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"Of course I'll be careful." Eli waved her friend of and went into town, stopping at various places for information. She'd going into a few bars and was given very little information in return for her flirtations. "What a waste of time." At one point she felt eyes on her and the vibe she her made get uncomfortable.
"So you think you can just walk away after getting my hopes up little missy," an angry voice called.
"Getting your," Eli stopped walking and turned around, "I'm just here to get information. Whatever you felt was your own doing."
"Don't talk back to me you little bitch," the man snapped as he struck her. "Pretty little things like you shouldn't have a voice and should stay quiet."
Eli winced at the pain an out of instinct her hand went to her cheek. When she started tasting copper, her calm expression changed. "Touch me again, and you'll lose that hand."
The man just snickered as he reached out to her, only for a taloned hand to grab at his wrist. "Ah, a devil fruit user. Let's see what else you can do." He didn't give warning before jumping high enough to pass the surrounding buildings, landing on a rooftop.
"Oh goody," Eli smirked, "Just what I didn't want." She dug her talons into his arm and moments later, the limb was severed. "Listen to me you pig," she released him, "You touch another woman like that again and I'll find you and pull you apart piece by piece." She grabbed the cloth hanging from his pocket and wiped the blood off before growing wings and flying to a different part of town.
"Uh guys," Usopp noticed something large and black flying over the town, "I think we're in the right place."
"There are various types of black birds Usopp," Nami pointed point.
"Birds don't wear sweaters Nami."
[I New approach,] Eli thought as she touched down in town square and looked around. [I Bars usually home more info about con artists and other criminals but there is likely other places as well.] She began to wander around, looking at different shops for anything out of the ordinary. [I Perhaps a hidden location?]
After a bit she stopped walking and decided to do a little window shopping. However when she caught her reflection in the mirror, she saw the mark from where the man hit her along with a small bit of blood dripping from the corner of her mouth. "Oh." As she went to wipe it away, she spotted a reflection in the shop window behind her. "Sanji," she breathed.
Soren sighed knowing Eli's mind was made up. "Alright. Be careful. I think I saw a training dojo not too far from town on the way in. I'll meet up for lunch, okay?" She headed for the dojo she had seen on the outskirts of town and smiled when she saw it was deserted. "Perfect." She tied her hair back in a high ponytail before taking off her shirt so she could move more freely. She found the training dummies and nodded as she looked them all over. For not being used they collected a lot of dust but were still in rather good shape. She did some stretches before smiling softly. "Alright, arm. Time to stop resting."
Several weeks later, after various islands and dead ends, Soren and Elli finally reached an island known for its Intel. Of course, as Soren was still healing, Eli decided to do most of the investigatory work. "Go see if there is a place you can strengthen your arm. I'll start gathering information. We can meet up for lunch or something?"
Luffy looked out at the island, "Maybe they're here." Every island they stopped at they asked around about Soren and Eli, but no one had seen them.
"Soren was actually... Mosshead." Sanji looked up at Zoro and snickered. "She was a female version of you. Broody and everything." He turned his attention back to the others and smiled. "Let's get them back then. We'll just have to keep seeing if we can hear any rumors on neighboring islands."
"It doesn't hurt to start looking," Robin chuckled. "We are know that when Luffy puts his mind to something there is no stopping him." She looked down at Sanji, "The question is, how bad do you want her back?"
[I Just follow the trail of dead bodies,] Nami thought.
Zoro came down from the crows nest, "So we're going after them?"
"Even though Soren was bitter, she was still cool," Usopp chimed in.
"And Eli was fun to play with," Chopper added.
Sanji sighed. "Luffy... we... wait... I mean... we've done crazier stuff right? We would just have to find them and protect them like we did with our other friends right?" Sanji sighed once more and slumped down. "What am I saying... This is crazy... we don't even know where they are..."
"You were falling for her too." Robin placed a hand on his shoulder, "When we first met them, Soren admitted that Eli is ruled by her heart. If she grew as close to us as you think, then it would have left then no choice but to leave."
"Hey guys," Luffy came down from the figurehead, "I miss Soren and Eli. We should find them and bring them back."
Sanji frowned before leaning against the railing taking a drag of his cigarette. "She was upset clearly from Nami's presence. So I went to check on her. She rambled a bit before saying that in her line of work she can't fall in love but she was falling for me..." He looked down with a sigh. "She wasn't lying either... She looked like she was going to cry before Soren came out and she fled with her. I think... I think we may have been their targets... But after being on the ship they realized they couldn't go through with it... It's the only reason I could think of that made them leave..."
"Next time, don't go in first. Don't go in at all." Eli grabbed some ice and put it in a cloth and handed it to Soren. In return, she took the file and started looking it over, well, the picture anyway. "If he is setting us up for failure then it means he wants to punish us more than what he did."
"Sanji," Robin looked at the cook who seemed lost in thought, "What happened that day? Before they disappeared."
Soren's eyes widened at Eli's outburst but quickly rushed with her out of the room. "Are you nuts?! We're lucky we got out of there with only a punch and a slap!" She sighed before taking the file and looking it over. "Fantastic... setting us up for failure... We have a picture of the idiot... Nothing else..."
About a week had passed since Eli and Soren disappeared and it was starting to weigh on Sanji. [i Why can't I stop thinking about her... After what she said I can't seem to get her off my mind...] All of his flirting had stopped and he now treated the girls like regular members of the crew. If he made a dessert he made it for everyone. For once there was no favoritism.
Eli drew a sharp breath at the slap and it took everything not to retaliate against him. All she did was glare before grabbing the file and helping Soren up. Before leaving the room she looked at at him, "One day Jedrick, you won't have control over us. And on that day, you will burn." She quickly left the room with Soren to get ice for her friend's cheek.
Jedrek sneered. "Don't you raise your voice at me, bitch." He backhanded Eli out of the way before grabbing Soren by the collar. "Both of you. Are going to take the next mission I assign you. And you will complete it. Without fail. Otherwise the punishment will be much more severe." He dropped Soren to the ground before walking back over to his desk and grabbing a file from one of the drawers before tossing it open on the far side of his desk. "Target is a rich guy. Con artist of some sort. He's supposed to be throwing a ball of some sort towards the end of the year. That will give you a few months to find intel on the location. THIS is to be what you're focusing on. You both know the rules. No relations. Your only company is each other and me." He narrowed his eyes. "Do I make myself clear?"
"Enough," Eli snapped as she moved between Jedrick and Soren. "It was my fault we couldn't complete the mission. I got too close to the targets." Hey voice was shaky but she wasn't going to back down because she wasn't going to let Soren take the blame for her mistake. "If you're going to take your anger out of anyone, take it out on me."
Sanji's face turned red at the comment as he covered his face and looked away. "God you're so vulgar..."
Soren gave her a soft smile. "Come, let's go grab what few things we have then disappear like normal."
After gathering what few belongings they had on the Sunny they headed back to their own ship and disconnected the two before using the power steering to turn the ship in the opposite direction back to the base.
After a couple days of traveling Soren made the call to Jedrek. "Bad news boss." She led with before hearing an annoyed sigh come from the other end of the phone.
"I'll give that bastard his money back... But you know the consequences."
"Yes sir. We'll be back in a few days."
Soren sighed after she hung up and scratched the back of her head. "He took it better this time than last time..." [i That slightly scares me...]
Once they reached the base they walked up to the top of the tower to meet with Jedrek. As soon as Soren had opened the door she knew to go in first due to this not being her first time not completing a mission. The last time she couldn't complete a mission was before he recruited Eli.
When the door was open wide enough Soren felt something hard hit her square in the jaw causing her to stumble back leaving a large red mark on her cheek.
"This had better be good. Explain. Now." Jedrek's eyes were cold as he stared her down.
Eli shook her head, "I can't let you do that. This is my fault. I'll take the punishment." She stood up and let out a deep sigh, looking over at their ship them back at the Sunny. [I Leave without saying goodbye?] She remembered her conversation with Sanji that morning and her heart began to ache. "O-okay."
"Eli said she didn't want to be Star Chaser anymore," Zoro glanced at Sanji, "You got a hard-on for an assassin."
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