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And then John was a zombie.
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I'M DIRTY DAN!
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Gentlemen... BEHOLD!!
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"ARE YOU READY, KIDS!!" "No." "TOO F*CKING BAD! ADVENTURE!!"
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@Stern Algorithm@Noodles



"Black Wolf" Coyote





Coyote carefully caught the tiny Den Den Mushi as it was tossed to him, careful not to shake the poor thing up too much. He almost returned the "gift," but decided that, if he was going to be traveling with these folks for the foreseeable future, having one of these babies would ultimately be more convenient than detrimental. Besides which he was being paranoid- it's not like the good ol' WG could track him with one of these little guys, right? ...Right?

...

...Again, overthinking.

He grinned up at Hallelujah, giving a mock-but-still-mostly-respectful salute.

"As you say, Commander," he said cheerfully, before headed to the gangplank to board the rickety little ship. He could have easily Tanz'd up onto the deck, but he had the feeling that would be a bad idea. You never could tell who was watching, and what they might say. And the last thing he wanted to do was draw a bounty hunter crew- or worse, Marine headhunters- onto the tail of his new friends. So, casually, and very much with no superpowered shenanigans whatsoever, he took a place on the railing next to Hallelujah, following her eyes out to the distance, and seeing...

...Oh. Dear. That is a lot of smoke.

"Er..."
He shuffled uncomfortably. "Forgive any impertinence, but you don't suppose that smoke is your crew's doing, do you? Should we go check that out?"
Curious...
Hanakotoba Sayuri
Raijin





Sayuri was struggling to breathe, compressed, trapped, unable to get desperately-needed air into her lungs. She squirmed uncomfortably, trying to escape her fate, but it was no use.

Her mother's hugs were legendary, especially when she was worried like this.

She squirmed again.

"Mom... Mom, it's gonna be... okay... just... stop... can't... breathe...!"

Her father came around the corner, thankfully, car keys jingling as he did so. He smirked at the tableau in front of him, earning a glare from his daughter.

"Not that this isn't charming and all, but we should probably get going if we want to get the squirt to school--"

"Sh." Ami shushed her husband quickly, her hug almost seeming to get tighter, if that were possible. "Let me enjoy this- it's the last time I'll be able to in a while."

"She's going to a dorm across town, not to prison, or overseas. We can visit." His tone softened as he laid a hand on his wife's shoulder. "She'll be okay. We'll be okay. The school made certain of that. She'll be safe."

For a few long, agonizing seconds, it seemed as though her husband's words hadn't gotten through to her, as the crushing hug continued to crush. Thankfully, the arms around Sayuri's tiny torso finally loosened, the woman's hands coming to her daughter's shoulder, looking her in the eyes with a tearful gaze.

"N-now... now you call us, okay? Every week. Every day, if you can. If something... if you need anything, or if you have any problems, or even if you want us to bring those candies you like so much, just... anything you need, we'll drop everything and--"

"Mom." Sayuri's voice was stern, yet gentle, as she cut off her mother's tirade, before leaning in and wrapping her arms around the woman's neck. A thank you for being there for her for so long. For becoming the family she'd needed, seven years ago.

"...I'll be fine, okay? I'll call you guys every day after class. I love you guys, okay? I do."

Her mother shook slightly as she suppressed a sob, giving one last squeeze before pulling back. "Okay... okay," she sniffled.

Sayuri straightened her new uniform out, before securely fastening her goggles over her eyes, and draping her favorite jacket over her shoulders. She gave a watery smile, thankful that the goggles hid her own tears. "H-how do I look?"

Her father smiled widely. "You look... ready."


Oh, gods, I'm so not ready.

Sayuri and Ren were parked across the street from the towering edifice of UA, observing the screaming, chanting mob outside the school's entrance, waving poorly-written signs like they were so clever or something. Sayuri's clenched fists shook slightly, only slightly from fear. The rest was pure rage.

Should have expected the brain trusts to show up in force today. Gotta scare us "freaks" into compliance, right? Ugh. She grit her teeth, trying to force down her anger... and the rosy sparks that had started to flicker around her tightly-grasped fingers. Her father glanced down at the burgeoning light show, clearing his throat.

"...You don't have to do this, Sparks. You don't have to go out there. We can wait a year, maybe, wait for things to cool down before--"

"Dad. No offense, but that's stupid. I got in, the school's right there. I'm not gonna let some zombie crowd stop me from doing what I want to do. What I'm... meant to do."

Ren chewed that thought for a while. "I mean... still..."

Sayuri turned to her foster father. "If I chicken out now... what happens? What does that say about me? About you? What am I doing to make sure people like us get a fair shake?" She turned back to the school. "I have to do this. Not just for me. Or even for you. But for all of us. Y'know?"

Another long pause, before Ren sighed, brushing a hand through his sea-green hair. "In that case... I have a rule."

Sayuri raised an eyebrow, turning toward her father again. "...What kind of rule?"

"...No extracurriculars while you're at school."

Sayuri paled. "But Dad--!"

"No buts! You wanna prove to those people out there that you're a Hero? That they don't have to fear you? Then you have to play by the rules- you can't just go beating up thugs in an alleyway anymore."

Sayuri's look was flat and unamused. "Nice black coat you've got there, Mr. Pot."

"Young lady..." Ren intoned, warning. "If for nothing else... if not for them, then do it for me. I can't watch your back while you're here. If you do something..."

"...Stupid?"

"Ill-advised, while you're here... if you make a mistake... then you'd be on your own. I... I don't want you to get hurt. So... you've gotta promise me. Stay in school. Learn from real teachers. They'll take you much farther than I ever could."

Sayuri stared at Ren for a long few seconds, emotions warring behind her eyes.

"Promise me, Sparks. Please."

Another long pause. And then...

"...Okay. For you. Not for them. I'll stay safe, okay?"

Ren sighed in relief, nodding. "Thanks, kid. You know, you're all right. Think I'll keep you," he said, jokingly. Sayuri snorted.

"'Bout seven years too late to be having second thoughts, Dad."

"Ahh, get outta here. Go learn how to save kittens from trees or whatever. But... seriously. Good luck, kiddo."

Sayuri smiled. "Thanks, Dad. I think I'll need it." And with that, she finally made her way out of the car- carefully, so as to not spook the idiots- and made her way toward the side entrance she'd been informed of previously. She walked up to the astronaut, the suit, and the delinquent-looking motherfucker, fishing her student ID out of a pocket and holding it up for the teachers to scrutinize. She squared her shoulders, eager to begin.

She looked ready.

She was ready.

...You know what this Kaiju roster needs?

Lightning.
@Stern Algorithm @Noodles



"Black Wolf" Coyote





Coyote was shocked out of his semi-daydreaming state by a voice calling to him from one of the ships he'd been standing near. He glanced at the ramshackle little thing, eyeing it up and down critically. He wasn't anticipating a battleship, really, but still, it was... sub-optimal. Still, it looked better than some of the things he'd gotten over the Red Line with. And at least this lady was nice enough to greet him first. And that Jolly Roger meant he wouldn't have to worry about them trying to turn him in, assuming they recognized him.

Plus- and this was only a small part of it- they had a doggy. A nice big doggy, actually. Huge. Just sitting there on the railing, comfortable as you please.

Adorable.

He filed that thought away for now, raising a hand to the woman on the deck of the ship.

"Hoy, he called up cheerfully, "much obliged, but perhaps I can start negotiations with you first? My name is Kurt, and I'm looking for passage to the Grand Line. If you're not planning on crossing over yourselves, then just a jaunt to Loguetown would be good enough. I'd be willing to compensate you and your crew fairly for your generosity."
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