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Raza

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orange town bound


With the thought the open air and arriving at a new destination, Rei-Rei tugged on her pair of orchid purple shoes – the ones patterned with navy stars, of course – over her purple and pink floral print Capri pants, with a renewed sense of determination. On went a set of brightly-colored bangles, each jammed onto either wrist by nimble fingers with such fervour that the bracelets clattered and jingled together; their charms clinked against each other loudly in some kind of only slightly dissonant background tune as she continued to gear herself up. A flick of the wrist then, and more tinkling of tiny red gems against miniature gold keys ensued as she swiped on two coats of mascara. Another flick now, and on came her lipgloss – strawberry scented- and finally, a fluff of her hair. One last nod then, and the girl was all revved up, and with somewhere to go, final destination : Orange Town.

Why there, you ask ? Well, darling, had even one passerby cared enough to ask Reinaka, as she embarked on her trek through the bitter cold October morning, her response would’ve been quick blinking, then a small giggle, and the enquirer would be met with a look of surprise and not-so-mild bemusement. It seemed, after all, a quite obvious choice in location to her; everyone loved Orange Town, and everyone went where they loved – at least, this was what she did. So, logically speaking, everyone ought to be at Orange Town. In her own words, total duh ! As things stood, however, she’d yet to be stopped by anyone while walking, and such comments, as a result, would have to remain tucked safely away in the back of her mind, kept only to herself.

Perhaps it was better that way. It probably was, actually. Less talking meant more walking, didn’t it? Now keep in mind that more walking meant getting to the cozy pub that much faster, so not talking was, in fact, quite beneficial to Miss Sciwalker's cause. Besides, until she got there, she had her map, which was tucked neatly in between the band of her trainer bra – blending perfectly into her portfolio of tattoo'd artwork along her torso – to keep her company.

And company it gave her, up until she found herself having pushed open the door to teh designated pub that she and Tai were to rendezvous at, smiling with excitement, coupled with relief of having freed herself from the cold. Her eyes darted around the room, in search of a familiar face. No cigar, kiddo. There wasn’t much of anyone here tonight, save a few groups of friends, huddled together as they mulled their drinks over, but they all seemed to be quite occupied. Rei-Rei let out a sigh then, as she jammed her hands into the pockets of her now unzipped of her pants, and blew her bangs out of her eyes. She looked around once more, her eyes shadowed with – was that disappointment ? Unfortunately, it was. Poor thing.

Shuffling her feet against the hardwood floor as she did so, she made her way over to the bar, and eyed the bar tender with curiosity for a moment. He seemed…friendly enough; she’d met him before, and he’d always been ready to offer a smile. And then she heard the whispers... shark-man, "there's a fishman here tonight", "I heard, he's over there in the corner"...

Wuh!? Sweet. The purple lady be-lined away from the bar and to the back of the pub until she saw the shark-boy sitting at a table, all eyes fixed on him...

"There you are..." She made her way to the table and plopped down with her feet up. "I thought you might of backed out of the plan..." Ha, as if there really was a plan. He'd sort of agreed to go to Orange Town with her, even after they had to fight all those damn bandits. But he did seem a little flaky.






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Things weren’t going exactly how the young Fishman had wanted them to go. He figured that after he left his hometown, he’d be able to go straight to Fishman Island. Unfortunately for him, fate had other plans. He was lost as sea and somehow journeyed to an island that he still wasn’t quite sure of its name. Of course he could have asked someone, but other things got in the way.

First he met a stranger by the name of Reinaka and then the two were hired to take care of a few thugs. While he wanted to say that it was a huge disappointment, he wasn’t. The whole time that he spent fighting those thieves was one of the best times of his life. Unfortunately for him, things came to an end and he was on yet another task. Before going to the Grand Line, he needed to go to Orange Town.

There better be some useful people there…

When Tai thought about his first trip through the accursed sea, he realized something that’d help him. He needed to be part of a crew. He knew very little about the island that he was headed for, but knew that Rei Rei was trying to get there. The Fishman figured that he’d give it a shot to see who was there for him to travel with.

I also hope that I don’t have to wear this hat for very long.

So that he wouldn’t stick out like a sore thumb, the Fishman decided that he’d wear a hat that fit snugly over his hair and eyes. Even with that though, he felt as if everyone’s attention was on him. Was he just paranoid? Part of him wanted to tell everyone to quiet down, but that would only make a scene. He also didn’t have proof that anyone was talking about him either, and that would make him more of a criminal.

Just as he looked at the clock, hoping that Reinaka would hurry up, he suddenly heard something clanking. Every time that he’d hear it, it made his spine shiver. That’s when his body started to shake from all the restrain he mustered so that he wouldn’t harm the culprit. After he finally managed to calm down, he took a sip from a mug where foam was sliding down. While he was in the middle of drinking, he heard a woman’s voice.

“About time---,” he said and then looked at the owner of the voice.

He was shocked at her appearance for some reason and was practically speechless. He started to blush and was slightly confused. Did something happen between the time of their last job? More importantly he wanted to know what feeling he felt at the sight of her.

“P… Plan?” he muttered out and then he suddenly remembered, “Oh yeah, the plan. I’m ready anytime you are.”

It was a risky move on both their parts, but the young Fishman wasn’t afraid. He was ready for anything and anyone that’d get in his way. Tai also hoped that in the process, he’d be able to succeed in what he wanted. There was also the matter of trust, he still wasn’t sure if he could trust Reinaka.




[A Path to Orange Town]




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Raza

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orange town bound


Reinaka always began a new sitting with a quiet registration of how soft the chair cushion felt beneath her bum, how high above the floor the height of the chair stems put her and an impressive calculation of just how far the hinde legs of the seat could be pushed and leaned on before the entirety of the chair would come toppling over. The estimation of it all was child's play--elementary, even, my dear Watson, and the thought of it sent flashbacks through the young girls mind of a time when she would play at the kitchen table during breakfast, routinely incurring her parents wrath at introduction of the development of these chair accessing techniques.

"Sorry that took so long but everything seems to have checked out with my bandit, Knives. Hmm I'm surprised we didn't get more all things considered he was just a low level third with a lot of friends."

Rei swung her feet off the table and sat up with the suddenness of a determination unseen til just that second. She wiped out a folded piece of paper and revealed an in-progress map of the East Blue. She smiled at the beauty of the unfinished artwork. It was her finest version yet, and nearly completed. Just a few more islands.

She looked up and the fishman land grinned a proud and wide smile , pleased at herself in a way that one probably shouldn't be. She smoothed the edges and placed a few of the condiment bottles on either end to hold it in place.

"This beautiful piece of art work here is my map of the East Blue! Gorgeous, hug? I drew it myself! And it's only the beginning of what I've got in store!" Rein aka folded her arms and started up into the space above with a look of dazed glory in her eyes.






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Knives?

At first Tai was confused, but then he remembered that was the name of the bandits’ leader. The thought of him sent shivers down the young Fishman’s spine. The fiend’s name was a fitting one since he liked to wield multiple weapons that’d slice anyone up like a thanksgiving turkey. Before he had a chance to remember more about the thug they took down, Reinaka brought out a piece of paper.

It, however, was just another sheet of paper and he could see that. It was a map of what looked to be the East Blue. While he wanted to burst out in a fit of rage remembering that he was in neither the Grand Line nor the South Blue, he managed to stop himself. They were in a place filled with others and the last thing that he needed to do was cause more problems for them.

“That is something,” he said, calming back down, “Now how exactly do we get there?”

The young Fishman wanted to make sure that he added we to his sentence. He of course could probably just swim there, but that was just him. There was no way he’d allow someone to ride on top of him, he wasn’t a boat and he wasn’t going to start being one. Tai wouldn’t even let his adopted family do that, so a person that he’d just met had absolutely no chance.

“I did happen to see a boat right near the shore before I came in here,” he went on, “I think they were heading for Orange Town.”

Being there the island’s edge you’d think there would be more ships, but most of them were anchored. While the young Fishman was capable of sailing one himself, he didn’t want to steal one. Stealing a ship was like a sin for the young Shipwright, he was like he’d be taking someone's hard work that they’d slaved over for days. There, however, was one way he’d ever do something like that.

If a ship was old and raggedy, he might attempt such a feat, but sadly he didn’t spot anything like that. No, it seemed like there only chance was a large ship that had people marching on and off it. It wasn’t exactly Tai’s style of transportation, but he didn’t have another choice. If he wanted to get to Orange Town, that was his only way.




[A Path to Orange Town]




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Raza

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orange town bound


Hmm. Reinaka sat in Indian-style on her chair with her arms still folded, pondering exactly how they could make this work. In order to get to Orange Town they definitely needed to find a boat. While Tai might be able to swim all the way there, she doubted that mode of transportation would fair well for her. She peered at her dotted line leading from Logue Town to Orange Town as if the picture would tell her exactly how she should secure her passage to the next island.

He was right there was a ship docked on the south end of the island only...

"That's perfect... We'll stow away on board and get a free trip to Orange Island. It'll be easy peesy."

She noticed the ship again as she was dropping the bandit off to the jailer for the bounty. The ship docked on the island was actually a marine vessel stocking up on supplies at the different islands before crossing over to another blue perhaps. That meant that it was sure to stop at Orange Town on its way. What would be so hard about sneaking aboard a marine ship? Piece ah cake! At that time, the waiter finally came over with a pint of ale for Rei-Rei, apparently compliments of the a group of rough, ugly seamen over in the corner of the pub. Rei-Rei turned and blew a kiss, then turned back and took a huge gulp of the drink. Refreshing as it was, it didn't sate Rei's curiosity concerning her new partner in crime..

"So what's your deal anyway? Why'd you wash up onshore yesterday and why of all places would you be swimming the East Blue?"






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As nice as a free trip sounded, the young Fishman had doubts that they’d be able to succeed. He wasn’t quite sure if their luck was even great enough to pull something like that off. It also made him wonder if he should just go on alone and just swim to another destination. While that’s what he wanted, he knew that he’d later regret leaving behind someone. It’d be something that he’d away at him until he could no longer sleep at night.

Suddenly a commotion broke out in the bar where two people argued about their tab. Normally Tai would have joined the party, but he had other things to do. More importantly with his strength, he’d probably put them in a hospital and be chased out of town. As he thought more about others calling him a monster, it made anger inside of him swell. It almost made him stand up, but he thought to himself.

Stop it; they’re not even looking at me…

Once he calmed down, he then heard Reinaka ask him a question. While he didn’t want to tell a stranger his intentions, he also didn’t see the harm in it. What good would it’d do her anyways; some would probably even call him a fool. The Grand Line was supposed to be a place that no one would ever want to go to and he thought he’d be able to swim there.

“I was trying to swim to the Grand Line,” he cut right to the point, “I’m trying to get to an Island that’s located there.”

After he was finished, his rage neared its limit. He hated thinking about that fateful night where he failed to get the place he was from. He desperately wanted to see other people like him, but instead he was stuck in a Human infested world.




[A Path to Orange Town]




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Raza

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orange town bound


Rei-Rei kept her arms folded, nodding intently, desperately trying to focus on what the shark was saying. Unfortunately, too many things were going through her head as usual. It wasn't personal, its just how her brain operated. She couldn't very well ponder life choices or take mental notes about her surroundings while she spoke. That'd be crazy, entirely too strenuous and probably nigh impossible. No, when others spoke was always a great time to tack off some of those mental checklist items.

Look at his teeth, they're so sharp. I wonder what would happen if he bit his tongue? Can sharks regrow tongues? Hmm does he eat his victims after fighting them? Would that be cannibalism? Nah, not technically. I wonder if Fishman eat other Fishman.

And then a loud horn sounded off and she nearly jumped out of her seat. How could she have forgotten? They were so late. She jumped to her feet, finished the beer and grabbed the shark's arm to pull him up and out the door. They were running so fast that it was hard to speak but she had to manage.

"I...found us.... a ship to crash. Here... put these on..."

She reached into her backpack and pulled out a Marine uniform, tossing over to the man. She'd managed to swipe a few from nearby when she'd first passed the ship and scouted it out. And then began to throw hers on over her head. The ship would be leaving soon as if they were going to get to Orange Town, well, it had to be now or never.

"Here...I cut a whole in the inside flap of this backpack, put in on to cover up your fin! I don' know if Fishman can be Marines but either way we need as little attention on us as we can possibly manage."

Finally they were at the port. Rei-Rei stopped to tuck in everything properly, fastening her long hair into an air-tight bun, putting on a blank, boring expression then began marching up to the boat and up the ramp. A marine was there with a list to check off names, it seemed. As she made her way up to the man and halted.

"Hmm. Ramirez? Check. And..... uh," the Marine was stunned to see Tai. He squinted his eyes a bit as if to figure out what exactly was wrong with... "Houston"...

"Sorry, sir. Houston ate a bit of bad fish. He's bound to puke at any moment," Rei interjected, trying desperately to throw some of the eat off Tai.

"Well... see to that I guess. We don't need our cooks contaminating the food. Hurry up, you too. Mess time is at 015!"

"Right, sir."

Rei-Rei scurrying on up and onto the ship, exhaling a sigh of relief at managing to somehow get on board. Dumb Marines. Ha. This would be easy. No one was ever going to suspect a thing. HAHAHAHHH






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While Tai was speaking, he wasn’t quite sure if Reinaka was paying attention to his story or not. He wanted to be angry, but it wasn’t like he cared either. So that he wouldn’t end up sitting there, looking like a fool, he started to drink more and hoped things didn’t get weirder than they’d already felt to him. Quickly before he knew it, the Fishman suddenly noticed that his arm was being grabbed.

What now.

Almost immediately he knew that she was up to something, but he had no idea what it was. First words were said, but sadly it didn’t answer the questions Tai had, he was still lost like a child in a candy store. Suddenly clothes were tossed at him and from the colors he’d already known what Reinaka had planned. She wanted to sneak aboard a Marine Ship. Normally he’d back out of something like that, but it was a challenge he was willing to pull off.

After he slipped on the attire, he noticed that the woman also handed him a backpack. Rather than asking questions, the aquatic humanoid slipped it on to hide his fin. It seemed like a good idea, but something in the back of his throat made him worried about the situation. Surely a couple Marines would notice that something was up, didn’t they have codes to allow others to board ships?

His question was then answered after they ran into a Marine. As the man spoke, Tai’s blood started to boil. He deeply hated the Marines and it bothered him to know that he was in front of one. Why should he just stand there when he could simply end the person’s life? That’s when he calmed himself down; he didn’t want the man to notice his fangs.

“...,” the young Fishman grumbled as his partner made up an excuse for him.

He knew their plan would fail if the man noticed Tai’s teeth as he spoke. The excuse, however, was something he hated. The aquatic humanoid wished that she’d come up with a better story instead of making him out to be someone who couldn’t hold their lunch.

The man then quickly cleared them and allowed the duo to board the ship. As Tai walked the way, his mind was stuck at what they were told. Cooks? Did that mean that they stumbled into the wrong place at the wrong time? The Fishman knew that he couldn’t cook, but could Reinaka? Sadly he didn’t have time to wonder any longer as he stepped entered the vessel. He then stood there and noticed a lot of Marines. Would he be able to contain himself or would he go wild like usual?




[A Path to Orange Town]




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Raza

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orange town bound


The shuffling and bustling of the marine ship brought a wide eyed look to Rei-Rei's expression. Everyone was moving, everyone was doing something or going someplace. Heads down, and tight marching formations were in full-throttle. It reminded the Skypiean of an assembly of marching bands, practicing and prancing up and down the deck of the ship. The movements, the shifting, the perfect execution of procedural formations, it was all enough to make the girl's head spin and her stomach churn. She wanted to throw up all the order and vomit as much structure as should could. Reinaka, our fear-less and daunting lady-love, was afraid of nothing and no one except for Robert Rules of Order, single-file lines and tucked in shirts, with name badges. She felt as if she could break out in hives and any moment. She would, she should, you bet your ass she could if she didn't immediately make a change of scenery.

As if by magic and fate, the couple were pushed from behind into a formation of marine's marching in to a lower deck of the ship. Rei-Rei darling tried with all her might and muster to mimic the formula'd process of marching one-two-one-two style along with her similarly dressed cohorts and yet for the life of her she couldn't time her steps with one Private Johnson only inches behind her. Flustered by her confusion, his pacing broke off as well, and as though a domino effect had occurred the entire formation was thrown off by one ditsy, winged creature with an appetite for non-pleated skirts and boys with full lips.

"Halt right there, private!"

Instinctively she knew she'd been singled out, and the fact that the line had moved two paces behind her and she was now very much alone in her sloppy stance and bad timing. A large marine approached her from behind and she could feel the weight of his glower on the back of her neck as though she'd entered an M. Knight Shamalan film. The prickly hairs standing at attention and a cold front passing just over her nautical coordinates. The seven-foot giant rounded the little brown angel and peered into her face as though he was trying to look at a spot on the inside of her forehead. She reflexively drew back from his approached grimace and he, in turn, leaned in closer. He looked at her face, and then her badge and back to her face and she knew she'd been discovered. That is until he stood back at attention and looked back at the formation.

"Continue to your posts, marines! Ramirez and I are gonna have a little session on marching in place! If there are any other cooks in the formation, get down the fucking kitchen right now! Only an hour remaining until cow time! MOVE OUT!!!"

The formation simultaneously 'Sir, Yes, Sir'd" with all their might and moved out, leaving Jax to have to continue down to the kitchen without her. She hadn't a second to worry about him, though, as she was instantly instructed to behind marching in place! Suddenly she was marching at full speed with a screaming officer hot on her tail, threatening to throw her over board if she stop!

"KEEP MOVING BEFORE I PUT SOME WEIGHTS ON YOU, LITTLE LADY!"






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People were marching around the ship and as they did, the Fishman started to feel dizzy. Never before in his life had he seen men walking around so much. While he wanted to join in so that he wouldn’t be singled out, he couldn’t focus because his head was pounding from their movements. It worried him because he knew that others would spot him and know that he didn’t belong.

Heh belong…

Fitting in seemed like a recurring thing for Tai and he wondered if that would ever change. Thankfully his legs finally responded to him and then he joined the crowd in their formation. His worries, however, soon returned after he heard a booming voice. Should he have just stood still like he wanted? As the aquatic humanoid heard footsteps, he fell into a stance.

I didn’t want to do this, but I might as well prepare for a fight…

When he noticed the man, the Fishman realized the Marine wasn’t even looking at him. Did he worry for nothing? Sadly, that still wasn’t the case. The towering giant walked over to Reinaka and that’s when he started to shake his head. He wanted to just forget about her, but that’d only make him into something he hated more than anything. If she was going to be taken away, he had to do something.

Instead of doing just that, someone started to push Tai as well. Were they both found out already? He was angry because he hadn’t even done anything yet. Without getting in a word, the aquatic humanoid was pushed further and further into he was practically thrown into a room. Almost instantly, he turned around and prepared himself for a fight.

“You heard the man, get to cooking!” one of the Marines said and then slammed the door shut.

After the man left, Tai looked around and noticed that he was in a kitchen. First he scratched his head, confused as to what was going on and then it came back to him. Back when they boarded the ship, they were told that they had to cook. Without worrying about Reinaka, he calmly walked over to what looked to be a pot on top of a stove.

“Bummer,” he muttered out as he took the top off, “I was hoping that there already be food here.”

“Wait just a second,” an unknown voice said, causing the aquatic humanoid to turn around.

Apparently there were others in the room with him and he didn’t even notice. Both were dressed in usual chef attire with one of them eyeing Tai for some odd reason. The man then pulled out a piece of paper and then held it up beside the Fishman’s face.

“Those teeth, those eyes…” he muttered out, “You--- You’re the same guy in this poster!”

While the aquatic humanoid wanted to wonder why he had a bounty, he had to be quick. Before the marines could alert the others, he needed to dispose of them for a moment. The problem was that he didn’t know how he could while also not making a sound. First he delivered two quick jabs to knock each of them out and then searched for something to tie them up.

After a while, he managed to find a long strand of rope. Quickly, he tied it around each of them and then looked for a place for them. He found a cabinet that looked to be the same size of them men, shifted the pots and pans around, and then he stuffed both Marines inside.

“Sorry about this,” he said, wiping the sweat from his forehead, “But I can’t let you tell anyone I’m here.”





[A Path to Orange Town]




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Raza

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orange town bound


Reinaka burst through the door of the kitchen, shutting it behind and pushing her back up against the steel frame. Her breathing sounded more like the the last cries of a dying whale than the body trying to take in air to live. She'd barely managed to survive the foreman's abuse, her legs wobbling under her as she stood there, really to buckle and give out at any moment. She'd been crying the whole time and it showed, her eyes pouring out liquid like a water fountain.

"Why.....Why....Didn't you H-H-H-H-Heeellpp Meeeeeee, you Meanieeee!"

The waterworks continued as she launched herself at the giant fishman, biting his arm and flailing her arms at him in no particular style or intent, her anger clearly at herself for being made to exercise so intently. The Fishman's indifference to her predicament only making her contempt that much worse until...

Oh?

She looked down to see a piece of paper sitting on the floor, and reached down to pick it up... it's...a.... wanted poster?!! Rei-Rei's eyes burst forward as she say the face above the standard "Dead or Alive" marker, labeling the Fishman that she'd been traveling with, Tai Rackem" as a wanted pirate!

"YOU'RE A PIRATEEEEEEEE!????? Why wouldn't you tell me that you stupid fish face?! We just snuck onto a freaking marine ship, you idiot! If you get me thrown in jail so help I'm going to kill you, you oversized catch of the dayyyy!!!

Her anger radiated off her body and she stood there, glowering at him and inhaled sharp, long breathes, her fist balling up the wanted poster in her hands. What were they going to do now? They were in the belly of the beast, surrounded by hundreds of marines and now forced to make their dinner.






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Right when Tai couldn’t think that things could get worse, they did. Suddenly Reinaka busted into the kitchen and she was in tears. While he wanted to be angry at whoever caused her to cry, he was more confused as to why he was being blamed. He didn’t even do anything, but he figured that’s exactly why he was in trouble.

I’m starting to regret leaving my home…

Regardless, the Fishman then decided to ignore the crying woman until she started to freak out again. His wanted poster was the cause and that’s when the aquatic humanoid suddenly remembered that he had a price on his head. His face had the expression of someone who was proud, but then he focused back to reality. It finally hit him that they were aboard a ship full of marines.

“Shhhh keep down,” he muttered out, “If they find out, we’ll both get busted and jailed.”

After that, Tai took the wanted poster so that he could see how he looked. He was completely stunned at the blood that was dripping from his head in it and tried to remember when it happened. Sadly, he couldn’t, but he was at least happy that it looked menacing.

“Also I am not a pirate,” the Fishman added to his words, “That’s just a label the Government has given me; I just do whatever I want.”

With all the unanswered questions finally coming to an end, Tai realized that they needed to prepare a feast for the men aboard the vessel. There, however, was a small problem. He didn’t know how to cook and what’s more he didn’t even know where the food would be. The aquatic humanoid was also afraid that Reinaka would find the men he’d tied up. Would she freak out again?

Ugh and now I have a pounding headache...




[A Path to Orange Town]




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Raza

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orange town bound


Hmmm. Well, that made sense she supposed. The World Government was very black and white in terms of following their laws or not following them. A supreme organization in charge of the whole world was bound to have its flaring gaps and shortcomings, not to mention its own level of corruption and abuse of power. Reinaka was no fan of "The Man" and actively fought to go against the grain in all things. And while she was necessary bad enough to be declared a criminal, she was no way near what you would call "marine quality".

She decided to let it go. She wasn't necessarily all pirates, although most of them were lousy good-for-nothing womanizers and petty criminals. But she was concerned with the fact that she didn't really know anything about this guy still and yet she was trapped on a marine ship with him. It just seemed like too many variables to figure out and it didn't help that he wasn't the talkative type. He had to spill or she wasn't gonna be doing this anymore.

"Well...fine. But I'm not just gonna be hanging out with some crazed killer. You've yet to really tell me anything about yourself..."

She scanned the stove and counter tops for a sign of what they'd been preparing while she spoke. Hmm... freshly cut vegetables, tenderized meat, boiling broth. Hmm... a stew of some kind it seemed. Stews must have been very popular on ships like these. So many people, so many mouths to feed. Reinaka wasn't a cook by any means but she'd at least learned how to prepare dishes for herself. She looked around for an apron, not wanting to get her new uniform messy. She hated it, but the last thing that would make it better was going to be brown stains.

"You said you were trying to swim to Fishman Island, right? How could that have gotten you a bounty? I'm guessing you made a few unfortunate stops along the way, huh?"

Her hand reached for the knob of the closet door and as soon as she cleared the door, two men tied up lauched themselves out of the small, cramped space. One aimed right now Reinaka. It was instinctive, it was unplanned and it was horrible but she reacted as she was trained to do. Vital areas! And right now... that was the man's throat.

"Obstructionnnnn!"

Three jabs and the man froze in place, his eyes wide with fear and panic. His body seized up and he looked as if he couldn't breathe, which she knew was most certainly the case. She'd aimed her paralyzing strikes directly at his throat, likely cutting off his air supply. Rei's hands went to her mouth and she stepped backward and the man fell over and ceased his struggling, relaxing completely on the floor.

"Oh my God... he's dead! He's dead and I killed him! I.. I killed a marine! Oh no! Oh No! Oh no!"
 






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Crazed Killer?

The idea of being called something like that caused Tai to laugh. As vicious as he probably looked to some, he’d never kill someone. His view of life was to live the way you wanted; he wanted everyone to be free. With that belief, he couldn’t imagine robbing someone else of theirs.

There were, however, some exceptions to the Fishman’s way of life. If someone were to harm a friend of his or if he was left no other choice, he wouldn’t hesitate to give someone their last breath. He also noticed that ever since he kept his rule in place, he noticed that he never had to resort to such a thing. In fact, it made him happy to know that he didn’t have to kill someone.

Since Tai didn’t know anything about cooking, he decided to allow Reinaka do all the work. Whenever she needed a tool or someone with a lot of strength, he’d help but otherwise he would sit down until there was something he had to do. Right as the woman spoke, the aquatic humanoid thought back about his childhood. His life was full a mayhem, destroying houses for fun and being scolded by his father.

“Let’s just say I had a huge temper and was sick of others trying to get me to stop,” he muttered out, “My f--- or rather my human father tried his best to get me to change, but sadly it didn’t help.”

The Fishman then watched as his “partner” opened the closet that he’d stuffed marines inside of. Instantly he knew that he had to stop her or she’d alert the rest of the men on their ship. He, however, was too late. Reinaka had already noticed and attacked one of them. Tai’s eyes then lit up as the woman freaked out over the loss of the marine’s life.

“Ju--- Just hold on,” he tried to calm her down and then out of the corner of his eye, he saw the other one trying to sneak away from them.

“If only you had did what I said,” the aquatic humanoid said, slamming his fist at the man's throat, “You wouldn’t have to die.”

After his hand was pressed against the human, Tai could hear a snap and felt the impact shot off the back of his victim's neck. It was almost as if the marine’s adam's apple was made of stone and crumbled under the Fishman’s strength. Once the deed was done, the aquatic humanoid felt bad for what he’d done, but he felt like he had no other choice. If the human alerted the others, they’d all be dead.

“Just relax and let’s continue cooking,” Tai said, pushing ingredients into a pot, “We can’t let the others know or we’ll be---.”

Instantly the pot that the Fishman was cooking in exploded and then the room was spattered in the stew’s contents. It was then that he realized the other marines would probably check on the noise. Thinking quickly on his feet, Tai opened the closet and tossed the deceased men inside of it. He figured then they would be safe.




[A Path to Orange Town]





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orange town bound


She wanted to be mortified, horrified, vilified: they were monsters for what they had done. Dirty, no good, lousy stinking criminals. She watched in shock as the marine laid there, sleep-like and unmoving. She had made him that way, she'd ended his life before he knew what was happening. She was so absorbed into her own actions that she barely registered the second man springing from the closet, and subsequently being stopped by Tai. She gasped at the sound of bone snapping under the weight of the Fishman's assault.

How was he doing this so easily? Killing was not something that was supposed to come easily. She destroyed the sailor, probably someone with a life all his own. A love interest, a family awaiting yet another deployment overseas, little siblings that looked up to him maybe? Was this how he expected to meet his end? Because he'd inconvenienced two criminals. It was a lot to stomach, too much even. Tai had already begun to grab the men and drag them back into the pantry to hide from sight. Was this the vicious pragmatism of the entire Fishman people? The stories of shock and horror that made the race of people stand out as inhuman and not simply because they were... inhuman? She watched, unable to really speak or offer a hand in anything. She was numb to it still... until...

BOOM!

The pots seemed to explode and their contents released into the air. The sound rocked the kitchen and was likely going to bring unwanted attention to the kitchen. She needed to move, she needed to get her shit together. She was tougher than this, tougher than her fear or worry or regret. She had to accept what was happening and grieve about it later. Knocks came at the door and it was no or never. She could either crumble to the ground and accept her fate, or she could fight. Wasn't that what she was trying to do? To fight? To get stronger? To grow and learn and live? Her parents were not right. This was the life she was supposed to be living. She was not some little princess angel.

She ran and grabbed one of the pots and a spoon and began viciously mixing what little of the concoction was left to the pot. The doors of the kitchen finally slid open as a marine plowed his way through in anger. Before he could even open his mouth to scream or inquiry as to what the hell was happening in the kitchen, the silver pot impacted his face with force enough to bloody his nose and chip a tooth or two. As the pot slid away from his face, he was confronted with a vicious Rei-Rei, her eyes glowing with a rage that the man was not prepared for.

"WHAT MAKES YOU THINK YOU CAN BARGE INTO MY KITCHENNNNN!!!! WHEN DINNER IS SERVED, IT'LL BE SERVED, GODDAMNITTT! NOW GET THE HELL OUT OF HERE AND IF ONE MORE OF YOU LITTLE GRUNTS BURSTS IN HERE AGAIN I'LL MAKE SURE YOU DON'T EAT FOR A WEEK!! NOW GET OUTTTTT!"

The man's face lost all anger and switched to fear immediately. He'd never seen the kitchen look as chaotic as it did, but he'd also never seen the hellfire that was Rei-Rei's rage. He gulped in the face of it all, looked around to Tai, then began backing up and giving in. He straightened up, fixed his necktie--though his face was really beyond a quick sprusing--regained what little dignity he could manage and pivoted and exited with a "Yes, Ma'am". As the door closed, the energy seemed to fall out of Reinaka and she put her hand to the wall to hold herself up right. She took a moment to shove all the feelings and emotions back inside her, exhaled out her worry and turned back to Tai with a new determination.

"Let's just finish this meal and get the hell off this ship. Fill the pots that lost a lot with water. We'll just have to stretch what little soup we have left."

She went to the stove and turned the heat down to a simmer on all of them before dumping in the final ingredients that the chef's were obviously preparing to top off the concoction. After a few minutes, they'd managed to construct a cooking station that said they maybe knew what they were doing. They only had to wait now for it all to finish. IN the meantime, Rei-Rei leaned against the counter, silent and arms folded, unsure of how to regain the casualness of their interaction. It had been slain with those two men in the closet, it seemed.

"I'm from Skypiea.........," she wasn't sure what she wanted to say, but she couldn't take the silence anymore. "I never lived there, though. My mom ran away with someone from the blue sea and never looked back. She hated that place, and she made me afraid of it. How odd, right? You're trying with all your might to get to your home, and I'm too afraid to stop running from mine. What a pair we are, huh?"
 






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There was something in the air and Tai could sense the cause. From Reinaka’s body language he could read that her spirit was broken after her actions. He wanted to relate, but he didn’t really feel bad for what he’d done. It was going to be either them or the Marine’s lives and the Fishman wasn’t going to give up his life just yet, not until Fishman Island was on the horizon.

Suddenly knocks could be heard and the aquatic humanoid’s heart began to sink. Right away he knew that they were screwed and that meant that they needed to fight their way out of the hole they’d dug. Thankfully before he could actually do anything, his partner did all the work. A man busted in and then quickly left after seeing the woman’s rage.

And they say I’m the vicious one…

Tai’s first instruction was given and he couldn’t be happier because he hated to feel useless. Quickly, the Fishman grabbed a few pots and proceeded to the sink so that he could fill it up. As the water pounded the metal, the aquatic humanoid heard what Reinaka wanted to say. His body completely froze after he heard the word Skypiea and he wasn’t exactly sure why. Had he heard that name before?

It, however, finally came to him, he remembered his father mentioning a place that resided in the sky. That’s when he laughed because he found it funny that he was from a place that dwelled underground while the woman was from the direct opposite part. It also made him wonder if the sea played a part in fate or something, but maybe he was just over thinking things.

“If it’s your homeland, there’s no reason to be afraid,” Tai started to say; “You think everything will be all fun and games when I return to mine? There are probably worse creatures that live there and I’m willing to bet that they could rip a seaking apart without even trying. Should I be afraid of that, probably, will I allow myself to, nope.”

Once the Fishman’s words left him, he turned off the water and brought it to a counter that was close to the stove. As soon as his hands left it, strange poundings could be heard from a large container across the room. Tai then thought that it was odd that he never noticed the large box before because it was at least three times his size. While he wanted to get close to it, he decided to stop himself, fearing that it was a trap or something set for them.




[A Path to Orange Town]





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orange town bound


Hmm. Reinaka pondered on the Fishman's words, trying to absorb them and take the thoughts to heart, the courage in each syllable almost palpable. She kept her head down, hearing the man in all his advice. She felt ashamed. The horror stories and nightmarish tales about the feats of the Fishman race. The Fishman Island was said to be one of the most dangerous islands that there was. And yet... Tai was racing towards it.

Granted most people would think that all Fishman were welcome at the Island, but Tai said that he'd never lived there before, which meant that he probably would only be as welcome as any human that went to the island. Why was he so adamant? And why was he ignoring the risks associated with such a goal. Reinaka frowned in confusion at the idea but decided not to encroach any further on the topic. She could ask him a million questions later, but for now they could only focus on staying alive on this ship.

"The stew is ready, and I'm sure the crew must be getting really anxious. We should began taking this soap out. While they're eating, we'll sneak off the ship. We must be pretty close to Orange Island by now."

Reinaka grabbed mittens, wrapped her hands around one of the pots and turned and began to leave the room. The crew, if she figured correctly, would all be situated in the ships dining hall. She wasn't sure how the stew would turn out, but if it wasn't good they were probably going to have more problems than they could handle.

"Tai. You stay and get this lobster prepped and steamed while I serve the soup! And don't take forever. These guys clearly aren't the patient type."

Rei-Rei kicked open the door, and burst into the room filled with Marines. There were so many of them seated along long tables, plates and utensils in tow. The look of hunger on each of their faces was so anguished that they resembled starving wolves.

"ALRIGHT BOYS! ITS CHOW TIME, DAMMIT! FORM A LINE! YOU NEWBIE PETTY OFFICERS AT THE BACK! OFFICERS AT THE FRONT! MOVE IT!!!!!"




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L… Lobster?

More poundings came from the crate and located right at the top corner was a sticker that said ‘Special Order: Lobster’. The Fishman was confused because he was told that he needed to prepare a crustacean for the marines, but he expected one that’d be average sized. Did the box mean that he actually had to put some work in his preparation? Regardless, Tai was ready for whatever was inside the object.

“I hope you’re ready for me,” he muttered out as he cracked his knuckles and then pressed his hands on the top of the crate.

Once he found a grip, the aquatic humanoid then pulled as hard as he could and brought what could be called the door to the lobster’s cage. Right away, the Fishman readied himself for a fight and waited patiently for the creature to come out. After a couple seconds passed by, nothing happened, it was so silent one could hear a pin drop.

“WHAT’S THE BIG IDEA? COME ON OUT,” the aquatic humanoid yelled out, and then watched as a large orange claw shot out from the box.

It closed shut around Tai’s body and then pulled him into the darkness as if it was a demon from the shadow realm. While the Fishman was at a disadvantage, he wasn’t about to be defeated by something that he’d call dinner. Quickly, he inhaled a stream of air and then threw his arm around towards anything that moved, exhaling as a punch was launched.

The blow collided with the crustacean and then sent it flying through the top part of the box that they were fighting in. With light finally around for Tai to see the creature, he was shocked to see that the lobster was about the same size of its cage. Did that mean that his attack would have landed regardless?

Before he had a chance to get his answer, the monster clamped its claw around the Fishman’s feet to hold its target down. Afterwards, it swung its other claw over and over again; striking the aquatic humanoid’s face as it swung. Over and over again, Tai’s head spun backwards and then a trickle of blood flew off.

“YOU THINK THAT’LL BE ENOUGH TO DEFEAT SOMEONE LIKE ME?” he bellowed out and slammed his fist against what could be called the lobster’s wrist to release its grip.

After he was free, the Fishman then planted one of his legs firmly onto the ground. Once he was ready, he would then spin around like a spinning top with his free leg held out to attempt a kick. Tai didn’t think he needed to use his Karate on the Marine ship, but was wrong.

“Fishman Karate,” he said, “100 Tile Round Kick!”

The kick sailed across the air and then landed right in the middle of the monster’s face. Afterwards, he cut the distance between the two with haste and delivered around ten jabs like a machine gun for the lobster’s body. Each strike caused the beast to yell out in pain, but Tai felt no remorse whatsoever. When it came to creatures of the sea, one of them would be served as a meal.

“Now stand down and accept your fate,” the aquatic humanoid shouted loudly and sent one more punch to the crustacean's head, finishing it off.

Skills Used:
• 100 Tile Round Kick


[A Path to Orange Town]





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orange town bound


Reinaka stood there, arms crossed with a scowl on her face as the marines lined up and one by one lowered the spoon into the pot and filled their bowls. Every so often a sailor would try for too dips or comment about the wateriness of the dish, but with a quick and efficient smack of the spoon in her hand, their grumbles would be soon silenced. She was an iron chef, a wielder of metallic deadliness and no one seemed to want to cross her.

"Where's the lobsterrrr," she'd hear every so often but the heckling was always quieted with a directive from her.

Finally one sailor approached, a bit timid by the glowing whiteness of her scowl, but nonetheless hungry and approaching. He poured his soup but instead of returning to his seat like the others, he swallowed his fear and built up his courage for a singular protest.

"Tch. Where's Ramirez? She's never this mean to us at dinner time...," the sailor kept his eye's low and fixed on his soup and not anywhere near her badge that stated "Ramirez"... Not his anyway, but as for the next guy he could help but peer at her chest and noticed the irregularity.

"Hey...your chest says "Ramirez". Why you got on Ramirez' shirt?"

Reinaka left out a swing of her spoon and popped the man right in the nose. "STOP LOOKING AT MY CHEST YOU PERV!"

But the tyriad came too late, as others began murmurring about the badge as well, soon there were shouts coming from afar. Who are yous" and "What have you done with our lobsterrr" even. Fuck. This was bad. This was real bad.

"That's not Ramirezzzz"

Shit! Taiiii




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The kitchen was a mess with pots and pans scattered across the place after the fight. Tai then wondered if they should tidy up because if the Marines cleaned up, they’d know about their fallen brethren. Right as he was about to pick up a broom, pain struck his back and he realized he’d tired himself out. His fatigue made him laugh a little; he didn’t think he would be doing much work in the kitchen.

Since he had a moment of peace, the Fishman finally sat down with his back against a counter. He looked at the crustacean that he’d just defeated and wondered if there were scarier creatures than that in his homeland. While he wanted to worry about it, sounds from the dining hall distracted him from his thoughts. It sounded like the marines were upset, but did that meant that Reinaka was found out?

Tai then received his answer after he heard someone say that she wasn’t Ramirez. That’s when he jumped to his legs and tried to think of a way for them to escape. In the middle of his thoughts, he noticed lights out the window in front of him and realized that they were close to an island.

And now a way to swim to it…

The aquatic humanoid knew that he’d be fine for a journey such as that, but he wasn’t going to leave his partner behind. Suddenly while he thought of a way, the lobster jumped back to life and stood up. The Fishman growled, but then saw the answer that he was searching for. Without even fighting the monster, he kicked out the wall that surrounded the window. After that, he jumped onto the crustacean’s back.

“Do you want to stay here and be dinner or escape with us,” Tai said.

Even after his proposition, the creature wanted to kill the Fishman and tried to buck him off. Unfortunately for it, the aquatic humanoid wasn’t going anywhere and punched the beast’s head to shut it up. The lobster then stopped dead in its tracks, ready for whatever Tai had planned for it.

“WOMAN,” he said, hoping that Reinaka heard him, “HURRY SO WE CAN ESCAPE!”



[A Path to Orange Town]





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orange town bound


Reinaka heard Tai's shouts. Now was the time to get the hell out of dodge. Before she could even react to it however, a roundhouse kick came crashing into her guarded arm raised just in time to shield her face from the blow. The momentum of the kick slide her back a whole foot and her arm felt like it was bout to go to sleep. The kick must have been a hell of an attack. In fact, she knew it was. Upon impact, the man's chi became readable and verified to her that she did not want to get struck by one of those.

She reached for the pot in the very next second and slung the open container towards the majority of the marines, spewing the hot soup over the bulk of them. She tried to turn but instantly punches were coming at her from the direction of Tai. Son of a bitch. Her body slipped into her dance, a form that came naturally to her. There were so many strikes coming at her that she could only miss every third or fourth blow, unable to stop a fair bit of the attacks from landing home. She needed to get out of here or she wasn't going to make it past the next five minutes, let alone the voyage to the pier of Orange Town.

"Fllluiiiiiid Foot!"

The girl began whirling and weaving through this body and that body, marginalizing the blows that actually landed on her and got her way through to the far wall near a window. They began to shout out her plan in hopes of impeding her but her momentum was too great now. She was going to make it through and once she was out in the air she'd be able to pick up the wind current and fly away.

Suddenly a hand grabbed at her wing and she could feel it's grip yank her backward. The force of it wasn't enough to stop her exploding dive through the window, but enough to hinder her wing from opening correctly for a while. She grabbed at her heavenly appendage in a wince as she plummeted down and through the surface of the open sea. The impact was a concussive force all on its own, followed swiftly by the freezing cold temperatures of the sea stabbing at her from every possible angle.

She managed to make her way back up to the surface and gasped for a breath of air that seemed like it'd never come. Her wing hurt too much to somehow get airborne anytime soon. Not that she'd be able to now that her wings were soaked and heavy. Her only hope was that Tai had thought of a full plan after their daring escape from the boat.

Hurry Tai!




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THE END!

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