Cade Locksley still found the Sea Train, Puffing Tom, to be unnatural. As he sat in one of the seats, he glanced back out the window to see the ocean waves passing by harmlessly. Despite the tossing and rolling movement that was perfectly characteristic of the ocean, the train glided smoothly, as if skimming right over the surface of the water. This left Cade feeling as if something was missing, giving him an oddly empty sensation in his gut.
He couldn’t even sit calmly in his seat. Despite his normal, casual demeanor, he leaned вперед with his hands resting in his lap, feeling and looking еще tense than normal. He was wearing his Избранное white рубашка with the sleeves rolled up along with his standard black vest, culottes, and knee breeches, looking very much like a pirate. He’d even made sure not to comb his hair, leaving it a flat mess on his head, though he ended up having to brush it out of his eyes every once in a while as a result.
“You seem tense, Cade. Is there something on your mind?”
Cade focused his gaze on the figure in front of him that he very much wanted to describe as a ‘sack of wrinkles in human clothing’. Of course, he knew better than to say anything like that aloud with the vice admiral sitting just across from him, but the sentiment wasn’t any easier to dispel. He’d known for quite a while that Vice Admiral Tsuru was just as much of an exception among the marines as the ‘Hero’ Garp, possessing an annoying devil Фрукты that was practically deadly to pirate-kind.
Sitting beside Tsuru was a beautiful redheaded amazoness wearing golden gladiator armor, possessing sharp eyes and a harsh gaze that made it nearly impossible to guess what she was thinking. A resident of амазонка Lily, this girl was also Cade’s trusted and skilled partner; Dandelion.
Cade was kind of hurt that his partner would choose to sit Далее to a marine instead of him, but he didn’t Показать it on his face.
“I think I’m getting sea sick, Vice Admiral.” Cade responded immediately. “The train feels weird, I can’t feel the sea breeze in my face, I’m staring at an old crone, and I’m bored out of my mind.”
“Oh, that’s quite the sickness. Although, I’ve never heard of a pirate getting sea sick before.”
“Everyone’s a little bit special.”
Tsuru completely ignored Cade’s grin.
“Well now; I’m a little bit surprised. I was fully expecting Ты retort with ‘I’m not technically a pirate’ или some other meaningless quip. Perhaps you’re еще sick than you’re letting on.”
“Hahaha, what’s this, grannie?” Cade forced a laugh with his smile, now sitting up straight. “Don’t Ты remember? I was originally a marine, Ты know? Don’t tell me your senility has gotten to the point where Ты can’t even remember my righteous youth.”
“Oh no, nothing of the sort.” Tsuru calmly wove her fingers together as she set her hands on her lap. “It’s just that, compared to your stellar record of bounty hunting throughout the Grand Line—and even the Red Line on certain occasions—where Ты competed with the marines to take down your targets and claim the prize money, burning down towns, and lying to our faces just to reap the largest profit that Ты could manage, your origins as a soldier in the marines has somewhat blurred into the background. It’s hard to remember any of the righteous parts that may have existed at one point, and even harder to distinguish Ты from a pirate with such loose morals.”
“I see that my name as a business man, and a dedicated worker, precedes me.”
Tsuru sighed heavily as she shook her head back and forth in exasperation.
“Just what happened to you? Ты used to be such a wonderful disciple of Garp’s—interpret that as Ты will—before Ты turned to this life of being a freelancer. And now you’ve even dragged this poor girl into your chaotic life? I fear for her future.”
Tsuru looked sadly in Dandelion’s direction, touching a wrinkled hand to the girl’s arm. Dandelion snorted as she stared right at Cade with her piercing gaze.
“Don’t worry. If this idiot tries to corrupt a maiden in anyway—no matter who they might be—I’ll promptly kill him, no Вопросы asked.”
“Ask!” Cade snorted as he threw his hands up in disbelief. “Ask about my motivations! I might have a good reason! I’ll give into temptation and evil just like anyone else. I’m just as human as anyone else! I’m far from perfect.”
“No arguments on that last part. But can Ты really say Ты might have a good reason? It’s hard to say that you’re even just as sinful as anyone else when your Слоган is the three Ws; Wealth, Women, and Wine. You’re еще sinful than anyone else.”
“Pfft. I’m better than those pansies who try to act like they’re saints. I embrace my humanity, faults and eccentricities alike!”
“Then you’ll be able to rest in peace when I kill you.”
Tsuru cracked a grin as she struggled to avoid laughing aloud. It seemed that her worries were unfounded—this girl from амазонка Lily would be able to protect herself just fine. Rather, she’d likely do a fine job of keeping Cade under control as well. Perhaps her worries were unfounded after all?
Both Cade and Dandelion looked in Tsuru’s direction as she made that announcement. Cade raised an eyebrow when Tsuru didn’t continue.
“Decided what, grannie? Ты gonna put me in your will?”
“I doubt anyone would. I’ve just decided that I won’t use my devil Фрукты on you. It seems I don’t need to wash any evil from you. Not now, anyways.”
Cade paused for a moment with a Холодное сердце expression before speaking carefully in a small voice.
“…You were going to what?”
“Since I knew Ты personally, I thought it would be practical to use the Woshu Woshu no Mi on Ты before Ты became the leader of Thomas Tew’s Mercenary’s Guild and a Royal Shichibukai. But it seems Ты aren’t as depraved as I expected. Kudos.”
“That’s why Ты invited me to ride on this infernal contraption with you?! I thought Ты just wanted to talk a bit! If I had known Ты were planning to assault me in the middle of the trip, I wouldn’t have come!”
“That’s why we didn’t tell you, idiot.” Dandelion responded coldly. “I would have been all for anything that would traumatize you.”
“Dandy, Ты knew about this?! I feel betrayed!”
There was no telling where the argument may have gone, and Tsuru never got the chance to find out. A loud explosion shook the air and everyone in the train fell silent, including the cipher pol agents dressed in black that looked out the window in surprise. Both Cade and Dandelion fell silent as they stared at the walls, as if waiting for something. A moment later, another explosion sounded, this time much clearer with no one speaking at the same time.
“Cannonballs from the east.” Cade’s grin returned to his face as his shoulders relaxed. “Fairly standard with low accuracy. Looks like a pirate ship is after us.”
“A pirate ship that would огонь at the Puffing Tom?” Tsuru raised an eyebrow in disbelief. “How cheeky.”
“The train survives the Aqua Laguna every год and even knocks away that creepy frog that tries stands on the tracks.” Dandelion spoke in a matter-of-fact tone. “I’m can’t believe that there is a pirate in the Grand Line who doesn’t know this. But I don’t think it’s a newbie messing around.”
Dandelion turned to Cade, who casually sat back in his сиденье, место, сиденья with his hands behind his head.
“There are civilians on board. Should we impress the government by saving them? Though I doubt they’ll pay us.”
That got the attention of the men who were busying discussing what to do.
“What kind of joke is that?!” One of the Cipher Pol agents exclaimed abruptly as he whirled on Dandelion, yelling in her face. “You would only save innocent lives if Ты benefitted from it?! You’d have to be a devil to think that way! What amount of money could be worth the lives Ты could save?!”
Dandelion grimaced as she cringed back slightly and flicked the man’s forehead. The Cipher Pol agent flew back an entire foot before landing on his back, stunned from the powerful blow.
“Get in my face again,” Dandelion threatened coldly with a dead expression. “And the Далее one will send your head flying.”
The Cipher Pol agent had no response to that. Tsuru sighed pitifully as she watched this before perking up as she heard another cannonball being fired. This time, the entire train shook under the impact so that they all felt it. It seemed this one hit its mark. Even so, Cade Locksley continued to sit back in his seat, looking like he was ready to take a nap.
“‘Bonds forged through profit and gain’. I see that the 16th head of the mercenary’s guild lives up to the official Слоган as well. Will Ты really only Переместить for money?”
“Personal motivation is different from work, grannie. An order directly from the big wigs in the World Government would work too. Anyways, I’m confident that Ты marines will be able to protect the innocent just fine.”
While his words sounded sincere, it was ruined by the way he yawned toward the end. There really was no helping this guy.
Tsuru turned her attention to a few of the marine officers who were waiting for orders.
“We can’t return огонь while moving, nor will we stop to confront them. It’s true that they won’t be able to breach the Puffing Tom’s magnificent defenses with mere cannonballs, so let’s keep up out momentum. In the meantime, reassure the passengers and keep them calm. Have everyone else prepare for battle as soon as we reach the Далее station.”
“Yes, vice admiral!”
The marines ran off to head to the Далее train cart, followed by the anxious cipher pol agents. Dandelion snorted as she watched them leave before her eyes narrowed abruptly. She glanced back to stare through the window, though she should not have been able to see anything through there.
A moment later, a loud voice echoed through the air, amplified by a логово, ден логово, ден Mushi.
<Um…ahem. Erm. Hello? This is Bluebell of the Bluebell Pirates. As I’m sure you’ve taken notice of our warning shots, I’ll make my demands now: Give me the head of the traitor, Cade ‘Longshot’ Locksley, former pirate and newly appointed warlord! If Ты don’t comply with these demands in the Далее minute, I’ll perform a magic trick for Ты guys. The train will stop so suddenly, everyone inside will magically turn to a red spot on the wall!>
The voiced continued to echo for a full two секунды after the speaker finished. The feminine yet harsh voice must have reached the years every passenger on the train, alerting them of what was going on.
“What a loud upstart.” Tsuru murmured with a distasteful frown. “Isn’t Bluebell the name of that rookie who was determined to explore every island in Paradise without using a Log Pose before she finally entered the New World?”
Neither Cade nor Dandelion answered Tsuru. Both were on their feet, their faces covered in new, determined expressions. Dandelion’s fists flexed, displaying muscles very uncharacteristic of a woman of her beauty and Cade’s wide grin was sharp enough to make a small animal cower in fear.
Both were ready to hunt.
“Change of plans, grannie. Ты and your marine buddies can just focus on sticking pacifiers in the mouths of the whining passengers. We’ll make sure the ride stays smooth.”
“Cade, just what do Ты plan to do?”
“Kick their ass, what else? This just became personal.”