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- Robin's dark eyes lingered on him for a few seconds before breaking off. "I'll try to find the keys."
- And with that, she was off like the barrage of bullets that started up again down the hall. Sanji gripped the gun, looked grimly at his too-big shoes, and kicked them off. And after listening to the rapid shots and feeling them jolt against the door at his back, he shot back up the hole he had kicked in too quickly for the bullets to even catch him.
- The marines with the sharpest eyes held their fire, blinking confusedly at a blur they thought they saw, and the rest of them followed in a domino effect of cease fire as they saw their fellows.
- "Did he just go back up?" One of them asked, looking behind at another marine for confirmation, or at least solidarity. "Did he – should, uh, we go up too?"
- He was answered not by his allies, but by a mess of rubble and dust quite suddenly collapsing in front of them. The front line yelped and leapt back, and all of them gaped as the smoke cleared to reveal the figure that had recently disappeared.
- Sanji was facing the wrong way. He slowly looked over his shoulder, seeing the people that he clearly expected to be in front of him instead of behind.
- "Well shit," he said, before spinning to kick the nearest guy in his face.
- There was chaos after that, the pirate breaking into their ranks and rendering everybody's guns too dangerous to use. The order was hastily given to draw swords, but the hall was too close-quarters and crowded for that to be useful either. Even with Robin having handily taken out two-thirds of the troop, there was still enough left over for them to not be easily spread out. Sanji still wasn't in his top form; he couldn't trust his hands to reliably hold up a full wok, never mind his goddamn body, he hadn't actually been in an actual fight alonein months, and now both of his heels were bruised and tender from doing things they just weren't built to do (that is, kicking through stone floors). And despite that, he had the advantage.
- They couldn't make effective attacks with their swords, unable to swing wide enough to even keep him away, so it was just a matter of dodging their pathetic attacks, getting in range, and kicking the shit out of them. And keeping aware of everybody else around him who wanted a cut of his back. And making sure he had enough room to maneuver himself so that he didn't just go crashing into some guy while trying to jump away from a wild swing. While stopping his own instinct to block swords with his unprotected feet because he was so fucking used to doing that with that fucking green slug. No problem.
- He ducked under a sword, swept a marine's feet with one leg and caught him in the air with the other before juggling him straight into the poor guy behind him. There was someone coming on the right, taking advantage of him being airborne, and so he carried his momentum in a circle and managed to catch him by the neck and snapped his ankle down towards the floor so that the marine bounced. His other leg, still being in the air, made itself useful by continuing with the motion of his body and propelling him forward through a line of marines right in front of him.
- It was kinda funny (mostly not), but the more he carved through these marines, the tougher it was getting to get an attack in. With most of the attending bodies now littering the floor, Sanji found himself stepping on something fleshy rather than firm and, it turns out, human bodies weren't very good footholds. On top of that, with less people crowding the place, the marines were starting to get enough room to actually use their weapons. Which was. Shitty.
- Someone swiped a sword at him, an actual swipe this time, and he had to back off, couldn't get close. His legs didn't have the reach of an actual weapon, of course not. There was another sword somewhere behind him and he leaned forward at an impossible angle, his nose to the floor, and trusted his leg to reach out backwards and not get sliced up. It connected with a wrist instead of a blade and he heard it embed itself into the ceiling.
- Above that noise, however, was the cocking of a rifle, and he pointed his pistol towards it and shot blindly near the ground, somehow managing to miss everything. He sure as hell wasn't a sharpshooter. But it at least got him some space as any marine in range tried to scrabble away from the wild shots.
- The man that he had recently disarmed was fumbling for his own gun and so Sanji rewarded his efforts with a backwards butterfly kick that knocked him into the wall. Eight left.
- He briefly considered getting to a place in the hall that was less body-ridden, but if he got too far from the marines, then they'd get out their guns again and that would absolutely be worse. Still, having to keep his balance on all these unconscious shitheads was a pain. Scooping one of them up with his feet like a soccer ball, he launched it towards someone on the left and delivered a brutal axe kick to his head while he was distracted. Seven. The marine that had tried aiming at him before was aiming at him again, and the other marines had wisely decided to back off so that he could get a clear shot. Sanji ducked down as a bullet whizzed above and came back up with a hefty guy in his arms, head lolling to the side. As the remaining marines voiced their obvious complaints about this, he struggled to heft the body up to make an appropriate cover for himself. His hands shook with the effort, the vibrations carrying over to his gun, which misfired into a wall and sent chunks of rock through someone's foot, leaving him screaming on the floor. Whoops.
- With a mighty heave, Sanji managed to toss the marine he was holding at the one with the shaking rifle and knocked him out fairly quickly. Then he leapt to the one with the wounded foot and kicked him into a merciful sleep. Five.
- There were three marines to his left and two who were much closer to his right. He turned towards those ones and sat back, braced himself against the floor available, and used his feet to shove a pile of marines towards them like a small wave that tripped them up. Tilting his head backwards to check on the other three, he was greeted with an extremely unwelcome sight of a sword swinging straight towards his face. Somehow, Sanji rolled backwards enough to catch the marine's wrist between his ankles, something that surprised both of them, and they stared at each other in the weirdest position that either of them had probably ever been in until Sanji had the bright idea of rolling forwards again and flipping the marine with him, bringing his head cracking down against the ground. Four.
- The rest had surrounded him at this time so he didn't bother to stop – he rolled onwards, over the recently-felled marine, and managed to push himself off the floor hard enough to plant the soles of his feet in the two marines in front of him. Rather than get distracted by the twinges of pain traveling from his heels up, Sanji brought his arm up as the three of them fell, leveling his gun at one of the last two. It was not his best idea, considering that he already wasn't a great shot and he was most likely even worse when he was upside-down, but (un)luckily, he didn't get a chance to go through with his plan because the gun slipped right out of his grasp.
- "No," said Sanji, all of his unfeeling fingers fumbling with a weapon that was quickly getting out of his reach. All he managed to do was to send it tumbling barrel over grip. "Shit, fuuuuuu – " was all he managed to get out before he hit the floor. The next second, the pistol followed suit and it discharged straight into the ceiling.
- He didn't give himself time to feel sorry about the state of his head and also maybe his dignity. With a backwards roll and a quick spin to scoop up the gun, Sanji rushed the last two marines, who were busy wincing and trying to figure out whether the bullet hit either of them, and delivered a flying kick straight into one of their faces. He felt the shifting of bone under his feet, nose and teeth giving in to his force because it was just easier that way. One left.
- As his latest victim went flying straight to the end of the hall, Sanji hopped off and landed next to the last marine, aiming the pistol straight at him. The marine, who was obviously having trouble keeping track of what had just happened over the last few minutes, froze up like a kid doing a presentation. Sanji tried his best to aim at a non-vital part and pulled the trigger.
- The gun clicked.
- Both of them stared at each other with blank faces. The world slowed to an awkward pause. I should have counted the bullets, Sanji realized. You should have counted the bullets, the marine's expression agreed.
- Sanji threw the pistol straight at the marine's head and it was enough to tip him over the edge of unconsciousness.
- All done.
- As the last body hit the floor, Sanji allowed himself to lean against the nearest wall and pant out the palpitations of his heart until everything stopped being a shivering, sweaty, pounding mess.
- That was a lot more work than it should have been.
- But he did it. He could still hold his own.
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