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Keys clattering to the ground as they were dropped, Rico’s red eyes flashed as he charged right for Ensign Torrent. “Just because you’re a kid doesn’t mean we’re gonna keep going easy on you!” Sticking two fingers in the corners of his mouth, he let out a shrill whistle that echoed down the halls of the boat. Within moments, voices and boots against wood could be heard throughout the ship.

“Call for help all you want, I’ll take you all on!” Rico called, reaching out his hand, red fur trim rustling in the air. A fist flung out, only to stop in midair, Torrent flinching. Rico stuck the fingers out, the tips catching alight in flames of green and red. Panicked Fuzanglong! In a burst of smoke and light, five rockets fired off, whizzing about in scatter shot directions, bounding off of the planks of the deck and leaving singe marks and smoke trails in their wake, the senses quickly overloading in the cramped quarters. Torrent took a step back, disoriented, while Rico shot his other fist out, catching the taller man in the face, blood spurting from his nose as he fell to the ground.

As the fireworks fizzled out, Andou waved away the smoke as he approached, coughing, “Why the heck didn’t you just punch him in the first place?”

Readjusting his black coat, Rico insisted, “It worked, didn’t it?” Andou just shook his head. Storming off, the two worked their way through the halls, path rather aimless.

“If we could grab my stuff, that’d help,” Andou suggested, taking over the course. One turn later, they ran face first into a squad of Marines, cutlasses brandished. “Well shit.”

Rico laughed, “Man, you weren’t kidding about your luck, old man!” Before Andou could retort, he felt a pressure on the back of his neck, Rico vaulting over him driving his knee into the lead Marine, knocking him into the wall. Bringing his foot down, as it fell, a number of firework rockets launched from the heel of his dark boot. Raging Hong! Whistling through the air, the fireworks exploded with a bang, cracking wood and blasting Marine soldiers in all directions, light in blues and yellows filling the air with the smokey residue. As the air cleared, so did the path.

Andou let out a low whistle. “You may be the second dumbest human being I’ve ever met, but you sure can throw down. Try not to torch the boat, fighting fires on the sea is a bitch.”

“Well now I gotta know who the dumbest human you’ve ever met is. And the dumbest non-human for that matter.”

At Andou’s guide, the pair found the Marine’s storage area, a number of cubbies and shelves arranged for the personal effects of prisoners, kept temporarily to be returned, or snatched up by soldiers and passed off as misplaced. Andou started sifting through while Rico stood by, leaning his hand against one of the shelves, only for it to snap under his weight, sending the young man stumbling, where he bashed his head against the wall. Andou glanced back, “You good?”

Getting up, Rico rubbed his head, noticing that the spot he’d grabbed was already cracked, the other shelves being completely fine. “I think your bad luck is starting to rub off on me man.”

Andou shrugged. “Just how it is. Get used to it. A ha!” Pilfering one of the cubbies, he pulled out a pack of cigarettes, sticking a metal piece over his right index finger, wrapping a leather strap around his wrist to keep it in place, the nail of the finger guard sharp and ridged like a screw.

“Ready to go?” Andou turned about at Rico’s question, knees buckled, eyes narrowed. Rico barely had time to react as Andou blitzed right at him faster than he could perceive. The sharp implement went right through Rico’s body, the sizzle of ignition following Andou’s strike. There was an intake of breath from behind Rico, the boy turning his head to see Andou’s finger lodged in the chest of a Marine solider with a rifle, the firearm clattering to the ground as the man did once Andou twisted his wrist to pull his weapon out.

Arm free, Andou brushed at his singed sleeve, bits of smoke wafting off. “Man, you’re fast. Also could you warn a guy?”

“Eh, didn’t feel like it,” Andou said, pulling away. Slipping out a cigarette, he propped it into his mouth. “Got a light?” There was a whistle as the small red flame of a rocket whizzed by, Andou’s face marred by a trail of soot, the end of the cigarette glowing orange. Taking in a puff, he met Rico’s gaze, pride evident in the lad's cocksure smile. “Thanks pal.”

Door to the deck slamming open, Rico and Andou spilled out into the open. “Dang it’s bright out here! How can we find a rowboat if we can’t even see? Oh wait, it’s getting better.”

“Took your time, didn’t you?” came the voice of Commander Lindsay, stiff mustache still bristling like it had something to prove.

“Hmm? Yeah, we kept getting lost, I guess. Oh and we ran into some of your guys but that didn’t slow us down too much.”

Lindsay’s brow lowered into a glare, the man dropping from the forecastle deck, facing off with Rico and Andou on the main, casting his justice coat aside. “Sorry for going easy on you. This time my discipline isn’t going to be so casual. You’re not just a shitty brat, you’re a menace, and it’s about time you learned the difference between right and wrong on these oceans.”

“Oh, don’t you worry, I know plenty of right and wrong, I just don’t mind being wrong.” Rico put one leg out, his neon green slacks catching the sunlight, the boy ready to rush forwards.


There was a light flash of white. The two older men had their eyes drawn to Rico’s shoulder. Rico spotted a small white bit of sludge on his coat, partly streaked over the raised collar, smearing the black and green skull shaped decal. The cry of seagulls above was like a mocking howl of laughter. Jabbing his finger at the offending mess, Rico cried, “You see, that is wrong.”

Andou started to chuckle. “Hey Commander, you might wanna grab that bird and give it a medal. It just shat on the man who’s going to become future King of the Pirates, apparently.” Jaw agape, Rico’s eyes bore into Andou.

“God dammit, that was so good I can’t even be mad.”
@Hillan I’ll turn down your characters any time buddy. <3

Also I remember one iteration of Kai having the name ‘Phreel’, which still just sounds so funny to me. Kai, for real?

@LostDestiny I totally agree on improving characters over the years! Especially One Piece because I have so many, and new ideas continue to come. I’m looking forward to see how the story of this take on Annabelle plays out!

@Daxam Whoa, neat to hear that this is your first OP RP! Let’s hope it’s one to remember. Thanks for sharing the art, though I doubt that Luna and Sol’s interactions here will be so wholesome...
I got a couple announcements for you guys this Saturday! I’m very excited for the interest picking up, and I continue to love the characters and ideas being shopped around. I myself have stuff I’ve so excited to write it’s hard to stand.

I’ve been updating the OOC and character roster every so often, but today I did a somewhat more substantial revision, trying to add some bits for topics discussed and things I’ve thought about myself. Check the following sections (added and revised) if you want to stay up to date (that’s right, this RP has patch notes):

Names and Name Order
Handling Season and Time
Power Restrictions (Voice of All Things)
For Great Justice – The Marines
Devil Fruit Clarifications (Another crack at defining Paramythia/Logia distinctions)
Races of the World (Fishfolk species)
First Come, First Serve

Regarding post dates, @Hillan and @Yankee will hopefully be posting today. @LostDestiny and I need to get one in tomorrow, while @Daxam has until the day after. @Restalaan has a little less than a week, or course. No penalty of course: you’d need three weeks of inactivity (without warning) to be labeled inactive and have your character removed from the roster, this is just a friendly reminder! Also, if anyone’s worried about post orders or the like, don’t. I’d rather not have double posting, not because of any thread related issues, but more regarding energy. I’ve seen a bunch of enthusiasm from players so far (mostly on the discord), and while I think it’s great, I just don’t want anyone to burn themselves out and lose energy/interest. The RP should be more of a slow burn than a flash in the pan, right?

Lastly, I’m going to try and do a weekly OOC question, to poke and prod you guys if you feel like answering. What I want to know is: do you remember your first One Piece OC? And/or the first character you used in a One Piece RP?

My first One Piece OC I came up with in highschool. Ryu was an old guy who fought with a quarterstaff. We was a veteran criminal with a whopping bounty of 240 million beri (it was massive when I was in high school and the Water 7 arc was still ongoing, at least). I think later on I added some Cipher Pol stuff that he ran away from but I don’t even know. Slightly more interesting was the character I came up with as his captain, Ricoh! He was nothing like the firework himbo I’m using here, I just mostly kept the name lol. I think Ricoh used a sword and lost his hand at some point but kept using the sword anyway or something. He was also an asshole but not really in a fun way, and none of the characters minded. I actually kept developing this potential fanfic for years, and while it never saw the light of day, it was interesting to see my ideas evolve. I wrote like 2 chapters total and have probably rebooted the concept more times than I ever wrote chapters lmao.

My first One Piece RP character was a shipwright! He was pretty bland imo, but I think he was inspired by Fire Emblem (7, the GBA game), with the focus on him being royalty and all. I think he fought a character with a bone Devil Fruit? Idk it was over 15 years ago.

I’ve opened my closet and showed off the skeletons so you guys better open yours. >:[
Kurozumi Haku

Sorry for the delay but accepted! The mixture of a Wano born lad and a Marine is already a curious mix, but their firm personalities and familial relationship only adds to my interest in seeing what you have in mind with such a mixture!

Also, I opened the hider showing the image chosen for Haku, only to see...Haku. I’mnotsurewhatIexpected. Drop him in the character tab!
There is theoretically infinite room to join, so absolutely! And anyone is free to hop into the discord.

Was that RP you recall One Piece: Revolution? Hillan and I were in that one, actually.

Not accepted! You see, I’m not allowing second characters until about a month into the RP. If you’re still interested in playing Maxwell by then, you’re absolutely welcome to! But until then, you’re welcome to continue brainstorming the character.

However, I do have a bit of concern. While I think the character has a lot of potential to be endearing and enjoyable, I want to bring up a canon comparison in the form of Buggy. I love Buggy, especially the direction his character has gone from Impel Down onward. And in regards to a character finding success in no small part due to luck, Buggy and Maxwell share the similarity. However, Buggy is a tertiary character in Luffy’s story, dozens of chapters separating his appearances, where writing Maxwell as a PC would have some risks in part through virtue of just having more of him. How much of the concept can be spread across a larger story? How long until it risks getting old?

The best way to find out of the concept has staying power, I think, is to sit on it for a bit. Where might his story go? What might his arcs look like? If you try envisioning arcs and feel they’re getting a bit samey, then it’d be better to find this out before they’re accepted rather than 12 posts with them into the RP. And this doesn’t mean that you have to compromise in a way you dislike. Maxwell doesn’t have to become a more serious character if that’s not the way his story should go, for instance. Even if the concept can’t be stretched very far, I have no problem with a ‘one shot’ character, or a ‘limited run’, of sorts, where the character is meant to have a briefer story role (as long as it’s made clear in the Character Goals). And of course, you’re welcome to communicate any hopes or concerns with me while we wait until you can have the character accepted in the first place. I do love the idea of a character in part inspired by OOC conversation following a throwaway gag in the first IC post, but I want it to have the staying power your enthusiasm and energy for it deserves.

I will add, since limiting the character unnecessarily weakens the concept, I’ll note that you don’t need to limit the Whisper-Whisper Fruit to rodents only. I just don’t see the sense in cutting off potential RP opportunities by limiting his Fruit where it doesn’t need to be. How will he be able to mediate the Crow-Rat War for Shiny Baubles if he can only talk to one side? Find ways to expand on the concept in service of its spirit, rather than limiting it.
“Bruuum bruuum bruuum. Dededele whoooOOOOP.”

“Oh my god would you please stop you’ve been making random noises for the last THREE HOURS!” came a cry from elsewhere in the brig. Following was a cacophony of agonized agreement.

“When we get to jail I am going to beat the shit out of you!” “Let us rot in peace!” “Yeah, I keep losing count of the wood grains in the floorboards I’m counting, prick!” “At least keep it down."

Rico, eyes wide to the point the red blood vessles were visible at the edges, raised his arms, seastone cuffs clattering to the ground. “This is my hell.”

A couple days ago, Rico had made it to the town of Tolsom Fold, a regular old place with a Marine battleship nearby. Out of sheer boredom, he tried to make the place a little less boring, and this was where he ended up. For a little public disturbance, he was being shipped off to prison. That was hardly fair! Indignant, he sat up, “This is bullshit, I didn’t even do anything wrong! What’s a couple poppers, huh? Oh no I scared a big tough squad of Marines, boo hoo.”

“Yeah, and when they were letting you out, you headbutted some Navy guy in the face and gave him a bloody nose.”

“He was muttering under his breath! I dunno what he said but it sounded rude. If you don’t speak up no one can hear you!”

“And then later when the big guy came to take off your cuffs, you shot fireworks everywhere with your dumb magic, so they threw you back in the cell.”

“That wasn’t magic, it just happens whenever I get excited.”

“Trust me kid, I feel like you’re safer in there. You seem like the kinda guy who’d bring himself to ruin if left unchecked, like an addict in the casino. Maybe a week or so in prison will do you some good.”

The warning went ignored as Rico flipped himself over, cuffs banging against the brig’s wood flooring again. “One of the old guys on Cannon Island told me he escaped cuffs in the war by dislocating his thumbs, so I’ll bet...owie! Nope.”

“Do you do anything quietly? Escape is the one thing you really should-”

“I just said you gotta be loud so people hear you doesn’t anyone listentome!? Rico hiss, throat getting gravelly with the last words.

Throbbing vein forming on the middle aged man’s forehead, he snarled, “Ignore me again you little shit and I’ll kill you myself.”

“I’d like to see you try! Anything to be less bored here.”

“QUIET DOWN ALREADY!” boomed a hefty voice, just following the slamming of the brig door. Stepping in, a bulky Marine Ensign with curly brown hair walked between the various cells in the hold, occasionally rapping his knuckles on the bars. “You’re all prisoners, so be good and quiet until we get to where we going, or you’ll be skipping another meal.” His threat was met by a rare silence, so the man left satisfied.

Well. Good to know something shuts you up.”

“Gotta eat so you can grow up to be big and strong.”

Hand brushing through his shock of white hair, the man leaned against the door of his cell. “I can’t place a bead on you at all.”

“Well, that’s good, ‘cause I don’t want any beads. They’re for crafts and stuff, not whatever you want to give me one for. But I can get you as many beads as you want if we get outta here. Food too.”

“In the middle of the ocean?” the old man let out a long sigh. “Better sooner than later.”

Rico sat up, eyes on the man in hopes of gleaning a bit more of his intent, but instead he grabbed a glint with his eyes, followed by the dull clatter as a ring of iron keys plopped on the floor of his cell. “You’re free to go. Jump in the ocean and don’t come back, you hear?”

Rico chortled, before undoing his seastone cuffs. Keys in hand, he walked straight through the bars of the cell with a hiss of fizzy flame and sparks of light, the smell of burning gunpowder filling the brig. Putting the key in the door of the man’s cell, he insisted, “And you’re coming with me!”

As the cell door opened, another voice mentioned, “Didn’t you hear him? There’s nowhere to go, idiot.”

“Where there’s a will, there’s a way. You helped me for a reason, right? You can sense it, I bet.”

“I did, actually,” Rolling his shoulders, the man said, “My name’s Andou. I’m a bit of a gambling nut, you see. Seen my share of games, paid my price.” He held up his left hand, where his pinky and a portion of his ring finger were carved clean off, the wounds healed long ago.

“Well, I’m pretty sure you picked a winner.”

Andou clapped his hand on Rico’s shoulder, “Kid, I am the worst goddamn loser you ever heard of. I can’t even win a game of rock paper scissors. Slot machine handles tend to break under my touch. I got sick of losing on the roulette when only betting red and black, so after putting it on both out of spite it hit a 00. I'm here because of a debt I couldn’t pay back, because I can’t help but to gamble in spite of all that. I’m pretty sure a black cat pissed on the leg of my mother as she walked under a ladder while she was pregnant with me. I bet on you because I wanted to pick a booger, not a winner. It’ll be the best use I’ve ever gotten out of my luck, trust me.”

Rico’s shoulders slumped, falling under the weight of expectations. “O-oh. Man...that’s really funny actually.” Knocking his arm away, Rico stated, “How about this: if you win, I’m going to prison, but if I win, you join my crew!”

Andou’s mouth went slack. “No, I’m betting on you, not-”

“Then it’s settled! Besides, no matter what happens to you, when I escape, you’ll be the man who helped the future King of the Pirates. That’s the bet I’m making.”

Andou stared, face long. Then, he cracked a smile. “Heh. Heh heh. AHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! AH HA HA HA HA HA! AH HA HA HAHAHAHAHA! HOHEH HOHEH HOOOOO HEHEHE HOOO!”

The door crashed open. “WHAT DID I SAY!?”

Patting his stomach, Andou caught his breath as the Ensign gawked at the open cell door, keys blatantly in Rico’s hand.

“Looks like the bet’s on, kid.”

Accepted! With a sample post where the ending made me laugh out loud, I have to say you nailed making a ‘fun’ character! There’s some neat tidbits in there about the current state of Fishman Island and Miss Dread that I know I’m going to have my eyes on.

Accepted! While I know you aren’t able to get into Sol quite yet, the duality motif between the two is already very clear even not knowing much about Sol, and I’m looking forward to how you share their parallel journeys!

Throw those ladies in the Character tab!

Man, seeing all these characters is making me excited. The lack of a backstory section is only making me more antsy to know what everyone’s deal is. Y’all better get posting! I know I want to, might even have one by tomorrow if I get into it~
And our IC is up! Accepted players are welcome to start posting. I will hopefully get a Rico post up within a week.

Also, FYI, if you feel it's appropriate, you can also use your sample post as your first post IC, if it works for you! It'd also be good to make a habit of updating your post directories after getting the reply up, if only to make it easier on your future self. It is optional, but it does help me and other players so I do hope you take the minute or so it takes to update it.
Marine Base E-55, East Blue

“Top of the morning!”

“Oh, Vice Admiral! It’s great to see you!”

“There’s a surprise room inspection today, don’t forget to hide those dirty mags.”


“Oh I’m just joshing ya. The look on your face was gold. Gold! You never know though.”

Still chortling at his joke at a young Seaman Recruit, Vice-Admiral Cholkin, his goatee slooped into a curl, his mustache trailing like a pair of streamers, slipped into his office. Hanging his justice coat on the rack, he was a bit dressed down, wearing only a light blue dress shirt and dark blue suit pants. Placing a tray of donuts and orange slices down on his desk with the paper, the man also known as Seiryu, the Blue Wind, took a seat, grabbing a donut to munch a he looked out a large window to the Marine base below, a number of hearty seamen at work in transferring supplies from ship to storage and vice versa, engaging in training drills, or mending one bit of damage or another. Whipping open the day’s newspaper, he reclined in his chair as he took note of the happenings around the world.

Licera Island, home of the Rokin Kingdom, North Blue

Pillars of marble rose through the throne room, the fifteen foot ceiling rather low for such an important chamber. Two forms marched through the black and gold marble, cool lighting shed by various lanterns. At the end of their path was a raised level, a 6 foot stairwell leading to a pond of blankets and pillows in all manner of warm colors, a skylight shining from above with the midday sun Trembling in the comfy throne was the full bearded, stern faced, and sweaty king, wearing a poofy red garb with a black and gold sash. King Stephan Ford Bolderone wiped his sweat, looking about. “Lucy? My darling?”

The two figures at the bottom of the steps stalled. The one at the lead had a scar straight across the forehead of his square shaped skull, like his head was once cut open. Shirt striped with purple and black, a long, moss green overcoat nearly reaching the ground, pirate captain Adam “Earthwalker” [58 million beri] let his hand twitch, uncomfortably close to his sword, a metal wire stretched across the back ridge of the blade and coiled around a section of the hilt, like a fishing rod. Nicky “Nightingale” [17.7 million beri] stood at his side, one pistol in his dark blue sash and the other twirling in his hand, his hair growing like a nest of feathers. “Lucy, please!” Bolderone begged.

“They’re so scary, aren’t they~” came a voice from the back. From a passage leading elsewhere in the palace, soft footsteps marked a path to the king. Bolderone let out a sigh of relief, resting his head in the lap of his wife as she took a seat, lithe hand stroking the side of his face as if he were a wee babe. Robes of black and white, silvery strands woven in to give the faint pattern of a spider’s web, long black hair flowing out onto the cushioned throne area, Mahonia Lucille’s pale yellow eyes glowed in the light, her dark red lips taking a smile of certainty as she met the glares of the Funk Reborn Pirates. “Wonderful work with Topelia. With income like this, maybe we can go back to paying the Heavenly Tribute after all. Perhaps I could even arrange to have your bounties annulled?”

Adam grunted, seemingly displeased at something or other, while Nicky stepped forward. “ don’t get it at all, do you!?” Griped tightening on his flintlock, he stalked forwards, watching the smile fade from Lucille’s face. “It doesn’t matter if the bounties are a pain in the ass, they’re...they’re a sign of our freedom!” Raising his gun, he pointed it at the infamous Witch of Webs, who only lowered her head, continuing to soothe the infantile king as he started to panic. “And what more are you going to take away from us!?”

Lucille didn’t respond, so Nicky steadied his hand, only to notice as there was a glint of iron across his vision. In disbelief, he started to turn, just as he was reeled in. Adam pulled him in, the iron wire cutting into his throat and drawing blood, the back of his blade against the side of his neck. Pistol dropping, he floundered, trying to pull it off. “H-how!? You didn’t even-” Looking back at his captain, the man was covered in sweat, his teeth grinding against one another, tears of frustration forming in his eyes.

“You should take him and go, before Rokki Road decides only one of you is leaving. Get him proper treatment, and come back in an hour for your next set of orders.” At the Witch’s words, Adam released his sword, taking his comrade by the shoulders and helping him back the way they came, red blood glistening on the ground behind them. The liquid reflected no smile of Lucille’s as she cooed to her husband, the man starting to calm down now that the room was clear. “How did you do that? I was so worried…”

“Never you mind. All that matters is that we’re safe now. Everything will be just fine…”

Pol Stictid, South Blue

“HEY, POL STICTID, LISTEN UP. IT’S HAPPENIN’ IN A FLASH SO DON’T YOU MISS IT! IT’S THE GRIME- KING-, THAT’S RIGHT, THE MAN HIMSELF! REMINDING THE WORLD WHAT REALLY MATTERS!” Taking up the full frame of a Visual Den Den Mushi’s projection, a twelve foot tall man in overalls with goggles and a handlebar mustache, standing in front of a large wooden ‘X’. The city skyline in deep night stretched behind them, the vertically built labyrinth of the island making ebbs of lit structures with flows of wooden walkways. And chained to the X was a man in black slacks, bleeding from a number of wounds, his arms raised and body limp.

“This dead man hanging was found by the Liver Pirates. They thought it was weird that he talked to himself while on the john but turns out he was only ‘talking shit’!” laughed Dupree [Grime King’s producer, no bounty]. Across the island, a number of crowds burst into their own echoes, a ripple of hateful glee spreading across the island. “It’s supposed to come out the other end, pal!” Dupree laughed, clapping the man on the shoulder, the spy letting out a groan of agony.

Stalking back over to the Visual Den Den Mushi, Dupree crouched down. “Now, I know you’re gonna miss me, but as long as these Government bastards keep messing with us, I’ll be back again and again! Now...give it up for...THE GRIME KIIIIIIING!” The whole 20 mile island erupted into a roar, Dupree moving aside as a rather small man, barely 6 feet (and only because of the top hat crowning his head) took the stage. Collar high, he tugged at his white ascot, the embellished peacoat dark, with dim teal buttons. Sprouting from the sides of his head were a pair of ram like horns, and his face was covered in a heavy gas mask. Turquoise eyes shone across the screens of the island as the man raised the microphone in his gloved hand. Twisted through the modified gas mask, his yell was beyond human. Like an iron whistle crossed with fallen glass scraping across stone. Hands fell back from ears when the call of rage subsided, for Radigan had much more to say.

“Money money money! Makes the world go round, so you Government folk always say.” Even twisted by the tinny reverberations of the gasmask, his words were no song, yet he spoke them with a sense of rhythm and melody that enraptured. “Your world, your rules, I say, so money money money is all it takes. Need a pirate dead? Or alive, so they can cut of the head and watch it fall as it may?”

“MONEY MONEY MONEY!” cried the pirates.

“Want to gain power: superhuman, at the cost of your love from the sea?” he raised his hand, the fingertips releasing an uncertain dark liquid.

“MONEY MONEY MONEY!” cried the smugglers.

“Want to be a king? But not a cool one, like me.”

“MONEY MONEY MONEY!” cried the loan sharks.

The singsong sense of his voice fell away, his words becoming gravelly. “So, we flip the script! I wanted to be a king, so I just said that I was! Want to have access to my power? Just live here, nothing special. And if you find a Government rat, no offense to the rodent, then I’ll give you-” Radigan whipped out a flintlock, aiming it at the crucified Cipher Pol operative.

“Please! I have money! I have a wife and daughter!” he pleaded.

Radigan stayed his trigger finger. “Oh, you’re offering to sell your wife and kids? You’re messed up guy! And here I thought we were shitty.”

“N-no, I mean-”

“It’s too late, I already made a promise to the Liver Pirates who gave me this rat. They’re gonna get some-” The man cried out as Radigan fired, punctuating each word with a bullet, the crowd joining him. “MONEY MONEY MONEY!”

As the man’s body went cold, so did the energy built up from the public execution, the visual feed switching off as the men of the island went to their usual scuffles, scams, and shady stints. Dupree came up, following Radigan as he walked off, taking the unneeded pistol. “That was banging! One of these days you’re going to bring the island down from sheer hype! Anyway, next time we get a Marine, instead of the usual ‘loyal dog’ line I was thinking we could liken them to puppets, or hey, maybe put those pipes of yours to work and try a song for a change!”

Radigan stopped dead, Dupree’s face falling in light confusion. “I am not singing. Bring that up again and your fired.” Dupree went pale, but Radigan continued onward, “Otherwise, that sounds wonderful,” Radigan asserted, a certain fatigue in his voice. “Though maybe those government types could learn a lesson for a damn change.”

Olive Island, West Blue

The light of the sunset was red. Olive Island had been known for its lush, verdant fields, ideal for countless crops, not just those of the island’s namesake. The neutral island was a pleasant, quiet place, enough so that many a nearby kingdom offered their passive protections, the folk able to live in peace without king or Marine base of their own, just a humble mayor working to ensure his people were fed, shelters, and educated. But now, smoke filled the sky as building burned. Those who’d stood up to fight had been felled, the sun reflecting their fall.

Atop a massive warhorse, clad in an armor curiass made of interlocked copper plates, helm protruding with two large horns sticking out then up, Yunxing D-Q [General Taurus of the Tianyan 12] held a hefty dadao blade, the back of the curved edge resting on his shoulder. Coming off of his mount, he stooped down to a figure resting against the side of the building, a thin balding man with glasses clutching a knife with white knuckles, blood running down the side of his head.

“Holding onto your weapon even as you die? To think a farming village would be so stubborn. Are you going to burn your crops as well?”

Mayor Gerald chortled, “And deprive a few more mouths of the last prized olives this island will ever grow? Though I suppose the smoke has already ruined the taste.”

Snarling, D-Q demanded, “Why did you start a fight you could never win!? Is this senseless loss of life what you wanted!?”

Despite everything, Gerald smiled. “We know what your Empire does to islands it conquers. Even if you chase down everyone who escaped, you’ll never find them all.” Looking to the smoke filled sky, he said, “I was a lad when this city was founded. I watched it grow into something I knew I could be proud of my whole life.” Gerald stopped for a moment, hacking up a mouthful of blood, the arrow in his shoulder having gone deep. “The people who ran from here will have this place in their hearts for the rest of their lives, even if you stomp it out here and now.”

“Pride? I only know pride in what I live for, not in what I might die for.”

“I know. I know you’d never understand. You’re not much older than 20, are you? Tell me, where were you born? Where does your name come from?”

D-Q was indignant. “I made it into the Yunxing dynasty through my strength and riding abilities! Do not mock the name of the Yunxing!”

Gerald shook his head. “Just a dynasty, are you?” D-Q gritted his teeth, but there was nothing more to say, as Gerald bowed his head, finishing, “There’s a jar of olives on the back shelf. Try one. Know what you tried to destroy, and remember that despite it all, you could never crush our pride as Olive Islanders.” Going slack, his breathing continued to slow. Within a minute or so, it would stop, forever.

D-Q stood, putting his hand on the neck of his trusted steed, but before going back into the fray, he could not stop himself. Entering the house, he found the promised shelf, where green olives stuffed with garlic cloves were jarred. The man who didn’t know why he’d been called ‘D-Q’ tried one, and thought it was one of the most interesting and unique flavors he’d ever experienced. It was the first trophy of his conquest he took no pride in.

Marine Base E-55, East Blue

“Whew…” Cholkin, the Blue Wind, let out a low whistle as he put down the newspaper. Picking up his last orange slice as he stood, taking a bite as he stepped toward the wide window, it was more sour than sweet. Maybe that was the result of all the chilling news he’d just read from across the world. Maybe the sweetness of the donut he’d just snacked on made the orange less tasty in the mix of flavors that lacked synergy. But either way, it was a lesson he would carry forward for the rest of his life: try a different fruit with the donuts. Banana, probably. Or perhaps strawberries. No citrus, except citrus flavored donuts, those were still fine.

BAMBAMBAM. Cholkin felt his heart jump out of his chest as there was a banging on the door. “What? What is it!?”

“Sir! There’s an emergency!”

Cholkin jumped to his feet. “What!? Is it witches!? Criminal scum? Imperialism!?”

“No sir! You remember how it’s supposed to be Taco Tuesday in the mess hall tonight?” called the Seaman messenger from the other side of the door.

Cholkin gave a grave nod, sweat starting to bead on his forehead. Remembering that his conversation partner couldn’t see through walls, Cholkin said, “Yes?”

“A rat got into all the cheese! We won’t have any cheese to go with the tacos!”

“NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!” Despite hopes and prayers, the East Blue was not without its woes after all...
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