For the second SBS, I'd like to introduce a segment called "Where in the World Have I Been, and When in the Holy Heck Will There Be Another Chapter?"
Where in the World Have I Been, and When in the Holy Heck Will There Be Another Chapter?
Did I get banned? Did I get canned?
Am I DOA Or hiding out in Pakistan?
Where in the World Have I Been, and When in the Holy Heck Will There Be Another Chapter?
The credit to all that goes to Goblin Blogging, courtesy of JustSomeRandomGuy on Youtube (check out his stuff, it's great!). Well, to answer that song, I was in Reykjavik, London, Paris, and Amsterdam!
Yeah, my family took this big two week vacation in Europe (and Iceland), where we spent roughly two days in each of those places. (I'm not rich or anything, but my dad is a journalist and goes on TV sometimes to talk about politics, economics, and other stuff I don't care about. He makes a good bit of money, so I'd put us at upper middle class, tops. Anyway, he's always wanted to take our family to these places, so we saved money and didn't go anywhere for Winter and Spring Break to afford this.) I had a lot of fun, but I wasn't able to write the entire time, so that's why this chapter took so long. (Also, I got into Fairy Tail recently, and have been watching that. My favorite character is Gajeel!) As for when there will be another chapter, you're reading it right now!
I know I promised you future Chopper this chapter, but I felt guilty for making you wait, so I gave you this. He will appear without fail next time, no worries!
Now, on with Tomorrow's Romance Dawn!
Chapter 11: Blood Runs Thicker Than Rubber
Time: Morning at Night
Location: Who Knows at This Point?
"HANG ON, FUTURE USOPP!" Luffy hollered at the top of his lungs. "I'M COMING TO SAVE YOU!"
When Luffy had gone charging into the jungle, one might have assumed he actually had an idea as to where he was going or what his plan would be. After all, he'd looked so sure of himself when he took off.
Anyone who might have assumed that was giving Luffy too much credit.
He barreled through bushes, tree roots as big as the Merry, and the occasional animal who made the mistake of getting in his way. He thought he was going in the direction the explosion was, but the trees were so tall that he couldn't see the smoke plume anymore, if it was still there that is. He'd heard a few more explosions since then, but he couldn't tell where they were coming from.
In his random charge, he'd accidentally become tangled up in some of the lower-hanging vines of the jungle.
"Dammit!" he shouted, trying to wriggle free. "Stupid vines! I have to find my nakama, so let me go!"
Luffy's constant wriggling only served to get himself even more tangled, and caused to move farther up the vines. Finally fed up with the plants, Luffy flexed every muscle he could and threw his arms apart, effective tearing the vines to pieces and releasing himself from their snare. He laughed in triumph, only to realize a moment later that he'd someone worked his way up a considerable height off the ground. He began to fall, but thanks to his quick reflexes, he was able to stretch out his arm and grab hold another vine. The sudden force of him jumping onto it, causing it to swing.
Experimentally, Luffy swung forward and jumped to another vine.
"YA-HOOOO!" Luffy cheered, swinging on the long, green vine. "THIS IS AWESOME!"
He swung from vine to vine, before landing on one of the high tree branches. It was high enough that Luffy could see the beach in the distance, more of the jungle, and even some large rock formations with interesting shapes. The sun reflected off the shiny tree leaves, making the jungle sparkle.
"Man, this place is amazing," Luffy said to himself, shielding his eyes bright sun. "I'd love to explore it. I bet my future self is having a blast."
He was actually looking forward to meeting his future self. Zoro-ossan was a future Zoro, and he was so strong! He bet his future self was really strong too! (Luffy briefly wondered if he could challenge himself to a fight. Zoro had wanted to do that before, but everyone yelled at him that was stupid). Future Luffy was probably stronger than anybody, and if Zoro-ossan was any hint, his crew was really strong as well. They'd made it to this New World place after all.
Luffy placed a hand on his beloved hat.
"I will make it as a pirate! Someday I'm gonna gather a crew that's even better than yours and find the greatest treasure in the world!"
"I... I want.. I want to become stronger! Stronger and stronger and stronger and stronger and stronger and stronger and stronger... and even stronger than that! And then... I'll be able to protect anything! I won't have to lose anyone ever again!"
Zoro. Nami. Usopp. Sanji. Chopper. Brook, Franky the Shipwright, and a woman named Robin. He didn't know much about the last two, but if they were in his crew, they had to be great (Brook certainly was). As for the first five... they were all still there, according to Zoro-ossan. Vivi wasn't around anymore, but Zoro-ossan said they left her behind in Alabasta. He had to wonder why though. Vivi was his friend; didn't she want to stay with them? He supposed he'd just have to find that one out when the time came.
Nami was right; two years was a long time, now that Luffy thought about it. A lot could happen in that period, especially for pirates. If he still had all his friends after sailing the seas for two years, he hadn't broken his vow. He was going to be a great pirate and wasn't going to lose anyone. That was all he needed to know about the future. It was going to be a good one.
And if anything bad happened (he'd noticed Zoro-ossan's weird looks, but if he wanted to talk about it, he would have), they could handle it and get through it as a crew. They were all really strong, so no need to worry anymore of their future!
And speaking of the future...
"... Ah, that's right! I'm supposed to be helping future Usopp! Stupid vines, why'd they have to distract me like that!"
Luffy looked from side to side. Maybe he could spot future Usopp from where he stood up in the tree branches. After several minutes of looking, he could make out the vague outline of someone walking through the trees. The leaves made it difficult to see the person clearly, however.
"That has to be him," Luffy said to himself. This looked to be the general area from where the explosion came.
Luffy shot his arms forward, stretching to one the trunks of the trees near the person. He pulled back a couple times to make sure his arms were taut, then jumped off the tree branch.
"Gum Gum Rocket!"
Luffy's arms snapped back to their original length, taking the rubberman along for the ride. He moved through the air like a bullet (or more accurately, a rocket), and in no time at all he crashed into the tree he originally latched on to. This left the huge crater in the trunk, and also sending the man who had been standing in front of it tumbling across the jungle floor.
"I made it!" Luffy shouted, pulling his head free from the trunk. He turned around. "Usopp, I'm here to-!"
"What the hell was that?!"
Luffy stopped his greeting. The man sitting on the ground, eyes closed and clutching the side of his head was most definitely not Usopp, unless Usopp underwent some serious physical changes in the next two years.
It was a reasonably tall and muscular man who appeared to be in his late 20s. He was very pale, with messy banged black hair that fell past his ears save the left side, where the hair around his ear and on part of the back of his head was shaved off. He had a curved scar on his right cheek, trailing from his jaw to just under his eye. He wore a high collared red and black leather jacket that fell to above his navel, and the fact it was unzipped revealed the man had foregone wearing a shirt. He also wore a grey belt, dark pinkish-purple cargo pants, black boots, and grey fingerless gloves.
Luffy, however, was focusing more on the fact this guy had two holstered pistols strapped to his belt, and a double barreled shot rifle strapped to his back. He was also focusing on the medallion around the guy's neck. It was a gold disc the size of a fist hanging from blue-green ribbon, and the metal was imprinted with the image of a sideways eye.
Whoa, Luffy thought. That medallion is really cool!
"I mean, seriously!" the man growled. He opened his eyes, revealing them to be a deep shade of red. "What kind of world class idiot would just launch into a tree without any kind of-" He stopped when he noticed Luffy. "Oh, that kind of world class idiot."
Luffy's jaw dropped. This guy's eye were red. Not red like Zoro's when he woke up from a nap too soon, but red as in the circle-ly parts around the pupils. (Red eyes... why was that familiar...?)
Wait a minute. The man had red eyes... pale skin... and his eyeteeth did look kind of pointy...
"AHHHH!" Luffy cried out. He pointed at the man. "A VAMPIRE!"
"I'm not a vampire," the man sighed. Clearly, this wasn't the first time he'd been mistaken for a blood-sucking monster. He crossed his arms and pouted. "Why does everyone think that right off the bat?"
"NO WAY! YOU CAN TURN INTO A BAT?!"
"No, I can't. And that's not what I said at all. Pay attention."
Luffy was still pretty sure this man was a vampire, but, for now, would listen to what he had to say.
"Just because I have red eyes, pale skin, and slightly pointier-than-average eyeteeth doesn't automatically make me a vampire," he went on. "That's just being prejudiced against my appearance."
"Oh, okay," Luffy said. standing up. He bowed. "I apologize, vampire guy."
"I'm not a vampire," he repeated, this time more forcefully. "And my name isn't vampire guy, it's Vaughan."
"My name is Monkey D. Luffy!" Luffy shouted back. "The man who will be King of the Pirates!"
The man, Vaughan, raised an eyebrow. "Monkey D. Luffy? As in Straw Hat Luffy?"
The rubberman nodded. "Yeah. What of it?"
Vaughan reached into his jacket and pulled out a piece of paper. Not that Luffy could see, but Vaughan was looking at his wanted poster.
Yep, it's definitely him, Vaughan thought, examining the grinning boy on the poster. I'd heard rumors Straw Hat was some kind of idiot, but I didn't think it was this bad. Hard to believe this is the same guy who dropped a warship in the middle of the Battle of Marineford. Then again, I shouldn't underestimate him. Whatever. As long as I can complete my mission...
He looked up, only to see Luffy had collapsed on to the ground.
"What are you doing now?" he asked.
"So... hungry..." Luffy said weakly. "Need... food... left the lunch boxes... with Chopper..."
Vaughan sweatdropped. You've got to be kidding me...
"Wow, this is some of the best food I've ever eaten!" Luffy praised, digging into the bento box with gusto. "And I've eaten some really good food! Did you make it?"
Vaughan, who sat crosslegged in front of the pirate while holding a bento of his own, sweatdropped. "Are you kidding? I can barely boil water. Nah, one of my team mates made it. She's good at cooking and stuff like that."
"Still, you must get pretty hungry if you were carrying two lunches, vampire guy."
"I don't, and I'm still not a vampire," he replied, a vein pulsing on his forehead as he took a bite of crawfish. "That lunch I'm not entirely sure you're actually tasting belongs to Runo, but he ran off to go play with his toys. Serves him right."
Luffy paused mid-chew. "Who'sh Wuno?"
"Just another team mate," Vaughan replied, replacing the lid on his bento. He leaned forward and rested his chin on his fingers. "Now, mind telling me what such a high-profile pirate such as yourself is doing out here in the middle of the jungle?"
"High profile?" Luffy wondered aloud. He swallowed and shrugged. "I'm trying to find one of my nakama. We all saw an explosion and I was afraid he was being attacked."
"So naturally you just went charging into the jungle to find him and offer aid if needed."
"... I don't know why, but something about that plan doesn't sound like it was thought through."
Luffy shrugged again. "I've never needed to think my plans through before. Everything always turns out okay."
"Somehow, I sincerely doubt that," Vaughan said dryly.
Luffy swallowed the rest of his food and placed the lid back on the box. "Thanks for lunch, vampire guy. You're all right!"
"For the last time, I'm not a-" Vaughan began, before sighing in defeat. "Forget it. I don't care anymore. Anyway, what does this friend of yours look like? Maybe I've seen him."
"He has a long nose and carries a slingshot!" Luffy described happily. "He's also a liar!"
Why tell me that last part? Vaughan thought. "I can't say I've seen him personally, but the description sounds an awful lot like the sniper that's been pushing Erity's buttons."
Luffy wilted. "Oh, I see. Thanks anyway, though. I guess I'll just have to-" He froze, Vaughan's words fully registering with him. "Wait... did you say 'Erity?'"
"Yeah. Why do you ask?"
Luffy frowned. That name sounded awfully familiar...
"Not me personally, but Miss Erity did say they were having issues with a sniper..."
Erity was one of the names Tattoos gave his crew, right before he shot himself and right after he'd been asked if the bounty hunters had encountered any of his future friends...
"OH MY GOSH!" Luffy gasped, bouncing to his feet. "YOU'RE ONE OF THE NEW WORLD BOUNTY HUNTERS!"
"You're just now realizing that?" Vaughan asked, also standing. "Wow. You are really something, Straw Hat. That's to be expected, though."
"Blood King" Enoch Vaughan
1st Lieutenant of the Carrion Bounty Hunters
Vaughan pulled his rifle off his back and opened the chamber, casually popping in bullets. "Despite the fact you were kind of annoying, I enjoyed sitting down and eating with you. But now it's time to get back to work."
Luffy took a defensive stance. "You bastard! If you're one the bad guys, why'd you give me food?"
"Actually, if we look at this from the World Government's point of view, you're the bad guy in this situation, seeing as I'm the bounty hunter and you're the wanted pirate," the red-eyed man pointed out offhandedly. "Then again, I was never one for politics. And I'll have you know my parents were married."
"That doesn't explain why you gave me food!"
"Because even a fool can see you can't fight well if you're hungry. Plus, I owed Runo some payback. I know for a fact he rigged that coin toss."
Luffy cocked his head. What was this about a coin toss? "Huh?"
"Never mind," Vaughan said, waving it off. He clicked the barrels of his rifle back into place. "Fact of the matter is, I've been ordered to take you down. Boss and Erity figure turning you in will place the former back in the good graces of the Navy. I personally couldn't care less about that, but I am interested in taking on the infamous Straw Hat Luffy. After all, you have a rap sheet as long as my arm, so you at least must be a challenge."
"A rap sheet?" Luffy asked.
"It's a list of all your actions that pissed off the government," the bounty hunter explained. "You know, taking down Sir Crocodile, instigating the Enies Lobby Incident, taking a bunch of World Nobles hostage..." He was met with a blank expression from the pirate. "... and judging by your blank expression, you have no idea what I'm talking about, do you?
Luffy's silence was all answer Vaughan needed.
"Now that I think about it, you seem to be missing that scar on your chest. I remember seeing you have it in that one newspaper article," Vaughan went on, giving Luffy a once-over. He snapped his fingers in realization. "Oh, now I see! You're one of the 'others' Siobhan was talking about. Can't say I totally expected a younger Straw Hat to show up, but I'm glad to see the island didn't disappoint. Do you think the government would give us double the bounty if we turned in two of the same pirate?"
Nothing was said for awhile. Both men simply stared at each other, Vaughan waiting to hear what Luffy had to say, and Luffy letting what Vaughan said sink in.
Finally, Luffy's eyes trailed from Vaughan to his red eyes to his rifle. "Hey, are you a sniper?"
"What does that have anything to do with what I just said?"
Vaughan sighed (he seemed to be doing that a lot in the last 20 minutes). "I have several different skill sets, but yes, being a sniper is one of them."
"And those guns of yours," Luffy went on, pointing towards each of Vaughan's weapons. "Can one of them shoot needles that knock people unconscious?"
"You mean my tranquilizer darts?" Vaughan placed a hand on one of the pistols on his hips. "I don't have any on me right now, but my sidearms and my rifle are all modified to shoot both darts and bullets. Where are you going with this?"
Luffy's fists clenched, his teeth grit together, and his blood began to boil. Red eyes and a sniper, just like Zoro-ossan said. "Then you were..."
Chopper gestured to Zoro-ossan. "I pulled them out of his body. He's lucky, though. If anyone else had taken that much tranquilizer into their body, their heart would have stopped."
"...YOU WERE THE ONE WHO TRIED TO KILL ZORO!" Luffy screamed in rage.
The rubber captain was practically radiating killing intent. In that instant he forgot about Zoro-ossan's condition and his warnings about the New World. All he cared about was making the red-eyed man pay for trying to hurt his nakama, future version or not.
"I have the strangest inclination I've made you angry," Vaughan observed. He sighed for what seemed to be the millionth time that day and gestured for Luffy to step forward. "Alright, bring it on."
"GUM GUM PISTOL!" Luffy shouted, throwing his fist forward.
Vaughan was crouched close to the earth before Luffy's fist was even a foot away. The red eyed man took advantage of his current position to attempt to kick Luffy's legs out from under him. He nearly made contact, but Luffy sprang upward and smacked the palm of his hand on top of Vaughan's head, using it as a launching pad to get airborne.
"GUM GUM GATLING!"
The rain of rubbery punches beat the earth, sending rocks and clumps of plant life flying in random directions. However, much to Luffy's frustration, not a single one hit Vaughan. The bounty hunter agilely outmaneuvered them, often sidestepping out the way before a punch even came close. It was almost as if he knew where they would impact.
It's like before, the part of Luffy's mind that was still rational thought. When Zoro-ossan was predicting Sanji's attacks.
Vaughan performed back handspring to remove himself from the gatling's path, and once back in crouching position, he yanked his sidearms from their holsters and fired exactly one shot from each pistol.
If Luffy hadn't been so angry, he would've grinned. This guy was a dummy if he thought bullets (and they were; they were too round to be darts) would be able to hurt a rubberman. Still mid-air, Luffy stretched out his arms, expecting the dull feeling the impact of the bullets would make on his body.
What he did not expect was to feel the sharp, agonizing pain of one bullet each going through his shoulders.
Luffy fell to the forest, writhing and trying to clasp his shoulders, but his arms were locking up and refused to do anything. Luckily, the wounds weren't too bad, but they still bled freely.
"That's right," Vaughan said with mild surprise, blowing smoke from his pistols. "Being a rubberman, I bet you've never been shot with bullets before, so you had no idea it would hurt so much."
Luffy grit his teeth and lifted his head, giving Vaughan a dirty glare. How did he do that? He was a rubberman, bullets always bounced off! So why not now?!
The bounty hunter rubbed his temple. "And I hope you appreciate the effort I'm putting into this. Coating individual bullets with Haki gives me a migraine."
Haki? Luffy briefly wondered what that was, but decided he didn't care. He jumped to his feet, ignoring his pain. He ran towards the red-eyed man, fist drawn back to give him the punch of his life. However, Vaughan was going to have none of that.
"Oh no you don't, Straw Hat!" Vaughan whipped his rifle off his back, but instead of firing it, he gripped both hands on the tubes, wielding it like a club. With a strong swing, the butt of the rifle clocked into Luffy's head, sending the pirate crashing into the ground. And it hurt.
Blunt attacks weren't supposed to hurt. They never did, at least not to Luffy. The only blunt attacks that hurt him ever were Nami's punches (he still wondered how she did that) and...
"I told you, I'm want to be a great pirate, like Shanks!" young Luffy barked.
"Unacceptable!" Garp shouted. "You're going to be a great marine, Luffy! Not a filthy pirate!"
"Sounds like somebody wants a Fist of Love!"
"OWWWWW! Grampa's punches hurt the most!"
Normally, Luffy would avoid remembering anything involving his grandfather, but in this case, it was warranted. Garp had always managed to hurt him with his punches, despite being a rubberman. When Vaughan clubbed Luffy with his rifle, it felt like one of Garp's attacks.
"Man, you are so weak," Vaughan sighed, disappointed. "Then again, you are a younger, inexperienced version of Straw Hat. I really shouldn't have had any high expectations." He raised his rifle up to hit Luffy again.
On no. Luffy was not going to let this freak get another attack in. As the butt of the rifle came down, Luffy grabbed it and yanked down, bring Vaughan down with it. Once he was close enough, Luffy drove his foot right into Vaughan's stomach.
The bounty hunter made a choking sound. Luffy then swung his leg (foot still planted in Vaughan's gut), so Vaughan was thrust into the ground, specifically on some nearby rocks. Where Luffy lacked in his "experience," he made up for ten-fold in raw power. Blood flew out of Vaughan's mouth as the internal damage took hold.
Luffy got to his feet and took a few steps back, breathing heavily. His shoulders bled and ached, he had a bruise forming a on his head, but nothing made him feel more invigorated than finally landing a hit on Vaughan.
"What's... the matter?" Luffy panted. "I thought... you could predict... my moves?"
Vaughan grunted, then pushed himself into a sitting position. "Fat lot of good that does me if I can't avoid it. Nice move there, Straw Hat. You really got me good." He wiped the blood around his mouth away with the back of his hand. "However, making me bleed doesn't really help you in any way."
Luffy ground his teeth together. "Like I care! You hurt my friend, and are still trying too! You're going to pay!"
With that, Luffy charged forward and stretched his arm back. "Gum Gum..."
Vaughan rolled his eyes and raised his right index and middle fingers. "You are so reckless."
Vaughan gestured his fingers towards himself. "Sanguine Needles."
Luffy felt something sharp- no, wait, there was more than one- pierce his body, and froze mid attack. His arm fell limp.
A dozen red spikes, several feet long, had appeared out of nowhere and were sticking through Luffy's body at multiple angles.
"OWWWW!" Luffy cried out. He tried to moved, but the spikes held him in place. "Where did-!"
"Look down, genius," Vaughan replied simply.
Luffy did so, and saw that the spikes were coming from red, wet-looking spots on the ground. Even from spots that looked like they were where little drops had fell. Was that...
"...Blood?" Luffy asked aloud.
"Congratulations. I guess there is a brain somewhere in that rubber head," Vaughan said sardonically. He stood up and waved his hand, and the spikes retracted out of Luffy's body before melting back into puddles of blood. Luffy fell to his knees.
"Whether I bleed or you do, it doesn't matter. It still gives more weapons to fight with. Blood is malleable in my hands to do with as I see fit." The blood that was on the back of his hand peeled off, forming into little streams that collected into a sphere on his palm. With a flick of his wrist, he threw the sphere, now a hard spike, into one of Luffy's wounded shoulders.
Luffy didn't cry out, but he did grunt in pain.
Vaughan smirked. "You may be a rubber man, but I'm a blood-controlling man. My name is Enoch Vaughan, and I ate the Blood Blood Fruit."
Luffy reach up and ripped the blood spike from his shoulder. "So I was right..."
Luffy looked up, a fire in his eyes. "YOU REALLY ARE A VAMPIRE!"
Vaughan's eyebrow twitched. What. The. Heck.
Normally, Vaughan liked to think he was a calm, collected person who could take anything in stride. Straw Hat, however, caused him to break the mindset. How was it possible for someone to be that dense, and that stupid?
"I AM NOT A VAMPIRE!" Vaughan snapped, probably for the first time in his life.
Location: Carrion Bounty Hunter Camp
Siobhan stopped in the middle of a bite of an apple one of the guards gave her.
I don't know why, she thought. But for some reason, I have the strangest feeling somebody succeeded where I couldn't at something. Something involving Blood Eyes.
She pondered it for a moment more, before shrugging and finishing her apple.
Location: Wherever the heck Luffy and Vaughan are
"BUT YOU JUST SAID YOU ATE BLOOD!" Luffy argued.
"I ATE A BLOOD BLOOD FRUIT! THAT'S NOT THE SAME THING!" Vaughan argued back.
"BUT DID IT TASTE LIKE BLOOD?!"
"IT WAS A DEVIL FRUIT! IT TASTED ROTTEN!"
"... rotten and bloody?"
"ARGHHHHH! SANGUINE NEEDLES!"
Luffy jumped away, and just in time too. The spikes returned and judging by their crisscrossed position, Vaughan had been aiming to give Luffy several extra nostrils, if you catch my drift.
Vaughan stuck out his palm, and the spikes and any remaining blood on the ground gathered into it, forming a swirling elongated shape. It looked similar to a long javelin.
"Sanguine Harpoon!" he shouted, throwing the javelin- or harpoon, actually.
Luffy, once again standing, stuck out his hand to catch the harpoon. Yeah, it was kind of gross, but he could deal with it. However, as soon as the harpoon got close to his hand, it turned back into liquid and split in half, maneuvering around the young pirate. Once behind him, it reformed back into a harpoon and before Luffy could get away, it pierced his side.
Luffy bit back a groan. No, he was not going to fall over. He refused to fall again and give this guy an edge.
Vaughan ran a hand through his uneven hair, looking much calmer than he did before. "I have to commend you, Straw Hat; it's been a long time since anyone's gotten a rise out of me like that." He glanced Luffy's new side wound with distaste. "And here I was trying not to grievously injure you. You really know how to throw a monkey wrench in my plans, don't you."
Suddenly, several explosions sounds echoed through the woods, and several trees fell over in the distance.
"Oh, sounds like Erity's pissed off," Vaughan commented as he turned to look. He shook his head. "She should really be less impulsive. These trees are so big that if you knock one down, you'll take the whole forest with you."
He cocked his head to left, agilely avoiding a Gum Gum Pistol. He turned to look at Luffy, who looked pretty pissed himself. "Oh yeah, you're still here."
He snapped his fingers and the harpoon in Luffy melted. Luffy staggered briefly, but as he promised himself, he stayed upright.
"It's only fair to warn you that fighting me involves a secondary health risk," Vaughan said. "If my blood weapons are in your body when they return to liquid form, you run the risk of getting blood poisoning. Just thought you'd like to know."
Luffy simply gave Vaughan a dark, intense glare. It actually made Vaughan a little uncomfortable. He'd heard this kid displayed Conqueror's Haki during the battle of Marineford through an old contact, and now he could definitely see the pirate having it.
"All this because I tried to kill one of your little friends, huh?" Vaughan shrugged. "I can respect that, but you're out of your league. I can tell this is early days for you; you aren't ready to take on a New World bounty hunter."
"... Are you here to talk, or are you here to collect my bounty?" Luffy snarled. "And don't you dare talk so offhandedly about my nakama!
Vaughan shrugged again and picked up his rifle. "Fine. Can't say I didn't try. You ready?"
Luffy gave a loud battle cry, and the two men ran at each other, prepped to begin their duel anew.
The monster let out a long, slow breath, and stared down at them with its blank, cold gaze.
"W-what... is... that?" Nami stuttered.
"That," Roronoa said in deadpan. "would be our doctor."
Chapters to Come-
Chapter 12: A Rumble in the Jungle
Chapter 13: It's All Hot Air in the Desert