[Week 2][P] Vargas D. Wulf <Chapter 1: Seeking Freedom>

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[Week 2][P] Vargas D. Wulf <Chapter 1: Seeking Freedom>

Post  Turtle on Mon Jul 09, 2012 10:10 am

"Kuo!"

The sun was being cruel that day and no cloud could be seen in the sky, so that the sky itself seemed a vast calm ocean, home only to the blazing island of the sun.

"Kuo!"

The heat itself bothered the young man very little, considering he'd spent most of his days beneath it, tanning his skin to a permanent light brown.

"Kuo!"

The bright light, however...

"Kuo!"

...made it difficult...

"Kuo!"

...to think.

"Kuo!"

"Hey! Shut up! What is it?!"

He sat up in the sand to finally see what it was that the Dugongs felt so important to get his attention for. As his eyes adjusted and he blinked away the colorful spots, he saw one of his little friends pointing excitedly at a passing merchant ship. Vargas, having decided to become King of the Pirates, was in dire need of a ship and, though large, this one was also probably heavily guarded by mercenaries or marines. The men guarding it probably had plenty of guns and weapons as well and definitely had more men than he, considering the fact that he himself was the only actual person in his crew. Vargas sighed, got to his feet, brushed some of the sand off of him, and grinned.

“Alright guys, lets go get ourselves a ship.”

He ran down the gentle slope of the beach and into the salty water, splashing through the gently rolling waves with his bare sun kissed feet. He reached the waist-deep water, where the sand line dropped off and dove, grinning as the salt water rushed up against his face, shoulders, chest, and belly and brought his thick, black hair sleek and shining against his scalp. He heard his companions following him into the water with much excited “Kuo”-ing. The lot of them swam gracefully through the water toward the large ship and Vargas’ heart raced with anticipation as they grew steadily nearer.

As Vargas and his dugong followers came up close to the ship he swam steadfast through the wake of the boat and grabbed hold of the wooden hull. His fingers grasping firmly between the planks, he began pulling himself up the side of the ship, one hand over the other. Meanwhile, the herd of dugongs dove beneath the waves. As Vargas climbed upward, clinging hard to the hull of the huge ship, his dugongs dove ever deeper until finally they reached the sandy seabed. A wide grin stretched across his face as he felt his fingers finally grasp the flat deck and he pulled himself up one more time with a great heave, bringing himself up over the side rail and landing firmly atop an unfortunate passing sailor.

“Wha-Ooooof!” cried out the man as Vargas tumbled onto him.

The young man got to his feet quickly and patted the prone sailor on the head.

“Sorry, but I’m going to be taking this ship.”

The men busying themselves about the ship turned and stared at Vargas, wide eyed and shocked, before a sudden splash erupted from the sea behind him and several little animals launched out of the water and onto the deck of the ship with a simultaneous “KUO!”

The spectacle seemed to baffle and confuse the sailors even further until Vargas spoke again.

“Oh yeah! I almost forgot, if any of you want to join my pirate crew go ahead and raise your hand.”

The sailors blinked at Vargas for a moment before realization sparked in their eyes and they all began drawing their weapons.

“Ah… Okay then.”

Vargas ducked as the first shot went off, letting it fly over his head as he stooped to grab the man he’d landed on and lift him up as a shield. When they hesitated to shoot Vargas tossed the poor man at them, bowling over two other men and knocking them overboard. Another sailor ran at him with a sword in hand, yelling at the top of his lungs. The sword came down in a straight, vertical swing and Vargas twisted away to let the gleaming blade land harmlessly in the deck in front of him. He lifted his knee to slam into the sailor’s face and felt the warm gush of blood flow over his knee as the man’s nose cracked under the force of his attack. A sideways chop to the back of the man’s head as he reeled back from Vargas’ knee sent him sprawling forward onto the deck. Over the prone sailor leapt one of his comrades as he aimed a flying high kick at Vargas’ face. Well versed already in counter-attacks from his years of sparring with the dugongs Vargas had no problem shifting to the side to catch the man’s leg as it passed by his head, swing him around with his own momentum and fling him off the ship.

As Vargas fought off sailor after sailor, each of the dugongs too held their own. As one sailor aimed a musket at one of them, another flipped him into the air and knocked him clear off the ship. Another one faced off with a sailor wielding a sword; he caught the blade between two powerful flippers, disarmed the sailor, broke his nose and dislocated both shoulders by flipping onto his back and riding him down the stairs while using his arms as reigns.

In very little time, Vargas and the dugongs had taken out a large portion of the ship’s crew and thrown most of the defeated overboard. What remained, however, was an even greater number of opponents that Vargas had yet to face due to the enormity of the merchant ship. Several gunshots went off on the deck as the ship’s crew shot their muskets at both Vargas and his dugongs. Due to their hard shells, most of the shots fired at the Dugongs ricocheted off, but Vargas took a grazing blow to the arm, another minor shot to his thigh, and a shot that tore off a portion of his left ear. Scowling, the young pirate was backed against a wall with the sailors keeping their distance, already having grown aware of his advantage in close-quarters combat.

As Vargas backed into the wall, he felt a drop of water fell on his hand. Upon looking up, he soon found himself soaking wet as the fickle weather of the Grand Line threw down a torrential downpour of freezing rain at the merchant ship, which, in a matter of seconds, was soon rocking violently in the furious wind and waves of the storm. Vargas judged that the ship had already strayed far enough from the shores of Alabasta to be free of the island’s climactic influence, and that meant that if he were to be thrown overboard, he could very well drown before reaching land again.

As he stole a glance at the sailors that had cornered him, he saw that a number of them were already tending to the ship’s navigation, while others were bringing in the sails and holding the rudder. The few that were left aiming at him looked anywhere between slightly nervous to positively fearful. Having weathered the fitful mood-swings of the Grand Line already, Vargas found himself, by comparison, fairly calm. So long as he managed to stay on board the ship he would be fine, and even in the event that he might be cast overboard, he could depend on his dugong companions for help at least until they tired as well. He could hear the sailors shouting at each other frantically as they fought for control of their own ship.

“Hold the rudder steady!”
“Where’s the Log Pose?”
“Where’s that fuckin’ navigator?!”
“He got thrown overboard!”
“Make sure the sails are secure!”
“Well don’t you know how to navigate?”
“Where’s the map?!”

Were his own situation not so dire, he could have laughed at their running about, but instead he satisfied the urge with a wide grin and a chuckle.

“Well guys, looks like I didn’t plan this attack too well.”
“Kuo!” was the reproachful answer of the nearest dugong.

Then came a voice from behind the wall in front of which he was standing and the wooden wall suddenly pushed outward to smack him directly against the back of his head.

“ ’Ey! What’s with all the ruckus?! Where’s that navigator, I ain’t payin’ him to sit around doing nothing! An’ what the fuck are you lot do-”

The rough-spoken man was suddenly interrupted as a large, angry fist slammed into the back of his head, knocking him out cold and leaving a very disgruntled looking Vargas standing behind him.

“How you like it? Huh ol’ man?!”

It was only then that he noticed the way the man was dressed, the way the sailors were looking at him, and the fact that the wall behind him had been a door. His eyes sparked with realization after a moment and he quickly lifted the unconscious man upright so that he covered most of his body.

“This is your Cap’n huh?”

He asked the sailors with guns as his mouth spread into a mischievous smile and the rain ran down his face, causing tendrils of hair to slither down past his eyes. Holding up the captain by the back of his collar, Vargas held him up as a shield against the guns as he spoke, hoping that the men valued their captain enough to not shoot him.

“So, if you don’t want anything happening to Mr. Captain here, you’ll drop your guns.”

The men complied and placed their guns on the ground. Vargas made a gesture toward the guns with his free arm and his flippered companions retrieved them for him.

“Okay now I want you all to sit there around the mast, yes just like that.

Inkuo, can you tie them up please? Yes here take the captain too and tie him up with them. Yeah, Hirokuo and Takuoshi, you guys help out too.”

As the dugongs tied up the sailors, a few of the sailors struggling with their ship, which was now being tossed about in the storm as if it were a toy, began to take notice of them and stare, horrified.

“Alright men!”
Vargas shouted as loud as he could to be heard above the roar of thunder and waves.
“You now work for me! So long as you listen and don’t do anything stupid, your captain and comrades here will be fine!”

Vargas hated talking like this, it made him feel so cruel, but he desperately needed a ship, and throwing anyone overboard here was practically a death sentence. He took a breath, and tried to say more but a crash of lightning just above them sent a roar of thunder to drown out his voice, and, in the brief flash of light, he saw something he’d dreaded seeing the entire time they’d been at sea. Rising out of the ocean and towering above the tallest mast of the ship loomed the silhouette of a monstrous horned creature that belonged to a class of sea creatures so terrible and strong that men could think of but one name for them all: Sea Kings.

The young pirate’s grin faltered a moment as his mouth dropped open at the sight of the monster. Though he had seen the enormous beasts before, this one was especially large, and it had been several years since he last sailed the Grand Line. A cry rose through the rolling roar of thunder as the sailors around him took notice of the leviathan, and soon the shout of “Sea King!!” had spread across the deck of the ship almost like a battle cry. Vargas blinked into realization as he saw the titanic creature begin to stoop, its gargantuan maw illuminated by another flash of lightning overhead. The Sea King was going to try to eat the ship!

“Oh fuck no! I JUST got this ship!”

Vargas grabbed one of the muskets but discovered too late that the rain had completely soaked the powder of the gun, rendering it useless. He threw the rifle at the beast, sending it flying against the things monstrous muzzle, only to have the thing roar back at him with breath so putrid with dead fish that he gagged on his own breath. Sure enough, as he gagged, the merchant vessel shuddered violently and gave a tremendous lurch as the monster came down on the bow of the ship, tearing the bowsprit completely off the boat, devouring at least four men whole, and ripping off at least a fifth of the keel.

“DAMN IIIIT!”

Vargas could hardly believe what was happening. Furthermore, he could hardly contain his own anger at the sea monster that had just taken a huge bite out of his newly acquired ship.

“I WORKED HARD FOR THIS!”

He dashed to what was left of the bow as it sank quickly into the ocean. Sure enough the enormous horns of the sea king breached the surface of the water as it rose to take another bite of the doomed vessel. Before even half of the sea kings head had emerged from the water Vargas was flying through the air ready to cling on tight to the monsters hide. The impact with the creature hurt like the worst belly-flop he’d ever endured but he clenched his jaw and held onto the end of the thing’s muzzle, managing to clamber up and stand atop its nose.

“You stupid sea cow! I JUST got that ship, and now you’ve ruined it!”

He ran up the length of its muzzle and punched the beast right between the eyes. The shock from the hit rippled back up his arm and made him wince as the enormous thing reeled back, roaring in pain and surprise, and sending him flying back into the air, his fist throbbing. He managed to grab onto some brine-drenched fur on the creature’s back and hold onto it while the monster flailed. A tremendous crunch made him curse as a rain of wood splinters told him the sea monster had flailed right onto his already ruined ship. Vargas could anticipate what was happening next and took a deep breath just before a tide of brine and wood chips rushed up over the monster’s body to swallow him up. He held both the sea king and his breath tightly as the huge animal dove deeper and deeper into the water. The salt water rushing through his hair, the air trapped in his lungs, and the sensation of deep diving all were nothing new to him, as he had gone diving for fish with the dugongs on hundreds of occasions, but this was slightly different. The sea king was diving very fast, and the quickly building water pressure was swiftly taking a toll on Vargas’ body. He lifted his fist to beat it weakly against the monster’s body, but to no avail. He felt the air in his lungs begin to fail him despite his substantial lung capacity, and the water around him suddenly grew dark while the feeling in his limbs quickly began to ebb away.

In the cold, dark numbness that took him, Vargas heard the thundering roar of cannons, and, through the blackness, a bright, white light seemed to grow from far in the distance. As it drew brighter and ever more brilliant, the thunderous cry of cannons seemed to grow with it. He woke screaming water out of his lungs and punctuated it with choked, wet gasps. A wave thick with sea foam rolled over him, tumbling him over the wet, stony shore of some night-darkened beach and filling his nose, eyes, and mouth with brine and sand. He choked and coughed some more as the water receded and tried to stand, only to stumble back into the water and get engulfed in yet another wave. He sputtered, trying to wipe the sand from his eyes, when he heard a familiar sound nearby.

“Kuo!”

“Kuopacha? That you?”

“Kuo!”

He felt a pair of flipper-paws support his back as he tried to stand once more and successfully got to his feet. He stooped to wash the sand from his face and found himself coughing up what seemed like gallons of sea water. When he stood back up, steadier on his feet and feeling ten different kinds of unpleasant, he found Kuopacha, one of the many dugongs following him. The animal was looking up at him with a concerned look on its face and inquired with a “Kuo?” as if to ask if he were okay.

“I’ll be alright. What about you?”

The dugong kuo’d and beat his chest firmly to affirm his own health.

“Ah, that’s good. And where’s everybody else?”
At that question Kuopacha wore a concerned look once more, and Vargas understood.

“Y’dunno huh? That’s alright, we’ll find em, don’t worry too much about it.”

Vargas patted the dugong’s head reassuringly and scanned the island for any remarkable features, or life. The island itself seemed remarkably small, and remarkably unremarkable. The sand was stony and full of worn down seashells, and the plant life was very stunted and seemed mostly consisting of various types of moss hanging from several waxy looking trees. The island itself seemed to be made mostly of a smooth, striped type of rock and there didn’t seem to be much of anything living on the island but a few snails and hermit crabs. Vargas was no stranger to getting fish from the ocean, but fresh water was going to be another issue, because nowhere on the small island was there a single body of water. Searching for an answer to his water problem, Vargas looked to the sky and found himself staring into a vast expanse of blue so clear it seemed almost a mirror of the sea.

“Hm. The storm’s passed…” he mused.

“But where’s my crew?”

He beckoned to Kuopacha to follow him as he began walking around the shore of the island. If any of his dugongs were swept along the same current as he and Kuopacha had, then the chances of them showing up on this little island, despite how small it was, were at least some, and if they did, then he wouldn’t have much trouble finding them. After making at least 2 rounds around the coast of the island Vargas concluded two things: first, Kuopacha and he were the only two on the island; second, the island itself was very, very round. Though curious to say the least, this realization didn’t much bother Vargas half so much as his now growling belly. From the position of the sun, he estimated that the time must be either just before or just after mid day, though which day, he was uncertain. Nevertheless, he hadn’t eaten in several hours and decided that it was far past time that he and Kuopacha go fishing.

His only articles of clothing were his pants and the large jacket he often wore on his shoulders. Since he didn’t generally feel like having them stick to him or get in the way while fishing he stripped them off and hung then from a rather stout little tree before diving into the water after Kuopacha, who had already started looking for fish. Feeling the cool water wash over him was refreshing as always, and was far different than his encounter with the Sea King, as he had time to relax and dive at his own pace. Kuopacha seemed to have successfully found a kelp bed full of clams which he was already prying open and hungrily devouring. Though Vargas had bested his entire dugong crew, their physiology provided them advantages far different than those available to their human captain, and thus he found clams and other shellfish exceedingly more difficult to access. It was up to him to find softer prey, and, after searching for a time in the kelp beds, he did. A large eel dealt at the bottom of the bed, in a small niche created by a few jagged, volcanic rocks. After surfacing for air, Vargas descended once more to catch the slithery creature. He dove down fairly quickly, but slow enough that he could easily adapt to the pressure change, and by the time he reached the eel’s den, he was perfectly comfortable.

The eel emerged from its lair and opened its mouth in warning to display a wide array of many sharp teeth. Vargas’ fist cut through the water swiftly and caught the eel under the jaw, stunning it long enough for him to grab hold of it by the gills and belly. The long, serpentine fish writhed in his hands violently, but Vargas held on tight and, with a swift, merciless tug, pulled off its head, spine and all. The blood drifted off the twitching carcass as Vargas pulled out the exposed entrails which were inedible raw, and let them fall to the sea floor. Clutching his prize, he returned to the surface to find Kuopacha.

When his head emerged from the water, his hair running down his face like little limp strands of seaweed, Vargass found the dugong looking off into the distance.

“Kuo!” cried the dugong, as he pointed for Vargas with a flipper occupied with several empty clam shells.

Vargas strained his eyes and saw something floating in the distance, fighting the waves. His brow furrowed and he brought his catch to his mouth, holding it firmly, but gentle enough not to bite it in half. Bringing on arm over his head and kicking his feet behind him, he started a freestyle stroke that brought him quickly toward whatever was floating. He reached his target after several minutes and found it to be a man floating unconscious atop a broken plank of wood, accompanied by an exhausted looking dugong.

“Inkuo!” he shouted, forgetting about his eel.

“Kuo…” the dugong responded weakly.

Vargas helped the dugong hoist itself onto his back and took the floating plank and unconscious man under one arm. With these two held tight, he paddled quickly as he could back toward the island and Kuopacha. It took at least three times as long to return as it had taken him alone, but Kuopacha relieved him of the man on the plank when he met them, letting Vargas tread water a little easier. Unfortunately, though Vargas had returned to Kuopacha, the island was nowhere nearby. Being a skilled swimmer, it was uncommon for Vargas to get swept away by the water current while swimming, and even more unusual for a dugong, for them to get swept away so far was ludicrously baffling.

As they scanned the horizon for the small speck of land, Vargas saw something breach the waves. His face dropped in anticipation of yet another sea king encounter, but his frown of disappointment quickly morphed into one of curiosity and confusion as fat trees, mossy shrubs, and a stony shore emerged from the waves. They began swimming toward the freshly risen island just before a stroke of realization hit Vargas. When he’d dived into the water near the island, there was no slope of a shore, and the seabed had been completely flat with not even a hint of an island present. Furthermore, in his circling the islands shore, he had found that the waves seemed to crash significantly heavier on one end than on the other.

By the time they finally reached the beach of the island, Vargas hurriedly placed Inkuo in the stony sand and dove back in, eager with discovery. Sure enough, the seabed laid flat below them and a great oval shadow cruised lazily over the sand. Something caught Vargas’ eye about the shadow and, for the first time since being stranded, he looked at the underside of the island and after nearly gasping in water at his discovery, his eyes twinkled with excitement.

Not only was the island both floating, and moving through the water, but it had flippers, a tail, and a head as well! From the island’s huge, beak-like mouth streamed the remains of an enormous jellyfish, as wide across as the young captain was tall, and cutting slowly through the water beside him was a gargantuan, dark green flipper! Vargas resurfaced while wearing a huge, goofy grin and laughed at the curious looks from his two companions.

“Hee! My friends, we now have a ship! And I’ve decided that it shall be called Turtle Free!”


Word count: 4074

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Turtle

Posts : 16
Join date : 2012-06-28
Age : 27
Location : The Porcelain Throne

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