midnightscar17: Yes, they're going to be introduced. You'll see, and eventually. Thanks, you and me both. We'll see how things go I guess.
Avo385: You make a fair point, but yeah, no, Zoro won't be getting a bounty from this. As for Luffy's Haki, well, if no one knows what it is, how could it be reported that he has it? As for the destruction being blamed on them, that goes without saying. When isn't it pinned on them, no matter what their stake in the matter or their actions? Onto Baroque Works, I imagine that the frontier agents do send their reports to Crocodile, so, yeah, he should get the info first hand. That said, the Mr. 12 pair has no idea what haki is or anything of the sort, so the likelihood of them accurately portraying what had occurred is slim, so yeah, doubtful that Crocodile will know beforehand.
That said, he will know of Luffy's actions in general, and that, along with the time difference of Luffy setting out earlier, will alter how events occur. Take that how you will. As for Luffy's number one fan, I wanted to do more with him, I really did, but I can't, as I'm afraid I only know so much about him. I only watch the English Dub, as that's what got me to fall in love with One Piece, the Funimation dub of course, not that abomination that shall not be named. Anyway, so I only know a little about him, from research and checking in on how things are going with Oda and such, that said, I can already tell I'm going to enjoy him greatly. Wanted to include him, even if only for a few moments, so there ya go.
Exiled Soul Nomad: Guess you'll find out now.
Tombs456: Thanks! I'm glad. No shame in that, I reread stories before reading the newest chapter semi-frequently, so, obviously, you'e not the only one. Once again, thank you.
Lobisomen616: Oh yeah, big time. Thanks, glad to hear it. Regarding Buggy, yeah, odds are he probably wouldn't know, but with everything he had surely experienced aboard Roger's ship, and this being an AU and all, I just decided fuck it. Let him already know Mihawk can cut him up, ya know? Besides, as evidenced by Marineford, Buggy usually knows he'll get killed by several big names, it's the feeding of his ego and such that gets him to act like even more of a moron than he already is and think he could possibly take them down. Honestly, don't think it's too big a deal, but, that said, perhaps you shouldn't let me slide on it, lest I get lazy. Psst, just let it slide brother. XP
As for the others not knowing who Mihawk was. Morgan, I have a pretty good reason for. From what I can recall, when he spoke of devil fruits he said something about one allowing someone to breathe fire and such, and since that's clearly Ace's Flame Flame fruit, and he didn't know of him, the infamous Fire-Fist Ace, odds are he doesn't know other notorious criminals, with the obvious exceptions being ones like Roger and Whitebeard. So I think it's believable enough that he doesn't know who Mihawk is.
Kuro...eh, I'm of the mind that he doesn't possess very much knowledge of pirates outside of the East Blue, then again, perhaps you disagree with that. I could easily be wrong, I just sort of pegged him for the type to not know, or care, much about the goings on outside of his slice of the sea. And finally, for Alvida...well, she would be the toughest case to make for not knowing him. That said, she is a self-absorbed narcissist through and through, and I think a case can be made for assumption that she wouldn't care much about the world outside the East Blue as well. Then again, she is with the exception of Kuro, the smartest of the alliance, so that argument is a little weak I guess. Eh, oh well. You probably got me with her. Maybe. But I think the others make sense. Your thoughts?
Thank you so very much! I appreciate the kind words, I will do my best, that you have my word on friend.
Tonlor: Happy you like it. Yeah, it is. That would have been kind of difficult, as their deaths would have most likely occurred as a result, so, yeah, no go on that.
SolanaLeonhart: Thank you. Thanks again. Yeah, Mihawk is just the kind of guy, ya know? Good, I'm glad you like them. Will the alliance continue? Yes, yes it will. Though not in it's current form. What do I mean by that? Read on to find out. And I can't wait to write what's in store next, so that makes two of us! :)
Taiski: Um...no, not that I'm aware of. Really not sure what you mean by that, to be honest, as you could mean a number of things...so, yeah, I'll just leave that one alone. No clue why this chapter gave you deja vu dude, so...again, yeah. Thanks for your review though.
Okay, one thing before we begin. I have a challenge for you guys. Well, not for you guys necessarily, but anyone who is among my readers who feels like taking it on. Whoever wishes to undertake this challenge feel free, as I'll welcome all comers. There's no prize, unfortunately, but I could give whoever completes it an insight into future developments of the story or perhaps even accept input into some of the ideas I have, if one of you'd be interested in that sort of thing. Or maybe even something like an OC of your making being put into my story if that's what you desire, within reason, of course. (Meaning they won't be a Straw Hat, since as far as I'm concerned OC's have no right to be Straw Hats, but could have a role in an arc or something) All the details can be hashed out if need be. I really don't particularly care, I just want to see my challenge undertaken. What's the challenge you might ask? Why, a story challenge of course.
Now, what is the challenge? Here it is. I want someone to undertake something along the lines of a memory watching fic. I'm sure you guys know what that is already, but in case you don't, it's basically where the Straw Hats end up in some kind of situation or other that enables them to watch Luffy's memories, typically up until Marineford. I've seen two good stories done about this. I don't really want another. Well, I do actually, but that's not what this challenge is about. What I'm interested in, is a memory fic where the Straw Hats, with or without Luffy present, that would be up to the writer, where they watch the memories of Luffy from another timeline/dimension/universe. I'm sure you guys can see where this is going.
So, let me issue the challenge formally. I challenge you guys, whoever wishes to take up said challenge, to write a story about the Straw Hats watching my version of Luffy's memories, watching Ultimate Adventure play out through his eyes and such. They would be unfamiliar with certain events, and would obviously be surprised by Luffy, Zoro and Nami's bond through the story. I want to see what your takes on their reactions would be to this alternate history/timeline.
There's not really much to it besides that. It could start from the first chapter and end when Luffy sets out, or it could go as far as the end of the Arlong Arc. Or perhaps, if one of you is feeling particularly ambitious, this could be an ongoing project that you work on over time, releasing more chapters as my story goes on and such. I particularly like the last option, but would be more than satisfied with the second one. The first one spanning the length of the beginning nine chapters is acceptable, but I'd prefer whoever takes this up try for the second or third option.
Now I know that this must seem like some major self aggrandizement or perhaps delusions of grandeur for assuming anyone would want to tackle the creation of a story like this. And...perhaps you're right. I don't think of myself all that highly, in my opinion, so I don't think that's what this is. I just really want to see different interpretations of the Straw Hats react to the Straw Hats in my story. I want to see you guys' takes on the Straw Hats and their reactions to the Ultimate Adventure story.
I highly doubt anyone will actually accept this challenge, I am merely putting it out there on the off chance that someone will get a wild hair up their ass and decide 'Fuck it, I'll try and do that.' We'll see if anything comes of it. If anyone decides to undertake the challenge or wants more details, shoot me a PM and we'll talk about it.
With all that out of the way, let's move on to what all of you are really here for. Please read, review and enjoy.
As the sound of Mihawk's steps grew fainter, the pirates and marines continued to watch after him, until soon enough, he disappeared from view entirely. Once his form was no longer visible, the others, for the most part, adhered to his dictation of no more fighting, at least for the moment.
Luffy moved to Zoro's side and helped his first mate to his feet. With the older teen's arm around the younger's shoulders, he'd have the support he needed to move without aggravating his injuries too much. That said, it certainly wasn't an advantageous position for either to be in, especially with someone like Smoker around, but they'd just have to make it work somehow. Lest they wind up in chains.
"We need to get out of here, quickly!" Usopp whispered harshly to the other three, now that they were all in close proximity to one and other, needlessly reminding them of their predicament.
"Right." Nami agreed wholeheartedly. "Let me take Zoro, and the three of us will head for the ship. Luffy, you get that Marine Captain off of Sanji, and then you two can meet us there." The orange-haired teen proposed, holding her arms out in an offer to take the weight of the swordsman's body off of her boyfriend's hands.
"That's easier said than done." Zoro interjected, proceeding to poke a gigantic hole in the cartographer's plan. "That guy's body ain't normal, it's made up of smoke. The bastard must've eaten a devil fruit." He apprised them, while choking back a bloody cough. "The Cook and I tried everything we could think of to hit'em, but nothing worked. Every attack we threw at the guy just passed right through him, didn't even so much as faze him."
"Are you serious!?" Nami needlessly asked, distressed as she already knew the answer. "We just can't catch a break today, can we?!"
"So you're saying that we can't so much as touch the guy!?" Usopp queried with disbelief.
"Unless you know how to grab ahold of smoke, yeah, that's exactly what I'm saying." Zoro affirmed.
"That's just not fair!" The sniper exclaimed. "There are devil fruits that give you powers like that? How are we supposed to fight against someone like that!?" He anxiously questioned.
"Hell if I know." Zoro admitted with a half shrug. "Regardless, we're going to have to find a way, eventually." The swordsman expounded. "Because there are bound to be more guys like him waiting for us on the Grand Line."
This assertion of Zoro's was disquieting to his fellow crewmembers. How could it not be? What good did any amount of strength do, when you couldn't even touch your opponent?
"We'll worry about that later. For now, we need to focus on getting back to the Merry." Luffy instructed, the three nodding their heads in agreement.
Kuro looked like death, lying there with that huge gash in his chest, the blood soaking through his white shirt nearly completely. He was pale, his breathing, which was the only real sign that he was still alive, came in short and shallow puffs, and was labored to the utmost degree. His eyes were halfway rolled into the back of his head, as he lie there, perfectly still, sprawled out on the ground. And needless to say, as godawful as he looked, he felt even worse.
With the blood loss, the intense searing pain and the discombobulation he was experiencing, the Man of a Thousand Plans should have passed out long ago. However, the constant rainfall kept him conscious, the downpour managing to just barely keep him coherent. It did this through the fact that every drop of water to splash against his face caused him to become more alert, more aware of his surroundings, allowing him to keep a small hold on his mental faculties.
It might have been better in the long run for the former pirate captain if he had let go and let himself slip into unconsciousness, but he had no intention of allowing such a thing to occur, and was therefor a moot point. Rather, he clung to his state of consciousness, body shaking and head pounding, as he attempted to climb up off the ground and back onto his feet.
His replacement glasses had been knocked right off him when he was hit with the wave of energy that formed from the world's greatest swordman's slash, having clattered to the ground and slid several feet away from him. Having followed the curve of the ground; which was riddled with holes from the barrage of cannonfire; the pair of spectacles had fallen into a tiny body of water, having formed from the rain gathering in said hole. All of the chunks of missing ground were filled with water, though most were not clear, as they were muddied by all the blood that ran from the scarred town square, tainting all the small bodies of rain water. This was true of the collection of rainwater that had accumulated, which the pair of glasses had slid down into, as well.
This fact would make searching for the spectacles a difficult task, seeing as there was no way to know which hole filled with water they were in. Combine that with Kuro's current condition, still struggling to even get onto all fours, and it was without a doubt that trying to recover said item was far more trouble than it was worth.
"We...we should probably help him up." Alvida spoke, voice a tad shaky and uncertain, still in shock from the display of power she and the others had just witnessed.
Morgan and Krieg were stupefied in equal measures. They had never, not for a single moment, ever dreamed of such power even being feasible. They found themselves incapable of comprehending the level of strength Mihawk possessed on so much as a fundamental level. It was unfathomable to their small, narrow minds. It went far past calling everything they ever believed and held true into question, straight up shattering their notions of power and strength. Their own little balance of who was mighty and who was not was thrown out the window, as it sunk in that, in the grand scheme of things, they didn't amount to shit. For people like them, such realizations could drive one mad...
So shellshocked by this realization, they were unable to respond to the slim pirate woman, having barely even heard her in the first place.
Buggy was calming himself after nearly dying from a panic attack. Having the world's greatest swordsman show up out of nowhere and start throwing around flying blasts of energy could do that to a man. 'So freaking glad that damn Hawkeye is gone. I did not need to deal with him or his haki. I mean seriously, why was he even here!? To meet these punks?! That's just ludicrous! Why would he give a damn about these brats!?' The pirate clown wondered to himself, ignoring his only female ally's words as he did.
Something the blue-haired pirate did take note of, however, were the stirring forms of Mohji and Cabaji. They still lie atop the very much still unconscious Richie, just outside the town square, but they were beginning to come to, shifting and groaning, more than likely still in quite a bit of pain. 'Good. With the mess this has turned into, we're gonna have to scram real soon. And I really wouldn't want to leave my right and left hand men behind.'
Alvida, recognizing that none of them were actually going to assist the former captain of the Black Cat pirates in standing up, spoke of the other matter on her mind. "With all the crazy shit that just went down, not to mention the fact that most of us aren't in any condition to fight, our best course of action would be to retreat."
'Took the words right out of my mouth.' Buggy privately thought to himself. "I'd hate to cut and run before our flashy finish, but I have to agree with you. We should get out of here." He calmly agreed, managing not to reveal his eagerness to get the hell out of there.
Alvida nodded her head in Buggy's direction, before looking toward the other two standing by her side. "Now I know you two are quite confident in your strength, however, things aren't looking good for us. Think about this for a second and you'll see I'm right about-"
"Yeah, you're right. Let's go." Morgan suddenly consented to the notion of retreat, sounding almost...hollow. No bravado, anger or irritation present within his tone.
Krieg also decided to go along with the decision, no real coaxing needed, simply nodding affirmatively.
This took the club-wielding woman off guard, as she had expected quite a bit of resistance from them. One considered himself the strongest man in the world, and the other thought of himself as some high-ranking authority who deserved to be respected and obeyed by almost everyone. They were not the type to simply agree to running away, which no matter how they dressed it up, was exactly what they were about to do.
Taking a good look at them, she came to a conclusion. 'I think they've finally gotten a wake up call. They're in a literal state of shock. They can hardly process what's going on around them. By the looks of them, those blank expressions, their unfocused eyes, they can hardly tell you what way is up or down. For a little while at least, I don't think they'll be giving us any guff.'
"Alright then. We wait for Straw Hat to make some kind of move, then we run for it. Those two marines will be too focused on them to come after us, and even if they do, they'll have to split up, as they have no choice but to come after all the pirates here. And one pursuer is far easier to shake off than two." Alvida explained her plan to the others.
"No..." Kuro suddenly cut in, still struggling to get to his feet, now on his knees, trying to force himself up. "I will not flee...I refuse to leave this place..." He continued, putting one foot on the wet ground and pushing himself up with his hands and planted foot."...not until I've killed those damned upstarts!" He exclaimed with rage, lifting his head to reveal his bloodshot eyes, which had an undeniable crazy look within them. He was clearly starting to lose his grip on his sanity. Just as he had done during the last moments of his previous encounter with them.
"Those goddamn brats ruined everything I worked and toiled away nearly three long years for! I humiliated myself, degraded myself, all for the goal of bringing my plan to fruition! And in a single day, they fucked it all up!" Kuro ranted, visibly seething. He was far past the point of being fed up. "And here, once again, they foil my plans. I will not stand for it! They will pay for it with their lives! I WILL EVISCERATE THEM!" He declared venomously, fully on his feet once more.
"I don't care how many more I have to kill, so long as they are among the body count!" The man with the slipping sanity proclaimed, turning to face the very pirates he held so much hate for, visibly unsteady on his feet as he did. "You may have survived the ambush, but it doesn't matter! I will kill you all my self! I. WILL. KILL. YOU. ALL!" He averred directly to the teenagers, his killing intent off the charts, face twisted in an expression of fury and hatred.
In that moment, the former pirate captain had unwittingly claimed responsibility for the slaughter that had taken place in the town square of Loguetown, nothing short of shouting 'I killed all these people' capable of casting more blame on him for the fiasco than the words that had already come out of his mouth.
Smoker's eyes narrowed at this all-but admission of guilt. "So, I was correct. It was you scum that did this." His tone was low, dangerous. It was all too clear that he was far past angry.
Kuro failed to realize the severity the error he had made, moving toward the teenage pirates, struggling to remain upright, even as he slipped and almost faceplanted onto the battle-torn ground. He simply forced himself back up; fingers twitching; the urge to kill stronger in him than it ever had been before. In a few short moments though, he would know exactly why he should have just kept his mouth shut.
"Tashigi." The white-haired marine spoke his subordinate's name, getting her attention.
"S-Sir?" Tashigi responded, snapping out of the stupor she had been in since the whole thing with Mihawk.
"Keep the blonde subdued." He ordered her; removing his jitte from the small of said pirate's back, to the blonde's surprise.
"Wha-" The swordswoman wasn't able to get more than two syllables out of her mouth, before Smoker surged forward, leaving a trail of smoke in his wake, the bottom half of his body having shifted into it's intangible state in an instant, allowing him greater speed than he was normally physically capable of.
Before Kuro even knew what was happening, Smoker was on him, jitte first; ramming the end of the sea-prism stone tipped weapon right into the dark-haired former pirate's throat. The formerly bespectacled man crumpled like paper, body slamming into the ground with a wet smack; the already wrecked stone audibly cracking from the impact as the body that hit it proceeded to sink three inches deep into it, exacerbating it's already dismal state. Smoker's form hovered over Kuro, where he continued to dig his steel-made jitte into the pirate scum's throat. Rage worn out on his sleeve, his face openly displaying this dominant emotion, there was no denying that the marine captain was pissed.
Kuro's neck was nearly broken as a result of the force of this assault, unable to cry out in pain as he gargled and choked on his own blood, windpipe clogged with the crimson substance thanks to the marine atop him. He struggled to try and remove the offending object, but was unable to dislodge it from it's place, digging into his throat, completely incapable of overpowering his attacker, or even so much as lessening the pressure baring down on him. In his desperation to survive, he attempted to slash at the marine with his makeshift cat claw, followed by his original one, but the blades passed harmlessly through the raven-eyed man's body, Kuro's efforts amounting to nothing as he just, literally, swatted away at smoke.
After a moment, the Man of a Thousand plans couldn't even really tell what he was slashing at, his vision beginning to blur. All he knew was that he had to get out of this predicament, lest he suffocate from the lack of oxygen he was experiencing, so simply continued his useless attempts to claw the marine captain.
Surprised by the sudden violence, the figureheads of the Buggy Alliance simply stood by as Kuro was slammed into the ground, and shortly after began to asphyxiate from a lack of oxygen, his air canal forced close by the weight of the weapon jammed into the center his neck. As caught off-guard as they were, they recovered quickly enough, though they didn't exactly rush to his aid...
"He's pissed, time to go!" Buggy exclaimed hurriedly, before bolting, sprinting towards his first and second mate, and the unconscious lion; proceeding to smack them back to fully conscious states. "Wake up! We're leaving boys!"
Morgan, as well as Krieg, followed the clown pirate's example without a second thought, going so far as to bypass the blue-haired man as he roused his best men, and kept going, heading for the docks ahead of the others. Of course, this got the red-nosed thirty something to shout at them about waiting a moment, not that they listened. Thankfully for him, he was able to get Cabaji and Mohji on their feet, so they quickly followed after the other two, all of them pulling Richie by his tail, the lion far too out of it to walk on it's own; keeping the unconscious beast from being left behind in the hustle to the Big Top.
Alvida was the last to run for it, actually sparing a moment to contemplate aiding Kuro, unlike the others. However, if what Buggy and Kuro had told her about Sea-Prism Stone held true, which she knew it did with the stockade they had used on Straw Hat, she would be putting herself at risk. Not only that, but she would be putting the alliance at risk. It was already at the point where it could fall apart once they escaped, but to bring Kuro along would cause tensions to continue to flare even higher. Morgan was an unreasonable man at the best of times, and she had already had her hands full playing mediator between him and Buggy. With where his mind was sure to be at after this, he would almost undoubtedly try to take Kuro's life, and that just brought up a whole slew of other problems. So, if she was to keep this little group of criminals together, she'd need to either get rid of the former marine or the former black cat pirate captain.
And while Kuro was more of an asset, he was already caught. Smoker was about to either kill him, or if not, take him into custody once his body gave out and he fell out. So the choice had already been made for her.
"Such a waste. A man of your talent and intellect surely would've continued to be quite useful..." With that, the slim pirate woman turned and fled.
Kuro, despite his fading vision, was all too aware of how his 'allies' had just abandoned him. While not unexpected, that certainly didn't stop fury from welling up inside him. 'Accursed pirates! Abandon me, will you!? I'll kill al-' However, he couldn't focus on thoughts of anger and revenge for long, as the burning in his lungs and the pain in his neck reminded him all too clearly of the looming threat of death.
Entering the final stages of suffocation, he was certain he would die. But, before his brain could shut down completely, Kuro's body enacted it's last measure of self preservation, and the dark-haired man proceeded to lose consciousness entirely, form going limp, arms going slack, eyes closing and all resistance dying.
Once the pirate scum had passed out, Smoker immediately removed his weapon from his throat. As he did, the blood that had been stuck in Kuro's windpipe came running out of his mouth, down his chin and onto his all but completely red stained shirt. He had nearly choked to death on it, not to mention the lack of an airway to intake oxygen, and now it just came spilling out.
Wasting no time, Smoker rushed after the other fleeing figureheads, beginning his pursuit of the rest of the Buggy Alliance, leaving Kuro's limp form where it lay.
The Straw Hats knew they needed to get to the Merry and make their escape, however, they were all but pinned down in the middle of town square. If they tried to make a break for it now, they would leave themselves open to attack from Smoker and Tashigi, as well as the figureheads of the Buggy Alliance. Then there was the fact that one of their own was currently restrained and incapable of following them to the ship. Not to mention the injured Usopp and Zoro, both of whom would need help in the sprint to the docks, the former especially so. All in all, they were in quite the unfavorable predicament.
They would have to do this just right, and wait for the perfect moment to act.
Knowing this, Nami allowed Usopp to put his arm around her shoulders and shift a good deal of his weight onto her. He was too hurt to run on his own and would need assistance, and seeing as Luffy was helping Zoro, it fell to her; being the second least injured of the bunch, only Sanji having sustained less damage than she had. And he was preoccupied at the moment...
To make the most of this situation they were caught in they would need patience, as well as clear heads. If they were to act too quickly, they could just end up making things worse.
Speaking of worse, the teens took notice of Kuro; now on his feet, struggling to stand as he lumbered toward them. He was nearly on the brink of death, yet all he seemed to care about was killing them and getting his revenge, at least going by his stated intentions of eviscerating them. While clearly in a severely weakened state, if he did manage to use his ultimate attack once more, it could spell some serious trouble. And with the young pirates still shaken by all that had went down with the alliance; Luffy, Usopp and Nami in particular, as well as Mihawk; Zoro and Luffy distinctly more than the others, they were all understandably apprehensive about any further conflict. Even if some of them were still capable of fighting, it was evident that further engagement would put the wounded members and the weaker members of the crew at risk. Needless to say, that was more than enough incentive for the decision to retreat to be made.
Still, they had to play it smart, lest they screw things up and get themselves caught or killed. A plan would have to be made and executed as smoothly as possible, in order to insure-
"Sanji, it's time to go!" Luffy called out to his cook. "Everyone head for the ship!" The sixteen year old pirate captain shouted for everyone to hear, jumping the gun completely, as Smoker had just barely taken his jitte out of the small of Sanji's back. If the marine hadn't been so angry, he might've changed course and came rushing at them, however, he was clearly experiencing metaphorical tunnel vision, as he plowed Kuro straight into the ground with his weapon.
"Let's go!" Nami exclaimed, as she and Usopp quickly began their trek to the ship; moving at as brisk a pace as they could, given one of them had to physically support the other. Even still, they made their way out of the ruined town square fairly apace.
"Got it!" Sanji called back to his captain, as he hurriedly picked himself up off the ground and got back to his feet.
Luffy and Zoro bailed out then, following after Nami and Usopp, with Sanji swiftly following behind.
"W-Wait! Hold it!" Tashigi yelled at them, to no avail. They clearly weren't going to stop just because she told them to. "Dammit!" Having been given an order to keep the blonde pirate subdued, not to mention her own newly-formed vendetta with Zoro, she had no choice but to give chase. So, she went running after them.
With both able-bodied marines leaving the town square unguarded, having to follow after the fleeing pirates, this opened the opportunity to run for it to anyone who felt like taking it. There was absolutely no one to stop them. The marines who were still alive, as few as there were, were all still quite unconscious. It was doubtful they'd be waking up anytime soon. And the same could be said for the knocked senseless pirate grunts that weren't deceased. Finally, with Kuro lying there half-dead, and the monster of a man with that giant blade who had shown fearsome power long gone by now, there was no danger present, at least currently.
So, it was a forgone conclusion that the civilians would scurry out of the building and sprint away as fast as they possibly could, murmuring in fear and concern as they all rushed away from the demolished town square. And as they did that, the two individuals known as Mr. 12 and Mrs. Saturday carefully stepped out; taking a moment to scan the area, double and triple checking that the coast was clear. Once they were absolutely sure they wouldn't be spotted and or followed, they promptly made themselves scarce.
"We need to report this whole crazy incident to the boss right away." Mr. 12 told his female partner, as they hurriedly made their way out of the town square and into the alleyways of Loguetown, taking an indirect path to the docks.
"Right, that's the first thing we'll do. Just as soon as we're off this island." Mrs. Saturday affixed to her partner's statement, as she followed his lead.
As literally everyone else did what they could to get the hell away from the location of all the mayhem and carnage that had occurred, the green-haired man; who had spectated the debacle in it's entirety; simply stepped out of the building and continued to marvel at the ruined terrain. He wasn't necessarily the type to revel in death and destruction or anything, not that he shied away from them either, but he just could not help but continue to gape at the scenery, not to mention all that had happened in the span of barely an hour or so. It left him awed, so much so, that the only words he was able to form in that moment were...
"That was...SO GODDAMN COOL!" He exclaimed exuberantly.
"A massive cumulus cloud is just overhead!" Nami hurriedly notified the rest of the crew. "An unimaginable storm is just about upon us! Our ship could be washed out to sea if we don't hurry!" She frantically apprised, nearly drowned out by rolling thunder, as lightning struck precariously close to their position.
Usopp shrieked in shock and terror as they were nearly zapped, causing Nami to wince as a result, seeing as she was helping him along and thus just nearly had her eardrums ruptured by the scream. "Don't scream in my ear idiot!" She rebuked the cowardly sniper with aggravation, though she refrained from hitting him, after all, he was already hurt enough as it was.
"That's just great!" Zoro sarcastically called out, vexed by the fact that things just continued to grow worse and worse for them by the minute.
Despite the constant rainfall and the wet stone ground, the Straw Hats were unhampered in their rush back to the ship. Even as the lightning kicked up, thundering down to strike the town more and more frequently as time went on, the teens were completely unimpeded; discounting the injured Zoro and Usopp, of course.
If they had remained this way, their dash to the docks would have been a relatively simple and quick affair. However, that just wasn't how things worked out.
"I won't let you leave here! Not with that sword!" Came the sudden declaration of the swordswoman from before; Tashigi her name. She had cut them off, now standing directly in their path; a short ten feet ahead of them. She had obviously used her intimate knowledge of the layout of Loguetown to intercept them.
"Hand it over, you liar!" Tashigi demanded angrily, her Shigure locked in a death-grip, the marine woman clearly anticipating a battle.
The five pirates came to an immediate halt then.
"Ah great! What the hell did you do to that girl!?" Sanji enjoined the swordsman to answer him, not that he actually received one.
Making a snap decision, Luffy ordered the crew on ahead. "Nami, Usopp, Sanji, go on ahead without us. We'll handle this."
Not much time to argue, the three teens buried the protests they wanted to vocalize and quickly did as ordered and continued on their way to the ship.
"Catch up as soon as you can!" Nami called back to them, as she assisted Usopp in the task of getting to the docks.
"Hey Zoro, if you hurt her, I'm gonna kick your ass!" Sanji warned the gruff swordsman, before running off after the other two.
"You wanna handle this? Or should I?" Luffy asked his first mate.
"I've got it." Zoro assured, removing himself from his childhood friend's person, once more standing on his own power.
"You never asked me what my name was, did you? So I never lied, did I?" The green-haired pirate finally replied to the bespectacled woman, attitude on display.
Ignoring his words for the most part, the marine simply reiterated her impassioned demand. "I'll say it again! There is no way I'll let you leave town with such a legendary sword! Give it to me, the Wado Ichimonji, right now!"
"You must lose a lot of swords, if you think you have to carry three of them around. Unless, of course, you're like that famous pirate hunter. "
"Pirate hunter, yeah."
"He's quite the legend. His name is Roronoa."
"Oh yeah, him."
"Yeah, he's known throughout the East Blue for his amazing sword skills. But he's not a good person. A swordsman who is just a bounty hunter is no honorable swordsman at all. Everything's backwards. It's really too bad for real swordsmen. Pirates and bounty hunters as sword masters? It just doesn't...make any sense. They have most of the world's legendary swords too. It's a real tragedy."
"Heh. I dunno, it's the kind of thing you have to look at by a case by case basis I guess. You never know what people are capable of."
"This is my Shigure! I'm going to work as hard as I can to perfect my skills and then one day, I'll take back all the legendary swords because the filthy hands that hold them now have no right to wield them. Yes, the twenty one top O-Wazamonos, the twenty one O-Wazamonos, as well as the Ryo-Wazamonos, I'll find them all!"
"And this one? My sword, the Wado Ichimonji?"
"Uh, I'm not trying to get the legendary swords back for my sake. I just don't want criminals to have them."
"You want it so bad? Come and get it." Zoro dared the swordswoman, a contemptuous grin crossing his face as he drew the very blade she desired. 'She'll have this sword over my dead body.'
The famous pirate hunter had only deemed it necessary to draw one of his three swords, that in it of itself was an insult; Tashigi was all too aware of this. Anger rising, the marine woman grit her teeth, brought her Shigure up and charged the pirate.
As the two sword wielders crossed blades, Luffy simply stood back and spectated in silence.
The figureheads of the Buggy Alliance, minus Kuro and plus Mohji, Cabaji and a now half-conscious Richie, were currently in the middle of a heated chase.
As they had made their mad dash from the town square, sprinting to their destination, the docks, a pursuer followed. Said pursuer was one Marine Captain Smoker, and he was gaining on them, fast. Hell, they would have been caught at least once or twice by now if circumstances had been different. However, as they were now, what with the steadily rising rate of lightning striking the buildings and even the stone streets themselves, it provided a slight advantage to them. The bolts of lightning effectively, when they did directly hit the streets that is, block the one chasing them for an instant. As short as such a moment of time is, it was still what they needed to keep ahead and prevent their capture. Unfortunately, even with the weather inadvertently assisting in their escape, the White Hunter was finally within striking distance and was only moments away from putting them all down, and doubtlessly arresting them.
It wasn't to be though, as the exact moment he moved to use his ability, the distinct sound of his subordinate's scream reached his ears. As a result; as much as it frustrated him; he, without hesitation, abandoned the chase and hurriedly took off in the direction the scream had come from. "Tashigi!"
It took the alliance several moments before they realized that they were no longer being pursued. Only doing so when lightning flashed in the sky once more, making impact and scorching the stone just five or so feet in front of them, bringing them to a screeching halt as they did their best to keep from being zapped. Impeded by this, they looked back, sure they would have the marine man right on top of them, doubtlessly charging them with that jitte of his. However, that was not the case.
"Huh? Where did he go?" Mohji wondered aloud.
"Did we lose him?" Cabaji questioned.
Buggy, Alvida and Morgan scanned the immediate area, eyes wandering as they searched for any signs of the white-haired man. They found none.
"Regardless of why he broke off pursuit, we need to go." Alvida reminded the others. "We have no idea when he'll decided to come back and resume the chase. Not to mention we're not in good shape, and wouldn't be able to last in a drawn out battle if it came down to it." She added.
"Right, let's get back to the ship." Buggy agreed.
"AH!" Tashigi gasped, as Zoro cornered her and proceeded to slam her up against the brick wall of a building. Her grip on her precious Shigure was loosened from the force of the impact and the pain that accompanied it, but she still managed to retain ahold of it. And that would allow her to gain the advantage, as in that moment, Zoro faltered, wincing as his grievous torso wound throbbed with searing pain. Not hesitating; she took the opportunity presented to her and forced him back, giving her the precious breathing room she needed to get back into the fight.
Zoro, Wado in hand, was pushed back a couple of feet as the marine swordswoman put everything she had into a forward-moving vertical slash, bringing the blade of her sword down against his. The clang of steel meeting steel rang out, and the green-haired teen winced once more, his injury keen on reminding him of it's presence, it seemed. "Shit!" He cursed.
Even still, the double handicap of utilizing only one of his three swords, and his grave wound, didn't equalize the combat completely. A fact that Tashigi was made all too aware of, as her enemy retaliated with a strong horizontal stroke of his treasured sword; a grimace present on his face from the agony he was racking up with such a maneuver. The strength behind it was far more than the bespectacled woman had expected or possibly could have prepared for, as the force behind it, when it made contact with the blade of her sword, knocked it right out of her hands. It clattered against the ground, sliding several feet across the rain-soaked stone.
Not giving his opponent the chance to retrieve her blade, Zoro shoulder charged the woman, knocking her straight to the ground. He followed after, going down with her, bracing himself with his knees on the opposite sides of her body to keep from landing atop her; bringing the Wado down upon her for a fatal stab attack.
On instinct, in that moment, sure she was going to die, Tashigi flinched, closed her eyes tight and turned her head away, while simultaneously crying out. Only, as the seconds ticked by, she realized that, with the exception of the dull pain in her back and head from hitting the ground so hard, she felt no pain. Opening her eyes, she quickly realized why that was.
Zoro was crouched over her form, holding his sword in place, having pierced the ground right beside her head, literally centimeters from her face. She was staring at the blade, so close it could nick her if she so much as breathed wrong. Turning her head, carefully, she looked up at the pirate that had just so handily defeated her, while severely hurt no less.
"I hate to disappoint, but you will never get this sword from me." Zoro menacingly declared, before pulling his blade out of the slit in the ground he had created, and standing up and resheathing it. "Now I think it's time for me to go." He stated simply enough, before unceremoniously walking away.
Tashigi, in that moment, was completely speechless. 'H-He just...he just completely brushed me off. Like...like I'm not even worth killing...how...how dare he!'
"Why didn't you kill me!?" She suddenly demanded to know; using her elbows to prop her up into a semi-sitting position.
Zoro came to a stop at that, but neglected to turn around and actually face her.
"I know, it's cause I'm a woman!" The clumsy marine opined.
Unbidden, an image of Kuina appeared in Zoro's mind's eye.
"It's pathetic that you can't fight me because of my gender! It's embarrassing!" She exclaimed furiously, now climbing back to her feet. "You may be physically stronger, but you don't have the guts! The sword isn't just for decoration! I don't even think you know what it means to carry a sword!" She maligned.
"Ugh, would you shut up for one second!?" Zoro finally responded, as he turned around to face her once more.
She was momentarily caught off-guard by this, getting her to lay off her stand offish demeanor, at least for a second or two.
"Look, you got the same face as some girl I knew who died a long time ago, and before I know a thing about you, you're talking just like her! What I want you to do is to stop acting like some dead person you don't even know, and try to be yourself!" Zoro; exasperated by the woman and her attitude; attempted to simultaneously elucidate and dictate the matter.
However, his words simply served to piss the swordswoman off even further. "Excuse the hell out of me!" Tashigi rejoindered, as she took three rapid steps forward, allowing her to get up in Zoro's face. "It's not my fault that I sound like your dead girlfriend! I had no idea that it was so rude and thoughtless to be myself, you jerk! You ever think before you talk?!" She lambasted him.
The gruff swordsman was visibly taken aback by this verbal barrage, and was clearly unsure of how to respond. "Wha-what'd you say!?"
Luff couldn't help but peel out into a small fit of laughter at this. "Hahahahahahahaha!"
"What's so funny!?" Both the swordsman and the swordswoman queried the straw hat pirate in unison, using similar tones of aggravation.
"She kind of is like Kuina!" Luffy opined with some mirth. "You two certainly fight like she is." He observed.
"Kuina?" Tashigi repeated the name, confused, it taking her a moment to realize who that must have been.
"She is nothing like Kuina!" Zoro protested.
Before the marine woman's similarities to the deceased girl could be discussed in further depth, Luffy and Zoro found themselves leaping out of the way. "White Blow!" Dodging a quick attack from the suddenly appeared Smoker.
Luffy landed on his feet no problem; Zoro on the other hand found himself nearly eating the ground, his wound protesting his sudden jerky movement, putting him on his knees as he cringed in intense pain. Rather than react to this, the straw hat pirate instead just moved to stand in front of the downed boozehound. "Zoro, that's enough. Go on ahead to the ship." He told him, removing his hat and holding it out to him as he did.
The eighteen year old opened his mouth to object, only to shut it as he fought to keep from completely collapsing, a new wave of agony rolling over him; he'd clearly aggravated his already grievous injury. 'I won't be of any use like this. I'd only get in the way.' Zoro thought to himself. "Alright, captain." He agreed, taking his friend's treasured straw hat, before picking himself up and beginning to force himself into a jogging pace toward the docks.
The look Zoro gave his sworn-brother before leaving was all that was needed, as it conveyed his feelings and intentions completely. 'You'd better be right behind me. Otherwise, I'm bringing the others to come and drag your ass back to the ship'. Luffy had understood completely and sent him off with a nod of affirmation.
Smoker did much the same for Tashigi as Luffy had done for Zoro, now standing in front of her. "Tashigi, are you alright?" He inquired, tone even.
"Y-Yes sir. I've got a few bruises and probably a sprain or two, but I'm okay, for the most part." She answered him to the best of her ability.
"Good. In that case, return to town square and see to the unconscious marines. And while you're at it, secure Kuro before he regains consciousness." He told her.
"B-but Sir, I-" She began, only to cut herself off, thinking better of it. "Yes, right away Sir." With that, she turned around, walked over to her Shigure, retrieved it, and began on her way back to the battleground that once was Loguetown's town square.
Once her footsteps, accentuated by the wet ground, faded, Smoker spoke. "Straw Hat Luffy...
"That atrocity back in the town square...did you and your crew know what was going to happen there?" The Marine Captain calmly inquired. He had a hunch as to the truth, however, 'I want to hear it from him.'
"What? Of course not. We didn't have a clue." The childish pirate answered honestly.
"Alright then, answer me this. Any idea why so many infamous East Blue pirates would band together just to kill you?" The stoic marine queried.
"I dunno. Cause I kicked their asses, I guess." The raven-haired teenager replied with a shrug.
"Last question. You came here to stock up on supplies for your venture into the Grand Line, correct? Just like all the other pirates that come through here?"
"Yep." He chirped this confirmation cheerily. "I'm going out to look for the One Piece!" The sixteen year old pirate excitedly stated, grinning ear to ear.
"Then I'll tell you what I tell every other pirate who dares to come to this town. To get to the Grand Line, you have to go through me." Smoker informed the rookie pirate. "This will be the end for you." He added grimly.
"I am gonna enter the Grand Line. I will find the One Piece. And then, I'll become King of the Pirates!" Luffy proudly proclaimed.
"I'm bored, enough talk." Smoker brushed the younger man's confidence off entirely, as he prepared to engage him in battle.
"White Blow!" As Smoker's fist, his reach elongated by his arm transforming into smoke, came speeding at Luffy, the rubberman dodged to the right.
Mid-dodge, not waiting for his feet to even hit the ground, the sixteen year old counterattacked. "Gum Gum Pistol!" Luffy threw his own punch in retaliation, arm stretching the necessary distance for his fist to make contact with his opponent's face. Only as it impacted, it went partially through the upper-left half of the marine's face; it's momentum dying in that moment. This left the teenage pirate's fist halfway through the white-haired man's face, where his left eye was. The hole around his hand and wrist was smoke-made, meaning he clearly hadn't done any damage. This fact was only further proven as Smoker failed to react, simply using his remaining eye to stare down the younger man.
"Ah crap, that's really gross!" The raven-haired young man exclaimed as he stuck out his tongue in disgust; landing firmly back on his feet. "Zoro wasn't kidding when he said your body wasn't right! You really are made of smoke!" He pulled his hand out of the older man's face and retracted his arm back to it's original length then.
"I ate the Plume Plume fruit, so my body can become smoke whenever I want." Smoker explained, the hole in his face filling and returning to normal.
"Gum Gum Gatling!" Luffy cried, as he unleashed a barrage of punches, arms stretching to allow his fists to hit their target.
Every punch hit, but did little more than the first one, as each blow simply created a new hole in his enemy's smoke-body. Still, the young pirate captain continued the assault, riddling the marine with holes. Unfortunately, none of the attacks did the slightest bit of damage, evidenced by his inability to even force the raven-eyed man back with the flurry of fists.
This futile endeavor lasted for another few moments, until Smoker decided he'd had enough. Throwing his hands out, they, along with his arms, shifted into their smoke state and quickly traveled to Luffy. The smoke enclosed around his torso, even as Smoker was peppered with more punches, his actions weren't impeded in the slightest.
Luffy's on the other hand, came to an instant halt as the smoke spread and encased nearly the entirety of his torso, before lifting him into the air. "Hey! What the-" Before he could say anymore however, the smoke rushed to the right and slammed the rubberman head first into a brick building, ramming his head right through the wall; brick-dust and broken pieces of said building material scattering from the impact. The raven-haired teen attempted to say something, but due to his position, it came out muffled. His voice didn't remain muffled though, as the smoke pulled him none too gently out of the wall, destroying more of it in the process. "That's actually pretty cool." Luffy suddenly commented, looking down at the smoke covering him; looking rather nonplussed at the rough treatment.
Not that such a thing deterred his assailant, as the smoke surged in the opposite direction and smashed the rubberboy's body into a different building; doing so at a different angle, causing his right shoulder to take the brunt of the impact this time around. The billows of smoke wasted no time in pulling him back from the building, raising him up higher as it shot upward a dozen or so feet, before speeding back down and driving him into the hard stone ground. The force of the impact caused the sixteen year old's body to sink a few feet into the ground, creating an indentation of his physical form, not to mention all the stone-dust kicked up as a result, as well as the cracks said ground now sported, evidence of the damage it had taken.
"What's wrong? Had enough already?" Smoker questioned semi-mockingly.
The simple-minded pirate captain was mostly unharmed, as his rubber body kept him from taking any real damage from any of this. It was more annoying than painful, though his many lacerations thanks mostly to Kuro, and his few stab wounds, certainly didn't appreciate the rough treatment. They were throbbing constantly at this point, thankfully though, it was a far cry from the agony the sixteen year old had experienced when first receiving them. So, in short, he hadn't had enough.
Luffy forced himself to his feet, in spite of the mass of smoke trying to hold him down, entirely ready to continue this little skirmish, despite his inability to inflict any damage. Once he was upright, however, he quickly noticed that where Smoker once was, was instead just a mass of smoke. The smoke restraining him was still attached to said mass, keeping him from moving too much.
Unbeknownst to the rubber pirate, as he had climbed to his feet, Smoker had shifted into his logia form entirely, completely becoming a mass of smoke.
"I told you, you have to get through me to go to the Grand Line!"
Luffy's eyes widened a fraction, as Smoker's voice had just come from behind him. Which meant, he suddenly realized, that his fellow combatant had traveled along the smoke he shifted into and had reformed at his back. Unfortunately, the rubberman had no time to do anything about it, as the white-haired man locked in a tight grip on his scalp from behind, the fingers on his right hand digging into the young pirate's skull. "Don't you see, that's why you won't ever be going. Here in Loguetown, your luck has run out!" Smoker exclaimed, while leaping half a dozen feet into the air, bringing Luffy with him by the grip he had on his head; before gravity asserted itself and brought them back down. As the natural law worked itself, the stoic marine forced his adversary's head downward at the same time, multiplying the force of the impact when the raven-haired teenager's face met the ground. As his skull was driven into the ground; riddling the immediate area with cracks galore; Luffy's face sunk several inches into the tone, creating another indentation in it, this time of his head rather than his whole body.
Smoker; having landed on one knee; released his grip on the young pirate then and fully stood. Reaching back, he grabbed hold of his jitte and drew it. Just as he thrusted it downward, however, Luffy yanked his head out of the ground and hastily rolled out of the way, narrowly avoiding being nailed with the tip of it. As the jitte hit the ground, Luffy; Mid-roll; shifted his momentum and rolled backward into a tumble, which he used to catch himself and pop op onto his feet. Standing erect once more, the rubberman couldn't help but wince lightly. None of the blunt attacks had caused any damage themselves, but they were exacerbating his already present wounds, evidenced by them beginning to bleed again. It was only a slow trickle, still, if not treated, it could get much worse, and the end result would not be pretty.
Smoker wasted no time in continuing his assault, rushing the younger man. Luffy was of a similar mind, as he came charging at the older man. Both men pulled back and prepared to attack. Only, with a blinding flash of lightning, a man adorned in a green cloak appeared between them; the light of the said lightning allowing his face to be briefly visible despite the hood of the cloak; causing them to come to an immediate stop.
That small instant was all that was needed, as both combatants had seen all his facial features. From his long, spiky black hair; styled into a widows peak; light stubble and the most eye-catching detail, a dark red tribal-like tattoo sprawled across the left side of his face.
"It's you." Smoker simply said, instantly recognizing the man as the infamous Monkey D. Dragon. "How nice. Now the government can have your head."
"You're-" Luffy began, recognition flashing in his eyes. Before he could say anything further, however, he was interrupted by the man.
"The world...is still...waiting for our answer." Dragon spoke cryptically, with zero context as to what he was talking about.
In that instant, without even an inkling of a warning, a great gust blew through Loguetown, the wind that comprised it colored an eerie green; it's strength equal to that of hurricane winds. The sheer force of this wind blew Luffy right off his feet; not to mention took a few buildings with it; and sent him hurdling down the pathway toward the docks, the rubberman crying out in surprise as he was literally blown away. "AHHHHHHHHHHHH!"
Smoker took his eyes off of Dragon in that moment, and watched after the straw hat pirate as he was tossed about by the wind, all the way down to the docks.
The gust died soon after, the wind becoming completely still and inert. Strangely enough, it seemed the gust had been rather concentrated, as despite it's strength, it only seemed to have hit a small area comprised of this pathway and the docks, rather than ravaging the entire town.
Smoker stood exactly where he'd been, unaffected by the sudden gust, due in most part to that it hadn't quite hit him. Scowling, his eyes sought out Dragon, only to find that his location had changed. He now stood on the rooftop of the closest building. "Go, if that's what you desire, then by all means, make your dream happen!" Dragon proclaimed passionately. his arms extended out to his sides.
"Why did you help that man?" The stoic marine demanded. "Dragon!"
"It is not our place to come between that man and his chosen path, Smoker." He calmly responded, a ghost of a grin present on his face.
Luffy found himself in a pile of rubble made up of broken buildings, both those made of wood and those made of brick. The gust had blown him way down the path toward the docks, where he was slammed into a wooden building, causing so much damage when he did, that it was brought down on top of him. Not to mention all the debris that had been swept up with him. In spite of all this; the sixteen year old literally encapsulated completely in broken bits of buildings; the teen's mind was preoccupied with something else.
"There were these weird guys that helped us..."
"What about them, Luffy?"
"Do you know where they are?" He had asked her. "If it wasn't for them, Nami and Zoro would have died. I really want to thank them."
"They're not here anymore Luffy. They left." She had told him.
"They left? But why?" He had queried.
"Because they have quite a few more people to help." She had answered.
"Oh..." Was all he responded with at first. "Bellemere, who were they?"
"If you really want to know, I'll tell you. But why do you want to know Luffy?" She had inquired.
"I...don't really know." He had answered, unsure of himself. "I guess...well, one of them seemed...I don't know. It was like I kinda knew him, but I also didn't know him, ya know?"
"I see." Bellemere had said simply, nodding her head as she did. "As I said, I'll tell you. But, you may not like the answer to your question. It might hurt you, it might confuse you, it might make you pretty mad too."
"Huh?" Was the seven year old's eloquent response, tilting his head in confusion.
Bellemere had sighed at this. "You understand how Ace feels about his father, right? How he hates and resents him?"
"I know he does. I just don't really get why." He had responded with a shrug of his shoulders.
"You just might understand it a bit if I tell you." She had cautioned him, concern in her voice.
"Okay, tell me." He had decided just about immediately.
Bellemere sighed once more, this time much heavier. "Garp will probably kill me for telling you this. However...I think you deserve to know. Especially since you've already met him..."
It was then that Bellemere would drop the bomb of who his father was on Luffy.
Broken wood and brick hit the ground as Luffy stood up, the rubberman beginning to dust himself off. "What the heck just happened?" He wondered aloud to himself, mind shifting gears to the crazy wind he'd been hit with. "That was some really crazy wind." He remarked, as the wind continued to pick up. It wasn't nearly as strong as the gust he had been caught up in, but that didn't mean it was anything to sneeze at either.
"Luffy!" Nami's voice suddenly called out, getting his attention. "We have to go, now!"
Looking up, the raven-haired boy realized he was at the docks. And more importantly, that his ship, the Merry, was no longer anchored and the sails had literally just been set.
"If we stay here any longer, we'll be feeling the full brunt of that storm! We won't be in any position to defend ourselves like that!" The bossy cartographer hurriedly explained.
"Yeah, so hurry up! We don't want the marines catching up with us when we're like that!" Usopp called out.
"Move your ass Luffy!" Sanji barked.
"Let's go captain, the Grand Line's waiting for us!" Zoro remarked, grinning; the straw hat atop his head.
A smile formed then, reaching ear to ear on Luffy's face. "Yeah!" Was his simple response, as he threw his right arm out, it stretching, allowing his hand to reach out to the ship. He grabbed hold of the railing, and let his arm return to it's original length, only in the opposite direction, sending his body snapping towards the sailing ship.
Unlike some cases of the teenage captain crashing when doing this, he managed to not do so this time, mostly because he was being extra careful not to, so as to not aggravate his and everyone else's injuries.
Now on the deck of the Merry, Luffy's smile managed to widen even further. "Alright, onto the Grand Line!"
"Not so fast, Luffy." Nami popped his bubble of excitement immediately. "We all need medical treatment. We're in no shape to go to Grand Line right now. Hell, some of us are lucky to even be conscious. Once we've all been patched up, then we can go." She patiently reasoned.
He pouted at that, of course, but that was to be expected. "Okay."
"Thank you for being so agreeable." She said with a smile. "Okay guys, time to hustle! We've got some work to do if we want to ride out this storm!" She snapped into navigator mode, as she ordered them to get busy.
And just like that, the ship was abustle with activity, even in spite of the many injuries they all shared. Though Usopp did sit out for the most part, too damaged to stand up for long, at least under his own power.
As they all prepared to ride out the storm, Luffy stopped for a single moment, just long enough to cast a glance back at Loguetown, the town of the beginning and the end. "So...that was my dad..." He muttered to himself under his breath.
Focusing back on the task at end, he looked away from Polestar island and quickly got back to it.
Smoker, now standing at the docks, gazed out at the sea, as the ship of the Straw Hat pirates sailed out into the distance, becoming more and more difficult to spot as the moments ticked by. He simply watched this happen, deathly silent for quite a stretch of time, a deep scowl etched onto his face.
"I'll set sail and go after him." The marine suddenly stated, determined. "I'll follow after him and enter the Grand Line, whatever it takes. He will not escape me. Orders to remain stationed here be damned."
To Be Continued...
END NOTE: With this, I only have one more chapter, the second movie, before we enter the Grand Line. After that one last hoorah for the East Blue, we'll be even closer to the good stuff. That said, I have a question for you guys. Laboon, the meeting with him, I don't see it going that much different from Canon, with the exception of the Straw Hats not meeting Vivi and Mr. 9 there. So, my first thought was to skip it. Now, by skip it, I mean write how the encounter unfolded, compressing the event to a paragraph or two, maybe three, like how I did with Gaimon and the Island of Strange Animals. (I also intend to do this with filler arcs, unless I feel like I can add enough changes to make them worthwhile to write out.)
However, what with Laboon's connection to Brook and all, I just don't know if it would be right to do that. Rehashing Canon isn't fun for anyone, especially when it's done almost word for word and such, so I've been thinking about relegating any overly-Canon segments of the story and similar things, that aren't ultra vitally important, to being just a few paragraphs of explanation/skim over. So, I'd like your opinions on this. Should I do this with the meeting of Laboon? And if yes, should I do this more often?
On one hand, this would put more focus on my own touches and changes, as well as new stuff I add to mix. On the other, it could seem like I'm simply being lazy and or trivializing certain aspects of the story, which I by no means intend or wish to do. I love One Piece to death, and have the utmost respect for Oda and just about everything he's done with the story. And I don't want anyone thinking otherwise. So, I ask you guys, which do you think I should do? Suck it up and write it out? Or provide a simple summary of events when I feel it would be appropriate to do so, allowing me to get to the good stuff with a little less hassle?