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Rink and Allen's bout with Cagizo on the prison entrance floor had been short, intense, and painful. Despite the door being wide open, the other soldiers had not entered, not really being fond of what might result from being caught in the crossfire between Cagizo and two opponents with devil fruit powers...
"I'm not going to regret punching your stupid face in," Allen had belatedly replied to Cagizo's opening statement.
"Like you could," Cagizo said. "You've been down there for so long I'm surprised there's any life left in you at all."
"But now I'm out," Allen said. "And I've gotten a good warm up."
"And then there's your friend..." Cagizo said and looked over at Rink. "You've made quite the mess here."
"Shows how much your precious security protocols are good for," Rink said.
"Protocols can always fail and that's why I'm here," Cagizo replied. "You're lucky my older siblings are off base, but that doesn't mean you'll be any less dead by the time I'm through with you."
"You think Roth would like that?" Allen asked.
"I told Commander Roth he should have executed you right away, but he insisted on keeping you," Cagizo said. "Now he'll have to see I was right!" she continued and took a swig from her bottle. One of her bottles, at any rate - Rink noted that she carried several of them on a belt around her waist.
"Here it comes," Rink said and looked closely at Cagizo's head. Allen, in full hyena form, hunched down to prepare for a dash. Cagizo directed her first barrage in his direction, just barely grazing him with one water projectile as he launched. Allen dodged a swing of her arm and attempted to strike her, but she brought up one of her legs to block. He quickly withdrew, dodging another water blast on the way. Rink, meanwhile, wasn't waiting - the instant Allen drew back, she started pelting Cagizo with sound bullets. Quicker, but weaker than the ones she'd normally use, but enough to annoy Cagizo - who turned to Rink, raised one of her arms to block the attacks and took another swig from the bottle she was holding. She sent three water shots towards Rink, who ducked - and with Rink having Cagizo's attention, Allen had used the opportunity to circle around Cagizo and attack her legs from behind. She fell backwards, almost on top of Allen, the shell-shield on her back striking the concrete floor with a loud bang. Allen quickly turned around and leapt towards her for another attack, but she rolled to the right, quickly got on her knees and struck Allen with her left arm, sending him tumbling across the floor.
"Don't get so cocky just because there's two of you!" Cagizo said with a snarl as she stood back up.
"Just spitting water at us won't get you far," Rink replied and fired two of her regular sound bullets at Cagizo, who blocked them and started grinning.
"You think that's all I can do?" she said and looked over at Allen, who was still in the process of getting up after changing to half-beast form. She quickly turned her attention back to Rink, who had started half-running in the direction away from Allen. Cagizo took a few quick steps towards her, before throwing herself towards the ground and starting to roll at high speed towards Rink, like an armoured ball. Rink had to throw herself out of the way to avoid being hit, and, hearing the sound of Cagizo hitting the wall, was glad she hadn't been in the way. Cagizo got back up, turned around and launched a few water projectiles towards Rink - mostly for suppression rather than trying to actually hit her - before getting into another roll, this time towards Allen. He had gotten back on his feet, and managed to step out of the way without falling over. He ran towards Cagizo in an attempt to attack her before she could roll again, but got struck in the chest by one of her water shots and had to back away.
"Well, that certainly makes this a bit more complicated," Rink said. Cagizo simply kept up this pattern of attack, rolling towards them and following up by water projectiles to cover the moments she weren't rolling - and with the shielding on her back, arms and legs, any attacks they had would just bounce off of her. Rink and Allen kept dodging to the best of their ability, not taking any serious hits, but all Cagizo needed was one solid hit on either of them. The longer the fight lasted, the more the chance of her doing just that increased.
"Any ideas?" Allen asked Rink as they passed each other, Allen having just gotten out of the way of another roll and Rink blocking a water projectile with her arm guard. Rink looked around the room, trying to see if there was anything that could help them - and something seemed to catch her eye.
"I have one dumb plan," she replied in a hushed tone, trying to make sure that Cagizo couldn't hear them. "Can you lift her?"
"Easily," Allen replied and put a hand on his half-beast bicep.
"When I stop moving, stand behind me and stay still," Rink said. "And hope this works..."
"Gotcha," Allen said as they separated. A couple more rolls from Cagizo later, Rink stopped partway through a run, standing perfectly still. Allen quickly joined her, the two of them looking over at Cagizo, currently on the other side of the room, next to the entrance.
"Lining up for me? How nice of you!" she shouted and launched into another decisive roll.
"How is this going to-" Allen started saying as he saw Rink take a deep breath, following which she let out a shout at the rapidly closing in Cagizo. A shout without much sound, but a lot of force behind it. It pushed against Cagizo, who slowed down, but still headed towards them.
"Your turn!" Rink said and stepped to the side. Allen raised his arms, taking Cagizo's roll head-on - slowed down enough that it didn't do much damage. He grabbed on to her, and with all the force he could muster, threw her to the side - down the stairwell leading to the next prison level. In her rolling fury, she had failed to notice that Rink and Allen had placed themselves in the doorway leading to it. She tumbled down the stairs, hitting the steps and the wall several times, her shielding taking most of the hits but still taking quite a bit of damage. Allen looked down, seeing her land in a heap at the bottom after a final face first smack into the wall.
"That was insane," he said to Rink.
"At least it worked," Rink replied. "Right? She's out, right?"
"She'll hurt for a bit but she'll live, I think... we should probably not stay and check."
"Definitely not," Rink said and started running towards the stairs leading up to processing. Allen shifted into full hyena form and followed, shutting the doors after them as they heard Marines starting to pour in behind them.
"Watch out for his whips," Allen said as Carime lashed out in the direction of Rink and Markus. "The thorns are poisoned."
"Only a little," Carime said with a laugh. "It's no fun if you die too fast!"
"Where do the Marines even find these guys?" Rink asked. "Atlas on Kurita, now these two lunatics here..."
"There's lots of crazies in the world," Allen replied. "Some just choose this path..."
"We're quite grateful to Commander Roth for all he's done for us," Carime said and did a wide sweep towards Allen and Muse. Muse dropped to the ground to avoid it, whereas Allen just jumped out of the way. "The four of us, we had lost our mother..."
"Yeah, I don't give even the slightest crap about your story," Rink said and fired off two sound bullets towards Carime. They only struck his jacket, and Carime replied with another whip swing in their direction. Markus swatted it away with one of his swords and started approaching, while Allen did the same from the other side. Carime pulled his whips in and swung one out to each side, waving them up and down while doing half a pirouette, effectively covering all of his sides. Markus and Allen halted their advances and just narrowly avoided getting hit, with Markus getting a gash in his coat from the thorns.
"Aren't you going to do anything?" Allen asked Muse, that he was once again at the side of.
"I don't have a clear shot!" she said and reached back to her quiver. Five... no, four and a half arrows left. The one she had used to shoot open Markus's cell had been damaged by the hit, so she didn't have too much faith in that one. Of the coatings, probably only enough left for one fire arrow, but she hadn't used any of the electric arrows today, so plenty of that. She figured that she might as well try, so she drew an arrow, in the same moment covering the thumb on her other hand in the conductive coating from a container at the other end of the quiver, slathering the gel over the arrow as she pulled back the bowstring. Carime had apparently noticed she was doing something, so he lashed out with a whip towards her. This fit Muse nicely - as she dodged, she could make it look like she misfired the arrow, sending it flying over Carime's head. Before any lightning happened, however, Carime flicked his arm and hit the arrow with his whip, causing it to spin away in another direction past the edge of the tower, harmlessly discharging in mid-air.
"They told me there were some weird arrows involved," Carime said. "But that kind of tricks won't help you here."
"Should've brought one of those rifles," Rink said and continued launching sound bullets with her tuning fork. "But he'd probably have some way of dealing with that too."
"Can't you use your sound for something stronger?" Markus asked.
"I could," Rink replied, "but without getting closer to him I'd have to put a lot of force in it, and I don't want to risk blowing one of us off the roof in the process."
"And all of us getting on the same side seems like it would be inviting bad things to happen. This guy covers the ground around him frighteningly well..."
Rink's words would prove to be quite true, as any attempt by either of them to close in on Carime was met by wide sweeps, double swings, spins and all kinds of moves that served the purpose of keeping the four of them at bay quite well. At the same time, Carime never let up his attacking, not leaving any openings to attack. Muse hadn't tried shooting any arrows beyond the first, for that very reason. And there weren't any escape routes, either - the Marines were blocking the way to the other tower, mostly just letting Carime do his thing, but even more worrying was the fire escape. It had given them an escape, but it meant that the Marines on the inside had a way up to them as well - a worry that proved true when it opened up, and a very angry, very blue individual with blood running down her face ascended.
"Carime!" was the first word out of Cagizo's mouth as she witnessed the fight in front of her. "So this is where you're hiding!"
"Welcome, sis," Carime said.
"You should have assisted me down there!"
"Someone had to cover the roof! See?"
"If you had come to the prison like you were supposed to, we could have taken care of them before they could join up!"
"That wouldn't have been as much fun!"
"You know I can't use all my moves in this kind of place!"
"I don't see how that's my problem."
"You're going to be the death of us all one day," Cagizo said with the hint of a sigh. "Now stop fooling around and let's catch them already!"
"Oh, well," Carime replied with a smirk. "Let's do it your way, then."
"Ah, siblings," Rink said as she got out of the way of an overhead swing from Carime. "But this isn't good..."
"So that other one..." Markus said.
"Solid shields, spits water and rolls around," Rink replied. "Pretty sure she was talking about that she can't roll up here, though." She dodged a barrage of water projectiles from Cagizo, and assessed their situation. Currently, they had Carime in the middle of the roof... Rink and Markus were still mostly joined up on one side of him, not far from the segment connecting the towers. Cagizo was on the other side, still at the fire escape, with Allen to her right and Muse to her left. She seemed mostly interested in Allen for now, but had no problems spitting past Carime, at Markus and Rink, as well. They had to finish this fast. At least the Marines that were mostly behind Markus and Rink didn't attack - in fact, they had even started retreating even further towards the other tower, apparently not wanting to risk getting caught in or hit by anything. Not that it made it any more of an escape route - there was only one way out of this, and it had just gotten harder.
For better or for worse, Carime and Cagizo didn't coordinate their attacks much - the fight mostly had split into Rink and Markus against Carime, and Allen and Muse against Cagizo. Allen made some attempts towards Carime when he had his back turned, but either Carime's whips or Cagizo's water barrages made sure he didn't get very far. Muse was still trying to get any opportunity at all to get a good arrow shot off, and Markus and Rink didn't have any more luck with their advances. Carime seemed to still enjoy toying with his prey, but Cagizo was getting increasingly frustrated, both at her brother's antics and at the fact that they weren't getting anywhere.
"C!" she yelled out. Carime glanced in her direction and gave a little nod, seemingly knowing what she meant without getting any more information. There wasn't any immediately obvious change in their attack pattern - Carime withdrew one of his whips, in the same manner he had done throughout the entire fight when preparing another swing, as Cagizo took a swig of the bottle she was holding and let three water projectiles fly towards Markus and Rink, changing her attention to Allen to fend off his next attempt at attack immediately afterwards. Markus and Rink started getting out of the way, keeping an eye on Carime assuming he would try to cut them off, and he did bring his whip out just as the water had passed by him - but he wasn't aiming for Markus and Rink.
The three water projectiles had been heading in the same direction, on Markus and Rink's position. They had started dodging in different directions, but following three near instantaneous whip-lashes from Carime, they each got hit - by a barrage of smaller water drops, still moving at high speed. It stopped both of them in their tracks, and it was only Rink's improved hearing that allowed her to avoid getting the whip that came heading her way an eye blink later wrapped around her neck. Carime was hitting Cagizo's water shots in the air, redirecting them, turning them into a spread... smaller, only slightly weaker, and covering a much wider area.
"Okay, I didn't expect that," Rink said as she turned her head towards Carime and Cagizo again. They had already sent another barrage at Allen and Muse, followed by another at Markus and Rink, the attack pattern being punctuated by additional whip swings from Carime.
"What now?" Markus asked, swatting away Carime's whip with a sword before ducking under another water cascade.
Rink looked around, as if she hadn't already concluded multiple times that there wasn't much that could help them here. She looked at Carime, at Allen, at Cagizo, at Muse, back to Carime... at Carime's whipping. It had changed slightly, now that he was using one of his whips to strike the water shots... "I do have one idea that I hope won't kill us," she said and looked at Markus. "Next cascade that comes our way, run to the side of him that I don't."
"That doesn't sound ominous at all," Markus replied with a nod. They didn't have to wait long - Cagizo had already prepared her next shots, and the moment Rink heard her spit, she started dashing, past the segment connecting the towers, not quite getting out of range of the water cascade but avoiding most of it. Markus rushed the other way, blocking some water with his sword and powering through the rest. Carime followed up with the same type of sweeping swing he had been doing with his left whip, which was exactly what Rink had hoped for, and it was coming for her, which also what exactly what she had hoped for. Now she just hoped this next part would work too, lifting her left arm and putting it in the projected path of the whip.
It struck her arm guard and started wrapping around it. Carime started withdrawing it, but Rink grabbed on to it with her right hand, leaving Carime's whip - and left arm - stretched out.
"Now!" Rink shouted. A moment later, Muse had let an arrow fly towards Carime, and this time he didn't manage to whip it away in time - it struck his outstretched arm, piercing through his elbow. He cried out in pain as Rink yanked on the whip she had stopped, making him drop it. Cagizo turned to her brother for a split second, giving Allen a much-needed opportunity - in full hyena form, he leaped at Cagizo, shifting to half-human the moment he hit her to maximise his weight, sending her tumbling to the ground, Allen holding on to her arms and weighing his knees down on her legs to keep her still. Markus was at this point charging at Carime, who had regained enough clarity to send a whip his way - a whip that was deflected by a pair of swords that Markus dropped as he reached Carime, grabbing him and driving him towards the edge of the tower. He held on to the whip in his right hand, but didn't manage to do much with it until they reached the end, Markus sending him tumbling off the side with a final thrust. As he fell down, he used his remaining whip to snag on to a piece of rebar jutting out from the tower wall, leaving him hanging without anywhere to go.
"Carime!" Cagizo shouted, struggling under the weight of Allen, managing to free her left arm and raise her head. "Get off me, you-"
"Nope," Allen said before he introduced his right fist to Cagizo's face, knocking her out - again. "Told you I'd do it," he said before standing up and changing back into human form. He and Muse started walking over towards Rink and Markus when a large searchlight illuminated the uppermost side of the tower, including the four of them.
Down on the ground, in front of the gates of W4, a large group of Marines were gathered around the searchlight. From the middle of the crowd, a commanding voice sounded, "That's enough out of you!"