Family Feud(Part 20)

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Makino placed a bandage on Kidd’s arm where Law had drawn blood moments before as the said raven haired man was drawing from my left arm.

“Well this is a turn around.” Yasopp said breaking the silence.

“How do you figure?” I asked putting the bandage on myself.

“I think we all remember Nessa, but I didn’t think their relationship was at that point.”

“You knew my mom?” Kidd asked, turning his attention to the blonde man.

“We all did.” Benn told him, “She was a good girl, she just came from the wrong side of town. We all thought she and Shanks had a brother sister relationship, rather than a romantic one. But you definitely look like her, Eustass, but you unfortunately got the butt end of your father’s genetics.”

Kidd just rolled his eyes and looked back at the floor.

“The results will be a couple of hours.” Law said as he labeled my tube and grabbed Kidd’s from the table, “We’ll know for sure after that.”

I nodded.

“Wait,” Lucky started as Law was about to leave, “Their only half siblings so how would the DNA test work.”

“All eggs that are fertilized contain the mother’s genes and 1 X chromosome, the sperm that fertilizes the egg either possesses an X or a Y chromosome along with the father’s genes. If I can match Kidd’s Y and one of Ceerie’s X chromosomes as a similar hereditary compound, it means they’re siblings. If I cannot, they aren’t. Simple as that.”

“Oh.” Was all Lucky said as Law left the room.

“Why would you wait all this time to come clean if you were Shank’s son?” Benn then accused.

Kidd didn’t look up and he didn’t say anything either.

“Say something.” Benn growled.

“If he doesn’t want to say his reasoning, he doesn’t have to.” I told Benn, forcing the man to back off, “He already took a huge risk coming here, so if he isn’t and we turn him away, the Sweet Family will more than likely kill him upon his return.”

“And if they don’t?” Killer questioned.

“He was sent here by the head to try to infiltraight our ranks, and if he isn’t killed by them we’ll have to kill him ourselv-”

“Do you not think I already know that!?” Kidd growled at me, his yellow eyes shot from the floor to my blue orbs, glaring harshly into them, “I know what you’re planning to do, Ceerie. I know you were the one who killed Kaido and Urouge, I know it was you who ordered the death of Oflux. I know you have just as much blood on your hands as I do. And I know things aren’t just going to settle down now, especially not now. I never had any loyalties to the Sweet Family, and I’m not about to give my life to those idiots while fighting a losing battle. I’ve witnessed first hand how persuasive and manipulative you can be. I didn’t think a war like this would occur until much later on, maybe not even in our lifetimes. But I know you have every trick you could possibly need to rule this town. Despite my distaste for you Ceerie, I have nothing but respect for you. Let me fight with you.”

I stared into his yellow eyes, he was determined.

Everyone else in the room was staring at him, wondering if I was going to give an order to kill him or not.

“Regardless of what that test says,” I started, “If you deal straight with me, you can stand beside me.”

His eyes went wide as he fully registered what I had just told him, the room was completely silent.

“You try to pull one over on me, however,” I added, “I will have you killed.”

Kidd nodded, “Thank you.” He said and bowed his head. That was the first time I had ever heard Kidd say something like that to anyone.


“Is there anything else you can tell us about the Sweet family?” Benn asked Kidd.

The red head was sitting in front of a microphone and recorder den-den.

“Not that I can recall at the moment.” Kidd said closing his eyes, “If there is I will tell you.”

Benn nodded and turned off the recorder.

We had just spent the past few hours interrogating Kidd. He was answering to the best of his abilities. Being the second in command he knew a lot, yet Big Mama didn’t trust him for shit and, there for, didn’t share a whole lot of the nitty gritty.

A few moments later the door opened and Law strolled in with several papers in his hands. He walked over to me and dropped them on the table before me.

“congratulations, Ceerie.” Law said with a slight smirk, “You have a brother.”

I skimmed through the papers, several chromosomes matched. I nodded as I placed them down again. I knotted my fingers together as I placed my elbows on the table and looked right at Kidd.

“You aren’t going back,” I told him, “You will be killed. You’ll stay here, with me. Lucky will eventually find you a position in the muscle division. That will not occur until after the Sweet and Black Families are taken care of. Until then you will advise me.”

Kidd nodded, “Just promise me one thing.”

I lowered my hands onto the table, encouraging him to continue.

“Don’t hurt Bonney.” He said, “I know you two haven’t had the best history, but she’s been going through hell no one deserves from Blackbeard and Big Mama. And nothing’s gotten better for her since she’s gotten pregnant either. If it can be avoided, I know she wants out too, but we haven’t exactly been able to speak openly about.”

I nodded, “If she’s willing to leave her title peacefully, I will assure you she will be safe. If not, I can’t promise anything.”

Kidd nodded, “I understand.”


“Benn told me I could find you in here.” Law said from behind me as he came into the archives.

“What do you need?” I asked looking through the books again.

“As your second in command I think it’s my duty to tell you that people have begun asking questions as to why you aren’t sending out invitations to your engagement party or at the very least am looking for a partner openly.” He said as he approached me on the ladder.

“You know exactly why, Trafalgar.” I told him not looking down from my search.

“I know why, and you know why.” He told me as he leaned against the bookshelf and stared up at me, “But they don’t.”

“For those who are that curious, tell them to fuck off. My relationship status is non of their concern.” I ordered, “And if that doesn’t satisfy their curiosity, tell them it’s because I don’t want a nosy partner.”

“Will do, boss.” He told me, “Now tell me the truth, who are you going to take as your husband?”

“Why do you wanna know?” I questioned looking down at the raven haired man.

“Call it a hunch.” He smirked.

“Who do you think I’m going to take as my husband?” I countered looking back at the shelf.

“A certain blonde we both know rather well.” He mused.

“Naw,” I said with a shrug, “Hawkins really isn’t my type.”

“I wasn’t talking about Hawkins.” Law mused even more.

“Killer?” I then asked looking back down at him.

“Yeah.” He said, “And don’t try to deny it either.”

“I just wanna know how you know?” I told him climbing down the ladder some to be at eye level with him.

He smirked before replying, “You two haven’t acted the same since the party. It’s easy to see after knowing you two for so long.”

“I know you can keep secret, so you mind keeping that under wraps? We can’t have anyone knowing what strings to pull.”

“You gonna marry him when the time comes?” He asked, nothing but sincerity in his eyes and voice.

I nodded, “Once I’m done with Big Mama and Blackbeard, then this city will be free to do as it pleases. Even you can marry the girl you want, Law.”

Law nodded, “Secret’s safe with me.”

“Thank you.”

“So what are you doing in here anyway?” He asked, pushing off the shelf.

“I’m trying to look into the Riku blood line and history.” I told him.

“Who?” Law asked, looking at me like I was insane.

“The family ruled over Dressrosa before Doflamingo came to power. It said that the king went crazy and slaughtered many of his towns people. Doflamingo appeared and saved the city.”

“So what’s the problem?”

“I remember Daddy saying that The Riku family were kind and fair. It doesn’t make sense that he would do that.” I told him, “And more importantly, Doflamingo isn’t a good person.”

“You don’t have to tell me about that.” He muttered.

“That reminds me.” I said more to myself than to Law, “You knew him before coming here and working under us, didn’t you?”

Law stiffened, but nodded curtly.

“What kind of history do you two have?” I asked.

Law’s grey eyes pierced the floor with hatred.

“That bad, huh?” I commented.

He nodded.

“Okay,” I said before letting out a light sigh, “You don’t gotta tell me. I get it cuts deep for you.” I began climbing up the ladder again.

“It isn’t like you too not push.” Law commented after a moment.

“We all have scars.” I told him looking over books, “The question is how much have they healed, and what additional medicine is needed. Nothing more, nothing less.”

“You were raped by, Oflux.” Law said after a few minutes of silence.

My hands gripped the ladder tightly at his name. My lips pressed into a thin line hearing the additional word.

I swallowed the lump in my throat.

“Raped, beaten, sodomized, tortured, humiliated, violated.” I blinked back tears trying not to remember it, I took a deep breath before glancing down at him, “Yeah.” I blinked again and again as I held back the tears and went back to looking for the records.

“I lost my biological family to an epidemic that erupted in my home town.” Law started softly, “I seemed to be immune. But the government wouldn’t accept it, they sought out to destroy every remaining infected thing. I only escaped by hiding in a cart of dead bodies that were being wheeled out to be burned. I went to Doflamingo’s family in search of vengeance against the government. Met this guy that became a father, or older brother figure. Doflamingo killed him in cold blood after he found out I sold information to the government that could get him killed. My brother held him off as I fled.” Law paused, gathering strength. These memories hurt him as much as mine did, “That’s when Benn found me.”

I nodded, “You’ve been through hell.”

“You’ve been through all nine circles.” He countered.

I shook my head, “Not quite.” I looked down at him, “Your secret’s safe with me.”

Law nodded, “As is yours.”

 

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Family Feud(Part 18)

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I stood in the pouring rain watching the waves roughly lap up against the shore. I stood a few feet away from it, just watching.

“What are you doing out here by yourself!?”

I looked behind me using my peripherals, it was Killer.

“Thinking.” I said shortly.

“Ceerie.” He started as he advanced towards me, “You’re exposed right now. And after the stunt we pulled, others are looking for your head. Why are you making it easy on them?”

“I’m not.” I said keeping my stare on the water, “I just needed some time to think, okay.”

“And you couldn’t do that in your room or something?” He asked placing a hand on my shoulder and turning me to face him.

I looked up at him, “The sea makes me feel at peace.” I told him, “It’s soothing, and it’s not stuffy like the mansion is. I can breathe out here. I feel like the ocean brings me strength when I need it the most, okay.”

“Are you doubting yourself?”

I looked down at the clumpy sand under my boots.

“I don’t know.” I answered, “I know exactly what’s going on, but I feel like everything is spinning out of control because of me. I want to do a good job with the family like my dad did, but I feel like I’m losing who I am in the process.”

Killer hooked a finger under my chin and forced me to look at him.

“You’ve always known what to do.” He told me softly, “And if nothing else I trust your instincts.”

“That’s another thing.” I admitted, “You haven’t spoken to me outside of orders since we, you know.”

Killer’s hand dropped, “I’m not sure how to approach it.”

“Was it a fling?” I asked him, “Was it a one time thing, or did you actually mean what you said when you told me you loved me? Cause I need to know this now.”

“I love you, Ceerie.” Killer told me, everything in his voice told me he was telling me the truth.

“I love you too, Killer.” I replied, “I’m glad to know you feel the same way, for sure.”

“Right now I think that’s a back burner kind of thing.” Killer told me.

I nodded, as much as I didn’t want to agree with it.

“There’s too much going on right now. As long as you’ll wait, I’ll hold out too.” I told him, wanting nothing more than to stare into his beautiful eyes.

“I’ll wait as long as I need to for you, Ceerie.” Killer answered, “But for right now, we need to get you inside. If something were to happen to you it would put all of our plans in jeopardy.”

I nodded and started walking back home. I wanted to reach out and grab Killer’s hand to hold in my own, but I knew it would not be socially acceptable now. We were going down the hill now, the house in site, I lost my footing because of the mud and slid as a white hot pain sprang from my right temple. I faintly heard the familiar sound of a gunshot ring out in the rainy air as my back hit the mud. Killer cried out.

I felt a sticky substance on my forehead slowly being washed away by the rain pounding down on me, along with a dull ache where the flaming pain once was. I knew what was going on. I had been shot.

“Ceerie!” Killer cried on his knees next to me.

“Pretend I’m dead.” I ordered lowly.

His hands went to my face to inspect it as he whispered.

“What the hell are you talking about!?”

“The person who shot me is likely still around to make sure I’m dead. Now do it!”

Killer didn’t hesitate after that.

“No!” He cried out after a second and looked around as if expecting to see someone there. He then quickly scooped me up bridal style, cradling my head against his chest as he ran full pelt to the house.

The second we got inside he slammed the door and yelled for Law.

“Trafalgar!” He yelled again.

“What-in the hell!?” Law said coming out of the office, Benn, Lucky, Yasopp and Hawkins not to far behind after that out burst.

“Long story.” I winced, still in Killer’s arms, “But I got shot, I think I need stitches.”

“Get her up to her room.” Law ordered Killer before turning to Benn and saying, “I need gloves, a sewing needle, dental floss, sterilizing alcohol, and if possible a hit of morphine otherwise general painkillers.”

Benn nodded and ran off to get Makino and the supplies. Killer rushed me up to my room and layed me on my bed before running into my bathroom to grab a face cloth to try to slow the bleeding. I took it from him and pressed it to my temple.

“Thanks.” I said to him.

“No problem.” He said sitting next to me, “How did you know to play dead?” He was nervous.

“I slipped in the mud.” I told him, “It was a fluke I lived. If I had gotten up after that, they wouldn’t have missed again. I thought you of all people would know that.”

He looked like he was about to say something but my door swung open and Law came barging in along with Makino and Benn.

“Outside.” I ordered Killer, “You’ll only be in Law’s way.”

Killer nodded and left.

“Morphine won’t be able to get here in time, Ceerie-ya.” Law shouted from my bathroom where he was scrubbing his hands.

“Then do it without painkillers.” I told him, “I can’t afford to be out now.”

“Alright,” Law said coming out of my bathroom and sliding on gloves, “But it’s going to hurt.”

“Remember who you’re talking to.” I growled at him.

Law just chuckled as he threaded the needle with the dental floss to give me stitches.


“Well, at least it wasn’t unprovoked.” I said putting the paper down as Law finished wrapping up my head.

“You’re missing the point, Ceerie.” Benn sighed at me.

“I’m on the top of everyone’s hit list.” I finished for him, “Believe me when I tell you that I know.”

“Alright.” Law said, standing up straight to signal he was finished, “Just take it easy for the next little bit.” He then handed me some aspirin and a glass of water.

I popped the aspirin in my mouth and downed the water after sitting up.

“Thanks.” I said placing the glass back on the bed side table.

“You have a high pain thresh hold.” He told me taking off his gloves, “I’m impressed.”

I rolled my eyes and took a couple deep breaths before standing up. I was only a little dizzy.

“What did I just say about taking it easy!” Law growled at me as he placed his hands on my shoulders and tried to force me to sit down.

“I have things I need to do right now, Law.” I told him, pushing off his hands, “I can’t just stay in bed all day because someone tried to assassinate me.

Law looked taken aback by what I had just told before he submitted, “Alright, but take it easy.”

“I will.” I assured him as I carefully stepped around him and made my way out of my room and down to the first floor and to the Archives. Work had to be done.

Family Feud(Part 17)

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I sat in front of the grand piano in the ballroom playing a very dark piece. The music reverberated off the high walls giving the best acoustics in the entire house. Yet I did not fail to notice the sound of the door being opened and the distinctive sounds of three sets of footsteps on the marble floor making their way towards me.

“Thank you for coming.” I said over the low music.

“Well, when I get a call directly from the head of house herself, how can I refuse?” Kaido asked from behind me, “What was it you wanted to talk about?”

“Those weapons you’ve been getting.” I said shortly coming to the climax of the song.

“I’m sorry?” Kaido asked, not really believing what I had just said.

“Recently,” I started, “You’ve been getting some large shipments. Naturally, I grew curious. I found out exactly where those weapons have been coming from.”

“And where is that?” Kaido snarled at me.

“Well, before being handled by a third party, they come from Punk Hazard.” I said, “More specifically, my research facility.”

“That facility was funded by your father and myself.” He roared, his vocals completely eclipsing the music my fingers still stimulated.

“At the beginning yes.” I said, continuing to play, “But after about three months of construction, you ran into financial issues. It was either become ruined due to the fighting that was occurring in Alabasta at the time, or sell off your share of the facility to my father to get yourself out of the hole. Which is exactly what you’ve done.”

“What are you talking about?” He demanded.

“A very large and detailed contract I found the other day.” I started, the music slowing down now, “You gave up all rights to the facility. Meaning you have no right to be there, talking to the scientists, or attempting to purchase anything they produce.”

“Your father and I signed that agreement, not you and I, Ceerie. Nice try.” Kaido boomed.

The piece came to and end and I folded my hands in my lap as I spoke, “Correction. The agreement was not between you and my father, Kaido-san, it was between the West Family and the Red Family. Meaning, I have just as much right over the facility as my father did before he died. You are in the wrong territory right now, and I suggest you watch your step.”

The crack of teeth broke out through the silent room, followed closely by an animalistic growl, “You’re trying to intimidate me!”

Before he or Urouge could move a muscle there were 10 guns pointed at them.

I stood from my place at the piano bench and padded around it towards them in bare feet, allowing my strapless, black dress to flow about me as it pleased. I stopped a few feet away from them and held my ground with my hands behind my back.

“I would never think of intimidating you, Kaido-san.” I started staring up at the much taller man, “But right now you’re trying to intimidate me, and that is simply something my subordinates will not stand for. What I am presenting to you is not an ultimadem, but an option.”

“You’re giving me a choice?” He snarled.

I nodded before continuing, “You may continue to stress these orders of my scientists and suffer the same gruesome fate that awaits the same man supplying these weapons to you, or, you may return all the weapons that have been illegally smuggled to you by this man and apologise to me for the inconvenience you have brought me, and we will go back to how things were, no one will have to know about this, and you, and the rest of your family will live another day.”

“What happened to us having a truce?” He snarled, assessing the situation.

“It’s all nullified when I find out that there’s someone stealing from me.” I hissed back.

“And I assume you don’t know who this man is, and that’s what you hope to gain from me handing the weapons back over to you, isn’t it?” He chuckled.

I shook my head allowing my hair to dance around my face with the motion, “I know exactly who this person is. And I will deal with him permanently once I’m done here with you. Now make your choice.”

“You’re bluffing!?” Kaido snarled.

“You wanna try that right now?” I countered staring him down, “Look around, Kaido. Even if I didn’t know who he was all I would have to do is turn over enough rocks to get the information I want. I know Cesar squeals easily when you squeeze hard enough.”

“And if I refuse?” He growled.

I said nothing but turned and walked towards the door leading to the hallway heading to the kitchen.

“Where the hell are you going!?” Urouge yelled at me.

I turned when I got to the door and gripped the handle.

“This is a new dress.” I told them, “I don’t want it dirtied.”

I opened the door and closed it behind me. Once the latch was in place the sounds of gun shots rang out through the door, throughout the entire house. And shortly there after, the sound of two heavy bodies hitting the marble floor with a thud.

I opened the door again and inspected the work the men had done.

Both bodies were riddled with holes, and their blood slowly seeping out and pooling around them.

“What now?” Law asked looking over at me, he had been the one to lead them in.

“Remove their heads.” I ordered, “Deliver Urouge’s to the West Family’s house and Kaido’s to the merged house. I want them to know I mean business now.”

“Anything else, ma’am?” Lucky asked looking over the bodies.

“Don’t get caught doing it.” I warned.

“Yes, ma’am.” Killer said rolling up his sleeves prepared to do the dirty work.

“Ceerie.”

I turned around to see Benn behind me.

“He’s on the Mushi, waiting for you.”He told me.

I nodded, “I leave this to you then.” I said to Lucky before following Benn back to the office.

The mushi was already set up and waiting for me. I sat down and spoke into the receiver.

“Moshi-moshi.”

“Ah, Ceerie-san. It’s nice to hear from you. What would you like to speak about?” Doflamingo asked.

“Smile.” I said bluntly, I saw the grin on the mushi fall instantaneously.

“What, you would like me to smile for you?” He asked, the smile reappearing on his face, “If that’s the case you should have asked for a visitation.”

“Cut the shit Doflamingo.” I snarled, “I know it’s been you who has been hiring Cesar to produce Smile for you, and I know it’s been you selling the Smile to Kaido.”

The smile stayed off the mushi now, “Yeah, so what? It’s a number’s game, Ceerie you should know that by now.”

“I am perfectly aware of what the numbers represent, Doflamingo.” I told him, “But if you keep looking at this like a game, you’re the one who’s going to lose, not me.”

He chuckled, “Fufufufu, if it’s not a game to you, Ceerie, what is it then?”

“Life.” I told him shortly, “And unlike you, I don’t toy with people’s existences.”

“Oh that’s rich!” He laughed, “Like you didn’t force the majority of Blackbeard’s territory to become part of your empire.”

“I didn’t.” I replied, “We moved in, after I spoke to everyone in the area and they said that they would prefer to be under the rule of the Red Family.”

“And when did you find time to ask them this?!” He demanded.

“After school every day.” I smirked.

I heard him holding back a growl on the other end of the line.

“Use every opportunity you can, Doflamingo, that’s life lesson number 1.” I told him.

“Okay, Ceerie, now what? You caught me red handed, you know I’m stealing Smile and supplying it to Kaido. What are you going to do about it? You can’t stroll right into Kaido’s home and kill him, and you certainly can’t start a war with him, especially since he has all that Smile stock piled. What now?”

“Kaido has been taken out of the picture.” I told him calmly, “He’s no longer a concern of mine. And if I did fear the amount of Smile he had stock piled I would have taken his offer and married Urouge, which, if you haven’t noticed, I haven’t.”

“You don’t fear Smile?” Doflamingo scoffed.

“According to Cesar, between you and Kaido, you only have about twenty. And now that I know what Smile is, it’s laughable.” I told him.

“You don’t know Cesar like I do, Ceerie.”

“And you don’t know me like you think you do.” I snarled, that took him aback, “And here’s what’s going to happen, Doflamingo. Neither you nor any of your men are to step foot on Punk Hazard for as long as you live, or face the consequences.”

He chuckled again, “And what are these consequences, Ceerie?”

“I’m sure you saw the news paper a week ago, what happened to Oflux.” I heard him growl, “And I would keep your eye out for the paper tomorrow too. You’ll see what happened to your precious safety blanket, Kaido. Oh, and Doflamingo, before I forget. If you ever speak to me in such a way again I will personally rip your throat out and shove it up your ass. Am I clear.”

My only reply was a growl before he hung up.

I hung up the receiver and leaned back in my chair.

“You’re playing a very dangerous game right now, Ceerie. I hope you know what you’re doing.” Benn said from across the table.

“It’s not a game.” I told him, “My life is on the line if I slip. So’s yours, so’s Law’s, so’s Killer’s, and Lucky, Yasopp, Hawkins, Makino, Luffy, Ace, Sabo, everyone’s life is on the line.”

“That’s why I’m asking.” Benn repeated.

“I’ve thought out every possible scenario, if that’s what you’re asking.” I said looking him dead in the eye, “And I’ve thought about every scenario with my reaction to that. To say I know exactly what I’m doing, I don’t, because I don’t know at any given time what my adversary will do, but I’m doing everything I can to be ready for their counter assault.”

Benn just smiled at me and nodded, “You’re beginning to sound a lot like your father, it’s almost creepy.”

I looked down at the table. I was, wasn’t I?

 

Family Feud(One Piece Part 16)

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I giggled lightly at what, Killer had just said and glanced at the clock before forcing myself up.

“Shit.” I muttered under my breath.

“What is it?” He asked concerned.

“Makino always gets me up at six, and I still need to do something about the sheets.” I told him, “You need to leave.”

“I understand.” He said and kissed me lightly as he picked me up off him and placed me gently next to him on the bed. I whimpered slightly at the loss of contact.

He kissed my forehead affectionately, and stood up. I threw him his shirt from the floor, and his mask from the bathroom while tossing my cloths in the hamper. I threw my house coat on as he put his mask on.

I stopped him before he touched the balcony and embraced him.

Killer tensed slightly, but relaxed and placed a hand on top of mine around his middle.

“Arigoto.” I told him, “For everything.”

“That should be my line.” He told me.

“We can’t let anyone know.” I warned.

“I’m not the type to kiss and tell.” He assured.

“I love you.” I whispered.

“I love you too.” He told me and pried himself from my grasp before leaving my room and jumping down from the balcony.

I took a moment to recompose myself. There was much I had to do.

I shut the door and headed for my bathroom. I turned the tap on and took a quick shower.

I got out and towel dried my hair as I pulled out my outfit for the day; a blood red button down, black tie, black blazer, black skirt and thigh high black nylons.

I quickly brushed my hair and put my torn panties in the bottom of my trash can. I then took all the sheets off my bed and bundled them up in one of my pillow cases. I picked it up and glanced at the clock before unlocking the door. I had a good fifteen minutes before Makino would be up. That should give me enough time to get rid of the evidence.

I hurried down stairs to the laundry room before anyone could see me. I closed the door behind me and threw the sheets onto the treating table. I spread the ones that were stained out and got out bleach, a scrub brush, and some cleaning stuff that the maids would always use.

I had finally gotten all the stains out, the only thing left was to wash them. And just as I was about to throw them into the washer the door opened and Makino came in, her eyes wide as she saw me here.

“Ceerie-sama. You shouldn’t be here.” She scolded.

“I know.” I said looking away hoping to come up with something to say.

“If there was a problem with the sheets you could have just told me.” She said and gently touched my shoulder. I flinched away lightly.

“There was no problem.” I told her, “It’s just, last night, I-” How was I supposed to continue this sentence? Makino was the mother figure I never really had growing up. And to lie to her face like this? I was ashamed.

“Did you have that bad dream again?” She asked out of the blue.

“H-huh?” I questioned not knowing what she was referring to.

She smiled brightly at me, “When you were still a child, you would get these terrible nightmares. Sometimes you would wake up screaming, others in a cold sweat, but one thing was for certain; you would always wet the bed.” She informed holding back a giggle, “As you grew up your nightmares became less and less frequent, but you would still get them occasionally.”

I looked away, blushing in embarrassment. She took it a completely different way.

Makino gently wrapped a loving arm around my shoulder and brought me into a side hug.

“You don’t have to be ashamed of it, Ceerie-sama.” She assured me, “I won’t tell a soul.”

“A-arigoto.” I said to her, still not looking her in the eye.

“Now go up stairs.” She said removing her arm and pulling on the sheets, “Daddan has already brought up your breakfast.”

I nodded and left hastily, I didn’t want to see anyone at the time.

I remembered that nightmare after Makino had brought it up. It was always the same one over and over again. Oflux had done what he’d done to me, but there was no one coming to rescue me this time. I shuttered to myself and forced those memories out of my head as I opened my bedroom door.

“Where were you?” Daddan asked unamused.

I didn’t answer I just looked away. She sighed in frustration and pulled the cover off of a plate to reveal eggs, bacon, sausage, hashbrown, pancakes, a biscuit, a muffin, a cinnamon bun, and oatmeal. Along with that there was hot chocolate and orange juice.

“Arigoto.” I said and walked to the table. There was a small round table on the other side of my bed closer to the balcony doors, It had two chairs, and when my father was alive he would always eat with me here when we had big things like this.

She nodded and stepped back.

“I will get you clean sheets for your bed.”

“Arigoto.” I said again, “After that you are dismissed.”

She nodded and went all the way back down stairs for fresh sheets.

While she was gone I had eaten about half of what was presented before me. It took her until she was finished with redressing my bed was I finished with my meal.

She took away the empty trays and left. I went to the bathroom and quickly washed my face to get rid of the sticky syrup and frosting that I knew was around my mouth. I finished, fixed my sleeves, and grabbed my hat before leaving my room and making my way down to the court yard.

I pulled on my boots and gently pushed open the door leading to outside. Not everyone was out yet, but I could make out who was.

I walked down the path towards the pond in the middle of the court yard. It was spring, all the trees were in bloom, and the pink petals of the sakura trees were fluttering down like snow on everything. It was a beautiful sight to behold.

“Ceerie-sama.”

I turned to see the representative of Drum City standing behind me.

“Dalton-san.” I said and bowed to him, “What may I do for you?”

“I did not want to address you about this as the party, but I thought now would be a better time.” He told me, I nodded for him to continue, “Our queen, Kureha, wanted to be the one to speak with you about this. But she’s been quite busy with her subjects.”

“Dalton-san.” I told him gently, “You are both an allie and a friend to me. You’ve helped us out when we needed it. If there is anything I can do for you or Drum City, please, do not hesitate to ask me. I’d be more than happy to help in any way I can.”

He took a deep sigh, “Other places have cut us off. They refused to make anymore effort with us because of how high up in the mountains we are. Our people are beginning to starve. It’s embarrassing for me to ask, but-

“Say no more.” I told him, “I’ll make arrangements for rations to be sent up immediately. And I’ll look into a safer way of transportation aswell.”

“We don’t need charity, Ceerie-sama.” He told me firmly.

“I do not give out charity.” I assured him, “I give what is earned. And consider it an advance.”

“For what?”

“I need a large factory. We’ve no room to expand here, and I need it as soon as possible.”

“What’s the factory for?”

“I have scientists in Punk Hazard working as we speak. They come up with amazing ideas that could greatly aid the daily lives of individuals, but we’ve no place to assemble them. If you can get, Kureha-sama to say yes, I’ll supply Drum City with rations, and more jobs.” I explained.

“A-arigoto, Ceerie-sama.” He said and bowed deeply, I could have sworn he was about to cry, “You have no idea how much this means. I’m sure Kureha-sama will say yes too.”

I nodded, “Please get her to call me with the answer. And I’ll send up supplies, equipment, and experienced carpenters with the second delivery of rations.”

“What about those who will be in charge of over looking the factory?” I could hear the concern in his voice.

“The carpenters will also be the managers, and a few skilled engineers.” I told him, “And don’t worry, I know they know what they’re doing.”

“Arigoto again, Ceerie-sama.” He said.

“It’s my pleasure, Dalton-san.” I told him.

He nodded and I continued on down to the pond.

Most of the morning I was discussing small details about trade agreements, being thanked for things my father and I have done for them, and receiving condolences for my loss that they haven’t managed to express in person before.

It was going closer to noon about then was when I caught sight of a man dressed in bright pink. I sighed to myself and finished my conversation with Spandam. I bowed to him and made my way up a small path to a stone bench under the largest cherry blossom tree in the court yard. Doflamingo was sitting on the far side as I approached him.

“Doflamingo-sama.” I said and bowed.

“Ceerie-san.” He smiled and nodded.

“May I?” I asked motioning to the bench place beside him.

“It would be my pleasure.” He told me.

I sat down about as lady like as I could, but didn’t cross my legs.

“Isn’t it lovely?” I asked him looking over the court yard. The bench had the best view over the entire court yard. It was lovely, especially with the beautiful pink petals decorating the entire place.

“I find beauty in other things.” He told me.

I had known he was referring to me.

“I find it strange how you chose this place.”I told him.

“How do you figure?” He asked.

“As a child, I was never really included in many of the Family events.” I told him, “I would sit here, and look out at all the people mingling and having fun when my father would have these. He would always meet me up here. And when I had a bad day at school I would sit here, he would come out and talk to me.”

“It must hold some bad memories.” He told me.

I shrugged, “At times.” I admitted, “But I know I can’t change what happened. What I know I can do is continue what he started, and hold on to the wonderful memories he went out of his way to make with me.”

“Your father was a good man, Ceerie.” He told me.

“It makes me glad you say that, Doflamingo-sama.” I said and smiled, “I know he was, and it makes me proud to be his daughter.”

I glanced over to see him fidgeting a bit.

I raised an eyebrow, “Doflamingo-sama, is there something wrong?”

He paused a moment before looking at me without his signature smile plastered on his face.

“I would like you accept this, Ceerie-san.” He said to me, in his hands he held a small, rectangular, gift wrapped box. It had orange and pink diagonal stripes, with a pink bow.

The way he held it to me, I knew I could not refuse.

I carefully pulled the ribbon and paper off and opened the box:

There was a solid gold chain, five amethyst cherry blossoms arranged along an onyx tree branch, all of which backed onto a gold plating.

I swallowed hard. When ever gold was given it was a sign of richness and respect, but at times admiration.

I lowered my head and thrust my arms back out to him, the box still in my hands.

“Doflamingo-sama, I cannot accept this! It is almost an advanced wedding gift.” I told him.

“Ceerie-san, I’m offended.” He said, I could hear the hurt in his voice.

“And I am overwhelmed.” I told him looking up at him, “You do not understand the amount of men that have made an attempt or suggestion for my hand. There are things I need to do before I can think of these things, and no one respects these boundaries.”

“You think it’s that?” He asked.

“Am I wrong?” I raised an eyebrow.

“This is a DonQuixtote family heir loom, it’s been in the family for almost a thousand years. And I wanted you to have it.” He told me.

“And as the main carrier of the Red Family honour, I cannot accept this. And I will not, as if something is to occur and it is not you I take as my husband I’d be shaming both our families.” I explained, “Please, I have no right.”

He looked at me a moment before his face broke out in another grin.

“That is what I love about you, Ceerie-san.” He said to me and gently took the box away from me, “Not only do you think of the big picture, but you care so much about others and their feelings.”

“That piece is bound to be invaluable, and I cannot see the future. And more than that I do not want to give any false hope.”

“You are too sweet.” He said.

“And you are too kind.” I told him biting back a hiss.

“I would like to speak to you about something else, if you have another moment.”

I held back a sigh and the disappointment in my eyes. I looked up at him and nodded for the blonde man to continue.

“Trafalgar Law.” He said slowly.

“What about him, Doflamingo-sama?”

“I was wondering what he was to you.” He explained, “And your maids, Hawkins, Beckman, Yasopp, Lucky, and that Killer fellow. What are they to you?”

I was taken aback slightly but I didn’t show it.

“Forgive me, Doflamingo-sama.” I started slowly, “But I don’t understand what it is you mean.”

He chuckled lightly, “Never mind.” He then said, “I think I’ll find out later everything I want to know. until then.” He rose and I quickly followed suit, “I believe I will take my leave of you. You’re hospitality, generosity, and company are second to non, Ceerie-san. And I hope we can meet again under better conditions.”

“I hope so aswell, Doflamingo-sama.” I said and bowed, “I wish you a safe journey back to Dressrosa, and thank you for coming.”

He chuckled as he walked off, leaving the garden and me shivering.

I didn’t like how he asked that question, and the way he said he would find out soon enough.

“Take care.” I said and embraced Vivi one last time.

“You all as well.” She said with a giggle.

We had spent the entire afternoon and evening with her, my brothers, and our friends. We were now seeing her off back to Alabasta.

We all watched as she boarded her ship and waved as it pulled out and headed for sea.

“It was nice to see her again.” Nami said when the ship was a few kilometers out.

“I miss her already!” Sanji exclaimed in distress after her ship.

“Suck it up ero-cook!” Zoro snapped.

“Enough.” I called between the two before a fight could break out between them. They didn’t start, and all eyes were on me.

I rubbed the back of my neck as I looked them all over and smiled.

“It was good to hang out with all of you again after so long.” I said finally, “And I just wish that it could happen a little more often.”

“We’ll always be here for you, Ceerie-san.” Robin assured me as she placed a gentile hand on my shoulder.

I nodded, “And I appreciate it. And I also hope you would forgive me. I need to go.” I said sadly, “After these kinds of meet ups a million more things are added to the already overflowing list, I just hope you can understand.”

“Is that the way a boss speaks?” Zoro asked out of the blue.

I looked up at him and scowled not knowing what he was talking about.

“Asking for forgiveness in order to do their duty to their people.” He all but snapped, “They should be first on your mind at all times, and other, fruitless, things should be an after thought. If you were my daughter I would be ashamed of you saying such a thing in your position.”

“Oi! Marimo!” Sanji yelled.

“He’s right about one thing.” I said before a fist could be thrown, “The people of the town come first. Their needs, the trade needs, our partner’s people, ways to expose the evilness and wickedly that’s occurring behind the scenes. But that’s also where you’re wrong, Zoro.” I told him a smirk playing on my lips and a passionate fire reigniting behind my sea blue eyes, “Because you aren’t my father, you can’t be ashamed of my actions as a daughter in this position. But I can’t stand here making a giant speech or monologue anymore. I have a city I’m gonna run and a check list longer than I am tall to get through before the end of the week. I’ll see you guys later.”

I walked off, Benn not too far behind me as they stayed back and talked for a little bit.

I did have almost way too much to do, and everyone knew it.

Now’s the time, I thought to myself. I can’t keep thinking that I can do everything on my own and have every decision be made by me, I have Law, Hawkins, Killer and the others for a reason. Not utilising them to their full potential was not only stressful on my part, but inconsiderate for them. I trusted all of them, we had each others back no matter what. That’s the way it needs to be in order to get anywhere.

I read over the supplies to be sent to Drumkingdom as I sipped a cup of coffee. I let Hawkins take over for that one and he got it all right.

Why did I doubt him again? I asked myself.

I signed on the line and handed it back over to him before picking up a folder underneath that one. It was the order for the laboratory, I skimmed over it knowing Law would have caught anything and signed that aswell.

“You aren’t as stingy anymore?” He said as he handed me a stack of papers and files each containing a contract or shipping order that needed my approval.

“I need to trust you guys.” I said as I refilled my mug, “It’s not good for anyone otherwise.”

Benn strode in the door and closed it behind him. He dropped the morning paper on the table and motioned for me to look at it.

I unfolded it after setting aside some of the papers.

Piercing green eyes that had haunted me for years on end were now gorged out from the skull that was staring back at me.

Killer had done a number on him. His eyes were out of his skull, his jaw all but broken off, tongue hanging on by a string. His chest cavity was split open, his heart, lungs and stomach were removed. His small intestines were wound around his neck a few times and he was missing all his fingers.

The article said he was mutilated both post and pre mortem, according to authorities. The only way that they managed to identify him was because of his dental records. And now the Black and Sweet families were being investigated for their relation to a notorious thief, murderer, and child molester.

As the article ended, the weight that came off my chest was almost amazing. I put a hand over my mouth and threw the paper down on the table trying to stop myself from laughing and crying from relief.

I was barely able to form much of a conscious thought back then. And playing on the beach in the sand, wadding in the water up to my knees because that’s all I was allowed without supervision. Being scooped up by a strange man, brought to a secluded, run down shack in the middle of the woods. Being set up for ransom, and then raped by said strange man both with himself and sodomized with various tools and objects he had with him at the time. The only reason why I was still alive today was because the same shack that he decided to call his ‘hide out’ was the club house of my brothers. They heard screaming, yelling, cursing, and sounds of a fight. They broke in, beat him til he was unconscious and then brought me back to town and my father.

I remembered Sabo wrapping his jacket around me because I was only in a tanky bathing suit which was ripped, stained with various substances, and I was soaking wet on top of it all. I was crying into Ace’s back the entire walk back home. While in the hospital they would visit me and when I got out and was well enough I played with them and they became my unofficial ‘body guards’ when I was away from my father.

The actual memories of what Oflux had done to me where now distant, they were nothing but scars that had healed and would continue to heal forever. He could no longer haunt me and hold me back from anything, I could now move forward as I saw fit with my life. No strings attached.

A few stray tears fell down my cheeks as I let out a soft laugh.

“Ceerie-ya, are you alright?” Law asked coming closer to me to make sure I was okay.

I nodded, “I’m just so relieved.” I finally managed.

One nightmare was now over and done with for me, but another was just about to take place. And this time I was going to be the shadow in the closet and the monster under the bed.

Family Feud(One Piece Part 12)

0

“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.”

Family Feud(One Piece Part 11)

0

“Take care.” I told my father as I hugged him, “We don’t know what they might pull.”

“I know, princess.” He told me tussling my hair around, “You just take care of things here.”

I nodded and let him go. He and Benn waved as they left for the ceremony. The remainder of us went to the meeting room. There we had a denden mushi set up to watch the wedding. There were others in there to call the specialty sector, and a map of the town spread out across the table.

We sat down and waited for the transmission to come through. The second Bonney started to walk down the isal is when they would be contacted.

But before that I picked up on smaller denden mushi that was yellow and a blue and white stripped mask on. I pressed the button and instantly called the other end of it.

“Ring ring ring…. Ring ring ring…. Ring-”

“Yo, Ceerie. What is it?” Killer asked from the other end.

“How many guards does it look like are walking around?” I asked trying to get an idea of the set up of the map.

“I went through everything, three times thoruly.” he told me, “I haven’t seen anyone.”

I nodded, “Good job.” I told him, “Wait in your designated position, and I’ll call again when the attack is on.”

“Roger.” He told me.

I hung up, and went back to the mushi that had just started to transmit the broadcast. The first bit was just Black beard saying he was happy everyone could attend, and was glad he was about to take on his wife and such.

“Hawkins, what do your cards say?” I asked the man who had layed them out on an unoccupied section of the table.

“Odds look to be in our favor.” He told us, “Hmm.”

“Hmm?” I questioned.

“Apparently love will be found at the end of this.” He told me looking up from them, “The plan is good, we’ll have high chances of obtaining what we want. I haven’t found anything to indicate we’re going to lose anyone. But I never found a love card come out when it was about something like this.”

“First for everything.” I told him, “Maybe you find that special girl.”

He shook his head, “The strange thing about this is it isn’t pointing to me, but rather you.”

“Me?” I squeaked, “Why would I fall in love during something like this?”

He chuckled, “You always have enjoyed blood baths.”

“This isn’t supposed to be blood bath.” I told him, my eyes darted around the room mainly waiting for Bonney to start walking down the damn isal. But Black Beard just wouldn’t shut up.

“Keep going.” I told him, “Maybe it’ll say who I fall in love with.”

“A head of you, Ceerie.” He told me, “And they won’t say.”

I growled a little and nodded.

The mushi finally turned away from Black beard and changed to outside the temple. There Bonney was beginning to walk up the steps. Lucky and Yassopp both extended hands to the denden mushis but I stopped them.

“Not yet.” I told them, “Not just yet.”

We waited, tension in the room was think. The only sounds were coming from the transmission and Hawkins reading his cards.

The transmission changed to the very back of the temple. Bonney came into view and the organ started to play.

I picked up the mushi for Killer and pressed the button.

“Hai!” He said when he picked up.

“Start.” I told him, “Call back every time you make more than two blocks of ground.”

“Yes, sir-er-ma’am.” He said and turned the mushi off.

Lucky muted the mushi, but kept the view on. The next almost hour was a complicated ballet of phone calls, orders, me climbing onto the table, ground being made, and red marker on the map.

“Ceerie.” Law said gaining my attention from drawing gain lines.

“Nani?” I asked looking up from where I kneeled.

“informants have come from the north and are attacking squad L. What should they do?” He informed,

I held out my hand for the mushi and he handed it over without a second thought.

“Don’t be stupid in this.” I told them my eyes glued to the transmission, they were just saying vows, “Who’s opposing?”

“Under grunts.” The squad leader told me, “But they’re a lot tougher than we had anticipated.”

I nodded, “Hold them back as long as you can, I’ll send in reinforcements.”

“Arigoto.” He cried.

I tossed the receiver back to Law and reached across the table to squad Z’s mushi. I pressed the button and they answered instantly.

“Aye sir?” The leader asked ready for anything.

“Squad L is in sector, thirty-seven, just west of you.” I told him, “Enemies are starting to come in, go and aid them.”

“Aye, sir!” He yelled and hung up.

I picked up Killer’s mushi as I put the other one down and tucked the marker behind my ear.

“Ceerie?” Killer asked.

“We have enemies coming in.” I told him, “I need you to do something for me.”

“Anything.” He said.

–No One’s Pov.–

“Got it?”Ceerie asked the Blonde man out on the battle field.

“I got it.” He replied before hanging up.

He took his troops and headed over to the far east side of town. If the enemies managed to get through that side they could split them up, and then they were screwed.

In the temple, the ceremony was just concluding. Red Haired Shanks was giving the final blessing, before the reception could happen.

“I wish both of you a long and happy marriage, and may it be blessed the beauty of loving each other.” He said.

“Arigoto.” Black beard laughed, “Come.” He said to the pink haired girl next to him, whom had a sour look on her face, “We’ve a party to go to.”

She nodded and followed behind him.

Shanks looked at Benn, Benn looked back. They both knew they should be getting back know. Or risk death by either Black Beard or Big Mama. It was going to be about now that they found out was going on anyway.

Back at the mansion the office was a mess, dendens going off every second, yelling, and red marker everywhere.

“What do you mean, you can’t advance?” Ceerie snapped into one of the dendens, “Why not?”

“The Flamingo gang is blocking us.” The man on the other end cried.

She sighed and pushed some of her red hair back behind her ear, “Hang on.” She told them, “I’ll have help over in a few moments.”

“Thank you.” He said and hung up.

She spun around on the table and picked another denden.

“Ace!” She shouted, without ever waiting for a reply, “Rose and his party are in trouble.” She went one, “Their about three blocks behind you to the west. They need your help.”

“On my way!” He shouted back and hung up.

The girl sighed and went back to answering mushis, barking orders, and colouring the map. But in all the confusion no one noticed a still and silent Basil Hawkins, that was staring at the cards in front of him in utter shock.

Family Feud(One Piece Part 10)

0

Two Years Later–>>

I stood in line with my peers, waiting for my name to be called. My palm were sweaty, and I was growing more nervous with every passing second. Tomorrow we would have the coming of age, or comensment ceremony. I wasn’t looking forward to it.

I wanted to skip this, as I had already passed my exams, but my father insisted. I really wanted to just stay in bed, because my head was killing me.

We managed to win the championships the other day. But I had to fight this guy named Bartolomeo. He hit hard, and it took even I a good fifty plus hits to wear him out a little. I had a black eye and harshly bruised cheek from it. I didn’t want my picture taken like that.

“Ceerie Le Roux.” Principal Garp growled.

I took a deep breath and walked across the stage to him and Sakazuki-sensie. He shook my hand, as did sensie, and handed me my diploma.

I walked the rest of the way across and stood with all of my other peers.

I thought about how much we’ve all changed over these two years. Kidd didn’t hate me as much, he always would because of our families, but instead he grew a little more from each of our brawls. Bonney stopped trying to push my buttons all the time when she realized I wouldn’t respond. But I think I changed the most.

I had cut my long hair, so it fell only about half way down my neck, got myself some bangs, and put black streaks in my hair. I got my ears pierced in multiple places. I’ve also taken a liking to skirts, and gothic Lolita. I grew a lot closer to Hawkins, Law, and Killer over the past two years as well. They haven’t changed that much though.

The time came and we all threw our hats off. I was glad school was over with. I could use all the time I spent in the class room and doing homework helping my father.

I was congratulated by everyone before Daddan practically ripped off my graduation gown revealing my black, lacey, mini skirt, and red and black long sleeved shirt that covered half of my skirt.

“Let’s go, Ceerie-hime.” Makino said in her sweet voice.

I nodded holding back my groan. She said she was going to take me shopping after my graduation for new cloths. Apparently she and Daddan had noticed the high levels of black I was wearing and insisted I start to add some colour.

“Yasopp.” I heard my father say as we left.

The said man walked with us, and came int the stores. Now we couldn’t be too careful. I was graduated, and ready to take over. I was an open target.

The sun was starting to set as when the four of us got back to the mansion.

“Successful shopping trip, I take it?” My father asked when we came in with a gazillion bags.

“Mostly.” Makino told him.

“Ceerie-hime continued to pull out black.” Daddan added.

“I refuse t wear pink.” I told her, “It clashes.”

“You could always go with lighter colours.” She told me, “You always choose the darkest of shades! You might as well wear black all the time!”

“With our line of work, Daddan.” My father told her, “Black it better than all other colours.”

She sighed giving up and took the better half of the bags upstairs to my room.

“Arigoto for the help, Yasopp.” I said and bowed to him.

“Don’t mention it Ceerie.” He said and rubbed his neck, “If I may sir, I’d like a word.”

My father nodded and they left. I helped Makino take the rest of the bags up to my room. When we got there Daddan was already putting them away.

I sat on my bed and watched them, they had ordered me not to help.

“Neh?” I asked them out of the blue, “Why are you guys so adamant of me wearing lighter colours?”

“So men will see you as a girl and not feel threatened to approach you.” Daddan told me bluntly.

“Daddan.” Makino scowled, “What she means is, sometimes a man will over-look a woman if she appears too serious. And a lot of black all the time, Ceerie-hime, is series.”

I shrugged, “If I get married he’ll understand who I am, and appreciate my clothing style.”

They chuckled lightly at what I said. It was the truth though. If I was dating a man and he tried to change me, I would be done with him. My love should love me as I am.

There was a knock at the doors and I opened it. Law was there, with Hawkins at his side. Both held a large parsle.

“These just came in.” Law said handing his to me, Hawkins did the same thing, “You father wanted us to bring them up to you. He said you had to wear them tomorrow.

I sighed knowing exactly what they were. And nodded.

“Arigoto.” I said and bowed to them, they bowed back and left. I shut the door and layed them on my bed.

“Oh, they came.” Makino smiled to herself.

I nodded and began to open them. In the first one was a snow white kimono, this was the underlayer. In the other was a black kimono with rich, red flowers, beautiful rivers of blue, breath-taking yellows of gold, and deep purples that put the night sky to shame.

“It’s beautiful.” I said absent-mindedly.

“It was cut just for you.” Makino told me sitting on the bed next to me, she and Daddan had finished putting everything away, “It’s a graduation gift from Lord Spandam in the mountain kingdom. He requested you wear it to your coming of age commencement ceremony.”

I nodded, “This isn’t a rouse for another marriage proposal, is it?” I asked her.

She shrugged, “Only he knows.” She told me.

I nodded and sighed again.

“What do you have against marriage anyway?” Daddan demanded, “You are a young, beautiful woman who’s full of potential! Why won’t you accept a husband?”

“Because I don’t love any of the men that have asked me to be their bride.” I told her, “That’s what I want to marry for. I’ve talked to all of the suitors, but non are to my liking. I think it would be easier if my father had chosen a husband for me, but he’s dead set on me finding love myself.”

“You’ll find it Ceerie-hime.” Makino told me, “You just need to look a little deeper than the skin.”

I couldn’t help but agree with her. But it still didn’t stop me from thinking. Exactly why did all these men actually want me?

I was awake before Makino came in my room to wake me up. The usual shower, dressing gown, sit-still-as-I-do-your-hair routine that I have become so familiar with over the years.

After I ate, I was dressed into the kimono by Daddan and Makino. Daddan tied it tighter than last time, but not tight enough to kill me.

I was once again helped into the carried cart and we were taken to the temple. I took a deep breath as I was helped out. Unlike the showing ceremony, this was going to be broadcasted all over the world. And each of us had a speech to say. They tried to get me to write one down, but I told them all I was going to say would be in my head, and I would tell it without a stupid cheat sheet or memorization.

We all bowed to each other before we went up the steps of the temple. But did not go inside. We stood on the wrap around balcony/platform of the temple and waited.

The elder emerged, and stood in between two families, sperating us into two’s.

“These children before will one day lead a family, and in doing so everyone in said family must know their intentions!” Dragon boomed, “Each of them will deliver you a speech. That speech is their vow! That vow is to you! You who are under them, be it in status, ability, or protection! They are your future leaders, from the bottom up their pledges to you!”

It started with the very last in Black beard’s family, then Big Mama’s, then Kiado’s, then Hawkins gave his speech/pledge.

The next gave their speeches, in the same order. And I knew I was going to be the last one to do so.

Second in commands went next, and all too soon next to be’s were up. And because Black beard didn’t have a successor, they skipped him. Bonney was done in record time, and Urouge didn’t have much to say in his.

I took a deep breath and walked across the platform to where the denden mushi attached to the loud speakers were. I knelt down and placed my hand on my heart.

“I accepted the role of Boss of the Red family, two years ago.” I began, “And when the time comes I will be ready and willing to take that position. But when that time comes, there is something I want everyone under the Red family to know.” I paused again and looked out to the people, “You do not serve me. I am not the ruler of all of you. But in fact I serve you.” Whispers could be heard all around. “I swear I will do everything I can to protect each of you, make sure your save and well. I will not bring any of you into danger, or something I do not believe will better the greater good. I will not tell you to do something for me. But I will ask. And each of you will have the option to decline. Your families will be safe, as will your lives if you do decline. But I will not forgive anyone who betrays me. And that is my one request.”

A moment of silence came over the entire crowd, before a fit of cheers came from them. I took a deep breath and stood bowing to them before resuming my original position.

Dragon went back up to the denden and raised it to his level. He raised a hand and crowd quieted down instantly.

“Each of these children deserve their spot up here.” He told them, “They are your future leaders! And they will carry out their vows to each of you when they take over their positions. And if they do not keep them, it is their descrase.”

We walked down the stairs and instead of going to our carages, we went to the people of our sectors. We must familiarize ourselves with them, other wise we wouldn’t be very good leaders.

“Ceerie-sama!” I heard people call all over. I was slightly over whelmed, but my father took my hand and lead me to the crowd.

I shook hand with so many and got to hold a few babies.

“You will keep us safe, right?” I heard a small voice asked. I turned around and saw it was a small boy, who was covered in dirt.

“Don’t be so rude to, Ceerie-sama!” A woman scolded.

I crouched down to his level and got a better look at him.

“What’s your name?” I asked him.

“Onion.” He told me.

I smiled, “Onion, I promise you I will do everything I can to make sure that you and your family and friends are safe for as long as I live.” I told him, “If I go back on that promise, I would like you to hit me. Okay?”

He looked at me astonished, as did the rest of the crowd in ear shot. Whispers came around, “A kid she doesn’t know hit her if doesn’t keep her promise?”, “The kid won’t do it, he’ll be too afraid.”, “Is she that dedicated to her cause?”

Onion nodded, “Okay.” He smiled at me, “I just hope I don’t have to hit you.”

I giggled, “I hope so too.” I told him, “I’m sure you’d probably knock me out if you did.”

He laughed too, “I wouldn’t hit you that hard!” He laughed, “You’re too pretty to do that too!”

I stopped and stared at him, “Even with my bruises?” I asked him.

He stopped and stared at me this time, before he smiled, “I think it gives you character.”

I smiled at him, “You’ll be a real ladies man when you grow up, Onion.” I told him.

“Arigoto.” He said.

“Ceerie.” My father called, “Come. There’s someone I’d like you to meet.”

I nodded, “Please excuse me.”

He nodded and went over to my father.

“Ceerie, this is Rayleigh, and Shakky.” He told me, “This is my baby girl.”

I smiled and bowed, “It’s nice to meet you two.” I told them, “My father has told me so much about both of you.”

Rayleigh smiled at me, “It’s good to know you put your people above all else, Ceerie-san.” He told me, “It’s hard to find that now.”

I smiled.

“I wouldn’t call her your baby girl anymore, Shanks.” Shakky told him, “Not only is she eight-teen, but she has more bruises than you did at that age.”

“Fist fighting championships.” I told her rubbing the back of my head, “My opponent was really heavy hitter.”

She giggled, and Rayleigh chuckled.

“She’s just like you.” He told him.

My father smiled, “Awh, but she got her looks from her mother.”

I smiled at the sight before me.

“Ceerie!” I heard and turned around. Nami, Nojiko, and Robin were coming over to us.

“Yo.” I greeted.

“Long time no see.” Nami commented.

“Gomena,” I apologised, “There’s been a lot to do lately.”

“Don’t apologise, Ceerie.” Nojiko told me, “We understand, but we miss you sometimes.”

I smiled sheepishly, “I know.” I told her, “I miss you guys a lot too. But there’s not a whole lot I can do right now.”

We were all at the dinner table. It was tradition that after ceremonies like this we all meet in the mansion and have a feast.

“Quite a speech, Ceerie.” Killer told me as we waited for the first course to come out.

“Arigoto.” I thanked, “But I was just saying the truth.”

“I wish I thought of that when I was your age.” My father called to me across the table, “It was utterly brilliant.”

I shrugged and sunk back in my seat, not really wanting to talk about it anymore.

Just then, Benn came rushing into the room with Law in toe.

“Guess what.” Benn told us.

“Nani?” I asked.

He grinned at me, “We got the wine factory for a steal!”

Everyone else kinda cheered. I grinned.

“How much?” I asked leaning forward wanting to know.

“Thirty million.” Law answered taking his seat, “We had planned not to go over one hundred million, because that’s what we got over the past two years from the oil factory.”

“And you guys were against it.” I smirked.

They were about to come up with some kind of comment when the doors to the kitchen opened. And instead of trays and trays of food, Makino hurried out with only a letter in hand.

“This is from Lord Spandam.” She said handing the letter to my father, “It was send urgent.”

He nodded and dismissed her.

He broke the wax seal and unfolded the paper. He sighed and rubbed his temple as he read it.

“This should have been addressed to you.” He said, layed the paper on the table and flicked it down all the way to me. I stopped it with the palm of my hand and unfolded it to read the contents.

After skimming it over for the second time, and I sighed and layed it face down pinching the bridge of my nose.

“What is it?” Law asked.

“This basically said, he loved the way I looked in the kimono and was hoping I would now consider him as an eledgable suitor.” I told him rubbing my unhurt cheek, “Apparently he was also turned on by the fact I went world-wide with bruises on my face and not care.”

The rest of the room sighed.

“I’m getting really tired of these.” I muttered balling up the paper and tossing into the garbage can.

“Make a public announcement that you aren’t interested in a suitor right now.” Yasopp stated.

“If not for the after effects of it, I probably would.” I told him.

“After effects?” Law asked, “You’re merely stating you aren’t interested in marriage right now.”

I nodded, “Then everyone is going to wonder why?” I told them, “They’ll try and find out what dark secret I have for refusing a suitor, and start with wild stories about me not being into men, or being pregnant, or maybe my father’s keeping me unwed for his own purposes.”

“The wrong kind of glamor.” Benn put it in a nut shell.

“If you don’t mind me asking, why haven’t you accepted any of the suitors yet, Ceerie?” Killer questioned.

I shook my head, “I’m given the rare chance of choosing whom I spend the rest of my life with.” I told him, “I actually want to marry for love and not power.”

He nodded.

And for the second time the kitchen doors flew open, this time dishes and dishes of mouth watering food came out with Makino and Daddan and the other kitchen help.

It was three days after the commencement ceremony. All of us were in the meeting room. Not only had I received another four proposals, but we had also received a wedding invitation for Black beard and Bonney.

“Your plan, Ceerie.” My father told me as I looked over the invitation, “What do we do?”

I looked up at him from the letter where I stood. With the exception of Hawkins, no one was sitting around the table. I myself was leaning against the wall right next to the window.

“You and Benn go to the wedding and you give your blessing.” I told him.

Both men looked at me strangely.

“Day before Lucky tells everyone in the specialty unit that you gave me the power for this.” I told them, “Once the ceremony starts, most if not all the power on Black Beard’s side is going to be around the temple to stop any and all disruptions of the ceremony. When that happens the specialty unit will move forward and take as much of Black beard’s territory as they can, pushing in back pretty much to Big Mama’s lines.”

“And how do you suppose we get the territory?” Law asked raising an eyebrow.

“I didn’t just give my speech to promise our people that.” I told them, “But to let everyone know, I’ll accept those who wish to be protected.”

Killer chuckled, “And we all know Black beard isn’t the most gentle with his people.”

I nodded, “I’ve already talked to a few on his side, and they want to convert, but they’re afraid of what might happen.”

“So how do we protect them?” Benn asked me.

“Round the clock patrols.” I said, “Keep Black beard back for as long as we can.”

“And how long do you think we can?” Hawkins asked.

“About two years.” I said honestly, “But I have another plan to move him even further back, along with Big mama.”

“I wanna hear that one.” My father told me.

“Once we push Black beard as for back as we can,” I started, “We make a meeting with, Kaido. We give him 10% of the territory that we took from Black beard.”

“As a temporary truce?” Benn asked.

I shook my head, “We’ll tell him both our families are at disadvantages with the marriage.” I told them, “We’ll tell him we need to focus our forces against Big Mama and Black beard for now, and when their far enough out of the picture that they couldn’t hope to retaliate. We’ll discuss what we think is better for both families.”

“What if he doesn’t listen?” Killer asked.

“He’ll listen.” I told him, “Weather any of us like it or not, a marriage changes that game, and it makes nothing but trouble for the opposing families. He’ll have no choice but to take the territory and help us out a little in destroying them.”

“Ceerie, you’re evil.” My father said almost scared, but his shocked expression quickly turned to a smirk as he continued, “I raised you well.”

“Keep your friends close, and enemies closer.” I told him, “We can’t actually trust ,Kaido, but we can make him believe we do.”