Hoo boy. Sorry for the long delay folks. Internship has been rather crazy these past few weeks and I've been working overtime quite a lot. Hopefully by the end of next month, things would go more smoothly. Otherwise, I'll probably be releasing another chapter after another long delay.
I do hope you can forgive me for this.
In any case, enough about my ranting and let's get this show on the road. If you've managed to spot some mistake or would like to clarify some things, do drop a comment or review about it and I'll see if I can fix it. Since it's been a while from my last chapter and the inconsistent writing time I have, I'm willing to bet there may be more errors in here than when I first thought of. Please do tell me when you spot these things.
With that out of the way, I hope you enjoy this chapter. I had a bit of fun making this chapter, with all the cheesy lines and whatnot you may or may not see.
I'll see you guys next time! Ciao!
"Alright...Just stay calm. No need to be so dramatic. Just...go in with a smile" Mike muttered to himself as he stood over by the walkway near the carpark of the restaurant.
It has been a few days after Mike had been able to walk. And while Priscilla insisted for him to rest for a couple more days, Mike knew it wouldn't do him any good. His mind was still endlessly thinking of what the other girls were doing in his absence. Not to mention that their minds were probably still on him. At the very least, he should help to ease their worries.
But, considering that his childhood friend was with him right now, with her arms firmly linked around his, anything he'd do would be on constant watch. It didn't take a detective for him to figure out that she absolutely despises them. In fact, her harsh words that was endlessly thrown around back when we was still sprucing himself up was a clear enough indication of it.
"I'm telling you, you don't have to go back there! We could go back to your home and relax! Your body still needs it you know?!" Priscilla nearly screamed into Mike's ear, eliciting a small yet awkward smile from him as he could see the various pitiful stares they were earning from the corner of his eyes.
"I know, I know Pris" Mike tried to hush her by using the nickname he made back when they were young. "I'm just worried, alright? Call me a wuss or whatever, but I'm still worried about how they might be acting ever since...you know what"
Priscilla glared as she tightened the grip around his arm. She muttered something under her breath before looking away with a huff.
Mike sighed. It was no use talking to this girl. Once she set her sights on something, it's practically impossible to stop her. And here he was hoping that he could at least try to help resolve the tension between the two parties. But with one side not wanting to listen at all, it was nothing but a pipe dream at this point.
Adjusting the light purple jacket Mike was wearing, he tugged Priscilla along towards their destination. Silence was all that was left after their conversation, with the lady herself not wanting to look at the oncoming building in any way possible. She hated the girls, or perhaps the franchise, that much.
As they drew closer, Mike pulled up his hoodie. It was long enough to cover the upper part of his face, good enough to conceal himself. For Priscilla however, it was a much more elegant manner. Rather than some hoodie like Mike, Priscilla procured a porcelain mask just large enough to cover her most of her face aside her mouth. Mike himself had no idea how she managed to bring such a thing, considering that the dress she was currently wearing had no visible pockets.
In fact, now that he thought about it, this was sure to bring attention to anyone that would spot the duo together. A man in a purple hoodie and a dolled up lady with a mask. Something no one would imagine to find in a family restaurant that was for sure.
"Alright listen for a moment, okay? I want us to stay near each other but not together" Mike calmly said as he faced Priscilla. He had to crane upwards a bit just to fully see her face. "We'll definitely cause a scene as some weirdos purely from how we look"
Priscilla sighed. "...If I must. I'll stand away from you but close enough for me to see you" She repeated his instructions with a hesitant voice.
Mike smiled a little. At least she was willing to listen to some of his demands.
As the duo entered the building, the lady by the desk greeted them as how one would usually. However, Mike managed to spot a slight discomfort in her movement. Despite this, she was still professional in handling their request of wanting to enter.
They thanked her and proceeded on to the two large doors, heading towards the main hall. Many other people were walking by. Mostly families who were bringing their kids to have a good time. However, they all had the common look of confusion as their eyes seemed to focus onto Mike and Priscilla. It was most likely due to Priscilla herself, but he had feeling he shared this common trait too.
The two doors that was blocking their path into the main hall was just within reach. Underneath his hood, Mike couldn't help but swallow some spit. He was nervous. Very much so.
"Hey" Mike heard Priscilla's voice call out to him. As he turned to look at her once again, he was met with a force against his face as his vision suddenly turned black.
"H-Hey what gives!?" Mike yelled as he removed the thing that was wrapping around his face. His sudden anger from being hit was immediately replaced with confusion as he eyed the thing that was in his hands now.
It was another porcelain mask. This time, instead of being pearl white in coloration with gold branch-like design, much like Priscilla's it was more plain. The only eye catching thing about it was the yin-yang color scheme and the large smile that accompanied it. It was, in his eyes, a very strange mask.
"People always wear masks when confronting others, all of which for different reasons" Priscilla cryptically spoke as she walked on ahead. But before she reached the door, she turned around, revealing a small smile plastered onto her face. "Wear it. Hide that nervousness that's ever so obvious on your face. At the very least, it'll also help to conceal your identity, no?"
Mike stood silent for a moment, eyeing the mask and his friend in quick succession multiple times. She did bring up a good point. He bit his lip for a moment before sighing. Might as well do so, it would probably be a once in a lifetime sort of situation.
As he wore the object snugly around his face, Priscilla smiled yet again. "See, that wasn't so hard now, right?" She taunted him a little before chuckling for a moment. "I'll head on in first to draw their attention. Just make sure you stick to your word, alright?"
And with that last, rhetorical question, Priscilla entered the main hall, leaving Mike alone with his thoughts in the hallway. Aside from the rare passerby, Mike stood there for a good moment before steeling himself. It was his idea of wanting to come to the place, after all. He should stick to it till the end.
Slowly walking up, a suddenly blast of cheers and laughter assaulted his ears, bringing a smile to his face. It felt weird hearing it after his temporary confinement but it wasn't unpleasant.
Placing a hand against the door, Mike took a deep breath and exhaled, calming his pounding heart even by a little. Once he felt that he was good, Mike pushed onto the door and let the myriad of sight, smell and sound take over his body. The show was about to begin after all.
In more ways than one.
"Take one more step an' the fair maiden be swimmin with the sharks!" Foxy exclaimed with a sinister grin, fully displaying her sharp canines. "Surrender now I'll make sure ta chop ye quick and clean!". Foxy taunted the lady that was facing her with her weapon; a cutlass that was shining in hand, shining devilishly in the limelight.
The lady in question was none other than Julie Rose, the head of the restaurant. Clad in an old Sea Admiral-like attire, Julie gritted her teeth and took a step back, causing the floor to squeak a little from the pressure against her boots. In her hand was a simple single-handed sword that had a hand guard at the top and around the grip, although judging from the thin scratches it looked worst for ware.
"Kuh...Curse you Pirates. I swear on behalf of the royal crown, I will cease your meddling" Julie spat, her eyes brimming with hate. Yet while this was the case, Foxy continued to grin.
This was far too amusing for a saltwater bandit like her, seeing how she was quite beaten up right now. Foxy was certain she had the upper hand here. All of Julie's cards were laid for all to see while she still had an ace up her sleeve. This was far too perfect of an opportunity.
"Ho ho! Brave words from a third class Admiral such as yerself!" Foxy boomed with gusto. She adjusted the jacket that was wrapped around her body; a finely made piece of clothing that she had 'bargained' for during her years of sailing. It fit snugly around her while covering her chest area that was mainly open.
"Come!" The Fox pirate taunted yet again, stomping her thigh-high boots against the floor in an extravagant manner. "I'd like ta see what you can do!"
With a loud roar from both parties, they ran up to each other and collided their blades, sending sparks across the air. Foxy struck with loud and powerful swings, putting emphasis onto the strength that she carried behind her. And while Julie didn't swing all that hard, she was surprisingly nimble in handling the sword that she so desperately clung to. But while the fight was raging on, a lone maiden was tied up against the ship's steering wheel; gagged and fearful for her life.
As the clash continued on, the young maiden tried her best to force herself free. But it was for naught as the tyrannical Foxy had made sure that the ropes were secure. All she could do was hope that her Admiral would be come on top.
A loud crash had caught her attention and as the maiden set her eyes towards what made it, she silently gasped under her gag. The once strong and courageous Admiral of the Royal Knights was nothing but a mess filled with cuts and blood all around her body. She was still forcing herself to stand up against Foxy, but the maiden knew she wouldn't last any longer.
"Hahahah! Not bad for a third rate Admiral, I'd say!" Foxy laughed as her animalistic grin returned. "However it's still not enough! It's been a pleasure meetin' ya, Admiral Julie! But I win this fight!".
"S-Stand...down...you monster..." Julie managed to heave out, breathing in and out heavily. Her body was slightly shaking from how tired she felt but more so because she couldn't stand the pain any longer.
Foxy took a step closer and gripped the dull end of her blade with her index finger and thumb, seemingly excited for what was to happen. "Now now~ This won't hurt" She chuckled, cleaning off the blood that stained her sword.
"Well, at least I think it won't"
Julie collapsed as her legs gave way. She was too tired to do anything now. All that was left was to resign to her fate. She lost, after all. She couldn't protect the Princess. And because of her, she was going to pay the price.
She closed her eyes and waited for the moment to come. Time seemed to slow down as everything around her grew darker and darker. She knew was going to happen. She had seen this fate multiple times. And she hoped that she could have done something to prevent it. But alas, no mere human could go against fate.
So she waited. And waited. And waited.
...Until she heard something should be possible.
As the curtains of the stage was about to close, drawing the fight and a certain Admiral's death to a close, a loud crash of steel echoed through the entire hall. The curtains themselves were almost fully closed except for a small gap in between. The lights were all dimmed down with only one set of stage lights focusing intently on the stage.
Everyone was whispering to one another, wondering what was happening. Was the event over? Was there more to this than they had once imagined?
And while all the customers were thinking of this, the curtains slowly opened, revealing to everyone that there was a third party involved.
"Stand back, you knave" The lone cloaked figure threatened, pointing the sabre in his hands towards Foxy.
Foxy, who was stunned, briefly looked behind the man to find Julie in the same situation as her; panicking and in disarray. Through silent words, it seemed that not even she knew what this was about. But this silence was going far from enough and Foxy wasn't one who would stop at such a situation. In fact, this could spice up the script by quite a good amount.
Foxy back-flipped, kicking the sabre away from her throat. As she flew through the air, she twirled and twisted around before elegantly landing back down beside where her cutlass was situated; right beside Freya. And judging from the look in her eyes, this fine young maiden had no idea what the heck was going on.
Foxy bent down as to grab her sword, but what she wanted to really do was to reassure Freya who was silently freaking out just by the look on her face. With a few whispers overshadowed by her grandiose manner of sword retrieval, she managed to calm her down while making it seem natural.
"Hahaha! And who might ye be, oh fair cloaked friend o' mine?" Foxy asked. As much as she seemed to be having fun, she still had no idea who this person might be. He definitely wasn't part of the script, that was for certain.
The cloaked man retracted his arm away from Foxy before pulling up his hoodie, revealing the strange looking mask he was wearing. That, alongside his black shirt and pants, made for a rather combination. Yet it gave off a strong sense of mysteriousness to him. It wasn't surprising when Foxy found some of the kids looking at the masked individual with awe. If it weren't for the serious atmosphere, she would have laughed more on the spot.
Still, Foxy only really knew one person who would be willing to do something this ballsy of a move. But since he's probably still bedridden from his injuries, she striked off his name from her head.
"We are one who knows everything. Ever lurking in the shadows. Working behind the scenes" The masked man cryptically spoke, lifting the blade up and placing it's dull end onto his mask. He did a small salute with his sword before he lowered it once again. "I am known by many names. But within the company of the Princess, you may call me Garde"
As the masked man bowed, Foxy looked confused briefly. Garde? She was certain that name came up somewhere. But where? She shook her head. No matter. She'll just have to figure it out sooner or later. For now, there was a show that needs to be run.
"Hah! A Royal Assassin, perhaps? No matter! You're no match fer the almighty Foxy!" Foxy boomed yet again, boasting incredibly as a villain normally should.
Garde prepared to strike until he felt a tug by his leg. Looking down, Julie was giving him a serious look through the pain. "Run. You're no match for someone like her" Julie admitted as she coughed and wheezed from the pain she was facing.
He gave her a look. Even though said mask was obscuring what he might be feeling underneath, his words the next few moments were enough to convince the Admiral.
"Tis fine. The Templars know no fear against such an adversary, for our bladework is supreme" He answered, completely unfazed by Julie's words of warning. He stood there like a mountain, unmoving with his silent gaze fixated onto the pirate fox.
"Heh. The Templars, ye say? Never heard o' it before. The King and Queen must 'ave spent a great deal keepin you guys from becoming public" Foxy commented with a sneer, leaning in close for a moment. Her body was poised in a way that it looked like she was about to strike at any given time. And judging from the grip on her blade, she was ready to kill. "But sadly, I have an appointment made with a client who wants the Princess alive"
She grinned before grabbing Freya by the waist and leaping back onto a tall platform. From audience's point of view, it looked like she was at the very tip of the bow of the ship, her boots forming a perfect 'V' in alignment with the wooden railing. But in actuality, the railing Foxy was on top of was more of a box that was perfectly hidden from sight. This was, of course, to prevent any real injuries.
Even Julie's wounds and blood were all fake, despite it looking very real. They have, after all, spent many hours practicing to make things perfect before the whole confusion.
"Everyone! See to it that this man gets dispatched! And as for you, dear friend..." Foxy exclaimed, catching everyone's attention before lowering her voice once more. "Let us clash again some other time. Farewell for now!"
With a loud, echoing laugh, Foxy tipped both her and Freya over the railing and down onto the 'water' below. A soft thud could be heard afterwards, making Garde's move around in a sort of panicked way as he tried to give chase. But despite that, their figures could be seen slowly disappearing over the distance, with said distance being further and further into the stage.
Garde gave a 'Tsk' in frustration as clenched his hand into a tight fist. "Curses...She escaped..." He sadly commented, eyeing the two of them make their getaway on a rowboat. He sheathed his blade, sighing in exasperation. "At this rate, even if we did find another boat, we'll never catch up to them"
Without noticing, Julie slowly pushed herself back up onto her feet and sheathed her sword, shuffling towards Garde. She placed a hand gingerly on his shoulder to catch his attention, to which he immediately looked back. "Nevermind...them. For now...we have to run" She heaved for a moment, using her other hand to press against her exposed chest. "Her crew...is going after us soon"
"Too late!" A squeaky voice sounded out, catching the their attention.
As they turned around to find out the culprit, they had suddenly found themselves surrounded by a what appeared to be a sea of tiny pirates. They all looked to be around a combined height of a leg and a half and were armed to the teeth with various small knives, daggers and other sharp objects. Some of them had used what appeared to be a wine barrel lid as a shield while others had small flintlock pistols holstered onto their pants.
"Wha-!" Garde exclaimed in surprise for many reasons. However, just their sheer number was one of them. Size didn't matter if one had to fight an entire shipful of them. With weapons no less. "How did they-?!"
"N-No time...! We have to move! F-Fast!" Julie urged as she pulled him along towards one of the walkways that lead downwards. "I know...of an escape...But we have to...go down for a second" Julie gritted her teeth. The pain seemed unbearable from her looks alone, but she had to endure it. "They have...to have some documents down there. We could use it...to help us track the Princess"
Garde nodded. Indeed, that would be a wise decision if they were to follow Foxy in the near future. But considering the soft but rising commotion, they would have to act fast.
While helping up Julie, the duo had managed to reach a large wooden door. With an ominous looking sign and Foxy's name carved underneath it, this must have been her quarters. Or perhaps he office.
"Q-Quickly...Inside...!" Julie tugged on the man's shoulder as the two hurriedly ran inside. With a few coughs and a couple of deep breaths, Julie went straight to the desk that sat right in front of them.
As she rummaged through the piles and stacks of paper and maps, Garde propped himself against the door to help prevent any form of barge in. Feeling that it might be safe, he briefly looked around. The room was surprisingly neat and carried various items, all of which must have been plundered from her various raids. Statues, wooden figures, freakish books, guns and various swords were all on display.
"I found it! Alright...now we can finally le-" Julie explained before being silenced by a loud crashing sound that came from the door. The man seemed to be doing his to prevent any entry by pushing onto the door, but it looked like he was starting to get overwhelmed. "D-Drat...They found us"
"So. Mind telling me where might our escape be?" The man politely asked despite the dangerous situation. The reply he earned was one of concern and hurt. "Ah. Is that the case?" He asked, seemingly able to understand her silence.
"We'll have to fight our way through this one. I-I think I can...still manage" Julie responded as she drew her sword, clutching the left side of her waist. "There should be more rowboats that we can use to escape. But they're-"
"At the place where we were at, yes?" The man asked, to which Julie sheepishly nodded. "If we must fight, then fear not. I'll be sure to make quick work of them".
He stood aside, causing the door to nearly topple down from the sheer force of Foxy's crew. But before it was able to do so, he took his blade and readied himself. "On my mark, I want you to break the frame. I'll clear us a way. Just make sure to keep up"
Julie nodded before clutching her sword in both hands, waiting for his signal. Time slowed down for a brief period, but it helped take her mind off the pain. Her eyes carefully watched his gloved hands as it slowly but surely gave the command. In a quick burst, Julie shot forth and sliced the hinges off the frame. The sudden action caused the door to finally give way, making the crew members spill forth into the room.
But that was of no concern for the masked man as he immediately swung his blade towards them with no remorse. Seeing that the initial group were now fully dead, the man then ran forward towards the corridor filled with armed pirates, giving them all a good clean slice to the chest. Blood splurted out, dying the walls and floor almost completely crimson.
This went on for a while. The man slashing and cutting his way through swaths of enemies while Julie covered their rear. It was hard, considering the number they were facing. But eventually, they managed to reach the surface where even more of the ship's crew were lying in wait.
"Gah! There's more of them than before!" The man exclaimed as he eyed the number. It almost looked as though the digits have double. Or even worse; trippled.
It was that bad.
"Where's that lady when you need her?!" He yelled in frustration as he turned to look around.
Just then, from amongst the sea of customers who were watching with bated breaths, a loud cry of laughter erupted. Everyone's eyes turned to see where it came from. But before they were about to do so, a figure jumped out and landed on top of one of the many round tables. The family who were minding their business had gotten a fright, leaping from their seats.
As the family momentarily locked their eyes onto the figure, it was already gone as quickly as it came, now making its way towards the center stage at lightning speed. It weaved its way in and out of the crowd, dodging every waiter and waitress that blocked its way. And with a final step onto an empty chain, the figure leaped into the air.
Time slowed down for a brief moment as everyone looked at the flying figure. A slim body figure. Long flowing hair that was fluttering about. An almost black colored, frilly dress along with a grey stripped jacket. And with a loud thump that signaled its arrival onto the stage, the figure turned around so that their face was towards the crowd. A mask greeted every eye that was looking at their direction. It covered almost all aspects of ones face except for their mouth.
"Did someone call~?" Its clearly feminine voice echoed throughout the hall in a sing-song manner.
Garde grinned for a moment, perhaps finally happy that his accomplice was with him at last. "Where in good Heavens were you?! We could use a bit of help here, if you don't mind!" He exclaimed. The lady did not move, instead just standing on the tip of her boots on top of a pile of wooden boxes.
The hall stayed quiet for a good moment or two before the masked lady reached into her leather jacket. She procured out a small knife of sorts, embedded with a gemstone on its grip. She turned to look at her companion before grinning, fanning out rest of the knifes that were seemingly hidden. "I thought you'd never ask"
With a flick of her wrist and a leap into the air, the masked lady bombarded the whole deck of the ship with knives, causing the crew members on board to move around in panic. Taking advantage of the newfound chaos, Garde quickly asked Julie as to where their escape boat might be. A quick finger point gave him a new reason to start slashing their way towards the new destination.
While the duo were making a run for it, the masked lady continued her havoc against the hapless crew members. They all tried desperate to gang up on her but to no avail. Her movement was too sporadic as she would continue to take small leaps and jumps to evade their sword swings or gun shots. It was as if she was dancing about gracefully in the battlefield.
The crowd was especially in awe of this spectacle. They would occasionally cheer and clap whenever she would majestically land unscathed and gasp loudly at every clean knife throw she did. Just who was she anyways? First was this masked man who interrupted an obvious climax. And now there was this masked lady who showed great finesse in the form of blade throw.
"Hey! Let's go!" A loud shout had earned everyone's attention. And with it, a gigantic leap backwards from the masked lady.
As she hopped and twirled about backwards, a sudden splash was heard, signalling that their escape was ready. Garde was ready in place as the small boat's 'engine', clutching onto the rows tightly. As much as happy that his companion was having fun, they really had to go now.
With one final leap, the masked lady had landed on top of the wooden railing; poised and with a huge smile on her face. "Au Revoir, Mon Amie!" She exclaimed while waving her hand happily. After that, once positioned in a 'T' pose, she slowly leaned herself backwards, causing gravity to pull her down rapidly.
The crowd gasped loudly once more as they saw her body falling down fast. But at the last minute, as if expecting it, Garde caught her in his arms. The small boat shook violently, nearly causing Julie and the two masked individuals to topple over.
"Goodness...You never change, now do you?" The man asked with an obvious annoyance to his voice. His companion merely giggled as she slowly got off of his arms.
"Hehe! With you? Never!" She admitted with a bright and cheerful vibe, causing Julie to chuckle a little.
"Ahaha...You have some good friends, Sir Garde" Julie momentarily smiled as she was suddenly hit with a surge of pain on her chest once more. "Nghh...! It hurts a lot...But I'll live. We have to make haste if we're to catch up to Foxy"
The masked lady laughed before sitting next to Julie. It was a tight squeeze, considering the boat meant for two people, but the two females made do with what little space there was. "We'll be fine! I guarantee we'll find a way!" She said in a reassuring manner, patting her on the back.
"Now, let's go! Onward, Garde!" The masked lady exclaimed with a grin, pointing towards the horizon where the sun was setting.
Garde sighed before submitting to his fate. Their journey was going to be a tough one. And with her attitude, it would only get even harder from here on.
As the boat slowly inched its way further and further from crowd's view, the curtains began to draw, with a final laugh echoing inside once the curtains had fully closed. A small moment passed by in eerie silence. However, it had shattered against the ear deafening claps and whistle blows that followed suit. The crowd went wild with their cheering, not stopping in the slightest.
And with that, the show had finally come to a close.