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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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Naoki
Naoki
[tracker=/t2772-tracker-kobayashi-naoki#18222]
Name : Kobayashi Naoki
Epithet : Shinigami
Age : 24
Height : 3.2m
Weight : 200kg
Species : Oni
Faction : Bounty Hunters
Devil Fruit : Susu Susu no Mi
Balance : [bel] 33,387,500
[[untouchable]]
[[improviseadaptovercome]]
Posts : 14

[Episode] Waking Monsters Empty [Episode] Waking Monsters

This post has in-line assessment comments.Fri Jan 05, 2024 4:11 pm
Spoiler:

It all started when Naoki met the group of traders who would employ him. The Oni was sitting in front of a haven’s local bar, questioning if he had enough money to spare to enter. Most of the citizens he approached while he was looking for employment rejected him. Even the people who actively looked for workers kindly turned the blonde down when he approached, offering his service. While they were smart enough to talk politely, their [ass=Body language.]bodily language[/ass] usually said otherwise: They were unable to look him in the eyes, stuttered, sweated, and [ass=Instinctively]intuitively[/ass] furthered the distance to Naoki. They feared him.

But could he blame them? Naoki was in some unimportant village in the middle of the East Blue. He was pretty sure most of the inhabitants here regarded his kind as only something found in fairy tales and not being living, breathing creatures. Instead of spewing hatred, they just resorted to excluding and avoiding him, making his life much harder.

At least this would be what he thinks if it was not for a man who was approaching him. [npc=misc]”Look who I found here, rumour has it you’re searching for employment?”[/npc] A middle-aged man stood opposite him. He had brown hair, a full beard which was braided, he wore an expensive coat, it would do him good to lose a few pounds, and he smiled from ear to ear. There was no trace of fear upon approaching the Oni. [npc=misc]”My name is Theodore, a humble merchant looking for some protection. I’m sure such a mountain of a man would easily scare off any criminals!”[/npc]

Now, fast-forward a few days and Naoki was accompanying Theodore and his crew. They were travelling on a big ship, but Naoki doubted that the merchant would have had in earnest any use for the Oni’s presence. The crew appeared to be functioning like a well-oiled machine- following orders without any hesitation, while concurrently carrying expensive-looking equipment. If they had some basic training, he would doubt they had much to fear. But the Oni was not complaining. Theodore paid well and the blonde could need the cash.

However, if the Oni had had [dass]more time to properly learn more about the common knowledge circulating in the East Blue, he might have been more sceptical[cmt]Be careful about repeating certain words in close proximity. When done intentionally and with care, it can be effective. Otherwise, it can hurt your prose.[/cmt][/dass]. The trip was headed to Warship Island. There, the Oni was told, they would meet with other traders, exchanging their goods. What these goods [dass]were?[cmt]This should be a comma, not a question mark. When a fragment of a sentence sounds like a question, a question mark is not necessary as long as the overall sentence is not a question.[/cmt][/dass] Naoki had no idea and decided not to pry. Especially as it was not of the utmost importance for his task. Nevertheless, if he had learnt more about Warship Island, he might have known how it was a common place for pirates and other criminals to meet, trade, and escape law enforcement.

Instead, the crew managed to hype the Oni with stories surrounding the island. Unaware of the dark business happening there, Naoki could not wait to see the land for himself. Be it the rumours of ancient dragons residing there or the island being able to sink underwater, he wished to learn more about it. As soon as they learnt about his interest in events of the past, they easily wrapped him around their fingers, fostering his curiosity.

A [npc=misc]”Land in sight!”[/npc] finally announced their arrival. As Naoki had hoped, the trip was uneventful so far. The Oni positioned himself out of harm’s way, doing his best not to hinder the crew’s movements. They were better trained and Naoki would just slow everything down, so he decided to keep a watchful eye instead. A few minutes later, they [ass=Not sure what this means.]made fast[/ass]. Before he realized it, Theodore stood next to him, not trying to look up to the Oni. [npc=misc]”The hardest part of your job is almost [ass=Done.]down[/ass], I still want you to accompany me for a while, would you?”[/npc] Naoki turned a bit, looking down at the other man. [plyr=pirt]”Of course, that’s what you pay me for, right?”[/plyr] The merchant just smiled.

Shortly after Naoki had solid ground beneath his feet, he realized how the island had an abundance to offer… an abundance of nothing. As far as the Oni could tell, there was no other human soul around. [npc=misc]”I know what you think, but I can assure you that we are not the only ones here. Let’s just say everybody who visits these lands loves to have some privacy, docking their ships away from others. So it’s just common courtesy to walk a bit.”[/npc] Naoki just raised an eyebrow and adjusted his glasses. [plyr=pirt]”If you say so, lead the way, boss.”[/plyr]

With that, Naoki followed Theodore, though another man was also accompanying them. The Oni did not know his name, but he could tell that he had a say within the crew, as he was one of those who conveyed the captain’s orders. But as the blonde man focussed on his job right now, formalities could wait for later. Right now, he decided that watching over two people was not much different than protecting just one lone captain.

While the trio was walking, nobody took it upon himself to start a conversation. Only a joyful whistling of Theodore accompanied them. He looked surprisingly happy as if this was just some form of fun excursion and not a business trip. The third man, meanwhile, grinned as well. He was of similar age and height as his captain, but overall slimmer. He was carrying a few bags, but Naoki could not identify what he stored in those. The Oni had the feeling he was missing something, but could not quite point to what that might be.

At first, the group traversed over a sandy beach, before it turned to solid ground a few minutes later. Their footing was not even, which the other two could surprisingly easily traverse- he would not have described both as avid walkers. Next to them, rocks started to spread, quickly forming into a cliff. A few moments later, Theodore stopped in front of a stone which surprisingly resembled a table-like structure. [npc=misc]”Here we are! Charles?”[/npc] Theodore clapped his hands and the third man, whom Naoki could now name, moved forward.

[npc=misc]”Yes, boss, the money’s ready.”[/npc] Charles placed one of the bags he carried on the stone which pleased his captain. Theodore intensified his whistling while placing his weight from one foot to the other. As it seemed, he disliked having to wait, as this was what they had to do. Whoever they should be meeting here sure took their sweet time. Even though the Oni still managed to keep his calm, Charles started to be restless as well. However, instead of rhythmically changing his balance, he restlessly started to check his watch. [npc=misc]”They are late.”[/npc], Charles stated matter-of-factly, affirming Naoki’s guess.

[plyr=pirt]”You two might want to cool down. Arriving late isn’t too uncommon in business matters, right? It is really not my field of expertise, but don’t businessmen try this from time to time to gain the upper hand in negotiations?”[/plyr] While this behaviour might easily be interpreted as rude, this would not be the first time Naoki would witness somebody using it to their advantage. Hearing these words made Theodore think for a moment before he returned to his heartfelt laughter. This was all the answer he needed, especially as it seemed to calm Charles down as well.

The Oni was silent again, watching as, after a few more minutes, another trio of human men arrived. With wide-open eyes, they stared at Naoki, most likely seeing their first Oni ever. After they regained their composure, though, they turned professional again. The one who looked like their captain, if Naoki had to guess, moved towards the stone table opposite Theodore with a back in hand, while the other two stayed a few meters behind, similarly to Charles and Naoki. [npc=misc]”Excuse me for the small delay,”[/npc] started the man, though Naoki doubted it was just a small delay [npc=misc]”but some unexpected difficulties forced our hands.”

“I assume the deal’s still standing?”[/npc] Theodore wasted no time, nodding to the bag his vis-à-vis was carrying, who, in return, threw it in front of Theodore. [npc=misc]”Of course, if you have the money, we can part ways.”[/npc] Theodore returned the gesture, moving the bag full of bellies. Both captains were checking their respective bags, while Naoki could not really tell what Theodore purchased. Based on the little he observed he would guess it was some form of document, as the Oni imagined that he had heard the rustling of paper.

However, his attention quickly shifted when the blonde saw some reflection from above the cliff. As soon as Naoki located the source of it, he tensed up. An individual was pointing a rifle in the general direction Theodore was standing. [plyr=pirt]”Watch out, boss!”[/plyr] Naoki shouted without warning and charged forward, pushing his employer to the ground, behind the stone, before Theodore had time to properly process what was happening. The next moment, a bullet buried itself into the ground where Theodore stood mere seconds ago.

[npc=misc]”What was that? The deal’s no more!”[/npc] Enraged, Theodore stood back up with a revolver in hand, which trigger he soon pulled to shoot the man he traded with mere moments ago. [npc=misc]”Eat this, betrayal won’t be tolerated!”[/npc] Within the crowd of watchers, Charles regained his senses first, copying his captain. With his revolver in hand, he shot the second man before he had the time to move. In the meantime, the remaining man started to move but was shaking so much that he barely managed to succeed in anything.

[npc=misc]”What am I paying you for? Kill him!”[/npc] Theodore ordered the Oni while reloading his revolver, who moved as soon as he saw how the man carried a weapon now too. The poor man’s shaking only increased when he saw Naoki full-size in front of him. The shaking, fuelled by immense fear, quickly ended after Naoki’s scythe cut through flesh. What started as a peaceful trade had turned into a slaughter. [npc=misc]”Good Work, well done you two!”[/npc] Theodore was awfully happy again, securing the money he had spent moments ago, before turning to the corpses, seeing what he could loot. Shortly after, Charles joined his captain.

Feeling uneasy as the sniper did not shoot again, Naoki did his best to inspect the cliff next to the group. There was no trace left of the individual. [plyr=pirt]”Are you okay? I’ll look after the shooter if that’s the case!”[/plyr] Theodore nodded, signalling the Oni to move. A few jumps later, finding a foothold on the stones beneath, the Oni soon stood on top of the cliff. It spread over large portions of the beach, being a few meters wide, while still being sprinkled by different rocks lying around, offering rudimentary cover if need be. When Naoki looked back down, he now saw how Charles operated a Den Den Mushi, which would at least solve part of the mystery of what he was carrying beforehand, though thanks to the distance the Oni could not understand what the man was talking about.

However, Naoki was now focused on the task at hand he came here for. There was still a marksman to locate and the Oni was not looking forward to any new surprises. He started his search by going where he imagined the shooter had been previously but, as he would have guessed, nobody was there anymore. Inspecting the place, he still found traces that somebody had been there, but the footsteps soon disappeared and led to Theodore’s ship. This realization puzzled Naoki. To make sense of it, he quickly concluded that this was a false lead, [dass]as he could not fully imagine yet what Theodore was truly capable of doing[cmt]I feel like at this point, Naoki's bullshit meter not going off only shows him as incredibly naive. If that is your intention, then this is totally fine. If not, then I feel like this should've been a huge red flag for Naoki.[/cmt][/dass].

The blonde looked around, trying to find any other lead which might bring him to the whereabouts of the perpetrator, but soon realized that he could not find anything. When Naoki looked back at Theodore and Charles, he soon saw how the two men returned to the ship. Whatever they came here for, they seemed to have acquired it. The Oni was relieved that they would soon be in safety, taking that burden off his shoulders. Mentally he prepared himself to return anytime soon, but for now, he wanted to look around a bit more. If another surprise was waiting on the island, he would prefer to find it in advance again.

As luck would have it, Naoki did indeed find something which managed to crap his attention, though not necessarily in the way he had hoped. In the distance, he saw how a ship was under attack by an arriving vessel- if the Oni had to guess, it should be the one his employers were trading with beforehand. While he stood there for a few moments, trying to make out any details, he soon concluded that he neither could do anything for them nor was it his responsibility.
WC: 2,147 | 2,147/5,000
Naoki
Naoki
[tracker=/t2772-tracker-kobayashi-naoki#18222]
Name : Kobayashi Naoki
Epithet : Shinigami
Age : 24
Height : 3.2m
Weight : 200kg
Species : Oni
Faction : Bounty Hunters
Devil Fruit : Susu Susu no Mi
Balance : [bel] 33,387,500
[[untouchable]]
[[improviseadaptovercome]]
Posts : 14

[Episode] Waking Monsters Empty Re: [Episode] Waking Monsters

This post has in-line assessment comments.Fri Jan 26, 2024 12:38 pm
A short while later, Naoki decided to return to Theodore and his crew. If a battle broke out on one side of the island, it would not surprise the Oni if it would spread to other areas of the island as well. In case it would reach his employer, Naoki would prefer to be nearby: Not necessarily because he was particularly fond of the man, but because he still had to receive his payment. Chances were higher that he would gain it if Theodore was healthy.

The Oni hurried back over the cliff, watching the sea on his side. Apart from the battle occurring behind him, he could not find anything suspicious. The sea was calm and no other vessel seemed to come close. For now, he focused on moving forward, though he could not but feel as if somebody or something was watching him.

Roughly at the same time, near Theodore’s ship

Theodore, accompanied by Charles, returned to his crew, their loot in hand. The next sailor who passed the captain was given the bags. For him, the money they saved was the most important aspect. While the documents, rumour has it they contain information on the marching routes of the marines, were nice to have, protecting his business via a good old bribery or another had worked wonders so far as well. And it was not like the World Government did not profit from his humble business.

[npc=misc]”Hey, you! Gather some men and get rid of our traces. We don’t want to look like shady businessmen now, do we?”[/npc] A high-pitched squeal of glee left his mouth. The captain was enjoying himself immensely. So far, everything went as well as he had hoped. [npc=misc]”Charles, establish contact with Theobald. Keep me updated when they have acquired our newest merchandise.”[/npc] Returning on deck, the captain started to whistle his joyful melody yet again.

[npc=misc]”Will do, Captain. What about Archibald?”[/npc] Theodore stopped in his movements and turned around one last time. [npc=misc]”What about him? Well, let’s hope our plan comes to fruition. In the meantime, we should continue to wish him good hunting. Some prey is harder to catch than the other.”[/npc] With eyes almost turning into dollar signs, he added one last detail. [npc=misc]”Remember, this makes them just all the more valuable to possess.”[/npc]

Back to Naoki

A short while later, Theodore’s ship was visible for the Oni yet again. He slowed down temporarily to process the situation and as far as he could tell, nothing unusual was happening near and around the vessel. For Naoki, it looked as if the sailors were just re-arranging goods as if they wished to free up space for something new. Of course, he had no idea what this was all about. Everything that the Oni had witnessed would not require this much effort. In the end, the three men Naoki helped to kill were not carrying so much that his contractor needed to reorder his storage.

The moment of tranquillity came quickly to an end, though, when the sound of another rifle being shot echoed through the silence. Naoki just in time managed to move behind one of the many rocks littered around to find some cover. Well, as best as he could, at least. These stones were not made to keep somebody of Naoki’s build out of harm's way. [plyr=pirt]”Tch, just what I needed.”[/plyr]

Knowing that he was on show here, Naoki gathered his resolution and soon sprinted forward. Without much problem, he could pinpoint the marksman who had released the shot mere moments ago. If the Oni was not mistaken, it was the same individual who had tried to shoot Theodore a few minutes ago. What little he managed to make out earlier seemed to align. The man was reloading his weapon with practised hands, while simultaneously appearing sure of himself- it was not every day that a target decided to move forward instead of fleeing, making aiming easier for the hunter. Normally, the Oni would most likely agree, but unfortunately for his opponent, a simple bullet was nothing Naoki would fear.

Naoki looked at the barrel as he approached his target, who made extra sure to properly aim at the Oni. With a self-assured smile on his lips, the marksman ultimately pulled the trigger, releasing yet another bullet. Unfortunately for him, though, Naoki had been awaiting it already. Just when the bullet should have torn through his flesh, Naoki turned his body into soot. The bullet passed his shoulder in a straight line, leaving no traces behind. Instead of blood splashing through the air, soot slowly spread through the air instead.

The confident smile of the shooter quickly vanished when the realization of what just occurred hit him. With his eyes wide open and his mouth agape, he watched in terror as the Oni closed the gap between both. He would not have enough time to reload his weapon yet again. Succumbing to his instincts, he turned around and tried to flee, but the realization reached him too late. Naoki had arrived.

[plyr=pirt]”Nice try.”[/plyr] [dass]The Oni started to laugh as he raised his right arm and transformed it into a blade.[cmt]I'm sure you can do something more fitting with this logia. Soot is known for how brittle and flaky it is. Making a blade out of it seems like an unsuitable application.[/cmt][/dass] As soon as the transformation was complete, he first grabbed the man with his left hand, after which he tore through the man’s throat with his now transformed right. When the deed was done, the Oni threw the man on his back, now taking a better look at the man’s face. [plyr=pirt]”Wait. Haven’t I seen you somewhere before?”[/plyr] Of course, the dying man was not able to answer this simple question anymore.

Another change in scenery

Gunshots broke the silence. At first one bang, though a second one followed soon after. [npc=misc]”Looks like Archibald is getting rusty, huh?”[/npc], Theodore stated matter-of-factly. As it seemed he was not used to his best sniper needing more than one shot to incapacitate his targets. Unless, of course, missing his target was part of the plan. [npc=misc]”Organize a small search party. I want to know what’s going on there.”[/npc] The captain pointed and a trio of his sailors quickly hurried away. They knew better than enraging their captain. If he disliked something, it was underlings disobeying his commands and plans not working the way he wanted them to.

[npc=misc]”Good news, boss. Theobald was successful. He managed to secure the goods you asked him to and his unit should be arriving here any moment now.”[/npc] These news instead were like music to his ears. At least some parts of his crew managed to do their jobs properly. With a bit of singsong, Theodore shouted some new commands, urging his crew to prepare everything for the arrival of the new merchandise.




Naoki, meanwhile, inspected the man before his feet as life slowly left the body. The Oni pushed the body with his feet before he started to bend over him. [plyr=pirt]”I know I’ve seen your face somewhere.”[/plyr] If the blonde had to guess, the dying man tried to say something, but a blood-drenched gurgling was everything that he managed to utter. A few seconds later, he stopped his struggle when death finally embraced him.

As a last form of decency, Naoki closed the man’s eye and it soon began to dawn on him. There were only a few people he had interacted with over the past few days- and all seemed to be linked to the same man. Thus, while he could not say if he had seen the dead man on Theodore’s ship or not, this was the only logical answer the Oni could reach. If the shooter had been a part of the other crew, Naoki could not see a reason why the shooter would walk towards Theodore’s vessel rather than return to his own. Unless he wished to take revenge? But the Oni would rather ascribe to the first possibility. When Naoki approached the marksman, he seemed to be too self of himself and did not resemble a cornered animal.

If Theodore indeed had plans to attack the Oni, returning without a plan would simply mean that he would be running into the next trap. Naoki just wanted to plan his next move, when he was interrupted yet again: a group of three men, arriving roughly from the direction of Theodore’s ship, were shouting [npc=misc]”Archibald!”[/npc] and looked around as if they were searching for somebody. The Oni adjusted his glasses and watched those for a moment, realizing that they had not yet found him. As he soon guessed that he had no reason to fear this trio, he decided to act.

[plyr=pirt]”Hey, you three. Are you looking for him?”[/plyr] While speaking, Naoki grabbed the corpse next to him and pointed to it, as this should speed up the process. If this was Archibald, he could at least speed up their work. Shortly after, the first man was pointing at Naoki, visibly enraged by the lack of Naoki’s respect for the dead. Oh, and for killing one of their own, of course. [npc=misc]”Yes, that’s Archibald! What have you done, you monster!?”[/npc]

The three quickly wished to close the distance to the Oni, who let the corpse fall. Naoki wrinkled his nose, a sudden sense of disgust spreading through him. The trio tried to formulate some new protest, but Naoki was not listening anymore. He started to see red, and red alone. This sudden rush of disgust for these humans urged the blonde to act. Just when the three were about to reach him, Naoki turned into a puddle of soot, rushed forward, raised his scythe and in a large bow mowed down the next three obstacles. [plyr=pirt]”If you want to know what I did with Archibald: now you do.”[/plyr]

The next moment, Naoki cleaned his scythe as best as he could with the limited resources he had available while planning his next move. Right now, his doubts regarding Theodore just continued to increase. However, he decided that avoiding said confrontation would bring no results. Sooner or later he would need to face his employer again if he ever wished to leave this island, so he might as well face him now.
WC: 1,688 | 3,835/5,000
Naoki
Naoki
[tracker=/t2772-tracker-kobayashi-naoki#18222]
Name : Kobayashi Naoki
Epithet : Shinigami
Age : 24
Height : 3.2m
Weight : 200kg
Species : Oni
Faction : Bounty Hunters
Devil Fruit : Susu Susu no Mi
Balance : [bel] 33,387,500
[[untouchable]]
[[improviseadaptovercome]]
Posts : 14

[Episode] Waking Monsters Empty Re: [Episode] Waking Monsters

This post has in-line assessment comments.Sun Jan 28, 2024 6:29 pm
The Oni barely needed any time to reach his employer’s ship. [plyr=pirt]”I’m back!”[/plyr], the blonde announced loudly, all eyes on him. For now, Naoki decided to play dumb. He did not feel the need to spill blood if he could avoid it. [plyr=pirt]”The marksman won’t bother us any longer, boss. I guess he should’ve aimed better!”[/plyr] Theodore was still a short distance away from Naoki, which prompted the Oni to speak loudly and clearly- naturally, many of the sailors around him could easily hear him. In fact, the Oni wished to be heard: the blonde would take delight in their fear.

[npc=misc]”Great news!”[/npc] Theodore managed to respond when Naoki almost reached the ship he was on. If the Oni saw correctly, Theodore had his eyes wide open for a split second and a barely audible gasp left his mouth. It looked like he did not expect to see his newest recruit so soon again. If the captain was indeed shocked, he did quickly regain his composure. Before he got any other command, the Oni moved over to a group of sailors who were moving some barrels. When Naoki stood next to them, they avoided eye contact and tried to discretely hurry away.

[plyr=pirt]”Let me help you, okay?”[/plyr] Naoki grabbed one of the boxes in front of him and soon saw how it was not properly closed. This allowed him to catch a glimpse of the interior: bullets. Or, more precisely, tranquillizing ammunition if Naoki was not mistaken. If that was the kind of bullets Archibald had been using, it might explain the marksman’s hubris. With a high enough dosage, Naoki might be fast asleep now.

While the Oni was lending a hand, he did his best to look as if he was suspecting nothing, but Theodore kept a wary eye on the blonde. The captain seemed to be suspicious of something, or somebody, though he did seem to still be in control of the situation. He signalled his hired sword to return to his side. [npc=misc]”I sent a group of three men to investigate something for me. You didn’t happen to run into them? They should have returned by now.”[/npc] Naoki had a good idea who his boss was talking about.

In an attempt to keep the illusion of his nescience alive, Naoki scratched his head, thinking about his answer. When he came up with a formulation he liked, he turned his face so that light was reflecting in his glasses, hiding the joy in his eyes. [plyr=pirt]”Oh, I think I know who you’re talking about. I did meet such a group. Though they were talking about some form of monster? Anyways, I handled the situation- they don’t have to fear any monster anymore.”[/plyr] Theodore grabbed something to stabilize his footing but otherwise expressed his joyful demeanour. Before he had to respond, Charles intervened, saving his boss.

[npc=misc]”Hey, boss, Theobald is arriving!”[/npc] Theodore quickly hurried away, leaving the Oni behind. Standing behind the railing now, he watched the horizon and put his self-assured composure back on. Naoki slowly followed and could indeed see how a second ship arrived. Not just any ship, too: if the Oni had to guess, the vessel that approached was the same one that assailed Theodore’s trade partners earlier today. The Oni crossed his arms in front of his chest and raised an eyebrow. He disliked how this scenario was developing. [plyr=pirt]”Who’s that? Can we trust them?”[/plyr] Even though he could guess the answers to his questions- well, at least in part- he just wished to be sure. He was still paid to protect Theodore.

[npc=misc]”Yes, yes, no need to fret! Theobald is my younger brother who is cooperating with us. Everything is going according to plan once again.”[/npc] Naoki disliked the connotation of “once again”, but did not inquire any further right now. Instead, he left the ship and watched the second vessel docking, inspecting it as best as he could from the beach. It seemed to be similarly equipped and the crew operated as efficiently as Theodore’s personnel did. However, it differed in one crucial detail: they proudly declared their craft by raising a jolly roger.

Naoki continued to dislike how the whole situation turned out to be. Now, he doubted that Theodore’s business was legal as well. When Naoki looked around, he realized how every crew member avoided his presence. He could, at the very least, calm himself knowing that the common men around here feared his presence. The Oni watched how Theobald disembarked from his vessel and was greeted by his older brother.

With both Theos next to each other, Naoki could see how both resembled each other. Similar age and facial features, though Theobald looked differently in some crucial aspects. As if to give credit to his name, Theobald was bald, the hair he lacked on his head formed an impressive full beard instead, an imposing scar decorated his face and he was overall in good shape, appearing to be fitter and more muscular than Theodore. If Naoki had to guess who of both brothers was used to battling, it would thus be Theobald. To further feed this assumption, Theobald moved with his head held high and a stern expression until he faced his brother. Only when he hugged him, did his whole demeanour soften. Naoki continued to watch the scene as best as he could and if he saw correctly Theodore was whispering something into his brother’s ear.

[npc=misc]”Everything went as smoothly as ever!”[/npc] Theobald declared with a thundering voice which quickly reached every sailor who was still around. Some of them seemed to regain parts of their confidence, cheering in return. Before the pirate continued to speak, he locked eyes with Naoki. [npc=misc]”What should we do with all the beasts?”[/npc] Naoki, still with his arms crossed in front of his chest, clenched a fist now and responded to the man’s stare. A small glancing competition was nothing he feared, especially as it would help him suppress some of the rage that started to form within him.

Naoki continued to hate how the whole employment seemed to turn out. He moved over to both brothers and started to look down on them. [plyr=pirt]”Mind elaborating what you mean by beasts? Please, a simple monster like myself wishes to be enlightened. [dass]It’s not any day that I meet somebody who studies bestiaries.[cmt]This dialogue feels incredibly awkward and clunky instead of the calm and cool that you may have intended.[/cmt][/dass]”[/plyr] Right now, Naoki actively suppressed the urge brewing within him to separate Theobald’s head from his shoulders. If somebody wished to enrage Naoki effectively, [dass]displaying racism was a sure way to achieve it[cmt]Not everything needs to be said. The reader is usually smart enough to put two and two together.[/cmt][/dass]. The fact that he did not strike immediately was mostly thanks to Theodore still standing next to his brother. As the Oni had still [dass]a small thread of respect for the captain left, he disliked the idea of accidentally harming his employer[cmt]But why? Theodore has done nothing to earn his respect. Especially since Naoki seems aware of the fact that this entire job was a trap. And it's hard to believe he still has any doubts, considering how he killed three of his crewmates without any hesitation.[/cmt][/dass]. However, this fragile thread was in danger of being cut as well.

[npc=misc]”Oh, please, calm down Naoki. You’re a valuable asset to our crew!”[/npc] There it was again. “Asset”. Another description the Oni disliked. If Theodore could not even be bothered to say “valuable member of the crew” instead, Naoki doubted that his service was so appreciated to begin with. [npc=misc]”Show them, Theobald, let me inspect them. Give them a last taste of freedom. Then, we can move them to my ship before we trade them off over at Tequila Wolf! You should know our procedure by now.”[/npc] The mystery surrounding Theodore continued to fall apart the more Naoki heard about his employer. The positive façade he presented until now seemed to be nothing but a farce. The blade moved next to the thread.

A short while later, the “beasts” were paraded for the crew of both Theo brothers to see: a group consisting of mostly fishmen, though a single fox mink was mixed among them. In chains, they had problems moving, which gave the crew a spectacle to witness. They started to cheer as the group of non-humans was presented, who in turn were visibly frightened. The prisoners avoided eye contact with everybody, slowly accepting their fate. [npc=misc]”Nice spoil, brother! More animals than last time, right? Those always bring in some extra cash!”[/npc] Naoki’s lip was curling, his eyes pierced right through Theodore, and the Oni’s gaze drifted over to the group of new prisoners. This was the moment the thread was severed.

[plyr=pirt]”Set them free. Now.”[/plyr] Naoki spat those words. Without waiting for any response, the blonde moved forward. He bumped into a sailor, almost running him over thanks to the difference in height. Shouting directed at him just rolled off his skin. Just when the Oni wished to grab the shackles of the first prisoner, a fool was brave enough to grab the Oni’s hand. [npc=misc]”Hands off the merchandise!”[/npc] When Naoki snapped back to reality, he could identify the individual as Charles. [plyr=pirt]”Quick or painful?”[/plyr] A simple question left Naoki’s mouth, though Charles' confusion made it apparent that the man could not follow. [npc=misc]”Pardon?”[/npc]

[plyr=pirt]”[dass]I asked you if you wish for a quick or painful death[cmt]Explaining the previous line only undercuts its coolness both ICly and OOCly.[/cmt][/dass], Charles.”[/plyr] Naoki spoke clearly, taking his time to properly formulate every word, savouring it. Before the human could respond in any meaningful way, Naoki grabbed him by the throat, raised him above ground and strangled the man until his eyes lost their shimmer. To get rid of the filth, then, Naoki threw the corpse into the next group of men, who screamed in a mixture of fear and disgust as they tried to free themselves of Charles' weight above them.

[plyr=pirt]”Sorry, boss. I’ll hereby revoke our contract- you’re as good as dead.”[/plyr] Naoki licked over his lips. [plyr=pirt]”Last chance to speak your prayers.”[/plyr] Before the vast majority of men around him had time to process what the Oni just said, he already had his scythe in hand and mowed the few men escorting the prisoners down. [plyr=pirt]”Search a safe place if you want to survive.”[/plyr], was everything the Oni said as he watched how hope returned into their eyes.

[npc=misc]”Forget about catching him, boys. Kill this bastard instead!”[/npc] Theodore seemed to be the first to understand the situation. So much for needing a hired sword- how many “beasts”, as they liked to call them, did they manage to lure into a trap like this, Naoki wondered. Theodore now raised a revolver. Just when he tried to aim, though, Naoki responded in turn. Using his powers, he created a small [ass=Another disappointing application.]bullet of soot which he in turn fired at the captain’s hand[/ass]. Shortly after, a short *thud* announced how the weapon landed on the ground.

Some brave soul tried to stab Naoki and the Oni let the sailor do as he pleased, though he made sure to demonstrate his powers by transforming the area the blade should pierce into soot. Naoki just pushed the brave soul forcefully away, his gaze pointed at the Theo brothers. Theodore might be shaking, with eyes wide open, but he was the first to say something. [npc=misc]”Y-You really are a monster, you beast!”[/npc] Instead of responding immediately, Naoki fell into his maniac laughter. He enjoyed the little bit of action here far too much than to simply back down now!

[plyr=pirt]”Make up your mind now, would you? Am I a beast, a monster, or both after all?”[/plyr] While speaking, Naoki slowly turned into a mass of soot, only faintly resembling a humanoid being thanks to containing a human shape. In order to unsettle his [dass]vis-à-vis[cmt]I overlooked this the first time, but since you used it again, I wanted to say that you may wanna consider using "counterpart" here instead. The use of vis-à-vis in this context is extremely archaic and rare.[/cmt][/dass] even further, he kept his jawline relatively intact, so that a wide-open grin would allow his white teeth to properly contrast with his now black body. With his scythe in hand, he charged forward as the [dass]literal reaper made manifest[cmt]I like the thematic choice here. This is a good application of the fruit.[/cmt][/dass], ready to end some lives.

His target was clear: if he could manage to kill the two people he assumed to run the crew, the rest would most likely lose their will to fight. Sparing some of the simple sailors would naturally be anticlimactic, but hey, the Oni would not be able to operate a ship all by himself, right? When he was in front of the Theo brothers, Naoki quickly attempted to strike, but Theobald was quick to act, blocking the strike, with a cutlass in hand. Steel clashed on steel, prompting Theodore to pull a cutlass as well.

Soon after, a dance between the three emerged. Naoki attempted to strike, and both men did their best to block the attacks, attempting counterattacks of themselves. Naturally, they managed to land a few hits as well, though this hardly bothered the Oni. Instead, it was just bringing more enjoyment to the bloody fiesta Naoki was commencing. The simple crewmen just watched in awe as the three were enamoured in their dance, trading blows. Only when Naoki started to properly incorporate his devil fruit into his attacks, did he begin to gain the upper hand.

[plyr=pirt]”You’re too slow!”[/plyr] Just when Theobald was about to block Naoki’s scythe from above once more, Naoki changed parts of his body into a spear he fired at the now wide-open man’s chest. After some blood spread, the blonde was sure that one of the targets was done for. Naturally, this prompted the other to scream in anger, but Naoki just mercilessly drove his scythe through Theodore’s flesh, continuing to ridicule both with his laughter. Soon after, he turned to the watching sailors. [plyr=pirt]”Anyone left who wishes to die?”[/plyr] The Oni took delight in the spreading fear he witnessed amongst the survivors.

Epilogue

After seeing how Naoki managed to deal with their captains, every sailor who was still alive quickly threw whatever weapon they carried away. Still with enough adrenaline in his body to ignore his injuries, Naoki ordered that the non-humans should be freed- and the shackles to be put on the remaining humans. However, the Oni was kind enough to give them enough leeway- he still needed them to work. Though he could not deny that he loved the mockery of offering them a taste of their own medicine.

In the hours that followed, he talked to the group of people he had saved. As he now learned, they were a group of smugglers and information brokers. Nothing as close to the image of honest traders Naoki might have had of them earlier, but nothing as low as the craft Theodore practised. During the rest of the day, the survivors moved everything of value from one ship to the other- the non-humans decided it would be the new home of the freed prisoners. The remaining loot was then shared with Naoki, as he did not intend to leave his employer without receiving his payment.

When the next day came, Naoki and the survivors sailed away- he compromised with the freed prisoners that he should be brought to another inhabited island after which they could do whatever they wanted with the remainder of the Theo brothers’ crew. At this point, Naoki barely cared about their well-being. He just swore to himself to be more sceptical when it came to choosing his next employer. Especially when they appeared to be awfully friendly.
WC: 2,509 | 6,344/5,000
Gray
Gray
The Conqueror / Black Fist
[tracker=/t131-tracker-gray-starks#504]
Name : Gray
Epithet : "The Conqueror"; "Black Fist"
Age : 49
Height : 10'2" (310 cm)
Weight : 1043 lbs (473 kg)
Species : Cyborg Human
Faction : Pirate
World Position : Lurking Legend (Former Yonkou)
Crew : Black Fist Pirates (Destroyed)
Ship : Sangria's Vane (Destroyed)
Crew Role : Captain (Former)
Devil Fruit : Pressure-Pressure Fruit
Bounty : [ber=r] 5,000,000,000
EXP Bonus : +0.20 (to all allies)
Income Bonus : +0.20
Shop Discount : -30%
Balance : [bel] 25,000,000,000
[[strollingdeath]][[baneoftheweak]][[riseandshine]][[childofdestiny]][[freakofnature]]
[[punchoutguru]][[dulcetvirtuoso]]

[[improviseadaptovercome]]
Posts : 3907

[Episode] Waking Monsters Empty Grading

This post has in-line assessment comments.Sat Jun 29, 2024 12:00 pm

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