The Red Shadow Hunt(A Pokemon Paul Love Story Part 13)

It was early the next morning I rose out of bed quietly. I grabbed a comb, a few knives, and my boots before seeking out the door and down the hall. Candice was always an early riser, and it was her I needed to talk to.

I knocked softly on the door and waited for her to open it. She looked slightly surprised to see me up this early and still around the place.

“Hey, what can I do for you?” She asked and opened the door all the way so I could come in.

“Animal and I are heading down to town today.” I told her, “I need a disguise.”

She smiled brightly, “You came to the right place!” She told me.

She opened both of her closets and I sat on her bed brushing my hair.

“What were you thinking?” She asked me.

“Something simple.” I told her, “Covers most of my face, a lot of women from any town would wear it aswell.”

She nodded and turned around digging through everything before she pulled out something long and black, she tossed it to me before pulling two more pieces of cloth out.

“That’s the dress.” She said, “It’s mostly figureless, so you can conceal those weapons. This is the head dress.” She held out the two pieces, “This one goes on your head like a hood, and this one goes across your face, covering most of it.”

“It’s perfect.” I told her, “Thank you.”

“It’s my home too, Jowey.” Candice told me softly, “I don’t want it wrecked because of the King and his guards trying to find you or anyone else. If this helps I do it willingly.”

I stood up and walked over to her, I wrapped an arm around her shoulder and pulled her in for a side hug.

“I know.” I told her, “I know.”

“Wow, you actually look like a girl.” Animal teased when I came down.

I shot him a glare and a playful smirk, “Too bad you don’t get a lot.”

‘OOh’s were heard throughout the room.

He frowned deeply and pulled the bag Martain had just finished packing off the table.

“We takin’ horses?” He asked as I pulled the mask over my nose.

“No.” I said, “It’d take too long.”

“And you sure no one is gonna recognize you?” He asked.

I nodded, “All I have to do is keep my head down and act meek. They won’t suspect a thing.”

He nodded, “We’ll see you later.” Animal said and headed to the door.

“Bye guys.” I said and quickly followed.

“What about, Paul?” Alec asked quickly.

“Say bye to him for me.” I said and ran to catch up with Animal.

Paul’s pov.

I woke up and looked around. Jowey wasn’t there.

I sighed and sat up. I really need to start waking up earlier. Most of the time she’s already left by then. But even the time I get up is still early. Guess it’s not compared to her.

I quickly tied up my boots and threw on a shirt before grabbing my sword and heading down stairs.

When I got there the door had just shut and I made my way to the bar.

“Morning guys.” I said and sat down.

“How come you always sleep in?” Zuren asked.

I looked at him and said, “Usually the time I get up anyways.”

“Late, you ask me.” He said.

“And how many are still asleep?” I challenged.

“Most of the girls, and a few of the guys.” He said, “Course that’s just ’cause of what usually goes on at night with them.”

I shrugged and accepted the coffee Martain placed in front of me.

“So where’s Jowey? She leave yet?” I asked.

Martain nodded, “She and Animal just left. I don’t think anyone would recognize her in what she was wearin’ either.”

I nodded, I was going to be a long day or two without her.

Jowey’s pov.

We hurried down the mountain, and did it in record time too.

“I won.” Animal hissed as me when we reached the bottom.

“Don’t care.” I told him and continued on.

“Aren’t you supposed to be acting like a woman?” He asked me.

I nodded, “When we come across people.” I told him.

He sighed but said nothing about it.

We continued on until we came to edge of the town. There were a few farmers in the fields, we were stopped by an elderly one.

“I wouldn’t go that way.” He warned us, “The king is taking any and all able young men to become his soldiers.”

“For what purpose?” Animal asked politely.

“Son, there are changes in crown going on in a few of our neighbouring countries. The king feels as though it’s time to attack them as the new king settles and expand his kingdom. He needs every man he can get. He sent an entire battalion up into the mountains not too long ago to look for a traitor, not a single one came back. They’re presumed dead.”

Animal nodded, “My sister and I where up in tavern about the same time, resting. They were all killed.”

The old man shook his head, “He keeps sending men to die uselessly. It breaks my heart.”

“Where one of those men your son?” I had cut in to ask.

He nodded slowly, “His name was Tracey. He was a good boy, very gentle, wouldn’t hurt a fly. And yet he was recruited.”

“I’m sorry.” Animal told him, “My sister just asks things sometimes without thinking.”

The old man shook his head, “It’s alright. I just pray his soul is at peace.”

“We thank you for the warning and your time, sir.” Animal said and we both bowed. Then turned and left the man in the fields.

“What do you wanna do?” Animal asked me when we were far enough from anyone’s ear shot.

“Go around the back.” I told him, “I’ll scale the wall, and see what I can see from the castle.”

“Don’t get caught.” He told me.

“Have I been so far?” I asked.

He didn’t say anything after that as we made our way to the rear of the city. In the shade of the high walls, we hid in the shadows.

I shed the dress and head-piece and left it on the ground next to Animal.

“I’ll wait here.” He told me.

I nodded and spit on my hands to gain the grip I knew I needed. There were small spaces between the tall staked rocks, at times it was harder, but I had made my way up.

I looked left and right over the stone path where guards walked, and waited until the coast was clear. When it was I ran across the wide path and made the five foot jump from the wall of the city to the tower of the castle.

I had timed it right because there was the shift change happening at the moment.

I slowly crawled my way up the steep wall until I came to a specific window. It was the Window to the Princesses room. I was maneuvered in such a way that I could see into a part of the room, but they couldn’t see me.

“You really are like your daddy.” I heard the princess giggle. She walked into my view holding something to her chest covered in blankets, “You must be hungry.” She said and began to undo the buttons of her dress. She pulled her breast out of her undergarment and the child began to suck.

I was disgusted with myself. I had seen the child had purple hair. Hair just like paul’s. He had given her a child, and then he took me.

I was about to move on, I didn’t like this sight anymore, when the door to the room opened without a knock or permission to enter.

Into my sight strolled Cyrus, he stood in front of his daughter holding a large amount of authority over her.

“Has he come?” She asked respectfully.

“No.” Cyrus said flatly, “Our first attempt to bring him back had ended in failure.”

The princess looked down almost ashamed.

“It’s alright.” He told her, I could have sworn he was smiling when he did, “I’ve already made other arrangements about bringing him back. He should be here soon.”

Her eyes lit up and mine widened.

I scurried down the wall, leapt across the pathway, and jumped down to the ground, landing with a muffled thud.

“We have to get back up to the tavern, now.” I told Animal with slightly heavier breath than normal.

He didn’t question anything, we merely went as fast as we could back to the mountain base, and climbed about as fast as our limbs would let us.

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The Red Shadow Hunt(A Pokemon Paul Love Story Part 12)

I stirred awake and blinked a few times to get the spots away from my eyes, I attempted to sit up, but a headache forced me back down. I glanced around the room. It was as I left it, except for Paul laying next to me shirtless he was on his side and had his head supported by his left hand. He was smiling at me tiredly.

“Please tell me we didn’t do anything last night.” I begged.

“Why?” He teased, “You don’t want me in you drunk?”

He nuzzled his face into my neck.

“I wanna remember every time.” I told him and ran a hand through his hair.

“We didn’t.” He said resuming his original position, “You were a little drunker then you thought, and after the guys went down to bed you were giggling like crazy, pulled your boots and shirt off, then complained about the wrappings as you fumbled with the knot.”

“Must have been funny.” I grinned and successfully sat up that time. The blankets fell from my chest revealing it was bare.

I shoved the rest of them off and stood up only holding onto the wall momentarily for support.

“You’re still gonna drink?” Paul asked and stood up with me as I picked up another bottle on the floor. This one still had ale in it.

“Yeah.” I said and took a swig, “I gotta be drunk to kill ’em.”

He sighed and grabbed his shirt, “You never cease to amaze me sometimes Jay.”

I shrugged and downed the rest of the bottle before grabbing the wrapings and wrapping my torso back up.

“So who is this guy you need to kill anyways?” Paul asked leaning against the wall and eying me as I pulled my shirt on.

“Can’t tell ya’.” I said and sat down to pull my boots on.

“Why not?” He asked, “If he makes a run for it I can stop him before he leaves.”

“Wont leave.” I told him as I finished tying them up, “No one would expect it to be them, they won’t run. They’ll think I think it’s someone completely different.”

“Who is it?” Paul asked again.

I stood up and turned around to face him, “You’ll have to wait and see.”

He sighed frustrated as I picked up a few knifes and put them in their holsters. I also picked up one last bottle that was mostly full. I assumed it was the one I gave to Reggie, he was never big one ale.

I sipped on it was we walked down to the lobby. When we got there everything stopped. I looked around with the bottle at my lips.

“Everyone here?” I asked Martain.

“Some of the girls are still upstairs.” He replied.

“Candice.” I spoke softly, “Run up stairs and get the girls that are still sleeping if you don’t mind.”

She nodded and hurried up the steps.

I took another swig and pulled out my finest knife.

“The traitor is one in this room.” I told them, “I’ll give you an honourable death, as honourable as one can give to a traitor anyway.”

The girls hurried back down stairs. I quickly chugged the rest of the bottle and set it down on the counter.

Everyone was shifting wondering who the rat was.

“Hey, Jessie.” I called.

The crimson haired woman turned to look at me, looked for only a moment before receiving the promised dagger in her stomach. I walked up to her pulling out one that was serrated. I grabbed the front of her dress and made her look at me.

“You should have known your fate when you crossed the Red Shadow.” I whispered.

And with that I placed the knife at her throat and slit it. Pain was the most evident thing there was on her face.

I allowed her lifeless body to fall to the ground before I pulled the knife out of her abdomen.

“Take this as a warning.” I said as I marched up to the bar and started wiping the blood from the blades, “I wont hesitate to kill anyone who ever crossed me. Be you man or woman. I have no bias. Girls, go up to her room and take what you like of her belongings, find anything that I might like to see, letters, a journal, old books, what have you, bring them to me. Animal, I want you to take care of her body.”

“Will do.” Animal grinned. He got the name as his battle style was as savage as one. I’m sure everyone assumed he’d have been the one to sell me out. We sparred regularly, and there was hardly a day that went by that he threatened to kill me. Everyone knew he never could. But he and I were on good terms, we just had one that revolved around fighting.

The girls did as they were told, eager to go through her closet. Jessie always got first dibs of the cloths that everyone brought home saying she was the oldest so she had to be the first. Her cloths closets were overflowing more than my weapon one.

I sat down at the bar and rubbed my head with my hands.

“Can’t believe you had to kill her?” Reggie asked sitting next to me.

I shook my head, “My head’s killing me.” I told him, “Martain, can you make a Charlie oyster or whatever they’re called to get rid of hang overs please?”

He said nothing but just set a clear glass in front of me. I looked at it to find an egg with god knows what else.

I smiled at him, plugged my nose, and downed it.

“Bet you never want to drink again.” Alec said and sat on the other side of me.

I shook my head, “Just not for a little while.”

“I’ll give her ’till dinner, what do you guys say?” Martain chimed.

I stuck my tongue out at him and he just chuckled.

“How’s the kid doin’?” I asked.

“He’s resting,” He said, “You can go see him when he’s awake.”

I nodded and turned my attention to Maylen when she reached the bottom steps. She walked over shyly with something in her arms, she handed it to me.

“We think there might be more.” She said.

In my hands was a black leather bound book, pages old and worn. The cover was blank.

I went with her back upstairs to Jessie’s room. She had her’s on the second floor.

The girls were still going through her closet.

“Jowey would look so good in this.” Misty said holding up something that was red and shimmered.

“Okay, but you try to wrestle with her to get her to wear it.” Zoe laughed.

“I’m sure I could get Paul to convince her to put it on.”

“I think not.” I cut in.

Everyone froze and looked over.

“You found this in here.” I stated more than asked as I held up the book, “Do any of you have any kind of idea of what this is?”

They all shook their heads.

“Birth records.” I told them and threw it down on her bed, “That means Jessie was used to hide something from someone. From now on nothing leaves this room that I don’t okay first.”

“But you said,” May tried to say.

“And now I’m saying this.” I told her, “I don’t know what Jessie had in here, and as much I really don’t want to know, there might be something else in here that could tell us why she sold me out and who she’s working for.”

“Think so?” Maylen asked.

I nodded, “The cloths you can still have, but I want to go through everything first. Is that fair? Speak now or forever bite your tongue.”

“It’s fair.” Zoe said, “But I just wanna ask one thing.”

I nodded and crossed my arms.

“What do you think she was trying to hide?” She asked.

I paused a moment thinking it over before I sighed, “I have the faintest of feelings she was working for Cyrus.”

Back down the mountains in the castle. Cries were coming from the princess’ chambers.And not long after, new cries, that of a new born baby could be heard echoing through out the stone walls.

One of the doctors cleaned off the child before handing it back to its mother.

Dawn held her new son to her chest lovingly. She sniffled wishing Paul could have been there to see his son.

“You did well, my princess.” King Cyrus said stroking her hair.

“I wish he were here.” She whispered.

“I know.” He said and kissed the top of her head, “I’ll get him here, don’t worry.”

“Thank you father.” She said trying not to cry.

I sat at a table in the lobby late that night with the five of them.

“What would you guys make of this?” I asked as we looked over what we found. In total there was one birth record book, seven or eight books recording the reign of king Valkner, more than a dozen letters addressed to Jessie, and one medallion that didn’t belong.

“Cyrus is defiantly hiding something from everyone.” Paul growled, “And I served that bastard.”

I placed my hand on top of his fist gently to calm him down, it worked but not very well.

Alec lit another candle for more light.

“I think the best way to find out exactly what’s going on is to check the birth records.” Reggie said and reached for them.

“Why the birth records first?” Zuren asked.

Reggie stopped and looked at him, “I remember hearing one of the guards in the castle speaking to another about the day the king was over thrown, something about a birth in the middle of it. Regardless of what was going on at that time a doctor would have recorded the birth of any child born when he delivered it.”

“And you think that’s what started all of it?” Alec asked.

He shook his head, “But I think it might help to find out why Jessie was hiding all of this and what role she played.”

“You’re the best reader.” I told him.

Reggie picked up the book and flipped through the pages, he stopped about half way through.

“What is it?” I asked him.

“King Valkner had a daughter.” He said, we all stared at him, “She was born just before Cyrus went into overthrow him. Says here, she was seven pounds two ounces. Black hair, eye colour- it’s smudged.”

“It’s a start.” I said, “Valkner had a daughter, she’d have been the princess of the country. But that leads to another question, did Cyrus over throw the king just for power or was there an actual reason behind it?”

“If I remember right,” Reggie said, “Baba always said that king Valkner was a good king and just. There was little to no poverty when he rained, the county was completely happy, even bandits would come into his kingdom and be redeemed for their sins and they got to live in happiness and peace.”

“I’ll assume those books will go into depth about what he did.” I said.

“I also remember something he told us.” Alec said, “Baba told us about all those precious jewels he had. And about whoever had them would live in eternal happiness and prosper. But he also said that only one true to the royal blood could touch them, and the rest would die a slow and painful death.”

“I remember a story I head while in a tavern not too far from the castle.” I said, “There once was an old king with not a child nor wife to give one. He brought in woman after woman to try their luck, not one had given him even a daughter, so he killed every last one. One after another women everywhere started to become scares on the streets in fear of being his next victim. One day in church the king cursed the heavens for not giving him even a wretched daughter to carry on his blood. A voice from heaven replied ‘Thou art but being punished for thou’s sins, thou hadn’t been the king thy people needed. thou shalt now parish a untimly death.’ and at the snap of fingers the king fell in unbearable pain. A kind peasant boy brought him back to his hut to care for him. The king had actually recovered, and upon opening his eyes he found the boy in an empty hut, he was close to starving too. He asked him where his parents were. And he replied that his mother was sent to the king to try to give him a son, and his father was killed refusing to hand her over to the king. His heart was broken hearing that. He then thought of all that he’d wronged. He went around the village and collected those orphans and brought them to the castle. He cared for and taught them. One day he fell ill again from another disease. But this time he died with all those he’d cared for around him. Before he had died he gave that kingdom over to the boy who had saved him that day. And from the heavens another voice came saying he had atoned for his sins. and his body and soul were brought up to heaven. in his place on the bed where he lied there were millions of jewels and much gold. The children where told to protect it as it would give them the strength to run the country for as long as their blood existed. And with the help of each of them the kingdom prospered. Same time that guy was really drunk.”

Paul shook his head, “I remember reading something similar to that in the library.”

“The king was good, how’s the economical standing now?” I asked.

“It’s quite poor.” Reggie said, “Heavy taxes, lots of sickness, little food. The castle couldn’t be in better condition, but the villagers.”

“So this was for power and money.” I said, “Wonder what he’s gonna do when he realizes he can’t have that wealth.”

“What do you want to do?” Zuren asked.

I shrugged, “I wanna see how things play out for a little longer.” I told them, “I was gonna go down to the village in the morning, see what I can find out.”

“You alone?” Paul asked, “After you were sold out?”

I nodded, “Trust me,” I told him, “Me and the girls are about the same size, and I have more than a few tricks up my sleeve.”

“Jowey.” Paul warned.

I shook my head, “I go down alone, if I think I need a little back up, Animal, Bull, or Thunder would be the best choices.”

“You’d take animal with you?” Alec asked.

I nodded, “We may not be as close as the six of us, but I can rely on him and he can keep up easily. Trust me.”

“All we ever seem to be doing.” Martain said, “But I do want someone to go with you. Take no chances.”

I nodded, “We should all get some shut eye. It’s been a long day.”

I blew out the candles and went to bed.

Family Feud(One Piece Part 13)

We entered the house, took off our shoes, and Daddan took our coats. We headed straight for the meeting room, where everyone was waiting for us.

“How did it go?” Lucky asked after I took my seat.

“Better than I had thought.” I told them, “What’s the shedual for the week?” Today was Sunday, and every Sunday there was a lot that had to be done, one of the main things was find out what I was going to be doing all week.

“Tomorrow there’s the Mushi meeting with the Saboy mayor at nine, Doflamingo agreed to talk to you about the mines and grenades at ten, and then you have lunch at eleven with Woopslap of the Windmill town. From one- three you’ll be at a rally for the specialty unit, also getting that new person in as a bug. Then your uncle wished for dinner with you at six.” Hawkins said.

I whistled, “Please tell me this is all written down.”

“In your planner.” He told me, “Tuesday you have the monthly Boss meeting at the temple. Wendsay is the Trades, business, and partners meeting, that will go all day.”

“If all goes well, we’ll have the paperwork for the road ready by Thursday.” Lucky told me, “And then Friday, Sir Foxey had requested a meeting with you.”

“That it for Friday?” I asked.

“All that has come up so far.” Hawkins told me.

I nodded, “Law, I got a job for you.”

He looked at me.

“Make arrangements for Monkey D. Luffy, Portgas D. Ace, and Sabo to move in to the house.” I told him.

“Ceerie, you can’t do that.” Benn told me, “They’ll be in danger if you bring them in.”

“How?” I asked him like a small child, “They aren’t going to be involved with any of this any more than they’ve involved themselves as it is. I need them here, Benn.”

“Why do you need them here?” He snapped.

“To keep me feeling things.” I told him, he instantly backed away, “I can’t stay in this giant place all alone anymore, I’ll go crazy. And they’ll make these empty halls, not so empty anymore.”

“I’ll make the arrangements.” Law told me, “I just hope you know what you’re doing.”

“Have I given you any reason to doubt me yet?” I counted.

The next day I walking through the foray to get to the meeting room. It was eight thirty and I had about a half hour before the mushi conference.

I paused and looked at the door, hardly a moment later it burst open and Ace, Sabo, and Luffy threw themselves at me head first.

Normally I would have evaded it easily. But I allowed them to tackle me to the ground in a giant dog pile/bear hug manner.

“How ya’ been?” Luffy grinned.

I smiled at him as Sabo helped me up and Ace slapped my shoulder congratulating me on becoming Boss, and doing a great job so far.

“Why did you want us to come live with you?” Sabo asked cutting through the laughter, hugs, and smiles.

I looked at the three of them, them around at the house.

“147.” I said.

“147?” Luffy asked.

“147 rooms.” I told them, “Not including bathrooms, walk in closets, and the kitchen.”

They stared at me and I smiled gently.

“I’d always run around and count the rooms when I was little, my father was out, and I wasn’t allowed out to play.” I told them, “147 rooms. The place seemed so much smaller when he was alive. And now that he’s gone all this space seems suffocating.”

“So you want us here for company?” Ace said.

I nodded, “I also realized that I had been neglecting you guys the past couple years. And I figured we’re still family, we can at least live as so.”

They nodded and I got four hugs. One from each of them and a group hug.

I held them close each time, and the only thing that interrupted us was Yassopp coming out of the meeting room.

“Ceerie.” He said, we turned and saw him standing there.

“It’s eight fifty.”

I nodded, “Makino!” I called.

She came in a moment.

“Hai, Ceerie-sama?” She asked.

“Would you please show them to their rooms and make them feel at home?” I asked her, she nodded, I turned back to them, “I have appointments for the rest of today. Tomorrow and the next day I’ll have meetings, but I can have breakfast with you guys. I’ll try to find you when I have breaks in between.”

“No sweat.” Ace told me.

“Take care in your appointments.” Sabo told me.

“Here if you need me.” Luffy grinned.

I nodded, “Arigoto.” I said and bowed.

They waved as I went to the meeting room and closed the door behind me.

“I hope you know what you’re doing.” Benn warned as I took my seat.

I smiled at him, “I am. Don’t worry.”

“That’s when.”

But Benn was cut short by the Mushi going off.

“Moshi Moshi.” I said as I answered.

“Ceerie-sama?” The voice on the other end questioned.

“Speaking.” I said and placed the receiver in the holder.

“You wished to speak with me about a trade?” He asked.

“I did.” I told him.

“I’m listening.” He told me.

“Spring’s coming.” I told him, “Our fish market’s are about to flourish.”

“You want to know if we’re interested in your fish?” he asked slightly angry.

“Yes, actually.” I told him, “We had just realized what little trade we had together. I wanted to be the first to make the effort bridge with you.”

“What kind of joke is this?!” He yelled, “You’re offering me a fish trade when I know for a fact that you offer wine, oil, and silk!”

“You’ll have to forgive me.” I told him, “I’m aware of the large amounts of wine, oil, and cloth you get from Water 7, NewKomer, and Drum island. But I found almost no fish in your trades.”

“Y-you did all that research on us?” He asked taken back.

“Yes.” I told him raising an eye brow, “You must do your homework before making an offer in trade.”

“You were the fist to do that.” He told me.

“That’s surprising.” I said, “I would assume with all the tourist you get from the park and current auctions that everyone would like to trade with you and thus be forced to know what you need and don’t.”

“You would think.” He told me, “But not really.”

“How about this.” I offered, “I offer you fish, oils of your choice, and fine silk, and you trade it with that parchment that you’re famous for?”

“It would be hard to trade all that with just parchment.” he told me.

“Parchment and credit then?” I asked him, “I’m not going to take advantage of you or your current position either, but I need good parchment and yours is the best.”

“How do you know that?” He asked me.

I smiled, “As a little girl I was fascinated with origami. I used all kinds of paper for it, but I loved parchment the most. And out of all the parchment, I liked the kind from Saboy the most.”

“Just parchment?” He asked me.

“Yes.” I told him, “I said I need god parchment.”

“I can do that.” He said.

For the next ten or so minutes we negotiated on how much parchment for what oil, wine, and fish, what fish he wanted and how much of everything in what kind.

“Fair trade.” I told him, “I’ll give you the choice, would you like it all monthly?”

“That would be best.” He told me, “And I’ll send the parchment over on rush.”

“Arigoto.” I told him, “Yours will be in, in a day or two.”

“It was a pleasure doing business with you, Ceerie-sama.” He told me.

“As you.” I said.

“If you don’t mind me saying, I’m glad it was you who took over after your late father.” He said.

“Arigoto.” I said and hung up.

“What are you planning to do with the parchment?” Law hissed.

I looked at him cooly.

“Alabasta.” I told him, “They use silk as paper to write on. We trade parchment for silk, they can make more and we gain a little more profit.”

They stared at me.

“You really planned all that out?” Killer asked finally.

I nodded, “I realized that with selling the silk, importing it, and sending the money back over, we’re actually losing 12 belli for every yard we sell. We make the trade with alabasta, as they were going to use the money made for soil and paper, we cut their yearly cost by twenty percent, and gain another fifteen for giving them the paper.”

“Completely thought out.” Benn said breaking the silence.

I smirked at him and glanced at my watch, it was almost ten.

“Hey, Hawkins.” I said.

“Hai.” He responded.

“Are you sure your cards were right?” I asked him.

“In what why?” He asked me.

“You said I would find love in that giant mess. Are you sure it was right?” I asked again.

“They haven’t been wrong yet.” He told me, “I could try again if you’d like.”

I nodded, “Please. Second I find love, I can get married and these stupid proposals will stop coming.”

The mushi began to ring again, I sighed before picking up the receiver.

“Moshi moshi.” I said.

“Moshi moshi Ceerie-sama.” Doflamingo said from the other side, “Have you considered my proposal?”

“I’m still considering.” I told him, “Right now I would like to know about the lateness of land mines and grenades that you promised me.”

“There was a back up on the order I placed for certain parts.” He told me, “They managed to put a rush on bullets, guns, and flares. But gun powder is still so low right now.”

I paused a moment watching the smile on the mushi grow bigger.

“Who else have you been selling to?” I asked him.

The mushi’s smile quickly turned into a frown.

“It’s strictly business.” He told me, “Not pleasure.” The mushi’s smile grew again.

“Doflamingo-san.” I started, “I understand business. But what I don’t understand is a smart business man like yourself violating our contract.”

The mushi’s smile turned to a frown once more, “The contract was with Shanks Le Roux.” He told me, “Not you.”

“Not according to the copy I have in front of me.” I told him, “So long as there is a living head our contact is air tight.”

“He died.” He told me, “You know that you were there.”

“True.” I said opening a folder containing various papers, “But he made me head before he died. Even Black beard and Big Mama will tell you that, the old straw hat was on my head when he died. I was the head of the Red family before he died, you’re the one over stepping this contract.”

“So young and yet so smart.” He told me, “This s why I want you to be my bride.”

“I’m still considering.” I told him, “But for right now I have things I need to straighten up first.”

“Alright.” He told me, “I send the next two loads to the regular rondevu point tomorrow. But I want an answer soon.”

“Arigoto.” I told him, “And thank you for being honest.”

He didn’t say anything as he hung up. I merely smirked and put the receiver back on the Mushi. I looked through a few of the paper’s before me.

“And I didn’t even have to go into the dirt.” I said to myself, “Too bad.”

I heard the last of the of the cards be placed down as I closed the folder.

“What do they say?” I asked passing the folder back to Benn wh put it back into the filing cabinet.

“True love is to come.” He told me, “But I can’t tell you from which direction.”

“Just please tell me it’s not Urouge or Doflamingo.” I begged, “That’s all I want.”

“That much I can tell you.” He told me and started flipping more cards, “All they say is that love is closer than expected, so I doubt that it would be anyone who’s sent a proposal.”

“Don’t forget the conference Wednesday.” Law said, “It could mean that they’re coming closer.”

I scoffed and threw a paper in front of him. He picked it up and looked on the front page, there was a large picture of Doflamingo on it.

“I will never find anything like that attractive.” I told him, “All his whores might not have taste or standards, but I do.”

They all chuckled at that. I glanced at my watch and sighed.

“Lunch time.” I said and rose.

“You don’t have any concernes?” I asked the mayor as we sat down for dinner.

He shook his head, “This is more a thank you than anything.” He said, “Thanks to you buying that old oil factory our poverty has gone down, economy has gone up, our populate has grown a little more, and our trade is wonderful. And with the wine factory it’s even better.”

I smiled, “I wish I could say that was my goal all along, but it wasn’t.”

He smiled at me, “Be it or not, I still have to thank you properly, if not for you I don’t want to think about what might have happened here.”

“Thank you.” I said.

—-

Cheers were heard from the men before me as I had just finished my speech. I took a deep breath and walked down off the stage to where Killer and Lucky stood with another person.

“Ceerie-san, this is Heat.” Killer introduced us.

“I thought he was a permanent part of the Sweet family?” I asked.

“He was-er-is.” Lucky said, “Your late father had us place inside spies when you were born in every family, just in case.”

“Heat here happens to be one of the spies since he was a child.” Killer added.

I looked him up and down. Tall, light blue hair, muscular, tattoos that look like stitches all over his body, which was well built.

“You were part of Kidd’s group.” I called him out on it.

“I was sent to the sweet family as a spy when I was small.” He told me, “Over the course of the years, we had become friends. Apparently I wasn’t annoying, and there weren’t too many our age over there.”

I nodded, “Have you been briefed?” I asked.

He nodded.

“Do whatever necessary to find and kill him.” I told him.

“Yes, ma’am.” He said.

I nodded and turned around heading back to the mansion.

“Ceerie-san!” I paused and waited for Killer to catch up with me.

“Nani?” I asked him pressing on.

“You aren’t going to offer him anything more, like a good luck?”

“What may I offer him?” I asked, “I hadn’t known about the spies until now. The only reason why I knew he existed was because he hung around Kidd, who hated me.”

“I hung around Kidd too ya’ know.” He muttered.

I stopped in my tracks and looked at him. I couldn’t see his face, but I knew for a fact he was sweating.

“Then maybe you could elaborate as to why he hated me so much.” I told him, “I know for a fact it’s more than just families.”

“That’s the one thing about Kidd I’ll never know.” He told me, “You’re just his type, which I don’t get.”

“Maybe that’s it.” I muttered to myself stalking towards home again, “He actually likes me, and won’t admit it because I’m in an enemy family.”

“I doubt that’s it.” He assured.

I stopped again and looked over at him.

“May I ask you a serious question?”

He nodded.

“Out of all the guys in Kidd’s gang you were the only one who I never even heard say a snide remark to me. What gives?”

He didn’t answer.

“It has to be more than just families.” I told him.

“It is.” he said, “But I’d prefer not o talk about it.”

I stared at him a moment.

“You had a crush on me, didn’t you?”

He tensed, but didn’t say anything. In fact, he actually turned his head away.

I giggled lightly, making him look back at me.

“You did.” I said smiling at him, “And you still do.”

“D-don’t be rediculuse.” He muttered.

“Okay.” I said and leaned up on my tipy-toes, so I was more to his height, “But I got a little secret for you.”

He stared down at me, I could feel the intense gaze even through his mask.

“I like you too.” I whispered and pecked his covered cheek, before going back to standing regularly and continuing on back to the house, leaving a dazed and most likely blushing Killer behind me.

I fought off the urge to skip, and merely made my way up to my room to change for dinner with uncle Mihawk.

My Onii-chen and I were sitting on the porch overlooking the court yard.

I had already changed into a black skirt, vest, and tie along with a red button down, from my black slacks, coat, and white button down.

“You’ve turned from tomboy, to girly, back to tomboy.” Luffy stated after seeing me again.

I shrugged, “I think now I’m a little more of both.” I told him.

“How?” Ace asked.

“I want to be the kind of Boss my father raised me to be, but I also have my girly aspects.” I explained.

“Ceerie-san.” We turned and saw Benn in the door way leading back inside, “It’s time to go.”

I nodded and stood up bidding my brothers a good-bye.

“Uncle.” I said as I came up to him as he waited at a table at Bartie’s.

“Ceerie.” He said and rose.

We embraced best we could. It had long ago stopped trying to tell everyone that they were just really tall. I had gotten my mother’s height, I wasn’t much taller than 5’6. . . . maybe.

“It’s good to see you.” I told him.

“As you.” He said.

We sat down and were handed menus.

“I wanted to talk to you earlier, but you pushed everyone away at the funeral.” He told me.

“I’m sorry.” I said, “I just wanted to be alone for a little while.”

“You’re entitled to that.” he told me, “And with your shedual I don’t blame you. But you need to make room in your life for your family.”

I nodded, and turned my attention back to the menu before me.

“It still bother’s me.” Uncle Mihawk told me after making a very long point.

“I know it does.” I told him, “It bothers me too. But it just might be put to an end soon.”

“How?” He asked his hawkeyes digging into me.

I smiled up at him as I said, “Hawkins said that I would soon find love. And I think I might have.”

“And from who?” He asked.

I smiled and looked away, “You’ll have to wait and find out.”

“Ceerie.” He said sternly.

I smiled at him again, “He’s good guy.” I assured, “He’s not like all the other’s who’ve sent proposals. In fact he hasn’t done anything but stand by my side.”

“Just the man you need.” He said as we continued to walk.

“I don’t need a man.” I told him, “I just need these proposals to stop.”

He chuckled as we came to the door.

“Thank you for tonight, uncle.” I said sincerely.

“I should be thanking you.” He said, “There is a reason why your father saved you, and I know it’s for a greater cause than we’d have ever thought.”

I smiled and hugged him again.

“Good night.” I told him.

“Good night.” He said and walked away.

I opened the door and went inside. I sighed knowing tomorrow I was going to have my first solo meeting with all of the Head’s. This might not be as pleasant as fighting, but I was pretty sure I would like it a lot more than Daddan tying my obie ‘properly’.