Hello my friends, here I'm with another chapter.
I'm honestly getting a bit more confident in my project of going back to writing now.
DISCLAIMER: I don't know if I should do this or not but whatever, I don't own anything here apart from my OC's.
May have grammar errors
"You sure he's okay?"
In the street outside the apartment the four marines stood there waiting for Lucas.
They had heard the commotion created by him when 'chatting' with the man they came to take, though at first the two marines that called for help had been a little worried they soon calmed when Tashigi and Torlo reassured them that everything was okay.
They decided to trust them, but as the minutes began to fly by their worry started to come back.
Yes, they knew that Lucas was strong. But they never saw the white haired youth employing his strength, they only heard about it. Hence why a part of them became worried that something unexpected might have happened with him after many minutes of silence went by.
"I'm positive about that" reassured Tashigi.
"It's been some time since he went up you know?"
To the side Torlo snorted, attracting the marine's attention to him before saying.
"I don't know why you're so worried. Haven't you just seen Lucas practically fly to the third floor in one jump? There's no way that guy got the upper hand on him"
As if planned right after Torlo said that they once again heard some sort of commotion coming from the apartment, they looked up and in a similar fashion to what happened before they saw a figure being hurled out the third floor's window.
This time however the figure was that of the man they came to take, he who before had threw Torlo out the window now was having a taste of his own medicine by the hands of Lucas.
"I was waiting for this!"
A grinning Torlo wasted no time, he saw where the man was going to land and went there to wait for him.
There in place he opened his arms and prepared himself to catch the man before he landed flat face on the ground.
"Argh My back!"
He caught the man from the air in a tight hug, but while doing so he "unintentionally" used a bit too much strength and ended up cracking the man's back a little as result.
Torlo gazed at the man in his arms, a happy grin still wide on his face as he said "So how's it feel to fly out a window? Amazing isn't?!"
The man's groans were his only answers.
While Torlo tasted his little revenge from the window on the third floor another figure came out, this time not by being thrown but by jumping out on its own accord.
This figure, of course, was the white haired marine Lucas.
"Good work up there"
Tashigi was the first one to talk with him after he landed, returning her praise with his usual smile he turned to the side and addressed the two marines "All good?"
The marine wearing a backward cap went to Torlo and cuffed the bearded man, taking the man from him he began walking away.
"The process was a bit unusual, but in the end everything went well" To the side his partner turned to them with a smile "Thank you all for the help, we'll be sure to repay this favor later"
After that he went after the other marine, they walked down the street and soon vanished from sight. Seeing them taking the man away the three didn't wasted too much time there and also walked away.
"All's well that ends well" said Torlo while stretching.
Back on their usual patrol things went calmly as usual.
However after a time both Tashigi and Torlo began to notice that their friend had an absentminded look on his face.
"You okay man?"
The voice of his friend Torlo brought Lucas back to reality.
"I'm okay, just… thinking about something"
"You can share what's on your mind with us" from the side Tashigi also provided her words of concern.
"I plan in doing that, but not now…" he looked around checking if anyone was hearing "It's best if we talked about it later in my room, for now let's just focus on our job"
His words obviously confused his friends, they are unsure as to why he was being so secretive about it.
But since he probably had a good reason they shelving any questions for now and did as Lucas said and decided to wait until they ended their shifts.
The day proceed as expected, then later after wrapping everything up the trio returned back to the base.
After that they went to Lucas's room, entering the owner of the room closed the door before sitting down in his bed, facing him was his two friends who're sitting before the bed in some chairs.
At that moment his friends, who couldn't hold their curiosity anymore, went forward and quickly asked their white haired friend the question of the hour.
"Quick, spit it out what was in your mind earlier!"
"It's something to do with that man, right? You had this face after coming back from there"
Flooded by question of his two friends Lucas chuckled.
"You're right Tashigi, it does have something to do with that man. Do you two remember those white cards we talked about it the other day?"
They both nodded.
"Well, earlier while on that apartment I found another one of those"
Reaching to his pocket Lucas took out three white cards, all of them had the same sneering black skull on a jar with the letters 'M.I.C.L' beneath it.
"Another one?" a very surprised Tashigi looked at the third new card in her friend's hand "Where do they come from after all?"
"That's exactly what I kindly asked that man"
Chuckling Torlo threw his friend a knowing smile "Kindly you say?"
On the bed Lucas said nothing and only smirked at his friend before returning to what he was saying.
"According to the bearded man these white cards are invitations, or entry cards, to a hidden bar in the city where criminals alike go to, like some sort of underworld hub. The man got his from a friend and used to frequently go there, apparently the mead in the place, according to him, is 'really damn good'"
His two friends got surprised by what he said, processing his words Torlo asked.
"Okay but, why the secrecy before?-" just as he said that Torlo paused, eyes widening he looked at Lucas "You plan in going there don't you?"
Tashigi at first was confused by Torlo's stunned look, but after hearing what he said realization also struck her. Looking again at Lucas she saw him nodding, surprised by it she asked "Why?"
"The antique shop and the jewelry shop, in these two incidents both criminal groups had these cards on them. I was curious as to why was that, now with a lead I want to look more in-depth into this"
Tashigi and Torlo got taken aback by his answer, but then again, with all they knew of him it shouldn't be too much of a surprise that Lucas was going to do that.
In fact, now that they thought more about it this idea sounded quite appealing.
Their adventurous side got aroused!
"Well, if you plan in doing that we will follow you" said a smiling Tashigi while adjusting her glasses.
"Exactly" an excited smirk was on Torlo's face "Don't you dare going out in another nightly escapade without us!"
The quickness of his friends to accept his idea touched Lucas.
If you think about it was honestly quite surprising how deep their friendship got considering they knew each other for not that long. One might say they're going too fast with this, but after what they went through together the bond formed between them couldn't be more real.
Lucas smiled happily.
"Let's wait a bit more until everyone turn off the lights, then I'll fly us over to the location I got from the bearded man"
Tashigi agreed with him without fuss, to her side Torlo was doing the same but then he realized something.
"Wait, did you just said 'fly us over'?"
To his question Lucas didn't said anything, only directing a Monkey D. trademark smile his way.
All of sudden for some reason Torlo didn't felt that eager to go on this escapade anymore.
"See? It wasn't that bad"
Said Lucas to his friend while holding back a laugh, to the side Tashigi was doing the same.
After they agreed to his idea the trio went back to their rooms and waited until most of the dorm was asleep, while doing that they changed out of their uniforms to something less attention grabbing.
Lucas basically wore his usual clothes, but he foregone his blazer and white shirt in exchange of a black T-shirt with a dragon motif on it that allowed his muscles to be seen, while Tashigi had something similar to what she would be using in the canon.
Torlo on the other hand didn't changed much, as a petty officer his usual uniform is already different from the normal marine uniform, the only change he did was wearing a light brown combat jacket in the place of his usual opened marine shirt.
Later when time was right they meet up in Lucas's room, there he picked them up and brought them out of the base. He did this off course by turning into his hybrid form and flying them out, quite similar to what he did some days ago.
The only hiccup with that was Torlo feeling a little shaky by the prospect of flying, a feeling shared by neither of his friends.
"I'm okay!" said Torlo after getting his bearing back "I got hurled through a third floor window this morning, so it's kinda early for me to be flying high in the nightly sky. But now I'm good"
With that settled the trio proceed with their plan.
The bar from the white cards was in one of the more far away areas of town, quite desolate there aren't many people there, especially in that time of the night.
Still, wishing to be on the safer side Lucas landed a few blocks away from their target. While still in the air Lucas saw a path they could take, with it in mind he lead his friends towards the bar.
The moon was clear in the air that night, but the buildings around them wouldn't allow the light from the heavenly body to touch that place and illuminated it. With their shadows they would cast a dark cover that would swallow the moonlight there, making the place quite dim as only the flimsiest of rays could pass.
The trio however was unbothered by the darkness of the area.
Firm on the path their figures would get almost completely hidden by the shadows, with only the echoing of their steps as a light giveaway of their presence.
"It's that the place?"
"I believe so"
Arriving at the destined location the trio saw a kinda rundown building that seems to be an old general store, one that at first glance didn't seemed to have anything out of ordinary about it.
"What now?" Tashigi asked.
"We wait" answered Lucas without taking his eyes off the building "If this place is busy as I learned we'll probably be seeing someone coming around soon"
He believed the information he got to be right, considering the way he 'talked' with him Lucas didn't believed the man would've the guts at the time to lie to his face. Both his friends on their end believed in him, so without much hesitation they followed along his plan.
Around the building was actually quite illuminated by the moonlight, so as to not attract much attention they hide in a nearby dark alley and prepared themselves to stakeout the building.
The young marines soon got rewarded for their wait.
After more than half a hour watching the place some signs of movement finally appeared, a hidden door on the side of the store opened and from within three figures came out, two men and one woman.
Maybe around their twenties all three had this "shady look" to them. With mead in hand and some type of cigarettes in their mouth they practically had the word 'delinquent' flashing in a neon billboard behind them.
Chatting and joking around the three figures actually started to get quite closer to the alley the young marines had been hiding, seeing this the trio with hurried but silent steps backed away into the darkness of the alley for hiding.
"What was that?!"
However as they tried to hide something unexpected happened, Tashigi tripped in an unseen iron rod on the ground making it fly away and hit the alley's wall with a clang.
Lucas behind her acted fast and picked her in his arms before she could fall, then quickly backed away into the darkness before anyone could see then.
His actions however came too late, the sound of the rod hitting the wall resounded across the darkness of the night, breaking its silence and alerting the three figures walking nearby.
One of the men decided to check out the source of the sound.
With careful steps he walked into the alley, looking around at first he saw nothing but then his eyes locked into the iron rod on the ground that was still rolling.
"It should've been this" examining the rod the man chuckled in relief "The wind probably knocked it off a trash can or something"
Believing to have found the source of the sound the man turned around to tell his two companions that everything was okay, but as he did that a pair of hands came from the darkness of the alley and dragged him into it!
The man and woman saw something happening with their friend, in an instinctual action they ran into the alley in order to help him.
But then before they could react two more pairs of hands came from the darkness and dragged them away too.
On the old store after entering the hidden door one would find a set of stairs leading down, on its end was a door and at that moment three young people stood before it.
These off course are the three young marines Lucas, Tashigi and Torlo.
Some minutes ago in the alley to prevent them from being found they seized the two men and the woman before they could react, with the three spooked people in hand the young marines asked them some questions about the place and what it was about.
What the three said basically confirmed what Lucas already learned earlier that day and a bit more.
The old shop was just a façade for an underworld bar beneath it, it would only open at night and to access it one would need to enter the hidden door while having an invitation card in hand.
Knocking them out and cuffing them with lightning they hide the three inside an abandoned house nearby, then with the new knowledge in hand they came to the door.
"Do you three have invitations?"
Reaching to his pocket Lucas took out the three white cards, from behind the door the man looked at them through a peephole and after confirming their authenticity he opened the door.
"Don't cause trouble kids"
The man, now revealed to be a very burly bouncer, told them some words of caution before stepping aside and allowing them to enter.
Inside the place looked like a surprisingly well kept tavern, quite crowded you could see all types of people from the underworld of Mel Island mingling around. On the back was a long counter where many waiters, if you could call them that, would be going from and forth with trays of beverages like mead and the like.
"This place Is something else…" with curiosity clear in his eyes Tashigi looked around "They barely noticed our presence here"
People entering the life of crime while still young is something quite common, as such despite being the minority young people like them was still not a rare sight in that bar.
Thanks to that not many people paid attention to them, even both Tashigi and Torlo being armed didn't much to change that. In fact more people paid attention to Lucas's white hair than anything, as despite the quirkiness of hair color in this world natural white hair was still something of a rare sight.
All in all they managed to blend in without much trouble there.
"What now leader?" asked Torlo.
"Let's walk around, try and see if we eavesdrop anything useful"
With a nod of agreement they proceed with his idea.
Walking around it wasn't really hard to overhear all kinds of things, the place was crowded and the people didn't try much to keep the volume of their voices down. Off course that also posed its own set of problems, trying to isolate a talk in specific wasn't exactly simple with all the noise, but still doable to them.
From talks of possible targets, of who you should talk for some armaments, to even some illegal places where you could go to 'relax'.
All these and some more are the things the trio was able to hear in that bar, some info they did their best to note them down in their brains, while a few outrageous ones they did the reverse and tried to wash them off their memories to the best of their abilities.
It was some minutes later that Lucas would overhear a talk that instantly caught his attention.
"Hey, have you guys heard of Vorax and Prictus?"
"Wait you don't know?"
In a table on the corner of the bar a few thug looking men were drinking, one of them then asked a question that surprised the others for a moment.
"What do you mean?"
"Some days ago their crew tried to pull up on a marine ship from Marineford and got their ass kicked, they're behind bars now"
"I didn't know that!"
"Yeah man, a lot of people saw them being taken to prison. Their ship was also in the port and it had a giant hole on its side!"
"Holy-, and here I thinking they would be scoring big with the info they got from the boss"
"You don't know half of it, since that day some two other groups tried to go with the boss's lead but end up caught by the marines. I actually saw the ones that went for that jewelry store getting stomped by some young marines"
"Yeah, you see-"
When Lucas heard the name of the pirate he took down his attention instantly got picked.
Lucas kept hearing the group's talk from afar, he locked his senses on them and paid extra attention when they mentioned a 'boss'. A figure that apparently was the one that gave the Ravenous Wolves the info of when attack their ship, along with also giving info to the other criminals he took down.
"Hey, look where you're going!"
With much of his attention focused on the group in the corner he lost track of his steps and actually ended up bumping into someone.
"You better be"
Turning around Lucas saw that it was young woman around his age, quite beautiful in his opinion she had long pink hair and purple eyes 'She seems a little familiar, but I can't put my finger on it…'
When looking at the young woman a feeling of recognition hit him, a feeling that he knew who she was. But it was something faint and hard to grasp, not matter how much he looked at her he couldn't for the Love of God tell who she was and from where he knew her.
"Are you going to keep staring at my face all night or what?"
Her words snapped him out from his daze, shaking his head he looked at her again and smiled.
"Sorry, I just had this feeling I knew you from somewhere"
She raised an eyebrow at his answer, but then a second later she snickered.
"That's your attempt of a pickup line?" pausing she took a good looker at his face "You're quite handsome though, maybe next time"
With that she just turned and walked away, leaving a stunned Lucas behind. Looking at the direction she went Lucas was able to see her deftly stealing a slice of pizza from a table, before then vanishing behind a large group of people.
"Chuckle Yeah… maybe next time"
Shaking his head Lucas shelved the thoughts about that woman for now and went back to what he came there to do.
He turned his focus back to the group in the corner, hearing a bit more of their conversation before walking away to meet with his friends. They're close to the counter in the back, not that hard to find, there he relayed to them what he learned from that group.
"Yeah I also heard about this 'boss' from some girls over there" said Tashigi while quietly point to a certain group around their age.
"It fits with some of the things I also heard" Nodding Torlo turned to his white haired friend "What you think we should do now?"
"It's clear that someone behind this place is feeding valuable confidential info to the criminals of the island. We should tell this to the Commander or Captain Ricardo, but just word of mouth won't do…" Looking around he spotted a door near the counter with a clear 'authorized personnel only' written on it "We probably could find something useful behind that door, but we would need a distraction"
The three looked around in search of some way to distract the others and sneak behind that door.
Searching for something Torlo took notice of two men arm wrestling, an honestly big crowd was around them cheering and betting. It was certainly a very attention grabbing event, with even people from far away tables sneaking glances.
An idea then suddenly hit him.
"Tashigi go there and wait near that door for a chance to slip in. You, Lucas, lend me some money and then wait for my call the come over. We'll be creating a distraction!"
After saying that a smirking Torlo pocketed the money from his friend and walked away towards the cheering crowd, behind him Lucas and Tashigi exchanged confused glances before shrugging and going along with their friend's plan.
The bluenette of the group went and stood nearby the door, while Lucas waited for Torlo's signal.
From where he was he could see his heavy friend talking to some people in one of the tables around the arm wrestling men, since he wasn't focusing on them he couldn't tell what Torlo was saying to them, but it must've been something quite funny because shortly after they started laughing together.
Hearing his friend shout his name Lucas walked over to them, now closer he could see that the table was where the bets are being made. One of the men there looked at him up and down before saying:
"This's your friend? He looks strong, but I still don't know if he's going to win. Are you sure about that?"
"Does this here answer your question?"
From his pocket Torlo whipped out a thirty thousand berry bill and slammed it down on the table, the man's eyes flashed with some greed after seeing that. Raising his head he looked at Torlo with a wide smile on his face.
"You got yourself a bet! Hey Bruno, come her and crush this kid!"
To the side a shirtless burly man stood up and walked to the table serving as a ring and stood in position.
Turning to his friend he saw Torlo gave him a knowing look, caching the meaning behind that the white haired young man nodded and also walked to the 'ring'. There he put himself in position and clapped the man's hand.
"You gonna lose kid"
Said the man before him with an evil smirk on his face, to which Lucas said nothing and only gave one of his usual calm smiles.
An old man acting as referee came forth and started the match, with the crowd around them cheering him on the shirtless man laughed and went on to try and destroy the young man before him one go by using all his strength.
Attention to the word 'Try'.
Contrary to what people expected when the match began they saw that, despite the shirtless man's best efforts, his opponent's arm didn't move even a single muscle out of place!
The still smiling young man then just wordlessly brought his hand down, complexly crushing his opponent to the point that a light cracking sound was heard coming from the man's hand.
Back on the betting table Torlo with an ear to ear smile on his face took the money won, going next to his friend he turned and addressed the crowd.
"Who wants to give it a go? The winner takes it all!"
While Lucas's casual display of strength scared a few, the promise of big money attracted a lot more. Soon an eager challenger stood up and came to the 'ring'.
Turning around Torlo whispered to his friend "That was a good one Lucas, but you better not win too easily next time. While you crushed that guy Tashigi sneaked behind that door, now we need to drag this on long enough to giver her time back there"
Using the corner of his eye to look Lucas saw that Tashigi indeed had already left the corner where she previously stood.
Nodding firmly at his heavy friend he positioned himself again at the table.
Lucas crushing that shirtless man had attracted a good deal of attention, enough to distract the personnel around and allow Tashigi to quickly enter the door.
After going through the door she arrived in a quite long dim corridor, walking forward for a time she came before a staircase going up. She climbed the stairs and arrived at another door, at first she was going to just open the door and enter, but then she held herself back.
Cupping her hands around her ear Tashigi leaned at the door and tried to hear if there was anyone behind it, only after sensing no one did she entered.
"Is this some sort of storage?"
Behind the door was a large room that looked like a store of some sort of wine house, big wooden barrels occupied most of them room, sniffing around one sense the strong sweet smell that permeated the air, something that reminded Tashigi of honey.
After looking around a bit more Tashigi walked out through a door opposite to the one she entered, outside the room was another corridor with many doors in both sides. These however are locked up, but after a time examining them all Tashigi found one that wasn't and entered.
The room was a weapon storage. Guns and other types of weapons could be found all over the place, one thing in specific however caught Tashigi's attention.
"These guns… they are ours!"
Her knowledge of firearms is far from being compared to that of her friend Torlo, but it was enough to quickly identify the weapons around her to be of marine origin. Something that shouldn't be, after all any and all armament used by the marine was specifically only allowed to be used by them and no one else.
Variants are one thing, but original ones like those in that room was a no-no as far she knew.
"It seems Lucas's hunch was really right, this place does has something strange behind it!"
Closing the room again she went further into the place to see what more she could find. Turning around on some corridors she arrived at another set of stairs leading up, on its end was another door.
She was going to the same thing she did before, to hear if someone was behind the door before opened it, but as soon she did that the sound of steps approaching came from the other side.
Surprised by this Tashigi panicked, with not much time in her hand she did the first thing that came to her mind.
Jumping up she quickly took her trusted sword Shigure and stuck her on the corner of the wall, getting firm in place the sword acted as a support for her to hang on and hopefully not be caught.
When the door opened a thug looking man came out, he calmly walked forward while humming a song to himself, completely unaware about the person hanging in the wall just above his head.
Seeing that he was distracted Tashigi did her move, silently like a cherry blossom leaf sailing through the autumn wind she dropped from the wall and quickly passed through the still open door before it could close.
The other side of door was like a different world, gone was the dim look of before in favor of a clear and more decorated one.
A few meters ahead there she found a window on the wall, arriving before it she came to find out that she was actually in the second-story of some sort of fancy liquor store near the commercial area!
'This's getting stranger by the minute'
Walking down a few more corridors Tashigi soon also found out that this place wasn't deserted at the ones from before, strange thug looking guards and normal personal would walk together in these corridors.
At some points Tashigi almost got caught, in special that was this time when she actually came face to face with a guard wearing an actually nice cut black suit.
Both got completely stunned by that, but Tashigi being someone with way quicker reflexes than the guard almost instantly knocked him out by hitting his chin with the handle of her sword before he could alert anyone nearby.
This little mishap however actually proved to be something good, while tying and hiding the man in one of the rooms nearby she rummaged through his pocket and found a key, tied to it was a little plate with 'Boss's Office' written in bold letters.
Thanking God for that she proceeded to look around the place a little more, soon finding a room with double dark wooden doors with a plate on the front with the same 'Boss's Office' of the key.
Opening the door she came to a fancy looking office, the expansive furniture all over it clearly showing that its owner wasn't bothered by money at all.
Marching forward through the darkness of the room Tashigi came to the big wooden desk on the back, there she went through the many drawers but didn't found anything suspicious in them, only ordinary shipping orders and reports you would expect be seeing in a liquor store.
Frustrated a bit by that Tashigi took some steps back to gaze again at the room and assert her next moves, but when she did that Tashigi felt her foot stepping in something a little loose.
Squatting down to examine it she saw some faint lines forming a square shape in the floor, having a hunch about what that was she drew her sword and tried out her guess.
Like what she expected the thing on the floor was a lid, beneath it was a hidden compartment.
Smiling happily Tashigi took out the things inside, which were some documents and a honey brown den den mushi.
Her smile however vanished from her face after she read through the hidden documents.
In them was a list stolen item, like the marine weapons she saw back in that storage room, alongside much more. Confidential information was also there, like logs about the schedule of merchant ships coming and going from the island, with even some being that of marine ships!
In one of the documents she saw a list with many names with time and date, their meaning wasn't clear to her at first but then she saw an entry that instantly caught her attention.
[Captain of the Ravenous Wolves, Vorax; February/XX/1518, time XX:XX]
The name Vorax wasn't one she was going to forget soon, and the date was just one day before she and the others from Marineford got attacked.
"I need to get this info back to the others!"
Taking all of these documents however would be too much of a giveaway. Sorting them out she picked the ones she felt had the most value, like the one with Vorax name on it, and shoved the rest back into the hidden compartment.
After making sure nothing was out of place Tashigi prepared herself to go back to her friends.
Things soon became complicated though.
"Why is this door unlocked?"
Tashigi was halfway across the room when voices invaded its darkness through the door. She instantly froze in place, her heart skipped a beat and cold sweat dripped down her eyebrow.
With Time seemly frozen at that moment only one thought could be heard in her mind.
'What should I do now?!'
So that's the new chapter.
It was honestly quite the interesting chapter to write, What you guys think?
What mystery does this place hold? Who was that girl? What will happen to Tashigi? Will Lucas and Torlo be able to distract people long enough?
Who knows? Only the next chapter will tell!
Anyway, Thank you everyone from the support.
Constructive critics are always welcomed.