An injured man laid in a pool of his own blood within a cave, he had black hair with hazel eyes wearing a black and red pirate coat. He was left for dead on a small island as the crew of pirates had left with his loot and ammo leaving nothing but his small ship, that’s when he spotted a red ice crystal laying behind a rock. He crawled over to it, hoping it’s ice would melt and hydrate him enough to stay alive. He was covered in bruises with his clothes torn and his hat taken by the savage pirates.
He chewed on the ice crystal before swallowing it all. When he abruptly lost consciousness...
CHAPTER 1 A New Chance
After an hour of drifting through the empty darkness between life and death, he awoke back inside the cave still in pain though, not as much. He rose to his feet still drenched in his own blood. He made his way out of the cave as the pain began to grow less and less. He opened his shirt to see his wounds closing at a fast rate. “How strange, but I don’t have time to worry about this right now” His name…was Azuma Kenousa
Making his way outside, the healed pirate made his way across the beach when he saw a group of men in black suits carrying cargo to a large ship floating near the beach. (Hmmm, without my sword this will be difficult, but if I wait too long I’ll miss my chance of taking their ship and getting off this damn island) He saw two men sitting by a campfire with swords at their side.
The man charged in as the group of men spotted him. “The bastard’s alive kill him!” The group of thugs fired their pistols right for the pirate as he slid under the coming projectiles. “You all need to work on your aim” The pirate knocked out the three gunmen when the pair of swordsmen charged right for him.
“Hmph, I may not be good with guns, but swords are another thing” One of his assailants swung his blade right for the Azuma’s face when it stopped in the man’s grasp between his three fingers. “You need to work on your sword skills” Kicking his foe in the ribs, the thugs let go off the blade as it went flying into the air before it landed in the pirate’s grasp. “Heh, finally I at least have a weapon now”
“Rrrr, you bastard!” The other swordsmen charged right for him attempting to stab him when the man easily stopped the coming strike before head-butting the criminal and striking the other in the back of the head.
“There, now to find their captain. A group this big is bound to have a captain” taking the 2nd sword from the unconscious goons he turned to the unarmed men asking: “So then, where is your captain” The crew of men stood their shaking in fear when one of them managed to grab one of the guns that was by one of the knocked-out men and fired a shot straight for Kenousa. With an abrupt movement, he deflected the bullet before sliding his sword back to his side.
“I will ask you all once more…where can I find your captain”
“No need to search for him, the captain is right here” Azuma looked towards the ship to see a tall shirtless buff man with black hair and black tattoos on his body wearing black pants. “I am captain Kazamo, consider it an honor to be killed by someone like me”
“If anyone’s going to die…I’d say it’ll be you” Azuma pulled out his sword aiming it toward the captain. “So then, are you going to make a move or should I?”
“Tsk, if you want to die that badly then I won’t stand in your way” Kazamo moved at incredible speed, pulling out his blade with a sudden slash, only to be deflected by Azuma’s blade just before contact. “Sword slash: Sudden strike” Moving to the side, the pirate unleashed a barrage of sword strikes standing behind the captain with his back to him.
Kazamo froze for a moment before blood gushed from his wounds but managed to remain standing. “Hehe, you’re pretty quick aren’t you brat? Looks like I’ll have to show you who you’re dealing with” The man stretched his hand out with his palm aimed at the ground. : “Undead Revival” The crew members ran back onto their ship as a purple mist flowed from his Palm onto the ground as skeletons began manifesting all around him.
“Now then, let’s see how you fare against my undead horde” The skeletons pulled out their swords surrounding him while the captain watched with a smirk crossing his arms as the horde of undead unleashed a barrage of sword strikes. However, pulling his 2nd sword out, he deflected each attack as sparks flew from his blade with each deflection.
“You must really be underestimating me if you think these bag of bones are going to be able to defeat me” Gripping both his blades He spun as fast as he could, shredding through each one of them as their bones shattered before he came to a stop. The captain watched as his horde of undead cracked apart and felt to pieces all around him.
The captain clinched his fist enraged, advancing his target as he threw a punch as hard as he could. “You piece of shit!” Azuma moved his sword at immense speed before slowly sliding it back into it’s holder. Kazamo hit the ground lying dead in the sand. “There, time to take his ship and make my way back to town. I will gather a new crew and hunt down the ones that betrayed me”
Forcing the crew of the ship, the pirate sailed away from the island heading out for the nearest town to form a new crew…
Azuma stood out on the deck looking out over the open sea when his 2nd in command Saido Oranami walked over to him. Saido had white hair dressed in a black shirt with white pants “Captain what are you doing out here, shouldn’t you get some sleep for tomorrow”
“I can’t sleep, I want to find something rare, something no other pirate has found before. I Azuma Kenousa will become the next pirate lord”
Few Hours Later…
Their captain laid in a pool of blood with Saito pressing his boot against the injured man’s cheek. “Sorry captain, I’m done following your orders, I and the crew agreed that we’ll do better without you. I’m taking your crew and ship as my own, enjoy dying alone on this worthless island”
[End Of Flashback]
“Saito you bastard, when we meet again, I won’t hesitate to kill you” Making his way to the captain’s quarters, Azuma made his way into a large wooden room with a king-sized bed with white sheets and dark-red pillows with a dresser and mirror right above it. “Sigh, now it’s time to finally get some shut eye before I reach land tomorrow, after getting betrayed then fighting off that fellow captain, I’ve gotten really tired”
The pirate soon fell asleep as his ship drifted through the sea…not long after, a small ship came out from the distance, throwing ropes over the large ship and pulled themselves aboard. They were a group of three men and one woman who was their leader. “Alright men, look for any treasure or items of value while I look for the captain of this ship”
The woman had long blue hair wearing a blue hooded cloak. She was tall and had a calm but serious expression as she made her way across the deck towards the captain’s quarters. Azuma awoke and could hear footsteps above him up on the front deck. “Ugh. Can’t I go a few hours without something interrupting me?” Rubbing his eyes he got out of bed grabbing his blades walking over to the door. He opened it to find the area empty. “Hmph, they must all be on the upper-floor”
“Don’t move” A female voice uttered behind him. The blue pirate stood behind him wielding a knife to his back as she looked at him with a cold stare. “Hehe, you really think you can beat me with a mere knife? Your stance shows that you have experience killing others with a mere knife-“
The woman cut him off, stabbing him in the back before pulling the blade out dripping blood. “Now lay there and die, you could never beat me, Naiomi the blue assailant” The man turned towards the assailant, kicking her into the captain’s quarters as she hit the ground. “Like I said, it’ll take more than one mere knife to kill me”
That’s when a small knife with a blue handle darted past him piercing his cheek as blood dripped from his cheek before it quickly closed back up. “Sigh, how many times do I have to tell you, a knife won’t be enough to kill me” Azuma slowly walked over to the assassin lending his hand out to her, I’m not one to kill those that don’t deserve it” She looked at him looking into his hazel eyes as he gave her a calm look.
Her face went red as she blushed standing up. “Just who are you? I know my blade struck your cheek, yet there doesn’t seem to be a wound”
“After being marooned on an island by my mutinous crew, I was at the brink of death when I found a crystal I originally was going to use as a water source to keep myself alive. Once I regained consciousness, I somehow gained the ability to regenerate at a fast rate. So if you want to continue our little shuffle then be my guest. But I’ll just keep healing until you’re out of stamina”
Just then the trio of men appeared behind them with two of them being thin wimps wearing tan clothes aiming pistols at the pirate captain. “Step away from lady Naiomi!” The idiot fired a shot missing Azuma aimed right for their captain when Kenousa quickly pulled out his sword, deflected the bullet before sliding his blade back in it’s holder.
“Hmph, watch where you fire dumbass” The blue assassin blushed once more looking at the pirate before pulling out two knifes. “Two of you are nothing but fools, I have no further use for you both aside from Kenzu” In a sudden movement, the two men on both sides of the woman’s 2nd in command were struck in the throat by her knifes as they collapsed, dead before they even hit the ground.
“Naiomi, was that really necessary? You know you could’ve just thrown them overboard” The man responded with a sigh. He wore a black cloak with red eyes and a scar across his left eye along with black hair. “Sometimes you can take things a little far, but you’re lucky I have nowhere else to go”
“We both know if you really wanted to leave you would’ve left by now. So, what’s your name…captain? Anyone this strong is surely someone I’m willing to work with so long as I’m 2nd in command” She gave him a seductive smirk standing close to him. Kenousa started at her with a look of suspicion before turning away from her. “If you really want to join my crew then go ahead, but if you try anything…I’ll kill you without hesitation”
The woman gave him a pouty face before replying: “Alright fine, it’s only fair you wouldn’t trust me at first, but I’m sure you’ll warm up to me” She leaned on him with a smile before walking past him. “Kenzu, you will be taking orders from Azuma as well from now on, if you have a problem with my decision…I’d be happy to stick you to the wall of the ship” She pulled out a knife between each finger.
“Hehe, come now Naiomi, you know your threats have never worked on me like those two dead fools. But fine, orders are orders, makes no difference to me. So long as I get a good meal and some beer I really don’t care”
The captain looked at his new crew and smiled crossing his arms. “Alright then, from this day forward you’re part of my crew. Our first priority is getting to land and find a way to get supplies. I’m sure there’s some food and drink aboard this ship, but probably not enough to travel a far distance. So we need to find the nearest town and plan our next step”
“That won’t be an issue, as a traveling assassin, I’ve managed to get a few maps from other low-rank pirates as well as draw up my own map of each island and country I’ve discovered or traveled to. With the amount of gold I’ve saved up from my hunting pirates and sometimes finding gold aboard their ship, getting supplies will be easy. But you owe me” She blew him a kiss before going down the hall over to the 1st mate’s cabin to use as her room while Kenzu fell asleep against a large crate down in storage...
After a few hours of sailing, they finally reached Anamoa island, an island that was one entire town in the middle of the ocean. They made their way up to the docks and stepped onto land looking at the active town as citizens were walking in and out of shops.
“Hmm, feels like it’s been a while since I've seen such a lively town, hopefully we can find some good resources here”
“We should captain, this town seems like it has plenty of things to sell, maybe you can think about getting yourself new swords while we’re here” Azuma looked at her explaining that they should wait till they save up more gold before buying things like weapons and armor. “At the moment we should only use the gold for either food, water or an inn if we plan to stay somewhere or if the worst should happen to our ship”
“Whatever you say captain” Naiomi answered with a smile as they made their way through town looking at all the stores and buildings. Most of the structures were made out of brick with the roads and pathways just being dirt instead of stone pathways as well. The captain spotted a shop selling fruit and vegetables and made his way over to the small wooden shop.
“Hello, I need food for me and my crew, how much would a month’s worth of food be?” The merchant hesitated at first looking at the trio standing in front of hm. “I’m sorry sir, but you wouldn’t happen to be pirates would you?”
“Yes, why is there a problem?”
“Uh, yes sir, I'm sorry but all pirates spotted are to be arrest on sight and if struggle are to be executed. It’s not my decision, but the sea corps general is very harsh, if I pretend I didn’t see anything, I could be arrested as well”
Kenzu moved his sword up from it’s holder with his thumb preparing to pull it out as he asked: “Should I keep him from telling the sea corps?” Azuma shook his head. “No, I have a better idea” A few minutes later a group of sea corps men came patrolling the area, they wore white suits with the symbol of a blue sun on their torso as their logo.
The merchant waved both hands calling the men over as they approached the trio. “Naiomi, get ready” the pirate whispered as the sea corps stopped in front of them. “I found a pirate!” The merchant called out. The sea corps looked at Azuma who attempted to reach for his sword.
Naiomi and Kenzu hid behind a stack of crates and watched as their captain was shot in the shoulder by one of the officers as blood gushed from his clothing as he staggered back before catching himself gripping his wound. “Let’s go pirate” The middle officer ordered. He had blonde hair with green eyes as he forced the man’s arms behind his back before leading him towards Anamoa prison.
CHAPTER 2 A unique Prisoner
As the pirate was forced down the hallway, he found himself within a dark-cold stone path with cells on both sides of him. Surprisingly there weren’t many prisoners within the cells, most were empty with rust and dirt covering each cell as if they haven’t been cleaned in years.
(Hmph, expected a lot more people to be trapped in here, either this town doesn’t have much crime...or the citizens are just that scared of the sea corps) He was shoved in a cell before it slammed shut behind him. “Wait here pirate, we’ll be back tomorrow for you’re punishment” The trio of men laughed with dark smirks on their face before walking away.
Azuma stood within the cold cell as faint light could be seen through the bared windows behind him. Crossing his arms, he looked around attempting to find a way out and save any innocent pirates within the prison. That’s when a voice called out to him from the cell beside him.
“Don’t both trying to find a way out, the only way out is obviously a key which the guard carries when he makes his way through the hall every 12 hours”
“So what, we wait until the guard returns and steal the key?”
A smirk grew across the stranger’s face as he stepped up to the bars with his hands in his pockets. Azuma saw the man had pink hair, blue eyes wearing a white jacket with black jeans with a heart on the left torso and a big heart on the back. With another smirk the young man kicked open the door with a rusty screech.
“How did you get the door open so easily!?”
“Simple…I stole the guard’s key hours ago and have just been sitting in here deciding when to leave. I was planning on jumping the guard for fun but then you showed up so might as well change plans and leave now. Heh. It’ll still piss him off when he finds out I’ve escaped. So why did you get thrown in hear?”
Azuma watched as the man walked over to his cell door unlocking it. “Alright pirate, it’s time to leave before the sea corp admiral and his guards return. I’m not sure, but I think unlike his mere guards, the admiral has some super-human ability, if I’m right, taking him on won’t be an easy feat, I’ve seen plenty of guards and citizens scared the moment he arrives. Either they’re just cowards, or my assumption is correct.. By the way, you can call me Roxie”
The pink-haired man smirked as they made their way through the dark hallway as moonlight flowed through the windows before they reached the exit. Opening the door they saw the sea Corp admiral approaching the jail, the man had blonde hair with blue eyes dressed in the same white coat and pants as the guards but with a golden star on his left torso showing his higher rank.
“You both aren’t going anywhere, this will only end two ways…either you both will return to your cells or die beneath my heel” Azuma unsheathed his sword while Roxie smirked pulling something out of his pocket. “Let’s see just how skilled you are old man” As they stood just outside the jail with the docks of in the distance, the new ally tossed a few small smoke bombs right for their target’s feet as the area was engulfed in smoke.
“Heh, let’s see what you can do when you can’t see!” Roxie quickly pulled out a knife preparing to throw it when a pillar of earth in the form of a hand shot out from the smoke, pinning the young boy against the stone wall of the jail with the hand wrapped around his waist.
“You youths are nothing but fools. I wouldn’t be in the position that I am if a mere brat like you could beat me” The smoke cleared as the admiral stood glaring at them with a cold expression. Azuma advanced the sea Corp admiral gripping his blade tightly with Roxie trying once more to throw a knife aimed at their assailant when his left arm morphed into a earth-golem-like arm, blocking the coming projectile as it broke on impact.
“Foolish brats” With a sudden punch, Azuma positioned his blade attempting to block the coming strike, only for his sword to shatter, sending him staggering back, smashing into the stone wall beside Roxie.
“D-damn it! What are we going to do against someone who can manipulate earth!?” The captain fell to his knees with blood dripping from his lip. Taking a deep breath, he could feel his injuries slowly healing as the blood vanished.
“Ah, I see you too have gained some special ability from the mysterious ice crystal. However, healing yourself will only delay the inevitable” Raising his morphed fist towards the weakened pair, earth spikes manifested around his knuckles preparing to attack.
Just then a katana pierced through his chest as blood dripped from the tip. “W-what...!?” The admiral slowly turned his head to see Kenzu thrusting his blade through their attacker before pulling it out with a cold look as the admiral spat out blood, collapsing in the street.
The stone hand crumbled freeing Roxie while Naiomi and Kenzu walked over to their captain. “Glad to see you’re still in one piece captain, it’s not easy to defeat an admiral, especially one with a super-human ability” Naiomi congratulated.
“I doubt I would’ve beaten him if it wasn’t for Kenzu” The swordsmen shook the blood of his blade before sliding it back to his side. “Tsk, I was just doing my duty of protecting my captain...also if I hadn’t saved your ass, I'm sure I wouldn’t hear the end of it from Naiomi”
“Well now that that’s taken care of, we should leave before more enemies show up”
“But what about our supplies before we leave captain? We still haven’t gathered food and drinks yet” Azuma was about to answer her when Roxie walked approached them. “You guys need supplies? Don’t worry...let me show you how a true thief does it...”
The crew waited on the ship while Oda D. Roxie walked over to the merchant. “Excuse me sir I'd like to buy a crate of food and some wine”
“Alright sir that’ll be 110 gold sir”
“First I'd like to see inside the crate so you’re not tricking me” The merchant shrugged turning around to open the crate as the thief smirked, knocking the poor man out by striking him in the side of the neck...
A few minutes later Azuma and the others looked over the ship to see Roxie approaching with multiple creates of supplies as he pushed them on wheels, up the wooden ramp before taking them to the lower deck where they keep storage. “Here’s your food and drinks, I thought about it and decided I'm coming with you guys”
Azuma frowned responding: “Why would you come with us? You don’t seem like the type to follow orders and those who won’t obey my command have no place aboard the ship”
Roxie smiled as the sea breeze brushed across his pink hair. “Heh, true I hate taking orders from those I see as weak or boring...but you seem interesting...you don’t care what happens so long as you reach your goal...so we are two of a kind, I will be your thief and make sure we steal the treasure. How’s that sound, captain?”
Azuma Kenousa looked at him intensely before letting out a sigh. “Very well Oda D. Roxie, welcome aboard my crew”
“Thank you captain I will do my best to aid you in capturing all the riches this world has to offer. But first, we should name the ship” Kenousa looked at him as if he had said something stupid. “A name? What’s the point of naming a mere ship?”
That’s when Naiomi spoke up: “Actually captain, it is common to name your ship, especially amongst pirates. If you want to make a name for yourself, coming up with a unique name for your ship and crew is the 1st step for any pirate”
He thought for a moment before responding: “I can’t think of a name”
“A name isn’t just something you come up with, it has to have a deep meaning behind it that represents the crew. In time it’ll come to you” The young thief told him.
CHAPTER 3 The Real Adventure Begins
With supplies and their crew grown, they set out onto the deep sea while Naiomi placed a large blank sheet of paper on a board against the wall in her room as she kept track of where they traveled slowly drawing a map for them to use for easy navigation once they’ve explored the entire world.
Azuma stood out in the front of the ship looking out at the sea, his arms crossed as the sea breeze brushed across his face. The moonlight shined over their ship illuminating the sea as it sparkled with small fish flipping out of the water from time to time. He let out a sigh.
“So, this is how you spend your free time? Staring out at the sea like a statue?” The man turned around to see Roxie sitting on the gaff of the ship looking down at him, his hand on his knee casually. “I’m just waiting until we reach our first destination, hopefully we’ll find some treasure or at least some weapons, could use something better than this warn out blade I stole from a group of low-rate bandits”
Azuma unsheathed his blade looking at the low-quality blade with a warn-out grip. “I’m sure selling it would only get me a few pieces of silver if that” He slid it back to his side before walking to the back of the main deck. “I’m going to take a nap, wake me up if you see land”
“Aye-aye captain!” Roxie responded playfully, jumping from the gaff onto the main deck as the pink-haired thief walked up the wooden steps, leaning on the galver, also known as the steering wheel of the ship. Meanwhile Azuma walked down the narrow hallway, the small path illuminated with lanterns on the wall as he pasted Naiomi’s room where he found her fast asleep. He stood and watched as she slept so calmly before making his way to his own room.
The pirate set his blade up against the wall beside the bed as he carefully laid in his king-size bed with several black pillows and a thick white quilt. As he laid in bed, he looked to see a port that looked out on the sea with a wooden desk and chair in front of it so he could admire it up close. Not long after he fell asleep....
PHANTOM SHINE ARC
Azuma awoke to the glimmer of sunlight flowing through his window as he slowly stood up, his hair a mess as he grabbed his blade and made his way down the passageway when he heard Naiomi in her room. He continued forward before standing in her doorway, only to find her wearing merely a bra and panties.
“Huh? Naiomi looked to see her captain blushing at her with his hand on his torso unsure of what to say. Naiomi blushed before a smile grew across her face as she walked over to him. “Hello captain, didn’t think you’d stop by my room so suddenly” She stood inches from him with a seductive smile as Just then Roxie walked into the passageway before spotting Naiomi. His face grew red as a little blood ran from his nose.
“Tsk! Can’t you see me and the captain are busy!?” In a fit of rage, the assassin quickly pulled out a knife she hid in her panties holding it in one hand before throwing it like a dart right for the man’s face. Azuma watched in surprise as the sharp projectile hit the doorframe mere inches from her target as he stood frozen with a nervous smile before backing out slowly closing the door.
“So then, where were we? Azama blushed telling her: “We need to focus on the task at hand Naiomi” She gave him a sad expression before her captain walked outside onto the main deck as an island came into view. “Finally, we’ve reached our first stop”
“Yea that’s what I was gonna tell you before...that happened” Roxie rubbed the back of his head nervously with a smile while Azuma walked over to the front of the ship as they drew closer to the island. A carnival could be seen with a ferries wheel, rides and colorful lights. “Hmmm, I’ve never been to a carnival before, would like to explore it” Naiomi and the others walked over to him looking out on the island, as Naiomi grew excited.
“I haven’t been to a carnival in years! This definitely will be a great stress reliever for our first exploration” Kenzu just stood there crossing his arms with a look of disinterest. Roxie placed his hand on the swordsmen’s shoulder commenting: “Come on sword boy, you don’t need to act tough all the time, you need to relax from time to time”
They reached the shore as the ship came to a halt. Azuma stepped down upon the new island with his crew following behind. They found themselves standing in a grassy field with a path leading into the forest covered with trees. “Hmph, seems there’s only one way through, keep your guard up” Azuma ordered before making his way down the dirt path as the sun was blocked by the many trees shading the path.
They carefully walked through the forest path with Azuma leading the way along with Naiomi following close behind while Roxie walked a few feet behind them with his arms behind his head in boredom. “Sigh, this place better be worth all the traveling, my body’s stiff from sitting on that ship all night, I wish we had something to fight, otherwise my skills are going to start getting rusty”
Kenzu trailed behind them watching their backs as his arm rested on his blade in case he needed to use it at a moment's notice. Birds chirped out in the distance with a calm breeze as they finally reached the clearing that led to the entrance of the carnival, they saw a large blue sign that read:
“PHANTOM SHINE PARK”
“Looks like we found it” The crew made their way up to the entrance where a man dressed in a black tux with long purple hair and blue eyes stood at a booth waiting to let them in.
“Welcome all to Phantom shine park, feel free to try all the rides and food we have in store for all who come to explore the park. The fee is one silver piece per admission” Naiomi brushed past Azuma with a smile placing four gold coins on the counter. “This should cover the fee”
“O-oh, I'm sorry but I might not have enough change for this”
“Don’t worry about it” She wrapped her arm around Azuma’s pulling him past the entrance into the park as they found themselves in a large park with a red paved street, many different rides and attracts for miles. “Alright, me and Azuma are going to go try out some rides, you both can feel free to do what you want till we’re done and Roxie, don’t do anything stupid”
“What!? Why am I the only one being called out!?”
“Because you’re a known thief plus you have the kind of attitude that seems to spell trouble so don’t be an idiot or I will personally stick your head on the wall” He looked to see her revealing a concealed knife before hiding it.
“Y-yes ma'am” Roxie answered shaken in fear as his face went red. As she dragged the captain away, Kenzu just stood there with his arm still resting on his blade. “Sigh, it’s nice I can finally relax, though a carnival isn’t really my thing. Though I'm sure if I just let you go off on your own you probably would do something stupid. Come on, we’re going to explore the park for anything of value, plus it would be nice to get some fresh air away from the sea”
“Awww, but I wanted to try out all the rides!” Roxie’s arms dropped as he gave the swordsmen a sad expression. The dark-haired man sighed closing his eyes in frustration before telling him: “Fine do what you want, but I'm looking around for a while, better than wasting time on these pointless rides”
Roxie jumped with excitement running to a large Ferris wheel while Kenzu made his way down the long red path, past the spinning teacups and other well-known rides you’d normally see at a carnival. That’s when he spotted a large pink fun house with a tall thin man dressed in a black suit with clown paint on his face wearing a top hat. Something about the man felt off but Kenzu proceeded down the path when the clown stopped him. “Wait sir! Certainly you want to try out the house of the phantom before you leave!”
“No thanks, I'm not really into fun houses or anything this place might have to offer. Mainly since I'm not what you would call a social person” The clown placed his hand on the pirate’s shoulder, a sudden chill ran down the man’s back as he turned towards the strange man gripping his blade glaring at him. “Fine, if going in this fun house will get you to leave me alone then fine. Let’s get this over with already”
With a sigh the man made his way through the large dark doorway as he stepped inside. He found himself in a narrow pink hallway with a black and white checkered floor. Venturing deeper, he reached a doorway that led him into a large room with many different flights of stairs warped in random directions as you would expect from a fun house.
“Ugh, I never really was one for mazes” Kenzu chose the stairway in the middle as he began making his way up the white steps, the stairs spiraled until he reached the top finding himself in a large warped room where a figure made of pure darkness stood before him. It’s body swayed around as if it were drunk, it’s eyes glowing red.
(What is that thing? It seems too real to be a prop or a man in a costume) Without warning the creature lunged toward him as it’s dark hands reached for him. In an abrupt reaction, Kenzu unsheathed his blade in an instant as the entity floated in mid-air motionless past him. before evaporating into particles of darkness. “Sigh, I knew there was something off about this place, I should get out of here before another one of those shadow bastards reappear”
He spun around quickly to go back the other way, only to find the stairwell had vanished with no way back. “Of course, why am I not surprised. Whatever, seems forward is my only option” Kenzu raced down the large pink room when he spotted the same clown that had insisted he’d enter the fun house in the first place.
A smile grew across the clown’s face as he placed his hand upon his top hat. “Hehe, I only wanted you to enter the fun house so I can steal your soul and use it to become stronger...I'm weak, but once I absorb enough life essence of the souls of the living, I shall be strong enough to make those who ruined my life pay”
“You’re crazy, who would believe that bullshit of a story?” The clown began to sadistically laugh as he smeared the face paint he was wearing, revealing a decayed undead face on one half of his face.
“W-what the hell!? Just what are you!?”
“Hehe, do you believe me now!? For years I've spent trapped in this undead body...the feeling of cold being the only thing I can feel. I should’ve died, but the bastard revived me using some power to raise the dead into an undead corpse. The man began to cry but no tears could be seen from his shriveled body. “I-I just want to die, I can’t stand being in this body...between life and death. Then one day, I found something, a crystal that when consumed gave the person power. Since I wanted to live again, I was given the power to steal the life essence of anyone I came in contact with, from there I've regained my strength over time, siphoning the life of all who enter”
“Who’s the one that resurrected you, if he did this to you, he’s also the one that can undo it”
“Why would you help me? You have nothing to gain from it, and you’re nothing more than a stranger...just submit and let me steal your life essence!” Clinching his fist, the clown lunged at him reaching right for him. Kenzu gripped his katana as he dodged the coming foe before swiftly decapitating his opponent from behind in one swift motion.
The man’s head rolled across the tiled floor as it looked up at him. “Shadow art: demon fist!” A colossal fist made of darkness manifested from the ground as it threw a strike right for the swordsmen. Quickly putting his blade up to guard, the fist struck his sword with immense force, sending him staggering across the air before hitting the wall of the room before landing on his stomach dropping his blade.
“I knew you would try something like this, sadly for you I can just form a new body” Kenzu watched as the body of another shadow entity formed, attaching the clown’s head onto it’s shoulders as he slowly approached the swordsmen. “Now then...you’ve given me far more trouble than I would’ve liked, I can’t afford to waste my precious strength on a nobody”
The pirate reached for his weapon when his assailant grabbed him by his throat, beginning to siphon the life from his body. Kenzu’s once black hair began growing gray as his face grew wrinkled. “Since you’re about to turn to dust, I shall tell you my name...my name is-” Just then a knife flew through the room, piercing the clown’s arm, causing him to drop the weakened swordsmen, turning to see Azuma and Naiomi.
“How did you two get inside my funhouse!? Tsk, I guess it doesn’t matter, you’ll just be more life force for me to consume”
“We’ll see about that you chaotic freak, I won’t let anything happen to Kenzu!” Pulling out three knifes from her pocket, Naiomi sent them flying straight for the undead’s decaying skull as they pierced his cheeks and center of his skull. “Heh, I hope that hurt!”
That’s when their target slowly walked towards them, removing the blades from is cracked skull. “I’m sorry my dear...but I no longer feel pain...but I'm sure you still do!” Throwing all three blades, the crew watched as the flying knives were abruptly sent through a small dark rift, teleporting them.
“What the-” Before their captain could react, a rift opened beside his head. “Captain!” The assassin pushed him out of the way just as one of the blades came firing out of the rift before going through another.
“Hehe, Haha! This may actually be fun to watch. Even if you manage to dodge one of them, they’ll just be sent through another rift until one of them pierces you!” The undead clown giggled crossing his arms as he watched the madness unfold.
“Damn it, he’s saying he can just teleport our own projectiles around us like pinballs until we’re hit? Sigh, what a pain” Azuma stood back up when seven rifts manifested around the pair.
“Hehe, which one do you think your precious knifes will come out of? Better react fast or you’ll be pierced by your own blades!” The pirates watched each one carefully, waiting... Without warning, all three knifes came out from random rifts, flying straight for them. The pair evaded the coming projectiles as the small blades began to fly in and out of rifts at rapid succession.
“Tssk! Fuck this!” Tired of the same old tactic, Azuma threw both hands out, using himself as a wall when all three projectiles pierced through him all at once, two in his abdomen with the 3rd in his back. Blood began to seep down his body dripping on the floor, his body shaking in pain. “Huff...huff, enough of your little tricks. I’ve got b-better things to do than waste my time with the likes of a mere undead clown”
A smirk grew on the villain’s face as he responded: “Oh really? And just what is so important that you should live?” Azuma slowly lifted his head looking him dead in the eye. “I’m going to become the next pirate lord...and to do that...I need to become stronger. Until that day comes, I won’t die”
“HAHAHAHA! A pirate lord!? You can’t be serious! You’re nothing more than another drop of rain in a vast ocean, what makes you so special!? Pirate lord is a title given only to those who’ve accomplished great feats as well as made the sea quake with their power. What have you accomplished?” The clown walked up to the captain, staring deep into his eye mere inches from his face.
Just then, each knife piercing the man’s body slowly slid out as they hit the ground with a clank. “Hm?” The undead hatter watched as each would began to heal on the pirate’s body before completely vanishing as if it was never there to begin with.
“Impossible, you have a magika ability!?” Without a word, Azuma gripped the fiend’s rotting skull with his bare hand, crushing it with ease as the figure collapsed to the floor. Naiomi watched in shock, unable to form words of what just happened.
He looked down at the remains of his foe. “I will...become the next pirate lord...weather it takes 10 years or 100, I will overcome any obstacle that stands in my way. Even death won’t block my path” Stepping over the remains, Azuma walked over to Kenzu who’s gray hair slowly reverted back to it’s youthful black hair as he slowly awoke before his captain.
“C-captain Azuma? When did you get here?”
“About a moment ago, you were getting attacked by that sadistic clown, luckily Naiomi managed to draw the monster’s attention just before the life was drained from your body” The blue assassin slightly blushed looking away, embarrassed that the captain was giving her credit for saving Kenzu.
With a slight cough the swordsmen slowly got to his feet. “Thank you Captain you too Naiomi, I knew I should’ve gone in this damn funhouse, especially with my gut telling me something with wrong to begin with”
As they made their way outside, Azuma spotted Roxie having fun in the spinning teacups by himself while he and Naiomi walked Kenzu over to a bench that sat along the path of the park. “Sigh, I should give that thief a kick in the ass, but I'll let him enjoy himself for now”
“Are you sure captain Azuma? I could give him a light stab in the back if you wish” Azuma sat beside the swordsmen looking up at Naiomi who gave him a smirk wielding a knife as if ready to throw it right at her own crew member.
“It’s fine, we deserve to relax from time to time, but eventually I want to explore the rest of this island, I'm sure if that freak was here, I'm sure there’s bound to be more magika users around...”
Chapter 4 Beyond The Park
As the sun began to shine red just below the trees of the island, Azuma finally rose from the bench with Naiomi and Kenzu still at his side as they walked down the stone path to the north part of the park where Roxie was riding the large black and red Ferris wheel.
“Ahhh, this is one of the best days of my life” Roxie told himself as he leaned back in the large pod with his hands behind his head and legs crossed as it made it’s way to the top of the wheel before coming to a halt. Azuma stopped in front of the red steel steps of the ride looking up at the pod his crew mate sat in. “Roxie! It’s time to move out, I've given you a few hours to enjoy yourself while we on the other hand were attacked by a magika user!”
The pink-haired rouge groaned replying: “Aww come on, can’t we relax just a little long!?” Azuma looked Naiomi in the eye who nodded pulling out her knife, tossing it right for the pod holding the crew member. The sharp blade pierced the steel pod, her blade right above the man’s head.
Opening his eyes to see a knife just inches from his skull, he let out a gasp as his eyes widened with fear. “ALRIGHT, I’M COMING!” They watched as the scared thief leapt from his pod, running down the support beams before landing in front of them. “Huff, here I am. Now what’s so important you had naiomi throw a knife at my head!?”
His captain gave him a serious look. “As much as I want to also relax, Kenzu was attacked by a clown that seemed to possess a magika ability...I'm not sure how rare it is for people to acquire a crystal since I was lucky to be stranded on an island that had some growing, but it’s still suspicious some random clown had one.
That’s when Kenzu spoke up. “When I was fighting him, he told me he was resurrected by someone and trapped him on this island. It’s a long shot, but maybe the one that trapped him here is somewhere on this island. If not, it’s all we have to go off of” They turned to Azuma who thought about it for a moment. “You could be right, but why would they stay here? What value does this island have to them? Either there’s something on this island we need to find, or whoever trapped him here is long gone and we won’t be able to fin him until we have more info”
They made their way to the north end of the park where they reached an exit with a warning sign written: “WARNING: Phantom Forest, enter at own risk” Azuma took a deep breath before passing the sign with his crew following close behind.
“Cap’ are you sure it’s a good idea to leave the park? The sign clearly says enter at your own risk” Roxie commented a little unsure about exploring the woods. Azuma continued to walk as he replied: “Are you worried something’s going to eat you Roxie? I thought you’d be confident like you normally are in these kinds of situations, what’s got you so scare all of a sudden?”
Roxie clinched his fist. “I-I'm not scared...I just think we should wait until morning to explore the forest so we can see better”
“Ah, so you’re scared of the dark is it? Tell me Roxie...what in this forest could possibly be a threat to us? Kenzu is well enough to use his blade as well as Naiomi’s quick reflexes and accuracy with her knives and other weapons. With all that, you shouldn’t have a reason to be scared so long as you actually stay with us. Though knowing you, I'm sure you’ll do something stupid that gets you lost”
After about an hour of exploring the woods, they began to notice a change around them, the once green trees and grass around them, were now pink cotton candy looking trees with a brown pathway leading forward. They were hesitant to venture deeper, but Azuma knew this was something worth looking into.
Walking down the path, he could tell that what he was walking on wasn’t stone, presuming it to be solid chocolate. A parallel line of marshmallows on both sides of the pathways appeared like rails as he spotted a large mansion that was made out of gingerbread. Seeing the house made Azuma stop in his tracks at the sight of it. “What is this, some kind of fairytale? Who builds a house made of candy in the middle of the forest on a random island!?”
Roxie let out an excited cry preparing to run towards it when Azuma gripped him by his collar as he ran in place full of energy. “Look at all that candy! I have to try some!” Meanwhile Kenzu gave him a cold glare crossing his arms. “Sigh, you really are stupid, aren’t you? You let your greediness get the better of you instead of wondering why a forest of candy is just sitting here. It could just be a trap for those who get lost. How do you know the candy isn’t poisonous or there’s some kind of trap set around the house for dimwits like you?”
Roxie looked at his captain with sad eyes hoping to convince him to try the candy. “Tsk, if you want to risk it then be my guest, Kenzu, keep watch over him incase this really is some kind of trap” Azuma tossed the pink-haired pirate towards the house as he landed on his feet racing towards the house filled with excitement while the swordsmen followed behind, his arm close to his sword.
“So, you think it’s some kind of trick?” Naiomi questioned standing beside the young captain. He sighed, crossing his arms. “If this really is just a ruse to lure innocent people by dark means, it’s best we deal with it to ensure it doesn’t happen to anyone else.
That’s when Roxie’s cries could be heard a few meters away. The pair shot up towards the house, only to see one of the windows open like a mouth as a tounge-like thing shot out from the stretched window, grabbing the poor thief by the neck as it wrapped around his throat before yanking him inside.
ROXIE!” The trio cried as the window reverted back to normal as if it had a mind of it’s own. Azuma and Naiomi rushed over to the swordsmen who gripped his katana, preparing to slice through the wall of gingerbread. “Kenzu what happened!?”
“I’m sorry captain, one second the idiot was in front of me, the next he was getting pulled inside before I could sever whatever grabbed him. Don’t worry...I doubt a mere gingerbread mansion is strong enough to withstand a strike from my blade” With a firm grip of his blade, Kenzu unleashed a sudden slash across the left side of the mansion as the wall began to crack before crumbling to the ground.
As the dust-like sugar faded, they could see a large library with a gingerbread floor, licorice pillars and marshmallow furniture. The trio cautiously stepped inside, examining the candy-filled room with both surprise and disbelief.
Walking over to one of the gingerbread bookcases, Azuma pulled out what he expected to be a fake book made of candy, only for it to be a real book. “Huh? Seems this book is real, which means all these books must be real unlike most of this house. Though, if there’s real books here, that must mean someone actually lives here. We need to find Roxie and the bastard that took him”
“Yes sir!” Naiomi responded as they searched the library for any secret pathways or clues on where Roxie could’ve been taken. Kenzu walked out of the library, finding himself in a large lobby where the floor was solid chocolate, stairs in the center of the room leading to the 2nd floor which were made of white chocolate with licorice as the railing.
“Hmm, I guess I'll check the 2nd floor while Azuma and Naiomi search the library” As he walked up the stairs, he thought he heard something just up ahead. The swordsmen walked slowly up the stairs, quietly unsheathing his blade as he reached the 2nd-floor corridor. He started closely at the dark-chocolate hallway with rows of doors aligning the hall with candy cane doorframes.
That’s when high-pitched giggles could be heard from behind the doors. Kenzu took a step forward when the doors slowly creaked open all at once before him. Kenzu grew unease when a small figure slowly leaned it’s head out the door, it was a small gingerbread man with a creepy smile on it’s face. It let out high-pitched giggles standing motionless before the man.
That’s when more and more laughter could be heard as a gingerbread man stuck it’s head out of each doorway looking right at him as if from a horror movie. “W-what the hell is going on here!?” That’s when a horde of them began charging towards him like gremlins as they let out sadistic laughter.
Kenzu could feel himself slowly backing away before he realized what he was up against. “T-these are just gingerbread men...cookies, I'm a trained bounty hunter! Tsssk, stay back!” Gripping his sword with both hands, Kenzu brought his blade down with one abrupt slash. He watched as a fierce wave of force pierced right through the center of the horde, slicing the demonic cookies to pieces as half of them hit the floor.
“Sigh...that’s right, you pipsqueaks are nothing to a trained bounty hunter like me” The horde stopped as they circled around all the broke figures lying on the floor. That’s when they all began to pile on top of each other, there once high-pitched laughter began to become a deep-tone laughter as the small cookies merged into a 7-foot-sized gingerbread man.
“W-what the hell!? G-get back!” Sweat tripped down the bounty hunter’s face as he sent a barrage of fierce sword strikes right for the merged entity, only to watch as it’s wounds quickly healed as if it was made from soft dough, each slice slowly closing back up. “TSSSSSK!” Unable to think of a way to stop the tall laughing figure, Kenzu leapt from the railing, landing in the lobby where he rushed back into the lobby.
“Captain! We have a problem! Some gingerbread golem is upstairs and is making it’s way down here! I’ve tried cutting it to pieces, but it seems to have no effect on it!”
Azuma gave him a confused look before responding: “This isn’t like you to make jokes Kenzu, but we don’t have time for this, we need to find-” Just then the large gingerbread man smashed through the doorway staring right at them with it’s creepy red eyes and frosting smile as it continued to laugh with it’s deep voice.
“This day just gets weirder and weirder. Naiomi, Kenzu get out of the way, I'll deal with this large bastard” His crew members nodded as they ran past the large candy brute. “Alright, bring it on you candy bastard” It looked him in the eyes before charging right for him, it’s feet stomping with every step. Azuma dashed forward, throwing a punch right to his target’s face as he struck the right gumdrop eye of the creature.
It let out a deep bellow stepping back as it placed it hand to it’s eye before smacking Azuma across the room, causing him to impact one of the book frames, causing it to break as dozens of books hit the ground. “Sigh, you’re a tough bastard, aren’t you? Well, if I can’t break you...then let’s try this!”
Advancing towards his foe once more, Azuma gripped the gumdrop eyes on the gingerbread man’s face, taking them away before jumping back. (Hmmm, if this works, it won’t be able to see me anymore. Though it could’ve just been for show and I took these for nothing. But at this point, nothing would surprise me)
Closing his fist to hide the eyes, he looked up at the creature who began to let out loud cries of despair as it’s once smile turned to a frown as it proceeded to flail it’s hands around, smashing the library in an attempt to reclaim it’s gumdrop eyes.
(Hmm, if it actually does need these to see...does this mean it also has internal organs as well?) Placing the gumdrop eyes in his pocket, he snuck up on the raging monster, throwing a punch right for the creature’s back as he punched right through it’s gingerbread skin.
“Hmph!?” That’s when he realized his fist was stuck inside it’s back. “D-damn it...I-I can’t free my hand!” The gingerbread began to slowly travel up his armor as he was pulled inside the golem...
Meanwhile Kenzu and Naiomi searched the house for any sign of Roxie, only to find nothing but empty rooms. As they raced down the stairs, they came to a halt at the sight of a tall buff man with pink hair, red eyes wearing a white cloak and black pants. “Hello...I see you’re looking for something...allow me to help you both”
Before the pair could react, the figure shot his arm out right for them, his arm becoming pink taffy as his fist struck the pair across the face knocking them out...
Kenzu and Naiomi awoke chained to the wall in a large basement where they spotted the same man standing before them along with the giant gingerbread at his side. “Ah, I see you’re both awake. Welcome trespassers to my hidden lab where I bring those stupid enough to trespass on my property”
The pair struggled to free themselves from the tight chains but in the end was in vain. “Hehe, try all you like, but you all have no chance of escaping from here. I suppose you’re wondering why I bring trespassers down here...torture? Imprisonment? Or perhaps I just kill them for the fun of it? Well, you’d be wrong. The reason I've brought you all down here...is because years ago, I discovered something that would change the world...Magika crystal creation”
The pair’s eyes widened at his words. “Magika....creation? No...it’s not possible, no one can just create crystals, it takes time” Kenzu commented as both looked at him as if he were insane. He slowly walked up to them, looking the bound swordsmen dead in the eye. “You’re right, it does take time...but that’s only if they’re created naturally like plants or oxygen. How are magika crystals created? From a buildup of natural energy that then condenses into one spot until a crystal grows in that area like a tree or fruit. That’s when I realized...life itself is a natural form of energy. So I thought if I can drain the human body of it’s life energy, I then could condense their life essence and replicate the creation process of the magika crystal!”
Naiomi continued to struggle. “Just how do you expect to drain the energy from us? Something like that just sounds like a psycho’s fantasy”
“Oh really? Have you heard of spiritual energy? It’s the physical manifestation of one’s own life force that can be used to enhance one’s own capabilities as well as supernatural abilities. Allow me to demonstrate”
The pair watched as the tall gingerbread man opened it’s stomach, revealing Roxie in the center, his arms and legs bound by the thick dough of the entity. Standing before the unconscious pirate. The man placed his left palm against Roxie’s face while opening his right to reveal a gumball. “Now watch, as I siphon his spiritual life force from his very body and transfer it to this mere gumball”
“NO STOP YOU BASTARD!” The blue assassin cried out as she struggled with all her might to free herself from the chains. “Don’t worry my dear, it won’t hurt him, he’ll just grow weaker until his heart stops. Like one dying in their sleep” A purple aura began to transfer from Roxie’s face as the gumball began to emit a purple aura as well.
“Behold, thanks to my magika ability to turn myself as well as non-living things into candy, I can transfer his spiritual energy into this gumball thereby condensing natural energy into one location ergo replicating the process of crystal creation. To you both it might not make sense, but to one who’s spent years alone in these woods…one only has time to think and study. I had come to this island many years ago…back when I was a mere boy. I loved phantom Shine park, the rides, the people…but after awhile, I grew bored, I wanted to explore the rest of the island much like you. But sadly, it wasn’t long before I grew lost in the endless forest. Days soon became months as the only source of food were fruit and berries that I’d find on rare occasions. As the food grew slim, I thought I’d be finished, however…as I was struggling to survive in these woods, I saw it…a pink crystal…sticking out of the ground like a plant”
Another gingerbread man entered the room as the man continued. “ With no other option, I eat the crystal thinking it was ice. At the time I had no knowledge of magika crystals and their existence. But after awaking hours later, I realized whatever I touched would turn to candy. The grass would become cotton candy, the trees turned to lollipops. My need for food must’ve manifested that crystal to insure my survival. So as the weeks past by, I used my new magika ability to keep me alive, using the food to feed myself as well as transform the environment into my own personal wonderland. I’m sure you’re wondering how I’ve managed to stay sane after all these years…about a year into my isolation, I decided to make these gingerbread men as both guards and friends to talk to…but I soon realized, they were sentient…they could react and respond to me as if alive”
Just then the gingerbread man that had just entered suddenly crashed apart as Azuma jumped out before the assailant.
Merci pour la lecture!
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