“You’ve gotten slower, Captain!” Kosu taunted. Levi earnestly wished that he had remembered to swap to his metal claws as he smacked away his opponent’s sword with his weaponless mechanical hand.
It couldn’t be… he thought to himself as he dodged another assault and slashed with his own sword. She’s couldn’t possibly be…
“Did you know she’s famous for her dancing? They say she’s as graceful as a swan.” Kosu had barely broken a sweat despite his dark apparel and fast-paced fighting style, which Levi was striving to keep up with. In fact, the malefactor stood tepidly, studying his polished black dagger as an apathetic woman would study her fingernails. “There’s something about a good dancer that I find so very appetizing, and since she’s been traveling the continent in search of a lover, I thought I might… hmm… show her what a real man is like.”
Levi wanted to be sick. “Don’t you dare touch her!” His face must have been as bright as his vermilion waistcoat, painted with his inner rage, as he assailed with new fervor, finally fighting on the same level as the degenerate.
“Feeling protective are we, Captain?” The black and white haired man smirked, and then his eyes widened slightly. “Don’t tell me you’ve already taken to her? Oh, Levi… how delectably unfortunate.” The way he continued to put emphasis on the word captain, as if the title were a joke, forced fire through Levi’s veins, but hearing his name roll off that vile snake’s tongue made his skin crawl.
He lunged again, sloppily and without his usual precision, and he paid for it with a tooth-spangled fist to the nose and a knee in the gut. The fight hadn’t lasted even five minutes so far, but this fiend’s presence was already derailing him like a haywired train, bringing out all of his worst qualities ─ bitterness, rage, and the desire for revenge ─ which dampened his senses even worse than his occasional visit to the pub. In the back of his mind, Levi hoped that Hataru would never see him in such a state.
With the poise of a gymnast, the dark one cartwheeled out of the way. A small strip of paper slipped from his pocket and fluttered to the deck like a wounded bird. For the first time, uneasiness glazed the man’s face. Levi snatched it up.
“If you want this back, you will leave my ship at once. And you will not be taking any extra passengers.”
The rogue laughed, but his eyes never left the piece of parchment, “And what would I want with a mere slip of paper? Come now, really, Captain. You’ve got to start coming up with better threats than that, or I fear you shall bore me. And you know what happens when I get bored.”
“Get. Off. My. Ship.”
“Yes. Definitely boring. And you know, if we were being technical, this ship should actually belong to me─ ” In one fluid movement, Kosu front-flipped toward Levi, simultaneously disarming and knocking him back against the mainmast, and pinned both arms of his jacket to the wood with three throwing knives. “ ─but I like my new one much better. Now that’s more exciting!”
He reached for the paper, which Levi had been able to keep a hold of thanks to the rubber coating on his mechanical hand, but the captain’s grip on it was still strong. When Kosu tugged harder to wrench it free, the paper tore in half. “Why you little─”