A/N: Ahhhh! Another chapter! It's a day later than I intended, but hey, a new chapter, right? :)
I feel like this one is shorter, so I apologize, but believe me, it's not lacking in any way, shape or form! Though, that could very well be just me ;)
I get so pumped when I'm writing this story. Plot wise, I personally think it has to be one of my greatest, but I suppose I'll let you guys decide! And please, tell me what you think!
From the last reviews, I could tell people were a little unclear of what was going on -which is good, it's how I intended -but rest assured, as clarity is just a couple of moments away! :)
Or, you know, more questions and confusion...
I'll leave it at that. Enjoy :D
Oh, and Happy New Year!
Run, run, as fast as you can
Hide yourself from the great ring man
But watch your step for there's all sorts of traps
This jump in reality is truly a huge gap.
"I hate this. I really do," I muttered. "Stupid foot. Stupid hole in the ship…" I glanced over at Suki. "I'm a saint you know. Letting them go to the circus instead of working hard to fix the ship." She doesn't answer. "Maybe I should get them to pay for leaving me behind. Yeah. Maybe a hundred beri each. For each day. With interest."
"Only a hundred beri?" Suki flipped the page of her book, amused.
"Well, naturally I mean a hundred thousand," I sighed. "What point is there for interest of a mere hundred beri? There's no point. I only deal in thousands and above."
"Naturally. My mistake," she chuckled.
"When do you think Luffy will come back? Do you think he's enjoying it?" I turned to her.
"Who's to say?" she closed her book around her index finger, marking her spot. "Maybe he is, maybe he isn't. Maybe he's dazzled by flying trapeze artists and lions who jump through fire. Or…"
"Or?" I pressed.
"Or… maybe the circus isn't all it's cracked up to be."
After the man left, it was a mutual decision to follow Luffy back to the ship –what else could we do at this point?
"What do we do? Where do you think everyone is?" Usopp asked as we walked through the empty town. It was completely deserted. No one sat in the bars. No one roamed stores. No children ran the streets. It was…
"Strange," Franky murmured behind me. "It's like… we're not even in the same town."
"You'll no longer exist in the real world…" Sanji muttered.
"What?" Usopp turned to him.
"It's what that brute back there said," Sanji said.
"I don't think we have to pay any attention to what he says –he's a lunatic," Franky replied. "Let's just leave it at that and find the rest of our crew."
Just as we entered the docks, a shape came flying at us. It was Luffy, and he hit the docks hard, splitting the wood.
"Whoa," Franky stretched his arms, swooping Luffy up before he could fall through his own hole. "What's wrong?"
"They're not there," Luffy was visibly angry.
"Nami and Suki?" Sanji asked.
"They're gone," Luffy looked impatient. He met my gaze, "Someone took our crew. We need to get them back."
"Of course," everyone agreed.
"Wait a moment, don't get ahead
Let me say what needs to be said."
All of us turned to see the man dressed in purple and black, brandishing his staff like earlier in the tent. The hairs on my arm rose, and my hand instinctively flew to the hilt of my katana.
"You –you're behind this," Sanji growled. "You took our lovely ladies from us."
"Don't worry, don't fear,
We haven't touched your ladies dear.
Quite the opposite, in fact,
You're the ones that won't go back."
"Won't go back?" Usopp glanced at me. I tightened my grip on my sword.
"Hold your horses, hold your hands,
Let me make it so you understand.
What we lack here, in the midst of the sea
Is power suitable for a man like me.
And to obtain such power requires, you see,
Seven deadly sins through one's personality
And this is where you five come into play
And will continue such throughout these seven days."
"Stop rhyming and tell us where our crew is," Franky squared his shoulders.
"Tonight's the first night,
And it won't end too light
Sacrifice of one will make things resume
But you'll lack something you won't notice soon."
"You're a crook and a bad one at that!" Usopp exclaimed, trembling slightly as he presented fake bravado.
"Usopp, get back," I released my sword, pulling our lying sharpshooter back as the short man lunged with his scepter.
"Good move, good friend,
But this is no where near the end.
In fact, this is just where the game began
And don't worry, you'll see me again."
An explosion happened towards the center of the town, and all of us swung our heads around as smoke billowed in the distance.
When we looked back, the ring master was gone.
There was a loud crack, like splitting wood, somewhere nearby. Close. Too close for comfort.
"Did you hear that?" I glanced at Suki, but I could tell by the perplexed look on her face that she had. "What was it?"
"I… I'm not quite sure," she stood up, moving towards the railing.
"Hey, I want to see too," I told her, pushing myself up.
"Sit," she told me.
"With or without your help, I'm seeing what's going on," I told her.
"Someone needs to stay on the ship. It could be a trap," she said.
"At least help me to the railing?" I pressed my lips together angrily. I wanted to be healed quickly. She came over, slipping her arm around my shoulders and easing me up. Together we made our way to the railing. "And I thought you were the one who didn't want to step foot on the island."
"I don't," she admitted. "This island isn't a good one for me."
"Then help me off the ship and I'll go check it out." I told her.
She looked like she was seriously contemplating the idea for a moment, but then she shook her head. "No. You're hurt. I'll go check it out. Besides, I'm not even reaching the island completely. I think it's just the docks."
Damn. I clutched the railing, leaning into it as she swung over and let herself down onto the dock. "Well, hurry back and let me know what's going on."
"I will," she promised. She hesitated for a moment, and then swung back onto the deck. "I just need to grab something from the woman's quarters."
She left quickly, and returned the same way. She struggled to put on a necklace, a leather string with a white jewel hanging from the bottom.
"I understand how girl's think more than any other, but this is no time to be thinking of accessorizing," I pointed out.
"It's for protection," she replied, touching the jewel gently. "On this island… I just feel safer with it."
"You make this island sound so dangerous," I pressed my lips together. "Maybe there's something wrong with Luffy and the others…"
"I'm sure our crew is the last people we need to worry about," she smiled weakly. "If I thought they'd be in danger, I wouldn't have let them get off the ship."
"Except for the fact that there's a giant hole in our ship," I forced a laugh.
"They'll be fine. They're strong," she reassured me.
"I know," I let a smile slip through.
As she swung her leg over once more, an explosion shook the docks.
"Do you think that's them?" my voice only came out as a whisper.
"The circus is going on, so I don't think so," she replied back, just as quietly.
We sit in silence for a long moment.
"I'll go check it out," she decided.
"Take me with you," I grabbed her arm tightly before she can leap down.
"Not if you're going to get injured any further," she spoke firmly. But I wasn't going to back down.
"This is more than a disturbance on the dock. I'm coming with you."
She began breaking under my pressure.
"The ship," she mumbled weakly. "Who's going to watch the ship?"
"Franky has a solution for that," I grinned. "It's only a prototype, and hasn't been tested yet, but hey, now's a good a chance as ever."
"Where is it?"
"Down in his workshop. He calls it the Little Lion. You'll see it."
She swung back over once more, leaving me alone on the deck again. As I waited, I watched the smoke rising from the town. For some reason, I was expecting flames, but saw none from where I stood.
"Is this it?" I turned as Suki placed the robotic cat on the lawn deck.
"It is," I smiled. "It's supposed to recognize the entire crew, but if a stranger comes within the confines of the ship, it should attack it without hesitation."
"We're really going to leave the ship guarded by an untested robot?" she asked.
"I don't see why not? Who wants to steal a ship with a huge hole in it in the first place?"
"What about all the treasures?"
"What about it?" I asked.
"Aren't you worried that someone would steal it?"
"No," I shrugged.
"I thought you were greedy for money," she raised an eyebrow.
"I am," I admitted. "But, trust me. That money's protected in a different way. Well, shall we?"
She ran a hand over her face. "Luffy's going to kill me for this."
I smiled. "Well, just leave Luffy to me."
Back at the tent, the ring master sat, brooding. He gazed deeply into the orb on top of the staff –a round jewel that swirled with murky clouds beneath the surface. It craved power, like him, and it wanted it fast.
"Six, only six," a voice whispered in his ear. "Where's the seventh?"
"We'll find him, I know we will. We sensed him once before," another voice hissed. "He's around, I'm sure of it. No need for worry."
"But there's only seven nights," the first spoke again.
"Don't be hasty. Seven nights is more than enough. Not all the sins have to be present during each night. He'll be drawn in soon, I'm sure of it."
"None down, and seven to go," the ring master murmured, dazed as he drew his eyes away from the orb. He closed his eyes, visualizing the seven of them. The captain, his crew, and the man that has escaped once before. He'd get at least one of them tonight. He was sure of it.
"Line them up along death row.
One by one, we'll knock them down,
Then draw the power from this town.
We'll get what we want, and we'll get it soon
Before the night of the full moon
And when we draw from them what we need
And the ring master's word, everyone will heed."
And with a cold smile, he vanished into the night.