"My power is... Hm. A little difficult to describe, is what it is," Marielle began, walking alongside Sammi. "Basically, it's... shockwaves, I guess you could call them. I can produce beams of energy from my hands or mouth." To demonstrate, she performed the same gesture she had used to demonstrate the power to Peter and the other woman whose name escaped her, once more pointing at the ground ahead of the two of them. Again, the blue of her fingernails began to glow, and a small blast jumped from her hand: Marielle didn't want to use her power too much in case she burned out later.
"I gave a similar demonstration to some of the others. It's good against things like wood and glass, but I haven't tried it against a living target," she added, reiterating what she had said earlier.
Sammi watched as Marielle showed what exactly she was able to do. Hmmmm, so she can go with ranged attacks...that's pretty sweet actually. Means she can hit some of those long range bastards that kept bugging me when I fought on the Thrasher...this can work.
"I wondered why you chose to do your nails up in blue," she admitted. "You haven't tried it against anyone yet? Hmmmm, have to see if we can fix that before we fight. Maybe we'll get lucky and some idiot will try to mug us. I'm sure they wouldn't mind contributing to some testing once they figure out the situation they're in."
Peter stood at town hall, looking over the city. The north and south had the biggest streets, and there was a clear view of the docks. Once Harligold's ship arrived, they'd be able to see it. The east and west had more narrow streets, which would be easier to defend. The biggest issue was the various alleyways and side streets coming from every other direction. He had people stationed on the rooftops to pick off people coming from each direction. They were narrow enough that blocking them off would be easy, but he chose instead to barricade the east and west.
He could see the tallest building of the resort one way, and the sign of the casino the other way, but those two points were far out of the way, and had been emptied of resources. Most of the cannons were hidden nearby to protect the southern way. The crew were on the ground, along with a small band of people to defend the central plaza, and those who would operate the plaza.
Peter's plan was simple: try and force them to go through the southern way. It may have been the biggest, but it was where most of the defenses were set as well. The single biggest threat would be if Harligold had his men go around the perimeter of entire island to go through the north. He just hoped Harligold was an impatient man. Of course, there were still plenty of other issues, as well.
"Ok, folks. Everybody up for it? I asked the best fighters to stay on ground level. Anybody having any second thoughts?"
"Ready as I'll ever be I guess...." Hal said as he lit up a cigarette to help calm his nerves. He gripped his sword tightly and moved towards the docks. Fighting head on wasn't a very good idea for Hal, so his plan was to hide in the alleys near the southern way and ambush Rogers men as they approached. Pick off a few stragglers one by one, and being so close to the docks he would be able to see where any other men from Roger's ship were headed and act accordingly. It may not be the most helpful way to fight, but it was the best Hal would be able to do.
Meanwhile out across the sea, the crew of the Great White waited anxiously for their captain to emerge from his cabin and give the order to move on Lasklee. At last, the door open and Roger stepped out on the deck, wearing his Seastone gauntlets that meant he was ready to battle. He gazed over his crew for a moment before addressing them. "Well boys, this is gonna be another big day. Normally I wouldn't expect much of a fight out of a bunch of civvies, but if the group that took out the gangs of Lasklee are sticking around to take us on... Well, we might just have one hell of a battle on our hands. And I wouldn't have it any other way." Roger said, a grin slowly spreading across his face. "This will be a great warm-up for when we take on the Marines in Porte Carlo who were too scared to try and fight us here. After this, they'll have nowhere left to run and West Blue will belong to US!!"
The crew let out a wild cheer at that as Roger made his way over to the side of the ship and begin pulling up the anchor, readying the ship to set sail. "We've given them 12 hours to put up a fight, now let's see what they can do! And show them all who the mightiest pirates to ever sail these seas are!!" Roger roared as he hoisted the anchor out of the sea with seemingly little effort and pointed it out across the ocean towards Lasklee. The loud cheers of the crew could be heard bellowing out across the sea for miles as the Great White made it's way towards Lasklee at last.
As Roger finished his speech, his men chanted throughout the ship "HARLIGOLD! HARLIGOLD! HARLIGOLD! HARLIGOLD!" The more powerful members of his crew stood in the back, Mottso up in the crow's nest, eyeing the defense from his scope. "Just a little closer and I can take the first shot..." Yedaj slinked his way up to the front. "Captain, what shall be the approach this time? They seem to have barricaded themselves up in the center of town."
Peter was looking towards the south through a telescope they managed to salvage, and saw a sail in the distance, seeing a large Jolly Roger across the sail. "IT'S THE GREAT WHITE!"
By the time the ship had arrived, everyone could see that the ship eclipsed most of the buildings, as if multiple ships had been stacked together, about 2.5 times the size of the ship Peter had arrived on, which was itself slightly bigger than most pirate ships. "Ok... numbers aren't everything... we have the terrain... and hopefully we have the better strategy..." A small hatch opened, revealing a large mob of pirates, and they began lowering gangplanks. Once they were there, they seemed to wait.
Peter yelled out "GET ALL THE CANNONS READY! AIM AT THE FRONT LINE! SLOW DOWN THE APPROACH AS MUCH AS YOU CAN!" He knew the smarter ones wouldn't rush right into the cannons, opting to try and find alternate alleyways, but having a straight shot at their main bulk would at least slow them down. Most of the side was dedicated to getting out his men, but he knew it was only a matter of time before they got out their own cannons. Once that happened, they'd have to retreat behind the buildings.
Roger didn't respond to Yedaj for a while as he stared out at the island. He knew the crew was itching to fight, but this plan was important since they couldn't afford to waste resources here. In Roger's mind, the real battle was the one at Porte Carlo after this. There were too many unanswered questions here. What kind of weapons were they able to pull together? How much of the Budero and Yarrakona families had remained intact enough to fight back? Had the group that defeated them stuck around to fight him? There was only one way to find out. "Alright, we'll let the grunts do their thing and charge in. We won't know their strength until we see it for ourselves." Roger finally said to Yedaj, turning to address his stronger crewman who hadn't rushed down to the hatch as well. "If one or two of you guys wants to head down there and charge in with them, go right ahead. But I'd like most of you to stay behind for a bit with about a third of our foot soldiers, just in case they've got some kind of trap down there. If the direct approach doesn't work, we'll have to go around and find another way in."
Roger then looked up at the crow's nest and called out to Mottso. "Hey, Mottso! I want you to stay up there for now and see if you can't pick some of them off. Try and hit the ones firing any cannons they may have, and if you can't do that just try to keep their heads down." After he finished giving his orders, Roger turned to gaze towards the town center once more. Once everyone was in place, Roger lifted his anchor and pointed it towards the island, bellowing out the order to charge. "ATTACK!!!"
Hal couldn't see the Great White approach from the alley he was in, but he certainly heard Roger and his crew. "Shit! It's started..." Hal quickly put out his cigarette as he heard Roger ordering the attack and the footsteps and yelling of the approaching pirates. He gripped his sword tightly as he waited for Peter to fire the cannons. While the pirates were being barraged from the front, Hal would pick off a few here and there from the side and be gone before they even knew what hit them.
"Holy Mother..." Marielle breathed as she gawked upwards at the gargantuan ship. That vessel was insanely big: it was a wonder it had even gotten this close to the island. And it was probably full to bursting with pirates under Harligold's command. She looked to Sammi for instruction; the older woman might have at least some idea of what to do.
Then someone, presumably Harligold himself, gave the order - "ATTACK!!!" - and her heart sank. An unruly, apparently disorganised mob of pirates began to swarm onto the island. They were most likely spreading out and going in random directions, looking for something to kill. Soon enough a dozen of them found Marielle and Sammi. They paused for a moment, resulting in the classic standoff for a few seconds: the two defenders and twelve invaders standing a fair distance apart.
Marielle tried not to show it, but she was bordering on the verge of panic. She had no experience, she didn't know how to fight... but she was doing what she wanted to do. Defend her home. She took a deep breath, balling her hands into fists to prepare for the coming combat.
Then most of the pirate attackers rushed the two women. While a few of them went for Sammi, seeing as she was clearly the greater threat, only three moved to engage Marielle. She swept one of her hands up to point at the leading man, and opened her fist. Blue light surged forward, catching him straight in the face and chest...
... but Marielle's power didn't just stagger him backwards under the concussive impact. The pirate began to scream in agony and his two friends stopped their charge. Marielle kept her hand up until the pirate fell over backwards, convulsing and hacking. His ragged shirt bad been completely burned away, and his face, throat and chest was a mess of second and third-degree burns. It was almost as if Marielle had set him on fire... but her power wasn't fire-based. The wood she had tested it on hadn't been set alight, just smashed up as a result of the impact.
Regardless, the other pirates snarled and yelled for assistance. Three more of them rushed to the aid of the two that were still standing: Marielle now had five facing her all at once. Not wanting them to get close enough to land blows with their weapons, she kept them at bay with sweeps of her hands, using the shockwaves to ward them off. Whenever one of her foes got caught in the wave for a second or two, they hissed under the burning sensation they felt.
Marielle was exerting a good portion of her focus in the combat: she had lost track of Sammi, and had no time to look around for her.
Peter waited until they had formed a large mob in front of them "FIRE!" He shouted, and at that command and bunch of men went and fired half of the cannons at the approaching mob. A couple were firing every second, and each time it fired, those manning it moved it back a couple inches as they reloaded it. While many of Harligold's men continued to rush ahead, most near the back seemed to divert from them, heading to the alleyways to get away from the line of site from the cannons. "Wait for it..." He had set up various little blocks and obstacles in the nearest alleys with various broken crates and timber. He shot a flare into the sky, and once he had, a bunch of the citizens armed with rifles jumped up from hiding on the roofs and started taking shots at the pirates both in the main street and the alleys.
He turned to his crew. "Yoje! Grana! Sammi! Hal! Jacque! New girl! That's your cue! Get over there and deal with anyone who slips through! The guys on the roof can't stop them all! Just protect the guys at the cannons while they start moving backwards!" He turned to the barricades in the east and west, noticing a couple of Harligold's faster men were arriving, starting to try and break down the barricade. It was made of large, sturdy logs, huge chunks of iron and steel and a bunch of rubble, resembling a poorly made brick wall. The smarter ones decided to try and climb over it, one or two of them running to town hall. "Ok, they're starting to come through!" He turned and noticed a bunch ha already started trying to fight Marielle. "Shit..."
Mottso aimed for the nearest cannon, his sites set on the man reloading it. "Ok... you had your fun with the pawns, now we get our fun..." he pulled the trigger and a round ran through the man's chest. The others manning the cannon seemed to panic, backing up faster. "And reloading..."
Crassi was sitting on a crate against the side of the boat. Her tail was curled around her shoulder, the foot long blade sitting in her hands. She was wiping it with a green rag, coating it with several layers of a dilute stonefish poison. It was one of her favorite poisons: it caused intense pain, enough to immobilize it's victims. The only downside was that it was easy to cure. Hopefully they'll be long dead by then... she grinned, "I guess I'll stay here while the idiots get themselves killed. Cannon fodder." Getting paid to sit here and not die? I'm in.
The blade was glowing a sickly green by the time she heard the first shot from the Crow's nest. "Damn, you got some range on that Mottso." Crassi grinned, slowly standing up. She strapped on a few pieces of leather armor, ready to go. "It looks like they got a few good fighters. But that's what we're for. Time to end a few lives."
Picking off the pirates coming in through the alleys towards the center of town was easy for Alaena. She had kept herself from shooting arrows at the large group that had exited Harligold's pirate ship; instead waiting for them to have to start funneling through the narrow streets to save up on arrows. Even though she had made enough to fill up her quiver there was always the chance that she would run out, especially with the numbers of Harligold's men.
"And that's why we make sure each one counts, right Fletch?" she asked the falcon after he swooped down and landed on the railing of the tower, a silent stare being his response. Alaena just smiled at that, keeping her eye on a pirate that was trying to hide behind cover. An arrow was nocked and quickly released, hitting the pirate who slumped over. 'These guys are easy to take care of. Their only strength is their numbers. It's Harligold and his higher-ups that will be the real problem,' she thought, taking out another pirate that was trying to make his way to the center of town.
From the Marine Outpost, Yoje heard Peter's call. He fired off a Tempest Kick at the approaching mob and Shaved over to the buildings next to the alleyways. Roger's men were charging through the alley beneath him. Yoje jumped, morphed into a full kangaroo, and landed on three of the pirates. Then, With a Moon Rocket, he launched himself through the pirates in front of him, the ones closer to the center of town. The civilians on the rooftops managed to take out a couple more of the oncoming men.
With his back now to the town square, Yoje was able to take out more of the pirates one or two at a time. The alleyways didn't give them a lot of maneuvering space, and Peter's obstacles slowed them down a little bit more. Doesn't look like these guys have guns. I should be able to save most of my strength until the heavy hitters show up.
Grana stood at the forefront of the battleground, his sword rasping defiance as it slid from the sheath. Harligold troops ran towards Grana as he shrugged as well as he could with one arm. He had recovered greatly with the ten hour sleep, but his right arm was still out of commision for a while. He chuckled. "Well, well, well, gentlemen!" He laughed and slid into an unorthodox sword stance. "Magic-Magic: Mirror Blade." Grana dove into the fray, his sword scything through the air like the shinigami's blade. With every one slash of his blade, Grana used his portals to create up to seven afterattacks, each as deadly as the original. It was one of the simplest techniques Grana knew, and he was sure to use to his maximum benefit. He knew that he would have to save his strength in order to fight Harligold's main troops, so right now his priority was to carefully husband his power.
Soon Grana stood in the middle of a sea of corpses. "Come on, how many of you are there!" He exclaimed as even more grunts flooded Lasklee. Grana heard humans screams and smelled burning flesh, and so immediately turned around, his katana raised and ready to cut the victim in half. Through sheer dint of effort, Grana managed to stay his blade as he noticed the blue nails on her hands. This was the Devil Fruit user Peter had told him about. He turned and helped her crush the men who dared attack her, though she barely needed the help. Grana nodded his head in approval. "Hmmm... with a bit of training, she could be quite the fearsome opponent. Still, that's a thought for another time." Grana bowed. "Good evening. You must be that Devil Fruit user that Captain told me about, Marielle. Pleased to make your acquaintance. My name is Grana Rei. I'm the ship's navigator." Grana spun his sword around to wick off the blood. "It seems trouble either follows us wherever we go- or we create it."
Grana then looked on in rage as a sniper cut down one of their precious cannoneers with impunity. "Damn! We need every cannon we have!" He began to shout his own orders. "Hey, someone grab that cannon! We have to keep up the attack, or they'll be at our throats in no time! Watch out for the sniper!" Still, there was the problem of that infernal sniper. Grana looked around for his answer- and found it right in front of him. He turned to Marielle with a smile on his face. "Hey Marielle, how far can you fire your power before it dissapates? Can you target that crow's nest on the Great White? I think that's where their sniper is." Grana himself jumped up on Peter's blockade, hacking at all those who dared to climb up. He then opened a portal in front of him to protect himself from the sniper. "I'll buy you all the time you need, but make sure you get a good hit!" Grana yelled back as he cut down, stabbing away at all those who tried to clear the wall. He wouldn't be able to keep it up for very long, but it would be enough time for Marielle to get a shot off. Hopefully.
The cannons were now nearly at the front steps. Peter looked around again, seeing that most of the more occupied alleys were covered. He then saw another person at the cannons get shot. "Shit! They got a sniper!" He called up to Alaena "We got a problem! How far do you think you can shoot?" He didn't think she'd be able to clear the entire town from here, but she was the best shot they had. He turned his attention back to the others while he waited for her to respond. "Everyone! Get clear of the buildings!" He shot the cannon right next to him, looking up to the rooftops. He made a couple gestures, and a couple people up there ran down into the buildings. Spent all night on the ship getting this part set up... "You got about 20 seconds, guys! Back up!"
Hal took several deep breaths as he heard the yells of Harligold's troops and and their foot steps approaching through the alleys. Fighting on the main road with all the cannons firing didn't seem smart, so Hal opted to fight those who were smart enough to take the alleys. The first man stepped into his view. A Shave and a quick slice of his sword ended the man's life. It was then that Hal saw just how many more enemies he was up against, many more than he had expected were coming through the alleys. "Shit, I can't take them all on like this..." Hal growled as he sheathed his sword again and sunk into his stance.
Just as he was about to strike when a flare shot up into the sky, causing both him and the pirates to pause momentarily. Gunshots rained down on them from above, felling many of the pirates and making the rest scramble backwards. Hal grinned and waved to the citizens on the rooftops before shaving after the pirates and cutting them down one by one. There were only a few left when he heard Peter calling out to everyone to get away from the buildings. Rather than pursue and risk getting caught in what Peter had planned, Hal quickly began shaving back towards the center to get as far away as possible.
Back on the Great White, Roger had pulled a pair of binoculars out of the satchel at his side and was using them to get a better view of the battle. The charge was going well, but those cannons were proving quite problematic. Given enough time, Mottso would probably have that taken care of, but by then the damage would be extensive. In addition, there were several others who were posing a bit of a problem to his forces, and they all seemed to be Devil Fruit users. Well... I've got the perfect answer for that. Roger thought with a grin, clenching a fist inside of his Seastone gauntlets. But we should probably take care of those cannons before we go down there. Just a little more and we'll have them.
Roger lowered the binoculars and began bellowing out more orders. "PUSH FORWARD!! BREAK THROUGH THEIR LINES AND STOP THOSE CANNONS ONCE AND FOR ALL!!!!!"
Marielle had no idea where this Grana person had come from or which side he was on, but he was interfering in her fight. And his idea was ludicrous: she couldn't hit the crow's nest of the Great White from this distance. Her shockwaves had a short range: a bow or firearm could do a better job. She did not tell the guy these things, however, as she had bigger concerns. More pirates had swarmed in, reinforcing their numbers. The fight was beginning to look one-sided.
Keeping her waves going from both hands, Marielle held her ground as half a dozen more of them advanced on her. They were wary of her powers, seeing the corpses that lay broken and twisted nearby. Grana had done that: Marielle had yet to take a life in the fight, having merely incapacitated her foes. She didn't know if the burns she had given most of the first five were mortal injuries.
She saw three of the pirates move to get behind her. Surrounding her and attacking from all sides was a logical move: it put her on even more of a back foot. Experimentally, she turned once in a circle to fend them all off at the same time, and it worked fairly well... but as she completed her turn, one of the six stepped forward and delivered a brutal punch to her stomach. Marielle doubled over, winded. The waves coming from her hands faded to nothing as she was shoved to the ground.
The six men standing over her gave her cruel leers, weapons in hands, as she frantically tried to think of what to do. They had pinned down her hands, so she couldn't use them to retaliate. In desperation, she opened her mouth wide and released a shockwave straight into the face of one of the six. As he stumbled backwards, the others flinched, having not expected such an attack. That gave her just enough time to burn two more of them. She sprang up from the ground, still trying to get her breath back after the powerful punch, but kept her counter-assault going. Blue waves leapt from her hands until all six of them were convulsing on the ground, covered in burn marks.
One of them, the one she had hit to start her fighting back, soon stopped moving: the muscles in his body lost all tension and his arms flopped down to the ground from where he had been clutching at his ruined face. His chest sank, and it did not rise again. Marielle realised the harsh truth of what she had done.
She had killed the pirate. Taken a life in the heat of battle... she felt sick. Her nervousness from before the fight started to return in greater force, threatening to overwhelm her and render her completely open to the attacks of other pirates. Marielle did the only thing that made sense in that moment: she ran away from the fighting, back into the center of town.
All the while, she couldn't get the image of the dead man out of her mind.
"Far enough," Alaena yelled back to Peter after he brought the sniper in the crow's nest to her attention. She fired a few more arrows at a few pirates chasing after the new girl Marielle before focusing on the big problem. Her target was quite a ways away, but she had faith in her ability. Even with the lack of depth perception that she now had to deal with all of her shots had come easy for her. She had trained her whole life to use a bow and arrow, even something big like losing an eye wouldn't hinder her skill too much. At this point it was almost all instinct; something completely natural for her.
She drew an arrow from her quiver and nocked it, drawing back the string as she aimed. Compensating for the distance and the morning wind, she raised her bow slightly and let the arrow fly towards the target.
"Everyone, get clear of the buildings"
Once he heard the command, Yoje began backing up. Unfortunately, the pirates took this as an opportunity to advance further. As he Shaved his way out of the alley, five or so pirates were able to follow him into the center of town. Yoje groaned, and jumped back towards the entrance of the alleyway to push back those pirates. He had about ten seconds to knock them out before Peter executed his plan.
One got shot from the rooftops. Another had his head slammed into the wall by Yoje's tail, while a third was kicked hard in the face. Running out of time... He quickly morphed into a human and did a roundhouse Tempest kick, taking out the last of them . He then frantically Shaved back into the center of town, near Peter's location. "Sorry for cutting it close, Peter. You're clear."
Mottso was preparing another shot when he heard a loud "THUNK!" right next to him. He turned away, looking around. To his surprise, about 3 feet above him there was an arrow. "What in the world...?" He looked through his scope "Who the hell is trying to hit a sniper with a bow?"
In most of the buildings around Lasklee, roughly the same conversation was going on. A pair of people would walk into the top floor, and in the corners and along the walls were a bunch of large sacks filled with what seemed to be little black spheres. One would say to the other "He was working all night making these once he made the plan... had us get him a bunch of materials from around town to make them. Said they'd detonate with a good amount of force." "So we just hit it?" "He said throw something at'm really hard..." One would pick up either a lamp or a rock from the rooftops and throw it at the bags, slamming the door behind them.
Outside, loud explosions rocked through the island. The walls of various buildings were blown out, sending a shower of debris and rubble down upon the charging forces. Each blast sent huge rocks tumbling down, and in the narrow alleyways they began to pile up, and with the rubble from both sides of the alley, they made a huge wall, roughly 11 feet tall, but in exhange the floors that were detonated had huge openings on them, and big sections of the roof were gone. A couple pirates started trying to climb up the wall, but the gunmen shot them down, and started picking off the pirates as they turned around.
Peter stood by as one by one, each of the alleys were sealed off. "Nothing like a controlled demolition. And now for an added bonus..." once the explosions went off, a large group of people ran out, with another bunch of cannons, effectively doubling their firepower, pounding those running up from the south. He turned to the crew "Take care of those who got through before the collapse! We have a couple minutes while they try and get through another way! The south is heavily defended, the east and west are barricaded, and the alleys have been cut off!"
He tried to act confident, but knew there were still serious problems. Unfortunately, this is really the only thing I had. I spent all night making all those explosive rounds. Just try and separate them for a couple moments then try to funnel them through the south, east or west when they regrouped... I just need to hope either Harligold retreats when he sees how many men he'll likely lose, or they'll retreat on their own. If they managed to get through any of the barricades, we're in trouble...
Back on the ship, Harligold's strongest crew members watched the display. Mog chuckled, walking towards a nearby gangplank. Yedaj cracked his knuckles "Think it's about time we stepped in?" he motioned to a couple people staying onboard. Dokumaru growled "I'm tired of waiting. I could have ended this by now." Inshi seemed unamused by all of this "They're wrecking it all..." he seemed to be trying to keep his cool. "What's wrong, Human? Upset they're breaking your island?" Dokumaru mocked "I thought I heard you say 'If the alternative is seeing this island slip through my fingers, I'd rather watch this place burn'. Guess someone upstairs has a cruel sense of humor." The pair continued to bicker while the rest seemed to be anticipating Harligold's command.
Roger watched in shock as the buildings exploded, raining debris down upon his men. And adding insult to injury, now they had brought out more of those damnable cannons. He had made a mistake in trying to force his way through, it wasn't like him at all to be so unprepared. These scum had wounded his pride and now they would pay for it with everything they had. Roger turned to face the elite members of his crew, a serious and determined look on his face. "That's enough! It's time we showed these worms just who they're dealing with. Since they don't seem to care about their own homes, I guess we don't need to worry about it either right? We don't need this place as a base, Porte Carlo is the real prize. So let's bust out our own cannons and burn it to the ground!!" Roger signaled one of the remaining crew to go get the cannons ready as he spoke. "Mottso! I'm leaving you in charge of defending the ship, and I'm leaving most of the crew here with you to man the cannons. The rest of you, we've got some skulls to crush." Having finished speaking for the time being, Roger lifted his anchor up and let it rest on his shoulder before walking down the gangplank.
Once on the dock, Roger and the others met up with Crassi. At that time, several hatches on the Great White opened up, revealing multiple cannons that began returning fire at the town. "Alright everyone, here's the plan. While the cannons draw their attention to the Great White, we'll surround them and hit them from all sides. Dokumaru, Hidalgo, and Crassi will go east. Mog, Inishi, and Yedaj will go west. I'll be heading west as well, but I'll be circling all the way to the north from there. Mog and Dokumaru, your strength will allow you to smash down any barricades they've set up and open the way. The rest of you, those gunmen think they're safe on the rooftops. Show them just how wrong they are. Now let's go spill some blood." Roger had to yell out over the booming of cannons firing. As soon as he had finished explaining the plan, he dashed off to the west. He was eager to get in on the action and put an end to this farce.
Hal somehow managed to clear the buildings fast enough to stay out of the blast radius. "Whew... That was a close one... But boy did we really stick it to 'em!" Hal caught his breath as he watched the chaos in Harligold's ranks with a broad smile. But it was too early to be celebrating any victories just yet. Hal gripped his word tightly and scanned the debris for any survivors who had made it through that mess somehow.
Thankfully he didn't see anyone, but he did start hearing some odd noises after awhile. It started as a series of dull thuds off in the distance and became a whistling noise, growing louder and louder every second. "Oh! Cannons. Duh. But our cannons are right..... SHIT!!!" Hal finally realized what was going on and dove out of the way as cannon fire from the Great White hit all around him. "Guess he's not just gonna cut his losses and get out of here. Dammit, now what do we do?" Hal growled under his breath as he stayed behind some debris for cover and waited for a lull in the barrage to get somewhere safer.
"Compensated a bit too much," Alaena muttered under her breath, realizing that she had missed the target by a few feet. As the explosions went on around her she drew another arrow and nocked it, taking aim at the sniper in the crow's nest again. After the explosions subsided and the wind settled down, she barely raised her bow this time and let loose the arrow.
"That should make it's mark. At least the first shot was useful even though it missed," she told Fletch right before he took off into the sky to look over the battlefield, bringing the attention of Harligold and his men to Alaena by circling above them. Behind them she noticed that Harligold had his own cannons firing on the island from the ship. 'The crew can handle the men. I'll start taking out the cannons,' she thought, drawing one of her exploding arrows and using Geppo to get out of the tower. The exploding arrows were too heavy to be able to make it all the way to the ship at such a distance even with compensation. The way to fix that was to get closer, and after using Geppo Alaena landed on top of a smaller tower closer to the ship.
"This will do." Getting into position, she nocked the arrow and aimed for the inside of the hatches the cannons were in. After waiting for one of the cannons to be brought in to reload she fired.
"Aleana can take care of the cannon fire, we can take a couple to fire at them as well, but focus on the crowds! Most of them who are gonna get out seem to be out, start turning some to the east and west, but keep the primary fire on the south!" He jumped out into the square as more cannon fire got closer to him, and he tried to find a relatively quiet spot. He noticed more were occasionally spilling over the barricades. "We need to keep this under control... we might still have a chance..."
To the west, Inshi, Mog and Yedaj were quickly approaching the barricade. Mog was a distance behind them, trying to catch up, throwing small explosives at anyone who tried to shoot at them. Inshi cursed to himself at Mog's delay, taking the opportunity to run into one of the buildings, quickly ascending the stairs. Yedaj stood back. "Ok, you big lummox... Think you can get me over that barricade? I can warm things up for you guys..." He cracked his knuckles repeatedly. Mog growled, clearly not appreciating Yedaj's tone as he managed to catch up. He shrugged him off and made his way to the barricade. Yedaj shrugged "Fine, spoilsport..." he ran up an adjacent building, running up the wall the same way he would walk on the road, jumping in the second story window.
Mottso continued scanning the area for anything he thought would be a threat. As he did, a crewman called up "Mottso! We got a problem! Someone's taking out the people at the cannons!" "Well just take better aim and their cannons will stop shooting!" he barked down, clearly not happy that someone interrupted him. "It isn't cannons, sir, Most of the people getting his were hit with arrows!" Mottso froze. "Arrows, you say? I'll get right on that." He resumed his search, a target now more clear in his mind.
Sammi was almost thrilled to see the offending grunts advance down the alleyway. It meant she would get to unleash some fury on someone for the first time in a while without having to hold back. As the men charged they split off to attack the two women. Sammi took the bulk of the fighters. They circled around her, cutting her off from Marielle. One stepped forward into the circle. Why do they always insist on doing things one on one? It just makes it so much easier for me to beat them...
Her opponent stepped in, trying to punch out the woman. This was not a smart strategy, learned only once the blades of Sammi's axes found their way into the man's sides. Reeling, he stumbled forward, looking for mercy, but only receiving a swift kick that sent him flying out of the circle. Sammi turned to find another man coming at her, this one a bit more prepared, having an actual sword on him. She dodged the parry, deciding to wrap this fight up literally. She flung her left arm forward, rope flying out of her three lesser fingers, wrapping around the man within a few seconds. Once constricted, the other pirate was reeled in like a sea bass, before Sammi removed his head with a chop to the neck...like a sea bass. She let the rope-laden body fall to the ground, backing up a bit into the open spot so she wouldn't be surprised again. She was preparing for the next assault when suddenly, swords. Lots of them. Cutting up all the enemies in front of her. Only one explanation for such a random thing happening to her combatants.
"Grana! The hell!" she cursed. "Those were my kills, damn it!" But she might as well have cursed the wind. He was gone back to the center of town in an instant. Her fight seemingly over, she looked over to see where she thought Marielle would be, but found nothing but bodies whose faces had been charred off beyond recognition. There was still a bit of smoke coming off them. "Marielle did that? Shit. I guess I better make sure I don't piss her off then."
Sammi looked around the alleyway, but it was empty, save for the growing thunder in the distance. It wasn't natural, the cries slowly getting louder, a chorus of angry voices combining to deliver the message that in a solo fight, Sammi wasn't going to last long in this street. "Shit," she swore again, not pleased to have to retreat so soon, but it was better to run and get into a better position to fight, than to stand useless ground and get chopped down for it. She ran back towards the center of the town, hoping that's where her crewmates and fellow fighters were.
Grana remembered that Peter had been up all night, and that he had occasionally heard minor explosions from the Captain's impromptu lab, and remembered that Peter had emerged with singed eyebrows. Thus, he decided to follow Peter's advice quite willingly. "5...4...3...2...1!" Grana used his killcount to keep track of the time, diving back just as explosions rocked the buildings. He used his power to quickly disappear, arriving safely on the other side. He whistled as he saw the ensuing barricades. "Man, Captain has some firepower in that bag of his. Remind me not to piss him off- too much." Grana poked his sword through the wall at random, smiling when he heard a scream of pain from the other side. Bored, he closed his portal and headed back towards Peter and the central city.
Once he arrived, he was treated to a verbal beatdown by Sammi. He raised an eyebrow, not willing to fight her when there were so many other partners to dance with out there. "Sorry Sammi, I didn't see you there. I was just focused on killing the invaders around me. But shouldn't we be a little more worried about protecting the city rather than killcount? Besides, you and I both know we could care less about the grunts." Grana sighed. "What I'm worried about is that Harligold's officers arrive on scene, and they break through. The problem with walled cities... Is that they become cages once the opponent breaks through." Grana said ominously. The pirates were the only chance Laskee had of survival, now that they had decided to stay and fight.
Grana turned to Peter, bearing bad news. "Captain. You know that blue-nailed girl, the Devil Fruit user? She ran away." "Still, it was understandable." Grana thought. "This must be her first battle. I vomited the first time I took a life, and it doesn't really get much easier- just easier to come up with excuses." Grana shook his head, clearing his mind of such thoughts when Peter began to speak of where the enemy might come from. Grana nodded as he made up his mind. "I'll go check out the west. I doubt anyone would be able to break through the wall, but someone might have bypassed it by going through the buildings. Anyone coming with?" Grana was determined to win this battle, for the people he had helped render defenseless.
"We have guys in the buildings, Grana. But if it'll put your mind at ease, go ahead." He was glad to see everyone had made it back. He took another look through a telescope, and saw Harligold and his men were no longer on the Great White. "Uh oh... Prepare yourselves, everybody! He's bringing out the heavy hitters!"
On the east, Dokumaru and Higaldo were standing at the end of the street, the barrier a distance away from them. "Where the hell is Crassi?" Dokumaru growled. "She probably is on one of the rooftops or even over the blockade at this point." Higaldo replied. "You don't mind if I leave the barricade for you, right?" Dokumaru nodded "Better off you don't get in my way..." "I'd hurry and stop wasting time with chit chiat. Mog will probably get through before you at this rate. Now If you'll excuse me, I'll see you on the other side." Higaldo then sprinted towards the barricade "Dolphin Leap!" He called out, jumping a tremendous height, managing to get over the barricade, landing on the other side.
He took a moment, exhaling and closing his eyes, scanning the area "Hmmmm... can't seem to find their ammunition... must be inside..." He turned his head near where some of those with special abilities were. "A couple of them seem very swift... are some of them flying?" He turned his attention to Marielle "This one seems odd..." He then turned towards Grana when he used his powers "And this one seems dangerous... and he seems intent to try and protect that barricade..." He ran forward again, leaping up, landing on top of the building Peter was at, and continued sprinting forward, jumping towards the west.
Yedaj slipped through one of the windows and was now inside the plaza, looking around. At about the same moment, he saw Higaldo land. "Heh, I made it first, fish breath..." he gloated to himself. He started looking around, trying to find one he was interested in. "Hmmmm... who could I fight...?"
Back outside the barricade, Dokumaru seemed insulted by Higaldo's last remarks. "Well, better get to work..." He started charging towards the barricade, ramming through waves of his own allies, making a beeline to the blockade. He rammed his shoulder into it, making the area he smashed into shake and rumble, and it had a great dent in it when he backed up, splintered wood and bent scrap marking it. "Let's try it again..."
Back inside the plaza, Peter instantly turned his head at the sound of the impact "What the hell was that?!" As soon as he said it, he heard a softer sounding impact from the west. Unlike the impact at the east, there was almost instantly another crashing sound, and it kept a steady pace. "Fucking hell, get the cannons ready!"
As she ran away from the fight in the alleyway, Marielle heard hurried footsteps behind her... closely followed by the zwip of arrows through the air. Instinctively, she ducked, hoping they weren't aimed at her, but the thunk that followed came from behind her. She shot a glance backwards to find that a couple of pirates had been chasing her, and someone had stopped them in their tracks by simply killing them.
More bodies to add to the gruesome sight.
The sounds of explosions began to reach Marielle's ears as she hurried through the alley: not wanting to get caught in a blast herself, she picked up the pace. Her head was spinning at the vivid memories of the dead people she had seen. One of them had died by her hand: she definitely felt ill now, but couldn't afford to stop and do something about it. She had to get back into the middle of town, to the safety of the others. They could help, they could protect her, she reasoned. When Marielle finally made it back into the center of Lasklee, she saw a fair few people standing there. She got close enough to hear what was going on just as Grana spoke up.
"Captain. You know that blue-nailed girl, the Devil Fruit user? She ran away."
Annoyance shot through her, momentarily overcoming her sickness. This Grana person was by no means making himself a new friend: Marielle displayed this to the rest of the group by roughly shoving him as she passed him. "I didn't run because I was scared," she answered quietly, knowing the truth of her statement. I ran because I bloody well killed a man. I'm not cut out for this kind of thing... let someone else do the killing, not me.
Then, all at once, Marielle began to hear crashing noises coming from both the west and east sides of the plaza. Well aware that she was expected to do her part in the fight, rather than cower or hide, she took some deep breaths to try and calm her nerves, taking a position on one side of the eastern defenses. She made a mental note to restrain herself this time: she would attack only to incapacitate. Not to kill. She didn't want any more blood on her hands.
"This isn't good..." Yoje looked side to side, trying to quickly determine which way to go. more by impulse than thinking it out, he decided on the east. "I'll get these guys, Peter! You can focus on the others!" He bolted towards the barricade, morphing into his hybrid form as he ran. He noticed that Marielle was in the east as well, but he was more concerned with reaching the barrier than speaking with her at the time. Judging by that sound, whoever's over here is powerful. It must be one of Roger's heavy hitters, if not the man himself. I can't let them break through the barricade.
Once he got closer to the barricade, he jumped onto the rooftops. Hopefully he'd be able to get a solid first attack in before they realized where he was.
Grana nodded to the Captain as he heard the officers were coming out to play. "Alright, ladies and gentlemen, it's showtime." Grana spun his sword, wicking away the blood before sheathing it. As he did so, he felt a shove from behind. He turned around to see whom he had nearly skewered, for it to be none other than the devil fruit user. "I didn't run because I was scared." She whispered at Grana as she passed by to go to the east. Grana shrugged and began to head for the west, but not before turning around to face Marielle one more time. "I never said you were!" Grana hollered after her, smiling as he did so. "She came back. She actually had the guts to come back. I'd gladly fight with anyone who has the courage to face their fears and plow through them." Perhaps he would apologize to the girl after this. If they were both still alive, that is.
"I'm heading for the west, Peter! I don't like the sounds I'm hearing over there!" Grana began to sprint, cursing the fact that he had not yet learned the Geppo technique from Yoje. "C'mon, c'mon, c'mon c'mon c'mon! Let me get there in time!" Grana urged his body to go faster, willing himself to make it on time. He didn't dare warp in case he needed the ability in battle. He managed to hit his stride and found an extra burst of speed as he heard screaming from the western wall. The rhythmic thumping continued, giving Grana some idea of what the attackers were going to do. Still, they would need explosives or strength rivaling the Fishmen to break down the barricades. Grana's blood ran cold as he considered the thought of running into Roger Harligold himself. Then his fear turned into excitement as he considered the battle before him. "Oh, one of you strong bastards better be near the west gate! I haven't had a challenging fight in an eternity!"
Sammi arrived back at the center of the town just as a couple of explosions erupted behind her, one of them not too far away from where she was fighting a few minutes earlier. Damn. Playing hardball already. Well if they want this place, they are going to have to come and take it eventually.
Everyone in the center was scrambling, heading east and west, trying to shore up the barricades. Grana headed off to the west, which made Sammi's decision on where she should be heading easier. That guy always seems to just show up beat up everyone he faces, no matter what, so whatever, I'll help on the East side.
As she got over to that side of the plaza, Sammi saw Marielle there, and had to ask a question that was on her mind. "So," she said walking up to the girl casually. "Pretty impressive display you had back there...before you took off. Want to tell me what happened? Until I saw you here I just assumed you blew yourself up or something."
Marielle looked round, hearing Sammi approach her from the center of the plaza. The more experienced fighter was curious about her disappearance... Her heart sank: she now had to give voice to her worries. Still, maybe Sammi could help. She seemed perfectly at ease, given the situation. It couldn't hurt to try and express what she was thinking.
"Um... I'm sorry. I was okay when the fighting started... didn't know I could give people burns like that, though," she began, a little haltingly at first. "Then more of them attacked me, they overpowered me, and I..." She trailed off there, reluctant to say the simple words. They were there, and speaking was nice and simple: it was weird that she couldn't say them.
"I... I killed one of them. Maybe more, I don't know," she eventually stammered out, a clearly visible shudder running through her body as she spoke the words. "I don't... didn't want to do that. I don't know my own strength yet. Don't want to keep fighting, but I have to. That's why I'm still here. Have to keep fighting. Not giving up." Marielle's speech was fragmenting due to the stress she felt, but she tried to stay coherent to answer Sammi.
"Seems they're scared to reload the cannons now," Alaena told herself from the top of a tower near Harligold's ship, looking down at the ship and watching the pirates try to reload without bringing the cannons back in. When they brought the cannons inside it had allowed her to send an explosive arrow straight inside; causing damage to the ship, the pirates, and the cannons inside.
Another arrow was nocked as she aimed at one of the pirates who was trying to place a cannonball inside one of the functioning cannons; the man falling into the water below after being hit. The pirates inside brought the cannon back inside, allowing her to send an explosive arrow into the ship. This time she must have hit some of the black powder for the cannons, the resulting explosions inside being much bigger than the previous ones.
Mottso heard the explosion below him, stumbling back. He growled and resumed looking through his scope. I need to take care of this... After a couple seconds, he caught a glimpse of an arrow flying by. He managed to retrace the shot, finding Alaena. "This is the one causing so much trouble?" He seemed frustrated, but tried to line up a shot "Well she won't be much longer..."
Dokumaru backed up the street, and ran back towards the barricade, resulting in another thunderous crash. "One more should do it..." he started backing up again, ready to smash the barricade once and for all.
Mog had been punching and kicking at the barricade for a while, and he had made considerable progress. He remained silent the entire time, but seemed to be hitting harder the longer he went at it.
Inshi had worked his way through the house, slicing up the gunmen in there. He reached the rooftop, and noticed it was abandoned. He looked down and saw the barricade wasn't going to last much longer. "Soon..." he murmured as he ran downstairs again.
Sammi watched the girl, obviously struggling with what she had done. She tried to think back to her first kill, on the deck of the Thrasher. A few rival pirates from a ship called the Flyer had gotten on board during a battle at sea and were running around the deck. Kane and Kyle were zipping around the deck, fighting them off pretty well, but then one of them got the drop on Ondrej. The bulky shiphand was down on his knees after taking a shot off of that helmet he liked to wear. It had rung his clock pretty good and he didn't see the lumbering brute behind him, ready to finish him with his sword. That's when Sammi grabbed one of the axes that were available on deck and took a swing, trying to help out one of the few shipmates that defended her before. She swung too good, and in similar fashion to most of her kills coming after that day, she got him right in the neck. The goon grasped at his open wound but he fell and bled out onto the deck.
After that battle Sammi sat up on the stern for a bit, thinking about not only the mess that she had left for Wendell to clean up, but what exactly she had done. That's when Captain Hartley came over and told her words that she had yet to forget. "It had to be done, Sammi. You made a move that saved one of your mates' lives. I'm proud of what you did, I'm sure it wasn't easy for you. I know this life isn't pretty at times, but it's what you have to do to survive out here. And I'm glad you're that kind of person who has what it takes to do it. I knew I made a good choice when I brought you aboard, and I know Ondrej is too now. You make a fine pirate." It was the first time Sammi had ever been complimented like that and she knew that Hartley was the kind of man she wanted to follow, and that she wanted to defend his mates just as she did today.
Sammi looked over at Marielle, seeing a girl in a similar spot to hers way back when, drafted into a battle she wasn't really ready for or sure she could handle. "Listen Baby Blue, this kind of life, these kind of battles, they are going to get really ugly at times. Much uglier than this. And you're going to do some things you never thought you could possibly do. But that's what you gotta do to survive sometimes. You can't rely on everyone to take care of it for you. You gotta be able to get your fingers dirty, and do those things that repulse you. That's part of growing up."
She smiled over at the young woman. "Besides, you got it a lot easier than I do, with that little shockwave thing of yours. I'm glad you're not giving up. I need another girl around here to show these bastards how much of an ass-kicking they're in for."
Grana arrived at the barricade, only for the perpetual sounds of the battering ram to cease. Grana cursed as he realized that whoever was on the other side of the barricade was simply gathering strength for one last push. "It really is too bad there aren't any cliffs here like on Jingo." Grana thought as he threw up a portal on the other side of the barricade. It was a simple affair, one merely meant to reject any object coming in and send it in the opposite direction, but it would work. "I suppose I can always hope someone breaks a leg under the battering ram and they can't lift it anymore." It was a long shot, but Alaena seemed to be making so many of them, Grana couldn't help but wish for one of his own.
He snickered, only then turning around to see a tall, dark-skinned man standing in the plaza. "How in the 9 hells did he get past the barricade?" Grana thought, glancing behind himself at the barricade. It was still intact. "Damn, and I can't move more than 10 meters away from the thing, either." Grana noticed that the man standing before him simply could not stop moving. It was as if he were a puppet being controlled by a man undergoing convulsions. "G'evening, Twitchy. I don't suppose you'd be willing to lay down your weapons and give up now, could I?" Grana asked as he slid his sword slightly out of the sheath, ready for a battou.
Yoje leaped his way over to the eastern barricade as quickly as he could without expending too much energy. He thought he might have spotted another one of Roger's crewmembers, but he wasnt the priority. Once he reached his destination, Yoje saw a spiky looking fishman attacking the barricade below him. A fishman, huh? Well, that explains his strength. At least I made it here in time. And he's alone, too. I've got to move fast though, and make this first attack count.
He inhaled deeply and jumped into the air. Moon Rocket! With two Moon Steps, he propelled himself towards the fishman as fast as he could. At the last second, he did a small flip, so he was now hurtling feet first towards the side of his opponents head. Yoje's foot connected solidly, knocking the fishman back.
Alaena continued to focus on the cannons on the ship; sending in more explosive arrows through the hatches. The ship was starting to get quite a few gaps in it's hull due to the explosions caused by the black powder inside being activated by one of the explosions. She wondered just how much more damage the ship could take as she fired another explosive arrow, watching as it set off another set of of explosions inside.
'Probably not much more,' she figured, turning around to check on how things were going for everyone else. The rest of Harligold's pirates could be taken out by the civilians of Lasklee, and from what she could tell Harligold and his officers were going to be dealt with by Peter's crew. 'I'll help out once I'm done with this ship,' she told herself after resting for a minute, nocking more arrows and sending them to the ship.