The Island of Snow Part 5
The Seekers are Found!
Jae couldn't remember the last time he'd been this cold. The icy evening wind seemed to phase through him, chilling him to the bone and causing him to shake so hard his teeth were clattering. Still, he pressed on, following the paw prints that were slowly fading over a fresh layer of snow. After walking for hours, he felt he was finally getting closer to the girl he was searching for. He found himself extremely thankful for his exceptional sense of direction, because no matter which way he looked, the place looked exactly the same, especially in the fading sunlight. He knew one thing for certain – the house from which he'd just left was in the north. What he didn't know, however, was if he'd even want to go back.
He wasn't sure what compelled him to follow the strange wolf girl into this maze-like forest, what made him trace these footprints to wherever they were going, but he was sure that he needed to find her. To make sure she didn't get hurt, or lost. As if she were his younger sister that he needed to take care of (though he was fairly certain that she was would). He was also, for some reason, sure that she was capable of taking care of herself. So why follow?
He stopped to catch his breath, pulling his jacket tighter around his slim body, and looked around. His breath came out in puffs of white fog, fading into the icy air. His bluish eyes fell upon the pawprints again. These were fresher. He was catching up. He was about to continue onward when he heard the sound of a howl – a long, constant, high pitched note. It sounded strangely familiar to him, and he knew without a doubt, despite the responses that the howl received, that it was Faith. Without hesitation, he ran toward the source.
It didn't take him long to find the cliff, and standing at the end was not a wolf, but a girl, with curly brown hair and silver highlights, staring off into the distance, searching. "Hey, it's dangerous to stand too close to the end, Faith-san," he said gently.
Faith didn't even turn to look at him. Her sharp eyes remained scanning the ground beneath, searching for someone. Who that was, Jae couldn't be sure. Perhaps the sister she'd mentioned before. He walked toward her, his feet crunching on the snow, and put a hand on her shoulder, "Faith..."
Faith spun around as if only just realizing he was there and instinctively she pushed him back, in the process forcing herself back a step. That single step was all it took – her heel slid off the edge of the cliff and soon her entire foot followed, and she lost her balance and fell with a shriek.
And then, a strong arm wrapped around her wrist with surprising strength. Her eyes, once closed, opened and she looked up to see Ja hanging halfway off the cliff, struggling to hold her up with one arm while at the same time keeping himself from sliding. "Don't worry, you won't fall. I've got you," he promised. He started to pull, and Faith was startled that his small arm could pull her up and over the cliffside. The two sat on the snow, Faith's heart pounding from the adrenaline and Jae heaving a relieved sigh.
Jae cracked a smile, "Sorry, I didn't mean to startle you," he said, rubbing the back of his head, embarrassed, "I tried to get you into a safer place and I ended up putting you in danger,"
"It was my own fault, I wasn't paying attention. Thank you for helping me." she said, to which Jae replied, "My pleasure,"
The two fell into an awkward silence, disturbed only by the distant sound of a howling wolf. Jae turned his head to the sound, but Faith kept her eyes locked on him, "Why?" she asked. Confused, Jae looked at her and tilted his head.
"Why did you come after me?" Jae considered the question for a while. Why did he come after her? The only answer that made sense were that dog's words. About that red-head's crew. "I'm already in it! We all are." But there was another reason.
"It may sound strange..." Jae said slowly, "But even though I can't really recognize your face, something tells me that I really do know you. And that... we've been through a lot together. All of us... What that dog said. It may not make any sense, but it feels like it's right. Everyone seems distantly familiar, like some far off memory or something..."
Faith put a hand to her chest, just beneath her neck, and after doing so, she found herself confused. The only thing there was her wolf pendant, but... "You feel like something's missing," Jae said. Faith's eyes widened – had he read her mind? A Devil Fruit? When he reached for his own neck, she knew automatically that if he did have a fruit, it wasn't mind reading. She was like him. "I'm the same. I can't quite place what it is, but... there's a strange emptiness around my neck. Like there's something important that I've lost,"
Faith nodded, because although she found it difficult to understand herself, she felt the exact same way. She was about to voice this thought, but before she could get a single word out, a rustling in the trees got her attention. "Did you hear that?" She asked.
Jae's eyes followed hers and he remained completely silent as he listening. He heard it too – rustle, then the crunch of snow. Someone – or something, was coming. He stood up, walking toward Faith and pulling her to her feet as well. Both clenched their fists, prepared to fight off whatever came at them should it be a threat.
"Damn trees," A loud voice growled as a large black figure crashed through the foliage, "That's why I prefer the ocean. Wide open space, nothing to crash into but fish and mermaids..." The figure paused when spotting Faith and Jae, staring at them through dark, white-ringed eyes. It seemed to be wearing a large jacket, a snow hat, and mittens. Then, its mouth split into a razor sharp grin and he said, "Faith! Jae! You're ok! Where are the others?"
Faith and Jae, unsure of how to react to the sudden appearance of this strange Fishman, stayed on alert, "Who are you?" Jae asked, "And how do you know our names?"
Gonzo's smile faded quickly and he tilted his head, staring dumbfounded from Jae to Faith. "You're kidding, right?"
Zugai was standing outside the bedroom door, one hand raised, poised to knock. The parents had left the house to go to work, and Blue, Raya, and Kai were nowhere to be found. Still, it was safest to knock. Distract them in any way you can. Keep them busy or something, and I'll go in there and take a look around. Chris had told him. He heaved a sigh. Logically speaking, it was a good plan – Chris was smaller then he was and most definitely stealthier. And if it was one thing that sneaking into a room required, it was stealth.
He was just about to knock when suddenly, the door opened, revealing a very startled and confused Blue holding Raya's hand. Zugai stared at them, at a loss for words for a brief moment, then, he said, "Oh, hi. Sorry, did I interrupt something?" he asked.
Raya smiled. "No, of course not," she said, "Blue and I were just going to go get a snack from the kitchen! Right big brother?"
Big brother? Zugai looked at Blue, confused and a bit shocked by the choice in words. Blue smiled and nodded, "Yeah, that's right," he agreed cheerfully. He looked at Zugai, "Would you like some?"
Distract them… Zugai put on a smile and nodded. "Yeah, sounds great," he said finally. He followed the pair down the hallway and into the kitchen. He's being strange…Zugai thought, watching Blue with his one visible eyes. He's acting as if nothing is wrong. What did this girl do to him?
As soon as Chris heard the door to the bedroom close, she opened the door where she was hiding – the bathroom, and walked toward it. She tried the doorknob – locked as expected, but she made quick work of that with a safety pin. After only a few seconds, the door clicked and creaked open slowly. She slipped in, closing it quietly behind her, and then snuck over to the trap door.
"Alright, girly… let's see what you're hiding," Chris said, pulling open the door. She looked around again, to make sure she wasn't being watched, and then she lowered herself down the ladder, letting the trap door close above her.
The room was smaller then Chris thought, about the size of half of the girl's room, but lining the walls were shelves, filled with boxes of what appeared to be junk. In the center, there was a single chair, and beside it a table with a lit oil lantern, casting a glow around the room. There were some peculiar objects down here – leaning against a wall, she saw what looked like a giant white axe, and near it, there was a smaller white sword. But what really caught her attention was a shimmer of silver in a box beside the weapons caused by the oil lamp. She quickly ran toward it and looked in. Three daggers were in there – one shaped like a crescent, the second one straight with a black handle, hidden in a black sheath, the last one her familiar Double-Sided dagger.
"Yes!" She exclaimed, reaching into the box and taking the dagger gently. She held it in one hand, but something still wasn't right. There was still something missing… She looked into the box again to the other dagger. It was definitely nice…
She took it out of the box and gazed at the curve with interest. Then, suddenly, she felt a wave of pain rush through her shoulders and bit her lip to hold back the scream as she dropped to her knees, holding her head with eyes closed.
A test… stealing the dagger… Nikolai… the Blue Lightning Pirates… Pain. The memory rushed her like a bull, its horns hitting her full force in the gut, but when the pain was over, she opened her eyes. The memory faded into nothing more then what it was – a memory.
She stared at the dagger in her hand, shocked. "How… how did I forget something like that…?" She asked herself. She stood up shakily – the pain was completely gone, but part of her was worried it'd come back. She put the dagger's sheath back onto her belt and hid the Crescent Dagger safely in her hat once again before she searched another box right beside the first, which she now emptied, and found something vaguely familiar – silver lockets, shined to perfection, with initials written on them. She reached in and took one – C.H. engraved in elegant script.
This time, the memories hit her twice as hard; bombarding her mind. She found herself frozen, eyes wide, as the chronicle of their travels returned to her. Sneaking away from home. The memories of her crew. Recruiting Zugai, Gonzo, Jae, Aya, Faith, Blue, Aven, Teriuz, and finally David. Falling off the Cliffside, running from giant rabbits. And finally violet eyes. The last thing she remembered before waking up in this house.
"She stole our memories…" Chris said to herself slowly, "The Seekers… Everyone will remember if they get this!" She grabbed the box and turned, shocked when she suddenly crashed into the solid form of Kai.
The boy didn't even hesitate to act. He grabbed Chris's shoulder and with surprising force pushed her down onto her back on the floor, where he pinned her, one hand holding her wrists together above her head, the other gripping her throat. He had both of her legs pinned with only one of his, and no matter how hard Chris fought to pull free, she couldn't. The box of Seekers was lying tipped on the floor, the lockets spilled over the wooden floor.
"Why are you down here?" Kai demanded quietly. Chris stared him square in the eyes, her gaze never once faltering.
"I'm saving my crew from a life of boredom on this crappy island," She said firmly, "And you're getting in my way," She tried again to pull her hands free, but Kai simply pressed harder. He doesn't even look like he's trying but I still can't pull free. So strong… she thought to herself.
"You shouldn't have come snooping," Kai said firmly, tightening his grip around her throat. She winced slightly. "I was given orders to eliminate you if you did. I don't want to have to kill you, Chris,"
Maybe I can talk my way through this… Chris thought to herself. "Then don't," She said. Great start. That's going to work… she thought sarcastically. "Listen, Kai, have you ever bothered to look around in here?"
Kai's stony expression faltered briefly and with it, so did his grip. "Raya prohibits it,"
"Aren't you supposed to be the older brother?" Chris asked, "Seems strange that you do what she tells you to do, doesn't it? Kai, you know she has a Devil Fruit power,"
"So what?" Kai asked.
"You don't honestly believe that she hasn't used it on you, do you?" Chris continued, "She can erase memories, implant memories. I don't know what else she can do, but she obviously did it to you,"
"Stop messing with my head!" Kai growled. He shook his head and covered his ears with his hands, releasing Chris's wrists."You're trying to turn me against her, I know it! She's my sister! She wouldn't use the fruit on me without my knowledge! You don't know why she's doing this! You don't know anything!"
Gotcha! Chris thought to herself. She reached for her double-sided dagger and slashed the larger blade at Kai's chest. She felt the familiar pressure of the tearing of skin, then a warm wetness of blood dripping from the wound onto her hands and face. The speed and suddenness of the blow caused Kai to jump to his feet, staggering back, and Chris pushed herself to her feet.
"Ganjou-sentou!" Kai shouted. He seemed to have recovered, because his fist suddenly slammed into Chris's chest with crushing force, sending her flying back into the shelves. She hit it with a loud clatter of rattling objects and cracking shelves and then, the entire structure of the shelf collapsed, burying her beneath a mountain of forgotten relics.
Kai was standing where Chris once was, his fist still extended, blue eyes harsh. He lowered his hand and walked toward the junk as Chris began to pull herself out.
The crash was heard even upstairs in the kitchen, where Blue, Zugaia, and Raya were seated, eating cake and drinking juice on Raya's suggestion. The peaceful atmosphere faded, however, when they heard the crash. Zugai felt his entire body tense as Raya tured her gaze to the hallway, her violet eyes narrowed. She stood up immediately from her chair and started running out of the kitchen, Blue right behind her. They were intercepted at the kitchen entryway by what seemed to be four knives shooting by in front of them, embedding themselves into the doorframe.
Raya stared at them and upon closer inspection, she realized that they weren't knives, but bones. "Sorry," Zugai said, "But I can't let you go any further then that." His left hand was behind his back, but should one see it, they'd notice that his fingers were no longer supported by his bones, becoming nothing more then skin and muscle hanging off his much more solid hand.
Raya turned her head to look at him with such venom that Zugai felt his entire spine shiver. To see a child with such an expression was actually frightening, but he pushed that thought aside and clenched his one good fist.
"Brother... this boy is scaring me," she said suddenly, her eyes glowing purple. She held a hand out, directly in front of Blue's face, and some strange silver light slid from it, slipping into Blue's head. "Please, can you get rid of him for me?"
Zugai's eyes narrowed. Wait a minute... that light... However, before he could delve deeper into the mystery, Blue stepped forward, suddenly furious. "You... you're the one who killed our parents. I remember now," he growled, pulling his shotgun into his hands. Zugai blinked, confused.
"What? What are you talking about?" he asked. "I haven't killed anyone..." He was interrupted by a sudden burst of pain as an explosive bullet slammed into his chest with enough force to send him flying back into the kitchen cabinet. The glass on the doors shattered around him with the china, adding to the noise echoing throughout the kitchen. He crumpled to the floor, dazed.
Zugai put a hand to his chest, rubbing the spot where the bullet had hit with obvious distaste, "Ouch..." He grumbled, rising to his feet and dusting the stray glass of his already frayed sweater. The bullet had added an additional hole to the front, but he seemed to not mind, "That was really unnecessary," he pointed out.
Then, he spotted Raya, quickly making her way out of the kitchen. "Hold it!" he shouted. He made to go after her, but the crack of a gun alerted him of another bullet and he lightened his bones to make a quick attempt at a dodge. However, despite his efforts, he felt the bullet, a normal shotgun round, clip him in the arm, drawing blood. He instinctively pressed a hand to the new wound with a hiss of pain as he let his bones return to their natural density.
Of course. As a marksman of the Crescent Dagger Pirates, I'd expect no less. He thought to himself. However, he found himself confused as to why he thought it in the first place. When he looked back to the kitchen entryway, Raya was gone. With a frustrated sigh, he scratched the back of his head, "So much for distracting..." he muttered. He placed two fingers into his mouth and blew out, whistling a loud, solid note. Blue stared at him, confused, and lowered the gun slightly.
There was a loud sound like some sort of chainsaw against the wooden floor of the kitchen and Blue spun around in time to see what looked like a rolling buzzsaw spinning toward him. He reduced his solidity to nothing more then air, allowing the object to pass straight through him. It seemed to elongate upon missing its target, returning to the normal shape that was David, the hair on his back still glistening like a saw blade before returning to normal.
Zugai took the opportunity to run to the doorway, pressing his hand against the bones sticking out of the wall, letting his muscles and skin reattach to it and back to his hand. He opened and closed his fist experimentally a few times before turing to David and the re-appearing Blue, "Sorry to push this on you," he said to the dog, "But I'm not sure how our red-headed friend will fare against two opponents. Can you hold him off?"
David stared at Blue, his dark eyes narrowing as he bared his razor sharp teeth. His hackles rose, beginning to glisten again as they adapted the steel quality of a saw and Zugai smiled. "I'll take that as a yes," he said, turning away and running down the hallway. "Be careful!"
Blue was about to go after him, but David was quick to place himself in the way, growling. The dark-skinned man stared at him, his blue eyes narrowing slightly behind his sunglasses, "You're in my way," he said, returning the shotgun to its place on his back before drawing his revolvers and spinning them on his fingers, "But if you want to help the man who killed my parents, I'll let you accompany him to hell,"
A/N: Yes! I'm still alive! I've had absolutely NO inspiration to write this story, but I'm trying to get it back. The work I had to do for my high school's musical got really intense around my last update, but since then I've completed that show (in June), I've graduated High school (two weeks after) and I don't have to worry about any placement tests for college since it's all done (About a month ago). After that, it was mostly a problem of inspiration... Now all I have to worry about is getting into classes, but I'll deal with that the first day of class since it's impossible to get into schools... with me luck! Now, a special treat: The results of that poll I promised you!
Pirates! Crescent Dagger Popularity Contest Results
1st Place: A tie between Captain and First mate: Chris and Zugai with a total of 10 votes each!
2nd Place: Yet another tie between our favorite chef and navigator: Gonzo and Jae with a total of 6 votes each!
3rd Place: David with a total of 5 votes! Congratulations to our newest Member!
Fourth place was Faith with a total of 4 votes, followed by a three-way tie for fifth place between Aya, Blue, and Aven with 2 votes each. Teriuz was unfortunately in sixth place with one vote, but don't be discouraged!
Next poll? Favorite Blue Lightning Pirates! Vote on my profile ladies and gents! Also, tell me this next question in your reviews (IMPORTANT!): How many of you guys would like to see a little 'arc' about all of the Crescent Dagger's backgrounds: in full, like I did with the Blue Lightning pirates?
Thanks for the patience, everyone. I'll try my best to get my muse working for me!