Chapter 056: Fire Water Burn

Allen and Mirise dodged in opposite directions. Cagizo dived into a roll towards Mirise, while Cabiru turned to chase Allen. Even though he had transformed into full hyena form, Cabiru was able to keep up with him as he dodged her flames.

Mirise, for her part, had no real issues avoiding Cagizo's rolls, but was no fan of how she'd crash into the surrounding buildings and damage them. Thanks to Allen's stalling, she had already transformed most of her hair into water, but didn't see any immediate way to use it against this rolling menace. Cagizo's rolling speed also meant Mirise wasn't able to do much of anything against her, for the time being—she could dodge, but had no way of following up since Cagizo kept going past her.

She deftly sidestepped another roll, and expected another one to follow. But instead, Cagizo turned towards Mirise, and took a swig from one of her bottles. Before Mirise could really register what was happening, two water projectiles were heading her way. She managed to get out of their way, watching them strike and splash against a building behind her.

"Whoa!" Mirise looked back towards Cagizo, who was preparing for another roll. Knowing she had to do something, she gathered up her water and sent it into Cagizo's path. It did little to stop her, and she simply barreled through, following up with another water projectile when she stopped. Before Mirise had time to think of her next move, Allen came running in front of her, with Cabiru following. Mirise looked towards the incoming foe, and sent a splash of water her way.
"What?" Cabiru slowed down and looked at Mirise, but before she could do anything, Allen in full hyena form leapt at her and sank his teeth into her shoulder, and she stumbled backwards before managing to pull him off and shove him away. Allen's teeth had pierced her clothes and drew a bit of blood, but hadn't managed to inflict a serious wound.

Rather than pursue Cagizo further, Mirise kept her eyes on Cabiru. She ran towards her, past Allen. Cabiru swung her torch at Mirise, but she managed to avoid the flaming arc.

"Didn't your parents teach you not to play with fire?"
"Very funny, little girl."
"I told you to stop calling me that!" She crouched down, directing a swift kick at Cabiru's shin. She responded by swinging one of her torches at Mirise again, who countered by striking Cabiru's wrist with the table leg. She withdrew her arm and delivered a kick in Mirise's direction, who just barely managed to dodge backwards.
"Well, alright! If you're gonna be like that, I guess you're not just a little girl... You're a very disobedient little girl."
"You're the one trying to set fire to my dad's city!"
"Ah, yes... you're the mayor's girl, aren't you? We've heard about you. We had some hope you might help us convince your stubborn father what's best for the city, but it seems none of you will see reason."
"What's best for Avasine is you leaving it alone!" Mirise shouted and went in for another attack. This time it was Cabiru who dodged easily, noting that while Mirise's movements were quite agile, she was decidedly not a trained fighter. She managed to dodge or block all of Mirise's incoming strikes before taking another swing with her torches. Mirise leaned back, which gave Cabiru an opportunity to follow up with a leg sweep that sent Mirise to the ground. Mirise rolled to the side, managing to avoid a stab from the back end of one of Cabiru's metal torches—which, it turned out, had been sharpened into a spike. She responded by splashing her water up onto Cabiru's face, and moved back as she instinctively closed her eyes and shook her head.

Meanwhile, Allen had stopped Cagizo from assisting her sister, and was currently grappling with her. She had come rolling back towards them, seemingly aiming to crush Mirise between herself and Cabiru. Allen had thrown half of a table at her to stop that, and then gotten up close and personal to prevent her from gaining any of the distance she needed to start rolling again.

"Get out of my way!"
"And let you two gang up on her? Fat chance."
"You're just making it worse for both of you!"
"Hah! After that stunt we pulled at W4, I'm pretty sure it's straight to the chopping block for me if I ever get taken in again, so I don't see how I can make it much worse than that!" Allen replied with a laugh. "And if the end result is gonna be the same, I can do whatever I want!"
"Thinking like that is why we have to stop you!" Cagizo shouted and gave Allen a forceful push, making him lose his grip on her. She took the opportunity to take a swig from one of her bottles, and sent two water projectiles at Allen. They both struck him in the torso, making him reel back even farther towards Cabiru and Mirise—far enough that he found himself having backed into Mirise's back.

Glancing over each other's shoulders, they respectively saw Cagizo about to spit more water, and Cabiru winding up to strike Mirise with her right forearm. With a quick nod at each other, they spun around, Mirise sending a healthy splash of water at Cagizo's face and Allen meeting Cabiru's arm with his claws, driving them through her skin and causing her to drop the torch she held in her right hand. As she pulled her arm back, Allen kicked the torch away before she could pick it back up. Cabiru looked at Allen with anger, while Cagizo looked at Mirise with exasperation.

"You think some water is gonna do anything to me?" was what Cagizo was planning on saying, but only got halfway through the sentence before Mirise took the opportunity to guide her water into Cagizo's open mouth. As the Marine tried understanding what just had happened, Mirise tossed the water around in her mouth—not hurting her, but at least disorienting her. She made use of the opening she had created by quickly moving in and delivering a knee to Cagizo's stomach, who moved back and spat out the water in her mouth towards Mirise. She, in turn, pulled her water out of the high-pressure projectile as it approached, making the rest of it harmlessly fall to the ground. "Ugh! What the hell was that?" she asked, shaking her head.
"You're not the only one who can do tricks with water!" Mirise replied with a giggle, as she made her water dance in front of Cagizo.
"How are you– a devil fruit?"
"Nope! It's a secret!"
"What even are you?"
"I'm... I'm just me!" Mirise declared. "I'm Mirise Lake, the daughter of Avasine's mayor, and the one who'll stop you from ruining this city!"
"We'll just see about that!" Cagizo replied and rapidly backed up while preparing some additional water bullets that she spat towards Mirise. She, in turn, sent her water directly at them, and while it didn't completely block Cagizo's higher pressure shots, it made them lose enough speed that they just splashed harmlessly on Mirise's body.
"Told you! If there's one thing I know, it's water!"
"Whatever! But that's not gonna do anything about this!" Cagizo exclaimed and threw herself into a roll. Mirise sidestepped it without much trouble, and Cagizo kept going—towards Cabiru and Allen, whom she had failed to notice in her anger.

Cabiru had lunged for the torch she had dropped, but Allen had shifted into full hyena form and dashed in front of her, snagging it with his teeth just before Cabiru could reach for it.

"That's mine. You're not gonna get much use out of it."
"Maybe not," Allen said as he shifted into half-beast form and dropped the torch into his hands. "But neither will you!" he added and turned around, quickly throwing the torch away as high and far as he could manage. He didn't care where it went, as long as it ensured that Cabiru wouldn't be able to get it back for the duration of this fight. After seeing her weapon disappear, she turned back to look at Allen with even more contempt on her face. "Oh, what are you mad about? You've still got three left."
"That I do," she replied and grabbed one with her right hand, pushing a button on the hilt to make it ignite. "And that will be more than enough to melt the flesh off your bones!"
"Sure, sure," Allen said with a snicker at the angry threat. Cabiru responded by thrusting the torch flame-first in his direction, making a jet of flame shoot out towards him. Taking him by surprise, he dodged to the side, but some of the flame caught his fur. He quickly dropped to the ground, rolling to put out any burning going on. Cabiru didn't wait, though—he had to avoid another flame immediately, and she was covering the space in front of her very well. Allen attempted some more approaches, but was denied by Cabiru's flames every time. He was just about ready to attack through the flames to get to her anyway when Cagizo's angry roll cut between them, almost hitting Cabiru. She turned to look at her reckless sister, while Allen took the chance to regroup with Mirise.

"She must've been mad."
"She didn't like that I was better at using water than her."
"Oh, yeah, I could see that. They may be strong, but none of them handle being upstaged very well," Allen said. "Let's go!"
"Yes!" Mirise replied as they both charged towards Cabiru, hoping to capitalize on the moment that Cagizo's reckless roll had created. While Cabiru did have multiple torches left, attacking from multiple directions was hopefully going to mean she couldn't use her jets of flame as effectively. She sent a flame their way as they approached, which they dodged—Allen to the left, Mirise to the right. She glanced at Mirise but kept her eyes on Allen, who lunged at her but was knocked away by a swing of her arm. Mirise delivered a kick to Cabiru's thigh—which she barely even acknowledged.
"You're out of your league, little girl," Cabiru said as she looked back at Mirise—who realized why she had kept her eyes on Allen.
"S-strength isn't everything!" Mirise exclaimed and aimed another kick at Cabiru's legs, this time at the shin. But Cabiru easily dodged it as Allen came rushing back, whereupon Cabiru spun around with her torch out, creating a circle of fire around herself that caused Mirise and Allen to back away again.
"Enough playing around!" Cabiru shouted and drove her lit torch into the ground. "C!"
"Yes!" Cagizo replied and moved up behind Cabiru, who grabbed one torch in each hand and ignited them both.
"Oh, boy, stay on your toes..." Allen said.
"How so?"
"That means they're gonna do something together," Allen said. "I don't know what tricks these two are up to, though..."

Cabiru started swinging her torches around, as Cagizo grabbed one of her bottles and took a large swig. She spat something towards Cabiru, and suddenly, a cloud of fire appeared between the two marine soldiers and the two pirates.

"Oh, that's gonna complicate things," Allen said.
"Oh, no!" Mirise exclaimed. "We have to stop that, they're gonna burn down the city!"
"We have to stop them regardless!" Allen replied as two fireballs appeared from the cloud, as well as a jet of flame. They avoided getting hit, as the attacks did not seem to be very carefully aimed. Mirise looked on as the fireballs hit a wall a short distance behind them, leaving burn marks but thankfully not setting anything more on fire. "She must have used some flammable liquid..."
"What do we do?" Mirise asked as more burning attacks came through the cloud. More spouts of flame, more balls of fire, and Mirise's primary concern became making sure that Avasine wasn't about to catch fire. Before they had any time to figure out a response, Cagizo came rolling through the cloud of fire, notably faster than her regular rolls. She went past the two, crashing into a wooden wall and visibly cracking it. She followed by rolling back towards them, and back through the fire.
"Well... we gotta break through that cloud of fire if we want to have any chance, but just charging through will leave us open..."
"So what do we do?"
"They team up, we team up," Allen said and shifted into full hyena form. "Get on my back. How much of your water do you have?"
"I've got as much as I can right now," Mirise replied as she climbed on to Allen. "Why?"
"We'll have to bet everything on one shot. That fire cloud is shrinking whenever Cagizo's not back there, so I'm pretty sure they have to maintain it with her... whatever it is. So the best chance is gonna be when she's on this side of the cloud. I'll figure out where Cabiru is, you get ready to splash her through the fire!"
"Right!" Mirise said and pulled all of her water together, keeping it underneath Allen as he took off. Dodging their fire, dodging Cagizo... the two Knights showed no sign of letting up their attacks anytime soon. But by witnessing where they came from, and having realized that to get those speeds Cagizo had to be getting boosted by her sister, Allen narrowed down where Cabiru most likely had to be located in relation to the different types of attacks. Focusing entirely on that point, he waited for Cagizo to come back, and after dodging the rolling menace he charged at the cloud of fire.
"Here we go! Now!"