The long-coat was rather pleasant and comfortable to wear, though the sleeves were too long and large yet the crew member that had delivered the clothes said it was perfectly Asian-like even though it didn't even look like a yukata or a kimono. And by this little service, Kiku now knew that he wasn't just a prisoner; he was some sort of payment. Lily had helped him clean up and wiped his body free from blood so he could look, just what the first mate had said, presentable for the evening to come.

They had arrived at Dragon's Lair Island, the location which Arthur had recently planned to come, yet the two were still in the dungeons and were only to be brought out during the "meeting" to be held later that night.

Kiku had gained enough energy and was already standing up and walking around, while talking to Lily and thinking how to get out. He was feeling a lot better thanks to the young foreign lady. Now his mind drifted off to Arthur, succumbed into thoughts and feelings which he somewhat hated earlier.

"Herr Kiku?" Lily interrupted his thoughts when she noticed him stop and his face shifted in a horrid expression, "Are you alright?"

He immediately snapped his head to her and shook his head, "I was just... thinking. It's nothing to worry about." A small smile covered his face from showing any opposing looks.

"You look very worried about something."

Someone, he corrected inwardly. Again outside, he shook and smiled, "Just remembering unimportant things."

Thankfully the damsel, though hesitantly, believed him and continued to just sit and wait patiently.

Now all he had to do was wait until they were released, and hope they had a chance to escape. He now turned to lean at the wall and absently gazing at the floor. A heavy sigh was released causing a shudder to travel through his spine. He needed to recollect things and most of all, feelings, right now.

He was still confused with himself, honestly. His reactions and sudden outbursts were certainly unlike him; he was more composed with his feelings and emotions before. At first he had considered shock at the sudden turn of events, yet he dismissed it later on when he found himself a bit comfortable with the crew members. When he was about to ignore his change in personality, that kiss between Arthur and that creature brought back the unusual feeling. To make matters a bit more complicated, he suddenly had an angry outburst, which is something he had never done before. He still didn't fully know why he actually exploded emotionally like that, initially blaming homesickness and worry for his crew ship. Yet he knew those weren't all the reasons why he did.

His eyes closed slowly, whilst his brain decided to show him an image of the certain person his feelings are quite conflicted with. Someone he should be despising, but happened to worry about at this time. Those vibrant arrogant green eyes that had every crew member flinching under his stare but at the same time had that bright beautiful shine of something else even with that dangerous hint of death written whenever he wished it was written. Those smirks which could make the most masculine men gulp in nervousness, accompanied with the voice that commanded and made every man in his ship his little puppet. All these flashed into his mind and he could feel his heart beat faster.

His brows furrowed as he opened his eyes once again. He felt his hand twitch, in the sudden need of holding that certain someone's hand and feeling the warmth of it.

Another frustrated sigh came out and he bit his lip, fisting his hand into the soft cloth. Well at least he knew what's going on.

He was attracted to Arthur.

No, scratch that.

He was in love with Arthur.

Now that he knew that, all he had to do is accept every feeling of worry he had for Arthur. Which is a lot. He turned to look at Lily, who seems busy with looking at random things, probably in boredom.

"Lily-san," he finally called her on the first time to start a conversation.

The said girl quirked her head up to him, her eyes wide in question, "Herr Kiku?"

"I had overheard from the men that brought you here," he walked towards her and sat, "that you had a brother?"

"Ah, yes I do!" she enthusiastically nodded, "I came with him in travelling to deliver some weaponry to another land. Well, before I was kidnapped."

Kiku nodded and hesitated a bit with the next question, "Ah... have you heard anyone named Arthur Kirkland?"

Lily blinked for a while in thought and nodded once, "You mean Captain Kirkland? He raided into my brother's storage weapons not a long time ago. And from what others say, he is currently one of the strongest pirates."

He knew that, well aside from the raiding part, yet it was a bit unsurprising. "Well, is he... with anyone?"

A shrug was an answer from the young lady, "I do not have enough knowledge on Captain Kirkland. My brother knows more about him."

"Ah, I see." Kiku nodded again and sighed.


"Western pirate ships are approaching!"

A tall young man with long braided black hair and brown eyes frowned at the sudden proclamation of his crew member who was clinging halfway up on the front mast, leapt to the nearest crate and used it as a leverage to jump up the same wooden pillar but in a higher height than the other man. The sunlight hit his Kung-fu jacket, causing the golden threads to shine and making him stand out from the rest of the crew.

"Those ships look familiar, aru." He muttered, his eyes narrowing at the two large ships, accompanied by a smaller ship in the distance. He turned his head to the rest of the crew and ordered, "Head to those ships, aru!"

In a matter of time, the Chinese merchant vessel was parallel with one of the large ships. The braided man leaped from the mast when a familiar blonde landed inside with a thump, accompanied by his first mate, "Yao Wang."

"Ah! I knew it was you Arthur, aru!" the man addressed as Yao grinned and walked over to him, "What made you stop by my vessel without surprisingly attacking it, aru?" he cheerfully questioned with a hint of sour sarcasm in it. He took some time to take in Arthur's appearance, and halted when he saw his arm. His eyes widened for a moment and blinked, "What happened to you, aru?"

Arthur opened his mouth to reply when he was hit by something straight to the side of his head, "What the bloody hell?"

"I ate a fortune cookie earlier this morning," a monotone voice came from the lower deck, "it said that I should be ready for a surprise that could displease me. I never knew it would be so accurate." A younger man in the same outfit as Yao with short brown hair stood, looking over the visitors bored.

"You still haven't changed, Wong. You're still the same little brat as before." Arthur turned his head with a half smirk at the brunette.

"I thought you jumped over a cliff after you gave me to Yao."

"Even if I don't know why you thought that," Arthur's brow rose up; he was not really used to the younger man's blunt words and honest thoughts. He learned in a rather rude way that the cute little brunette was very much oriented in strong languages, "I just hope your next fortune cookie could tell you to shut up or something worse will happen." He snapped.

"Don't worry; I practiced my Kung-Fu skills." Wong shifted his position into a fighting stance with both of his hands in knife chop forms.

Yao blinked and glared at his student, "Wong! No fighting!"

Arthur scoffed and ignored the younger man, who in turn found the chance to glare in frustration of being ignored, "Anyways, I came here for your merchandises."

"What is it aru?" Yao blinked, then turned serious at the talk of business. Well this was his current profession right now, and he was rather earnest in his job, along with being a martial art teacher but that was far from his situation and home right now to be one, with the exception of Wong.

"We need some swords, if ye got 'em." Alasdair dug into his pocket and held out a filled pouch, "Yar tha nearest an' immediate merchant we located right now, and there's mo' whe' this came from."

"And trustworthy as well." Arthur added with a small grin.

Yao raised a brow, "I thought I supplied you enough last time, aru."

"There were some... difficulties along the way." The blonde carefully picked out his words, trying not to give out too much information at the tragedy they experience just hours ago.

"Hm, is that so? I guess I won't ask anything more, aru." The Chinese nodded, knowing Arthur won't be giving him anymore information. He then turned to his men and instructed in their own language, along with Wong who surprisingly nodded in obedience and helped the others as they scouted the ship for weapons.

The Chinese merchant brought Arthur into the bottom deck where the wedged armoury was kept. Alasdair stayed outside, volunteering to look-out and having a small talk with Wong who decided to walk up after calling up the workers to set up the merchandises.

"What happened to your arm, by the way, Arthur?" Yao blinked once again at the wound, "I rarely see you injured like that, aru."

Arthur walked around the stands of swords, holding one up and placing it back down. His face holding a stern look, he shrugged the question off and making the Chinese man pout childishly and mutter complaints inaudibly from the feeling of being ignored. He didn't need Yao to get into the large mess; he didn't need any more people getting involved in a battle he had taken personally.

He continued to look at the weapons when his eyes landed on a small stand. The green orbs glinted in interest when he took a step towards it, his head tilting in instinct when he saw the Asian-style sword; the black clothed handle was designed with narrow gold diamonds and what probably sheathed the long slim blade was a smooth black case that was artistically carved with silver flowing patterns. A gold and black carving designed the collar, shining a bit in the light that passed through the holes in the ceiling.

"What is this?" Arthur's voice was strained in pure curiosity. Not only did it have a beautiful appearance, its look simply reminded him of someone.

Yao's wide eyes turned to look at Arthur who was standing in front of the sword, tilting his head in wonder. He doesn't know what kind of sword that is? "That's a Japanese katana." He walked over to where the blonde was and took the sword off the stand swiftly that Arthur had to blink for a couple of seconds before knowing what actually happened.

He watched as Yao unsheathed the sword, exposing the blade that he perfectly predicted to be smooth and long. But he didn't expect that the gold spacer of the blade was designed similarly as the case, with black stems stretching for about three inches into the metal. But what caught his interest is the name of the sword. Japanese katana? "That is really a beautiful sword." A smirk that threatened to turn into a grin crept into his face as he eyed the katana again.

"This one's a lot more expensive than the other swords, Kirkland." Yao sheathed it again, "and I doubt that any of your crew members know how to use this sword."

Arthur once again ignored his statement, "How much is it?"

"Gold," the braided man placed the sword back to the stand, "500 grams."

"That's a bit pricey, dear."

Yao smirked, "Of course, Sir Kirkland," regretting a bit that he placed it back, he took the sword again and unsheathed it, then waving it carefully in the air as if advertising it. "this is actually one of the most expensive katanas I got when I was in Japan. This was made by the most skilled blacksmith of the royal family of the last dynasty before now." He held it horizontally, the blade acted as a blurred mirror when Arthur saw his reflection, "this was used by one of the head generals during the wars that happened in the dynasty. It's still in perfect condition; the blade is being sharpened even when not in use and cleaned regularly."

The blonde watched as his companion covered the blade again, and then looked at the other swords that were standing dully in the room. He was silent for a moment, and then turned to Yao again with an unreadable look on his face, "I need 50 of those swords," he paused for a moment and looked at the katana, "and I'll be borrowing Wong for a while."


"Shouldn't we take the Asian up already?" a raspy voice shouted from the deck above the dungeon, immediately making Kiku look up, "it's already sun down and the captain said we better get him ready before dark."

He stood up from his position beside Lily who followed him in standing. It's sunset already? Time was absolutely fast, or maybe he woke up late during day. But that didn't matter; he was busy trying to think an escape plan for both him and Lily. He had visualized what would happen when he took it in action. If he was to be dragged out again, he could fight them off and probably take something as a weapon to defend both of them if it gets out of hand. But putting the number of men and the weapons they have, they probably wouldn't even get up to the top deck. It was dangerous for the seemingly fragile young lady as well.

His thoughts were again put to a halt when the man whom the voice earlier belonged to walked down the stairs along with another man who was in the same clothing but his face was partly covered with his hat.

"Yer presentation's comin' up, Asian!" the man proclaimed, then turned to look at Lily, "Sorry, missy, ya gotta wait for your turn." He laughed manically as he inserted the key into the lock and opened the door. He stepped inside with the other man guarding the entrance, his face looking away from the scene.

Lily couldn't do anything but gasp when she saw the pirate lift a thick piece of wood and used it as a hammer to Kiku's back, sending him kneeling on the floor in pain, "Herr Kiku!"

The next thing Kiku knew his eyes were covered by some kind of cloth, and his hands were being chained by his back. He could only listen to Lily's pleads of not hurting him as he was pulled up to his feet and dragged out of the cell. The sound of the door being closed behind him told him he was probably going to be alone with these two men and he wasn't going to have a pleasant experience. He was roughly guided up to stairs, making the pain in his back and his wounds practically burning in pain. When they reached the upper deck, he heard the man scoff.

"Well the boat's practically empty if it wasn't for these prisoners and us." Kiku knew he was talking to the other man, but the information seemed useful enough. If they were the only ones in the ship, he could attack both of them. Even if he was blindfolded, he could still sense them after all. His years of training martial arts weren't placed into waste anyway, and what better way to practice it? But he had a little problem though. His hands were tightly tied together, and most probably he couldn't even keep his balance straight if he tries to kick them away when they attack at the same time.

His train of thought was again disturbed when he was stopped from walking and he heard a large thump from beside him and a groan from the man talking earlier, "Wot in Davy Jones do you think you're doi-," Kiku could hear footsteps from where the thump originated, telling him that the smaller man was running towards someone. It wasn't long enough until he could hear a loud groan and some cracking of bones from somewhere in the room and something being stashed into something at some corner of the deck.

Kiku tensed as he felt the man walk swiftly towards him then his coat being lifted up. Hands wrapped his waist momentarily before they met at his side, and he knew something was being tied to him. The hands disappeared and the coat was placed back, fixed and for a moment, the man stood in silence before tugging him when another man called out, rudely inquiring about Kiku.

He thought about asking what happened to the other man, but he could feel that the other man was only going to be quiet. His hands twitched as he pulled the rope around his wrists, trying to loosen them while they walked and were accompanied by other loud men yet the one holding and guiding him was silent.

The thing tied unto him by the man was long, but that was the only thing he knew of it. He was more confused right now, and he couldn't concentrate on escaping. He was even worrying about Lily, and some part of his mind sensing Arthur was nearby. He bit his lip, trying to keep what he thought are unnecessary thoughts away from his head. Escaping right now was his main focus, but what just happened moments ago was making it difficult for him to decide what to do along with the loud voices of the pirates.

They walked more, until Kiku realized he took a large step unto something and he was walking on a narrow path and the next thing he knew, he was falling. It took him a second until he felt the sharp pang of pain as he landed face first on soft sand, he groaned again and he felt another one fall beside him and he was pulled up again.

Damn pirates.

The others followed with large voices and he was being dragged to walk again. Walking with them was the same as earlier when one of the voices called out, "Hey..."

He was forced to stop again and listen to what the other pirates had to say.

"I don't recognize you... you're not the part of the crew!"

"A spy?" another rough voice called out and he heard another thump.

Kiku was stunned for a moment, not even knowing what was going on anymore until he was pushed down to the ground and he heard the other pirates shout and other sounds of pushing and fighting.

"We're being attacked!" Kiku heard someone shout from afar, repeating it until his voice faded.

He then heard gunshots followed by some Western profanities; he knew a fight was still going on, but he couldn't focus on listening anymore when he felt he was being pulled up again, this time by his collar and the blindfold taken away.

And he didn't expect to be greeted by angry green eyes by a blonde that he had never seen before.

"Where is Lily?" he hissed through his teeth, his eyes threatening death with every word he said.

Kiku opened his mouth to answer but strangled, frightened sounds came out instead from the nervousness he got from the glare.

"I-in the d-dungeon... in the ship!" he finally answered and he was thrown away uselessly to the ground again as the blonde turned to shoot the incoming pirates that ran from inside a cove on the island that they stopped.

He could now see the pirate that entered the prison cell earlier, fighting with the other pirates. No kidding at all, the man under the hat earlier was also Asian, but his fighting style was different. Kiku recognized the moves from a fighter he met years ago that came from another country bigger than Japan. He now watched the blonde join the younger man in battle against the pirates, and he was even more surprised when he heard a familiar voice echoing in the beach.


He was somehow thankful that he was thrown into the side where it was fairly far from the battle, he could observe what the island looked like. The island was huge, and filled with palm trees and other plants. The night made it look dangerous and unending, and had a high probability of confusing unwary travellers that dared to explore it. Large rocks were scattered around in the white sands, and a tall large stone walled one part of the island. The sand felt soft against his body; it would be nice to spend a quiet evening here, well, without all these pirates fighting and causing explosions.

His quiet musings were again stopped when he heard stomps on the sand towards him.

Again for the umpteenth time, he was suddenly pulled up, roughly again by his collar and Witlock's first mate held him up painfully, "I don't know who they are except that damn albino over there, but I know you're with them, and you're going to be in hell when I bring you to the captain!"

Kiku was about to say he didn't know who they are when the man was suddenly hit from behind and collapsed. Luckily, the Japanese was on his feet already that he didn't have to stumble down on the sand again. He looked up in confusion and saw a familiar French man smiling before him.

"Mon cher! Look at you; you look like a puppy that hasn't been fed well enough!" Francis turned him around and cut the ropes off from his wrists then swiftly swung his sword to a charging pirate and stabbed him.

"F-Francis-san," Kiku twisted his wrists, stretching them before turning around and throwing a man unto the hard rocks by the cove. Even now that he's part of the fight, he still couldn't help looking around for any sign of another blonde pirate that should probably be somewhere near them. Yet when his eyes landed on the two foreigners fighting in the distance, he voiced out his thoughts as he punched and kicked two more men while helping the Frenchman, "Who are those people?"

Francis answered with a smirk and a whistle as they switched positions and attacked two more pirates, "Ah, that cute young man is Wong, he used to be Arthur's little boy until he was entrusted to his friend of his." He explained with a small chuckle and they both moved towards the fight when a couple more men tried attacking them, "That violent blonde man is Vash Zwingli. He's a gunslinger and I think you have met his younger sister."

"You mean Lily-san?" Kiku watched as the one named Vash forcefully kicked one man and shot him then turned to grab another gun and did some kind of turn where he shot more than three men in only one swipe. It honestly looked nice, as if the man was doing martial arts that had something to do with guns. Then again, spike of worry went through him as he faced Francis, "W-where is Arthur-san?"

"Mon petit lapin is with Alasdair, hiding until the fight goes another way. Vash is supposed to be with them, but I guess nothing could hold him back anymore."

Kiku wasn't sure how it happened but the beach was suddenly swarming with pirates, all of them serving under Witlock. When they charged with swords and guns, Francis pulled Kiku back by the rocks hopefully avoiding the stampede.

Gilbert stood firm as the men ran towards his direction with a large smirk and his arms stretched wide open, "COME AT ME YOU LITTLE MOTHER FUCKERS. COME AT HIS AWESOMENESS, GILBERT BEILSCHMIDT!"

As if the proclamation was a signal, Kiku heard a familiar voice shout in the distance and saw Alasdair on top of a rock with a torch and an army of pirates behind him, "ATTACK YE USELESS COCKROACHES!" he held his sword up high and charged with the pirates following him from behind.

The raven-haired man could only watch as the battle that looked so much like an actual war occurred right in front of his eyes. He was so distracted that he didn't pay attention to Francis who said a small permission to leave and jumped into the sea of pirates to fight as well. It took him a moment when he realized he was the only one standing as audience then decided to fight along with them. It wasn't really a bad decision though, he somewhat felt relieved when he fought earlier. His muscles were being too idle for a long time for his liking.

Succumbed to the heat of the battle, he couldn't help but smile a bit at the tension of the battle that was far from the one he felt when he was captive. No, he couldn't deny that he was a fighter himself. He subdued some of the enemy quite easily and dodged their attacks followed by a counter hit against them. But at the back of his mind, he wasn't able to stop worrying on something. A part of which is Lily, who was still in the dungeon maybe, but hopefully, he didn't see Vash anymore. He was probably on his way to save her. And another big part screamed to him that he should find that certain pirate.

He wasn't sure if fate was being considerate of him, but his heart jumped up and down when he heard a certain voice from behind him.

"Well bloody hell, these blokes are really a handful!"

Kiku turned around and saw Arthur crossing swords with some random pirate, then stabbed and kicked him down on the sand. His left arm was still bandaged while his right was busy swinging his weapon with dexterity, wounding anyone that got too near for his personal bubble. Just like him earlier, the blonde was too busy grinning sadistically in battle even when he's injured, and he probably didn't notice Kiku when he kicked a poor man in his direction until he called out.


Arthur kicked and stabbed another man away then looked at Kiku. His eyes widened and his bloodthirsty smirk was replaced with a happy smile, "Kiku!" he ran towards him, and not without cursing and slashing a man who unwittingly went in his way, "I'm so glad you're safe." He muttered softly under his breath.

A small embarrassed smile took advantage of Kiku's vulnerable blushing face and he was about to say something in return when Arthur leaned down swiftly and captured the smaller man's lips with his own.

Brown eyes widened at the action, and he could see Arthur's eyes were closed while the hand holding the sword was hanging by his side and the battle happening around them, but he was too focused on what was happening to him to give any care right now. For a second or two he didn't move, too shocked to respond. Yet when he felt Arthur's soft lips move against his, his mind told him he already figured out his feelings and he didn't need to do anything anymore except go with the flow. His eyes slipped closed and he kissed back, his right hand unconsciously tangling in the blonde hair as he felt his body relax and his heart flutter in bliss. He could feel Arthur smirk a little in the kiss before pulling away with a large grin.

Kiku stood, a bit paralyzed yet his chest and shoulders felt like they lost some weight or something as he watched Arthur swing his fist to another man's face and kicked him away. Then his eyes landed on his bandaged arm, and Kiku felt the wave of worry going through him again, "Arthur-san, y-your arm!"

Arthur blinked for a while at the sudden concern then grinned, "It's just a wee little scratch, love." He took a big step forward and sent another heel kick to the pirate creeping behind Kiku, "You should still worry about yourself; we're not in a good position right now to worry about my shoulder."

Slightly shocked at the sudden attack and his wave of worry being replaced by one of embarrassment from realizing Arthur's been fighting while he was succumbed in his thoughts about him, Kiku took a deep breath and smiled a little, "Hai." He blocked attacks from two pirates who decided to attack him at the same time and it took him about half a minute to knock them out on the ground.

The battle continued and Kiku realized he was driven away from Arthur, who also moved farther from their original position. He continued to fight, feeling a bit more pride as he defeated the pirates continuously without any help of a weapon. The men continued to fight and attack them randomly and Kiku wondered if they were going to run out sometime since they seem like ants: they never run out.

A large explosion from one side of the beach startled Kiku and the rest of the men fighting, then it was followed by the albino's voice laughter and cheering, "YA REALLY ARE ON FIRE, KUNG FU KID!"

It must have been that boy named Wong, Kiku inferred. Then he saw by his peripheral vision Arthur knocking more men who stopped fighting, distracted by the explosion and ended up a victim by his hand. Another spike of pride went into Kiku when he realized that that man over there was his, or that's what he understood from the kiss earlier.

He continued to fight when the rest of the men recovered, most of them not being affected the by the following explosions on the beach. All the while he still kept an eye on Arthur, making sure he was okay. Then suddenly half of his mind thanked himself that he was looking after the blonde and the other half pushed him to call out Arthur when he saw Witlock's first mate charging from behind him, faster than they thought he looked. No wonder he was assigned as the first mate.

Arthur turned his head when he heard his name being called, his mind stopping for a moment when he saw Kiku's worried expression and then noticed the man heading for him a little too late for him to react immediately. He could only watch as the blade moved towards but never reached him.

"Ah, mi amigo, I apologize but if there's a blade that will end Arturo's life, it would be mine." Antonio was suddenly standing by Arthur, blocking the first mate's attack and sent a turning kick towards him. Green eyes looked mockingly at Arthur as a lopsided grin was placed on his face, "You need help?"

The blonde scoffed as he swiped his sword at another man, "As if I need your help, Anthony." He stepped aside, and so did the brunette, making them exchange positions as they stabbed and kicked the enemies in fluid motions.

"Tell that to your shoulder. I only did this because staying in the ship is boring, Arturo."

"Quit saying my name like that, it sounds horrible." The two continued to counter and half defended one another in practiced but forced movements that when they were seen from afar, they looked like dancing with swords.

Antonio smirked and stabbed another man, "The same with my name again." He saw from the distance Kiku fighting off enemies, moving slightly nearer towards where he and Arthur were and stealing some glances on the blonde, "but then again, I should congratulate you or something."

"Hm, I'll receive that positively for now." The Brit grunted again and overthrew another man then looked at Antonio's direction, "Duck." He commanded, and Antonio complied by bending over and letting Arthur slash at the pirate behind the Spaniard.

They looked very precise in movements, despite their rivalry, Kiku thought. How the two were able to maintain a practiced dance with swords while knocking out men attacking at different times without even leaving their imaginary circle. There was a bit of jealousy in Kiku while he watched them. But even with their fluid attacks, he could see Arthur sneaking a glance or two into his brown orbs accompanied with a small confident smirk; those alone could assure him.

Antonio continued swinging his sword, then bent over when Arthur jumped and he immediately slashed the last man that thought of attacking them. He then stood up straight and sheathed his sword, "I'm joining Francis and Gilbert now." Without further ado, the brunette left him as soon as the men stopped attacking. He ran towards Gilbert and Francis who were still busy fighting off some men, at the same time taking a peek at Kiku who was running towards Arthur.

Eyebrows frowning, the raven haired man stopped right in front of the blonde pirate and looked at him worriedly, "Are you alright?"

Arthur shrugged and raised his hand to pat him on the head, "It's going to take more of this to stop me, love." At the corner of his eye, he noticed a moving figure and turned his head. His eyes narrowed as he recognized the slightly coloured silhouette walk into the forest. It was Witlock. Gritting his teeth, he ran towards the direction with his hand gripping into the metal handle of the sword hard enough to probably cause a bruise in his palm.

Kiku blinked for a moment and followed Arthur without even thinking of anything else, "Arthur-san!" he called out when the blonde ran into the forest, confusion painting his eyes as they continued running into the forest.

It was hard to run in the dark inside the forest. The only thing that guided Kiku in the deep greenery was Arthur's loud footsteps and his loud panting as he tried to catch up to the large figure. Then he heard twigs and leaves being stepped on behind him, the prince turned his head and saw Alasdair running after them as well. The red head was also out of breath, but his eyes were still focused on making sure his cousin was safe.

Stopping in their tracks for a moment, Kiku and Alasdair looked at the large cave while Arthur didn't waste any time. They resumed running but again was stopped when they arrived at the very heart of the cove, stunned.

Around them were mountains of gold coins mixed along with chalices, jewelleries and other valuable treasures, glinting and shining from moonlight that peeked through the holes in the ceiling of the cavern. These were Singer's treasure; the one that Arthur was searching for.

Kiku heard Alasdair mutter something under his breath and him stepping towards him. His eyes trailed from the large piles of treasure to Arthur who stood cautiously in front of him, silence hurting their ears as the eerie feeling surrounded them. The prince took a step forward when Alasdair grunted and cursed, and both Kiku and Arthur turned and saw the red head on the ground, shaking in pain under another man.

"You're pretty determined, Kirkland." Witlock's voice echoed throughout the place.

Arthur immediately ran back to his cousin, only to be driven away by the sword of the rival pirate's first mate, "You bloody wretch!" their swords crossed and Arthur was pushed away, luckily caught by Kiku's arms.

Witlock appeared on a mountain of golden coins, his feet causing some of them tumbling down to the ground, "But then your brain must be rusted over to think that attacking me with your injury will cause you any good." With those words, the cove was suddenly surrounded by Witlock's men, the bearded man's laughter echoing within the walls, "I kind of regret not killing you last time, kid." He drew his gun out and aimed at both Kiku and Arthur, "I'll make sure you die this time." His attention went to Kiku and he nodded to his men silently.

Kiku was dragged away from Arthur, being held securely by a large muscled man and was pushed to the ground. A hiss escaped his lips as his body was attacked by the surge of pain. He had long stopped counting the times he experienced this kind of treatment, but it seems that even though he was supposed to be used to this, it was still painful each time his body hit the ground.

"You, in another matter, are still needed for my payment." Witlock slid down the pile then crossed swords with Arthur who decided to attack the moment he stepped on solid ground. "But you, blonde brat, is still my first business." He snapped and without wasting any time, stabbed Arthur in his waist, earning a pleading cry from Kiku. The man just smirked and looked at the raven who was too weak from lack of nutrition and exhausted from battle to move, "It's actually good to see someone you like die in front of your eyes. It helps with you future decisions."

Arthur clutched his wound while stepping back trying to maintain his balance despite the pain. Hissing lowly at Witlock and charging again to attack, only to be evaded and kicked to the ground.

"Arthur!" Alasdair found some of his strength to stand up and run towards Witlock to attack, yet again suffering the same fate as earlier when two men countered him on the head and threw him to the ground.

Kiku frowned and rasped out Alasdair's name and pushed himself up to his knees, feeling a bit useless at the moment. His body was still aching from the numerous falls he had encountered tonight, and the tension wasn't helping in any way. Alasdair was still down on the ground, and from how Kiku saw his eyes, he was fighting to stay conscious from the blow on his head. This was horribly a one-sided fight.

His eyes turned to Arthur, and he felt even worse. If he could just muster enough energy just like earlier to fight, there might be enough hope to turn things around. He cursed himself again for being too weak right now, especially when he had a good chance to help out Arthur.

Arthur. His eyes snapped up to look at Arthur, who seemed to be in worse condition in the three of them. The blonde continued to attack Witlock, only to lose a bit of balance and miss. He was trembling badly, and his forehead was covered in sweat. What made Kiku even more troubled was the clouded eyes of Arthur that were already half-lidded.

"Feeling a little tired, Kirkland?" Witlock smirked mockingly at the man panting in front of him.

Fighting to make sure his vision was still clear and straight; Arthur gritted his teeth and forced himself to stand up straight, "I won't forgive for everything you've done to my ship, to Kiku and to my crew."

Another loud laugh echoed through the cave as Witlock stepped towards him, "Poor you, then." He aimed his gun at Arthur, then turned to look at Kiku with a smug grin on his face, "And don't worry, even if you come with me or not, he still dies."

Before he could pull the trigger on Arthur, a loud thump startled them. They turned their heads and saw Alasdair kicking the Witlock's first mate down, "Ye really think ye can knock me out by that weak blo'?" he grinned wickedly before stabbing the man on the stomach, getting a calm growl from Witlock in response.

"Kill him." The large man commanded and almost all of the men inside the cove, even the one guarding Kiku, ran and attacked Alasdair.

Once Kiku was left unguarded, he took the opportunity and to stand up, only to be kicked down by a large boot that he recognized as Witlock's.

"Don't you dare touch him!" Arthur's voice rasped out, now on his knees and looking even worse.

Kiku realized there was something wrong with him.

Apparently, Alasdair noticed it as well. He leapt away from the crowd of men and moved towards Witlock, "Wot did ye do to Artie?" he hissed while turning around to slash another man.

Witlock laughed again, walking away from Kiku and towards Arthur to hold his head up by his chin and throw him on the ground like a ragged doll, "Didn't I say earlier that whatever you do, he still dies." He smirked at Arthur, who had decided to just lay on the floor as his energy was soon consumed by unknown pain, "I'm not that dumb to think that this brat right here could be defeated without some poison."

Brown eyes widening, Kiku got up with a disbelieving look on his face, "You poisoned him?" his voice came out in a trembling whisper as he watched Arthur struggle to keep awake.

"If you don't want to end his life minutes early than he should, I suggest you stay down, Asian." Witlock chuckled, again aiming his gun at Arthur.

It seemed like the pirate wasn't expecting him to follow, so he had one of his men hit him on the head instead. His pale hand rubbed at the back of his head, a small hiss of pain leaving his lips. Alasdair was still busy fighting off the pirates to help Arthur.

Another laugh escaped from Witlock as he waited for Kiku to regain his composure and look at him. The raven man squinted a bit as the golden coins glinted too much for his sight and waited for his eyes to adjust and look at Arthur.

"Then again, I need to take extra precautions. Just to make sure he does die, maybe I can put a bullet in him."

Kiku's eyes widened again as he crawled to get up and a little bit too late saw the trigger being pulled and a deafening boom echoed inside the cove followed by Kiku's voice, "No!" he was able to get to his knees, and saw in his peripheral vision Alasdair copying his shock, almost getting stabbed by another man.

His breath hitched as his eyes connected with Arthur's weak ones while the man clutched new wound on the waist just beside the one that was caused by Witlock's blade. There was a part of those eyes telling him that he should run away. But instead of having fear in his chest when he watched Arthur, a sudden strike of disbelief surged through him, accompanied with anger.

The prince felt his hand tremble, half of his mind focused on something he hasn't thought for a long time. But his face still held an expression of softness and worry while their eyes were still connected, "A-Arthur..." not giving anymore care for the honorific, he called out repeatedly his name, pleading as if telling him to stop the urge of closing his eyes.

But Arthur didn't feel like cooperating with Kiku right now. The pain was too numbing to cope up anymore as his wound continued to bleed. He wasn't sure what will happen to him if he were to close his eyes, but his mind threatened to black out any moment by putting black spots in his vision while he looked at Kiku. Kiku. He mentally chuckled, feeling a bit more relaxed as he took in the pale complexion of his skin still looked beautiful with his messed up black hair and his lovely warm brown eyes. Scoffing in his mind this time, he asked himself why he was thinking like a lovesick teenager when he was in the brink of death. Then again it was quite nice to feel that, if it really is his time, to see Kiku and know that he accepted his small kiss of confession earlier.

More black spots appeared in his vision. Well then, he'll loath himself in another life if something were to happen to Kiku after this. Closing his eyes, he felt like a bit of the load on his shoulders was lifted off as he drifted into unconsciousness, half optimistic to wake up some day in the same world.



No, no, no, no, no.

That wasn't supposed to happen. Arthur's eyes shouldn't be closed right now. He shouldn't.

It was ironic how much someone that has tortured and imprisoned him for just a few days ago could make him feel like his life was hanging on a thread by closing his eyes. It was ironic how a man he just met less than a week ago and brought him to hate him, was able to worry him to no ends. How just days ago he was planning to run away and now he was willing to risk his life just to be with him and make sure he was safe.

It was ironic how he didn't care anymore for the irony he experienced.

His chest was even heavier as he absorbed the scene in front of him. A lump was stuck in his throat and he willed it away by swallowing, hoping it would make his chest lighter. His hands were trembling while his body was aching to make him move towards the blonde.

"Now, now, don't look like that." Witlock chuckled, his words entering Kiku's ears louder than it should be, "Even I didn't shoot him he would be experiencing more pain if he was awake."

Another blow of pain hit Kiku on his side, making him stumble into a pile of golden coins. The man beside him smirked as he snorted at Kiku, telling him to just sit down.

But what caught Kiku's mind in wonder was the small clink that came from the contact of the solid gold valuables with his right thigh. He remembered immediately that something was tied to his waist by the young man who fought in their side. Shaking still, his hand trembled towards his side. He wondered even more why he hadn't noticed the item hanging by his side. It was probably light-weight, but he was more convinced by the feeling of nostalgia when he felt the smooth threads embedded on the item. Yes, it was most probable that he was used to having that thing by his side that he didn't notice its presence pressing into his body in battle.

His eyes fluttered to the unconscious (or what he hoped so) Arthur lying just beside the large mountain of gold. He could feel something in chest, replacing the worry slowly.

The coat was opened partially by his arm as he held the unknown item in his hand, his eyes turning to land to see what it is. For some reasons his body relaxed, signalling his brain that the item brought him good news. He fingered it lightly before holding it again, tightly this time while he felt his heart being covered by something in between darkness and anger. Or maybe the combination of the two. He didn't think it over this time as he looked at the item again and he smirked darkly on the inside as the familiar wave of feeling went through him.

It was a black katana.


"Mister Branginski, d-don't you think we should be staying away from battle?" Toris nervously stuttered as he stood beside his senior, hidden behind the shadows in another entrance a floor up in the cave. They watched as the conflict down below in the shining treasure continued, staying out of sight.

Ivan smiled gently at his assistant, "But Toris, I'm supposed to get my payment tonight. Staying in my ship doesn't seem like a valid choice."

"B-but we could get hurt or something."

"I just wanted to see them myself. One of which is that Arthur guy that your friend Alfred talked about." His amethyst eyes turned back to the scene down there, "he really is something. No wonder my dear Yao and Francis admired him." His smile still didn't waver while he watched them in amusement, then his eyes falling on Kiku.

The Lithuanian didn't say anything anymore to convince his master in leaving, instead he looked at Arthur with a small scowl of worry, "But he's already down."

A shrug served as an answer to Toris when Ivan kept his gaze on the man holding something under his coat, "That man is Witlock's payment to me, right?"

"I think so." The brunette blinked, following the taller man's gaze, "I don't think you'll be getting him immediately though."

Chuckling a bit, Ivan grinned gently again, "I want to see him play," his hand dug into his coat pocket and he held up a small glass container with clear liquid inside, "And then I'll join the fun too."


BK123: (-.-) d (/-,-)/ p

So there you have the long damn chapter you've been patiently waiting for I don't know how long. And a fail emoticon letter flip because the original table flip emoticon won't work here on . It sucks because I'm too tired for editing right now and classes are starting soon. Woo I'm a senior now (-.-)

Anyways living up to what I announced~ I shall give the 30th reviewer a prize~ :D and that person is kiku-dii~ just leave me a message since you're not an anon or leave what scene to be included in the story as a review or something.

Thank you guys very much for reviewing and subscribing and making this story as one of your favorites even if I do a bad job in updating it. So now, the 50th reviewer can have a fic request or something. I also need to polish my writing skills after some hiatus in making fics. XD

Spoiler alert for the next chapter: expect Dark! Kiku because I know I've been making him a bit too soft. And I think Alasdair is still fighting while Kiku and Ivan are musing inside their minds. So yeah.

Long author note is long. Don't forget to review, I like reviews (-v-)