Disclaimer: Shiningheart of ThunderClan doesn't own One Piece. Eichiiro Oda doea.
Chapter 14: A Plan in Motion
Nadeen had been able to beg medical supplies off of the slavers with the excuse that damaged goods wouldn't bring in a lot of money. It had nearly killed her to say something like that. Humans weren't meant to be traded and bought and sold like common housewares. It just wasn't right! It had worked either way. Despite the fact that she couldn't see his injuries, Michael told her where he needed aid the most. He was bleeding from somewhere on his abdomen; some bastard had tried to gut him like a fucking fish.
She tended to him as best she could. She wasn't entirely sure how clean the water she'd been given for his cuts was, but she couldn't complain. Lord knows what would happen then. Nadeen didn't know her hands were shaking until Michael made a blind grab for them. "It's fine, Nadeen; I can do it myself." She allowed him to take the bandages without a fight, listening as he fumbled in the dark. "How are you doing? You were already injured before this, weren't you?"
She almost laughed at the genuine concern she heard. He'd just been beaten bloody and he was asking how she was? "I'm actually feeling surprisingly well, all things considered. They'd taken me from the infirmary during my nap, so maybe they know I'm already hurt and took care not to hurt me further?" The pirate shrugged as best she could and tried to sort her thoughts. She stood by her statement that they'd have to rely on themselves to get out, but she didn't know how they'd accomplish that. The beginnings of panic stirred, but she forcefully shoved the feelings away.
Michael took a deep breath before forcing himself to stand in one swoop. The only reason Nadeen knew was because the small breeze created stirred some strands of her hair. He stumbled a bit, but Nadeen followed him quick enough to prevent him from falling. "Thanks." he muttered before standing in full. "So, what's the plan? Being a pirate, I assume this isn't the first time you've been captured."
It stung a little how close that was to the truth, and her voice was a little- okay, a lot- sharper than she'd meant it to be when she responded. "Why, just because I'm a woman?" Michael stuttered an apology, and Nadeen had a feeling his eyes were widened in shock. Nadeen left him standing there, marching across the cave with as much dignity as she could muster without knowing exactly where she was going. "I really wish I could say no, but unfortunately I seem to be a target for Fate to fuck with." She sighed after her admission and heard him take a few steps after her. "Be careful where you walk. There are wooden beams placed randomly to keep the roof from caving."
He stopped walking for about half a minute before continuing, noticeably slower than before. "You've been awake for a while, then? At least long enough to get a feel for the place." Nadeen gave a positive 'mhm' and he went on. "What have you found out? I couldn't see much from the entrance."
So visibility was limited on the other side of the bars. That could come in handy. "You're taller, so you should be able to reach the ceiling easier than I could. Everything but those bars is dirt. The space is bigger than what a prisoner usually gets, so we at least have some room to move." She thought on that for a moment and her mood darkened a little. "It's probably so the slaves can tire themselves out by pacing or trying to find a way out. Less likely to fight back then." She let him stew in that before asking, "So, what's above ground look like? It wouldn't be a good idea to attempt escape without knowing what the outside looks like too."
There was a swish of fabric. Was that a nod or a shake of the head? Michael seemed to realize that wasn't a very good answer, considering the lack of vision, and said, "Yeah, good point. We were heading south before they discovered me. They knocked me out, but I'm not really sure how. All I know is one minute I'm at the edge of the forest, the next I'm waking up with my arms being held by those two goons and Abaddon was in front of me."
Nadeen didn't need her vision to know he gave a violent shudder. She felt it just as much as she heard it. "As Mitchell would say, Abaddon was pissed. He kept demanding if anyone else was following them, if anyone else knew they were there. Every time I gave a negative answer either an 'I'm not sure' or 'I don't think so', he told those guys to hit me. Hard. I think they would have killed me if you hadn't yelled out when you did."
Nadeen sent a cheeky look in the direction of his voice. She knew he couldn't see it, but it made her feel better. "So I saved your life? Cool. Does that come with eternal servitude? Because I like my eggs scrambled!" Michael spluttered a laugh, like he hadn't been expecting the joke. Good; she liked to keep things unpredictable. Or tried to try to keep things unpredictable. At least she kept Law on his toes so far. "So, just how much could you see from the opening? I have an idea, but it depends fully on what the visibility is like..."
From the paling of Doc's and Mitchel's faces, Law deduced that neither of the men had known. "You didn't know?" he asked, relaxing. It wasn't impossible to fake, paling on queue, but it took training that he was sure neither dock workers had.
Doc shook his head, eyes clenched so tightly Law thought he was trying to block out the truth. "How could we? I haven't gone down there since I discovered my wife's death, and the town leaders forbid anyone from even going near."
Mitchel kept his gaze on the ground, the last of the drunken stupor fading. "Chelydrus appears ten years ago. Slavers move in. Nadeen goes missing." He shook his head before looking up at Law. "Okay, so obviously, the slavers took Nadeen. How does Chelydrus fit in this? Did the slavers take advantage of the bay being off limits? Or did they have something to do with Chelydrus moving in in the first place?"
A loud and rather rude snort came from Derek. Gone was the usual childish persona that Law and the other Heart Pirates were used to seeing. His green eyes had gone cold and hard as jade in the way that they usually only did when he was pissed off. This wasn't the angriest they'd ever seen him, but it was pretty damn close. He crossed his arms over his chest so tightly his muscles strained against the sleeves of his boiler suit. "What does it matter? We know where Nadeen is. We should go there now and kick the asses of everyone that has her."
There was mumbling of agreement from everyone else, including Shachi and Penguin. Cyrus was the one to answer Derek's question. "It matters because the slavers might have had something to do with their mother's death."
The two men winced a little at the announcement. If Law was any kind of sympathetic man, he would let them have a moment of silence. Since he WASN'T a sympathetic man, he steamrolled right over their moment by saying, "While the slavers are the most likely conclusion, we can't rule out bounty hunters as well. She's the only other one of us with a bounty, besides myself, so they wouldn't have gone after the rest of you."
But what he wanted to know why they went after Nadeen specifically. If it was the slavers- and no matter whether they had her or not, he would destroy them all because, really, they were slavers- why go after the pirate that's safely tucked away in the ship than one of the ones wandering around the town? How had Nadeen distinguished herself from everyone enough to stand out?
He'd think on it more later. For now, he had to organize his crew before they stormed off half-cocked and angry. "Okay, here's what we'll do. Derek, Orlando, Kris, and Kain will canvas the island. The camp we found might not be the only one, and if she's not at that one, then she could be moved before we attempt a rescue." The named men nodded in acceptance of their orders. "Bepo, Aaron, and Kelvin, go to Town Hall. See if they have a registry for all of the residents. If they do, check to see if anyone's disappeared recently. Don't let anyone know why you want to know. We don't want to cause a panic."
All three saluted, even Bepo who had gone back to massaging his feet. Law almost felt guilty for making his first mate heave himself upright and mentally promised to buy him some fresh fish later. "Everyone else, go on like normal, but travel in groups of no less than three. They already have Nadeen. I don't want to be forced to rescue someone else."
There were some scattered chuckled at that, mainly forced, as the crew dispersed. Doc and Mitchell stayed where they were, sitting on the floor with bowed heads. Law summoned a Room just long enough to take the ropes off of the younger man's wrists before dispelling it. It knocked the two out of their funk, and they stood up. Doc looked thoughtfully at the pirate captain before shaking his head. "Sorry for the accusation earlier. Gotta admit, it seemed kind of suspicious."
Law nodded in agreement. The only reason he hadn't killed the other man was because he knew it was probably just a in-the-moment reaction. "Mister Doc, do you have any surveillance anywhere? Cameras, microphones, anything?" Doc nodded. "I'd like to view them I'd like to view them and see if we can find what we're dealing with."
The elder man nodded agreement, and Mitchel narrowed his eyes. "And me? Wait, let me guess. Just sit here and look pretty while those bastards do who knows what to Nadeen? I don't even what to think what a pretty lady like her might be going through!"
Law actually caught himself off guard by the amused snort that brought forth. "Oh, I would love to see them try. Just because Nadeen's injured doesn't mean she can't fight either. Hell, she has cracked ribs and was able to run all around the sub yesterday evading… one of my crewmates." He'd almost told them that he'd been the one chasing her before he remembered their cover story. The pause earned a curious look from Doc, but Law ignored him. "As for what I want you to do, it's very important that you do so."
Mitchel blinked in surprise at being given a seemingly important task. The pirate captain let the silence linger for a moment, building up the suspense, before going on. "Go take a shower. You reek of booze." A twitch developed in his eye and he growled like an animal. Law watched in amusement before setting off with Doc.
Mitchel grumbled to himself darkly as he left the submarine. No one else was around; the pirates that Law hadn't sent off had retreated back into their home and the dock didn't have any other workers, being a family owned thing. He supposed he could give his father that much. At least giving it to Michael kept it in the family.
How dare Trafalgar even think to boss them around? They were nothing but pirates who had no place to call home. Whatever family they did have probably disowned them for being murderous thieves. All except for Nadeen. There was no way she was an actual pirate. She was too cute and pretty to be one. Maybe Trafalgar was keeping there against her will and forcing her into piracy. Mitch wouldn't put it past him, the slime ball.
And what about Michael, huh? Just because he was a crybaby and was being given the business after their father retired didn't mean Mitchel wanted him to be in pain. He would die in slavery, there was no ifs ands or buts about it! He was too soft and sensitive to react well to abuse. Not that anyone ever reacted well to abuse, of course, but Michael would just sit there and take it! Did Trafalgar actually expect him to it there and look pretty while his brother and potential girlfriend were probably being beaten and broken!
"Isn't that better, though?" A voice surprised him into jumping, and Mitch looked around warily before realizing that it came from inside his head. "If Michael is kept out of the way, you inherit the business. Surely that's worth it. After all, didn't your brother betray you by accepting it?"
Mitchel struggled a little to answer it without sounding like he was freaking insane. Then again, maybe he was. Who the hell had a voice speak to them mentally? "But… But he didn't accept it. He kept quiet when Dad told us about his decision earlier…"
A dark chuckle was his answer. "No, he didn't accept it. But then, he didn't decline it either. If he's rescued, there's only a slight chance you might keep your birthright. But if he stays gone, it's guaranteed, isn't it?" A shudder made it's way down Mitchel's spine. The voice spoke the truth. But Michael was his brother. "Suit yourself. If you want to live a life of being the second best, of being the lesser one, it doesn't matter to me."
He felt a sort of presence leave his mind. He hadn't even known it was there until it was gone. Mitchel was left there shivering, feeling like he'd just been dunked in a pool of cold water. He didn't like the doubts the conversation had brought to him. As mad as Mitch was at him, he still wouldn't condemn him to slavery and death… would he?
Words: 2371 on Google Drive
Pages: 5 on Google Drive
Me: I'm so sorry for the wait! This chapter was a pain in the ass and would just not listen to me. I usually try to get at least 2000 words for a chapter, and this one was only 1500 until just now. I pulled that entire last part out of my arse just now because I wanted Mitch to have more of a part than just the annoying flirt. The chapter wasn't worth the wait, I know, and I apologize for it. I won't even blame you if you don't review. But I also won't complain if you berate me with harsh unmentionable words either!