Hidden 6 mos ago Post by LostDestiny
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LostDestiny Goldfish Brain

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Seated in the chair beside the window was the one person she absolutely did not want to know she was in town. His yellow eyes scanned her like a predator would prey before pouncing. Annabelle desperately wanted to shrink back but she might be able to talk her way out of this. At least she thought, until she gave the man a once over and noticed her mask, the one she used when she was working, in his left hand. He raised it up in response. “You really buried this deep in your stuff.” He waved it around before setting it on the table next to the chair and crossed his legs.

Annabelle had no choice but to play along. She had no clue what this man knew, it was unlikely he knew she wanted to kill him. That she probably could if she was fast enough with her pistol, but was she willing to risk missing and then needing to flee the island so quickly after arriving.Composing herself she settled into her work mode and she gave him a sweet smile. “The famed Albert Regal, to what do I owe the pleasure?” She asked in a sickly sweet voice, one she used when she was getting close to someone to learn her target’s patterns.

“Famed? Darling, don't flatter me. I can’t be that well known. You on the other hand, I have heard plenty about, you are quite well known in the circles I frequent.” He stood up and walked toward her. “Such a small thing has such a…high body count. They say you never fail a job.” He was sizing her up, but why? Did he know? Did he think someone paid her to kill him? Was he just terrorizing her for the sake of it? Annabelle couldn’t tell.

“Well I haven’t failed yet.” She responded, trying hard to make sure her nerves weren’t heard in her voice. “You seemed to have dodged my question, to what do I owe the pleasure?” Her fingers twitched, yearning for the pistol at her side, if for nothing else but the comfort of the cold metal. He frowned at her insistence. It seemed he was fond of games.

“I just wanted to see what all the fuss was about. Though now that I get a good look at you, I seem to recognize you. You grew up here didn’t you?” He didn’t wait for her to reply before he continued. “Ah yes, how could I have not noticed right away. You look just like him, the red hair, blue eyes. You were Victor’s daughter? Annabelle right?” A sick grin spread across his face, making Annabelle’s heart drop into her stomach. “He would be proud of you, making such a name for yourself.”

It took everything she had in her not to yell at him to stop talking about her father like they were friends. She barely managed to hold her composure as he circled her. She sucked in a breath and clenched her fists, an action she was sure did not go unnoticed by the vulture circling her. “We will never know how he feels, will we?” She replied between clenched teeth, and Albert finally stopped circling. He stopped directly in front of her lifting her chin with his index finger so that she was forced to look him in the yellow eyes. Annabelle could have sworn for half a second his pupils were slitted like a snake’s but it was likely her own eyes playing tricks on her through the rage.

“You aren’t here for revenge are you?” It wasn’t a question, even though he worded it like one. It was a statement, maybe even a demand. He held her gaze waiting for her to respond. Deciding if he liked her answer or not.

“I am not here for revenge.” She answered blankly. It wasn’t a lie, not fully at least. She was not currently here for revenge. Hopefully he accepted the half truth, hopefully he didn’t see through it.

Time seemed to stand still but eventually he released her chin and smiled at her, a genuine smile, not the partially sinister one he had been giving her since she walked in. “Good, then please, enjoy your time on my island and should you wish to stick around, I could make an opening for a sharp shooter such as yourself in my ranks.” He emphasized the ‘my’ in that sentence and, if he thought she was lying to him, he didn’t indicate it.

He didn’t stick around for her to respond. He turned to open the window fully and stepped out of it like they weren’t on the second floor. Though she didn’t hear the impact of shoes against the pavement below, instead her ears were met with very light flapping of wings. Of course that’s what happened. He had been following her in is stupid bat form and had entered her room through the gap in the window she had left open for Jazz. Speaking of the bird, where was he? She looked around the room noticing the raven was mysteriously missing. She would leave the window open for a little while longer, while her shot nerves relaxed, and if he didn’t turn up he would be sleeping outside.
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Hidden 6 mos ago 3 mos ago Post by Pacifista
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Tune Town, Melody Island, East Blue
Blue eyes reflected white clouds, those that blanketed the whole sky above Melody Island. Her short, platinum blonde hair hanging back with her head, Catherine Coriander looked closely enough to see the clouds drifting against each above in the high winds. So vast and distant, she was completely sucked in by the sight, not so uncommon, yet still so fascinating all the same. If she could walk to the sky, how long would it take to reach those clouds? If she were to ride them, how far would they take her? If-

“Coriander, I’m not washing anything you muss up because you’re spacing out,” came a voice from the window, snapping her from her daze. Seeing the flash of her mother’s ponytail floating out of sight, Corainder became more aware of herself, looking down to see her soggy nun’s habit brushing against the dirt and grass. Gasping out, she lifted it up, brushing off the bottom before clipping the garb to a line stretched across their yard. “It’s fine, jeez,” mumbled the teen girl, before she grabbed the next article of clothing, continuing on the line. Laundry was a day long chore, but finally it was coming to an end, and Cori still had the rest of the afternoon to herself. The young nun hardly looked it at the moment, wearing a somewhat over-sized dark blue shirt with long sleeves that once belonged to her father, and a long gray skirt, but it was plenty fine to bum around the island for a bit, even if she felt a bit awkward. She’d spent so much time in her nun’s habit it was starting to wear out, honestly.

As she finished hanging the last of the laundry, she tucked the basket to the side, wondering if there would be any more rain, only to spot a visitor. A short ways away, Verbena came up the hill, eyes scanning the area, the chubby boy scratching at his curly hair, a hoodie over his form. The two met eyes, Coriander giving a wave.

“Who’re you?” Verbena wondered.

“What do you mean, it’s me!”

Verbena shrugged. “I don’t know an Amy, but there’s a nun who lives here called Cori.”

“I’ve known you since you were in your mom’s tummy, don’t give me that!” Coriander grumbled.

“Whatever,” Verbena grumbled, heading off in another direction. Coriander blinked, knowing nothing in particular was off that way. It was also weird for Verbena to be alone, never mind that he seemed to be looking for something. How very curious, Coriander thought. It seemed she had some searching to do as well, giving her mother a farewell promise to be back in time for dinner.

Her first stop happened to be the library, where she caught Sorrel’s mop of purple hair skulking in between the rows of books. “Who’s sneaking around? Not me! Why don’t you go mind your own business.”

Hands on her hips, Coriander snapped, “There’s no need to get an attitude with me, mister!”

Sorrel flinched, hand fiddling with the bowtie under his shirt collar. “S-sorry, it’s just…” Coriander leaned in slightly. “Nothing! Everything’s fine.”

Coriander pursed her lips. “Uh-huh.”

“Y-yup,” he grumbled, before putting his hands behind the straps of his suspenders and whistling, the boy moving on his way. Coriander at once learned nothing, and oh so much.

She found Rue by the docks next, the day slow, port mostly empty, waves lapping against wood, shore, and stone in the breeze. The small girl froze like a deer when she spotted Coriander coming her way. Feet skittering as she looked for a place to run, Cori got to her first. “Are you going to tell me what’s going on or not?”

Pink bow struck stiff, a braid lagged behind as the girl went to the dock edge, holding her teddy bear out over the seawater. She held the faded brown stufftie by the top of the head, the neck blatantly thin and stretched with all the filling squished out from years of hugs. “Don’t move or he gets it!”

“...Rue, that’s not my bear. That’s not how it works.”

“Yeah but when I start crying I’m going to tell everyone that you threw my bear in the ocean because you’re mad about not being able to swim anymore! Then you’ll be sorry!”

“I-I can swim! I could a few years ago!”

“Then explain yesterday!” Rue demanded.

“You explain yesterday! How did you guys even get lost? You all know the island like the back of your hand!” Rue was struck, jaw gaping. “And who taught you to be like this, anyway?” Coriander muttered. Rue pulled her bear back into her arms, the hem of her black dress trailing behind her as she fled. “You’re being such a brat! I’m just going to find out what’s going on from Peppermint or Cassia anyway!” Rue didn’t stop, turning off and out of sight. “If you’re gonna be in trouble then running won’t help! Oh whatever.” Rubbing her forehead, she wondered, “What did you guys do?”

A short time later, Corainder found the next kid at Cassia’s house, but it wasn’t Cassia peeking into the windows. Coriander channeled her inner cat as she skulked up on the unassuming Peppermint, the green haired girl shrouding her eyes as she looked into the window, clad in gray jeans and a pink T-shirt with an angry faced red chili pepper on it.

Coriander brought her mouth right up to Peppermint’s ear. “Find Cassia yet?” If Peppermint could have jumped to the moon, she would have. With a squeal and a pair of flailing arms, she scrambled away from the window, just as quickly trying to calm herself, arms going back to her sides as she stopped mid run.

“C-Coriander! F-funny seeing you here.” The nun’s arms didn’t leave her hips, and her stern expression was unyielding. “I-I was just wondering if Cassia could play! He probably...I mean...you know…” Her blue eyes bored into Peppermint’s teal. The young girl’s head lowered, chin resting against her chest, tears starting to form in her eyes. “We lost Cassia.”

“You lost Cassia!?”

“We don’t know where he went! We looked everywhere, except…”

Coriander raised a hand, silencing her. “Just get everybody and tell them to meet at the well. Okay?” Swallowing back her tears, Peppermint nodded before dashing off.

The cloudy day still relatively bright, wind picking up a little, Coriander assembled with the four kids, sitting on the edge of the stone well with the children lingered in front of her. Verbena jabbed a finger at Peppermint. “Traitor.” The girl pouted, once again pushed to the verge of tears.

“We’re so in trouble now!” Sorrel groaned. The two boys had their spines struck stiff when Coriander raised a hand, beckoning them over. Daring to do so, they headed up to the well. Coriander brought her arms down, karate chopping both of them on the head. “Ow! It wasn’t our fault, he went off on his own!”

“That’s not why I’m mad!” Coriander burst out. “You’re not in trouble because of Cassia, I’m mad because you didn’t tell anyone that something is wrong! If he, or any of you guys, got hurt or lost, you can’t hide that from us! Even if it was because you did something wrong. You guys being hurt will last way longer than us being mad or frustrated. If the whole town has to go out to find him, we will, and you should never feel bad about that, okay?” Sorrel and Verbena both nodded. “Okay?”

“Yeah…” the two boys said. Coriander grabbed the two of them by the shoulder before looking to the two girls and jerking her head, calling Rue and Peppermint over into the huddle.

“Okay, where have you guys looked so far?”

“He wasn’t at your house. Or Amy’s,” Verbena said.

“Who the heck’s Amy? But he wasn’t at the library either,” Sorrel mentioned.

“And he wasn’t at his house or the docks, I know. What about your hideout?”

“Hideout? We don’t have a hideout!” Rue sneered.

“Not for people over 13 we don’t!” Peppermint blurted. Verbena and Sorrel shot her nasty looks.

“We’re not gonna hang out with you anymore if you keep snitching,” Verbena grumbled.

“Fine, fine, there is no hideout,” Coriander sighed, rolling her eyes. “What about Tacet City?”

The four kids all froze, as though struck by an unseasonable chill. Sorrel shook his head. “No way, he’s a scaredy cat! He’d never go there alone.”

“‘Sides, we’re not allowed to go there,” Rue said.

Coriander was silent for a moment, before reasoning, “It’s our best bet. If he’s not there then we’ll come back and rally the town to find him, okay?” With some trepidation, the kids nodded. “Let’s go find Cassia!” Coriander cried, pumping her fist in the air. Or at least, she attempted. Only her sleeve struck out, the loose, overly long fabric tied into a knot on not one but both of her arms. Holding them out in front of her, she stared, before glaring at Sorrel and Verbena, who chuckled at her expense. Rue let out a laugh, Peppermint failing to hold back her own snickering. “You guuuuuuys!” Bursting into laughter, the kids dashed off, Coriander rushing after them down the hill as they struck out to the far side of the island, where the colloquially named ‘Tacet City’ sat under the same gray sky. Far larger than the modest town of Tune, it had sat in ruin for hundreds of years, decrepit and fading, its true name lost to time. Yet it had sat there as an ever present fixture, not even known to the founders of the village for some years after Tune was first built, the city still having secrets yet unearthed and sights yet unseen. But that is a story for another day, while this tale still remained to unfold.
A Cloudy Day of Melody:
The Capital of Ghosts
Hidden 6 mos ago Post by Daxam
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Daxam Majin Boo

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The approaching Marines, thirty in all, stopped when they saw the cloaked figure that stood in the middle of the path that led to the clearing a townsperson had told them about. They had been told that there was a moderately-sized group of bandits that had made their home in the woods of Corona Island and were giving the nearby civilians trouble, so they weren’t too surprised to see what had to have been a guard on watch. What confused them, however, was the fact that the guard didn’t seem to show any indication of warning their friends. “Who goes there?” an older man shouted. Other than his green hair, which was gathered up in a sort of topknot that resembled a tree, the most notable feature of his was the long, white coat that fluttered from his shoulders, the word “Justice” emblazoned on his back showing that he was at least a captain. “If you don’t answer us, we’ll be forced to–”

He didn’t finish. The cloaked figure suddenly dashed forward and leapt into the air. They landed in the middle of the group, right on top of an unlucky soldier. Without missing a beat, the stranger took hold of the Marine’s face and slammed his head into the ground, knocking him out cold, before they jumped to their feet and lashed out at the nearest Marine with a left hook. The last thing he saw before he fell unconscious were glinting silver eyes and a wide grin.

”Are they here for you guys?”

“I’m not sure,” Marcus said as he poured water onto a campfire. “Best I can figure, the guys who were harassing that family you told me about caused too much trouble and someone called the nearest Navy base, so they came out to wipe out a bandit camp, but they’ll find us, instead. Unfortunately, there aren’t enough here to even take on a full platoon of Marines, so we’ve gotta book it before they find us.”

”And if they do?” Luna asked, though she feared she already knew the answer.

“They’ll execute us on sight,” the old veteran sighed grimly. “The World Government most likely feels that they can’t afford to have any survivors from the Empire, afraid that we’ll gather a force large enough to start trouble, so they’ll wanna solve the problem before it becomes one.”

Suddenly, someone shouted from behind, making Luna and Marcus turn. Another scout ran up to them and said, “The Marines are coming up the path!”

“Shit,” Marcus growled as he looked around the clearing. Under his breath, but still more than audible for Luna’s sharp ears, he thought aloud, “We’ve still got supplies that need to be loaded and thanks to the scuffle with the princess earlier, we don’t have as many able bodies as we should…”

Looking around the clearing, Luna saw most of the men and women still carrying crates and barrels deeper into the woods, most likely toward a ship they had hidden away at the back of the island. When she saw some of them still had bandages on or were limping, she couldn’t help the twinge of guilt she felt. She took a deep breath and told Marcus, ”I’ll keep their attention, you focus on getting everyone out of here.”

“Out of the question,” Marcus said. “We just got our princess back, we’re not gonna risk losing her, again!”

”Thought I told you to stop treating me like a princess,” Luna sighed. She looked up at the taller man and continued, ”Listen, it’s my fault you’ve got wounded. It’d leave a bad taste in my mouth if something happened to any of you because I got a little…overzealous with my fists.”

She smiled and added, ”Besides, you told me that the Empire’s alive so long as there are people to remember it, right?” His face flashed through her mind and she added, ”If I let the Navy snuff out these cinders, then there’s no hope of that fire reigniting. No hope for him…”

Marcus looked at Luna in silence for a long time, then sighed. “Alright, fine,” he relented. He was quiet for a moment, then added, “Be careful.”

Luna was having the time of her life. There were only a couple of situations in which she felt she could truly enjoy herself: at a bar with a good drink in hand and equally good company nearby, or a good fight. She could feel her heart thrumming in her chest, the familiar rush of adrenaline each time she narrowly dodged a swing from a sword or dashed out of the sights of a rifle. Her senses were on high alert, her ears alerting her to the subtlest sounds and her sharp eyes picking out every detail of each soldier as easily as if it were the middle of the day. She was in the zone and she had found her rhythm.

She grabbed one Marine by the collar of his uniform and swung him in a wide circle, using him as a weapon to knock his friends aside, before she threw him at a group of three soldiers who had taken aim with their rifles. As they fell to the ground, one of them reflexively pulled the trigger, nearly missing Luna. She moved toward the rifleman with the intent of knocking him out before he could get back to his feet and get another shot off when her instincts suddenly screamed at her.

She jumped to the side just as an arm clutching a sword stabbed out at her from a tree. She gritted her teeth as the blade grazed her side, drawing blood. She held her hand to her wound as the captain stepped out of the tree as easily as if he were walking through a curtain. ”Well, that’s an annoying ability,” she grumbled.
“I’m glad you think so,” the captain replied as he aimed his sword at Luna, though he never took more than a step away from the tree. He looked around at his unconscious and wounded men, surprised to see that none of them seemed to have been killed, then turned his focus back on Luna. “It’s impressive that a lone girl like you was able to take on so many of my men by yourself. My name is Captain Stewart Arbor. Might I ask yours?”

”Sorry, Cap,” Luna responded, ”but chatting with you is kinda the last thing I wanna do.”

Captain Arbor regarded Luna for a few moments before he said, “That’s fine. In fact, I think I might know who you are. You see, fifteen years ago, I led my men to the island of Eclipsis under the orders of my superiors.” Despite her cloak, the captain could easily tell that his opponent had visibly tensed at the mention of the island. “I was under orders to not spare a single soul on that infernal island. I won’t lie, it left a bad taste in my mouth to order the executions of civilians, but I’m proud that I was able to help nip the rebel element in the bud before it became a problem. While there, I happened to catch sight of Emperor Nox, himself, as he fought one of my comrades. You move almost exactly as he did back then.”

A grin crossed his face as he finished, “The apple really doesn’t fall far from the tree, does it, Princess Luna?”

Without warning, Luna charged at him and threw a punch. The captain jumped back into the tree just in time and Luna’s fist crashed into the tree, splintering the trunk. He reappeared several yards away and called out, “Men, stand down! It’s clear none of you are a match for her, so I’ll handle her.”

Since the captain knew who she was, Luna decided it was time to stop holding back. Electro began to arc all over her body as she pulled her cloak off, revealing her snowy hair and wolven features. She wore a black leather jacket with a white shirt underneath it and a pair of worn jeans. ”So, you were there,” she said, her voice low and dripping with barely restrained anger, ”and not only did you never stop to think about what you were doing, but you personally helped kill my people?”

She turned to face the captain and cracked her knuckles. ”You know, I promised myself I wouldn’t do this. I don’t like the mindset I need to be in to do this, but for you? I’ll make an exception.”

She took a deep breath and took a low stance. Her left arm hung loosely while she brought her right hand up toward her mouth, her hand curled in a loose fist. Gone was the grin she had when she fought earlier. The captain took a step back as he saw the look in her eyes; there was no excitement there. Her eyes were more like steel and as cold as the moon.

”Way of–”

A sudden crashing interrupted her as something large charged through the woods. She straightened up, abandoning her stance, ready to respond to the new threat. At first, she thought it was back up for the Marines, but she quickly realized it was coming from the wrong direction. In fact, whatever it was was coming from the direction the camp was. She let out a curse, thinking Marcus had left his men behind to help her, only to stop in her tracks when she saw the biggest grizzly bear she had ever come across tear its way through the Marines.
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Hidden 6 mos ago 3 mos ago Post by Pacifista
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Riding on the back of Negrigan’s mount, Rico was all smiles as he took to his first horseback ride with the glee of a child.

“Consider the trip back to town the first of my apologies for running you over. That said, you will have to leave. We are currently barring foreigners from the island,” Prince Alliant explained, mid length hair draped over his shoulder as the three horses headed back to the capital.

“Aw, lame! I just got here. Oh well, I’m supposed to be somewhere else anyway. Where’s here?” Rico wondered, throwing his arms behind his head, leaning back only to flail as he regained his lost balance.

Jolibi bored a hole in the boy’s coat with his eyes. “I for one, don’t trust him.”

Alliant put that aside for now. “We’re on Gunwhale Island, I’m Prince Alliant of the Puddle Kingdom.”

“Whoa, puddles? Man, I loved playing in those as a kid. Still kinda do, actually. And you’re a puddle prince?”

“Er, no, that’s just what the kingdom is called…” Alliant mumbled.

“That’s stupid, what would a puddle prince even be? It sounds like a kid’s fantasy,” Negrigan shot back at the slightly younger man behind him.

“Says you! You were just chasing after a unicorn!” Three right eyes all twitched in unison, three grown men unable to properly retort.

“How did you even get here? Most of the island is surrounded in sheer cliffs and rocks just under the surface.”

“Yeah, that sucked. I can’t really pilot a boat really well so the currents took it into the wall. If I didn’t climb up I would’ve been a goner for sure, haha!” Alliant saw no reason to disbelieve him, but his attitude didn’t match one who’d had two close encounters with death in the same day. Even so, despite getting run over by a horse less than a half hour ago, he was right as rain.

“You’re one crazy kid,” Jolibi sighed, shaking his head.

“But I’d rather discover an accidental illegal entrant than a drowned shipwreck victim, that is certain. You’re welcome to stay the night, and we’ll arrange your passage off the island as soon as possible,” Alliant reasoned.

“Cool! I wanna go to Shuffle Island.”

Jolibi’s eyes narrowed. “You’ll be on the first boat out of here. Anything after that is on you.” Rico pouted. Mercifully for the royal entourage, the young pirate was relatively quiet as they came down the golden hills into the town. Houses of wood, stone, and straw dotted the cobbled streets, their group far from the only horses about (the lingering smell of dung permanent, no matter the hurried efforts of young street cleaners in their constant struggle). Their group caught a number of eyes. Alliant garnered enough attention, but Rico was a brightly colored eyesore among the muted hair colors and earthen tunics and breeches. Rico didn’t exactly revel in the attention, but those who lit up upon seeing him more than often were a bit sullen before. So many shoulders were heavy, even without the well water and sacks of food weighing them down.

Rico, so typically full of smiles, didn’t restrain himself. “Someone important die? Everyone’s looking kinda rough.”

Jolibi glared. “You have no tact or respect. Your majesty, I think you’ve spent far too much time on this one.”

Alliant kept his grip on his reins firm. “Jolibi, I cannot say I expect much in the way of manners from someone outside of the scope of nobility. I do, in fact, appreciate his honesty.” Mouth going tight, forming a thin line, he admitted, “I’ll admit, I hadn’t thought about it in a while. Perhaps it had become normal for me. Should we not be wondering? Why…” Alliant hesitated, words sticking in his throat like mochi.

“Why nobody here is smiling?” Rico finished, his words bearing a slight edge.

Eyes closing, Alliant felt a pang of relief as the words he’d been unable to say came out so freely from the mouth the outsider. Alliant felt the edges of his lips cinching in strain as he smiled, just a bit, for what must have been the first time in a long time. Back a bit straighter, he asked, “I never did get your name.”

Eyebrows popping up as he was addressed, Rico leaned forward just a bit, cocksure smile coming to his face. “Name’s Rico: I’m an outlaw.”

The bold statement made Alliant give a curt laugh. “Yes, I suppose you are.” Jolibi and Negrigan exchanged glances, apprehension clear as they struggled to parse how genuine he was being.

Party reaching the Marshwiggle (an inn whom’s name made Rico say ‘that is the best ever why wasn’t I named that’ loud enough to make the innkeeper blush), Jolibi and Negrigan took their leave, Alliant himself arranging for Rico’s room, joining the beriless young man in his quarters for a moment.

“What’s the haps?” Rico said, grabbing a spindly wooden chair and sitting in it backwards, arms over the headrest. Alliant stared, the man in his mid twenties not sure what to make of it. “Er, I mean, what’s up?”

Taking a seat on the bed, the young prince looked rather out of place in the lower end room with sparse furniture and a pale gray coloring to the wood all around. “I hope you’ll excuse me: for some reason I feel like I can talk to you.”

“Oh, I’ve always been told I’m a great listener. The old folks back home could go on forever, about the same things and the same stories and the same jokes again and again and again and again and again and again and again and I would just listen. Every. Time.” Rico’s drawl ended with him staring out a thousand yards, red eyes wide and empty.

Alliant’s neck craned back slightly. “I...hope you’re better at listening than you are with animals.” Rico gave a thumbs up, but Alliant wasn’t about to take it at face value, instead glancing at the window for a moment as he collected his thoughts. “I suppose in some ways its easier to confer in an outsider who will be gone tomorrow than my own subjects, my own people, who find themselves in the same dilemma. We’re nearing the time of the Ko’Bo’Ka’Na Festival. It’s also my...father’s...birthday.”

Alliant’s staggered words came after Rico jumped up at the mention of the word ‘festival’. “Festival? What kind of festival?” he grinned.

“The festival has been canceled, just like last year.” Once again, Alliant struggled to continue, his attention stolen by Rico as he slumped into his chair as though crushed by a boulder. “It’s meant to invite the rainy season, with hopes of a fair balance between having enough water to last us until the next wet season, and not having the disastrous floods we have in the past. Our island is known for its vast difference between the dry summers and torrential winters.”

Recovered, Rico nodded. “Okay, gotcha.”

“The celebration also invites a number of events like games or contests, food, drinks, and all sorts of revelry.” Rico fell from his chair, crashing into the floor, dark lines of depression like stakes in his arms and legs, crumpling the tent propped up by his dreams. “A-are you quite alright?”

Head shifting up, chin against the floor, Rico growled, “Hell no! Who banned the festival? No wonder everyone’s in a shitty mood.” Finger drawing circles in the floor, he muttered, “And here I was thinking it was so lucky I made it here right when some crazy fun stuff was about to happen.”

“My father doesn’t want the festival to happen,” Alliant said suddenly. Rico looked up to see Alliant’s tense face. “He...King Lulouis has been getting older. He argues that the noise and revelry would be bad for his heart.” Silently, Rico got back up and returned to his chair. “But everyone in the castle, and most of the villagers, know the truth. Almost two years ago, my mother died, Queen Lycien. The Ko’Bo’Ka’Na Festival was her favorite time of year. No other holiday could compare. So it’s that time of year that we all think of her the most.” Alliant gave a hollow laugh. “It’s not as though it changes anything, he was still miserable last year, though perhaps everyone else being miserable gave him some solace. We’ve all been a little worried. Our island has a rather rare mineral, Drunken Iron Ore. Its value allows us to sell at a high price, but that in itself puts the island in a precarious position. The more we sell, the lesser its value, and the more difficult it might become to pay the Heavenly Tribute in the future. There’s also the chance that the market collapses. Never mind the invitation of crime: our outlaw of foreigners is a way to prevent suspicious eyes and treacherous hands.” Rico held his cheek in his hand, slumped hard over his chair, interest having faded within the last few sentences. “I-it’s a difficult problem. My father thinks he’ll come to an answer, but he doesn’t think that anything will be done after his death, so he set a bounty for a unicorn horn in hopes of extending his lifespan. My older brother, Petre, the first prince, has been tossing around some reasonable ideas, but-”

“You chose the unicorn,” Rico stated plainly.

Alliant swallowed, slumping his head. “W-well, when you put it like that, you make it sound like I have no faith in my brother. I think he could be an able king. He’s nearly twice my age, after all. But…” Alliant paused, reflecting back as he chased the unicorn horn without feeling much need for justifying himself, because he’d already known what he wanted the most.

It was like Rico saw right through him. “And what do you want?”

Alliant shut his eyes for a moment, breath coming in hard for a moment. “I just...want him to be happy again, no matter how long it takes.” Cheeks glowing red, he stammered, “Y-you-! Look at what you’ve got me saying!” Rico giggled. “And what do you want?”

“Mmmmmm...I wanna be Pirate King.”

Alliant stared, wide-eyed. ...What King? No, I must have misheard. Puddle King? Luckily for him, Rico added, “But right now a festival would be really nice.” Shifting about in his chair, he kicked his feet up, leaning the chair back on its two hind legs while his own laid on the bed.

Daring to stand, Alliant admitted, “It really is a shame. Thank you for hearing out my complaints, it’s not a situation one man can solve, so there’s no need to dwell on our problems. I’ll have someone send for you when your arrangements off the island are secured. If I don’t see you again, I wish you luck on your travels.”

Rico gave a short wave as Alliant headed out. As he closed the door behind him, he could have sworn he heard, “Yeah, a damn shame...” His concerns fled from his mind a moment later as Rico crashed to the ground, chair slipping and falling with him coming down right after. “Oh shit! Unlucky,” Alliant heard from the other side of the door before Rico burst into laughter. Alliant was torn between amusement at the boy’s purity, and anxiety at the boy’s purity...
Hidden 6 mos ago Post by Restalaan


Member Seen 29 min ago


Moving through the twilight hours, Haku shifted slightly as the clothes he was in, fluttered against the night wind.

Choosing a dress and looking like a traveling woman was questionable for anyone in the Marines but this was not the first time he had done this and nor would it be the last. Besides it was the best way to get people's guard down.

So in he went into the town’s bar, lively and bright, as he straightened his long flowing hair and wrinkle in his clothing.

Oh dear. Haku got more attention than he expected as nearly everyone stopped what they were doing the moment he entered.

Taking a few calming and slow steps, he nonetheless continued on and sat on one of the chairs in front of the bar.

“One beer please, and a side dish.” Smiling to one of the barmaids, Haku cordially ordered as he took some time to look around the place.

It was furnished as well as it could, not much patchwork though not of a high quality either. The most sturdy thing here was the bar counter he sat in front, no doubt it was to allow the owner to protect themselves should anything happens.

“I didn’t see you here before, got a name, pretty lady?”

“Haley, I just got here.”

“So what's someone like you doing in our village?”

“Traveling, and delivering supplies to the closest Marine base. I just got off an off day for the job well done.”

“You’re from the Marines?” The Bartender eyes lit up in recognition, one that Haku spied seemed honest. Still, better to play his cards on the safe side.

“Non-commissioned, I simply work on the ships delivering the goods. I was recommended to come here in fact, that the food and scenery here is great.”

“Oh ho, you heard right then! We have the best seafood and beer here! I’ll serve you our special in fact, freshly caught this morning!”

“And here’s your dear, darling.” The barmaid returned and gave a winked, making Haku nodded with his own smile and thanked her as he raised the barrel looking mug to his mouth.

Taking a sip at first, it didn’t seemed poison nor drugged. At least, one he can taste. So down the hatched it went, emptying in one take, letting out a contented sigh and handing it to the barmaid again. “One more!”

The beer was decent at least, Cadog might actually enjoy it. Perhaps he can ask for a barrel to be sold to them?

For now, he had a job to do.

Hours later, with most patrons getting swept up as other drank deeply, Haku felt a little flush of his face but he got some information at least.

“-So, there was a storm breaking out of late?”

“Yes, the weather’s been terrible. Sometimes the storm just hits out of nowhere, and it’s been hitting our village hard.”

“My condolence, any injured?”

“Injured, yes, but thankfully, no fatalities.” The barmaid as she cleaned the barrel mugs away. “But we’ve been lacking good catch. You’re lucky since today was a good haul, usually, there’s less.”

That also explains the price. Haku quietly thought, it wasn’t exactly cheap for that amount given.

“But it seems everything alright so far? I mean, food aside, the village looks fine.”

“Mainly because our Mayor has been working hard to get everything running.” The Bartender commented as he wiped a barrel mug clean before giving her a plate of small hardtacks.

“Thank you.” Haku politely said before feigning to miss the biscuit once and then twice, before placing a hand on his head. “I think I might have taken a bit too much-”

“Oh, how about you stay the night? We do run an inn business as well.” The barmaid followed up quickly, and Haku agreed to it as he picked a hardtack, broke it into a small piece and munched on it.

“Sure, lead the way. I’ll pay tomorrow morning.”

So with that, Haku was led upstairs and into a nice single room. No doubt, used for occasions when there are plenty of tourists.

Haku stumbled a step as the door was opened for him, unsteadily thanking the barmaid and then locking the door before finally landing on the bed.

He remained motionlessly there for a full minute before hearing the light footsteps and creak of the stairs before silence reigned, only then did Haku open his eyes and inspected the room.

The door lock was inside, and a latch rather than a doorknob.

No faint blood scent nor any traces of it at the ceiling.

Nor are there any hidden compartments or entrances.

Just a normal room. Haku declared as he turned towards the wooden blinds covering the windows and cracked it open slightly. There was still a few patrons, moving in and out but those are far in between. Only the occasional night lamps kept the area lit.

Haku stayed in the room however, he’ll have to move out later on, once he’s sure everyone below had gone to sleep.

Reviewing so far, there didn’t seem to be any lead beyond the weird weather and Mayor.

He was no navigator, so he can’t tell if such weather was just normal or a coincidence. The Mayor able to keep things together was also a suspect, but that could be a red herring.

Think, who stands to benefit the most from the deficient supplies?

Food was one, and so was contraband like smoke, medicine, or alcohol.

Well, he had his work cut out for him as he cracked his fingers together. He’ll have to drop by the other haunts and see what else was missing from the picture.

Thus, with nothing else, he sat crosslegged and meditate. One that was taught to him by his father and mother, to better focused themselves.

With night at its apex as all shops finally closed and inhabitants retired for rest. A window opened silently before a shadowy figure crept out of it silently and almost defying gravity, crawled upwards. Leaving not even a creak of sound as they stood at the top of the rooftop.

Haku looked from atop, dressed much differently as he was fully clothed this time, head to toe, with something that look far more casual yet also making his figure much harder to figure out from a glance.

Then to complete it, he wore a white mask to cover his face with a black marking on it.

No one here would recognize it, but even if people did, he would still wear it proudly.

Pushing that aside, he decided to move around and patrol the area first to familiarize himself. It also doubled to find out if there are any people that snuck around for any underground business.

Jumping and pushing off gently but strong enough to race to another building in a single leap, Haku moved and traversed around quickly.

Come morning, barely anyone noticed the soft thudding throughout the entire village.

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Hidden 5 mos ago Post by LostDestiny
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LostDestiny Goldfish Brain

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Annabelle spent the rest of her days on Haster island sticking close to the pirate crew that had originally brought her to the island. The encounter with Albert made her uneasy and she was constantly worried the man was keeping tabs on her. It was likely he was through his various men but she couldn’t tell. Jazz hadn’t been seen the night Albert showed up and most of the next day but eventually the bird returned to her, which she was thankful for at least. She was starting to think she would end up leaving the island without her only companion.

The remaining days went by in a whirlwind of paranoia and nerves, but finally the crew was leaving and she was more than ready to join them. Paying the captain the money she owed him and retreating below deck until they were a comfortable distance from the island. The sharpshooter resolved that the next time she returned to the island she would be returning with the forces needed to remove Albert from his throne. Haster Island would not remain the crime den it currently was.

The next few weeks of travel were uneventful, the crew stopped off at a few islands here and there to resupply but they seemed either extremely adept at avoiding Marine detection or low enough on the totem pole that the Marines simply didn’t bother with them. Either way for the first time in a long time Annabelle was able to relax. She even managed to get to know a few members of the crew. She also managed to find out what they called themselves, The Monobrow Pirates, quite an amusing name if she were honest though she understood why. This group seemed to be pirates in the loosest of terms. They did as they pleased but seemed to be more sketchy traders than actual pirates, at least in regards to what she usually associated pirates to. Either way they were a decent group, and they generally let her keep to herself if that’s what she chose to do.

Despite making good time to The Sunstrider Kingdom, it seemed that the captain and crew had one extended stop to make on an island that didn’t seem to have anything but a few homes. Annabelle would soon come to know that this small unnamed island was the “homebase” of this crew. A spot they seemed to have carved out for themselves, and their families. The island was rather unremarkable and seemed to only have a few farms and homes. It seemed decently self-sustaining and the families of the crew were more than hospitable to her.

“Sorry for the unplanned stop on ur part, I forgot to mention we were droppin off some supplies an’ catchin up with our families. We usually stop here for a day or two so hows about you spend a couple days relaxin on the beach.” The captain slapped her on the back as they unloaded and she couldn’t help but silently blink at him as he walked off. When was the last time she actually relaxed? She honestly couldn’t remember. This would be good for her. She seemed to need to convince herself that a couple days not worrying about anything else was a good thing.

The night the crew arrived on the island there was a small festival and a feast. One Annabelle was welcomed to as if she was some long lost family member. For the first time in a long time she wasn’t paranoid, she wasn’t in business mode, she didn’t need to hide from people who might know she was Deadeye. She could actually be herself and it was a huge relief. She hadn’t realized how much she needed a break from all the stress of her life. Most of which was self imposed. She had fun, she let her guard down, and it felt amazing. There was such a difference in her demeanor that the crew she had traveled with for weeks now started commenting on it, which made her a little self conscious but she didn’t care.

After the short break from reality, when the crew finally got back on the sea she was ready for the next leg of her journey. Sunstrider was bound to provide her with quite a bit of opportunity and she was ready for what it had to offer. She learned quite a bit about Sunstrider from various members of the crew, some of whom used to call the Kingdom their homes. With such a heavy political setting she had no doubt there would be plenty of scores she could settle, for a price of course. She had no doubt some of the more unsavory lower political members heard about Deadeye and would be clawing over one another to get on her job list. This would be interesting indeed.
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Hidden 5 mos ago 3 mos ago Post by Pacifista
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Light cast evenly over the golden grass of Melody through the overcast skies, the party of five had gotten away from the hills where Tune Town rested, reaching the flatter part of the island, a long dirt road stretching off into the horizon. To the north was the woods, but to the south were rolling fields of wheat, waving gently in the breeze, stalks having yet to flower. Coriander wasn’t letting their journey be idle.

“Um…” Verbena mumbled, scratching his curly hair as he tried to think. “My mom was making me study. I couldn't play earlier when Cassia came by. Rue would have been free though.”

Following the trail, Cori went to the small girl. “Huh? He didn’t find me. I was in the backyard of my house, having a funeral for the crow who kept bothering Sorrel. I haven’t seen Cassia all day.”

At the receiving end of Cori’s question about Cassia, Sorrel shook his head. “Grandpa Cicely wanted my help at the library so I told Cassia to go play with Peppermint. How did Rue know that was the same crow though?”

Cori didn’t have time to seek answers for him, instead going to the last link in the chain. “Yeah, I saw him. I wanted to play with him, but I was making my lunch and he’d already eaten. I said he could wait but when I was done with the dishes, he was gone. It looked like he was heading to your house though.”

“He went to my house!?” Coriander squawked. Pursing her lips, she tried to think, only for a brief memory to return, one of her Cassia stopping by while she had been busy with laundry. “O-oh. He did go to my house.”

The kids shuffled in closer on their walk, intent as the answer had finally come. “I told him to go find you guys. Waugh!” Cori squealed as Verbena and Sorrel grabbed her arms, holding her arms apart. Rue handed her bear to Peppermint before running back, then running forward. “Ack! Nonono don’t you dare!” Coriander pleaded before Rue tackled her, Verbena and Sorrel releasing their grip on them moment before impact. Cori and Rue collapsed into a heap, Coriander’s stomach folded in pain from Rue’s strike. Coughing as Rue scrambled back to her feet, Coriander whined, “You guys are so bad!”

Rue jeered, “Repent, sinner!” Coriander was too starstruck to even muster a response.

“It was your fault Cassia went and got himself lost!” Verbena cried.

“And you were interrogating us like we did something wrong,” Sorrel sneered.

“Y-you...you guys kept acting like you were doing something wrong!”

“Yeah, and we were freaking out because we thought it was our fault, but it was yours!” Verbena shouted. Coriander pouted, trapped in her own web. Getting to her feet, she struggled. “Could you guys at least untie my sleeves? It’s been like half an hour.”

“No, you will remain idiot jail for your crimes,” Rue declared. Trudging along, Cori suffered through the three trouble maker’s chants of “Idiot jail! Idiot jail!” until they got bored, Peppermint not bothering to get involved.

Path long, day longer, the group eventually found the first people they’d seen in a good while. Stumps pulled out of the earth, a handful of men sat around with lunchboxes open and round cups of tea enjoyed their late lunch. Scent of sawdust permeating, Cori spotted a few felled trees, still being processed.

“Oh, it’s Cori!” called one of the men, the others perking up and giving a wave. Cori returned it as best she could, while the kids went stiff. “Where’s Cassia?” asked the red haired main [Dill, Cassia’s father].

Coriander smiled, “He’s not feeling the best, so we’re going to pick him up later!” Coriander called. “What’re these trees going towards?”

“Cicely wants to patch up some old areas of the docks, before they get too worn down. Plus we’re going to need a new crib: Costmary’s about to pop!”

“I bet she’s got twins, so get enough for two!” Cori suggested.

The loggers looked between each other, weighing the validity of Coriander’s thought. By the time the topic shifted, Coriander and the kids were just about out of the way. “Hey, where are you guys going, anyway?” Dill looked ahead to see Cori waving back at them with her bound sleeve, a bit too far out of earshot. “Oh well…”

The kids far enough away from the adults, Coriander wiped her forehead. “Whew.” Turning back to the others, she was met with a barrage of stares. “What?”

“I feel like I don’t even know you anymore!” Peppermint pouted.

Rue had a glimmer of light in her red eyes, barely visible under her bangs. “You’re bad!” she grinned, as much in reverence as she was in glee at having something to hold over her.

“As easily as she breathed,” Sorrel muttered.

“I bet you’ve done everything you’ve ever scolded us for, but look at you now, Liar Queen,” Verbena grumbled.

“Lady of Lies!” Rue giggled.

“Sis...Deceister? Siceit? Uh…give me a minute,” Sorrel mumbled.

Coriander’s cheeks flushed red. “This...you...we...I’M BIGGER THAN YOU!”

“Idiot jail! Idiot jail! Idiot jail!”

Besieged by their incessant chants, Tacet City was still a ways off, much to Coriander’s misfortune.
Hidden 5 mos ago 5 mos ago Post by Daxam
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Daxam Majin Boo

Member Seen 15 hrs ago

Luna ducked under the body of a Marine that had been sent flying by one of the bear’s massive paws. The animal had to stand at least fifteen feet tall on its hind legs, its shaggy brown fur thicker around its jaw, almost as if it had a beard, and parted in places by large scars. One, in particular, drew Luna’s attention: it stretched from the bear’s left eyebrow and ran toward the back of its head. Not only that, but was that bear wearing armor? ”Marcus?! What the hell are you doing here?! And why are you a bear?” Luna asked, unsure which of the two questions needed answering the most.

Marcus let out a loud roar and swiped his paw through a group of Marines. “Sorry, Luna, but I heard the gunshot and couldn’t stay back! We’re almost cleared out, but I left Rufus in charge of the retreat. As for why I look like this, haven’t you ever seen a Zoan user before?!” Before Luna’s eyes, Marcus began to shrink as he transformed into his hybrid form. As he lost about three feet in height, his forepaws morphed into five-fingered hands, each one still tipped with a vicious-looking claw and his snout shrank as his fur cleared from his eyes and scalp, giving his profile a strange combination between human and bear. His upper arms became bare while his forearms and hands retained their thick fur coating. His shoulders and neck widened and shortened, respectively, as the old veteran closed his eyes and cracked his neck. “Been a while since I’ve transformed,” he muttered. “It’s like exercising a muscle you barely use.”

Opening his eyes, he noticed Captain Arbor and let out a low growl. Noticing this, Luna asked, ”You know him, big guy?”

“Yeah, I tussled with him back on Eclipsis,” Marcus muttered. “He and his men caught up to us while I was loading people onto one of our triremes.” He pointed at the scar on top of his head and added, “He’s the one who gave me this, but I sent him running with his tail between his legs. We can handle him, but watch out for his Devil Fruit power. It lets him go into plants and move through the roots. If I can remember correctly, it’s easiest for him to move between trees, but be careful around any plants, just to be safe.”

So, that’s how he does it, Luna thought. As she started to think about how she could counter Arbor’s ability, she heard the Marine captain say, “Is that you, Prefect Istria? I thought I left you to die on that miserable island.”

Marcus let out a bark of laughter and replied, “It’ll take more than this little scratch to put me down. How’s your leg? If I remember correctly, I turned your femur to powder last time we met.”

Luna’s ear twitched and she looked more closely at Captain Arbor, whose face had scrunched up into an angry scowl. Sure enough, she could see that he was favoring his left leg. ”He sure wasn’t moving like he was injured a little while ago,” Luna muttered. Though Marcus had given her a hint what to take advantage of, the few seconds she had fought him had already told her it wouldn’t be easy. Just as she had that thought, she watched as Captain Arbor sank back into another tree.

“Well, when you can move between trees and roots like he can, you don’t really have to worry about using your legs,” Marcus muttered. He turned to Luna with an encouraging grin and added, “You’ve got this, Luna. I’ll keep his men busy. As young as you are, you’ve got a better chance of keeping up with him than I do.”

He patted her back and said, “Show this old soldier what the new guard can do!”

With that, he charged forward with a fearsome roar. Several Marines tripped over themselves as they tried to back up while the braver ones brandished their weapons. Luna watched as he charged into their ranks like a sentient battering ram and felt thankful he was on her side. Suddenly, the hair on the back of her neck stood up and she heard leaves rustling. Without really knowing where the attack was coming from, she jumped to the right just as Captain Arbor sailed through the air, his sword held straight in front of him as if he were doing his best impression of a spear. He disappeared into another tree and Luna let out a growl. ”Great, now the guy’s a freaking dolphin…” she muttered as she ducked under another flying attack by the captain. ”Actually, a swordfish might be more accurate!”

Again, she heard leaves rustle, this time from directly behind her and it clicked. She suddenly turned around just as the captain shot out of the tree behind her, his eyes wide when he saw her facing him head on. She caught his sword between her fists and said with a grin, ”So, that’s your tell! The tree shakes before you come out!” She pressed her fists against the captain’s blade and shattered it between the steel plates on her glove’s fingers.

She didn’t miss a beat with her next move and lashed out with her right leg, cloaked in light blue arcs of Electro, as the steel shards fell to the ground. Her shin caught the captain on the side of the head and sent him flying through one tree before he phased into the one behind it. “Your ears are sharp, princess,” he grunted, his voice seemingly coming from everywhere around Luna. That kick definitely hurt him.

”And now that you have a taste of just how hard I hit, how about you give up?” she suggested. ”I mean, now that I know how your power works and you don’t have your sword, you’re kinda powerless against me, aren’t you?”

“For now,” the captain said. “But thanks to the Prefect working his way through my men, there are plenty of weapons for me to choose from.” A moment passed before he added almost thoughtfully, “That said, I’ll stand a better chance if I stopped that monster from tearing my men apart, won’t I?”

”Oh no, you don’t!” Luna shouted as she ran through the trees, following the sound of combat. As she ran, she lashed out with her fists and legs, toppling trees in an effort to flush out the captain, but to no avail. If he wasn’t in any of the trees near her, then he must already be a ways ahead of her. Just how fast can that bastard move?! she thought as Marcus finally came into sight. He had wiped out almost the entire squad and didn’t seem any worse for wear, though Arbor was nowhere to be seen.

The old veteran noticed Luna as she approached and dropped the Marine he had been holding by the face. “Did you finish off–” He stopped as he felt something push into his back. Looking down, he saw the blade of a sword, crimson with his own blood, protruding through his chest, having pierced between the plates of his armor.

“Huh…” he muttered before he fell forward.
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Hidden 5 mos ago Post by Yankee
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Yankee 𝐰𝐚𝐧𝐭 𝐭𝐨 𝐛𝐞 𝐟𝐫𝐞𝐞

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South Blue


Now that Suiten was face to face with it, she could see that this was not a shark at all, nor a fish of any kind. It had a literal face that stared back at her through the water with wide eyes. It was the face of a human.

What the heck is this? Some kind of costume?

It was a smallish person, definitely smaller than herself or Lide or Silva. They wore some kind of dark get-up that mimicked the look of a shark: a snout shape as a hood over their head with beady black buttons sewn on for eyes, trailing down to a pair of dorsal fins that stood stiffly on their back with even a stuff tail attached. Wide sleeves hung off of the outfit tappered into a point like fins, and when Suiten reached out again she took hold of one. It's soft, but firm. It might actually help them swim— She was pulled from her thoughts when the person yanked themselves from her grasp.

"Blurubrilblurggg!" They tried shouted something, releasing a whole lot of bubbles and not much else. Voices didn't travel that well through the water, even newborn merfolk knew that... but this wasn't a merfolk. They didn't seem to be a fishman either, since they took their hands out of the fin-like sleeves and slapped them over their mouth a moment later. There was an expression of surprise and panic on their face, like they'd completely forgot that they weren't actually a fish and they couldn't breathe while underwater.

"Are you some kind of idiot playing pretend?" Suiten questioned, jabbing a finger at the stranger. Unsurprisingly they couldn't answer, just pinching their nose closed with one hand and waving the other through the water. Suiten rolled her eyes and took hold of the mysterious little human, bringing them both to the ocean's surface.

"Bwaaaah!" The human (a girl now that Suiten got better look at them) took a huge breath as soon as her head was above water, shoving the hood off. Short strands of dark brown hair clung to her face even after she shook her head to clear the salt water from it. She coughed a few times, and then turned her attention back to Suiten.

"You scared me!" The girl said, "I - I thought you were a big fish at first and I was gonna catch you, then I thought you were a monster!"

Is daydreaming about eating big fish all humans do around here? Suiten thought. She pushed her budding annoyance to the side, raising an eyebrow at the girl.

"Does this really look like the face of a monster to you?" she said, putting the palm of her hand softly under her chin and striking a pose. It seemed to calm the girl down a little more, since she smiled.

"I guess not. You're just like me!"

"Hm? How?"

"Your tail!" The girl pointed to Suiten's tail of shimmery reds and golds, and then pointed to the false shark tail that she wore. Her legs were tucked into it, giving the overall illusion that she was a shark - at a distance, at least. Suiten stared at the costume, but she failed to see the similarities. She pursed her lips in thought, looking at the strange girl for an explanation.

"You're wearing a tail too...?" She said, like it was the most obvious thing in the world. "But yours looks a lot more real..."

After a moment of silence Suiten burst out laughing, and then quickly quieted herself by raising a sleeve to cover her mouth. "Ehehe! What are you saying? Of course its real."


"Its a real tail. Really my tail." Suiten raised it up, neatly folding herself almost in half to hit the waves with her tail fin, splashing the girl. The stranger looked confused for a few seconds, like the gears in her head were heaving trouble turning. Eventually Suiten saw a shift in her expression as something must have clicked for her. Her gaze traveled slowly up from Suiten's tail to her face.

Suiten grinned, a little impishly if she were being honest. It had the opposite effect that she'd intended.

The girl bolted, pushing away from Suiten and propelling herself through the water with that fake tail. The wake of her escape threw water into Suiten's face, but the mermaid just ducked under the waves.

"What's your issue?!" Suiten called after the girl, crossing her arms and huffing. "What a weirdo... dressing up like that. It does make a pretty good costume though," she said to herself, watching the wannabe shark get farther and farther away.

Oh well, there was no time to dwell on some random mystery - she had a much more important mystery to look into! The Sea Lamp!

Since she'd somehow overshot the area it was allegedly in, after swimming back and finding that girl she should be closer to where she ought to be. Suiten peered down below, towards sea shelves and darkness. She could see craggy rocks, a few crustaceans, but nothing promising. Plant life was a major clue on how far the sun's light could reach, or if there was something similar under the waves that could sustain such life. She saw no signs pointing to anything like that. It made sense, this was the open ocean - hardly anything really lived out here. The closest she'd found were those palms, but it seemed less like they were naturally occurring and more like the island they'd originally been on kept sinking, forcing the tree tops to extend upward more and more.

...actually, why was there a human all the way out here in the first place? They'd certainly die from exhaustion if they were swimming out here with no land in sight for days. But it was impossible that they lived out here, right...? Lived where hardly anything else could?

It couldn't be a coincidence that there was a human in the middle of the sea! They had to be living somewhere close by. Could it be possible there was a large air bubble around here, one with enough light to see and live by?! Could Suiten have stumbled into the Sea Lamp's whereabouts just like that?

"...hey, wait! Do you know anything about a Sea Lamp??" Suiten yelled, swimming in the direction she'd seen the shark-girl go.
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Hidden 5 mos ago Post by Hillan
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Hillan I'm a writer - Lying's what we do.

Member Seen 39 min ago


The Ashes Tavern, The Solstone, Midsummer Island

Captain Doster had taken his seat next opposite Morgan in the lounge where the five of them could speak privately. Jack and Stede were present for the sit down, the latter having ensured that one of his staff was manning the bar after the fallout from the pirate crew had been cleaned up. The only one standing behind the marine Captain was his Lieutenant. Morgan had gotten the rundown on them both, clear to him that the younger of the two lawmen were new to the island – in fact, he was new to working with the captain at all. Solstone was a sovereign state. Violence was around every corner. Even if they had never been hostile to the marines, it was still odd that the marine had not brought any backup to the bar, only himself and his right hand man. Then again, he only ever brought Stede and Jack with himself wherever he went.

”Councilman Brand. Baron. We’ve gotten quite worrisome reports recently, regarding criminal activity near this section of Midsummer Island. There are troubling winds and we have reason to be concerned about the safety of certain individuals.” Captain Brust began, Morgan nodding.

“More pirates like the ones we saw today?” Morgan asked solemnly and the captain grimaced.

”Sort off. The Bull Pirates aren’t a nothing-affair in this sea. They aren’t big fish. On the other hand, we’ve received information that tells us that one of the big shots of this blue is heading this way to make their way back from the devilish sea beyond the red mountains.”

“Oh? Who?"

“We do not know for certain. But based on the destruction left in their wake, we’re believing it’s The Hexxer.” His words were icy. Hearing the name a shiver ran down Morgans’ spine, Jacks’ eyes widened, Stede looked in confusion at his companions' reactions.

”What’s the big deal?” The barman questioned, breaking the silence. Jack tsk’d him.

”The Hexxer is one of the most prolific assassins in this sea’s history. Nobody has ever survived to identify them, leaving only the many occult symbols behind when they kill.”

The Marine Captain Brust nodded.
“And we fear we know who the target is, this is why it is vital that we cooperate with the government of Solstone.”

Morgan’s eyes widened as the captain produced a picture from his dossier. Recognizing the picture immediately.

”Aztec. The Renegade prince.”
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Hidden 5 mos ago 3 mos ago Post by Pacifista
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“Another one?” muttered Macklamalky as he scratched his black stubble, crate of apples at his doorway. “Damn, that was hopeful of me.” Lifting his cap, he wiped a bit of sweat as his wife Opal came up behind him.

“What were you thinking?” muttered the apron clad lady. “We make sweets, but this is way too much.”

“Well, the price wasn’t bad when I ordered them, but, you know, the festival and all. Our candy apples have been doing well since my granddad came up with the recipe ages ago. I was also really close to remaking whatever was special about the caramel we got from Goldenricht. It was all lining up, I just didn’t think the festival was going to get canceled a second time!”

“Well, people will still buy some of them I guess, but this is the third one! We can’t sell that many! Or eat them, for that matter.”

“I know I know!” the man muttered, leaning down, hands on the edge of the crate. “The rain came last year even without the festival, but I feel like twice in a row is tempting fate…”
Evening shifting to night over the island, the lights of the town were beginning to drift out, one by one. The last disgruntled citizen left the dimly lit throne room in a huff, its residing king arched over, fingers drawn over his wrinkled face. “Festival festival festival,” King Lulouis DuPont groaned, his nose matching the arc of his back. His gray hair only having a few remaining strands of black, his hand scrapped against the five’o’clock shadow at his jaw, the man letting out a yawn. Plush red mantle over his back, glistening crown having grown rather accustomed to his head, he stood slowly, practically hobbling towards the back chambers, dreading the stairwell to his bedside while the knights saluted him in his passing.

“Economy this, livelihood that. You had your fun two years ago, didn’t you?” Passing by a window on the spiral staircase up, he glanced at the fading lights of the town. “My wife was laying in her deathbed, and you all carried on like it was your God given right.” These days, the Ko’Bo’Ka’Na Festival only filled him with disgust. He could hardly believe he’d ever enjoyed it, and any flashes to those memories were ones he quickly buried in his revulsion and anger. “The rain always comes, quit bellyaching,” he continued to mutter, taking to the steps one at a time.

Then, there was a sound unlike anything Lulouis had heard in a long while. It was a whistle of sorts, long and piercing. Lulouis had a brief flash to a military demonstration of cannonball target practice, his men spending their peacetime preparing for the potential threat of an enemy. Just as he dismissed the possibility, there was a rupture in the air, lights flittering through the stairwell in blue and green, reflected off the cold stone from the small windows, the explosion followed by the smattering of smaller crackles. The man nearly slipped from his step, a burst of adrenaline firing him to the nearest window. There was another whistle, another explosion, this time red and gold. Scrambling, he finally got a good view, this time watching a purple eruption over the lake, joined by a pink and orange one, both briefly forming flowers of light in the air.

“What in God’s name!?” Lulouis cried to the heavens, but the cavalcade of flame, light, and noise didn’t stop for the cries of one man.
The distant light also reached the town below. The barking of dogs filled the gaps between the explosions, so no one was left out of the happening. The elders felt the hearts quaver as they waited for the explosions to reach them. The kids trembled in the arms of their mothers as though it were a passing thunderstorm. Men grabbed their arms, scrambling about as they wondered where the fire was. But not one firework strayed close to the village, even as the people called for their offender to show themselves. As the firework show continued, ramping up, some threw themselves behind buildings, hiding in fear, but others grew curious, and dared watch, observing a wonderful display of colors and shapes in the sky beyond prior imagination. Streams of silver, flowers of blue and gold, spirals of smoke shimmering against a white ball of light burning like a small sun as it streaked through the night sky, only to fizzle without a sound. Then, the spiral firework erupted into a ring of rainbow colored sparks and one final boom that echoed across the whole island. And for the rest of the night, all was silent, the townsfolk to mystified to easily sleep after that. It was only after the investigation of the local knights that some were able to find a level of peace, but despite the examination of the lake, nothing odd was found, baffling the soldiers who would have expected a high level of ordinance to put on a show like that. The matter was pushed aside to morning, but King Lulouis wasn’t going to rest easily, not after that.

Had the knights arrived a little earlier to the lake, they might have spotted a certain outlaw shuffling back to town after hiding a rowboat in the brush. Had they arrived just after the completion of the show, they might have spotted that lone rowboat adrift in the middle of the lake, its pilot collapsed in the middle, breathing heavily. “Oh god my body,” Rico wheezed, the boy too fatigued to let even one popper hit the ground.
Hidden 5 mos ago 3 mos ago Post by Pacifista
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Walls of cobbled stone brick worn down by decades, maybe even centuries of wind and water, a massive wooden gate with more modern additions to seal the rotted parts, the foreboding aura of something just a little ‘off’. There was no mistaking that Tacet City loomed in front of them. Necks craned back as far as possible so they could see as much of the top as possible, four children swallowed in nervousness.

“Y-you think he got in through there?” Verbena wondered, pointing at a fresher gap in the massive wooden gate, another chunk having sloughed off, the recent additions failing to hold everything in place.

Rue went first, poking her head through. “Cassia coulda gone in.” Testing it, she stepped through, the tiny girl having now issue even without letting go of her teddy.

“Hey, get back here!” Coriander snapped. Rue hopped back over, back standing straight. “If something happens, where’s the town doctor?”

Sorrel, Rue, Peppermint, and Verbena all chanted in unison. “By the docks, look for the rocks, then turn to Coriander’s house and see the cross.” Peppermint’s eyes widened, the girl wondering, “Wait did anyone check there? Mrs. Poppy is super nice so maybe he’s hanging out with her, or he got himself hurt…”

The five of them stood in silence, eyes going to Coriander, who sucked in her lips, eyes drifting off to the side. “Well, we’re not going home and coming back just to check.”

Sorrel whispered to Verbena while Coriander moved towards the gap. “I think she just wants to see the city herself.” Verbena nodded in concurrence while Coriander poked her way through the hole, shifting her shoulder through. Pulling forward, her other one only shoved against the rotted wood, which refused to give.

“Oh come on!” she grumbled, before pulling herself out, plopping onto her skirt.

“Well, you are bigger than us,” Sorrel giggled.

Flashing pink, Coriander shouted, “Nooooo!” Turning back, she mumbled, “Not like this.” Standing up, she planted her sleeves on her hips. “Alright Peppermint, I’m lifting the ban, just this once.”

Peppermint squeaked. “W-wait, really?” With a watery tone, she wondered, “Won’t I get in trouble?”

Coriander approached, patting Peppermint on the head. “I really think Cassia is somewhere in there. I don’t think he’s in danger, but...I just kinda feel it. I’ll take responsibility! The door needs to be fixed again anyway, just try not to-”

“Okay!” Peppermint cheered, tiny fists balled up as she steeled her will. Slipping past Coriander, she placed one hand on the giant gate, her second one pulled back. As she wound it round and round, Coriander and the others scrambled backwards. “HIYAAAA.”

A crash split the air as wood tore around Peppermint’s fist. Coriander had been aware of her strength for just about as long as anyone in the town. It was certainly superhuman, something latent and abnormal. But even so, seeing the force that could come from that tiny body was always breathtaking. Normally, the rotted wood would have fallen easily around the area she punched, but she’d aimed a bit high, hitting a rusted brace that was lashed across the whole door. The metal was blasted out, ripping a fair share of wood at the same level along with it. Splinters showered the air, and the smell of must and rot blasted the nose. But it wasn’t over yet: the others had stopped to watch the fallout, and the giant gate continued to creak and groan. With another snap, it tore from the upper brace that kept it mounted to the stone walls. The massive gate, easily 50 feet tall, started to tumble down.

“PEPPER, RUN!” Coriander called. The girl started to dash towards them, but the gate was already coming down, and no one was clear. Teeth gritted, Peppermint kicked against the ground, leaving a footprint in the firm dirt. Two arms outstretched, she came into contact with the door, slowing its fall. Then, she pushed her two arms out, the gate flipping in the opposite direction. The decrepit wood smashed into the ground, reverberations rumbling throughout the area at the same time Peppermint herself hit the ground, bouncing to a stop as the dust settled.

Jaws on the ground, three kids pushed past Coriander. “That was so cool!” “Pepper you’re awesome!” “I’m sorry I said we wouldn’t hang out with you I didn’t mean it!”

As they helped Peppermint up, the girl looked to the gate with a look of worry, then back at Coriander, who was approaching the kids with her eyes wide on the gate. “I’m gonna be in so much trouble.”

Peppermint whined, “I’m sorry I’m sorry I’m sorry! I didn’t mean to, I just got excited and-”

Coriander’s sleeved hands pressed on the girl’s cheeks, silencing her. “Don’t worry about the scolding I’m going to get later, you saved us, didn’t you?” Peppermint’s shoulders still trembled as the adrenaline ran its course, but the girl gave a nod. “So, let’s go find Cassia!” Swallowing back her trepidation as her heart began to calm, Peppermint joined the others as Coriander led the way, climbing over the fallen gate into the long vacant streets of Tacet City at last.
Buildings rarely shy of two stories, roads stretched into grids, Tacet City’s orderly construction of angular buildings and wide windows was offset by the chaos and ruin of the dilapidated place, walls spilling out into the street, windows everywhere shattered, the glass deformed like it was slowly melting away. Every so often there was a skitter that froze the group in their steps. Even though they knew it was a cat or rodent finding shelter from their approach, the eerie quiet was a booster to the wrong kinds of imagination. It didn’t help that the occasional bone stuck out of the earth, reminding the world of its owner, long since fallen.

“W-why did we come here again? It’s too big to search all alone,” Sorrel whined.

“I think it’s cool!” Rue giggled.

“If there’s any monsters I can fight them,” Peppermint spoke in awe, looking down at her two hands.

Verbena gasped. “Monster!” Peppermint shifted in front of him, looking to see a shattered window reflecting herself in the lighting. After a few seconds to process it, her head sunk, the girl pouting as she beat back tears glancing back at Verbena.

Verbena was about to giggle when Coriander bopped him on the head. “She saved your life and that only kept you from teasing her for 15 minutes!? And you’re gonna scare the others if you keep shouting.” At the end of her line, the sudden squawk of a crow nearby made her jump a bit.

Clearing her throat, she started forward again, Rue hopping ahead while Coriander kept her eyes peeled, as much skyward as they were ground bound. After a few minutes, Rue started to turn off their main road. Coriander glanced around before shouting, “Stop!”

Rue glanced back, but her legs kept going. “Huh?”


Rue froze in place, foot hovering in the air, the girl struck still by the weaponization of her full name. Eyes glancing back in front of her, she found that foot hanging over a gap in the road, a hole several foot deep stretching across the former side road. Letting out a wail, she flailed backwards, arms going wide as she fell to the stone. There was a low rumble, then a whine, before Rue started to cry, the eruption of emotions from the near drop, and the mild pain from the light fall tipping her over the edge.

“Untie these!” Coriander demanded, Verbena and Sorrel complying and releasing her hands from their sleeves. Going forward, Coriander helped Rue to her feet as she sobbed. “No running ahead, okay?” Looking up to the others, she repeated, “Okay?” Four heads nodded in compliance, before they started on yet again, Rue steadily calming down, teddy clutched tight in her other arm.

A few minutes of walking later, their path started to take turns with Coriander’s guidance, but the shadows got longer as the day wore on, less light peeking through the clouds above. However, no matter how many forks or bends they came to, Coriander didn’t seem to slow. “How do you know where we’re going?” Sorrel suddenly asked, breaking the growing tension of silence.

“H-huh?” Coriander gawked.

“How will you know which way is back? Especially if it gets dark?”

Coriander’s mouth hung open, her lips flapping without the words she was struggling to find. Finally she stopped, blurting with a strained voice, “I know where I’m going!”

“Which means you’ve been here before,” Sorrel said brashly, his words decided before Coriander revealed what he’d already guessed. Verbena walked up to Coriander, aiming a kick for her shins, one she skillfully dodged with a shuffle.

“We’ve always been told we’d get in big trouble for coming here, but you’ve already been here!” Verbena snarled.


Peppermint frowned. “I thought you were good.”

Coriander winced. She threatened a weak smile, but it couldn’t come. Weighing it down was a sinking feeling in her chest, one of shattered expectations in herself, the self appointed big sister of these kids. She’d tried to be something of a role model for them, but she didn’t need to be told it wasn’t sticking. “I’m sorry...” Her head bowed, the clouds above moved a little bit faster as the wind picked up, a few leaves getting carried out into the open.
Hidden 5 mos ago Post by Daxam
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Daxam Majin Boo

Member Seen 15 hrs ago

Luna watched in horror as Marcus fell face first to the ground, her heart feeling as if it had stopped as she watched the mountain of a man crumble. For the first time ever since she left Eclipsis, she had finally found someone that reminded her of home, someone that felt familiar despite having been the first time they officially met. And he had been dealt what had to be a fatal wound and she was powerless to stop it.

She felt memories force themselves to the forefront of her mind and she clutched her head. The sights of corpses, the smell of burning flesh, the sound of screaming, of cannonfire and clanging steel, and even the taste of ash flooded her senses, as fresh as if they were happening in the present rather than fifteen years ago. Even the scar on her back burned as if it were fresh.

She fell to her knees as she started to hyperventilate. ”Stop…stop it, please…No…” she muttered as her eyes filled with tears. Then, just as it became too much, as she started to relive that hellish night all over again, it all went away. Her hands fell away from her head as she forced herself back into the present. Luna slowly lifted her gaze toward Captain Arbor, who still stood near Marcus’ body. She saw the white coat and felt a cold fury erupt in her chest.

”Way of Lunara: New Moon.”

Captain Arbor pulled on his weapon to free it from Marcus’ body, but found that it was seemingly stuck. “Even in death, you’re getting in my way?” he grumbled just before he felt a chill run through his body, like someone had walked over his grave. He quickly lifted his head to find that Luna was no longer where he last saw her. Instead, there was only a cloud of dust. He quickly looked around, turning his head left and right as he spun this way and that.

The veteran Marine had been in so many battles over the years that he had developed a sort of sixth sense for enemies, something that had helped him stay alive in even the most dire battles. Now, he couldn’t sense Luna no matter how hard he tried. It wasn’t as if she had just run away, either. He knew she was still there, if the feeling of dread was anything to go by, but he had no idea where she–

It was like he had been hit with a sledgehammer. Something had slammed into his jaw and made him stagger backwards a few steps. “W-where did that come from?” he muttered just as he felt another blow, this time in his stomach. Just like the first, the second impact was accompanied with a loud thump. He fell to his knees as he clutched his midsection, completely winded, only to be thrown to his back as another solid hit connected with his chin. He laid there in a daze before it finally clicked.

Coughing, he rose to his feet and yelled into the darkness, “B-before the attack…I did my research. I learned as much as I could about…your empire’s defensive capabilities…About your vaunted Legion…about the Way of Lumen…” He straightened up and added, “Everything I found pertained to the Luminos family. I could hardly find anything on the Noxes, only what was already public knowledge! But, there was a book I came across, an old one written by someone that visited your Empire a long time ago…It talked about a secret military your family controlled, one that operated from the shadows. I honestly thought it was just a story, but seeing you fight like this, I know it’s not! The Sicarii!”

He waited for another attack to come, but when none did, he continued, ”Your family commanded a group of saboteurs and assassins, didn’t they? Even the glorious Day-and-Night Empire had a dark underbelly!” As he spoke, he slowly backed up toward a tree. If I can just get in here, I can make my way back to the ship and mobilize the rest of my men! he thought as he backed into something. When he tried using his power, though, it didn’t work and he felt his blood run cold.

He quickly turned around and backed up, though he tripped over his own feet and fell to the ground. Looking up, he saw the dark silhouette of a woman standing in front of him. He couldn’t see any of her features except for her piercing silver eyes, as cold as steel, glaring down at him. ”And your point is…?” Luna said. There was nothing in her voice, no warmth, none of the emotion she had just moments ago. It was cold, steady, and every word felt like a blade poking at the captain’s throat. ”Your precious World Government isn’t any different. Every kingdom, empire, and government in the world needs people willing to do what others won’t.”

She slowly crouched, bringing herself eye level with the captain. ”Don’t get me wrong, Captain,” she continued, practically spitting out the last word, though her voice remained quiet and even. ”I don’t want to do this. When I fight, I want to enjoy it. But, when I fight like this, I can’t let myself enjoy it. It stops being a fight, stops being fun, and becomes...” She leaned forward and whispered into the captain’s ear, ”...an assassination.”

Captain Arbor swung his fist at Luna, but only met thin air. ”I hope you’ve made your peace,” Luna said. The captain spun around, trying to pinpoint where her voice came from, but he quickly found himself in the same situation he had put Luna in not that long ago. It was as if her voice echoed from every shadow around him.

”You’re not leaving here alive.”

Another heavy blow, then another, and another slammed into the Captain. The last moment before each strike hit, he saw a bolt of lightning as Luna cloaked her fists or legs in Electro, numbing wherever they struck while further empowering each attack. He couldn’t see where the strikes were coming from, couldn’t do anything to defend himself against them. He’d tried to guard his face, only to be struck in the stomach, or vice versa. He’d try to pick up a weapon, only to have it kicked out of his hand before he could get a good grip. He’d try to make a run for the trees, only to be tripped. The captain tasted blood and could hear a ringing in his ears, yet every strike was weaker than that first kick. He couldn’t understand it, he was powerless to defend himself, why wouldn’t she hit harder than she had been?

And then he realized: if Luna hit him as hard as she could, it would send him flying and he could use his power to phase into the first tree he came into contact with. It would take more hits, but Luna was purposefully holding back to make sure he couldn’t run away, even by accident! This woman’s going to torture me to death! he thought as fear gripped his heart.

The onslaught continued for a couple of minutes. The captain fell to the ground, groaning, his face swollen to the point of being practically unrecognizable. Luna reappeared in front of the captain and lifted him by his topknot, similar to how one would harvest a carrot. The captain groaned and whimpered, the words almost unintelligible, “P-please…no more…H-have mercy…”

Luna gritted her teeth. This man had killed so many of her people and almost seemed proud of it, yet here he was, asking her for mercy. Luna raised her fist, her eyes flashing with fury as tears brimmed in them. But, she couldn’t bring herself to do it. She had been trained as an assassin, as a Sicarius. She had the ability to take someone’s life, but she just couldn’t bring herself to do it.

She wasn’t going to let herself go down that path.

She dropped her fist and tossed the captain at the base of a nearby tree. ”Leave. Get out of here before I change my mind.” When he didn’t immediately phase into the tree, Luna glared at him and yelled, ”I SAID GO!!”

Only when Captain Arbor flinched and slowly slipped into the tree did Luna relax. She sighed and turned her attention back to Marcus’ body. She began to feel sorrow replace the rage she had been feeling. She should have been faster, should have been stronger, then maybe she could have saved him. Instead, he had to die because of her, just like everyone else who had tried to help her.

She walked over to Marcus and knelt beside him. She placed a hand on his back and quietly said, ”I’m sorry, Marcus…I’m so, so sor–” She stopped when she noticed she could feel Marcus breathing weakly under her hand.
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Hidden 5 mos ago 5 mos ago Post by LostDestiny
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LostDestiny Goldfish Brain

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“Man the cannons boys, we have some government dogs to run down!” A loud voice could be heard from the helm of The Savage Executioner, the flagship of the small fleet known as the Saw-Tooth Pirates. The voice belonged to the pirate crew’s Captain “Riptide” Brutos. In an instant the three ships of the Fleet turned weapons toward the lone Naval vessel. A favorite target of this particular crew. It’s what gained the crew and its captain the current bounty.

Maxwell Anders scrambled to assist the crew of the flag ship prepare. The young male had been a part of this routine more than he cared to admit. Though the moment Brutos’ eyes locked with Max’s he knew damn well he was expected to retreat below deck. He finished tying off a rope end and moved to his normal post when fights broke out. Maxwell was not to participate unless it was to defend his own life. Despite Brutos being a ruthless and cruel man Maxwell was his most prized resource simply because the boy happened to possess a rather useful Devil Fruit ability. At least one that served Brutos well. The Sea bird, whom Max had been using to scout and find prime targets for Brutos flew off deciding it best to avoid the conflict it knew was coming. He got the feeling of sympathy from the bird as the two parted ways.

Within the hour the Pirate fleet and naval vessel had come to blows, cannons being fired and both ships being boarded by the other’s crew. A few of the navy men even made their way below deck of the flagship in order to attempt to dispatch the pirates still firing on the Navy vessel with the intent to sink it. After all captured men didn’t need a vessel to escape with and Brutos wouldn’t be caught dead adding a Navy ship to his fleet.

“Well well well, if it isn’t Riptide’s favorite young tool. I think we can use you as a hostage, get us out of this little predicament, don’t you think?” The older naval officer that managed to make his way to Maxwell’s hiding spot mused as he stalked closer to the boy. Maxwell wasn’t a fighter, he could honestly barely defend himself in a fight, he would not win against a trained Naval officer. Nonetheless he did his best to make sure he was not used in a hostage situation. The fight however, was short. He was quickly overpowered and the Officer pulled the green eyed boy to the deck of the ship.

“Brutos, call off your men and I might let your little pet go.” The man yelled using Maxwell’s smaller body as a shield. All fighting ceased as Brutos stalked toward the officer.

“Ah, any closer and I can’t promise the boy’s safe return.” Brutos stopped, but the fishman didn’t lose the almost terrifying grin that was plastered on his face.

“You think any of my men will let you leave this ship alive?” The laugh that erupted from the Shark man was almost crazed. “Boy you better hope your unusually good luck holds out.” Without warning a gunshot was heard and before anyone could react the crew’s quickdraw put his gun back in his holster. The Naval officer’s grip loosened on Max before his body eventually slumped. The bullet that was fired had sailed past Maxwell’s cheek and into the neck of the man who had been holding him hostage.

“Hm, by the skin of your cheek.” Brutos once again laughed and turned to the few remaining Navy men. “Anyone else wanna try and win this losing fight or do you want to make this easy for everyone and surrender?” The few still willing to fight were quickly subdued, and those still living were promptly chained and placed in the ship’s lower hold. The Saw-Tooth’s small fleet sustained minimal damage.

After arriving back on Pol Stictid

“How the hell did those dumbass Liver Pirates find the rat before you did, boy?” Brutos stalked toward Maxwell like a predator to its prey. He was visibly angry, his sharp toothed mouth which was normally in either a permanent frown or shit eating smirk was turned down in a more intense frown than usual. When he approached the brown haired male he grabbed him by the arm and pulled him up so Maxwell was no longer in his seated position. The fishman released Max just as quickly and glowered at the smaller male.

“I-I was off Island, we all were. I can't get information if the animals can’t get to me..” Maxwell shrank back when telling Brutos, his captain, this. “We just got back, I hadn’t had a chance to communicate with my network yet.” Maxwell seemed to get a little more confident when speaking with Brutos. He sometimes forgot just how valuable he and his abilities were to Brutos. He knew at the very least the shark fishman wouldn’t harm him too badly. After all it was thanks to Maxwell, Brutos has been able to get quite a bit of his wealth. Something the tattooed fishman could not deny.

The guttural growl the Saw-Tooth’s captain let loose almost vibrated Maxwell’s eardrums but he turned from Max unable to deny the smaller male was indeed correct. “You have one job, Rat. Collect information. Seems like you are a liability on the sea and you can’t do your one task from there either.” There was an uncomfortably long pause Brutos not looking at Max. But eventually the Captain spoke again. “You are officially dry docked. You will not be joining us on the sea anymore. You will be expected to double your revenue contribution since we will be losing the ease of locating targets on the sea. I don’t care how you get it, just get me money.” He didn’t give Max a chance to respond. He left the boy to figure out what to do from there.
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Hidden 5 mos ago 3 mos ago Post by Pacifista
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“If it was a threat, then where are the demands?” “The king is hiding that, obviously. Oh, hey, isn’t that right, Prince Alliant?”

An uncharacteristic glare burned from the man’s typical reserved features. “No such thing has happened!” His casual stroll through the town had him passing by numerous folk buzzing about the mysterious fireworks last night, but this was the first time he was brought into the conversation, and through a mad conspiracy no less.

“If it’s not some kind of terrorism, then what happened to the merchant ship? Caught fire for no reason, did it?”


Moving on, Alliant was pushed down another train of thought in his mind where his body was going down its usual route. Stopping by his usual haunt, the restaurant owner had his breakfast ready within minutes: eggs (sunny side up), bacon, and a glass of milk.

A fair distance from the palace, it was well known that Alliant lived away from the rest of his family and servants. He visited multiple times a day, to the point that it would have made more sense to simply live there, but instead Alliant lived in town. His house wasn’t exactly destitute, so it wasn’t a statement regarding living amongst the people, but more of a declaration regarding his lack of interest in the throne. Prince Petre was the next rightful heir, and though Alliant had yet to find a significant other, Petre had fallen in love with his wife some years ago. They already had a daughter, with another child on the way. The succession was secured, and Alliant had no desire to upend that. More concerning was the recent news, all around. Grabbing his wandering mind, he looked down at his breakfast, incidentally arranged into a smiley face after he took the first slice of bacon. There was a man he had to see, one who rarely stopped smiling.
Stooped outside of the Marshwiggle, a fierce debate raged.

“They were pretty, weren’t they? And the loudness is part of the appeal! Booms to make the heart shake!”

“Yeah but Ropho peed on the floor and my mom got mad,” said a five year old boy.

“Oh dang, was that your grandpa?”

“No he was my dog.”

Rico crossed his arms, closing his eyes in thought. “Fireworks do scare animals, that’s right.” Holding a hand up, he said, “Thanks for reminding me. I think there’s a reward in it for you, just behind your ear.” Rico reached over, only for a peppermint wheel to plop to the ground. “Oh shit I dropped it. Oh crap I’m not supposed to swear in front of kids. Oh god dammit. Oh bitch! Oh-hey Puddle Prince man!”

“I’d prefer if you not swear in front of children, yes. Referring to God in vain is also not preferable. And please don’t call me Puddle Prince.”

“But that’s what you are, right?” Rico looked to the five year old, who giggled in concurrence. Taking his candy, he took his leave, Rico standing to meet Alliant face to face. “‘Sup?”

“I also wish to recieve less complaints about you. I know you’re stuck here for a little while longer, but you could stand to calm down. At least a smidge.”

“Hmm? I think it’s been going pretty alright. The people here are kinda weird but it’s cool.”

“You sent children through a fence we have to keep wild boar out of the streets.”

“Oh yeah! I couldn’t fit into the hole myself, so I asked someone to see where it went. I’d have gone myself if I could.”

“Around, perhaps?” Alliant said. Rico paused, a contemplative hand going to his chin as his eyes widened in realization. “You also knocked over Mrs. Agnes’ pie in your roughhousing.”

Rico became sullen. “Yeah. I cried so much I think she felt bad.”

“You also burnt the sails of the ship meant to take you out of town, didn’t you?”

Rico stared. “Oh, huh? I mean, I don’t mind staying, but that sucks for them, they’ve got shipments and stuff, right?”

Alliant flinched. He thought for sure that… Shaking his head, he rectified it. “Apologies for suspecting you. On second thought, it’s not as though you have a reason to stay.” He briefly thought back to when they last met, but now he could confidently dismiss it.

“You’re good Al. Can I call you that?”

“You absolutely may not.” With a long sigh, he said, “Can you stop appearing so suspect, at the very least?”

“I ain’t sus at all. I’m just passing out candy to kids, and starting small fires to watch them burn. The flames are really pretty!”

Alliant’s vision unfocused. How can I feel too old for this? I’m only 24. “Under typical circumstances, I would not prefer to have you sit in the dungeons until you can go, but I will exercise my power to do it if I feel the need. And I do have the right, outlaw.”

Rico’s back straightened. “Y-yessir.” Alliant could finally let out a sigh of relief, waving the young man off as he went to his daily duties. And yet, as he worked throughout the day, he’d check back on the town from wherever he was, worried that every plume of smoke was a mark of a little fire-starter.
Breastplate pigmented gold, short hair of bronze, circlet of silver, mount a brilliant white, even under the evening torchlight, the chiseled features and rugged goatee of Prince Petre shone in the night. Though he was vigilant, even in the droll of the palace barracks, the other knights on duty lounged about.

“You really think it’s gonna happen again, your highness?” asked one of the kingdom’s knights.

“Unlikely. We didn’t find any of weird places for gunpowder to be, except that kid Alliant picked up.”

“I thought they just wanted his candy?”

“Dogs don’t eat candy,” Petre suddenly spoke. “That boy may have been involved, but I agree: there’s no place on the island that such an amount of fireworks could be stored to do it again.”

“Then why the stiff upper lip? Er, your highness.”

The younger knight got a jab in the side. “Being rude doesn’t become excusable if you follow it up with ‘your highness’!”

Petre did answer. “There’s no reward in it for us knights, but my father offering capital for information leading to the capture of the culprit has already led to some of claims, as unsubstantiated as they were. Being ready to move is being ready to act. The lot of you could stand to sharpen your-”

Petre stopped his words as a distant sound struck through the air, one heard the night before. The rocket sliced through the night, once again sounding off, this time in a shower of red and blue. “The lake again!? Everyone, move out!” Petre ordered, the contingent dashing to their horses and streaking across the landscape. Petre had a number of reasons for not planting his men by the lake. In retrospect, a deterrent would have been to their benefit, but frankly, he hadn’t really expected this bizarre happening again. Streets far behind them, the people of the island did not cower this time. Though they were not without fear and anxiety, many took the time to watch the display. A handful of them had heard about these fireworks, a foreign invention, one that sounded absurd and wasteful. Even more had heard a bit about them today from a foreign lad who’d excitably shared their good points, curiosity hard to bury. In particular, he’d been rather adamant about their association with celebrations, particularly ‘festivals’.

Arriving at the lake, Petre’s troupe was well accustomed to the rolling hills of the island. In no time at all they’d made it, before the show reached its crescendo. There, in the middle of the lake, was a lone figure riding a rowboat, launching the fireworks from where he stood. “Halt, in the name of the Puddle Kingdom!” Petre called.

“Ack, it’s the man!” Rico coughed. The show wasn’t quite over, so the young man had the energy to drop down and start rowing off. Petre gave a whistle, his men circling the lake, stopping at equidistant points. By the time Rico got halfway to the coast, the lake was completely surrounded, more knights than usual bunching up near where he’d been headed.

“Don’t let your guard down, he’s a strange one! Wizard work if I ever saw it,” Petre called.

“Doesn’t anybody read? They’re called Devil Fruit!” Rico grumbled, not altering his course. As he approached, a knight called, “It is that foreign boy! The hounds were right after all!”

The knights stood their ground, some with weapons, some ready to try and grab him. “Just come quietly.”

Rico grinned, his boat a few feet away. A couple of knights started forward, their boots hitting the water. “Sorry guys, I don’t really do quiet.” Raising his hand, he flicked his wrist, a bulky firework popping out, a long, thin, wooden stand joined to its end. Cowering Teng!” With a fizz, the rocket took off, Rico grabbing on to the wooden stand. Into the air he soared, sailing over the heads of his would be captors.

“G-get him!” Petre roared, his words snapping his men out of their awe, the lot of them riding after Rico’s fire lit trail.

“You’ll never take me alive! Ahahahahaha!” Rico bragged, cackling like it was no one’s business, the rocket taking him higher and high into the air.


In a burst of white and purple, the firework in his hands exploded, blinding light and sizzling sparks filling the air. Horsed bucked and brayed, riders steeling themselves in their saddles. When the burst settled, spots faded from everyone’s eyes, Rico was nowhere to be seen.

“...Well, we didn’t take him alive,” snarked the younger knight.

“Find him! He has to be somewhere!” Prince Petre called, his men fanning out in their hunt, one that would remain fruitless. With the grace of a dying squirrel, Rico was currently unconscious a short distance away, tangled in tree branches well above hte eyes of the military men, having finally become too much for himself to handle.
Hidden 5 mos ago 4 mos ago Post by pkken
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Valery Shimmamoto

“So who is this guy and what does he look like?” Valery questioned eagerly, his body seemed somewhat restless as he waited in anticipation.

Reitsu turned his back to the young man and walked silently to the center of the room before sitting on the floor. He then raised his hand, gesturing for Valery to follow and sit in front of him. Skeptically, Valery raised an eyebrow at the old man's gesture but followed shortly.

"The individual in question seems to be a part of the Marines and not just anyone but someone of status actually. Apparently, he's gone up the ranks at a rapid pace. Picking a fight with him would be foolish." Reitsu said with a stern glare, warning him not to do something stupid.

Valery folded his arms and scoffed, "Is that supposed to scare me? I couldn't care less if he is some mindless foot soldier, so what if he has a fancy coat and wears a fancy schmancy suit? He's not getting off the hook unscathed."

Reitsu sighed, "I'm not telling you this to scare you, I am warning you not to go out a pick a fight that gets you killed. Everything is already being handled as we speak, we've sent a representative to request the blade back. Even if you somehow manage to pull it off you will forever be an enemy of the World Government, they'll hunt you down like an animal for the rest of your life!" Valery simply rolled his eyes as he stood up on his feet "like the World Government would give a shit. People like us don't mean much to them. Thanks for the warning gramps but I can handle myself just fine." Valery knew this already, his old man wasn’t exactly someone in good standing with the world government. Nonetheless, it didn’t make him feel any better hearing about those yesmen.

"Where do you think you're going? We're still talking here!" Reitsu questioned Valery, "I think I've heard enough, I'm going to bed early" he replied before closing the Shoji doors. He placed his hands over his head in a fit of annoyance as he made his way to his room.

Valery's temporary living space was rather small, with a desk and simple floor bed with a pinstripe sheet being all there is for furniture. Even then that was about all the room could fit inside. The walls were a dark walnut color, visibly worn from wear and tear displaying the age of the establishment. Light from the moon illuminated the living space from a single window. Valery let out a sigh as he laid down on his back with limbs spread apart akin to that of a starfish.

"That old man must have a screw loose or something. Like I get that he is responsible for many people but still, does he not feel any form of anger at all?" Valery tossed onto his side at the thought. "Why the hell did I even come here in the first place? Old man Reitsu is a pain in the ass" Valery groaned some more as he sat up. Despite feeling annoyed with the thought of Reitsu, he knew deep down that since he’s arrived in Oceansong village his skills have improved drastically. So much so that he’s become one of the top students despite being an outsider of sorts. He can’t deny the fact that Reitsu took him in when his home was destroyed.

A stressful sigh permeated the room as Valery stood on his feet. Perhaps taking on the Marines would cause more problems, even if he were to retrieve his father's sword. There would still be a bigger situation at hand, everyone at the Dojo would be in trouble.

“Still…I can’t just stand by. There’s got to be something I can do” Valery clenched and unclenched his fist, looking aimlessly at the callus that lined his palms. He then strolled over to the corner of his room, to find a blade sheathed within a black scabbard. Slowly Valery reached for the sword and stuck it out the small window of his room.

“Sorry old man, but I’m not really in the mood for politics, there’s something that has to be done,” Valery muttered under his breath as he squeezed the rest of his body through the window and tumbled onto the roof. He let out a sigh of relief, thankful that it wasn’t just a drop to the ground. Slowly but surely he scaled down the side of the building, utilizing the most out of the little bit of sunlight left in order to make his way down.

Now all that was left was to make his way to town from here, the dojo was a bit of way away. Valery fastened his sword to his hip as he made his way down the rugged path leading into the village.
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Hidden 5 mos ago Post by Restalaan


Member Seen 29 min ago


Morning shone through the small gaps of a wooden window before it opened, revealing the inhabitant as they greet the sunny day with sun standing at its apex.

Haku, now freshened up as he adjusted his disguise, headed downwards.

Last night showed nothing, it was deadly quiet and not even any signs of night activities.

Disappointing but hardly unexpected, it’ll take more than that to find out signs of crimes.

Still, he had a job to do.

“Good morning! Thanks for hosting me.” Haku said as he greeted the bartender and placed the money for the overnight stay. “Here, and a little extra.”

“Pleasure doing business, you going back?” The Bartender accepted the money with a pleased smile.

“Not yet, I’m off for a while and I wanna see the place for a bit.” Haku nodded as he stepped outside.

“You can take a gander at our beaches, there’s some beautiful sights there!”

“Will do!”

With that, Haku left the area and looked around the village.

Unlike last night, it was bustling and more people were seen as they moved around to make meets end, plying their trade or rarely, just stopping by for a rest before moving on.

The afternoon market of fresh fish and bounty of the sea, usually on full display by proud fisherman, was sparse. Prices was much higher too and even those sold was often chopped to pieces of fillet instead of a whole fish.

Not a great sign for the village, especially if it’s how they make their livelihood. There was some farms here, alongside livestock but those weren’t enough to provide enough for a whole island.

A perfect moment for people to take advantage of such a problem by selling food at a higher price, alongside other necessities.

But still, Haku mused that it left little signs of who would deal with it. Especially now if everyone is hoarding their supplies to be sold slowly.

Looking around the market for a moment and slowly left to the outer ranges, the one thing that didn’t seem in short supply was the coconuts at least. Large mounds of it stacked, as it was served fresh or being processed in other forms.

It was a novel fruit, so much uses and being so tasty. He had never seen a coconut tree and fruit until he left Wano but if he could, he’ll plant them by the dozens at every shore of Wano so people can taste this wondrous thing.

A small part of his mind however, didn’t deny that it was also possible for the people of Wano to outright reject the fruit simply because it wasn’t a local fruit.

Pushing that aside, he wandered around the beaches. Taking a moment to think and explore Gosa Village completely since he had only seen it at night.

Haku looked at the horizon, a quiet moment for himself with nothing in his ears aside from the noises of seagulls, waves, and wind.

A moment flashed as he recalled a lone grave, unmarked and unnamed, all so to protect its sanctity from being defiled due to its association.

Haku halted in their steps as he counted mentally how long has it been.

Too long.

He settled to one last thought before he continued his stride, she’ll certainly love this place.

Walking back to the pier, Haku had already made a round and scouted out a few places that he hadn’t been aware. The beaches was much shallower at the east, and at certain low tides, he could actually walked to another smaller connected island.

One that he had taken a look at, not that he needed the path but it was another thing to note.

Activity had slowed, with the sun now beating harshly down as most people wore hats to continue working or taken to resting under shades.

Moving right along, he’ll soon had to change to another cover or take to hiding. His identity can only last so long and people will grow suspicious soon.

However, he got the gist of the place and information to dig for more. He just need to look for a good disguise and story to-

Wait. He stopped in his steps as he glanced to the side as a new ship was currently berthed to the port. It was unmarked and unremarkable with all the trappings of a merchant ship.

The crew also had a bevy of clothes and hats that covered their faces as they unloaded their cargoes but it wasn’t too unusual as most of the other sailors was doing the same.

No, why he stopped was that he recognized all of them.

They’re marines from the 77th base.

Haku forced himself to quickly moved before he was spotted and disappeared from sight, once he was in a darkened alley, he moved at a much faster speed and double around to get as close as possible.

From there, he observed the disguised marines. With only four large wooden crates unloaded and packed for transportation in a wagon, what he assumed was the captain of the ship quickly shook hands with the transporter and headed back to the ship alongside the crew.

A storm of debate flew in his mind, who to chase after?

That passed quickly as he followed the mission parameters. Find the dealer, they’ll deal with the Marines in due time.

Cadog however was not going to be happy with this. Barely a day and they’re already moving things out? The base captain was a lot bolder than he gave credit for.

Then again, it was the best time. Cadog was no doubt on patrol, and they just resupplied with a few days of relaxation on top of it. There was no better chance.

Was that why Cadog gave that off days as well? Haku wondered as his eyes now saw the transporter leaving on the wagon.

He quickly moved, this time, fully utilizing his stealth as he moved into the crowd like they didn’t even exist. All people saw at most was just a passing glimpse at the corner of their eyes, hardly worth remembering.

As the wagon slowly left the village, this was Haku changed his approach quickly by sticking to the foliages and keeping at a distance.

Hidden as the oblivious wagon continued onwards, Haku listed the places the road leads to, there was the farm, the plantations, and dried fish processing plant.

Yet the wagon seems to go to neither of those places. Almost moving leisurely in fact as it made a whole round across the island before coming back.

That’s when Haku saw at a distance where the wagon was going.

It was the Mayor’s residence, a large mansion that probably doubled as an office or shelter in times of crisis..

Nothing too grand compared to other more extravagant mayors he had seen but it had tall wooden fences to mark its territory.

Haku changed as he put his mask on and tied his hair into a bun, ensuring that if he was spotted, no one would put the two disguises together.

During this time, the transporter stopped and opened it before resuming the journey, urging the horse to go in quickly as already, a few other men was waiting for his arrival.

Haku was wary enough and tried to spot any traps or alarms from the open field, the fence and then to the mansion proper.

Luckily, there didn’t seem to be any nor are there dogs. A quick look at the windows showed no one hidden observing as well. Security like this was way too lax and might he even say, completely negligent.

East Blue was really different, such a thing would never fly in the Grandline and Devil seas, but he supposed it was simply how it is.

With that, he quickly blurred and made his way past the open area, past the fence and then stuck close to the mansion walls, moving silently all the way.

Gather evidence, find any documents, and then get out to report this. Haku quietly thought.
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Hidden 5 mos ago 3 mos ago Post by Pacifista
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Coriander had taken a seat on an old stone bench, the hewed stone smooth with age. Peppermint joined her while Rue, Verbena, and Sorrel stood by, all watching her in wait.

“So, how come you were allowed to come here while we aren’t?” Verbena shot.

Coriander shook her head. “I wasn’t allowed to come here either.”

Sorrel pouted. “That just makes it worse. Why are we even here anyway? We haven’t seen a sign of Cassia at all!”

“Well, I just figured I knew where he was, but I didn’t want you guys to know I’d been here, so I had to make it look natural.”

“You didn’t do a good job,” Rue murmured, tongue sticking out a bit.

“How do you know where he is?” Peppermint wondered.

Coriander was silent for a moment, kicking her feet as she tried to find the words. “I can’t be too mad at you guys, because it was my fault too. I’ve been trying to watch over your guys and with Cassia...I messed up.” Taking a deep breath, she began, “You guys are lucky, because you all have each other. But after me, the next oldest person in the whole town is Caraway, and he’s been spending a lot of time working hard learning how to build ships in the Conch Archipelago, so it’s not like he could babysit me. Even when you guys were born it’s not like we could really play or anything. When I was 5 or 6 like Cassia, it was only adults and babies. I spent a lot of time doing chores and stuff, or reading, but Mother Basil hadn’t showed up yet so I didn’t have church to occupy my time. So I wandered around the island a lot, even Tacet City. When I heard that he wasn’t anywhere back in town, I guessed he might have gone there because that’s where I would go. Then I found out we were all busy when he tried to find us, it became more than a guess.” Finally looking up, Coriander saw that the kids were still a bit confused, the connections Coriander made still not clicking with them. Standing from the bench, she looked at the sky, starting to get a shade darker as the sun behind the clouds slipped away. Putting a hand on Verbena’s head, she said, “Do you think you can get everyone home before it gets dark? We’ve only been on the main roads so, as long as you follow the biggest roads you should make it just fine.”

Verbena’s nostrils flared. “Of course I can! Just watch me.” A domineering hand shot up as he waved the others along, turning back around. Coriander watched them go, Rue and Peppermint both stealing worried glances her way. Once they were just out of sight, Coriander turned her eyes upward, scanning the horizon until she saw a tower piercing the sky, partly crumbled away. Her hasty steps pattered throughout the city of silence.
Face dried with tears turned skyward, Cassia watched the clouds closer than he’d ever been to that sky. He imagined being sucked into that sky, never to return. Where would he go? What would he see? The young boy could never know, but as his face cringed in pain, glancing down to his skinned knee, he knew he didn’t want to be here.

Gray walls crumbling slowly around him, wooden floor mucked with refuse, the top of the tower had long since fallen away. Cassia rubbed his arms as the temperature dropped in the approaching spring night, the short sleeves of his black shirt largely suitable for day, not the night. His breath started to come on harder, a low whine coming out. Then, there was the sound of footsteps on stone. Cassia silenced himself, looking about for anything to hide behind, but it was too late. From the doorway came Coriander, a slight expression of recognition passing by her face once she saw him. Cassia huddled up, shirking away, but Coriander didn’t pause. Entering the room, she went to the wall, sitting down next to Cassia and leaning against it. “S-sorry,” Cassia muttered.

“Was it scary?” Coriander wondered.

Cassia swallowed. “At first…”

A light smile came to Coriander’s face. “But then it stopped, right? When you realized that even the ghosts were long gone. That the rats and crows weren’t going to hurt you. But it’s different from being out in the woods, where there are animals everywhere you look. Here, it’s like you’re the only one in the world. It has all the things we use as people, but none of the people, except you. Right?” Cassia stared, his mouth hanging open for a moment before tears started to form at the edges of his eyes. Raising her hand, Coriander ran it through Cassia’s red hair. “It’s not like you want to be alone, it’s just you feel like...you are alone, no matter how many people are around, sometimes. And when it’s like that, if it’s true, it doesn’t feel as bad.”

Cassia continued to beat back his tears, but he did give a slow nod. “Ready to go home?”

Cassia brought a hand to his skinned knee, where some bruising was forming. Looking to a fallen chair, the leg snapped, he said, “I was trying to look out of the window and…”

Without hesitation, Coriander started to stand, helping Cassia to his good leg. Hoisting him up with a grunt, she was able to help him to the windowsill. Once he was sitting, one leg hanging out into the room, the two looked over the large city, the framework of roads and buildings, even lighting of the overcast day rendering the shadows soft. In the fallout of a destruction long since passed, there was only peace and quiet. Coriander met Cassia’s eyes and grinned. “It’s not scary when you look at it all from up here, huh?” Coriander mused. Leaning over a bit, she added, “It’s like the whole world is sleeping. Maybe we should call it ‘Lullaby City’ instead?”

Cassia glanced over. “How do come up with embarrassing things to say like that?”

Coriander gawked. Cassia hadn’t strung that many words together that quickly in at least a week. “Why do you guys gotta bully me all the time!?” she moaned. Once the air left her body from her long groan, her blue eyes met Cassia’s red, and the two cracked smiles, joining together in a fit of giggles.
Hands held onto Cassia’s thighs, the boy holding on to her back, Coriander frowned as she saw the lantern-light ahead of her on the dirt road back to Melody. “Oh boy, here we go...”

Sure enough, once she was in earshot, she was met with the greatest wielder of the weapon she’d brandished earlier today. “CATHERINE CORIANDER YOU BETTER HAVE A GOOD EXPLANATION FOR THIS!” Cori could feel Cassia’s grip tighten on her back as he flinched away from Marjoram’s howl, but Cori stood her ground. The parents moved in, Dill relieving Coriander of Cassia’s weight. In the transfer process, Cassia’s knee brushed against his dad’s arm, the boy letting out a gasp of pain. “You’re hurt? What happened!?” Dill blurted, his words carrying an accusatory tone.

Coriander growled, “This is why I didn’t want to tell you guys anything! You guys suck at this!” Marjoram’s stunned glare was visible even in the low light, her eyes boring holes through Coriander.

“Well, she inherited her mother’s mouth,” said a lanky man in a white button up shirt and slacks [C-Semy; Archaeologist, Sorrel’s father]. Dodging a jab from Marjoram, he realigned his indigo bangs saying, “I’ve made it quite clear that it’s not safe to wander around Tacet. The city deteriorates more every day. We don’t want to do more damage to it.”

“Oh, you didn’t hear about what Cori said it was okay to do to the big gate into the city,” Marjoram hissed. “Peppermint said you were taking full responsibility, so out with it!”

Coriander stamped her foot. “I know you guys are mad but this is why the kids don’t want to tell anyone when something’s wrong!” Cori burst out. “They wouldn’t even tell me that Cassia was missing until I twisted it out of them. If they’re always afraid of being in trouble they’re just going to hide what they do instead of owning up to their mistakes and learning from them!”

The parents were struck silent from Coriander’s words. A portly man with a stiff mustache rubbed his balding head, “I must admit, Verbena and Rue have only grown more anti-authority lately…” [Borage; Butcher, Verbena’s dad]

“They’re not going to feel like they’ve made a mistake unless we say something!” Marjoram insisted.

“Not if you don’t know they’re doing wrong. I’ve been wandering around Tacet since I was little. I knew what I was doing!”

“Then explain the busted gate,” Marjoram countered.

“I’m going to go get my kid to Mrs. Poppy, actually,” Dill interrupted, excusing himself and Cassia.

Buckling under the chaos of words flying every which way, Coriander cried, “I didn’t want the kids to find out about me knowing about Tacet, and I didn’t want them to find out about the tunnels, so I wanted Peppermint to open the hole in the gate a bit more. I didn’t think the whole thing would come down.”

“Th-the whole thing? Wait, tunnels? Do tell,” C-Semy asked, leaning in.

“You almost got crushed! Peppermint got a nasty bruise from hitting the ground after that, and if that girl gets hurt, that means it was real danger. You all could have been killed from the sounds of it!”

Corinader’s fists clenched, but even if she was only being indignant, it was out of rejection that she was wrong, her anger only bubbling because she knew her mother was right, even as she refused to admit it, even to herself.“I never got hurt when I went there before and I went there a bunch of times! Cassia only got hurt because a chair broke, that could have happened even back in Melody.”

“Huh? Those sound like weak excuses to me. What about Rue, huh?”

“I was watching her! I said I was taking responsibility!” A smack rang out, Marjoram’s hand moving before her mouth. Coriander didn’t cry out, as much as it hurt both inside and out, instead reaffirming her gaze.

“Do you think you could have shouldered that burden if one of them had died?” Coriander winced at Marjoram’s words, eyes glancing away.

Coriander bit her lip, eyes blinking rapidly as she fought back any tears. “I-it doesn’t matter if I can or can’t. I said I would, so I will.”

Marjoram’s hands massaged the side of her temples. “That’s not your responsibility to take! You should have just let us handle this from the start!”

“No,” Coriander refuted. “I shouldn’t have brought the kids into it, but I don’t think anything else I did was wrong!”

“That’s easy for you to say now! I can’t believe you don’t even think you’re in the wrong here! Did I raise you wrong? Was-”

“YOU’RE IN THE WRONG!” Coriander screeched, her throat tearing in her raised voice.

Marjoram stared, struck by a side of her daughter she’d never seen before. C-Semy and Borage were dead silent, knowing full well not to get on Marjoram’s bad side. Back straightening, Marjoram held her ground, following up those stretched seconds of silence with a simple question. “And how am I in the wrong?”

Coriander stared, catching her breath, before she huffed, “It doesn’t matter.”

Marjoram’s anger flared again. “How am I supposed to understand if you won’t tell me then?”

“Even if I tell you it’s not like you’ll listen anyway!” Foot stomping on the dirt, Coriander’s face became tight. “When have you ever listened to me!? I know I’m still just a kid! I’ll always be way younger than everyone else on the island except the other kids! But to them I’m no different than an adult! I don’t know what I’m supposed to do! I don’t know what I’m supposed to be!” Her voice cracked under her words, which grew wet as tears flowed. Even as she stood here in the middle of the island, in some ways, her heart was back in Tacet City, where she’d never had anyone to reach out to her like she’d done for Cassia. Where she’d suffered alone in silence for so long, lost in soul more than body. “I can’t help you understand if you don’t ask!”

A rare distraught expression flashed over Marjoram’s face as her daughter wept. Coriander sobbed openly, hands still clutched into fists at her side. Marjoram had never been good at asking, always telling. Everyone else had always been soft on Coriander, so Marjoram felt like it had been her duty to be firm. Tough, but fair. And yet now, as she watched her daughter pushed to her wits end, she wasn’t sure who it was being unfair.

Raising a hand, Borage left a lantern on the ground. “I think we’ll leave you two be.” The two men took their leave, the two ladies alone in the dark of night, moonlight illuminating a patch of thin cloud.

It took some time before Marjoram finally found the words. “Why...would you go to Tacet City alone?”

Coriander’s sobs started to slow. Raising her sleeves, she wiped at her face, shoulders still shaking with every strained breath. “B-because there was no one there,” she sniffled.

Marjoram shook her head lightly, mystified. “Did you like being alone?” Coriander shook her head. Marjoram only felt further from the truth. “So why did you have to be alone?”

Coriander shook her head, “I didn’t kn-know what else to do when no one else could be b-bothered.”

Marjoram’s mouth opened, but she couldn’t say what she wanted. She’d always said she’d be there for her if she needed it, but as her own hand stung, she couldn’t exactly repeat that in good faith. Coriander had always been such a bright and cheery girl that this girl...no, this young woman in front of her was almost unrecognizable. The shadow from the lantern stretched back far into the night, as though it might return to Tacet City, Marjoram wondering how many tears of Coriander’s had dried there. Clearly it was at once too many, and not enough. Marjoram had questioned the burden Coriander took onto herself, but she hadn’t considered the burden she bore alone, with not one peer or friend to share it with.

“I’m sorry,” Marjoram replied. “I said something I shouldn’t have. I didn’t raise you wrong at all. I raised a wonderful young lady, who stood her ground for what she believed in even against me.” Coriander blinked, processing her mother’s words. “I think I understand now. I can’t really blame you that much when it was my fault in the first place for not noticing. And if you really think you’re ready for the responsibility you want, then I’ll let you have it. But just because you got lucky this time-” Marjoram began, stopping herself, much to Coriander’s surprise. Letting out a sigh, she said, “At least try to think a little more next time.”

Sniffling away the last of her tears, Coriander nodded in compliance. “Are you hungry?”

“Y-yeah,” Coriander mumbled. Taking her arm around her daughter’s shoulder, her other lifting the lantern, the two started back towards Melody, just as moonlight started to shine from above, the clouds clearing up, if only just a little.
Hidden 5 mos ago Post by LostDestiny
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LostDestiny Goldfish Brain

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After another week and a half on the sea Annabelle and the crew she had been traveling with finally arrived at Sunstrider. She said her goodbyes to her unexpected friends and headed off into the streets of the rather impressive Kingdom. She honestly wasn’t sure that was the correct term for it. From what she had been told it had some rather interesting politics involved with it. Including but not limited to brawls in the streets and even gangsters in council positions. This place was for sure going to make her brain hurt. Who knew what were rumors and what was actual fact. Either way she needed to find herself a prime spot to stay. Somewhere she could easily reach all areas.

If her information was correct Helio city would be a decent spot for her to get jobs but she wasn’t sure she would be able to stay there. She heard of another spot that was filled with tourists and tourist activities. She could likely blend in there pretty easily but would she be able to get herself some jobs? She highly doubted anybody worth her time would hang out in the tourist areas, but she would keep it in mind in case she needed to lay low.

Solstone didn’t exactly seem like the best place. From what she had heard it had its own issues so she honestly didn’t even consider it when thinking of places to stay. Still, she might take the time to at least check it out later on. After all, she had never been here before might as well see it all before she maybe goes around removing people from power.

Of all the places to stay, the area known as Zenith seemed like the best option. It seemed to lack the same structures the other areas did so maybe, just maybe, it would attract the type of people she would like to do business with. If nothing else she might be able to try her luck with a bit of gambling. Walking through the streets she was careful to keep Jazz hidden under her jacket. She didn’t exactly want anyone to see the very distinct piebald colored bird just yet. Not until she was somewhat settled.

Some Time Later

Annabelle sighed. It had taken her a bit to find a place to stay. It seemed the pirates she had come in with had chosen the most hidden away spot to dock they could which caused her to have quite a walk. Eventually however she found herself a decent hotel in Zenith, went up to her room and managed to get in about an hour’s worth of relaxation before she decided she should at least send out her bird to potentially draw some attention. So as of now she was seated in a nearby bar getting some drinks while Jazz flew a couple rounds in the area before perching himself on the roof of the establishment. A routine the bird was very much used to at this point and one it had taken Annabelle months to train the bird to do. At least it had paid off in the end.

The gun for hire didn’t expect anyone to come in looking for her, at least not yet but still, the familiar six eyed mask rested on her hip, where most people wouldn’t notice it, but those looking for it would be able to find it. She found herself deep in thought, only being pulled out when she heard some rumors about some other assassin that was supposedly headed to the kingdom. The voices were hushed and Annabelle had to strain to hear them. Seemed they knew they shouldn’t be talking about it, and yet they were. She only managed to catch the name, Hexxer. She wrinkled her nose, she had heard that name before, though the two assassins had never crossed paths before. It was after all a rather big Blue.

Shaking her head Annabelle spun her glass thinking. There was no way the rumors these half drunken people were talking about were true. After all no proper hired gun would touch anywhere that was expecting their arrival with a 1000 foot pole. Unless that was the point…Annabelle groaned, she managed to make her own head hurt trying to wrap her thoughts around that. With a sigh she had resigned herself to not think about it too much and instead people watch from her lone booth in the corner.
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Hidden 5 mos ago Post by Daxam
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Daxam Majin Boo

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“Has anyone heard from the captain?”

“No, not yet. He’s probably still out there, trying to find those bandits.”

The rest of Captain Arbor’s men, those who didn’t have to stay behind with the ship, milled around the edge of town, where the buildings gave way to the forest beyond. They had been ordered to keep watch along the edge of town in case any of the bandits they were looking for tried to slip past. What they didn’t expect to see, however, was their captain’s battered body falling from the trunk of a nearby tree. They hurried over and gathered around their beaten leader, shocked to see him hurt worse than they had ever seen.

“Captain, what happened?!” one of them asked as he and another each took an arm over their shoulders and helped the man to his feet.

Arbor groaned and opened the one eye that wasn’t swollen shut. He gritted what teeth he had left and muttered, “Take me to the ship…Need to make…a report…The rest of you, there’s a woman…in the woods…”

His face ached as it scrunched up in fury. “Don’t…let her leave alive…”

“Ain’t…dead, yet…” Marcus rasped, his voice weak as he rolled over onto his back, a monumental task given his current state. He placed his hand on the wound on his chest and felt his blood still leaking, albeit at a slower pace as a result of his weakening heartbeat.

Luna couldn’t help but let out a relieved sigh. Of course this bear wouldn’t die so easily, she thought as she quickly wiped the tears from her eyes before placing her hands over his, doing her best to apply pressure to the bleeding wound. ”Thank Lunara, I thought I lost you,” she said. ”I-I’ll figure something out, just don’t move too much. I’ll get you back to the others, so save your–”

“Princess,” Marcus wheezed. He looked up at her, just barely able to see her silver eyes with his failing vision. “You…need to get out of here…That captain…his men are bound to show up soon…Y-you can’t afford to worry…about a wounded soldier…”

”Shut up!” Luna suddenly snapped as her eyes scanned the clearing for anything she could use to bind his wounds. ”I’m not losing anyone else! Not when I can actually do something, now!”

A glimpse of white among the shadows suddenly caught her eye. Captain Arbor’s coat! It must have fallen off of him while he was trying to fend Luna off. ”You’re not gonna die. If you’re still gonna call me your princess, then you have to follow that order,” she said as she jumped to her feet and retrieved the coat. She helped Marcus sit up and quickly wrapped the coat around his chest as tightly as she could. She knew it wouldn’t help any internal bleeding, but she hoped it was enough to keep him alive until they got to the ship.

She draped one of Marcus’ arms over her shoulders and stood, gritting her teeth as the cut in her side suddenly reminded her that it was there. She could feel warmth spread across her side as her wound reopened. “Luna…Don’t let yourself die because of me…” Marcus weakly growled.

She pushed the pain out of her mind and began to walk through the forest, dragging the larger man’s feet as she forced a grin on her face. ”Thought I told you to shut up,” she said. ”Neither of us are dying here, not if I can help it! Now, where are we going?”

Marcus was quiet for a moment, too long for Luna’s liking, before he finally managed to say, “North…west. There’s a cove…we have a ship moored there…”

”Alright, big guy, stay awake. We’ll cut right through the trees and be there before you know it!”

It took way too long for Luna’s liking to get through the forest. While the cover of the trees helped hide her and Marcus, the Marines were never too far away, occasionally coming across a drop of blood or a trampled piece of underbrush. If it weren’t for Luna’s New Moon technique minimizing their presence, she and Marcus would have been found before they got more than a hundred feet from the battle site.

As they moved through the woods, Luna had to pat Marcus’ cheek or nudge him more than once to wake him up. She could tell he was fading fast and all that kept him from losing consciousness permanently was the order she gave him. Guy’s definitely loyal. The Legion was lucky to have him, she thought as they slipped behind a tree to avoid a patrol jogging past.

By the time the cove came into view, the sun had started to rise. The sky was a dull gray and the early hour bathed everything in a watery light. Mist had started to rise around them, something Luna was thankful for, as it further hid her and Marcus from their pursuers. ”Marcus, look, there’s the ship!” she said as they left the treeline. He was quiet.

The ship, moored on a small makeshift pier, was a sloop, a single-masted ship with a headsail in front of and a mainsail aft of the mast. All in all, it was a simple ship, seemingly one ‘borrowed’ from some poor merchant sometime in the past. Luna carried Marcus across the sandy beach, doing her best to keep her footing despite the pain in her side and her friend’s limp body weighing her down. She heard a shout from the ship and watched as people began to run down the gangplank toward her and Marcus. ”Hurry, get a doctor!” she shouted. ”Marcus is hurt!” To her wounded friend, she added, ”Don’t worry, you’ll be fixed up and on your feet in no–”

She lost her footing and fell to the ground with a grunt as one of the crew, a middle-aged man in Legionnaire armor, broke away from the group and sprinted over. He and Luna rolled Marcus onto his back and Luna found herself surprised she hadn’t heard so much as a grunt from the older man when they fell. The Legionnaire, the doctor of the crew, crouched down and placed his fingers to the side of the prefect’s neck to check his pulse. He was quiet for several long moments and looked back toward the forest as the sounds of shouting started to grow louder. “Get them on board,” the doctor quietly told a couple of the gathered crewmates as he rose to his feet.

Luna stood and winced as pain flared in her side. ”You can help him, right? He’ll be okay?”

Later, when she thought back, she wouldn't be able to tell if it was the news, the sleepless night, dehydration, hunger, blood loss, or some combination that made her pass out. All she could remember was the look on the doctor's face as he looked at her, that expression that made her blood run cold, that made her heart drop to her stomach, before her world turned black and a single thought ran through her mind.

Marcus was gone.

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