Family Feud(One Piece Part 12)

“All secured over here.” The last of the ringing mushi’s told me.

I nodded and smiled,”Good job.” I told him, “Continue patrol. I’ll let you know when to come back.”

“Hai sir!” the man on the other end said and hung up.

I backed up off the table and plopped down on the chair behind me. I propped my feet up on the table and admired my handy work of red on the mp before me.

I’m gonna have to throw those guys a feast or something.” I thought.

“Not too bad.” Law commented as he sat down next to me again.

“It’s only a beginning.” I told him, I then looked over at Hawkins who was frantically flipping his cards looking for something.

“Hawkins.” I called, gaining his attention as he jumped, “Is something wrong?”

I saw him swallow hard and then shift before glancing between me and the cards in front of him.

“They say,” He started and then stopped, looked at his cards then back at me before continuing, “That someone is going to die.”

I raised an eyebrow at this not sure of what he ment.

“Someone important.” He added noting my unsure face.

“Any idea who?” I asked taking my feet off the table and leaning forward.

“S-so far.” He stuttered, I knew then it was really bad. Basil Hawkins NEVER stuttered! “A head.”

“No idea which one?” Yassopp asked.

“I think I already know.” I whispered nails digging into the arms of the chair.

–Else Where–

Shanks and Benn where just heading back into the Red families’ territory when they were stopped.

“I know what you did!” An evil voice boomed behind them.

The two men turned instantly to face of Black Beard, Big Mama and both of their families.

Shanks tilted his head to the side like a kitten, “You’ll have to forgive me.” He said and smiled, “But I haven’t the foggiest of what you’re talking about.”

He growled at the red-haired man.

“You’re family has just taken over all of my territory!” He howled, “And I demand an even trade for it.”

“Even?” shanks asked crossing his arms, “Exactly what would you call even?”

Black Beard pulled a gun out of his belt and pointed it at the red-head.

“Your life should be about even.” He snarled.

“No!” I voice screeched, as a girl with the same red coloured hair as Shanks came running up to the sight, many men followed her.

“It wasn’t his fault!” She cried throwing herself between the two men, “It was all me.”

“Ceerie.” Shanks scowled.

“I was orchestrating the entire thing.” She told him, “He had nothing to do with it.”

“That’s a lie.” Shanks snarled at the girl, then turned his attention back to Blackbeard, “It was my idea and I had you go through with it.”

“Daddy.” She begged the older man, “Please.”

Shanks took the girl in his arms and held her for a moment before pulling away and placing his old straw hat on top of her head. Ceerie couldn’t hold the tears behind her eyes any longer. It was the hat every head wore to signify that they were in charge.

“Daddy.” She squeaked helplessly.

He smiled at the girl before throwing her back into the crowd of men under him. She fought to get back to her father, but the strong arms of a familiar blond held her back from him.

“I’m the one.” Shanks said, “You kill me.”

Black Beard Smiled grimly as he held the gun up and pointed it at the red haired man.

“Ceerie.” Shanks called back as black beard lined up, “Do your best. I love you.”

And in an instant a bang was heard, as was the cry of a girl. She clawed, bit, kicked, punched, and screamed until the arms around her were gone and she was on the ground crawling towards the still form of her father on the cobble stone.

“Daddy.” She whispered shaking the large male form lightly. There was no response.

“Daddy!” She yelled at him, but he remained still liquid as red as her hair pooled around him.

“Don’t leave me.” She begged helplessly, “You’re all I have.”

The Black and Sweat families were sent away as they wouldn’t mourn and only make snide remarks.

The Red family stood there staring down at the girl sobbing for her dead father in her lap, and their dead Boss.

No one could tell how long they stayed that way, as no one knew. It seemed like hours to some, others it was only minutes, and to others it was days.

“Ceerie!”

The said girl raised her head to see her nakama running towards her.

“Mena.” She sobbed.

They all stopped when they saw exactly what was there, and they understood that what they heard wasn’t just a rumor, but in fact truth. Black beard had killed Shanks, and Ceerie was showing weakness for the first time in years.

—–

Ceerie’s pov.

I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t eat, hell it was hard to breath!

He was gone. All gone. He left me and all he said was “Do you best” and “I love you“. A part of me wanted to smack him. But another part wanted to hear him say those words again.

I pulled blanket closer to me as I pushed myself more into the wall.

I was curled up in the far corner of my room in the fetal position, a blanket drapped over me.

No more tears fell. I had been in here almost two days without eating anything. Makino and Daddan were getting exceedingly worried because I locked and barricaded both of my doors and all of my windows. I wouldn’t talk to anyone.

I knew this wasn’t what my father wanted me to do, but I couldn’t help but feel as though there was this large hole missing in me.

I glanced at the clock and realized it was almost midnight. I sighed and pushed my head against the wall behind me rather than in my knees.

I allowed my eyes to slip closed as a single tear made it past my eye lids.

“Ceerie.” I heard a soft and familiar voice call out to me, “Ceerie.” It called again. “Who are you?” I asked. I heard the voice laugh, “You know who it is, princess.” It told me. “Daddy?” I asked. “That’s right!” He congratulated, “Now, tell me something. Why are you sitting here on the floor when you have people around you who are concerned for you health outside, worrying to death?” “I miss you.” I said. “I know.” He told me, “And I miss you too. But you’re alive and I’m-” “Don’t say it!” I screamed, “Don’t you dare say it!” “I’m dead, Ceerie.” He told me “You need to accept that. I didn’t die just so you could sit there and mope around all day! I died because a parent shouldn’t outlive their child. What you will do will be greater than I could ever imagine doing. You have Benn, Yassopp, and Lucky to guid you. You’re smart, you can do this, you just need to believe.” He told me, “I miss you Daddy.” I told him, “I love you too, and I miss you. And when you died it felt like a part of me died to.” “A part of you didn’t die, princess.” He told me, “My death merely took away the need you had for companionship. You’ll find true love, you won’t feel so empty.” “True love?” “Yes.” He said, “Find it. I know you will. And I also know you know I love you.” “I know.” I told him, “But I can I just stay here a couple of minutes longer?” “Why?” He asked, “I miss you.” I told him, “And I need to know you’re really gone.” “Oh, princess.” He said, “I’m never really gone.” “Then where are you?” I asked him. “For as long as you live, I will always be in your heart. And anytime you need me or are feeling lonely, just look there, and I’ll be right beside you.” “Daddy?” “Yes princess?” “I love you too, and I’ll make you proud.” “I know you will.” He told me, his voice beginning to fade, “I know you will.”

My eyes snapped open and I looked at the clock, seven am.

I took a deep breath to settle myself and stood up. I used the wall for support as my legs felt like jello. It took me a minute, but then I straightened up.

I headed to the bathroom and splashed some cool water on my face. When I looked up in the mirror I saw matted greasy hair, sunken, tired eyes, and bad posture.

I turned the shower on, stripped and stepped in. I was going to make him proud, but first I had to be presentable. After I had finished in the bathroom and was dressed in black shorts, a dark grey tank top, and black button down with the top half of the buttons undone, I moved all the stuff away from my balcony door and opened the curtains, I blinked a couple of times at the bright sun light I had neglected the past couple days.

I did the same with my windows before approaching the doors leading to the hall. I moved everything and slowly unlocked it. I opened the door hesitantly and stepped out. I closed it behind me and made my way down to the meeting room.

I heard voices on the other side and pushed it open. All eyes were on me as I closed it.

I closed the door and strode forward to the table where the straw hat lay.

“Shanks Le Roux is gone.” I said continuing on, “As his successor I have to take over. I made that promise and I intend to keep it.” I stopped when I was right in front of the hat on the table, “I might be young, gullible, naive, etc. But I promised my father and our people, that I would take care of things when my time came. It might have come a little sooner than I would have liked, but a Boss must be ready for anything. If you guys will stand with me, I know we can make this into what he wanted.”

I looked out my perethrial vision to see all of them.

“I’m with you.” Killer said standing up.

“As am I.” Law told me following suit.

“I as well.” Hawkins told me, doing the same.

“We can’t let you kids run around without any supervision, now can we?” Benn said looking around, Yassopp and Lucky nodded.

“Arigoto.” I said and reached a shaking hand out to place on the hat, I lifted it and carefully placed it on my head.

I turned around to face them.

“What did I miss?” I asked and crossed my arms.

“Breakfast.” Benn told me smirking.

I was about to make a witty come back but my growling stomach cut me short.

Rain fell everywhere as we walked along the path to the tomb all the heads were layed to rest in.

A casket was layed out on a table just before the steps leading up to the tomb. Everyone was wearing black, many were crying.

There was a long line up as people placed a flower on the ground before the casket. Only family and personal friends were allowed to place a flower on top of the casket.

Minutes turned into hours, the rain wouldn’t stop. The preacher asked is any of the family would like to step forward and say a few words before he put into the tomb. I stepped forward, being the only family he had.

I walked over to the casket with a yellow zinnia(meaning daily remembrance). It was fake instead of real. I figured that way he would have it and know I was always thinking of him.

I placed it on top of the casket and stared at it a moment.

“I’ll make you proud, Daddy.” I whispered, clutching the edge of my black skirt, “I love you. And I’ll make sure to keep my promises.”

I gently placed a hand on the casket and breathed deeply, before lifting my hand off and returning to where I stood before.

We watched as he was placed in the temple, I told everyone that wanted to talk to me and offer condolences that I would like to go for a walk alone.

I knew Killer followed me as I walked, but he kept his distance just to make sure that nothing happened to me. I found my way to the beach. I sat under a covered bench area and took off my boots and socks leaving them there as I walked over to the where the sea meets the land.

I stood in there deep enough for the water to reach about half way up my shin when it came all the way up. I stood there staring out at the vast horizon.

“Ceerie.” I heard Killer call behind me.

“I’m not going home just yet.” I told him. I knew that was what he was going to say, “I’m not going to put my shoes back on, and I’m going to stand under an umbrella.”

There was a moment of silence before I sighed.

“I wish it would stop.” I said out loud.

I knew Killer was confused as he stared a my back.

“The rain.” I elaborated, “He always hated it.”

“He always hated it?” He asked me.

I nodded watching the waves, “He always said it was because it made me look like I was crying all the time. He never liked to see me cry.”

“Why aren’t you crying?” He asked, then realization downed on him of what he had just said, “I-I’m sorry I shouldn’t have-

“No.” I stopped him, “It’s okay, Killer.” I assured, “I’m not crying because he hasn’t really left.”

“What do you mean?”

I turned around and looked at him, he seemed surprised by my actions, but he didn’t show it. Considering his face was covered.

“He left a bit of himself in all of us.” I said smiling, and then slowly raised a hand and put it over my chest, “And no matter what he’s always going to be with me. So even if I miss him, he is still here.”

I knew he was smiling under his mask.

“That’s a good way of thinking of things.” He told me.

I smiled again and lowered my hand.

“Come on.” I told him heading back to the covered area, “I’m getting hungry.”

I heard him chuckle as he waited for me to put my socks and shoes on.

He held the umbrella over my head aswell as his own and we walked together in comfortable silence.

The second we got it and took off our shoes I was attacked by a towel on my head, curtasy of Daddan.

“We cannot have our head coming down with pneumonia.” She grumbled.

“Hai.” I apologied.

“Ceeire.” Benn said coming into the foiay where I was still being attacked, “There’s an important call in the meeting room.”

“Kay.” I said, “Daddan, I can do the rest myself.”

She huffed and let go leaving me to dry my hair myself.

“Makino?” I asked just before I left the area, “Could you please make some grilled cheese?”

“Hai.” She said and smiled.

I smiled back, tussling some of my red locks with the towel as I entered the meeting room.

“What is it?” I asked sitting down in front of the mushi with the receiver on the stand in front of my chair.

“This is Don Doixique Doflamingo.” Said the man on the other end.

“And this is Ceerie.” I told him, “What might I help you with, Doflamingo-sama?”

“I wanted to offer condolences for your loss.” He told me, “As well as ask an important question of you.”

“Go on.” I said.

“Being the only daughter and next in line for the Red family I’m sure you’re aware of our social standing.” He said.

“Yes.” I said.

“I’m sure you’re also aware of our business deals.” He said.

“I am.” I told him, “Doflamingo-sama, unless you have a point or question here I’m afraid you’re wasting my time.”

“Gomena.” He said, “Here’s my proposition; I would like to make a solid pact between us, in marriage.”

“Exactly what are you proposing in that?” I asked him casting the drenched towel aside.

“I’m asking for your hand in marriage, Ceerie-san.” He told me, the mushi had a wide smile on, “I’ll be a good husband too, I can assure you.”

“May I have time to think it over?” I asked, “My father’s funeral was just today.”

“Of course.” He told me, his smile growing, “Take all the time you need.”

“Arigoto.” I told him, “I look forward to seeing you at the conference soon.”

“As you, Ceerie-san.” He said and hung up.

I put the receiver back in its place, and leaned back running a hand through my hair and sighing.

“Did you set up a meeting time with Kiado?” I asked Benn.

He nodded, “Tomorrow afternoon, two o’clock.”

I nodded, “I want you and Law to come, but you wait outside.”

They nodded.

“Are you sure that you want to do it alone?” Lucky asked.

I nodded, “We need him to think that we trust him.” I told them, “Besides, Urouge will be present there aswell. And I just so happen to know, through a high school resource, he had a crush on me.”

“And who’s your high school resource?” Law asked.

“The gossip queen herself.” I told him, “Nami.”

“Of all people.” He grumbled.

“Oi.” I told him, “Things like these we have the ability to use to our advantage.”

“You’re sly.” Benn said.

“I prefer, ceases of the opportunity.” I said cocking my head to the side.

They all chuckled at the that, and then there was a knock at the door. Hawkins answered it.

“Lunch is ready.” Daddan said, “And Ceerie-sama, take that soaking blazer off! You’ll catch a cold!”

I rolled my eyes and slipped it off as I made my way to the dinning room.

“How are the factories?”I asked as grilled cheese and bacon sandwiches were placed in front of me.

“Booming.” Law said picking up his spoon for the tomato soup, “We’ve already broke even on both of them, and numbers are just going up.”

“Silk?” I asked after I swallowed.

“People are a little hesitant.” Benn told me.

“Where are we focusing our products?” I asked sipping some soup.

“Everywhere really.” Law said.

I shook my head after I took a sip of my chocolate milk.

“We should be centering those around the higher ends of town.” I told them, “Extend to wealthier, more prosperous towns around if we have to. But for a hundred belli a yard, regular people are not going to buy it left right and center.”

“But-

“No buts.” I said, “We will have a certain amount of it in the regular area’s of town, but we focus mainly on the upper parts.”

“Yes, s-er-ma’am.” Law caught himself.

“And another thing.” I said putting my spoon down, “Don’t worry about the correction of sir to ma’am. It doesn’t matter to me.”

They nodded.

“How are we doing in Black beard’s territory?” I asked picking up another half a sandwich.

“So far everything is smooth.” Killer told me, “Non of his forces have come back, and all the civilians are more than happy to be under the red family now.”

I nodded, and swallowed my mouth full before asking.

“Any word on him yet?” I asked shifting a little.

“We’ve got a lead.” He told me, “But we aren’t sure.”

I nodded, “Are any of your spys found out?” I asked.

“No.” He said.

I nodded, “Bring in a new one.” I told him, “Have him make sure.”

“Non of the spies have been found out yet, Ceerie.” Lucky told me.

“That we know of.” I told him, “They could be playing it off so we don’t know. I’m not going to risk it. I want a new guy in. I don’t care.”

They both nodded.

“Any other marriage invitations?” I asked rubbing my temple.

There was an awkward silence in the room, before I sighed.

“How many?” I asked rubbing my eyes frustrated.

“Twenty-seven at my last count.” Benn told me.

I sighed deeply before muttering to myself, “My father just dies and all they can think of is how to get in my pants. Yeah, that’s just what turns a girl on.”

“Ceerie-sama, you are aware that you said that out loud, right?” Makino asked as she came out of the kitchen.

“I’m well aware.” I told her, “May I have some more?”

She nodded and took my plate to fill again.

“How’s the fish trade?” I asked.

“Quite well.” Hawkins told me, “The road has knocked off quite a few hours of travel time. We’ve actually been thinking of extending to Saboy.”

I smiled, “That’s a good idea.” I said, “can you make arrangements for a meeting or phone call with the mayor?” I asked Benn.

He nodded.

“How are things over in punk hazard?” I asked, “Our scientists, I mean.”

“They’re demanding more dry ice, hydrochloric acid, peroxide, and calcium sulfate than normal.” Law told me, pushing his empty plate away.

“Call them after lunch.” I told him, “At the very least I want to know the progress they’ve made, and why they need so much more.”

He nodded as Makino came out and placed another plate in front of me.

“Arigoto.” I said and smiled, she smiled back and cleared the empty plates.

“The arms dealing with Doflamingo?” I asked.

“All’s well with that.” Killer told me, “However it’s going to be slow getting grenades and land mines this month. Apparently it was something about lack of proper supplies.”

I nodded, “I’ll have to call him back and speak with him about that.”

“How about Skypiea’s mines?” I asked, “I heard we struck oil.”

“They’re flourishing.” Benn told me, “Ten years old, and you still knew what you were doing.”

“We’re hoping to bring in 100,000,000 this year at least.” Law told me, “And that’s after we’ve payed and bought everything we need.”

I nodded, “Have we established a good route to NewKomer?” I asked.

“We have, but it’ll take a month or two at the least to build the road connecting.” Yassopp told me.

“I wanna see a map.” I told them pushing a clean plate away from me, “We don’t have to connect the two, but a good path is essential.”

We went back to the meeting room. Law immediately dialed the lab, as Hawkins took out the maps.

“We thought of going along here,” He pointed from NewKomer, around the mountain, through think woods, straight to the road that used to go through black beard’s territory.

I shook my head, “No.”

“Ceerie-san.” Law said holding out the receiver. I took it from him.

“Moshi-moshi.” I said.

“Ceerie-sama!” Ceaser, the head scientist at the lab said, “I’m so sorry about your father, he was a good man.”

“I know.” I told him, “But that’s not what this is about.”

“What is it then?” He asked politely.

“I wanted to know what was up with the larger than normal orders.” I told him, “I hope this is for a relating experiment.”

“It is.” He told me, “While analyzing one of the bad fish you reserved, we found a strange bacteria in it. We were thinking that might have been the cause of it, but for right now we can’t be too sure.”

I nodded, “You’ll get the extra, but if I don’t have a for sure answer by the end of the month, I’m making cut backs on you.”

“Hai!” He said/squeaked, “I do hope you’re doing alright though.”

“Arigoto.” I said and then hung up.

I turned back to the map in front of me.

“They already have a road leading to Dresserosa.” I told them, “We branch off here,” I pointed to a point about half way between NewKomer and Dressarosa, “Make a road all along here.” I pulled my finger across a section of the map that was all grass land, “And we can connect it here.” I pointed to another point half way between here and Windmill town, right next door, “It’s cheaper, it’s easier, and it’s quicker. That’s what we need.”

Benn chuckled to himself.

“Nani?” I asked looking over my shoulder at him.

“Not even your father would figure that out.” he told me.

“I’m not exactly my father.” I mumbled before looking back at the maps, and discussed what do build it out of.

—-

I lay awake in bed staring into the darkness. So far everything was going smoothly. I noticed it was when I wasn’t doing anything, or talking to someone, that I my thoughts began to drift to him.

I sighed and turned over. I knew what I needed to keep from listening for his boots clicking down the halls.

He had indoor and outdoor boots. I prefered to be barefoot inside, and have shoes on outside, but I was given the option.

I gripped the material of my t-shirt at my chest, wishing he was here. And without a moment of hesitation my eyes slipped closed and I was fast asleep.

Makino threw the curtains opened and I blinked at the sudden light. It wasn’t blinding, as it was cloudy and raining. I sat up and stretched.

After my regular morning routen I was down stairs in the dinning room reading the morning paper in a black skirt that came to mid thigh, black socks that came just over my knees, a black button down and a crimson red tank top underneath, visible as the first four buttons of my shirt were undone.

Makino came out with my breakfast and I thanked her as I put the paper down.

I was whipping my mouth when the door bell rang, and I heard it slid open. I knew it was Law and Benn. All of the partners and right hand men would ring the doorbell and then just walk right in.

The door opened and Benn walked in, Law in toe.

“I’m ready.” I said standing up.

“You know you’re gonna do?” He asked me.

I nodded and we left.

I had boot on black boots with lots of buckles that came to mid shin, and a coat that was on my shoulders, it had a dark brown belt that went from my left shoulder to right hip keeping it on.

Law held the umbrella over him and myself as we walked. We had gotten used to this, as he was directly under me, it was degrading at times, but it was his job before all others to make sure I was alright, of course that was Benn’s job for right now, but he said that practice makes perfect.

We came to Kiado’s office building. No one knew why, but he never let anyone over to his house.

We entered and went right up to the front desk, even with the dirty looks we got.

“We’re here to see, Kiado-sama.” Law said for me.

“Do you have an appointment?” The receptionist asked eyeing me uneasily. I had the straw hat on my head as we walked, but when we entered I knocked it off so it was at the back of my neck, held on my a string.

“Yes.” Law said, “I made it myself.”

“Name?” She demanded.

“Leave them, Angel.” I looked over and saw Urouge standing there, smile still on his lips, “We’re expecting them.”

She nodded. We walked over to Urouge, who lead us to the elevator. He pressed a button and we went up.

“We were surprised the hear you wanted to speak with us.” He told me.

“You’ll be even more surprised when you find out my proposition.” I told him.

His smile only widened more. We came to a stop and got out.

“You two can wait here.” I told them knowing Kiado’s office was on the other side of the double doors.

They nodded and I undid the buckle of the belt on my shoulders and handed it to Benn who drapped it over his arm.

I followed Urouge into his office. Kiado was behind a large desk smoking a cigar.

He motioned to in front of his desk and I took it without a word. Urouge, went behind the desk and took a seat just behind Kiado.

“Exactly why did you ask to meet with me?” He asked me gruffly.

I reached into the my button up shirt and pulled a piece of paper out of a pocket. I threw it on the desk before him and motioned for him to look at it.

He unfolded it quickly, but didn’t tear any of it. He looked over it for a moment, then looked up at me over the edge of the paper with an eyebrow raised.

He threw it back on the desk and leaned back in his chair and crossed his arms.

“What’s the meaning of this?” He asked me.

“The Black and the Sweet families have joined until death.” I told him.

“I’m aware of this.” He snapped.

“I know you are.” I told him calmly, “And I also know that we all know that even though Black Beard is younger with little experience, he still managed to overthrow White Beard. And the Sweet family was strong to begin with.”

“Point?” He asked calming down a little.

“Our fight isn’t with each other.” I told him, “But with them.” He looked skeptical, “I don’t know what they have up their sleeve, I don’t know what’s going to happen in the next few years, and I don’t know how strong they’re going to get.”

“I would like a point.” He growled.

“What I do know is that we have to act now if we want a future.” I told him, “Black Beard just came to power, the marriage just happened, and I became the first female Boss in history. There’s going to be confusion, bugs, and kinks to work out. Not to mention a furious wife, because thanks to her husband her dreams were smashed. And all of this will play out.”

“That still doesn’t explain this.” Kiado told me, “That’s what I want to know.”

“Call it insurance.” I told him.

“Insurance?” He asked.

I nodded, “We need to focus our forces towards them, not each other. And this is a peace-offering.” I paused and let it sink in a moment, “I have a plan to force Big Mama out of her position, and possibly throw out Black Beard. But I know I can’t do it alone, not even with all my father’s advisors, men, and knowledge under my belt. I need someone with actual experience in the driver’s seat, and that’s you Kiado-san. And I’m willing to listen to anything you have to say about this.”

I heard him smirk.

“So young and yet so intelligent and wise.” He looked me in the eye, “Many your age would have thought they could take them on themselves just because they managed to take over one’s territory. I’m impressed, I have to say. I’ll accept this temporary truce between us until the others are gone, but I have a way to make that temporary, permanent.”

“I’m listening.” I told him.

“You’re a young, intelligent, good-looking young girl.” He started, “And I happen to have a strong, brave, strapping, and attractive young fella. I propose a marriage with Urouge and join our two families, and combat them together. What do you say?”

I looked at him, “I thank you for the offer.” I told him, “But my father’s funeral was just yesterday. And with his death still so fresh in my mind, I can’t think of much else but to do what he wanted me to right now. But I will highly consider it.”

“Like you’ve highly considered all other marriage proposals you’ve received?” Urouge cut in.

I shook my head, “I’m actually contemplating getting married soon just to stop them coming in. But for right now, I want Black Beard out of the picture. After that I’ll find marriage.”

Kiado smirked again, “I accept this proposal.” he told me, “We’re under a temporary truce until we’ve over thrown and or killed the head’s of the Black and Sweet families. And after that we’ll discuss what to do, won’t we?”

I nodded, “Thank you again for meeting with me.”

He rose and stuck out his hand, I did the same and shook it.

“I’m glad I did.” he told me, “You’re full of bright and logical ideas.”

“Fresh eyes.” I told him, and I shook Urouge’s hand.

“I’ll show you out.” He told me.

“Arigoto.” I said to him.

We went back out to the other room. Law and Benn stood, then walked with us, just behind to the elevator. The ride down was silent.

Urouge lead us back to the front door and bowed.

“Thank you for coming.” He said.

We bowed back, “Thank you for having us.”

He nodded and left.

Law drapped my coat over my shoulders, and I did up the belt as Benn held the door open for me.

Walking under Law’s umbrella, Benn beside us, it was silent until we reached our territory again.

“Did it go as planned?” Law asked.

“No.” I told him, “Better.”

“How could it go better?” He asked.

I smirked and quickened my strides, “I found a weak spot in them.”

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