“Geez.” I heard Kidd say as he stepped into the library, “I knew you guys had a lot of information, but don’t you think this is a little over kill?”
I glared up from the book I was reading.
“On the contrary,” I countered, “It’s not enough.”
He sighed and walked over to me on the ladder.
“What are you looking at?” He asked as he leaned against the book shelf.
“My next step is to take down Doflamingo.” I told him, “He was selling arms to Kiado, and now, if what you say is true, he’s selling to the others. I need to take him down, but I can’t leave Dressrosa without a king, it would be anarchy.”
“So?” Kidd urged me to continue.
“So,” I repeated, “I’m trying to find the whereabouts of former King Riku.”
“That guy that went crazy and slaughtered a bunch of his people?” He demanded, “Might as well let Blackbeard have that place.”
I rolled my eyes, “Look I know it sounds crazy, but-”
He cut me off, “I think ‘crazy’ is a bit of an understatement.” Kidd growled.
I sighed, “Look either support me in trying to find out the truth or fuck off, I’m trying to work.”
“Benn wants you.” He told me calmly, “He says it’s important.”
“And you couldn’t say that the second you walk in?” I asked him and put the book away before climbing down the ladder.
“You were working.” He mocked.
I glared and then rolled my eyes before trudging out of the library.
“Ceerie-sama! Stand up straight!” Daddan yelled as I walked by her.
“Later.” I told her and waved her off.
She let out a huff as I rounded the corner and entered the office, Kidd not too far behind me.
“What?” I all but spat a the older man who had called for me.
“You need to talk to us.” He demanded, crossing his arms and glaring at me, “Locking yourself in the library until you find what you’re looking for is not the answer. We’re here for you, use us as you need.”
“You say this like you’re pawns in some game!” I snarled back at him, causing surprise to wash over everyone.
“I know how my father ran things was like a giant game of chess or something. I’m not like him, Benn! The one time I tried to be like him, someone died!” I took a deep breath, trying to hold back tears that were threatening to fall, “I’m not like him. I don’t know what I’m doing. I don’t want everyone to be looking at me for all the answers, because I don’t have them. And because I trust all of you, I believe you can do what needs to be done while I search for answers that could fix everything.”
There was a pregnant pause that filled the room as I waited for someone to say something. What had been said needed to sink in. What had been said, also could not be unsaid. The next words had to be chosen carefully.
“You are nothing like Shanks,” Benn finally said, “You never could be.”
I took several deep, rapid breaths trying to calm myself, unsure of what was about to be said.
“You aren’t him. So to try and hold you next to him, and expect the same things he would do is redundant.” Benn continued, “Never could you be on the same level as him. But,”
I held my breath, not knowing what he was about to come out of his mouth, but knowing it was going to make or break me.
“That doesn’t make you a bad leader.” Benn started, “Ceerie, you’re young and inexperienced, you have no idea what you’re doing and expecting you to isn’t going to get us anywhere. But you aren’t alone, and that’s where your biggest mistake is. We aren’t your pawns, like you said, but we are on your side, you can trust us. Use us to the full extent of requirements you need. We’re here, not because of a debt, or blind loyalty to your late father. We’re here for you, we’re going to go through this with you, because we believe in you. Now stop trying to be something you’re not and be who you are. That’s the best thing for this situation, alright?”
I sniffed once to hold back the tears and nodded.
“I need information on the whereabouts of Riku Doltan the third. If we overthrow Doflamingo then the country will still be in need of a leader. Without one in this day and age would simply be asking for anarchy and trouble. Hawkins, Yassop. I feel you two are the best for this task, can I ask you carry it out to the best of your abilities?”
“Of course.” They both replied without missing a beat.
I nodded, “Benn, please make an oppointment with the tailor to come in as soon as possible. I have a secret job for him. And also the local wig maker. I need her too.”
“Lucky, please make contact with your spys in Big Mam’s family. I need to know everything about Jewelry Bonney. Especially her habits. Do you mind.”
“Not at all.” Lucky grinned.
“Killer, it’s up to you to tighten security around our perimeters. With what I want.” I paused and took a deep breath before I corrected myself, “With what I’m going to pull off I need to know if a cockroach scuttles from one side of the street to the other. Think you can handle that?”
“Easy.” I heard killer smirk.
“Law,” I paused again and looked at the tired doctor, bracing myself for what I was about to say, “Might as well get all this out in the open now. Please work with Makino and Daddan to get invitations out to our usual contacts. This one shall be in regards to my engagement.”
Jaws hung open and a couple of the men even stood up. I put a hand up to silence any questions and shook my head.
“I’ll announce my fiance at the party. Make it for about a month from now. Please.”
“Ceerie, are you sure about this?” Yassop asked, “It’s your engagement. It’s a pretty big deal. To decide this early. I- it’s just…”
“I’ve already made my choice, Yassop.” I assured, “Whether or not he’ll accept is another matter. And whether or not I made the right choice is something only time will be able to tell.”
“Ceerie,” Kid asked from behind me, “What the hell are you planning with all of this?”
I looked up at him with determined eyes and took a deep breath before I replied.