'I don't like you' by BloodyMarryMe
Disclaimer: This story is rated T for language, violence and suggestive themes. I don't own One Piece or any of its characters, but I do own the OC Suzune Miyako.
Hello, everyone! Oh my God, I'm back! Can you believe it? Do you still remember me? XD It's been so long…about a year, I think. So, life's been hectic…so pretty much 'life is being life.' You ever have a thousand responsibilities and you just wait for the moment it all just breaks down? I have that feeling at the moment. However, I didn't give up on the story (yaaay!), so I'll be writing and updating whenever I find the time for it. I want to say thank you to everyone who patiently stuck with me and this story for so long, despite of me constantly disappearing. You guys are all awesome!
Happy Holidays! I wish you all the best in the new year that's to come.
A faint sound of water reached Miyako's ears as it continued to drip from the faucet into a large tub that the girl currently occupied. The girl stared at the scented water prepared for her, soaking in it. Finally her cold skin started getting its warmth back, but the girl barely noticed. She was still staring at the water circles creating around her while she stirred, each sound of falling drops hypnotizing to her ears, drawing her further into her thoughts until she could hardly hear it.
*What is Za'in thinking? Every time that guy spoke of Law, he did it with such hatred in his voice.*
*He said Law destroyed his life. How?*
*More importantly, how do I get out of this place? If Law comes here by himself, even he won't be able to fight this whole mercenary army…No, the Strawhats will surely insist to come with, I know that much about them,* her thoughts continued.
The girl sighed. *I'm still worried…even though I mouthed off to Za'in before, the truth is I have no idea how I'll get out of this mess. But...I know one thing; I'm not alone. This isn't like before, I know now I don't have to do everything myself. I have my friends…I can rely on my comrades, the Hearts taught me that!* She smiled as she was reminded of her rowdy nakama, before other faces flashed in her mind; Law, Strawhats, the Barto crew, Kin'emon and Kanjuro…those guys were the ones she needed to trust now. And she did. She wasn't the same as 2 years ago when she thought she couldn't rely on anyone. When she always looked out for herself. She wasn't alone anymore.
*They'll definitely come, and knowing Law, he'll have a plan ready. I'll just have to trust them and wait for now. It's better to be smart about this…wait for the opportune moment and then strike. I'll play along with these fellows until then.*
She stood up in the bathtub suddenly and the cold air around her instantly hit her as she was no longer engulfed in the hot temperature of the water. Her hair pooled around her, dripping on the floor as the girl slowly exited the tub. Before she could help it a sneeze came through, reminding her she should shield herself from the cold.
Achoo! The girl sniffed, stopping another sneeze. *Ugh, did I catch a cold after all? Law would surely scold me for it if he saw me.* A small smile appeared as she thought of her captain when he was in his 'doctor mode.' At those times he really acted like a mother hen to the rest of his crew.
She gazed around the broad tiled bathroom, which was now foggy from the steam, until she found a large fluffy towel that she could use. Taking the time to dry her long hair thoroughly before wiping the rest of the water off of herself, Miyako tied the towel around herself and left barefoot back into the adjoined bedroom she had previously woken up in. The room was barren and empty, with only a few essentials like the bed and a wardrobe, just as she remembered. It felt like no one usually occupied the room, with no character or warmth to it. Then again, the whole mansion seemed as such from what she could gather.
However, there was one small difference in the room; a velvety item which stuck out with its burgundy color in contrast with the white sheets. The girl walked over in interest, noting this wasn't there when she left to take a bath. She lifted the piece of clothing, revealing a long dress with thin golden streaks decorating it. It looked simple, but elegant; with long sleeves and a low off-the-shoulder neckline that would leave her shoulders bare. Yet, Miyako was hardly interested in the quality or the appearance of this attire right now. She was more curious about the reason behind why it was presented to her, obviously meant for the girl to wear it. Since she had nothing but her drenched pajamas, which were more like underwear really, she understood she had to find a replacement for her clothing, but she didn't expect for Za'in to care enough to actually provide her with some. It was a kindness he didn't owe her; his prisoner and ultimately nothing but a pawn in his game.
As she lifted the dress, a note fell from the ruffles of the fabric. Still a bit uncertain, the girl knelt to pick it up and peered at the paper. In careful handwriting, the note simply stated; "Wear this and come to the dining hall when you are ready." The samurai girl could almost feel the commanding tone in the message that made it seem Za'in didn't want to waste any more time or words on it than necessary. She could perfectly imagine him saying this in that emotionless tone of his that left no room for argument. She was under the impression that the man only had two sides to him; emotionless or angry.
Picking up the note, she noticed a pair of golden slippers beside the bed, thankfully with a very short heel that she could easily walk in.
She glanced at her own clothes, drying on a nearby windowsill where she left them, knowing full well she couldn't wear them. She sighed, realizing the dress was her only option. Looking at it one more time even more scrupulously than before, the girl frowned, "But why a dress?"
Miyako stood in front of the doors of the dining room, ignoring the curious glances she was getting from the pirates of the Dispatch Organization that passed her way. She was sure she was a curious sight; a girl dressed far too elegantly for her surroundings, standing silently in front of the large decorated doors with a grim expression. Finally having enough of the inquiring looks, she knocked on the doors.
Opening the doors after she heard a muffled response, she was blinded by the bright lights of the large room. The dining hall looked similar to the rest of the mansion; spacious, but scarcely furnished and painted in all white. Two chandeliers hung from the ceiling, bathing the whole room in light. A long wooden table stood in the middle. Despite its size, the table only had three sets of plates on it and only a small arrangement of food. Still, it was plenty for only three people.
Miyako noticed the two others were already sitting at the table and now three eyes were fixed on her every move as she drew closer. "Good evening," she muttered with a nod, trying to act polite despite the situation.
One was her captor, Za'in, but the other man she recognized as the pirate who she saw earlier that day, screaming at his two foolish subordinates. *They called him Captain Burrows, if I remember correctly.* He watched her like a hawk with his one good eye. His black mane was uncovered, with his usual large hat now placed beside him on the table.
"Well, well…if it ain't our guest, the She-Pirate Suzune." He grinned at her widely, showing rows of rotten, filthy teeth, with a few gold ones in-between.
She narrowed her eyes at him, but stayed standing proudly, unafraid and unimpressed by his haughty attitude. "And you must be captain Burrows. You're the boss of that pirate army, I gather?" She already knew the answer to that question.
"Aye, that be me. Although, Mister Za'in here be our employer and technically our boss…technically," his grin never faded as he glanced at the man sitting at the head of the table.
"Please, sit." Za'in gestured to the empty seat next to him, on the other side of Burrows. Although there was civility in his voice, he was ordering rather than asking. As Miyako took her seat, eyeing the empty plate before her and the food laid out in front of her, he continued. "I hope the dress is in your size…we didn't really have much of a selection."
"To be honest, I would prefer something a bit more…easier to move in," she commented.
"Ha! Yer lucky ya ain't rottin' in a brig, lass!" Burrows interrupted, taunting her.
"We won't treat her like a prisoner unless we have to, Master Burrows," Za'in warned with a stern undertone.
"Well then, I'm grateful I'm not 'rotting in a brig' at least," she answered with obvious sarcasm dripping from her words. She put some food on her plate and tried to draw as little attention to herself as possible. She hoped they would at least let her eat her meal in peace. She felt somewhat hot, like the air around her was warm and stuffy. Was it hot like this before?
Alas, her captors weren't so kind as to let her be. "My quarry is this; what shall we do with tha she-wolf lass after we're done killin' her Captain'?" He drew out his words slowly, grinning all the while as he stared at her. Burrows was purposely trying to rattle her.
The Wano girl glared at him, but she didn't want to look like he was getting to her with his verbal jabs. "If I were you, I would rather be thinking of what my last words will be," she countered.
"Why ya little backtalkin' wench" Burrows was ominously rising from his seat. The girl responded by defiantly glaring back at him, clenching her hand more tightly around her fork. If he lunged at her, she was ready to stab him right in that one sorry eye he got left. "Who do ya think-!"
"Enough, both of you!" Burrows was interrupted by Za'in. A suffocating aura appeared around the white-haired man as if his very presence was imposing enough to settle this argument. The pirate Captain hesitated for a bit, still glaring between Miyako and Za'in, before he finally obliged and sat back down.
Miyako also loosened her hand around her fork. However, it wasn't only because of Za'in's warning, but she felt like she suddenly lost her strength. It was getting harder to breathe and she felt dizzy. She turned to look at her captor, furrowing her eyebrows in skepticism. "Why…what did you do!?"
However, the two men only exchanged puzzled stares that soon turned into alarmed ones when the girl fell from her seat, taking her plate and cutlery to the floor with her. With a loud crash, Miyako fell.
"Oh, grog nuts! Is she dead?" Burrows watched the fallen girl with a raised eyebrow.
"Oy, get a grip!" Za'in knelt down beside her and felt for her forehead, only for his dark eyes to slightly widen. "She's burning up. It's not surprising with the day she had and she was standing outside in the rain before." He picked the girl up from the marble floor.
Captain Burrows just clicked his tongue in annoyance. "Do we even need 'er alive? I know ye have that plan an' everythin', but me men can take care of those pirates even without any leverage. We be a whole army against a few, remember?"
Za'in stopped before exiting the dining room and said without even turning to look at the pirate, "I'm paying you to do as you're told, Burrows, that's all." With that curt warning, the man left, carrying the girl back to her room.
The samurai took ragged breaths, the white room around her spinning. She closed her eyes, feeling hot yet shivering from the cold at the same time. Her breath hitched when she felt something cold and wet on her forehead and her eyes opened lazily. The golden orbs that were usually glittering were now glazed over as if a fog set on them.
She barely noticed the figure sitting beside her as they put a cold washcloth on her forehead. After examining her pulse, Za'in propped her head up so she would drink some water. He drew a spoon filled with some powdered substance close to her lips and she weakly jerked away, turning her head.
"Relax, it's medicine. I'm a doctor," he assured her.
She was still for a while before reluctantly opening her mouth and drinking the powder together with some water. She grimaced at the bitter taste. Just as she laid back down, a coughing fit started and made even her bones hurt. The fever must've been a high one. She closed her eyes, but fought the fatigue coming over her. It was threatening to pull her into a dead sleep. "Why?" It's all she managed to whisper in her state, but somehow, the man understood.
"If you catch pneumonia, I'll be troubled. You're no use to me dead," he answered simply. Painfully blunt and to the point, as always.
The girl chuckled, but that only caused her head to hurt. "At least you're honest." After taking another sip of water, she continued. "Are you really a doctor?" She turned her head to look at him and for the first time saw a kind of emotion on his face that wasn't anger. It looked like…sadness?
"Yes…My father was one too and he thought me a lot before-," he cut off, unwilling to finish.
"He died," Miyako guessed the rest. Seeing Za'in nod, the girl felt a bit sympathy for the man. "I'm sorry." She knew what it meant to lose a parent.
Instantly, his thoughtful expression changed into a dark glare. "I don't need your sympathy, pirate. Your captain killed my father," he spat out.
She was truly taken aback by that information. Law was hardly a saint and he's killed a great number of people so far, but the Surgeon of Death didn't go around killing good doctors indiscriminately. "Is that why you…want him dead," the girl asked through ragged breaths.
Za'in stayed silent, unwilling to continue this discussion further. Abruptly he stood up, taking the bowl of water in his hand. "Rest. Someone will check on you later." His cold tone returned as he stared at her with a blank face. As he turned to leave, he added one more thing; "I have no quarrel with you Suzune Miyako, but I won't hesitate to kill you if need be."
Miyako heard the click of the doors closing as he left, leaving her to stare behind the man. Her eyelids were getting heavy and it was getting harder and harder to stay awake. Finally, she stopped fighting it and fell into a deep slumber.
Everyone on the Going Luffy were still asleep when the sun rose over the horizon. Everyone but one person – the Surgeon of Death. Trafalgar Law sat at the helm of the ship, staring at the vast ocean ahead. Every now and then he would glance at the vivre card in his hand, just to make sure they were still sailing the right way.
Footsteps on the floorboards broke his concentration, but he barely acknowledged the man walking over to him.
"Did you even sleep?" Gambia yawned teary-eyed as he walked to take his morning shift at the helm.
"A little bit," Law answered. He had a couple of hours of sleep before dawn, when the ocean seemed calm enough to relax. Still, it was never wise to let your guard down in the New World. Those waters were treacherous. He watched the pale dawn creep towards them as he spoke up again, "We've been sailing most of the night, as soon as the ship was ready, and there's still no sign of land. How far is this vivre card taking us," the question was only rhetorical since he knew Gambia didn't have any answers either.
The staff officer of the Barto Club shrugged. "We can't be that far behind. We'll probably be there soon. Ya think of a plan yet?"
"Actually, I might help with that," a new voice cut in and the two pirates turned their heads to see Usopp standing there. He had large bags under his eyes indicating he barely got any sleep either. "I was working on something the whole night and it's finally ready." There was a boastful grin on his features.
Gambia smiled joyfully, "Of course the great Sogeking comes to the rescue!" Just like his captain, the first mate was a huge fan of the Strawhats. "Then how about I rouse Rowy and have him start on breakfast? We'll discuss the plan with everyone then," he suggested and ran off to the crew's quarters.
"Have you met the Strawhats? How can we discuss anything during a meal?" Trafalgar shouted after him, but Gambia couldn't hear him anymore. Knowing Strawhat and the others, they'll be too involved in fighting over food to actually listen to anything he has to say.
And of course, he was right.
Only an hour later, Law sat surrounded by a large group of pirates, all of them in their own world and too emerged into their meal to seriously discuss the plan to save Miyako. Right now, Luffy was barely listening to anything else as he kept shoving rice and eggs into his mouth.
"As I was saying, Long-nose-ya has….," Trafalgar tried to start again only to be overpowered by the rest of the voices around the table.
He definitely didn't have enough sleep for this. He could already feel a headache rising. "We need to…," he tried again, only to be interrupted by Luffy's large shout and Bartolomeo's star-struck praise that came right after.
He finally had enough. Slamming both hands on the table, the Dark Doctor rose to his feet, his voice booming as he shouted, "WE NEED TO DISCUSS THE PLAN TO SAVE MISS MIYAKO!"
Everyone went quiet, mostly from the shock of hearing Law rise his voice so loudly.
"You're right," Luffy was the one to spoke first, suddenly getting serious as he adjusted the straw hat on his head. "Let's begin." As if the room became filled with a completely different bunch, the atmosphere was suddenly changed from lively to humorless. The group sat in silence and suddenly they seemed more like the cut-throat pirates they really were than a few seconds ago.
Usopp rummaged through his bag and took out a few black balls, not much different from his usual pop greens. "Since we are going to be outnumbered when fighting a whole army of pirates, this is going to be our secret weapon. Those bastards won't know what hit them….literally." He grinned proudly, adjusting the goggles on his head.
"What is it? Can you eat it?"Luffy took one and closely examined it.
"No, you idiot!" The sniper stood up and gestured for the other to follow him. "I'll show you."
The Barto pirates, two samurais, Strawhats and Trafalgar all walked out on the deck after the sniper. They positioned themselves on the upper level of the deck – a small terrace that looked over the main deck of the ship, propped up on the head of the Strawhats' previous figurehead of the Going Merry. Usopp took one black ball in his hand and smirked. "Now watch this!" He tossed the ball to the main deck and it broke on impact. As soon as it did, a thick gas filled the main deck.
"A smoke screen," Robin exclaimed. She smiled as he understood the plan instantly. "So the enemy won't be able to see us coming when we attack them."
"Exactly! And not only that, but it's a tear-gas. It will burn their eyes and throats, making it impossible for them to fight," the sniper grinned devilishly. "I know you only asked if I could make smoke screens, but I decided to add this too," he added, looking back at Law.
"You asked Usopp to make that?" Zoro raised his eyebrow at the captain.
"Yes, I noticed Longnose-ya was quite good with chemistry so I asked if he could make something like a smoke screen. He did well, it seems," he smirked. It was the highest compliment one would get from Law.
"And I have plenty of them for all of us to use. We can separate in groups and cut off the enemy. Separate them in groups too so we can take them on more easily," Usopp explained.
"But won't it affect us too?" Franky liked the idea, but he still had suspicions.
"Not with these." Kanjuro suddenly took out what looked like a makeshift gasmask. It seemed it was badly drawn by him and then summoned to reality by his devil fruit ability. The gasmask looked like it was barely holding together, though. "I can draw a gasmask for each of us when the time comes."
The group looked at the object rather skeptically and finally Gambia issued the words they were all thinking, "Will that thing really work….?"
"It will! I have 100 percent faith in my ability to do this," the samurai exclaimed in complete confidence, refuting their doubts.
"I believe in Kanjuro too! If he says the gasmasks will hold, I believe him." Kin'emon nodded sternly, backing up his old friend.
"Yeah, but I'm not sure I do," Bartolomeo sighed, still looking at the badly-created mask.
"There's no helping it now anyway. No going back either," Roronoa countered.
"Ah, whatever you say, Zoro-senpai! You're absolutely right!" Bartolomeo instantly changed his tune as he agreed with the swordsman despite his doubts just a few seconds ago.
*Whoa, creepy,* the Pirate Hunter couldn't help but think as he saw Bartolomeo's sudden change. He tried his best not to make eye contact with this crazed fan.
"Nobody's thinking of going back, anyway." Luffy grinned. "We're getting Miya-chan back, that's all there is to it."
"Exactly," Robin agreed with a smile.
Law looked down at his wrist, where Miyako's red ribbon was still tied. Slowly, their plan was forming, but they'll only have one chance at this. One wrong move and Miyako might pay with her life for it. "We better execute this perfectly." He still had no idea who their real enemy was. *Za'in, whoever you are…I'll make you pay for taking my nakama,* he made a silent promise, his grey eyes darkening as they filled with resolve.
When morning came and all things started to awaken slowly, so did one samurai girl. Miyako slowly blinked her eyes open. She could breathe freely again and the chill which seeped into her bones was gone. *My fever must've gone away over night.* Still in thought, she slowly sat up on the bed only to see a figure next to her with the corner of her eye. With a jump and a gasp, the girl turned wildly to see who it was that invaded her room. Only to see the white-haired master of the mansion sitting on the armchair beside her bed and sleeping soundly.
The man must've sensed her stirring and slowly opened his eyes. Still feeling as groggy from sleep as the girl was, Za'in looked back at her. "Oh, so you've awaken." Without a warning he grabbed her wrist.
"What are you doing?!" Miyako tried to pull away from his strong grip, alarmed at his sudden actions.
"Examining you. At least you look better than yesterday. You were pale as death when I brought you to bed," he explained, checking the pulse on her wrist and looking at the nearby clock to measure it.
Vaguely, Miyako remembered Za'in carrying her fevered state back to her bed and having a conversation with him that ended rather awkwardly. "Oh," she noted when she remembered everything. She looked up when she felt a large hand on her forehead and then his fingers moved down to check her throat. She remembered those first days on the submarine when Law would examine her as a part of his crew, especially after she'd get hurt in a fight. She would always protest and try to run away, feeling embarrassed at his touch. After a while, however, she learned to accept him as a doctor and managed to stay calm. Even though the examination was similar, Miyako didn't feel that same blush appear or her heart racing as it did when Law touched her. Still staring at Za'in, she noticed his focused expression was the same as Law's when he treated her in his sickbay. *Maybe those two have some things in common after all,* she suppressed a chuckle at the thought. *Ah, but if I say that out loud, this guy might actually kill me,* she noted with a sweat-drop. The murderous intent Za'in felt for her captain was obvious by now.
She was suddenly brought from her thoughts when Za'in spoke, "Don't mind me saying, but you don't particularly seem like a pirate."
She looked down at herself and noticed she was still wearing the burgundy dress. *Right now, I definitely don't. Though I'm sure he's speaking in general.* She frowned, surprised that she felt a bit offended by his words. After all, she fought and bled with her pirate brothers from the Heart Pirates and felt like one of them. So why wouldn't she be a pirate? *What does he know about me anyway?* She clicked her tongue. "And you don't seem like a rotten kidnapped, but I suppose looks can be deceiving," she countered, gazing to the side as she jabbed at him with her words. Perhaps it wasn't wise to test him so, but Miyako already realized he wouldn't kill her for it since he needed her as a hostage still.
He sighed, surprisingly unaffected by her words. Perhaps he only lost his temper when her captain was involved. "You're really pushing your luck, testing the limits of my hospitability."
The girl shrugged, unafraid by his warning. "To be honest, I just wanted to see where your limit is."
The man scoffed, but there was the smallest smirk on his features. "Now you're the one being too honest." He still stood before her as he spoke. "Now stick out your tongue."
The girl didn't expect such an order and blinked at him with wide eyes. "Is that some form of punishment for me," she asked in a joke, realizing he just wanted to examine her further.
Za'in sighed, battling the urge to roll his eyes. "Yes, I'll make you stay like that until the end of the day," he answered in a humorless tone.
"Oh, so he can joke," the girl teased with a smirk.
"Use sarcasm, more like," he corrected, giving her a smirk of his own.
Unlike Za'in, Miyako didn't even fight the urge to roll her eyes at him. Without another complaint the girl stuck out her tongue for him until he nodded in satisfaction.
"Your throat is still a bit inflamed, but you'll be fine," he finally concluded in that professional doctor tone of his.
The girl hummed, less interested in her health problems and more in something that has been bothering her for a while. She didn't ask him before in fear of angering her captor, but it seemed Za'in didn't have a problem conversing with her, so perhaps he wouldn't mind. "Before, when I hit you; you didn't use armament haki, yet it felt like hitting a rock. Your body is rock-solid. What was that?"
"I trained it," came the response. "I trained and trained. Every day, for years, until every muscle in my body hurt, yet I still wouldn't stop. A body is a magnificent thing…it can be made strong and durable even without haki. It can become our greatest weapon."
"You have a form of a martial artist…I've seen a few back in Wanokuni. They had a similar bearing to you," Miyako stated.
"You are right. I traveled across the New World and studied many martial arts. However, I soon realized that every martial art has its weaknesses. Flaws that can be fatal in a fight. So I dedicated my life to not just one, but many different combat styles, so that I would have no such weakness. I only take the strengths of each. You could say I practice a mixed style…mixed martial arts," he explained in an even tone.
The girl furrowed her eyebrows. He was talking about something that he dedicated his life to, yet she felt no pride or emotion for it in his tone. When Miyako spoke of swordsmanship, she always spoke of it with passion. Her eyes would light up. Kenjutsu was something she truly loved and enjoyed. It was her life. Yet she felt no such thing radiating from this man. "Don't you…enjoy training in martial arts?"
"Enjoy?" His thin white eyebrows knitted together in confusion.
"Yes, don't you like it?"
"It's practical. I train so I can get stronger and achieve my goals. That's all there is to it. Whether I like it or not is irrelevant," he shrugged.
"So you only do things that are practical? That's a dreary way to live, don't you think?"
Za'in averted his gaze, staring at some non-existent spot on the white wall of the room. "I had to take care of myself since I was 14. I had to find a way to survive…to live. I didn't have the time to waste my days on dreams and wishes."
The girl's gaze softened a bit. She wouldn't admit it, but she felt a bit bad for him, even if he was her enemy. It appeared he had a sad life. "Seems you had a rough life." When he didn't answer, she continued. "Are you really willing to waste it on revenge?"
He looked back at the girl, locking his dark eyes with her. "Revenge is what kept me going all these years. I vowed I will have my vengeance and now the time to fulfill that vow has finally come. Vengeance is all I have and all I am, now. Don't pretend like you know anything about me, woman."
Miyako wasn't about to be intimidated, though. She held her ground, not looking away. Her gaze hardened as she spoke, "Nothing good ever comes from vengeance. It will cost you."
Hi eyes narrowed as he felt irritation rise in him. "I will gladly give my life if it means dragging Law to hell with me," he hissed. He stood up slowly. "Stay here. It shouldn't be long until he comes…and pray that he does, for your sake."
"Or you'll kill me?" She glowered at him. She was getting tired of that threat already.
Za'in didn't say anything. He just walked out of the room again, closing the doors behind him.
The samurai stared at the doors, waiting a few moments in complete silence. Then she was out of bed in one quick swoop, ignoring the lightheaded feeling it caused her. She put on the slippers from before and slowly opened the doors, peeking outside. The hallway was clear, with no one in sight. She sighed in relief.
*I should investigate the premises. Maybe I'll find a way out for later when I get the chance. Or if I could at least see where the port is…it has to be somewhere on this island.* She was absorbed by her thoughts as she walked through the mansion, deciding to explore it. Knowledge about her surroundings was sure to help her later on when Law comes. The thought of her captain brought both impatience and worry in her heart. She wanted to see him, but she was also frightened what would happen if he tries to fight a whole pirate army. *Will he and the Strawhats really storm this place?*
She stiffened when she saw three men walking towards her, wrapped up in their own conversation. The three pirates talked loudly, laughing at some inside joke. She kept her head down and tried to appear as little as possible. Perhaps they won't suspect anything if she just casually walks pass them. In case Za'in didn't give them strict orders to imprison her, they might think she had the right to walk around the mansion. After all, their boss treated her more like a guest than a prisoner. She hoped that was the case as she walked by them without a word. *Just don't look suspicious. Act normal,* she told herself.
As if invisible, the girl easily slipped passed them, the three too immersed in their own conversation to truly notice her. Indeed, they didn't think it strange that she was outside her room. As soon as they passed by, Miyako let out a breath she didn't even realize she was holding. *Good. This will make things easier.*
Nobody paid much attention to her as she walked through the building. She found stairs to the second floor and made her way up, examining the eastern wing of the building first.
*I couldn't see a port nor any ships when I was looking to the West before, but perhaps I will see something useful in the East.*
The presence of ships wasn't the only useful thing she paid close attention to. Her trained eye examined the pirates around her, counting their numbers and analyzing their weaponry. Through the hall's windows, she could see there were also dozens of pirates guarding the mansion from all sides. The white building was surrounded by a forest and placed near the island's cliffs. It had a few entrances, but all of them were heavily guarded.
Finally, Miyako opened one of the rooms and carefully glanced inside. It was a large bedroom, barely furnished like all the others, with a balcony. *Lucky,* the girl exclaimed in her mind, running over to the balcony doors so she could look outside at her surroundings. The storm wasn't raging outside anymore, but there was still a drizzle of rain. The wind wasn't as strong, either.
Her smile widened when she spotted what she was looking for. A port with one mountain-sized ship anchored there, which belonged to the Pirate Dispatch Organization. The eastern side of the island was much calmer than the others. There was a cove there, surrounded by cliffs on both sides. The cliffs protected it from the strong wind, making it perfect for the ships to lay anchor there; that is, if they survive the trip to it. The gusts of wind and raging waves outside the cove were still threatening to crash any ship that dared come too close to the island.
*There must be a safe path to the cove, otherwise that ship wouldn't be able to dock on the island either,* Miyako concluded, biting her lower lip in thought. *But those blasted Barto Pirates don't even have a navigator and Nami-san isn't with us…will they really be able to sail the Going Luffy through such dangerous waters? They could easily crash on the cliffs before even coming near the cove.*
A loud sneeze interrupted her thoughts and the samurai shivered from the cold. She was still unwell and standing outside in this bad weather didn't help. *I really should get inside before I get pneumonia.* Turning on her heels, the girl reentered the room and closed the balcony doors behind her. *Through my investigation, I found three exits, but all on the ground floor and heavily guarded. When Law and the rest come, there will probably be a commotion. I'll have to take that opportunity to flee. If I'm lucky, some of the Buggy's Delivery pirates might leave their post to join the battle so the security will become lax.* She repeated in her mind with skepticism, *If I'm lucky….*
*I still can't believe that Buggy became a Shichibukai and raised such an army to have at his disposal.* She listened in on some conversations from the pirate mercenaries and it didn't take long for her to realize who they were working for. *He seemed a bit of a twat when we saw him at Marineford, honestly,* she mulled.
As she started for the doors, a framed picture on a dresser next to the bed caught her eye and brought her out of her musings. Miyako's eyebrows furrowed and she changed course to the object. She picked it up, looking at the two smiling figures on the picture. One was a young teenage boy with black messy hair and dark eyes. Even with the difference in age and constitution, since the boy was rather skinny, Miyako could tell it was a young Za'in. He was smiling widely, his happy expression barely recognizable from the one today. A taller and older man had a hand on his shoulder. A man with raven hair, long and tied in a low ponytail. Small round glasses covered his tired eyes. First few wrinkles graced his features, just under his dark eyes. There was a gentle smile on his face.
The samurai then noticed the boyish Za'in had his arm raised, draped over someone's shoulder. There should be someone standing on the other side of him, but that side of the picture was torn and missing. *What is this doing here?* Miyako stared at the picture, before a thought occurred to her. She gazed up to look around the room, noticing two large bookcases opposite of the bed. Reading the titles, she could tell most of those books were of medical nature, while others were on history and martial arts. Suddenly, she had a clear idea of whose bedroom this was. *I need to leave quickly,* she realized in slight alarm.
She saw a large mirror next to the bookcases, which reflected a door on the opposite side. A different door than the one she came through. The door abruptly opened, making the girl jump in surprise as she saw a familiar figure enter the room.
The door must have led to an adjoined bathroom because Za'in came out, only in black baggy pants, with his white hair still damp from the shower. His feet were bare, and so was his muscular torso which was completely covered in scars.
Her startled reaction caused her to lose her grip on the picture and it fell to the floor, the glass frame shattering around her feet. The conspicuous noise instantly warned the man that he wasn't alone and he turned his head to stare at a peculiar sight; his own prisoner in his room, standing around shards of broken glass.
"What are you doing here!?" Za'in boomed, but his question remained unanswered as Miyako's attention was elsewhere.
"Oh no!" The girl shouted, kneeling and taking the picture from beneath the razor-sharp shards of glass. She saw how happy Za'in looked on that picture; it must mean a great deal to him since he kept it near, even though he was a man who followed logic and what was practical, rather than his heart. And now she clumsily ruined it. She tried her best to gather the broken frame pieces, taking the picture safely in her hands.
"Are you insane?" The doctor growled, closing their distance in a few quick strides.
*I knew it, he's furious! He's going to kill me!* Miyako could feel her heart leap all the way into her throat. She gazed up at the looming dark figure, her fingers slowly curling around a sharp piece of glass. If he attacked her, she wanted to have a way of defending herself. Maybe she can even catch him by surprise.
"You're going to cut your hands," he warned, kneeling in front of her and pushing her hands away from the glass.
She blinked in wonder, her thoughts interrupted, unsure what was happening. "Huh?" The fingers coiling around the glass piece relaxed, letting the shard fall from her hand.
"See!" Ignoring her stunned expression, Za'in took her hand and turned her palm upwards. Since she just held the broken piece in her hand, its sharp edges cut into her skin, leaving thin bloodied marks. He examined the damage, grabbing her other hand to check for injuries as well.
Slowly her senses returned to her when she realized Za'in's intentions. He was really a doctor, through and through. Just like Law, he couldn't leave an injury untreated when it was someone close to him. *Although in this case I'm only a prisoner…bait that he still needs,* Miyako reminded herself. With Za'in's hospitable attitude, it was easy to forget sometimes. Her expression twisted in a frown and she pulled her hands away swiftly. "You should worry about yourself instead. Look here, you're barefoot yet standing near broken glass." Her tone sounded like that of a mother scolding her child.
Za'in ignored her, standing up and walking over to a cabinet. "I have a first-aid kit here, I can bandage your hand." He disappeared into his bathroom for a moment, leaving Miyako standing there confused and still holding his picture in her hands. She slowly stepped over the broken glass. "It's fine…Anyway, I'll clean this up if you just tell me where the broom is," she called back to him, still staring regretfully at the mess she made.
He came back, holding a bottle of medical alcohol and some cotton in one hand and bandages in the other. "Leave it, I'll have someone take care of it later. Sit." He nodded towards the foot of his bed.
She was reluctant to comply, only wanting to scurry away as soon as possible, but his demanding tone left no room for bargain. She still held his picture in her uninjured right hand as she slowly sat on the bed. She watched him sit across her and extended her left palm, now with a bloody streak on it, while he prepared the disinfectant. As the soaking cotton made contact with her wound, the stinging feeling made her flinch. Even so, the way he tended to her hand in a careful manner surprised her as she found it completely unexpected. The gentleness was in complete contrast to his usual fierce attitude.
"So what were you doing in here?" He finally broke the silence.
She repressed a wince, but it wasn't from the pain this time. She knew this question was coming, it was unavoidable, yet she still cursed her unpreparedness. *Think of something, anything! Just make an excuse. Say something! Just say something quickly!* She blurted out the first excuse that crossed her mind, "Books!" Wait, what?
His puzzled expression mirrored the feeling in her mind. He raised an eyebrow skeptically, "Books?"
*Well you dug yourself this far into a hole, might as well keep digging until you reach the other side.* "I..uh…I was bored and wanted to read a book, but there aren't any in the guest room. I asked around and they told me you have books here. I didn't know this was your room though," she explained in haste, trying to use her best poker face while she glanced at the bookshelves behind him. She was never a good liar.
He was quiet for a long time and Miyako started to think her fib failed when she saw him frown. "I thought I told you to stay in your room."
"Sorry," she muttered, head down.
A long sigh left him as if the man was weary of it all. "I suppose it can't be helped…You can take any book you like, but be sure to return it in pristine condition." His eyes narrowed in a warning as he stared at her.
Two golden eyes widened in surprise at his words. Of all the things she expected, that wasn't one of them. She was expecting him to tighten her security or chain her, even lock her in a dungeon if this mansion had one. Something much more…inconvenient than letting her read books. That almost seemed like a reward to a girl that read through books with the same delight as Monkey D. Luffy ate through meat. "T-thank you," she managed to get the words out. She was still in shock.
Then her shock slowly turned into amusement and a chuckle escaped her. She couldn't help her snickering even as she tried to stifle her laughter. Za'in was right in the middle of bandaging her hand when he stopped, watching her with curiosity. He scowled at her. "What is it? Why are you laughing at me?" His scowl was slowly turning into a glower.
"I'm not. I'm sorry, it's just…You're really surprising. I thought you would attack me or throw me in a dungeon as punishment and you…hahaha…you're actually giving me books instead. I guess…I'm a little relieved. It's just nerves," she finally admitted, still chuckling.
His features relaxed a little, but there was still an annoyed glint in his eyes. "I'm not as monstrous as you think me to be."
"Well you did attack my friends, kidnap me and you're trying to kill my captain," she stated matter-of-factly.
Za'in glared at her, but then closed his eyes with a sigh. He didn't want to argue about this anymore. "Attacking and kidnapping you was the only way to reach Trafalgar. I had no choice. Besides, you can hardly complain what happens to you when you are a criminal yourself. All of you are."
"I may be a pirate, but I'm not a monster either," she returned his own logic against him, giving him a knowing look.
Za'in smirked. "Touché." He finished bandaging her hand. "There, all done. And try to avoid harming yourself in the future...I'm starting to think you are some kind of masochist."
She felt her cheeks heat up in embarrassment. Her golden eyes lit up in anger at his taunts. It's not like she wanted to harm herself, and she was only in this situation because he kidnapped her. "Oh yes, you wouldn't want your precious bait to be damaged before its use is complete," she commented sardonically. There was an accusing streak in her features as she glared at him.
Za'in returned her glare with his own. "You ungrateful little-," he stopped himself before continuing any further. They stayed like that for a while, staring at each other intently with a scowl, almost like two children in a staring contest that neither wanted to back away from. The furious eye-lock between them was broken when Miyako realized the other was still holding her hand and she quickly retracted it, grabbing the sides of her dress as she suddenly got the urge to do something, anything else, with them. Za'in was still scowling as he turned his gaze to the side before clearing his throat and taking that time to collect himself. He wanted to break the awkward atmosphere that was suddenly stifling the air, before it led to another argument. In an instant his face was back to that perfect, emotionless mask when he returned his gaze to the girl. "You can take a book and be off to your room. I'll make sure someone escorts you…and stay guarding your room from now on," he hissed in annoyance.
"Fine," the girl grumbled, standing up and Za'in followed her lead. That's when she remembered the picture in her other hand and her gaze softened. She held it out to the man. "Here. I'm sorry about the picture…it means a lot to you, right?"
She noticed Za'in stiffen when he saw it in her hand, but his expression soon changed back to his blank one as he took it. "Why would you think that?"
"It's just a guess, but…the people in this picture are you and your father, correct?" He didn't answer, but she could see in his eyes that she was right. "I don't have a lot from my parents…only one red ribbon my mother gave me. That's why, it's one of the most precious things I own….because it's from her." She gazed around the white room. "This room doesn't really have decorations and this picture looks like the only memento you keep in it. So it must be important."
Za'in gazed down at the photo, watching his own boyish face smiling back at him. "You're pretty sharp," he mumbled. "This picture was taken in happier times. When I still didn't know anything, yet life made perfect sense."
"A piece is torn off…someone is missing from it," the girl noted.
She could see his jaw clench at her words. His eyes darkened with cold fury as he stared at the photo. "Your captain," he finally answered.
Miyako couldn't hide her surprise. "Eh?"
"He's the third person from the picture," Za'in explained further.
"You were…friends? So what happened? How did you two become enemies?" She couldn't stop the onslaught of questions pouring from her.
Za'in was silent for a long time, weighting whether he should tell her the story or not. He deciding to explain. She was already involved in his plans and she might even die because of them. She had the right to know the reason for it, at least. "I met Law when he shipwrecked on our home island in the North Blue. I saved him before the waves swept him away back into the sea. He stayed with me and my father. We took him in and my father even nursed him back to health. I was studying to be a doctor like my father and when I heard Law was also interested in medicine, I was really happy. I thought I found a friend with the same dream as me; to become a doctor. I was 14 then, and he was 15, so we were close in age too. But it turned out it was all a big lie. Law was just working for the Shichibukai Doflamingo. Doflamingo was after my father's research and Law stole that research for the Donquixote Pirates and told Doflamingo of our whereabouts. Because of that, Doflamingo's man killed my father and destroyed our home. I had to run and even change my identity so they would never find me, the only eyewitness. The Donquixote Pirates would surely kill me if they knew I was still alive…although I suppose it doesn't matter now that that damn Warlord is behind bars. Good riddance." His jaw clenched as he continued, "But Law is still alive and well. Even after everything he's done, he hasn't paid the price for any of it." His hands balled into fists from anger as he talked and he didn't even realize he was crumpling the photo in his hand. "He needs to pay."
Miyako stared at her feet as she listened without a word. She could feel a swarm of mixed feelings welling up in her chest. *Law did that? That can't be. After what happening to his own family, there's no way he would hurt another innocent family of doctors like that. I just can't believe it.* But Za'in didn't look like he was lying either. Miyako was only starting to learn about her captain's past through what he told her, but she only knew a small part of it. She was aware there was still a lot about Trafalgar Law's life that she didn't know about.
"Za'in-san…or whatever your name is," she started, her gaze still fallen. "I don't know everything Law did in his past. I can't pretend to know what he was like, so I won't make excuses for him. But I know who he is now. And he isn't the evil person you believe he is. He has changed. He made a place for me when I had none. And it's not just me; everyone in the Heart Pirates have similar stories of Law helping them. That's why…whoever Trafalgar Law was when you two met, he is not that person anymore." She was gazing up at the man now, her eyes burning with determination as she locked them with his. It was obvious from her expression that she believed wholeheartedly in her captain. "I don't believe you are an evil person either, Za'in-san. To be honest, now that I know you were friends once, I don't want you two to fight each other. Is there really no way to settle things peacefully?"
He stared down at her desperate eyes as if she was pleading him. He held an unreadable expression as he listened to her. "Would you plead for your captain's life?"
"Would it make a difference?"
He narrowed his eyes in annoyance. "So you'd go as far as to beg for his life? Does he matter to you that much? Have you no pride!?"
Even thought he was obviously trying to rattle her, Miyako stayed firm before him. "What is pride compared to a life of a friend," she countered. She would gladly beg or give up her pride if it meant saving someone she cared about. "However, you misunderstand. I do not need to beg for my captain's life, because I wholeheartedly believe he will win. He won't die by your hand, just like he didn't die by Doflamingo's. But if you two fight each other, it can only end in tragedy. One of you will certainly die…but it is a battle that can have no true winner. If you two were truly friends, surely you'll only feel pain fighting each other," she explained. "I don't want Law to suffer any more than he already has. That's why I want to find a better solution to this situation. Let go of this foolish notion of revenge, it won't make you happy."
Once again, she realized how similar Za'in and Law truly were. Ever since Corazon died, Law lived for his revenge against Doflamingo, plotting each step for most of his life. He was completely engrossed in it, unable to see all the precious things he found on the way; like his crew and friends, a lover and new goals and dreams like finding One Piece. Za'in was no different. All he could think about was his revenge against Law. He was prepared to kill and even die for it, only chasing what he wanted and too blind to see what he already had. He was a strong man, a good doctor and a master in martial arts. He seemed pretty wealthy too, considering how he lived. Miyako was sure he could become whatever he wanted to be and chase his dreams if only he would allow himself to truly live. To be able to breathe free without this notion of revenge to pull him down. Trafalgar earned his freedom when he realized he wanted to keep on living, during their fight with Doflamingo, but Za'in was still trapped.
"You…," Za'in stared. His expression was still strange, but unreadable. A mask hiding his thoughts deep inside. Miyako gazed up at him in earnest to hear his response, but a shiver ran down her spine when he sensed the cold dark atmosphere surrounding the man. Did she make him angry? "The way you speak of him…you're not just his nakama, are you?"
"What?" She blinked in confusion. That wasn't a response she was expecting.
"I thought the same thing before. Seeing how far you are willing to go for him…even risk your life for him. You love him, don't you?"
The question stunned her. She didn't expect the conversation to take this turn. Yet what truly unsettled her weren't Za'in's words, but the odd look in his eyes as he stared down at her. There was a darkness hiding behind his emotionless mask. "I…," she started, but then became defensive when she collected herself again. "What does that have to do with anything?"
"Oh, but it does…Answer the question. Are you two lovers?"
She stood her ground, but kept quiet. Instead, she gave him a defiant stare.
It didn't work.
The doctor smirked – a devious smile broke his mask. "So it is true."
Miyako felt her heart skip a beat. *Am I really that easy to read? Are my emotions really that obvious? No…usually, that shouldn't be the case. This guy is just dangerously observant,* she concluded.
Za'in's smirk widened. So not only do I have Law's nakama, I have his lover. Now I know he'll come for you…if he truly cares for you, that is." He was playing with her now. Trying to provoke her.
She glared at him in return. "He will come. And no army will be able to stop him…he has the D. in his name, after all." She gave him a satisfied smirk, not doubting her words even the slightest. "And when that time comes, I will fight by his side as always."
Za'in kept quiet, his face completely calm, despite listening to her words. In the next instant Miyako felt the ground beneath her shift as she lost her balance. A second later she realized she was being pushed and fell back on something soft – the bed. Her face didn't contort in surprise though. She wasn't startled. Even as Za'in held her neck with one hand, squeezing lightly while he loomed over her on the bed dangerously, she stayed unmoving. She didn't struggle and neither did she protest. She just kept her firm stare fixed on his dark eyes. Dark eyes which now burned with intensity as they stared down at her. As time passed by in dead silence, Miyako could feel drops of water from his damp hair fall on her face and slide down her cheek.
It felt like a whole minute passed before he spoke. "You sound so certain, but I wonder if you really are. Are you so sure he will come for you? After all, he betrayed me, his friend who helped him, so why not you too? If he just left you he could safely sail on his merry way. Why risk his life for one person? Why try beating unbeatable odds for one woman? I'm sure he can find plenty others later."
He was taunting her again. Trying to provoke her. But she wouldn't bite. Miyako kept her firm gaze on him, her eyes burning a hole in him. "I told you…Law isn't like that. I believe in him." Her calm words worked much better than any angry argument she could've made. She knew that when she saw Za'in grit his teeth in frustration.
He squeezed her throat a bit tighter, making her choke. Yet she kept lying on the bed, unmoving. "Then maybe I should just start my revenge with you…If you really matter to Trafalgar that much, I wonder what he would do if he saw you hurt and broken." He grabbed the collar of her dress with the other hand as if ready to rip it open. "I could rape you right now and Law isn't here to help you."
"….." The girl stayed inanimate.
"What, no response?"
"You can try… But I don't believe you are a kind of person who would do that, Za'in-san."
His eyes narrowed again. "You don't know anything about me," he hissed.
"Then why don't you do it? There's nothing stopping you right now, is it?"
Her words actually took him by surprise. "What?" He flinched away, perplexed by her collected state.
"I said I'm calling your bluff," the girl stated coolly. From what she witnessed so far, Miyako really didn't believe Za'in was such a person and she was ready to call him out on that threat.
They stayed like that for a while, in complete silence, as if Za'in was still deciding what do to in their situation. After the longest wait, the man sighed and sat next to her at the foot of the bed, releasing her in the process. He closed his eyes, holding his forehead with one hand. He was suddenly feeling drained.
"You are one crazy woman," he muttered.
The samurai sat up and her poker face cracked, showing a tiny smirk. "Well I am a pirate, after all." She would never admit it, but her heart was racing a hundred miles per hour. She was calling his bluff, but in truth, she wasn't completely sure what would happen. Things could have gone either way, and if she read him wrong, they could have gone south quite fast. *I'm glad I wasn't wrong about him,* she thought in relief as a small drop of cold sweat appeared on her temple.
The quiet moment was interrupted by a commotion coming from the outside. Za'in was on his feet in seconds, striding to his balcony to look outside. He could see pirates running around the mansion, arming themselves with guns and muskets. Loud voices came from inside the mansion as footsteps echoed in the halls. The pirate army was rushing down the stairway right outside Za'in's room.
The girl was on her feet as well. "What's going on?"
The man didn't answer, but instead grabbed her by the forearm and dragged her with him, outside the room. His grip was strong as steel, easily bruising her arm.
"Ouch!" The girl protested, yet had no choice but to follow him outside.
As soon as they got out in the hallway one of the pirate mercenaries stopped before them.
"What's happening," the white-haired man demanded.
"Ser, we've spotted a single ship approaching the cove. Our lookout confirmed it's the ship of the Barto Club pirates, the Going Luffy," the man explained.
Miyako felt her heart leap in her chest after hearing the news. She felt happy, but also anxious. *I knew all of them would come, though.* Of course the Strawhats wouldn't let Law come here alone.
"Ya better get ready soon, lad. It won't be long now…unless they wreck their ship on the cliffs." The one who spoke was Captain James Burrows as he approached them from behind. He gave Miyako a devious grin, but the girl only returned it with a glare.
The doctor passed the girl along to one of the pirate mercenaries. "Take a few more men and guard her. Take her to the west wing and wait until I arrive." He then turned to Captain Burrows. "Take as many men you can spare and wait for them in the cove, just like we talked about. The gunmen should await hidden behind rocks, but let the others be seen straight on. I want Law to see exactly what he's up against…and understand there's no way to overpower a whole army." He glanced at Miyako as he spoke, as if those words were also meant for her.
"Ya reckon tha Surgeon of Death be commin' alone? I doubt that, lad," Burrows answered.
"I warned him to come alone, but I never really expected him to do so anyway. Still, we won't know anything until their ship anchors. But either way it doesn't matter. They are outnumbered and we have our leverage," he turned his head to the samurai girl again. "Attack Trafalgar or any of his comrades on sight as soon as they land," he commanded.
Burrows grinned and tipped his hat, pleased with those orders. As he turned to leave, Za'in called out from behind him. "And Burrows…" The pirate stopped. "Make sure you don't kill him. Just wear him down. I don't want his pesky devil fruit powers to get in the way of our fight."
The officer of Buggy's Delivery turned around and frowned darkly, "Now that be a tall order yer giving me, laddie. I don't usually leave me enemies standin' after I'm done with 'em."
Za'in didn't answer, only gave the captain a warning stare. The pirate sneered with amusement. "But ye be payin' us, so yer the boss," he added before leaving. He didn't really sound very convincing and nothing in the doctor's expression showed he trusted him, but Za'in let it be for now.
"Coward," Miyako hissed, glaring at Za'in as his men took her away. She understood his plan; throw the pirate fodder at Law until his energy drains and his devil fruit powers deplete.
Za'in watched after them silently for a while before he went back to his room to get ready. He slowly walked over to a cabinet and took out a set of bandages. They looked old and worn out, with old bloodstains on them. Without a word he sat on the edge of his bed and carefully started wrapping the bandages around his hands, from his wrists to his knuckles.
"Good thing I just finished my training before this…It was a good warm up before the main act. Let's finish this once and for all…right, Law?" He spoke, but there was no one in the entire room that could answer him.
Deep down below, in the basement of the mansion, there was a large training room. In it, there were numerous training dummies, punching bags and other training equipment to use. However, not one piece of equipment was left unbroken after Za'in's training. As per usual, the martial artist smashed every piece of training equipment during his practice, which were regularly replaced by new ones each time after his training. That devastation was an obvious indication of the man's strength.
So I know this chapter was pretty short. The reason is that the next one is going to be quite long, by my calculations, so I had to find a good way to split the Arc. The whole Arc is pretty much planned out so I just need to find the time to write it.
Thank you everyone for reading the story and for your reviews. I've been reading them all and also reading the PMs you've been sending me. I'm sorry if I worried anyone, don't worry, I'm perfectly okay. ^^
Because it's been so long since the last chapter update (my own damn fault), there has been a lot of reviews, so I won't be answering each comment separately this time. (Also, I'm just really impatient to post this chapter.). So I will just say thank you very much for all the reviews and I did read each one, so I'll be taking all the constructive criticism and such into account. (Typos. Ah, the typos aka my nemesis.).
Thank you for reading and I hope to hear from you guys soon!