icefox94: *messing around with stacks of cards while sitting under a tree*
Ace: *walks up to tree and stares warily at a long haired vampire with red and white markings perched on a low branch* um, icefox? I hate to bother you while you are trying to update your beast deck, but the readers are here...
icefox: *glances up from a stack of green cards* huh? *sees readers* oh! um... hi? *gently shoves cards away* sorry it's taken so long to update this. When I'm not busy, I don't have access to my computer. I'm not home very often lately... What are you staring at Ace?
Ace: Um, who is that? *points at vampire*
icefox: *follows finger with eyes* Oh, that's Vampire Nighthawk. He's just keeping watch. He wouldn't attack you or anything, but it would probably be a good idea to not touch his weapons, claws, fangs, or anything else he attacks with. He has lifelink and deathtouch, so it would probably turn out badly for you.
Ace: Noted. *sits down next to author and glances through the cards*
icefox: Anyways, if you guys read the author's note for the last chapter, than you would have heard about the two polls I made. One for favored ongoing stories and the other for story ideas for future fanfiction. I was completely new to polls when I made them and didn't realize you could only have one poll on your profile at a time, so I only have the one concerning story ideas up. Once I figure out what story I will work on next, I will put the other poll up. I'm actually more productive when I have multiple projects to work on, so letting me know your opinion, if you haven't all ready, will help out a lot.
Ace: how about this card? *holds up a creepy deformed looking wolf*
icefox: Witchstalker? I dunno. Beasts are all about aggressive cards above the mana curve. This guy is the mana curve.
Ace: true, but he also has hexproof and he get's stronger whenever an opponoent casts a blue or black spell during your turn. If nothing else, it's a good replacement for one of the Darkthicket Wolfs. Those are the mana curve as well and you have to repeatedly pay mana to make them a little stronger.
icefox:... kay. *looks back at readers* oh, you're still here?
Just in case you are confused, vampire nighthawk, witchstalker, and darkthicket wolf are creatures from the popular strategy card game called Magic: The Gathering. Here's a link to what they look like:
Vampire Nighthawk (also known by my friend as the lonely bird man): ww m/slide show/vam pire-nighth awk
Witchstalker: gathe m/Pa ges/Car d/Detail ?mult iverseid=3708 06
Darkthicket Wolf: gather m/Pag es/Car d/Detai ?n ame=darkth icket%20wo lf
Disclaimer: I do not own One Piece or Magic: the Gathering. One Piece is owned by Eiichiro Oda and Magic: the Gathering was created by Richard Garfield and published by Wizards of the Coast.
Chapter 5: Level 6
"What do you mean 'taken by the Tenryuubito'?" The usually calm and collected Robin demands angrily. The angered looks on Joe and Staff-san show they want to know as well.
"Ze Tenryuubito are ze most poverful group of people in ze vorld. Nothing is denied from zem. If ze vant an Impel Down prisoner, they vill get an Impel Down prisoner vith little no no argument. Ze must have seen ze news in ze paper and demanded zat he be given to zem to deal vith for punching one of zem on Sabaody and getting avay vith it. By now, he has probably been branded and thrown into a seastone fight cage."
"What about the execution?" Staff-san questions.
"It hasn't been canceled, so we can only assume a deal was struck for the Tenryuubito to punish him with slavery for a month before getting the satisfaction of watching him die publicly while being nice and comfortable at home." Inazuma answers as he calmly swirls his wine, creased eyebrows and down turned lips revealing that he was frowning.
"Then we have to get out of here quickly and get to Marineford before the execution." Joe sum up.
"Not without me." A rough voice growls. The group spins around to see a scarred man in brown with a gold hook for his left hand. His black hair was slicked back from his face and a cigar was in his mouth. All in all, the perfect picture of a suave yet dangerous man.
"Crocodile." Robin whispers in surprise.
Crocodile sees his former right hand woman's reaction to his presence and smirks.
"Miss All-Sunday. How... strange, to see you risking your life for someone else. I was certain that I had poisoned you, Strawhat, and King Cobra at Alabasta, though I have to say I'm not surprised that all of you survived. I'm assuming you gave yourself and the others an antidote?"
"... something like that." Robin answers vaguely, uneasy in the presence of her former employer and attempted murderer.
"What do you want?" Staff-san demands. Crocodile raises an eyebrow at the tone.
"Strawhat is the one who put me here in the first place. If anyone is going to get the pleasure of killing him, it's going to be me and it's going to be on my own terms." the former Shichibukai answers calmly, than smirks. "Plus, you'll need all of the help that you can get to escape. The marines here know about you three now and won't let you just walk out of here."
"Unfortunately, Croc-boy is right. Ve need his help to leave this place." Ivankov agrees reluctantly.
Joe rolls his eyes at this and slices through the cell lock with one of his throwing knives before pushing the door open and and calmly walking over to Crocodile.
"Impressive, Bunny Joe. Impressive, but unnecessary." Staff-san compliments as he tosses lock picking tools in the air before catching them repeatedly. He resisted the urge to call Mr. I-can-cut-through-metal a show-off.
"That takes too long." Joe says, smirking towards Staff-san as he reads the thoughts visible in his eyes. He calmly slices through the locks keeping the seastone shackles on the former Shichibukai and step back out of the cell.
Crocodile rubs his wrists and stands as he nods at Joe in appreciation, than turns to the rest of the enlarged rescue group.
"So, do you idiots have a plan, or are you making this all up as you go along?"
"For now, the plan is simply to escape this place, releasing prisoners as we go to create confusion and more work for the marines here. We'll start with that on a different level." Staff-san explains as the group head for the stairs, knowing the elevator wouldn't work thanks to the video den den mushi showing the control room what is happening on Level 6.
"Wait. Let me out too. I want to help as well." says a slightly rough tenor voice.
The group stops and turns to their right to see a fishman with long black hair and a jagged long nose. He was tall and well muscled, wearing long shorts and an unbuttoned short sleeved shirt.
"You're the sawshark fishman Arlong, captain of the Arlong Pirates. What are you doing here in Impel Down and why do you want to rescue Monkey D. Luffy?" Staff-san interrogates, eyes narrowed in suspicion.
"I'm here because the other prisons either couldn't handle me, didn't know how to imprison fishmen, or both. As for my reasons for wanting to help, let's just say that it would be more beneficial to me for Strawhat to live past the execution." Arlong hedges. This omittance just makes Staff-san even more suspicious.
"I'm afraid I'll need more than that to release you. The mission is to save Strawhat's life. I'm not about to release someone just for them to kill him the minute he is free."
"What about Crocodile? You freed him knowing he wants to kill Strawhat. All you racist humans are the same."
"It has nothing to do with race. We know enough about Crocodile to know he's telling the truth when he says he wants to kill him only on his own terms and will therefore save him and keep him alive until he can escape and he's fully recovered from any possible injuries. For us to release you, we need to have that same level of assurance that you won't kill Strawhat the minute he is free." Joe answers for Staff-san as he casually sharpens an unusually sharp sai.
Arlong glares at them for a moment before giving up with a sigh. He's not going anywhere if he doesn't cooperate, so he'll set his hate for humans aside until Strawhat is free and away from Marineford.
"Alright, fine. I'll tell you. Doubt you'll believe me, but it's the truth."
"We'll try to keep an open mind." Robin assures as she looks uneasily towards the stairs where Bon Clay, now joined by Ivankov and Inazuma, were watching for guards.
"The truth is, Strawhat has to survive so that he can save Fishman Island."
Silence meets Arlong's confession as the group processes the fishman's words.
"... what?" Staff-san asks oh so eloquently. Crocodile snorts at this.
"He's talking about that insane mermaid that visited him a few month ago. Was that your mentally retarded girlfriend or something?" Crocodile insults with a smug smirk.
In a flash, Arlong is up and smashing against his cell in an effort to break out and get to the scarred former warlord of the sea.
"INSULT MY LITTLE SISTER AGAIN AND I'll RIP YOU APART IN THE MOST PAINFUL WAY POSSIBLE AND FEED YOU TO SEA MONSTERS!" Arlong roars, his eyes wide and tinted red in his fury.
When Arlong reacted the way he did to Crocodile's words, everyone excluding the now laughing pirate, jumped into battle stances aimed at Arlong. When Staff-san realizes he was only defending his little sister, he puts his staff back and slowly approaches the furious fishman's cell.
"Arlong-san?" Staff-san tries.
Arlong snaps his blood seeking eyes to the staff wielder, breathing heavily and gripping the bars in front of him so tightly, the knuckles on his purplish blue skin turned almost white. The protective brother stares at Staff-san with a strange mix of anger, curiosity, blood lust, and superiority. The curiosity encourages the blond to keep going. "What happened when your sister came to visit?"
Staff-san's question makes Arlong lose steam. The fishman relaxes his muscles enough to let go of the cell bars in favor of leaning against the wall so that his shackles stop cutting into his wrists and legs.
"She unexpectedly came to visit me a few weeks ago. I didn't know she knew I was here or that I was even in prison, let alone how she got the permission to visit me. The Grand Line Times didn't exactly say much when Strawhat defeated me and I was captured. I guess we have her clairvoyance to thank for that. Or her brain. She's one of the smartest people I've ever known, so it wouldn't surprise me." Arlong starts, voice and eyes calmer now as he remembers the day his little sister came to visit him in this hell hole.
"Fishman Arlong." Vice Warden Magellan greets as he walks up to Arlong's cell.
Arlong raises his head off of his chest and stares at the poison man in contempt from his relaxed position on the floor.
"What do you want, human?" Arlong demands as he leans his head back against the cell wall, arms and legs crossed on front of him casually.
"Don't use that disrespectful tone with me, Fishman, unless you want to be punished." Magellan threatens automatically on reflex. He repeats variants of those words so many times every single day that they have become a conditioned response whenever any of the prisoners are being disrespectful to him in the prison. "As ridiculous as it sounds, especially in this place, you have a visitor."
'Visitor?' Arlong repeats to himself as his eyes narrow in confusion. 'I don't know anyone that can visit me here though.'
The confused fishman's train of thought halts completely the minute his visitor comes into his line of sight. In walks a large muscled fishman from Neptune's army. In his arms is a large beautiful short fin mako shark mermaid. She is very curvy with pale skin and short black hair covered mostly by a long sleeved hooded purple blouse only buttoned halfway up to reveal the cleavage of her well endowed bosom. One side of her pretty face is covered by her hair while the other side reveals slanted blue eyes with slitted pupils ringed with eyeliner. Her fin was an off white color and a silvery gray with the bottom of the fin curling backward to make a crescent moon shape: the reason why she was being carried unlike other mermaids who can walk on their fins. In her long fingers with purple painted nails was a simple pipe.
The soldier walked up to the front of the cell, set the mermaid down gently, and bowed.
"Madame." the soldier says respectively. The large mermaid smiles calmly at the soldier and nods her head, giving the soldier the signal he needed to leave her to her visit until she was done. Once the soldier was gone, the beauty turns her calm gaze to the fishman frozen in shock before her and curls her fin around to her side to be more comfortable.
"I've missed you, Onii-chan." Shyarly greets with a smile.
"Shyarly!" Arlong exclaims as he bolts out of his relaxed position on the floor and moves in front of the short fin mako shark mermaid. "What are you doing here?! You know how dangerous it is for our kind, especially mermaids!"
"Not all humans are bad, Onii-chan. All I had to do is avoid the bad ones and I'm fine."
"All humans are evil and need to be punished for it."
"If you really think that way, than it's no surprise that you're locked up here." By now, Shyarly is losing the concern she held for her brother when she arrived. Arlong widens his eyes at this, than narrows them in self-righteous anger.
"The humans deserved what they got and more!" Arlong exclaims, doing his best not to shout at his little sister and failing. Unfortunately for Arlong, Shyarly was not enlightened by his words. She just looked disappointed, a look that stabbed at the pirates heart more than anger would have.
"Do you really believe that, Onii-chan?" Shyarly asks quietly, almost in a whisper.
"Yes, I do." Arlong answers with a nod. Shyarly shakes her head in sadness and more disappointment in response.
"Than you are just as bad as the humans you so hate." Shyarly reprimands, stunning her older brother.
"How am I on the same level as those vermin?!" Arlong demands to know. Shyarly shakes her head again.
"This exact reason. You believe all humans are bad no matter their actions or age. You think all of them deserve death and enslavement because they are weaker than you." Shyarly summarizes. Arlong snorts at these words.
Shyarly stares at her brother with a look of contemplation, than opens her mouth hesitantly.
"As a female mermaid who was never trained to fight, I am as weak as the average human. On top of that, I can't walk on my fin like most mermaids do because of the way it's shaped. Considering all of these weaknesses, should I be persecuted the way you persecute humans?"
"No! Never!" Arlong denies, stunned at Shyarly's words.
"How about death, torture, or enslavement? Do I deserve any of that?" Shyarly continues to question. Arlong shakes his head in denial.
"No, of course not! You're-"
"In the exact same situation the humans are in. The only difference is I can breathe underwater and talk to fish and they can walk."
For a moment, Arlong is too stunned to speak. All he can do is stare at Shyarly as she gazes back in sad disappointment. When Arlong can finally break out of the stunned silence he slipped into, he closes his eyes and sighs.
"What are you doing here, Shyarly? I know you didn't come here risking your life and freedom just to reprimand me about my beliefs." Arlong questions, tired of arguing with the only family he has left. Shyarly took pity on her brother, for now, in favor of telling him why she came.
"I had a vision involving someone that will be imprisoned here soon." Shyarly admits.
Arlong straitens in surprise at this and leans forward expectantly. Arlong, as well as all of Fishman Island, knew of Shyarly's foresight and it's 100% accuracy. He even remembered the night she had her first vision.
It was Shyarly's fourth birthday and 16 year old Arlong was tired. In the months that passed since their mutual father dumped Shyarly in Arlong's care, the young mermaid had wormed her way into a special place in the teenage fishman's heart. When he found out her birthday was coming up, he begged a sympathetic merfolk to give him a job, at the very least until he had enough money to get a few nice things for his sister's birthday. Shyarly hated it when he stole and wouldn't accept any gifts that had been stolen, so Arlong did his best to earn decent money for her birthday. Moved by his love for his sister and impressed by his hard work, his boss gave him a permanent job with him before sending him off with his well earned money. On the way home, Arlong bought Shyarly's favorite cake, ice cream, and ingredients for her favorite meal. For a present, he bought her a beautiful crystal ball he saw her admiring one day but didn't have the money to get for her right away. Shyarly, of course, loved everything that her brother did for her, especially when she found out that it was paid for with decent money.
After eating and present opening, Arlong said an early goodnight to Shyarly, who was still wide awake and playing with her present, and fell asleep in their shared bed. A few hours later, Arlong awoke to hear Shyarly screaming. Arlong jumped out of bed to comfort her. Once Shyarly had calmed down, he found out that she had a vision of the Great Pirate Age beginning. Of course, Arlong didn't know it was a vision and thought nothing of it. After assuring Shyarly that it was only a dream, Arlong brought his four year old sister to bed and held her until both of them fell asleep.
Soon after having it, Shyarly's vision came true, with much more coming after it, bringing her current fame as 100% accurate fortune teller with them.
"Who is the soon-to-be-imprisoned your vision is about?" Arlong questions, knowing he or she must be important for Shyarly to risk death and enslavement to come tell him about it.
"Monkey D. Luffy." Shyarly answers, making him smirk.
"The scum is finally getting what's coming to him? Good." Arlong celebrates. Shyarly frowns at this.
"He will be brought here to await execution. I need you to help him escape before he leaves here."
"Excuse me?" Arlong asks in surprise. "Why should I help him? He's the human that put me here in the first place!"
"Your skewed ideals are what put you in jail and you should help him because Fishman Island will be in danger one day and he will be the only person able to save it."
"You saw Fishman Island in danger?"
"It was almost destroyed with the royal family and most of the island almost killed with it. In my vision, Strawhat Luffy and his crew are the only ones strong enough to take on those trying to destroy Fishman Island."
"Do you know who endangered the island?"
"... no." Shyarly answers hesitantly. Arlong sees and hears the hesitation in her voice and gives her a 'you-really-think-i-buy-that?' look. She sighs and gives in. "Okay, fine. I have a clue as to the type of person, but not the person specifically. It is someone who can shoot an unnaturally powerful water-shot. It went strait through the mermaid shot with it and went through coral and buildings before halting at Mermaid Cove."
"And where was the water-shot shot from?"
"The little scenery I could see looked like Gyonchorde Plaza."
Here, Arlong's eyes widened in stunned surprise. No water-shot was that strong. The fishman who shot it must have taken major steroids for it to pass through the mermaid and everything else the way it did... wait a minute. Mermaid?
"What mermaid was shot?" Arlong demands to know. Shyarly doesn't answer, but her silence was more than enough to tell Arlong who it was. "I'm gunna kill him."
"You don't even know who it is." Shyarly points out.
I'll find out, and then I'm gunna kill him. I don't care what their race, gender, or age is, no one hurts my little sister and get's away with it."
"That's very sweet of you, Onii-chan, but how are you going to find out who will do something that hasn't happened yet?" Shyarly questions.
"You said the water-shot was unnaturally powerful, right? Going off of that, we can assume that the fishman who shot it was on crazy strong steroids. The only fishmen crazy enough to take steroids live in the fishman district."
"All right. I will talk with the royal family and we will do what we can to prevent my vision from coming true, but you have to promise me one thing before I leave here today."
"What?" Arlong questions hesitantly, uneasy about what the mermaid wants him to promise.
"I need you to promise me that you will do what you can to prevent the execution of Strawhat Luffy."
"I promised her that I would do whatever I could, but I can't exactly do whatever I want here, so I was pretty much useless when that insane dominatrix Sadi came down here for punishments and when the guards came to take Strawhat away. The best I could do was delay them with distractions, but they didn't do any good. That's why I want to help. I want to keep my promise to my sister and save my home."
"Wow, Arlong-san," Staff-san comments after Arlong's story, " I have to say, I'm impressed. I have only heard bad things about you and your treatment towards humans, so I expected the worst when you requested your freedom to help save Strawhat. Now I hear that you are willing to save the life of someone you hate for the sake of others. That's very admirable."
Arlong huffs at the unwanted compliment and turns his head away, becoming visibly more impatient.
"So, are you going to let me out or not?" Arlong demands impatiently, the question growled out between clenched fangs.
"I don't know. What do you think, Joe? Robin?" Staff-san inquires to the other two. Robin smiles.
"I believe he is trustworthy enough to bring along." Robin allows. Joe simply nods in agreement.
"Very well. Welcome to the team, Arlong-san. Please try to refrain from being killed. We'll be fighting against some of the world's strongest." Staff-san greets with a tease. Arlong took offense to this.
"I am not so easy to kill, human." Arlong informs as he joins the humans near the exit.
"Good. You won't be any help to us if you die to easily. Now come along everyone. We need to get as far as we can before the marines in the control room can figure out how to block the stairs."
With that, the group of eight race up the stairs. They manage to get to Level 3, releasing prisoners as they go, before being confronted by Sadi and her creatures in Level 2.
"Mmm!~ I hope you don't really believe you will be escaping! Especially with so many prisoners! We have a reputation to uphold, you know." The pink clad dominatrix exclaims in her moaning soprano.
"I'm sorry ma'am, but we do believe that. It's important that we leave here immediately. We have an appointment to keep." Staff-san replies with a polite smile. This makes Sadi pout.
"You're going after Strawhat Luffy, aren't you?"
"We are." Robin answers. This upset Sadi even more.
"Mmm!~ He was no fun! No matter what Sadi-chan did to him, he never screamed! All he did was ~mmm!~ glare!" Sadi whined. This makes Staff-san and Robin angry.
"Am I correct in assuming that you are Sadi-chan?" Robin clarifies. Sadi smiles at this.
"Yes, I am Sadi-chan ~mmm!~! Chief Commander of the 5 Demon Guards."
"Why were you trying to make Strawhat scream?" Staff-san questions. This causes Crocodile and Arlong to roll their eyes while the others simply glare or cower in fear of the orange haired woman.
"Because I ~mmm!~ love torture!" Sadi moans in a quivering soprano, the mere thought of it making the woman blush and squirm in pleasure. "The sound of pained screams, the coppery smell of blood, the sight of someone on their knees in defeat! ~Mmm!~ It's so wonderful!"
At this answer, Staff-san whips out his staff, Robin crosses her arms in front of her with her palms facing skyward, Bon Clay fluidly shifts into an odd half ballet/half karate position, and Bunny Joe pulls shuriken and senbon out of nowhere to hold in a throwing position. Behind them, the New Kama and prisoners take their lead and ready themselves for battle, the less than courageous shifting to the back of the group while the brave and battle hungry fill the empty places in front.
"Wrong answer, Orenji-iro no Kami-san*." Robin informs. A polite smile is on her face, but one look at the dangerous gleam her bright contacts have adopted would tell you she is far from being a happy camper.
The 5 Demon Guards Sadi commands, as well as the nearby monsters of Level 2, ready themselves to attack the threat to their home. Sadi simply twists her whip out of her trident and holds both ready for combat with a smile on her face.
"Mmm!~ Let me hear you scream!"
End Chapter 5
* Orenji-iro no kami: Google translate said this was "orange hair" in Japanese. After typing that into the story, I decided that it was quite a mouthful, so I tried looking for something else and got Orenji-shoku no kami. I didn't know which one to use, so I just went with the google translate version. If anyone else has a better way of wording it, let me know and I'll fix it.