Chance cried out as he tore a large hole through the building’s roof and brought debris along with his descent. Stone and wood scattered across the lodge like hail while the nobles residing in the establishment screamed up a storm, resembling ants running around trying to avoid a giant foot. Chance grunted as he slammed into a large, wooden beam that held him several feet above the second floor. The wind tore from his lungs and he felt spikes jabbing all over his body but with an angry yell he shrugged off the pain and opened his eyes to find a huge piece of stone roofing dropping down upon him.
He yipped and rolled to the side as the roofing smashed to pieces and shot toward the floors like bullets. The nobles continued screaming for their lives, some hiding under wooden furniture while others hightailed it for the exits only to have debris smack them across the head. Chance rolled onto his belly and smiled as he watched the puppeteer of carnage toy with the flailing denizens below.
“Where are the guards!?” one nobleman yelled helplessly as a cobblestone pelted his scrawny face and hurled his unconscious body to the ground with a fresh bruise.
“The rats are invading!” A noblewoman with a sharp, pointy nose shrieked. “The mongrels are invading! Don’t let them steal my clothes!”
Chance’s face stretched into a mocking grin as a scoff slid past his teeth and into the sordid, arrogant air. His demeanor twisted into a frown when the guards finally burst into the lodge with muskets in hand.
“There!” A round and scrunch-faced nobleman shouted as he pointed towards Chance. “A street rat fell from the sky! Get rid of him!’
“Look what he did to my wife!” A thin-faced man wailed as he consoled his wife. The peanut-shaped woman looked to him and wept even though nothing seemed to be wrong with her. “Outrageous! Put the scum out of his misery!”
The air continuously filled with the same endless insults. They wailed their eyes and hearts out, stifling coughs, bringing up the occasional rat comment in order to emphasize that their problem needed to be dealt with immediately or else someone could die from the sheer sight of a lowlife such as Chance.
“Fire!” One of the guards barked out as the others did as ordered. Chance scowled hard at them and spun himself up to run across the beam under the cacophony of gunfire. His blood pumped like a motor until a discovery caused him to slow down to a halt. He stood there and faced the guards while they continued firing volley after volley of bullets yet none of them struck. Chance tilted his head to the side as a bullet slowly passed by and carved into a smaller beam near the roof.
Huh. He formed a ring with his hand and watched as a bullet passed through it. Another shot sluggishly made its way to him and he pointed directly at it. He felt his finger quickly heat up as the bullet drew closer and finally made contact. A bold thought flew through his brain and he pressed against the piece of metal only to end up wincing as a scalding pain shot through his finger. He stepped to the side and allowed the bullet to pass as he peered down and examined the burn mark etched onto the very tip of his finger.
The head guard clenched his teeth so tightly his jaw cracked. His ferocious scowl centered upon Chance as the troublemaker stood there and looked at his finger like the gunfire ringing throughout the lodge meant nothing to him. Every bullet that passed through him caused his physical form to reverberate so violently it was like he was melding in between time and space. The head guard stifled a burning growl gaining momentum in his throat as Chance looked toward him and sneered.
“Are you all blind?” The chief barked out. “He’s standing right there!”
“Our bullets are going through him!” An aghast soldier shouted through the commotion. “He’s like some kind of demon!”
“When you guys run out of bullets what are you gonna do?” Chance spaced his feet apart and braced them as he clapped his hands over his head and jutted his elbows to his sides. He started doing some weird crab dance, slowly strafing to the sides while constantly clapping his hands together. The chief’s face went blood red as he watched Chance dance with a nonchalant expression plastered on the young man’s face.
Howard furrowed his brows as he leaned deeper onto the side of the doorframe and watched Chance act like a fool with his crab dancing. “Milady, what in the world is he doing?”
Eirin stood frozen on the other side of the doorframe, keeping her wide eyes on Chance as each bullet distorted his figure. “Do you not notice him blurring up with each shot? How is he doing that?”
“Does Milady not know what a Demon Fruit is?” He swept two fingers down his mustache and mused to himself. “I do wonder how he acquired such a treasure. They are certainly rare in the Cardinal Seas.”
“Wait,” Eirin commanded with shock in her voice. “Demon Fruit? Those things?”
“Quite so, Milady.” He peered past the doorframe and eyed Chance. “If I may be so bold to estimate the Young Master consumed a Physical Type Demon Fruit.”
Eirin groaned impatiently. “We don’t have time for this! I have to figure out what to do.”
The sounds of bouncing quickly approached the lodge. Howard mused to himself and gazed upwards as an oval-shaped figure descended from the sky and deftly entered through the hole in the roof. “Oh dear.”
The man slammed hard into Chance’s back and flung him off the large beam. Chance hit the wooden floor so hard he caused it to crack in several places. He writhed over the floor with his arms clutched over his chest, the pained look on his face making the head guard smile in sadistic victory. He stood over the writhing young man and sneered with arrogant pride before landing a kick straight into his gut.
“Oh no!” Eirin furrowed her brows. The oval-shaped man hopped off the large beam and landed gracefully onto the ground floor. “He isn’t with the guards. Don’t tell me….”
Howard nodded with a murmur rumbling in his throat. “He’s with the Navy. Gracious, what would a captain be doing here?”
“I know this is dangerous but I need you to trust me.” Eirin gave Howard a stern, serious look. The gentleman butler’s throat stifled with a knot but he nodded nonetheless.
“When the time’s right I’ll go in and try to bluff them.” Eirin watched as the chief stood over Chance and gloated about his victory.
“Milady!?” Howard stood aghast, eyes pleading her to reconsider. “Please, there has to be some other way!”
“You know this can work.” Eirin continued watching as the oval-shaped man approached the group of guards. “Even the Navy realizes a noble’s influence. Do you know who that is?”
Howard stammered as he swallowed down a few other knots plugging his throat. “That’s Captain Hamuzu. He worked under Chance’s father before his defection.”
The young mistress’s blood stopped in her veins. “This just became more risky.” The two continued watching as the chief bellowed a haughty, mocking laugh.
“Filth like you are all the same.” He shook his head and looked up to address Hamuzu. “Thank you for the assistance, Captain. We can take it from here.”
“Be sure that you do,” Hamuzu said with a chuckle. “Fwe he he, he’s quite the interesting one, is he not?” A wide, twisted smile spread across his face.
“They don’t deserve our attention,” the head guard barked out impulsively. “Rats will always be rats.”
The guards all laughed with mocking jeers. Chance growled in defiance as he continued clutching his gut, beads of sweat trickling down his face which contorted with a mix of pain and unbridled anger. The chief’s arrogant smile stuck like glue on his face as he grinded the heel of his boot into Chance’s face.
“I don’t know what happened,” The chief uttered threateningly as he stared down the more than defeated young man. “But it won’t matter. Get him ready for execution.” He swiped his heel down and forced Chance onto his belly. One of the guards knelt beside him with handcuffs but the rebellious man whipped his hands around to avoid them. He spat out a breathless cry as a foot slammed into his back. When the cuffs clicked into place an incredibly displeased voice boomed through the building.
“How dare you!” Eirin cried out with prideful arrogance as she entered the half-destroyed lodge. “Can we not depend on you lousy guards to keep this filth in check? Look what’s happened to my father’s lodge!”
Howard’s legs numbed as Eirin stormed commandingly towards the armed guards. Some of them slouched in fear, others warping their expressions into confusion as hesitation bloomed across the chief guard’s face. The young mistress gritted her teeth in furious shock, sneering up to the chief with a sharp, jagged glare that only a god would fix upon a lowly worm of a mortal.
“Lady Ravonov!?” the chief stuttered. His blood froze up as Eirin eyed him up and down. Sweat so cold dripped down his face it felt like it was getting frostbitten. When the young lady scoffed and walked past him a lump crashed down his throat.
The guards shook as her presence made their feet tremble like twigs bracing a gigantic boulder. The grips on their muskets waned and one almost dropped his until he flailed life and limb to catch it. The other guards watched with slacked jaws of terror etched onto their faces as the clumsy gunman jerked around to catch the musket. He clutched the weapon with such a brutish grip he melded his hand with the trigger of the gun and accidentally discharged a bullet. Several strands of hair tore away from Eirin’s head as the bullet whizzed past her and grounded into the wall near the doorframe.
Her jaw dropped slightly in cold shock as her eyes dilated with unclear recognition. Hamuzu watched absently as a loud gasp of abject horror rolled through the lodge and a blood-curdling silence engulfed it. All eyes fell on Eirin as her pupils shrunk, the sound of a high-pitched scream filling each guard’s heart with such terror God seemed to punish them with a strike from a mighty, unrelenting hand. When she clenched her teeth they saw something akin to a demon taking over, and then she opened her mouth to speak the words that could end their worlds.
“YOU MISERABLE, INCOMPETENT COCKROACH!” She stormed towards the clumsy gunman and backhanded him across the face. He crumpled to the ground like shattered ice with whimpering so hysterical he looked to have regressed to a baby state. Eirin continued her punishing as she kicked, stomped, and swore the guard into his own hell that no level of redemption could ever save him from. She spat out insult after insult and each struck like a weapon that could single-handedly tear the poor man’s body from his soul without him emitting so much as a whimper.
Chance watched with horror trapped in his eyes. His mind struggled to process what was going on as each of Eirin’s unbridled strikes connected with the guardsman. The pain of his body bowed to the sorrow curdling through his heart, a sensation of something terrible burrowing out of the darkest corners of his mind to toy with his sight. His heart stopped as Eirin opened her mouth to scold with words as cold as ice.
“You let rats in, you shoot up my father’s lodge, and then you almost killed me! You stupid idiots are only worthy as footstools!” Each point drove their way into the cowering men like hot steel through flesh. The unfortunate guard was already beaten unconscious, no longer privy to Eirin’s fury, only present to take the physical blows. The harsh mistress loomed over the battered body and glared at it, breathing deep to accommodate for the cruel beating. No words dared to enter the air as Eirin snatched Chance by the collar and dragged him away towards the exit. The young man fought to compress his fear as Eirin’s heated hand constantly grazed his neck like a sharpened blade.
“Lady Ravonov!” the chief guard shouted with a weak squeak. “That brat’s dangerous!” His windpipe shut immediately when she stopped and shot a glare over her shoulder.
“This brat is my slave. If you rotten guards did your jobs he wouldn’t have escaped his quarters!” She scoffed and continued on while the chief struggled to restart the flow of his blood. Hamuzu tilted his head and sniggered curiously.
“Fwe he, pardon my intrusion, Milady.” Hamuzu bowed deeply as Eirin stopped with a impatient sigh. “But are you aware of who that is?”
The mistress froze with deathly shock and stifled a squeak that almost shot out of her mouth. Howard twisted from the doorframe as he planted his back onto the wall and loud gasp of sheer horror fired out of him like his soul just departed. Eirin fought to control her breathing, her brain yelling to flee while her heart commanded to think and plan accordingly.
“Captain,” she said impatiently as she turned to give Hamuzu a cold stare. “Whatever your quarrels are with this slave mean nothing to me. They are simple tools for us and they will accept any names we give them. If you have anything important to say – and I surely believe you don’t, then I will be heading off.”
A glint of light reflected off the captain’s sunglasses. He tilted his head and stared at Eirin before gazing to Chance. A low, soft chuckle escaped his lips as he bowed deeply. “Very well, Milady. Stay safe, yes?”
Eirin huffed arrogantly as she turned and walked away. The three walked down the street until they disappeared from wandering eyes. Captain Hamuzu pushed his sunglasses up and smiled like a shark.
“Captain? Why are you interested in the brat?” The chief furrowed his brows in confusion as Hamuzu chuckled wryly.
“You’ll know soon enough, fwe he he….”
“Gracious, that was quite the ordeal!” Howard took a handkerchief from a pocket and wiped some sweat away from his forehead. “I am truly glad Milady succeeded. Shall we return home and patch up the Young Master?” He looked to Chance gazing down somberly at the pavement. He struggled to walk forward as his legs wobbled uncontrollably. Trepidation burrowed over his face and his eyes glazed in deep thought. The chains of his handcuffs rattled through his mind while Eirin gave him a concerned, uneasy look.
“Chance?” she said softly. She moved a hand to touch his shoulder but he flinched away. The three stopped walking as fear broiled through Chance’s navy blue eyes. A pang of regret shot through Eirin’s mind as the prior events seeped into focus.
Oh dear, Howard thought with melancholy as he switched glances between the two. I was afraid this would happen.
Eirin jerked her hand away and clasped them to her chest. A quiet pleading echoed through her mind as her eyes lined with water. “Chance?” she said with a weak whimper.
Clarity smashed through Chance’s mind as he blinked. He scowled hard and tightly shut his eyes as he jerked into a squat with a broken shout. “I’m going home!”
He thrust himself into the air before the two could say anything. They watched as he soared through the sky and disappeared behind the towering buildings. Eirin stood like a statue, her hand raised to the sky and her jaw lowered. The hands of time vowed for her instant destruction and she collapsed to her knees and slammed her hands into the cobblestoned ground.
“Stupid!” she cursed herself as a few tears trickled down her face. “So stupid! How can you lose control of yourself? Look at what you’ve done!” Her hands reddened with agony as she slammed them against the ground several times. The flaring pain in her chest outweighed anything she could imagine even as her arms started to shake from the impact of her fists.
“Milady!” Howard urged as he grabbed Eirin by the wrists. She violently twisted around and tried to force her hands to beat the pavement but they stopped responding as her body acknowledged their pain. A restrained growl shot out of her throat and she gave in to Howard’s plea.
“I’m so stupid,” Eirin cried out weakly with fierce pain in her eyes. “He didn’t need to live through this again.”
“Do not say such things!” Howard gave the young mistress a look of utmost confidence and optimism. “Had you not done what you did then perhaps we would be facing much more serious problems. Milady is strong no matter what, and she will learn from her mistakes as she always does!”
Eirin let out a breath of embarrassment. Her hands pulsed with blood as their pain quickly kicked in. Howard felt safe to let her hands go and Eirin winced as she gingerly rubbed them together. Her face rekindled with newfound vigor as she wiped away stray tears and lifted herself up.
“Return home and retrieve the medical kit. I’ll meet you at Chance’s, understood?” She pouted when Howard crossed his arms and looked away.
“Impossible! I cannot leave Milady’s side after all this!” He stood strong in his position even as Eirin put her hands on her hips.
“There’s no time for that. Bring me my medical bag this instant!” She gave Howard a gaze of disapproval. His body trembled a bit and he gave into defeat with a sigh.
“Thank you, Howard.” She smiled sweetly and turned to dash down the street.
“Make haste, Milady!” Howard yelled as he waved to her. “The Master may suspect something amiss if we do not return in time!” He sighed again as Eirin disappeared around a corner. Worry flooded his mind as he started his way down the opposite side of the street. He may already suspect something amiss! Please, Milady, make great haste!