We're All Mad Here

Chapter 18: The Calm before the Storm

I open my eyes and there she is, Cataria. Her face is more relaxed now but she's still holding my face.

I swat her hands away from my face and I take my hat off my head. I reach in looking for what I need.

"…Hatter, are you okay?"

I pullout my teapot out and I pour myself a cup of tea. "Okay? I'm more than okay! I'm ecstatic, I'm fantastic, incredible, I'm crazy, I'm Mad, I'm so stupid! I'm-"

"You are just naming adjectives now."

I drain my first cup of peppermint tea and I move onto my next cup. "No! You're very wrong there Cheshire! I'm naming off my own traits!" I jump up from the ground with my tea cup hat in hand. I start spinning around in circles. I don't care if I'm getting my precious tea on my clothes or on the ground; this is just a wonderful day!

"Oh what a wonderful and dreadful day it is today!"

I stop my spinning and stand still. I drop my tea cup hat on the ground and I clench my fist, then I started pounding them into the side of my head. "Stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid-"

*Thunk*

"OW!" I grab my head and I turn around and I see Cataria's hand held high. "What the hell was that for?!"

"I swear you are like a light switch. When you turn off your quiet and stay still, but if you turn on you are bouncing off the walls and can't shut up." She lowers her hand and places both of her hands on her hips. "Can you please be quiet? Asura might still be around."

I think about what she's proposing for a solid minute.

"Nah."

"...What?"

"Sitting still and being quiet is SO BORING! I've only done that like once in my whole life and it only lasted about a few minutes."

I rub the back of my head a few times until the throbbing somewhat goes away. I look up at Cataria again and I try and read what she's thinking but I can't. If I can't read her eyes then what else can I read instead of her eyes… her features? Her face is scrunched up, so what does that mean? Is she mad? No I'm the one who is mad. Is she thinking? It's much harder reading someone's factures than their eyes.

I spread my arms open and I fall back onto the ground. Usually it would hurt, but I doesn't this time. Instead of feeling pain, I feel a tingling feeling overcome my body. I place my arm on my forehead; hoping that my suspicions aren't true. But once I register that my skin is becoming numb, I realize I don't have much time left. My arm falls back on the ground and I close my eyes. Night is coming.

"Cheshire."

I hear shuffling. She must be moving around.

"Yes Princess Hatter?"

She's cheeky. I wonder if that's going to be a good thing in the future or ba- why am I thinking about the future? I'm just going to kill this son of a bitch then I'm going to take her to the next island and drop her off there and then I'll never see her again. That's the plan.


"When someone's hand turns red, what does that mean to you?" I question her.

There's a pause. "If I see someone with a red hand then I must have interrupted something."

What the hell does that mean?

"Well you see," I hear something come beside me and sit down. Must be her or at least I hope it is Cataria.

"If a hand turns red then that means that it is embarrassed and I can think of at least three reasons, off the top of my head, why that hand would be embarrassed. One would be-"

"If it has something to do with sex or something inappropriate then shut the hell up right now." I snap back.

"…"

"Well, what are your three reasons why a hand would turn red?" I enquire.

"…You said nothing sexual or inappropriate." She reasons.

"Yes I did. Do you have any ideas which don't involve sex?" I ask her, but rephrasing my question.

"…"

"…"

"No, I have no ideas your highness," she purrs.

"That Cannibal's hand turned red when he commanded the trees to come alive." I tell her.

"Why is there any importance to that?" she questions me.

"Why you ask? Well reason number one dumbass is- ow!"

She elbowed me in the side of my stomach. "Why the fuck did you do that?!"

"Don't call me that, it is very offensive." She hisses.

"Like I give a flying fuck what you- ow, again!"

"While you're at it, why don't you stop with that sailor's mouth of yours too? You're a lady, act like one." She orders.

Me? Act like a lady? Ha, maybe when I befriend a marine… Never going happen though!

I still keep my eyes close. She's been calling me 'Princess' and 'your highness' but it's more like she's the queen bee.

"You may continue with your little rant about this mysterious 'red hand', but I suggest keeping your voice down-"

"I'll do whatever I want and I will say whatever I want at what level I want!" I screech.

"-Or else I will sit on you and throw your hat into the sea." She threatens.

"…"

That little bitch…

"Well played Cheshire, well played," I whisper. Before I was talking at a normal Maddie level indoor level voice, but when you talk about my hat, I don't play around. At least not this time.

"Thank you, now continue your story."

Smartass.

"So when I faced Asura he called on the trees to come alive; when he did one of his hands turned red."

"Sorry Hatter, but I still don't see the importance of the red hand."

"He has a weakness." I reason.

"Everyone has a weakness." She counters.

I scoff at her comment, "oh gee willikers, I really didn't know that Pussycat."

She stays silent. I'm not sure if she's angy- no if she was angry she would hit me.

I take a deep breath and I inhale and exhale. I can't get upset; I need to save my energy. Drinking tea will only get me so far. "The red hand is his weakness, and before you interrupt me let me continue my rant, will ya?"

"…Do as you wish." She grants me permission.

I hear shuffling again, maybe she's left. No, she probably just changed positions or sat up. If she left I would have heard her footsteps.

"Everyone who has a strong devil fruit suffers from strong weaknesses. Let's say that someone has the… hmm, let's say you eat a devil fruit and it turns your body into rubber!"

I hear Cataria scoff; I can practically see her rolling her eyes at me.

"With the rubber rubber fruit it would turn your body into rubber, which I guess is sort self-explanatory. Can you think of any strengths you would have if you ate that fruit?" I ramble.

"…"

"Ms. Pussycat? You still there?" I move my hand to see if she's still there, but then something, no someone grabs my hand.

"Still here Princess Hatter. I thought you wanted me to shut up."

"Well I thought you might be bored so I'm trying this new thing where you engage your audience while your-"

She pats my hand that she's holding. What the hell is she doing?

"With that power you would be able to stretch your body to amazing lengths, you will be really flexible. I bet it would be amazing to have se-"

""You're able to stretch your limbs! That's right," I interrupt. I could see where this conversation would lead to if she continued her sentence. "That would be a great advantage while you're in close combat fights. But let's see, what would be a weakness." I start to drill my other hand's fingers on the ground.

"Fire."

I feel my hand which she's holing twitch. She tightens her hold on my hand and now her thumb's caressing over the back of my hand.

"Fi-Fire…" I stutter out. I pull my hand out of Cataria's grasp and I clap it together with its mate. "Fire, yep!" I say again in a more upbeat tone. "Fire melts rubber and if you fight with a swordsman then you would be at a disadvantage too! Think about it! If you get chopped you can't-"

"I understand, so Asura's weakness is his red hand," she says in a smooth and calming tone.

"Don't forget his other hand." I remind her.

"What about his other hand?"

"Ah! So this is the kettle kicker; since only one of his hands was red his other hand didn't change at all! Do you know what that mean?!"

"Does it mean that the red hand is more dirty minded than his other hand?" she teases, I can practically envision her 'Cheshire' grin on her face when she said that.

"NO! You're the only dirty minded one here! It means that he has a limit. His devil fruit power is the steal steal fruit right?"

"Yes." She answers.

"So that means that he can steal anyone's devil fruit or powers, but he has to have skin to skin contact with you in order to steal your devil fruit! When he used a devil fruit which he stole his hand turned red; my hypothesis is that he doesn't really have a limit on how many powers he can steal. But-"

"One more reason why he's unstoppable." She buts in.

"BUT!" I shout out to her. "He does have a limit on how many devil fruits he stole that he can use. I'm guessing that when he activated the stolen devil fruit his hand turned red to signify that he was using a power which didn't belong to him. The tricky part is: can he use two stolen powers or just one?"

"Why do you think it would only be two or one?" she probes.

"Maybe Asura's other hand doesn't turn red because he can only use his other hand to do the action of stealing a devil fruit while the hand which turned red is the one which does the action of the stolen fruit or power." I try and figure out the puzzle. "Or each hand could represent one fruit or power that was stolen, but would he still be able to use his steal steal power-… Mumbo jumbo."


"What?"

I stand up from the ground.

"What does mumbo jumbo mean? What is mumbo jumbo?"

"…Mighty Men." I mutter.

"Hare? I don't quite understand." she's asks as she stands up too.

I place my hat on my head. "Asura the Monster." I walk out of the hiding spot that Cataria threw me in.

"Hatter, you aren't making any sense." She vocalizes.

"Massacre on Ever Green Island."

I hear Cataria's footsteps follow me.

"Murderer Marines…oh! Two in one sentence, more points!" A smile forms on my face at my new discovery.

I look around and I take my hat off and I reach inside it. "…Middle of the path," I say. I see both of my swords inside, but then it hits me. Only one of them is a katana while the other sword is a Wakizashi. Both of my swords are very similar so I often get them mixed up. After all the difference between a katana and a-

I hastily shake my head to bash those unimportant thoughts from my head. I have to focus.

I pull out my Wakiashi sword; which is attached to a leather strap by its sheath. With the strap on the sheath of my blade I can easily carry it on my back by pulling the strap across my body.

I take the strap and I pull it over my head so that the strap lies on my left shoulder and it goes across by body where another corner of the strap touches my right hip.

"You prefer to use a Katana?" I hear Cataria remark.

I open my mouth to tell Cataria that my blade is not a Katana and why it's not a Katana, but its game day.

"…Mad March week… another turkey!" I exclaim while I set my hat on my head.

I continue walking forward.

Cataria locks her hands together. "It makes sense that you prefer to use a sword. I can picture it right now: You sitting down on a chair making mindless small talk with your victim while you slowly penetrate your sword through your victim's body. You would ask your victim questions, but when he did not answer, you would go into a blind rage and start making frenzied slashes at his body. Once your rage vanishes you would see that you killed him. You would admire your handiwork, but then you would get bored and dispose of his body in a very cruel and unremorseful act."

I look at her from the corner of my eye. From what little interaction we have had, she could tell that much from me. She's surprisingly perceptive.

"…Merlin the Magnificent!"

"After all I cannot even fathom you using a gun. It would be to impersonal of you." She continued.

I only use a gun when I have too… and when I get bored of my blades.

"… Meat and tea are all you need for life."

I continue to walk forward while looking at the trees around us to see if any of them start to move. As I continue to walk I don't hear Cataria's footsteps anymore.

I halt and I turn around and I see Cataria looking at something in the distance.

I follow her eyes and I see what Cataria spotted not so far away.

"Old Geezer?" I mutter.

Cataria stays speechless.

"I know that guy!" I continue, "He's the island leader or something of this place. He's the original owner of the Forest Forest fruit."

"…Hatter." She says.

"I told that old fool that I would help out his island if he made me a really good map of this island." I place my hands on my hips. "I swear old people these days don't know how to listen to youngsters!" I start to shake my head in disappointment.

"Hatter… who do you exactly see?" she questions.

I remove my eyes from the Old Geezer's form and I look behind me. Cataria's face is pure white while one of her hands overs her mouth. All of her features are strained and her eyes are dilated.

I fury my brow and I look between Cataria and the Old Geezer.

By the third time I look at him, he has spotted me and he's starting to come towards us.

"Who do you see?" she asks me once again.

"I see Kayano Ōsugi. A old, frail and wrinkly guy who is over two millennium years old." I look away from the Old Geezer's form that is coming closer and closer to us. "…who do you see?" I question her.

I see Cataria stiffen more and her eyes stay glued to the Old Geezer. I turn my head to see that he's right behind me now. He's shinning me a sweet old man smile and he offers me a small wave.

"It is a pleasure to see you once again Skyla." He says.


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