"Beauty of Deceit"

A One Piece Gaiden - Kalifa Side Story

by Aoikami Sarah

"The applicants are ready, sir," a man in a black suit said, saluting. The man he addressed sat behind a desk and pulled on a pair of gloves over scarred hands.

"Excellent," he said and stood. "Let's see what these newbies can do!" To his left an elephant trumpeted. "Come, Funk Freed!" he called to his weapon and it jumped. The man in the suit jumped, too, having never seen an elephant leap into the air quite like that before. Just before he would have fainted, the elephant transformed into a sword and landed in its master's hand. Director Spandam grinned and the leather straps that braced his ruined face creaked. "To the courtyard!" he ordered, pointing the sword toward the door.

Outside, lined up against a wall were a group of prisoners in black-and-white striped outfits who squinted in the bright sunlight. No natural light ever reached the depths of Enies Lobby's deepest darkest dungeon, Impel Down. Across from these hardened criminals were several people dressed in all black.

"You lucky bastards have been brought out of your cells for a special occasion!" Spandam announced. "You will each fight one of our applicants. If you are defeated you will go back to your cell for the rest of your miserable lives. If you win, you will be given a chance to escape." There was a general dark muttering from the line of prisoners. "First applicant," he read from a list his subordinate handed him. "Rob Lucky."

"It's pronounced 'Loochy,'" Lucci muttered as he took his place in the middle of the court yard. The fight was brief. His Zoan-type Akuma no Mi ability impressed just about everyone present. One by one, all of the 20 applicants were called forward. Lastly, Spandam called "Kalifa," and there was again muttering from the crowd. The only woman in the group stepped forward and pushed her glasses up her nose.

"Yes," she answered. Her opponent ogled her then transformed, his body doubling in size and two large horns growing out of his forehead. "Ah, Akuma no Mi, Zoan-type, model sheep."

"I'm a Goat!" he shouted.

"Of course you are," she purred and sauntered toward him. "Let's go some place quiet together, shall we?" She held a whip studded with barbs behind her back.

The goat-man raised a brow and licked his lips. "Yeah, come over here sweet thing and I'll…" He didn't get to finish the undoubtedly lewd sentence. The whip lashed out faster than he could react to and wrapped around his waist.

"Soru, Rankyaku," Kalifa said calmly and in the blink of an eye pulled the prisoner toward her and kicked him several times in the chest. "That's sexual harassment," she said as he hit the ground and transformed back into a man. He didn't move. Kalifa looked up to the director who laughed out loud.

"That's superb! Pass!" he called down from the safety of a third story balcony. The new recruit bowed and took her place next to the others.

When the contests were done and the losing applicants had been escorted out of the courtyard, Spandam addressed the group. "You seven have passed the last test," he said with an air of superiority. "Your training in Rokushiki is complete. Welcome to Cipher Pol 9." His well-patched face grinned sickly as he cast his eyes on the three prisoners who had managed to defeat their government opponents. "You three. Go a head and try to escape."

They exchanged confused looks before turning and running in the opposite direction. Spandam gleefully ordered his new recruits to take them out.

"You said you'd let us free if we defeated them!" one of the doomed inmates cried as Kaku raised one of his swords to him.

"I said I'd give you a chance," Spandam purred.

More to come…