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[Arc] [Rubeck Island Conquest][Part 2] Last Tango in Rubeck Yesterday at 6:57 amMaxwell[World Event] A Fool's ErrandFri Jul 19, 2024 11:52 amOrion Montgomery[Episode] Corruption of BloodSun Jul 14, 2024 3:51 amYumiko[Episode] Mink-staken IdentityThu Jul 04, 2024 6:28 amYumiko[Board] Quest Requests and Quest GradingsSat Jun 29, 2024 9:00 pmGray[Episode] Now, where am I?Sat Jun 29, 2024 8:56 pmGray[Episode] Waking MonstersSat Jun 29, 2024 12:00 pmGray[Abandoned] [Arc] [Tequila Wolf Conquest] The Rotten Lie of Tequila WolfTue Jun 25, 2024 3:23 pmGray[Market] [Shop] The Shop of DreamsSun Jun 23, 2024 5:11 pmGray
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Rias Keko
Rias Keko
[tracker=/t1683-rias-keko#9293]
Name : Rias Keko
Epithet : Funbags
Age : 19
Height : 5 Feet 7 Inch (1.70m)
Weight : 143 lbs (65kg)
Species : Human
Faction : New Revolutionary Army
Bounty : [ber=r] 4,300,000
Quality Score : B
Balance : [bel] 199,675,000
[[childofdestiny]]
[[mythicalzoan]][[improviseadaptovercome]]
Posts : 80

[Arc] Mountains and Plains: Part III - The Grand Tour Empty [Arc] Mountains and Plains: Part III - The Grand Tour

This post has in-line assessment comments.Fri Jan 05, 2024 2:19 pm
Quest:

The eventful journey was about to come to an end. The destination island appeared bigger on the horizon as minutes passed by. Half the journey was full of action... The other half is full of relaxation and stories. It's a shame it was about to come to an end... Or was it?

The story had engaged Rias. Yumiko may not still look like the part, but she was able to tell a story once more. This time however about the pair of blades Rias was carrying with her... Very treasured ones at that. Like all good things, even a story has to come to an end, this time by an abrupt call of an orangutan.

"Lads! Get on the positions! We are ready to dock soon."

Jeremy ordered his men... And women, from behind the wheel. The rightful place for the self-proclaimed 'captain' of the mail boat. [plyr=revo]"Seems like we are needed."[/plyr] Rias let out a soft sigh. She has a feeling that Yumiko has more to tell, but not enough time to do so.

[plyr=revo]"We need to pick this back up some other time."[/plyr]

She moved off the railing and rushed towards the ropes, readying herself to assist in pulling on the sails. Meanwhile, James moved toward the second rope which was also meant for the sails, leaving on one last of the ropes.

Richard however moved towards the contraption which was meant to anchor up the anchor.

...There was however a problem...

"Hang on Richard. What are you doing?"

"What do you mean he's doing? He's ready to release the anchor."

"You goldfish, you shot the bloody rope. We have no anchor."

"...."

"...."

"That did happen, didn't it?"

"....Yes..."

The argument amongst the trio came to an abrupt end... Was it time to panic? Rias's face was covered with her palm. They were naval experts, yes... Or rather, maybe?

But the trio was full of surprises. They were famous for a reason. The 'captain' was eager to reveal his plan.

"I've got an idea."

"Don't say that!" "Don't say that!"

In unison, Richard and James both had a bad feeling about their friend's plan.

[355/355/13 646]
Yumiko
Yumiko
[tracker=/t1347-yumiko#7408]
Name : Yumiko
Epithet : Kamaitachi
Age : 28
Height : 5'5'' / 165 cm
Weight : 128 lbs. / 58 kg
Species : Human
Faction : Civilian
Devil Fruit : Ita Ita no Mi, Model: Kamaitachi
Quality Score : S
EXP Bonus : +0.20 (to all allies)
Balance : [bel] 2,278,965,048
[[baneoftheweak]][[dragonheart]][[childofdestiny]]
[[punchoutguru]][[dulcetvirtuoso]]

[[improviseadaptovercome]]
Posts : 481

[Arc] Mountains and Plains: Part III - The Grand Tour Empty Re: [Arc] Mountains and Plains: Part III - The Grand Tour

This post has in-line assessment comments.Tue Jan 09, 2024 8:42 am
Time had a strange habit of slipping away. It went silently. Slyly. Like a thief in the night. A careless soul didn’t even notice it had gone, until someone else pointed it out.

That’s exactly what happened to Yumiko. She had lost herself in the story. In her mind, she was back in her dear home country, reading through the scroll of lost legends. Every word, down to the very last detail, flowed to her like it had been before her eyes once again.

The sudden call did the same to her vivid daydream as a cactus did to a balloon.

Snapping back to the present moment, the storyteller blinked. “Needed...?” She glanced around. For a moment, her wistful eyes sought scenery that was untold miles away. The spark died. She smothered it beneath frigid composure.

“Yes, of course...”

The weasel’s ears twitched. She caught a strange, muffled noise. It tugged at the edge of her hearing, teasing her by defying any direction. What was that...?

Meanwhile, the island kept creeping closer. It was like a mossy pebble in a shallow puddle, little more than polished rock and struggling shrubbery floating in the ocean. Calling the rocky shore a beach was like calling a pack of cigarettes a meal - inaccurate and unhealthy to anyone stupid enough to try.

Speaking of which...

The brilliant strategist took the opportunity to bless the crew with his wisdom. “Richard, turn three sheets to the wind!” He gestured around the ship like he was trying to swat an angry wasp. “James, batten down the mizzenmast and cut the jib! Chop chop!”

His so-called crew shared an exasperated look.

“Mate, I have no idea what he’s on about.” “Neither does he.”

Yumiko, on the other hand, was busy snooping around for the source of the peculiar sound. She dropped onto all fours, letting her instincts take over. Nose twitching, she sniffed the deck, as if that would somehow help. Nobody said the instincts were always right.

The sound... It reminded her of... of... What exactly? Someone smacking their lips together? Blowing a weirdly slow and dry raspberry? Quietly repeating the sound purupurupuru all over again?

However, the self-proclaimed captain didn’t let naysayers stop his brilliant plan. His lips curled with a dangerous grin. Most smiles showed cheer. This one mostly showed teeth. He gripped the wheel. A bit of elbow grease sent it spinning precariously. In a dramatic manner, even.

“And can someone get the sodding snail?!”

Words: 410
Total: 14 911 / 13 500
Rias Keko
Rias Keko
[tracker=/t1683-rias-keko#9293]
Name : Rias Keko
Epithet : Funbags
Age : 19
Height : 5 Feet 7 Inch (1.70m)
Weight : 143 lbs (65kg)
Species : Human
Faction : New Revolutionary Army
Bounty : [ber=r] 4,300,000
Quality Score : B
Balance : [bel] 199,675,000
[[childofdestiny]]
[[mythicalzoan]][[improviseadaptovercome]]
Posts : 80

[Arc] Mountains and Plains: Part III - The Grand Tour Empty Re: [Arc] Mountains and Plains: Part III - The Grand Tour

This post has in-line assessment comments.Thu Jan 25, 2024 4:09 am
The sodding snail?

Rias heard a familiar sound come from the lower deck. Yes... The Den Den Mushi of the ship. Every modern ship has one. It was quite possibly the fastest way to communicate in these modern times. But Rias could not let herself be bothered by it. She had a duty on the ship to fulfill.

Meanwhile...

Richard the youngest of the trio climbed down the stair to go and grab the 'sodding snail'. He grabbed a hold of it, holding it on top of his palm while the other hand grabbed a hold of the microphone.

Gacha

"Hello?" "Hammond you shortarse! Who told you to answer the snail?!" Jeremy shouted when he heard Richard answer the snail, to which Richard only chuckled.

"How can we help you?"

"We have identi...-" "Give me that!" A tussling could be heard in the background on the other end. Jeremy let go of the wheel and pulled the snail from Richard.

"This is the captain speaking!" "Hello? Can you finally hear me? We have identified the ship and the package to be delivered. Everything is good on our end now! Meet us by the cave just a nautical mile off the coast of town."

"Roger that. You heard that, boys! We have a heading!"

But something felt fishy... And it was not the seawater.

[plyr=revo]"Why would they call on ships sea snail and not on mine?"[/plyr] she muttered to herself.

Rias's eyes squinted a bit in a deep suspicion. Something bad was up. Was the group compromised? Or had the New Revolutionary Army figured out a way to pinpoint other snails like that? She shook her head and moved over to Yumiko.

Yumiko might have already heard the muttering on Rias's part, but Rias herself was oblivious to that. [plyr=revo]"We might have a problem."[/plyr] With a slight worry in her tone, Rias confined Yumiko with a whispering tone.

[plyr=revo]"Our position might've been compromised."[/plyr]

[322/677/13 968]
Yumiko
Yumiko
[tracker=/t1347-yumiko#7408]
Name : Yumiko
Epithet : Kamaitachi
Age : 28
Height : 5'5'' / 165 cm
Weight : 128 lbs. / 58 kg
Species : Human
Faction : Civilian
Devil Fruit : Ita Ita no Mi, Model: Kamaitachi
Quality Score : S
EXP Bonus : +0.20 (to all allies)
Balance : [bel] 2,278,965,048
[[baneoftheweak]][[dragonheart]][[childofdestiny]]
[[punchoutguru]][[dulcetvirtuoso]]

[[improviseadaptovercome]]
Posts : 481

[Arc] Mountains and Plains: Part III - The Grand Tour Empty Re: [Arc] Mountains and Plains: Part III - The Grand Tour

This post has in-line assessment comments.Fri Jan 26, 2024 6:51 am
Even as the mystery of the strange sound was answered, Yumiko still kept her curious ears open. She heard nothing unusual in the hasty conversation. Some helpful soul had just provided them with a destination. This was probably all part of their brilliant strategy.

However, even the greatest strategy couldn’t account for everything...

When the Revolutionary voiced her concern, the warrior kept her steely gaze forward. “A more pressing problem is fast approaching.” She nodded at the bow of the ship. The shore was indeed approaching. Fast.

Roughly two seconds later, the small vessel came to a sudden and violent stop against a shallow beach. Everything not bolted down jerked forward. Barrels rolled and people stumbled. For the first time in its life, the poor snail experienced what it was like to fly.

Fortunately, the sandy shore provided some cushion. It was more of a thump than a thunk. There were no worrying cracks or agonized groans. ...From the vessel, at least. Their feathers were ruffled, sure, but at least their wings didn’t get clipped. Nothing that a little elbow grease couldn’t fix.

Honestly, the crew may have been worse off than the boat. The self-proclaimed captain was stuck in the spokes of the steering wheel like he was trying a new form of yoga. “Tonoite on... Bo’om Sail... I walk into a bloody schewpid ambush...” Eyes spinning wildly, he mumbled barely coherent nonsense.

“Hammock gets caught by... fucken’ I dunno... government agents...”

Nearby, a familiar pair of short legs stuck out of a barrel of salted sardines. A groan came from the bottom.

“And Jams gives in to the voices...”

On the other side, a dizzy man was tangled in a pile of rope in a way that would’ve made a seasoned sailor blush. He wheezed something in protest.

Meanwhile, a samurai-shaped mound moved on the beach. Her head popped out of the sand and spat out a mouthful of the same stuff. She shuddered at the awful sensation. It was coarse, irritating and it had gotten everywhere. Yes, even there.

Words: 342
Total: 15 253 / 13 500
Rias Keko
Rias Keko
[tracker=/t1683-rias-keko#9293]
Name : Rias Keko
Epithet : Funbags
Age : 19
Height : 5 Feet 7 Inch (1.70m)
Weight : 143 lbs (65kg)
Species : Human
Faction : New Revolutionary Army
Bounty : [ber=r] 4,300,000
Quality Score : B
Balance : [bel] 199,675,000
[[childofdestiny]]
[[mythicalzoan]][[improviseadaptovercome]]
Posts : 80

[Arc] Mountains and Plains: Part III - The Grand Tour Empty Re: [Arc] Mountains and Plains: Part III - The Grand Tour

This post has in-line assessment comments.Thu Feb 01, 2024 2:52 pm
It is dangerous to doze off in the line of duty. You can never know what lies ahead that needs your fullest attention. With her head full of thoughts, Rias could not even notice or think about the upcoming collision with the sandy shore.

Even the warnings of Yumiko flew over her head.

While others were working to decrease the speed of their ship, Rias walked over to the side of the ship. Her chin rests in her clenched fist. The other arm was folded under her chest, giving it support to the elbow of the hand which had the chin resting.

[plyr=revo]"But how did they find out?"[/plyr]

Rias mumbled to herself, while instead, she should have held on to something... Anything!

As the ship made its clash with the sandy shallow beach, the jerk made many stumble in its place, even throwing a few off the ship... The same could be said for Rias as well.

[plyr=revo]"Wai.... Wuaaaaaaaaaaaah!!!"[/plyr]

Rather than falling into the sand, she landed back first into the water. With the water being shallow, but deep enough to submerge Rias, she could not sink much further. An unfair advantage Rias has.

Many yearn... Some desire... Some are jealous...

A pair... Of floating life boats.

For a moment, Rias felt like her chest tried to float so much upwards that it would flip her head back into the water. Fortunately for very shallow water, she gained her footing. [plyr=revo]"Oh my god! I could have just drowned!"[/plyr]

Indeed... The Funbags were about to be her 'doom'.

[257/934/14 255]
Yumiko
Yumiko
[tracker=/t1347-yumiko#7408]
Name : Yumiko
Epithet : Kamaitachi
Age : 28
Height : 5'5'' / 165 cm
Weight : 128 lbs. / 58 kg
Species : Human
Faction : Civilian
Devil Fruit : Ita Ita no Mi, Model: Kamaitachi
Quality Score : S
EXP Bonus : +0.20 (to all allies)
Balance : [bel] 2,278,965,048
[[baneoftheweak]][[dragonheart]][[childofdestiny]]
[[punchoutguru]][[dulcetvirtuoso]]

[[improviseadaptovercome]]
Posts : 481

[Arc] Mountains and Plains: Part III - The Grand Tour Empty Re: [Arc] Mountains and Plains: Part III - The Grand Tour

This post has in-line assessment comments.Mon Feb 05, 2024 7:20 am
Burrowing out of the pile, the weasel woman furiously shook herself. Her hair flopped like wet fur. Loose sand fell from the folds of her clothing. Silently, she promised herself a long bath in the closest onsen once this was over, even if she had to fly across the oceans.

While the well-endowed rival struggled, the lean samurai could only muster a silent stare. Murky thoughts formed a dark cloud over her head. Once again, she found herself standing on flat plains... Gazing up at looming mountains... Life was often unfair

All the floundering and shouting dragged Yumiko back to reality. Averting her gaze, she folded her arms defensively over her chest. “Thou bring a turtle to mind...” She muttered bitterly beneath her breath. Even if the rival asked, she refused to elaborate.

Desperate for a distraction, the warrior looked around. She needed something, anything, to steer the topic away from... Wait, why was it so quiet all of a sudden? Only the softly singing waves and the laughing gulls remained.

Yumiko leapt onto the boat. Empty. Not a soul left aboard. Worry crept into her mind. “Where have thy charges gone...?” The answer to her question was near Rias. Three sets of tracks on the soft sand were leading away from the boat.

Strutting along the beach, the terrible trio wandered towards the newly appointed meeting spot. While the girls guarded the boat, they would meet up with the revolutionaries and plot out the next steps. That was a man’s job, you know.

Jeremy, considering himself the natural leader, took the opportunity to fill the silence. To ‘pad out the runtime’, as he insistently called it. “We’re here at Fawkall Island, named by the first sailors based on what they found on the island.”

Richard kept up the pace, even if he had to take two steps every time his taller friend took one. He cocked a curious brow at the claim. “Hang on, I thought it was Fawkit Island? Named after what that famous pirate captain shouted after reaching the shore?”

James, keeping the rear as usual, had stopped to appreciate a particularly intriguing stone. How it differed from any other stone, only his keen eye could tell. But, he would never miss an opportunity to correct his colleagues. “As usual, you’re both wrong. This is actually known as Fawkyoo Island, named in seventeen o’...”

And the pointless bickering continued.

Words: 402
Total: 15 655 / 13 500
Rias Keko
Rias Keko
[tracker=/t1683-rias-keko#9293]
Name : Rias Keko
Epithet : Funbags
Age : 19
Height : 5 Feet 7 Inch (1.70m)
Weight : 143 lbs (65kg)
Species : Human
Faction : New Revolutionary Army
Bounty : [ber=r] 4,300,000
Quality Score : B
Balance : [bel] 199,675,000
[[childofdestiny]]
[[mythicalzoan]][[improviseadaptovercome]]
Posts : 80

[Arc] Mountains and Plains: Part III - The Grand Tour Empty Re: [Arc] Mountains and Plains: Part III - The Grand Tour

This post has in-line assessment comments.Sun Feb 18, 2024 10:06 am
[plyr=revo]"A turtle? What do you mean?"[/plyr] Rias gathered herself up from the water and returned to the shore. But she did not stop questioning Yumiko's comment.

[plyr=revo]"Hey hey what did you mean?"[/plyr] Like a younger sister questioning her older sister, Rias even poked Yumiko's shoulder... But she did not get a response, not even a reaction. Yumiko's lips were sealed... No elaboration was given.

But the attention from the turtle matter was shifted shortly after. Yumiko pointed out the 'elephant' in the 'room'. Indeed, where had the three naval geniuses gone to?

Rias immediately set her sight on the ship, scouting it with her eyes... Yumiko even resulted to climbing back on it. But no one seemed to be on it. No one seemed to be in the water either.

[plyr=revo]"This is bad... This is bad. What am I going to tell them? 'Oh sorry, I lost those I was tasked to deliver' no."[/plyr]

One thing certainly was clear. This was Rias's first official mission, which she was tasked to lead and execute. But a slight panic was kicking in. Stomping back and forth on the sandy beach, a voice spoke to her, like a riddle.

"Thou were so busy drowning that thou failed to notice thy sheep wandering off to the wilderness."

[plyr=revo]"H..Huh?"[/plyr]

After a short process, she finally figured out who it sounded like, and whose mannerism it was. [plyr=revo]"Not funny! This is not a time for riddles!"[/plyr] She swung her fist at Yumiko who still stood high up on the ship.

But Yumiko remained as she had been, stoic. Instead, she had motioned with her hand for Rias to take a look down. And after a short bickering between each of them, the message was clear.

[plyr=revo]"AH! You are a genius!"[/plyr]

A trail of tracks had been left in the sand! [plyr=revo]"Come on Yumiko! We got a trail to follow!"[/plyr] The fire of hope had been relit within Rias. She still had the chance to redeem the not-so-favorable situation... And so she began to follow the trail immediately after.

Meanwhile...

"Do you know where we are supposed to even go?" "Of course I know, just a small cave west of the village." James inquired from Jeremy to which he immediately got a very confident answer. "Hang on, how are we supposed to explain our presence there?"

While Richard and James both asked the right questions, Jeremy remained as confident as always in his ability to lead. "It'll be fine, the snail told me we'll just have to show up."

"And besides, why did we choose to leave them behind?" James inquired the fearless leader. "Because James this is Top Sail! We are not Navy seals, we leave men and women behind." "Did they know we were pretending to film Top Sail episode?"

After a short pause, Jeremy replied to the question, with less confidence this time."Probably." "You bloody oaf."

[482/1416/14 737]
Yumiko
Yumiko
[tracker=/t1347-yumiko#7408]
Name : Yumiko
Epithet : Kamaitachi
Age : 28
Height : 5'5'' / 165 cm
Weight : 128 lbs. / 58 kg
Species : Human
Faction : Civilian
Devil Fruit : Ita Ita no Mi, Model: Kamaitachi
Quality Score : S
EXP Bonus : +0.20 (to all allies)
Balance : [bel] 2,278,965,048
[[baneoftheweak]][[dragonheart]][[childofdestiny]]
[[punchoutguru]][[dulcetvirtuoso]]

[[improviseadaptovercome]]
Posts : 481

[Arc] Mountains and Plains: Part III - The Grand Tour Empty Re: [Arc] Mountains and Plains: Part III - The Grand Tour

This post has in-line assessment comments.Thu Feb 22, 2024 6:06 am
The warrior’s sharp gaze soon spotted the tracks on the sand. Her attention drifted back onto the soldier loudly lamenting the careless mistake. Some small, petty part of her found it... entertaining. She quickly banished the thought, ashamed of herself. A samurai did not let such frivolous emotions poison their thoughts...

Soon enough, the self-proclaimed samurai opened her mouth. “Thou were so busy drowning that thou failed to notice thy sheep wandering off to the wilderness.” She explained in a very clear and not at all cryptic Wano manner.

Yet, the turtle was still slow on the uptake.

The weasel’s stare narrowed. A snarky comment was already dripping onto her tongue, like venom. Again, she had to stop and restrain herself. Letting lingering resentment cloud her judgment... Shameful! Steel did not feel. Instead, she lifted a finger and pointed at the tracks. “‘Tis no riddle.”

Leaping down from the ship, the hunter joined the chase. She dropped onto all fours and sniffed the trail carefully. Morning coffee, shaving cream and questionable bathing habits... Yes, it was the unmistakable smell of three middle-aged men.

Yumiko scampered along silently, following the instincts of her animal side.

---

Shortly after the tracker duo left, a small fishing boat drifted ashore. A white armor gleamed in the sun. Behind a dark visor, a keen gaze found the fresh set of footprints...

---

Meanwhile, Jeremy had led his good colleagues to the destination, the mouth of a small cave. ...And he was being very smug about it. “Here we are. I told you I’d find it.” He puffed his chest and brushed his jacket, reminiscent of a peacock spreading its feathers.

As always, James was ready to bring a needle to his colleague’s ballooning ego. “Even a blind squirrel finds a nut every once in a while.” He mused idly.

“Shut it, James.”

Richard, on the other hand, peered at the cave. “How are you so sure this is the place?”

The self-appointed leader of the group pointed at a sign leaning against the wall by the entrance. “Because I can read.” It looked hastily cobbled together from loose planks. Whoever made it was obviously no carpenter.

[SECRET TRAITOR REVOLUTIONARY HIDEOUT]
[Now recruiting!]


It declared in dripping fresh red pain.

After a brief pause, the short man shrugged. “Oh. Well, that’s convenient.” He saw no issues with this and neither did his friends.

As the trio headed inside, the slowest of the group wandered off to yet another tangent. “Personally, I prefer the term ‘Freedom Fighter’. You see, it doesn’t carry the same negative connotations as...” His colleagues ignored the rambling.

Words: 434
Total: 16 089 / 13 500
Rias Keko
Rias Keko
[tracker=/t1683-rias-keko#9293]
Name : Rias Keko
Epithet : Funbags
Age : 19
Height : 5 Feet 7 Inch (1.70m)
Weight : 143 lbs (65kg)
Species : Human
Faction : New Revolutionary Army
Bounty : [ber=r] 4,300,000
Quality Score : B
Balance : [bel] 199,675,000
[[childofdestiny]]
[[mythicalzoan]][[improviseadaptovercome]]
Posts : 80

[Arc] Mountains and Plains: Part III - The Grand Tour Empty Re: [Arc] Mountains and Plains: Part III - The Grand Tour

This post has in-line assessment comments.Sat Apr 06, 2024 9:30 am
"Hello hello!"

'Hello hello' an echo of Jeremy's voice greeted him back. "I think we are too early. "How can we be early?" James inquired Hammond confusingly, to which he simply shrugged.

"Oh relaaaax. If we are early then we'll simply wait."

Right as Jeremy was able to finish his sentence, the room lit up. The candle revealed the cave's true nature... A trap! "AH! A net!" Richard screamed out as the net encased him, starting to drag him away from the trio.

"CLARKSON!"

[plyr=revo]"Wait... Did you... Hear that?"[/plyr] Rias stopped in her tracks. [plyr=revo]"Was that...?"[/plyr] A shout loud enough to wake even the sleepiest of birds lingered out of the echoey cave, all the way into Rias's ear.

Yes, they were close.

[123/1539/14 860]
Yumiko
Yumiko
[tracker=/t1347-yumiko#7408]
Name : Yumiko
Epithet : Kamaitachi
Age : 28
Height : 5'5'' / 165 cm
Weight : 128 lbs. / 58 kg
Species : Human
Faction : Civilian
Devil Fruit : Ita Ita no Mi, Model: Kamaitachi
Quality Score : S
EXP Bonus : +0.20 (to all allies)
Balance : [bel] 2,278,965,048
[[baneoftheweak]][[dragonheart]][[childofdestiny]]
[[punchoutguru]][[dulcetvirtuoso]]

[[improviseadaptovercome]]
Posts : 481

[Arc] Mountains and Plains: Part III - The Grand Tour Empty Re: [Arc] Mountains and Plains: Part III - The Grand Tour

This post has in-line assessment comments.Sat Apr 13, 2024 4:32 am
In the dancing candlelight, the shadows sprung to life. A team of sharp-dressed men had the trio surrounded. They were armed with nothing but nets, shackles and their own bodies. Not a good sign in a world full of weapons and violence.

As one had walked into an ambush and another got captured, only the third remained unmoving. Unfulfilled. But, there was still time...

Beneath the annoyed surface, James was bubbling. Boiling. Vivid flashes burst from each imaginary bubble. Memories resurfacing. Voices speaking. The words swirled inside his skull... And, frankly, they had some pretty good ideas for a change.

Suddenly, an impatient agent charged. Hand drawn back, the foe aimed what looked like a poke. Yet, the seemingly slow man only spoke a single word. “Tekkai.” The piercing finger meant for his gut cracked and bent in the worst ways.

While the foe was busy clutching his hand and gasping, the old man sauntered over to him. “You disappoint me, Ramsay.” His tone had turned eerily calm, almost fatherly.

In tears and disbelief, the agent stared at the nut job. “Who the hell is Rams-AAAAGH?!” His question was cut short by a shigan. A proper shigan. Marineford made. None of that Enies Lobby cock. They didn’t make ‘em like they used to nowadays.

This certainly got everyone’s attention.

Despite getting circled by the agents, the tactician didn’t seem worried. Rather, he rambled beneath his breath. “All the things I could be doing today that I would rather do, which include self-harm...” It was utter nonsense. All of it. “Sixty thirty nine... What does that mean?” As if he was speaking with someone who wasn’t present.

Suddenly, there was a spark of life in the old man’s gaze. He turned his attention to the nearest foe, a young bloke probably fresh out of training. “Cheese.”

“Wha-?”

Another scream echoed through the cave.

Meanwhile, the cavalry was on its way.

However, the samurai’s attention was elsewhere. She stared down the beach behind them, at an approaching silhouette. The glint of sunlight against that white armor made her shiver. Still, she stubbornly stood her ground.

The warrior didn’t even need to consider. Her instincts were whispering in her ear... And she agreed. Without looking back, she stepped between the revolutionary and the approaching hunter. “Go, save thy comrades. I shall keep thy path of escape clear.” With a dramatic sweep, she ushered the woman along.

“Go!”

As the Stick caught up, he passed a silent glance at the revolutionary... And the cave ahead... Before focusing his attention onto the samurai. In his usual, talkative fashion, he said nothing at all.

Yumiko measured her foe with her gaze. “I had a feeling thou would show up rather soon, brave hunter.” It was odd... She no longer felt like she was standing before a mountain, a dragon or a warship. All she saw was a man more dangerous than any of those... But still a man, nonetheless.

Slowly, the samurai’s hand sought the grip of her sword. “‘Tis strange... I am shivering... Yet, I feel not a shred of fear.” Lowering her stance, she savored a deep breath. In... Out... “Mine heart and blade, they... sing.” And so did she. The melody and the lyrics flowed from somewhere deep within.

“I’ve home here from nowhere,
across the unforgiving sea~
Drifting further and further,
it’s all becoming clear to me~”


In a blink of an eye, the two warriors closed the distance. Steel stopped steel. Sparks flashed. The sheer force of the impact painted ripples in the sand. Evenly matched, neither side gave an inch.

Words: 600
Total: 16 689 / 13 500
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