"Hm… the place is deserted, it seems." After leaving Vraspos and Tenpan to deal with Sihiri's two henchmen, Morte had entered the tower, letting him see the spiralling staircase leading up towards the top of the tower. "Well, better start climbing!" he said, before morphing into his full-animal form, rushing up the stairs with incredible speed, which, given the tower's absurd height, was a good thing.

hm… I do wonder how Sihiri performs in battle… he thought, as he rushed up the stairs as quickly as his legs could carry him. …come to think of it… this whole thing does sound a bit suspicious, when I narrow down the facts… As he was thinking about this, he closed his eyes, still running up the spiralling staircase.

"Hey… you a bounty hunter, by any shanshe?" In a bar, Morte was sitting right next to a cloaked, drunken old man, who eyed him with interest.

"…yes, I am." Morte replied, as he looked at the drunk with a raised eyebrow. "What's it to you?"

"Well, you shee…" the drunk began, as he pointed at Morte with a shaky finger. "…I happen to know… about shome guy… with a huge-ash bounty on hish… head!"

"…I happen to know some guys with big bounties as well." Morte said, as he took a sip out of the mug of booze he had in front of him. "What's your point?"

"No, you don't… get it!" the drunk said in protest, pointing his arm up in the air. "You shee… I know of a guy… who even the Marinesh won't tell the general public about…!" Then, he hiccupped, wiping some drool off his lips.

"…really?" Morte mused, turning to face the drunk with an interested look. "Go on."

"They shay that… hish name ish Shihiri!" the drunk said, as he took out a poster. "I got thish from a Marine bashe when I ushed to work there… but I wash kicked out, becaushe they… accushed me of having a drinking problem!"

"…I can see why they would assume that…" Morte muttered off-hand, before folding his hands together. "Do you think I could see that poster?"

"Boy, thish poshter is worth a fortune!" the drunk said, as he grabbed a bottle of rum, waving it about before taking a swag from it. "You'd need to pay me to be able to shee-" In that instant, Morte slammed a bag of money right in front of the drunk, who could only look at it with a stunned expression.

"There's at least 5000 Beri in that bag." Morte said, as he smirked. "Should be enough to buy you a few more bottles of rum, right? In exchange, I'd like that poster."

"…well, now… you shertainly know how to go about your bushinesh, boy!" the drunk laughed, before he handed Morte the poster. "And shinshe you were sho kind, let me throw thish in, ash a bonush!" Then, he took out an Eternal Pose, handing that to Morte as well. "It'll take you to where Shihiri wash lasht sheen… maybe you can find shome cluesh there?"

"…better yet…" Morte said with a smirk. "…I think I'll find him there." Standing up, he gave the drunk a quick bow, before heading out of the bar.

yeah, definitely fishy, now that I think about it. Opening his eyes, Morte licked his lips, as he picked up the pace. But that's not going to stop me from taking down Sihiri, and collecting the money!

Piracy: The New Generation

A Day in the Life of a Hunter part 4

Tenpan Junsatsu, the Bounty Cop

With Vraspos busy with Girikai, Tenpan stood alone against Dargano, who weighed her wakizashi and kodachi in her hands, glaring at the green-haired bounty hunter. "…what's the matter?" Tenpan said, as she spun her Shock Baton around in her hands, cracking her neck. "Aren't you going to start taunting me?"

Dargano's response, however, was to shake her head, as she made sure that her fedora was properly placed on her head. Upon closer inspection, it was hard to tell that Dargano was actually a woman; she was pretty androgynous when it came to facial features, and her outfit didn't exactly make matters simpler.

"…when your partner said that you weren't talkative, I didn't think it'd go to such an extent." Tenpan noted, as her baton began emitting electricity. "If that's the case, let's cut the crap, and get started."

Nodding, Dargano aimed her kodachi at Tenpan, aiming the wakizashi away from her, waiting for her opponent to rush at her, rather than do the opposite. With that, Tenpan immediately rushed at the Mafioso-clad woman, thrusting her baton towards Dargano's mid-section. While she managed to block the attack with her kodachi, the electricity around the baton caused a shockwave to push Dargano back a bit.

Gritting her teeth, Dargano ran at Tenpan, spinning her kodachi around in her hand with no real difficulty, before slashing at Tenpan, who was quick to block the strike with her baton. However, before she could react properly, Dargano swiped her wakizashi horizontally at the bounty hunter, who only barely managed to avoid having her head cut off by pulling herself away from Dargano.

"Not bad…" Tenpan scoffed, as she suddenly grabbed hold of Dargano's wrist; the one holding the kodachi locked against her baton. "…but not good enough!" she yelled, before pulling Dargano's hand away, just as she jabbed her baton straight into her chest, sending an intense surge of electricity through Dargano's body, which blew her away from the bounty hunter, crash-landing a distance from her.. "Hmph. If you're one of Sihiri's elite guards, I can't imagine how quickly Morte's gonna finish him off."

"Run away! It's the Bounty Cop!" Somewhere on an island in the South Blue, a large number of people were evacuating a bar, as someone was approaching it; as it turned out, it was a woman clad in a police uniform, her dark-green hair just barely covering her eyes, and a baton being twirled around in her right hand. Once the evacuation was over, the woman entered the bar. There, only the bartender, along with three other women was still inside the bar.

One of the women was fairly large in both height and body mass, and she wore a regular workman's outfit, with suspenders holding her pants up, and her dark-brown hair was tied in a pony tail. The second woman wore a dark-blue bandana which partly concealed light-blonde hair going down to her shoulders, along with some bangs that covered her right eye, and her outfit also consisted of loose, short-sleeved black shirt, a worn-out vest and baggy pants. The last woman was tanned, with long, stunning silver hair, wearing only a two-piece bikini that showed off her large bust. All three of the women glanced at the policewoman, who glared at the three of them.

"Tara Shikomu, Shimasu Runick, and Zuki Futtota." the policewoman said, as she smacked her baton against her palm repeatedly. "All three of you are hereby under arrest."

Hearing that, the silver-haired woman, Tara, sneered, as she raised an eyebrow. "Yeah?" she said. "On what charges?"

"I'll tell you right now…" the policewoman said, as she held her baton tightly. "Shimasu Runick, you instigated a fight with several officers regarding a trivial subject matter; Zuki Futtota, you did not have the money to pay for a full-course meal at the island's most expensive restaurant, and chose to run for it; and Tara Shikomu… public indecency."

"Well, that's just bull!" Tara yelled, as she slammed her hands against the counter, glaring at the policewoman. "Don't you think the people deserve to see my beautiful body?"

"Just who the hell do you think you are, anyway?" Shimasu spat, as she cracked her knuckles, whilst Zuki growled at the policewoman, showing off rows of her steel teeth.

"…I am Tenpan Junsatsu; the Bounty Cop." the policewoman uttered, just as her baton sparked with electricity. "And I'll have you pay for your crimes!"

Dargano, however, was quick to get up on her legs, wiping some blood away from the edge of her mouth. As she did that, however, she stuck out her tongue, which slowly began elongating itself. Seeing this, Tenpan raised an eyebrow. "…what the…"

Soon, Dargano's entire body began changing, as her skin changed color, to a more orange hue, while it also became a lot smoother than it was before. After a short while, her entire body structure, while remaining humanoid, looked more or less amphibian.

"…Devil Fruit!" Tenpan uttered, as she twirled her baton around in preparation. "Gama Gama no Mi… Model: Poison Dart. Am I correct?" she inquired, as Dargano nodded in response. "…great. And here I thought that I would only deal with a swordswoman… so, what can you do?"

With a brief bow, Dargano opened her mouth, as her tongue shot out, lashing at Tenpan, who quickly rolled away from it before it could hit her. "…interesting." Tenpan noted, as Dargano retracted her tongue just a bit.

Smirking, she began licking the blades of her swords, covering them in salvia, before curling her tongue around the handle of her wakizashi. After doing that, Dargano shot her tongue at Tenpan again, slashing at her with the wakizashi. Thankfully, Tenpan managed to avoid being cut too badly, but she wasn't quick enough to avoid Dargano to leave a small cut along her left arm.

Almost instantly, Tenpan felt that arm go limp, as she looked at it in surprise. "…the hell?" she uttered, before glaring at Dargano, who retracted her tongue back into her mouth. "You…" she began, before closing her eyes. "…I see. Your salvia is like a neurotoxin." Saying that, she opened her eyes again, looking at the Mafioso. "I take it that in large doses, it can be fatal?"

Dargano nodded, as she crouched down, before leaping up into the air, and with her hybrid-form, her leap was a tremendous one, much higher than what Tenpan could have imagined. Before Tenpan could comment on that, however, Dargano shot her tongue out at Tenpan again, aiming to impale her with her wakizashi.

In spite of her left arm being paralyzed, Tenpan was quick enough to leap away from the tongue before it could hit her, leaving the wakizashi to embed itself into the ground. …she's crafty, I'll give her that… she thought, as she twirled her Shock Baton in her right hand, just as Dargano retracted her tongue. …but craftiness doesn't guarantee you a victory. I just need to find a weak spot, and exploit it!

As she began descending, Dargano suddenly wrapped her tongue around her kodachi's handle as well, before she began spinning her tongue around, letting her swords spin around like propellers. As she landed, she immediately shot her tongue out at Tenpan, who rolled away from this attack, before she began running towards the frog-hybrid.

Come on, think, think… what weak spot could she have? Tenpan thought, as she tried seeing if Dargano allowed herself to be open in some way or another. At that point, she noticed that Dargano suddenly retracted her tongue, which caused her to look behind her; namely, at the spinning blades which came at her in reverse.

Her eyes widening, Tenpan quickly rolled away from the blades, though her left heel was nicked slightly by the blades. Because of the salvia covering the blades, however, Tenpan instantly stumbled and tripped, crashing against the ground. "…shit…" she uttered, as she tried getting up, but she found that her left foot would not move.

"Kkh… you're not too bad." Shimasu spat, as she and Tenpan glared at each other; Zuki was currently trying to wake up Tara, who had been brutally slammed into a wall earlier, whilst Tenpan and Shimasu had been locked in a battle outside the bar up until now, with Tenpan's baton was emitting electricity at a rapid rate, whilst Shimasu's brass knuckles were dripping with blood.

"I have to admit… I didn't expect you to be this adept in battle." Tenpan uttered, as she wiped blood from the edge of her mouth. "But the fact remains… I'm going to bring the lot of you in!"

"Over my dead body, bitch!" Shimasu yelled, as she dashed at Tenpan, throwing a punch aimed at her gut. Tenpan couldn't help but keel over in pain once the punch connected, but she was quick to jab her baton against Shimasu, sending a current of electricity through her, knocking her away from Tenpan.

"…Shimasu!" Zuki yelled, as she stood up from where Tara was lying, glaring at Tenpan.

"…don't worry, Zuki!" Shimasu called, as she gave her larger friend a nod. "I got this… you just take care of Tara!"

"The lot of you can take care of each other in a prison cell!" Tenpan yelled, as she pointed her baton at them. "You may not know me, but I am a renowned bounty hunter here in the South Blue. I aim to become a legend here, as Daz Bones was in West Blue, and Roronoa Zoro was in East Blue!"

"And I suppose that you need to go to the Grand Line, to fulfill such an objective?" they heard a male voice say, something that made all their heads jerk up in surprise. "If you follow me… I can help you achieve that."

Blinking, Tenpan looked around, though as she did, she felt her head grow lighter. "…who… are you?" she uttered, as she fell to her knees, just as Shimasu and Zuki did as well.

"Me?" the man chuckled, as they could hear someone approach them; however, their minds became clouded, as it became hard for them to think straight. "From this day forward… you may call me Lord Dokusai." After that, everything went black.

Grinning, Dargano wasted no time in shooting her tongue out at Tenpan again; however, the bounty hunter could still roll away from this elongated attack, letting her tongue sail right past her. Damn it… if I could only get close to her… Tenpan thought, as she nimbly ducked underneath the tongue and the blades shooting right over her. …or…

In that instant, she looked up, a smirk crossing her lips. She could feel the numbness leave her left arm, as she shook her hand to confirm that she could move it again. "…I figured out your weakness." she said, something that made Dargano drop her grin. "The next time you attack… is going to be the end of the battle." As Tenpan said that, her Shock Baton crackled with electricity once more.

Frowning, Dargano wasted no time in shooting her tongue right at Tenpan, who ducked underneath it once more. Before she could retract her tongue, however, Tenpan suddenly grabbed it with her left hand, holding it in place. "It's over!" Tenpan yelled, as she jabbed the tip of the baton directly into the tongue.

In that instant, a massive current of electricity went through Dargano's tongue, headed directly into her body, which caused her entire body to become electrocuted. As she was being fried, for the first time during this whole confrontation, she actually screamed in pain, as Tenpan watched her handiwork with a satisfied grin. After a while, Tenpan let go of Dargano's tongue, allowing it to retract into the Zoan-user's mouth, before she fell to the ground, unconscious.

"…and that's the end of that." Tenpan said with a satisfied smirk, as she looked at her left arm; holding the tongue for so long had paralyzed her hand again, and she couldn't move it. "…at least I hope so; I won't be able to do much with this out of commission."

"So, you're done?" At that point, Vraspos approached Tenpan, supporting Girikai's nodachi on his shoulder, looking down at the uniformed bounty hunter.

"…yeah. It wasn't too difficult, really." Tenpan said, as she looked up at Vraspos. "What now? Are you planning on helping Manigordo out?"

"Nope." Vraspos responded, before hoisting Tenpan up on her feet. "He can handle Sihiri on his own. We should check up on Akira, to see if he's alright."

"…yeah…" Tenpan nodded, as she recalled the uniformed men rushing towards the village earlier. "What about these two, though? Do we just leave them?"

"Yes." Vraspos nodded, as he turned towards the village, walking away. "As far as I'm concerned, none of them have a bounty on their heads, so we're done with them. Let's go."

"…okay." Tenpan nodded, before she looked up at the tower again. …Morte… you'd better not get yourself killed! she thought, before running after Vraspos.

After what had seemed like forever, Morte finally reached the end of the staircase, which ended in front of a door, as he wiped his forehead with a sigh. "That took too long…" he muttered, as he glanced behind him. "…though, now that I think about it… he could have been hiding in any of the rooms I passed by on the way here…"

Shaking his head, however, he looked back at the door, before morphing into his human form. "No matter; I came all this way, so I should at least see what's behind this door!" Nodding, he pressed his hands against the door, slowly pushing it open.

When he opened it, he got to see just where he had ended up; right at the top of the tower, which, apart from the door leading up there, a railing so that no one could fall off the edge by accident, and some ominous-looking spires along the sides, was completely flat. However, he did see someone on the far end of this arena-like top, with his back turned to Morte. "…you're the Sorcerer, Sihiri, right?"

"…Manigordo." the man uttered, as he turned around to face Morte; as it turned out, it was an old man whose beard and moustache had been bound together by ribbons; none other than Sihiri himself. "I have been expecting you for some time, now… you're quite competent to have outmaneuvered Girikai and Dargano." Then, he aimed his arm at Morte, as a spark of electricity danced around his fingers. "Ready to die?"

"I should ask you the same question." Morte said with a smirk, as he aimed his pata sword at Sihiri, licking his lips. "Or at least, I should ask if you're ready to be defeated; because I'm going to take your bounty in!"

A/N: It's been a while, I know, but summer tends to screw me over in terms of writing. Now we move on to the one we've all been waiting for, namely Manigordo himself! Will this battle surprise you? I sure hope so!

Just a minor shameless plug (Go, me XD) before I sign off. My newest story, Battle Coliseum, is in need of some battle requests, so if you'll take a moment of your time and request a battle you'd like to see (sadly (or not), only canon One Piece characters, not fan-made ones) duke it out, I'd appreciate it very much. Until next time, people!