Mizos

*Insert quip here*
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Modern Fantasy, Historical, Fantasy, adventure, romance, anime, action, etc.
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Day 1 Before the Departure

Luro lingered near Runali as they made their way to their destination, he didn't say much only staying nearby fiddling with a random device.
There were no words that would make any of this better, at least none that he knew of so this was all he could do for the time being.
His eyes raised as they drew closer to Belfield, his hand stopped moving as a small smile formed on his face; slipping the sphere back into his sleeve he stood up. That was the place where the other Captain's were along with Risa, he could feel a small tinge of excitement flow through him but remembering what they were there for he pushed that feeling aside for later.
He trusted Runali's plan, there wasn't anything to do but play his part and if need be help the others with theirs, nothing complicated so it was easy to relax.

Zilia on the other hand had been incredibly focused on her notes, reviewing what needed to be done until she knew every step of the plan as if she'd made it herself. Annoying as it was she almost regretted not heaving Noram here, he was an expert at directing forces regardless of number, and mitigating any possibility of failure.
At the end of it all they made it to their destination and there was little left but to take action and get things done.
When the time came for their Captain's departure, her words to Runali were very simple.
"Expect to be chewed out after all this. Be safe."
Luro offered a grin and raised a hand to Runali.
"Don't worry Captain, whatever they do I'll make sure it's returned with extra. We won't be too far. You can have extra hugs when we get you back."
He wanted to hug her now but he knew if he did he wouldn't let go so he held back.

It was rough watching Runali get captured, Zilia's hands clenching into fists as the scene but she pushed down the desire that rose up in her, instead her eyes narrowed as the group led her into Belfield.
Slightly worried her eyes moved over to Luro only to see the toothy grin lining his features, while he was clearly concealing his general bloodlust she could see the desire in his eyes well enough.
"You seem happy," Zilia said deciding not to press the matter.
"Of course Z. I got a good look at their faces, why wouldn't I be happy?"
Zilia made sure not to look if she was nearby when Luro located those officers and returned to the lower decks.


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Day 1: After the Departure

Caleb walked over to the edge of the ship to see Seliria staring out at the sea a fair bit away. The group was now waiting to initiate the next part of the plan, each person busying themselves however they had too. Caleb noticed during this that Seliria had wandered off somewhere else and went in search of her, locating her wasn't too difficult, she was out of clear sight and earshot, typical for her when she wanted to be alone, thus it went without saying he moved over towards her.

"You seem lost in thought and wanting to be alone," Caleb said standing next to Seliria. "How did your training go?"
"So you come over and disturb me," Seliria responded before sighing. "It went fine, wasn't hard to pick up. Not a huge fan of the woman but she at least know what she's doing, I prefer someone dependable and intolerable than the opposite."
Caleb offered a nod before looking out at the sea with her, though knowing she'd let the conversation die there he continued.
"Are you prepared for tomorrow?"
"About as much as I can be. Sergei's skill will definitely come in handy and Alicia is prepared to do what's necessary. I just have to pull my weight, and explain to her the definition of friend so she can fix her comment from before."

Caleb eyed Seliria for a moment after she finished speaking, the woman's gaze remaining focused ahead. He could tell she was prepared to deal with whatever the next few days had in store but after years together he could tell when other thoughts filled her mind. It was extremely subtle, something even he missed on occasion as it was akin to a brow being lowered .5% more than usual, but there was something else bothering her.
"...it appears something else is invading your thoughts....I'm open to listening. Probably best to avoid any extra distractions for tomorrow."
Seliria glanced over at Caleb, her eyes narrowing a little at his prodding. Caleb mentally prepared himself for a physical response and watching Seliria raised her hand his body tensed. Though when the woman instead snapped her fingers causing the water from the sea to move towards them, creating a mini dome that surrounded the duo he relaxed slightly.
"...too many prying ears," Seliria said. "Rather this not carry on the wind...or be heard by a half man half beast."
Caleb nodded making a mental note to try this trick himself later before Seliria spoke again, the sharpness in her voice left a bit and her eyelids lowered slightly.
"Thanks to my sickness being cured, I now have a 'tomorrow'. While this is a good thing it has also brought up conversations I never thought I'd be having...one of which is...children."
Caleb's eyes widened for a moment but not sure how Seliria would respond to the surprise he forced his expression back to normal.
"From your Lover?"
"Who else would it be?" Seliria questioned narrowing her eyes at him.
Caleb offered a shrug and shaking her head, Seliria crossed her arms under her chest.
"We both ended up orphans in some twisted way...so I'm not surprised it came up. Giving a kid a good childhood is something we both want."
"So you'll be leaving the crew. Well it was nice having you on board, I'm sure we'll-"
"I'm not going anywhere and you accepted that way too easily," Seliria said cracking her knuckles as she turned towards Caleb.
"I was only joking," Caleb said holding up a hand. "I know you wouldn't leave like that. I imagine this isn't something happening anytime soon."
Seliria slowly lowered her hands deciding to put her skepticism aside and just offered a nod to Caleb.
"We both have our own responsibilities, and we both know we're not prepared for it right now. It was just something that came up...but just the fact we can even have those conversations is something new...and given all that's happened it came to mind again. If I lost the Nova's what 'would' I do. I still do underground work of course but I can't see myself working under someone again."
Caleb eyes narrowed a bit and turning away from Seliria, he rested his hands on his hips his mouth twitching to the side, and with a shrug he looked back at her.
"I understand your feelings. Without the Nova's...the only thing I can think to do is return to the Alley...but I don't see myself serving another crew or person again. I would probably open a workshop in Brass Cape eventually, pick up more apprentices, have Risa as my main assistant or partner depending on if she'd even want to, and work to create better inventors for the future."

Caleb noticed Seliria take a small step away from him, his brow arched as the woman brought a hand to her head, a bit of the color leaving her face as her eyes twitched slightly, her body going stiff.
"...you're far more prepared than I am. You have a general idea of a future without the Nova's...I think I'm going to be sick."
Seliria brought a hand to her stomach and Caleb lowered his arms to his side, his eyelids lowering slightly at her.
"...I feel I should be offended but putting that aside, up until recently, you didn't even know if you'd have tomorrow. You couldn't afford to think of the future, but now you can....it's not surprising you only have a general idea. Besides mine is just a possibility. I'd prefer a future with the Nova's, and Risa is still kidnapped. I want to get them both back, I'm in no rush for a workshop just as you aren't for tiny creatures known as children."

Seliria straightened her body and for a moment saw the pain in the inventor's eyes, realizing she had forced a possibility into her thoughts she silently cursed to herself before putting a hand on his shoulder.
"...we'll get them back Caleb," Seliria said before removing her hand. "...and thank you. I think I needed to clear my head anyway."
Seliria waved her hand and the some of water fell before sliding back into the ocean.
"Let's fulfill our obligations tomorrow."
"Indeed," Caleb said with a nod. "By the way if you have a kid you should name them after me."
"You-I thought I told you not to talk about-"
"A child!"
Seliria jumped seeing Zilia standing behind her, the woman's eyes twitched seeing the shine in Zilia's eyes.
"Another Seliria...a mini Seliria...."
Zilia brought a hand to her mouth as tears stung the edges of her eyes at the sheer beauty of it, the 'original' Seliria trying to figure out how exactly to feel about this situation. She decided 'casual concern' was the proper response to the response.
"Seliria can you name her after-"
"No and this conversation is over, I said it was a possibility. Both of you go do anything else."


-------

Day 2
Early Evening, discussion time


While Luro was reaching towards a rum bottle just out of reach, unable to move his foot presently, Zilia was digging for a new pencil as Adelaide explained how things had gone. Zilia didn't like the percentage but at the very least it got done, Luro on the other hand, after Mia handed him the rum was laughing at Cecilia's imitation.
"No no you gotta do his hand movements too, that's the best part," Luro said grinning.
"I'd take 10% of that carefreeness right now," Zilia said as she continued listening.

Isari was nearby but mostly preparing for her own parts in the plan, though still paying attention; she chimed in at the mention of the tower.
"Good to know. I'll keep my distance from it," she said with a small smile.
"Seastone's not a terrible problem for you," Zilia added. "Your golem's can act on their own orders, once they're moving stopping you won't stop them. Long as you get them out the rest is simple...just as Captain said, once you're on land the hard part is over."
She remembered how Isari was unconscious in the Circle but her crystals still acted according to her will. Though her connection to her golems would be weaker if she was near the seastone tower, so peering through their eyes and giving new orders would be difficult if not impossible.
"I have my weapon on me if need be," Isari added. "I'll probably avoid that tower though, but I can send a golem if need be."
Isari looked at Zilia who waved a hand.
"My power can be negated but I can adjust easily enough, I always have a weapon on me anyway. It's the not being able to move part that'll be a problem or being slowed down."

Zilia wanted to comment on the 'fun' part of their mission when Jack came in on the communicator, hearing the ships were heading towards them were a comfort and caused Seliria to raise her gaze from Caleb's notes of Cecilia's information. Listening a bit more intently the Nova's cook's eyes narrowed a bit at the news of the airship and Jack's suggestion.
"I don't think Jack going in there is a good idea," Seliria said. "Just my two cents though."
A hand reached past Seliria as a woman stepped out of the shadows, stumbling a bit as she adjusted her boots then her eyepatch.
"Normally I'm all for a bit of extra but I'm with Seliria on this one," Mia said approaching the map. "Caleb's group will be gathering information anyway when we can afford it, during the chaos. I don't doubt Jack's ability of course, and I'd love that information sooner rather than later...but if luck isn't on our side and he get's caught or a fuss ends up raised, getting him out would be hard without causing an issue."

Mia tapped the map where the ships should be considering they were directed towards them.
"There's already a storm, don't want to give those guys an extra reason to about face you know," Mia added. "If they hear there's trouble, much less the guy who the Harbormaster is already looking at we could lose this window."
Mia looked over at Seliria.
"That's what you were thinking right?"
Seliria offered a nod.
"Something along those lines," she said before looking at Alicia. "I do think this storm is a good cover and I'm ready to attack those ships at anytime. Jack is currently on his own though, I'm sure Adelaide could do her thing but even that would take a moment by time he communicated to us there's a problem. I'm sure you've already considered that but figured it may as well be out in the open, easier to discuss it that way."
Seliria looked back at the map bringing a hand to her chin.
"End of the day you're the first mate to the acting pirate lord so you're the current authority, out of obligation as a Worst Gen I'll follow whatever call you make."
 
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Winter

Queen of cold.
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Sci Fi, Fantasy, Fandom, Anime, Sometimes Horror. Survival, Romance, Furry, Magical.
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Day One

Alicia stood silent with her hands behind her back as she watched her best friend give herself over to their enemy without a fight. It was an unusual pain, one that she believed no one could quite place within themselves without becomming quickly confused. Instinct desired to have her ascend and bathe the world in searing moonlight, but... she didn't even say a word. Once Ru had traversed beyond sight the swordswoman turned and strode across the deck to begin preliminary preparations for the days to come. There was much to do and precious little time to get it done, they had a plan already and Alicia would see it done with the resources left at her disposal.

Day Two: Discussion

Despite her new found authority in Ru's abscence Alicia had been quieter than usual, her attention focused on each individual as they gave reports before returning her eyes to the map. She'd make adjustments here and there, placing copper coins onto the map painted with letters and numbers which moved to different positions every time a report was made. Of course she gave her thoughts and would often point out what each coin represented, even mocking up a few strategies with an idea in mind for where best to send their fleet and place people with considerable power and strength. Fundamentally of course none of her mock strategies came at the cost of Ru's plan, Alicia had been clear from the offset that Ru's plan was to be stuck to unless something considerable forced them to adapt.

"The tower shouldn't be an issue for me." she replied after Adelaide's flirtatious display. "My power doesn't come from a fruit, as such Seastone is just a more durable rock." she kept her eyes on the map as she spoke, arms folded in front of her. "If needs be I can topple it myself, though doing so would make our opponents stronger assuming they have fruit users of their own in the vicinity." it became clear rather quickly that she was speaking out loud rather than offering a suggestion, her mind once again considering a plan. "Given that I can fly it would also be easy for me to get there quickly, although I would be an easy target for that airship were I to be noticed prematurely."

She closed her eyes and released a breath, shaking her head slightly before pushing the idea aside for the time being. "Nevermind, we will approach that obstacle when and if the time comes. For now we should focus on preparing Runali's plan, lest we create confusion between the captains intel and our own for what we are to expect." she furrowed her brow and was about to proceed when the radio called her and everyone elses attention. She turned and approached towards it, nodding as Cecilia began her attempt to clean up the signal. She breathed a small sigh of relief hearing Jack was still safe, though her concern began to deepen as he mentioned infiltrating the tower.

Silver eyes shifted from Seliria to the shadows towards Mia as they both gave their opinions on the matter, giving a nod towards them both to acknowledge their suggestions. "Far be it for me to question the knowledge of my betters, however I happen to agree that the risk far outweighs the benefits. We can't afford to lose Jack and more to the point can't afford to divert resouces to a second rescue effort." she took a step towards the radio. "Jack this is Amaiya, please withdraw from the tower and return to the fleet. I'll need your arm to punch through to the captains during the final phase of Ru's plan. I can't afford to lose you or risk your capture." she would await a response before handing over the rest of the radio communications to Cecilia.

She turned to address the room. "The imminent storm may well work on our favour but as Mia pointed out we now have a window of opportunity and it's not one I plan on losing. Till we're ready to begin to assault all ships should hold position, especially since reports suggest allied forces are still turning up by the hour ready to join our numbers. On the third day our fleet will engage with the displaced enemy warships, once removed I would have our guns pointed at the shoreline to soften up their defences allowing our invasion fleet a smoother landing. Saffron, once I'm ashore I would like you to assume control of the fleet and adjust their movements if neccessary, I'll be in radio contact to update on our situation as and when it changes."

Turning towards Seliria and Sergei she placed her hands on her hips "Meanwhile we should ready ourselves to complete our mission objective. We will deploy in two hours after adequate time has passed between the start of our venture and the end of Jacks. In the meantime we should have a personal brief for how we'll handle ourselves towards the completion of our task. Spend the next hour resting and then meet me on deck where we can speak discuss our strategy." she gave a small exhale. "Thank you, all of you." with that she turned and made her way out of the room, heading towards the deck where she then began to delegate hands to prepare a small boat for their depature.

Once upon a time Alicia might have been under stress from such responsibility, filled with worry and doubt about whether or not she would be able to do a well enough job. But really the swordswoman had likely never seemed more focused and confident in how she spoke and carried herself as if she had a good handle on everything which needed to be done and carried out before the main show tomorrow. For Alicia this was simply a matter which could not be failed, too much riding on this with far too many lives to be let down should she falter at such a crucial time. No, unacceptable... she would see Ru's plan through and get everyone home.
 

Capt. Blu

Fake it til You Make it
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Time: ???
Location: ???

Day 1 into early morning of Day 2

Much like the Stardusk crew, as she was a part of it, Coral had grown just the same in the matter of years. She was stronger and refined, and with new devil fruit powers, she was faster and more dangerous than before. Carrying out messenger missions was as easy as preening her feathers. The week long distances through clear skies or the short distances through bad weather, Coral had flown through it all. This was no different. She had to be quick and punctual.

After a full day of nonstop flying, she spotted a familiar ship. No one was on deck yet, so she circled once, then twice before a familiar redheaded leader noticed her. With controlled speed, she dived down and landed right in front of him, nodding a greeting before raising her head to display the two tucked notes behind the Stardusk harness. One note had the Stardusk insignia on it and the other oddly enough had a Sterling crown on it. While she didn’t have time to be pampered and pet, she stayed long enough for a few treats and long enough to be sure Nikos read it, before bowing her head and soaring back into the sky.

Time was minimal and she had to keep moving.

Most of Day 2
The next symbol she spotted, she had committed to memory. It took another full day of flying to find this armada, but it was more of a relief to know it didn’t take longer. Coral made a dive downward towards the leading Yula Fei ship. She ignored the confused faces, dodging them if they reached out for her and pecking others that came too close. Coral quickly scanned around until she found her target: Satia.

The hawk landed right in front of her and flashed the Stardusk insignia once more, as a reminder. As a silent message. There was no note- there was no more time for more notes and it showed in the bird’s urgency with every look in the direction she came from. Hoping that was enough, once more she leapt into the sky, her wing tips glowing bright and hot from the sparks of flame just before it hit magmatic levels. The mixture caused a thick smoke, and with wings splayed wide, the smoke created an arrow-esque shape to point them towards the pirates. It was yet another sign to hurry as Coral flew back towards the ships.

The trek to the large tower in the center of Belfield was a slow one. An hour to be exact with all the extra weight and little control over whether she’d be trudging on her own or be dragged by someone else’s hand. But through it, Runali remained calm and stayed vigilant without causing too much attention to herself. She took note of every ring they crossed through. The docks were busy with navy and merchants as she expected in the first. The next and longest trek was through the town. It was a regular place filled with homes and people, nothing too spectacular about it, indicating that they were living there either because they had to or because they wanted the security and safety. She caught the eye of several nervous townsfolk as she was paraded through. Just for her own amusement, she gave a devilish grin just to scare them off.

It was probably better for them anyway.

The most interesting thing that caught her attention were the various poles jabbed in different areas of the town, holding what she could only describe as a ‘larger radio’. The Nova captain, Robin, had told her about them once- explaining something about being able to throw one’s voice across multiple places instead of the one to one communication that ships had. But Runali didn’t remember Robin saying anything about how they might’ve been outside of Brass Cape. She could only wonder if they worked.

Passing the third ring’s threshold felt like a cheap gut punch she wasn’t expecting. Runali staggered for a moment, but adjusted just as quick. She knew the tower would be covered in seastone, but being so close to it with the cuffs digging into her was enough of a reminder that she had to focus. It was incredible to think anyone, especially Navy personnel, could be around something like this- especially if they had devil fruit powers, but it also quickly reminded her that these people were skilled. If they were protecting a stronghold like this, it wouldn’t be an easy fight. Fortunately, seastone was most effective on devil fruit users and she was all haki so this wouldn’t stop her. Nor would she allow it to.
Runali steadied herself and kept walking, making a note that most of the oppressive seastone was on the outside and specifically in the prison.

She remained quiet when she walked into the large prison, seeing each of the six Worst Gen captains equidistant and chained to three walls instead of in the cells. She also recognized that all the cells were empty. It was only the seven of them and the guards that escorted her.

The twins sat up in sync, shocked and horrified to see that Runali had been captured as well. They couldn’t speak, having cloth tied around their mouths, no doubt from their incessant chatter.
Will didn’t sit up, but the slightest crease in his brow formed when his eyes met Runali’s. He was forced into silence as well, but he sported some sort of muzzle. The ensigns didn’t trust those sharp teeth. One of them had the marks to prove it.
Alcinoe grimaced and glared. Alton didn’t react, though Runali noted that they gave him the courtesy of keeping his tinted glasses on. Which, in hindsight, wasn't fair that her eyepatch was torn. And then there was Robin, who out of the six, had her eyes closed as if she was meditating. Unlike the rest in regular cuffs and chains, her hands were encased in seastone and bound together, too heavy to be moved on its own. The ensigns made it a point to give her a wide berth when they placed Runali next to Alcinoe.

“Get comfortable. Your big day will be here before you know it.”

She heaved a sigh, being able to finally drop the extra weight- until tension returned as she was suddenly crowded again.

“Now to do something about the Reaper’s eye nonsense.”

“Wait, wh-” The sound of the heavier changes being passed back was replaced with her thrashing and struggling to keep the hands trying to pin her still at bay. Then her vision went dark as some sort of metallic band covered her eyes. There was a soft ‘click’ and it locked in place, leaving her to pitch black darkness. “This… is overkill don’t you think? I mean, if my last days are gonna be in a cell, at least let me look at my cellmates!”

But she went ignored. So with a huff, she collapsed so her back could hit the wall. “Well… I imagined this part going a little different.”


Time: Day 3 - Early Dawn
Location: Pirate Ships hiding out

When the Stardusk flag came into view, Coral was ready to make an ungraceful crash landing back onto the ship to rest. She wasn’t sure where the Prophets had ended up, but she knew Yula Fei was still a few hours behind her.

But as she got closer to the pirate ships, she realized a storm was growing worse. The hawk grew weary and suspicious so she decided to get a view above the low hanging clouds. To her surprise, she was met with the bottom of an airship. Energy crackled haphazardly underneath it, creating the nasty storm beneath it. It didn’t look as though it was primed for attacking, but it was lowering considerably. And if it breached below, there was no doubt the pirates would be seen.

Coral dived back onto the ship, crashing a little too haphazardly into a Junker, making them roll backwards into a few boxes. The other Junkers quickly followed.
“Hey, the bird’s back! Huh, what’s wrong?” The small group watched Coral frantically point upwards to the sky at the growing storm until frustration took over in search of Stardusk who would understand.

First it was Zil. Coral mimicked the same pointing with an urgency. Then it was Luro, one who could understand her more than the rest. When she attempted to warn Alicia as well, she was nowhere in sight. It wasn’t until Alicia’s group was gone and safely in their respective Navy boats that Coral attempted to pull Adelaide upwards to show the issue. But by then, it was too late. An alarm began to sound from inland. The airship spotted them.

Their hideout was compromised and the mass of the group was nowhere near the island yet.

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SilentxChaos

Vivid Imaginings
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Fantasy, magical, modern, medieval, horror, dark fantasy, post-apocalyptic, sci-fi, adventure, action, anime
Collab bet'w @Mizos and @SilentxChaos
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Day Three: The Attack
On Lady Luck…For Now


Adelaide felt it first: The churning of the air. High above them, using the remnants of the storm to hide, but the foul crackling energy that contorted and fouled the winds and the clouds into an unnatural pattern couldn't be hidden. Not from her.

The others gathered around her on Lady Luck's deck, looking up and spotting doom. The airship had found them. And they had nowhere to escape to.

Adelaide grinned ferociously. Finally, a challenge.

She waited long enough to sense everyone had come up top, and then on some unknown cue, beelined for Caleb. She grabbed his shoulder, swinging him around to face a manic expression and energy that radiated around her, near mimicking the threat of the weapon's storm. She felt equally dangerous.

"How long before they fire on us?" she asked. Based on the gathering storm, and the twisting air currents, she had a good guess, but she wanted to hear it from the expert's mouth.

Around them, pirates stirred. Commands started to be issued. It took a second, but the dismay broke into action.

Cecilia appeared next to Adelaide and Caleb. "You have to take me with you!" She burst out, and flinched when the Windy She-Devil rounded on her.

"What use are you? You can't fight."

"No," she replied, breathless, "but all I need is one touch. Get me on that ship and I can give you all the knowledge you could want. Everything."

Caleb walked up to the deck calmly removing the glasses he had on his face, his eyes moved to the sky once he was on the top deck. The shipwright didn't seem too terribly shocked compared to some, seeing as Luro who lingered nearby was merely slipping on his gloves it easy to tell why.
Caleb knew to spread his observation out further now, it was hard to miss 'floating people' in the sky. The ship can hide but the souls aboard it are a whole other matter.

At the sudden contact he showed no resistance at the turn and tilted his head as Adelaide spoke to him, he blinked at the question before closing his eyes for a moment, the blank faced inventor needed only a few seconds before opening them again.
"Twelve Minutes, fifteen if we keep moving. Ten minutes to charge up, remainder to make calculations to hit. Well unless they fire randomly then just 10 minutes but they'd be waste as it'd need to recharge so-"
"Twelve to fifteen got it," Mia said brushing off the front of her outfit. "We're going to lose three minutes in your explanation bud."
She had two eyepatches on her eyes one of hers and one Runali's which begged how she knew where she was going so well.
Flipping Runali's up she eyed those gathered.
"Is it fun time yet? I've been getting bored."

Mia offered a toothy grin her hands tracing over the wind and fire wheels on her waist.
Caleb gaze went over to Cecilia and Mia raised a hand after the comment on her safety.
"I can help with the whole protecting thing. Caleb may not look it but he can fight pretty ferociously, when he feels like it. Don't gotta protect him that much."
"I can also reset the 'charge' if you get me up there," Caleb added. "A good well place shot will disrupt the crystals making them 'redo' the charge. They won't risk it blowing up, not if they want to stay in the sky."
"So we can start the timer over, but that's still twelve to fifteen minutes once on board. Through an army of navy officers, some of which will probably be the annoying high ranking ones….yeah why are we waiting!? Let's get going!"

Cecilia, with a trembling lip, nodded once before dashing off. She may not be much of a fighter, but she wasn't about to go up there defenseless.

Adelaide's eyes trained once more up at the sky. Her body shifted, diluting into tendrils of breeze. "What would happen if the ship exploded up there?" she asked Caleb.

"Hmmm if it exploded the debris would rain down wherever it was blown up over. Over the sea that wouldn't be a big deal, well it would be but in different ways. If it was over the town however the effects would be catastrophic, chunks of ship could crush people or destroy buildings. Whatever isn't destroyed in the explosion would plummet towards the ground."
"Including people?" Mia said waving Luro off as he ran off to help deal with the approaching ships.
"Including people," Caleb responded. "Also…the explosion will be very large so fire will probably rain down as well."

"Putting aside that horrific image for a second. You'll be getting backup."
The voice came from nearby, a glance would reveal it was Zilia who was adjusting her gloves.
"I'm not sure who it is but expect reinforcements once you're up there, I think it's only one person though, at least one of you will know them apparently."
"...how will they get up there?" Caleb questioned.
"...Caleb two people on our ship can fly."
"Ah that's right, my apologies it slipped my mind."
"Still Adelaide is the best person to get you all up there, there's reinforcements heading for Jack as well to give him backup, so do what you have to up there."
With a nod Zilia turned and ran after Luro apparently on 'interference' duty.

Adelaide acknowledged the conversations around her with a tip of her head, her questions satisfied for the time being. At the mention of Jack, she glanced once towards Belfield's shore but it was hard to say where her thoughts went. She snapped back when Cecilia returned.

The pirate scholar returned with a pistol and mildly dangerous-looking saber she'd somehow located in Lady Luck's bowels. She waved it proudly. "A piece of art! How cruel of Stardusk to forget this beauty! Do you see these notches, and this golden filigree on the hilt? It must be decades old, maybe stretching back to the era of… of…" She cleared her throat at the stares she'd received. "I'm… ready to go."

Adelaide's lips curled up in a mockery of a smile. "Caleb and Cecilia, it'll be easier for me if you hold each other. Stand apart, Mia." The last of her sentence drifted off as she dissipated into pure wind.

"Take a deep breath." Adelaide whispered into each of their ears.

The wind whipped around them, fast and then faster, until one heavy pull sent them flying into the sky. The trio were flung up, up, up. Just as they hit the crest of their ascent and felt themselves beginning to tip downward into a freefall, Adelaide's power caught them, and threw them up again.

Sky and sea merged into one endlessly twisting vision as they somersaulted in midair, at the mercy of Adelaide's grip. Cecilia clung to Caleb, shaking in exhilarated terror. She couldn't help but recall the rides of Brass Cape: mountain-high trains that took you up and that dropped you tens of feet, then rocketed you through twists and turns, even going into upside-down swirls. Cecilia loved the stomach-dropping thrill and this– was almost like it, if not doubly nauseating. She tried to detach herself by reading Caleb's anatomy and all the things he had on his person, her bare hand gripping the back of his neck and collar.

Minutes or mere seconds later, it was hard to tell, a wall of wooden planks replaced the tumbling sky-sea. Abruptly, Mia, Caleb, and Cecilia were thrust in one direction, pulled up, jerked again – and then dropped unceremoniously onto a solid surface.

They'd made it to the deck of the airship.

Caleb stared at Cecilia curious where she was going with it but it seemed it was time to go.
Looking over at the fellow Worst Gen he wasn't entirely sure how one 'held' another.
Thankfully Cecilia seem to understand while he was contemplating it and Mia was shoving the extra patch into her pocket to keep from losing it. She took a small step away from the two afterwards as requested.
In the next moment the trio were in the air turning every which way, Caleb brought a hand to his chin, his other arm around Cecilia since she was holding on hard enough for the both of them.
He contemplated the alteration in air pressure that allowed them to reach such heights compared to what was normally required, while factoring in possible variables between a Devil Fruit's natural power and the optimum of technology he was pulled from it remembering something important.
"Mia."
Caleb called out to the other flying member of their group, a woman laughing and arms spread out as she flew through the air. She was pulled back at Caleb's comment.

Caleb casualness at being flung about made sense, he rode on an airship in the air daily and had been thrown off numerous times by Seliria, he also helped make Elliot's 'flying board', heights much less falling from great ones were commonplace for him. Mia he didn't understand but decided to pursue it later.

Caleb while Cecilia adjusted her grip flung a pistol at Mia who caught it with surprising ease, Caleb pointed at the ship with his free hand at three different points.
"Defenses."
"Mark it for me."
The two kept their talking to a minimum understanding their circumstances and the matter at hand.
Caleb let something fall out of his sleeve and flicked something at the ship, his armament caused it to dig into the side of the floating structure, revealing they were blue marbles. Though he worried they would be too small to use as marks the one eyed woman raised the bronze pistol and fired three times in quick succession, apparently aware the pistol had more than one bullet.

The woman hit two marks on the dot, but the third one was off a little bit, the ships defenses that had been moving the moment the group had appear suddenly fired off course, missing them completely, though one came extremely close to Mia.
"Depth perception," she said motioning to her one eye and glancing at her now singed sleeve.

A few were cannons using the 'wasted' energy of the material as a sort of mini energy cannon. Though not as destructive as the larger one, continuing after getting nailed head on with it would be difficult. The cannons were easy enough to divert, their aim was already off given the movement of the ship so the cannonballs missed entirely.
Mia raised her pistol and fired another shot hitting the front of a puckle gun on the side of the ship, causing it to spin around and smack the navy officer who went running towards it, sending him to the ground.
"Thank you Luro," Mia said grinning as the group descended.

Caleb was happy Cecilia didn't know what he had on his person as they fell since she was so close to him. He had numerous explosives on his person, volatile ones continued only by his own contraptions. Anyone understanding that would generally keep a wide berth form him, he made a note to not mention this later, especially considering what he was about to do.
Wrapping his arms around Cecilia a burst of energy exploded in short burst as they descended towards the ship, his way of 'lessening the impact', he released her before they reached the deck, landing on his feet albeit stumbling slightly before brushing himself off.
"I have much to research when we return, that much wind pressure…hmm much to account for.."
Mia flipped numerous times through the air before rolling along the deck and pushing up onto her feet throwing both her arms out before giving a bow.
"Stuck the landing! Hold your applause please!"

*******

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During the current chaos of navy officers running towards the docks, and alarms blaring signaling the pirate attack a sudden chill filled the air. It was subtle within the crowd a passing breeze at first, but whatever it was lingered within the thousands of bodies. In the next moment a hand wrapped around Jack's mouth, darkness shrouded his vision before a floating sensation filled him.
No more than what could be a few seconds passed before the man found himself in a place devoid of people and noise, they seemed to be in a building but somehow the noise of the outside had vanished and he had been released by whatever had pulled him there.
His 'kidnapper' stood behind him in the well lit room, it was a woman with short red hair in a navy uniform, her rank showed she was under him. She was reasonably attractive woman and her stare carried a strange warmth in it as she made sure to meet Jack's gaze. She stood right outside of his attacking range, 'exactly' outside of his range as if she knew it intimately.

The woman held a hand up the moment Jack noticed her as if to stop him before reaching up and touching her face, her fingers dug into the skin and in one motion she 'removed' her features, her 'beauty' simplifying into two eye holes, and a mouth on what seemed to be a piece of porcelain in her gloved hand.
The red hair immediately grew longer and turned a raven black, and Ria lowered her hand once she was sure Jack knew who she was.

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If one looked around they'd see black flames covered the windows hiding the inside, along with white feathers, more than likely the reason the outside world didn't exist presently. Though the smallest smile found itself onto her features she immediately put the mask back on the 'red haired woman' appearing again as her features changed again.
"I'll speak like this considering we're short on time. An update on the situation Jack, the airship has spotted us, Adelaide, Mia and Caleb have safely landed on it's deck and are presently working on hindering it. Isa is sending up a golem to get more information on them over time. Luro and Zilia are moving to intercept the ships and are keeping the ones coming at bay. Seliria and Alicia are still unaccounted for but from what we've noticed the navy haven't noticed that they're well…not navy officers. I'm your present reinforcement for whatever course of action you want to take, more are on the way here I could just get here the quickest. Luro, Zilia and the ship should make it to the shore within twelve minutes at their current pace while dealing with the ships. There are also many other ships and people here, but for now I'll mention the more pressing matters. Should you need more information on the state of the battlefield, say the word. With all that said."
Ria reached up and removed the mask again.
"It is…good to see you….Jack….sorry for…kidnapping…"

It took but a breath for Jack to regain his composure. He listened with a passive face until she finished, nodded once, and then walked up to her and threw his arms around her.

"It's good to see you, too," he breathed out. It was no surprise to him that the Prophets would show up, but having Ria at his side brought relief he didn't expect.

That was all the time they had for a reunion. Releasing Ria, Jack put his business face back on. "I've been surveying everything, and this communique has come in handy. I've been tracking the Navy's orders through it."

Jack tapped the device at his hip and reflexively peered towards the window that had a view to nothingness. "Seliria and Alicia aren't here yet… and no doubt the pirate captains' hanging will be expedited now that they know we're here. We can't storm that tower ourselves – well, we could," he flashed a smirk at Ria, "but they'd probably kill the captains before we could reach them."

The problem, in Jack's mind, was too little time and too many enemies. Do we stay to make a path for Alicia? Or do we infiltrate the tower in hopes of helping the captains… if they even need it. His fingers twitched to his ears but he checked the motion, remembering handing the earrings to his mother. Jack one long inhale – and released it in a huff.

"We head for the tower, and do our best to carve a path for Alicia's forces along the way. Redirect troops, cause fires, I don't know – whatever it takes to weaken the Navy. Hopefully, they'll catch up to us before we have to decide what to do next. And if not… saving the captains is our top priority. We can't let them be executed no matter what."

Ria returned the hug but put her face back on to listen to Jack's suggestion. Offering a nod in agreement she put her mask back on and adjusting it returned to her 'navy persona'.
"The docks are right outside, let's clear that up before heading forward. It'll mean less work for those approaching."
Ria made a small waving motion with her hand, the fire and feather dissipated and the noise and view outside returned almost immediately.
Opening and closing her hands, her sickles returned in them for a moment before fading away again.
"Whenever you're ready Jack."
 
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Mizos

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Day 1/2 Prophets

On the Scarlet Crow closing in on Belfield

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Nikos gaze raise to the sky as a familiar figure revealed herself, by now he knew the birds presence by his Observation.

He waited until Coral landed returning the bow respectfully before taking the letters, he dug in his pocket and gave her a few treats with a smile before reading both letters quickly. He understood she more than likely was moving onto others, he offered a nod to Coral and handed the letter to Tari who had stepped out to join them. The two watched Coral fly to the next delivery before Tari looked over the notes.

"...they seem to be from Runali and...the pirate lord..."

Tari trailed off reading over Runali's note, a small smile found its way onto the woman's face and she handed the note back to Nikos.

"She hasn't changed."

"Of course not...still we'll have to make a decision on how to handle things. We may have to put in extra work depending how things go."

"Agreed, I'll inform the others. We should end up near Belfield today what's the orders?

"We'll stop a little bit away. We don't want to be terribly close, we'll stop in a nearby town, Isari should have the patrols to us by then. We can decide the best time to slip through them to be in proper position. The assault isn't until the third day anyway. Aira is also catching up I believe."

"Yes her ships shouldn't be too far behind us, there also seem to be more ships approaching."

"Probably more of Stardusk's allies, adjust our routing so we're not in their way but keep an eye on them."

"Aye."

Tari returned below deck and Nikos' gaze went back to the note in his hand, red energy enveloped his the paper burning both notes away before his gaze raised back to the open waters. If he was being honest he wanted to help them assault Belfield to reach Runali faster, but their job was to deal with reinforcements and they would do just that. Bringing a hand to his chin he made slight adjustments to the plan, a majority would stay behind to deal with the extra ships, but it wouldn't be impossible to offer some manner of aid.
"You won't go out like this Lev. You need to reach the top first…and I'll be waiting right there when you do."


Day 3 Prophets

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Nikos stared at Belfield from a distance, the ringing of the alarms even reaching their ship, he had closed his eyes and tried to sense Runali's presence but she was too far inland for him to pick up a proper reading, she was clearly already within the inner circle that much he could tell. An arm rested on his shoulder causing him to glance over seeing Kaim had come top deck, munching on an apple the man pointed ahead.
"Seems things didn't go as planned."
"Indeed…though they rarely do," Nikos said glancing behind him as the rest came from below deck. "The plan hasn't changed, we are to cut off reinforcements, they'll just be coming faster then we expected."

Kaim stepped away from Nikos as he turned to face everyone, his eyes moving to each of his crew. He offered a smile to them before putting his 'boss' face back on causing everyone to straighten up.
"Tari, Nina, Emil and myself will remain on the ship, to deal with reinforcements. Emil I want you making repairs as need be, we can focus on fighting that way. Nina will of course handle the situation if we have to deal with the airship's attack."
"Consider it done," Emil responded with a nod.
"Ria I want you going inland and aiding Jack in his own objective, we've been hired so you're his subordinate. If he makes a call, follow it, so long as your own life is not threatened past the contract requirements. That official has probably already call for more reinforcements but if he hasn't and you reach him, kill him. This is optional, if you cannot spare time to do so we'll handle another influx."
"Understood…Nikos..."
"Kara I have a special job for you we'll speak about it later. You'll deal with that and then return to provide extra support if we need it. Though between the four of us I'm sure it'll be fine, just fall back once you're done."
"Got it boss."
"Isari is already providing back up but call her if you need more, we all have crystals on us. Kaim you know your job."
"Aye aye boss," Kaim said grinning. "Done and done."
"Aira have the ships prepared, join in with the Feians if you feel they need it, otherwise you'll be our extra ships to help hold off the reinforcements. You'll meet up with any ships joining the fight, such as Relias' group"
"Those bastards won't know what-ah sorry. Got it, it'll get done."

Day 2 evening Maka and Yuli

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"....So just for clarification."
"Yes?"
Maka looked over at Yuli after responding as she guided the ship, the Zoan was sitting on the edge of their vessel watching the sea. He could already pick up the scent of the others which meant they were getting close, borrowing a merchant ship made things a lot easier. He made a mental note to have extra money prepared in case the ship came back worse for wear if at all.
"We're rushing towards Belfield, a place where a bunch of seastone is along with some of the strongest people of the navy."
"That's right…is there something wrong with that?"
"Just remembering the records the Ravens' had on the place is all. I'm just curious how much Zilia is going to owe us for going this far. I mean I know we're repaying the favor and all but I have a feeling we're going to be putting in extra work. I'm thinking we start with her first born myself in the negotiations."

A low chuckle escaped from Maka at Yuli's comment and he offered a small shake of his head.
"Let's just work on repaying our debt, anything past that we can deal with when we get there. Besides why her first born?"
Maka raised his gaze to see Yuli staring at him, his brow arched as the women's half-lidded gaze bore into him, his instincts were screaming something at him that he couldn't comprehend aside from a recognition of danger. He watched her eyes move up and down his form for a moment before focusing forward again.
"Guess you'll find out later."
"...Yuli what do you mean by that?"
"We should be getting close, we'll make dock at one of the nearby islands."
"Yuli please don't ignore the question."

Day 2 Team Circle

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One thing she loved about the sea was how oddly calming it was right before chaos followed. The gentle lap of the waves against the boat, the sea air that tickled most of her senses and the gentle caress of the wind. For a brief moment it was easy to forget the ills of the world standing upon the deck. The navy Captain had taken residence at the bow since the beginning of the second day, wanting to see Belfield the moment it came into sight. Only open sea met her vision but soon that would change, they had already passed one of the landmarks she knew led to Belfield.
“You seem focused.”

A familiar voice called her attention and she glanced to her side to see Relias next to her, staring out at the sea. She wasn’t sure when he had gotten there but looking at the adjacent ship she noticed his first mate was steering compared to himself a moment ago.
“Didn’t take you for much of a talker.”
Relias offered no real response and Mari turned her attention forward again, letting the silence linger between them for a moment, neither moving from their spot before she spoke up again.
“My apologies,” she said, realizing his aim. “I’m fine.”

It was a strange thing to have ‘Relias’ of all people concerned for her.
In the years since the incident she had noticed a subtle change in the man, they had never gotten along before, any encounter generally ending in some manner of conflict. Lives weren't taken in every exchange, but they were far from friends, and each knew they’d slit the others throat if they ever met properly. Yet here they were right next to each other, neither reaching for their blades.
She wondered if Zilia’s visits to the circle had softened him a bit, he seemed to have an interest in the one who succeeded Dr. Vilimar.
She wasn’t sure what his relationship with the doctor once was, but at the very least it was respect, meeting her protégé apparently had a profound effect on him.
Though once again he still hadn’t apologized for anything he’d done, so he hasn’t changed that much.
“You heard my response in the circle,” Mari followed up looking over at him.

Relias offered a nod before looking over at her.
“I am aware, I know you’ll commit but being this close I’m sure reservations have risen in your heart.”
Mari’s eyes narrowed a bit at him but she looked forward again.
“...Order and Chaos need to be balanced.”
Mari held both her hands up before raising one of them slightly.
“Too much Chaos and the innocent and those unable to fight suffer,” she said before raising the other hand. “Too much Order and you lose individuality, progressiveness and wonder.”
She lowered her hands and folded both behind her back.
“I have always pursued what I felt was right, and this is no different.”
Relias crossed his arms and she noticed his mouth twitch slightly, that was probably the closest thing to a smile she’d probably see on the man’s face.
“So long as there are no hesitations or mercy.”
“I will offer mercy to the rank and file as they are just following orders, but the higher ups…” Mari trailed off her eyes narrowing. “They knew the purpose of their orders and acted on them, I will act accordingly with them.”
Relias could feel the intent behind the woman’s gaze, her grip tightening behind her as she spoke the words, she was clearly serious and he turned his attention forward offering a silent apology at doubting her.

“What will you do when the time comes to turn your blade on Stardusk?” Relias asked. “Which I imagine will be some time considering you’ll be demoted if not removed for this.”
Mari chuckled waving a hand in front of her face.
“My feelings of this organizations and admirals akin to Von Kelmore is well enough known. I have too much on them to just be ‘removed’, demotion is the most they can do, especially with Sor’s interference. He’ll just keep me from becoming a midshipman. If I'm thrown out, no reason to keep their secrets.”
Mari returned her hand behind her as she reflected on the realistic future in front of her.
“...I can’t ignore piracy just because there are a few good ones, just like I can’t ignore the good of the navy because there are a few bad ones…well a lot of bad ones. There are pirates who are different breed than Stardusk and bring pain and suffering, just as there are navy officers who joined knowing the dark parts of the world and wanted to bring light into it.”
Mari closed her eyes.
“I made a promise, when that day come our convictions would clash respectfully and it wouldn’t take away the friendships I made there.”
Opening them she looked back at Relias.
“For now though fixing this twisted organization is my priority.”

Relias held Mari’s gaze for a moment before the two turned their attention back to the sea.
“That being said…I’m sure you’re here for more than a debt.”
“I am…but unlike yourself I feel no need to speak on it.”
“Wha-” Mari turned to see Relias was gone and taking the ship wheel’s back on his own vessel, the woman’s eyes twitched but a heavy sigh escaped from her.
Irritated as she was she couldn’t deny being grateful, she felt oddly better getting that all out.
No matter how this all ended she’d follow this path to the very end, she would aid piracy to ensure a proper future for the world while she was in it, one filled with good and ill, and to repay the debt she owed her friends.

Day two Team Historian/Raven Hunters

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Ramis' ship came to a stop and his entire crew Lily included stared at what could only be described as a horrid sight in front of them. For a moment they couldn’t believe what lie in front of them.
“By Jones…what monstrosity is that?” Ramis said reeling back a bit.
A Man o War met the crew at the meeting place, a ship that was bright white with gold running along most of the ship, the railings, the mast, even the cannons. The bits of blue helped break up some of it, but the ship was like gaudiness given form. No one on the ship understood how it managed to sail much less why every pirates in a twenty miles radius wasn’t trying to take the treasure gleaming off it.
Ramis figured it was the figurehead which depicted a mermaid man, shirtless holding a wine glass, with his hair blowing in the 'wind'.
It was even hard to look at directly, the sun kept reflecting off the gold making it hard to view it except at weird intervals, which most on the ship were fine with.
Bright red ribbons trailed off the top of each masts stretching halfway down the ship and the sails looked as if they were made of velvet.
“Lass…are ya sure dat's the right ship?”
“Yes that…that is definitely Rasa’s ship,” Lily said her eyes twitching.
“Lass.”
Lily turned towards Ramis and he put a hand on her shoulder.
“Ya make sure ta come back ta us…preferably not on a ship the navy can see from halfway aroun' the world.”
“I will meet you back on a regular ship I promise.”
“Okay. I do mean dat though Lass. Ya got a little one waiting for you back home and ya like me own daughter.”
“Ramis you’ve tried to grope me on numerous occasions, you’re also currently massaging my shoulder with fingers you're about to lose.”
Ramis removed his hand a chuckle escaped from him.
“Okay not like a daughter but still ya dear ta me. Just come back.”
Lily offered the old pirate a smile, strange as he was the man was also special to her, putting aside the other things.
“Dat and if ya die I won’t have an excuse to see Moura.”
“See you later Ramis,” Lily said shaking her head walking away from him.

Once she was on the ship Rasa spread his arms out wide, a wine glass in one hand as always as he offered a bright smile to the woman.
“Lily! It’s good to see you again! It’s been too long.”
“It’s been three weeks Rasa.”
“That’s still too long my dear. Now your knightly escort will guide you to Belfield.”
Rasa said this with a grandiose bow somehow not spilling the liquid, a small chuckle escaped from her causing him to raise his body. Though he looked confused, his head tilting she only waved a hand.
His demeanor strange as always, was welcome in this situation.
“Are the Historians here yet? Did they find the meeting spot?”
Rasa opened his mouth but a knock from behind him causing him to turn revealing two cloaked figures. One of them sitting on the edge of the ship, lowered their hood revealing a young man with blond hair tied in a short ponytail. The other figure made no effort to remove their cloak.
“It’s hard not to find you with this ship,” the young man said.
“I take offense to that Leo, it’s important to be grand in all things. A ship is no exception.”
“It’s just good to know we’re not going with the element of surprise,” Leo said grinning before looking at Lily. “Good to see you Lily.”
“You too Leo,” Lily said before looking over at the cloaked figure. “Greetings as well Two.”
Two offered a nod and though she couldn’t see past the darkness of his hood she felt the trace of a smile.

Rasa waved a hand motioning to his crew, also in equally as flamboyant outfits as the man himself, causing them to start guiding the ship towards Belfield.
“I will admit I’m surprised the Historians didn’t offer resistance,” Rasa said looking over at Leo.
Both he and Lily knew Two or his old name Second didn’t speak so it was better to address Leo.
“Well this area is under our jurisdiction but yes in a normal situation the others would show more resistance. We’re still only allowed to help a little before falling back.”
Leo said this with a shrug before digging into the pocket of his cloak.
“Thankfully it wasn’t hard to turn them over to our side,” Leo said holding up the newspaper.
“That’s…” Lily mumbled suddenly realizing what he meant.
“The Historians prefer history in all it’s truth, not stuff like this.”
“...isn’t the falsification of history also a part of history,” Lily added.
Leo looked over Lily before a laugh escaped from the young man, Two offered no response only watching his companion. Leo waving the paper responded with a nod.
“You’re exactly right…but we also owe Stardusks one too, and we’re interested in how this story ends. We needed to get close anyway so…”
“You repay what they gave you, get information and depart,” Rasa said. “How deliciously vibrant with a mix of ostentatious. I can feel the muse welling up within me just hearing it. Men bring me my piano!”
“Okay Rasa I need you to bring it down two levels,” Lily said, patting the man on the back. “Let’s just get going….uh slowly. We should avoid showing up early considering we’re…well…shiny.”
Two offered a nod and that seemed to be enough for his partner as Leo put the paper away and sat on the edge as the ship pushed ever forward.

Who needs stealth right?

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Zilia jumped a bit seeing Coral return and acting strange, her eyes narrowed a bit as she tried to contemplate what she meant. It always took her an extra minute to catch onto what she was trying to say. Luro however seem to realize what Coral was referencing, which Zilia seeing Luro slip his gloves on and look up provided all the information she needed. The alarms came right afterwards and the doctor's eyes widened realizing that their situation had just become very 'Stardusk' in the worst kind of way.
"Well...a quarter of the plan just went out the window," Zilia said her eyes narrowing up at the ship. "Guess we're 'winging it', as per usual."
"Not exactly," Luro said grinning at Zilia. “Plan hasn’t changed, get in there, save the Captain and the others and then leave.”
Zilia stared at Luro positive he didn’t remember any finer points of the plan, but he wasn’t wrong, at the end of it all that was the end goal and it hadn’t changed. A small chuckle escaped the doctor causing Luro’s brows to arch.
“Fair enough Luro…I will relent to your positivity…even if it is missing parts.”
“I don’t know what you mean by that Z but we should start fighting. Those ships are approaching.”
Zilia nodded seeing the others were already moving to deal with the issue at hand.
“I’m going ahead Z!”
Luro grinned and running leapt off the side of the ship, the rest of the crew ran to the side of the ship with wide eyes about to throw over a rope to help Luro back on board only to see the redheaded man skidding atop the water towards the ships.
“You all stop staring and get to the cannons,” Zilia said drawing the men away. “Kadi will handle guiding and lining us up so just focus on firing.”
The men nodded and moved towards the cannons as the ship continued towards Belfield at a steady pace.

Zilia could see twelve ships already moving towards them, her eyes narrowing a bit seeing more behind them preparing to set sail.
The men at the cannons fired only to stumble backwards when fire exploded forward rather than a cannon ball, crashing into one of the navy ships before exploding, forcing the ship to pause.
“F-fire! These things shoot out fire!” One of the men exclaimed.
“Yes along with ice and lightning and since everyone on this ship can conjure some form of energy or element we have too much ammo so don’t be afraid of wasting it,” Zilia said as blue energy circled around her as she stepped forward.
“I don’t sense anyone strong on the ships…so we should be able to take them down easily enough, so long as they’re not suppressing their presence.”
Zilia’s eyes narrowed as she kept her gaze on the ships.

Luro approached the ships offering a bright smile and a wave as the men on board took notice of him, after the initial shock of a man skiing on top of the water wore off, the men immediately started firing at him. Luro grinned and started weaving between cannon-fire geysers of water blowing up around him as his laughter filled the area. His hands reached into one of the geysers and as he pulled it out an orb of water rested in his hand, he released it as it split into multiple ones an started circling around his torso.
Holding his other hand out flames burst out of them before red sphere’s joined the blue ones as they rotated around him.

The redhead started skidding alongside a ship and snatched one of the orbs circling him, a scarlet rifle manifested in his grip, fire like appendages floating off the rifle, like wings made of flames as he tightened his grip on it. Raising it at the ship he fired, a red bullet flying out of the gun and hitting the ship before detonating, an eruption of firing blowing apart the ship.
The men on board stumbled as the ship rocked and immediately stared taking on water.
“What was that?! Wait there’s a hole in the ship?!”
Luro grabbed the other red sphere the orb shrinking into a bullet before he loaded into the scarlet rifle and fired again as he reached the end of the ship.
Another detonation followed this time enveloping the entire ship, the men on board were consumed by the flames as Luro leaned sideways slightly and headed towards the next ship.
“Incoming! It’s…a floating pirate?!”
The rifle vanished from Luro’s grip and he grabbed the blue sphere, a blue rifle manifesting, ornate glowing curls running along the sides of the rifle, he grinned as he grabbed another orb the water shifting into a lighter blue as he shoved it into the rifle, causing the rifle to take the same color.
Icicles lowered off the side of the gun as Luro raised and fired it into the water, the water he was sliding one turning to ice, which he used to speed up before sliding along the water once more.
“He missed! Quick return fire!”
One of the men ran over to the cannons only to stop as rumbling erupted from below the ship, the man’s eyes widened as something shot up from the bottom of the ship piecing straight through it, a spire of ice had penetrated the ship before a pointy iceberg rose out of the water taking the ship with it in the process.

Luro turned and rode up the side of the iceberg eventually jumping over the trapped men below, dropping something as he passed before he falling back towards the sea. The officers on the ship looked over before seeing the grenades near their faces.
“Explos-”
A loud blast echoed behind Luro propelling him further forward in the air, with a grin he landed onto the third ship, surrounded by the navy officers who immediately drew their weapons. With a grin Luro dropped something on the ship before running and jumping off the side once more.
The men started to run towards the edge but stopped as a strange sensation filled the air around them, strange sparks bounced off their weapons and a few of the materials around them. Purple energy gathered in one place, their eyes looked down at what Luro had dropped and it seemed to be a strange violet orb, the men followed the trail of energy upwards to see another above them, right before a crack of lightning sounded before crashing into the ship, disintegrating the wood and everything on it in a purple haze.

Back on Lady Luck the other pirates watched with drop jaws as Luro headed towards the next set of ships.
“H-how is….wha…Worst Gen are on a whole other level…”
“Oh he’s just having fun,” Zilia said. “Hasn’t gotten serious yet.”
The other pirates looked at her but jumped as one of the ship fired on them, Zilia made a motion with her hand and blue energy knocked the cannonball away sending it into the water.
“No strong armament on the cannonballs…definitely normal people,” Zilia said bringing a hand to her chin. “They’re definitely still scrambling. We have to reach shore before the upper echelon catch up.”
On land they’d have a chance but on water they’d be sitting ducks, also the air team may only be able to hold off the airship for so long, the airship shouldn’t fire near Belfield, so the sooner they got off open water the better.

Zilia noticed the ships turning to deal with Luro as she leaned over the edge of the ship, this wasn’t a good sign. Luro had the element of surprise but eventually they were going to put all their focus on him.
“I’m sure he can handle it but I don’t imagine he’ll walk away completely unscathed and we’re not even at Belfield yet.”
“Good thing we’re here then.”
Zilia turned as a hand rested on her shoulder, she turned to see Yuli next to her and on instinct checked her other side to see Maka staring out at the ships, hands in his pockets and a smile on his face.
“Yuli…Maka….you guys are late,” Zilia said narrowing her eyes at the two.
“That’s all you have to say…no thank you for coming all this way,” Yuli said taking her hand off her shoulder. “You haven’t changed.”
“It’s her way of showing affection,” Maka said adjusting his mask. “Nikos gave us a general explanation. What do you need of us?”
“...if you can take care of a few of those ships it would be appreciated,” Zilia said. “We just need a clear way forward."
“A few will do?” Yuli questioned.
Zilia nodded and Yuli clapped her hands, as she did black flames culminated next to her as Slayis appeared, bowed on one knee awaiting orders.
“We don’t gotta spare anyone right?” The woman asked looking at Zilia.
“We’re sending a message. Leave some alive if possible but you can choose the number.”
“Good. Slayis kill all but a few.”
Slayis nodded and leapt off the ship, Maka pat Zilia causing her to look at him.
With a grin he turned and leapt towards one of the ships, Yuli remained on the ship resting an arm on Zilia.
“...so what’s your thoughts on being a godmother?”
“Pardon?”

Maka fell towards one of the ships causing the officers on board to look up, they started to prep their weapons before realizing he wasn’t falling towards the deck itself but the front of the ship. Maka raised his right arm fur enveloping part of it, before slamming his fist down on the front of the ship, in the next moment the ship tilted upwards going completely vertical.
The sudden shift sent the sailors on board flying off the vessel and into the water; without missing a beat he spun his body and slammed his foot into the deck of the ship, a burst of power exploding as the ship flew away from him.
“Ship!”
“What?”
“There’s a ship coming at us!”
The flying ship crashed into one of the approaching boats breaking it apart before both started sinking into the ocean, Maka fell towards the sea before blue energy formed under him stopping him from falling fully into the water. He turned towards Lady Luck to see Zilia with her hand outstretched.
He smiled a little and leapt back towards the ship, silently noting the old Zilia would have let him fall even with his request.

A loud roar echoed across the ocean as Slayis tore through the troops on another vessel, hurling them over the edge or ripping through them with claws, red coated his fur as he flung a sailor off the ship after snapping his neck, ripping another in half and hurling both parts at those remaining. A howl escaped from him as black flames surrounded his entire being, spreading outwards consuming the ship and everything on board until there was nothing left but a floating dark pyre.

Yuli held her hand out towards the other ship and turning her hand over made a small beckoning motion, the ship that had turned to fire on them suddenly started shaking sending some of the officers to the floor. They ran and peered over the edge only to see a tentacle rise out of the water and slam onto the ship.
“Sea Monster! Quick we need to-”
The man’s screams was silenced as a second tentacle crashed onto the deck crushing him in the process as more started wrapping around the ship, Zilia watched as Yuli closed her hand into a fist causing the creatures grip to tighten before it pulled the ship, and all on it underwater in one quick motion.
“...new pet,” Zilia commented.
“Yeah I call him Squiggy,” Yuli said opening her hand. “Onto the next.”

“Hahahaha! What a grand showing! What a thing of beauty!”
Zilia turned as a man appeared next to her dressed in clothes befitting a navy admiral but with a pirates flair, hat included swirling a glass of wine in his free hand as his other made half a picture frame with his fingers, one of his crew members filling in the open gap completing the ‘frame’.

Rasa looked over at Zilia offering a smile to her.
“Mari and the Historian’s will meet you in Belfield, I’m to aid in your approach and possible exit. We met up on the way.”
Doing her best to ignore the extremely distracting ship nearby, Zilia offered a nod. She knew Mari would come but a part of her was still worried about it.
Yuli tossed a coin to Rasa who caught it with a bright grin.
“Time to show why you were the fifth strongest.”
Rasa looked at one of the ships and taking a small step to the right lined up two that were approaching close to each other, lowering his hand he flipped the coin towards the ship, a burst of wind causing his clothes to flutter as the coin was propelled forward with immense force. The first ship was torn completely asunder as if barraged by multiple cannon fire, and the second had the left half of it completely blow apart.
Rasa watched the officers panic as the ships sunk into the water, trying to call towards the other ships.
“Fourth my dear,” Rasa said pulling another coin from his pocket. “That being said ‘they’ are here now so clean up should go faster.”

Zilia’s brow arched before footsteps echoed behind her, given the general noise and the amount of people on their ship the fact they stood out forced her attention. Her eyelids lowered ever so slightly noticing Relias walking towards them, his appearance had caused the many moving pirates to pause until the man came to a stop next to Zilia.
“Vilimar,” the man said.
“Relias.”
“My forces are already engaging, and as Rasa is here you know about Mari. She says hi.”
“Message received thank you Relias.”
Relias offered a nod.
“If you’ll excuse me.”

Relias took a step forward before vanishing off the ship, on one of the distant ships trying to reach the officers who just lost their vessel, the swordsman feet lightly tapped the deck before he settled.
Each officer reached for their blades only to see Relias had already drawn his own. The man ran forward and each one realized their mistake as one of their own was cut down, first his wrist holding the blade, his screams silenced as the same blade cut his skull clean in half. Relias permitted them to see the movement, so they could understand what exactly he had done to him.
Relias body turned and his blade cut through the next officer, each step his sword ripped through anything close to him.
It was as if they were animals being slaughtered, butchery with a strange finesse, he cut them allowing them to scream only to cut it off, as if he wanted to both call out and cease their voices.
He slowed his trikes so each person could understand what had happened, and how it happened but have no means to stop it.
The ship grew still within a few breaths and the man wiped the blood off his swords with a handkerchief before putting them away.
Removing a body from the ship's wheel he spun it, the ship turning and crashing into the one adjacent forcing them to stop.

Relias glanced towards another ship before vanishing again, as he did the ship he had crashed into was trying to remove itself when a brunette woman landed on the bow of the ship.
It was that moment Zilia realized the 'they' was Relias and Lily.
The woman sprinted forward spinning the daggers in her hand as she approached; the officers drew their blades and approached the hostile assailant feeling her intent as she crew closer.
Their blades only met the air as they swung, the woman’s daggers ripping through them with each miss, long scars forming along their body before blood burst out of the precise carve Lily cut through the men on board with a terrifying accuracy, multiple visages of her appeared on the ship as body after body fell wherever her form seem to manifest, lacerations running along the bodies of each of her victims. The men’s eyes tried to follow the woman’s movement only to feel the sharpness of her blade pierce through them.
Lily’s murderous waltz ended as the last officer still alive stood at the wheel, her dagger at his throat, a slew of bodies on the ground behind her, dozens killed in what seemed like seconds. The man’s mouth opened before Lily moved her hand slitting his throat in one clean motion. She stepped to the side letting his body fall to the ground. With a small spin she returned her daggers to the sheaths on her waist and tossed a grenade into one of the ship openings.

Leaping off the ship an explosion followed destroying the both ships in one fiery detonation. Zilia watched the scene from the ship as each vessel Relias and Lily landed on generally ended up a ‘ghost ship’ the next time she blinked. Maka was still kicking ships into other ones and Slayis had set multiple other ships on fire during his wrought of destruction and Yuli’s Squiggy was currently holding up three of the navy’s ships, throwing them at any approaching ones.
“Reach the shore we got this,” Yuli said before jumping over the edge following Maka. "I meant the first born thing!"

Thanks to the efforts of their companions along with the ships that approached and started opening fire, breaking through the line was a simple task, Alicia’s assistance assured their landing was free of any extra reinforcements and Jack’s group had apparently been the reason the other ships had been delayed.
Hopping off Lady Luck, she looked back at Isa who also jumped off the ship. Once the crystal user was on solid land she offered a wave to Zilia. Luro walked over to the doctor grinning at her before the two ran into the first circle trying to reach the inner circle as fast as they could.

“So we’re on guard duty,” Rasa said to Isa. “Once the others deal with the remaining ships I imagine the they'll join us. Nikos said others are nearby in the first ring as well. Some lingering nearby to help with the reinforcements, holding the line will be tough but hopefully there's enough to avoid too much damage.”
“We'll just do what we can. We can’t let anything happy to Lady. Let’s do our best.”
Isari watched the two Stardusks fade into the distance and smiled towards them before looking towards the edge of the docks, stomping her foot two golems formed on both sides of her.
“I won’t let anyone through.”
 
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A bit of time had passed since the meeting and their departure to steal the ships was closing in. Caleb had moved away to prepare for his part of the plan and Seliria wasted little time moving away to have a bit of peace. Before a mission it was habit to take a moment to herself, collect her thoughts and prepare herself for what lay ahead. The bigger the mission the more important this small moment of reflection and though there wasn’t a terrible amount of time left before meet up, she used every minute preparing herself. Don’t allow doubts to creep in, don’t allow second thoughts, the mind is a whetstone and the body a blade. Treat it like any other mission as always, allow no hesitation. Seliria opened her eyes pushing away the unnecessary emotions within her and released a breath she was holding, she was as ready as she’d ever be.

Strange enough there was no sense of nervousness, she lived a life where death was always around the corner, this was no different.
She didn’t care about piracy, pirate lords, status, none of that mattered to her. The people in her life she could tolerate, that was all she needed, but some of those people liked piracy, so she’d put in a bit of extra effort to protect it, but that was it.

Seliria sat on a crate below deck, the few lanterns around providing the only illumination. The Nova chef eyed the mask in her hand, her thumb tracing over the familiar object and the long crack that ran down the center of it diagonally, a relatively recent addition. She declined having the mask fixed when she returned to the Nova’s, this had become a sign of her resolution once more.
A mask she wore when she pointed her blade at Sakura and the one she adorned in their last meeting, she wore it only to resolve the annoying parts of her past, she thought she’d cast it into the ocean at the end of it all yet here it was still in her hands.
It was a carnival mask, a mix of purple and red split straight down the middle. The eyes had a film over them allowing her to see clearly behind the mask but those on the other side were only able to peer into a black void upon meeting her gaze. Black marks surrounded the eyes, and black marks ran down the edges of the eyes, symbolizing tears. The mouth was twisted into a frown and the woman smiled a little as she traced a finger over it.
This was one of the masks, a sister one was made by the same person; she had been stuck with the sorrowful one, the smiling one given to another.

“This one carries too much sentiment at this point,” Seliria said standing up. “While not an underground job I’ll be a little more vicious than usual…may as well allow ‘her’ to appear.”
Leaving she headed to the meeting place, slipping the mask back onto her belt alongside the smiling one.

Alicia would ordinarily take some time to meditate before going out on such a venture, but alas she was burdened by the responsibility of command and thus did she take to making sure everything was well prepared for the imminent assault. She made regular calls to the rest of the fleet commanders and captains, requesting that they take stock of their munitions and make sure they know where they need to be in accordance with the plan.

She passed on information to Saffron, calling her attention to the map and giving a clear instruction on how she wanted the fleet to position itself during the initial attack. During this period Alicia had made mention that she would establish contact with Saffron from afar to help coordinate should the plan change. Again such duties might have been something that would have stressed the swordswoman in the past, cast doubts and made her worry for what might come.

But again there was nothing to indicate she was even remotely anxious. The way she carried herself, the way she spoke and the confidence expelled through her movements impressed that she had the utmost confidence in everyone to perform, herself included. Once everything had been seen too she took herself to where the small boat would be lowered for her and the others, standing with her eyes upon the distant Belfield as the wind kicked silver strands of her hair into the breeze.

She took a deep breath, closing her eyes before shifting her silver irises up towards the sky. “Wish me luck Cedric.” she muttered. Alicia couldn’t allow herself to fail in the same way she did back then, her plan back in Bonnifas being a detail that to this day was thought to be a reason for why Cedric didn’t make it home. She’d spent months agonizing over that day and though no one ever blamed her for what happened, she never lost the guilt.

Alicia didn’t look at Seliria when she arrived, she didn’t need to anymore. The younger swordswoman could feel her presence enough to tell her what she needed to know and so turned to motion for the nearby hands to ready the boat for lowering. “Sergei should be with us in a moment. Once we land I’ll create a fog to cover our advance, with Sergei building on their confusion we’ll be free to cut a path quickly towards the objective.” she finally turned to regard the older woman. “

“No survivors, we must eliminate everyone between us and that ship otherwise the alarm will raise once a body is found and our assault will be at risk of being compromised.” she turned towards the horizon again. “Alternatively we can avoid a conflict altogether and make for the ship without killing anyone, though that would be far more of a risk as we will lose the objective and our advantage tomorrow if we’re spotted. Given your experience and wisdom I’d like your opinion on those two options.”

Seliria leaned against a nearby mast and crossed her arms when she approached, there was an unspoken acknowledgement that was easy to pick up between them. A part of her wasn’t pleased about it, but the other half had made a gentle peace that there was enough of a closeness for some excusable non-verbal understanding.

She offered a nod to her when she was addressed, the woman leaning off the wall once they made eye contact.
At the question posed on her Seliria offered a small shake of her head, already knowing the answer.
“No survivors,” she said simply before continuing. “Putting aside how they started this fight and should be prepared for the repercussions, and more than just sending a message…”
Seliria trailed off moving her hands to her hips and looking at the other pirates running to and fro.
“It’s sometimes easy to forget surrounded by powerful or intuitive people constantly, but there are normal fighters on these ships who can’t do a quarter of the things we do. Some here can’t even use Armament.”
She motioned with her hand in a random direction before continuing.
“The more we clear for them the better, and it’ll ensure more survivors if we can cut down the amount of encounters they have. It’s a fool’s errand thinking they’ll all survive but if a few extra can go home to their loved ones because they avoided a stray bullet all the better.”
With that said Seliria looked back at Alicia.
“That’s my view on it anyway. I’m also not really in a sparing mood but it’s mainly to lessen the strain on the rest of them. We can pick up a little extra without overexerting ourselves.”

Alicia simply nodded before stepping onto the boat as it lowered for them to get on. “Then my initial strategy should perform well enough.” she replied before starting to prepare the ropes to descend their boat. Once everyone was on board the small boat would lower into the ocean beside the Lady Luck, the ropes disconnecting to allow them to depart towards Belfield. Alicia during the journey would seem uncharacteristically quiet, at least within the presence of those who were in the boat.

Ordinarily Alicia might have struck up a conversation to ease nerves or perhaps jab at Seliria in a way that would knowingly irritate the older woman with a modicum of jest. She remained silent however, her eyes resting at the distant shore. Fortunately the boat itself wouldn’t require any of them to row thanks to the small engine installed purchased from the Cape and more than likely tuned up by Luro. It’d allow them to engage towards their objective without anyone being fatigued even if any of them could easily handle it.

A deep breath exhaled from Alicia as she stuck on the words Seliria had said only minutes ago. Not everyone would be making it back and not everyone could perform feats of power and strength. Some of them back on board the fleet were simply normal pirates, sailors and people who were staking their lives on a victory that would see their friends brought home again. She couldn’t help but wonder if Haido was watching, the Feian soldier whose life she’d paid carelessly in the assault on Kane’Artem.

Was she perhaps making the mistake again? Or at least participating in the same mistake. Would this plan result in another loss of a friend and with it another face to haunt her quiet nights. When looking at such a situation it became harder to pretend there wasn’t sense in Irukia’s goal to eradicate war, but those were thoughts to contemplate for another time. For now she couldn’t afford to lose focus and become complacent.

“Take a deep breath.”
Seliria had remained silent through hopping on the boat and even their departure.
The woman felt little need to make any comment, though her eyes did linger on the small engine, she knew the redhead’s work well by now, and she recalled Caleb discussing the concept with her, a part of her wondered if this came from his interactions with Luro, or this contraption came from one of their weird ‘inventor’ talks they had.
She only spoke once they were fully on the ship and on their way.
“We have a few minutes and I know you haven’t had a moment to meditate. Even if you don’t feel like you need to, breaking habits you’re used to doing, especially in stressful times can throw you off in weird way.”

Seliria glanced at her.
“Not saying you have too but every little bit helps. I have an eye out so take the time for yourself, even if if it’s just closing your eyes, taking a deep breath and coming back. Never liked that tradition stuff myself but when you have a pattern breaking it stands out to you more than you’d think. That and you’re…’off’. Perhaps because I’ve seen your faces as a brat or you take too much after your Mother but it’s more obvious than it should be.”
Seliria focused her eyes forward again to keep a proper eye out.
“Hmmm…I suppose I could tell a small story seeing as I never even explained I was a swordswoman.”
Seliria dug into her pocket and pulled out a small stuffed animal, it was a tiny little fox, clearly handmade, the stitching was awful, and it was clear who made this wasn’t good with their hands.

“When Sakura settled down to raise her family I paid her one last visit before vanishing out of her life. I was still a part of the ‘underground’ and I didn’t want my sins to chase her and ruin her ‘peaceful’ new life.”
The woman waved her hands at ‘peaceful’ leaving what she meant to the wind before continuing.”
“Years passed and I found more important things then revenge in my life…and I made a few stuffed animals for her children…I wanted to send them to her. Both as a gift for the snot nosed munchkins and to show her that I could do more with my hands than kill…something I felt I could only do back then. Ultimately I never sent it to her. Made up some random excuse. Organization might find her, they were too shoddy, nonsense. Well they are shoddy but yeah.”
Seliria stared at the fox before slipping it back into her pocket.
“By time I found the courage she was gone, in the shock I put them aside. By time I pulled them out again you were too old to get stuffed animals as gifts. Part of the reason that fox in the forest bothered me was I almost thought it was Sakura being cheeky as the fox was your gift.”
Seliria’s eyelids lowered a little and an almost shaky sigh escaped from her but the woman seemed to regain herself relatively quickly.
“It’s changing the subject for a moment…but I’m curious. How do you feel about ‘saving piracy’ Alicia. You can be honest, I’m more assassin than pirate myself.”

Alicia tore her eyes from the distant shores as Seliria spoke, her eyebrows raising slightly at the older woman's intuition before she managed a small smile bordering on amusement mixed with genuine appreciation. “Tradition has nothing to do with it, neither Satia nor Irukia use it. Hanako tries but I think that’s more because she aspires to be like me.” she gave a small soft chuckle at that. “Much as I’d like her to forge her own path… “ she added before taking a seat towards the bow.

“Though I suppose there’s no use hiding it, of course I’m anxious about tomorrow and instead of lamenting on what I can’t control I’ve sought instead to pour my attention into all the details I can.” she lightly shrugged. “I’ve been bestowed authority over the largest fleet of pirate and allied ships in history and while I appreciate the honor… I’m no admiral, far from it.” she closed her eyes for a moment to take a deep breath as Seliria suggested. “But whining about the situation isn’t going to make it go away… so I better get it done and make sure our pieces are played correctly when the time comes.”

After a short pause her attention returned to the older woman when she mentioned a story, her interest peaking as she revealed the small stuffed animal. As the short tale continued Alicia could only offer a small smile, one that was sympathetic for a moment before it was replaced quickly to avoid provoking feelings of regret from Seliria for sharing it. “And you still keep it with you… “ she commented. “I know I’ve said it before, but she must have meant a lot to you, at least I get the impression she did anyway. I could see it the moment you held Shusui back when you trained me on that remote island and I see it sometimes when you speak about her.”

It could be easy to forget that Alicia had a knack for details, not only in noticing but also remembering. Perhaps it was attributed to her Observation Haki but unless you were stone it was a difficult task to evade her eye for detail in every situation. Throughout knowing Seliria over the years Alicia hadn’t been blind to the fleeting twitches that make up the older woman's smile, or expression for melancholy. “For what it’s worth, I know that she loved you.” such a comment might have been a surprise as Alicia let her eyes lay upon the ocean surface.

“I didn’t realize it at first but some years ago I thought back to whether she ever mentioned or spoke about you to us when we were growing up and I couldn’t remember anything. Satia couldn’t either, though she would have been too young at the time anyway. But it bothered me to think why she wouldn’t have told us about you, but then I remembered something.”

“Mother used to read us stories under the blossom trees during the Spring and sometimes she’d tell us stories about a brave young girl overcoming the evils in the world, be them villains or otherwise. I thought she was making up a hero using her imagination but it was actually your name she gave to the girl in those stories.” Alicia smiled as she watched the waves pass by the small boat. “You meant a lot to her, I’m sure of it.”

Alicia let the conversation end there, deciding to leave that information with the older woman for better or worse. Maybe it would give her some closure or maybe invite some warmth back in the form of memories she might have had from those days. Alicia could only guess at what Seliria was feeling, keeping her gaze averted out of respect so that the older swordswoman could process whatever she felt privately. Though once Seliria mentioned saving piracy she finally looked back towards her.

“I’m not here to save piracy, though I know it means something to Ru and the others which is more than enough reason for me to fight.” she took a moment to consider her response before continuing. “The world government is a threat that the world of piracy keeps in check, preventing them from achieving total dominance. They espouse justice but ignore the corruption rotting the foundation from within, left alone and unchallenged they would inflict that corruption onto others and many would suffer for it.”

Alicia exhaled a sigh. “So I’m not here to save piracy, I’m here because I believe myself to be on the right side for what benefits the greater good of the world.” she looked towards Seliria as she continued. “If I thought for one moment that piracy could be that threat, I’d be on the shoreline of Belfield right now waiting to burn and reduce our fleet to embers.” there was something in Alicia’s as she spoke, a brief passing flicker of intensity that would pass as quickly as it came.

“But there is no evidence to say that piracy is such a threat and every evidence to suggest the world government is. I also happen to believe that when Ru ascends the throne to Pirate Empress she’ll see to it that balance is maintained and would certainly prevent the navy from having their way… not only this, Ru would never harm innocent people unprovoked. So I’m confident this is the right path.”

There was a moment of contentedness on the woman’s face when Alicia took a small breath but it faded as quickly as it came. She had kept her back to Alicia as she listened to what she had to share. Seliria had refrained from commenting on her feeling towards Sakura but it was clear she was listening to her. She never expected Sakura to speak of her to anyone. She had begun a new life, there was no reason to cling to the vestiges of before.
While she didn’t show it on her face, her body shifted slightly as there was a bit of surprise hearing Sakura had spoken of her.

Being around Caleb she had learned how to hide her feelings from Observation, and her previous work allowed her to create a stoicism that very few could see through, a way to kill emotions as she had done moments ago, it was the reason the woman was hard to read.
Thus it went without saying the older woman took notice when someone could see what she truly felt, there were exceptions such as when someone got to know her, and it was clear Alicia had gotten to know her, at least about Sakura. Those words hit harder than even she expected. Perhaps that was why she chose not to be blatant about her feelings, or perhaps she held them in for another reason, perhaps she wasn’t sure how to process what feelings had arisen. Whatever the reason this lead the woman to only give one simple response.
“I see.”

She seemed to find her normal ‘self’ relatively quickly and crossed her arms under her chest as Alicia gave her answer at the notion of ‘saving’ piracy. She gave Alicia her full attention offering a nod here and there but remaining silent. At the end of it all the woman shut her eyes offering a shrug.
“Yeah that sounds about right,” she said before opening them looking back at Alicia. “ I’m in the same boat minus all that extra nonsense. People I can tolerate like it so I’m helping. I have no attachment to piracy.”

The older woman turned her gaze to the sea, her eyelids lowering slightly as she peered past their destination, into a distance unknown to many.
“There will be other ‘Pirates’, other ‘World Governments’. There was greatness before Sakura and there will be afterwards, same with me, you and everyone else. There will be another ‘Nova’, another ‘Stardusk’, another ‘Irukia’, another ‘Odyn’, another Worst Gen…you get it.”
The woman gave a small shake of her head.
“Perhaps that’s why I have no interest in doing things for the world. I know it’s just going to screw itself up later. You get old enough you see the signs.”

Seliria glanced at Alicia.
“Not to say what you’re doing is bad mind. That ‘good’ will help when that ‘bad’ returns later. Tales of heroism breed more heroes, just as tales of villainy does and vice versa. One day in the future a young swordswoman will hear what Alicia Tashigi has done and it will give her direction. There’s already an example today after all.”
Hanako was tolerable in small doses, Seliria had made peace with that. Though her eyes focused back in the direction of their goal as she continued.
“In the end we all make our choices. Just as you have, and everyone on that ship has.”
The cook’s eyes narrowed for a small moment.
“You don’t have to be an Admiral, you’re Alicia, that’s good enough. No matter how this ends be proud of your choice, you could have walked away and no one would blame you but you’re here. That says more than you know. Even if it was expected you’d step up. Good to see you with less of a stick up there though about the little things.”
Seliria offered a small, incredibly small smile to the Alicia before it faded as quick as it came as she turned towards Alicia, leaning forward and folding her hands together as her eyes met the bottom of their boat..
“Everyone can get so focused on results they forget why they’re doing something in the first place.”
Seliria spoke this part more quietly but showed no attempt at hiding the words. However bringing a hand to her face a heavy sigh escaped from her as her shoulders drooped.
“...why the hell am I telling you this? You’re a grown woman you can make your own damn choices and unlike some of those out there, you have a somewhat decent head on your shoulders. Every time I look at your face I can’t hold back. The hell is wrong with me.”
Seliria waved the whole thing away.
“Ignore my prattling if you wish, we’ll be close soon. Conceal your presence a bit more so it’s harder for Observation to pick up on us. Sergei should be doing his thing soon. I can take care of the boat on the left, and we can regroup on far right one, how’s that sound?”

Alicia started with a frown before it faded into a small smile as Seliria mentioned about how the world would simply remain in it’s cycle of war and peace with it’s ever changing cast members to fill the roles within the unfolding stories. “It’s not necessarily about changing the world permanently, it’s about making a difference. If I have the power to save lives even if it’s just one, wouldn’t it be selfish for me to sit back and do nothing?” her question was rhetorical.

“Just like the here and now… we’re about to kill everyone between us and those ships so that others might live and see a tomorrow. If there was not some truth in using our gifts to try and make this world better, then we might as well let them all live and let fate figure it out on it’s own.” she gave a light shrug not really expecting an answer to what she was saying. “But you’re not wrong either, I expect there will be more problems and more foolish white haired girls with swords long after I’m nothing more than dust. But if I can do at least some good in my short time here, then I can leave this life happy in the knowledge that I did my part.”

When the old cook spoke of her walking away and being less uptight on the finer details it became her turn to give a half lidded expression. “... Thanks.” she replied in a tone to match the expression which then shifted slightly to one of slight amusement. “Likewise it’s been nice to see you be less of a… “ Alicia’s gaze drifted off when she realized she hadn’t a word to fill the space for where a swear would normally be appropriate. “... Butt.” she finished after a moment.

“And the reason you’re telling me this is because you care, probably… or maybe I’m just enough like her that I bring back fond memories you thought had been buried deep in the past and a part of you misses her.” she once again gave a light shrug before standing up. “Either way I’m grateful, I’d never have come this far without you.” Alicia didn’t know it but those words had been spoken before.

Somehow she knew what the swordswoman was going to say yet still asked the question.
It wasn’t an exact mirror, there was differences but she wondered why she always ended up with the goody-goody’s all the time. That being said she didn’t exactly hate it, at least she was honest with herself, that was easier to deal with then the opposite most times.
It was a very Alicia thing to say, and that wasn’t a bad thing considering they were in the thick of it. That kind of response was all the confirmation she needed, she could fight comfortably now.
“Well whatever peace ya gotta make,” Selira said adjusting her bracelet. “To the very end huh… still it’s a strange comfort hearing you actually say it. Perhaps I needed to hear it. Proof I needed for myself.”

The woman offered a casual shrug at her thanks, she almost made a comment until she caught Alicia’s comment. The woman’s eyes moved over to her but as she continued she ended up not following up. She decided just to let it go, she got a shot off, if Alicia had enough of a sense of humor to return fire that was progress, she could let one go.
She almost spoke on the Alicia’s needless sentiment but her mouth sealed shut at her words.

Many years ago.

A young Sakura coughed into her hand, her clothes torn and charred as she sat upon the trunk of a fallen tree. The area around them as far as the eye could see had been devastated by a fierce and intense battle. She looked up as Seliria approached before a bright grin stretched across her lightly bruised and dirtied face. “I was starting to worry about where you were, though I should have known it’d take far more than Jhakia and his idiots to take ‘you’ down.” she brought Shusui into her lap and released a deep breath. “Either way I’m glad you’re with me, I’d never have come this far without you.”

A youthful Seliria wiped a bit of blood from her mouth with her thumb, she had rushed back here but one look around revealed the woman with the annoying grin was fine. She sighed sheathing Shadis, her body relaxing now that she was near her.
“That’s what I wanna say, figured there’d be something left for me.”
Why did she even worry in the first place?
Seliria was in no better shape than Sakura, her outfit was just barely presentable by societal standards and she hadn’t even wiped the blood off her yet.
“Well it was easier since their reinforcements never made it,” she said looking around. “The look on his face was priceless.”
Stopping in front of Sakura she blinked at her companion’s words, a tinge of red touched her cheeks and with a narrowed gaze a tired sigh escaped from her.
“Annoying softie…I’m just repaying the favor,” she said holding her hand out towards her. “Come on let’s get going.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~​

Alicia turned her gaze towards the horizon as she considered Seliria’s idea for how they should proceed. She furrowed her brow in thought before nodding as she turned back towards the older woman. “Sounds like a solid plan.” she replied with a nod before placing her hands on her hips. “I’ll try to go a little slower so you can keep up.” she tilted her head slightly with a small grin, of course knowing Seliria would have no issue keeping up even if she weren’t still faster than Alicia herself. Before hearing what would likely be a grumpy retort she brought her hands up in front of her, starting to twist and shape the air in front of the boat to make it more thick and dense. Within a short few minutes she crafted a thick fog, pressing her palms forward as if to push it ahead of them to blanket their approach. It’d only take a few minutes more to consume the streets and spaces between buildings, limiting visibility enough that they would have some leniency on natural lines of sight.

Seliria stared at Alicia for a long moment, her mouth twitched as her hand almost reached out towards her, but she forced it back to her side and clenched her fists.
Words lingered on her tongue, words a younger more bashful her were unable to say, honesty she couldn’t say in that moment of relif.
“I’m glad you’re here too…it’s kinda nice fighting to protect something.”
The woman closed her eyes forcing those words down, those words weren’t for Alicia, the one who that belonged to was no longer with them.
She was so caught in her thoughts she barely realized the comment towards her as she opened her eyes again.
“I’ll put tea on so you have something to look forward too when you finally get there,” Seliria said grabbing the mask off her side. “Also it’s fine…I’m just-”
Seliria cut herself off staring at the mask before glancing back at Alicia.
“Seeing where you end up in your mother’s stead…that way I can rub it in her face when we meet again that I got a front row seat.”
The woman nodded before her visage faded, her presence going with it.

Alicia smiled and shook her head a little as the woman faded away. “Show off.” she commented before the air around her drew inward for a moment as she too seemingly vanished in an instant.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~​

Day 3 - Early Dawn

After their mission had gone successfully a short rest led to the next and final part of the imminent conflict to come. Alicia was already on the deck of the Navy ship waiting to commence the next part of Ru’s plan. “I can’t believe you still got here before me… “ she sighed with a small smile while leaning against a crate with her arms folded in front of her. She was about to ask how Seliria did it when suddenly an alarm started from the shores of Belfield causing the swordswoman to flinch before stepping forward towards the ship's guard rail.

“What?! That’s not… “ she immediately turned and strode to retrieve a small portable radio synched with the one back on Lady Luck. “Saffron, it's Alicia, something is wrong and there’s no time to investigate. Begin moving the fleet into position at once and have all ships make space between them, the airship is still active.”

“Target all navy vessels as priority and proceed to cover the landing fleet as planned.” she didn’t await a response as she turned towards Seliria. “We need to get ashore, maybe the two of us can cripple the shoreline defenses to make it easier on the landing fleet. From there we can make our way towards the tower staging area.”

The older woman offered a rare chuckle holding out the steaming cup of tea towards Alicia.
“It’s not fancy as I had to use what I had on me and the gems but I kept my word.”
The alarm however almost made her drop the cup as her eyes immediately moved towards Belfield, clicking her tongue she downed the cup herself the remains disintegrating by a burst of flames in her hand.

Seliria dug into her pocket and put a small crystal in her ear as Alicia went to talk to Saffron, she put a hand to her ear.
“Isa give me a report, quickly.”
By time Alicia came back over to her she was putting the crystal back into her pocket looking back at Alicia.
“Works for me, Ria and Jack are attacking one part of the docks already to help with the approach, but only one before moving inward themselves. Luro, Zilia along with a few others are already engaging the ships and a group went to intercept the airship. Between the two of us it shouldn’t take too long.”
The swordswoman glared in the direction of Belfield.
“They don’t know we’re the enemy yet so the surprise should create some additional disorder, just attack quick they’ll question why we’re not attacking the pirates.”

Alicia furrowed her brow. “Then let us be about it.” she replied as she moved towards the helm to bring the ship around on a new trajectory. Much to her frustration she couldn’t fly towards Belfield without being a big obvious target for the airship, putting herself at risk as well as the position of the fleet. True though it might be that Alicia had grown to become a powerful individual, even she wasn’t confident she could survive a direct hit from their super weapon.

Once the ship was on course towards the docks she locked the wheel before making her way down towards the older woman. “I’ve put the ship on a direct collision with the harbor, the debris should prevent any later ships preparing to sail for the fleet.” she looked towards the shoreline, her observation haki allowing her to note the activity in the distance. “I have an idea.” she spoke before taking a few steps away from the older woman, turning towards her after a moment.

“I’d planned on saving this for when I convince you to fight me, but this is more important. Seliria… “ as she spoke Alicia ascended her right arm only, her limb manifesting to become one part of her full form. “... I want you to direct a powerful attack towards me, as strong as you can make it and as strong as you think I can handle directly.” Alicia’s brow deepened to convey her seriousness. “Trust me.”

Seliria double checked the gems on her bracelet and opened and shut her hand, she had closed her eyes taking a small moment to shift her priorities by time Alicia had returned.
Offering a nod she eyed the shore considering the best course of action to erase most of the presence there, just as the inkling to draw her blade revealed itself Alicia spoke up with her plan.
“Good. That will definitely delay them. Don’t know who you lot know but they’re doing a number on the ships that already set out.”

She wasn’t entirely pleased with her idea the woman’s eyes narrowing at the mere suggestion, any vocal opinion on the matter however silenced itself as she met Alicia’s gaze. She closed her eyes releasing a heavy sigh. It was impossible to talk Sakura out of something when she got a look like that, perhaps old habits made her relent. At the very least she could adjust her power to something she could handle, which was more than most could.
“I’m trusting you, I’m going to be irritated if I have to wake you up after this though,” the woman said.
Drawing her sword wasn’t an option, Sakura would return from beyond if she attacked with this intent holding her blade, instead Seliria lowered her body slightly, spreading her feet slightly apart.
Holding one hand out she brought the other to her side, her fingers slowly curling into a fist.
“Was going to reveal this when I felt you were a little more ready…but you’re right, more important things. May as well see how you handle a chunk of it.”

Dormant power erupted from the woman, carefully concealed under multiple layers.
The crackling of energy filled the air as sparks floated around the woman as if a storm itself was trying to erupt out of her being, controlled by an unseen hand.
Chunks of wood disintegrated at the very manifestation of the power but it was clear Seliria was still containing a good part of it, keeping it from destroying their makeshift ram.
The edges of her violet hair turned light blue and the energy coalesced around her fist into a cerulean glow.
In one clean motion she brought her fist towards Alicia expelling the power all at once.

Alicia gave a nod in response, choosing to focus herself instead of replying to sate the curiosity nibbling at the back of her mind. Focused breathing between her lips began as she inhaled and exhaled fully, extending and flexing her fingertips as she kept her eyes on Seliria’s building power. It was already incredible and had she not been focusing she might have allowed herself to show how impressed she was at the volume she could already feel permeating the air itself.

The moment the power expelled forth Alicia threw her palm forward, extending her ascended arm in front of her as she pointed her index and middle finger towards the imminent torrent of power. “Khi!”

A hollow thrum resounded as Seliria’s power began to pull inward into Alicia’s arm, collapsing and reducing, causing the thin black lines between the white armored skin to erupt with a vicious purple aura as if venting needless excess energy. The space around them became bathed in a dull purple light, the stored power continuing to thrash the elements around them as the wind howled and the ocean clawed against the side of the ship.

Long ago Seliria had told her using this ability wasn’t possible with the power of destruction, though made mention that perhaps she might find a way. Determined as ever, Alicia had pushed herself both in body and mind to break through the ceiling and find a way to bring the two together. The process had been arduous and she’d had to ask a few of her friends to cast their own attacks at her again and again while she practiced. Of course not everyone was pleased about that.

With a steady exhale Alicia swept her back foot to the side, turning to position herself as her palm opened towards the harbor causing a ring of patterned light to manifest in front of her. Maintaining her focus she doubled Seliria’s previous output just as she’d been taught and proceeded to temper it with her own power of destruction to increase its lethality even further beyond its limit. The aura became increasingly violent in it’s color the more the power was fed, increasing steadily by each passing moment. Then she snapped her fingers together.

Silence reigned for a short moment as blinding light consumed the entire ship, heat pouring out across the deck of the navy ship before a violent thunderous roar followed in the wake of the expelled light. The beam struck the harbor, a hollow quake booming as an explosive ball of the same light plumed outwards from where it’d struck. Those caught in the immediate explosion were reduced to ash with those outside of the kill area sustaining injuries from severe burns to permanent blindness.

When the attack ended an entire side of the harbor had been entirely obliterated, charred earth and sand turned to glass with fires spreading across the neighboring buildings which fell far enough outside where the attack had landed. One of the docked ships was ablaze and starting to slowly sink into the water while survivors rushed to gather wounded or flee the area entirely. The attack was a complete devastation, though little to nothing remained of the defenses there and now they had a space to begin pushing into Belfield.

Seliria’s hair returned to its original violet as the energy seeped back within her, drawn back into its cage as she watched the devastation that followed. Surprise was a rare thing to cross the swordwoman’s face and this was no exception, but the arched brows was more than enough sign that she hadn’t expected what had just followed and was clearly taking it in.
She expected Alicia would break the boundary, but to see it happen not only in just a few years but at this level was a whole other matter.
The destruction brought her back to when her and Sakura’s powers would clash on the battlefield, the sheer devastation during their sparring sessions, and the reason they never did so near people.
To see it coalesce and be thrown out from one person in such a display brought a strange warmth to her, one that made her clench her chest, she knew what it was abut wasn’t about to openly say it, Alicia didn’t want it anyway so it’d just make it awkward for both of them.

She forced down the emotion that almost came out knowing now wasn’t the time for that. The way was clear for those approaching, and they clearly saw that explosion she could already see the ships changing direction. Her eyes glanced over at Alicia, the navy was going to have a closer eye on her one day once they bore witness to what she could do. An unbridled force not under their control didn’t go unnoticed for too long, especially a great one.
She wouldn’t be surprised if her bounty jumped up a few notches from this excursion alone.

Seliria covered her mouth turning her head to hide the smile on it, though the small laugh that escaped from her betrayed her in the end. The woman lowered her hand, a smirk forming on her lips as she stared at the devastation.
“I figured you’d get there but just in a few years…I knew I wasn’t wrong but that definitely confirms it.”
Her lips returned to a straight line as she adjusted her gloves returning back to her usual self, not before ruffling Alicia’s hair as she passed her.
“Pretty good, I’ll personally make some tea for you after this for that nice show. So let’s hurry and save our Captains.”

Alicia exhaled smoke from between her lips as the last remnants of Seliria’s power faded. As it did her arm descended to return to its previous human form. “Confirms what?” she asked, her eyes moving from the destruction for a moment before a hand ruffled her hair causing her to release a slightly irritated ’Ugh’ sound. It seemed enough to distract the younger swordswoman from her previous question as she nodded and followed after Seliria.

“Tea sounds lovely, but yeah let’s get everyone home first.” she spoke while heading towards the bow of the ship which closed in towards the ruined dock. The ship collided with the debris, wood creaking and snapping as the vessel beached itself in place allowing the two of them to easily begin making their way. Alicia sprang from the ship to the floor, casting a glance around to check for imminent dangers before turning towards Seliria.

“I think we’ve made a comfortable welcome mat for the landing fleet so let’s push on towards the tower and meet with the others along the way.” After she finished speaking a symphony of explosions clapped as the main assault fleet began focusing their fire against what remained of the shoreline defenses causing the ground to tremble under their feet. She nodded towards Seliria before she began towards the tower in the distance. Between the two of them they should be able to cut a sizable swathe through the enemy for the rest to follow.

“A hunch.”
That was all the swordswoman said in response though there was a strange satisfaction to Alicia’s response to her ruffling, though the small smile left her face as she thought of what she had told her a few days ago.
A day would come when Alicia would surpass the both of them, that proved it.
At first she thought it was merely because Sakura had chosen a more peaceful life, and her disease had ravaged her body enough to weaken her far from her prime. Over time however she had a feeling she may have surpassed them even if both had put a few more years in.

She had watched her and Satia’s progress for years, perhaps because Alicia went out into the world first she had grown so much, strong fights built stronger people.
It wasn’t something she was upset about, the next generation having potential was a beautiful thing. Power however attracted all sorts, she and Sakura knew that all too well, it was part of the reason she wanted Alicia to have more tools at her disposal, she remembered some of their battles, how close they were, she had little to lose and Sakura was…well Sakura. She didn’t want the Tashigi’s losing anyone else precious.
She forced those thoughts aside however as there was much to focus on.
“Agreed, one thing we both agreed on is tea always taste better with others.”

Hopping off the ship Seliria rotated one of her shoulders before digging into her pocket.
“Sounds like a plan, feel free to break off if you need to offer support elsewhere. Part of my job is carving a path forward after all.”
Pulling out a silver hairband she tied her hair back into a low ponytail and exhaled, adjusting her bracelet she looked at Alicia before following alongside her.
 
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Capt. Blu

Fake it til You Make it
Original poster
FOLKLORE MEMBER
Invitation Status
Posting Speed
  1. 1-3 posts per week
  2. One post per week
Writing Levels
  1. Adept
  2. Advanced
  3. Adaptable
Preferred Character Gender
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Genres
Fantasy, Adventure, Scifi, Anime, Steampunk, Heroes and Villains
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Time: A Busy Morning
Location: Above, In, Around - Belfield


Team Shore: Majority of the Pirates - Luro, Zil, WG… etc etc

“Love to go on record now to remind everyone that this was a dumb fucking plan.” Rin grumbled some other expletives, despite his casual walk towards the edge of Lady Luck. “Stella.” He called out as he grabbed onto a rope.

“On it, love!” The sniper of the Red pirates swung from a different rope onto the ship on Lady Luck’s left, while he was pulled upward and onto the Red’s ship. Both manned their respective wheels and turned the ships so the cannons faced their swiftly approaching enemies. Stella let out a maniacal laugh as she motioned for pirates to get into position.


“Don’t suppose they’d like to have a chat?” Saffron muttered as she peered down a spyglass. Her foot was against the side of the ship and she tossed the glass into her backpack next to her. A quick call from Alicia and Seliria furthered her suspicions. “We’ve gotta act fast! Ships are already headed this way but there’s more of ‘em coming to barricade the docks! Our window is getting shorter!” Though, they didn’t really need her orders. She watched Luro pave a way through the ships with sudden reinforcements following the way. She didn’t have time to question who was who and where they came from, she just nodded at the fact that Runali was right. Reinforcements had come.

As a stray cannon came flying towards them, with a swift kick she sent it backwards, landing next to Oz with a confused thud. “Aren’t you s’posed to be on that airship?!”

“Change of plans.” Oz didn’t spare her a glance as she set up what looked like a toy cannon on the railing. Her gaze was calculating as she spotted where allies were vs where the most danger was coming in from. When she was satisfied, she began to turn a key on top of the toy, cranking it up, and it began to quietly tick. “Caleb’s team went ahead and the crazy wind woman took my place.” She looked around at all the damage being done. “Luro may not need help getting to shore, but we still need to keep our ships intact.” The ticking became faster and Oz held onto the railing, yelling out for people on the ship to hold on (and quickly adjusting Saffron’s goggles back on her eyes so the first mate wasn’t blindsided).

The resulting ‘boom’ that followed was far too powerful to come out of such a small ‘toy’, but upon impact a line of ships exploded, causing the water to part and capsize a few of the smaller boats coming towards them. The impact itself caused Lady Luck to tilt dangerously, but Kadi managed to keep from tipping over. “I really oughta make these more long lastin’...” The ‘toy’ sizzled burnt to a crisp from its own power and Oz clicked her tongue. “Oi, Saff. Throw this.” Without hesitation, with a haki encased arm, Saff tossed the device over one of the larger man of wars coming towards them. Oz pulled out her rifle, took the shot, and watched the device explode in a confetti of shrapnel and fire.

More and more space was becoming clear for the ships to dock.

With everything seemingly under control (a loose statement at best), the leading forces -Stardusk and the ‘heads’ of the Worst Gen- found themselves on shore. Cutting through the growing forces didn’t prove to be difficult, especially with the resounding cries of,

“Pirates are at the east and west wings of the dock!”
“They’re surrounding us!”

---

(Adding) Team Stealth: Jack and Ria → Second Ring

Chaos was an understatement in the second ring. Citizens scattered, screaming and panicking away from the docks when they realized seeking escape was impossible. Navy ensigns directed citizens into their homes, though the more wealthy patrons were rushed towards the 3rd ring and Belfield’s heavily protected fortress.

But nothing was ever truly easy. Upon Luro and Zilia’s path into the second ring, an uproar of thunder shook the ground, throwing the two off balance and sending them backwards. “M’getting far too old for this portal nonsense, Kino.” The voice was detached from its owner until an oval-esque light appeared a few feet away from the Stardusk team. A foot breached and touched the ground, creating a tremor of an earthquake. Out stepped a large, foreboding man, whose face was etched with a permanent tired glare. Opposite of him was a woman drastically smaller and with an unreadable blank expression. Both wore navy uniforms but could be identified as hire ups: one a rear admiral and the other a captain. And with a closer look, one of the two Stardusk would (or could if he remembered) realize that this was a very… reminiscent situation to Kane’Artem where these same two prevented Stardusk from getting to their captain.

“Donovan, sir?” Kino stood with her hands behind her back, eyeing the two Stardusk with little interest.

“You heard the orders, Ira said kill them.” The rear admiral said gruffly before straightening up. “But if you want, by all means just capture them. Don’t need that much blood in the streets.”

“Yes sir.” Kino responded before taking a step back and disappearing into another portal.

-------

Not too far away Jack and Ria blended into the chaos first towards the docks. As they traveled towards the chaos, towards the tower, the two would start to notice similar buildings… similar streets and soon enough similar paths taken. They were somehow going in circles. And before they could fully figure out how and why, as they faced a dead end it quickly closed on the opposite side, encasing the two in a rocky prison.

“Now no hard feelin’s or anything…” Said a man on top of the prison. “I’m not really one for side pickin’, mostly where the money’s good.” The two would see a bounty hunter, familiar to Jack, perched looking down at the two with a casual expression. “Nice t’see you again, Kunal. Miss.” He tipped the cowboy hat he was wearing before stretching to a full stand. With a wave of his hand, the scenery changed. Ria and Jack were separated in the midst of a high stone wall maze and Donny, the bounty hunter that appeared, blew smoke from a cigar.

He was still in the same spot, looking at Jack. “No worries about your lady friend, I’m not here for blood or anything.” He flicked remnants of the cigar down into the maze, simultaneously causing the maze to completely box-in (minus the one sky light above Jack). “Grant it, I was paid a lot to bring in blood. But I find it easier to just keep you here till the chaos is over. Save the navy some handfuls of trouble.” He shrugged. “‘Sides, you and your lady friend would be as good as dead trying to go into a heavily armed tower. They want your head on a pike, didn’t you know? Better to save your own hide than risk it for one person.”

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Team ‘Navy’: Alicia, Seliria, Sergei → Heading into the 2nd ring

The moment they all touched down to shore, Sergei watched as Alicia and Seliria created destruction he wouldn’t dream of. Mostly because it wasn’t his style, another part because he was more of a… support. Fighting was more of a ‘if necessary’ thing. Much to the luck of… no one really, it was necessary. Silently, he slipped past the two as an oncoming hoard of navy approached.

“All of our jobs are to get the captains and leave, Miss… Steam Princess, is it?” Sergei was on top of a large chunk of debris, dusting himself off while sporting a new naval hat. It gave off the presence that he was about to perform on stage. “No need to slow down where it’s not needed.” With a quick tap to his ears towards the two women, he clapped his hands, to get the navy’s attention. “People, people, this is unbecoming!” Unlike before, there was a change of voice. Sergei once more became that ‘announcer’ as his voice reverberated across the space. “You’d go so far to die by these ladies’ hands? Nonsense! Make way and salute the pirates that’ve bested you!” One by one, confused pirates began to step back and to the sides, clearing a path for the two. “Very good. Weapons down and…” He pointed to one. “Radio your commanding officer that this area is all clear.” As they all followed suit like puppets, Sergei sighed and hopped down. “Not really the captains’ kind of crowd… Probably know little about the arts. Anyway, the floor is yours ladies. I’ll… keep these ones at bay.” There was the slightest bit of regret leaving the safety of the stronger fighters, but it was neither here nor there. It just meant he’d have to exercise his fighting prowess and not all of the performance prep he was so used to. “Please hurry.” He said with a modest bow.

-----

As Seliria and Alicia carried on into the town, each step was met with an ear piercing ringing, sharp enough to stop them both in their place. “Stop, stop, stop! You’re ruining my home!” A woman bounded forward, in a ruffled naval dress. She was probably around their age, but her voice had the cadence of a child with a tantrum. And her tantrum was very real. With each noise she made, a shrill and piercing sound would follow and focus directly on them. “Pirates! They ruin everything! I expect it from a Nova,” The title was laced in disgust but equally amplified into a shockwave that was directed at Seliria. “But I’d expect more from Yula Fei!” A similar effect hit Alicia. “Aren’t you all supposed to be sooo refined? And have decency? Pfft! The moment you all decided to let that Sterling hang out there you became criminals just like the rest of them!” Her hands clasped together and invisible bullet shockwaves flew towards them. “And just because your home is filthy now you’re trying to ruin mine!”

Time was ticking and this woman, as pristine looking as she did, had no intentions of moving.

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Team Airship: Mia, Caleb, Cecilia, Ade

With the chaos and panic, most of the naval force on the ship was below deck. However that didn’t stop the ones that were from immediately firing at the pirates that had just landed on the ship. Others rushed for the doors to barricade themselves inside. From the schematics of the Nova airship, one more refined and well used than the one the navy had taken, a large cannon would more than likely be at the bottom level. Which would explain why the bottom of the ship was rife with random bolts of excess energy causing storms. This particular ship was hollowed to three levels, including the deck, so there was ample space for the cannon and the research below.

Alarms on the ship sounded to alert the crew that there were intruders on board, but much of the focus went towards getting the airship turned around completely. The benefit of such a large and volatile cannon was that they didn’t need to be precise with their aim, they just needed to be close. With their time quickly ticking away, it was only a matter of time before they were left with the few minutes it took to charge the cannon.

Information on the captains has been severed.
Status Unknown.

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Winter

Queen of cold.
FOLKLORE MEMBER
Invitation Status
Posting Speed
  1. Multiple posts per day
  2. 1-3 posts per day
  3. One post per day
Online Availability
I check in pretty much all times of the day, either from my phone or from my home computer. So it's likely I'll see messages shortly after I've received them.
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Genres
Sci Fi, Fantasy, Fandom, Anime, Sometimes Horror. Survival, Romance, Furry, Magical.



Day 3 - One hour after the start of the assault.

Upon the horizon shapes began to take form, multiple columns of smoke trailing high into the air. The fourth and fifth Feian fleets had arrived, manifesting from dark clouds brought on by the conditions of the storm. Forty two ships to be exact and each outfitted and improved upon thanks to increased exchange and trade with the Brass Cape. They filled into the horizon as they made their way towards the pirate fleet, the Kaiju and Kyojin standing out like floating towns among the field of warships that surrounded them.

Slender guns mounted on turrets pointed threateningly ahead of them and unlike galleon ships they appeared to have some kind of super structure built upon their decks. A mixture of wood and metal these were the new generation of warship constructed specifically to fight against the Navy. Of course Yula Fei hadn't planned on fighting the navy before recieving the news about Belfield, their original creation having been more of a defence plan rather than a readiness to engage in war. Fortuitous that they should have them for this day when the fate of the oceans hung in the balance.

Ten Serpent Class destroyers sailed at the front and sides of the fleet, each sporting two smoke stacks each and three turret mounts with one gun per mount. They were the smallest and fastest ships, designed to out manoeuvre and out pace larger warships. Of course being fast meant they were the weakest in terms of armour.

Making up the majority of the fleet were twenty Basilisk Class cruisers, larger and longer than destroyers they also possessed two smoke stacks but unlike destroyers had three turrets with two guns per mount. They were fairly fast but not quite so manoeuvrable as their smaller cousins due to their increased armour.

Behind the cruisers were ten Hydra Class battleships, large bulky warships with four turrets each sporting three guns per mount. They had only one large smoke stack and were entirely designed for sustained and prolonged battle while providing harder hitting firepower against enemy ships and land targets.

In the middle of all these ships were the two Dragon Class capital ships. Enormous in size with four turrets sporting four guns per mount. Essentially bigger battleships it was these ships that coordinated the rest of the fleet and primarily served as war theatres as well as formidable naval ships.

While these ships appeared to be far more advanced than previously seen Feian warships, their design was taken from the ships the World Government used themselves albeit adapted to rely on steam and coal engines as opposed to wind. The Feian guns were also longer and thinner designed more for ranged superiority over damage unlike their enemies, though they still fired a heavy metal projectile which had been reshaped from a ball to something more pointed for increased speed and accuracy.

“Admiral, we have eyes on the pirate fleet. They appear to be already engaging Belfield.” an officer spoke as Satia raised an offered spyglass to see it for herself. They could all hear the faint sounds of fighting, mostly the explosions of cannon fire in the distance.

“We’re late.” Seto spoke in a slightly stern tone as he unfolded his arms and placed his hands on the rail to look out towards the direction of the fighting. “No we’re on time, something must have happened to trigger the battle prematurely.” Tekami replied as she stood with her arms neatly behind her back.

“It matters little, we’re here and we’ll do what we came to do. Numa, contact the pirate fleet and warn them of our arrival, request an update of their situation so we can begin targeting. The rest of you depart for your stations and make ready to engage.”

Each of them began moving without question as Satia lowered the spyglass and handed it back to the officer standing nearby. “Ready our guns, I want all personnel to battle stations immediately.” Within a few minutes bells sounded from all ships to confirm their state of readiness.
 

Capt. Blu

Fake it til You Make it
Original poster
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Fantasy, Adventure, Scifi, Anime, Steampunk, Heroes and Villains
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Time: Day 3 - Early Afternoon
Location: Belfield Tower - Top Floor

Tap.

Tap.

Tap.

Despite the chaos outside, Nani’s golden staff echoed loud against the floor of the room. In fact, the entire floor was eerily quiet as she walked towards an oddly large desk. There were no staff, no frantic navy trying to stop her. It was just her, with a coat draped over her shoulders and a sparkling gold crown tilted ever so slightly. “Monsieur Baron! You’re just the person I wanted to see- well, I wanted the Admiral but you’re second in command… you’ll do just fine.”

A gluttonous and sour looking man, glared down at Nani from the desk. One of his hands gripped a knife while the other was slammed on a red button. “You think you and your little pirate freaks scare me?! Just because you have some flimsy title, it doesn’t make you a god.”

“Oh, you’re right.” With a speed he couldn’t follow, she was sitting on the corner of his desk, resting one leg over the other. He gasped and leaned away from her as she continued. “I am no god.” Her grin widened and she winked. “But a lot of people love to call me king.”

“What… do you want?”

“You were the one that made the Buster Call on my island, yes?” She gestured to his hand on the button. “And you’d risk everyone’s livelihood here, navy and civil, for a Buster Call here?” She clicked her tongue, shaking her head in the process. “That’s unacceptable, Baron. I don’t like this game you’re playing.”

“You’re far too late for threats. The call has already been made. Over two hundred ships will be on their way to decimate this entire island.” His gaudy rings glittered as his grip tightened on the knife. “You’ve led your sheep to the slaughter house. The pirate era ends with you.”

Nani laughed, causing a cold chill to go down the Baron’s spine. “You want to know why I won’t kill you, right here and now?” She clicked the staff closed and idly twirled it in her hand. WIthout waiting for an answer, she continued. “Someone else will take your place. And they’ll be just as nasty- if not worse than you. And I’ll sit here at this desk once more to tell them the exact words I’d tell you if I were to kill you. Want to know what the last words you’d ever hear would have been?” Her voice lowered with the barest hint of a threat. “You don’t matter. And no one misses what doesn’t matter.”

Bang!

Nani raised a brow at the smoking gun Baron pulled from under the desk. At point blank range, there was no way he’d miss. But when he got a better look, he saw the bullet fall from Nani’s hand and onto the desk. And then, the rest of the bullets in the gun fell with it. “I wasn’t done talking. Rude.”

“Did you not just hear me say a buster call was headed this way?! What do you want!?” He hissed out, trying to scramble away from his desk. But a firm hand sat him back down.

“I need some things from you. You have your fingers in a lot of pies. A lot of places under your rule. I need all those papers.”

“For what!? So you can rule them?!”

“Oh heavens no! I’m going to burn them. Let them know that those are all null and void so they’re not trapped under navy rule. Most of them are cash grabs and land for resources, no?” Nani laughed again. “What’s more fun than killing you is taking everything you own after all. Which, speaking of! You had a lot in your treasury! It’s where I got this pretty crown from. Fitting, right? A few of my boys cleaned it out too so I suppose you’ll need to, oh I dunno, work hard to get it back.”

“If you think-” The Baron started to rise, only to freeze under Nani’s gaze.

“Baron, it’s already done. And if you dawdle too long, you’ll be a part of this Buster Call too, remember?” He grit his teeth as he glared at her. He was silent, but his eyes betrayed him when he glanced at the large portrait of himself on the far wall behind her. Without acknowledging him, she hopped off the desk and towards the portrait. “You ever heard of the saying, absolute power corrupts absolutely?” The very same knife the Baron held in his hand was the one that was tossed at him. It nicked his cheek and embedded his collar into the wall behind him. It didn’t take long for her to rip the portrait away and find a thick stone safe tucked in the wall. “Well sir, consider this me saving you!” She chuckled, even more so as she watched the Baron struggle to remove the knife. What she decided to leave out was that the Prophets had already taken care of the call. While navy reinforcements were still planning to show up, they didn’t have intentions of destroying a whole island with their friends on it.
He yelled a string of expletives and Nani simply dug into her ear before asking. “Where’s the other captains?”

[This information has been given -by way of messenger bird Coral- to Kara (of the Prophets) currently.]

When the alarms sounded, Runali’s head tilted upward to it. Her lips pressed into a small frown that Alcinoe noticed.

“Somethin’ wrong? Y’know, besides the cell thing?”

Runali started to speak, but paused, only for Alton to speak up. “Guards are outside. They don’t tend to stay in here with us.”

“Oh, great.” Runali sighed and turned her head back up towards the sound. “...They’re early. This wasn’t… well, y’know. I had a reason for coming here and all.” She remained vague, but what she couldn’t see was the mild surprise filling the other captains’ faces. “Shouldn’t be too-”

“Alright! Hurry up and grab them. We’ve got orders to move!” A navy captain, followed by dozens of ensigns for each prisoner filled the room. They quickly began to unchain them from the walls and subdue them to herd them out of the prison.

“Where are you takin’ us now!? I thought we had till the afternoon?” Alcinoe barked as she was dragged off in the opposite direction of the group. Soon, each pirate captain was pulled away from the rest. The twins were tugged in one direction, the married couple in another, and soon Will was pulled (with a fight) to the next.

Runali could hear all of it but not being able to see made her hyper vigilant and on edge. She had been pulled into another direction, and soon she couldn’t hear any of the pirates. All she heard was the yell of the navy and scattered running.

----

Headed towards Belfield Courtyard
Time: In the middle of Pirates vs Navy Captains


Despite being separated, all of the captains were being ushered to the same space. The idea was just to keep them away from each other so they couldn’t try anything.

“Behead the twins first as an example. That’ll break their morale. And once they’re morale is broken, it’ll be easier to gain the upper hand.”

----

“Kill his wife first. Maybe that’ll be enough to convince him to accept our humble offer to work for us instead of against us. If not, get rid of him. It’ll be easier to get through Brass Cape with the Novas out of the way anyway.”

---

“Reds and Cutthroats are the… feistiest, if you will. I would love to make a show out of their beheading.”

“What about the Stardusk captain, sir?”

“...Hm. She’s the reason this all started. I’ll deal with her personally. She’ll be another example made.”

Note given to Kara:
The pirate captains are now in route to an early beheading. The Stardusk captain has been separated. Whereabouts unknown.

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SilentxChaos

Vivid Imaginings
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Genres
Fantasy, magical, modern, medieval, horror, dark fantasy, post-apocalyptic, sci-fi, adventure, action, anime
Collab bet'w @Mizos and @SilentxChaos
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On the Airship in the air cause physics

Caleb watched as the ones on board started firing at them, a natural response considering their intrusion. His hand went behind his cape for his weapon as he activated his armament. The bullets however never reached them as hands reached out repeatedly, grabbing at the air in front of them stopping the bullets. Caleb looked over to see Mia stare at her close hands which now held all the bullets shot at them. With a small chuckle she shifted the bullets around and started flicking them back at the officers as if they were marbles coated in armament…shot out of a cannon. A bit of the wood tore up and parts of the ship started breaking apart as the projectiles flew forward blowing the officers backwards and over the edge of the ship, at least the ones not blown into chunks taking it on directly.

The act caused the remaining troops to contemplate shooting more bullets watching the woman rotate the ones still in her hand with a smile, Caleb wasn’t sure what was more fascinating, the amount of force that was enough to blow away those nearby and rip through flesh and bone, or the fact Mia was going ‘ptew ptew’ each time she flicked the bullets out.
“Ah they’re trying to close the doors to the lower decks,” Caleb said motioning to a few of the soldiers. “We should probably-”
“Woooo!”
A figure went flying past the group’s collective heads before crashing head first into the soldiers trying to shut the doors, subsequently blowing them wide open.
The figure who happened to be Kaim, stood up from the dust and smoke and brushed himself off before turning to the others.
“Hey sorry I’m late. Took a while to get up here. So rescue operation right? Let’s get going. Let’s save that damsel in distress and destroy an airship…uh in that order.”

Adelaide breezed over to Kaim, pecking him on the cheek with a kiss. “Monkey man! It’s good to see you again.” She winked and fluttered past the doors, into darkness. A few moments later he heard screams being snuffed into silence.

Behind Caleb, Cecilia grasped his hand from where she knelt on the deck. She was in tears and her mouth fallen open in a look of pure awe.

“I– I can feel it. The energy. It’s… terrifying. And beautiful. Like standing at the center of a lightning strike without being harmed.” Her pink-hued eyes dragged their way to Caleb’s face but he got the distinct feeling she wasn’t really seeing him. And just for a moment, he knew it as she did. The thing he started, both familiar and alien. Not seen or felt – for Cecilia only gleaned facts from what she touched – but no one could see the beauty of knowledge like she did.

A silent question perched on her lips. What did you create?

It didn’t get voiced; it didn’t need to be. She swallowed and focused on her task. “But… that’s all I can feel. The energy permeating in the air. The ship, well… it’s made out of really nice oak. And seastone.”

She stood up, still holding Caleb’s hand absentmindedly, brushing off her white tights with the other. “I’m sorry. I can’t… my Devil’s Fruit doesn’t work here. Guess we’re improving on our grand stage?”

Kaim looked over at the familiar sensation, a bright smiled resting on the man’s face as Adelaide went past.
“Madame Breezy! Heard you were here good to see ya.”
A laughed escaped from him as he heard the screams being silenced, which was probably a shock to the ones still on the main deck watching the scene itself.
“Ahhh she’s always a delight.”
Kaim glanced over at those remaining.
“You guys go With head down, I’ll clear out the extra up here before making my way after you. Hurry below deck.”
Kaim cracked his knuckles and walked towards the remaining soldiers above, Mia offered a nod and followed after Adelaide below.

Caleb started to move but stopped as Cecilia grabbed him, he looked over at her but while their eyes met he could tell her gaze was elsewhere. His attention moved back to the open door, eyes narrowing slightly, many things moved through his mind, some of which he expected was because of Cecilia.
“In the right hands it is only beautiful…I dislike this misuse.”

Seastone made a strange amount of sense, the navy tended to slip that into most of their creations due to the excess they tended to have at their disposal. It also hindered Devil Fruit Users such as Cecilia. Breaking through the ship would be difficult if seastone was involved, moving quickly was the best option.


Caleb look down at his hand looking back up at Cecilia at the idea of a stage.
“Forgive me if I misuse these phrase but thankfully seastone doesn’t stop my observation. I know all the actors on the stage. Only two will serve as antagonists in this tale.”
With all that being said.
What exactly was the protocol for hand holding?
Did it depend on the type of relationship? The closer one was the longer such an act was required, or at the very least held a minimum?
He and Seliria were close but they never held hands, did that mean it differed from person to person?
If one initiated it was another supposed to end it or did the one who originally started it resolve the issue at a predetermined time. Did he have permission to do so if a certain amount of time passed?
He didn’t necessarily mind but he didn’t want to insult her by not following common courtesy.
“I dislike not going in with more a plan but adaptation is necessary for anyone who pursues knowledge. Also-”
Caleb cut himself off before holding up their joined hands.
“I don’t understand the affectionate level of our relationship, so I’m not sure when to let go if I’m even supposed to. While I would prefer to follow common courtesy as best as possible, fighting will be difficult like this. Is there a minute mark I should follow?”
“You’re supposed to interlock fingers and sing at least one song together!” Kaim yelled with two officers under each arm.
“Ah I see, a strange custom but I was informed to get along with the others.”
Caleb pointed downstairs.
“We should get moving, I’m sure Adelaide and the others are fighting.”

Down on the first floor a row of stationed puckle guns were setup to try and ward off the intruders unleashing a torrent of bullets towards the intruders the moment they made it down the steps.
“Fire! Fire!” A female ensign exclaimed. “Wait is one a user?! Grab the seastone bullets! Those with Armament use them on the bullets to ensure they hit! Quickly before they reach us!”

Cecilia looked down at her and Caleb’s linked hands. “Oh!” She hastily released his hand and stepped away, blushing. “I, um… right. We should get on with the show. Much–” she winced as one soldier was thrown from below back onto the deck, but with pieces missing, “-- killing to do. A world to save!”

She chatted on and on as they descended below, planning on how to perform the day’s events on the Court’s stage, once they won.

With Cecilia’s excitement growing over the grandest show the world had ever seen, she danced across the dead or moaning bodies, left by Adelaide or Mia, who had done their jobs quite well. She picked up a sword and swung it about, completely oblivious until they reached where the airship’s first floor led down to the second. She froze at a doorway.

In hindsight, Cecilia realized it went awfully quiet for all the fighting that was happening. Now she saw why: One soldier stood alone in the final room. Well – probably more than a soldier, given all the medals shimmering off his nicely pressed uniform. And technically not alone – he held Adelaide off the ground by her throat. She struggled in his grasp, her body phasing desperately to turn into wind, despite the sea stone surrounding them. But the captain (Cecilia spotted the officer bars above the medals) gripped her real body.

The captain didn’t use Armament and he had no seastone to be seen. He held Adelaide like a doll. When he turned toward Cecilia, he swung Adelaide in front of him, using her as a shield. Above her head, cold yellow eyes under blue coiffed hair considered the newcomers.

“The rest of your friends?” he asked Adelaide.
“Fri-ends? What… friends…” she rasped, managing a sneer as she clawed at the captain’s hands.

“I am not terribly sure of our relationship if I am being honest.”
Caleb said this stepping over a dead body.
“Still she is a relatively important person to those I am closely acquainted with so her well-being is currently necessary.”
His eyes glanced down at the bodies around them, he wasn’t sure who had done it or if it had been both but judging by the lacerations of the ones around them many did not have quick ends. Mia was nowhere to be seen but he could see one of her ‘wheels’ lodged in the surprised face of an ensign behind some broken puckle’s.

Caleb slipped a pair of gloves on adjusting them slightly before speaking to Cecilia in a lower voice as he eyed the man in front of them.
“Move behind me if it gets too dangerous.”
His message was simple as he came to a stop not moving too close since he still had a hold on Adelaide. The Nova’s had the pleasure of dealing with Captain’s, he sighed a bit missing Seliria who was more suited for roles like this.
“It would be appreciated if you would return my associate and move out of the way. If you do so I will only render you unconscious, and gently move you to that corner over there.”

The captain frowned. A long, exaggerated frown to express deep thought; It was too fake. Behind Caleb, Cecilia sucked in a breath. “We should–”

“Alright. Why not?” The captain said.

His hand that held Adelaide glowed blue. With a zap and a burst of electricity, Adelaide was blown straight into Caleb and Cecilia. A wave of bright lightning followed her and caught all three in its path – in fact, the whole room sparked angrily. Cecilia collapsed to her knees. Adelaide, once she could move, sat up and spat blood out on the floor. When she grinned, her teeth were stained red.

“Careful. He’s a North.”

The man tsked while digging a pinkie finger into his teeth. “Captain Sora North to you, if you don’t mind.” He flapped a hand toward the door, which he had moved away from to provide a clear path for them. “You’re more than welcome to try for the door. I’m not standing in your way.”

Caleb glanced back at Cecilia only to turn back for Adelaide to slam into them. While the method wasn’t appreciated he realized that he hadn’t actually said to return her gently. Specifics were important when engaging with other people. The lighting and sparks of course crashed into the shipwright as he tried to catch Adelaide to lessen a harsher impact.

When the dust cleared Caleb stood unfazed by the sudden zap of electricity, the energy still crackling around his body showing that it had in fact hit him.
“I must take back my earlier statement,” Caleb said pulling the small object from behind his cloak around.
Touching his hand to it the electricity seem to flow into it causing the yellow light to shift to green.
“The possibility of you functioning as a possible power source means I can’t let you live…which is unfortunate as I’ve always wanted to meet someone able to conjure electricity. I require a new conductor.”
Caleb put the object back behind him and adjusted it.
“My thanks for helping me charge my weapon to full once more.”
Caleb started walking forward and reaching down picked a saber off the ground as he approached Sora with a casual gait.

“You are a fascinating specimen though, what allows you to summon it forth and harness it without an additional apparatus? In a normal situation I would prefer capturing you to discover your secrets. Regretfully we are in quite a hurry so I can’t do so. Instead I will sever your left arm and right leg to hinder you, then allow one of my associates to finish the job.”
Caleb continued his approach running his fingers alongside the side of the blade, his gabble was only quickening the more he was permitted to speak.

“I cannot bring myself to kill such a marvel of science and discovery. Adelaide seems to know you perhaps she can explain the process to me, could you perhaps hit me once more so I can compare your flow to the one I naturally conjure? In fact I would prefer it, I believe that was a negative charge, a positive charged strike would have probably killed me, can you alternate between the two freely, please answer before I reach you as I’ll have to commit to my previous statement once I’m within striking distance.”
His rambling was only getting worst and faster as he kept forward.

Sora North considered this short, rambling man approaching with a neutral expression. In fact, he didn’t seem to be emoting much at all. Just acting out emotions, and badly at that. He yawned at some point during Caleb’s monologue, then paused and waited a beat to make sure Caleb was done.

“You are, without a doubt, the most annoying opponent I’ve ever met. I need you to die now.”

Then the captain was gone. Just – gone.

And he was suddenly at Caleb’s side. Blue sparks illuminated them. That’s all Caleb had time to register before an immense force slammed into his chest and pushed him back. The hit itself was as strong as a haki user’s, though again, no evidence of haki was present.

Sora disappeared again. Cecilia screamed Caleb’s name. Caleb felt himself soaring – then hit again, right into his spine. It sent him flying into the ship’s wall.
Caleb opened his mouth to comment, especially considering that wasn’t the first time he heard those words when something slammed into him. The shipwright’s head lowered and his arms and legs flailing as he went flying, unable to stop the attack.
“You know I stayed in the shadows.”
Mia put a hand on Cecilia’s shoulder after she screamed.
“In case I had to be a hero but since Caleb stepped forward there was no need.”
Caleb made no effort to stop the second hit or seemed unable too still reeling from the first one.
His body flew towards the ship wall and slammed into it. That moment however before the body went through the ship’s wall, revealed Caleb was suddenly wearing a navy uniform.
A glint of silver followed before an arm and leg went flying through the air, once attached to Captain North, as Caleb held the now bloodied blade to the side, standing directly behind Sora.
The body of the officer he had switched himself with now plummeting towards the sea below.

Caleb tossed the blade to the side looking over at the group before giving them a small thumbs up.
“Exactly as planned….ah I forgot to tell you the plan my apologies.”
Mia grinned and pat Cecilia on the shoulder.
“Caleb is covered in things called insulators which stops electricity since he works with it and he’s beaten on daily by one of the strongest Armament users around. It was just a bad match up.”
Mia stared down at Sora putting her hands on her hips.
“That’s why you do your research properly. Nova’s aren’t top of the game for nothin’...probably embarrassing too since he’s considered the ‘weakest’ among them. It’s like losing to a chipmunk, no offense.”
“None taken, I am by analysis the weakest combat wise.”
Caleb looked over at the three women.
“My statement from earlier remains the same. He is too fascinating to kill myself, I leave his end to one of you.”
Mia held her hands up.
“I was dealing with the approaching ensigns so I didn’t earn the kill, one of you two can have it.”


Sora North writhed on the floor, not screaming oddly enough, but in clear amounts of pain. Adelaide got up and nudged his bleeding leg stump. “Huh. He’s healing.”

Looking closer, they could see the skin slowly starting to pull over his wounds. Adelaide clucked. “Wow. The North family’s really fallen after Hoshi left. If only Jack was here to see this.”

“Doesn’t matter,” Sora, somehow, had the energy to sniff disdainfully at them. “I might be one failure, but rest assured–”

“Whatever.” With a swift motion, a weak but doable gust of wind knocked Sora out of the hole and to the sea below. They heard his Wilhelm scream get sharply cut off by a horrific squelching and ripping sound. It was left to the imagination as to what exactly Adelaide did to him.
Cecilia turned green. “I think I might be sick.”

Adelaide looked at Mia. “Why did you wait so long? I gave you seven opportunities to take him while he was choking me.”

“...I was hoping to at least dissect him but fair enough,”
Caleb reached down and grabbed the arm and leg still on the floor, he shoved both into the large sack he kept on him, adjusting a few things inside to make them fit before closing it and moving it back behind his cloak.
“These will suffice for what I need.”

Mia went to touch Cecilia but stopped pulling her hand back not wanting to make her more uncomfortable.
“Good thing you chose the fun team right?” Mia said smiling at Cecilia. “I’ll uh...make you some tea when we get back.”

At Adelaide’s comment Mia pointed behind her toward an opening in the far wall leading to another room, within it were more bodies and judging by the badges on the now red uniforms were where the remaining ensigns had been, along with their troops.
“Didn’t think you guys wanted extra guns and swords pointed at you so I dealt with the backup,” Mia said. “I did return around the time Caleb asked for you back though...and at that point I was just curious what would happen so I apologize for not acting there.”

Mia raised a hand at this.
“Since I made you waste an opening, why don’t I deal with the next Captain, give you guys a breather.”
Mia held up the keys before motioning to the seastone door.
“I’ll even hold the door for you guys.”

“Is my pride wounded? I feel like it should be.” Adelaide debated to herself while Cecilia inched forward and touched one of the arms Sora North left behind. Her jaw dropped. Adelaide looked back up at Caleb.

“She knows how to handle herself. I don’t see why not let her take on the other captain.”

“Guys! Did you know this guy had an exoskeleton? How strong are your weapons, Caleb? They have to be so strong to cut through this guy’s bone.” Her queasiness over, she continued to prod at the dead limbs until she was dragged away.

“He did?” Caleb said looking back at his pouch. “I can’t wait to research my findings later. To answer your question, unsure what he was I treated him as Logia thus I followed my usual step by step process-”
“Can’t hear you presently walking away!” Mia said as she moved towards the door.
Caleb followed behind as Cecilia was dragged behind.

After passing through the door Caleb's eyes twitched and he held his arm out before they passed through the second door at the bottom of the steps, having walked ahead at one point.
“...ambush.”
He spoke the words before bronze gauntlets formed on his hands, manifesting out of his gloves. Slamming the knuckles together a large pole popped out of one end which he took hold off.
With a small twist the pole extended once more causing Mia to lean out the the way as it almost hit her before a large curved blade appeared, behind Cecilia’s neck.
“...Caleb why did you pull your scythe out in this cramped stairway?” Mia asked. “I mean I’m glad to see the Reaper of the Alley and all but time and place. Also the Captain’s mine.”

“There are a lot of people in that room, this is the floor before the actual machine so it makes sense a bulk of their forces are stationed here. They heard us upstairs I’m sure and there’s only one way through, an ambush is the most logical step considering the first Captain didn’t stop us.”
Mia glanced back at the scythe regretting not being behind Caleb like Adelaide who wasn’t presently a step away from decapitation, well it was two steps for her, one for Cecilia.
“Once this door opens the fighting is going to start pretty much immediately. Is everyone prepared?”
“There’s seastone down here too so be careful here as well you two...well more Cecilia then Adelaide. I swear I just want to ruffle her hair with how adorable she is. Everyone around me doesn’t bat an eye at the bodies I make anymore, can I take her with me after?”

“Uhm,” Cecilia raised a finger. “She’s right and she has a crew to go back to?? So… no. But I appreciate that you find me adorable.”

Adelaide, meanwhile, ducked and shimmied around the group, making her way to the front with a pat on Caleb’s cheek. “Let me take this, hm?”

The hand that touched him had something new on it: a glove. A very familiar glove.

Adelaide also didn’t wait for them to give her permission. Cracking her neck and squaring her shoulders, she “kicked” the door down with a breezy blast of her foot.

Immediately, a hail of gunfire attacked her.

It lasted about a minute with staggered firings before the mass of soldiers stopped long enough to see what their open fire did. Lots of smoke filled the air from the guns’ discharge, obscuring visibility. Suddenly, metallic rain hit the deck. One soldier jumped at the sound and, glancing down, noticed their own bullets rolling back toward. He looked back up in time to see the thinnest black thread cut through the smoke and across his neck. He went down, choking on his own blood.

Adelaide flexed her haki glove and sent haki-fueled wind at the other sailors, dozens of thread-like whips that were almost as deadly as her Devil Fruit. It would do.

Caleb glanced over at Adelaide as she passed him, his eyes moving to the glove causing his brows to arch slightly. Adjusting the scythe so he wouldn’t accidentally decapitate anyone he took a step up the stairs to avoid being directly in the path of what was going to follow.
From there he watched the scene in silence, offering a small nod as he observed what had happened.
“It’s always fascinating seeing Users harness the gloves….this gives me an idea.”
Moving the scythe to his other shoulder Caleb started writing in his notebook ignoring the screams filling the room.
Mia leaned against the wall clearly pouting that she didn’t get the first kill of the room.

“You killed my first vanguard in such a fascinating way.”
A woman’s voice filled the area, Mia’s eyes moved around the room. For some reason her observation wasn’t working all of a sudden, it felt as if the presence was all around them.
Her eyes moved to Caleb only to notice his brows had lowered.
“It is her…” Caleb mumbled.
A loud crunch sounded from the room and Caleb raised his voice slightly.
“Adelaide remove yourself from the room quickly.”
It was spoken with a bit more haste than usual and as soon as Caleb said the words the wood under Adelaide’s feet shifted away revealing the seastone underneath it, exposing anyone still in the room to it.

Mia’s eyes narrowed at this as footsteps echoed through the room, a woman walking into the light.
Short somewhat messy brunette hair stopped at her neck, falling just above the medals on her chest revealing her rank, that of a Captain.
Dark green eyes met the group and the woman clad in a navy uniform that was a mix of white and black revealed herself to those gathered. It was a strange duality as her gloves and even her boots were different colors. The wood under her feet seem to stretch out giving her a foothold over the seastone revealing who had ‘removed the floor’.
She munched on a bright red apple as she walked.

“Caleb it’s good to see you again.”
The woman spoke in a gentle simple tone, her youthful features and voices seemed akin to Caleb’s. A single blade rested at her waist along with a simple pistol, both were very ornate however and clearly not normal weapons.
“You as well Bell,” Caleb responded with a nod. “Everyone this is Bell Harima, former member of the Alley… and owner of the Wood-Wood fruit…which understandably is a problem presently due to us being surrounded by it.”
“A pleasure to meet you all, now kindly step forward and donate your bodies to science.”

Caleb’s warning came too late. Adelaide, already shifting back the moment she felt Bell’s presence seep into the room, didn’t make it far enough to avoid the seastone. She hopped and phased – then her wind disappeared completely, and she was forced down. Adelaide wobbled, but managed to maintain her upright position. She stared at Bell.

Meanwhile, Cecilia acrobatic’ed her way from behind Mia to perched on a barrel, perfectly poised but looking at the floor like it was the sea itself.

“Plan??” she asked, meekly.

“Subject 1 combat prowess minimal,” Bell said holding her hand out towards Cecilia.
When she did the ‘wooden’ barrel started to slowly break apart from the bottom, the lower parts of the barrel breaking apart slowly inching the woman towards the sealstone floor.
“Capture and confinement. Perhaps a sealstone collar to keep as a pet. Execute if lack of compliance. Wanna squeeze those chubby cheeks.”
Bell’s gaze moved over to Adelaide as she took another bite from her apple, chewing before speaking with a mouthful of food.
“Subject’s 2’s combat prowess…phenomenal. Higher threat Level acknowledge due to death of previous Captain and witness of ability. Unlikely to surrender. Execute and return Devil Fruit to Navy Officer. Make damage lethal but minimal to keep body and put on display. Raise morale of troops.”

“That’s proper disturbing,” Mia said walking forward. “Tell me the story here Caleb. Summary considering troops are approaching, like how she’s not being effected here. Also Cecilia who needs a plan when you have me.”
“Same as how she hid herself using the wood she’s adjusting it so the seastone’s effect aren’t as prominent on her. She used to be a good person, that is no longer the case.”
“You know each other, want her alive?”
“What camaraderie we possessed faded over five years ago. I would do it myself if not for your ‘dibs’ and necessity to keep Adelaide and Cecilia from harm.”

Caleb said this drawing his scythe as more navy troops approached training their weapons on the two women, Caleb also noticed the ceiling was getting closer, slowly but surely. Wooden spikes had also formed above them, he was pretty sure at a certain point it was just going to drop on them.
“Cool give me 30 seconds of fun then I’ll kill her.”
Caleb looked up at the ceiling then at the troops.
“….30 seconds could mean our ends considering-“
“Can’t hear you, doing stuff!”
Mia grinned and rushed forward drawing her wheels.
“I will throw you back onto the safe spot when there is an opening Adelaide, my apologies for not realizing it was her sooner.”

“Says the non-Fruit User!” Cecilia squeaked as she hit the seastone floor, and fell to her knees. It’s effects hit her like an elephant’s trunk: Quietness descended in her mind. No more inputs from the physical world – no more knowledge. Like she’d been cut in half.

The sensation threw her back to a time long ago. When the Navy used seastone and fire to tear her crew apart.

Those memories flitted behind her eyes, overlapping with the realization that Caleb was also, in this moment, surrounded by navy soldiers. Memory overlapped with reality and spurred her into action. She dove for the nearest gun, and started firing at the soldiers. The seastone threw off her aim but her bullets landed with surprising precision.

Adelaide’s nostrils flared with great effort. And then – a sigh of relief. She flexed her hand, shuddering. Seastone. It was never fun. But she was more than just a Fruit user now.

Adelaide activated her Armament haki and changed the gloves “setting”. With a stamp of her foot, she created a layer of ice over the seastone floor. It was thin, but serviceable, and caused quite a few soldiers to slide around in the sudden change of environment. The small act had Adelaide sweating and panting, but she grinned nevertheless. Always a way out.

She didn’t waste jumping back into the fight, adopting a Jack-esque fighting style in this close quarters combat. A thin ice blade served as her weapon as she cut her way through as many bodies as she could.

Caleb was happy to have the help as Mia leapt into the fray, Bell’s eyelids lowered slightly but just made the ceiling move towards the group in response to an extra fighter, adjusting her calculations.
Moving her attention back to Mia, the wood leapt out at her, flying at her from all sides, the lumber reaching out at her as if it was alive.

Mia grinned and leapt over the pillars that jutted out trying to halt her approach, rolling over one that tried for her torso, flipping in the air she dodged the projectiles that shot from the left and spinning her body, descended towards Bell before a wooden fist crashed into her side sending her flying.
She hit the ground and bounced off it heading towards the wall, Bell took a bite of her apple as wooden spikes formed on the sides to welcome the woman.

Mia’s body vanished before hitting the wall and Bell spun around behind her, making a large arc with her arm causing a wooden blade to slash at the air, Mia appeared behind her and with a grin blocked the strike with her wheels before being thrown back.
“Observation too huh, I might actually have fun with you.”

Mia flipped and ran through the room dodging the attacks of Bell but any approach was cut off by the Captain; attacks from the ground caused Bell to just move the floor so she’d miss or never approach and any attacks from the air left her open to the still descending ceiling, walls or floor.

Caleb swung his scythe in a large arc taking out more officers only to see more appear from the woodwork, he grit his teeth realizing Bell had hidden them away with her power. Doors opened in the wood letting more fill in whenever it got low, and fighting over dead bodies had its own difficulty.
However in the midst of battle Caleb pulled out his pocket watch and opened it.
“Mia! It’s been 30 seconds!”
“Oh cool.”
Bell raised her pistol paying no mind to Mia and fired at the motionless Cecilia.
Caleb realizing he had been pulled away by the fighting rushed to try and move in front of her. It seems the situation had changed, no survivors were apparently her desire now. He realized he wouldn’t make it in time, he saw it, that was until the bullet stopped mid flight and fell harmlessly to the floor.

“…Pardon?” Caleb questioned.
He looked around and noticed the room full of soldiers had also frozen, though they weren’t really sure either from the looks on their faces, they just realized their bodies weren’t moving, even Bell realized she couldn’t budge without resistance.
“Well that was fun, I got a good workout in!” Mia said, adjusting her eyepatch. “We’re on a time constraint though.”

“…I can’t move,” Bell said, eyes twitching slightly. “What did you do?”
“Oh right you all can’t see it, here I’ll help.”
Mia reached up with her finger and slightly tugged at the air, when she did something glinted as her armament flowed through something, in that moment the navy officers realized why they couldn’t move.

They were trapped on all sides by wires, caught in a web they were unaware of. Around Caleb, Cecilia and Adelaide multiple wires had formed, clearly to protect them from outside influence, Caleb realized the bullets that never reached him now made sense…he just thought the aim was off.
“My sister would be sad if she lost Adelaide, the enigmatic Cecilia and her fiancé’s buddy, can’t let that happen. You guys were never in any ‘real’ danger. I just like seeing Cecilia’s panicked face and someone’s gotta tease Adelaide back ya know.”
“…and me?” Caleb questioned.
“I just like messing with you.”

“…how long?” Bell questioned.
The apple left her hand and fell into Mia’s courtesy of her ‘web’.
“Moment I entered the room, fighting in indoor places is one of my many specialities. You really should have looked into me.”
“…I did. Captain of the L-“
“No no no. The me before…but then again no one knows the me before so doesn’t matter. Speak your last words.”
Bell tried to move but the wires were already digging into her skin, her troops were the same, some were tangled up in them wholly unaware they had even touched the wires in the first place.
Bell’s eyes moved to Caleb who met her own.
“…I held great affection for you once.”
“…noted and acknowledged,” Caleb responded with a small nod.
“Adorable,” Mia said before tugging on the wire.
In that moment every living thing save their group was ripped apart into pieces, their bodies torn asunder into multiple parts as the room was cleared of threats.
“I can’t wait to tell this one later.”

Mia held the apple forward and watched as it shifted into a Devil Fruit as if confirming Bell’s demise, tossing it to Caleb she grabbed the keys from the pull of blood nearby.
“You’ll do more good with that then I will. Shall we move forward?”
Caleb reached down and expanded Adelaide’s ice to cover the floor still affected by seastone so Cecilia could move, once done he looked around as he moved to help her up.
“…are the wires gone?”
“Who knows,” Mia said. “This feels like a good time to mention I like constructive criticism and compliments….mostly compliments.”
With a grin she unlocked the door and opened it.

Cecilia accepted Caleb’s help, clinging to him a bit longer than necessary and whispering a small, “Thank you”. She held onto the gun she picked up as they faced the opening of the final floor. She winced, sensing a crackling in the air.

“The core’s below,” she whispered.

Adelaide came up behind them as she finished putting herself back together. With the ice giving them a breathing room, her power was stronger than before. She phased in and out, getting a sense of the space below them. “Your Risa’s still breathing,” she commented offhandedly. Then, more softly, “We should destroy this ship.”


Caleb offered a nod to Cecilia letting her hold on as long as she needed before eyeing Adelaide as she returned.
“…thank you.”
The man’s shoulders seemed to relax a bit more at the news and he quickly moved forward.

At Adelaide’s comment Caleb rubbed the side of his head, clearly in agreement but with a sigh spoke up.
“Destruction of this ship though tempting is not the priority,” Caleb said lowering his hand. “The weapon will fire soon…we can’t destroy the ship and stop the weapon from firing. I assure you the Nova’s or Stardusk will destroy it later.”
Caleb spoke these words his eyelids lowering slightly.
“If we don’t destroy it first,” Mia said smiling. “I’m all for wanton destruction but I sadly have to agree weapon first, if we don’t a lot of good people will die down there, ones who came to help. This is a good chance to have a lot of people owe us one. We need them alive so we can collect on that.”

Once they reached the bottom floor many scientists turned to meet them, their eyes widening as many started to panic realizing their protection had been defeated.
The few troops stationed down there were already on the ground courtesy of Mia who lowered her finger with a smile.

In the middle of the room was the canon itself, the actual construct wasn’t impressive but the pulsating crystals hovering in the middle of the glass were another matter.
A rainbow of colors flowed out of the translucent crystals as a second blue light poured into them. In a weird way it was a beautiful sight, though the multi-colored crystal was slowly turning red from the edges of it to the center.
“…how inefficient,” Caleb said. “No wonder they were having trouble.”
Caleb motioned towards the glass before tossing a black crystal to Mia.
“Bring that close to it. The properties of that crystal will resonate with the other one and-“
Caleb cut himself off and pointed at it.
“Put it against the glass and it will shatter the crystal, making tiny explosions within the cannon. Which will destroy it from the inside out. Take a small step back afterwards as it’ll also destroy the glass.”
“Not it,” Mia said tossing the crystal to Adelaide. “I don’t want glass in my hair. Really hard to get the small pieces out.”
“Please do not just destroy the glass, it will blow up and kill most of us,” Caleb added before walking forward again.

Moving past the scientists he found Risa in a corner, noticing the bags under her eyes his eyelids narrowed. Her body shivered every few seconds and he could tell she had been crying.
He stayed silent and just lifted her into his arms, making a note to figure out how to remove the cuffs on her wrist later.

“So we’re killing the scientists right? Less people know the better?”
“…Those who don’t surrender. It’s a waste to get rid of knowledgable people,” Caleb responded. “I’d also like to pick their brains for information.”
“All right. Hey! Whose willing to abandon the navy and work for us pirates! We pay well and you won’t die today. Raise your hands if you’re willing to abandon your loyalty to them today.”
A few scientists looked around before one raised their hand then a few others.
The others who kept their hands lowered looked both shocked and disgusted at the ones who clearly preferred living.
“Cool. Let’s kill all but the ones with raised hands,” Mia said. “Cecilia do your thing I’ll help gather schematics once I’m done slitting their throats.”
One scientist raised their hand and Mia shook her head.
“No you put your hand down. Too late. Should have raise it with the rest of the class, no do over’s. I clearly outlined what would happen.”

Cecilia went over all of the scientists’ work. Their journals, schematics, test tubes, notes… years of fresh, accumulated knowledge just waiting for her to touch it. Her fingers brushed them, absorbing it all, and snapped back. She looked pale. “I don’t– I don’t know if…”

“Hey.” Adelaide tossed something over to Cecilia from her position on the cannon. Cecilia fumbled it, but in a flash she knew what it was and what it was for. She looked at Adelaide, mouth agape, and the Windy She-Devil shrugged.

“Pirates would be the kings of the world if they possessed this kind of weaponry. They’d stand their first real chance of fighting the Navy. Maybe even defeating it. No one would in their right minds pass up this opportunity.” Reaching out, Adelaide touched the crystal to the glass. Dull whumps echoed as a chain reaction went off with the cannon. The glass shattered, passing through her windy form without harm. She hopped down next to Cecilia. “Burn it.”

Cecilia opened the box. It was filled with matches.

Adelaide snapped her fingers. Whichever scientists hadn’t already been dispatched by Mia suffocated slowly as the air was dragged from their lungs. She glanced at Caleb. “Will you be responsible for those left living? Ensure they never make this again? Or should I kill them now despite what you want, to save us in the future?”

Caleb’s eyes passed over the papers littered around Cecilia as he made his way towards the exit, his eyes narrowed at the information but he continued walking, speaking up only after Adelaide did.
“She is correct. With that information you are now the most valuable person in this group and more than likely the surrounding 150 miles. The entirety of this information is that powerful.”
Mia turned one of the plans over arching a brow before setting it back down, in agreement to burn it.

Cecilia swallowed. She struck a match and got to work. “I miss our carousel days,” she whispered to herself.

Caleb stopped to look at Adelaide when she addressed him, Mia was wiping the blood off her uniform and corralling the remaining scientist together when Caleb looked over at her.
“It will be made again.”
Caleb’s response was simple and his eyes moved to the broken weapon as he said it.
“Maybe not this exact weapon but another will be made, eventually one worse than this one. Perhaps not in our lifetimes but it will occur.”
Caleb looked back at Adelaide.
“Killing all of them will not change that nor slow the process.”
His eyes moved to the scientists who were willingly letting Mia bind them.
“Knowledge is neutral, those who wield it decide ‘what’ it becomes. Unlike common beasts man has learned to wield tools. Sometimes regretfully it is for greed or…”
Caleb’s gaze moved towards the door where they had come from, his eyes eyes lowering slightly.
“Recognition…but in the end an opportunity will be given to them. I will allow them an option, if they stray after being given that chance, then as I’ve done before I will be the ‘Reaper of the Alley’. My hands are not so clean.”
With a small shrug he nodded towards Adelaide eyeing the gloves.
“Luro originally made those to give power to the powerless. To give someone a fighting chance when they have none. A decent desire but he is not so blind as to think the power will not be abused one day. It is part of the process…but today they were helpful.”

Caleb’s eyes moved to Risa.
“...we have to protect the ones who want to do good with their knowledge…even if others deem it silly. That way the future will be a little better…but only a little.”
“Mr. Scientist gettin’ all sentimental…also you could have just said no keep them alive. You really like taking the scenic route don’t you?”
“I assure you the old me would have slit their throats and moved on and the temptation was still there. However the company we keep changes us. I believe we all can attest to that. Whether for better or worse we ultimately decide.”

Upon returning to the top deck the ship was already making its way back towards it’s landing dock in the city. Mia disabled some of the weaponry on their way up and Kaim had dealt with the problems on the top deck disabling the weapons up there as well.
Enough damage had been done to the ship where it wouldn’t be doing much good anytime soon even if it could still fly. They also released the tethers on the cannon, dropping the remains of it on a naval base as they passed over it in the first ring.

“Glad you got Risa back. Luro will be delighted,” Kaim said grinning, keeping his hand on the man’s shoulder who was guiding the ship.
“Luro sent you?” Caleb asked arching a brow.
“He asked me to help out however I could, he disliked not being able to help out himself. He trusted you all to handle it but well…he felt left out.”
“Haha…that’s just like him,” Mia said leaning over the edge of the ship. “Hey Caleb?”
“Yes?”
“...what was up with that Bell lady anyway?”
“It is a long story,” Caleb said with a shake of his head. “Put simply...had just one other person acknowledged her I’m sure she would not have turned out that way. Never underestimate a simple ‘good job’ from another is all I’ll say considering our time constraint.”
Caleb adjusted his cloak as they came in for a proper landing.
“If you wish for more details then ask after this long day is over. I will as they say, ‘buy first round’, I must ask Adelaide about the electric man after all.”
“First, second and third, I put in 5% more effort today,” Mia said crossing her arms under her chest.
“...why don’t I just treat everyone to whatever they want,” Caleb said resting his hands on his hips. “You all assisted me greatly. You helped me retrieve my precious apprentice and our stolen knowledge won’t be abused for time to come, at least long enough for us to understand and properly counter it.”
With a small nod Caleb offered a very small smile.
“It has been an utmost pleasure working with all of you.”

Mia pushed the man from behind causing him to stumble slightly and his smile to fade.
“Day’s not over yet. Save the sentimentality for the bar…or restaurant or whatever expensive thing we decide, I’m leaning towards two more ships myself. We still got things to do and I’m just getting warmed up.”
“I’ll make sure Risa ends up somewhere safe, part of my job,” Kaim said raising a hand. “I’ll join the fight after. So you guys go on ahead.”

It wasn’t until they reached the deck that Adelaide finally spoke up to Caleb. She’d been contemplating on his words the whole way there.

“You’re wrong. Knowledge isn’t neutral. A weapon’s a weapon – it’s only function is to maim. Secrets always lead to subterfuge. Military strategies are for war. Handcuffs…” Adelaide pointedly looked at Risa’s, “are meant to control people. Certain knowledge leads down very few paths, no matter what the intentions were behind their creations. You’re a scientist: You always see the use in something without considering the human factor. But I’m a spy. People’s impulses are my field of study.”

Adelaide then shrugged. “But you are also right. What’s been done here will be done again… just as I imagine you’re not done with the energy you created. I hope it doesn’t lead you down a bad road.” She smiled like she already knew the answer to his future. “I look forward to debating with you when this is all said and done.”
 
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SilentxChaos

Vivid Imaginings
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  2. One post per week
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Writing Levels
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Preferred Character Gender
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  3. Primarily Prefer Female
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Fantasy, magical, modern, medieval, horror, dark fantasy, post-apocalyptic, sci-fi, adventure, action, anime
1648140762625.png
Jack squinted up at the man who, somehow, so easily captured him and Ria. “... Donny?”

“FInally remembered me, did you? Can’t lie that hurts a bit. You’ll forgive me if I say, it ain’t much of a pleasure seeing you again.”

“Likewise, bounty hunter.”

Jack paused, examining his surroundings – bare as they were. All solid rock and smooth as marble. No way to climb out. No, stupid idea. He’d catch me so easily. Jack appeared surprisingly nonplussed about the situation, but underneath he seethed. Just once can I get from point A to point B without being attacked during these things?

He decided to stall with more conversation. “You know if my wife was here, she’d be able to just… fly out of that skylight there?”

“Hmm… that’s the, windy miss, yes? Good thing she ain’t here, then.”

“Yeah… yeah…” Jack mumbled under his breath how he wished Adelaide was here.

Another pause. Jack hadn’t been in a standoff with a repeat hunter before. It was starting to get awkward.

“So, uh, how long have you been working for Simon Ira? I’m assuming you’ve been in his back pocket since we lost you in Jaipur. What was that… three years ago?”

Donny considered this as he tapped more cigarette ash. Some of it fell in Jack’s hair, unbeknownst to the pirate. “Yeeeeeah. Somethin’ like that, I suppose.”

“Good pay?”

“Eh. Pretty good I’d say. Pays the bills. Let’s me buy drinks at the end of the day, blah blah blah. Can’t complain.”

“That’s cool…” Jack nodded his head. He dug a toe into the stone beneath him. “Listen, since we killed your partners last time and I haven’t seen you since, I don’t have beef with you. I’d rather not waste time fighting when I could be rescuing my captain. Why don’t you tell me what you want? Cause I’m sure it isn’t dying.”

“You’re right, I don’t wanna die. But, a man’s got to make a living too. Mine’s in dealing with you. Though I see your captain is still letting her lackeys do all the work?”

“She’s trapped… in prison… so it’d be a bit hard to– can you just come down here, please? I’m tired of shouting at you,” Jack puffed out, exasperated

Donny thought about it, consented that this would be the polite thing to do. He melted into his stone and, moments later, birthed from the ground before Jack.

“That’s much better. Thank you.” In a flash, Jack threw an Armament-fueled punch.

Donny anticipated this. He summoned a short, protective wall between them. He reinforced the stone, but he could still feel it shudder from Jack’s strength. Both men poked their heads around the wall’s edge simultaneously. Donny made a silent, judgmental question with his eyes; Jack smirked.

A sudden shockwave erupted on Donny’s side of the wall. It blasted from within and sent Donny careening backwards. Jack lunged for him. Falling to the ground, they grappled and punched each other with stone and haki. In the end, Jack managed to pin Donny down with a foot to his neck and his arm pulled up behind him at a painful angle. With one sharp jerk, Jack could dislocate his shoulder.

“So, as I was saying,” Jack panted, “I don’t really want to kill you. But I will. What’ll it take for you to break your contract?”

Donny writhed under his boot. He could breathe, if barely, and using his stone wasn’t out of the cards. But after seeing Jack blow up that wall with only a punch… “I can’t just break contracts–”

Jack pulled on Donny’s arm harder, his face a void of the casualness he had before. It’s all cold business now. “Everyone has a price. And you don’t want to die for a cause you have no part in. Tell me what you want.”

*******​

Only a handful of minutes passed by since the stone maze went up, and just like that, it was lowered again. Jack appeared by Ria, taking her arm and began dragging her along.

“Alright, let’s go. Hopefully that delay was enough for Alicia to catch up. Otherwise… let’s pray the captains haven’t been executed yet.”
 
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Mizos

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Luro and Zilia



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Zilia quickly regained her footing and raising a small barrier wall caught Luro, the two straightening up at the two guests.
Zilia's eyes narrowed as Luro stared at the two in front of them, she only knew of their guests through recounts. From what she remembered they were two obstacles for Stardusk at Kane'arteum. Donovan and Kino if she remembered correctly and their interaction confirmed it.
Luro was happy to describe Donovan, the man apparently beat him and threw him in the cell with Runali back then, even if it was part of Luro's ploy he had been a direct obstacle to helping her.
Kino was a whole other story but a problem back then all the same.
Hearing 'Ira' caused her to sigh however moving her hands to her hips.
"Ira is involved with this…she's going to be really mad when she confirms it," Zilia said sighing.
"Luro I'll take the guy you take the-"
"Nah I'll fight Vono," Luro said manifesting his rifle, resting it on his shoulder.
"Donovan."
"That's what I said," Luro said looking over at Zilia. "You fight the lady, though I am sad I won't get to fight her."

Luro looked back at Donovan, Zilia wanted to have Luro take the other officer, it was clear Donovan was strong, even she could sense it. From the records Kino was also a shooter, he was better at handling them than her.
A rear Admiral was also nothing to take lightly but seeing the grin on his face she realized she wouldn't be able to talk him out of it.
"I'll be fine Z," Luro said reading his comrades' mind. "I need to fight him. Gotta test something about myself."
"...very well. Our opponent was willing to spare us…please keep that in mind."
"Kill him slowly, got it Z," Luro said raising a hand. "All handled. The teleport lady is on the roof to the right of us."

Kino's eyes seemed to narrow at her position being exposed, Zilia didn't give her chance to act as the doctor was already on her causing the woman to move away, Zilia chasing after her to try and reach her before she teleported again.
Luro kept his gaze focused on Donovan a small laugh escaping him.
"I don't really hold grudges especially against people I lose against, so I'm not doing this out of revenge or nothin'. Just wanna test myself, see how much stronger I am so don't hold back okay."
Luro Vs Donovan
Carefree Monster Vs. Tired Admiral
"Rematch Dictated by Fate!"


Luro leapt away as the ground broke apart under him, however the trailing vibrations slammed into him sending him flying further back, Donovan closed the distance quickly and swung at him with his fist. The attack met the air, his hand passing through blue mist as Luro hit the ground a few feet further back, sliding away from the man with a grin.
Multiple rifles appeared around him and pointing forward the guns fired at the navy officer.
Weaving between the bullets Donovan moved to close the distance once more, though when the L.A.S.S. burst Luro back towards him, he slid to a stop.
With a spin Luro grabbed one of the rifles and brought it down on Donovan, the officer's armament raised with his arms and the gun broke apart upon contact.
The following kick to his chest however caught him off guard, sending him flying away from Luro.

He immediately regained his footing and stomped the ground, vibrations running along the street causing Luro to get thrown backwards. Donovan didn't waste the opportunity a second time, closing the distance with a punch towards the redhead's head.
Luro raised his arm in time, throwing Armament on it to mitigate the attack, though the force still sent him through a nearby building.
Luro tumbled through the inside of the small shop, before landing in a chair which slid all the way back before hitting the far wall.

Luro leaned forward, setting all four legs of the chair on the floor and looked at his hand, which still was trembling slightly from the hit.
He grinned and slapped his knee as loud laughter escaped from him.
"Hahaha, he's really strong. That Armament won't be easy to break through."
Luro looked up to see Donovan in front of him, fist drawn back before it came forward, dust and chunks of the building blowing up as contact was made.
Donovan's eyes narrowed as he waved away the smoke and noticed the hole in the building but no Luro.
Walking outside he took a quick look around, while he expected the redhead to hide, Luro was actually waiting for him, leaning against a nearby wall. He moved away from it and with a wave of his hand his rifle vanished as he moved back into his path.

No words were exchanged as the two ran at each other, each one exchanging blows with one another, fists to fists the two men pounding into each other, the force enough to blow away anything unfortunate to be in the path of their strikes. The two circled in the same spot, weaving between each other's blows, Armament covering their fists, each one moving their Armament to keep their bones from breaking from each confirmed contact.
Each swing took out another part of the landscape, and by the time the two men broke away from each other most of the buildings around them were rubble or close to it.

Donovan breathed heavily as did Luro who grinned at him and straightened his body.
"I can keep up with you, that's great!" Luro said clapping his hands together. "I just wanted to see if I could so thank you. I know I got stronger but I had no way to really measure it, you're someone I lost against so getting to 'actually' see how much I've grown is great."
With a small laugh Luro brought his hands to his hips.
"Okay I'm gonna start getting more serious now."
"If you're going to do something serious do it from the get go, now you're just wasting time, including mine."
"I'm not allowed to get serious from the start. Captain's Orders," Luro said. "I'm supposed to 'gauge the situation' then act 'accordingly'."
Luro said this sounding out the words he was given by Zilia in explanation to one of Runali's rules.
Donovan stared at Luro with a tired gaze and with a small shake of his head raised his foot and slammed it down, vibrations filled the area and Luro grinned feeling the attack coming, however the redhead glanced behind him suddenly.


Luro raising his own foot and stomped it causing the vibration to stop, which caused Dononva's eyes to narrow at his power being halted.
Looking back up at Luro he noticed the redhead holding a hand up, while he had no intention of stopping he froze as a navy officer passed by them escorting two civilians. The Officer was clearly happy to see a higher up but froze seeing what was clearly a pirate staring at them.
Neither man moved however, Luro seemed to be waiting for something even as the people shivered in front of him.
Donovan met the officer's eyes and made motion with his head, the man nodded and ushered the people along, Luro watched them leave and once they were clearly out of the way he looked back at Donovan.
Words remained unspoken between the two, but there was enough of an understanding neither felt the need to comment on it.


There was no real time for the moment to pass by any further as fire suddenly exploded from Luro's hands towards Donovan. The officer's eyes widened before he rolled out of the way of the flames.
Luro continued hurling fire at the man, streams of red filling the area with Donovan doing all he could to move between the strikes, the heat tickling his skin as he created some distance.
"He's a User?"
Contemplation was thrown to the wind as a red spark filled the area in front of Donovan before exploding, his arms rising to stop the blast. He grit his teeth as he was hurled backwards, opening his eyes he found himself in a tunnel of flames, surrounded on all sides.
Luro grinned and closed his hand causing the fire to close in around him detonating again.

Donovan was thrown out of the tunnel Armament surrounding his body along with the black smoke, he rolled along the ground and threw off his now flaming cape, climbing back to his feet. His uniform was now covered in singe marks and closing his hand into a fist he slammed it into the ground, a great tremor started to build but Luro grinned and stomping his own foot stopped it from mainesting once again.
Donovan sprinted forward deciding to resolve the issue up close when Luro stomped the ground again, this time Ice quickly moved under the Rear Admiral's feet, the sudden appearance caused him to lose his balance.
He leapt in the air only for a gunshot to ring out a bullet piercing his shoulder, red staining his uniform, his eyes moved to Luro only to see he was no longer standing on the ground.
That moment caused him to lose his focus and his target.

Landing outside the ice his gaze moved around trying to find the Stardusk Pirate.
"Beneath you."
Donovan turned only to see nothing, a hand burst out from the ground and gripped his ankle pulling him down into the earth up to hish shoulder.
His eyes widened as Luro climbed out of the ground and brushed the dirt off him looking at Donovan who was now stuck in a mini hole.
"Why'd you look behind you? I said beneath you." Luro questioned.
Donovan tried to use his power but something prevented the vibrations from going anywhere, Luro raised his hand up before turning it sideways and simulated holding a cup. Donovan eyebrows arched and as Luro closed his hand slightly the earth started crushing him.
A loud 'snap' rang out and a sudden pain hit his arm. He didn't need to look to realize his right arm had just been broken, he knew the feeling. From the way he was being crushed his ribs were probably next.
It was during this time, near the end of his demise he contemplated the last time he took a day off.

Luro however stopped closing his hand and stared at the man in silence, the earth not longer harshly pressing against him.
"...you remind me of someone."
Donovan blinked before looking back at Luro, the redhead knelt down on the balls of his feet and stared at Donovan.
"Hey, would you be willing to surrender?"
Donovan's eyes twitched at this and Luro sat tailor style on the ground in front of the older man's mini entrapment, resting his cheek on his fist, he smiled at him.
"I know an old navy officer guy and you made me remember him, so I don't really feel like killing you anymore. If you surrender I won't kill you so long as I don't see you again today. I'm fine with just crushing you if you have some…I dunno reason to kill me or something."
Luro shrugged.
"I got what I wanted and I'm in a hurry, also Z said you guys were willing to capture us. Captain said don't kill unless necessary after all, and don't really feel like it right now."



Zilia Vs Kino
Uptight Doctor Vs Expressionless Officer
"Who will follow orders more efficiently?!"



Zilia leapt from rooftop to rooftop as Kino appeared and disappeared firing at her from various angles. Zilia ducked under one shot and raised her barrier, deflecting another.
She snapped her fingers setting off a small red explosion where Kino was but the woman vanished before it could hit her, but it served to stop her from shooting again which was the doctor's intention.
Zilia was suddenly even more grateful for Seliria, the woman had realized one of her fruit's weaknesses and beat it into her, literally and figuratively, how to counteract it.
If she hadn't this fight would have ended long ago and not in her favor.

Kino's hit and run tactics made it difficult to do anything proper against her, a straightforward fight would be easier as she could adjust her power but trying to gauge her strength was hard if she didn't hit the woman.
"I have a way to stop it…but I'd rather not use that."
Killing the woman wasn't her intention, she was just following orders, Donovan didn't seem to be interested in this either.
Zilia went to move to another rooftop but Kino appeared in front of her, she quickly raised her arms up as a kick sent her down and through a window of one of the buildings.
Zilia hit the wooden floor and rolled, flipping over a table she turned it over as another gunshot rang out, hitting her makeshift cover.

She moved again as Kino teleported into the room, firing at her, blue formed in front of her stopping the bullet, however the barrier cracked and her eyes widening she leaned out of the way as she bullet broke through, destroying a chunk of the building behind her.
"Armament," she mumbled.
The bullet was stronger, she didn't adjust for that.
Leaping backwards out the window she propelled herself back onto the rooftops, she hurled a purple orb into the room Kino was in, the woman looking at the glow before it exploded blowing out the room and the top half of the building.

Zilia immediately spun around as a kick came at her side, she put up her armament fast enough to lessen the damage but was still thrown onto the opposing rooftop. Rolling along the ground she rested on her hands and knees and held her side for a moment, biting her lip at the stinging pain.
"Armament again…figures," Zilia said climbing to her feet.
This game of cat and cat was turning into cat and mouse really quick, she couldn't allow this to turn into a battle of attrition, she didn't know how much time remained.
"...I can't get a proper hit on her though," Zilia said.
She knew during this small lapse the woman was reloading her gun, every six shots she had a moment to breathe, but only a small window.
Just as she went to try and find her again a voice reached her ear, she brought a hand to it, something Isa told her to do to help hear her voice better with the crystal in it.
"Zil…Kara just gave me some news! The execution is being moved up! They're trying to kill the Captain's now and we don't know where Miss Runali is!"
Zilia's eyes widened at this and she flinched hearing Isari scream on the other end.
"Isa!"
"I'm okay, a Golem just got destroyed. I felt the recoil. Reinforcements showed up recently so we're dealing with that too. We got things here, just save Miss Runali and the other Captains! "

Zilia lowered her hand before removing her glasses and shutting her eyes, squeezed the bridge of her nose.
She was irritated.
Not just at this situation but more so at herself, everyone was fighting with all they had trying to break through and she was here hesitating to keep from hurting her opponent too much.
This wasn't the time to be the Stardusk Doctor.
She took a long deep shaky breath and brushing off the front of her outfit put her glasses back on.
Kino appeared behind her and swung her foot at her again, she prepared to retreat again when the doctor's hand gripped her ankle.

Kino's eyes nodded as Zilia slammed her through the roof down through the building until she hit the first floor.
She let out a pained gasp as she hit the ground, opening her eyes she saw Zilia descending on her and immediately teleported before the doctor's armament coated fist crashed into where she was.
The ground broke apart at the force of the attack and the doctor slowly raised her body glancing to her right.
"Chat-Chat Fruit…Rewrite."
A white gust of energy surrounded the doctor, blowing apart the remains of the building, leaving her nothing but a swirl of energy in the open. Her form completely hidden Zilia vanished from sight.


Kino appeared a few feet away and realized she could no longer sense where Zilia was, her Observation had lost the doctor. Zilia saved her the effort of looking however as her fist crashed into Kino's skull sending her plummeting towards the earth.
The falling officer opened a portal, avoiding hitting the ground and came out again in the air a few feet away.
Once again however Zilia was already on her, crashing into her and slamming her into a roof.
Grabbing her by the shirt she raised Kino torso up and pummeled her in the skull with her Armament coated fist. Kino even protecting herself with her own didn't seem to work well enough to halt the doctor's assault.

She shoved Zilia off her and jumping away teleported again, she was barely out of the portal before Zilia's foot hit her side, her body flew through the air and crashed into a nearby building, she tumbled along the ground and tried to open another portal.
Zilia's foot connecting with her ribs however stopped that attempt and sent her back out of the building.
No matter how many times she tried to get away, Zilia was always right there, she never got a good look at the woman between her blows, but she could feel the anger pouring out of every pore of the doctor.
She landed on another roof and Zilia was right there with her, Armament fist slamming into her chest, she took the hit and slid backwards managing to keep from going over the edge She raised her hands to block the remaining ones, she decided to find an opening through normal combat, her power clearly wasn't working against her opponent.

Zilia stepped forward as a purple glow surrounded her hand, the glow was different from her power but Kino braced for it nonetheless, the attack hit her chest and her Armament did nothing against it.
The shock of it actually made her stumble, she was sure her Armament was up, positive she stopped that but it felt as if she had hit her directly.
It was only at this moment she got a look at the doctor and saw for a split second her grayish hair had shifted into obsidian.

The next attack came just as fast and once again she raised her Armament only for it to do nothing, the attacks broke through her body reeling at the strikes. She tried to take a step back only for Zilia to grab her shirt and force her back into their engagement.
She couldn't run, she couldn't defend, the doctor's fury pummeled into her with each strike and she felt every inch of it. If she raised her arms Zilia forced her to lower them, she almost blacked out but the doctor hit her hard enough to force her back awake just to beat on her more, not allowing one moment of respite.
Beating her to near unconsciousness but never fully letting her go.
It wasn't even a fight at that point.
The world was spinning, her thoughts couldn't focus, she wanted to do something…anything but the pain overshadowed everything.

She somehow managed to open a portal and step back into it, she just needed to get away, as far as possible to get her bearings but she was quickly reminded running was useless as Zilia knocked her back towards the ground, Kino hit the cobblestone with a pained cry before rolling along the ground, coming to a stop at a wall in the alley.
She managed to sit upright, blood trickling down her chin, her body covered in bruises, most of her was swollen including her left eye, which only made it harder to see.
She was sure some bones were broken, trying to move caused a sharp pain to run through her proving she was correct.

Her vision adjusted to see Zilia walking towards her, the blood from their earlier beatdown still fresh on her bare knuckles.
The area around them almost seemed to distort at the doctor's rage, the buildings formed cracks along them as she passed, windows shattered, and the ground itself broke apart.
This woman was going to kill her in the most horrific way she could, she felt it.
Kino grit her teeth and forced herself to raise her left arm to point her gun at her, she went to fire and a flash of red appeared near her.
Due to the influx of pain throughout her it took Kino a moment to realize why the gun hadn't fired.
Her hand lay a few feet away, the gun lying on the ground next to it, she looked down at the stump where her hand had been realizing what had happened.
Zilia raised her hand to finish off the woman, offering no words, no choices, just a cold stare and an unspoken promised end.
"Z."
The voice pulled Zilia back and she glanced behind her to see Luro with Donovan.
"Pretty sure she's done," Luro said grinning.
"Kino…stand down. Day's been long enough."
Donovan spoke to Kino seeing the woman trying with her other hand to reach for her gun, she stared at Donovan for a moment, her eyes moving down to his limping right arm and his disheveled form.
With a nod she leaned back against the wall, a heavy sigh escaping from her.

Luro took a look around the place, seeing it was little more than a giant crater at this point and managed to put the pieces together.
"You got a little irritated, didn't you Z?"
Zilia's shoulders lowered slightly as her body relaxed, reaching up she adjusted her glasses slightly as her hair returned to its normal color.
"...a little."
"Well the city's still intact so that's good," Luro said. "Just a little miffed this time thankfully. That being said old guy you should really both retire and take a nap."
Luro grabbed his rifle and slammed it against the side of Donovan's head knocking the man out, Kino went to move but a focused strike from Zilia knocked the woman fully unconscious right after.




Later

In a nearby infirmary nurses and doctors were moving left and right treating the patients within.
A knock came at the door and a nurse ran over and answered it, expecting it to be the extra supplies. What she found was Donovan and Kino tied up together, with the latter's hand in her lap. There was a note on Donovan's chest that said.

"Please treat,
Sincerely the people who did this to them."


Below the note was a detailed explanation of what their injuries were and the steps to heal them with minimal complications.
The nurse blinked surprised before noticing some medical supplies were on Donovan's lap.
"D-doctor we have more patients…and you're not gonna believe this!"

Luro and Zilia continued forward, the two picking up the pace after Zilia delivered the news to Luro. They rushed through the streets managing to avoid fights until a group of officers moved into their path.
"We don't have time for this," Zilia said as Luro drew his gun preparing to fight.
A cloaked figure however rushed past them and brought their fist forward towards the navy officers.
It wouldn't be shocking to think an explosion had hit the city as a result.
The ground was torn completely asunder, the paved road ripped completely apart revealing the land under it, the buildings windows were blown apart before the structures themselves were ripped from their foundations by the pressure that followed and flew a few feet away, twirling through the air before crashing into the ground.
It went without saying any officer in the path of this was no longer of the living, their bones cracked completely against the pressure and any that were close enough to the 'blast' bodies had caved in.
A long straight cavity had been made in the earth from the stranger's punch alone, anything in it was now still.
"....wha?" was all Zilia could get out.
She didn't have much time to react as officers who were hiding nearby were revealed thanks to the lack of buildings, they hesitated to move seeing the destruction from the newcomer and that apparently provided an opening to another figure.

Flaming arrows landed at the feet of the remaining officers before exploding, consuming those close enough in flames that burned down to the bone, when the flames faded only ash remained as proof of their existence.
Zilia's guard immediately went up as another person appeared suddenly next to the tall stranger.
Luro however was already hugging them causing her to lower her guard.
"You two came!"
The two strangers lowered their hoods revealing themselves, Malas and Yiora offered a grin to the two, the latter motioning forward with her head.
"We can catch up later, hurry up and get Ma'Nim back."
Luro gave a nod and quickly hugging the two again ran forward calling for Zilia.
Offering a nod and thanks to the two she chased after Luro.
Malas and Yiora turned towards the approaching officer and Yiora adjusted the gloves on her hand before grabbing her bowstring, pulling on it an arrow of ice manifested, which she aimed at the group.
"...Ma'Nai really gets into a lot of trouble doesn't he," Yiora said with a smile. "He's such a handful."
"I don't mind," Malas said cracking his knuckles. "I like that he's enjoying life."
"Haha…he's certainly not bored by it. I should follow his example a bit more then."

Malas.jpg
Yiora's.jpg

The two made it to the third ring and kept forward only to catch the sight of two familiar people. Zilia eyes widened seeing Pierre and Paris about to be executed, she looked over at Luro who was already drawing his rifle, she expected him to shoot the executioner but instead he looked over at her.
"Z there's a bunch of people, let's go with Plan E."
"What's Plan E?"
Luro bursted forward not answering the question and Zilia threw her arms up before she watched Luro leave the ground with another blue burst and go high in the sky.
She looked back at the platform and the gathered officers below and muttering something grabbed the words before manifesting a pistol, she was prepared to shoot the man herself when she heard loud laughter fill the area, enough to stop the man from following through. All the officers quickly scanned the area for the source.
"Wooooooooooo!"
Zilia looked up to see something aflame was quickly descending towards the platform, it looked like a meteor from a distance but she realized very quickly it was Luro, presently on fire and approaching the execution platform.
Zilia raised her pistol and quickly shot the executioner, she purposely hit him in the hand causing him to drop the weapon over the edge and stumble back.
"HI MY NAME'S LUROOOOO MAKACHIIIIIIII!"
Luro slammed into the platform after his introduction throwing flames everywhere as a giant explosion consumed the area, every living thing was caught in the explosion, save for Zilia and the two Captains who were in a barrier courtesy of the doctor.
While untying them within the 'safe space' they had the pleasure of witnessing the surrounding officers burned basically to nothing, the few with Armament ended up as skeletons by time everything faded.
"Plan E…plan explosion? Eradication? Probably explosion," the doctor mumbled moving to Paris' bindings.
A large crater resided where the platform now was and Luro climbed out of it, clapping his hands the flames dissipated stopping them from spreading and Zilia removed the barrier once she had fully removed the bindings.
"I'm glad you guys are okay, last I checked Cecilia and Sergei are fine too" Zilia said.
She turned to berate Luro only to see him already running away.
"Luro! Where are you going?!"
"Captain's not here Imma look elsewhere, do the thing if you find her! Bye P guys!"
Zilia wanted to say something further but ended up jumping away from the twins as a knife stabbed into the spot where she'd been, normally her guard would go up but recognizing the blade her eyes narrowed and she turned as Kara walked out of the shadows.

"Hello Zilia," the woman said, grabbing the knife. "You're quick as always."
"Kara aren't you not allowed to attack me while under contract?"
"I knew you'd dodge so it's not really attacking," Kara responded.
Zilia sighed and raised a hand in case the two were confused.
"She's not an enemy, just hates me. Are you here to escort them?"
"Yep. If they want to be escorted, it's part of my job. I've already informed Sergei you're not on the chopping block anymore. Cecilia will probably find out…well soonish."
Zilia nodded before looking back at Pierre and Paris."
"Do you happen to know where Runali is?"
"I'm also trying to find the others too. Someone's gotta save Carabis," Kara added.
"I would like to save him and rub it in Rin's face," Zilia added. "Runali first though Kara or someone else can deal with him."




Boat Stopping Squad




Nikos.jpg Tari's Banner.jpg Nina's Banner.jpg Aira Banner.jpg

Nikos lowered the communicator, a heavy sigh escaping from him as he handed it back to Tari who looked at the stretched out sea in front of them. She could already see the dots on the horizon and knew why Nikos' brows was furrowed.
Aira's ship came to a stop next to their own and the woman hopped over to the main ship walking up to Nikos after waving to Nina who sat nearby, the woman returning the gesture.
"What's going on?" Aira asked grabbing the offered rum from Tari.
"Kara gave us a gift…an opportunity to charge extra," Nikos said.
"Nice! Don't we need a new kitchen or somethin' like that," Aira said.
"Accent Aira your accent is coming out," Tari commented.
Aira raised her bottle in thanks to Tari before looking at Nikos' whose eyes narrowed at her.
"Yes we do…and why do we need a new kitchen Aira the destroyer."
Aira blinked a few times before averting her eyes, with a sigh Nikos continued.
"There are presently 100 ships coming our way…and our allies are dealing with the mess behind us. Kara was going to talk them down further but decided it'd be 'fun' for us."
"100 ships…geez Kara you're really having fun aren't ya," Aira said with a sigh. "We callin' in help?"
"Our job is to stop reinforcements, these are the reinforcements. If we delegate the task to another we'll have to share the pay…and will be showing we couldn't handle it," Tari said with a shake of her head.
"Still though that's 100 ships, and we got…I think eight we can use."
"If each of us take 23 ships we can lower that number and make it even," Nina said.
Aira opened her mouth to comment on it but she saw Nikos' hand moved to his chin and closed her mouth seeing he was thinking…which meant he was about to say something insane, especially after something Nina said.
"...four of us…23 ships…Nina is right. We can make it even that way."
"If we're doin' this..and we're clearly doin' this. Just puttin' it out there…if we're gonna destroy 92 ships…"
"Accent Airi," Tari said causing the woman to raise a hand in thanks before continuing.
"Which is a whole other thing we need to discuss later, why not just finish the rest off?"
"I would prefer not to show our hand more than necessary to those around us. Especially Stardusk."
"I saw what Alicia did earlier…that was not in my records so I'm in agreement," Tari added.
"...y'alls logic is as messed up as always but all right. 23 ships each got it," Aira said moving back to her boat. "Not difficult at all….Whose first?"

Tari's Turn

Tari walked forward, eyeing the ships in the distance, she was silent, her gaze moving over the gathered forces before she raised hands from her sides.
What Alicia had done earlier replayed in her head, every time she saw that woman she had some new skill or had grown stronger in some way even if it was subtle.
Two years and it was still an annoying thing to witness, their differences would have to be settled one day, she knew that so she couldn't allow that distance to shrink.



Tari raised her hands palm upwards and a light pink glow surrounded her body as she closed her eyes, that same glow suddenly started surrounding the ships causing those on board to look around in confusion, trying to poke the glow and raising their boots as it ran along the deck.
In some places Alicia was referred to as a goddess, a god walking around in human form. That meant that she had to match that in some aspect, so she would give a demonstration worthy of one.
Tari opened her eyes and closed her hands slightly forming claws with her fingers, as she did every ship surrounded by the glow was suddenly encased in a large pinkish orb that encompassed the entirety of the ship and crew. Any ships behind them bumped into the dome and was stopped as if they had run into a wall, the barrier stopping any from further approaching.
The woman turned her hands around and quickly lowered them, every ship within the orb was promptly pulled underwater.

Tari eyelids lowered slightly before her hands closed into fists, a bright glow filled the sea from below before explosions soon followed, geisers of water shooting up at each spot the ships had been taken. The action caused the remaining ships to rock back and forth as the ocean moved to and fro responding to the myriad of detonations.
When everything finally settled Tari turned her hands over again and raised her hands back up slowly, as she did the orbs rose back above the water, ships that were once within them and the people on them, had all but vanished, only pools of blood remained within the orbs now, bits of wood floating in them.

Tari released the barriers letting the contents spill out before releasing a breath she was holding, she stumbled a bit only for Nikos to put a hand on her back. She looked up at him and offered a nod in thanks before wiping a bit of sweat from her brow as the next person stepped forward.

Remaining Ships:77


Nikos' Turn


Nikos stepped forward, his hand moving to the sword on his waist.
The man was always content to do his duty, that hadn't changed even now.
If he was being honest however, he disliked that he wasn't in the city at the moment. In the end he would end up going up against Runali at the height of their ambitions, that was why he was here to ensure that still happened.
She was however his Rival first and foremost and her well-being mattered to him.
His actions would ultimately aid in her rescue and safety but there was a twinge of sadness at not being able to directly help.



He put such thoughts aside as he eyed the ships, a red glow surrounded his sword and his other hand hovered over his hilt, this was a move he had been saving to surprise her with, but it was one of many. She had already seen Whisper so knowing of the other variant wouldn't matter much.
"Loud Whisper."
Nikos drew his blade the entirety of it coated red, the bandages around the blade prevent it from being seen but the cloth around it had turned red as well as if in response to the blade. He stepped and swung his sword in a few clean arcs, with no force or particular speed, as if he was practicing his strikes and after a few 'cuts' returned the blade to his sheath.

Along the ships long red lines appeared, those on the ships were surprised to see long red streaks along their bodies that matched the ones on the ship. They tried to rub them off to no avail and Nikos observed in silence.
Every red line was where his 'ambition' had cut, he merely had to acknowledge it.
His finger tapped the top of his blade's hilt and the red lines responded to his will, cutting apart everything they touched, people, ships, even the water separated where he had made contact, never moving from the spot he was standing.
This was the power of the Prophet Leader and his 'imaginary' blade.
While not as fancy as Tari's the job had been done quickly and efficiently which fit the leader.
"...look I'm only saying this because Kaim's not here to do it. You really love your oxymoron's don't you Captain?" Aira said.
"Next time don't say it. Okay, whose turn is it next?"

Ships Remaining:54


Nina's turn


Aira was actually slightly excited to watch Nina's, she rarely got to see the woman go past 3. Nikos' orders and all, though to be honest everyone rarely went past it but Nina was especially forbidden. She however wasn't around to witness the few assaults from Nina when she was allowed. She knew Nikos' and Tari's strength, it was part of why she followed them, but she was rarely there for any of Nina's displays. She wondered why Nikos rarely let her go past 3, even when the rest of them were allowed.


Nina set a few of her blades down leaving only three on her person and walked a bit closer to the bow of the ship. A black glow surrounded each of her blades and the woman drew each one and swung in a different direction with each blade towards the ships, before turning and walking back to her spot, sitting back down.
Aira had barely seen her draw much less attack with the blades and from what she could see the ships were still approaching.
Nikos however was already looking at her since it was her turn and Tari was writing the ship number for Nina on a piece of paper.
"Uh…she didn't-"
Aira cut herself off as she watched 23 ships suddenly turn to ash.
The woman's eyes widened at the sight, there was no sign anything had been done, there was no manner of indication, nor any signs the blades had even touched the ships.
In what was basically a blink, the ships and every living thing on there just…disintegrated and was taken away by the wind, they couldn't even scream.
"...okay that answers…a lot of questions," Aira said grabbing her axe.

Ships Remaining: 31



Aira's turn


"I swear I'm surrounded by freakish people," the woman said as she walked forward. "Can't exactly back down though."
She forgot each person on that ship fought against the Stardusk Pirates; they had changed afterwards, seeking strength for different reasons and pushing themselves to the limit.
She looked at the remaining ships, 100 now 31 in the span of a few minutes. The culmination of that effort was displayed in front of her, granted there was no one on the ships ahead that could stop their attacks, Nikos confirmed it himself but that didn't change the fact that her crew were monsters, and this was still holding back.
Now they were looking at her all expectantly and she knew if she didn't do the same Nikos' already harsh training was going to be a lot harsher, she could destroy 22 and she'd suffer half a year of grueling training again.
"Ahhh screw it! I got stronger too, I'll just do whatever!"


Aira stepped forward and striking the side of the axe with her hook caused the weapon to set on fire, spreading across the entirety of the weapon, the woman stepped forward and with a loud yell swung her in a huge arc, she focused all her strength into that single swipe and it paid off.
The flames exploded forward crashing into the ships and consuming everything in its path, if the ships weren't torn asunder by the redirected tension of her strike the fires consumed them.
Nikos gave a small nod as multiple ships returned to the sea, his eyes going to the ones remaining.
"Very good Aira, I'm glad our lessons…wait."
Aira flinched and looked back at the ships.
"Oh come on I missed one?! Really?!"

Remaining Ships: 7

"Oh I destroyed an extra one. Well no big deal."
"No big deal," Nikos said narrowing his eyes at her. "It was 23 each that was the agreement. Aira everyone showed restraint, why can't you ever hold back properly?"
"...you can't be serious."
"I'm sorry Aira but 23 was the agreed number. You destroyed one extra," Tari said with a small nod.
"No seriously you're joking right?"
"Aira didn't hold back…just like with the kitchen," Nina added.
"Nina dat's cold blooded, da kitchen was an accident. Also yes I know accent!"
"An accident born from your lack of self restraint," Nikos added. "Which you once again have displayed. I'm adjusting your training the next three months Aira."
Aira hung her head and sighed before making a motion with her hand causing the eight ships to pull forward and engage the remaining ships.
"Well at least it's not six…fine fine, what's the orders now Captain?"
"Take a breather, we all used a lot of Haki. Even if you feel fine, still take a moment to rest but keep your guard up," Nikos said before looking back out at the sea. "The mission's not over yet."
"Nikos you gotta stop, you say that every time we're in a mission," Aria said grabbing another bottle.





Kara
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Within the chaos of a city a man was organizing his troops directing them to try and combat the pirates who had broken through, they were managing to hold the line to an extent thanks to his guidance but just barely. From his high vantage point he could tell where they were spilling in and he yelled at his men trying to cut off their approach where he could.
"Is your Rank Captain?"
A voice caused the man to pause, before he could turn much less speak, something moved along his neck, the strangers hand covering his mouth stifled his voice as another wrapped around his body, the other hand moved over his own that had gone from his sword stopping him from drawing it as he felt darkness fill his vision.

"Captain! Which angle should we protect next?!"
Silence.
"Captain?!"
One of the soldiers turned to see their Captain standing on the platform, just as he went to speak again the man's body fell forward and plummeted to the ground, throwing red everywhere as his limp form hit the pavement. His face still frozen in shock stared off in the direction of the approaching pirates.
"Captain!"

Kara rolled down the sleeves of her navy uniform, checking herself once more to ensure there was no blood on her before making her way forward. She made a small mark in her book next to numerous others before shutting it and continuing her way through the city.
Nikos had given her very specific orders, assassinate as many high officials as possible, especially those leading to make things easier for the assault. Add in some misdirection and confusion while also dealing with the reinforcements if Ria ends up occupied, whichwas presently the case.
Though it was more so she was staying near Jack to ensure his safety, the woman herself was fine.
Judging by the screams and laughter behind her the pirates broke through another line.
"They'll reach the third ring soon at this point."

She was keeping a tally of how many officials she had killed, protocol when they negotiated the price once the contract was over.
Seeing another Captain she raised a hand to him and ran over to him, saluting him she gave him false information before requesting orders.
The man sent one of his ensigns to deal with the 'threat' before moving back to Kara.
"Come with me, we got the call from the Baron we have to follow through on it. I don't like it but orders are orders, an ensign should be waiting for us."
"At that tower correct," Kara said motioning to it as the two made their way forward. "Could you also update me on the situation on your side sir, for my superior officer."
"Yes he's at the top floor as usual and I'll summarize it along the way."
Kara followed behind the man listening intently to the orders passed down, once she got what she needed she motioned to a nearby location.
"Let's cut through this alley, just in case there's pirates on the main street, they did make it this far after all."
The man nodded and the two entered the alley, Kara alone walked out of it rolling down her sleeves and adjusting her new badges.
"All right, top of the tower."

Kara picked up the receiver and spoke into it, an ensign pinned to the wall behind her by blue tendrils coming out of the woman's body, his muffled screams didn't make it very far thanks to one covering his mouth.
Kara put in the code he 'willfully' provided and made one of the tendrils sharpen into a blade before putting it against his throat, which was enough to silence him.
"This is Tower 4, calling Blue Bird."
"What comes after dark night?" Came the voice from the other side.
"A Dawn of Tranquility."
"Code acknowledged. State the purpose of your call Tower 4."
"Calling about the confirmation. The call from the Baron was a false alarm, repeat a false alarm. Do not commence with the operation."
"Are you sure? We heard the alarms."
"There is an assault but it's being handled. If you're unaware Runali Lev was brought in, there are no more leaders among them, their 'assault' is disorganized at best. They did however make it to shore by just throwing ships at us but we have the advantage and numbers. The operation would cause us to lose more than gain."
"I do recall the report about Lev. Understood we will cancel the operation, however we have prepared ships we'll send them as reinforcements to help speed up the process. We have 300 ships prepared. What route is safe to approach from?"
"We don't need that many, it's being handled ."
"The ships are already in route. Repeat what route is safe to approach from?"
Kara sighed and shaking her head managed to talk the man into recalling some of the ships, once that was done she spoke up again.
"The South side has the least resistance. What formation are you in? I'll call ships to circle around so you can pincer them. Once they see reinforcements they'll probably try to run."

Kara got the man's information before ending the call and immediately making another.
She regretted not being there to see their face when they met the bulk of their forces, she decided to just ask Nikos later.

Turning the woman waved her hand causing the tendrils to release the man but still hover near him.
"Deal's a deal I let you live."
"T-thank you."
"For a few more minutes."
"Wait that wasn't-"
The bladed tendril swung at the man before red splattered on the wall behind him, raising the communicator as the ensign's body fell over, she spoke into again after setting it to the hidden channel.
"Nikos I got news on the Captains, tell Isa to help spread the word. Also I may have helped us pay for that new kitchen."
 
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Mizos

*Insert quip here*
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Alicia and Seliria

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Alicia perked a brow towards Sergei. "… Steam princess?" she replied before looking towards Seliria as if the older woman might know more about the title. Turning back towards the theatrics of the man her eyebrow raised further upon seeing him pacify the forces imminently making way towards their position. "We'll that certainly makes things easier… " she commented before regarding Seliria for them to proceed as Sergei cleared them a path. "Stay safe, we'll be back before you know it." She assured before once again making way towards the second inner circle.

After several minutes of moving through the urban environment she came to a stop as soon as the piercing sound hit her ears, vision blurring as the source of it revealed itself ahead of them. A young woman who began with a series of complaints and insults that seemed to be blasting them back a few feet at a time. Alicia had to raise her arms to guard against the shockwaves, her feet sliding against the ground as if she were hit with an impressive wind torrent. Usually Alicia would give a response or get into a verbal back and forth, but she cared little for it with time being of the essence. Instead she glanced to the side at Seliria. "How do you want to handle this?"

"Because you were useful you get one of those Sergei…one. You call me that again and there will be consequences, and if you're stupid enough to pursue what those are know that I was nice enough to warn you."
The woman let the matter drop there and followed alongside Alicia as they moved forward.
"Don't die."
She made no promise of safety but it was enough to show the swordswoman wasn't after his life, at least not yet.
"Also we'll talk about it later Alicia."

The sudden eruption of sound caused Seliria's world to shift for a moment, up became down, and left, right in a matter of moments. She brought a hand to her face closing her eyes and focusing enough to at least find who was trying to deafen her.
Seliria's crossed her arms as the woman, who was making all the noise, started berating them out of the blue. Though she slid backwards at each word, the woman impatiently tapped a finger on her arm, the only sign the power was affecting her was the occasional twitch of her eyes, and the fact she was being pushed back.
It seemed Seliria was beyond the point of irritation at this point.
During the woman's complaining Seliria raised a hand to her ear, her eyes narrowing before she lowered it to look at Alicia.
"Go I'll deal with her," Seliria respond. "Apparently the execution date has been moved forward, they're starting now and Runali can't be found."
"Why don't you both go?"

Another voice broke through and a figure fell from the rooftops landing in front of Seliria and Alicia, the bright white of the person's navy's uniform had been stained by what seemed to be dirt and blood in some areas, yet it didn't seem to demean its wearer, who stood sword drawn facing the one blocking their path.
"Figured it'd be you Eliza Von Mcbrat the Fourth…or is it the third. How much of your family were disappointments again?"
Mari glanced back at the two and rested her sword on her shoulder.
"I got her, go get Runali and the other Worst Gen back."
"…Mcbrat?" Seliria questioned pointing at Eliza. "Really?"
"I don't know her full name no one listens past 'Von', it's what I made up at some point. It won't matter once I slit her throat anyway. Also I think it was nice. Amaiya you thought it was good right?"

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Seliria stared at Mari, the navy woman's steely gaze focused on Eliza, her grip tightening on her sword.
"I owe you one," Seliria said dropping the words she wanted to say.
"Don't worry about it. This isn't…this isn't the Navy I'm fighting for. Ira's stench is all over this. My actions are born of guilt, obligation and duty. No one owes me anything for this. Certainly not my dear friend and Hunt Sister."
Seliria stared at the woman then glanced at Alicia.
"Mari I don't think…you ever explained Hunt Sister to Alicia did you?"
"Why would I? We exchanged blows in the Circle."
"I know this isn't the time but sometimes you have to actually 'say' things Mari. Not everything is explained by just fighting. Again no time so you two deal with this later."
"I get you have to go and please do but does Amaiya really not know we're hunt sisters? There's a whole thing with First Borns."
"Stopped caring doesn't involve me, Alicia lets go."
Alicia blinked as Mari, a familiar face suddenly arrived shortly after Seliria mentioned taking on the officer on her own. "Mari?" She was slightly caught off guard before her face began shifting to further confusion as the two women began exchanging words. She'd opened her mouth to respond to Mari's first question before closing it as the conversation went on to create even more questions. By the time it was over Alicia looked completely lost, so much so that she forgot that they were amidst a battle.

"I… actually have no-" she began before Seliria sped things along pulling her attention back to the situation at hand. "Right." she nodded before her brow furrowed towards the officer before them. "Mari we'll make an opening for you before we continue, Selly follow up after me… please." she added the last part as it still felt strange ordering the older woman around.

Before she could hear any arguments she brought her forward foot down hard, the ground beneath her cracking as bolts of light twisted momentarily around her body. A second later she was gone, appearing again in an instant above the officer as she swung a wide devastating slashing arc aimed to force her into dodging and giving up ground. In doing so the way would be clear for her and Seliria to advance while distracting her long enough for Mari to hopefully take advantage. Once Alicia landed on the other side of the woman she began forwards again towards the tower.

"Aye."
That was all the older woman offered as a response, she easily fell in step with Alicia sensing her intentions. That familiar rush filled her being for a moment, the tingling sensation she always felt following the mini-wind tunnel Sakura left, or the burning tickle on her cheeks as the power of destruction flowed past her. Her body still knew how to follow alongside a Tashigi easily enough, the moment Eliza moved and tried to respond, Seliria's armament coated fist forced her to the side, not allowing an opening.

Seliria was already next to Alicia as Mari used the opening to hurl the woman through a nearby window quicky following after her as the two woman ran off.
"Wonder if she'd be open to lunch later…" Mari mumbled drawing her blade.
 

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Capt. Blu

Fake it til You Make it
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Time: Entering Afternoon Time
Location: Above, In, Around - Belfield

Sometime in the height of battle…

In the midst of chaos, a shrill sound echoed throughout Belfield, catching everyone’s attention, from fighters to those retreating to find some semblance of safety.

“Hello fellow pirates and… well, the rest of you! This is your captain speaking.”
Those large ‘radios’ protruding from the ground in the second and third ring squealed out loud and staticy, but the more Nani’s voice echoed from it, the clearer it became.

“The one and only, Nani Sterling of the Sterling Pirates. Also known around as the Pirate Lord. Now you see, what the Navy's done here is try to send a message. Not just to pirates, but to the world… But they've made a grave mistake. This isn't the end of an era. No, no. This is the beginning. The Worst Generation? They are the Age of Pirates. They'll be the ones to shake up the New World." Static cut her off for a few seconds and then there was a faint sound of shouting and gunfire. “Anyway, don't forget to put on a good show. Make it memorable." And then the radios were silent.

The message reverberated and echoed, filling people with a new sensation whether it was hope, determination, weariness, fear, whatever it was, the Pirate Lord’s words rang in everyone’s ears.

------------------------------------------------------

3rd Ring → Everyone’s gathered in some capacity! Some closer than others!

Those on the ground watched the damaged airship (with a significant amount of the crew manning it gone) descend haphazardly to the landing dock next to Belfield Tower. Most of the debris from explosions and mishaps caused more people to run, while the more capable used their own respective power to keep themselves and those around them safe. Others weren’t so lucky. Either way it went, the airship team destroyed the cannon.

Attention focused on the executioner’s platform, a few feet in the air, void of non pirates thanks to Zilia and Luro. Pierre and Paris were now free of their chains and free to speak, but both were obviously a bit rattled by the explosions, by the near death, and everything else. There was a little less flair about them when they spoke. If they weren’t talking in time with one another, it would’ve been the first time the twins were ever ‘normal’.

“Gruesome.” Pierre cleared his throat as he adjusted his clothes.
“Terribly so.” Paris responded, doing the same. However both in unison gave small bows to the two. “But thanks, we owe you one.”
The names of their crew snapped some life into them. They expressed a shared emotion of relief and then concern at the idea of them being anywhere near this danger, only to be surprised by Kara’s appearance. Their lack of poise was a clear indication they were still on edge, and rightfully so as Zilia and Kara asked about the others. They looked at each other and then back at the door they had been dragged through.
“They were right behind us with…” Paris’ eyes widened and without another word both captains grabbed either woman, leaping off the platform right as it exploded. The platform itself crumbled into itself as if being crushed, before falling to the ground below.

“We need to move. Now.” The aura and urgency exuding off of Pierre seeped into Zilia and Kara. Usually, that ability to heighten emotions was for the stage, but here it was used to give the two glimpse of the very real danger they’d be in if they stayed in that spot. Neither captain seemed phased by the drop from the platform to the ground. There was a recognizable ‘captain-ly protectiveness’ that they had as they distanced the four of them away from the new large hole in the tower and further out into the courtyard.

At this point, pirates and allies began to gather; the airship team, the stealth mission, the docks, and whoever else wasn’t keeping the ships protected, however the courtyard itself was a few hundred yards in either direction so it’d still take an extra effort to meet the twin captains, Zilia, and Kara.

Bringing up the rear of the group, Saffron, Oz, and Stella had long since left their ship posts, doing a swift job at clearing the way so the captains’ escape would be easier. They joined the airship team, watching as the clouds from the explosion cleared and out walked a bruised and injured Alcinoe. She was still bound, walking out into the courtyard slowly, an unreadable look in her eye.

“Age of pirates?” A voice cackled in the darkness of the tower. “You all think you’re gods amongst men, when really you’re the scum of the earth. I can’t wait to make an example out of you.” The figure that stepped out had a decorated naval uniform belonging to a top Admiral and a menacing look as he towered over most of the crowd. “Surrender now and you can die a quick and painless death with your captains.” At that point, another admiral, a vice admiral much quieter than the first, walked out with both Nova captains still bound and in tow. Like Alcinoe, they sported their fair share of injuries. However, while Robin was scarily calm, Alton was visibly angry as they moved forward into the courtyard. “Or-”

Oz and Saffron ignored the twin captains’ warning to stay back, rushing to the aid of their captain. As they got closer there was a look from Alcinoe that caused both of their adrenaline to spike.

---

“Wrong answer.” The admiral, known as Gideon Valentin said, unmoving from his position at the ‘entrance’, save for a few extra steps.

Oz had never moved faster. The moment she saw him move, she was pulling the trigger to her gun. There wasn’t a moment’s hesitation, her aim was true, but instead of a bullet through the skull an invisible force stopped the bullet in mid air and sent her and Saffron careening backwards into Pierre and Paris. Gideon moved his hand again and the loose end of Alcinoe’s chain raised and pierced through her chest, before falling back into the inanimate object it was. She heard Saffron’s scream, but the gunner was frozen in place, watching her captain take slow, staggering steps forward. Even with the hole in her chest, she kept her head held high and carried forward until Saffron closed the distance.

Before anyone else could try to react, they were all suddenly repelled a few feet back by the weapons they were carrying. But Oz was still in place, watching as Alcinoe leaned forward against Saffron, whispering something with her casual smile, before leaning farther into the first mate. Saffron yanked her goggles to her neck to prevent her tears from flooding them.

---

“Dominic, if you would.”

The rear admiral nodded to his superior and stretched out his shoulder. Compared to the admiral, he looked much younger and much more casual, as if he had better things to do that day. Much like a conductor, he raised his hands and suddenly the world around the pirates (save for those closest to the Cutthroats) felt heavier as if gravity increased, making it harder for them to move.

Gideon’s attention had turned to Saffron clutching her captain in her arms, with Oz rushing to help her. “I’ll send you with her so you don’t miss her too much.” His hand raised, a blade magnetically drawn into his hand. But as he brought it downward, it was met against a set of seastone cuffs.

Without the drain of the seastone walls on them, both Nova captains leapt into action. Alton stood in between Gideon and Saffron, using the impact to break himself out of the cuffs he was wearing. “Take her to the ship. Go.” Despite the anger in him, his voice was gentle with the first mate and the gunner. “Twins.” He called out to them not too far behind. “We need an exit.”

“Oh none of you are leaving.” Gideon remarked, not phased as the cuffs fell off of Alton.

---

Similar to Alton, Robin had moved in between Caleb and Mia, stopping Dominic from whatever crushing blow he had planned while they were adjusting to the gravity. Unlike her husband, as her cuffs fell, her voice was cold and the look in her eye was dangerous. “I’m going to give you three -and only three- seconds to rethink your choices or I’m going to break you.” It wasn’t often she was truly angry, but the Novas were well aware that it meant to steer clear and give her room.

“I don’t take orders from pirates, ma’am.” Dominic said, hopping backwards.

And as a battle between admirals and pirates started, more of the navy began to pour out from the tower.

Admiral - Gideon Valentin (50s) - DF Power: Magnet Fruit
- Power is most effective on metals (obvs). However, can create magnetic forces to repel people or pull them closer.
- One of the bigger names in charge of the navy
- In a standoff with Alton.
- Nearby: Cutthroats, Court Captains, Zilia, Kara, (Seliria approaching), (NPCs if added)

2nd Rear Admiral - Dominic (late 20s) - DF Power: Gravity Fruit
- Uses power to add or remove gravity. Most effective in large radiuses. He acts as the center point of gravitational fields.
- Admiral prodigy (very competent, very skilled), should be a Vice admiral but isn’t old enough
- In a standoff with Robin.
- Nearby: Airship Team (NPCs if added)

Extra: Navy Ensigns and a few captains pouring in to surround them.

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3rd Ring - …Most of the Stardusk?

With a new deal and as a show of ‘gratitude’ from Donny (or rather, an assurance that Jack wouldn’t die immediately after the deal), Jack was left with a new path to take. The stones in the ground shifted and took him through a shortcut closer to the tower. The first person he came in contact with was Rin, who never looked happy to see anyone. And before questions could be had, Alicia caught up, followed by the trio finding Luro.

“Your captain and mine aren’t with the others.” Rin offered up, keeping the rear of the group and pointedly keeping distance from Luro. “Only option is inside or to see if there’s a back exit.” And the group carried on, up until the sound of a group of navy soldiers came up behind them. “Ugh… they’re like ants…” Rin stopped, nodding for them to continue. “Keep going. I’ll catch up.” And just as quickly as they had Rin, the Red first mate was gone to stop to keep their threats at bay.

---

As the rest carried forward, looking for any clue of their captain, the scent of blood wafted. And soon, the group spotted Will Carabis staggering along the edges of the tower. There were no cuffs on him and the muzzle he had dangled around his neck like jewelry. But the most prominent thing was the amount of blood splattered on his clothes and hands. It was hard to tell whether the blood was his own or of others, but the bloodlust in his eyes was easily recognizable. Instincts still on edge, he was ready to attack the approaching group, only to realize who they were. He let out an annoyed growl before placing a bloody handprint on the tower. “...Better you than the navy group chasing me…” He coughed up a bit of blood before pointing upwards, to the top of the tower. “Ira’s got her.” It was safe to say he didn’t need to voice the urgency about the fact they were running out of time.

Threat, minor: Having to get up to the top of a tower. More than likely approaching navy that will try to slow them down.

-----

She called out to the Novas… and then Will. The last pirate voice she heard was Will and from the sounds of struggle, she could only assume he was putting up a fight. Runali was still bound and blinded, being pulled this way and that. She bared her teeth at the cheap shots and attacks that she couldn’t dodge, but what made her blood boil was hearing Simon Ira’s voice.

“I’ll commend the effort, but it ends here. You would have been better off rotting in Kane’Artem, but if you wanted your crew to die with you, well…” The sound of fighting grew louder as they passed a small window. “The only reason I haven’t killed you yet is because I’m giving you a… pirate’s death. Sterling may be the Pirate Lord, but you seem to be the catalyst for this disaster. And for the previous one at Kane’Artem.” They continued going up steps. “So, continuing on my own crusade, I think morale will certainly be lifted if I give you a public execution.”

Runali remained silent, only pausing when she heard a familiar scream.

“Oh, would you look at that. The admirals are down there cleaning up. It’s about time.” Simon clicked his tongue in mock amusement. “And just like that, the Cutthroats have fallen in rank… Well, Lev looks like you’ll die as number one of the Worst Gen. It’s your lucky day.”

“I don’t believe in senseless violence.” Runali started, testing how much resistance she could pull from Simon- but his grip was strong and her leash was short. She wasn’t going anywhere- especially not bound and blind. “...So it’s a good thing, it’ll make plenty of sense to send you to an early grave.”

Simon chuckled, only to pause making Runali run into him. The ‘ping’ of a bullet hitting the wall close by echoed on the empty staircase.

“Certainly not the captain I was looking for but, eh…”

Runali’s head peeked around Simon when she recognized the voice. “Rin?” And quickly after, she recognized the danger. “Rin, don’t-” She shoved herself into Simon before he could attack, saving Rin from an attack that would have caught him by surprise. “Run!”

------

“It’s almost noble how quickly you’d risk your life for someone. You could’ve been a valuable navy captain in another life. Maybe even a rear admiral, I could’ve used your skill.”

“I’d rather die than work for you, to be completely honest.” Runali spit out blood from the fight before. It was short lived, but she managed to at the very least keep Simon from killing the first mate, even if that meant using herself as a shield.

“Consider me happy to grant your last wish.”


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Simon and Runali stood at the top of Belfield tower. The former had a peaceful expression as he adjusted his glasses and looked out at the country. “It really is beautiful… Well, it was before you all came and ruined it. But will be again after you’re all exterminated. And then after you’re gone, so will the rest of the Worst Gen. Sterling will realize she’s lost her forces and surrender. I’ll get my Admiral title for this long crusade. Details, details.”

The wind whipped back and forth as she listened. There were sounds of battles and the backlash caused the tower to tremor ever so slightly. “What exactly are you waiting for? The sun to set? ” Runali finally said after a few silent minutes of waiting. She could feel the edge of the tower at her heel and the only thing keeping her in one spot was the fact that Simon held the cuffs between her hands.

“I'm not much of a romantic, no. I was just expecting more of a gathering at your funeral. S’pose they’re all busy with the other admirals. Or dead.” He shrugged. “No matter. I’m just wasting time now.” He pulled her off the edge of the tower and made a gun with his hand. Just as the tower trembled again, a beam of pure light hit the Stardusk Captain like a bullet. Simon dusted his hands off and then looked up with a pleasant smile as the Stardusk finally approached. “Ah, there you are. You just missed her actually.” He motioned towards the blood on the ground and where Runali had once been standing. “Apologies, but I’m in a bit of a hurry. I have some other vice admiral duties to attend to and you’re not quite a high end priority.”

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“It’s alright Saff… I know, I know.” Alcinoe’s voice was soft and weakening.

“It’ll be- It’ll be fine, captain. We’ve got plenty of doctors. This is nothing right? We’ve been through hell and back before. We can get you patched up.” Saffron scrambled to press the wound and keep her from bleeding out.

“Saff… listen to me.” The Cutthroat captain smiled, not once showing any sign of pain. “You did great. And you’ll continue to be great, got that?”

“Capt-”

“You keep those girls safe for me, okay?... You’ll be a fine captain… I’ve done all I needed to do here. It’s your turn, alright?” Alcinoe wiped a few of Saffron’s tears, the weight of her own body feeling heavier. “Remember, Ozzy’s got your back… Get them home for me.”

"Aye, aye captain... I will."
 
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Mizos

*Insert quip here*
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Mari was thrown back as a loud scream echoed from the building blowing out the windows in the process, she hit the wall of the structure before Elisa's hand reached forward. She raised her arm blocking the attack.
She didn't expect the sound of their Collison to throw her back however, which sent her fully through the building, brick and mortar thrown every which way as Mari stood up again.
"You're no better than the Pirates!"
The yell hurled Mari out the other side of the building, she climbed to her feet once more before Elisa clapped her hands again, the sound sending Mari skidding back, the woman slamming her sword into the ground to stop herself.
"How could you side with such…such filth!"
The words sent Mari flying into the air, the woman crashing onto the roof of one of the buildings before slowly climbing back to her feet.
"That makes you even worse than those Criminals!"
The shockwaves crashed into the building and Mari stumbled a bit as the building broke apart before collapsing, her hand reaching out as she fell down with the rubble, her hand grasping at nothing as she was buried under it.
Eliza watched the woman be crushed by the now destroyed construction before letting out a small 'hmph'.
"They at least have an excuse why they started at the bottom, you experienced beauty and turned it away."

Eliza turned to walk and deal with the next threat.
"Are you quite finished?"
The voice caused Eliza to freeze before turning to see Mari climb out of the rubble, she brushed a bit of dirt and rubble off her outfit before raising her gaze to the other woman.
"When a child throws a tantrum it's generally best to leave them alone, not give them attention. If you're going to act like one I may as well treat you like one."
Eliza stared at Mari in slight disbelief, her eyes moving to the building then to the woman who seemed no worse for wear.
"Lot of people in the navy, especially the higher ups don't know what I am, so your confusion is understandable. No need to pay attention to someone like me right?"
Eliza clapped her hands together sending another shockwave at the woman seeing she was still standing, Mari flicked her sword causing vibrations to hum from the blade before she raised it, cutting through Eliza's sound, an act that caused the her to take a step back.
"Let me clarify a few things though," Mari said. " Firstly you don't get to decide my worth in the world."
Mari's hand shot out and ash exploded from her grabbing Eliza and lifting her into the air.
"Secondly I don't know this 'beauty' you speak of. Never got invited to Belfield due to my general nature."
Eliza narrowed her eyes before letting out a loud scream, the ash broke apart but quickly reformed catching the woman again before hurling her into the ground.
Eliza's body bounced against the cobblestone before she rolled along the street coming to a stop a few feet away. Coughing as the air was knocked out of her she tried to climb to her feet only to fall back down.
"Thirdly a spoiled brat like yourself should be the last person deciding who's right and wrong. People like you are the reason my blade is pointed at navy officers instead of the pirates."
Mari's eyes narrowed.
"How many of you have turned your back on your basic humanity just to be the 'good guys' in this world."
"Shut up! You don't get to talk to me-"
Eliza screamed but Mari's hand extended again, the ash collided with the sound waves but pushed forward grabbing Eliza and hurling her into the side of one of the buildings.
Eliza let out a pained cry as she hit the ground, before a boot stepped in front of her face, ash poured out of the officer and surrounded the woman, covering her mouth in the process, the ash vibrated at her attempts to escape but didn't release her, encasing the woman in a black prison where only her head showed.

"Taking your life while tempting isn't worth it. Instead I'm going to take something away from you so you have one less tool to use to get what you want. I had to be taught humility harshly, maybe you'll grow with the same lesson."
Mari raised her blade up and Eliza's eyes widened; she struggled against the ash but the woman remained steadfast.
"Granted my sins weren't as great as yours."
In one quick motion Mari brought her blade down cutting Eliza causing the woman to scream out, blood ran down her face and her eyes opened as a searing pain washed over her. Mari had left a long diagonal scar over her face, a mark.
"This weapon is the fang of Ylig'ravia," Mari said before rolling her sleeve up revealing a scar on her arm. "The scar she leaves doesn't heal easily even with treatment…and you'll need more than a little makeup to hide that one."
Eliza's eyes widened as she felt the blood drip down her face.
"I've tainted your beauty, remember this moment of powerlessness and learn from it."
The ash rose up and consumed Eliza completely before slamming her hard into the ground, the ash moved away and Mari stared down at the motionless Eliza.
Mari walked over to her and pulled something out of her pocket.
"...Hah…I'm too damn soft."
A few navy officers ran up to her and she tossed a container to them.
"Spread that over her wound to avoid infection and get her to the nearest doctor."
The men nodded and moved to grab Eliza as Mari continued forward.
"This work is never ending."

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Seliria stepped over a groaning body and removed her mask with a small sigh, the woman continuing forward ignoring the numerous bodies decorating the streets and buildings behind her. Most were brats in uniform with a sense of 'justice' so she just beat the daylights out of them instead of killing them.
She wondered if she was getting too soft as the years went by as more and more time was being wasted.
She had separated from Alicia to deal with higher ranks that showed up. Alicia was fast and she knew how worried she was about Runali, she knew her Captain's would be fine, and Runali was a tenacious sort…but there were two of them and one of her so she made her choice even if it did delay her.
"Can't stop this bad feeling though…my instincts are rarely wrong. I have to hurry."
Just as she said this the streets in front of her filled up with navy officers, she noticed a fair amount of Captain sigils adorning the chest of the more well dressed ones. She couldn't even see the street anymore with how many had stepped out, all blocking her path.
Her eyes narrowed a bit at the ambush, she had sensed the presence of officers but the city was full of people, pinpointing their exact location had escaped her as her mind wandered.
She sighed a bit realizing she should have been focusing.
The officers had trained their guns on the woman even though they were clearly confused to see just one pirate.
They probably expected a battalion considering the destruction behind her, either way they kept their weapons focused on her.
Seliria's eyes wandered around the area, she noticed a few in the buildings, on the rooftops, in the alley's, and of course directly in front of her. Her back was clear but that would change if she didn't act soon.
"I don't have time for this," the woman said before raising her hand with the bracelet on it. "Step aside or die."
She confirmed that there were no civilians nearby before her gaze went to one of the higher ups as he raised his hand.
"Fire!" One of the Captain's yelled.
"Ria."

A scout stood on one of the taller buildings peering down at the chaos below, he lowered the spyglass as he noticed the woman known as Seliria was surrounded. They were given a quick briefing on the crew of Worst Gen's especially after their leaders were captured in case they came looking for them. It was more for the new faces as the old ones were well acquainted.
That woman was Seliria, one of the Nova Crew. Caleb was also reported in the area but no one knew where he was presently, Elliot was also an unknown.

Seliria's moniker was apparently the 'Steam Princess', he didn't know the whole story but one of the veterans told him part of the tale, the reports on it were limited at best. It was believed the woman could generate steam and when she did, things went bad. Her visage would always fade in her makeshift fog after the carnage that followed, gone before anyone could see her. This had happened enough times to earn her the name.
He saw the captains' signal to fire, the woman was surrounded on all sides and every soldier there could probably use armament, allowing herself to be surrounded meant her end, and one less threat to deal with.
He thought that was the case at least, he didn't know what the woman said but just as the rumors said steam exploded from somewhere obscuring the woman, even those down below couldn't tell if the shots had hit.
What followed was a massacre.

The scene below made no sense to him, his eyes had never left the steam, left his fellow officers. He wasn't sure what did it, but every person down there had been cut by something. Scarlet bursting out of their bodies like broken fountains as they fell to the ground, from their faces frozen in fear and shock they were just as surprised as he was.
That and a chunk of the city had been reduced to nothing.
The buildings had been blown away by some invisible force, some unseen hand, the only proof something had 'cut' through it was the large scar it left in the remnants of what was that part of the city, as if something had marked the land itself to assert its presence, a warning to those that would come later.

This was the power of the Worst gen, he hadn't blinked and multiple battalions were gone and he couldn't even explain why. He had never seen so many lives snuffed out in an instant, he couldn't stop his hands from trembling at the sight, bodies strewn out as far as the eye could see.
Twisted…contorted…and in pieces.
What door had they opened to invite such hell?
He watched the woman walk forward out of the steam, empty handed as she adjusted her gloves.
He swallowed down his fear and started to move to report what he had seen, though he knew no one would believe him.

However his body wouldn't respond to him, and before he could figure out the cause red erupted out of his body, and he felt something trickle out of his mouth.
His eyes widened as he touched the spot that stung and wiped his mouth with his other hand only to see his own blood.
His eyes raised to Seliria and a chill ran through him as he saw the woman looking in his direction, but she continued forward wasting little time, vanishing in the steam that had gathered in the area.
He felt darkness encroach his vision as against his wishes his body fell forward and he plummeted from the tower.

Multiple officers approached Two as he made his way down the bustling street, as they raised their blades the hooded figure raised their gaze to them, the darkness of the hood resting on the approaching forces.
The moment his 'eyes' noticed them a large ring came out from below him, creating a mini circle. Every officer within the ring froze and Two raising his hand lowered it slowly causing every person there to bring their weapons to the side. The ones outside the circle froze up, their eyes moving to the line inches away from their own feet.
He had requested they lower their weapons and they listened.

Two raised his finger to his neck, or where it would be with the cloak causing the officers to follow his movements like puppets on a string. They brought their blades to their own necks, unable to resist though they made every attempt too. Ensign to Captain all stood frozen in place and Two made a small slicing motion causing every person there to slit their throats in unison.
The circle retreated back into him as they all fell to the ground motionless.

"W-what was that?"
"Just shoot him. Don't go in that weird circle!"
The officers raised their guns and fired, the circle expanded outwards slightly from Two once more.
The bullets froze the moment they entered the ring causing the officers to lower their guns. Two made a twirling motion with his finger before flicking the air. The bullets spun around and returned to their owners piercing their skulls, one tried to jump out of the way only for the bullet to curve and still hit it's mark.
Two looked at the bodies at his feet before the ring retreated back and he continued his casual pace through the city for his partner.

Leo adjusted his gloves as he made his way through Belfield, he rotated his shoulder as he followed Two's 'trail'.
"I swear he tells me to be professional but let him loose and he does more damage then I do."
Leo chuckled a little before stopping as he heard footsteps behind him, he noticed officers stop seeing him.
"Oh are you a citizen. Quick come with us!"
"Oh I'm not a citizen but thank you. I'm actually here to cause a bit of trouble."
"...are you with the pirates," one of the men asked his hand moving to his weapon.
"Kind of in a weird way. We're only clearing very specific paths to help the assault then leaving. We don't get too involved in affairs like this. Against the rules. Oh and stealing precious information for our books."
"He's with the pirates," the Captain said drawing his pistol and pointing it at him.
"Um you don't want to do that. We're not supposed to get terribly involved in the affairs of the world, you see because we can-"
The Captain fired cutting Leo off and he vanished from sight before reappearing in the same spot.
"Tip the balance if we're not careful. However you just attacked me so…"
Leo held up his hand which had a beating heart in it, the Captain's eyes widened before he coughed up blood, Leo crushed the heart in his hand, and the Captain along with every officer behind him fell to the ground, holes appearing in all their chests when they hit the ground.
"Well we got what we needed, better hurry and find Two and watch how this all ends," Leo said wiping the blood on his hands. "I for one am excited to be their captive audience again."


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"Consider us even," Zilia said looking up at the now gone platform.
There was little time to stand still as she felt the feelings run through her, her eyes went to the twin captains for a moment before she moved realizing they didn't have time to waste.
Since there wasn't much time to fall back in the present chaos Kara had moved with them, while a small comfort, every moment that passed Zilia's worry grew, a familiar feeling filling her. That tiny inkling that always came, perhaps honed from years of getting into trouble with Stardusk, it grew to a point it was hard to ignore or pretend not to notice.

The group froze for a moment hearing Sterling's voice and Zilia looked all around before realizing she was using the speakers.
"I'm not sure what to say to that," Zilia said adjusting her glasses.
"Woman has charisma I'll give her that…even if she's annoying."
Feeling a familiar presence behind her, Zilia turned to notice Seliria approach. The welcome addition filled her with hope, but it left her as she watched the scene in front of her.
Zilia could only watch frozen in place as Alcinoe's crew caught her, what voice she had leaving silence as her eyes widened, watching the life leave Alcinoe.
It seemed so simple, the act of taking the woman's life.
"Damn it," Seliria muttered removing her bracelet.

It would seem like the woman was her normal calm self but Zilia knew when the generally irritable cook behind her was furious, and Seliria was an inch away from ripping apart every navy officer in the area.
She had arrived the moment the chain had pierced her chest, she was probably blaming herself even now for not appearing a moment sooner, she liked Alcinoe, or at least tolerated her more.
Zilia knew that, she liked her too.

Seliria eyes moved to Robin and Alton glad to see they were all right.
This person apparently controlled metal, using her sword in this situation was already risky but that just made it worse. She had no real problem killing with her fists, already adjusting her own gloves to do just that but would fighting them be the proper course of action? Protecting her Captain's came first, she knew Caleb felt the same but she at the very least wanted to snap that man's neck if nothing else.
"Decisions decisions…do I rip his spine out now or later," Seliria said narrowing her eyes at Gideon.

Zilia eyed the contemplating the next course of action in silence. She was pulled away watching as Kara removed her dagger from her waist, and holding her hand out took Seliria's bracelet with a knowing look from the Nova.
"He can control metal it seems, so be careful if you have any on you," Kara said before dropping the items to the side.
When she did a hand of cobblestone came up and grabbed the items pulling them into the ground, clearly Isa's handiwork, Zilia looked at Kara and offering a nod flexed her hand causing the rope dart to fall out of it onto the ground which Isa also picked up. She watched Mia toss her fire wheels off her waist and Caleb removed the few of the metal objects he had on him, all taken away by the distant Prophet.
Zilia made a mental note to thank Kara later, the woman was good at adapting if nothing else.

"Alcinoe Basco was indeed a pirate, and she was especially known for her thievery."
A voice came from behind them and Zilia glanced back to see Mari step out of the shadows, a calm expression adorning the woman's face, almost businesslike.
Her uniform was still dirty but she calmly brushed a bit of dust off the front as she walked closer.
"Being a navy official I understand not being able to completely forgive all she's done over the years."
Seliria's eyes narrowed a bit as Mari's eyes moved to the Cutthroats.
"However she also saved the lives of many women. No one in her crew is in it by force. She reached a hand out to all women equally providing a helping hand where she could, even if it was a little money and food as they went on their way."
Mia came to a stop next to Zilia.
"Meanwhile the women and children of this place who need help are barely escorted to their homes where the chaos is still occuring, while the rich were moved towards the third ring where it's safer."
Mari's eyes narrowed.
"Captain Basco was a pirate, but she was a good woman and did not deserve that manner of end and she was far from scum."
Mari drew her blade her side, her grip tightening around it.
"Anyone willing to follow Ira's orders are the definition of scum, you all opened this door in pursuit of your twisted justice and you have the audacity to look down on others. If that is what being an Admiral is then I'm quite pleased at where I stand."
Mari's raised her blade pointing it at Gideon.
"Is this what you wanted? What you wished for when you put on that uniform?! Is this the 'Order' you wanted?! This massacre?!"

"Mari…" Zilia mumbled.
The woman narrowed gaze remained on her two 'superiors' as she lowered her blade back to her side.
"My blade is bone so his metal power won't work on it. I'll help you."
"...Mari he's..."
"Worry about yourself. I'll deal with the consequences. One day I'll show you the navy I fell in love with…that day is not today unfortunately."
Mari sighed before rubbing the back of her head.
"Follow the path you believe is right and don't let the values of of others blind you to your own. At the end of it all you have to live with yourself and what you've done."
Mari chuckled.
"My Captain was right, perhaps she even saw this day coming."

Zilia looked at the two women near her and taking in a deep breath let out a long sigh.
"Mari…Kara I have two favors to ask of you."
The two women looked at Zilia.
"First…if I push myself too far can I trust you to carry me since Luro's here? Secondly…can you protect me for a moment?"
Mari's eyes widened a little as Zilia removed her glasses, she opened her mouth to speak but Kara's voice filled the small silence between them first.
"Of course. While leaving you to die is tempting Isari would never forgive me if I came back without you."
Kara smiled at Zilia and she returned it before looking at Mari.
"Do you even have to ask, just do what you need too."

With a nod Zilia spoke again.
"Guardian's one and two."
Lia and Val manifested beside Zilia before she raised her hand.
"Lia help the other group, Val you know what I want."
"Aye Mother," Val said running off to the buildings behind them.
"Questions later then I guess…I'm charging extra for this later," Lia said moving over to Caleb and the others.
Zilia looked at Mari and Kara the two manifesting their power, before Zilia looked at the glasses in the palm of her hand.
"Removing first Limitation."

Zilia crushed the glasses in her hand and the spectacles disintegrated, a glow flared off the doctor's body for a moment before chunks were blown out of the the buildings adjacent to her, as a part of Zilia's Devil Fruit manifested.
For a moment a part of her past conversation with Mari echoed in her skull but she pushed it down as she spoke again.
"Chat-Chat Fruit Rewrite-Protector."
Blue Haki exploded off the doctor as Kara and Mari did their best to shield her as Zilia drew more out of herself, she had purposefully held back knowing as was tradition that things were going to get from bad to worse, even considering their circumstances.
Her greyish hair shifted into periwinkle as her eyes changed to match, holding her arms out she shut her eyes.
"I mean If speaking such words is what I have to do in order to protect myself and those I care about, then I would see my shame dissolve in the presence of my determination."
Alicia's words echoed in her skull and the doctor smiled for a moment before opening her eyes.

"Oh Choir whose voices have been marked forbidden by the jealous and the envious. Whose songs are doomed to forever echo in the darkness! Manifest before us and sing! Provide a performance that will fill the saints themselves with resentment!"
Choir of Nirvana: Abyssal Melody!"
Multiple multicolored orbs appeared behind Zilia along the rooftops directly behind her, the floating globes glowing bright before forming into a tall figures clad in red cloaks, white masks covering their faces as they climbed to their feet, from their bent knees. Gloved hands slipped out of the cloaks and folded together in front of them as they lowered their heads.
At the very front of the new 'guests' another figure rose up, their cloak as pure and white as the fallen snow.
A red mask adorned the face of the figure, as a crown of blue flowers rested atop the head of the 'lead' as they raised their own hands, gloved in white as they folded them together with the others.
It was unknown if these creatures were human but they wore the guise at least, when the lead raise their head the others did the same before their voices filled the streets and the area around them.


"Raise your voices louder! Let all bear witness to your song! Chat-Chat Fruit: Grace of the Guardian Angel!"
Blue orbs filled the area of the courtyard, hovering in the air around those gathered, before each shot out moving into each pirate and ally of them around them, as it did a blue glow surrounded the body of each person, a small barrier surrounding each of their bodies.
Mari moved around a bit not feeling weighed down by it, she smiled a little at the extra 'armor'.
"I personally think we should just retreat. We'd do more damage to them escaping than killing more navy officers…but I'm also not against killing the older man before we leave. I will do what I can to mitigate their blows for whatever choice we make," Zilia said adjusting her gloves.

Zilia raised her hand and more blue orbs appeared before they shifted red, forming into blades that hovered in the air around them, Zilia's eyes narrowed at Gideon before the blades focused on him.
She could control these swords better to avoid hitting her allies, but the downside to Protector was her offensive capabilities were almost halved in exchanged for defense, harming much less than killing would take extra effort against an armament Devil Fruit wielding foe.
"I have to rely on you guys a bit," Zilia mumbled to the two women near her.

"Just focus on keeping us as safe as possible," Kara said before summoning her tendrils.
The ends sharpened into blades before slithering along the ground towards Gideon, Mari flexed her hand and sent a wave of ash at the man, the black substance weaving between Kara's 'blades' as the Prophet went to stab the man from below, while Mari's went for a blunt strike from his side, she delayed it behind Kara's slightly to try and respond to any movements she noticed.
She raised her hands and increase the barrier around the Worst Generation before lowering her finger, a few of the blades flying at Gideon, twisting through the air before quickly changing direction and coming at his other side.

Seliria turned and walked towards the approaching navy forces, Zilia glanced in her direction but didn't say anything. She understood what the woman was doing, even if they got rid of the metal on them, letting the man have more weapons nearby to use wasn't going to help anyone, so she intended on keeping them out of the fight as much as possible.
She could help her Captain's that way and returning to their side was easier now that she was here.
"I'll do what I can to keep a path open just in case," Seliria said. "I won't be stopping all of em though, just enough for an easy exit."
"By yourself?" Kara questioned summoning another tendril.
"No."
"Wooooooooooooooooooo!"
A voice came from the sky before something crashed into the other approaching group sending a chunk of them flying in every direction.
Kaim raised his body out of the small crater and cracked his neck before rotating his shoulders.
"We got reinforcements on the way, a few of my own included…but uh…it's gonna take them a moment to get here so don't die. I got this side."
Kaim threw a few playful punches before grinning and running at the navy officers.
Looking back at Seliria Kara noticed the woman had already ripped one officer in two.
"Just saying I'm glad they're on our side. Especially the woman, whoop there goes the leg."

Lia was already dashing towards Dominic, claws at the ready, her tongue running along her lips as she went to close the distance, she was only going to take an arm if possible, a clean swipe to take back to Zilia.
Mia sighed and flexing her fingers wires floated out of her sleeves before flying at Dominic.
"Eh I'll put in enough effort to help lessen the burden."
"You could do more…" Caleb said flexing his hand as he did two tonfa flipped out of his arm braces before he took hold of them.
"...wha-"
"Training weapons, a little armament infusion will make them relatively deadly however. I work with electricity, having only metal on me would be bad."
Caleb glanced back at his fellow cohort.
"Don't push yourself okay."
Turning forward again he rushed forward to close the distance between Dominic.

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Back during the training session

Mari sat next to Zilia on the beach as Seliria spoke with Isari pointing to one of her summoned golems as the young lady took notes, nodding as the older woman spoke.
"...she's a surprisingly good teacher, helps lessen the weaknesses and increases your strengths. I see why you like her."
Zilia offered a firm nod before silence fell between the two again.
Mari glanced over at Zilia and opened her mouth only to close them as the words she wanted to say ended up jumbled in her head.
"What's wrong Mari?" Zilia questioned looking over at her.
Mari met Zilia's gaze for a moment before turning back towards the two women.
"...I know you don't need to hear this. I know you understand this but…I still feel the need to say something about the Chat-Chat Fruit."
"I know."
Zilia's response called Mari to look back at her.
"I'm a worrywart too remember? Sometimes you just have to get it out. Go ahead."
Mari offered a small smile to Zilia before looking back at Seliria, the woman was looking over Isari's notes and clearly correcting certain parts before starting the explanation over.
"...The navy doesn't know the full strength of the Chat-Chat Fruit. Our records on it are scattered and because of the strange properties of the fruit itself we can't pinpoint a proper 'feel' for it, strange as that sounds. That's part of the reason it was locked away…thus why I'm still surprised it ended up out in the world."
That was a mystery for another day however as Mari continued.

"We do know however that's it's weak in the wrong hands and extremely powerful in the right ones. Specifically when the User learns how to wield the words of others, that seems to be the catalyst that makes the User a real threat. Walking towards a town full of people, having everyday conversation and just…snapping your fingers to flatten it and everyone in it with their own words…that kind of power terrified some…and the larger the town the more effective it would be."
Mari's folded her hands together, she made herself continue. Zilia was calmly listening and giving her full attention.
"The fact you're trying to control it is something I'm happy and grateful for, but the stronger you get…the more attention you'll draw, especially for the few higher ups that remember the fruit itself. Just be extra careful. A day will come when you and I come to blows, that's unavoidable…but it'll come far sooner if you use your power 'too' much."

Zilia remained silent making sure Mari had said all she needed to say. When the navy woman stared at her in silence she offered a small nod and smile.
"I'm only learning all this to protect the people dear to me. That hasn't changed. I can't promise I won't get into trouble…the unfortunate fate of being a Stardusk but if my Devil Fruit gets too powerful I'm already prepared to place limiters on myself."
"Limiters?"
"Limiters. I'll pick a number depending how strong I get."
Mari eyes widened slightly before she leaned forward as laughter escaped from her; she held her stomach as her body trembled trying to regain herself with little success.
Zilia eyes narrowed a bit not entirely sure what was so funny when Mari wiped a tear from her eye looking back at her.
"You know what that's very fitting…considering your previous vow of silence. That's so like you, safety measure already in place. Geez why was I even worried?"
Mari leaned back resting on her hands, and stared ahead as Seliria slapped the notebook with the back of her hand before throwing her arms up.
"...I guess we should end our break, Isari might start crying if Seliria continues then it'll just be awkward."
"Agreed…let's get going."
The two women stood up before rejoining the training session.
 
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Capt. Blu

Fake it til You Make it
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  2. One post per week
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Fantasy, Adventure, Scifi, Anime, Steampunk, Heroes and Villains
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Location: Rooftop near main Belfield tower

Luro plummeted over the edge of the tower, his hand outstretched towards Runali. There was no time to think about Simon, he trusted Jack and Alicia to handle it.
The ground was drawing far too close, so much was happening around them but the redhead’s attention remained focused ahead, only on the woman he was steadily drawing closer towards.
Why was gravity always mean in moments like this? Was she falling faster than usual?

A scent suddenly hit him; however, one he recognized, he felt the wind shift around him and smiled knowing he hadn’t done that. Seeing Runali also lifting back towards him he quickly wrapped his arms around her once she got close enough.
“Thanks Ali! I got it from here, keep an eye on Jack!”
Luro filled a bit of armament into his glove, thankful Adelaide gave him enough of an opening to do so, and propelled himself from the tower with another burst, landing on an adjacent rooftop.
There was no time for a proper landing, he hugged Runali close and turning hit the rooftop, holding in the pained grunt as his back hit it. He grit his teeth as they slid to a stop.
“Captain! Captain, are you alive? How many fingers am I holding up. Oh wait let me hold up some fingers. Wait is that for dying? What do you do for the dying Captain?”
Luro held up two fingers still keep an arm wrapped around her still unsure if she was okay.

It was hard to judge if being hugged was the immediate after death feeling or a feeling she decided to imagine beforehand. Runali wasn’t expecting her ‘dying thought’ would be for a warm embrace, but she didn’t complain. It was comforting and familiar.
Then, the impact of the fall came a lot faster than she expected, enough to confuse her already rattled mind. But when she heard Luro’s panic, things quickly started to fall back into place and become clear again. She opened and closed her hands, feeling the weight of the cuffs still tight around her wrist. It was still dark so she slowly reached up and tapped her knuckle against the metallic band still over her eyes. “Usually… cry and be angry about their deaths? …Wait,” Runali reached up and placed a hand over his heart, an extra reassurance that she was still in the land of the living. She breathed away a sudden very real fear of falling to her death, and fell back into him. “Okay, no tricks. Jones hasn’t snatched me yet.” She tilted her head up to ‘look’ at him. “I’d say it’s nice to see you but, uh, thanks for catching me.” Of all the plans she had, falling to her doom wasn’t exactly on the list. “Y’know, I forget people take the ‘Reaper’s Eye’ thing literally…”

She slowly sat up using Luro as a crutch, as the explosive sounds of battle surrounded them. “Dunno if I’m lucky or Simon’s got terrible aim.” She gestured to her shoulder to a reminiscent ‘bullet’ wound at her shoulder. There was an angry pirate crew after her the first time she took a bullet to the shoulder, who would have guessed there’d be an angry vice admiral to be the next.
“Do you mind?” She lifted her wrists up to him, so she could finally be free of the cuffs. “Wait, are you okay?” Sure she had amassed a handful of new injuries, most from today and majority from Simon, but the fall was far, even if she didn’t see where they landed. “And everyone else??”

Relief flooded through Luro hearing Runali’s voice and his arms fell to the side as he let out a relieved sigh.
“The sadness I can do but the angry part is harder…”
At Runali’s thanks Luro offered a grin, almost bright enough to see through the bindings.
“Anytime Captain, I’m pretty sure catching you while you’re falling to your death is part of being a fiance….probably. Also DJ can wait a bit longer, we got stuff to do first.”
Helping Runali up he started undoing her bindings, filling the gloves with a bit of Armament he burned some parts away to save time.
“Don’t know why ya didn’t use the Reaper eye, guess you were saving it for Simos and now you get to tell two stories about scars, oh if they’re right next to each other that’d be fun. What if they make an X, we can make up something involving a treasure map. Remind me to thank Simos while I’m punching him later.”
Reaching back behind her head he removed the bindings around her eyes before holding out an eyepatch.
“Brought you your other fancy one,” he said before looking down at the battle below. “Oh and don’t worry I made sure every officer I could see who was mean to you died horrifically while screaming on my way here.”

Rotating his shoulders a few ‘cracks’ came from the redhead before he offered a chuckle and smile to Runali.
“Could have made the landing more fancy but I’m fine. Z said one of the few good things is my durability…least I think that was the word,” Luro said before looking back at the streets below his smile shrinking slightly.
“Every Stardusk accounted for Captain…but Alcinoe…”
Luro trailed off, his eyes lowering slightly.
“Well I can’t cry right now, gotta kill people, well if you want Captain. We can leave if you want, we just had to grab you.”
Luro adjusted the buildings on his arms as a flow of energy rushed past him.
“Z uh…Z’s starting to get serious though.”
Luro said this as the blue glow surrounded the two of them and the choir appeared on the adjacent rooftops.

With the cuffs off and the oppressiveness of the prison gone, Runali could feel the strength coming back to her haki. She opened and closed her fists to test it, feeling a new adrenaline as her energy (what was left of it) and her strength started to return to her. “You give my poor vision too much credit.” She chuckled. “But I do love a good treasure map story.” The moment light hit her eyes, it took a few rapid blinks to adjust. “...I dunno what’s brighter, you or the sun. Certainly nice to see though.” She placed her eyepatch on, feeling more and more like herself, and listened to his quick update. He was okay, that was good. The rest too made her sigh in relief, until Alcinoe’s name was mentioned.
Runali’s shoulders sagged as she remembered what Simon said as he dragged her to the top of the tower. Some part of her had hoped it wasn’t real. “Right…” Her smile fell, but she immediately patted her cheeks. “Right. Okay. Captain and acting Pirate Lord.” The gears in her brain started to turn again as she made her way around the edges of the roof to assess the situation.

Above them, she could see flashes of light and a blur of elements indicating someone was fighting Simon. It must’ve been the rest of her crew. Below them, there was a larger battle of swarms of navy and pirates in the courtyard, but what caught her attention were the two navy admirals at the forefront of it all. And around them, there was destruction as far as her one eye could see. “Get in, get out. That was the plan.” Runali hurried back to Luro’s side, holding one hand out for his spare gloves, while taking his own gloved hands and transferring some of her own haki into it, probably more than enough. “I know you just got me back, but we have to split up again. I need you to grab the ones on top of the tower so we can get all outta here together.” An idea popped in her head and she pulled Luro down to her level and squished his face with a newer excitement. “Wait! Remember when we were on the ship that one night and you made a small sun? Can you do that again! But,” She let him go and pointed at Belfield tower, already shaken by the chaos above and below it. “Can you put it inside there? Preferably from the top?”

She mimicked an explosion sound, replicating what she hoped it’d do. “The stones falling should be enough of a distraction. I’m gonna go down there and get everyone out the way! You’ll have your chance to punch Simon later, but the plan is to leave and leave fast now.” It was easier said than done considering the two navy admirals doing a decent job of keeping everyone in the courtyard, but Runali didn’t have time to think about that. If they waited any longer, there was a chance the navy would regain the upper hand.

She looked over the edge of the building. “Meet us all on ground level and,” Runali grinned at Luro. “Make sure you stick the landing this time.”
 
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SilentxChaos

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Collab bet'w @Mizos and @SilentxChaos
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Luro looked around rubbing the side of his head realizing he was lost, thus when the others found him he offered a grin to them relieved to see familiar faces.
"It's great to see you guys! Do you know which way to go? I kinda just ran in a direction, I did use dead bodies I made like bread crumbs to avoid going the way I came, but I'm still lost."
Ria looked past Luro and sure enough there were numerous bodies behind him but she put aside the comment she had when more unwanted company came and Rin pushed them along.

Luro's hand almost went to his rifle, a grin on his face as he felt bloodlust from in front of them when they reached the tower, seeing it was Will however he instead offered a wave lowering his hand. Before he could ask about the Captain he pointed them in the right direction, Luro took off without a second thought and Ria looked at the others before following after him as Luro ascended the steps.
"Thanks Will!" Luro called back before more footsteps came from above. A few officers started descending the stairs and Luro held his hand out his rifle manifesting, gripping it he aimed at them and unloaded a few shots, the descending threat freezing as bullets pierced each of their skulls before their bodies went limp.
Releasing the gun it floated next to Luro reloading itself before a familiar figure came into sight.
"Rin?!" Luro called noticing the man slumped nearby.
"....he….beat us….here…." Ria said returning her sickles to her waist.

"Rin?!" Luro said falling to his knees lifting the man into his arms. "Rin no…you can't die…I need your eyes with life in them. If you're dying can I take one before you fully kick the bucket?"
"He's…just injured…go…I'll get him out…of here…"
Ria said this kneeling next to Luro, she pointed up at a platform just above leading to another set of stairs.
"Hurry and get….your Captain…I will do…my duty."
"I mean that's nice but Ria-"
"Luro…arguing with me…takes too much…time…go."
"No I mean if he's going to die take out his right eye before he does, that's the one I like the most."
"...got it…now go…"

"Let's go, Big Man! You can claim body parts later. Got a captain to save." Jack said as he ran past, grabbing Luro's sleeve and dragging him past Rin and Ria. To Alicia, he gave a 'just kidding' gesture at the 'claiming body parts' but there wasn't time to have a discussion. The spy took charge in leading everyone up to the tower – where he knew Simon would take Runali.

"Get ready to meet resistance, everyone. I can practically hear the navy bristling down the stairs toward us," Jack muttered under his breath. Glancing outside a window, he noticed fog starting to roll in under the bright sky.

Luro glanced behind them his brows arching a bit before he turned forward again making sure to follow Jack, he trailed behind to check something making sure to keep up with the two.
"Ria's fast, they're already out of the tower. Now I don't have to worry about someone stealing what I already called dibs on."

At Jack's words Luro looked ahead and sighing grabbed his rifle out of the air.
"Can't they wait until after we get the Captain? Should we ask them to hold on a second?"
Luro lowered his head as a bullet narrowly missed his head and he noticed a few officers were also approaching them from behind.
Stepping onto the small platform leading to the next steps he slid backwards before glancing back at Jack and Alicia.
"I got these ones, can you guys get the ones blocking the way?"
With a laugh Luro sprinted forward towards the gathered navy forces.
Stomping his foot as he approached the ground cracked slightly before he brought his fist forward, his whole body going into the punch as Armament surrounded his fist.
The officers unfortunate enough not to jump out of the way were blown out of the tower through the new hole in the wall, plummeting towards the earth below.

Raising his arm he blocked a strike before shooting the man in the stomach with his own pistol.
Luro's rifle moved behind him blocking the sword strike that went for his head, and Luro spun and pierced the officer's chest with his armament coated hand.
Spinning around again he placed his the barrel of rifle against the ground .
"Sorry I'm in a hurry so I have to kill you guys quickly. Don't take offense okay?"

Ice quickly spread out under the feet of the approaching officers, this slowed the remaining forces before the ice glinted under them. Firing his gun, icicle spikes immediately rose up impaling every person who was unfortunate enough to be on the ice, screams filled the air to those unfortunate enough not to get a quick end.
Raising his body Luro waved his causing his rifle to vanish before turning back towards the two.
"I'm done over here, can we keep going now?"

Luro turned in time to see Jack kick a soldier through a wall and slam another one through the floor. He stepped back, glancing at the hole Luro created. "Nice job. Can you maybe do that to the inside walls? Collapse a structural pillar or two? That'd help a lot."

Outside, the fog that was rolling in grew thicker, higher, creeping up toward their level. Jack smirked. "Right on time" he said under his breath then addressed his crew, "Let's move on. First mate, would you like to lead the way?"

Moving to the next floor, and the ones after that, Jack stuck to his haki. He slashed, punched and kicked, wasting little on flair and often taking men down in one hit. He also targeted structural weak points in the tower.

Luro gave a thumbs up to Jack and took up the rear as they made their way up, Luro shooting any soldiers who decided to keep their distance or trailed behind their other companions. At Jack's request he tossed a few grenades at clearly weak points in the tower, or shot an explosive bullet if there happened to be soldiers near it.
It took longer than need be to reach the top of the tower and Luro reloaded a shot into his rifle.
"Oh it's Simos, he really was up here," Luro said readying his rifle.
He was about to shoot the man as his normal 'hello' when Simon's words reached him about their Captain, and looking around Runali definitely wasn't within sight.
Luro could feel her plummeting over the side when he reached out to find her again.
"Jack!" he exclaimed looking at over at him.
He felt he didn't need to explain what he wanted as he moved his rifle to his back.

Jack twisted both his hands and flung them out, spewing forth haki-fueled elements. Black winds carved through the sky to propel Luro off the tower, protecting him from any potential attacks from Simon, and sending into the foggy abyss with extra speed.

The second element: Ice that sprung up from Simon's feet. It was black, too, powered by Jack's full strength. The spy didn't wait to see if it'd hold Simon. He wasn't going to give Simon the chance to flee. As fog rose up to the top of the tower, enveloping the roof and obscuring the surroundings of the three combatants, Jack made his move. He went straight for Simon, bristling with Armament, ice and lightning. He made his first attack with butterfly swords that flickered with both elements.

Falling, Luro caught a familiar scent. One that brought relief. "I have you." The Windy She-Devil laughed all around him.

Luro felt himself descending faster and, in the next breath, saw Runali rising up toward him.


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Skull Island
Twilight, after the Attack


Nighttime slowly descended and with it, the place became a ghost town. Everyone had retreated to their ships, their duties, their own little corners as they prepared for the gith ahead. The dead and wounded were removed and tended to; rubble mostly cleared from the streets. It looked closer to how it’d been the night before, except there were no more celebrations. Now it was just silent minus the crickets and a few wandering pirates.

Jack sat at the only open pub, nursing a tanker by lantern light. Scattered pages and a leather-bound journal sprawled out before him. He threw his glasses on top of them and pinched the bridge of his nose, bowing over the bistro table. Gazing out at the darkening street, one figure caught his attention.

“Runali?” Jack straightened up as his captain passed him.

What was usually just a hazy cloud of responsibility became a tight list of details and double checking. There were more pirates coming to her with questions and details than she dealt with before, but fortunately both Alicia and Saffron were there to take point when Runali’s hands were full. The acting pirate lord had taken to quick and concise responses as she paced the remnants of the town to make sure nothing of value had been lost in the debris, or worse, a person. In her own thoughts, she nearly missed her name being called, getting accustomed to ‘Captain Lev’ from everyone else.

“Hm?” She paused in her tracks and looked over at Jack, both a familiar and comforting face. “Yeah? Need something?” Her path was quickly abandoned to walk over to him.

Jack looked up and down at her and kicked out the chair opposite of him. “A break. Join me?”

He waved at the owner to bring a drink for Runali then gathered up the papers. “Reports,” he said by way of explanation. “Casualties, structural damage, individual crew effectiveness… this is a list of the dead we could identify so far, thanks to Alicia. There’s some left unidentified – those who didn’t have crew emblems, likely lost them in the attack. Might be of Nani’s crew but…”

Jack shrugged tiredly, leaning back in his chair to roll a cigarillo. “What’s happening on your end of things?”

Well she couldn’t argue with that. Runali took a seat and slouched a little as if the weight of the world was pushing her down. She listened to his reports, nodding where it was necessary before running fingers through her hair. “Crew supply checks, battle damage, first mate round ups and responsibilities, general morale raising…” She mimicked his shrug after her own report. “The usual except with dozens more pirates who are as lost as Luro gets when he navigates.” She thanked the owner for the drink, and raised it in a quiet honor before taking a gulp. “But settling, fortunately.”

Jack smiled at the joke but it faded as his eyes trailed back toward the empty street. He blew smoke over the desolate cobblestones.

“Tomorrow we’ll be making history,” Jack murmured. His hand shook as he put the cigarillo between his lips. “We’re going to strike the heart of the Navy and by death or victory, it’ll be something the whole world will remember. And I. Am. Terrified.”

A giggle escaped him and caught him by surprise. Jack glanced at Runali sheepishly. “It’s not even about tomorrow. It’s about the day after, and all those that follow. What we do tomorrow will define our future and our children’s future.” Jack sobered up. His eyes closed but beneath the lids, Runali saw movement, like he was watching a scene play out underneath them. He mumbled, “This was inevitable – and I still want to fight it anyways.”

Runali’s eyebrow raised behind her drink when she heard Jack laugh. She set her mug down, eyeing him over just to make sure he wasn’t freaking out behind those words. Grant it, even that was debatable. “Well that just sounds like being a Stardusk.” She rested her arms on the table, leaning just a little closer. “Laughing in the face of danger? Making history and stirring the news?” She let out a loud ‘ha!’ before shrugging. “Something we do all the time. The only difference now is just that we've got more people behind us.”

Runali watched him for a bit as he sat there with his eyes closed and her shoulders sagged just a bit more despite her tone being just as casual. “There’s been plenty of times I’ve been terrified while going up against something I thought was impossible. Same as now… Fear reminds me that I’m alive though. Reminds me that I have… something to live for. And well, a future to live for.” She couldn’t help but chuckle. “I don’t know about kids… Maybe if I find one that needs a new home… but,” She gestured to the top of her head, envisioning the crown that she could have. “I’ve still got future plans. And the fear of losing it all is the reason I’m going to face hell to protect it.”

Jack opened his eyes. “You’ll be Pirate Lord one day. Never doubt that – we’ll make it happen.” He gave her a smile full of dangerous promise before his mind moved on. “But… I don’t know. That’s not really my fear. I know we will survive tomorrow. Not all of us, perhaps, but…enough of us. It’s not about if we win… it’s how.”

He stands up and starts pacing in front of Runali. Agitated, yes, yet his thousand-yard stare told Runali this wasn’t spur-of-the-moment anxiety.

“I’ve been thinking about this a lot. In a few days’ time, pirates face the navy and the whole world will be watching, thanks to their article that they released. Do you know how the world sees us now? Criminals. The navy is the military arm of the World Government and we threaten the security of legality. We’re a direct threat to the government because we oppose their rules.

“When we defeat them, the perspective on pirates will change. But how? It comes down to how the navy will win or lose. And this is the reality, Captain: Only three of us have to die for the Navy to win. Three out of seven.”

Jack stopped in front of Runali. His eyes bore into her with intensity. “The Navy promised to hang the Worst Generation captains. Seven in all. If they kill one of you,” he points at Runali, “then the public sees that they failed. The Navy is weak and pirates are strong. Two captains – it could go either way. Did the pirates simply get lucky? Three or more, and it’s over. Doesn’t matter the destruction we deliver, doesn’t matter if the majority of you, the captains, survive – the next week’s newspaper will read “Three W.G. Captains Are Dead: Extermination of Pirates Begins.’ And then, for the rest of our lives, we will be on the run.”

“Don’t you see?” Jack slid back into his chair, his hands animating the emotion behind his words. “Up until now, the majority of people were content for pirates and navy to fight among themselves, and pray that neither party brought disaster into their lives. But the Navy made a public promise to wipe out the pirate leaders and now the public has to decide: whose side are they on? The oppressive government? Or anarchist sailors? That’s what we’re fighting for. A future based on public opinion that leads to two outcomes: will we be outlaws, running forever, or will we be a world power that has a chance in defying the World Government itself?”

There was a long silence as Runali contemplated what Jack said. She understood. It showed on her face, even behind the mug as she finished her drink. His words would have sobered her had she not already had her own anxieties keeping her focused. This one though, after that long moment of silence, made her smile a little. Runali rolled out her shoulders and idly spun the now empty mug on the table in front of her. “Jack.” She started, pulling him out of his head and back to her. Her foot tapped the ground and in the quiet area they both could hear the soft ‘tp, tp, tp’ sound.

“Our future is at stake.” It was a matter of fact statement, punctuated with a less than matter of fact hand gesture in front of her. “But you’re forgetting the focus here. It’s ours and ours alone.” She looked outward towards where the pirates had been resting or working and then gestured to the two of them. “We’re pirates, Jack. I know we’ve faced a lot of wild stuff but we’re not gods.” She couldn’t help the faint chuckle after. “What the world thinks of us, what the Navy thinks of us… either way the cards fall, that’s not for us to determine. We’re not here- we’re not going there to risk our lives to change the minds of the world. We’re there to let the Navy know that we won’t back down without a fight. Each one of us has our own stake in the matter. Captains, reputation, glory- whatever it is, that’s what matters.”

She gestured above his head. “Your head’s been too high in the clouds with Windy, Jack. The price is high, but you forget, we’re pirates.” A coy smile grew on her face. “And pirates are selfish, selfish creatures… Our influence on the way the world works after this isn’t any of my concern. Sure Nani actively stops these tyrants. Hell, I’ve done it too, but I’ve only done it for my selfish gain, you know? I’ve done what I’ve done because I’ve wanted to protect my family… Most times because there was money involved, other times by complete accident.” The countless times they had gotten into fights because of her name or the one time she shared some resemblance she had to another wasn’t lost on her. “You want to know what my selfish reason is for leading the most insane and dangerous war in history?”

She didn’t wait for an answer, instead she grinned. “Of course, the Worst Gen are friends of mine- and not so… estranged family is one reason. But that’s not selfishness, that’s camaraderie. The navy also threatened and hurt my family.” The injuries they sustained after the attack hadn’t been lost on her, even as she pushed into the role of acting Pirate Lord. The only reason she didn’t fret too much was because Zilia had already been on the case- and told to get her own injuries checked. “I don’t see that as selfishness though. That seems like a fair reaction to someone hurting my own. But the most selfish reason I have for doing any of this,” Runali gave a pleasant smile and rested her head on one hand. “S’being on the next newspaper as the person who managed to shake the Navy to their core. Not on my own, of course. You all will be right behind me.” The laughter came back into her voice. “But do you realize the jump I’ll have on my wanted poster? It’ll be insane! Bounty hunters risk their lives for my bounty now but they’d be fools to try it after this. Sure, some will be, that’s still fun. Hah, Jack I don’t… really care what the world thinks as a whole. I don’t know them. At the end of this, I’ll still be a pirate and the Navy will still be chasing my coattails. Everything else that happens doesn’t concern me until, well, it does.”

Runali leaned back in her chair, mimicking the shrug he gave her before. “So. We focus on what’s ours and we stay alive. Foolproof really.”

“Huh… I guess we both have speeches to make, don’t we?” Chuckling, Jack shook his head. Listening to Runali made the world sound simpler. Three years, and she never failed to soothe his fears… or at least get him to ignore them for a few hours. “I love you, Captain. Don’t agree with you entirely, but love you,” he smirked and toasted her with the last of his rum.

Jack turned back to the empty street. Tomorrow, when the mission started, these wayward thoughts would cease to exist. No matter his personal feelings, his family came first. Protecting them was his only goal. Now and always.

“Still…” he commented into the silence, “would be nice to make a statement out of the fuckers.”
 
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Winter

Queen of cold.
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Alicia took several long measured steps towards the edge of the tower, looking down over where Luro had been thrown as she watched him catch up to Ru before taking an ungraceful landing on a nearby rooftop. She exhaled, glancing back over her shoulder towards Jack as he engaged Simon and started a fight she'd yet to take part in. She hadn't given him much of a reaction when he implied he'd killed the captain prior to their arrival, her emotions better maintained these days than they had been in years past when she'd probably have given in to anger and rage.

The area she could see below was a mess of explosions and fighting, her haki improved sight enabling her to pick out the different small and large battles happening between buildings, some of which had been destroyed by the fleets cannonfire. The captain was safe with Luro, of that she was sure but the situation had now moved on into a realm of the unknown. She lacked information, knowledge of the situation with the other captains and whether or not they were all ready to withdraw. It was probably doubtful if they were engaged against admirals, but the plan was to withdraw and not attempt to sustain and endure a drawn out fight.

Her brow furrowed as she took note of the situation, her plan having been to drop the tower but with Jack engaged and the others below she couldn't do it safely without risking some of their allies getting caught in the devestation. Alicia clicked her tongue as she closed her eyes for a moment, giving some thought to what she should do before turning her attention towards Jack as he fought against Simon. Jack had grown in strength and she had no doubt he was far more than just a little capable of taking down Simon on his own. "Shia es'ama tua kamiya, ura tem ast'al aramina." (Feian: This fight is yours to finish, I'll open our escape.) she spoke in Feian doubting Simon would understand it.

Once she'd gotten her reply she turned and took a step over the edge, falling towards the battlefield before she ascended mid fall... finally able to make the full use of her power now that they had gotten to their objective and the airship no longer presented them with a problem. Blades made of light and white porcelain armour manifested at her back before emitting a white light that gave the illusion of wings, long ribbons of gold flowing out from her neck as Shusui changed into a familiar polearm. She flew overhead of the fighting below, making note of where the fighting was heaviest and where the best place would be for their forces to withdraw.

"There."

She noted a destroyed road that would lead out through the ring tiers, allowing a path back towards the fleet which could potentially provide covering fire once they were back in range. Alicia paused and looked back towards the tower, noting the various flashes of light that told of the intense exchange between Jack and Simon. 'Well... I think it's about time.' she thought to herself as she raised the tip of Shusui up towards the sky, her form changing slightly to convey the same black and silver one used back when she'd fought against the goddess in Bonnifas... though unlike then she had control over her temper.

The sky turned to night over Belfield rapidly, clouds clearing for the arrival of an illusionary moon to cast it's gloomy glow over the battlefield. Light flooded out from Alicia's bladed wings to keep her in the air, ascended light perhaps the only thing that would indicate her position for those fighting below who knew of her. Alicia took one last moment to assess the situation before raising her hand to her side, thumb and middle finger curling to rest their tips against one another. A loud snap of her fingers echoed causing the night sky to flood with stars, dots of light that began to shine fiercely in revolt against the midnight blanket. Alicia took in a deep breath, red eyes opening before her brow furrowed one final time.

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Her voice carried like a command as the stars ignited and fell towards the earth, columns of light showering Belfield as they fell to target the navy personnel leaving allies untouched so long as they didn't stray too far from where they stood during Alicia's torrential blitz. The beams turned bodies to ash in mere moments, turning sand to glass while burning ugly scars into the ground. The large scale attack began thinning and reducing their enemies number substantially, allowing the Pirates an opening to withdraw... or to recoup their strength to continue the fight. Either way those who fought below would be greeted with a burned and scoarched earth, fire and ash left behind in the wake of Alicia's full distruction as the midnight blanket eased back to daylight once more while the visage of the moon faded into the blue sky.
 
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Capt. Blu

Fake it til You Make it
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Time: Afternoon
Location: Belfield Tower

“Don’t suppose he’d preferably die with his captain. Two pirates, one bullet?” Simon clicked his tongue when Luro went over the edge, unphased by the drastic amount of elemental changes. Light reflected off his form and he stepped through the ice as if it were air. The moment he moved, it shattered into thousands of pieces. When Jack struck, in a blink of an eye he was on the other side of him. With an aloofness, an armament kick sent Jack careening forward. “Very common for pirates to put themselves in center focus.” He raised a glowing yellow hand. “Usually that gets them killed.” Bright circular orbs of light floated out of his hand, surrounding Alicia and then Jack. They remained idle for moments until they exploded into a light show of laser beams, piercing through whatever was in its way.

“You all really know how to ruin someone’s nice day.” As the fight ensued, Simon constantly seemed to be a few steps ahead of each attack. He dodged the majority of them, while others bounced off a shield of light or were met with some laser beam style attack. The vice admiral’s focus went towards the airship that crashed. “Pity. The Passano girl would’ve been a useful asset for later.” He kicked up one of the looser seastones on the tower and kicked it at Jack like a ball, but with the speed of a bullet.

“Yula Fei has always been a stubborn lot.” Simon commented. “Brings me a relief to know that we can finally label them as enemies of the Navy and not just thorns in our side.” When she left Jack alone, he made a ‘tch’ sound and adjusted his glasses. The admirals would be fine, but he was losing his patience. “Alright. You’re all a little higher on the list of priorities, congratulations.”


----

Location: Courtyard of Belfield

Chaos of pirates and navy were scattered through the courtyard of Belfield, and then further out, more chaos spread through the city. In a war between the two, it was practically a standstill. There was no way to escape and nowhere to run when the navy swarmed like ants and kept pirates and their allies on land.

Despite it all, both admirals remained focused on their targets, relentlessly going after them despite the mass of power being sent their way.

The news of Alcinoe’s death spread like a wildfire and multiple Cutthroat women staggered or lashed out in rage, but all of them began to pull back in order to protect Saffron and Oz, getting the body of their captain to the safety of the ship.

Will had joined the fight, a bloodlust and rage encompassing him like a feral dog. The blood he lost from before wasn’t nearly enough to stop him from clearing out waves of navy soldiers that tried to get in his way. Stella assisted as best she could, but when Ria returned with Rin, her focus shifted. She yelled for her captain, but he was too far gone in his rampage to be stopped. Usually, that was Rin’s job and the first mate was barely conscious. “C’mon, love. I’m taking you back to the ship.” She whistled for a few other Red pirates to help her.

With every attack, it was redirected by Dominic or countered by Gideon. Their efforts weren’t for naught, the two admirals sustained a bit of injury, but neither of them looked phased by it. The two were an unstoppable force, quickly proving why they were held in such high regard.

Robin and Alton held the front lines, keeping either admiral from making fatal blows towards the pirates and allies that assisted the fight. Despite the gravity influxes, Robin was nimble as ever like a dancer in a storm. She matched Dominic’s attacks with hard hitting haki that showed just why she was placed in sturdier bindings than Alton.
One particular large metal strike from Gideon towards Mari and Zilia was matched with an armamented fist from Alton, causing the ground to buckle under him. He was an unstoppable force to Gideon’s unmoving position.

And then it grew dark and rapidly so. Everyone that was capable looked up to see Alicia (if they could recognize her with the new form) and either scattered away from the beams of light or used them to their advantage.

“Twins!” Alton’s voice boomed through the chaos. “Give ‘em a way out!”

“Roger!” Court captains responded after realizing the light show wouldn’t harm them. From one captain, illusory green wisps popped up around the courtyard, pointing to their way out. From the second captain, a comforting aura washed over as if whispering ‘trust us and follow’.

“Dominic. Today.” Gideon barked, managing to send Alton into Robin.

“Aye, aye boss.” Dominic shifted his attention upward to the ‘angel’ in the sky. The air around Alicia began to rapidly warp and pressurize into itself in an attempt to crush the Stardusk first mate into herself. And with his freehand, he forced pirates and their allies trying to flee, back towards him. Some, he flung directly into the beams of light, others got crushed into the ground as if to force them to stay put. “All you boss.”

Gideon growled out his frustrations and slammed his hand into the ground. Metal ripped itself from the tower, from pirates, from homes, and anywhere else he could grab it. “You want to try your luck? Fine, let’s try it.” Metal began to pierce through pirates.

The Red pirates helping Stella get Rin to the ship collapsed. And then suddenly she was pushed out of the way as spiraling metal stabbed through Will’s stomach. He staggered and there was more blood on him than what could’ve been considered safe, but he remained standing.

The twin captains were next, but there was a very panicked, “Step back!” from Sergei. Usually, when the man spoke the emotion behind it was always stifled and subdued. If there ever was emotion it was typically for putting on a show, parroting what others wanted to hear. But this time, as he spoke, a very real fear settled in his chest as he commanded the captains with his power and moved in their place. One blade slashed across the side of his neck and the other through his leg.
The metal pierced through others’ defenses as well, like Kara’s and Adelaide’s. Even Robin was pierced through the shoulder.

Pirates began to rapidly collapse as quickly as the navy were.

“She puts up a good fight, sorry for the delay. I’ll kill the flying one now.” Dominic looked over his shoulder. “They’re all very tenacious though.”
“They’re rodents and nothing more. Mind your focus, kid.”

Before Gideon could send out another devastating hit and before Dominic could completely attempt to crush Alicia, heat began to rise rapidly and dangerously.

“Uh, boss? Incoming.”

The shield Gideon created crumbled upon impact as the heat everyone felt turned into a fiery set of wings and then a blur. Before they could recognize just who it was, Gideon was sent careening into the tower and where he once stood, Runali was in his place with a fiery look as the flames around her fizzled away. She blinked, staring at the scene as a momentary silence washed over the courtyard.

“Huh, I thought Simon was planning to kill you.”

Runali’s gaze fell on Dominic and a rather pleasant smile grew on her face. When she took a step forward, she flipped her eyepatch upwards. A dangerous aura loomed off of her with every step, radiating outward and knocking out more soldiers before they could raise their weapons. “You didn’t hear? Death’s too afraid to come for me after I stole his eye.” For the first time since the battle began, Dominic hesitated. Runali could see it, but before she could tease, the sound of an explosion from the tower caught everyone’s attention. “Ah, good he did it. Well, that’s our cue.” Another swift and sudden kick cracked through the gravity barrier Dominic put up and sent him towards the tower as well.

The moment the admirals were out of the way, all of that vibrato from Runali died out and she buckled over. <“Eugh, I don’t know how many things I’ve broken on me today… I need a nap… And food, I’m starving…”> Her complaints were to herself, but they were quickly interrupted when chunks of seastone landed around her. Someone was courteous enough to stop one from landing on top of her. “Running on adrenaline. Alright, captain, get it together. Time to get to the ship.” She hopped on top of one stone, flipping her eyepatch back down and bellowed out as loud as she could. “To the ships! Now!” Alton, with a louder voice echoed it downward for the ones farther away.
A familiar caw made her look up and she saluted Coral as she soared past, sending magma down similar to Alicia’s light show in order to keep the rest at bay. “Follow the bird! She knows the way out!”

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Mizos

*Insert quip here*
FOLKLORE MEMBER
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Luro smiled watching the Captain run off, he already missed her but he had to do what was asked of him, especially seeing how excited she was. Recreating that experiment would be fun to do as well, he held up the glove feeling the push and pull of Runali's Haki, it was the strength of her Haki back then that made the sun as big as it was, just thinking of the damage it could do now brought him an immense amount of joy.
Though he made a mental note to lessen the effect to the tower only, the old one could have destroyed the ship after all.
Adjusting the glove on his hand he offered a chuckle.
"Everything seems dull compared to your brightness Captain…I'm gonna hug you for a full two minutes after we're done with this. More if Z doesn't stop me."

Luro looked up at Alicia, the redhead tilting his head at the sudden night, he lightly clapped his hands together at the sudden light show.
"Ooooh pretty."
This is about what he expected from the First Mate.
He didn't tell specific islands she was a god for nothing after all, he couldn't wait to share this story and Alicia couldn't deny it either.
"Awww it's already Note four already though?" Luro said adjusting his bandages. "Boo I was just getting started."
Luro stepped forward only to notice everything around him had stopped.

He blinked and looked around the now silent battlefield, the people below like motionless pieces on a broken board. His eyes moved up to a bird frozen in mid flight and blinking he turned around to look behind him to see if it was the same, only to be met with endless white.
"Huh?"
Luro turned back around to the battlefield only to see the never ending white had surrounded him on all sides.
"...I'm back here again."
"Yes you are."
Luro spun back around to see Ashia in the once empty space, one leg crossed over the other seated in a simple wooden chair.
"...who are-" Luro started to say when a sudden headache hit him.
He grit his teeth and gripped his head with both hands, pain coursed through him as something forced itself back into his head, and with it a name.
"...wait…I know you…you're ______"
Luro closed his mouth and brought a hand to his neck realizing his words had just cut off for some reason, he formed the words but the sounds didn't come.
"Ah don't fret, my name can't be spoken in a place I'm not existing. It's not just you."
Ashia offered a small shrug at this and a grin to Luro.
"I was gonna manifest properly but there's too many eyes there, even using my abilities would raise questions, granted they'd probably just think some other being interfered but I still don't want to leave any traces of myself."

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Ashia uncrossed her legs and leaned forward, resting her hands on her knees before offering a grin to the redhead.
"So I snuck in to see you, can't stay long though, it'll look weird since we're speaking in your head and time is still moving where you're at, you stare too long doing nothing and it'll draw attention. Thankfully you have an Imposter in there, even if Jones noticed it would just seem like Imposter's speaking to you. I hope you appreciate the amount of effort I'm putting in here."

Various questions popped up in Luro's head but two stood out more than the others.
"...why are you hiding and why DJ?"
"Don't need anyone knowing I'm around, especially Jones. We'll end up talking to each other eventually, right now though not much to say. Anyway time's wasting so just listen."
Ashia leaned back and held up a finger.
"Don't forget our deal."
"Deal…wait what deal?"
"Oh right…part of the deal is you forget it till I feel you need to know it. Well it's like a deal with Jones, except there's no trace of it. Part of the deal. It's not even 'active' yet till you fulfill your end of it, but I've already fulfilling."
Luro's eyes shut for a bit, he was digging in his head but there really was no memory of any deal. He had definitely spoken to this woman before he felt that but whatever conversation they had he couldn't recall. Was this the same thing that happened with the Captain?

"I just need you and Runali to survive, it's not that difficult," Ashia said. "Personally I'd like the whole of Stardusk do so, I can receive full benefits thanks to that, but you two are good enough if push comes to shove."
"...me and Captain…I mean I intend on making sure Captain survives but I'm still confused."
"I know you are but long story short I am tied to you and your precious Captain-"
Ashia trailed off and Luro flinched feeling arms wrap around his neck as the woman hugged him from behind.
"In ways you can't even imagine…well maybe you can but this isn't the place for it."
He wasn't sure when she had moved, much less how she got behind him but feeling her nails touch his neck, he quickly spun around moving away from her.

He looked around behind him only to turn back around seeing Ashia back in her seat, resting her arms on top of the now turned around chair.
"I made a deal with you to ensure what I desire comes to pass. I'm a fair woman, you give me something, I give something back. Stardusk's survival is good for me, but I can only observe this time, you forgot the deal or at least…are hesitant to use it. Runali's orders are forcing you to push down those instincts of yours. This conversation should awaken those instincts again and you should utilize our deal at least a little bit in response, though you won't know why you can do it, cause you know, I'm going to make you forget this conversation."
"My…instincts? The Captain…I don't get it. Can't you just tell me you know I'm bad at this kinda stuff."
"Oh my goodness you're still so adorable, and I told you I'm gonna erase your memory, waste of time. You only need to do one thing, Luro."
Ashia held up a finger to illustrate this point.
"Show them your humanity. Now dodge."

Luro started to speak when he felt a metal pole suddenly pierce his chest, he recognized this feeling and his eyes widened as reality came back and he immediately moved out of the way of the flying metal. He let out a small sigh as he turned forward again thankful his Observation gave him a proper warning.
Watching your death happening then preventing it always left a weird taste in his mouth, like eating Zilia's personal lunch when Jack didn't make it.
"...what was I just doing…" Luro said rubbing the back of his head. "Oh right, explosion."
Luro leaned his body down and blue mist surrounded his body before he vanished from sight, he reappeared at the top of the tower, his brows arched at the sudden fog.

Finding Jack would be difficult if he didn't know his scent by heart at this point, he didn't see Simon but that wasn't important, wasting little time finding Jack he grabbed him by his wrist.
"Hey Jack, Ali will be mad if you're in the path of this."
Luro grinned at him before vanishing again pulling the man with him.
Ensuring Alicia also wasn't within range he releasing Jack so he could land on the ground below away from the tower.
Waving once more he vanished again before appearing in the air above the tower.
Grinning his hands flexed and energy gathered in the glove, swirling and pulsating before Luro brought his hand back and hurled it forward. The energy formed into a red orb that neared the top of the tower, once it was close enough Luro snapped his fingers.
The red orb sunk into the tower and vanished.

When nothing happened Luro's eyes narrowed as he sat tailor style and crossed his arms, ignoring the fact he was about to plummet from the sky. Making a visor with his hand he stared down at the tower.
"Where's the-"
Air sucked in towards the structure before immense heat detonated, the eruption sent Luro flying back a bit as a mini-supernova exploded from the tower, as Luro flipped through the air he managed to straighten himself enough to see the 'mini-sun' that he had created.
He had forcefully contained it in one area as per his Captain's orders, something he was glad about because anything near the fire essentially didn't exist anymore.
"Good thing I remember Captain's Haki was there this time. Z might get mad if she got disintegrated without being warned first."
The redhead spun his body and fell back towards the earth grinning as he went to rejoin the others.




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When the sky above turned dark Zilia let out a small sigh, the choir behind her dissipated as glasses reappeared in the doctor's hands.
The power coming from the woman quickly dissipated, sealed once again by the doctor.
The two guardians remained as she'd purposefully summoned them beforehand for that purpose.
Mari pulled her ash back into her, doubly grateful for Anton's assistance as Kara's tendrils retreated back towards her.
Mari's eyes moved towards the sky before her jaw dropped.
"Is that-"
"Yep," Zilia said putting her glasses back on.
Wiping a bit of sweat from her forehead the blue barriers faded from those surrounding them.
Shortly after Alicia's attack followed and Mari jumped at the sudden assault, Seliria and Kaim retreated seeing the attack coming and put some distance between themselves and the navy officers.
Mari could only stare mouth agape at the display, unable to form the words, she could 'feel' the presences around them vanishing.
"Stardusk Note number four," Zilia said as Kara brushed off her outfit.
"....I can hear Tari's rage from here," Kara said watching the destruction around them.
Seliria stood near the group as the attack by Alicia was unleashed.
"Note Number four," Seliria repeated looking at Zilia. "Not my favorite but if it works for you all."
The doctor offered a nod and Mari managed to pull herself from the display long enough to pose her question.
"...putting aside how 'okay' you all are with this…what's note number four?"
"Stardusk note number four," Zilia said. "If one is dealing with a serious or strong threat, hold the line until Alicia or Runali takes care of it."
Mari blinked a few times and looked at Kara and Seliria, the former nodded and Seliria was adjusting her gloves making no effort to deny it.
"...that's a thing?" Mari questioned
"Take it from someone who's been watching Stardusk for a long time, minus a few cases that's pretty much right. I mean Bonifass is a good example."
"So we just…wait?"
"Well Note Five is to deal with it yourself if possible of course while remembering four, but yeah four is just pretty much wait for them to show up. Has happened enough times"
"I dislike people doing my job for me much less handling my affairs but Stardusk will do as Stardusk does," Seliria commented.

It was hard to deny it considering what was happening and though she was going to question it further Seliria drew their attention seeing the admirals were moving again.
"Brace yourself," the woman said.
There was little time for preparation as Dominic's power crashed into them, Kara managed to brace herself but Zilia still winded from her rewrite felt her footing slip and was thrown towards Alicia's falling beams.
She knew she couldn't get her barrier up in time so she just crossed her arms in front of her and braced as best she could.
"Dark Apotheosis."
Seliria's voice echoed and the beams that were close to hitting her changed direction to avoid the doctor, Mari's ash caught Zilia before setting her back on her feet.

There was no time for thanks as Gideon's attack soon followed, Seliria was concerned for Alicia but she decided to just protect the people down below for now. She'd hold her own for the time being.
"Mari!"
Seliria yelled and Mari nodded and creating an ash sword tossed it at her, Seliria caught it and started cutting through the approaching metal protecting who she could. Mari did the same raising her blade and cutting apart anything that approached the two women circling around their 'charges' to keep the attacks from hitting who they could. Zilia grateful for the two women took a moment catch her breath, Val returning to her side.
"I've stopped the process, Mother."
"Thank you… I'm glad we didn't have to rely on it."
Kara raised her tendrils up but the moment a piece of metal broke through she immediately moved her body without hesitation, courtesy of Nikos' training.
She felt the metal narrowly miss her skull and pass her, she ignored the trickle of blood down her cheek and kept moving, cutting through any that got close with her tendrils now that stopping them wasn't an option.
Kaim had joined the two women and was helping to keep them safe, he probably noticed how winded Zilia actually was, or looked for where most of it was going and threw himself at that group, it could be either with him.

Caleb weaved between the attacks as best he could doing what he could to stop them from hitting the allies nearest him, Lia's help kept him from getting hit himself since he was more focused on others then himself. The woman pushed him out of the way at one point before being impaled through the arm by a sharpened pipe. A laugh escaped from her as she ripped it out and stared at her messed up arm, watching as it slowly healed itself.
Being down an arm in this situation wasn't doing her any favors and Caleb was preparing as more metal rushed towards them. Caleb lowered his body as the onslaught approached them, before he felt a hand grab him and yank him backwards, the same done to Lia and anyone within grabbing range.

Mia's hands twitched and a dome of wires surrounded the group, the woman placed her hand against it and reinforced it, which was enough to stop the attacks from hitting them, the metal bouncing off the wires, or cut by the numerous ones the woman had placed around her.
"...thank you Mia," Caleb said. "Though may I ask why you didn't do this earlier?"
"Seemed like you had it handled," Mia said arching a brow at him. "I told you minimum effort right? I meant it. I was hired to do a very specific job. This is overtime for me, if it wasn't for my sister I would have gone to have dinner by now."
"...you do want us to survive, correct?"
Mia didn't say anything concentrating on her dome, humming a small tune to herself.
He knew the woman was eccentric and never let her true thoughts be known, so he was hoping this was another of her jokes.
While Mia played it off the attacks were stronger than she expected, if she got hit by gravity guy at the same time keeping the barrier up wasn't going to happen.
"Catch your breath," the woman said. "...and if I remove my eyepatch, clear the area."

Zilia reached for her glasses, preparing to remove two of her limitations knowing she'd at least be carried out when she fell unconscious, at the hint of the attacks continuing.
Seliria was about to have Mari reinforce the makeshift blade, as chunks of it had been knocked away during the attack when something stopped the second attempted assault.
Seeing it was Runali Zilia shoulders slumped and she had to resist falling to her knees as her body inadvertently relaxed, she released the hold on her limiters and straightened her body.
"Note number four," Mari said, straightening her body. "Okay I get it now."
Zilia nodded and adjusted her glasses more than happy to follow the Captain's advice, Seliria and Caleb moved the moment Alton gave the order.
The rest followed after Coral with Kaim taking up the rear, he noticed Luro was running holding Zilia under his arm as he dashed with the others.
He lingered nearby for a moment to ensure every member of Stardusk was accounted for before joining the others.



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Sometime during 'Starfall'

"I'm going to kill her."
"Tari calm down."
Nikos was trying to soothe Tari as those gathered watched the destruction that had occured from the Prophet's ships. Isari was giving them updates as best she could given the circumstances and the mild lull in attacks gave her time to fully update them. Though Tari didn't need to be told that it was Alicia, she could feel it.
"I hate that woman with every fiber of my being."
Maka walked up to the group and adjusted his mask before looking over at Aira who was cleaning her weapon.
"Is this an envy thing?" Maka asked motioning to Tari.
"Nah not really. There's no envy here," Aira said. "I thought so at first too but the last thing she wants to be is Alicia. It's hard to put into words…"

Aira sat her weapon against herself before bringing a hand to her chin.
"Think of it this way. Imagine you're racing someone to a line. You're putting in all you have, sweating, huffing and puffing, putting your heart and soul into reaching that line. You're neck and neck with the person and they're running with you, and they look perfectly fine, not a bead of sweat on their forehead. You blink and they're suddenly a few feet ahead of you. So you sprint faster, push yourself harder so you're neck and neck again."
Aira said all this while Nikos at this point had his hands on Tari's shoulders as the woman seemed inches away from heading towards Belfield.
"However you blink again and they're ahead again, so you catch up again. At this point your body is burning, your vision is blurring but you push on, and they still look perfectly fine. Then they look over at you, smile and say 'you're doing great' while still moving forward seemingly effortlessly."

Maka was silent for a moment and crossed his arms.
"Okay I can understand why that'd be aggravating," Maka said.
"Exactly. Course Tari knows that effort isn't without its ups and downs, Alicia works hard she knows that. However there's always this distance between them she can see, no matter how hard she works, Alicia is always a few steps ahead. It's not the only reason she dislikes the woman, far from it and even she acknowledges such feelings are childish but it's just how it is."
Aira looked back at Tari.
"I've watched the woman practice until she passed out from exhaustion, punch stone until her knuckles bled, traverse places no normal human would go willingly…and yet it's never enough. I can't blame her for being infuriated. It feels like Alicia's getting the same results without the same effort. I doubt that's the case, Tari does too but…it doesn't make moments like this any easier."
"A need to surpass then?"
"Not surpass match," Aira said holding up a finger. "Alicia is her rival, whether the other woman acknowledges it or not. It's a selfish thing sure, but that's how humans are. I don't even know what to call their relationship myself. Tari took out 23 ships with effort…even if those ships are packed to the brim with navy officers…it's still less than a whole damn city."
Aira shrugged.
"Funny thing is Alicia has no idea why she's hated so much. The rivalry is one part of it, sure but that hate runs deeper than some simple contest of strength, maybe one day they'll talk about it, and the two of them will resolve it. At the very least killing Alicia isn't her top priority anymore. It's fun to watch though. Still for all her hatred…Tari does want Alicia to survive this, if just to punch her later herself."
"Fascinating…"
"I know it's so much fun to watch."
"You're not afraid I'll say something to her though? It is tempting."
"Pfft go ahead that'd just make it worse. Alicia's response would just set Tari off further. She'd also be interested to know who said something."
"Noted."

Nikos after calming Tari down looked over at Aira.
"I'm going to send more reinforcements in, things have gotten complicated and we pretty much have this handled. Relias and Lily along with Yuli are dealing with the ships well enough alongside Yula Fei and our other allies. A few of us will stay behind to help keep the sea's as clear as possible but I'm sending in another Prophet. I'm worried about the others in the town as well."
Tari brushed off her outfit before starting to head towards Belfield, only to stop as Nikos' hand landed on her shoulder.
"Not you Tari, you're staying behind."
"Scouting and infiltration are my specialties, Nikos. I can be in and out quickly."
"While I don't doubt that I don't want you near Alicia in your current state. We are still under contract."
"I'm just going to talk to her."
"With your weapon," Aira said, inspecting her axe.
"Ye-no with words."
"Okay you're staying behind," Nikos said pulling her back. "You'll attack first and not ask questions later in your current state. I need you here guiding the ships anyway."
"...aye Captain."


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A time before

"Here you are Yiora!"
Yiora stared at the gloves in front of her before taking them into her hands, she turned them over adjusting them, the winter months were far away so she wasn't sure why Luro was giving them to her.
"Ma'nai why are you giving me this?"
Luro grinned and slipping on one himself gave a quick demonstration making a nearby chunk of earth rise up, the act caused Yiora to jump slightly.
"Ma'nai when did you acquire the power to command spirits?"
"It's not the spirits," Luro said.
He gave a brief explanation of the gloves and after a few more examples, which required them to move to a nearby lake to avoid burning down half the forest, Yiora understood what she had been given.
"This is…amazing," she said as she tossed a ball of fire from one glove to the other. "Still I don't know why you gave me this Ma'nai."
Yiora reached up and tugged on one of her earrings.
"You already gave me a gift for joining the clan, I'd feel bad if you gave me two."
"It's not that," Luro said shaking his head. "You guys…are out there working for the clan. Dealing with threats so no one else has too…and you're only going to deal with more and more things. I mean I'm pretty sure I've fought at least six gods at this point, or close enough."
"I don't doubt it. You get in trouble with everyone."
Yiora offered a smile at this and Luro returned it before continuing.
"I don't know what you're going to encounter out there…but part of the reason I made those gloves was to give people a chance against those with fancy powers. People like us gotta work with what we've got after all. Sometimes you need to be a Hunter and not a Warrior like the old man would say."
Luro put his hands on his hips at this.
"If ya don't need em then great. You're better at close range stuff then I am, even now. Still I want you to have the option, in case you do end up needing them. Of course I gave you another pair for the old man."

Yiora stared at the gloves on her hand for a moment, Luro's explanation gave her a lot to think about. She was sure the other clans would have 'interesting' opinions about this invention of his, but they were Drifters, they didn't play by the same rules.
Yiora looked back over at Luro as he lowered his hands back to his sides.
"I'm just…tired of losing people I care about. So I'll feel better knowing you have something extra. I also can't really help with clan stuff even though I'm in it, so hopefully you guys can count this as my contribution."

Yiora stared at Luro before reaching up and adjusting her head band, she walked towards Luro causing the redhead to turn to fully face her before she wrapped her arms around him.
Luro blinked staring down at Yiora confused by the sudden embrace.
"Yiora? What's going on? Did I say something? Did you miss me that much? Oh wait I didn't miss your birthday did I? Wait your birthday is-"
"Ma'nai."
Yiora's voice caused Luro to stop talking.
"Just shut up and hug me back."
Luro tilted his head but obliged, causing the woman to lean more into him.
"I'll stay alive…so you make sure to do the same."
"...okay. I'll make sure I come back to you guys."
"Good."

—--------------------------------------------

Before Alicia's 'Starfall'

Yiora leaned against a nearby building an arrow nocked as she peered around at the two Captain's making their way down the street.
Malas was dealing with a group of them a few streets over, she drew a group away herself so they could divide and conquer.
She had managed to kill a few of the lower ranks but these two had managed to elude her.
The woman's eyes narrowed slightly as ice covered her arrow, she quickly stepped out and fired.
One the Captain's leapt away as the other turned, the arrow hit the ground near his feet and froze it, the ice covering most of the street and consuming him up to his knees.
While he tried to regain his balance, Yiora fired another arrow, the Captain swing and cut the first arrow only for a second flaming one to follow right after.
His mouth hung agape as the second one exploded, the fire washing over his body enveloping him as he screamed, the ice melting as he fell to the ground right afterwards eventually going still.

The other Captain grit his teeth seeing the burned remains of his comrade and started looking for their attacker.
The woman was staying right outside of his Observation, she must have realized his range during her earlier assault, but she couldn't hide her attacks.
Whoever this person was knew how to fight people with Haki, her own arrows were infused with Armament and he was sure her Observation was either on par or better than his as she always knew where he was, no matter how much he tried to hide his presence.

His instincts suddenly screamed at him and he jumped away as a dagger narrowly missed his neck, sliding backwards he noticed Yiora raise her body twirling the dagger in her hand.
Kneeling down she put her hand against the ground, the cobblestone shifting before standing up again.
"A native…" the man said moving both hands to his sword.
She had gotten so close without him sensing her, he couldn't help but smile as coming out in the open was a mistake.
This was the first time he'd seen her, but he was going to ensure it'd be the last as he approached her.

Yiora stepped between the man's strikes deflecting the ones that got too close to the best of her ability, she kept close to him due to the Captain's range. She stepped past a strike and pulling his wrist circled around him pulling him where she had been.
The man moved away before she could get a hit in and immediately closed the distance again, she noticed he was attacking just outside of range of her dagger and smiled as the sword came down.
Cold suddenly filled the area and her dagger became a sword of ice, the Captain's eyes widened at the new blade in the woman's hand, Yiora used the hesitation parrying his strike and swinging the blade sent a trail of ice towards the man. He leapt backwards to dodge the strike putting extra distance between them due to her new weapon.

Yiora knelt down and touched the earth again, as she did when the man put his foot down the ground opened, he barely had time to register what happened before he was pulled under the earth to his shoulders.
"Sometimes you have to be a hunter…" Yiora said dismissing the ice from her blade.
"Just like hunting in the forest," Yiora said, kneeling down in front of the man.
Putting the edge of her blade against his exposed throat she smiled at him.
"Except my usual prey are smart enough to notice the traps."

Wiping the blood off her knife she reunited with Malas as the man returned wiping red off his hands, just as the two were going to move they noticed the sky grow dark.
"It seems things are getting serious," Yiora said sheathing her dagger. "What's the plan?"
"We'll fall back and keep an eye out for Luro and his crew," Malas said. "We'll help where we can, no need to kill more than necessary."
Yiora nodded and the two made their way to a safer location.
 
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