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The Wolf of Castelia (Pokemon - Absol SI)

Discussion in 'Creative Writing' started by Nihilea, Jan 29, 2024.

?

What is most important in the world?

  1. Truth

    50.9%
  2. Ideals

    49.1%
Loading...
  1. TricMagic

    TricMagic Avid Avian Acolyte

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    I can say Filter Dials would be heaven to the desert nation. One thing they need is fresh water. Needless to say, Crocodile isn't keen on them having it~
     
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  2. Orchamus

    Orchamus Versed in the lewd.

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    Alright chaps here we go, combat time! Also Business man Buggy
     
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  3. Vanbers

    Vanbers Well worn.

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    Honestly really liking this omake series, it's pretty great.

    The adventures of Absol and Buggy D. Clown are always a treat to see. :V
     
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  4. Extras: Chapter 12: Peace in Our Time
    Nihilea

    Nihilea Getting sticky.

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    Chapter 12: Peace in Our Time

    "You know, I've never fought an actual battle at sea before," Absol remarked, stretching his legs in preparation. "How's this meant to go, Captain?"

    "I can't feel anyone notable on their ship," Buggy replied after a few moments with his eyes closed. "That's not infallible, but I really doubt anyone here knows Observation Killing, when even most New World captains don't. So assuming we have the edge in strength, we can do this two ways. Either keep fighting at a distance, relying on our superior ability to deflect cannonballs until our guns sink them, or we get in close and board them."

    "Something about this doesn't feel right," Absol mentioned, mindful of his quest objectives. "We haven't even done anything in the Grand Line yet, so to be attacked already feels a bit too targeted. If we board, we might be able to find out why this is happening."

    "Sounds good to me," Buggy grunted, his head floating over to the helmsman. "Bring us in for boarding, straight ahead!"

    This was a dangerous maneuver in theory, as it required the Big Top to expose its full length to the enemy broadside. Even a single cannonball landing dead on couldn't ravage the entirety of the ship; though conversely it also left a far smaller target profile and a much smaller area for the officers to defend. The enemy ship made no move as they approached, choosing to continue relying on their firepower despite the lack of effect thus far.

    Normally, as a ship like the Big Top neared the target they would slow down, steering until they came nearly level and close enough to enable boarding ramps and hooks to be deployed. Buggy however wasn't much of a fan of normal. Placing his hand on the ship's bow, the entire frontal structure turned black as his Armament Haki went to work.

    "Help me with this," Buggy ordered, prompting Absol to add his own infusion into the mix, turning the bow even deeper black.

    Absol had to admit, he felt quite a thrill as he registered the sudden panic of their foes as they realized the Big Top wasn't stopping, followed by the almighty crash as their ship's reinforced bow tore through the enemy midship and sheared straight through their mast, toppling the entire tower down into the ocean below.

    "Men, now's the chance to earn your pay!" Buggy yelled. "They started this fight, so you go and finish it!"

    With a mighty roar, the majority of the crew - who up until now had little to do as the gunners and officers stole the show - charged forward into the breach, hurling themselves bodily onto the stricken enemy ship with blades drawn. The first handful of bounty hunters they met were cut down immediately, still staggered from impact and unable to defend themselves. That state of affairs wouldn't last for long; as the seconds passed and the boarders moved further in, pockets of resistance sprung up as the bounty hunters shook off their shock and joined the fray in earnest.

    "We could take them all out in a few minutes," Absol observed, unimpressed with the chaotic brawl he was watching; whilst the Buggy Pirates had the clear advantage, the battle wasn't clean by any standards.

    "Sure," Buggy agreed as he watched one bounty hunter slip on a patch of blood, his opponent immediately pressing the advantage to slit his throat with a dagger. "We can't do all the work though; otherwise they'll never get the chance to train against real enemies. Best to let them learn in a decently even fight, otherwise they'll be slaughtered the first time they face someone strong and we're not there to bail them out."

    "Fair enough," Absol nodded, noticing another two lives wink out via his Detect, one friend and one foe. "Is it strange that I feel nothing at all, watching dozens of men and women fight to the death?"

    "It's not the usual response; I threw up the first time I saw it, but I've no clue what's normal for your species," Buggy shrugged. "I'm a pirate, not a therapist, and even some humans react differently so who knows?"

    [Pokémon are born and built for battle. Yours would be a poor design if you froze up the moment you saw a bit of bloodshed.]

    "I suppose I'm just lucky then," Absol hummed, before noticing a disturbance up ahead as two men emerged, both significantly bigger than their comrades and swinging massive forge hammers that literally smashed their targets to a pulp.

    "Alvida, Cabaji, you're up!"

    The first officers deployed at Buggy's command, Alvida immediately matching one blow for blow as she demonstrated her deceptive strength with her Iron Mace. Despite his best efforts, her opponent was unable to gain any ground and grew steadily more frustrated as a seemingly petite woman stymied his advance. Inevitably, that frustration drove him to make a mistake as he reached out to grab Alvida's arm, hoping to hold her in place. His hand slipped right off, unable to get a grip and throwing him off balance; in that same half-second Alvida swung her mace in an underhand swipe, impacting directly between his legs with a sickening crunch. Quite frankly, her subsequent blow to take his head off was a mercy more than anything else.

    Cabaji's fight was more measured; unable to match his opponent in raw strength, his was a game of agility as the acrobat ducked and weaved between his opponent's unwieldy blows. His twin daggers flashed all the while, inflicting a flurry of cuts that steadily worked their way closer towards major arteries. As his opponent slowed, judgment dulled by mounting blood loss, Cabaji found the fatal opening. Ducking under a side swipe, his dagger plunged into and down his foe's leg, slicing the femoral artery wide open. Going into shock, the stricken man fell to his knees and receive a blade across the throat for his troubles.

    "They were a bit better than the rabble," Absol observed. "Not enough for me to think they were in command. Junior officers, maybe? They're not wearing any insignia, annoyingly enough."

    "Bounty hunters rarely have any formal ranks; they're not normally organized enough for that." Buggy agreed. "Which makes Baroque Works an oddity in and of itself. Having a large group stay together long enough to even agree a name just doesn't happen, at least not without a significant amount of money behind them. Bounty hunters, as a rule, do not like to share."

    "I think that's quite enough violence, wouldn't you agree? It's Peace Time!"

    As if answering Absol's query, a wave of violet energy erupted from the stern of the ship, spreading across the entire deck in seconds. Everywhere the light struck, men and women stopped their life and death struggle, reducing to staring at one another in anger, hate and relief respectively. Frowning, Absol focused his mind, quickly pinpointing the source of the wave to a flamboyant looking man who'd yet to join the fight, just now emerging from a staircase by the helm. Bearing a head of long, unkempt blonde hair barely held in some semblance of order with a headband, he wore only a hawaiian shirt half-open to reveal his bare chest, alongside star-studded shorts and a pair of loose sandals.

    "Listen up y'all! I'm Mister Ten, wielder of the Peace Peace fruit, and while I'm here there'll be none of that nonsense, waving your sticks and swords around, ya hear?"

    "Stars above, did you not hear me last time? Stop telling your enemies how your powers work!"

    A woman complained as she emerged behind Mr. 10. Her face was barely visible, mostly covered beneath an animalistic hood from which three antennae-like stalks emerged. She was dressed conservatively compared to her companion; long pants alongside a properly buttoned short sleeve shirt and a scarf wrapped around her neck whilst a long saber was strapped across her back.

    "And I'm telling you, Miss Tuesday, that you need to relax!" Mr. 10 shot back. "What's the harm in telling them, when they can't do any harm in return? Ha, I kill myself!"

    "Oh great, he's a moron," Absol sighed, already categorizing the man as wasted potential, despite having a genuinely interesting Devil Fruit (and one he'd not seen before).

    "You know, that power is great and all, but you still need to sleep right?" Absol asked.

    "Yeah, of course, what about it?" Mr. 10 replied, thrown by Absol's non-sequitur.

    "Sleep." Absol commanded, bringing to bear the full strength of his Pressure upon the unfortunate devil fruit user, who immediately fell to the floor unconscious and foaming at the mouth.

    "I told you so," Miss Tuesday groaned. "You and your big mouth will be the death of me. Hopefully not literally."

    Sighing, she drew her saber, clearly prepared to go down fighting as violence resumed with the Peace man taken out of commission.

    "Let me deal with her," Buggy declared. "There's not a swordsman in the world that I fear. No swordswoman either, for that matter."

    "Knock yourself out." Absol shrugged, as he busied himself with tying Mr. 10 up against the stump of his own ship's smashed mast.
     
  5. Vanbers

    Vanbers Well worn.

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    See, even for actually impressive characters you'd think that's arrogance, or something that'd come back to bite them, but like...

    Fucking Buggy.

    On one hand, there's a chance Mihawk was holding back, or purposefully not using haki, but on the other hand, he did still survive multiple direct attacks from Mihawk to the degree that he not only ignored them, but didn't even view them as threats. And Mihawk is kind of THE GUY when it comes to swording.
     
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  6. Animohnson

    Animohnson I trust you know where the happy button is?

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    well that's dissapointing. just finished binging the main story on reader mode, activated watch, get notified of a chapter and find out you haven't been writing the main story for weeks now, instead focusing on a side story in *shivers* One Piece of all things.

    gonna have to unwatch this, i don't want notifications of a one piece story. my dissapointment is immeasurable, the main story was good too.
     
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  7. Pietersielie

    Pietersielie Know what you're doing yet?

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    Thanks for the chapter! It's been interesting without getting bogged down in the daily minutea that is the peril for so many fics.
     
  8. Orchamus

    Orchamus Versed in the lewd.

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    Found this clip while browsing before I read the chapter, really set the mood when pondering on future Buggy

    Also seriously those two, Absol and Buggy, get along pretty well, very amusing senpai kouhai work relationship developing into friendship
     
    Nihilea likes this.
  9. Extras: Chapter 13: Unlucky
    Nihilea

    Nihilea Getting sticky.

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    Chapter 13: Unlucky

    By Absol's relatively untrained eye, Miss Tuesday seemed like a decently skilled swordswoman. Fast, fluid footwork paired with a surprising amount of heft from her saber, she probably could have thrashed any of Arlong's lot with energy to spare, though she wasn't close to where Zoro stood even this early in the series.

    It's almost a shame none of that matters, Absol yawned. As a wise captain once said, sometimes you can do everything right and still end up losing, that's just life.

    Miss Tuesday was already bleeding from several shallow cuts, courtesy of the initial exchange where Buggy had charged straight through her slash to catch her off guard. Only quick reflexes at the time saved her from a nasty gut wound, but the fight didn't get any better for her from there.

    "You can surrender, you know," Buggy quipped, dodging for the first time as Miss Tuesday switched tactics.

    Sheathing her saber, she pulled the whole thing off her back and began using the sheathed blade as a bludgeon, hoping to beat Buggy into submission. A reasonable adjustment, except it wasn't her preferred fighting style and it showed, with Buggy dancing nimbly around her clumsy swings to sink a knife into her knee.

    "We're willing to keep you alive for information, you and your partner both," Buggy repeated, sparing a brief glance at the thoroughly trussed up Mr. 10. "Drop your weapon, and you'll get out of this more or less intact."

    Absol could feel the hesitation mount; as both Buggy's words and the unwinnable nature of the battle forced the now limping Miss Tuesday to seriously consider the offer. Watching carefully, Absol noticed the moment her shoulders dropped, the will to fight leaving her as her sheathed saber clattered to the floor.

    Danger!

    Swinging his head, a Night Slash flew right past Miss Tuesday's head, cutting a small apple sized projectile in half. Eyes widening, Miss Tuesday swatted the explosive away not a moment too soon, the subsequent detonation causing two small geysers as the halves reacted violently upon landing in the water. Turning his eyes heavensward, Absol caught sight of a small blur circling them high above, two weak presences that nonetheless held an animal cunning. They did a few more turns, seemingly assessing whether to go in for another attack run, but eventually they broke off, flying in the direction of the setting sun.

    "An otter and a vulture?" Buggy rubbed his eyes. "I'm not making that up, am I?"

    "The Unluckies," Miss Tuesday whispered, looking badly shaken. "They only ever show up to deliver one of two things: orders from the boss or punishments for failure."

    "The latter then," Absol confirmed. "Given that bomb would have blown you to shreds had it landed on target."

    "I guess that's it for me then," Miss Tuesday sighed, slumping to the floor. "Alright, I'm already marked for death, so desertion doesn't sound that bad all of a sudden. Keep me alive and I'll tell you anything you want to know."

    "Is there anyone else who might know anything valuable?" Absol asked, glancing around at the ravaged ship.

    The tide had turned decisively once Alvida and Cabaji reinforced the rest of the crew, wiping out the rest of the opposition on deck in short order. Absol could feel them going room to room below, grabbing anything of value and killing anyone they came across - business as usual for when a raid turned bloody.

    "No," Miss Tuesday shook her head, sealing the fate of the remaining millions. "Everyone in Baroque Works gets told the minimum they need for the mission. Even I don't know who the boss is, and we're pretty high up the ranks."

    "Of course, it can never be that easy can it?" Absol asked rhetorically, whilst keeping an eye on his quest log.

    Despite having captured the pair of agents, he'd yet to receive a quest complete notification, which meant there was still potential for trouble.

    "Argh!" Mr. 10 screamed as Buggy's thrown knife pinned his hand to the floorboard, a small handheld saw clattering to the ground.

    Glancing at the ropes binding their captive, Absol noticed that he'd managed to cut about a third of the way through.

    [Quest: I Wanna Be A Billionaire completed!

    Rewards: A ship (sinking) and loot, 1 Baroque Works turncoat, 1 Liability]

    Absol snorted at the description, before refocusing on Miss Tuesday.

    "Is there any reason to keep him after that stunt? He's only going to be a headache going forward."

    "Not really, he liked to sleep through most of his briefings," Miss Tuesday snorted. "I had to handle most of the paperwork for our jobs, the lazy bastard."

    "No, you can't do this to me!" Mr. 10 blubbered. "Peace Time!"

    Once again, an aura of tranquility settled on the ship; a bit too late by Absol's reckoning given only the two officer agents were still alive from their side. The ship wasn't that big, and the Buggy Pirates were old hands at pillaging.

    "Should I knock him out again?" Absol offered, but Buggy shook his head.

    "No, leave him here without any supplies. The ship will start taking on water as soon as we dislodge our bow. Whether he survives the sinking or not, it's all up to fate now."

    "Okay." Absol shrugged, unconcerned either way as he headed for the Big Top as Buggy went to call the others home.

    After a battle like that, he was feeling rather peckish.



    "Ugh, I don't think I can eat another bite." For the first time since arriving in the Grand Line, Absol was completely and utterly stuffed. The Baroque Works ship had been carrying, among other things, a vast bounty of fresh food. As most of it couldn't be repurposed and would only last a few days, Buggy had declared an all you can eat buffet. Absol had given it his level best, but after eating what felt like his own bodyweight in fish, coconuts, bananas and oysters even his Arceus-given metabolism eventually had to call it quits.

    "The coffer's back to about half full," Cabaji reported, heading over with a plateful of roast beef and shellfish.

    He was one of the last to arrive, having personally taken charge of sorting all the plunder into the correct categories. According to Buggy, this was something he did after every raid, being the most avaricious of the crew where gold was concerned (which was no small feat given the competition).

    "We shouldn't have any problems paying out for shore leave," Alvida nodded, between swigs of her fifth ale that night. "Alabasta isn't supposed to be that expensive, but it's still a tourist destination so there'll be a markup. It'll be nice not having to worry about prices at the market this time; Loguetown was a disappointment on that front."

    "Hey, uh, sorry to interrupt, but I just thought of something."

    Everyone's heads turned to Miss Tuesday; looking rather pale as she wandered over from the buffet. Despite having had her wounds bandaged and having eaten her fill as well, she almost radiated anxiety.

    "What's on your mind?" Buggy asked. "We've not felt the Unluckies since they left the first time."

    "It's not that," She shook her head. "It's more something I heard from another agent, though I'd dismissed it at the time. Apparently, the Unluckies have a very good memory, and if they can't beat the target they'll return to headquarters and draw some pictures, so that higher ranked agents can have a go."

    "How strong are they compared to you?" Alvida asked a touch dismissively.

    "I can hold my own against any Frontier Agent," Miss Tuesday replied defensively. "But the top five pairs are in their own league. Most have devil fruits or something else that's special, and they use them a lot better than my partner did. The strongest I know of is Mr. 1, think of a steel blender given life and you're not far off what he does for a living. But even he takes orders from Mr. 0, and none of us know who he is."

    "Suspicious," Buggy shook his head. "Bounty hunters live off their reputation: it's how they attract clients and gather like minded individuals into teams. But you're telling me the big guy is completely unknown, despite being strong enough to keep everyone in line? Something stinks here, this feels more like the kind of games nobility play rather than a purely mercenary outfit."

    "The Unluckies were already in place before the raid began," Absol reasoned, adding his two cents. "Close enough to intervene the moment Miss Tuesday turned. Either they were already inbound for an errand and its all a big coincidence…"

    "Or their headquarters is close by, in Alabasta itself."

    Nodding, Absol stepped back from the conversation, allowing the officers to reach the conclusions he already knew from back home. Best to let it be all come out naturally; particularly if there were any deviations from canon, lest his credibility come into question.

    I'll have to intensify the Haki training, He thought to himself as he sank into his cushion, feeling his massive meal weigh on him. Luffy should do most of the work, but if we do end up facing Crocodile, even a single extra fighter could come in handy.
     
  10. Orchamus

    Orchamus Versed in the lewd.

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    Nice, already got another potential officer. Alabasta is gonna be fun, curious as to if they'll run into Ace and if Absol would be willing to nudge things there.
     
  11. OverReactionGuy

    OverReactionGuy The only Sane one left

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    Ace is a hot head, he'd go charging in for blackbeard anyway. If not Blackbeard is going after his little brother for the bounty as well. And Luffy ain't ready for that one.

    So it's a lose lose situation for him.

    -edit-

    The only way to save the dumbass is to stop him for falling for a your father is so fat joke or whatever.

     
  12. Orchamus

    Orchamus Versed in the lewd.

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    H
    hmm, was more hoping that Buggy, if Absol told him Ace's parentage, would call up old crew mates and get them to either sit on Ace or help
     
  13. OverReactionGuy

    OverReactionGuy The only Sane one left

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    The world government reveals his parentage in canon and executes him I believe that's the entire reason he mainly executed.
     
  14. Greatazuredragon

    Greatazuredragon Connoisseur.

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    Nice work, thanks for the updates.
     
  15. Greatazuredragon

    Greatazuredragon Connoisseur.

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    Lucky, update moments after I finished the last chapter. :D
     
  16. Extras: Chapter 14: It's the Circle of Life
    Nihilea

    Nihilea Getting sticky.

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    Chapter 14: It's the Circle of Life

    It wasn't all fun and games though, not even with the decisive victory that they'd won over Baroque Works. Whilst the crew had carried the day with only a few casualties, few was not equal to none, and funeral arrangements had to be made for the fallen. Despite what the History Channel had led Absol to believe, most pirate funerals did not in fact involve setting a ship ablaze with the bodies of the crew still on board. Whilst they did happen on occasion, such a practice was terribly wasteful and pretty much only employed when the ship itself was also on the brink of death, as was the case of the Going Merry after the events of Enies Lobby.

    Far more commonly, the fallen would have their bodies ritually cleansed by the ship's doctor (who traditionally doubled as the mortician) before being wrapped in cloth, to which weights such as stones or scrap metal would be added to hasten their descent into the depths. A favored keepsake and their primary weapon would go with them, to grant the deceased comfort and protection in their next life. Finally, a procession would be held in which they would be greeted by their living comrades for the final time, before being lowered down into the ocean's embrace.

    As Captain of the ship, Buggy led the procession, a slow walk carrying the fallen from stern to bow, the rest of the crew lined up on either side to bear witness. There were no salutes nor emotional speeches, for such was not the way of the Jolly Roger. Instead, mugs were raised and cheers bellowed, to celebrate the lives of these brave warriors of the sea. Each time a body sank beneath the waves, a toast was given, whilst some of the wealthier crew tossed coins overboard to pay the toll for the safe voyage of the departing souls.

    Absol joined in the celebration as well; unlike the marines, the Buggy Pirates apparently had no issue with giving non-humans alcohol, nor was ten in the morning too early for a few drinks. In a way, it was just like being back in England, and whilst he didn't much enjoy the bitter beer being served, he could appreciate the atmosphere. Not to mention that whilst the beer wasn't good, there was lot of it, and sheer quantity had a quality all its own. All in all, it was certainly a lot more lively than the funerals Absol attended in the past, where he'd had to do his level best to avoid falling asleep during the sermon.

    I wonder if this is what happened with Richie? Absol thought suddenly as he sipped his drink, recalling the amusing situation in canon where Richie had defeated both Mohji and Cabaji whilst sleepwalking to become the short-lived Captain of the Richie Pirates.

    "Come on, you should join in as well!"

    Nearby, Cabaji was trying to convince Miss Tuesday to have a drink, the latter looking a bit uncomfortable at the offer.

    "It doesn't feel right," She protested. "I was fighting against you all just yesterday…"

    "Yesterday was yesterday," Cabaji declared, pushing a mug into her hands. "Life is short under the black flag; you have to take the good where you can find it. None of the fallen would begrudge you for that; in fact a couple of them were in the same boat as you to begin with. Piracy ain't exactly a career where you stay with one company for life, get it?"

    Miss Tuesday still didn't participate in the cheering after that, but at least she was starting to drink. A good thing for her long term prospects, as those who claimed to be teetotal were often distrusted by pirates for being a bit too straitlaced.

    Hopefully she sticks with us in Alabasta, Absol mused as he downed his ninth pint of the night. Having a proper swordswoman is always useful, everyone else seems to favor knives here.



    Wet. Wet and cold and miserable was the order of the day as Absol coughed, expelling a great amount of salty water that he was reasonably sure hadn't been there before. Wanting a look around, he opened his eyes just a crack. Twin lances of agony told him this was a poor choice, and they closed immediately after the fact. Detect didn't do much better either, as whilst he could vaguely feel the presence of the crew, everything was murky and slurred, an experience akin to listening to a bad dubstep remix butchering his favorite songs.

    "Easy there," Alvida(?) whispered, somehow still deafeningly loud and making his head throb. "Good thing we got to you in time, I thought you were just leaning over the railing to throw up. Didn't expect you to fall overboard instead."

    Absol attempted to reply, to say that he was actually an experienced clubber and would never do something so stupid.

    [Yes, in your previous body, with your previous alcohol tolerance.]

    Absol threw up.



    "Oh God, my head." Absol croaked, regaining some measure of life as he found himself in bed back in his quarters, a large basin of water set beside him.

    Wasting no town downing it all, Absol let out a deep breath, the first for a long while without an underlying sense of nausea.

    [21:52]

    Last I remember, it was just after midnight. Absol grimaced, forcing himself upright on unsteady legs.

    His was a slow crawl up to the deck, where he could see that the clock hadn't lied and he'd indeed slept the better part of twenty hours after the funeral.

    "Ah, you're finally awake," Cabaji nodded his way from the poker table, where he was cleaning out a few rookies by the looks of the stack of chips beside him. "How do you feel?"

    "Like I went five rounds with a Sea King," Absol rasped, throat still tender despite drinking a gallon of water just minutes ago.

    "Sounds about right for your first night of drinking," Buggy laughed. "My first time? Me and my fellow apprentice got absolutely hammered and thought it'd be a great idea to dye the First Mate's clothes a bright shade of pink. He tanned our hides for it the next day, but it seemed like a good idea at the time, you know?"

    Absol did unfortunately know, having spent a night in the drunk tank for something similar back in the day.

    "Did I miss anything?" He asked instead, hoping that nothing critical had happened in his absence.

    "It's been smooth sailing so far today," Buggy shook his head. "Shouldn't be long before we get to Alabasta; just two weeks for the journey is pretty good, especially without an Eternal Pose."

    "Great. Not that I mind sailing, but I'm starting to get a bit restless," Absol admitted, having never spent more than a day or two traveling before thanks to the wonders of modern aviation. "Where are we landing?"

    "The closest and biggest port is Nanohana, one of the largest ports in this half of the Grand Line. Unfortunately that also makes it heavily watched by law enforcement, so instead we're taking a slight detour and heading to Tamarisk. It's a bit smaller, but still has all the essentials we need, and a much lower chance of being spotted by the Marines or Baroque Works. Better access to the black market too, if you know where to look."

    "Sounds good to me," Absol agreed, having little to add at this juncture.

    "There's still some dinner leftover," Alvida suggested, joining the table carrying a plate with her. "Want some?"

    "I'm on a diet." Absol replied blandly, doing his best to ignore his stomach suddenly doing flip flops.



    "Finally," Smoker grunted as he disembarked, the first of the ship to set foot on Nanohana. "Alabasta, the first confirmed sighting of the Straw Hats in the Grand Line, as well as the site of a budding criminal conspiracy."

    "Do you think the two are related?" Tashigi posited, following a few paces behind Smoker as always.

    "I won't rule it out, though I find it unlikely," Smoker huffed. "Everything I've seen and read about Straw Hat shows he prefers to solve problems fist first. All this cloak and dagger just doesn't feel like him; that's just my gut talking though."

    "Hina can attribute many of Hina's successes to following Hina's gut." The Captain fond of speaking in third-person replied, following just slightly behind Tashigi.

    Strictly speaking, Hina should have been walking beside Smoker owing to their equal rank, but neither of them truly cared for small details such as those.

    "That's why I asked for backup," Smoker nodded. "Something about this whole situation doesn't seem right, and I've recently been reminded that the world's a lot bigger than the East Blue believes."

    "It'll be just like old times, back in the Academy." Hina laughed, clenching a first that glimmered black. "Hopefully Hina won't have to bail you out of trouble again. Headquarters still talks about your expulsion, Hina recalls."

    "What's this?" Tashigi asked, not having heard that story before.

    "Old news that's better staying old." Smoker replied quickly, picking up the pace and prompting Tashigi to rush after him whilst Hina followed at a more sedate pace, laughing all the while.
     
  17. Orchamus

    Orchamus Versed in the lewd.

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    Looks like Buggy's crew and Smoker's will meet soon, should be fun.
     
  18. Threadmarks: Side Story 4 - You Have Selected Regicide
    Nihilea

    Nihilea Getting sticky.

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    Side Story 4 - You Have Selected Regicide

    As he stumbled into his office after another long day at court, Jonathan Johnes couldn't help but wonder where it all went so wrong. When he'd first read the reports of what Volo had done in Hisui, he'd thought it all a bad joke or a poor translation. How could a mild-mannered merchant - ever the picture of courtesy when they'd met during Jonathan's rare visits to Hisui over the past decade - attempt to overthrow the Creator and come so worryingly close to succeeding? Indeed, if not for the intervention of a girl literally torn from another time, Volo may well have won altogether.

    The worst part of all this, was that the near-apocalypse wasn't even the source of Jonathan's problems today. The representatives of Hisui had been very understanding, when he'd made his first trip to Hisui to apologize on behalf of the Gin and Gold Company as a whole. They'd placed the blame for Volo's misdeeds squarely on the man himself and left the wider business relationship untouched. Returning to Galar with an official exoneration, Jonathan had been in high spirits until he'd returned to find Weezing floating over the remains of several assassins who'd been looking for him in his absence. The Galarian court, as it turned out, was not nearly so forgiving; anyone and everyone who'd ever felt slighted by the Company had turned up all at once to make trouble, accusing them of being accessories to treason, deicide and every other crime imaginable.

    Nothing actionable of course (given they were all lies based on hearsay from a faraway region), but combined with a number of consumer boycotts on 'moral' grounds it was enough to reverse the Company's momentum wholesale. Where once they were poised to capture entire swathes of the Galarian market, now they were retreating from their homeland, repositioning to target foreign regions where their name was not so tarnished. Sighing, Jonathan glanced out the window to see the symbol of their declining fortunes.

    The HMS Covenant, a former cargo vessel refitted as a cruise liner, it would be responsible for bringing over three thousand Company employees to the newly founded region of Unova. The timing was fortuitous, as the Region had only formally broken away from Galar a few months ago, and were now eager to receive skilled migrants. The favorable terms combined with access to a large, fledgling market was too good to pass up, thus it was decided to migrate the Company's headquarters wholesale.

    "Chairman!"

    Frantic knocking at the door shook Jonathan out of his reverie. Grabbing his hat and cane, he headed to the door, pulling the thick oak portal open with a single hand, for old age had done little to either his stature or his strength.

    "What's wrong, George?" Jonathan asked, finding his panicked son at the door, still wearing his nightgown.

    "There's a mob at the gates, they're out for blood!"

    Sighing, Jonathan let George lead him outside - Weezing following behind them - as if Joseph couldn't pick up and bench press the boy. Really, George needed to exercise more and get a bit of meat on his bones! As they emerged in the estate's courtyard, Jonathan could see that his son hadn't exaggerated. A large gathering of men, women and children of every age, united in their working class backgrounds. None of the aristocracy would be caught dead at such a gathering, of course; they much preferred to send trusted men to stir up trouble on their behalf. Giving them a once-over, Jonathan quickly dismissed them as threats. A few pitchforks, torches and slings would be of no use if they came to blows.

    "Should I disperse them?" Weezing asked, already shaping some of his gas into ephemeral blades.

    "Only as a last resort," Jonathan cautioned. "We don't want to give the naysayers any more ammunition against us."

    "It's much too late to worry about that, I'm afraid."

    Jonathan nearly jumped as a voice made itself known behind him. Before he could turn to get a look at the newcomer, an immense pressure descended from the skies, forcing him to his knees. A gasp from behind showed that George had fared little better, whilst even Weezing fell to the floor, his natural lift unable to sustain him in the face of this unnatural gravity.

    Daring to sneak a peek at the new arrival, Jonathan was unable to keep his jaw from dropping. Right there in front of him was the man who had indirectly caused his current troubles. His clothing was different; no longer the uniform of the Ginkgo Guild but rather a sheer white robe completely unsuited to the cold Galarian winter. Volo seemed to pay the cold no mind, walking confidently up to face the crowd who surprisingly met him with defiance, not taking a single step backward despite the monstrous pressure being emitted.

    "That's enough, Spiritomb. Pressure doesn't work on the dead."

    Immediately, the feeling of impending doom ceased, allowing Jonathan and company to rise to their feet.

    "What do you mean?" Jonathan asked, deciding Volo seemed peaceful enough not to strike him over a simple question.

    "Think, Jonathan. This compound is guarded at all hours by armed men, and the residence of several notable Pokémon besides, one of whom was a contender to become the King's Champion not long ago. Do you really believe the average laborer would dare to stage this affront?"

    Volo gestured at the unmoving crowd, as Jonathan conceded in his mind that the situation was indeed suspicious.

    "I don't know where your enemies acquired Pecharunt toxin from; that's a compound not easily found, even for a man of my learning. Applied at the right dosage? It turns it's victims into the living dead; bereft of spirit and perfectly obedient to whomever holds their chain. Even now, facing an opponent they cannot hope to defeat, they stand perfectly still waiting for further instructions. Not that they'll receive any, since Togekiss already disposed of their handlers skulking nearby."

    "How vile," George hissed, glaring at the distant sky as if to divine the source of this evil. "Who did this?"

    "The same people responsible for the general malaise afflicting Galar," Volo shrugged. "It's much easier to rule over a pliant populace, wouldn't you agree? The Privy Council certainly thinks so, at any rate."

    "Lies!" Jonathan spat immediately. "The Council is vetted and appointed by none other than mighty Calyrex! He would never countenance-"

    "Calyrex hasn't visited Wyndon in centuries," Volo interrupted, stunning Jonathan. " He has bigger concerns, as the long sleep nears its end and Eternatus stirs once more. The Privy Council, formerly wise advisors, have ruled de facto for centuries, deploying illusions as needed to maintain the guise of the King's infrequent inspections."

    Jonathan wanted to deny it, to call it all foreign propaganda aimed at destabilizing the crown. Yet his heart, worn down from years of strife against his own countrymen, could not quite bring him to voice his doubts.

    "Is that why you're here?" George asked, a hint of hope in his voice. "To liberate the chained and restore prosperity to the Kingdom?"

    "The latter, yes." Volo laughed. "Since I'm not going to be meeting Arceus any time soon, I need to play the long game. If the distant future can produce such prodigious individuals as Lady Akari, then I merely need to wait until I reach that point, no? With an army of such caliber at my back, even Arceus will be compelled to come meet me in person."

    "You're mad." George gasped in horror, having read the reports of Volo's deeds in Hisui. "Akari came from centuries in the future, you'll long be dust before she's born."

    "I'm immortal," Volo retorted. "I have nothing but time on my hands now. Taking over a Kingdom seems like a reasonable way to pass the time. Besides, I'm doing you all a favor. You would never have been allowed to leave for Unova peacefully; by hook or by crook, the Privy Council would have brought you low for your defiance."

    "Why tell us this?" Jonathan asked, picking at the only point that didn't make sense to him. "We had nothing to do with your mad plot."

    For the first time, Volo's smug smirk faded, leaving him pensive.

    "I don't regret anything that I did," Volo elaborated. "Nor will I regret what I will go on to do. The path to divinity is one of blood, any who claim otherwise is a liar or a fool. But that doesn't mean I enjoy causing the suffering of innocent bystanders. You and yours are being blamed for my actions, targeted by cowards who wouldn't dare challenge me face to face. That displeases me, so I'm correcting it. After today? None in Galar will dare strike out at your family. Garchomp."

    There was a single red flash of light at Volo's waist, and the assembled mob faded to a faint red mist: Jonathan blinked thrice before making the association, utterly unable to catch a glimpse of Garchomp in motion. Landing back at Volo's side, the dragon snarled in displeasure, shaking faint purple droplets to the ground where it bubbled and hissed, though he was careful not to splash any of it on the assembled humans.

    "That stuff's awful," Weezing commented, sniffing disdainfully at the bubbling liquid. "Even I can't purify it. He's probably telling the truth, partner."

    "Take what you need from the compound, and set sail," Volo whispered. "You have ten hours before it ceases to exist. Roserade, ascend."

    Materializing at Volo's side opposite Garchomp, Roserade knelt, placing a single flowery hand against the earth. As Jonathan watched massive wooden roots and trees emerge, converging into a titanic construct that loomed over Wyndon's clock tower, he only had a single thought in his mind.

    How in heaven did Akari defeat this man?

    AN: As it turns out, good dentists are hard to come by! I have an appointment next week for X-rays of the wisdom tooth, depending on the outcome there might be a need for an extraction to sort it once and for all. Still, have some idea of where this story is going so hoping to start updating again periodically.
     
  19. OverReactionGuy

    OverReactionGuy The only Sane one left

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    With a body born of the creator and the power of anime and friends on her side.
     
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  20. Greatazuredragon

    Greatazuredragon Connoisseur.

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    Being a 10 year old gives a massive power boost in the Poke-world. :p
     
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  21. Greatazuredragon

    Greatazuredragon Connoisseur.

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    Butterflies be a-flapping. :D
     
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  22. T4ndoris

    T4ndoris Not too sore, are you?

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    If you have a need to remove your wisdom tooth , always ask for general anesthesia, local is just awful. And be prepare for a horrible week after that. Hope you will be ok
     
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  23. Extras: Chapter 15: Mark to Market
    Nihilea

    Nihilea Getting sticky.

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    Chapter 15: Mark to Market

    Setting foot on solid land for the first time in two weeks and change, Absol heaved a massive sigh of relief. Whilst he wasn't usually one to get seasick, two gallons of alcohol in a single night tended to change the equation somewhat. Even a day later, his stomach was still slowly recovering from his overindulgence and thus considerably more delicate than usual.

    "Those Shadow Claws of yours are really handy, it normally takes six strong men to row us to shore." Alvida praised as she became the second to step off the small rowboat they'd taken to port.

    As wanted criminals sailing under a Jolly Roger, approaching Tamarisk's main dock in the Big Top was out of the question, lest they receive some very awkward questions at immigration and customs. Thus, Absol and Alvida - by virtue of having no bounty and a very outdated bounty poster respectively - were assigned command of a few rowboats along with most of the low-ranked crew too junior to be recognizable to law enforcement. They would be the ones doing the necessary shopping from legitimate sources. Buggy and Cabaji meanwhile would be taking the Big Top along with the veteran pirates to a smaller dock that promised the necessary discretion for their profession. A trip to the black market was also on the cards, but that wouldn't be immediate - the location wasn't fixed for obvious reasons, and it would take a few clandestine meetings to secure an invitation to the next auction, even with Buggy's connections.

    "Damn, either Buggy scammed us or this city has changed a lot since his last visit." Alvida remarked as the rest of the crew disembarked, fanning out with commendable alacrity.

    Each carried their share of plunder and had memorized a list of items useful to acquire for the ship, but were also encouraged to enjoy themselves. Whether each item would be available and in what quantities depended entirely on the market, but there was enough redundancy built into the lists that the crew would get what they needed without being overly prescriptive, whilst also allowing them to mingle and gather valuable information at market stalls, bars and taverns.

    "I feel it too," Absol nodded as he headed for the market, his transponder snail sitting on his head whilst a large saddlebag adorned his back. "Most markets I've visited don't feel so nervous."

    Indeed, whilst outwardly a model picture of enterprise, it wasn't hard to notice something amiss as they wandered between the chaotic hodge-podge of rickety shacks and the larger shops stationed inside actual buildings. Shoppers scurried between stalls with nearly indecent haste, none stopping to haggle as was traditional in an open market. Many of the vendors wore masks covering some or all of their faces, whilst the larger and wealthier were never far from a bouncer: well-muscled and menacing individuals scowling at every passerby with weapon in hand. Several patches of land, meanwhile, didn't have a shop at all, the faint scent of soot and ash lingering on the wind whilst blackened scorch marks were visible despite efforts to cover them with embroidered carpets.

    "Nervous is an understatement," Alvida scoffed. "I've visited cemeteries with a more inviting atmosphere. Let's try and find out what's going on, alright?"

    Nodding only slightly to avoid dislodging his passenger, Absol made his way over to the food stalls as a matter of priority. After not eating for over a day, even the lingering nausea couldn't hold down his hunger pangs for long. Mindful of his delicate stomach, Absol avoided any stall with even a hint of spice, eventually finding a vendor making a delicious vegetable stew over a cauldron large enough for him to comfortably bathe in. Alvida went her own way, having spied a selection of perfume reputed to be from Amazon Lily, though Absol sincerely doubted the truth of that claim.

    [So what's the plan here? I doubt you nudged Buggy here just to experience the desert ambiance.]

    Alabasta is Luffy's first real challenge. Absol thought, whilst slowly sipping from his bowl of stew so as to not fall afoul of refeeding syndrome. Before now, he's always gotten away from any dangers. He grows a lot facing Crocodile; multiple near-death experiences will do that to a shounen protagonist.

    [Those three battles all teetered on a knife's edge. You could turn the tide easily, especially with Crocodile so rusty after over a decade of easy living in Paradise.]

    Best not to touch Luffy's journey this early, Absol disagreed. Having the Straw Hats grow into the agent of chaos they're destined to become will work to our benefit. I do hope to make a good impression with Crocodile in the aftermath, though. He becomes a reliable subordinate in the endgame; a strong fighter with a head for long-term planning is rare in this world, it would be a waste having him languish for months in Impel Down.

    [That's still touching Luffy's journey though? Without Crocodile and the Baroque Works officers there, Luffy probably never manages his big jailbreak.]

    If all goes well, he'll never have a reason to break in, let alone out. Ace is the big prize here on Alabasta, everything else is honestly just a bonus.

    [Ah, so that's the play.

    Quest obtained: I Am Your Father!

    Objective: Keep Ace alive past Marineford

    (Bonus) Objective: Ace is never sent to Impel Down

    (Bonus) Objective: Ace kills Blackbeard and his crew

    Reward: Increased Reputation with the Whitebeard Pirates.

    Bonus: ???, ???]

    Smiling, Absol finished off his stew, giving the vendor a generous tip before heading out to tick off his shopping list. It was nice to spend a morning calmly for once, quite the break in routine from early morning Haki training.

    I hope the rest of the crew are enjoying some rest and relaxation too.



    "Chop Chop Buzzsaw!"

    Buggy's arms spun through the room, linked together at the shoulder joint and each holding a knife hardened black. Men and women screamed as they were carved to pieces, the survivors scattering in every direction, leaving them easy prey for Cabaji and the dozen men they'd brought to an ostensibly peaceful meeting.

    "Try and ambush me will you?" Buggy raged, kicking a straggler in the throat with a knife pointed shoe. "Back in the day, the black market truce meant something! I can't believe even your lot was taken in by Baroque Works! Tell me! What wealthy did they promise you to make you spit on the black flag?"



    "Thank you for your custom!" The merchant smiled widely, pocketing more than his fair share of coins with a deep bow.

    Whilst there had been a few curious stares aimed at Absol and his gastropod companion, money had a way of setting questions aside to be answered never. Glancing at his list, Absol ticked off the entry for a hangover cure, something he'd come to appreciate recently. Whilst the concoction tasted utterly foul, it relieved headaches with an ease that put aspirin to shame, making it worth every penny given the hard-drinking pirate's lifestyle. As Absol went to look for the final item on his list, a set of razors suitable for battlefield surgery, a presence pinged on his perception. It was murky and dull, feeling strangely lifeless despite very clearly belonging to a living being. It was also much stronger than anyone else present in the market, the bodyguards and toughs included.

    Curious, Absol stalked after the mystery man, moving low to the ground as he rounded two corners and his target came into view. At first glance, he was an ordinary looking man with a frail build, wearing worn leather clothes and a log pose on his wrist. He could've passed for the average navigator on shore leave, were it not for his outsized presence he'd yet to learn to control, as well as the more obvious '3' painted on his shirt.

    Galdino, Absol smirked. Right on time back from Little Garden, if I have my dates right. What a lucky day!



    Arceus hadn't lied when he said Absol was the only Pokémon in the world at the time. Those last three words were just doing a lot of heavy lifting. The fact of the matter was that it's much easier to destroy than to build. Once the barrier between worlds was breached by the Rainbow Mist, merely erasing the hole didn't undo the damage. Cracks remained in the firmament, and some are much better than others at slipping through the cracks.

    "How dare vermin appear before God." Enel frowned, looming over the large yellow mouse that had somehow found its way into his holy shrine.

    The thing didn't respond, slumped over on its side weak and incoherent. Even his Mantra received no response; the only thing left to feel being an overwhelming sense of starvation. Enel didn't enjoy that particular sensation; so naturally, he electrocuted the offender who made him feel that way. Unexpectedly though, his Vari did not kill the interloper but instead gave it a second lease on life; the creature leaping to its feet with renewed vigor.

    "Thank you!" It spoke, speech strangely garbled before becoming clear under the might of his Mantra. Jumping up, it embraced Enel in a tight hug, faint sparks sizzling by its cheeks as it repeated its thanks.

    "Wonderful!" Enel praised, his mood turning at the speed of lightning. "Clearly, heaven has blessed you, to emerge unharmed and tempered, even able to mimic a fraction of my own glory! Rejoice, for God is most generous to his faithful! By God's decree, you are now my pet!"
     
  24. Orchamus

    Orchamus Versed in the lewd.

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    Oh sweet shit, Enel has a Pikachu, Mugiwara is fucked:p
     
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  25. Barbaric_Bob

    Barbaric_Bob [Barbarus-Maximus]

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    Ash Ketchum? what the fuck happened to your earlobes!?
     
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  26. Greatazuredragon

    Greatazuredragon Connoisseur.

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    ...did... did Enel just get a Pikachu?! :p
     
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  27. OverReactionGuy

    OverReactionGuy The only Sane one left

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  28. Extras: Chapter 16: Wax and Wane
    Nihilea

    Nihilea Getting sticky.

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    Chapter 16: Wax and Wane

    "Halt, Galdino."

    The Baroque Works agent froze in place, not having expected to hear his birth name spoken in a seedy district of Tamarisk.

    "You need to work on that habit," Absol commented as the latter whirled around, a glob of wax in his hand ready to be shaped. "If I'd had any doubt as to your identity, your reaction would have sealed the deal."

    "What do you want?" Galdino asked, not wasting time commenting on Absol's appearance nor the snail on his head.

    He was a veteran of the Grand Line after all, and had long ago learnt that a strange appearance often meant danger.

    "Calm yourself, I'm not here to fight you," Absol chuckled, all the while pressing down on Galdino with Pressure; not enough to cause a true adverse reaction but enough to impress upon him their difference in strength. "I have a message for your boss; one that may prove vital in the days to come, for you and him both."

    "I'm not an errand boy," Galdino snapped, anger briefly overpowering his fear. "If you want to speak with Mr. 0, you can send a letter like every other client!"

    "How surprising;" Absol snarked. "I thought you were in the market for good news to deliver, something that might redeem you after losing so miserably at Little Garden?"

    Just like that, the fear was back.

    "How do you know that?" Galdino shivered despite himself. "Did you tap our snail line?"

    "No, no, you're thinking far too mundane," Absol corrected him. "I'm something of a fortune teller you see, I have a good eye on events both past and future. That's why I'm here today; on the off chance you can deliver my message before you're sentenced to death for failing your mission."

    "...Go on." Galdino urged, his previous bravado long gone at that grim reminder.

    "If the stones don't give him what he needs; he should turn to the bottle. Vintages from 12, 27 and 34 are especially good, I hear."

    "What's that supposed to mean?" Galdino blinked. "Sounds like gibberish to me."

    "It's coded, obviously," Absol retorted. "A bit before your time to be honest, but your boss will understand. Goodbye, Galdino."

    A comically oversized Shadow Claw covered Absol from view as he darted away through the narrow back streets, ignoring Galdino's entreaties to wait.



    "There's more of you back than I expected." Alvida raised an eyebrow as she watched the returning crew load their shopping onto the rowboats.

    Indeed, not a single soul was missing from those they'd set out with, a very unusual occurrence where pirates on shore leave were concerned.

    "All the bars are shut!" One complained.

    "The gambling dens too!"

    "No women anywhere to be found, by the locker!"

    Listening to the litany of complaints as they set off for the Big Top, Ansol quickly built a pretty comprehensive picture of what had happened to Tamarisk. Even though the brewing civil war was focused on Alubarna and its immediate surroundings, the ripples could be felt even here. Tourists and merchants alike were less than eager to visit a potential warzone, causing a dramatic drop in trade for the local market. That in turn drove away the hospitality industry, as restaurants, inns and taverns cut hours or simply closed altogether in response to reduced demand.

    "That explains why the shopping was so cheap as well; we spent a lot less than we expected going in, silver linings and all that." Absol shrugged, ultimately unconcerned with the plight of the every-man. "I'm sure we'll find other places to spend money on leisure; nothing can keep the human desire for a good time down forever."

    When the small sailboat rounded the reef keeping the Big Top hidden from the mainland, Absol sniffed cautiously. The air was heavy with the metallic scent of blood, a poor premonition for how Buggy's negotiations had gone. Sure enough, a careful look at the ship revealed several small scorch marks on the hull, though there were no signs of serious damage.

    "We're back!" Alvida shouted up at the watch keeper.

    Moments later, the men on duty lowered down the boarding ramp, a smooth plastic surfacing kept above water by inflatable balloons tied to the underside. Alvida touched each bundle of shopping before pushing them up the ramp; their newly friction-less state allowing even a small amount of momentum to send them upward in defiance of gravity. The other boats had a much harder time, requiring baskets lowered by pulleys and ropes to achieve the same outcome, which was one of many reasons Absol chose to take the same boat as her.

    They were the first boat to finish unloading, after which it was their turn to embark. Eschewing Alvida's offer of a boost, Absol climbed up the ramp with little difficulty, his claws able to find purchase even on the mostly smooth surface.

    "Argh!"

    Groans of pain became audible as he arrived on deck, no longer masked by the soothing yet deceptively loud crashing of waves closer to the waterline.

    "Careful where you're poking that needle," A gruff pirate hissed, bare chested as an orderly sewed shut a thin gash along his ribs. "Who taught you medicine, the village butcher?"

    "The midwife, actually," The young boy retorted. "What did you expect? Professionally trained doctors make a good living; not many of them are willing to leave that for the pirate's lifestyle."

    "Fair enough- ow!"

    Remind me never to get injured here. Absol thought as he looked around; none of the others required stitches, though many showed signs of bruises or small cuts on arms and legs. Buggy was unharmed but visibly fuming while Cabaji looked no happier.

    "Meeting go bad?" Absol asked, voicing what everyone was wondering.

    "It was rotten from the start," Buggy refuted, fists clenching with barely restrained fury. "Five times our number of men lying in wait, cages for each of us sorted by size and even a set of Seastone cuffs prepared."

    "Slavers?" Alvida raised an eyebrow. "They really wanted a live capture, despite your bounty being the same dead or alive."

    "Possibly," Buggy hedged. "Normally I'd agree with you, but the Seastone makes me wonder. It's not an easy thing to get hold of, especially in Paradise. Hard to mine and harder still to shape; the only ones who can create fine products like handcuffs? They're based in Wano, and that's a long way away from here. Whoever is supplying the local bounty hunters either has deep underworld connections, or they talk to the Government."

    "The underworld wouldn't undermine a meeting under the flag of truce, would they?"

    "Not this blatantly," Buggy shook his head. "I know Government propaganda calls every criminal lawless, but that's just because we don't follow their laws. But there are rules; rules have to exist in some form, otherwise you just have anarchy, and of all the rules the truce is among the most important. Knowing that you can meet someone to do business in relative safety? That's the lifeblood of the black market; the bosses know that and protect it fiercely, it's their profit on the line after all. Do what Baroque Works did today, and you'll be lucky if their enforcers kill you quickly."

    "Government affiliation then," Absol mused. "Any idea where to go from here?"

    "We let the sentries flee," Cabaji nodded. "Tracked them with telescopes until they vanished beyond the horizon. Maybe they just wanted out in the nearest direction, but looking at the four we saw they all converged towards the west as they ran."

    "Alubarna." Absol sighed. "Directly due west and the capital city to boot. There'll be a Marine base and a World Government embassy there, as in every member nation. Perfect spots for a bit of skullduggery."

    "Wonderful," Buggy groused before pausing as a thought struck him. "Did you manage to pass on my message?"

    "I found a suitable taker, yes." Absol nodded. "A bit cowardly, but well-motivated to pass it on."

    "Wonderful, in that case we're all done here: sounds like it's time to pay Alubarna and the Marines a visit," Buggy grinned, recovering some of his cheer at last. "Wouldn't be the first time I stole classified documents out of one of their bases, it'll be just like old times."



    Coming to Alabasta was the right decision. Smoker grinned triumphantly, his jutte raised to strike as he stood face to face with Straw Hat Luffy once more.

    Try as he might to run, the rookie pirate wasn't fast enough to outpace his Logia form, not without outside assistance. Surrounding Luffy with billowing white clouds of smoke, he thrust the tip forward in a mirror of their first battle.

    "Nobody's here to help you today," Smoker smirked as he lifted Luffy by the neck. "That'll teach you to run. Nobody escapes Justice, especially not a wannabe pirate king."

    "Hina thinks Smoker shouldn't tempt fate like that. Hina has seen it go wrong far too many times."

    "The rest of his crew are off resupplying at the market," Smoker retorted. "Who else is there to stick their head out for a wanted pirate?"

    "Captain Smoker, was it?" A voice called out, immediately proving Hina right. "Would you mind taking your hands off of my little brother?"
     
  29. OverReactionGuy

    OverReactionGuy The only Sane one left

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    Ace is here! There was much rejoicing!
     
    Greatazuredragon and Nihilea like this.
  30. Greatazuredragon

    Greatazuredragon Connoisseur.

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    Now lets hope our fortune teller can eventually give him a warning.
     
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