It was quiet. Why was it so quiet? Weren't they supposed to still be in that ocean? Or on the ship?
'It still hurts…'
'The soreness will go away soon, Toshiro.' The calming rumble soothed his headache and the chill helped ease the soreness in his muscles.
'I hope so…where did everyone go?'
'Can you not reach full consciousness?'
'I can hear…I think. It's pretty quiet. I can't move my body.'
'Listen very carefully until you can move, it's all you can do right now.'
Toshiro shut out his other senses, ceasing his struggle to move to instead focus on his hearing. Slowly he began to recognize noises. The slight hum of an engine only barely on, just enough to provide necessary functions for life. There was the occasional beep of something or a short whirr. So he was on the ship. But then…where was everyone else? If the engine was on so low it must mean he was the only one on board.
'They must have gone ahead and left me here to rest, then.' He concluded. 'I wonder which one they went to.'
'I believe that pirate world was next.'
'I broke the curse, so surely they can't get into too much trouble.'
'Kurosaki went with them.'
'Really, Hyorinmaru, he may attract trouble wherever he goes but on other worlds he can't possibly start anything…'
'You don't believe that so why should I?'
If he could sigh he would have. Perhaps the dragon was right, in which case he needed to work on getting his strength back so he could join them. If they were in the pirate worlds there would at least be plenty of water around to manipulate, so it wouldn't take much energy to fight.
He trusted they could stay out of trouble for that long.
Back on the strangely calm and dark seas of their current world, Sora went with the pirates to the edge to check out the ship wreck, Donald and Goofy joining his side to look as well, the former jumping onto Sora's shoulder to see.
The boat must have been resting on a sand bank of some sort to still be poking above the water's surface as it was. Whatever had downed it had really done a number on it, but the barnacles and rot spreading over the wood suggested it had been down for many a year. It wasn't a recent sinking, that's for sure, which probably meant no survivors.
"There are two." Ichigo said as he joined the onlookers, pointing to a second ship wreck scrambled near the first. This ship was far newer and could have crashed into the older one only recently. The teen turned back to the ship's captain. "Hey! We need to check for survivors!"
Jack gave a dramatic pout as if he really didn't want to but brought the ship around so its side faced the wreckage and had his men drop anchor, making sure they weren't too close so as to ram the sharp jutting edges of the destroyed ships. Still shouting out orders, Sparrow made his way down from the wheel, pulling out a spyglass to check over the wreckage himself. Probably to see if there was really a need to send anybody out or if they should just leave now. Well, he'd already dropped anchor, might as well look for anything valuable.
While the Captain busied himself looking, Ichigo moved over to Sora and leaned down to whisper in the brunette's ear.
"Might just be me, but I've got a really bad vibe about this spot." He said. "There's something dark waiting for us."
"Heartless?" Sora whispered back, Donald and Goofy leaning in to listen.
"Not sure…But I definitely don't like it."
"Maybe it's Organization XIII." Goofy offered.
"Could be." Ichigo nodded. "Jack looks unwilling to approach, too, so I don't think he has anything to do with it."
"You think he's up to something?" Donald tilted his head.
"Damn right I do, but this doesn't seem to be it. You can be sure I'll be the first to chuck him overboard if it is, though."
The trio nodded in agreement with the Reaper and they split up again to avoid too much suspicion, Sora moving over to Jack to see if he could spot anything.
"Well lad, there doesn't seem to be anyone holding on here." The pirate said once he noticed the Keybearer next to him. "Might be a bit of gold in her, though."
"Well, if there's nobody here, maybe we should keep going." Sora suggested, hoping to get a move on.
"Ah, but that's a British ship, mate." Jack put away his spyglass and turned to smirk at the teen. "They're always loaded."
Sora frowned, not liking that answer. In his paranoid state of mind he found Jack to be trying too hard to stay, when a moment ago he'd seemed reluctant to stop. Actually, he hadn't argued with Ichigo at all about stopping to look, and while he wanted to think it was because Jack had a kinder heart than most people believed, he also couldn't help but think he was perfectly happy to stop even before realizing it was a British ship.
Jack shouted an order at his crew and the men moved a little faster. A few went below deck, some climbed to the top as lookout, and the rest stayed near the edge. For some reason that made Sora very nervous. What exactly had Jack said? He hadn't been paying attention.
A blur shot past him and he looked to see Ichigo had jumped overboard, using his Soul Reaper abilities to jump all the way to the wreck and landing lightly on the broken stern of the British ship.
"Ichigo, what are you doing!?" Sora shouted, hands cupped around his mouth.
The teen just lifted a hand as a signal to wait and moved over to the far end of his landing spot, leaning over the edge where they couldn't see. There was a bit of struggling, with what they couldn't tell, before he lifted himself back up. Soaked and unconscious, a person was dragged up with him. A survivor.
Ichigo lifted the man up and put him over his shoulder before reaching down again and pulling up another person, this one a woman. She was actually conscious but didn't struggle, accepting his help before letting out a startled yelp as the orange-haired teen slung her over his other shoulder, turned, and leaped back to the Black Pearl. The force of his jump broke the stern more and it submerged fully under the waves.
"Will you put me down!?" The woman growled as the Reaper made it back.
Grumbling back, Ichigo set her back on her feet. Sora didn't recognize her at first, this pirate-like woman as she fixed her shirt, trying to get out some of the water. Then, as he looked closer, the features of her face sparked a memory.
"Elizabeth?" He asked.
She looked at him in surprise.
"Oh, Sora." She looked relieved to see a familiar face on a ship full of pirates. "Donald and Goofy. I didn't realize you were here." She continued looking. "Oh? Where's your Captain friend?"
Jack raised his hand and opened his mouth to speak.
"I obviously didn't mean you." Elizabeth rolled her eyes.
"Toshiro's busy." Sora replied, making sure to stick with Ichigo's story. "Ichigo here came instead."
"Oh, so you're a friend of Sora's?" She turned to the tall teenager who was gently setting down the second survivor.
"Yeah. I'm Ichigo Kurosaki." Ichigo nodded. "So who's this?"
"Will." She knelt down next to the man. "William Turner. I don't know where everyone else went so you gave me quite the fright popping up like that."
"Sorry about that."
"How did you know they were there?" Donald questioned.
"Lucky guess." Ichigo glanced quickly at the others around them. Hidden meaning: I sensed their Spiritual Pressure, but nobody else can know that.
"Well I'd be more likely to say we're the lucky ones." Elizabeth joked back, not even noticing the Reaper's glance. "I have no idea what would have happened had you not shown up."
"How exactly did you come to such a nasty crash?" Jack asked, stepping into the conversation.
"Will and I were heading to Isla de Muerta." Elizabeth answered, voice a little sterner as she spoke to the pirate. "We'd heard rumors of something strange going on there and went to check it out, only for us to suddenly ram right into that old shipwreck there."
"You didn't even notice it?" Ichigo looked curious and suspicious both.
"Not at all, not even a warning, and then it was just…there."
She watched curiously as the orange-haired teen stood and looked back over the edge of the ship at the two broken ships, one older than him and the other freshly carnaged.
"What rumor were you after, per say?" Jack continued the questionnaire since Ichigo's attention was elsewhere.
"Heartless?" Sora cut in, frowning.
"I'm not sure." Elizabeth replied with a sigh, running a hand through her hair. "We thought it might be Barbossa again with some new curse or another to have more power, but now we won't know."
"Sure we will." Sora turned to Jack. "Come on, we should check it out."
"I have no reason to chase rumors, lad." Jack waved him off and began walking away.
Pouting, Sora watched the man walk away before turning his attention back to Ichigo. He recognized the stance of someone on full alert, having seen Toshiro take it many times on every new world, in every new place.
"I definitely don't like it here." The teen finally sighed and gave up, turning back to the others. "We should-"
Wondering why he'd cut off, the Keybearer followed Ichigo's surprised gaze and looked towards the center of the ship. A gasp escaped him and he backed away towards the edge, Frozen Heaven shining into his hands while Donald and Goofy took either side of him with their weapons ready, Zangetsu whistling through the air as Ichigo armed himself as well. Caught off guard by their quick movements, Elizabeth let out a frightened yelp and grabbed onto William before she finally realized what had made them jumpy.
Standing where no one had been seconds ago, a figure looked between them calmly. His beard was a mass of twisting tentacles, skin wet and spongy to match the beard while still having distinct human features. Several malformed humanoids stood beside him, all fish-like in some way or another as if they had arisen from the sea to inspect this vessel upon their waters.
"A cautious group of lads," The octopus faced man mused in appreciation, "always a good sign. Ye don't look to be sailors, though."
"You know, I'm really tired of octopus people." Ichigo grumbled under his breath, referring to the fight they had just escaped from naught but a few hours ago.
"Easy fellas, I'm not here for you." The creature chuckled. He began to turn away towards Will and Elizabeth before doing a double take, mouth taking on a frown as he squinted at Ichigo. "Hold on a moment…that clothing ye have…"
"Yeah, I'm a Soul Reaper." Ichigo scowled. Elizabeth looked at him curiously, as did Jack, though the pirate had inched away from the newcomers as much as he could while staying within hearing range.
"And what ye be doing out upon the sea?" The octopus man continued, clearly the leader of the group. "This is the domain of Davy Jones, boy, not you Death Gods."
"I'm just a Substitute, so take it up with the big guys." Kurosaki lowered his sword just slightly, noticing several sailors gasp in shock and back far away from the creature now called Davy Jones. Hadn't he heard that name before?
"Still human?" A slimy brow lifted up in curiosity. "Now there's an interesting twist. Still, you're not welcome in my waters."
"Um, we were just passing through." Sora spoke up, hoping maybe this strange being could be reasoned with. He was still tired from the fight with Ursula, so he'd prefer to avoid one in the sea again, especially since he couldn't breathe underwater this time around. "Ichigo's with me, he's not here to bother anyone."
"But they've already bothered me!" Davy Jones snapped, lips making a popping noise when he finished like a suction cup popping off. "Now that I'm thinking about it, one of ye Soul Reapers disturbed my ocean with their powers, some kind of witch-crafted manifestation of the great Leviathan! I control the ocean, NOT ye spirits of the dead!"
'Well, well, looks like Shiro pissed somebody off again.' The Inner Hollow of Ichigo cackled. 'Good thing he's on the ship, eh?'
"Listen, I'm sure he only did what he had to." Ichigo sighed. "He's not here, though, and I don't have any powers over water, so maybe cut us some slack?"
Davy Jones hummed to himself in thought, looking around as if to confirm those words. His eyes settled on Sora's Keyblade, spotting its dragon-like shape and icy aura.
"That power is the same, isn't it?"
"Um, er…I can, uh, switch it." Sora stuttered.
"Wait a moment." Davy Jones approached the brunette, his anger seemingly washed away for the moment as he kept his eyes on the shining blade of ice and light. "How interesting."
"Mr. Jones, if I could have your attention."
Many pairs of eyes turned towards the front of the ship. At the other end, Jack frowned.
"Don't remember inviting you." He said to the black-cloaked stranger.
The black cloak caught Sora's attention immediately and he momentarily forgot about the ocean being right next to him.
"Organization XIII!" He shouted with a scowl.
"Parley." The Nobody said, hands lifted as a sign of peace.
"Oh?" Jack made his way down the steps back onto the main floor of the ship.
Off to the side, Goofy turned to Donald.
"Barley?" He questioned. Donald just shrugged, as clueless as he was about it.
"What's he talking about?" Ichigo frowned, also confused.
"Anyone invoking the name of parley must not be harmed until negotiations are complete." Davy Jones explained for them. "Go on then, stranger, what are your terms?"
Grumbling at how his command had been taken away, Jack kept his distance as he waited to see what this dark being wanted.
Slowly the figure reached up and removed his head to reveal short blonde hair and a well-trimmed beard just around his mouth, blue eyes full of mischief.
'That's Luxord, Number X.' Roxas reported to his Somebody. 'Be careful, he's good with verbal manipulation.'
"I have a proposal." The Nobody grinned. "For both Davy Jones and Jack Sparrow."
"Captain Jack Sparrow." The said pirate muttered.
Davy Jones, meanwhile, waved at the Nobody to continue.
"I'm aware of Sparrow's situation and the debt he owes you, Mr. Jones. A hundred souls in return for his own life."
"You were selling us out!" Ichigo turned a snarl on the pirate. Jack lifted his hands in surrender.
"Here's a proposition for both of you." Luxord smirked. "Take the Soul Reaper and his friends. They should more than settle Sparrow's debt, and you, Jones, can get the power you wanted."
"How generous." Davy Jones mused aloud as Sora scowled at the Nobody. "And your prize for this exchange?"
"The white-haired Soul Reaper comes with us."
"You want Captain Hitsugaya?" Donald looked confused.
"I'd prefer to have the ice boy myself." Jones cut in. "He's the one taking control of my waters, and this Reaper is human."
"Is he now?" Luxord turned a sharp gaze onto the orange-haired Substitute. "Can a human become a monster and return?"
'Shit, he knows about that?' Ichigo tensed, thinking back to whenever he had used his Hollow powers. Which ones had they witnessed? His brief use of it in Hollow Bastion? Had they been in the Underworld during that rather devastating transformation? Davy Jones looked curiously at him and the teen tensed.
"Oh dear, he doesn't seem to be here at the moment." Luxord frowned as he looked around for that always noticeable shock of white hair. "I suppose we've both been cut short, then."
Davy Jones hummed in agreement and fully turned to Ichigo.
"Where is he?"
"I don't know why everybody's fascinated with him right now but I'm sure as Hell not going to tell you where he is." The teen spat back. "He's busy."
"How unfortunate." The being made another pop noise, his tentacle beard squirming in anger. "I suppose you'll have to do then, won't you? Jack! Your debt is hereby fulfilled."
"Hey, you don't get to use us like that!" Sora argued.
"Yeah, we choose our own path!" Donald nodded, waving his staff threateningly.
To the side, Ichigo spotted Jack motioning for his men to lift anchor and was heading quickly to the wheel, intending to take off soon. He had what he wanted, so now he planned on running.
"Bastard." Ichigo snarled at him. "I'll break this ship for that!"
He lifted up his sword and let his Spiritual Pressure rise threateningly. Many of the sailors fell to the ground under the weight, Davy Jones and his crew bracing themselves against the force and watching as the large blade Ichigo held glowed an ominous bright blue. In truth the teen wasn't intending to break the ship, not with so many people on board who weren't really involved, but if he scared them enough they could perhaps get out of this.
"Impressive." Davy Jones growled. "You Soul Reapers truly are a force to be reckoned with."
"Exactly." Ichigo held the being's glare easily. "No one's going with you, octopus man, not while I'm around."
"Sparrow has a debt to pay to me."
"I don't give a shit about a guy who'd sell off his friends. I don't know much about you, but I'm pretty sure if I kill you you'll go straight to Hell."
"Aye, and you'll take my place." Jones growled, watching Ichigo frown, the light around his blade dulling a bit. "Davy Jones must always live on. Want to be stuck in the ocean for all eternity, boy?"
Frown deepening, Ichigo let up on his Spiritual Pressure and put down his blade. This was quite the development…whoever killed him would have to take his place. Sora shared a glance with the teen, wondering what to do. The Nobody was still there, watching everything happen with an amused grin. He was fully enjoying this conflict.
"Toshiro's not coming, so don't bother us about it anymore." Ichigo spoke up after a moment. "And there's no way we're going to be used as Jack's payment, so he can keep looking. As for you," He turned on Luxord and the blonde stiffened. This teenager really was unpredictable, "looks like negotiations are off, and we've got business with you."
"Dear me, I best be going then." Luxord took a step onto the edge of the ship. "But if our negotiations are indeed over, then you won't mind if I leave a few soldiers of my own behind instead, will you?"
"Damn right we would!" Sora shouted as Luxord simply laughed and vanished, several Nobodies appearing from the darkness.
"As would I." Jack growled at the creatures boarding his ship.
Davy Jones looked back at him and the Captain stiffened in fear.
"I'll be back another time, Jack." He said, before he and his fellow fish people jumped overboard and back to the shipwreck, which rose from the waters as if it had never been shot down.
What was left of the British ship was easily pushed aside as the ancient vessel moved through the water, sinking lower and lower until it was fully submerged, still sailing on despite its decreasing depth. Sora would have watched in fascination if he didn't have Nobodies to worry about, the men on board moving as far away as they could upon finding their swords and guns hardly laid a scratch on the slippery creatures.
"Great, now I'm really pissed." Ichigo huffed, holding his sword out in front of him.
Knowing the older teen would be forced to hold back lest he break the ship along with the Nobodies, Sora and his animal companions took front and went on the attack.
This would be an interesting trip in Port Royal.
Grades failing. Gotta take a hiatus for now. Much stress. Need sleep. Enjoy.