Island The Azure City, Chongqing

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"Don't you feel it the air ? Don't you trust your eyes and your ears anymore ?" continued the bird, moving his wings as he spoke "What is the point of curfew when there are no Jiangshi anymore ? "
The large man smirked at Shaarib's silliness. "The law is word of Our Emperor; you needn't have a reason to follow our law, you simply WILL." The General countered the hero. "Your government's laws may be jokes, but ours are not."
I'm supposed to meet with his majesty soon, I want to look presentable..." He cackled once again " Even though, you are not the ones that would hurt the great Shaarib..." finished the bird
He stood silently for some time, seeing how serious Shaarib was, then General Lu Zhaoxun looked to a small man next to him, only lightly-armored, the man appeared to be a messenger of sorts. The general cleared his throat and spoke clearly for Shaarib to hear.
"Deliver word to Our Emperor:" He began. "The vice-admiral, Shaarib Hassan is going to be deported alongside his crew. It will be Mina who will be granted His audience, it will be Mina who will explain the lawless soldiers running amok our precious kingdom..."

The scribe nodded along and began jotting the notes down. "Yessir. Yessir." He responded whilst his charcoal-pencil moved furiously across the page before bowing and taking off in the direction of city center, the sound of footfall getting quieter and quieter to Shaarib and the Chongqing soldier as the young man disappeared in the dark streets of the Azure City.
"You will not test my patience, Birdman, return to your embassy at once!" Voice rising slightly, hand tightening on the hilt of his blade. He had the authority to kill any law-breaker he deemed worthy of immediate execution, he had never exercised this power on a marine (even the ones that probably deserved it), but seeing such a high-ranking marine blatantly disrespect his land was beginning to strain the General's nerves.

With the forest so sickeningly close, this stubborn General being so determined to halt Shaarib in his tracks was hard to accept...

@L'Empereur
 
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The large man smirked at Shaarib's silliness. "The law is word of Our Emperor; you needn't have a reason to follow our law, you simply WILL." The General countered the hero. "Your government's laws may be jokes, but ours are not."
Shaarib could barely hold his laughter, he let it go, this people really did not have any ounce of respect for the World Government. Here they were facing Shaarib after his tirade and still acting like it did not mean anything. The leader of the crew was even smirking at Shaarib. He was thinking shit was sweet. And the birdman could not hold his laughter, he was trying his best but he let it go. Because he soon was going to fly away from all of this situation. If he didn't he was going to beat their asses to the ground, soldiers or not. The bird let out a funny cry.
"Deliver word to Our Emperor:" He began. "The vice-admiral, Shaarib Hassan is going to be deported alongside his crew. It will be Mina who will be granted His audience, it will be Mina who will explain the lawless soldiers running amok our precious kingdom..."
It was then that Shaarib stopped laughing, they were too zealous. They were going to ruin his mission for a little infraction. Before any of the soldiers moved, Shaarib released a blast of COnqueror Haki in the night. Black lighting began to flew in every direction and nearly destroyed the wall he stood on. Shaarib was a conqueror, he did not come on this world to bow to the others. Others were supposed to do it. The birdman's will was going to subdue the joksters. They weren't strong enough to resist his will.
"You will not test my patience, Birdman, return to your embassy at once!"
The bodies fell to the ground but Shaarib did not stop there, the lighting began to crackle with more spirit and the wall crumbled under the bird's claws. A wave of killing intent began to wash over the little street they were in. Shaarib had tried to remain calm since he came here. He had tried to be the nicest person he could. He even had tomatoes thrown at his face. He sacrificed his health and some of his life force to save the freaking country but he was ready to let it all be for naught. He was a soldier of the Marine. He couldn't let someone disrespect hsi organization like this. Soldiers died every day to keep the sea safe. A warrior that grew in isolation, being protected by a divinity could never compare to them. The man needed to know the gulf between the Vice-Admiral and him
Shaarib kept going but stopped suddenly, the flames disappeared and the skypiean took his human form. The street were plunged into the dark. The face of the birdman was now visible, it had lost all emotions. The bandages were now fully visible for the General, he could even see how red they were.. Shaarib waved his hands tirelessly in the wind, turned his back and jumped in the direction of the embassy. He still stopped to speak before leaving.

~ "Ma ma, like ya, I tend to overeact when the government get disrespected. I hope it never happens again... But eh, It looks like my nightly jog is over, Imma go back to embassy.. Be sure that the next time, we see each other you are ready to write a formal excuse. I saved ya ass... next time I'm not goign to be nice enough..."

SHaarib's plans were ruined but he just had to do it in the day... He just needed to sleep in the garden, then he was sure, he was not going to meet with Hajib or the others....
 
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It was then that Shaarib stopped laughing, they were too zealous. They were going to ruin his mission for a little infraction. Before any of the soldiers moved, Shaarib released a blast of COnqueror Haki in the night. Black lighting began to flew in every direction and nearly destroyed the wall he stood on. Shaarib was a conqueror, he did not come on this world to bow to the others. Others were supposed to do it. The birdman's will was going to subdue the joksters. They weren't strong enough to resist his will.
Tense air was torn asunder by Shaarib's force of will, Conqueror's Haki blasted through the street knocking the soldiers to the ground, with only one remaining up; the general. His face scrunched slightly as the static in the air met with him, the hairs on the heads of his unconscious companions were rising up, normally a natural warning sign of impending lightning...

Shaarib kept going but stopped suddenly, the flames disappeared and the skypiean took his human form. The street were plunged into the dark. The face of the birdman was now visible, it had lost all emotions. The bandages were now fully visible for the General, he could even see how red they were.. Shaarib waved his hands tirelessly in the wind, turned his back and jumped in the direction of the embassy. He still stopped to speak before leaving.

~ "Ma ma, like ya, I tend to overeact when the government get disrespected. I hope it never happens again... But eh, It looks like my nightly jog is over, Imma go back to embassy.. Be sure that the next time, we see each other you are ready to write a formal excuse. I saved ya ass... next time I'm not goign to be nice enough..."
Though personally infuriated and eager to get another remark in, the general wasn't eager to provoke a street-fight with such a powerful foe. There were far too many innocents in harm's way for his liking. As Shaarib's ego subsided enough to allow himself to follow an order from a political figure of a foreign government, the general looked over his men; he knelt down to be sure they were well.
He looked back up to catch the final glimpses of the back of Shaarib, now a man once more, disappearing into the dark streets. General Zhaoxun was familiar with Conqeurer's Haki, but never had he been personally affected by the power.
Admittedly, the static-charged haki had given him a literal and metaphorical shock. His eyes unsteadied for a moment as he had to mentally recalibrate himself.

Now the general was convinced, if his word be heeded by his emperor, Shaarib would be deported at sunrise...Never to set foot on Chongqing again. His stoic expression shifted to relief though, luckily he was able to avoid a deadly conflict this night.

As Shaarib moved back to his marine family, he could feel invisible tendrils urging him to return to the temple; perhaps just in his head. Shaarib would look back and stop for a mere moment, temptation whispering to him...

"OH, SHOOT!" A voice broke Shaarib's internal struggle. An itty-bitty shadow would scurry behind a barrel, accidentally giving himself and his perusal mission up (not expecting Shaarib to be retuning no soon).

@L'Empereur
 
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As Shaarib moved back to his marine family, he could feel invisible tendrils urging him to return to the temple; perhaps just in his head. Shaarib would look back and stop for a mere moment, temptation whispering to him...
Shaarib did not know how he did arrive at the embassy's doors. Since the confrontation, he had been lost in his mind. His body had been on autopilot. His mind was troubled, he had been intensely focused on a voice whispering in his ears. The voices urged him to get back to the temple and SHaarib wanted to listen to them. Some invisible wall stood between the Vice-Admiral and the door. Even if he had wanted to he wouldn't even be able to open it. Shaarib knew where the General and his crew were so now, he had another chance to try to get to the Temple.

"OH, SHOOT!" A voice broke Shaarib's internal struggle. An itty-bitty shadow would scurry behind a barrel, accidentally giving himself and his perusal mission up (not expecting Shaarib to be retuning no soon).
Something broke his internal struggle, Stein had tried to follow him into the night. The skypiean looked at the man and crouched once again. Shaarib was going to do something clearly insane. They were in the middle of the night. He knew that the soldiers would be at the embassy first thing in the morning. It was going to be tiring, but Shaarib could do it. He just needed someone to warn Hajib and Mina. Shaarib let out a whistle to catch the commander's attention

~ "Oya Oya, You've been naughty Stein. You are not supposed to leave the embassy mister... But ya now, everything the Goddess do is the best." begins Shaarib with a childish voice " You owe me one, so you shall wait 2 hours and go get my grandfather. You will tell him that I was able to get the audience with the Emperor. The bad thing tho, is they will try to deport us. Now you shall then go immediately to Troya and Genjo, then Mina. She's the one that gonna fight for our right. So find something... I'm going to get the proof we need..." finished the marine turning his back to Stein and running in another direction.

The Fallen Sky was going to take a bigger detour. His mantra was not good enough to know precisely where the soldiers were but He was going to do his best to travel in the city. The man took some of the bandages from his arms and began to tie it around his head. He tore some of his clothes and began to run in the night, direction the Temple. And the more SHaarib was going toward it, the more the voice could be heard, they were encouraging him. Shaarib was going to save the mission, and for that he needed the proof.
 
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Azure City #1
@Einsauer @Gambit

Two weeks had passed since the Vampirates captured the kingdom of Sunspear. Though it was it was a victory overall, it was a loss for Cletus. His friend, Koza the Desert Rebel, suffered serious injuries as a result of the invasion and the Lunarian couldn't help but blame himself for it. But things were different now, in ways that nobody could ever imagine.

Cletus had heard about many of the ancient cities that withstood the hands of time during his duel with Vidarr. One of these ancient kingdoms went by the name of Chongqing City, AKA the Azure City. Unlike most parts of the world, this kingdom was inhabited by both humans and mink alike. However, he couldn't care less about any that. The only thing that caught his interest was Seiryu's Trail of Combat. A difficult test or strength and willpower from the Guardian Deity of the island. Those who managed to complete the trail, would be rewarded for their strength. Atleast, that's what they say.

It was the dead of night. The moon bathed the Vampirates in it's ethereal rays. The Armageddon sailed towards the port of Gongmeng City. The pirates moved diligently, preparing quickly to drop anchor. KG's large body took up most of the deck, his snores vibrating the structure of the vessel as he lay fast asleep. Finally leaving his quarters, Cletus walked onto the deck of the ship.
His signature smile made its presence. The Lunarian couldn't help but feel excited.

"Fufufufufufufu... Well, looks like we've almost arrived boys. This is gonna be fun!"

87×5 =435
Strength: 63+5+32=100(+20=120)
Speed: 67+24=91(+10=101)
91×2=182
-Reaction Speed: 91(101)
-Movement Speed: 91(101)
Vitality:63+32=95(+25=120)
95×2=190
-Durability:95(120)
-Stamina:95(120)
Haki: 100
100×2= 200
Armament Haki: 100+20
-120 Invisible haki boosts attack and defense by +2, while hardening boosts by +3. Special Haki attack unlocked.

Observation Haki(Precognition): 1-100 Mastery: The user has increased reaction speed +20 within 10 meters of themselves when CoO is activated.

Devil Fruit: Ryu Ryu No Mi Model; Brachiosuarus:100
Martial Arts:34+16: 50
50×2=100
-Swordsmanship:100
70×5=350
Strength: 39+56+5 = 100 [+Raging Bull: 20]
Speed: 77+5 = 82
- Movement Speed: 64+Raid Suit: 10
- Reaction Speed: 100
Vitality: 37+49+5 = 91
- Stamina: 82
- Durability: 100+Raid Suit: 10
Haki: 83
- Armament: 81
- Precognition: 85
Martial Arts: 100
- Sparking Red: 100
- Cursed Ax, Raging Bull: 100
Mind: 14-14

Arsenals:
- Timber Ax (C-Rank)
- Cursed Ax: Raging Bull: +20 Str but -20 Speed when in use
- 81 Pieces of Resizing Basketball for throwing
- Game-time S-Rank Suit - (requires 85 Science): Destroyed after a small country level attack or 3 island level attacks
(85 vitality to use) - 35 invention points
 
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Shaarib let out a whistle to catch the commander's attention

~ "Oya Oya, You've been naughty Stein. You are not supposed to leave the embassy mister... But ya now, everything the Goddess do is the best." begins Shaarib with a childish voice
Stein's spine stiffened, he had obviously been discovered by his vice-admiral. He sheepishly exited out from his hiding spot with arms down at his sides. He had questions, but now was certainly not the time to confront Shaarib.
" You owe me one, so you shall wait 2 hours and go get my grandfather. You will tell him that I was able to get the audience with the Emperor. The bad thing tho, is they will try to deport us. Now you shall then go immediately to Troya and Genjo, then Mina. She's the one that gonna fight for our right. So find something... I'm going to get the proof we need..." finished the marine turning his back to Stein and running in another direction.
Shaarib systematically laid his orders out for the Tontattan, as the vice-admiral mentioned deportation the dwarf's eyes shot open. Years and years of diplomacy were at risk for the World Government, Stein could not fail this mission. "Yes sir!" He saluted very sternly to Shaarib Hassan before they both took off in opposite directions.

The Fallen Sky was going to take a bigger detour. His mantra was not good enough to know precisely where the soldiers were but He was going to do his best to travel in the city. The man took some of the bandages from his arms and began to tie it around his head. He tore some of his clothes and began to run in the night, direction the Temple.
Shaarib moved deftly through the night, relying purely on intuition in these foreign roads and pathways. Unseen by the drastically increased patrols, the Skypiean wormed his way through back-alleys and side streets to avoid anymore potential patrols. His feet were quiet despite the impressive speed of his sneaking. As he approached further and further towards the harrowing tree-line (now from a location without a proper pathway into the forest) he heard a voice, a childish sound; the words were too quiet to be heard by Shaarib, but they felt as if they were echoing out from within Shaarib Hassan's own mind. The Fallen Sky somehow knew only he could hear this voice.

Undetected by the Chongqing guard, the World Government soldier crossed into the eastern forest. He was unfamiliar with this part of the forest, but being so close to the city made it a risk to transform into his bestial form for an aerial vantage. Shaarib needed to explore this land on foot or risk being caught by local law enforcement.

@Cross 1er

...

It was the dead of night. The moon bathed the Vampirates in it's ethereal rays. The Armageddon sailed towards the port of Gongmeng City. The pirates moved diligently, preparing quickly to drop anchor.
The titanium warship under the control of Cletus D. Sol of the Vampirates pushed hard through the East Blue waters. Moonlight reflected off the metal pirate vessel, like a beautiful mirror, and dispersed out into the surrounding mist. Seasoned pirates serving under one of the most infamous crews in all of the seas busily made preparations to dock in the Gongmen Harbor.
Due to unforeseeable shenanigans with World Government soldiers currently on the island, it seemed that there was no nightly-guard currently stationed at the docks: this would give a pack of Vampirates, under the leadership of the Lunarian man, a very easy time entering into the city-proper.

Finally leaving his quarters, Cletus walked onto the deck of the ship. His signature smile made its presence. The Lunarian couldn't help but feel excited.
The strong scent of salt reached Cletus as he met with the fresh sea air. As he took in the Chongqing aroma he couldn't help but notice a beautiful and flowery scent faintly lingering from deeper within the Azure City. The coast seemed clear for the pirates to begin their descent into the city.

Dimly burning lanterns and moonlight provided minimal light to the docks and streets surrounding them. There seemed to be nobody, neither mink nor human seemed present lingering in the streets; perhaps the reflections had warned the civilians into hiding...But not a single soldier seemed ready to defend the port.
It was a beautifully atmospheric ghost town.


@Mr. Anderson
 
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Azure City #2
@Einsauer

As Gongmeng Harbour came to full view, Cletus would find no guards stationed at the port. However, as strange as that may have been, the lunarian didn't give it a second thought. The lack of resistance mean't things were in their favour already. The Vampirate began to guide his men to the perfect position to drop anchor. Afterall, their vessel was massive, they didn't need to draw unnecessary attention by accidentally destroying the pier. The Armageddon drew closer before finally dropping anchor at the port. They had finally arrived. Gongmeng City.



The sea air of Chongqing City enveloped the ship, hitting Cletus with the scent of fresh sea salt. It wasn't long before a faint flowery aroma hit his nostrils.

"Now, what do we have here? Strange scent to be coming from the port. Must be from within the city."

Regardless, the coast was clear. Eager to enter the city, the Lunarian hopped over the bow of the vessel leaving his men to themselves and KG fast asleep.
He looked around. The combined illumination of moonlight and the burning lanterns provided enough light for the Vampirate to take in his surroundings. There was truly nobody in sight. The streets, the docks, it was empty. Not one citizen or soldier in sight. Gongmeng City was almost like a ghost town. The Lunarian's white monkey tail waved about in unease, however eventually he decided to put that feeling to the side. He turned around to face the ship. KG was still sound asleep.

"KG, wake up dude! We're here! Fufufufufufufufufu."

The giant stirred shaking the massive vessel, the Vampirates on board continued on with their duties unphased.

"Dammit, tha felt too quick. I barely got sleep." The giant replied, clearly irritated.

"You've been asleep for 16 hours KG, don't be a baby." Cletus dismissed the Giant's tone with the wave of his hand and a smile. "You can still rest, but I'm about to head in alone. I just need you awake to protect the ship. See you later! I'm counting on you!"

With that, Cletus entered the city of Gongmeng, leaving KG alone with the rest of the Vampirate crew. "Oi! Now wait a minute, what do yo mean alone! Dammit Cletus!"
 
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± Shaarib after a long and tiring game of hide and seek was able to make it to the outskirts of Chongqing. His nerves were tense, his poorly trained Mantra caused him a lot of trouble this night. He had to run away from soldiers, to roll on the ground like a beggar or even duck behind the walls not to be seen by them assholes. Why were they present today as much ? Shaarib had spent two night here, he traveled easily by turning into a bird. Now, after all the work was done by the government, the soldiers decided to take the streets. The usual dead quiet streets were now full of the same repetitive " Tun-Tun-Tun". Maybe they heard about a blue bird sighting at night. He wouldn't lie, it wasn't everyday you could see a phoenix flying all around the city.

-"Ma ma.."

Shaarib began to look around to see if anyone had been able to follow him. He couldn't perceive him with his Observation Haki, his radar was not detecting shit today. The voice in his head was not letting him concentrate on anything else. The more he was advancing, the more he could feel it. The Vice-Admiral knew that he couldn't risk transforming now. He was risking deportation already, he didn't want to fight soldiers yet. He wanted to break the nose of the high-ranked soldier he met but this was another matter. Shaarib needed a vantage point, he relied too much on his wings, which made him forget how he used to move. Shaarib tapped on his clothes, took out a white shell from his outfit and smiled for a bit. Whoever patched him up, decided to let his weapons at their place. Shaarib hit a little button on the shell and white rectangular clouds began to form. They slowly formed steps and Shaarib began to ascend. It took him 4 or 5 steps to be a head above the trees. The birdman made sure to still not be seen far above them, he wanted to be at least concealed by them. Shaarib did not know how to get to the Sunken City from the exit he took but the voice was indicating where he needed to go, so it did not take long before he was able to see the destroyed building. He was not able to see it at first with all the smog around it the day before but the temple was really a piece of art.

- "Damn... I really did you wrong isn't" whispered the marine

Shaarib already knew where he needed to go, he elevated to the hole he had made through the ceiling and got into the premises±
 
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- "Damn... I really did you wrong isn't" whispered the marine
The words left Shaarib's lips, the sound of acknowledgement weighing on his voice. The foreign voice sharing the vice-admiral's headspace answered him:
"It's okay." It said, the mysterious entity had the voice of a little girl; there was something faintly reminiscent of the priest in her voice.
Dark bodies of sooty smoke no longer billowed from the burnt temple, it was now a faint trail of white dust in the sky.

Should Shaarib respond to the voice he would hear no further answers. The vice-admiral would only hear the vague mumbling of encouragement, the unasked questions beckoning him back to scene of his intense battle.

After carefully gathering a general direction of travel, Shaarib would begin traversing for the temple again. The bark on the trees that Shaarib passed would occasionally have huge gouges carved into them:
Whilst the imagery of scarred bark filled Shaarib's mind a sudden abruption of horrific images of the scythe-like fingers swiped at Shaarib's subconscious. Memories in this moment felt realer than real. There was no attack...Only a thought...Yet still...

Lièfèng (裂缝)- The beast brings a single claw down on its smaller opponent, slicing and crushing the skull of its opponent. DPR: A (61 Strength, 61 Chinese Kenpo)
101-119: 4. City Block Level + 3 (DPR: A) = Mountain Level!!

Should this mental attack take Shaarib off-guard and strike him, no blood nor scars would appear on his body; but he would feel the fiery sting of their claws ripping into his skin nonetheless.

@Cross 1er

...

He looked around. The combined illumination of moonlight and the burning lanterns provided enough light for the Vampirate to take in his surroundings.
Looking around the empty harbor one would notice the impressive artistry instilled into the surroundings, from the buildings to the hand-crafted barrels made of native cherry-wood, even the most common things had a mystic, foreign feel to them despite being right in the East Blue.
There were plenty of ships around, none competed with The Armageddon on scale nor opulence. Should people arrive in the morning, the ship would certainly stand out amongst the admittedly beautiful fishing and carrier boats.

With that, Cletus entered the city of Gongmeng, leaving KG alone with the rest of the Vampirate crew.
The tailed man moved through the city streets, the mysterious scent became clearer and stronger to Cletus. Moving along, deeper into the city proper, the scent would become almost over-bearing; pungent perfume, accented heavily with lavender, stained the very air around the pirate.
As his feet carried him deeper and deeper into the city, he would notice the buildings growing in opulence; becoming more and more magnificent with every passing storefront and house.
The clotheslines that occasionally hung over head in the harbor were replaced with the occasional lines of flags or flowers.

Growing brighter, due to heavier uses of paper lanterns, even now Cletus still neither heard nor saw any signs of life. He still had not encountered a single visible soul.

@Mr. Anderson
 
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Azure City #3
@Einsauer

Ignoring KG's outbursts, Cletus waved his tail playfully as he moved through the streets of Gongmeng. There was something off about this city, the lunarian could feel it as he plunged deeper and deeper into its depths. He couldn't risk bringing his crew in blind. Not after what happened at Briss. He would just have to apologise to KG later.
For now, all he could do was follow the sweet aroma that caught his attention earlier.

He walked on. The mysterious aroma got stronger and clearer the more he advanced. Whatever the source is, he will face it soon enough.

"I'm getting closer..." Cletus said, increasing his pace.

Deeper the Lunarian went. The pungent perfume like scent would became overbearing. The air all around Cletus was polluted with a thick layer of lavender. Intoxicating. He covered his mouth as he stifled a cough. He wasn't sure how much of this he could take. The already foreign and mystical artistry of Gongmeng City began to transform and grow in opulence. Every house and storefront grew more magnificent. Even the clotheslines that occasionally hung overhead were replaced with lines of enchanting flags or flowers. Cletus' trademark smile slowly melted. The Lunarian was now convinced something was going on.

The surroundings gradually grew brighter, as the paper lanterns increased in number all around him. Yet still, there was no one to be seen. Not a single sign or life. Not a single soul.

He slowly and carefully inched his palm towards the hilt of his sabre.


"Seems like someone is playing games with me. If it's a playmate you're looking for, I love tag...fufufufufufufufufu!"Cletus said as he drew his weapon.

Not a single person in sight. A strange aroma. Now hallucinations. What other surprises did the Azure City have for him? Cletus did not know, but his tail waved about in anticipation.
 
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"It's okay." It said, the mysterious entity had the voice of a little girl; there was something faintly reminiscent of the priest in her voice.
Dark bodies of sooty smoke no longer billowed from the burnt temple, it was now a faint trail of white dust in the sky.

Should Shaarib respond to the voice he would hear no further answers. The vice-admiral would only hear the vague mumbling of encouragement, the unasked questions beckoning him back to scene of his intense battle.
The birdman's stopped right in his track. The voice wasn't a mumble anymore. It was clear and distinctive, a kid had been speaking to him for the whole time. Shaarib began to speak once again but the kid did not respond. He could hear the mumbling inciting him to move forward and get into the temple but it was impossible. Shaarib wanted a response from the kid. He inhaled and wanted to yell but something stopped him from moving. Though it wasn't clearly visible, a thing started to take shape in the air in front of him. Yet, Shaarib could make out the claws from the distance. A devourer, that's who! He started to wonder why they were still around the temple. Confusion was setting in. He was correct; the ghostly apparition was a Jiangshi. The mist solidified. The admiral's face contorted in rage. He leaped in its direction prepared to clash with it, but Shaarib found himself stuck in midair. He made an attack, but he made no contact. His body began to feel freezing cold all of a sudden, just like it did with the magic papers. His breath was visible to Shaarib in the air. He looked around, but he was alone.

Or so he thought, a sharp pain was felt, like the claws tore his torso. Shaarib fell through the hole in the ceiling. The Vice-Admiral was already fighting the cold, he had been prepared to be hit. He violently slammed into the first floor's hardwood floor, got up and patted his torso looking for a wound. His skin was intact. His body had felt immense pain, something was happening, he had no wounds. Shaarib assumed his hybrid form as the dark vanished due to the blue flames. It did not take long but he was able to find his breath, the cold disappearing completely. The Skypiean closed his fists, how was he going to fight ghosts ? The situation was dire, the Jiangshi evolved which meant that the priest won in the end… The Vice-Admiral shook his head and yelled

- " Show yourself you damn old man !"
 
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Shaarib assumed his hybrid form as the dark vanished due to the blue flames. It did not take long but he was able to find his breath, the cold disappearing completely. The Skypiean closed his fists, how was he going to fight ghosts ? The situation was dire, the Jiangshi evolved which meant that the priest won in the end… The Vice-Admiral shook his head and yelled

- " Show yourself you damn old man !"
Shaarib's cry reverberated off the walls of the ancient temple, his call went without answer. The temple was quiet, the sound of shifting wood in the room beneath Shaarib was the only sound other than his quiet phoenix fire. The phoenix light allowed for the vice-admiral to take in his surroundings; it was as he remembered the top floor. The hole in the floor had been repaired, as had one of the support beams.

The walls were still in the process of being repaired it seemed. Without the shambling of the undead, this temple was now truly dead-quiet; only the occasional sound of a shifting plank of wood interrupted the looming silence.
Should Vice-Admiral Hassan find the stairs (previously destroyed) he would notice they were rebuilt, but not exactly as it had been before their destruction; patched together by an amateur carpenter.

The scorch-marks remained in the wood despite the repairs, permanent blemishes on the beautiful temple of wood and stone. The burn-marks would begin to burn hot like fire, bright enough to harm Shaarib's eyes should he not look away; he would also feel a mysterious heat unlike his own; not quite enough to harm him however.

"I am healing." Said the childlike voice from Shaarib's mind.

@Cross 1er

...

"Seems like someone is playing games with me. If it's a playmate you're looking for, I love tag...fufufufufufufufufu!"Cletus said as he drew his weapon.

Not a single person in sight. A strange aroma. Now hallucinations. What other surprises did the Azure City have for him? Cletus did not know, but his tail waved about in anticipation.
Weapon drawn, Cletus inched forward through the increasingly labyrinthine city streets of Chongqing. The mysterious aroma and brightening lights beginning to unnerve him as he adventured. As he pulled around the alley he was standing in he approached a district, a bit more open and with far better lighting. The scent was thicker than ever, pleasantly intoxicating perfume made up the atmosphere. Gorgeous buildings ran along the sides and in the center, right before Cletus' eyes, stood the most beautiful building of them all. It towered up a bit past all of those surrounding it, a few light streams of perfume echoing from a few open windows.
While nobody stood in the streets (as in the photo), women could indeed be seen entertaining attendees through any open doors. Lantern light captured their beauty, even from a distance, for the Son of Science to see. Light sitar and pipe music rang out from the large central building of the district. The melodies were as hypnotic as the scent, this place was made to capture the mind it seemed...

@Mr. Anderson
 
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The scorch-marks remained in the wood despite the repairs, permanent blemishes on the beautiful temple of wood and stone. The burn-marks would begin to burn hot like fire, bright enough to harm Shaarib's eyes should he not look away; he would also feel a mysterious heat unlike his own; not quite enough to harm him however.

"I am healing." Said the childlike voice from Shaarib's mind.
Shaarib was no carpenter, but he was willing to help, learn from the spirit, and put in a lot of effort. He was going to eventually leave and most likely never return because of the impending trial after they had spent hours fixing the temple. The disaster was brought on by Shaarib's rage. He repeatedly set fire to the temple. He used his dials without care the first and second times, started a fire that soon spread and seriously damaged the temple. In addition to tearing down many walls and doors, he also cut a huge hole in the ceiling.

The Skypiean was heartbroken because the temple he had vowed to defend and protect was now in such bad shape. He was also consumed with guilt and once more wanted to apologize for his error. Yet instead of getting upset, the kid immediately accepted the excuses. Without revealing herself, the young girl kept rebuilding the stairs. She had yet to have faith in Shaarib. Our hero needed to show her how trustworthy he was.

But at the back of his head, Shaarib realized that although he had caused the destruction of the house and caused a lot to pain to the spirit.; He needed to request another favor from the temple. He needed to know how did he survive against the priest. To finally learn what had transpired to him and whether the documents that he and Genjo had discovered on the third floor were still intact. He needed the papers to succeed in the case , if he couldn’t find a proof of his victory, he was certainly going to lose his job or his life. The only promise he could make was that. Once the case and the fight were over, he would be able to make up for his mistakes by helping to rebuild it.

The birdman lost his transformation and spoke with softness, all the anger had already left his body :

- " I'm sorry...I should have done more to protect the building. I let my anger control me and the Priest used it against me... Do you know what happened to him ? I remember having lost the fight but I'm still alive... Was it you that saved me or was it Yuki ? I want to help, I can send at leat 300 hundred soldiers to help for the rebuild... But to do that, I will need something, I need the documents the old man left and I would need the corpse of Yuki, her family needs it... It would take some time but they will send some priests, first I might need to need to kick some asses but don't worry kid. Soon enough, your house would be like nothing happened. " Said the Vice-Admiral while stretching the back of his head
 
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Azure City #4


Cletus made his way slowly through a random alleyway within the bowels of the city of Gongmeng. Hot on the trail of the source of a hypnotic aroma that unnerved him to the core, he pulled around the corner with his blade drawn. However, the source was something the Lunarian never would have expected.



"What is this place?"

Cletus had found himself in an entirely new open area. The lights illuminated brightly in this area compared to the rest of the city. The thickness of the aroma was at its peak, as the lavender like perfume filled every inch of the atmosphere. Attractive buildings ran along the sides as far as Cletus' eyes could see. And in the center, stood the most gorgeous building of them all. It towered over all that surrounded it, as streams of that sweet toxic aroma flowed from a few of it's open windows. The source of the scent.

And inside, Women. While none were on the streets, he saw women entertaining attendees through it's open doors. Even from far away, the lantern light captured their beauty, even Cletus couldn't help but be mesmerised. Light sitar and pipe music rang out from the large central building of the district. The melodies that played were just as intoxicating as the scent that polluted the air, like a siren's song that beckoned all to its open doors. The Lunarian returned his blade to his side as he walked towards the central building, taking in every detail of his surroundings.

"Well whatever this place is, Gambit would be jealous, that's for sure! Fufufufufufufufufu!"
 
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The spirit that seemed to embody the temple could sense Shaarib's guilty conscious, but the spirit wasn't considering revenge against the transgressor; only recovering her residence.
The birdman lost his transformation and spoke with softness, all the anger had already left his body :

- " I'm sorry...I should have done more to protect the building. I let my anger control me and the Priest used it against me... Do you know what happened to him ? I remember having lost the fight but I'm still alive... Was it you that saved me or was it Yuki ? I want to help, I can send at leat 300 hundred soldiers to help for the rebuild... But to do that, I will need something, I need the documents the old man left and I would need the corpse of Yuki, her family needs it... It would take some time but they will send some priests, first I might need to need to kick some asses but don't worry kid. Soon enough, your house would be like nothing happened. " Said the Vice-Admiral while stretching the back of his head
The words creeped through the temple, Shaarib could he a faint echo to all the words he said as they disappeared into the darkness. The spirit's ears were all around him, hearing not only the Skypiean's words but also his intentions.
"...The priest is gone." She responded. "His evil will shall linger for some time..."

"I would like you to take these girls home. All of them, please."
It said quietly. "They've been here long enough."
The sound of wood creaking into place caught Shaarib by surprise, turning to see a floorboard repairing itself by integrating back into the floor.

The third-floor of the temple was still with seven long-dead captive Chongqing women that Genjo and Shaarib had found at this horrific scene. Yuki, if she were still where Shaarib saw her last, would be all the way on the bottom floor. The feminine spirit didn't seem eager to speak.
"You may take the priest's empty shell if you help me with that."

The doors, to the women's cells on the third floor all radiated a dark aura, noticeable to Shaarib. Some sort of magical or otherworldly ability was transpiring, possibly due to the 'evil will' that the temple's spirit mentioned.

@Cross 1er

...

The Lunarian returned his blade to his side as he walked towards the central building, taking in every detail of his surroundings.

"Well whatever this place is, Gambit would be jealous, that's for sure! Fufufufufufufufufu!"
The Lunarian pirate looked around at the buildings being lit by the beautiful red glow emitted from the elegant paper lanterns. Many of the doors remained open, and actively patrolled by women. As the handsome Lunarian-Humandrill hybrid approached, he would be noticed by a woman in the door almost immediately.
"Hey, hurry!" She called over in a hushed shout. "Curfew applies around the book-house too, mister!"
The woman had black hair with straight bangs covering her brow. She gestured him in and as he approached she analyzed Cletus's handsome features, then noticed he didn't have a female companion with him. "Where did you come from...?" The beautiful woman asked suspiciously as he grew closer.
She made note of the sword holstered on his hip and backed away slightly into the heavily-perfumed interior of the building.

@Mr. Anderson
 
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"...The priest is gone." She responded. "His evil will shall linger for some time..."

"I would like you to take these girls home. All of them, please."
It said quietly. "They've been here long enough."
The sound of wood creaking into place caught Shaarib by surprise, turning to see a floorboard repairing itself by integrating back into the floor.

The third-floor of the temple was still with seven long-dead captive Chongqing women that Genjo and Shaarib had found at this horrific scene. Yuki, if she were still where Shaarib saw her last, would be all the way on the bottom floor. The feminine spirit didn't seem eager to speak.
"You may take the priest's empty shell if you help me with that."

The doors, to the women's cells on the third floor all radiated a dark aura, noticeable to Shaarib. Some sort of magical or otherworldly ability was transpiring, possibly due to the 'evil will' that the temple's spirit mentioned.
Shaarib knew what he had to do now. He was more ashamed to admit that he completely forgot about the women. At the time, he saw them, he had better things to do. Zombies were after him, Genjo was nowhere to be found and Yuki was dying. Everything had blended together, Shaarib moved only on instinct, if you asked him, he couldn't recall most of the rooms on memory alone, he had understood none of them were blonds, so none of them mattered. He had been on automatic pilot. The mission was put above everything as always. He needed to find Stein and then Yuki... At that thought, he couldn't hold back a chuckle... The irony, he discarded the victims looking for a woman he ended up killing. The Vice-Admiral began laughing suddenly, a mirthless laugh. What a hero he was... For all the promises he made to himself, at the end of the end he had prioritized the mission above the lives of Yuki. He had killed the woman without a second thought. He could have tried other ways, but no, he always dealt with the absolute and most radical options... Maybe it is what you needed to be Admiral. Months ago, he wouldn't had a second thought about this tho...

- " Aye Aye !" said the marine after a minute with a childish voice, this time anyone could peek that it was all bravado, the childish voice was cringy and full of guilt.

The skypiean launched himself in the air and using Geppo to bounce on the air, he arrived quickly on the 3rd floor. The rooms had been spared, the fire did not get close. Maybe it was due to the lugubre aura emanating from it. Shaarib was perplexed, the priest was dead but in between his death and SHaarib's trashing of the ground level, he reinforced the magic on the doors. The birdman clasped his hand together and took back his hybrid form. He needed to move with precaution, he had not forgotten the specter that attacked him minutes ago, nor did he forget the cold parchemins that put Genjo out.

- "Yare Yare..." said the Vice-Admiral advancing towards the first cell, at the back of his mind, he realized he forgot to ask the temple if he needed to put them into a coffin or just burn the corpse right there.
 
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Azure City #5
@Einsauer
As he drew closer, one of the women called out to him as he strolled around, cutting his admiration of the new surroundings short.

"Hey, hurry! Curfew applies around the book-house too, mister!" she said in a hushed shout.

The lunarian raised a brow at her mention of a curfew. He now knew why there was no one at the port, but still couldn't help but question the point of it all. Maybe there was even more to the city than he thought? Seeing as there was no way she could physically be a threat to him, Cletus ran his fingers through his white hair approached her with confidence. The strange woman had black hair with straight bangs covering her brows. Gesturing him in, she questioned his origins. He was clearly an outsider if he had no idea about the curfew.


"Where did you come from...?" The enchanting woman inquired suspiciously.

"The names Cletus D. Sol, one of the Commanders from the Silver Vampirates crew. Where am I? And why is there a curfew!" Cletus answered in a friendly tone, straight to the point and with a smile.

"If something's up with this country, it would be a shame if my friends got hurt before I set out to do what I have to do."
 
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- "Yare Yare..." said the Vice-Admiral advancing towards the first cell, at the back of his mind, he realized he forgot to ask the temple if he needed to put them into a coffin or just burn the corpse right there.
Shaarib stepped through the sickly aura around the door bravely, as his foot moved into the doorframe he could feel his mouth drying; a desperate need for water met his tongue. The further he moved into the room, the heavier the desperation for water became. As Shaarib's fingertips grasped onto the doorframe, he felt the grooves carved into the wood...His fingernails felt as if they were being ripped from his hands, the pain was visceral to the vice-admiral.
"I feel the same pain you are feeling now." Said the spirit. "New tragic memories have been carved into my home and my yard."

"These girls need to be brought back to their Azure City."
She said. "Their pain must be remembered, their spirits must be freed from here."
Shaarib, upon setting his eyes on the corpse (less decrepit than some of the other bodies Shaarib had seen) felt his inner throat crack like a desert ground. The corpse was still clearly a woman, lips cracked and drier than paper; her eyes were deeply sank into her skull. The imagery was sickening...

Shaarib was expected to not only return this girl, but seven more (including Yuki).
And what was this thirst? The lingering memories of this girl?...Residual evil from the evil priest?...

"You are Shaarib Hassan, I believe in you." The spirit said, remembering (or possibly innately knowing) the man's name.
@Cross 1er

...

"The names Cletus D. Sol, one of the Commanders from the Silver Vampirates crew. Where am I? And why is there a curfew!" Cletus answered in a friendly tone, straight to the point and with a smile.

"If something's up with this country, it would be a shame if my friends got hurt before I set out to do what I have to do."
The black-haired woman observed the man carefully, her eyes flicking over his holstered blade. His tone didn't seem outwardly threatening so the woman pried further, now a bit more excitedly.
"An outsider?" She asked, a sparkle in her beautiful eyes. "Welcome to The Azure City!"

"Our city has had an enforced curfew since before I was born." She said, gesturing him in. "Repeat offenders can face imprisonment."
"More importantly you need to tell me about your adventures."


"UGH, Jiàgé is the worst!" Came a frustrated voice from a stairwell to Cletus's right. "Yuna, will you draw me a bath?"
The voice blurted, before another beautiful young lady emerged from an unseen second story. The irritated woman was clearly a descendant of the Long-Arm Tribe, her long arms wrapped a sheer robe crudely around herself, clearly not expecting visitors to be arriving this late in the night. Upon seeing Cletus she leapt out of sight immediately.
"We have a guest!"
"EEK, SORRY!"
The black-haired woman shook her head. "Maybe we should go into the stage-room." The woman, presumably Yuna, gestured to a doorway leading into a large central room that seemed to be one of the major sources of the localized aroma. There was a large empty wooden stage with many empty seats pointed in its direction.
Yuna moved towards the bar and grabbed a long thin bottle of liquor before taking a seat with two glasses.

"Please tell me, where are you from?"
@Mr. Anderson
 
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Azure City #6
@Einsauer

The dark-haired woman observed the lunarian carefully, most likely wary of his weapon. Cletus didn't really care much, if she had felt too threatened by his weapon he would simply go elsewhere, his priority wasn't socialising. After a few moments, she responded in a more excited manor.

"An outsider? Welcome to The Azure City!" She said with a sparkle in her eye. A foreigner.

"Our city has had an enforced curfew since before I was born. Repeat offenders can face imprisonment." She continued, gesturing him into the building.

Cletus walked through the doors carefully, ducking slightly in order to avoid hitting his head into the doorway with his tall frame. A curfew in place for years, this puzzled the Lunarian. One could only assume that the reason for this was some form of threat that only appeared in the night. That would explain the lack of guards at the port, however since his arrival, he had no encountered anything suspicious besides this district. He would have to contact KG soon to find out if they have seen anything strange, leaving them behind could have put them in more danger.

"More importantly you need to tell me about your adventures." The black haired woman said, taking Cletus out of his thoughts. He raised a brow in confusion.

"I don't think-"

"UGH, Jiàgé is the worst! Yuna, will you draw me a bath?" A frustrated voice rang out from Cletus' right cutting his sentence short. It was yet another beautiful young woman coming from the stairwell irritated. She used her long arms to wrapped a robe around her bodily sloppily, perhaps not expecting visitors this late in the night. Upon seeing the Lunarian, she leaped out of sight in shock.

"We have a guest!" the black haired woman haired woman exclaimed.

"EEK, SORRY!"

The woman, presumably called Yuna, shook her head before turning her attention back on Cletus. "Maybe we should go into the stage-room." She said as she gestured towards a doorway. This lead to a larger room, which appeared to be one of the major sources of the aroma that surrounded the entire area. Cletus nodded his head in reply as he followed Yuna towards the bar. Grabbing a long thin bottle of liquor, she took a seat with two glasses. Cletus took a seat as well, wrapping his tail around his waist for extra comfort and space.

"Please tell me, where are you from?" The woman asked curiously. Cletus chuckled before grabbing a glass, waiting patiently for her to fill it with liquor.

"Fufufufufufufufufufuu..You're a pretty inquisitive woman, Yuna. I lived in the Grand Line before I joined the Silver Vampirates. Tell me more about the Azure City and what to expect?"
 
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Shaarib stepped through the sickly aura around the door bravely, as his foot moved into the doorframe he could feel his mouth drying; a desperate need for water met his tongue. The further he moved into the room, the heavier the desperation for water became. As Shaarib's fingertips grasped onto the doorframe, he felt the grooves carved into the wood...His fingernails felt as if they were being ripped from his hands, the pain was visceral to the vice-admiral.
Shaarib clutched his troat and let out a noise. Phanton pain was travelling trough his whole body. He was physically in he room but his mind was elsewhere, there he was in a furnace. He could feel his fingernails getting ripped from his body, he could feel the claws on his torso. He wanted to yell but he had no strength. The pain wasn't leaving, he was a phoenix, he could heal from any wounds inflcited to him but now he realized how ridicule his powers were. Instead, what saved him was the spirit's voice
"I feel the same pain you are feeling now." Said the spirit. "New tragic memories have been carved into my home and my yard."
The kid had been suffering longer than him and was still trying to rebuild the temple, SHaarib was a warrior and a conqueror, he was going to fulfill his promise.

"These girls need to be brought back to their Azure City." She said. "Their pain must be remembered, their spirits must be freed from here."
Shaarib, upon setting his eyes on the corpse (less decrepit than some of the other bodies Shaarib had seen) felt his inner throat crack like a desert ground. The corpse was still clearly a woman, lips cracked and drier than paper; her eyes were deeply sank into her skull. The imagery was sickening...
Shaarib entered the room and took in the scene, he experienced the same queasy feeling as the first time. The body of the victim, a young woman, bore evidence of horrible violence. She obviously suffered before passing since her eyes were planted in her skull.

Shaarib maintained his attention on his task despite the pain. At first, Genjo and him came and analysed the scene, hoping to find a blonde.. Even so, he examined the corpse to determine if he could move it without harm. Then he looked through her belongings and the room for any clues that would help him identify her.

After some minutes, he came to the conclusion that he would never learn the proper circumstances behind the victim's life and death. He was aware that he had done everything in his power, and he knew he had to treat the victim's body with respect and dignity.

Shaarib took his Eisen Dial out and let it expand until it formed a coffin made out iron cloud and with his other hand, cut the link between the dial and the coffin. With a swift move, he took the miss and put her into the coffin. With the same dial, he created a rope and tied the iron structure to his hips and began moving for the second door. Once again, he was in front of another corpse, Shaarib suffered the same way the woman did. He was getting used to the pain, But something happened when he went for the 3rd door. The residual energy was too much, the memories of the women hit him at full force and the birdman fell on his knees. He couldn’t go for more than 2 of them.

The Vice-Admiral scratched his chin, the mission go even trickier, he was going to do 4 trips back to back and he wasn’t going to be able to go trough the forest. The only option was to transform into a phoenix and risk fighting the soldiers. He had to know where to drop the women, and the only place he could do it was Li An’s. The second problem was that he couldn’t see the matron without Yuki’s remains…. Shit was going to be hard but he owed it to the spirit and the temple.

"You are Shaarib Hassan, I believe in you." The spirit said, remembering (or possibly innately knowing) the man's name.
Damn right she was, Shaarib Hassan could accomplish anything, the man turned into a bird and flew in the night, danglings from its hip. The birdman realising only after a minute that the more distance he put between the tower and himself and the less pain he felt.

- "I'm going to end up crazy"
 
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