douglas spun several times in place, sustained by one leg while the other rose.
Still spinning, Douglas mused at Alexander. "Any news, good friend?!"
"The Best of news. I have done as you asked, the Feathers have fallen into our trap. They are on their way here as we speak." Alexander boasted as his biceps bulged in excitement. "The Marines are already diverting a prison ship our way to collect them once we have caught them."
Douglas extended his arms and clapped his hands gently, faced with Alexander. "OARARARA! Marvellous, most beautiful!!" Feet on their tip toes, Douglas soundly walked across the deck, "This means that the Shichibukai status is not far from our dancing haaaandsy, teheeeee." He cupped a crewmember's check and slapped it gently.
"Now, what was our plan-" Douglas halted, shaking his rear a few times and jumping in place, "-To convince them further that we mean NO harm?" He waved a hand at Alexander, after all, as his right hand man, it was no surprise he kept track of all their plans. Where had Lee Jin been anyway? That guy too was not only cute, but highly organized.
"I am here, sir!" Lee Jin's voice peeked from a distance, as a muscular, shirtless figure with a pair of black hakama came jogging down the path that Alexander and Douglas stood on. "Like yourself, I was engaging in some training, sir!" Jin was a military enthusiast, serious to a fault but ultimately wishing for the best for his crew.
"I believe we should hoist a white flag, sir! That may let us talk to them with ease!"
"That sounds like a most magnificent suggestion. We draw them in with the allure of our glistening diplomacy, then snap the jaws of our trap down with our glorious glutes." Alexander laughed whole-heartedly. "Then all we have to do is deliver these flattened Feathers to the Marines, then we can do the same to the next group."
"OARARARARARAR!" Douglas clapped with the tip of his fingers again, "I never regret having brought you all along to this-" Knees bent, Douglas tapped his feet at the docks, jiggling his arms widly, "-RIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIDE!" Another round of applause came through, some crewmembers did just the same, stopping their activites even.
A final clap brought everything to a stop, birthing a gust of wind. "This means... we are to get the dance started!" Douglas opened his arms widely, laughing loudly. His legs moved and his feet skidded along the ground, shifting his gaze over Jin's, Alexander's, and everyone else's forms. "Any other pointers or doubts?!"
They had come such a long way, when it had been just him and the former two. While his gaze went over everyone, Douglas felt like embracing the two of them and taking them into some sort of ballet or galla. But, not then, they had business to do.
It had been two days since they had left Gallanholm, clearing the archipelago upon which it sat without much issue. It had been a rare stretch on the Grand Line where not a single storm had lashed their ship. It had been all smooth sailing, much as Sera had expected when she set out on this course. After all, she had a good feeling about all of this.
Everything seemed completely normal as the ship came into a thin fog back, reducing their line of sight to well short of the horizon.
Sera looked around at the approaching wall of fog, trying to think about and remember more about winter islands. She had never been on one herself, but she was fairly certain that fog may surround them due to the cooler air. That being said, she was fairly certain that they still had around another week of travel before reaching it.
"Anyone else think we shouldn't be approaching an island yet?"
"Yes, it is odd, very odd. We should have had at least a week before we even came close to another island." Breaking from the thin fog that gently coated their ship and now entering the line of sight of their captain Sera was none other than their main engineer and scientist, Archimedes D. Alana. She took a place standing to the side of her captain. "If you would like I could have my mechanical bird friend here take a look past the fog? Only if you deem it necessary of course." The bird sat upon her shoulder looking off into the distance, almost as if he could look past the fog.
"Go ahead." Sera responded curtly. "At least we can make sure we aren't about to run ashore that way."
"You heard the lady, fly free little bird." Alana smiled warmly to the bird, he let out a gentle tweet before taking off into the fog. "Here, its eyes are connected to a display, so what it sees, we see." Alana pulled a small screen from her pocket. The screen showed footage from the bird's point of view, all that could be seen for miles was fog. As the bird made it about a few miles out from the ship what could be seen was a large mountain, it seemed to have emerged from the fog almost out of nowhere. "Well, at least we found something in the seemingly endless fog. If there is an island up ahead it's surely covered in this thick fog." Alana tapped the screen and spoke closely to it as if to send a message to the bird. "That should be all, great job! Fly back now, be safe." As the bird went about making its return to the ship Alana spoke to Sera. "How should we proceed? Doesn't look like there are any obstructions for miles, so sailing as we are now should still be moderately safe.
"All right, I am of the opinion that we should investigate the random ghost island, all in favor?" Sera responded enthusiastically to both Alana and the rest of the crew.
"Aye aye Captain." Ovis said in a very matter-of-fact, lazy tone, as he continued to direct the ship towards the island, blinking repeatedly to avoid going to sleep again.
"Ovis is actually staying awake," Sera said with a hint of surprise. She had become used to his regular naps while steering. "Maybe he's excited about the island afterall."
The ship creaked through the fog, the low visibility meaning that all eyes were on deck to make sure they weren’t about to run ashore. They could see barely two hundred feet off the edge of the ship. It was a sailor’s nightmare, running this close to land without being able to see it. But the Feather’s persevered on, curiosity triumphing over caution. They were running quarter sails and barely moving, but between all of the eyes watching and a solid crew, their captain was confident they could navigate this fog.
Sera was currently flying in circles around the ship, using her wings to their advantage to extend their vision out with her ability to patrol around the ship. That being said, this island was curious. Usually, by now there would be some semblance of land visible in the ocean below, rocks or reefs that surrounded the island showing up as a lighter colour of the ocean. But as far as she could tell there was nothing but deep sea beneath the ship. Even so, they couldn’t afford to be reckless. Coming to this island was enough.
“I don’t see anything suggesting we’re about to reach an island, I’ll fly ahead and check.”
Sera flew forward ahead of the ship, her Halo shining through the fog even as the rest of her body disappeared from sight. Her four wings flapped in harmony, quietly carrying through the air, the breeze ruffling her hair.
Barely clearing the small waves and eddies of the ocean below, Sera soared along with the sea, looking for the island ahead. The ocean below her remained mercilessly dark for several minutes before she finally saw signs of lightening in the water below. She was finally nearing land.
A beam of light shot up in the air, alerting her crew to follow forward even as Sera explored further on. The sea lightened up further and further, until about half a mile later she could finally see the land ahead. She had found the island.
Sera was back on deck aboard the now anchored ship of Feathers. They had laid anchor off the beach she had found. Rowboats were being lowered into the water as they prepared a landing party. While a majority of the crew would remain on the ship, Sera and several other key members would go ashore and explore this new island. If it proved welcoming enough, they’d probably camp there a few days to explore before heading on their way.
“Augus, Ovis, Nathaniel, Alana, and Berkley. You come with me. We’ll explore the island and make sure it’s safe for the rest of the crew.” Sera ordered her subordinates, speaking gently but firmly. She had picked the stronger members of the crew, her first mate, musician, technician, helmsman, and one of the soldiers who had joined her from Floweria. That’s what her landing crew would consist of.
She looked over at the crew members who hadn’t been called and in particular one large redhead, “Quinn, you’re in charge of the ship while we’re gone. Make sure we’re ready for anchors up at a moment’s notice. This island isn’t on our charts. I have no idea what to expect." While Quinn would normally go along with the group, to keep stock of everything that happens as well as to be another of their competent frontline members, someone had to stay and watch the ship. Quinn was an experienced sailor and merchant, making her the obvious choice for such a responsibility.
Sera was waiting at the beach when the rest of the crew showed up on the boat. There was only room for four, and it made sense to her to have someone go ahead and watch the shore while the crew members, only some of which could fly, approached. Anyone who knew her well would be able to tell that something was slightly off with her, she seemed more excited to be visiting this island than she probably should be.
As the rowboat made its final approach, the fog started to thin as the sun rose higher in the sky. Beyond Sera, the crew of the feather pirates could see the island starting to come into view.
The mountain that Alana had noticed earlier dominated the island and its horizon. A large forest surrounded on this side, though from what the Feathers could see from the boat it thinned out towards the western end of the island. Beyond that, several rolling hills could be seen to the east as the forest thickened up and what looked like a town was spread across on flank of the mountain. All in all, this island seemed like a relatively nice place to live and visit. At least it looked like it.
The other five members of the group hit the beach, footprints deep in the soft sand. Sera looked over them as she waited for them to get ready.
"So here's the plan. We're going to split into two groups. The group I'm leading is going to head towards the mountain town. The other one will be lead by Augus. You guys can pick where you want to go. I'll leave that up to you. Any objections or group preferences?"
"I'll go with Augus-san...yawn...he helps me stay awake, I think..." Ovis said, slowly wobbling over to Augus' direction while awaiting further orders. His eyes were blinking fast, showing he was trying his hardest to stay awake.
"I-I suppose I'm with you then Cap'n. I-I mean we worked umm like good no no, well. We worked well together last time." Nathaniel sputtered as he moved to stand next to Sera, rubbing his arm sheepishly.
Augus frowned, despite his smile, and patted Ovis' shoulder when he passed by. "We are probable to proceed cautiously throughout the wilderness," Finger pointed at the forest, Augus waited for whoever else, if there was even anyone else, to join him and Ovis.
Given how quiet the two could be, it was no wonder that the route would be taken. They could provide some intel about the island, just maybe, and discover something hidden within the woods. Plus, it would surely be dark inside there, with all those leaves and trees banded together.
"All right then," Sera announced. "Berkley, with me. Alana, follow Augus and Ovis. We'll check out the island and then return here shortly before dark."
With that, she motioned the Nathaniel and Berkley to follow her towards the town.
Cloudy with a Chance of FeathersEdit
The deep forest towards the southern end of the island was quiet, the thick canopy leaving it in perpetual shadow. It was obvious not many people came here. A couple of small cabins could be seen here or there, but the few the trio of feathers walking through the woods were empty. It was obvious that they had been occupied recently, but for now, the trio were the only souls around.
The steps of the three feathers could be heard with the crackling of leaves and the snapping of sticks echoing around the otherwise silent forest. But they were far from the only ones there. For unbeknownst to them, they were being stalked with a quiet... "fran... fran... fran..."
"This place..." Aries Ovis began to say, trying to suppress a yawn while walking slowly. "Is kind of creepy...and makes me sleepy..." He was with two other members of the Feather Pirates and hoped that their nocturnal behaviour would cancel his eternal sleepiness.
Actually, unlike the other two with him, Augus seemingly made no sound as he stepped through the environment. "We can't have you sleeping, Ovis-kun," He mused, not even sparing a glance at his comrade, but, sending a sound wave at his body, surely, that could stir him up a bit. However, doing this required Augus to interrupt his echolocalization from time to time, allowing whoever was in these houses to remain undetected.
"I... agree though, it's like out of a book," Augus crossed his arms, "...It feels like we are alone, but, the opposite also feels true."
The sound jolted him awake. "T-thank you, Augus-san..." Ovis said with a smile. "A lot of people, including myself, don't take me seriously because I sleep a lot...but I do try my hardest..."
Augus shot a thumbs-up at Ovis. "That's because people don't look beyond the covers! People judge someone by the appearance, however, we don't, therefore you don't have to worry!" With a whip of his head and shoulder, Augus gestured for them all to continue, but, the way his lips were, almost like he bit into them, was to tell another message.
A message that he wouldn't have time to express in more detail.
A moderately sized man with hair of brown stepped out from behind a tree, blocking the path the three were taking. "Fran Fran Fran..." the man said as he stood in front of them. "You are a mighty brave bunch to be travelling these woods with just the three of you." He said as he brandished a length of bread. Anyone who knew their bakeries would realize that the man was carrying a baguette, which gave his crew its name.
"My name is Jean Van Jean, and I'm going to need the three of you to come quietly, Fran Fran Fran. Before me and my men have to bonjour your way to an early sieste." He stated as several dozen men wielding rifles likewise revealed themselves. "So will you be good little birds and surrender like a proper man?"
"Fran Fran?!" Augus almost yelled out of his lungs upon spotting the man before him. Such appearance, such way of speaking, "It's just like he says! This person is worth 17,000,000, the captain of the Baguette Pirates!" But, how strange, Augus had read how he had seemingly disappeared into the Grand Line...
Standing in front of the other two, Augus made sure to try and do signals with one of his hands, which motioned backwards. Then, forward.
All of a sudden, even more blackness emerged into the night, a purple aura surrounding Augus' body and prompting it to shift. Bones, skin, all of it expanded and darkened, revealing two large curtains and horns. Through his very transformation, Augus wanted to cover both of his comrades using his wings, and maybe surprise Jean with the sudden pace of it, keeping his guard down for both himself and the others to act.
"All right then, Fran Fran FIRE!" Jean announced as he watched the man in front of him transform, his sword pointed straight at the trio.
The various men raised their guns and let loose their bullets, the hail of them aimed directly at the trio. "Should have surrendered Fran Fran Fran." Jean laughed softly as he just shook his head.
"No...!" Ovis said with a surprisingly loud voice, as suddenly, a wave of white wool appeared before him and his two comrades, stopping the advance of the bullets in their track. At the same time, he pushed the wave forward, intending to engulf his enemies in the mass of the wool and make them fall asleep. "We'll get through this, Augus-san..."
"Fran Fran, Pan Pan." Jean laughed again as he saw the wave of wool approaching. His men had started to turn towards the trees, aiming to put the wooden pillars between them and the waves of wool aiming to drown them in the fluff. Jean, on the other hand, pulled his blade to the sky, He flipped the blade over, almost as if he was going to plunge it into his own gut as some act of surrender, before driving it straight into the ground below.
"PAN PAN BAGUETTE BARRICADE!" He yelled as the earth in front of him rumbled, a series of pillars of bread rising up to impeded the wool wave. The bread creaked and cracked as the soft wool piled up on the other side, but held up under the abuse.
"Fran Fran... Baguette..." He said as he reversed his grip on the bread sword again, "BASTILLE!" Jean added as he pulled his sword up and forward, another series of pillars raising up under the wool as they raced through the ground, aiming to impale the Feathers from beneath.
"Mofu Mofu Volcano..." Ovis said with a faint, sleepy voice, as suddenly the ground beneath himself and his comrades had turned a blanket white, before the fluffy material had them rising in the air, until eventually, the wool had transformed the ground beneath into a volcano, that they stood atop of. The bastille of bread had clashed with the volcano, and Ovis had outstretched his arm, and clenched his fist, so to try and keep the construct in place despite the relentless assault of Jean.
"Mofu Mofu Bullet Storm..." Ovis' eyes could barely keep him awake. He was falling asleep under the effects of his own wool, but he had to protect his comrades. The Feather Pirates were the only people who accepted him despite his lackadaisical nature and shallow ambitions. The least he could do was help him in their time of need.
In the air before Ovis, a group of five large balls, the size of Ovis' face, appeared before him, and were being launched directly towards Jean and his crew, bypassing his barricade through their aerial bombardment.
"Fran Fran Fran, I knew you were going to do that!" Jean boasted loudly. Five more spears of bread began to poke through the ground to intercept the falling wool.
"Bullcrap, no you didn't." One of his men yelled back as he ran for cover.
"Pan Pan Guimauve Empalement!" The pirate announced as four spears of bread punched into and through the wool balls, halting their momentum through the air with a hiss. The fifth ball careened onwards, slamming into the loud mouth hard, leaving the sleeping man embedded in the dirt.
"Completely saw that coming Fran Fran."
Dough began to form out of his free hand, taking the shape of a large croissant laying on his shoulder. He raised his leg like a pitcher, before throwing the croissant at the pair with all of his might.
However the croissant arced upwards at the last moment, missing the pair completely as as it flew off past them.
"Fran Fran, that wasn't supposed to happen."
"WOAH, WOAH!!" Augus yelled, flying to one side to avoid the many rising pillars of... bread? "Are you sure about t- AAAAAH!" One of them nearly hit him, merely bruising by his dark figure, his body flew backwards into some trees. At the very least, however, Augus having opened his wings provided enough time for Ovis to properly counter-attack Jean.
Standing much behind the fight itself, Augus hovered his eyes over the situation, standing on his two legs over the tree's leaves. To one side or another, his eyes went, accompanying both combatants. With a flick of his lips, Augus sent a low message of sound towards Ovis, "I'll prepare an attack."
Indeed, with his next breath, Augus held his fist out, which began to vibrate.
"...Okay..." Ovis' voice was unsteady, but he continued to persevere regardless. As opposed to launch a new attack, Ovis instead decided to manipulate the wool he had fired into the distance. Widening the distance between both of his hands, the woolen balls followed suit and seemingly split in half, transforming into cylindrical shapes that would possess a stronger piercing impact.
Similarly, because they were closer to Jean's original position, Ovis thought that they had a better chance of hitting him. Of course, he remained as vigilant as he could, but due to his sleepiness, his sense of awareness for things that he wasn't focused on was draining.
Bread began to climb up Jean's ankles when he noticed the wool surrounding him move.
"Pan-Marin..." The pirate said as the wool slammed around him, cutting off vision of him as the wool piled upon him in greater quantities.
At the same time however, his Croissant came back as it finished its arc. Now we'll behind the three feathers, it raced to strike the Wooly Mammal in the back of the head.
Ovis, as a Helmsman, was used to hearing sounds of movement in the distance. It was mandatory for him to have decent hearing in order to react to things, whenever he wasn't sleeping that is. He could barely hear it, but a faint buzzing sound came from behind him. He didn't have all that much stamina left, and had hoped that he allowed Augus to prepare his attack properly.
"Mofu Mofu Blanket..." Ovis said, barely awake, as he covered himself in a wool blanket. By the time the croissant had reached, the impact still had hurt Ovis considerably, but it wasn't enough to completely knock himself out. Instead, he had been knocked out by his own Devil Fruit powers, and was sleeping with unusual calm on the tower of wool he had made, which had slowly begun to decompose with Ovis' lack of consciousness.
"Sorry Augus-san...your turn now..." Thoughts raced in his mind, before Ovis slept.
Indeed, as soon as Ovis fell out of his awakened state, having pushed himself so much, Augus rushed onwards without waiting another heartbeat. He had hid himself in the leaves barely, much like stated before, and sought to reach Jean once the wool was out by swooping in.
Making use of his wings, his large legs, and the stealth provided by the shadows, Augus heighted his velocity and pushed the fist he began to vibrate at Jean's frame. "PRESLEY PRESS!" Augus roared, unleashing a rippling impact upon the air around him, though, he didn't aim anywhere in particular on Jean's frame.
Should he even try to use the breads to block it, Augus was sure the rippling could rip the mass apart and posibly get to Jean with some power still.
The cocoon of bread that had protected Jean receded with the wool, and the man was brushing himself off as he announced, "Woosh, that waz a close one." He announced as he saw the sleeping Ovis upon his tower of wool. "I guess that what happens when you challenge a man with 8 times your bounty."
"Now, where is the other o.." he started to say as he heard the roar behind him. Jean was fast, but even still he barely was able to get his baguette between him and the giant bat of man.
The Baguette resisted, slowing the blow momentarily before with a crack it snapped in two.
Jean grunted in pain as he took the large man's blow directly in the ribs. A red spittle escaped from his lips as he was sent sliding along the ground, the vibrations reverberating through his body to cause further damage.
Jean was nearly thirty feet away by the time his momentum failed. He coughed slightly before he raised his broken baguette at August. "I will make you regret that Le Bat." He will finish by spitting out the last syllables.
He will jump, almost disappearing into the air as he leapt up into the sky. Raising he baguette into the air, he yelled out "Baguette Bopper!"
The broken baguette began to grow, and grow, and grow as Jean poured bread into it. By the time Jean started to swing it, it was easily the size of a tree. A whistling sound could be heard as the pillar swung down, read to bop the bat below it.
Up a Creak without an OarEdit
The town near the mountain of the island was deserted as they entered. Signs of life abounded, trash lay on the street in places, dirt showed footprints quickly leading to various doors. The flash of eyes could be seen through the shutters and curtains on the windows at the three strangers in their midst. Two men and a woman walked through the streets of this town, lazily making their way to the centre of the town as they explored this strange island. An island that by all means shouldn't exist.
"You know Captain, I don't think the locals really appreciate us being here." the tall man walking in back yawned as he voiced his observation.
"They probably think we're pirates." The woman responded matter-of-factly.
"We are pirates." The man will bluntly note back.
"I suppose that is fair," Sera admitted with pursed lips. "Well, at least we aren't here to steal anything."
"Yo, Nathaniel." Berkley will prompt to the third member of the group, "Whatcha think the odds that we can get these people to trust that we're not going to rob them?"
Nathaniel thought for a moment before shrugging as he moved his hands up and down, almost as if he was weighing a scale. "I-I'd s-say like umm 50/50 maybe umm. Yeah, that."
"Oh come on, I'm sure that they will be reasonable, Or try to kill us," Sera added in with a huff. "Least they hopefully won't be like the featherholes in Alnora."
Nathaniel let out a small chuckle at Sera's attempt to censor herself. "Worst comes to worst we can just take em all out." He spoke between laughs.
"Yeah, worst comes to worst we should be able to fight our way out." Sera nodded in agreement.
"You know Nathaniel, I think this is the first time we've actually worked together." Berkley will comment to break up the silence after Sera's affirmation. "Where are you from anyway. Out of all the new guys don't think I really know anything about you."
"Oh?!" Nathaniel was caught a little off guard by the comment. No one had really asked him much about his personal life since he'd joined the crew. "Haha well umm, I was umm uhh." He shuddered, brushing his temples with his hands as he started again. "I'm originally from a small island named Firwalt. It's close to Drum Island if you know where that is."
"Heard of Drum Island, but haven't heard of Firwalt before," Berkley responded. "So you're originally from the Grand Line then?"
"I haven't heard of Firwalt island either, but to be fair, Gallanholm was the first island I went to that wasn't just rehashing my prior visit to the Grand Line." Sera chimed in. "Andre and I are both from the same island in North blue. So I assume he's the same. What's Firwalt like if you don't mind me asking?"
"Indeed." Nathaniel nodded to Berkley. "It's nice. Leaves are constantly red and orange, sunsets are beautiful. Quite serene honestly." Nathaniel replied, answering Sera's inquiry. "Smaller island, only like three towns on it. Got my start as a musician in the plazas and taverns there, a fun time indeed."
"Must be nice to be from such a simple island," Sera mused. "Flower Island is one of the largest in North Blue, two major cities and around 45 villages. More noble houses than you can easily keep track of."
"Was a really great place... Until Redrik," Berkley added in. "Hopefully your place never had to deal with that kind of trouble."
"Can't say I know what who or what Redrik is or was." Nathaniel commented, "However Firwalt was too small and unassuming, not to mention a small time smuggling outpost. Their influence was just strong enough to keep away the riff-raff and just inconsequential enough that actual threats never saw a reason to do anything." Nathaniel's hand tensed a bit, gripping some object that was no longer there for but a brief moment.
"Well, it's good that everything was peaceful enough for you. If only all islands were that way."
"Redrik was our Lord's younger brother. Our Former Lord." Sera said with a distant look. "Shortly before I became a pirate the Flower Kingdom was the subject of a six-year civil war. The side Andre and I was on lost after the Marines chose to back Redrik. The rest is history..."
Berkley took a moment and sidled up next to Nathaniel, "Yeah... the war's still a pretty touchy subject whenever Sera gets reminded of it. She and her Father were on opposite sides. If you've ever seen the line on her side, it's where he ran her through." Berkley will pause for a moment before continuing. "She'll get over it eventually. So did you leave just out of wanderlust, or get kicked out for some reason?"
"I haven't seen it but it sounds rough." He replied, shaking his head. He didn't really have much to add besides that. He was pretty sure by now any 'best wishes' or whatever would just be seen as pity so he left the subject. "I actually just left Firwalt cause I needed to branch out ya know." An awkward grin on his face as he continued. "Can't really make it as a musician with only three villages paying you, especially when half of them aren't into jazz."
"And now you're a pirate. Probably not what you expected when you left your home island, am I right?" Andre chuckled as he heartedly slapped his crewmate on the back. "I think we're all in the same boat there."
"Not really no, not the life I expected or planned for but we're in it now." Nathaniel nodded as he gave a friendly jab to the man's shoulder in response. "So how far away is this anyways Sera?"
"Town centre should be just up ahead," Sera responded as she snapped back to the present. The trio finally had arrived at their destination, the place that had called.
Several dozen villagers wielding pitchforks were on the other side of the square, lead by an old man with one arm. Numerous scars covered the man's face, his large body hidden by a cloak.
"Ah... a welcome party." Sera sighed with annoyance.
"So we fighting them or what?" Nathaniel asked, flexing his right hand. "To be entirely honest you could probably just grow some wings and scare em Sera. They look impressionable enough."
"I could always show them my full zoan form." Sera chuckled to herself. "Now that would scare them... But no, let's try and be friendly here. I don't pick... We don't pick fights with civilians. So just try to look friendly."
"I mean I.." He quickly stopped himself. "Showing them a real angel would be funny though. I doubt they'd even be able to appreciate it." With that, Nathaniel clammed up and aimed to be as welcoming as possible to the mob.
Sera approached the group with hands visible, doing her best to appear welcoming. Most of the villagers in front of her appeared apprehensive, levelling their weapons at the approaching pirate.
"Now, now, there is no reason for alarm. I'm not here to start a fight." Sera said softly as she got closer. "Who's in charge here.?"
"I am Miss." The old man responded with a polite bow. "We saw your ship come in, and we want no trouble. We've already prepared a tribute for you to just leave us alone."
"There's no.." Sera tried to get out.
"Please miss, we don't want any trouble. Just take it, and leave us alone." He'll interrupt as he points to the large treasure chest.
"I'm serious, we..."
"Mam, please think of the children. Take the tribute and go." The old man said sharply.
"Please." He said finally as if begging.
Sera gave an exasperated sigh as she looked at the chest. "Fine..."
Sera walked over to the large chest. It was easily twice the size she was, if not more. "Where did they even get a chest this big this big..." She mumbled to herself as she walked over and looked at it. "Might as well see what's inside."
With that, Sera jumped up to the lip of the chest, and placing her feet on the bottom of the lip, pulled the chest's lid why open.
"Feather my life..."
Without even a word, a suited man leapt out of the chest and immediately attempted to land a powerful punch square to Sera's face, which had been just above him. This man was Lee Jin, and even in this compromised position, he had managed to use the bottom of the chest as a foothold for his leap. Truly, an impeccable Martial Arts worth his infamy.
Sera's nose made a disgusting sound as the man in the box hit her face dead centre. Her head rocked back as an arc of blood ejected from her nose. Sera's eyes nearly rolled back into her head as she was knocked off the chest, landing on the ground below. However, despite the sudden shock to her head, she remained conscious. "I think you broke my feathering nose..." She groaned as she rolled over.
Sera shook her head a couple of times in an attempt to clear it, her vision showing double even as she grabbed her nose.
But she couldn't afford to focus purely on the pain with an enemy above her. Four white wings grew from her back, spiking upwards in an attempt to pierce through the man who had wounded her.
"You fucks!" The words shot from Nathaniel's mouth as he assumed a crouched stance and rocketed forwards. Trumpets erupting from both arms, facing backwards as they emitted a loud blaring noise. The sound rocketed him forwards as he dashed through the air at the man that had just punched his captain, swinging his right fist for his temple.
"You must be faster, Angel!" Jin proclaimed loudly, as he observed the wings spiking up to attack him. As opposed to evasion in mid-air, he clenched both of his hands into tight fists, and rapidly punched all four wings, near-simultaneously, pushing them back with such force that they went flying left and right.
At the same time, the wings that flew to the right would get in the way of Nathaniel's advance, and before his fist would launch towards Jin's body, he would have to get Sera's wings out of the way. As this manoeuvre occurred, Jin's body finally landed onto the ground, putting him on an even playing field with his opponents.
Notably, despite the treasure chest being seemingly empty, a rattling noise did not stop humming from its interior. Was there a bigger ploy in all of this..?
Jin didn't hesitate to take advantage of the confusion he made, and dashed forward with all of his might, reaching before Sera nigh-instantly. His left fist was clenched at his waist, and he shot it forward with great speed, hoping to land it squarely on Sera's stomach and knock her out from this battle. At the same time, his right hand had been curled up into a fist as well, but left in a dormant position, awaiting any possible interference from the other Pirate.
A shadow peered over from inside the treasure chest, quickly vanishing into the environment around everyone. Suddenly, the entire atmosphere seemed more humid, rendering difficult most people's breathing, even if slightly.
Sera was still seeing double as blood dripped from her nose to the ground below. The first blow had shaken her bad. Her balance was barely there, and she needed a moment to recompose herself. A moment her assailant wasn't willing to give her.
Her wings had barely retracted in time to defend against the blow, wrapping around her torso as the man struck it. They deadened the blow, though Sera rolled several times away from the strike under the force. She attempted to reach her feet by rolling with the force, though she overcompensated and nearly fell backwards in the process. Only by switching to off her wings to act as an extra pair of legs was she able to stay upright, still seeing double this entire time as she struggled to breathe in the saturated air. She was punchdrunk, but not out yet.
As Sera's wings flew at Nathaniel, he twitched as trumpets jutted from his shoulders. They blared upwards as he slid under the wings. As his slide brought him within a critical distance of the mysterious man, the trumpets on his shoulders disappeared and the trumpets on his arms re-engaged, rocketing him upwards, his left fist poised to strike the man's chin in a shattering uppercut.
Jin's manoeuvre was almost a complete success, and he had managed to injure the Captain to a degree that the Manly Pirates could execute their manly plan. Now, there was simply a matter of dealing with her subordinate. His eyes peered towards his right, where Nathaniel had moved with blistering speed. While he acknowledged that the powers of, what seemed to be, his Devil Fruit was enough to surpass human limitations, he didn't possess the training needed to beat Jin in this situation.
While Nathaniel attempted to uppercut Jin's chin, what he didn't notice while blitzing with his speed was the dormant fist on his right side. Without any obvious preparation, the fist was immediately raised and was sent out in a straight punch, intercepting Nathaniel's strike by attacking the inner part of his elbow bone before the punch could fully connect. The resulting force caused Nathaniel's own fist to shift in angle slightly, narrowly avoiding Jin.
"Your fists require more discipline! Be faster, not louder!" Jin spoke to the younger Pirate, taking a single back-step while keeping his attention distributed between Sera and Nathaniel.
"Grahh" Nathaniel grunted as his fist was expertly knocked off course. He pulled his hand back as his opponent stepped away. He too stepped back, whacking his elbow with his other fist, almost rhythmically. "Not louder? How the hell am I supposed to jam with no music?" He called out as lines of trumpets erupted from his shoulders to his lower back. They began to blare, the sound reverberating through the air and Nathaniel. His grin grew wider, eyes narrowed in focus. His loose hand held firm before his face as his feet took their place in his stance.
He moved forward with his guard up, aiming to counter when the man struck him again.
Jin viewed the trumpeter before him, and the ostentatious sounds he made and formed a scowl on his face. A fighter that relied on noise in such a manner was not worth a fight with him. He was doing this as part of his duty to the Manly Pirates, but he still possessed his honour as a military man, and as a man of Martial Arts. Therefore, to maintain his own honour, he instead went back to completing his initial task: capturing Phim D. Sera.
Without delay, he dashed towards the slowly recovering Angel and attempted to appear behind her with a sidestep that would avoid her wings. He intended on grappling her by the neck and keeping her bound, ensuring that the subordinate would not be able to do anything with his Captain in check.
Sera had nearly finished collecting herself by now, and with her regained clarity of thought reacted to the other man's moves.
Sera's palms stretched out and a golden light flowed out from them. By the time Jin's arm reached her neck, the golden light had formed a bubble around her. A golden shield to protect the angel from her attackers. A shield that kept expanding as Sera began to force Jin away from her in an attempt to reset the fight back to square one.
"Six!" Andre announced as another of the various enemies fell to the ground behind him, the man's pitchfork cleft in twain. "Came at me you Curs!" He yelled as he charged the next group of men coming after him.
Andre was a blur as he moved through his attackers. Sword whistling through the air, he parried and rolled through strike after strike even as his own blade rang out again and again. By the time he halted behind the group of men, each of them began to rock forwards, collapsing at the same time as their wounds proved to be too much.
"Now, are there any decent swordsmen around here?" He asked aloud.
A shot rang out as Berkley boasted, nearly hitting him in the head, though the young duelist leaned out of the way at the last moment.
Andre turned around towards the source of the shot, not seeing anyone until he looked towards the ground. A small monkey, barely two feet tall, stood there, a flintlock in one hand and a Cutlass in the other.
"Who gave this monkey a weapon!" Andre exclaimed loudly in surprise and annoyance as another shot went off.
Andre jumped backwards as the bullet whizzed by again, barely dodging the second one. His sword shrieked through the air as he stabbed towards the monkey, which rolled out of the way before jumping towards the feather. A lattice-web of sparks was all that could be seen as the two swordsmen went at each other in a blur of motion, each giving and asking for no quarter.
Across the plaza and near where Sera and Nathaniel were attempting to handle Jin, a loud beat could be heard echoing through the houses. Another group of men rounded the corner towards the square, though they looked nothing like the rest of the people in the square.
Heavy Denim clothes and jackets donned the men, obvious even under the large amount of gold coloured jewellery they wore. Each carried a weapon of some kind, from clubs to chains, to flintlocks and maces. One carried a metal box, the Den Den Mushi blasting out a beat. The group stepped in tune to the beat, keeping pace as the man in front began to rap to the beat."
"Here comes the Boss,
Here to give these losers a loss.
Just one hit to the face,
Has already put this captain in their place.
Those trombones are lame,
You will hate that you even came.
But now Marshall is here,
So let's show these wannabes the meaning of fear."
As Mathers Marshall finished his lyrics, Alexander just groaned. "Young people and their terrible music..."
As the two subordinate crews started moving into the plaza, the rank and file of the Manly Pirates started leaving in a hurry. Their job had been to keep the pirates in place until the crews arrived, and they had performed their job well. As such, they left the rest of the crew to do theirs.
Two of the fleeing men, in particular, crouched behind some boxes as they watched fight occurring in the square. "I can't believe they sent both the Hill and the Rapping Pirates to deal with one group of rookies. Mathers and Billy Jo both have a bounty comparable to that crew's entire bounty. Hell, Little Timmy is fighting on par with their swordsmen, and he has a bounty of 8,000,000. Jin is also matching the captain and the other guy straight up by himself." The larger of the two men said to his companion as he watched the fights.
"Yeah, even discounting Jin they gotta deal with 99,000,000 in terms of bounty. 43,000,000 from the Rapping Pirates and 56,000,000 from the Hill Pirates. Those rookies are screwed. Well, at least we get to watch. Where is Billy Jo anyways? I only see Little Timmy out there."
"He'll show up, all we can do is wait."
A screech could be heard as the sword fight finally ended, a trail of blood spreading out from the primate as Andre's sword finally met its mark. The primate fell to the ground, defeated.
"Awh Shit Brother Billy Jo, they got Little Timmy" Could be heard from up on one of the roofs. Andre looked up in response to the comment and just froze. Nearly forty humanoid apes of various sizes stood upon the roof. In the front, a massive gorilla in a vest and denim pants stood, staring at the pirate below. "He'll be avenged Terrence, he'll be avenged.
"HOW DARE YOU HURT LITTLE TIMMY!" The Mink roared as he leapt from the building, smashing his fist into the ground with all of his might. Rock cracked and dust flew as his fist embedded into the stone road where Andre had been standing moments ago. "You're gonna die, son. Gonna die for hurting my cousin."
"As Sera would say, Feather My Life..."
In the meantime, the Rapping Pirates continued their advance into the square, walking towards Nathaniel, Jin, and Sera in step with the beat, their captain at their head. It wasn't looking good.
"Nathaniel, Get Andre and get out of here," Sera said as she calculated just how badly the odds were stacked against her, her golden barrier having given her time to fully recollect herself, though blood was still dripping from her broken nose. "I'll buy you guys time to get out of the town, then fly away to meet you. Go find Augus."
"Absolutely not." Nathaniel spoke, his eyes alight with fire. In a couple mere seconds he, his captain, and their entire crew hand been insulted. Not to mention that fucker refusing to box with him. An army was marching towards them and he was about to show them what he was made of.
"Sera I want you to trust me here." The usual hesitation an awkwardness of his voice was far gone. The confident speech from their ballroom battle was back again. The blaring music fell silent as a trumpet manifested in his hands. "Watch my back ok, this is my stage." He placed the trumpet to his lips and began to play. An eerie chorus blasted from his being, looming in the air. Then over it a very distinct noise, the horns of war. Nathaniel stood motionless, eyes closed and focused on his music. Then a yelp was heard from on of the pirates as a ghostly monkey slashed him across the face. Laughter was heard as spirits of those who died at war rose up, swords and guns in hand. Their hollow yellow eyes trained on his foes. A hearty laugh reverberated through the square as the spirits of war began to march to the tune, an ethereal army dashing on Nathaniel's behalf.