Revival Dawn - One Piece RP
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Doji
Tracker

Name : Asakura Doji
Epithet : Cemetery Ghoul
Age : 18
Height : 17'7
Weight : 1,777 lb
Species : Human-Giant-Oni Crossbred
Faction : Pirates
Crew : Solo
Ship : Old Sutured Sail
Crew Role : Blind Navigator
Haki Level : 0
Hitpoints (HP) : 143
Attack (ATK) : 50
Defense (DEF) : 25
Reflex (RX) : 65
Willpower (WP) : 85
Level : 1
Experience Points : 100
Berries Berries : 1,050,000
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Posts : 80
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[Episode] The Bizarre Discovery of Dr. Mira Empty [Episode] The Bizarre Discovery of Dr. Mira

Thu Aug 11, 2022 2:46 pm
Quest Request:

This evening the waves of the West Blue glimmered beneath the horizon’s last licks of sunlight; periwinkle clouds faded to a dull navy as the ESP Pirates approached their haunt’s destination. The massive and illustrious castle of Thriller Bark loomed above the nearby seas like a monolithic fossil of a bygone era.

A red thread of fate unwound from the sail of the graverobber’s rickety old ship, fluttering gently in the summer night’s breeze. The ship’s captain had dropped anchor on the Northeast shore sometime in the afternoon, and had been gone exploring the island since. Old Sutured Sail bobbed upon the lapping waves, dutifully awaiting the return of its master.

Amongst the gnarled hollows and labyrinthine graveyards of Thriller Bark the average person would be enveloped, likely feeling a sense of apprehension and claustrophobia as they tread further down narrowly beaten paths. For a giant however? Well even a small one could just break a path down for himself!

Doji was having the time of his life amongst the countless headstones that dotted the island, if there was a place to look for a grave this was it. Still, the ghoul had no luck finding Nobunaga’s resting place. Having started his search earlier in the afternoon the giant oni had now made his way towards the island’s Southern shores, though the he tread the island barefoot this was the only respect the lumbering creature had shown to his surroundings; branches ripped from trees and strewn about the trails, graves blatantly trampled over, and in the center of it all a pair of oversized footprints impressed upon the earth.

Further up the hill leading towards the castle, Doji had inadvertently gotten himself off course, and was no longer properly circling the island. Still, tracing each of the path's headstones' inscription with his forefinger, Doji was unable to find his “master”; however, the pesky yōkai had stumbled upon something…

Meanwhile, in the depths of the castle’s dungeons


Experiment after experiment, each a grotesque piece of the greater puzzle, her “test-subjects” suffering had not been in vain. He can survive like this. I can finally have him back. Mira smiled, a tear falling from the corner of her eye at the thought of her love’s return.

The soft hum of electrical whirring echoed throughout the halls and stairways leading down to Thriller Bark’s “basements.” The castle’s haunted halls felt almost nostalgic with the presence of a new mad scientist. Mira was on the verge of grand discovery.

Within Mira’s operating room a sinister snail smiled, bearing its sharp teeth and bulging the yellowy-white of its maddened eyes. Just another living thing driven to the edge in the scientist’s unnatural pursuit.

Back on the Hill


… what was this horrific thing? The mechanical mockery of life twitched and jerked its decaying body upwards, appearing to stand and limp towards Doji. No person moves like that. The long-haired oni sensed the creature’s terrifying manner of ambulation before taking an exaggerated leap backwards.

From the island’s Southern shore, where the ESP pirates had begun docking, a strange silhouette could be seen at the top of a nearby hill:

A large and hairy creature, its arms swung out in either direction, and its head turned back towards the onlookers.

Post Word Count: 544
Total Word Count: 544
Pikasso
Tracker

Name : Aya Ruiz
Epithet : "Pikasso"
Age : 25
Height : 4'5"
Weight : 120 lb
Species : Mink
Faction : Civilian/Other
Alliance : Nox Prime
Crew : P.T.S.D.
Ship : Dead Air
Crew Role : Procurement Specialist
Devil Fruit : Suke Suke no Mi
Haki Level : 0
Hitpoints (HP) : 133
Attack (ATK) : 60
Defense (DEF) : 55
Reflex (RX) : 55
Willpower (WP) : 65
Level : 1
Experience Points : 100
Berries Berries : 50,000
[[childofdestiny]]
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Posts : 66
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[Episode] The Bizarre Discovery of Dr. Mira Empty Re: [Episode] The Bizarre Discovery of Dr. Mira

Mon Aug 22, 2022 7:28 pm
Most of the time hitching a ride with random crews proved to be a fairly uneventful undertaking for an invisible wallflower. She'd seen her share of interesting interactions while hidden from view... but nothing like what she had witnessed on this leg of her journey. While she usually tucked herself away to nap in the quiet of storerooms or empty cabins, Aya had found herself perched just far enough away from the ESP pirates to listen in on the curious ramblings.

Her father was a superstitious and... eccentric man, but the stories she grew up with were nothing compared to what this small crew had been going on about for hours.

When she first set sight on the crew she had been wholly underwhelmed. If anything she was expecting to catch a cat nap during the travels, not spend that time utterly bewildered both by the lesser minks and the seemingly random collection of bizarre items aboard the ship. Odd taxidermy, creepy dolls, dusty cases of 'artifacts' labeled with tiny scrawled paper tags, and castings of curiously shaped footprints littered the store rooms haphazardly like some sort of disheveled abandoned museum below deck.

Up above in a cabin that seemed to have been a mapping room at one point but now was all askew with coffee and red ink ringed papers and log books of frenzied scrawlings and confusing sketches. Pikasso spent a good chunk of the end of the journey watching the small crew led by a man who frequently referred to himself aloud as 'Captain Mak Braggans' in tones that seemed more appropriate for addressing a crowd than the few men around him.

They spent an incomprehensible amount of time chatting about how excited they were to be going to "The real deal!" and readying supplies that seemed more the kind of thing you'd see at a séance than a pirate ship. What Aya had just blown off as a group of eccentric explorers had revealed itself to be something much more confusing...

'Paranormal Investigators.'

The only thing Pikasso could find worth snagging from the ship as the crew worked to dock it on the shores of Thriller Bark was a small shelled creature. The mink had seen snails like this before, but the little peek she got of it made it clear the creature was in some way unwell. Its sunken eyes peered up at her from where its faded blue body was shaking in its cracked shell.

She didn't know what these men were doing with such a sick creature, but she ushered it up into the safety of her backpack hoping it wouldn't be too uncomfortable amongst her supplies.

The least she could do was try to get it somewhere a little nicer than this creepy place. Though, she'd have to get it away from Thriller Bark, too. Who knew what could be lurking with ill intent?

As the ESP pirates argued about who'd be staying aboard the ship during their investigations of the island Pikasso took the chance to break away from her unknowing chauffeurs.

Her tiny hitchhiker seemed to be upset by the jostling, as evidenced by the strange garbled noises coming from behind her. It was abrupt enough a sound to earn a shriek out of the once clear but now all-too-visible for her own comfort mink, her eyes wide as she glanced over her shoulder expecting to see some sort of terrible monster.

Instead, distorted echoes of what nearly sounded like voices pitched up and down unnaturally from the dazed mollusk's mouth as it peered out from under the flap of her backpack.

"...N-no good deed goes unpunished, h-huh?" Aya groaned to herself quietly, sharp eyes keenly peering through the dark of falling night to the large figure far ahead of her.

"....A-a little help here, if you're not too busy?! Please?" A soft, slightly raspy voice called out hopefully into the forward path she was blazing towards the large stranger.

The snail coughed and produced a noise that made Aya's ears fold down and her hands desperately move to cover them, then it quieted down completely.

The strange, short, furry creature disappeared completely right before the eyes of the ESP pirates. Confused, they looked at one another before starting to chase after.

[npc=pirt]"That tanuki took our spirit snail!"[/npc]

{718/718}
Doji
Tracker

Name : Asakura Doji
Epithet : Cemetery Ghoul
Age : 18
Height : 17'7
Weight : 1,777 lb
Species : Human-Giant-Oni Crossbred
Faction : Pirates
Crew : Solo
Ship : Old Sutured Sail
Crew Role : Blind Navigator
Haki Level : 0
Hitpoints (HP) : 143
Attack (ATK) : 50
Defense (DEF) : 25
Reflex (RX) : 65
Willpower (WP) : 85
Level : 1
Experience Points : 100
Berries Berries : 1,050,000
[[atkt2]][[deft1]][[rxt1]][[wpt1]]
Posts : 80
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[Episode] The Bizarre Discovery of Dr. Mira Empty Re: [Episode] The Bizarre Discovery of Dr. Mira

Mon Aug 29, 2022 2:07 am
The fleshy automaton lurched towards the oni as he spoke casually to the creature that had called for his help. “Can’t you see I’m occupied over here?!” As he shouted Doji realized he was freaking out about something much smaller than himself, and with a swipe of his arm, brushed the animate away into a heap of gravestones.

“Huh? Wait was that you?” Doji loudly whispered down towards what seemed to him like a talking red panda, an animal native to his homeland of Kano Kuni. The uproarious shouting of the little lady’s pursuers clued Doji into the situation, in a swift motion, the giant scooped up the Mink and sat her upon his head, “So you’re a tanuki? Are the stories true? Shapechanging and sorcery and all that?”

The oni stood and situated his balance to accommodate his little passenger. “What about the uh…” Doji recalled that odd specific of the legends “... the guys, can they really fly like that?” With the giant’s crude insinuation sitting pungently in the air, the rude teenager’s face went flush, and feeling a need to break the awkward silence he began running up the hill towards the castle, throwing a tree down in front of the pair’s pursuers.

[npc=pirt]“I can’t believe it guys! A tanuki and a squatch? Ahh!”[/npc] The shaking of the earth beneath the fallen log sent shivers throughout the spines of the pirates. [npc=pirt]“Grrah! There’s something really weird going on here! We can’t let them get away, we have to get to the bottom of why these two demons are working together!” [/npc]Braggan’s boisterous hyperactivity persisted, even in the face of mortal danger.

“He sure seems like fun company.” The giant spoke up to Aya with a raised eyebrow and a condescending tone pointed towards Mak, though Doji himself was a bit long-winded he rarely felt a need to speak purely expositorily.

“I wonder what kind of squatch he is!” Braggan’s dweebish sycophant of a first mate cried out, thumbing through a shoddily bound journal of “squatch” sightings and diagrams.

“You guys gotta stop using that word! I’ll give you one more, don’t fuckin’ test me,” Doji shouted down towards the gaggle of overly-excitable lunatics.

“Oh! If it talks he could be a Hazardian Yeti! But what would that kind of squatch be doing out here?” The nerd furrowed his brow and thumbed further through his journal.

“Alright. There’s your one. We’re gonna stop saying squatch now eh?” The veins in the giant’s foreheads bulged with irritation. Much to his rider’s chagrin, the angry oni slowed his pace, seemingly fighting the urge to turn around and fight the little investigators.

[npc=pirt]“I don’t think it’s a Yeti Ricky! And based on its attitude it can’t be a sunksquatch either, hmm…” [/npc]Mak pondered to himself for a moment as his crew stumbled after him. [npc=pirt]“... listen fellas I think we might have a whole new kind of squatch on our hands--”[/npc] already speaking with dramatic pauses, Mak was interrupted as the monster shouted down from above.

“I warned ya!” Doji planted his feet on the ground, no longer fleeing the pursuers. “I tried to warn ya, but you just had to keep saying that stupid word. You know what you’re dealing with?...” Doji set Aya down for a moment before hauling a spindly tree over his shoulders. “...A pissed off oni!” In an instant, the giant violently hurled the withered willow down towards the crackpots.

Mak and the gang were immediately swept up in the wreckage, flying down the hill in a mass of broken wood, tumbling gravestones, and sprays of grave dirt. [npc=pirt]An oni?[/npc] The man struggled to remain conscious, his eyes going white from the strong impact. [npc=pirt]There’s no way. I don’t care what he says he is… [/npc] The pirate captain tumbled to the ground, falling with a thud into one of the graves unearthed by a pesky graverobber. [npc=pirt]... when I get my hands on him he’s gonna be the Maksquatch![/npc]

The skeleton that Mak had fallen in with seemed to reach her bony fingers to grasp at his neck. With the last of his consciousness, the obnoxious man let out a girlish scream before fainting.

Post Word Count: 695
Total Word Count: 1,239
Pikasso
Tracker

Name : Aya Ruiz
Epithet : "Pikasso"
Age : 25
Height : 4'5"
Weight : 120 lb
Species : Mink
Faction : Civilian/Other
Alliance : Nox Prime
Crew : P.T.S.D.
Ship : Dead Air
Crew Role : Procurement Specialist
Devil Fruit : Suke Suke no Mi
Haki Level : 0
Hitpoints (HP) : 133
Attack (ATK) : 60
Defense (DEF) : 55
Reflex (RX) : 55
Willpower (WP) : 65
Level : 1
Experience Points : 100
Berries Berries : 50,000
[[childofdestiny]]
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Posts : 66
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[Episode] The Bizarre Discovery of Dr. Mira Empty Re: [Episode] The Bizarre Discovery of Dr. Mira

Wed Aug 31, 2022 2:07 am
"Wha-... of course it was me! Do you see anyone-"

The red panda stopped herself as she was lifted into the air, scrambling for a moment to try to decipher whether she had hopped herself out of the frying pan and into the flames. With a wide-eyed glance, she was brought face-to-face with the giant pretty man for mere seconds before being plopped atop his head.

Still, those seconds were enough for the keen-eyed mink to make an important observation as she peered through the darkness at the giant man's face.

"...W-wait, tanuki? No, no, I'm not a..." Aya's gaze shifted from the bed of crimson she was trying to find stability upon, out towards the pursuing crew. She grimaced as she tried to suss out whether it would be worth it to lie to a blind man to further convince him to help her.

Something about it didn't sit right with her.

"I'm just a red panda... A mink! No shape change, no flying, no sorcery...! ...Nothing that'd really be impressive to youteia in particular, anyway. Just a painter in a little trouble! ..Sorry to disappoint!"

Suddenly she found herself jostled by the movement of her new vantage point as Doji began his run. The little mink threw her arms around the stability of the pillar of the nearest horn to her, clinging to it like a squirrel to the trunk of a young tree.

The distant sound of exposition made Aya grimace.

"... Now try being stuck on a ship with him for hours." The cringe she was wearing was more than evident in her voice. A dull ache had set into the back of her skull at the constant lack of volume control from the strange lesser minks she had hitched a ride from. In her bag, she could still hear the rustling of her gastropod hitchhiker.

It seemed the oni was picking his own battles. Aya braced herself as she was picked up and sat back down again. At her size and with her apparent uncanny proclivity to befriend those larger than her, she was used to being handled like this.

As long as she wasn't getting squished or turned into some sort of freak show attraction, she supposed she couldn't complain too much.

And as the tree's trunk soared down towards the humans below, Aya was suddenly very thankful she had ended up on the winning side of this transgression. Her paws dusted off the velvet fabric of her shorts, and she idly squinted up at the towering figure above.

"... Oh! I'm Aya, by the way. Nice to meet you. And thank youteia! ...What was that thing, anyways? It didn't seem like it put up much of a fight, but... I didn't get a good look at it."

During a glance in the direction she had seen the oni sweep the strange creature that he had been in some sort of standoff with, Pikasso swore she could hear movement among the headstones. A chill rolled through her and she shook her head to herself as she tried to dissipate the eerie feeling.

"...Y-you know, m-m-maybe I don't actually want to know.." The mumble was followed by the sounds of the anxious shuffling of little feet.

"...Instead, uh, what... are you doing out here?"

{549/1,267}
Doji
Tracker

Name : Asakura Doji
Epithet : Cemetery Ghoul
Age : 18
Height : 17'7
Weight : 1,777 lb
Species : Human-Giant-Oni Crossbred
Faction : Pirates
Crew : Solo
Ship : Old Sutured Sail
Crew Role : Blind Navigator
Haki Level : 0
Hitpoints (HP) : 143
Attack (ATK) : 50
Defense (DEF) : 25
Reflex (RX) : 65
Willpower (WP) : 85
Level : 1
Experience Points : 100
Berries Berries : 1,050,000
[[atkt2]][[deft1]][[rxt1]][[wpt1]]
Posts : 80
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[Episode] The Bizarre Discovery of Dr. Mira Empty Re: [Episode] The Bizarre Discovery of Dr. Mira

Sat Sep 03, 2022 2:07 am
“Oh me? I’m here sortin’ through the graves, I’ve got one I’m looking for in particular.” As the oni spoke one of the animate dead lept towards him from a nearby tombstone, with ease Doji slammed the android down in front of Aya. Its mechanical features crumpled into a broken pile of screws, wire, and plating; its bones and body were likewise sundered with the impact.

Another unusual snail dislodged itself from the back of the monstrosity’s neck, tumbling from the force of the swing towards Aya and her own “misused” denden. This snail appeared more than neglected, it’s wide yellow eyes looked like they had seen some shit; these were the eyes of a tortured little soul. The shell of the snail had was not fitted as a transponder; but as some sort of nightmarish medical apparatus. What had this poor creature been subjected to?

“As for these things, they’re not all that threatening.” Doji stretched and rolled his shoulders as he spoke before politely turning back to Aya, “What I really can’t sense of is why they’re here. I didn’t run into any on the other side of the island…” the blind oni remained oblivious of the massive castle doors looming further up the road like the gates of the underworld , “...hmm.” Doji rubbed his chin between his thumb and forefinger, all the pieces were there, but the sheltered giant couldn’t quite solve the puzzle.

The giant took a friendly tone as he made his introduction, temporarily setting aside the matter of the shambling dead. “Apologies for not introducing myself sooner, you can call me Doji!” A cheshire grin stretched across his face, he could hardly contain his giddiness.

“Earlier you siad I wouldn’t be impressed with you, but if you’re a red panda that can walk and talk that’s pretty impressive! My ma always said that real tanuki were just nasty little dog things anyways. No need to compare yourself to some old wive’s tail! Yo-ka-ka-ka-iii!” Judging by his impulsivity, overly excited demeanor, and the bitter scent on his breath it seemed excessive drinking was a common trait amongst oni.

As yet another of the augmented humanoids appeared from the roadside lurching towards Aya, Doji picked up the little rattlebones before throwing it down the hill. The friendly giant seemed eager to pal around with the peculiar little talking animal that had crossed his path, and would defend the growth of his underdeveloped social life no matter the cost.

“What are you doing around here Aya? What’s living life as a little red panda like? I can’t imagine being so tiny.”

Down the hill, amongst the wrecked willows


“Mak! Mak wake up!” Braggan’s first mate, Larry Durwin called down to his captain, pulling the decrepit skeleton from his “fearless” leader’s chest. “Mak please! The squatch and tanuki are getting away!”

From the depths of his blackout Mak faintly heard his crewmate’s calls. He envisioned himself as a badass, intimidating the monsters and roughing them up into submission, and presenting the “Maksquatch” to the public.

In his dreams.

Just this moment another monster came hurtling down the hill, crashing through the wreck of branches and brambles, the creature ignored the injuries of the branches that had skewered it through its chest, arms and neck. The navigator and cook of the pirates stared on in silent horror at the gruesome sight.

Durwin’s eyes widened as he looked over to see the cause of the crashing branches. Somehow, by some violation natural law, this dead man was still moving, “Mak there’s a zombie! These guys are scarier than we thought! One of them must be raising the dead!”

The ESP pirates faithful captain rose from his grave raising his arms for dramatic flare, like a madwoman’s monster rising from its operating table.[npc=pirt] “Did somebody say raise the dead? Gahuhu!”[/npc] Mak laughed and smiled up at his first mate as he stood to his feet. [npc=pirt]“Now you said there was a zombie, where might such an entity be Larry? I think we better investigate!”[/npc]

The oblivious men cheered together for their survival, none the wiser to the monster that had crept up behind them. As the “zombie” shambled its way up behind the men, it sat its chin upon Larry’s shoulder, rolling its eye around in its socket to face both of them.

The two men shrieked in terror. Did these bumbling goons have the wherewithal  to pull themselves together for even a moment?

Post Word Count: 756
Total Word Count: 1,999
Pikasso
Tracker

Name : Aya Ruiz
Epithet : "Pikasso"
Age : 25
Height : 4'5"
Weight : 120 lb
Species : Mink
Faction : Civilian/Other
Alliance : Nox Prime
Crew : P.T.S.D.
Ship : Dead Air
Crew Role : Procurement Specialist
Devil Fruit : Suke Suke no Mi
Haki Level : 0
Hitpoints (HP) : 133
Attack (ATK) : 60
Defense (DEF) : 55
Reflex (RX) : 55
Willpower (WP) : 65
Level : 1
Experience Points : 100
Berries Berries : 50,000
[[childofdestiny]]
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Posts : 66
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[Episode] The Bizarre Discovery of Dr. Mira Empty Re: [Episode] The Bizarre Discovery of Dr. Mira

Tue Sep 20, 2022 9:51 pm
"Oh. Checking... graves? Huh."

"...Cool."


Aya grimaced sharply as the patchwork monster was smashed to smithereens before her. Her eyes were wide as dinner plates and she silently thanked her lucky stars she was friendly with the giant. And that he seemed to know where she was enough to not take her out alongside that thing. That only raised further questions.

The snail that had been dislodged from the creature seemed even worse off than her new and still disjointedly warbling gastropod companion. That first glance sent a chill up Aya's spine. Something was seriously wrong with that thing. Was it even still alive? And how did something like that come to get stuck to-...

Was that... a body? It seemed like it used to be, at least. Now it was sewn and patched together, with some sort of wiring and plates tangled across its form. Aya loomed over a few bits of the corpse that had fallen loose, a hand clasped over her sensitive nose.

It was an odd mix of the scent of decay and the burn of what she could only imagine was the smell of some sort of chemicals. It made her stomach churn.

"..Yuck."

She was suddenly very glad she had put the 'spirit snail' or whatever the crew had been calling it was tucked away. Seeing his brethren in such a sorry state certainly didn't seem the sort of thing that would help his condition. Hell, even with her normal lackadaisical attitude this place was starting to give her the creeps.

Maybe it was easier not to think about it. This pretty giant man didn't seem to be that worried. If anything, he seemed excited. If someone that size wasn't bothered, why should she be? Aya curled two clawed thumbs around the straps of her backpack.

The towering building looming above seemed to catch the Mink's wandering attention.

"Doji, huh?"

The raspy words trailed off as she lit a smoke with a spark of electro.

"...I don't suppose youteia live in that big chateau up there, hm?"

The little red panda's paws shot up defensively as she heard a lurching groan. Without prompt, it seemed Doji was more than happy to take care of the aggressive force. Aya still didn't seem content being in the range of the strangely shambling attackers.

" Pardon me."

With a bit of quick scrambling and careful climbing, Pikasso darted up to sit upon the giant's shoulder.

"..There, that's better. You don't mind, do you? It's safer up here." The little mink felt homesick from the treetops of Zou, but this view wasn't half bad! Though, the oddity of interacting with someone this much larger than her was certainly not lost on the woman.

"As for me.." Pikasso shrugged a bit, shuffling her backpack a bit for emphasis. "...I'm a traveling artist. I came here to get some paintings done. That... was the plan, at least."

She stifled a laugh as she took a deep inhale from her cigarette.

"Something tells me those things aren't going to be the most willing to let me work or sit still long enough for me to get a good sketch done... Not that I'd be able to stomach looking at them for that long, anyways. Speaking of..."

With a small jolt the runty mink leaned over to rub one fluffy little cheek against his own for a brief apprehensive moment. It was always hard to tell how non-minks would take the show of appreciation, but it was only polite. Not that she was sure he could even feel the gesture, considering how small she was and how soft her fur felt.

It was the thought that counted, right?

"...Garchuu.~ Thank youteia for your help with those, uh... Pirates? I think?... And whatever those other things are.." With a little sigh of relief she tried to waft the spiced smell of her smoke away from Doji's face.

{654/1,921}
Doji
Tracker

Name : Asakura Doji
Epithet : Cemetery Ghoul
Age : 18
Height : 17'7
Weight : 1,777 lb
Species : Human-Giant-Oni Crossbred
Faction : Pirates
Crew : Solo
Ship : Old Sutured Sail
Crew Role : Blind Navigator
Haki Level : 0
Hitpoints (HP) : 143
Attack (ATK) : 50
Defense (DEF) : 25
Reflex (RX) : 65
Willpower (WP) : 85
Level : 1
Experience Points : 100
Berries Berries : 1,050,000
[[atkt2]][[deft1]][[rxt1]][[wpt1]]
Posts : 80
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[Episode] The Bizarre Discovery of Dr. Mira Empty Re: [Episode] The Bizarre Discovery of Dr. Mira

Yesterday at 2:48 am
As the wind stubbornly blew the Mink’s smog into Doji’s face he was taken aback and overwhelmed by her soft, snuggly, staticy “Garchu.” Though his senses had been assaulted, he bore the little critter’s affection with an awkward grin. “You’re welcome! Those guys seemed annoying…” he responded, excited at being appreciated, “... I’m more concerned about these freaky things. They’re an affront to nature, an insult against what it means to be alive.”

“Also what’s a chateau? Is there actually a castle here?”

The structure stood above Aya and Doji, seeming to glare down at the boy who could not appreciate its majesty.

The boy had been haphazardly wandering, mostly searching through headstone engravings, but certainly hoping that he would stumble upon the purported castle. This wasn’t the first time his navigation skills had failed him, and it certainly wouldn’t be the last.

“Have I managed to miss a giant castle standing right in front of us?” What a poor oblivious guy.

Indeed, the heights of the stronghold stretched upwards like the hand of a man reaching to the heavens, cradling the moon between its towering stone fingers. The heights of its thick central tower extended high like the leg of a massive elephant. The top of the tower, the perfect vantage point for this island and nearby seas; but to gain access to this pillar one would have to brave the surrounding donjon.

If somebody were to abandon all common sense and ignore the ravenous burial ground that surrounded the chateau they might almost think it was inviting; its cobbled walls were pristine and its massive doors seemed as though anything could lie behind them. Surely this macabre wonderland was host to countless unique and mystifying oddities.

“So you’re an artist?” The merits of visual art were lost on Doji, but he had a vague notion of the concept, “The beauty that drives you to dance your brush acrost parchment…” the boy spoke with a gentle curiosity to his voice, “...is it like a song?”

From amongst the trees a pair of ravens chattered a pleasant little diddy to one another.

“I can only imagine what that must be like. To see a song…” he smiled excitedly before speaking again with an exuberant tone, “...let alone to paint one! Yoka-ka-ka-ka-iii!” He seemed genuinely excited about Aya’s art as he cackled heartily.

Meanwhile in the Chateau’s Halls


The cutting click of heels filled the stagnant air of the castle’s halls; Mira never felt alone here, as though she was always being watched from just beyond the shadows. She stopped, fixing her gaze on a dusty old painting hung at the base of the tower’s stairwell.

The painting depicted a magenta haired fellow with a sharp and toothy grin spread across his pallid white face, posing in front of an elaborately decorated coffin. The visage of the legendary graverobber projected bottomless vanity.

Have I too reveled in death? No… Mira thought to herself, I wish only for the splendor of my love to return.

As she stormed up the staircase her doubts nipped at her heels, beckoning her to return back to the basement and continue her work. Her eyes felt heavy as she stumbled towards her room, no matter her duty, living things needed to sleep and eat; if only she had the same mechanical endurance as her creations.

Throwing herself upon her bed the red-haired woman slipped instantly into a deep slumber. From the formless void of her subconscious memories of her past life passed her by like jumping sheep.

As a child she was happy and carefree. The world hadn’t burdened her yet. Education was still a fun and simply matter for the gifted girl, and her parents rewarded her with ceaseless praise.

In her adolescence her “weirdness” became apparent to the other children of the academy. The pleasant social life of her youth was replaced by feelings of distance and otherness. As the problems of her education grew more complex she began to face a real challenge, but still took pride in her work .

As a young woman the cracks in her world were beginning to show, she was struggling to obtain her doctorate, she could hardly take care of herself, and she lived a life of exhausting squalor. The difficulty of her education and daily life had reached an untenable point, and her parents seemed less and less satisfied with her as a daughter.

Until he came along to fill the cracks.

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Total Word Count: 2,744
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