Welcome to the great sea. It is an enormous ocean, stretching around almost half of the entire globe. In some places it is quiet and tranquil and in others it is tumultuous and stormy, but everywhere it is promising. There is no large land mass within the great sea, but there are thousands and thousands of islands.
It is a sea filled with pirates, for it is the dreams of adventure that draw many from the workaday lives on the continents. So many islands, hidden treasure, fabulous fauna and flora, climates never before seen – it is an amazing place, if one could call it a single place.
The start of our tale concerns a small island, little more than a bunch of rocks. Hundreds of wooden platforms and gangplanks are built upon its surface. In some ways it is a graveyard, composed of shipwrecks. It is a pirate citadel, the province of the Alcatraz Pirates. The lower areas are docking bays, and the upper platforms are dormitories, prisons…and treasuries.
In the dead of night a tiny vessel sails into the docks, small even for a fishing vessel. As quietly as she can, a small woman leaps off of the boat and moors it to the docks. She is a woman of no more than eighteen years, though with a stature that would lead many to guess much younger. Her sapphire blue hair is tied back by a red bandana with the symbol of a broken cog. A small cuirass is tied to her waist.
She is Captain Levy McGarden of the Shadow Gear Pirates.
Sneakily, in an overtly melodramatic fashion, she tiptoes deeper into the citadel, wary of drunken watchmen. The fools are too lax, secure in their fastness. She giggles. Her diminutive size makes sneaking quite easy – she can easily fit behind crates and barrels and even thick pillars as she makes her way up into the higher reaches of the fortress.
Now comes the more tricky part. She warily enters rooms, checking their contents, hurriedly backing out as she finds sleeping occupants. Finally, she reaches the highest level and there is her goal: the pirate's booty! Heaped treasure chests full of gold coins and jewels.
Vainly, she tries to move a chest, but it is far too heavy for such a little person. Pouting, she takes out a cloth sack and begins to load it with as much as she can carry. It is far less than she'd like, but she had long ago come to terms with the fact that she was not a hulking brute. Small people ate less, after all, so she needed less money for her food bill. Jet and Droy should have come, the wimps. This was easy!
In one particular chest though, she comes across her main goal. It is not gold, nor jewels, but it is valuable none the less. She stows it in the bag.
Tiptoeing back out onto the highest platforms, she freezes as a shout cuts through the night air.
"Alarm! Alarm!" A pirate shouts from the lowest level. "There's an unknown boat! We have an intruder!"
Levy curses quietly and scans around, desperately looking for a hiding place or a way out. Why didn't Jet and Droy come? She needed help! No, she was Captain Levy! She could find her own way out of this mess! It would be a few moments before any enemy could find her: they were still rousing from their slumber.
Suddenly a huge searchlight swung across her platform from a sentry tower. She squeals – ahem no, she exclaims in surprise and jumps forward, rolling over to a nearby crate for shelter. She pouts vaguely as a thought occurs to her. She lifts the lid of the crate and peers inside. It's pretty small for a human and half filled with what appears to be blankets or sails – a lucky boon.
Pretty small for a human indeed, the thinks as she slips inside and curls up with her booty…er, treasure. She waits patiently as boots hammer by on the wooden decking as the pirates search for their intruder. At one point, someone actually lifts the crate to check behind it. She holds her breath and hopes that they can't hear her heart hammering away in her chest.
This goes on for a very long time, and by accident Levy drifts asleep. When her eyes flutter open, she notices light streaming in through the gaps in the wood of the crate. So, the sun had risen. Very, very slowly, she lifts the lid and peeks out. The upper platform is once again deserted. Sneaking over to the edge, she peers down.
Pirates litter the walkways and platforms below, clearly on edge. Her boat is still tied up, dwarfed by the galleon next to it. Okay, this was tricky, but all she had to do was reach the bottom. Her ship must be much faster than the big bloated thing.
There was a noise, the most horrible sound Levy had ever heard. Next to her, her sack had opened and coins were falling out, skittering onto the platform below. She quickly stopped it, but by then an hundred set of eyes were staring up at her. She went bright red, realising that the game was up.
A man in a tricorn hat and long blue coat stumped over to where the coins were falling to gaze up at her. He had an enormous greying beard and a smile missing several teeth.
"Captain Alastair Longlas of the Alcatraz Pirates," Levy stated defiantly.
"Aye. And who do I have the honour of addressing, little missy?" He asked, voice clearly indicating his amusement of the situation.
Levy pouted and flailed in a petulant tantrum. "How can you not recognize the great Captain Levy McGarden of the Shadow Gear pirates, terror of the great sea?"
"Never heard of you," he admitted. "What is the greatest deed to your name?"
"Well, we…never mind! I have this sack of your treasure, and by the pirate code, it belongs to me now!"
"Oh? How presumptuous of you. How exactly do you plan to get away with it?" He spread his arms wide, indicating the pirates surrounding her, chuckling at the humour of the situation. Levy looked behind her and noticed that two pirates had scaled the ladder to the top floor while she was busy talking to the captain. She turned back to regard him.
"You'll remember this day. The day in which you almost caught Captain Levy McGarden!" She took a running leap from the platform, grabbing a section of rigging overhead and sliding down to a lower level. More pirates waited here, rushing her from both sides. She hurriedly tied the bag around her torso to free up both her arms. She drew her cutlass and pistol.
Fighting the enemy in one piece was silly, so she rushed towards one set of oncoming enemies, seeking to fight them alone. She shot the first man and he fell screaming off of the gantry. She parried the next, though he was far too strong for her to hold against. So she didn't try and ducked low, tripping him and sending him plummeting as well.
As she ran on, five men on an adjacent gantry fired at her with pistols, but she merely smiled and ploughed on. Pistols were only good to about ten paces, and their target was rather small! More men were coming, so she holstered her spent pistol and jumped to grab more rigging. Her sword flashed and it swung free sending her over to another platform near to Alcatraz's docks, if much higher up. She needed to find a way down quickly…
Her ship set ablaze, cut free from its moorings. She watched as it slowly broke apart and capsized.
"You bastards! That was my only ship! For that, I'm going to take your galleon!" It was an empty threat – she couldn't possibly sail it by herself, but it made her feel good to say it. She was now thoroughly screwed, so she took the only option remaining to her. Scabbarding her cutlass she took a running jump.
It was horrendously far, but she made it. Instead of crashing into wooden gangplanks, she hit water. Thankfully it was deep enough to support her. Surfacing with a gasp, she kicked off as hard as she could, swimming out towards the open ocean.
But it had been a vain gambit. Two splashes could be heard as two men dived in after her, much larger and more powerful swimmers than she. It took a little while, but she was eventually dragged screaming back to the citadel. Bereft of her treasure and weapons she was hurled to the wooden floor as Captain Longlas trudged over to her. Dozens of feet surrounded her, but she refused to look up as the captain chuckled loudly.
"What a brave lass you are! But what sort of fool believes that they can take on an entire pirate crew by themselves and win?"
"Captain!" A man called out. He was the one who had confiscated the treasure. "Take a look at this!" A rolled piece of parchment switched hands and the captain's brow furrowed. He waved it at the prostrate Levy.
"Well, well, well. Now, what would ye be wanting with this?" He asked snidely.
"That's none of your business!" She snapped. The captain gestured and one of his men kicked her in the ribs. She cursed but managed to avoid giving any noise of pain. These bastards weren't worth it.
"You see, this is potentially a very interesting treasure. Either it is worthless or it is the most valuable treasure in this entire citadel. It is claimed that these here Dead Sea Scrolls give the directions to the most wondrous treasure to ever exist, but no one can read this stupid ancient language. So, why do you want it? Do you have a translator lined up for it?"
"Couldn't be me could it?" Levy asked, batting her eyelids, "after all, women can't read!"
"No, women are only good for one thing, right lads?" The captain laughed uproariously as his men cheered. Hands grabbed at Levy, hoisting her to her feet as she cursed and snapped with her teeth at any fingers that strayed too close. But there were just so many!
"Captain!" Shouted a lookout. "Mast ahoy!"
"What?" The captain walked to the edge of the platform, drawing an eyeglass. He examined the ship. It was a tiny vessel, no bigger than the girl's had been. It had a single black sail with the jolly roger that looked like a dragon's skull.
There was a single occupant, sitting imperiously upon his throne. A tall, muscular man, bedecked in piercings. His eyes were an unsettling red. His hair was black, tied in long dreadlocks by metal bands and held back by a red bandana. He wore britches and black longcoat left open to reveal his sculpted and scarred torso. An enormous blade was strapped to his back and a black monkey perched upon his shoulder.
The eyeglass dropped to the decking from nerveless fingers. Captain Longlas stood transfixed for a moment, unable to move. At last, he turned to bellow at his men.
"It's Pirate Hunter Gajeel Redfox! All men to the cannon! Sink that ship now!"
"Captain! He's already gone!" The sentry called with fright. It was true. The ship was now empty. Gajeel Redfox powered through the water like a torpedo, clambering the pier easily with his great strength. Deckhands rushed to meet him and were cut down in instants. More and more men went to fight.
Levy took a look at the men who held her. They were distracted, so she raised both of her feet at the same time and drove them into their feet. They cried out and she slipped from their grasp, expertly pilfering one of their swords as she went.
She spun and lashed out, ducking and weaving as men came at her. She may not be physically strong, but she was small and lithe, dodging incoming blows with the skill of one who always kept their eyes open, never backing down.
A voice spoke, loud and commanding, and it was as if everyone froze. Gajeel had made it to the platform on which they now stood. He held a wanted poster in one hand.
"Captain Alistair Longlas of the Alcatraz Pirates. Bounty: one million gold coins. Dead or…no wait," Gajeel's mouth curved into an evil smile. He tapped the scroll in his hands, which clearly showed a painting of the captain's face. The word 'alive' had been crossed out. "Sorry, seems like you've been a pesk for too long, Gihi!"
"What are you doing, you fools?" Longlas shouted. "There are a hundred of you! Kill him!"
With a terrific roar, men ran at Gajeel from all sides. They died in the order they arrived, Gajeel's massive blade cleaving heads and limbs with equal ease. On top of that, the black monkey was there, jumping on anyone's head who tried to take him from behind, slowing them long enough for Gajeel to finish them.
Seeing her escape, Levy rushed to his side as quickly as she could. Even as fighting raged, they talked.
"Can you help me, Mr Redfox? I'm not one of them!" She shouted over the din.
"Oh? Are you a prisoner?" He asked, sweeping his sword through two men at once.
"Not exactly…in fact, you could call me your greatest rival! I am in fact, a great pirate captain!"
Gajeel's brow rose as he regarded the tiny, water-logged woman. "You?"
"Yes me! Is that hard to believe?" She gasped as a man rushed too fast for her to react. A sword passed over her head from behind cutting him down. Gajeel grinned and patted her head condescendingly.
"Whatever you say, Shorty! I'm sure that you're the most fearsome pirate in the great sea, Gihihi!"
"Don't talk to me like that!" She raged.
Gajeel laughed as the fighting continued. Levy couldn't make any opinion other than this man was insanely strong. Men threw themselves forward in unending waves and he ploughed through heedless, laughing and smiling.
Pistols fired, but Gajeel deflected the bullets with his massive broadsword. Some bright spark swung a cannon around at them, killing several of his own men as the cannonball hurtled at them. Levy yelped as a powerful hand grabbed her by the scruff and with a powerful bound, Gajeel took them both out of the blast radius. The raven haired man drew a pistol and shot the cannoneer dead from over twenty paces. He tossed the pistol in the air and to Levy's distinct amazement, the monkey grabbed it and began to reload.
Then, no more men came. They were all dead. Captain Longlas took a step back in fear as Gajeel advanced, smiling.
"I…I'll come alive!" He croaked.
"Sorry, no dice. If you're alive, I don't get paid." Levy decided to look away as there was a horrendous 'thunk'. When she turned back, Gajeel was pushing something into a small sack and the captain was now a headless corpse. Gajeel yawned and turned back to his ship.
"Wait!" Levy cried.
"Why?" He asked languidly.
"There's a tonne of loot upstairs! Don't you want it!?"
Gajeel shrugged. "It's not mine. Pirates are the ones who steal. I'm sure that the marines will redistribute it properly." His tone implied that he believed the marines would do no such thing.
"B…but…I need a ride!" Levy shouted. "You can't leave a damsel in distress!"
"Why not? I'm a pirate hunter, not a hero."
"Well, I'm a pirate captain and you're a pirate hunter, you should take me in!"
"If you're a pirate, I could just kill you now," he said with a smirk as she quailed. "What was it you said? A fearsome pirate captain?"
"Well, not so fearsome," she said bashfully. "Look, can you stop being an asshole for five minutes and just give me a lift to wherever you're going next? If you leave me here, I'll die!"
Gajeel looked around, seemingly annoyed and weighing his options. The monkey jumped on his back and whacked his head. "The hell, Lily! You want me to take her? Fine then! Oi, Captain McShorterson!"
"McGarden!" Levy snapped.
"Right. Shrimpy McGarden. If you wanna come, then come. But no loot! I won't be party to any thievery!"
"Of course," she said with a wry smile, the scroll safely stowed on her person. "No loot – and it's Levy! Levy McGarden!"
"Whatever, Shortstack. Come on. It's a long ride back to the nearest marine base and I don't want to spend more time with you than I have to!" Gajeel stopped and swung his sword to point at the lookout tower. Inside, the last surviving man of the Alcatraaz pirates huddled over his knees, trembling. Gajeel smiled and walked on. It was always good to leave one alive.
That's how reputation spread.
Hey there! This is just a story that I had rattling around, and it is purely for fun. It won't be an epically long story (as per my usual idiom), but hopefully it shall be entertaining. Just play 'He's a pirate' during action scenes and enjoy yourself!