Onboard the Nathanial Creed
Despite the morning sun that now ascended, the room where it
was chained always remained dark when nobody was present. Nobody wanted to stay inside with that thing
, even if it was chained deep in the bowels of the their mighty galleon. It was one of Blackwell’s secret weapons, a weapon he had entrusted to one of his oldest captains: “Whip Fang” Barca.
Barca was the only member of the crew that didn’t fear the monster known as Mushuro Takeuchi, and it showed in the way the stairs creaked in his ponderous, heavy footsteps. Standing nearly eight feet in height, his physique was stout yet muscular. A simple lantern light dangled from one hand as his feet settled onto the moist hull that separated them from the water by just an inch of wood.
Striding forward towards the stern of the ship, he stopped roughly a foot away from the beast that had ravaged the small town on the coast of Batatoi Island only a couple of days prior. Shoving the light forward slightly so that it would shine in its eyes, he smiled a crooked grin at the chained up swordsman.
“I know you’re awake, Mushuro,” Barca mocked him. “Wiping out that town shouldn’t have exhausted you that much!”
After all, there would always be some fool King that refused to pay his “taxes” and needed a reminder of who ruled West Blue.
Mushuro tried to make a big show of shooting his own predatory grin back at Barca from out of the dark even as the lantern blinded him, trying to focus in on the captain’s voice.“Y’know, you’re right Barca I’m not that tired. In fact the second I get loose, I’m gonna do the same thing to your ship and crew that I did to that town back there, and every other town you tossed me into, only a thousand times worse. But I tell ya what! I won’t kill you, no way! I’ll save you for last and throw you to a Sea King!”
Mushuro did his best to jerk out of his chains and break free, but his body felt incredibly heavy and impossibly tired, and he was barely able to make them rattle against the anchor he was strapped against.
A rumbling laugh rose from the towering pirate’s throat at this, his head rearing back. “Brahahaha! You may have everyone else here scared shitless, boy, but not me. I know how to control you, and so I suggest you become comfortable with the idea of being Blackwell’s pawn for the rest of your life.”
Mushuro was almost snarling as the big pirate taunted him, straining at his chains at first “You’d better be REAL confident about how tight you’re holding my leash old man because if you slip up even for a second I’ll...I’ll…”
Mushuro’s head sagged and his chains went slack. “What is it you even came down here to do, Captain”
he spat the title like it tasted poisonous in his mouth “Just taunt me for fun, or what?”
Barca lowered the light slightly at his question, glancing over his shoulder for a brief moment, though the light made it impossible to see what he was looking at. “We’re going to be paying a visit to another island, soon. The Queen of Cheribo Island has announced that she will no longer be paying her protection fee.”
“You get it, right?” Barca quirked a brow, his lips stretching even further into a full on smile. “This is way worse than usual. Most just quietly stop paying. This is a direct challenge to Blackwell, and his spies say she’s amassed her army in preparation to meet us when we come.”“I won’t do it.”
The answer was pretty immediate, though Mushuro dropped his head down to stare at the floor. “Just take the anchor up on deck and throw me overboard already. I said I’m done.”
He didn’t expect it to do any good, but it was the answer he’d given the past few times now, before they sent him out.
Barca scoffed at his refusal, finding it entirely pointless in the end. He knew there was nothing he could do about his situation by this point, surely. “Look, boy, we’re going to take you there like we always do, and you’re going to go wild on them. It’s out of your hands. But this time’s also a bit different.”
“You won’t just be facing underprepared townsfolk here, but the entire Royal Army of Cheribo Kingdom,” he explained, spreading his arms as if to illustrate the expanded scope of the coming operation. “There’s a chance you might run out of ‘steam’ before you can work your way through all of them, so I’m asking you to consider what’s best for your future.”
Once more shining the light in his eyes, Barca elaborated. “When the effect wears off, you’ll have already cut your way through a good number of them. If you just sit there, they’ll kill you. But if you instead keep fighting for us, then maybe Blackwell might consider making you more than just the mere tool you are now.”“Heh. It all makes sense now, I can see it all so clearly...”
Mushuro mustered what little strength he had left to spit in Barca’s face even though he was blinded by the lamp, using the position of the light and the big man’s voice as a guide. “I see that you’re an evil old bastard, and that I’ll be better off dead.”
Barca groaned in frustration at the response, reaching a hand up to wipe away the spit. Shaking his head at the swordsman, he turned away and began to walk back towards the stairs. “Consider it, boy. If nothing else, you’re a useful murderer! Brahaha!”
And Blackwell always needed more of those...