Crime and Punishment
"The sentenced shall be executed tomorrow at sunset when the sun will start coloring the sky. She will be locked up in the underground dungeons until her time comes. She is forbidden to have any contact with anyone or anything that has a mind. The audience if lifted!"
There we go, the judge's hammer slammed. Talk about a martial courtroom. Forbidden to defend myself, forbidden to anyone to defend me. I was forced to stay sited on this wooden bench, my feet and hands painfully tied with sea prism stone chains, looking at people screaming insults and lies about me, each of them more despicable than the one before. I couldn't talk since I had a mask made of sea prism stone in front of my mouth. I only had my eyes to stare at those supposedly witnesses who were gloating at the thought of sending me to the execution. Why am I here, you ask. Who am I by the way, you ask. Why am I telling you what is going on, anyway? That, I don't know. I can answer the other questions, though. My name is Shikyo. Yes, it means Death. I like the name, even if it is macabre. I think She is the only one who ever awaited me with her arms wide open. I will have to go see her soon, it seems. Well, I'm drifting off.
I have a devil fruit. It lets me play with people's memories. Don't worry. I never used it to change memories for fun. You see, I could also visualize the memories of people with a single contact. By example, if I took your hand or if I brushed against you, or rather your skin, I could see the day when you first ate an apple. What's the interest of seeing someone eat an apple? It doesn't have any. But watching the different emotions passing in your eyes when you taste the both sweet and lightly bitter juice of the fruit, a discovery for you at the time, fascinates me. If you wanted to forget a memory, I could go fetch this memory and completely remove it from your mind. Of course, I needed to keep it safe somewhere. Each memory that I erased, I locked them up in a pocket watch that I always keep with me. This item must never be opened by anyone else but me and even less be broken. Otherwise, the memories would break free and return to haunt their owners. Or at least that is what I believe would happen. I never wish to try it out. My duty has always been to help people with painful memories so they can live once more normally. I saved many lives thanks to this power. Why am I sentenced to death, then? I'm coming to it...
You see, it's not everyone who appreciated what I was doing for the citizens of my village. There were people who were forgotten along with the memories. Since people wanted to forget rather than report the crimes they had witnessed, I never talked about what I saw. The witnesses had forgotten what they had seen by my fault, so I had no proof of what I would have said. Murderers, thieves, aggressors, there were many who were enjoying the sight of the people suffering from their memories. Those people didn't appreciate me. Things had to turn badly, one day.
About three days ago, I had removed the memories of a poor lady once more and went out to change my mind. It was the night and the streets were dark. That is when they took me by surprise. Man as well and woman, they circled me, weapons in hand. Well, they weren't real weapons, but they were for me who didn't hold anything and didn't have the strength to fight with my bare hands. I must admit I panicked and, without really thinking, I stepped back. One of them hit me behind the head and I fell unconscious. When I came back to my senses, I was lying in a pool of blood, a machete in hand and massacred corpses around me. No, not all of them were massacred. At the end of the alley, there were marines who were discovering the scene. Behind them, there was one of those who had circled me. A man who yelled:
"It's her! She possesses powers of a devil fruit! Make sure she doesn't touch you, she plays with memories! She tried to make me forget what she had done so I wouldn't warn you, but I knocked her out!"
That's why I found myself enchained without any chance of getting out of this alive. The witnesses were those who had planned all of this and, now that I think about it, no one had any arguments or even the will to defend me, so the prohibition of testimony in my favor didn't serve to anything. I had disappeared during the night, the people who passed time with me were forgetting parts of their lives and many crimes were left without proof. Who else than the one manipulating memories could be at the origin of all this?
I had the right to keep my watch. They asked me if I had a last will and I asked to be buried with it. I think that's the only justice that was given to me. They will end my life with my own weapons: two katanas I had forged myself. The moon and the sun, Tsuki and Nishibi, a white blade with blue waves and a black blade with red flames. Why black with the sun? ...now that I think about it, I forgot the reason why. Cool, huh? I made them longer than the norm. I liked the style it gave at the end. I'm drifting off again. Let's get back to the proper time.
I am dragged underground and sited on the hard floor of a cell. They take off the mask and they leave. As they walk away, I can hear them talk as if it was impossible for me to hear them:
"She didn't even try to defend herself. She didn't even twitch when those witnesses came to add crimes to the list. It's kind of freaky"
"Isn't it a little weird? All those crimes and no one who can deny or confirm except for those witnesses I'm not ever sure to have ever seen in the village"
"She can influence memories. It's not surprising"
"Then why would there still be people remembering? And so much to that?"
"Don't know, perhaps an oversight on her part"
I laugh bitterly in my cell:
"An oversight...when working with memories, one cannot afford such a fatal thing"
I lift my eyes at what seemed to be a lamp on the ceiling. It wasn't lite. Everything around me is darkness and silence now. No, not completely...there is that little noise...like a snail passing around. I look down and somehow see a little den den mushi. Well, I could see its shape and movements. It doesn't seem stressed up about being here. I think it likes the environment. I stare at it:
The den den mushi notices me and starts coming my way.
"You're curious, it seems"
It reaches my foot and climbs on it. It stops moving. I think it's staring at me with its huge eyes. I smile a little:
"Yep, really curious. Can I give you a name? I will call you Matsu. I know, it's boring, but I like the name"
It doesn't seem to protest.
"Could you come a little closer? I'd like to try and see you"
As it moves once more, the little receiver on its side falls and it starts ringing. I bite my lips:
"Damn, I didn't thought it could fall that easily"
In another way...who was I going to fall on? I had two days before my execution. A little blind chat wouldn't nurt me. Someone finally answered the phone:
"Who's on the phone?"
What was I supposed to say? Bah, why not be honest? It won't change anything if I lie or not.
"Hello, sorry to bother you. I picked up this den den mushi and I was curious to see who would be on the other side. Now that I think about it..."
I try moving my hands, without success:
"I couldn't have taken the receiver, right now. I'm called Shikyo. And you?"
I wasn't expecting and answer, but it was nice to talk to someone. It had been so long...
"Law, my name's Law"
Hey, an answer! I smile in the dark:
"Law...that's an interesting name. I like that"
"Flattered to hear. How did you call my den den mushi?"
"No idea, actually. I only made the receiver fall by accident"
"...are you serious, here?"
"I didn't take the habit of lying. It wouldn't serve to anything for me to lie since some days now, anyway"
I think for a moment:
"It will sound like a weird request, but do you have time?"
"It does sound weird. Why such a question?"
"Let's just say I didn't have the opportunity to see anyone in a while and that...well..."
"You want someone to talk?"
"I know, it's stupid, but it's really important for me at this moment. I don't have much time in front of me and it seems long, very long..."
He doesn't answer. He didn't hang up, though. Did I say something weird?
"Very well. What do you want to talk about?"
I take some hope back. He accepted!
"Let's see...ah! I know! Do you have any interest in pirates?"
"In a way..."
"Good! Did you hear about the Supernovas before?"
"I didn't have a choice but to know, actually"
"Really? Must be because of your name. Did you know one of them has the same name as you do? He's the surgeon of death, Trafalgar Law. You know him, I suppose"
There is a moment of silence before he finally answers:
"I know, but only because of the name. Could you fill me in on him? What do you know about him?"
"You only know the name? I hope for you that you aren't in North Blue because that is where he comes from. He's the captain of the Heart Pirates. He is called the surgeon of death because of his devil fruit Ope ope no mi and because he is a doctor. In fact, that is the information everyone knows about."
"The way you say it, you seem to know more"
"I think I know. It's not the same thing. I think I'm close to something, though"
"Really? And what do you think you know about?"
"My, you really are curious. He's the only member of his crew to use a sword. Well, I'm the one who asked to talk, so I can't give any objection. Where to start... Well, let's go little by little. He is a previous member of Donquixote Doflamingo's crew, But he is preparing a plan that includes the decline of Doflamingo from his Shichibukai title. His right arm is a polar bear named Bepo using martial arts pretty well. I think his desk is a real library and not only with medical books. He acts arrogantly in public, but deep down he's a good guy. He's a great tactician who never lets any detail escape him. He's skilled at analyzing the situation quickly, especially in front of an opponent that seems strong...hum...what else, what else...
"...you know...all that?"
"Well, as I was saying, I am not sure that it is the complete truth, but I think I'm close to something"
I hear him mumble on his side, but I don't understand a word.
"You really are something to have learned all of that"
I bring my arms closer to me, the chains tinkling lightly:
"Maybe, but it didn't really serve to anything"
"What was that?"
"That tinkling...it sounded like chains..."
I smile sadly:
"Where did it come from?"
"From my side...I...I have..."
No, I couldn't tell him I was a prisoner. Let's stay vague, but let's stay honest, anyway.
"I have chain wristbands. That's all..."
No reaction. He doesn't believe me?
"You're starting to intrigue me"
Really? No one ever said that...
"Tell me about yourself"
Was it really safe?...bah, no need to be careful. I was going to die, anyway!
"Well...if that's what you want...what is it that you wish to know?"
"Do you know how to fight?"
"I learned to use two blades, but I never had the opportunity to fight"
In any case, when I had the opportunity, my blades were at home.
"Do you have a talent people don't have?"
"Yes...in a way..."
"A devil fruit?"
"You are really sharp. I ate the Nou nou no mi, the fruit of memory"
"A fruit of memory?"
"Yes, I can create and erase memories, seal them inside objects or simply see or show someone's memories"
"What do you normally do with those memories?"
I turn dark a moment. Talking about it reminds me how much I should have been careful.
"Sorry, I was lost in thoughts. So...I was using it to help people forget"
"Help them forget?"
"Most of the time, it was events that had traumatized them. An accident, a mistake...a murder that happened in front of their eyes...people wanted to forget...some just didn't want to remember how it happened, still knowing the result. Some...wanted to go farther"
"Did you need to see those memories to make them forget?"
"Yes, it was required"
"...you are strong..."
I laugh lightly, my chains tinkling once more.
This sea prism stone was starting to wear me out, but I needed to fight it.
"You seem out of breath. Is something wrong?"
"Oh no, I'm fine"
For the moment.
"I need to go for a moment. Don't move from there, okay?"
The den den mushi stays open, but I can't hear a sound. There is only one thing left to do. Wait in the dark.