Last time, Marine Base G2 readies for the supernova's arrivals, but a Celestial Dragon visit threatens to throw them off course. Meanwhile, Coby pays X-Drake a visit.
Bege doesn't like Sabaody from the moment he arrives. There's doom in the air, an air of deja vu and danger beeping in him as soon as his feet step off the Nostra Castello. It is nostalgic, in the 'avoid at all cost' kind of way. Enough so that the former mobster swallows his annoyance and brings Vito and Gotti with him. He has an army inside him, but he still wants to play it safe.
As they tour around, Bege's charmed by the Archipelago's ambiance, filled with fancy restaurants and high-end shops galore. It's precisely the type of stop Bege likes to spend his time on; it's no use accumulating riches only to spend all his time at sea without being able to use them.
He is resolute in leaving Sabaody as soon as possible.
"Vito, Gotti. Change of plans," he tells them, just as the younger man leans over to light his cigar, "we're going to find the coater before lunch."
"Something wrong, father?" Gotti asks, but Bege only shakes his head, keeping his eyes open. Down the street is a coating shop, and he's grateful that they seem easy to find. When he's visiting the third shop, in an entirely different grove, Bege realizes they have a significant problem: every counter has their wanted poster on display.
When Bege notices the supernova's posters at the entrance of the first shop, he keeps walking. He's trying to avoid problems, and coating a pirate ship discreetly in Sabaody shouldn't be too tricky; no reason to risk it. The second coater has an intercom outside his shop, and when he sees Bege through the surveillance den-den mushi, he refuses to open the door. The trio enters the third shop with a growing sense of unrest, the owner -or so they believe- is in the back and asks them to wait a minute. She emerges with a bright smile, takes one look at them, and runs back to where she came from, shutting a heavy steel door behind her. Not even Vito's rising threats have her come back, and when she threatens to call the marines, an increasingly irritated Bege once again takes his leave. Being famous is hard.
By the fourth time, he's expecting it, and before the coater, a hammerhead Fishman, can shut the door in their face, Bege pulls out his gun.
"You will be coating my ship," he informs him, taking a long drag of his cigar lest he shoots the man on the spot.
"I-I can't! If I coat a wanted criminals ship I-I'll lose my license!" the Fishman has fallen down, leaning back on his hands as he looks up at Bege and his crew in fear.
"Hey, hey, hey! Do you know who this is?! This is-!" Bege slaps Vito upside the head to shut him up, tasting smoke to center himself.
"He knows who we are, Vito, that's the problem." The pirate captain turns back to the terrified Fishman, forcing him to crawl backward so that they can all step into the shop. It'd be no good to make a scene on the streets. In the wooden space of the lobby, Bege asks his questions. "Your license, you said?" The man nods eagerly.
"It's a r-recent thing, but coating without a permit is illegal. Marines hand them over only after passing a workshop and a b-background check."
"I want you to coat my ship anyway," Bege shrugs; he doesn't give a shit if this man loses his license. The coater quickly shakes his head.
"We get routine check-up's on the ships we're working on," he explains, "if they recognize it as a pirate ship, they'll come for you." Bege considers it; no way any half-competent marine takes a look at Nostra Castello and ignores it. Damn. He presses his gun to the Fishman's forehead, who squeezes his eyes and whimpers.
"Pirates pass through Sabaody all the time, how?"
"I don't k-" Bege's gun barrels digs into the pink flesh of the Fishman's forehead. "There's a guy I know, he failed the coater's exam! H-he might be able to help you! In the t-twen-twenty-fourth grove!" the coater squeaks out—Bege grins.
"Thank you," he answers insincerely. "Gotti, Vito. We're leaving."
It's almost 2 by the time Bege negotiates a price for the coating. The coater, an older man by the name of Kraken, had tried to extort them. Naturally, he had inflated prices as one of the few coaters that dared coat without a permit. Bege's natural bargaining skills plus the added visual stimulation of Gotti's machine gun proved useful.
"Fine," the man grouches out after Bege gives out his final price. "Now listen, I coat ships in Grove 72." This information makes the pirate captain frown.
"Isn't that close to the marine base?" The man looks surprised that Bege knows but nods quickly.
"Exactly, it's part of the hotel town, so it's often filled with tourists, and its crime rate is low. The marines concentrate on faraway groves from the base, mostly the first 30. The closer, peaceful groves are perfect blindspots." He gives them a bitter look. "Not that the people the World Government assigned here give a shit about the law anyway."
Bege considers it, but it makes sense. If not, he's confident he'll take down anyone assigned here. He knows that the Marine HQ is on the other side of the Red Line, and with the Supernovas all coming in together, the Archipelago's marines will have their hands full. He shakes the man's hand and agrees. He calls the crew left at the ship to move the Nostra Castello; Kraken assures him he will meet them at Grove 72 and start the coating immediately, further motivated by Bege's threatening look.
"Are we also heading for Grove 72, father?" Gotti asks him as they exit the store; Bege considers it. They're still in the lawless area, more than 30 groves away. He frowns at the thought of all the walking ahead of them.
"We'll have lunch first," it's a simple decision, born out of tiredness accumulated by their tumultuous morning. A choice Bege will come to regret. His only criteria for the chosen restaurant is expensive. After being at sea for a while, he wants to treat himself. Things are unpleasant as soon as he comes in.
The venue is almost empty, most of the staff and the people awestruck at the ever-rising mountains of plates. On one of them, sitting atop her crew's table, Bege catches sight of Jewelry Bonnie. She looks disgusting, with her legs crudely open as she stuffs her face with food, a revolting spectacle to watch. The pirate captain seems to be wanting to curse at her opponent's eating, eat herself, and demand more food all at the same time. Around her, her crew struggles to keep passing her plates at a ridiculous rhythm.
Across the room, competing against her lack of manners while demolishing a buffet of his own is...
Bege turns around, taking a deep breath, smacking his frozen crewmates immediately.
"We're leaving." He didn't see us, I'm pretty sure. He was busy, and he's Jewelry's problem now. He plans it in his mind, Bege will pick up the rest of his crew, put them all inside his fortress and hide for the next three days. He understands the feeling of doom permeating the air now, and he wants nothing to do with it.
He's given three steps out of the restaurant when a cloud of smoke catches his attention. Unfortunately for the pirates, Bege's also familiar with the man blocking their way.
"You seem to be in a hurry, Gang Bege."
"Black Leg," he's taller and broader than when Bege saw him last, and he's optimistic he didn't have a beard when they met in West Blue, but he's not going to be forgetting those marines any time soon. Vito and Gotti's guards go up as soon as they see him, but thankfully, they wait on Bege's signal. Black Leg is in a suit, but his marine jacket is nowhere to be seen. Trying to be discreet, perhaps? The blonde takes a long drag of his cigarette as if giving the pirates time to contemplate their situation.
The question isn't whether Bege can beat Black Leg, but if he can beat him before his captain is attracted by the commotion.
"How about we take this somewhere less crowded, yeah?" the other man offers, giving a meaningful glance to the populated street.
Bege is wary, but their odds just got better.
Nami remembers the day she met Camie; even in her colorful life, the encounter is exceptionally flavourful. The marines had fished her out Camie while on a rare joyride on the Sunny. Nami knows Luffy calls it patrolling the waters when Coby writes his reports, but Nami –who's been in a predominantly male world since she was a child- knows a joyride when she sees one. She hadn't been expecting a mermaid.
Like her captain is prone to do, saving of lives occurs and plenty of befriending all around. Nami never thought she'd ever be in a position to forgive and not forget as when she'd face Hachi for the first time in years. She's seen a lot more of the world now, though. She'll accomplish nothing holding on to her resentment.
That said, she loves her friends, which is why - on any other occasion, Pappug showing up without warning at Marine Base G2 would be a delight. Any other day.
Today, Nami has 8 -possibly 9- ridiculously wanted pirates sniffing around that they're somehow supposed to put down soon. She is stressed, sleep-deprived, and busy enough that she's not even sure what time it is when Lero -the sacrificial pawn of the bad news- informs her of a talking starfish' arrival.
Pappug is looking for Luffy, of course he is, but Luffy is - for a change - doing his job. Nami curves the need to slam her forehead against her desk and has Pappug come in, fully intending to explain in her most polite tone that today is a bad day.
One conversation later, Nami's heart is in her throat as she flies over the streets of Sabaody, egging Little Zeus to be as fast and stealthy as a flying cloud can be. She rarely likes being this conspicuous, but today it's an emergency, and she needs to get to Luffy fast.
Out of everyone in Sabaody. Out of all the days.
Camie had been kidnapped by slave traders today, to be sold at the slave house today.
Every single time Saint Charlus has visited, his intention has been to buy a mermaid. Nami does a mental calculation of their personal finances, and it's a lot, but certainly not enough to out-buy a Celestial Dragon. Nami avoids thinking of worst-case scenarios, but even as she's furiously trying to understand what to do, Pappug's terrified face pops into her mind. If Saint Charlus reaches their auction, nothing will save Camie short of treason. So, Nami left Pappug in a timely-returning Coby and sets off for the lower groves. Hopefully, Luffy will have 'Big Eater' Bonnie apprehended, and they can think about what to do with Camie. (It might seem silly to some, but Nami really does believe that Luffy can make even things okay.)
Nami bursts into the middle of the restaurant, heart in her throat and is immediately annoyed.
"Bring me more pizza!"
"No! More meat! Meaaat!"
Her face darkens, shifting from terrified to furious in only a couple of moments. She fists her hand, shaking as she tries to reign in her murder instinct.
Why is Luffy in the middle of an eating contest?
She's going to kill him, goddammit!
Here we gooo!
A couple of announcements,
- Idk if anyone remembers, but I launched a prologue for a BNHA fic (BakuVillain!Deku) ages ago and it's finally updating regularly. Most of it is written, and currently we're at chapter 3 of 8.
- The new oneshot for the WWW might not be ready for this weekend after all. It has over 4k words right now, but it's not wrapping up lol. I might honestly cut down on it, it's touching a lot of themes that not necessarily mash well with the WWW universe, but I'll keep you posted of what happens.
As always, thank you so much for your support, it's crazy that some of you have been here since WWW's first chapter. It makes me all warm and fuzzy!
Take lots of care,