A few days/weeks ago (I've lost track...)
An uncomfortable silence settled on the deck of the wandering galleon belonging to a notorious crew of miscreants. The few lanterns alit on the Wonderland Hatch dressed it like a swarm of fireflies flying across the night sea.
Under a calm, starry sky, the newly named first mate of the Bonbon X Candies stood in a trance. His bare chest was swimming in sweat. The many scars on his torso twitched and contorted as his ribs rose and fell with every deep breath. The single stitched-up gash on his back stretched from his left hip to his right shoulder. If one were to look at him from behind, one might think he had been cut in two and Frankensteined back together. This very thought crossed the mind of a soundless mink approaching him.
A caress of the cold breeze lifted and fluffed the hairs of the mink's black mane. His golden peepers glowed like portals to another dimension. But, his proximity did not break the human's trance.
The feline mink, Rozene, seated himself on the smooth wooden floor near the first mate and observed. The sweat bathing the man contradicted the chilling wind he faced. He remained balanced and unmoving against the ocean's turbulence.
The first mate's scarlet eyes glowed nearly as bright as the beast's, and they were fixed onto the abyss the ship's bow pierced through. He held a blade over his head and was poised to strike. But, the swordsman had maintained this posture for nearly an hour.
Rozene waited patiently, letting the rhythmic sounds of the ropes stretching and the sails fluttering symphonise with his breaths. After the ship had sung many songs in the night, the air on the deck shifted abruptly. The swordsman's pupils expanded. Within the blink of an eye, the man swung his sword down quieter than a ghost. There was no shockwave birthed by the swing. The mink's sharp ears could not even detect the sword cutting the air.
The first mate sighed and relaxed. He swept his spiky hair back and turned to the spectator while sheathing his katana. "You've been watching me train every night like a hawk."
He swiped a towel hanging over a railing and patted himself with it. "I am trying to understand this exercise. I first thought it was merely image training. But, there is something more I cannot put my claw on."
The mink rumbled ponderously.
The man half-smiled and only delivered an unnecessarily mysterious response. "Someone once taught me the most crucial step in learning how to cut anything - it's to learn how to cut nothing."
Without any clarifications, the swordsman left the lion-mink to study the meaning behind the statement.
At the moment...
Acacia idled a few feet removed from the merchant of relics and the wearer of oddities. The cheerfulness of the water city and the "will they or won't they" bickering of his two crewmates was putting a damper on his attempted nap.
He spied three brown-haired little monkeys (for clarification - these were just ordinary human kids) trying to drag their mother to the stall of "rubbish". Unfortunately for the monkeys and the seller of said rubbish, the matron refused to grace them with her patronage.
Acacia blindly fondled the locket hanging off the heavy chain around his neck. An index finger glided over the contours of the single chrome wing engraved upon it. It was a warm day, but Acacia had dressed appropriately for the weather. He wore a baby blue t-shirt with the words "Born to die" printed on the chest in an edgy font. He paired the casual top with khaki cargo shorts with folded cuffs and a pair of leather flip-flops.
He sceptically analysed each passer-by with a resting glower wrinkling his dark brows - an unpleasant habit formed through his time spent alone on the run. Undistracted by his associates' squabble, he did not fail to notice the ragged punk in a brown coat who plucked a piece of treasure
from his captain's hoard
He snorted when their fishman navigator fumbled and wrestled against his own clumsiness in an attempt to chase after their beloved captain. From how Becker gathered up their wares, Acacia imagined the blue-skinned male had forgotten he was even here. Acacia did not mind. He cleared his throat as he rose to draw his panicked crewmate's attention. "Relax. They're not going anywhere,"
he said. Becker could not see the source of Acacia's confidence until he properly scanned the tall male. Acacia's fingers twirled and stretched. Two strings of thick, green mochi extended from him to unknown endpoints. Acacia sighed as these elastic strings turned obsidian and stiffened. A loud gasp resounded from a distant crowd, and sharp ears would've heard a thud (or maybe two).
Acacia wound the mochi back into him, dragging the victims of his sticky pursuit. "Couldn't you have stopped them before I packed everything up?"
Becker's dirty glare shot through him like a lance, but he shrugged it off. "It's not my fault you forgot I was here."
The fishman stomped and swore bloody murder under his breath.
By the time Acacia had reeled in the fish on his lines, he (or they, if the captain did not somehow break free) would be painted with scuffs and scratches.
Acacia walked down to the thief one measured sinister step at a time and then squatted beside him. Pressing the butt of his lavender scabbard into the man's panting chest, he whispered ominously. "I've heard talk of pickpockets and shoplifters ganging up in these parts. Say, you wouldn't happen to know anything about that, would you?"
A Chesire cat's grin—coupled with his petrifying bloody irises—forced the crook to swallow a lump bigger than his round nose. "I--I-- I work for some really powerful people! You don't wanna mess with us!"
The pathetic threats of the mule only served to excite the bored swordsman. "Oh? Is that right? Why don't you invite them over for a party then? Our captain loves meeting new people. I'm sure we'll all get along splendidly."
Even a child could've read the sarcasm behind his words.
Becker ruffled through the writhing snake's pockets, fetching several wallets, trinkets, and other ill-gained commodities. "Huh. Looks like he's been having a profitable day. This particular wallet belongs to a... Silas Grimsby. Looks important,"
Becker noted, closing a well-kept dark pocketbook. "Aha. I wonder what Mister Grimsby would have to say if he got his hands on you?"
It was a rhetorical question, but one he might see answered soon.