Chapter 14.

Short Comings.


The eight pirates darted between the trees, the dragon tongues slightly ahead of the other three. It had been about fifteen minutes since they had seen Mik's flare. In the distance sunlight broke into the trees as they reached the opening, the light shone like at the end of a tunnel. The dragon tongues rushed out into the open and straight toward their ship. A shining gold barrier of energy appeared in front of them as they reached the gang plank, the entire crew rebounded off it flying onto their backs.

Van sat up rubbing his head. "What the hell was that?"

"Van."

"It's some sort of barrier." Van kicked it causing it to shimmer like sunlight on water.

"Van!" Haze shouted this time, she was pointing at something. The look of panic was obvious on her face and was one that Ayanne also had.

"What are you sh-" Vans eyes widened in shock. A group of marines stood with their weapons ready. At the front of the group was a young marine who appeared to be about fourteen years old, he had no shirt and a marine cap turned backwards. Van flashed back to when he last saw his brother, with this boys hand pushed through his chest.

"The Dragon Tongue Pirates. You have been busy since we last met." The boy said. He smiled smugly. His expression changed as the other three pirates emerged from the dense forest. Booth froze as he laid eyes upon the boy. Tiggeh and Orso didn't seem to recognise him. "You. It's your lucky day marines. Today I will show you what we do to traitors."

"Tig…" Booth began whispering something into his nakama's ear. Tiggeh nodded and reached into her back pocket drawing a deck of tarot cards. She sat down cross legged and closed her eyes.

"Did you really think the world government would forgive such insubordination?" The young marine's face was serious and focused, for a child; he was not child like at all.

"From the dwarfish appearance I'm guessing you're vice admiral Shinzo." Booth smiled coldly at the young marine vice admiral.

"D-Dwarfish?" Shinzo's eye twitched and a small vein pulsed angrily in his temple. "Oh I'm gonna enjoy killing you. But business before pleasure."

Van's eyes widened in panic as Shinzo disappeared, he didn't see him move but suddenly felt a presence behind him. A celestial glow surrounded Shinzo's hand, coming to a blade like point at the end of each digit. He struck toward Van's back with lightning speed the rookie captain had only just realised he was there and stood no chance at avoidance or deflection. Inches away from Van's ear he heard the sound of metal clashing, he finally managed to force himself to spin round. Shinzo glowing hand sparked against Booth's kodachi. He pushed the vice admiral away but was instantly kicked in the face by a blurred movement. Shinzo was impossibly fast. Booth skidded backward and quickly wiped the blood from his mouth.

"Dragon tongue. If we work together we may be able to hold him off." Booth's eyes quickly darted to the right watching something that wasn't there, instantly Shinzo disappeared then materialised in Booth's eye line and lunged toward the two pirate captains. Booth swung his kodachi in a fluid movement. He seemed to cut Shinzo across the chest but the young marine just skidded backwards smiling. The moment Shinzo came to a halt Booth brought his blade to his right hand side twisting his body with the movement, he then placed his left hand over the blade which began to glow green. He suddenly jabbed the blade forwards.

"Jade Lance!" The blade extended toward Shinzo with incredible speed. The marine boy raised a hand lazily producing a glowing yellow barrier which deflected the attack up into the air.

"Foolish captain. Your attacks don't stand a chance against the abilities of my Seki-Seki no mi (Barrier Fruit). I have studied your devils fruit ability extensively hoping that one day I could kill the traitor of Dragons Pass. Toushi-Toushi no mi (X-ray Fruit) is nothing in the path of my might." He extended his arm with his fingers together and point toward Booth, a golden wall of energy surged toward him sideways; it was almost paper thin but tore through the ground like water. Moments before contact Van dived across knocking Booth out of the way. The wall shattered like golden glass as Shinzo clenched his fist ending the attack. The other members of both crews and the marines looked on, with a mixture of awe and intimidation in their eyes. Van blew fire onto his fists then immediately slammed them into the ground.

"Overdrive." the fire roared up his arms and legs then he vanished into a flaming blur appearing next Shinzo. "Ryu Bullet."

The movements of the two boys were impossible to follow but it ended with Van's fist gripped tightly in Shinzo's glowing hand. Shinzo drew his hand back as it glowed yellow and became pointed. Van breathed in deep and blew a jet of flames into Shinzo's face, the flames forked around the barrier surrounding the young marines head torching the on looking marines that were stood behind him. The flames were enough of a distraction for Van to break free of Shinzo's grip. The two boys blurred out of sight as they collided; only a rapid series of flames and glowing yellow lights could be seen as they fought. Shinzo suddenly came into view holding out a glowing yellow fist. Van skidded along the floor on his back holding his chest then flipped backwards back onto his feet.

Booth appeared behind Shinzo a foot above his head slashing diagonally downwards, the marine disappeared and attacked from behind. Booth stuck his blade into the floor and used it to anchor himself as he flipped forwards kicking Shinzo in the chest. The moment he landed Booth spun round, his kodachi glowed brightly. "Emerald Blaze." A glowing green wave of energy erupted from the short blade like flames engulfing both Shinzo and the group of marines behind him. When the attack cleared Shinzo stood unharmed, cocooned in his golden barriers but the marines behind him writhed in pain on the floor despite looking completely untouched. Without looking Shinzo extended his arm toward Van sending a barrier cutting through the floor toward him.

"Soru." Booth appeared in front of Van with his blade held horizontally, the barrier pushed Booth effortlessly backwards his feet skidding through the dirt, he pushed his blade against the edge of the barrier spinning himself off to one side then immediately shot toward Shinzo once more. The moment he began moving forward another barrier ploughed toward him, too fast to stop.

A yellow blur appeared in front of Booth. Haze raised Aka-Hana horizontally glowing pink as the barrier collided with it. Haze was forced backward into Booth knocking them both off their feet. "Sakura wave." Sakura petals flowed out of the blade either side of the barrier pressed against it. The petals rushed toward Shinzo his eyes widened and his fist clenched, the attack against Haze and Booth shattered and he quickly erected another barrier around himself. The Sakura shattered against the yellow glass like shield. The second she was free of the attacking barrier Haze glowed blue and let off three shots of 'Konki Bakuha' which smashed against the barrier that still surrounded Shinzo. She glowed yellow again and rushed toward Shinzo then began circling him with such speed she became a solid yellow ring around him. Before she could begin her attack Shinzo sent a barrier out in a random direction Haze slammed into it stopping her dead in her tracks. She grabbed her head leaning on her blade to steady herself as her head spun in a daze. Shinzo extended his free hand toward her sending another barrier to the currently defenceless red head.

Hazes shadow bent out of shape then grew out of the floor into a thick; jet black, wall. The Golden attack cut two feet into the six foot thick wall then stopped. Naye appeared from behind Haze, a look of sheer rage on his face. He threw his hands forward. "Ten Fist." ten large shadowy void hands emerged from the wall and balled into fists before shooting along the length of the Barrier as it shattered. The fists began slamming into Shinzo who blocked them continuously with small circular barriers that hovered over his hands. Booth and Van emerged from nowhere behind him, they both began attacking. Booth unleashed a constant torrent of slashes with his kodachi while Van let loose a barrage of flaming strikes from both his hands and feet still in 'Overdrive'. Shinzo turned and began blocking the two captains' attacks with one arm while simultaneously continuing to deflect Naye's void fists with the other. While the fighting had been going on, Orso had pulled a series of canons from his mouth all of which were at least four times his size. He set up the artillery in a line carefully aiming them to a specific spot then jammed his hand back into his mouth and pulled out a flamethrower that was proportioned to his miniature size then aimed it along the canon fuses. Loca had also set up a canon, hers in the form of her mega launcher which she had held over her shoulder. The two pirates fired there respective weapons toward Shinzo as he fought off the incoming attacks. The moment the canons fired he glanced across to see twenty projectiles flying toward him. At the last possible second Van and Booth backed off, Naye crouched surrounding himself and the still dazed Haze with a jet black void dome. The various rockets and canon balls were aimed perfectly all connecting with Shinzo and erupting into an explosive mushroom cloud. The moment the initial blast was over, the now conscious Haze and Naye emerged from their black shell. Haze glowed pink and Naye leapt into the air with an extra boost from a burst of void underneath him. Once in the air Naye raised a hand above his head forming a ball of void the size of a large boulder a few inches above it. He spread out his fingers making spikes emerge all over the huge sphere. Van and booth also readied themselves the moment the explosion had finished. Booth brought his blade to his side, it glowed green as his left hand hovered over it. Van went back into 'Overdrive' and brought both his fists to his side. The four pirates unleashed their attacks into the epicentre of the prior blast in unison.

"Sakura Storm!"

"Black Star Blitz!"

"Jade Lance!"

"Ryu Canon!"

The four attacks hit at the same time causing a multi coloured blast of immense proportions. A goliath orb of fire, void and green and pink energy swirled and expanded from the point of impact. The pirates including Loca and Orso gathered together as Naye created a shield around them from void, re-enforced by Hazes green energy shield. The ground rumbled as the explosion passed over them. The shields dropped and they looked into the enormous crater in the ground. It was impossible to see the middle due to the clouds of dirt and dust. A golden glint became visible in the centre then suddenly expanded knocking all of the pirates backwards.

"Pathetic pirates. You are scum. You cannot hope to stand up to a representative of the world government's majesty." Shinzo slowly walked out of the crater he had a small cut on his head but was otherwise unharmed. "Now I will show you true power." A circular glowing barrier ring formed above his head, another formed a large blade around his right arm and another, a shield on his left. Two more barriers emerged from his back moulding into wings. "Engel." The vice admirals feet slowly left the floor as he floated up into the sky. He raised his bladed right hand; the blade grew until it was about fifty foot in length. "Blade of Justice." He swung the colossal energy sword effortlessly toward the pirates on the floor, it connected with the floor cutting through it like it was nothing.

Ayanne who had, until now, not been in the fight, stepped aside lowering a thick perimeter of carbon revealing Tiggeh who was now floating cross legged glowing purple with tarot cards circling round her glowing brightly. A purple ring of strange symbols surrounded Shinzo. Tiggeh opened her eyes which were also glowing purple, "Good bye Vice admiral." Her voice echoed like it was far away and close at the same time. With a flash Shinzo vanished. Tiggeh immediately stopped glowing and fell to the floor, snoring loudly. Booth opened one of his eyes which had been tightly shut in preparation for the incoming attack. Beside him was a deep groove in the floor from Shinzo's blade, it stopped millimetres away from his body. A breath of relief escaped his mouth. Him and the other pirates pulled themselves to their feet looking at the destruction around them. The ground was scarred, trees decimated the bodies of unconscious or dead marines scattered around, not to mention the enormous crater that was now beginning to fill with water from the sea.

"No time to celebrate guys we have to get out of here as soon as possible." Booth brushed dust off his marine's captain jacket which was now torn around the edges and quite battered. "Omega!" A mechanical clunk came from Booth's ship a metallic dome rose into view followed by an emotionless face. It had black eyes with small lights at the centre.

"Yes captain." The figures voice was as cold and emotionless as his face; he spoke in a slightly mechanical sounding monotone voice. He had 0-MAG-4 written on the side of his head.

"You useless bag of bolts. We could of used some help here." Booth yelled a vein pulsed in his temple.

"You did not request assistance captain." Omega replied bluntly.

Booth quickly calmed down and lit a cigarette; he let out a long puff of smoke. "So help me god you will learn to take some initiative. Get Tig onto the ship she's worn herself out, poor little thing." He smirked as he said the last few words. Despite being asleep Tiggeh's eyebrows furrowed in annoyance. A look of panic appeared on Booth's face and his glasses fell down his nose slightly revealing the terror in his twitching eyes. She couldn't of heard that could she? Oh man she is gonna hurt me.

"Affirmative." Omega stood up revealing his massive ten foot tall frame; he wore black slack pants, black boots and a white T-shirt with the world government symbol on it. He dropped off the side of the ship with a loud thud and a shake through the ground then plodded over to Tiggeh picking her up into the crook of one of his arms like a normal person would hold a baby. He then turned and slowly walked up the gang plank back onto the ship. Orso ran up after him and began getting the ship ready.

"Guess this is bye for now dragon tongue." Booth said as he walked up to his ship waving a hand lazily over his shoulder. He stopped half way up the gang plank and turned to look at Haze lowering his glasses for a better look, his glowing green eyes narrowed then he turned putting his glasses back up and boarded his ship. Within minutes the boat had left shore and was sailing into the distance.

The dragon tongue pirates stood staring at their surroundings in a combination of exhaustion and disbelief. All of them looked on the brink of passing out. Eventually the world came flooding back to them one by one. Van's eyes widened as he came to his senses.

"Mik." He quickly scrambled onto the ship and began looking round frantically. The rest of the crew also came aboard and began searching aswell as setting sail. Half an hour later Naye appeared with a note in his hand.

"Guy's I found this you're going to want to hear it." The crew gathered round him as he cleared his throat and began to read.

"Dear Dragon Tongue Van Niko.

My name is Captain Panther Tibeki of the Wildmen Pirates. THE MANLIEST CREW ON THE SEAS. This letter is to inform you that we have stolen your dragon. A TRUE MAN tells another when he has bested them, only a COWARD sneaks around as an unknown. I have heard great tails of Captain Niko's daring and ingenious rescue of his nakama from a marine prison and I am eager to match swords with him (that is a metaphor I don't have a sword). The winner will keep the dragon forever and the loser will… lose. I have headed north to Yinzu Island. If you a truly the MAN I think you are I will see you here for our MANLY battle. We will be waiting Dragon Tongue pirates.

Yours Macho-ly

Panther Tibeki.

PS. We also took milk because we were all out. MANLY!"

The crew stood in stunned silence. Looking at each other.

"Ingenious rescue?" Ayanne said trying not to laugh at this inappropriate time.

"Why does it say manly so many times?" Loca said quietly with a look of confusion on her face.

"What are you waiting for we have to save Mik from this master of manliness. To Yinzu Island!" Van yelled pointing with fiery determination in his eyes. The rest of the crew collapsed to the floor in despair and disbelief.

The ship changed course and sailed full speed ahead. It's destination Yinzu Island.

(--)

On the Grim Pirates' ship Booth sat staring at a singular spot in deep thought. He didn't even here the sound of Tiggeh approaching behind him.

"What are you doing captain?" She sat down next to him. He sat up straight shaking in fear, Did she hear me? She'll be mad if she did.

"Er-um just thinking bout the girl. I had another look at her."

"What did you see?" Tiggeh looked at him with a combination of concern and interest.

"You know the usual. Bones, organs, veins and … something else." He looked up toward the sky still looking as though he was pondering something very important.

"Do you really think she has it?"

"If she does she doesn't know about it or she would have used it against Shinzo. Possibly limitless power and she doesn't even know she's got it. If you truly want it, you may have to take it from her." He looked across at Tiggeh and she looked away gazing at the clouds as they passed by.

"I'll do whatever it takes to get my hands on it. The philosopher's stone."


A/N: Well hope you enjoyed this one. Mostly fighting very little talking really. Considering the opponent they were facing the battle had to be HUGE-ish and I only pray I did it justice. Now then 0-MAG-4 (Omega) is the neuron spark of Kisdota-The Freak Gamer and a fine piece of design he is too =). Panther Tebiki is ye olde creation of stevethemime and will be making his full appearance soon =D. I will start the 'Grim Pirates' story when I get the chance and will submit it at the same time as the next chapter so if either isn't out for a while don't panic It won't be that I've fallen off the face of the Earth again. That is all. Go about your business... after you review and submit me characters of course =[). Thank you and good night. *Bows, falls over and crawls away*.