The Other Side Story II
Marineford, meeting place of all of the very top ranking personel in the World Government's military. In attendance to the official meeting that day were all of the Red Guards. These men and women of the Marines were charged with the protection of the passage between the Grandline and the New World. Among their roster was Vice Admirals: Sam Polatsu, Kitomo Rise, Haime Yattez, Despard Titan, and Gomez Jere. They sat in their designated places in a room, each on a sitting pillow with Captain Ensin residing over the meeting, at the end of the row. He stood facing them with his hands behind his back.
Ensin: I'd like to thank you all for coming here in such short notice. As you all know, recently there has been a heightened number of pirates on the rise, while many of them are being handled, there has been one in particular that has caught the attention of the Fleet Admiral, and many of his higher ranking subordinants. [Holding up a Wanted Poster] Catman Rinji, a new bounty of 200,000,000 a very troublesome pirate captain of the Tiger-Stripe Pirates, and his crew, Lightning Legs Runagai Chio, bounty of 90,000,000, and Ink-Blade Usagi also a bounty of 90,000,000.
All of their eyes turned to the Wanted Poster, and they all widened.
Rise: Heheheh, really? A cat?
Gomez: Mehmehmehmehmehmeh! Have you tried using Catnip?
Ensin: Catman Rinji is part of a rare species that is only found in the New World, on an Island that has remained hidden, even from the World Government's wide spread intelligence. His overall goal is not yet known, but his actions have disgraced the Naval Marines to an extent that his bounty has nearly doubled as a result.
Yattez: Ooohh? What has he done to piss off the higher ups?
Rise: You mean you haven't heard? [She fixed her sunglasses as she spoke] This little kitten cut up Kola's face, he can't even show his head in the light, from what I hear.
Gomez: That bad?
Sam: It's far worse than you think as of now.
All their attention turned to Vice Admiral Polatsu.
Sam: He had to be moved to the Mental Health Facility in G-5. The scars he obtained at the hands of Catman Rinji drove him literally to the breaking point. He was taken to the hospital for his injuries and he refused any medical assistance. He did not see anyone, not even his wife. He hid in his room, never accepting food, and never accepting any sort of help. He felt so ugly that he decided to break the mirror in his room, and with the shards that fell in his bathroom sink…
There was a long pause, where-in Sam took a long drag off of his pipe. All of them almost quivered with anticipation.
Rise: You don't mean... he...
Sam: Yes. He carved the flesh off of his face, and decided to wear a mask.
All of them were extremely dumbfounded at this information. Even Captain Ensin was not privy to this information.
Sam: Needless to say, he was given a medical discharge... however... the ship that was going to carry him home never made it to its destination. It was found just four days ago, every single man was killed on it, and Former Lt. Commander Kola was nowhere to be found.
This brought a horrible silence to the room, the rest of them felt most uncomfortable. At length, Ensin finally cleared his throat.
Ensin: I beg your pardon, Vice Admirals. But lets stay on topic. Catman Rinji was spotted on Usted Island. It is believed that he means to enter the New World.
Rise: Usted, you say? [A certain glow seemed to hit her.]
Yattez: Damn, that puts him in Rise's sector.
Sam: It cannot be helped.
Ensin: This is correct, Vice Admiral Kitomo Rise has been selected to track down and capture the Tiger-Stripe Pirates. On behalf of the Fleet Admiral's Staff, I wish you luck in your endeavours.
Rise: Of course, this is my specialty, I love cats. Don't wait up guys!
The rest of them looked with jealousy as she got up from her seating position and started to walk out of the meeting room, straightening her Justice Coat.
Usagi's brush moved over the parchment with smooth, graceful elegance. Whenever she ran out of ink, she dipped her brush back into the vial, and kept up the characters. These were poetry, when she didn't have any ideas for a story, she wrote these short little poems that had a small beat, and sometimes even a rhyme scheme to them. The kanji came to her easily that day, and she was writing with more of an edge to her handwriting today; did that mean she was anxious about something? She turned toward the two in their room, snoring away. Chio slept on his pallet, while Ricky slept on his newly hung hammock. She shared a room with Nikk, and Rinji always had his Captain's quarters. Although, Rinji could sleep anywhere if he really put his mind to it. There were days where he slept on the table bench, or even on the stairs, where he was very prone to be stepped on.
The ship was now equipped with eight cannons, all thanks to Ricky and his destroyed shop. He took with him everything that wasn't destroyed along with it, and although he said that he didn't have much left, she started to wonder why eight cannons wasn't much.
All of this train of thought was interrupted by a chill that ran up her spine, and Usagi turned to see Nikk standing right behind her, causing her to nearly jump out of her skin.
Nikk: I'm bored...
Usagi: [Panting] Did you mop the kitchen, like I asked?
Nikk: Yeah, still bored. Tried to draw dead leaves on trees, that got boring. Tried to reread my book, that got boring. Tried to write Rinji a depressing letter, that was fun, but then it got boring.
All of these things made Usagi nod, but cock an eyebrow as she spoke.
That was when both of them heard a loud "Mewhahahahaha!" from outside.
Usagi: You could go see what the Captain's up to! It sounds like he's having fun outside.
That was when both of them heard the Captain's whistle, they got up from their sitting position. Usagi jumped straight at the boy's door and hit it hard, causing Ricky to fall straight off of his hammock.
The whole crew ran up to the deck and saw the Captain. Rinji had a fishing pole in his hand, a whole tackle box, and three fish bones on the ground at his feet. He held his hand over his eyes to block out the sunlight as he looked far off at sea.
Rinji: Mewhahahahaa! There it is! [Pointing]
The rest of them looked off deep over the horizon, but none of them saw anything.
Chio: There what is?
Rinji: You don't see it? [Trying to point harder.]
There was a long pause.
Rinji: Don't look over the horizon! It IS the horizon!
Nikk: It's the Red Line.
That was when the rest of them adjusted their eyes, and there it was. The mountain range when on for kilometers upon kilometers, and it was taller than any normal man could possibly climb. The Red Line was their halfway point, through all of the dangers of the Grand Line, it was known as paradise compared to what awaited them beyond that rocky, natural structure: The New World! All of his hopes, all of his dreams could come true in that place! The possibilities were absolutely sky-rocketing
Nikk: How do we get past it?
Rinji was torn away from his marvelous train of thought.
Rinji: Huh? Say what?
Nikk: How do we get past it?
There was, once again, a long pause.
Chio: Well I hate to say it, but she's right, the only real way to get past it is through Marineford, and, well, obviously we're not qualified to gain admittance.
Rinji: Gah! [Sweat drop] W-w-well! There is always going under it! We could cross the Red Line underneath it and meet all of the mermaids of Fishman Isl–
Usagi: We don't have a bubble-painted ship.
Rinji: GAH! Damnit! I forgot to get that while we were in Usted! Why didn't any of you remind m-- [All of them smashed him down into the ground]
Crew: You're the Captain!!!!
Rinji: [Got back up and looked at the Red Line, put his chin on his palm, and pianoed his cat fingers on his cheek.] Well… uummm... I could....well... ummmmm
Ricky: I could pack our hull with explosives and blow us over the mountain.
Usagi: Well, I'm sure if we survive, we can all swim to the next isl- [Slap!] Nuff said…
Chio: I'd have a better chance kicking us over the Red Line.
Rinji: Oh oh! I got it! If we disguise our ship like a big, wooden horse, we could just sail through Marineford, and they wouldn't know the difference!
Usagi: Maybe I could sign autographs?
Rinji: meh.... [Back to pianoing his fingers on his cheek.] Damnit… We're so close...
Chio: And yet, so fa--
Rinji: Shush! Look! [Points]
Usagi: Yes, we saw the Red Line, it was nice.
Rinji: No! Look!
All of them looked at the sea, and on it, they saw a small little life boat sailing in no particular direction.
Ricky: A lifeboat like that is bound to be worth at least two thousand belli. It's older, but it is sturdy.
Rinji: Exactly, get the rope!
After many tries, they finally were able to wrangle the life boat, and were able to pull it up on deck once they got another rope tied to the back.
Chio: Rinji, look at this!
Rinji poked his head over the rails of their ship, and saw that a young lady lied in the lifeboat, either asleep or unconscious. They were much more careful with bringing the lifeboat to the deck and set it down. She was a pretty girl, with long, blond hair, a bright blue dress, and black slippers to match her black ribbon in her hair. Once the boat was set down, they examined her, but it wasn't long before her eyes opened wide and she sat up in the boat.
Alice: [GASP!] Oh my! How long was I asleep? Dearest me, I feel positively famished. Is it tea time already?
There was, for the 90th time, a long pause.
She stirred her tea with a spoon, and never took her eyes off of Rinji. To his surprise, she didn't stop smiling. Unlike most, who seemed to cock an eyebrow at his appearance, she seemed to be inspired by his presence. They all sat around the table, (sans Ricky, who sat in the crow's nest) looking at her, that is, other than Nikk, who sat in the corner writing in her little notebook. Alice set the tea cup down on the saucer and took a bite out of a small rice cracker that Usagi prepared.
Alice: How nice of all of my friends to visit me! I cannot believe you're all here! However did you find me?
Usagi: You were drifting out at sea in a lifeboat; it's a miracle we found you. [Biting on some celery]
Alice: Indeed! I just got back from the other side! [Her smile widened]
Rinji: The other side? You mean the New World?
Alice: Well, it's not all that new. It's existed for quite a moment, indeed. But in respects for this world, I suppose you could call it new. Though that's like calling a tortoise older than a snapping turtle. There's no real way of knowing, you just know one is far older than the other. Unless it's a Mock-Turtle.
Rinji: A mock… tur-- okay, we're getting off topic. We've been traveling for a while, and we're not entirely sure how we're going to get to the New World. We've had some ideas, and many of mine were great, of course.
Chio: They were God-awful. Writing a letter to the Fleet Admiral and telling him you will give him chocolate if he leaves the New World gate open for an hour?
Rinji: That would have worked if you hadn't torn up the letter.
Alice: Are you the Raven? [Pointing at Chio]
Chio: The what?
Alice: The Raven! I've heard so much about the Raven, and I thought you might at least know him.
Chio: Do I even look remotely similar to a Raven?
Rinji: Once again! Way off topic… How can we get to the New World?
Alice: Oh! It's quite simple, really...
All of them kept looking at her, but she just sat there, sipping her tea, and smiling at them all. She placed an empty teacup down and held up the saucer toward Rinji.
Alice: Please, sir, can I have some more?
Rinji: Oh, come on! [He licked his palm and ran it across his head, rubbing his ear a bit.] Nikk! Maybe you can talk to her.
Nikk: I don't like her.
All eyes turned to Nikk, who didn't look back.
Alice: Oh… dear. Well I suppose that is going to happen.
Rinji: Well, that's no good. Alright, perhaps if we got to the Red Line, you could show us how to get to the New World, right Alice?
Alice: Certainly! You all need to get back there as soon as possible, whatever will the Duchess do without her precious cat?
Rinji: Wait, the who with the what now?
Usagi: Ummm... Rinji, I don't even know if we're all talking about the same--
Nikk: You're wasting your time. She's crazy. She's a rich girl who was so over-privileged, that her parents didn't even make her live in the real world.
Alice: Some might say "Mad as a Hatter."
Usagi: Oh come on, Nikk, you can't just assume that she's a rich gir--
Nikk: Fancy cotton dress with frills, an extremely expensive sapphire necklace, polished shoes and knee-high socks. There is not a blemish on her anywhere, namely her hands. She has no signs of even having a single hard day's work. From what I can tell, she's just a snobbish airhead who has never lived in the real world.
Alice: That's quite enough! I'll have you know that I am a fully functional member of society, and I will not stand for wild accusations!
Nikk: I don't remember asking.
Rinji: Alright, alright, that's enough. We don't need to start any unpleasantries. We're just looking for the--
Alice: Well you could do for some manners! [Got up from her seat and started trudging toward Nikk]
Nikk: Why don't you go ahead and teach me, if you're not too busy powdering your nose? [stood up and trudged toward Alice]
Usagi: Girls! Please! There's no need–
Alice: I'll show you just how much I can teach you! [put her hands out to either side] Dori Dori no–
Nikk: Osore! [Clenched her fists tight as the area around them turned both white and black at the same time like a Yin and Yang]
Chio: Ladies! Plea–
Ricky: [From outside] Captain! Marines off the–[BOOM! The ship rocked back and forth suddenly]
Rinji: Ah, damn! Cannon fire! All hands on deck! NOW!
Everyone jumped up from their seats and hurried toward the deck. There was indeed a Marine vessel off the port bow, at the five o'clock position, at least four hundred yards away and closing.
Rinji: Ricky! To the cannons!
Ricky was already sliding down the main mast, going below deck, and into the main hallway, where four cannons sat, and Nikk followed him.
Alice: Oh, dear me! Are they after us? But I thought they only tracked thieves and pirates.
Rinji paused, wondering why she didn't notice the Jolly Roger with the eye-patched cat and the crossbones.
Rinji: Well… see, about that-
Chio: Captain! [Holding a seeing-glass] It's a Vice Admiral's ship. I can't see which one it is, though. [Handed it to Rinji, who looked out toward it]
Rinji: It's Rise, damn. Vice Admiral Rise is not an enemy to be taken lightly. Prepare yourselves for combat! She prefers to board the ships she goes after.
Ricky fired off three cannons, and the fourth was fired by Nikk. Though they were not direct hits, they were very close, slowing them down, but not stopping them.
Seaman: Admiral Rise! We'll be along-side them within five minutes. Shall I prepare the troops for a boarding party?
Rise: Yes, leave the Catman to me; I plan on handling him personally.
Seaman: Yes, ma'am! [Turned toward the men] Prepare the swords and rifles!
Rise lit a cigarette and took a long drag as her ship approached the oncoming vessel. She thought of what that Catman did to Lt. Commander Kola and she shuttered a bit. This may prove more difficult than she previously thought. Still, it was her duty, and she would not squelch it.