Author's note: Hey everyone, welcome to part two of this epic event! Sorry for taking so long!
But before we begin, here's a review and recap:
Talin Island Part I review and recap!
Robin's Mission: terminate Dablec; permanently shut down Dablec's weapon smuggling ring-Crimson Hourglass; side mission: set free any slaves / workers kept against their will
Deetje: Robin's alias for her mission (Ellie: Khiara's alias)
Dablec Manrow: leader of criminal organization Crimson Hourglass; fooled and interrogated by Robin - death unconfirmed?
Gin Khiara: peer and formerly close childhood friend of Robin; also working in a classified, specialized program for the WG; currently stalking and confirming the success and progress of Robin's Talin Island mission (she won't appear in this chapter); currently canoodling with a random stranger...
Kiira Tapper: green-eyed, popular man who frequents Talin Island's Midnight Star (hotel); talented dancer & overly friendly to Robin (Deetje); suspicious character
Rokushiki review (simple review of the basic Rokushiki techniques in case your memory is rusted):
Geppo: kicking multiple times to create the effect of jumping through the air
Tekkai: hardens the users' muscles to the level of iron (can be broken by forces strong enough)
Shigan: essentially a finger bullet
Rankyaku: projectile technique; compressed air blades sent out via high-speed kicks
Soru: allows users move at extremely high speeds to avoid and execute more powerful attacks
Kami-e: user's body goes limp and acts like paper to avoid attacks
A/N (2): Due to this and that, there are a lot of new characters in this chapter. Try to keep track of them as best you can and we'll do our best to help you out with character reviews and deliberately structuring the chapters so that they're easier to digest. You have been warned.
recap from the end of last chapter:
Robin sighed. Blood dripped from her fingers onto the cold, wooden floor, the stuff already pooling and networking through the cracks. She pursed her lips when a storm of flower petals fluttered to join the tangy substance, the surface of the pure, soft pastel quickly marred. Dablec had passed out as soon as his unrecognizable form hit the ground with a sickening thud. He will have expired by the time she was wrecking his underground operation.
The blood dyed the water a lighter shade of crimson, swirling down the drain but seemingly going nowhere. The bathroom reeked of lead and she thought she could taste the tangy liquid in her mouth. After toweling herself off with her shawl, Robin opened her clutch and fished out a small packet, the latest packaging technology from Vegapunk. It expanded and she set aside her CP9 gear: a body suit and high-heel knee boots, both in her trademark midnight-purple color; the white, painted mask; her midnight-black cape. She slipped into her guise and stared at herself in the mirror through the narrow eyeholes. The Micro Mushi in her ear murmured and—suddenly, she was gone, slipping through a secret passageway in and out of the night's slightest and deepest shadows, leading her towards the other darkness hidden underneath the Midnight Star.
Now with that said, ENJOY PART 2 EVERYONE! ^_^
As the bright hotel loomed higher and higher above her, Robin honed her senses and concentrated on using her Kenbunshoku Haki to get a feel of how easy her night would be. While she had been at Dablec's engagement, she had sensed barely half a dozen "challengers" and no more than one hundred insignificants, but the numbers could have grown or been muddled by the sheer number of people in the building. After all, Dablec's Crimson Hourglass was not the only shadow wandering the halls. And one could only hope that the 'innocents'—at least to this event—stayed uninvolved, she thought.
Robin leaned against the bolted iron door, opening her senses to a body check. "One, two, three...sixteen and more coming in—a motion sensor?" Well, if they know I'm here, then there's no need to be quiet about this. She reared back and hit the thick metal in rapid succession with a well-posed leg, and the battered door bulged and shot off its hinges, knocking men out of the way and creating a dust cloud. Those who had survived stood alert and confused, pointing their barrels at the gaping black hole. "Veinte Fleur: Clutch!" The grunts fell where they stood, hardly a noise coming from their foaming mouths. It would be no good if they alerted the rest of the base to her intrusion, but—"Uno Mano," she stayed hidden in the shadow of the tunnel before creating a hand that dashed a surprised Surveillance Den Den Mushi to the ground. "Maybe it's too late for that…" Robin rushed past and all that the panicking men in the surveillance wing saw was a body whisk through the room and slam down the door into the hallways. One by one, the screens went blank as one snail after another was taken out without ever catching a glimpse of more than a shadow.
The ornate door cracked open and a figure darted in and hid behind a potted plant before chuckling and stepping into view. "Well, well...what have we here?" He nudged the mangled body with a perfectly polished shoe, wrinkling his nose slightly at the amount of blood splattered everywhere. An amused huff broke past his slight smile and he crouched down and spoke while wiping his feet with a handkerchief, "How nauseating. I don't suppose you were expecting me after all. You could have tried to make yourself more presentable, you know."
Dablec mumbled incoherently, too close to death to bother with pronunciation.
"Too tired to use your Devil Fruit? You won't be able to trick me with your illusory tactics and—if I'm guessing correctly—they didn't seem to work so well on her either." He glanced down at the shuddering body, "After all, yours is reliant on your strength and intelligence. You lack strength, so you created the illusion of muscle and, while you had a brain, your level of thinking is incomparable to mine. And hers," he added.
"But I didn't come here to mock you for that. My humble plan was to take you out myself and tell you all about the ways I got around you." He was liking the sound of his voice. "Confused? Allow me to enlighten you! In a moment or so, my three most trusted subordinates will be infiltrating your base. And as for Greda and Trissahn Seandra—" Dablec's eyes widened "—they will be in very good hands." Kiira smirked. "You may be wondering how it is that I know the names of your subordinates. You see, old friend, they have been working for me for the past seven months. Right under your very nose! I wouldn't know if you knew it since you can't—you know—speak, but your business will be in my hands by dawn."
Dablec looked too weary to comment.
"Do you curse at me? Very well, but," Kiira shrugged and fiddled with his formal wear, "—rather uncomfortable, don't you think?—I didn't hire her, if that's what you suspect. In fact, I don't even know her, but I think I'll get to know her quite nicely. Unlike—"
"Purupurupuru." Kiira turned, cocked his head. "Purupurupuru." Dablec groaned in protest as his nemesis found the ringing snail and picked up the receiver—
"Manrow-sama! Thank goodness you picked up! There is an intruder at the entrance of the base—we think…?" Kiira rubbed his ear. "None of the Surveillance Den Den Mushi can give us an image or even a glimpse of the person responsible except for displaced arms, and one by one the Surveillance Team is losing our area of surveillance! Please give us your orders—wa–" the snail flinched as some amount of ruckus carried over the connection, "In the back of the base there are three other intruders—these are visible—two men and a woman—our men are split up and we do–"
"Displaced arms…what do you mean?"
"Arms! Like literal arms with hands and fingers—they appear out of nowhere and they've killed so many already—Who are you!?"
"Would you calm down? Those are my subordinates."
Silence reigned on the other end. "The—the who? This isn't Manrow-sama's–"
"Your beloved boss has been terminated. Prepare to escape if you can, or join me—if you dare."
"...Wait, what do you mean! I c—Ka-tcha."
Kiira stroked his chin, "Arms," he exclaimed, muttering to himself as he hopped gracefully over Dablec's lifeless form and slipped out the door. "Arms!"
Robin raced through the hallways, disabling the cameras and the men she happened upon. As she passed through another archway, she noticed three armed guards standing in the hallway scoping for intruders. Well, she hadn't expected to get too far without Dablec's men catching on to her. She stepped into view.
Despite their uncertainty regarding the cloaked, masked figure before them, they reacted immediately—but, of course, not quickly enough.
"Fufufu, Tres Fleur!" Arms quickly bloomed by the guards' waists and knocked their guns out of their hands with a strong strike. As they stared mutely at their useless, bruising hands, Robin charged towards them at incredible vanishing speed, "Pierna Fleur: San Ashigan!" A powerful triple-leg side kick crushed them into and beyond the wall. "Oh my. That was a bit…well," she observed the obvious gape, then moved on.
On her way towards the center of the base, her ears caught wind of a conversation between two henchmen in a room ahead of her. She pressed herself against the wall near the entrance and created an extra ear for good measure. Didn't he think that it had been rather noisy in the base lately? Of course not, it was just the machinery acting up again. Machinery for what? And so…but then… They'd have to wake up much too early again for another shipment. At least they had decent pay, but even so the—
The sound of quickly approaching footsteps reached Robin's original ears. "Soru," she moved to the ceiling. Luckily, the hallways were plenty tall and littered with pipe systems, leaving her many hiding places.
"Oi! We have an intruder, so stop talking and get your asses moving!" "Yes, sir!" all four guards left the room.
"That was rather close," Robin muttered before dropping down and landing soundlessly on her feet. "I'd better report that," she scribbled in cipher in the small notebook kept in the pocket of her vest, pausing when she heard a shout from the hallway she'd come from. Time to move, she thought. The guards had found the hole in the wall.
"I need you to buy me some time."
A man jogged down the hall, gradually gaining on the center of the base with a crowd of armed men clattering behind him. He held a Den Den Mushi close to his average but muscular chest, a slight expression of stress and concern finding a permanent home between his normally cheery eyes.
"We're already in deep shit. We haven't e-even engaged the enemy but we already know that Seandra and I are already pushing our luck to defeat one u-unidentified powerhouse...and yo-u're asking for us to buy you more t-ime?"
"I know, I know! Just buy me as much time as you can! Three other intruders have breached security from the east and I found the rest of our officers dead in their rooms. There's a traitor in our midst and–…"
"Yeah. And we're fighting a losing battle."
The man opened his mouth to protest when a new, more feminine voice came over the speaker, "Shut your mouth. Don't act like you don't know it, Endrid. You're always going on and on about Fate—just give it up already!"
The voice on the other end sighed, "Thanks for being our l-leader. This will probably be the last time."
"You gonna go then, Greda?"
"If you have nothing else to report, then yes. I can hear the shouts up ahead."
"Alright." Endrid licked his lips, then turned back to the mouthpiece. "Just promise me one thing."
"Don't fight with Seandra. I'm counting on you two to take him out with numbers if not with strength since you both have Devil Fr–"
A scoff overrode the static that omitted from the annoyed Den Den Mushi's mouth. "Worry about your own damn self," Seandra snapped. —Katcha—
Endrid sighed. "Tesiga?Are you still there?"
"Don't apologize. I'm the one who's sorry. It would have been one thing if there had just been the one in the west, but now I'm asking you to take down another in the east by yourself."
"Don't be like that. Remember your whole 'Fate' trust...I mean, yeah...you, uh...you know… I'm not alone. I have a squad and one of the Junior Officers with me. The others are leading the bulk of our soldiers to the east. So—I'm not qualified to encourage you when I'm always so unsure of everything myself and I don't even know if it's helping—"
"No, you're right," a bit of Endrid's smile crept back into the corners of his mouth. "I'm surprised that you of all people is telling me to be sure of myself."
"Tesiga…—Do you want me to repeat the plan so you're absolutely certain that you understand it?"
"If you don't mind -gomen."
"The biggest threat is the single intruder who got in through the westward entrance, the one closest to Dablec's quarters. The surveillance team can't identify who it is. There seems to be only one, but all they can see is multiple arms."
"The Devil Fruit user?"
"Well, we only think that he is one based off of the information we have. But, anyway, Greda and Seandra are headed northwest towards that single intruder. They both have Devil Fruits of their own and, though they tend to get on each other's nerves," he ignored the stifled noise on the other end, "they work well together. You're going to turn towards the storage rooms directly east from where you are. The three intruders approaching from the east entrance have split into two groups of one and two and you'll be coming at the one-man unit. I've sent Boris with you as well as your own squad. Don't worry about the other officers and just focus on taking your opponent down while I head towards the machinery in the center and try to take the two-some down with traps and gunfire."
"What if the machines are destroyed? If production is disabled, we won't be able to meet the quotas and ship out the special cannonry ordered specially by that *Yonk–"
"Tesiga! Have you forgotten that we don't have a **White Den Den Mushi?"
"I–...gomen. Gomenesai! Gome–"
Endrid cut him off, "You remember everything I said, Tesiga?"
"...Hai–gomen. I'll make sure to win…gomen. Gomen. —Katcha—"
Endrid rubbed a hand through his dark hair and huffed quietly. "I don't know…" Then, he pumped his fist into the air, "We'll leave it to Fate! Everyone, let's go!" The men jogging behind him gave a triumphant yell and they continued thundering down the hallway towards the center.
In a northwest corridor, a masked, cloaked figure clipped the cap back over a ***Black Den Den Mushi and continued strolling through hallways, scribbling in a notebook as dismembered arms cleared a pathway through fallen bodies.
As Robin swept through the west wing of the base, she sensed the concentration of strong guards somewhere in the southern end of the base dispersing more distinctly. The three intruders in the east were approaching the center as well and she briefly thought of piercing green eyes before shaking her head and moving forward. There were people up ahead.
She had become used to the sounds and feelings of the suffering, but she wasn't entirely numb to them. It was a weakness she'd hidden from herself for a long time now, but it was harder to ignore now that she knew and recognized well the tug on her heartstrings. Sometimes she was too sentimental for her own good. Robin watched from the shadowed hallway as slaves crumpled and flinched under their driver's whips, a cool anger pooling in her gut.
"What's going on outside this room is none of your concern. Just hurry up, you sorry pieces of shit! If you want to eat, you better pick up the pace!"
This was not written in her orders or by any means a part of the mission, but somewhere along the various twists of life, Robin had fostered an unofficial promise to free as many of the hurt and abused as she could—without interfering with her original purpose, of course. Plus, she recognized a few of the slave drivers. They had been in the break room mouthing off valuable information nonchalantly earlier. She had some time…
The men turned as one of the abusers—whose neck had just snapped under her fingers—flopped gracelessly to the dirt floor with a thud.
"Hey! Where the hell did this bastard come from!" The sorry mess of bullies then attempted intimidate by surrounding her, five of whom struck at her with their whips.
"Tekkai," Robin uttered easily, completely unaffected. "Fufufu... Please, gentlemen, may I have some more?" They couldn't see her smile, but the honey-venom dripping from her tone caught their attention and a good handful took a few steps back..
"What the hell is up with this guy?"
"Hold a second, that's not a guy—it's a girl," said another as he caught the pitch of her voice. "Wait...don't tell me—the intruder!" One of the uninformed lashed out again experimentally though his peer cried out a warning. Unfortunately for him, Robin was no longer on the defensive. This time, she caught the bloodied instrument and pulled, yanking the holder towards her for a right hook executed just for his face. She discarded the whip behind her after snapping it in two.
"Treinta Fleur: Twist." Arms sprang out from the remaining, petrified henchmen and contorted their bodies into unnatural positions. For a moment, she stood in the center of a ring of fallen guards. When she turned her gaze onto the slaves, she found that they were cowering where they stood, frozen where they had last been and trembling from their exposure to an inhuman stranger with an even more impossible Devil Fruit and the insecurity of their future.
"What are you waiting for? Shouldn't you run while you can?" This seemed to startle them out of their daze, and they tentatively looked at one another before cautiously shuffling, then running towards the exit. Robin tossed a set of keys she'd confiscated from one of the guards at one of them before whisking herself back along the dark corridors. This continued for a few more blocks in the underground system, but, eventually, she reached and entered a large space and turned to see an iron barricade block her exit. Robin glanced over her shoulder and barely blinked when a hundred guns and a handful of cannon were pointed in her direction.
"We have you now! Surrender or be shot down!"
She sighed. It was never any fun when the same threats were yelled over and over at her face. A Doscientos Fleur Clutch alone would take them all down in a flash, but she might as well mess around before the two stronger opponents arrived.
"What can you do now—against this much fire power?"
As her fingernails grew longer and sharper, she heard the whispers from the crowd: A she, then? Must be a she... Could be a he? To humor them, she swept her arms wide, parting her cloak and revealing her form-fitting body suit—See? It was a she—and announced her move. "Your fire is nothing. Seimei Kikan: Finger Claws," she lunged and gracefully dodged all bullets fired, countering with a barrage of her own flicked from the sharp ends of her nails as she danced her way towards them, "Kaika Tobu Shigan Kenpo." The air filled with the blinding light and smog of arms and cannonry and, simultaneously, the screams of dying men.
In the next room, several men dove from the ceiling to ambush her. Without sparing them a glance, Robin calmly responded, "Kaika Geppo: Pachinko." The men collided with the space like pinballs and, if one looked closely, one might have caught the sight of legs propelling the airborne assailants around. The walls, the ceiling, the ground—no place was spared. Robin giggled, "Hmm, nice try." The legs kicked off the air and launched the men towards each other. They fell several feet to the floor in a lifeless heap. Robin tsk'ed and exited the room as the stone walls collapsed.
She frowned as she walked into another wave of henchmen. She couldn't use that move anymore. The Midnight Star—no, the entire promontory—might collapse if she did. About a quarter ways through the wall of grunts, she noticed something odd. There was a space up ahead. "That doesn't make any sense," Robin said under her breath and pushed forward. Her black cloak, specked and drenched in blood, dragged to a stop as she came face to face with the two extra-ordinary people she had been expecting. Ahh… The woman's wide-collared vest hid her nose and mouth from view and her sleeved and gloved hands were shoved around her belt in a rather aggressive and impatient stance. But what caught Robin's eye more than the purple hair, shaved away on the sides of her head, were the hostile eyes outlined in heavy kohl and ringed by tattoo after tattoo. The man at her side was less physically intimidating—especially when Robin's eyes honed in on the bundles of newspapers stuffed into his back pockets—but she had learned to be cautious of such eccentricities by habit. The bulk of his muscle was in the upper body, specifically his arms, but this was largely covered by bandages and an open vest.
There was a period of silence. They were sizing each other up and the grunts surrounding them were beginning to sweat and fidget uncomfortably. Even they could feel the tension in the air. At last, the woman spoke, "Friend or foe?"
Robin blinked at them though they couldn't see underneath her mask. "Fufufu! That depends. What exactly do you mean by that?" she shifted her weight, her heavy cloak swirling around her.
"What's your name?"
"How rude. You ought to give me yours before I give you mine."
The man sighed in annoyance, "Greda. She's Trissahn Seandra. And you are?"
"Hmm...I've changed my mind. I won't tell you my name after all."
Greda snapped his fingers and grunts rushed around towards their target. Robin smacked them all to the ground with well-placed punches and kicks with impressive ease.
Seandra made a face and went back to the original question. "Who is your enemy?"
"Everyone. Naturally," Robin's smirk seeped into her answer. The woman dropped her jaw and growled in frustration.
Greda took a step forward, wringing an issue into a tight roll with his hands, "Let's be more specific then. Do you have something against Dablec Manrow?"
Robin hummed, "I try not to hold grudges against the deceased."
Everyone stiffened. "What do you mean?" Greda said carefully, slowly.
A grunt regarded their leaders' taut backs with surprise and stammered, "You mean...the surveillance team didn't tell you?"
"Beats Endrid," Seandra growled. "Just when was our leader planning on telling us that?"
Greda lacked the makeup and tattoos of his partner, but the look he gave Robin was just as intense. His anger was not, however, directed towards her, a fact she found curious. Suddenly, he cut down the grunt directly in front of him with his rolled up newspapers. A weapon of that kind would not have been threatening in the least if this particular sheaf was not welded to several others and stiffened with Bushoshoku Koka. Similar cries of surprise and dismay filled the air as Seandra joined in on the massacre. When the dust settled down, Robin looked over the piles of bodies all around her, then back at her original opponents questioningly.
The woman flicked blood out of the ends of her purple hair, giddy from the fighting and the most recent revelation, "If you're wondering, we're just exercising our newfound freedom. Dablec Manrow ceased to be our superior long ago. I suppose now that we are to escort you to meet our current bo–" she lurched and fell to her knees, a grimace on her face.
Greda fell against the wall, breathing hard and struggling to stay on his feet. "Haoshoku haki!?"
Robin walked past them, seemingly oblivious to Seandra's glare and Greda's watchful squint. "I don't care for whoever you work for. Even if it is Kiira Tapper." By the hitch in their heartbeats, Robin deduced that her intuitive judgement was correct. "I'm not going to let you waste my time—I have my own job to do. You're welcome to tag along if you like."
With no other present option, the livid and humiliated officers reluctantly trudged behind her. They were, after all, going in the same direction.
"Why the bloody fuck do we have to do this? None of these fuckers are enough to satisfy my bloodlust."
"Gaius Mordix." A young women, her hands clasped demurely in front of her, shot him a warning glance, "Please attempt to hold your tongue or I shall place another Limit on you."
"To hell with you and your Genkai Genkai no mi (Limit Limit Devil Fruit)," Mordix spat, but complied no less. "I'm not your animal to frickin' tame, Lila-Shishou."
She blinked and turned her head away, "I refuse to argue your point. And don't call me 'Shishou.' It is disconcerting, especially coming from your brutish disposition. Kiira-sama knows you ought to control yourself or be controlled—"
"Yeah? Well bloody f—"
"We are here to, uhh, stop you!" a voice haltingly cut into their squabbling.
Lila examined her fingernails. Mordix stared at the newcomers before bursting into laughter. "Is that so?" he gave them a good sweeping with his eyes. The man who had spoken was rather lazy-looking what with his droopy eyelids and shaggy hair. Unlike that lumbering fool, the chopstick seemed to at least have more brains though he looked distinctly embarrassed and confused as if the katana by his side did not belong there. No more of a chopstick than Benzie is. That bastard is just too damn long. "I doubt you dumbasses'd be much of a challenge." He grinned as the two bristled—he completely ignored the crowd of men behind them—but he yawned widely all the s–
Mordix's eyebrows angled downward as the larger man morphed into a rather large and slightly loud, intimidating bear. "Ho~h?" a feral grin spread across his face.
"You should slow down! We don't know anything about their powers or techniques—"
"You may be my superior, Tesiga, but I'll be damned if you let your indecisiveness keep me from a victory." The small army behind the two obvious leaders shifted uncomfortably.
"Wow," Mordix turned to Lila. "You must be pretty damn disgusted if you won't even laugh at their stupidity," he cackled.
The man named Tesiga tensed. The other seemed unaffected, "My name is Anduver Boris. I ate the Kuma Kuma (Bear) no mi: model Gurizurī (grizzly)."
"Well, we'll just see if you can hold a single tooth to my Logia type Kaze Kaze (Wind) no mi," Mordix flashed his own set of sharp teeth.
Boris gave an animalistic snort and cut Tesiga's protests off once again, "Just shut up and cover me!"
Lila looked at the huge bear dripping saliva all over the floor and then at the nervous, slightly pissed swordsman at his side. "Mordix, they're not–"
"GRAAAAAHHHHHHH," Mordix and the bear growled at each other and engaged in a staring contest.
"...worth our time." Lila noted that their primal snarls sort of blended. She frowned, "You're so easily distracted…"
"Mordix, the–" she sighed as he rocketed off, "Genkai no Kōkan (Limit Swap)." A box enveloped the hallway, hardly phasing the dueling duo but startling the swordsman, and the Den Den Mushi which had been tucked in Mordix's waistband appeared in her hand. —Purupurupuru— "I don't know why you insist on carrying it when you never want to answer it." Of course, Mordix was too preoccupied to hear. —Purupuru–Katcha— "Moshi moshi."
"Lila, I need you and Mordix to get over here."
"Where is here?" a nasally voice came over the speaker. Lila sighed, Bakume Benzie.
"Meeting point 'A'—as planned."
"Sure thing, Kiira-sama. Benzie…"
"Is the screaming coming from your end?"
"...Nevermind. I don't want to know," she hung up before Benzie's typical prolonged chuckle got to her head. She sniffed disdainfully and turned. "Mordix, we—" Lila adopted her usual blank look as blood splattered all over her person, then dripped onto the dirt floor. "We need to get moving."
"Screw him. Did he say we needed to be there right away?"
"No. But it shouldn't—"
"Then," Mordix made a rude noise, "we obviously don't have to rush. Just lemme finish. And why do you have to use your limit to wash off the blood? It comes right off my clothes."
Lila tapped a finger against her other hand clasped in front of her. "Who knows? That may be the point of Rimitto Sutetchi (Limit Stitch)," she replied dryly. She ignored his annoyance at her broken English. "We're technically supposed to be assassins. They won't be able to find a trace of blood on us as long as you don't smear yourself onto the walls and rub the layers off. Besides, you reek of it enough." A sigh left her lips as he ignored her once again. I suppose a few minutes wouldn't hurt.
Robin was in no rush. Even so, she kept at a steady pace. She was taller than both people trailing behind her, so they often had to jog to keep up with her. She smirked as resentment continued to roll off of Seandra in thick waves, but turned her attentions to the drama ahead. Her senses were honed to pick up on the spirit of battle and, at the moment, some act was unfolding in the machinery capital. And behind her as well.
"Sōkon (Scar)!" "Yamaneko no gōon (Wildcat's Roar)!"
The war surrounding the machines was put on pause as all participants fortunate enough to only be spectators turned to observe the large explosion. Greda and Seandra emerged from the dust cloud, then stiffened and whirled around. As the grit settled to the ground, a shadow stepped forward.
"Tsuki (Jab)!" "Yamaneko no Sōshō (Wildcat's Laceration)!"
"Naikō," Robin steeled herself. An impenetrable, hazy blue sheen disappeared as quickly as it appeared on her person.
How ca-n this be? Greda's eyes widened as he leapt backwards, his arm throbbing. Their opponent was not affected at all. "B-buso Haki?"
"Buso isn't blue. And I thought her Devil Fruit power was something to do with 'arms,'" Seandra muttered beside him, hissing as her form crumbled and she gripped her wrist.
"A cat, hmm? That suits you perfectly," Robin looked down at the morphed arm that was beginning to bruise. "I've never seen a purple cat before. That bruise will blend in quite nicely."
Greda lunged and tackled Seandra out of the way as Robin half-heartedly drop-kicked and split the ground where they once stood.
"Greda! Seandra!" Endrid watched on, his skin an unhealthy white.
"Correct. Different from Buso Haki," Robin supplied unhelpfully, then looked up at a man with thick goggles seemingly suspended in the air. His head, covered by a faded explorer's hat, was thrown back as he guffawed obnoxiously. The baggy khaki and worn leather only made his thin figure seem even more lanky. "You're strong," he gave Robin a grin that made her grimace inwardly. "What's this I hear about arms?" The way his fingers moved was also disconcerting, Robin observed, though he couldn't move his left arm. A huge briefcase was dangling from his bony hand.
"Get off of me," Seandra elbowed Greda to the side, but grimaced as she tried not to cradle her sprained wrist so obviously.
Greda frowned, then turned to watch a distraught Endrid. As much as it pained him to a-dmit it, he wished Endrid was dead already. What was coming was not g-going to be pleasant and it would be less complicated if their leader w-as not around to witness it. That had been the plan, but ap-apparently the plan had already changed. Currently, the unsuspecting Endrid was caught between making sure Seandra's wrist was alright and something entirely different. Greda understood when the goggled man opened the bursting briefcase. His eyes widened when Benzie pulled out a seemingly lifeless woman with teal hair. Benzie then sat down impossibly where he was—thirty feet in the air—and began examining another syringe from a different compartment in the suitcase, and then another and another... With a sinking heart, Greda realized that the entire briefcase was packed with syringes and containers filled with what looked like blood and other concoctions. He immediately began to question his confidence in his alliances.
"Benzie!" Endrid yelled, a hint of panic interlaced with the loathing in his voice. "What did you do!"
Robin's eyes flashed. Her fingers stiffened and her toes curled in her boots, but she forced her body to stay still. So this was Benzie.
"Oh, relax. I just took blood samples from all the interesting specimens in your ranks." As if that was reassuring at all. "This one girl...the one with the seafoam green hair?" He laughed as Endrid stiffened, "She's by far the most interesting. How in the world did she get such fantastic genetics, do you think?"
Even Seandra twitched when Benzie stuck another needle into the poor girl's neck. He ignored Endrid's attempt to shoot him. The bullet bounced off. Robin narrowed her eyes, and then he turned to her, "Are you a friend? If you are, you can call me Benzie. And if you're an enemy, you can call me Dokutoru Bakume—"
Greda tore his eyes away from helping Seandra properly wrap her wrist to stare at the disguised intruder. Waves of anger were rolling off of her as Benzie chatted away and they were—irritatingly enough—beginning to m-make his fingers tremble. There was no need to feel so strongly about a stranger. Had he missed so-mething? Just w-ho was this disguised woman and what kind of mess had he gotten himself into?
"You're going to break the building," Lila watched her partner throw the huge—and now severely disoriented—grizzly bear into the swordsman and up against the wall, the stone cracking in the process.
"Who the hell cares? It's not like you'll let me fucking die."
That was not—however unfortunate—the point, Lila closed her eyes slowly and huffed under her breath.
"You'll just use your shitty Devil Fruit to cheat death," Mordix grinned deviously.
"Language, Mordix," she warned. Lila's eyes narrowed into slits, "Don't be so full of yourself, you–" —Purupurupuru—
Mordix picked at his ear. —Purupurupuru—
"Are you going to answer?"
"What do you think?" he smirked as tossed another wind-full punch at the weakening animal in front of him. Lila sighed and stalked over—as much as that could be called stalking—Purupurupuru—and pulled the Den Den Mushi out of Mordix's waistband. "Hoh~ Getting feisty."
"Intolerable devil, be quiet. And would you stop splattering blood all over the place?" Lila inhaled sharply, trying to ignore Mordix's smirk and manipulation of the wind so that blood was carried every which way. —Katcha— "Moshi mosh–"
"Where the hell are you."
"Aw, Ki-chan! I- was just- havin' some fun. Hah! Loosen up!"
"Well, if I told you that I want you over here because I've found someone who would spark your interest, would you hurry up?"
"The fuck do you mean?"
"Strong." Lila looked at him with disapproval, becoming increasingly wary of his change in mood.
"What! You sensed him, didn't you? Bitch!" Lila wrinkled her nose and opened her mouth to retort that Mordix could've sensed a strong opponent if he wasn't such a hyperactive sadist, but Mordix had already turned back to the snail, "How strong?"
"Impossibly strong. Be here. Unless you want Benzie to have all the fun."
"Oh, hell no," Mordix's face darkened in lustful glee. "Just lemme finish off this fucking bear and I'll be over."
"Wait. Did you say 'bear?'"
"Yeah. This wimpy-ass bear fucking attacked me. Anduv…" "Anduver Boris," Lila supplied. "Yeah, that."
"He's an ally."
"Oh." Mordix stared blankly at the motionless man slumped against the far wall.
"Bring him along."
"Dead," Mordix grinned.
"They were rather weak, Kiira-sama." "I shouldn't have expected less. 'They'? There were more people able to resist?" "A swordsman with a cursed blade." "Hmm...bring him instead." —Katcha.—
They looked around. The swordsman had disappeared. Lila sniffed and thought aloud that they would have followed the blood tracks if Mordix hadn't tracked the stuff everywhere already. They had already succeeded in upsetting Kiira-sama enough as it was and—"AAHH!"
Lila shrieked as Mordix spun on his heel and ran.
"What are you—don't touch me there!" she fumed.
"You're too slow," Mordix explained easily, slightly miffed and impatient, but shifted his over-the-shoulder hold on her nevertheless. Lila sighed and attempted to calm herself. Her partner was in the zone and she probably would not be fortunate enough to escape such an undignified position; she resigned and stuffed the Den Den Mushi into the back of his waistband, "Turn left."
It happened in a flash. A blur barreled towards Benzie who dodged at the last second. A startled man with ruffled and short black hair and a sword strapped to his hip lunged and fumbled but caught the falling girl who was just beginning to come to.
"Tesiga?" Endrid exclaimed. "What are you…" he sighed in relief, "Fate may be on our side." It was then that Robin saw the large wound on his torso. If he hadn't had that, she didn't doubt that he'd have tried to rescue his subordinate himself. She scanned the fallen militia around the room, acting casual. The only evidence that she'd moved was the stirring of her cloak.
"And who are you?" Benzie frowned. "I would apologize for overlooking your vitality, but I've never seen you before." He wrinkled his nose and added, "But even if I had, I wouldn't have remembered you. Nothing about you is fascinating at all. Black hair, monolid..." he muttered to himself. The goggles flashed as Benzie glanced at Robin then pocketed a syringe, "I'd love to get some of your blood," he licked his lips. "You seemed quite disturbed when I brought her out. You ought to offer yourself as the sacrifice," he stood, wiping imaginary dust off of his knees, and gave that disgusting grin. "How about we play a little."
"That's not a question, is it?" Robin ignored Endrid's gaze. She'd have to worry about the machinery and the coup later. It was obvious that Greda and Seandra did not want their leader to know about their intentions just yet.
"Who is she?" a winded and confused Tesiga asked, then turned abruptly, "Endrid! That wound is–"
"It's fine," he cut him off. "She's the other intruder."
"Is she on our side?"
"I don't know that. Yet."
Tesiga looked between the two opponents who were currently ignoring everyone else besides each other. He looked back at Endrid's hand around his arm. His leader shook his head.
"I couldn't even get close to him, he's too fast. And when I did land a hit, it didn't do anything." Tesiga looked surprised and he hesitantly resheathed the inch of his ****Kadan Kitetsu that he'd thumbed out. He kept his hand on the hilt though. Greda and Seandra gave each other a glance. Was it perhaps the 'Tekkai' technique after all? Seandra ground her teeth and her partner nodded his head. Just how far behind in strength could they possibly be?
And then, suddenly, the two monsters were gone and there were flashes and yelled attack names and blood—
Dablec's main bodyguards looked on in shock. The only sign that anything had happened was the bruising and bleeding in various places on Benzie's person. There was a huge tear ripped in the mystery woman's cloak but she seemed otherwise fine.
"Heh. Don't act so high and mighty. I know that I landed at least one hit."
Robin just looked back at him, ignoring the slightest ache in her side before examining the tear in her cloak. She probably wouldn't be able to wear it again. And she'd had a pretty good streak too. Pity.
Benzie took running leaps until he was several more feet above them. This time, Robin noticed the thin blocks that he was stepping on, nearly invisible under the soles of his feet. "I know your jumps are powerful, but you can't possibly win in an aerial battle against me."
"I'll just have to prove you wrong then," Robin leapt into the air and let Benzie match her. As soon as she saw his eyes widen in surprise, she lashed out and feinted a slash. There! He dodged but lost his balance as Robin cut at seemingly nothing, but it broke a connection and the thin blocks under his feet disappeared as he began to fall. She swung around once more, kicking him to the floor. He coughed and waved away the dust as he sat up in the middle of a crater, surprised to find himself looking up at someone instead of the other way round. Robin frowned as she saw some sort of reflective layer repair itself until it coated his person. It had repaired itself too quickly for her to see it clearly back when Endrid had shot him. Just what kind of Devil Fruit does he have?
"You–" Benzie shook his head and adjusted his glasses before hopping to his feet. "Not many have figured out that my stepping stones are connected."
Robin flipped in the air before landing on her feet. She shrugged at his confusion and kept silent. So he was stepping on something and apparently the 'stepping stones' couldn't exist without the connection.
"I ate the Suteppo Suteppo (Step) no mi." Robin frowned. Was he just going to tell her everything about himself? He continued, "Fundamentally, I am both literally and figuratively a stepping stone. I do, however, have other tricks of my own-..." She braced herself for his next attack.
"Fudō tobiishi. Kaidan no–" Benzie suddenly darted in the opposite direction, his former grin falling to a thin line.
"Gufū Kiri!" a new voice cried out, barely audible over the blast that shook the room. Robin's eyes widened as a wild man with an arm that looked like a whirling tornado drill swung out from the hurtling rocks and made a beeline for her. She quickly swayed using Kami-e to dodge and used her Armament Haki to quickly kick the drill to the side, but was blown off course by the wind. Kicking off the wall, she kept up her defensive position between the two active opponents.
Mordix twisted his body easily, canceling out most of his projection before he rattled the wall even further, but still hit the boulders hard with a yell. As Robin observed the settling dust cloud, she heard Benzie call out behind her, "I can't get too close to that soloist and I wouldn't either if I were you." Never thought I'd be receiving advice from the enemy, Robin mused. But that still didn't explain where the other presence went. Could she have counted wrong?
"Hah! I'm fucking impressed," Mordix created a gale that blew the dust into the farthest corners of the room. Robin was glad she wore a mask. She did not prefer to shower in dirt travelling at high speeds. "Kaze Sōkon Kyūshū!" Mordix lashed out with a flurry of air blades comparable to a sort of variant Rankyaku.
"Kamisori," Robin fluidly avoided each threat while zigzagging through the air.
"Oh, you're pretty damn fast, I'll give you that! But let's see you dodge this: Dai Kaze Sōkon!"
Robin countered quickly, "Kaika Rankyaku: Daisā." Her grid of combined Rankyaku met Mordix's flurry of air blades and the collision of the two attacks compressed and exploded outwards, causing a huge blast of wind to throw everyone in various directions and hitting the two perpetrators of the blast the hardest. The motionless bodies of the lesser soldiers rolled into piles against the wall as the remnants of Dablec's officers flattened themselves and dug in their heels.
Robin pulled herself out of the rubble, casually brushing the grit off of herself and looking behind her. The machinery room must be important if the walls were actually enforced with an iron structure. That, at least, was reassuring. She could go all out. After all, a minor earthquake was not that big of a deal for an island in the middle of a *****Ring of Fire.
"Bitch! You're just lucky that I went easy on you!" Mordix jumped from his own pile of beat-up wall, but immediately turned on Benzie—as he had just taken notice of him—and launched into a new fit of foul language and insults. "And you! Bastard. Trying to take the fun away, were you? What a shit—"
"Would you just chill, you brainless lunatic?" Benzie drawled good-naturedly though anyone could easily tell that he was irked. "I'm smart enough to not get caught in the aftermath of your ridiculously, excessively windy—"
Robin quirked an eyebrow. The verbal brawl was about to become physical when a familiar voice cut the flow of her thoughts and the heated conversation between the two men.
"Oh, surely you weren't so offended? Mordix just gets excited whenever he meets someone who's able to keep up with him."
"Bossu!" Benzie hopped and ran in a sort of odd dance to stand by Mordix—but not too close—grinning and waving with his obnoxiously long arms.
Greda and Seandra gave each other the slightest of looks before staring up at the figure—their new boss—leaning on the bars of the suspended metal walkway. Tesiga glanced at his partners and Endrid before turning to face the newcomer, the girl with the seafoam hair leaning on his shoulder, while Robin's eyes narrowed. Kiira Tapper.
end of Part II.
*"...Yonk–": ooh, who is it? ;) (to be revealed in a later Shadow Blossom arc)
**White Den Den Mushi: attached to regular Den Den Mushis to prevent calls from being intercepted; opposite of black Den Den Mushi
***Black Den Den Mushi: usually in a sort of special wristwatch; used to intercept calls and eavesdrop
****Kadan ["Decisive"] Kitetsu: a cursed sword belonging to the Kitetsu make of katana (cursed); a metaphorical jab at Erx Tesiga's indecisive personality.
*****Ring of Fire: ring of major active volcanoes; known for frequent earthquakes (irl: located in a ring around the Pacific Ocean)
A/N (3): Hey! So we hadn't anticipated the length of the mini arc and we've decided to extend the Talin Island chapters into 3 parts instead of 2. Sorry! You'll have to wait a bit longer until the conclusion. The Prologue and the Hutzil Pirate chapters had already been roughed out, but the only part of Talin Island that was roughed out was all in Part I, so Misa and I have been going back and forth on ideas this entire time. We hope you enjoyed! We also hope that our notes made it a little easier for you all to remember who is who and that none of you were confused… Below, Misa inserted an updated character review if you'd like a refresher. Directly under that, I've inserted an Attacks Key (or technique notes) for the chapter just like before. There'll also be a character review at the beginning of next chapter, so if you're fine with just that, you can just R&R ;)
See you soon!
character review: (updated / in the order they appear)
[Deetje: Robin's alias for her mission (Ellie: Khiara's alias)]
[*Gin Khiara: peer and formerly close childhood friend of Robin; also working in a classified, specialized program for the WG; currently stalking and confirming the success and progress of Robin's Talin Island mission (she will appear next chapter and in later arcs); currently canoodling with a random stranger…]
Dablec Manrow: leader of criminal organization Crimson Hourglass; fooled and interrogated by Robin - terminated
*Kiira Tapper: green-eyed, popular man who frequents Talin Island's Midnight Star (hotel); talented dancer and overly friendly to Robin (Deetje); suspicious character - leader of an underground criminal organization separate from Dablec's...bought over Greda, Seandra, Boris, and has his eyes set on Tesiga.
Beats Endrid: qualified leader of Dablec's subordinates (comparable to a general); maintains an obsession with the concept of Fate; fights with firearms; for some reason, kept the fact that Dablec was dead from the subordinates closest to him (the other men found out through gossip)...
Greda: second-in-command of Dablec's subordinates though physically stronger than Endrid; has a slight stutter and usually doesn't get along too well with Seandra; uses Busoshoku Haki to weld newspaper issues into a lethal weapon; was bought over by Kiira (reason unknown)
Trissahn Seandra: second-strongest subordinate; short-tempered and usually doesn't get along well with Greda; ate a Zoan DF Neko Neko no mi (model unknown) - a purple cat; was bought over by Kiira (reason unknown)
*Erx Tesiga: indecisive swordsman; same rank as Seandra; habit of adding "-gomen" to everything he says / constantly apologizing; owner of Kadan Kitetsu (see above note); loyal to Endrid/Dablec and oblivious to Greda's and Seandra's plans
Gaius Mordix: Kiira's impulsive killing machine; ate a Logia DF Kaze Kaze no mi (Wind DF); always paired up with Lila; foul-mouthed and irritated by the English language and thus more irritated by Benzie whom he already dislikes; very graphic
Lila: Kiira's tactful subordinate; ate a Paramecia DF Genkai Genkai no mi (Limit Limit DF); always paired up with Mordix to keep him in check; dislikes foul language; very sophisticated; Kiira is her savior (she always does as he says);
Anduver Boris: junior officer who doesn't respect Tesiga; ate a Zoan DF Kuma Kuma no mi: model Grizzly (Bear Bear DF); loud and reckless fighter; was bought over by Kiira (reason unknown)- terminated?
Bakume Benzie: Kiira's overly optimistic, tactful subordinate; ate a Paramecia DF Kaidan Kaidan no mi (Step Step DF) extremely smart, acts obnoxious and idiotic by choice; tall and lanky; less of a fighter than a support; frequently switches from Japanese to English
'girl with the teal/seafoam-green hair:' irrelevant side character (used to be significant but was omitted because of the number of new characters)
Hopefully that helped. Sorry, we know it's confusing. There will not be any new characters for the Talin Island arc from this point on, but characters with '*'s by their name will appear again in later arcs... We'll review again before the next chapter!
Attacks Key: (in the order they appear)
*note: Kaika=Blooming→ refers specifically to Robin or techniques created specifically for or enhanced by the Hana Hana no mi (there are other moves w/out "Kaika" but still referring to Robin or the Hana Hana DF)
**note: moves with more generalized descriptions tend to be a part of the Universal Rokushiki move list (a list of created moves a Rokushiki-user could use...both canon and OC)
[Hana Hana (Flower) no mi]
Pierna Fleur: San Ashigan (Leg Flower: Three Leg Bullets) - a three leg version of Ashigan (Leg Bullet/Gun); Robin unleashes a powerful side kick at the same power and speed as shigan similar to Fukoru's Jugon (stern beast) technique.
Seimei Kikan: Finger Claws - using Seimei Kikan (Life Return), Robin makes her fingernails longer and sharper
Kaika Tobu Shigan Kenpo (Blooming Flying Finger Bullet Style) - after activation of Seimei Kikan: Finger Claws, Robin uses Tobu Shigan "Bendan" (flicking out a sharp, compressed air bullet using the sharp ends of her fingernails) with her Devil Fruit powers in a gun-fu/gunkata style
Kaika Geppo (Blooming Moonwalk) - technique specifically for the Hana Hana no mi – the use of Geppo with multiple legs; enhances Geppo abilities in various ways:
*Kaika Geppo "Pinbooru" (Pinball) - Robin continuously sprouts a various number of legs out of an enemy and uses geppo (in intervals) to launch him into the air like a rocket, ramming him into a wall or ceiling in the process; this is repeated multiple times, picking up the pace along the way and resulting in the illusion that the enemy is crashing from place to place like a pinball.
*Kaika Geppo "Pachinko" - similar to Pinbooru, but used against a group of enemies simultaneously.
Naikō (内甲, Diamond shell) - an evolved form of Tekkai combining physical strength (Tekkai) and spiritual strength (Busōshoku Haki: Kōka (Color of Armaments: Hardening)) into one form; results in a dull blue sheen (instead of the usual Black of Buso Koka); while Tekkai is activated, the user concentrates his Busōshoku Haki into his/her body to harden it further to the level of diamond, making it tougher and more durable than ever before (the strength behind this technique depends on both the user's physical power and willpower)
Kamisori (Razor) - a Geppo-Soru combo technique allowing the user to move very quickly in a zigzag motion in three dimensions.
Kaika Rankyaku "Daisā" (Dicer) - Robin creates multiple vertical and horizontal air blades simultaneously to form a grid or net; named after a kitchen tool known as the food dicer which is used to cut foods (e.g. potatoes) into pieces; based on the Rankyaku that Kaku and Blueno used at Iceburg's mansion during the Water 7 arc and in the OP: Pirate Warriors/Kaizoku Musō series respectively.
(A/N (4): All these techniques above are from the Rokushiki Robin movelist project, although the first technique is under a different name from the one in the project.)
[Genkai Genkai (Limit) no mi]:
Genkai no Kōkan (Limit Swap): within a certain area, objects may be moved around according to the user's wishes (used to retrieve the Den Den Mushi out of Mordix's sash without Lila moving)
"Rimitto Sutetchi" or Genkai no Nuime (Limit Stitch): a protective layer covers an object; this specific move allows any outside filth (in this case, blood) to stain clothes or stick all over the skin...it slips off like water on plastic (Lila spoke in broken English because she knows that Mordix hates it)
[Kaidan Kaidan ("Suteppo") no mi]
Fudō tobiishi (Floating Stepping Stones) - Benzie creates platforms that look like stepping stones but are connected by a thin rod (almost like the keys on a flute); it should be noted that gravity does not apply to this DF; [used to create the illusion that he is using Geppo]
"Kaidan no [Setto]" (Stairs-Set) - Benzie turns any part of his body (or his entirety-"Furubodi=Full Body") into a set of ladders; [execution was interrupted by Mordix]
[Kaze Kaze (Wind) no mi]
Gufū Kiri (Tornado Drill) - Mordix transforms his arm into a powerful wind drill that aims to strike the target up close and drill a hole into the center of the body. A very...messy way to kill an opponent.
Kaze Sōkon Kyūshū (Wind Slash Raid) - Mordix unleashes a wind blast full of slicing wind blades at his enemy.
Dai Kaze Sōkon (Grand Wind Slash) - a huge air blade comparable to a variant of Rankyaku.
Sōkon (Scar) - a quick shoulder-to-hip downward slash; Greda uses his Armament (Buso Haki) to wield rolled up newspapers as a staff
Tsuki (Jab) - a thrust (similar to a thrust in fencing) using the sharp end of Greda's weapon to attack the vitals of the enemy.
[Neko Neko (Cat) no mi: model ?]
Yamaneko no gōon (Wildcat's Roar) - a highly explosive attack launched from the jaws; limited use; a high-pitched feline screech can be faintly heard under the explosive effects of the attack
Yamaneko no Sōshō (Wildcat's Laceration) - a one-armed powerful swipe utilizing the form of a Seandra's feline DF; sharp claws lash out in an attempt to cut deep and possibly gut the target