Chapter 5 - The end of the people you once were.
Rick found it difficult to sleep as he couldn’t stop thinking about everything that had happened. Staring at the ceiling and hardly blinking, deep regret was in his heart and the stress was higher than ever.
“Look at me… I really am my father’s son,” he said sighing heavily. “That bastard’s spirit is within me still… What have I done…?”
20 years earlier from the present day
“Get up, you lazy boy!” said Eric Gray, a pirate of a sadistic nature and Rick’s father. “You and I are gonna go teach that island and teach them, folks, the meaning of fear!”
“But dad…” replied five-year-old Rick cowering by the wall looking terrified. “I don’t want to do this again! If we get caught then-
“I didn’t help give birth to you to object to me you little brat! Mummy’s not around no more and you’re my responsibility! Either listen to me or I’ll feed you to those shark-infested waters!”
“GET UP AND SHUT UP! We got some folks to kill." He grabbed Rick forcefully by his hand and dragged him out of the ship they were sailing on and docking at a nearby port town. Too terrified to retaliate, Rick kept quiet and feared the worst of what his father would do.
They arrived at the local pub where the citizens inside immediately got off their seats and ran for it.
“Captain Gray! Run for your lives!” But Eric blocked the exit and started shooting away with his gun. Rick watched in horror as his psychotic father killed a lot of innocent people, with only one man remaining hiding under a table.
“Last one is yours kid,” he said handing Rick the gun. “Do it. Kill him.” The child was terrified not because of what just happened, but that by now this was something he was used to seeing.
“I can’t do it, dad… I don’t want to go to prison!”
“Either you shoot that man or you know what I’ll do to you. Quit being a coward and do it!” He pushed Rick forward over to the man who was beginning to cry.
“Please… I got a family waiting at home who need me…”
“Do it, boy!”
“You’re a psychopath, Captain Gray! Making children kill for you!”
“I’ll do whatever I damn well please with my son! He’s obedient and would never let his dear old daddy down, won’t you boy?” he said patting Rick on the head.
“Good. Now kill him.” Rick aimed his gun at the man slowly with shaky hands.
“Please kid… You don’t have to listen to him… Fight back!” Rick closed his eyes and fired the gun. The man’s lifeless body collapsed to the floor, blood pouring down below him.
“That’s my boy!” cheered Eric as he grabbed a bottle of beer and drunk it all down. “I’m doing this for your own good son! Nobody’s gonna mess with you if you learn how to kill early! I’ll make a man out of you yet and get rid of your cowardly persona!” Rick didn’t say a word as he continued staring at the dead man.
“Now let’s scram before those stupid Marines find us. To the ship!” He dragged Rick by the arm and they made their escape off the island.
As the early years went on in Rick’s life, he watched his father kill more and more to the point that seeing death didn’t faze him anymore. Having to kill at such a young age, it slowly developed into some kind of mental issue where he’d lose his temper very quickly leading to a murderous rampage built up inside him. He was very slowly becoming simular to his father, until one fateful day.
5 years later
“We got you surrounded Captain Gray!” said the leader of a marine army, “You crew has abandoned you and there’s nowhere left to run!”
“So it’s come to this eh?” said Eric looking accepting of his defeat. “Out of ammo and surrounded. It’s the end of the line for us kid.” Rick didn’t say a word as he hid behind him.
“You are under arrest for the murder of countless innocent people, murdering your wife and subjecting your only son to your twisted ideals!”
"Mum..." This was the first time Rick had ever known this.
“Took ya boys long enough! What were you doing all these years?”
“Mocking us will do you no good. You will be sentenced to the death penalty for your crimes. Your son, however, will be in our hands, where we will help him get over the trauma you’ve caused him.”
“Don’t just stand there lad,” said Eric to his son, “help your father out of this mess.” Rick stood there silently. “Speak up boy! Or are you going back to being a coward again!”
“I’ve had enough dad… You deserve this…”
“What?! After everything, I’ve taught you and you defy me! You really are a coward!”
“Maybe… But I don’t need you anymore… I’ll find my own path…”
“You traitor! You lied to me all these years about enjoying the murdering, didn’t you?!”
"You killed my mum you bastard!"
“YOU PIECE OF USELESS GARBAGE!” He quickly grabbed Rick’s throat and started to strangle him hard.
“Men, shoot to kill, now!” cried the captain. The marines aimed their rifles and fired all at once, shooting Eric in the back. As the murderous pirate fell to the ground, Rick coughed hard from being strangled as the Marines came up to him.
“Are you alright kid?” asked the Captain. Rick broke down into tears and hugged the captain. “It’s alright. It’s over now.”
As a few years passed, Rick was given some physiological help and was adopted by a young couple. But the treatment didn’t go quite smoothly for him and eventually, he left his foster parents to join a pirate crew and start life anew, which never really worked out. He was constantly picked on and made to do all of the hard work whilst the rest of the crew lazed about. It was throughout this time that the personality of his father was slowly slipping through the damaged cracks of his mind that the phycologist experts thought had been cured.
“Am I really becoming my father… Am I just mentally deranged…?” Rick suddenly realised that letting himself get carried away was a massive risk.
“What if someone finds out what I did before the show tomorrow?! What am I…?” A devious smile came onto Rick’s face. “I’ll just hypnotise them like always… I’ve never been caught… I can get away with it all the time now! All my life I’ve been abused and been told what to do against my will! I just wanted to do something that would make me happy…These powers have changed my life. Now I am the one who gives the orders! Nami obeys and belongs to me now as my lovely Jinglette! My puppet! My property! Why should I be worrying? I shouldn’t let a stupid threat letter scare me” I’ll always win at the end of the day! These powers make me invincible!” It was at this point that Rick’s calmer side had been overtaken by this darker personality. Feeling satisfied with himself, he drifted off to bed feeling like nobody would ever mess with him.
Meanwhile backstage, Nami was having trouble sleeping. Her body ached from having to sleep standing, plus seeing Rick the way he was at her clouded her thoughts.
“Master… What’s wrong with you? Did... Did I do something wrong?” She opened her eyes and looked at her strings thinking about the future. “What if master gets rid of me? I want to keep entertaining people but… I’m scared master will hurt me if this keeps up.” Suddenly, Nami’s head began to ache again even more painful than before. “No! Not again!” she cried as more memories flooded in.
“The straw hat again… I see a person wearing it… Is that… Luffy!” More familiar memories came in that Nami immediately remembered. “Zorro…Usopp…Sanji…Robin…Franky…Brook…Nojiko…Bellamere!” Nami opened her eyes, showing signs of life in them that hadn’t been seen for two years. She looked around the room and was shaking with fear when she looked at her strings again.
“No… No this can’t be!” She looked at her costume and was more terrified than ever. “This outfit… No, no, no! This isn’t happening! He can’t be back!” Rick’s hypnosis has finally been broken and the true Nami had returned.
“GET ME OUT! GET ME OUT OF HERE!” she cried feeling utterly horrified. She looked up at the strings leading to her crossbars and shook them down from the hooks. Being too scared to take the strings off, she ran out as fast as she could to find herself on the main stage.
“What is this place?! WHAT’S HAPPENING?!” Just then something tapped her from behind her shoulder. “WHO’S THERE?!” she cried getting ready to hit whoever was behind her.
“Follow me!” said the voice coming from below her. It was the monkey toy as he ran on ahead signalling Nami to come with him.
“Who are you and what the hell is happening?!”
“There’s no time to explain now! Let’s get out of here first!” Nami followed on not wanting to stay here any longer. As they made their way outside the ship, Nami gasped to find out that she had been on a ship the whole time.
“This isn’t real… No this isn’t real…!”
“Jinglette?” said Rick from his bedroom who had just been woken up by the sound of bells jingling.
“Quick let’s go!” said the monkey toy grabbing her arm. “He have to leave before that guy wakes up!”
“He’s here, isn’t he… That man…”
“Yes now hurry!” Nami was so frozen in fear that she didn’t move at first.
“Quickly!” The monkey dragged Nami forward and she finally followed him. Before they were out of sight from the ship, the monkey lead her to where Sugar was waiting.
“Ah, there you are! Come on let’s get out of here!”
“Who are you?” Nami asked still struggling to keep up with everything. “Is that puppet moving on its own?!”
“Hi there!” replied Cindy with a friendly wave.
“I’ll explain later!” replied Sugar impatiently. "Follow me and I’ll get you out of here!” Not wanting to stay any longer, Nami followed on behind Sugar.
As they both Rick opened his window and just noticed the edge of Nami’s jester hat before it disappeared past a wall.
“No! No this can’t be!” he cried as he quickly put on his shoes and coat, running down the ship after her.
“I’ll get you to safety first,” said Sugar. “Taking this path away from the town shouldn’t cause any commotion.” But the escape suddenly came to a halt as Nami stopped and kneeled down on the ground looking defeated. “Come on what’s wrong with you!? You’ll be caught if you don’t move!”
“I can’t… I can’t deal with this….”
“Now is not the time to be mentally broken! We have to move!”
“I can’t move…I’m so scared…” Tears started to come down Nami’s eyes as she couldn’t find the mental strength to carry on.
“I hear footsteps,” said the monkey. “Loud ones approaching fast!” Nami was so afraid that she couldn’t even speak anymore.
“Then I’m not staying,” replied Sugar which surprised the other toys.
“But master? What about-
“I’m not helping someone who doesn’t want it. Let’s leave her here.” Sugar took off until she and the other toys were out of sight, leaving Nami abandoned in a state of defeat. When the trio was out of sight, Sugar peeked from behind the wall making sure she wouldn’t be seen.
“Master what are you doing?!” asked the monkey feeling very confused. “Why are you throwing away your chance again?!”
“I want to see the drama unfold, you idiot!”
“But I thought you’d change her by now…”
“Look, I’ve already won this a long time ago. I just want to watch Rickie boy crack before I claim my prize. I’m not missing this! Now keep quiet in case he hears us.” Sugar kept herself hidden again just as Rick arrived.
“There you are!” cried Rick who had just arrived looking at Nami.
“He’s here… He’s here,” said Nami who couldn’t even turn around to face him. “Stay away from me please...!”
“Jinglette? What’s wrong with you?!”
“Please…leave me alone…”
“Wait a minute! No this isn’t possible, right!?” Rick was coming to the realisation that the person he was speaking to right now was not Jinglette anymore.
“What have you done to me…?”
“You’ve broken free of my control, haven’t you?!” Nami was so emotionally broken that she couldn’t reply back. “How dare you… HOW DARE YOU!” He put both his hands on Nami’s face and stared deeply at her using his powers. Too scared to resist him, Nami’s mind started slipping away.
“You are Jinglette! You are my puppet! My slave! Mine to do what I want with!” Rick ordered angrily. His anger was so high that it was beginning to increase the effectiveness of his powers.
“Yes…” Nami obeyed.
“You will never defy me ever again! Nami is dead! Jinglette is who you will always be!”
“Nami is dead… Jinglette is me…” Rick stopped using his powers and stepped back looking at Nami. Her expression was the most lifeless it had ever been and the tears on her face from when she was Nami still remained.
“Get up now!” Rick ordered her to which she did without saying a word. “We are going back to the ship! I’ll put you where you belong!” Rick picked up Nami’s crossbars off the floor and took the lead with Nami obediently following behind him. Sugar and the toys came out of hiding and made sure to quietly follow them.
“Sounds like he’s gonna go nuts when they get in. I’m not missing this!”
Once Rick and Nami arrived back at the ship, he hooked her crossbars up and made sure she was suspended slightly above the ground.
“Back where you belong, see?! You are never to leave this room without my permission!” Rick was using his hypnotic powers on her again as he told her.
“Yes…” Nami replied sounding even more lifeless than before.
“You can’t move without your strings ever again! From now on only I and anyone else I order will be pulling your strings! You have no free will of your own! You obey me!”
“GOOD!” He stopped his powers when he felt it was enough. Sugar and the others had managed to witness everything as they hid closely.
“Look at that. I guess the Nami the world knows is gone now.”
“Tomorrow is the big show Jinglette and you are going to do what you always do! You’re excited aren’t you?!”
“Good, I…” It was just then that Rick noticed something was wrong. “Usually you sound more excited than that… Are you?”
“Yes…” Nami still sounded completely emotionless which was beginning to make Rick feel uneasy.
“Jinglette… Are you really excited…?”
“No… This doesn’t sound like you at all…” Rick got closer to Nami starting to feel worried. “Have I… have I upset you…? No… No I haven’t… I’ve just made you obedient, that’s all…” Rick’s mental state was changing from being worried to feeling like a power hungry mad man.
“I’ve just made you obedient, yes… You disobeyed me Jinglette… You became that bitch Nami and ran away… I don’t tolerate anyone who goes against me. Hahaha… Not even you… Hahahahaha…!” Putting his hands over his face as he laughed, Rick was slowly starting to lose himself to the darker man inside. “All I wanted was peace… A chance to be happy… But even you Jinglette turned against me…” He raised his hands up in the air.
“But never again! I’m in control! I’m not as weak as my bastard father! I’m stronger than him! I can get away with anything! Yes! Yes, I am invincible! Jinglette is mine! Mine!” He brought Nami down and carried her away in his arms to the front stage, where he placed her on the ground and went up the stage with her crossbars in hand.
“This just gets even more interesting!" said Sugar quietly watching everything. “The man is mentally unstable!”
Once Rick got in place, he started manipulating the strings to make Nami dance across the stage. He laughed happily to himself as he controlled her.
“Dance for me Jinglette! Show the audience your moves!” He made Nami jump up and down on the spot one foot at a time rapidly, followed by making her bend downwards so that her arms flopped around whilst her legs moved her forward. Rick had gone so mad with power that he didn’t notice that Sugar and the others casually sat down on some of the front row seats to watch everything.
“Now show them these moves!” He now made her legs skip around and arms flapped as she moved around the stage left and right, followed by her spinning around in circles making her strings tangle up. Then after they were untangled, he made her jump up into the air and slam down on her butt. “Just like old times, right my little puppet?!” He made her do the same thing again and again until he heard some clapping.
“Bravo, bravo!” said Sugar getting up from her seat. “You put on quite the show there Rickie!” Rick dropped Nami’s crossbars in surprise, causing them to land on Nami’s head, which then made her collapse onto the floor not moving an inch.
“What are you doing here?!”
“Oh, nothing. Just here to take your treasure…”
“Take my… No… It was you wasn’t it?! You wrote me that letter after all!”
“Congratulations dumbass, you win!”
“It can’t be… You’re just a child!”
“Twenty-two to be exact. Explaining it would waste too much time. So I’ll be taking Nami now.”
“No, you won’t! Her name is not Nami!” He ran down the stage to confront Sugar.
“I’ve seen the real you. I’m satisfied enough.”
“What are you talking about?”
“You aren’t very good at hiding your crimes you know. Brainwashing Nami for years only to have your hold on her broken? Your devil fruit powers suck!”
“What was that?!”
“Plus I know you’re a no-good murderer. Given your surname, I bet you’re the son of Captain Eric Gray who was killed many years ago. He was known to simply up and murder people just because they may have looked at him funny or something. I’ve heard the stories. You’re a mental case just like him.” Rick clenched his fists and looked furiously at Sugar with murderous intent.
“Don’t you dare… Don’t you dare…!”
“You’re a weakling Rick Gray. For a bad guy, you suck at what you do.”
“DO NOT COMPARE ME TO HIM!” he cried as he was about to punch Sugar hard in the face. “I’LL KILL YOU!” Sugar dodged him easily and suddenly touched him on the back.
“Goodbye, Rick Gray. Plush dolly!” In a flash, Rick’s body had completely transformed into a small little doll with beads for eyes and a stitched up smile. “This is the contract. Find the nearest fire and jump in it.” Rick’s body suddenly started to move on its own against his will as he walked out of the stage.
“Who am I? Why is my body moving by itself? No. I don’t want to jump in a fire! I don’t want to! No! NOOOOOOOOOOOO!” Unable to speak through his mouth, Rick left the ship heading towards his final fate.
“Who was that toy?” asked Cindy curiously. Because of Sugar’s powers, everyone in the room apart from Sugar herself had their memories of Rick completely erased.
“I don’t know,” replied the monkey. “Toys just appear out of nowhere these days.”
“Dressrosa's show is cancelled,” said Sugar triumphantly then turning towards the motionless Nami. “Now for you at long last.” She and the toys walked over to her starting at her for the last time as Jinglette.
“Look at how far you’ve fallen Nami. Reduced to nothing but a mindless puppet. Coming to Dressrosa already sealed your fate when we crossed paths. In the end, you were strung over to my side.” She aimed her finger at Nami’s head which got the toys excited.
“A new playmate at last!” said Cindy happily.
“Here we go!” replied the monkey.
“Life-size wooden marionette!” Sugar touched Nami and she changed in a flash. She remained the same height as before, but her body and attire had completely changed. Her entire body was made of wood, with screws connecting her various joints, a hinged mouth and wooden eyebrows that could move to show facial expression. As for her clothing, she now wore long white arm gloves, a big pink hat, red knee-length lace boots and a long puffy sleeved pink dress reaching down to her boots with a big red bow tied to the back. Her natural orange hair had been replaced by a pink haired wig that was built into her head. A new set of strings were attached to her body along with some crossbars.
“Wow! That puppet looks amazing!” said the monkey.
“I’d love to play with her someday!”
“This is the contract,” said Sugar setting her commands. “You will obey my every word for the rest of your days. You are now my puppet.”
“I shall obey you? Yes, I shall,” Nami replied sounding fascinated as her mouth flapped open and shut. She started examining her body which was clacking with every move. “What is my name? I don’t think I know this place.”
“Your name is Cassie,” replied Sugar delightedly. "Cassie the marionette, built to serve and obey me, your master Sugar."
“I see. I shall obey you always master!”
“Now let’s get out of this place and head towards your new home. You may get acquainted with these two here on the way." Sugar carried her crossbars as they left the boat, leaving behind all of the past two years Nami’s life had gone through.
The next morning, Sugar brought Nami into the part of town where a lot of the other living toys liked to hang around.
“Your new friends and family will all be residing here Cassie,” Sugar explained. "Today you will make your entrance with a little performance for the town."
“Yes, master! I’d be delighted!”
“Then let’s make our way into the centre of town. Drop down.” Nami collapsed onto the floor and Sugar carried her the rest of the way. Once they arrived at the town centre, Sugar climbed onto the low roof of a store and sat down holding Nami’s crossbars.
“Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, meet our newest and greatest puppet, Cassie!” Sugar started to make Nami dance for everybody in town which captivated everybody.
“Heh, that strange girl has a new puppet I see,” said one of the citizens.
“It’s so tall! Just like the size of a normal person! Must be hard to operate for a small girl like her.”
“I’m enjoying this! Looks like she’s going to be fun to see around Dressrosa!”
Nami happily enjoyed herself as Sugar did all the work to entertain the people. Even Cindy joined in with the monkey sitting next to Sugar puppeteering her.
Nowadays whenever Nami wasn’t being used to entertain the town, she would be serving Sugar to the point of being her personal maid for a lot of things Sugar felt too lazy to do herself. But for Nami’s new eternal life as Cassie, as long as she was pleasing her master, nothing else mattered.
Everybody had forgotten about Jinglette and Rick Gray as expected of Sugars powers. Even one of the posters of the Jinglette show around town had been blown away by the wind, flying off into the distance and landing in the sea to rot away.
The days of Rick Gray and Jinglette were dead.