This chapter was rewritten in a more major way than the other earlier chapters and contains a large change for the long term of One Piece!
Quite frankly, back when I first posted this story, I think I was too afraid to make bigger waves. That has since changed, and it is why I rewrote this chapter primarily. I think it flows much better and is much more realistic for the setting I've created. I also corrected as many of the earlier grammatical errors and such that I could find. And while I may do some rewrites to scene and fights for a couple more chapters (probably up to chapter four) I doubt any of them will be truly major like this one.
So, here we have different Devil Fruit Luffy. It's one that I made myself. Unlike most fics I've seen that give him a different Fruit – and especially ones that give him Logia – up until later this will really only make him indirectly more powerful rather than directly. It's an incredibly dangerous Fruit and he lives in East Blue. Other than with his grandpa, he can't actually train with it because he'd just murder his friends.
Luffy will be slightly out of character. He'll still usually be the reckless dumbass we know and love, but he'll have his more serious moments too, even out of fights. I personally can't see Luffy as a complete idiot. Naïve? Childish? Reckless? Easily moved? Yes, he is all of those things. But a complete idiot? No. A complete idiot couldn't have turned what was described as a 'useless' Devil Fruit into one of the most awesome Fruits on the planet. Also, Garp trained him much more intensely as a child here. So, even though he's not a Marine, he has picked up a bit on the whole Justice thing. A tiny bit. He certainly won't go out of his way to help random people – like in the manga – but he's not just going to let some asshole break a town if he happens to be there. So pretty much like canon, actually, now that I think about.
I have to ask, why is there SO MUCH gender-bending being done in this section? Naruto has an actual jutsu that allows him to do it for himself and even it doesn't have this many.
There will be an expanded crew in this fic. If you can make a really good argument for why someone should or should not join, I would take it under advisement. Doesn't mean I would go through with it, but I would at least consider it. Note that tits are not considered under 'good argument.'
Pairing: Harem. That does not mean Luffy will get every girl in the manga, or even all of the female Straw Hats. I actually have a bit of a gag planned for it. The pairing is set, so don't bother asking for anyone on Luffy's end. Pairings can also be suggested for the other members of the crew, excluding Zoro. I also have his planned.
Chapter I: Romance Dawn
Once upon a time, there was a great Pirate. His name was "Gold Roger." He had conquered every single thing this world had to offer. Wealth. Fame. Power. He had it all. The last words that ever left his beaming lips before his execution drove people to the seas! "My treasure? If you want it, you can have it. Find it! I left everything this world has to offer in One Piece!"
People descended to piracy in droves! Men headed for the Grand Line in pursuit of their dreams! The world has truly entered a Golden Age of Piracy!
About one year ago, a Pirate ship landed right off the coast of Foosha Village. It was a sleepy little town, full of windmills and – mostly – quiet, hardworking folks. And then the Pirates got off the ship, and suddenly things weren't so quiet anymore.
"Oi! What are you doing, Luffy!" A bemused voice called out. It belonged to a somewhat scruffy-looking man with brilliant red hair wearing a straw hat.
"I've had enough!" An angry looking black-haired boy wearing a shirt with the epitaph of "anchor" embosomed on it roared out, much to the scattered amusement of the Pirates. His name was Monkey D. Luffy, and he was eager for adventure! He would show these Pirates that he was tough enough to travel with them! "I'll prove it to you all, and then you'll take me with you!" The Pirates weren't even concerned with the knife he had in his hand. It wasn't as if they thought he would actually try to attack them.
They may also have already been a little drunk. It was only midday after all. The redhead burst out laughing, "Dahaha! Go for it Luffy! Let's see what you're gonna do!"
One of the delighted Pirates chuckled, "Luffy is going to do something funny again!"
The amusement dried up faster than a puddle in a desert. "Argh!" Luffy roared, and stabbed the knife into his own cheek, right under his left eye! Instantly, jaws dropped all around as the Pirates panicked, "OUCH!"
"IDIOT! WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING!" The redhead roared furiously, his eyes popping right out of his head and pointing directly at the little idiot.
"Bahaha!" The bar was packed full of the raucous group of Pirates, "Let's drink! To celebrate Luffy's craziness!" The redhead yelled while raising his glass, "And to our greatness, of course!"
"Ga ha ha ha! Drink! Drink!" One of the Pirates yelled.
"Sake! Sake! Bring out more sake!"
One indignant Pirate screamed out, "HEY! Idiot that's my meat!"
A more laidback, stern looking man with dark hair shook his head, "Yo! Cut it out! To brawl while you're drunk is so shameful!"
Luffy himself was in the bar with his Pirate friends. He was putting on a brave face with a pained grin stretched across his lips. Some tears dribbled from his eyes despite his attempts not to cry. The cut he had put on himself had already been stitched up, "Ha! It didn't hurt one bit!"
The redhead with the straw hat had shark-like teeth in his mouth as he screamed at the boy, "Liar! Don't do something so stupid again!"
Luffy laughed uproariously, forcing himself past the minor lingering pain, "I'm not afraid of pain at all! Next time bring me out to sea with you guys!" He gleefully demanded with his fists in the air, showing off the anchor on his shirt, "I want to be a Pirate too!"
The bar exploded into hysterics once more, as the Pirates burst out into laughter, none louder than the redheaded Captain himself, Red-Haired Shanks. "You can't handle being a Pirate!" He needled the young boy, "Not being able to swim is a Pirate's greatest weakness!" Shanks sat with one leg crossed over the other with a glass of booze in one hand. He was wearing an open button-up shirt with a red sash securing it, as well as a sword and dark grey shorts.
Luffy visibly grew irritated and waved his arms around petulantly, "Then I'll just stay onboard the ship! I'll be fine!" He drew back and flexed, holding a tiny bicep with his other hand, "Besides, my fighting is pretty good too!" He grinned impossibly wide, before punching out, "I've trained rigorously before! My punch is as strong as a pistol!"
Shanks deadpanned, "Wow, a pistol? Really?" He looked incredibly uninterested, with his chin resting on one hand.
"What kind of tone is that!" Luffy yelled at the man again, incensed that not even slashing his own cheek had gotten his attention.
The crew began laughing again. A particularly rotund member with goggles and a drumstick in his hand spoke up, "A Pirate's life is great!"
Another member latched onto him in a one-armed hug, "Yeah, the sea is so wide and deep! You can go to any island and seek adventure!"
Yet another joined the growing Pirate train, "Nothing is greater than freedom!"
Luffy's eyes were sparkling in excitement as he stared at the Pirates in awe.
Shanks had a spoon in his mouth and an unimpressed look on his face, "Don't give him dumb ideas you guys."
The fat one looked confused and rubbed his head, "But it's the truth, right?"
One of the members slouching on a chair spoke up, "Captain, why not bring him with us one of these days? It's not a big deal." He chuckled, "Not like we're bound to run into anyone strong around here."
"Yeah! Please, please, please!" Luffy yelped and practically hopped in excitement.
Another Pirate popped up with a grin, "I agree!"
Shanks had a sly look on his face and a grin on his lips, "Fine, we'll bring him. But one of you have to stay behind so he can take your place…"
The bar was silent for a beat, before all of the Pirates turned away, "Welp! We've said enough. Let's go drink!"
Luffy exploded indignantly, "What kind of friends are you!" He pointed at them, his eyes bugging out, "And you! What kind of Captain are you!?"
Shanks chuckled and rubbed Luffy's hair, "Kid, the important thing here is that you're just too young. The sea is amazing but it's also dangerous. Even I wasn't that young the first time I set sail with my Captain. I'll reconsider taking you out to sea if you wait another couple years."
"Damn it Shanks! I'm not a little kid anymore!" Luffy growled.
"Oh, don't be mad!" He pushed a glass filled with juice towards Luffy, "Here, have some juice!" Luffy's face lit up and he started gulping down the juice with a happy grin on his face. "Pffft." Shanks guffawed for a moment and then burst into laughter, tears streaming from his eyes, "Dahahahaha! You really are a kid! How funny!"
"What a dirty trick!" Luffy cried out while shaking a fist at Shanks. He blew a puff of air out, "I'm so tired." He groaned, "I even cut myself today and he still won't agree."
"Luffy." Ben Beckman, the First Mate of the Red-Haired Pirates called the young boy while igniting a hand-made cigarette, "You should try to understand the Captain's feelings." He told the Luffy. He just looked puzzled in response, muttering the same words back. Ben chuckled while inhaling the smoke, "Of course! He is our leader after all! He knows being a Pirate is interesting." He blew the smoke out, "But more importantly, he knows how dangerous being a Pirate is. Life can be very hard while on a Pirate ship!" He grinned, "Get it? He's not purposely teasing you. He's just looking out for you!"
"I don't understand." Luffy crossed his arms, "Shanks takes me for an idiot!" Shanks' chuckled, 'can't swim!' instantly made Luffy roar out, "SEE!"
The bartender finally made it back into the bar with a happy smile on her face. She was a beautiful, green-haired woman whose petite frame belied her surprising strength. She carried a barrel full of booze with the ease of practice, "You seem happy, Captain!" She called out cheerfully while serving up more drinks.
"Ah, teasing little anchor here is my joy, Makino-chan!" Shanks grinned. She blushed minutely at him.
Luffy pointed at Shanks while looking at Ben, "He really is very happy." He deadpanned at the Pirate. Ben could only sweatdrop in response.
"Would you like something to eat, Luffy?" Makino called out as she got behind the bar.
Luffy grinned widely, "Okay! I'll pay you with my treasure!"
"What treasure?' Shanks scoffed out in amusement. He was lounging back, taking up two seats and part of the bar, "You're lying again!" He called out in amusement.
"No! I'll definitely be a Pirate! And I'll pay her back with the treasure that I find!"
Makino's bright smile never dimmed as she giggled, "I'll be waiting!"
Some time passed as the party mellowed out somewhat. Luffy was hungrily ripping into a large chunk of meat, "Hey Shanks, how long are you going to stay?"
Shanks smiled softly, "Well, we've been using this town as our base for a little over a year." He turned contemplative, "We'll probably set off a couple more times before we move on for good. It's been a good vacation… but all things must come to an end eventually."
Luffy's mouth was bulging with food, but he still somehow spoke clearly, "Couple of times huh?" He looked morose for a moment, "Well, I'll definitely have learned to swim by then!"
Shanks rolled his eyes good-naturedly, "Sure, sure. We'll be waiting. Good luck!"
Whatever Luffy was going to say was cut off with a loud bang. The door to the bar almost ripped itself off its hinges as it slammed into the front wall. A foot lowered as a very scruffy, dirty looking samurai-wannabe walked in, "Hah! So, these are Pirates huh?" He mused, an ugly look on his dull face, "This is the first time I've seen Pirates." He eyed Lucky Roo – the really fat member of Shanks' crew – and sneered, "They all look pretty dumb to me."
Luffy was pretty uninterested in them and looked away without a care in order to find some more food. He eyed the chest the Red-Haired Pirates had brought in, sitting innocuously on the table. It wasn't locked or anything, so Luffy opened it. He eyed the contents in confusion. Why would they keep a single fruit inside a chest? He picked it up and eyed it. It certainly didn't look like any fruit he had ever seen. It was shaped like a pineapple, except it was blindingly bright yellow to the point it almost looked white. The leaves weren't green and sharp, but red and curly, looking almost like flames dancing above it. The flesh was bumpy much like a regular pineapple but there were reddish-orange swirls all over it. The effect made it almost look like the fruit was covered in stylized suns.
Luffy shrugged and took a bite. His face took on a green tinge as he tasted one of the most disgusting things he'd ever put in his mouth. It was almost as though he was chewing ashes and coals straight off a fire. It was… odd. He felt nothing but burning heat as he chewed, and the juices slid down his throat, and yet the fruit wasn't spicy. He'd eaten spicy before, and this wasn't the same. It was more like he'd literally swallowed fire. Or maybe something even hotter.
He powered through the repulsive taste. No matter how bad it was, he had never been a person to waste food. And once it was gone, the taste went with it. Absolutely no aftertaste lingered in his maw to remind him of the fruit, and he forgot all about it as the idiots who barged into the bar continued making nuisances of themselves.
The guy – who wore a long purple coat with a strange yellow design going down one side over his white shirt and black trousers – reached the bar and put a hand down, "We are mountain bandits." The man declared as a greeting. "We're not here to cause trouble." He stated, "We just want to buy ten barrels of sake."
Makino had a forced smile on her slightly sweaty face, "I'm sorry, but we're fresh out of sake."
"Oh?" The bandit – a man named Higuma – tutted, "That's strange. What are they all drinking then? Water?"
Makino's smile became a bit more forced, "It is Sake. Like I said, we're fresh out. I rolled out the last barrel a few minutes ago."
Shanks chuckled, "Sorry about that! Looks like we drank it all up." He raised the last bottle, "If you like, you can have this last one. I'm just about done for the day anyway."
Higuma sneered, and before Luffy knew what happened the man's fist lashed out. The Sake bottle exploded and showered the alcohol all over Shanks. Makino gasped – wide eyed – and held a hand up to her mouth. Higuma laughed, "Just who do you think I am?" He mocked the drenched Captain, "Don't take me lightly! One bottle isn't enough!"
Shanks looked cool and collected. He didn't react in the slightest, "Huh, looks like the floor is all wet!"
Higuma's eye twitched as he drew his hand out of his open shirt with a piece of paper in it, "You see this? I'm worth 8,000,000 Beli. I'm one of the prime fugitives here in the place, and I've killed 56 people before, you cocky bastard." He leaned closer to Shanks, who hadn't even turned to as much as look at the man, "Now that you know who I am, I suggest you don't mess with me again." Higuma looked like he had something unpleasant in his nose, "After all, mountain bandits and sea Pirates don't mix well."
Shanks reached down and grabbed the shattered glass bottle, "Man, what a mess. Sorry about that Makino. Do you have a mop?"
"Ah!" Makino stammered, "It's okay. I'll get it."
Shanks waved her off, "Nah, I got it. Don't worry yourself." He completely ignored the bandit.
The goateed man growled lowly, before swiping his sword out. The chiming and cracking of shattered glass rang through the bar as he broke every glass that had piled up. He grinned menacingly, "Well, since you enjoy cleaning so much, you can enjoy it even more." He and his men left with a parting shot of, "Later, you cowards."
The bar was silent for a moment as Shanks sat at the bar with his straw hat over his eyes for a moment. Makino hurried over and bent at the waist, "Captain, are you alright? He didn't hurt you, did he?"
Shanks was silent, before a grin broke out on his face, "Phew."
The rest of the Red-Haired Pirates burst out into hysterical laughter. Lucky Roo was barely breathing as he wheezed out, "Ahahaha! Our Captain looked so silly! He sure fixed you up good, Captain!" Shanks burst into his own laughter as he took his hat off his head and waved it dry.
Finally, Luffy couldn't take it anymore, "THAT WAS DISGRACEFUL!" He screamed at Shanks angrily. His eyes and mouth were wide and furious, "WHY DIDN'T YOU FIGHT HIM HUH? EVEN IF HE HAD MORE MEN, WHO LAUGHS AFTER GETTING PICKED ON! YOU'RE NOT A MAN AND YOU'RE NOT A PIRATE EITHER!"
Shanks looked at him silently for a moment, before chuckling, "Look Luffy, I know how you feel, but there's nothing to get worked up about. It was just a bottle of sake." He grinned, "If I fought every idiot who thought he was a big shot, I'd never get anything else done."
Luffy scoffed and turned to walk away, "I don't want to see you again, coward!"
Shanks laughed and grabbed his right wrist, "Ah, don't be like that Lu…FFFFFYYYYY!" The entire bar erupted into pandemonium as Luffy's arm burst off his shoulders in sparks of brilliant, golden flames and shining light. No, flames were maybe inaccurate. There wasn't really any flickering. In fact, they looked almost soup-like even. Thick and viscous. Shanks quickly let go of the extremely hot, appendage practically before he'd even felt the heat, his senses absolutely howling danger. The room's temperature began rising rapidly before he yelled at Luffy, "Luffy! Draw it back in! Draw your arm back in!" He yelled at the panicking boy, who hurried to try to do just that.
Slowly, the golden blaze crawled up his form and reformed into his arm, "What's happening!" He yelled in terror as his eyes bulged from his face and his mouth opened wide! The floor of the bar was charred and black where the fire had licked. The floorboards hadn't burned so much as they had vaporized.
"It's gone!" Lucky yelled as he dropped a treasure chest back onto a table. In less time than it took to blink, Lucky was next to Luffy with a notepad. On it was a drawing of a very familiar fruit! "Luffy, did you eat this?!"
Luffy – whose heart rate had returned to normal from his panic – answered sheepishly, "Wasn't that dessert? It tasted awful though."
Shanks got in Luffy's face and yelled, "That's a Devil Fruit Luffy! It's one of the rarest treasures in the sea! They give you unique powers, but whoever eats one will never be able to swim again!"
Luffy's jaw dropped to the floor and his eyes bugged out, "WHAT! You're kidding right!" Snot dribbled from his nose.
"YOU IDIOT!" Shanks roared out with his shark teeth in full display as the room started clamoring.
Shanks rubbed his face in irritation as his crew sat around him with varying looks on their faces. Luffy was sitting on a stool looking down.
Yassop chuckled weakly, "Well, at least we kinda know what the Fruit was now, right?"
Shanks threw him a dirty look as the rest of the crew chuckled. "Why did we even bring the stupid Fruit with us!" He waved his arms up and down, "We could have kept it on the ship! No one would have tried to steal it! No one even knew we had it other than us! Hell, in East Blue, no one would have even known what it was! And now Luffy will never be able to swim!" Luffy looked even more down, and even the crew was looking at each other with clueless question marks over their heads. Why the hell did they bring it with them?
Lucky Roo flashed his signature shit-eating grin, "Hey, at least Luffy got a really strong power, right?" Luffy perked up, "A logia at that. That's one of the rarest fruits there are."
"Is my fruit really that awesome?" Luffy seemed excited.
Shanks blew out a sigh, before returning to his normal, cheerful self, "I suppose you did get a strong one, at least." He cackled, "You'll forever be our little anchor now though!" The rest of the crew burst out laughing as Luffy puffed his cheeks out in irritation.
"You jerk!" Luffy tried to punch him but his arm ignited into that golden, shining soup once more against his will. Shanks dodged so quickly that Luffy couldn't even tell he had moved. He simply was in another seat as Luffy's powers passed harmlessly through the air before being sucked back into the boy, "Ah! I'm sorry Shanks!"
Shanks shook his head, "Be careful Luffy! You could seriously hurt someone with that!" He sighed and ran a hand down his face, "That thing is even more powerful than the Mera Mera no Mi. It's like you turned into the damn sun."
"Or any of the other stars in the sky." Ben sighed gravely, "I knew it wasn't the Mera Mera no Mi." he snorted, "It looked nothing like the picture, you dumbasses."
"I didn't mean to!" Luffy waved his arms wildly, unintentionally turning them to flames again. He stopped and then turned into a statue, trying not to move at all. "A Sun Man?"
Ben Beckman nodded, "That's right. Or perhaps a Star Man. Your pick I guess. That fruit has never been eaten before. Or at least it was never recorded well before. Good thing Lucky can draw so well." He eyed the very rotund man, "Make sure you make copies. I want that documented… and get Luffy a copy too. Do we have any spares of the book?" He didn't really get an answer, so he turned and grinned at the interested boy, "It's a Logia, so you can now literally transform your body into the same stuff that the sun is made of, and you'll be able to produce endless amounts of it!"
"Wow!" Luffy looked excited.
"But it's dangerous to you too, Luffy." Shanks had to be the downer in this case, "Your… fires… soup… whatever… seem even hotter than the fires produced by the Mera Mera no Mi and you're even more volatile than it right now! You have to control it very carefully! You could seriously harm a friend if you turn into the Sun when they're trying to hug you!"
Luffy looked horrified, "I would never!"
Shanks carefully put his hand on the boy's head, "You would never mean to, but if you don't control it, it could happen." He sighed at the boy's stricken look. He rubbed his chin, which had a fair amount of stubble on it. Ben smiled with his eyes closed. If he knew his Captain as much as he thought he did, they'd be at this village for a while longer before their next trip. He wasn't disappointed, "Alright men!" Shanks yelled out, "I know we were supposed to leave on another trip tomorrow, but we can't leave Luffy hanging like this! We'll be here for a little while, so I can train the kid a bit!"
Luffy grinned brightly at the red-haired Captain.
Luffy yawned as he walked into the clearing Shanks had led them to. It was a long way from the Village so that there was no risk of anyone getting hurt. Other than Luffy that was, but he didn't know that.
Shanks greeted him with a yawn of his own, "Well, here we are." He muttered sleepily from his place atop a large boulder. He rubbed his eyes – Luffy tiredly doing the same – and then clapped his cheeks with his palms in an attempt to rouse himself. It was early in the morning, since Shanks did want to set sail again soon. "Now, first let me explain a few things. And pay attention, got it?" Shanks said and Luffy nodded, having copied the man with the face clapping, "Devil Fruits can be classed into to three broad types. Paramecia, Zoan, and Logia. You with me Luffy?" Luffy nodded eagerly, waiting to hear more about his power, "Paramecia are the most common type of Fruit, and always give you some sort of ability. This can be anything from being able to section off parts of your body to causing earthquakes."
Luffy's jaw dropped, "Earthquakes! Are you serious!"
Shanks grinned, "That's right. The strongest person in the world is currently the one who uses that fruit!" He'd never tried fighting old man Whitebeard seriously, though he knew that back in his prime the man had practically been considered untouchable. The only one to ever fight him seriously had been his own Captain.
"Wow." Luffy breathed, trying to imagine himself causing earthquakes.
Shanks chuckled, "Zoans are the more uncommon Fruits. It has three different subsections which increase their rarity, but for now all you really need to know is that they give you the ability to transform into some kind of animal or beast. The last type of fruit – your type – is generally the rarest." He said, "Logia Fruits allow you to literally transform into an element, or a force of nature. Yours is one of the stronger Logia. Since you can become an element, you cannot even be touched by regular means!"
"Haha! I'm awesome and invincible!" Luffy puffed out his chest. Shanks grinned at Luffy willingly walking into his trap, "OWWW!" Luffy started rolling around on the ground, clutching the lump on his head. Shanks nonchalantly blew over his smoking fist. "Hey, what the hell! How did you hit me?"
Shanks grinned, "That's…. a se~cret!" he singsonged, even as Luffy began pouting. Irresponsible he may be a lot of the time, but even he wouldn't be teaching a seven-year-old Haki. "But, as you can see, you're definitely not invincible. There are things that will be able to harm you – like I just did – the farther along the Grand Line you get. So, don't go getting cocky, got it?" He glared at the young boy, who nodded vigorously. Shanks scuffed up Luffy's hair, "Good. Never start thinking you're untouchable. You'll only get yourself in trouble later down the line."
"I promise I won't!" Luffy held up a pinky.
Shanks grinned even as they shook on it, "Such a kid." He guffawed. Luffy's face puffed up, "Now, your… whatever… are very, very strong and you're struggling to control them." Shanks stood and grabbed one of a hundred bamboo shoots that had been lying on the floor waiting for them. "Now, this training is to make sure you do not transform when you don't want to. You have to control the Sun, not the other way around." Shanks declared. Luffy started to sweat at his evil grin, "So I'm going to smack you with these bamboo sticks. If you destroy or even burn the sticks, I'll use my little trick and whack you!"
Luffy trembled, "This isn't revenge for accidentally stealing the fruit, is it?"
"Of course not." His grin was totally and utterly insincere.
It has been a few months since that incident at Makino's Party Bar, and Luffy was currently racing into town with a big smile on his face. Today was the day Shanks and the guys were supposed to come back! They had been gone for a couple weeks, and Luffy had missed the entire gang.
"Hey, Luffy! You look like you're in a good mood today! Didn't the Pirates leave you behind again? Either way, you can't swim anymore!" The shopkeeper who Luffy was buying his fish from looked amused.
"Shishishi! I'll just be a Pirate who never falls in the ocean!"
The mayor of the town – Woop Slap – ground his teeth behind Luffy, "What's so good about being the Sun?" He jeered, "I'll say it again Luffy! Don't become a Pirate! You'll ruin this town's reputation! The Captain may look reasonable, but you shouldn't hang around him again!"
Luffy had his fingers in his ear with his tongue stuck out of his mouth, "Sorry Mayor! I can't hear you!" He ran off to the Party Bar.
Even with Makino there, it really felt empty without the Pirates inside it. "Do you miss them Luffy? They've been gone a long time!" Makino mused as she cleaned one of the plates Luffy had used, "You looked pretty upset with them that day you gained your powers. Those bandits humiliated them."
Luffy laughed, "Shishishi! That was before I knew how strong they actually were! Shanks told me that the smallest bounty anyone on his crew has is ten times the amount that bandit guy had!" Makino's eyes went wide, "I understand him now. That stupid guy was an ant."
Makino's shocked look softened into a smile, but before she could say anything else, the door banged open once more. Luffy turned around and his mood instantly dropped. Higuma and his bandits were crowding into the bar, "Well, it looks like the Pirates aren't here today. It sure is quiet." They all sat with loud scrapes of the chairs on the new floor, greatly irritating Makino. "Well, what are you waiting for? We're customers! BRING US SAKE, WENCH!"
Luffy turned around and continued his meal, his mood soured. Even hearing that bandit's voice was irritating him, and his name for Makino wasn't helping his case. He continued stuffing his face while the bandits got more and more rowdy. Finally, he heard Makino yelp and spun rapidly on his stool. Higuma had his hand around Makino's waist and he had pulled her into his lap. His hands were certainly wandering, and Makino looked incredibly uncomfortable. She was struggling to get up, and Luffy roared, "Hey! Let go of Makino!"
Makino finally got free and walked as calmly as she could away from the bandit, even as she threw Luffy a worried look. Higuma sneered and got up, "You're that brat that was hanging out with those Pirates."
"That's right!" Luffy said, happy at having been recognized even if it was by these losers.
Higuma jeered, "So, where are those loser Pirates? Did they find another hovel to clean up?"
Luffy smirked, "The only losers are you idiots!"
Higuma growled and hauled Luffy up by his shirt, "Is that so brat?" He turned and tossed the boy bodily through the doors of the bar. The barmaid gasped and raced out of the back to get help. Luffy could have transformed, but he didn't want to burn down poor Makino's bar. He stayed human as he rolled on the ground, groaning slightly. Higuma grabbed him by the back of his shirt and hauled him to his feel, throwing him further into the square.
As Luffy got to his feet, he saw that he was surrounded by bandits. "So, we're losers huh brat?" One of the unnamed bandits kicked him, but Luffy had enough of getting manhandled. The bandit's leg impacted and then passed right through his burning body.
The man's insane, horrified screeching filled the air as Luffy's power began consuming him. Luffy gasped, horrified at the real effects of his Devil Fruit's powers on another human, even if the guy was scum. His foot had simply disappeared. The stump wasn't bleeding because it had been completely cauterized. He lost his balance with only one leg and crashed to the floor, howling at the top of his lungs. For a moment it didn't even hurt. All the nerves had been just as vaporized as the flesh. His hands reached for the stump, and now the pain hit as the remaining nerves in his leg started screaming as they were licked by the residual heat. His hands sizzled as he touched the wound, the heat cooking his flesh. Finally, he simply passed out, eyes rolled into the back of his head and foam spewing from his lips. His heart beat its last and his chest stilled.
"WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU?!" The bandits roared in terror, even as Luffy stared unblinkingly at the man, his mouth and eyes wide open.
"KILL THIS DAMN BRAT!" Higuma ripped his sword out of its sheath and commanded his men to attack. They all drew their blades and rushed forward with a roar. Luffy flinched and closed his eyes, feeling a little weird. Almost like ghosts were passing through him. He felt no pain and heard some little objects clattering near him, he opened them again. Even single one of the bandits but for Higuma himself were staring at their melted swords in horror. There was barely any blade left on any of those hilts. The residual heat was causing the cheap iron and crappy steel to warm, and the bandits released them with hisses. "IF SWORDS DON'T WORK THEN FUCKING SHOOT HIM!" Higuma spat, eyes wide in utter madness. The bandits again followed his orders, drawing their pistols and blunderbusses.
BANG BANG BANG!
The air filled with a cacophony of gunfire. This time, Luffy didn't close his eyes, even though every loud boom made him flinch. The bullets entered his body and landed on the ground behind him as little steaming puddles of melted lead.
"WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU!" A random bandit roared in fury and utter horror.
His forehead exploded in a shower of blood and the dirty man collapsed like a marionette with its strings cut. "DONNY?!" The bandits roared in unison, eyes bugging out. The life fluid splashed on Higuma's face before he could whirl around.
One second there had been no one behind Luffy, and the other there was a shadow over him. He looked up and his eyes started to water, "Sh-Shanks!" He cried, tears starting to dribble down his face. The red-haired Captain was wearing a new, black cloak over his usual attire. He looked really badass.
And completely and utterly enraged.
"What's wrong, Lu?" Shanks gazed down at him, "What happened to being great at fighting? Where are those pistol punches huh?" His face was completely serene, and yet Luffy could see nothing but a caged beast behind Shanks' eyes.
Luffy coughed out a laugh, "S-shut up! They got me by surprise." He tried to act tough, but they all caught the tremor in his voice. The events of the day had shaken him.
Shanks' eyes speared into Higuma. His smile was decidedly not friendly, "I was wondering why no one welcomed us at the docks."
"You bastard!" The bandits all pointed their guns at him, though most of them forgot they needed to reload, "You killed Donny!" One of them ground his teeth and got right in Shanks' face. He pulled the trigger and got nothing but a click. Not that it would have mattered even if it had been loaded,
"I did not." Shanks corrected lightly, "Yassop did." The rest of the crew showed up. He didn't even bother looking at the gun, "Every time you pull out your guns, you risk your life." He said calmly, "Those aren't toys." He pointed at it, "You don't use these things to scare people."
The second the last word was spoken, Lucky Roo appeared to the left of the bandit 'threatening' his Captain. The bandit's head exploded as Lucky pulled the trigger, spurting blood and brain matter onto the dirt. Lucky stood by, his easy-going grin on his lips and a leg of meat in his other hand. Makino and the Mayor gasped at seeing the happy-go-lucky, jolly man casually execute one of the people who had threatened Luffy.
The bandits exploded into noise, "Those bastards! That was dirty!"
Ben Beckman scoffed, "Dirty? What do you think we are? Saints?" He flipped his gun over so that the stock was facing outward.
Shanks stepped over the dead man, his cloak billowing in the breeze, "We are Pirates!" He said quietly, but he may as well have been yelling, "Listen well, bandits. You can whip food or Sake at me. You can even spit on me, and I'll laugh it all off." The intimidating look in his eyes terrified the bandits. Some even fainted, froth bubbling in their mouths, "But…I don't care what reasons you have! I won't forgive anyone who messes with my friends!" His pupils narrowed, and Luffy felt something pass through him.
Every bandit there collapsed bonelessly, dead as their hearts ruptured. Luffy eyed the aftermath in awe, shock, and a little bit of terror. He didn't even notice Shanks moving towards him until he was lifted into the man's arms, "Come on, little anchor." Shanks sighed, a faraway look in his eyes as his men started cleaning up, "You look like you could do with a friend."
"Shanks…" Luffy teared up again and started to cry into the man's chest.
"How are you holding up?" Shanks asked gently. Night had fallen, and Shanks had brought them up onto the roof of the bar to stargaze a bit. For once, he wasn't laughing at the boy as he drank juice.
Luffy lowered his cup, "Shanks I… did I…?" He struggled, the words not wanting to come out.
"Kill that bandit?" Shanks asked, knowing exactly what was bothering him, "I won't lie to make you feel better Luffy. He did die from a heart attack. The shock probably got to him." He said simply.
Luffy flinched, "And you…"
"Killed the rest." Shanks confirmed, staring up at the sky. He closed his eyes, "Admittedly I only wanted to knock them unconscious… but even my temper gets away from me sometimes. And seeing you looking utterly terrified and having put you into a situation where you accidentally did that was far past my… no… our boiling points." He put a hand on Luffy's head.
"Does it get easier?" Luffy asked quietly.
"Yes…" Shanks drifted off, "…and no."
Luffy snorted, "Stupid Shanks." A small upturn of his lips was the only indication of his fondness for the redhead.
He grinned back in response, "Sometimes, you're in a fight that you can't escape without the reaper getting his due, one way or another. Sometimes, it's just bad luck. An accident. You learn to respect those you kill, and you remember them. Sometimes their faces haunt your dreams." He turned his head up to the sky and breathed the night air in, "Sometimes, its evil men like them. You never lose sleep over it. You don't even remember them the next day. You may even think the world is a better place for getting rid of scum like that. The trick…" He eyed the boy seriously and turned Luffy's head to make sure he was giving him his undivided attention, "Is to never start enjoying it." He tapped the little anchor's nose, "Because the second you do… you become a monster just like them."
Luffy shook his head rapidly, "I would never!"
"Wasn't saying you would. I think I know you better than that." The Captain chided with a grin, "The sea is a harsh place Luffy. We're the exceptions to the rules. There are a LOT of Pirates who are just like those men, who love nothing more than causing pain and misery. Sometimes, killing will be unavoidable. Perhaps someday, it'll be the only way to protect those who you love. And if that day comes Lu, you must not hesitate… or you will wish you hadn't. Because that hesitation could be the difference between embracing your loved ones or burying them. If you truly want to be a Pirate like us… if freedom is what you desire… if that truly is your Dream… you're going to have to square with that someday."
Luffy was silent.
"You're leaving for real this time?" Luffy looked down, but he stared at his hero all the same. He'd done quite a bit of soul searching the past few days, the events running through his mind's eyes over and over. He wondered if he could maybe have done anything different. Kept silent perhaps? But that bastard had grabbed Makino in a way she most definitely had not liked, and Luffy could never have kept silent. And taking his lumps like Shanks had in the bar didn't appeal either. In the end, he acknowledged Shanks' words, and tried to put the events from his tiny mind. The memories still snuck up on him at night, but the talk with Shanks had certainly helped.
"Yeah…" Shanks looked over at the ship, where the rest of his crew and even some of the villagers was still packing on supplies. "We've been here too long. It's time we move on." He grinned at his young friend and mussed up his hair. "You aren't upset, are you?"
Luffy responded immediately, "Of course I am!" He exclaimed, "We're all friends aren't we!"
Shanks and the crew in earshot smirked and let out short cheers, "Of course. But aren't you going to beg to go with us again?" He teased with his tongue wagging.
"Nah." Luffy shook his head, "I'll become a Pirate on my own!" He pumped a fist in challenge.
Shanks laughed and drew his eyelid down with a finger, "Idiot! You don't have what it takes to be a Pirate!"
Luffy immediately growled and balled up his fists, "Of course I do!" He roared, "One day I'll set sail and find a crew stronger than yours!" Shanks' eyebrows rose in surprise and his grin widened, "I'll find that treasure with them! The world's biggest!" He threw his arms out in the air, letting off two short blasts of his power, "I'M GOING TO BE THE PIRATE KING! YOU'LL SEE!"
Shanks' grin grew to the widest Luffy had ever seen it, "Hoh? You're going to be bigger than all of us huh? Well then…" Luffy stared at the ground, trembling and trying not to cry. Shanks' eyes were shadowed by his straw hat up until he removed it with his right arm, "I'll leave this precious hat of mine to you." Luffy froze as Shanks pushed his treasure hat onto his head, not breathing for a moment. His head dipped further, and twin streams of tears dripped from under the hat, "It's very dear to me. Take good care of it!" Shanks turned and walked away, his cloak billowing as he hopped up a massive distance up onto the ship, "Become a great Pirate Luffy! When we next meet, you'll give that hat back!"
"SHAAAAANNNNKKKKSSSSSS!" Luffy cried even as he waved goodbye to his departing friends. His dream had been acknowledged by his hero, and Luffy would never stop until he achieved it!
On the rapidly shrinking ship, Ben had his eyes closed and a smile on his lips, "He's going to be great, isn't he?"
Shanks chuckled as he stood near the rails, leaning on it with both hands. His hair waved in the breeze, "Of course. He reminds me of us."
Ten years had passed since the Red-Haired Pirates had set sail for the last time. The sleepy little town of Foosha hadn't changed much. Oh sure, there were periods of time where it was quieter than usual – usually when Luffy was in the mountains or away with Garp – but beyond that, Shanks and his crew would have been right at home.
But Shanks never had returned, keeping to his promise of only meeting Luffy again when the kid had made it big.
And today was the day Luffy was finally going to set out on his grand adventure!
"There he goes!" Makino waved cheerfully at the rapidly shrinking dot on the horizon. She had a wide grin to contrast with Woop Slap's scowl, "Looks like he finally left! We're sure going to miss him..."
The mayor merely growled, "He's going to ruin this town's reputation!" Makino rolled her eyes as she turned to go back to the bar in response.
Out on the sea, Luffy was cheerfully lounging on his tiny little dinghy. He was wearing his soon-to-be-signature Straw Hat, an open, red cardigan with flared sleeves exposing his chest, and some blue jean shorts with cuffs. Luffy had grown well in the ten years since he'd last seen his hero. He was as tall as his brother had been the last time he'd seen him at 6'0". He wasn't quite as muscular though, being a little bit slimmer. "Man, the weather sure is great today!" He exclaimed cheerfully as he spun his hat on his fingertip.
But a bubbling ruined the serene peace of the open ocean. "Eh?" Luffy opened an eye and plopped his Straw Hat back onto his head before grinning, "Huh, you're big." The Lord of the Coast was a large Sea King which had terrified any smaller vessels around Foosha for decades. "So, you're the jerk that sank Makino's supplies last year, huh?" It rose from the ocean, water dripping from its form. It snarled and started racing towards Luffy and his dinghy as the Sun Man stood up.
Luffy balled up his right fist and cocked it, "Enjū!" It happened in an instant. One moment the great Sea King was diving towards Luffy, and the next a blinding light was scorching through the air. The water hissed as it instantly began to boil with the passing of the golden beam. The Sea King didn't even have time to regret its decision before the energy was upon it and burning a hole straight through its skull. It wobbled for a moment – a smoking, cauterized wound visible through it – before it collapsed to the water and began sinking.
Luffy grinned impossibly wide, "Shishishi…How'd that taste, you stupid fish!" His hat was shadowing his eyes as he struck a pose, one fist clenched in front of him with the other gripping his forearm.
He collapsed back down lazily. He crossed his arms behind his back and began lounging lazily, "Well, before I head off to the Grand Line…" He pumped his arms out, "I need some good friends!" he laughed good-naturedly, "And then…! We'll get a ship and a flag! And then! I'll become the Pirate King!"
The next day, Luffy again had a giant grin on his face, "Man, what great weather again!" he cheered, "Who would have thought I'd get into such a mess on such a great day!" And indeed, the absolutely massive, whirling dervish of a maelstrom sucking in his tiny boat could certainly be described as 'a mess.' "Man, what a huge whirlpool. How careless of me." His grin hadn't even changed, as if he was just talking about the weather and not the hungry death spiral. "Man, and I can't even swim!" His face finally changed, an 'o' of realization appearing, "Wait, it wouldn't matter even if I could swim!"
And then the whirlpool swallowed him.
Somewhat far away, a large ship sat in the gently rolling waves. A manicured hand with pearls around the wrist was seen running a finger across the railing. "What's this?" A dangerous, rough sounding female(?) voice was heard saying. Instantly, all of the men on the ship stiffened in fear, "What is all this dust?" She asked the shivering men.
"Ah, I'm so sorry, Alvida-sama! I thought I had already cleaned the entire deck! I-I'll clean it again! So please do-don't-"
"Don't what?" She whirled around.
"Please don't hit me with your maaaa-" The word he was going to say was "mace."
The iron mace of Alvida crashed onto the man's skull and split it wide open. He collapsed like a puppet with his strings cut and crashed to the deck. He began to bleed out and didn't move again.
…Which… honestly defeated the point of keeping the deck clean.
"Coby!" Alvida roared as she slowly…turned around. The woman was very, very obese. She took up enough space for five men, and she carried a massive, hulking slab of iron she called a mace. She was a wearing a pink plaid shirt that was stretched disgustingly taut over her frame, an equally tight pair of greying pants and a blue Captain's coat. She had a white, red-plumed cowgirl hat and was covered in gaudy looking jewelry. She had a flintlock tied to her by a purple sash to finish off the look.
All in all, she was a disgusting whale.
The 'Coby' she was addressing was a chubby, dorky looking boy with a pink bowl-cut. "Y-yes Alvida-sama?"
"Who is the most beautiful woman in the entire sea?" She asked threateningly.
Not you. "A-ah, that would o-of course be y-you, Alvida-sama!" Coby shakily answered.
"That's right!" The rotund woman roared, "And because of it, I don't want a single dirty thing on my entire ship! I don't want to see even a single speck of dust!" She – slowly – turned to him again, "The only reason you're alive is because you're a good navigator." She snarled at the terrified boy.
You fat old hag. "O-of course, Alvida-sama!" He cried piteously, not allowing any tears to escape.
"Other than that, you're entirely worthless! Now, clean my shoes!" She thrust her large leg at the boy.
"Yes, Alvida-sama." He moaned. After a few minutes of cleaning, he got a boot to the face.
"That's enough, trash!" She snarled, "Go clean the wash room!" And with that, she lost interest in the flaky boy.
"Haha, I'll be on my way, Alvida-sama!" As they all left him, his face turned down as he finally allowed a tear to escape, "I'll be on my way." He whispered.
Two sailors were lazily slumped over one of the railings of the cruise ship they were on. They were just relaxing and looking out at the whirlpool they were passing by. The seagulls were singing, and it was pretty peaceful, other than the gaping maw in the ocean. "Huh?" Their attention was grabbed by a barrel hitting the side of the ship. The two sailors grinned at each other and fetched a rope with a claw on it to grab the barrel. They each took turns trying to snatch the barrel and failed on the first four attempts. The next sailor spun it mightily over his head and flung it downward with a roar of, "Hit it!"
The claw went wide.
The other sailor laughed at his friend's ongoing misfortune, "Three strikes! Batter out!"
Inside the extremely opulent ship, a beautiful orange-haired girl wearing a nice, pale dress was staring out the window with her chin in her palm. Fancy violin music was being played by the live band. The Captain was heard reassuring one of the passengers that a whirlpool of the size they were passing wasn't even a worry to the ship. One young man came up to the orange-haired girl and asked for a dance, which she accepted with a smile.
Outside, the men finally grabbed the barrel with the claw and hauled it into the ship. "Awesome! This thing is hea~vy! Must be full of booze!" The larger sailor beamed.
Their merriment was cut short by a horrified gasp from up in the crow's nest! "P-p-p-PIRATES! It's a Pirate ship! Enemy raid! Enemy raid!" The sailors gasped and ran off inside to alert the Captain in their panic.
The Pirate ship – which had been painted a lurid pink of all things – had a large red heart on the main sail, which was coming unfurled. Smoke erupted from the eyesore, with three large cannon balls surging towards the cruise ship! After a few seconds flight they finally impacted, all going wide of their target. Large geysers of water blew into the air and shook the ship terribly.
Inside, all of the passengers were screaming and panicking and running around like chicken with their heads cut off. All of course, but one. The orange-haired girl had widened her stance to keep her balance and had her arms out to aid in that. Slowly, a wide smirk formed on her lips.
On the enemy Pirate ship, Alvida was smirking as they finally scored a direct hit and broke the dolphin figurehead at the front of the ship. "Coby! Who is the most beautiful woman in the entire sea?"
Basically, anyone but you, you ugly whale. "Y-you are of course, Alvida-sama."
She laughed hoarsely, "Well done." Coby stammered his thanks.
"This will be our first good haul in a while." One of the men licked his lips.
She grinned wider, "Pound them good boys! Show them the terror of Lady Alvida!" The ship turned slightly and fired with its front-facing cannon, striking a direct hit on the main mast.
On the ship, the barrel rolled down some steps and into the holds, finally turning into an open door. Elsewhere on the ship, the orange-haired girl was running with an irritated grimace on her face. She really didn't want to get this dress messed up, so she was being forced to hold up the hem. She reached the door and broke out, turning right only to shiver and squeak as the much smaller Pirate ship pulled alongside the cruise ship. She turned tail and ran back the way she had come, as the Pirates threw their hooks and got onto the ship.
"What do you think you're doing, Coby?" Alvida noticed the boy shaking like a leaf and snarled at him for his hesitation.
"I-I'm not really good at this." Coby stammered at his jailor.
She snarled and booted him in the behind, "Don't back talk me! Get your ass into gear!"
Coby flew onto the deck of the ship and landed face-first into one of the walls. He slumped to the floor and began sniveling. Alvida followed with her mace held high, terrifying Coby with her huge jump and the fact that she was going to hit him! He screamed like a girl and scrambled out of the way, allowing Alvida and her mace to plow right through the wall. Smoke and dust and wood chips flew through the air for a few moments, before revealing a dazed Alvida sitting there.
One of the Pirates grinned menacingly, "We won't be taking yer lives today, but we will take all yer valuables. Start handing them over."
Alvida shook herself and wandered over, "Anyone who argues takes a nice swim in that whirlpool." Inside the ship, their raucous laughter was all the orange-haired girl could hear. She smirked and threw her fancy dress off, revealing a tight blue shirt, loose black pants with a red sash, and a black bandana covering parts of her orange hair.
A few minutes later, Coby was checking about the ship in a frightened manner when he came upon a room with an open door, "He-hello?" He poked his head in slowly. There was no one there of course. He sighed in relief as he entered, before taking note of the large barrel that had knocked a bunch of stuff over off to the side. "Man, what a large barrel…" He mused.
Outside, the orange-haired girl had used one of the hook ropes the Pirates had left behind to zip line over and board the ugly Pirate ship. She swiftly moved to the door and looked around several times before reaching for the doorknob. Before she had even touched it, it sprang open and spooked her greatly. She sprang back and took up a weird pose as the Pirate looked her over. "Hey, who are you? I don't think I've seen you before." He eyed her with a growing grin as he leaned closer. She chuckled slightly before her weird pose turned into a vicious kick.
She planted her foot as hard as she could right between the man's legs. He would have begun singing soprano if he hadn't immediately swallowed his tongue. Instead, he collapsed to the deck, unconsciously holding his precious. She smiled brightly and made her way into the ship after hiding the body.
Inside the cruise ship, Coby was struggling to move the barrel, rolling it over to the door. "Hey, what are you sneaking around for Coby?" one of the Pirates popped up behind him with a grin, scaring the crap out of the boy.
"A-ah! I was just rolling this over to the ship! It's pretty heavy!" He exclaimed in panic.
The Pirate grinned, "Heavy eh? That's good. Must be full of booze." He hauled it upright, "And I'm thirsty." He licked his lips.
"We can't!" Coby yelled in shock, "Alvida-sama will kill us!"
The Pirate sneered as he raised his fist, "Well as long as you don't tell, she doesn't have to know! You just need to keep yer mouth shut!" He swung downward with a hard punch to break through the top of the barrel.
Only it wasn't his fist that broke through. Instead, two fists burst upward right through the lid, one of which nailed him clean in the jaw as a boy wearing a straw hat and a massive grin came up yawning, "Man, what a great nap! I slept awesomely!" The thud of the Pirate hitting the floor drew his attention, "Huh?" He looked over to the downed man before looking owlishly at the other two Pirates, "Who are you guys?"
The two sprang forward with shark teeth and roared at him, "No! Who the hell are you!"
Luffy ignored them as he stepped out of the barrel, "Man, that guys going to catch a cold if he sleeps on the floor, you know?"
Their eyes bugged out, "YOU PUT HIM THERE!" They drew swords, and Luffy looked at them with a confused look, "Do you even know who you're messing with brat? We're Pirates!"
Luffy ignored them entirely, turning to Coby, "Man, I'm hungry. You guys have any food?"
The Pirate's eyes bulged out even more, "Listen when people are talking!" They both raised their swords in the air, "You damn brat!" The swung, eager to have their blades taste flesh. Coby covered his eyes with his hands. SHING. Thunk. Thunk.
He slowly uncovered them, steadying himself for the horrifying sight he would no doubt come across. He gasped in shock and started to stare. The boy's right arm was pointing left with a closed fist. The two swords the Pirates had drawn were each broken with their tips stuck in the floorboards. And the Pirates?
They were both embedded up to their waists in the walls on the far side of the room, legs hanging limply in their holes. Coby stammered, "You…what…how?" he screamed, "Who are you?"
"Eh?" Luffy turned to him, "I'm Monkey D. Luffy. Nice ta meetcha." He grinned.
Coby shook himself, "You have to hurry! They're bound to wake up soon and if they come back with their friends you're dead! There's over thirty of them!"
Luffy snorted before picking at his nose with a pinky, "Nah, I'm hungry. Got any food?"
Coby only gaped. "How can you be so carefree! They're Pirates!"
"And? I'm a Pirate too." Luffy grinned at Coby's horrified look, "I only just started out though. I was just setting sail for the first time when I accidently went into a whirlpool. Shishishi." he laughed, before beginning to sniff at the air.
He started walking forward so Coby grabbed him, trying to haul him away, "No not that way! There are dozens of them! You have to get out!" Luffy didn't even slow his stride as he dragged the pink-haired boy – scraping feet and all – through a doorway. He grinned brightly and dove down into the food in the room. Coby sighed as he noticed they were fairly hidden here, "Actually, this room isn't that bad. They might not find us here." Luffy wasn't even paying attention. He was stuffing his face full of food. "You're Luffy right? I'm Coby." He started down the steps, "That was incredible just now. How did you do that?"
Luffy turned around as Coby reached him, "These are great!" he exclaimed, completely ignoring Coby's questioning. He turned back around and continued to eat, "Is this a Pirate ship?"
Coby shook his head, "No, this is a cruise ship the Alvida Pirates are raiding."
Luffy paused for a moment, before continuing to stuff his face. "Are there any boats on board? I kind of lost mine in that whirlpool. Man, that sure was a surprise. I never even saw it coming since it had been such a nice day. Shishishi." He chuckled through the food in his mouth.
"There should be. All ships have life boats, right?" Coby replied with a small smile as he watched the glutton feed.
"You one of these Pirates?" Luffy asked.
Coby stiffened, "N-not exactly. I wandered onto a boat to go fishing." He looked down, "But it turns out that it was a dinghy belonging to Alvida-sama's ship. It's been two years since." He held onto his knees, "They made me a cabin boy in exchange for my life." He finished in misery.
It was silent for a moment, before Luffy started to chuckle again, "Man, you're an idiot. Who just walks onto a Pirate dinghy?"
If anything, the weight on Coby's shoulders got heavier, "You're brutally honest."
"Well if you hate it and you want to leave, then leave." Luffy stretched his back out, loud pops ringing in the air.
"I-I can't! No way! No way! Just thinking of Alvida-sama finding out terrifies me! I'm too scared!" Coby was stammering even at the thought of doing so. Just this morning he'd had a reminder of what that mace could do.
"And you're a coward too?" Luffy laughed, stabbing yet another arrow into Coby's self-esteem. "Man, I hate you!"
Tears streamed down Coby's slumped face, and it almost looked like he was about to give up the ghost. He drew himself up and bowed forward morosely, "Yeah, you're right. I'm a coward. If only I had the courage to be like you and drift in a barrel…" He sighed, "There's something I want to do too… Ah…Luffy? What compelled you onto the sea?"
Luffy grinned and pumped his fists into the air, "I'm going to the Grand Line of course!" Coby gasped, "I'm going to be the Pirate King!"
Coby's jaw dropped, and his pupils shrank into pinpricks. He was hearing alarm bells in his head and he was practically choking, "I-Impossible! No way! No way! Pirate King? Are you serious!"
"Yeah?" Luffy shrugged nonchalantly, "Got a problem with that?"
"What about your crew?" Coby stammered.
"Don't have one yet." Luffy said cheerfully. "I just started out. I'm just starting to go looking!" Coby froze, and even when Luffy stepped forward and waved a hand in his face he didn't move.
"P-Pirate King is the title given to the one who obtains everything! The greatest treasures! Wealth! Fame! Power!" With each word, Luffy nodded, "…One Piece!"
"Yep!" Luffy confirmed with a bright, wide grin.
"Pirates all over the world are after that treasure!" He screamed in shock.
"Me too. And I'll be the one to get it!" Luffy wasn't bragging when he said it. It was just a statement of fact.
"No! Impossible! No way! No way! Absolutely no way!" Coby shook his head back and forth with his fists clenched. "There's no way you can stand at the apex of this Pirate era and scream that! No way no wa-"
Luffy's fist collided with the younger boy's head, "Shut up, you idiot."
"Wh-why'd you hit me?" Coby sniffled, clutching his noggin, "Not like I'm not used to it by now. It's alright I guess." He laugh-cried.
"It's not about whether I can or can't." Luffy said as he held onto his hat, "I'm going to do it because I want to!" He said passionately, "It's my dream! I'll become the Pirate King, or I'll die fighting for that dream! I don't care if I lose my life trying! If I just sat at home I could never forgive myself!" He stood up and put his hat back on, "Well, I'm full. I'm going to go find a boat."
"W-wait!" Coby yelled, "Luffy! I have a dream too! Do you think I can accomplish it if I stake my life on it!"
"Do what?" Luffy stopped walking and looked over at the coward.
"Do you think I can join the navy?" Luffy smirked, "Catching bad guys is my dream!" All hint of a stutter was gone from the cowardly boy's voice, "It's been my dream ever since I was little!"
"Then do it!" Luffy yelled and clapped him in the back, "Don't let your dreams be dreams! If you don't fight for them, who will?"
"That's right!" Coby screamed, "I'm not going to be a chore boy forever!" He was working himself into a frenzy, "I'm going to be a great Marine and work tirelessly to catch criminals! And the first one I'm going to catch is Alvida-Sama- NO, Alvida!"
And with that, the ceiling broke and all strength left the boy's body as Alvida's huge mass landed behind him, "Who did you say you were going to catch, Coby?" Coby shook and trembled as Alvida's form was revealed.
Luffy blinked as he looked at her with his head inclined to the side. Five swords burst from the wood behind him, "Oro?" He looked puzzled.
"Hah, you don't look like Pirate Hunter Zoro to me." Alvida smirked at him, before drawing her gaze to the pink-haired boy, "COBY! Who is the most beautiful woman in the entire sea?"
Coby stammered and rubbed his head with a terrified smile, "Tha-that would be-"
"Hey Coby, who's the fat hag?" Luffy picked his nose with his pinky.
Jaws dropped from both of the other occupants as well as the men standing at the hole in the ceiling.
Alvida wasn't breathing for a moment, before she started to grind her teeth and tic marks started popping up all over her huge face, "YOU GOD DAMN BRAT!" She roared as she hauled her massive mace up and over her head. She started swinging downward.
Luffy grinned. In the blink of an eye, his foot was on Alvida's head with Coby held by the face in his right hand, "See ya, lard ass!" And with that, both he and Coby were sailing through the large hole. Alvida's mace crashed onto the space her target had occupied, throwing up dust and wood chips.
The two landed on the deck, where the two trembling Pirates Luffy had decked earlier were shaking. Steeling themselves, they drew new swords and charged with loud battle cries. Luffy rolled his eyes and got in front of them in a blink, his fists digging into their domes. Teeth and blood flew as they were launched hard across the deck, impacting the railings and tumbling right off the ship. Behind him a swordsman roared as he leapt in for a 'sneak' attack. Luffy sidestepped, "Man, backstabs are for losers." He spun and grabbed the man's face, pounding it into the ship. Wood cracked, and splinters flew out of the new crater formed by the guy's skull.
"Oro?" He looked up and saw dozens more Pirates above him, "Mass attacks aren't cool either!" He screamed as he ran in 'fear' from the dozens of Pirates chasing him. He smirked in amusement as he led the men on a merry chase across the deck. In his peripheral, he noticed a girl in a blue shirt and bandana sneak out of Alvida's Pirate ship with a huge bag slung over her shoulders. He grinned. Wasn't that interesting? He spun and laughed out, "Just kidding!" He vanished from sight and before any of the Pirates even knew what hit them, they were all slumped over on the deck with fist marks all over their bodies or even kicked off the deck and into the drink. "Shishishi."
Coby shivered, "A-amazing! You took out all those tough Pirates like they were nothing!"
Luffy rubbed his nose while chuckling, "Tough? Those guys were weaklings. No challenge at all."
"Do you…do you think I could ever be as strong as you, Luffy?" Coby asked shyly.
"Not a clue." Luffy grinned cheerfully, "That's all on you, coward-boy!"
Coby slumped, an arrow saying 'coward' sticking out of his back. "S-so mean!"
And with that, another loud crash broke through the silence. Alvida had shown up once more. "So, you're not Pirate Hunter Zoro. I haven't seen you use a sword yet."
Luffy picked his nose once more, "Oh hey, the hag showed up again."
Coby's jaw dropped while Alvida almost erupted in fury, "L-Luffy! Repeat after me!" He grabbed his arm tightly, "Alvida-sama is the most…" And suddenly, images of his (hopeful) friend started flashing through his eyes. His strength. "The most…" His conviction. His lack of fear. And then he saw himself. Abused. Kicked around. Terrorized. Coby grit his teeth and turned to Alvida, "THE UGLIEST, MOST HORRIFYING BITCH I'VE EVER SEEN!" He roared out in defiance. Luffy erupted into hysterical laughter at the boy's words.
Alvida's teeth ground so hard her teeth cracked, "COBY!" She raised her massive mace in fury, ready to end the pink-haired blight in front of her.
Coby shuddered, but stared at his oncoming death with steel in his spine, 'I…I did it! I fought against her!' He gulped and screamed, "I have no regrets!"
Luffy moved in front of the bludgeon, "Well said!" His smile was stupidly wide as he back-handed the giant hunk of metal so hard that it shattered into tiny pieces and rained all over the deck.
"What!" Alvida's eyes were bulging out of her head as she gasped in shock, mirrored by Coby whose jaw also dropped. He knew Luffy was strong, but this strong?
"Grit those teeth!" The madly smirking Straw Hat Pirate formed a hard fist and nailed the rotund Alvida square in the jaw. The fat on her face billowed out for a moment from the point of impact, like a shockwave forming on her face. She let out as much of a moan of pain as she could, before lifting clean off her feet and getting blown away like a very un-aerodynamic rocket. She went tumbling ass over teakettle in the air, rapidly shrinking into the distance. Minutes later, one of her poor henchmen turned purple as he noticed her heading straight for him. His cry of fear was silenced as his mistress practically cannonballed on top of him.
Luffy smirked and held his fist up to his lips before blowing over it. He then glanced over to the still-standing Pirates who were just staring at him in stupor and was about to demand a boat for him and Coby when the entire boat shook.
Twin geysers rose up near the boat, indicative of more cannon fire. Luffy clicked his teeth as he noticed the three Marine Battleships a ways away. "Tch! What are those idiots doing?" He growled, "What the hell are they firing at? Grandpa would have their hides!" Glancing at Coby – who was halfway between awestruck and horrified – he decided that he needed to get out of here. Remembering the girl who had been sneaking away, he grabbed Coby and threw him over his shoulder before jumping from the cruise ship to the Pirate vessel anchored to it. He quickly raced off in the direction he'd seen the girl run and noticed her securing her sack to the small boat in a panicked hurry.
He jumped with Coby onto the boat, and the orange-haired girl let out a shriek of fear as she almost fell off the boat. Luffy grabbed her and steadied her, taking care not to let her or the sack fall over. "Who the hell are you!" She shrieked in panic.
"We can meet and greet after we're out of here. Shishishi!" Luffy laughed for a moment before the boat rose into the air on a swell from latest cannon fire. He turned hard eyes to the three Marine vessels, "Those idiots are going to sink the cruise ship along with the damn Pirate ship!"
Growling, he placed his right foot back and held his two hands facing each other at his sides. "What are you doi-" The girl cut herself off with a squeak of fear as golden, shining light and fire started forming between his hands, growing to roughly the size of a very large cannonball. The heat radiating from it had the both of them begin to sweat and inch away as far as they could get on their dinghy.
Luffy grinned and took aim, "Enten Enten no…Kōen!" He roared and thrust his hands forward. The brilliant, blazing blast of plasma rocketed forward at speed, racing towards the three panicking Marine ships. But Luffy hadn't been aiming at the ships.
He was aiming in between them. Immediately upon impact, the great fireball exploded, sending superheating water upward in the largest jet any of them had ever seen. It easily outclassed the earlier blasts from both the Marine cannons as well as Alvida's cannons. It dwarfed the ships, making them seem tiny in comparison. And when the large amount of water started crashing down, it generated a huge tsunami! The ships were picked up and carried off in different directions with panicking Marines holding on for dear life. One of them even came close to capsizing before it was able to right itself.
"Shishishi!" Luffy laughed at his victory, holding out a peace sign.
"That was too much!" The girl roared with shark teeth out, almost hyperventilating as she saw the – shrinking, but still quite large – tidal wave approaching their tiny boat, "You're going to hit us too!"
"Oops!" Luffy sweatdropped as they were picked up and tossed away from the ships. Nami and Coby were hugging each other with tears streaming down their terrified faces.
"I thought I was going to die." The girl muttered tearfully as she cradled her treasure. Coby was staring blankly at the sky as if he had already given up the ghost. They had gotten away scot free. The Marines were nowhere in sight, the sun was shining, and the sea was calm. She huffed a sigh out, before smiling slightly, "But hey, I got a lot of treasure out of it!" She said the last part mostly to herself, though Luffy heard her anyway.
"Shishishi, that was fun!" Luffy exclaimed before promptly taking a fist right to the head courtesy of an angry orange-haired girl. "Ow! What was that for!"
"You almost got us killed!" She screamed in a demonic tone, waving her smoking fist in front of him. She slumped over and lounged on her bag, "I'm Nami!" She introduced herself, all traces of anger gone.
Luffy grinned, "I'm Monkey D. Luffy! This wimpy-looking guy is Coby." Said wimpy-looking guy slumped over in depression.
Nami smiled and gave him a high five, "Well, you certainly helped our getaway, even if it was terrifying." She glared, her mood seeming to flip-flop every few seconds, "Don't do that again!" Suddenly she was all smiles again, "Still, you are pretty strong!" She exclaimed brightly.
"Shishishi! I worked hard!" Luffy confirmed, clamping a hand onto his bicep.
Nami smiled and leaned over, exposing her cleavage a tiny bit more. Luffy's eyes didn't dip in the slightest, disappointing Nami somewhat, "I'm a thief who robs Pirates of their treasures!" She exclaimed, "I could use a guy like you helping me! I'm the best damn navigator in the seas and I need some strong people helping me take treasure!" She grinned, "Shall we be partners?"
Luffy slumped back, "Nah. Not interested."
Nami's smile dipped, "Aww, don't be like that! We could get a lot of money!" She said enticingly. Luffy ignored her. She scowled, "Fine." She muttered to herself and crossed her arms under her enticing bust, "So, what are you out on the sea for?"
Coby – who had seemingly revived – was sweating buckets. 'Don't-be-an-idiot! Don't-be-an-idiot! Don't-be-an-id-'
Only Luffy's wide smile was visible from under his straw hat. He pumped a fist up, "I'm going to be the Pirate King!" He declared loudly.
To the avowed Pirate Thief. To the now furious-looking avowed Pirate Thief. She growled, "So, you're a scumbag Pirate are you!" She hissed, "Everything in this era is Pirate this and Pirate that! I hate it!" She pointed at him, "I hate Pirates! I should just toss you overboard!"
Coby gasped, wondering if the girl was insane. Had she not just seen the same thing he had? Luffy looked at her seriously for long enough that she started to sweat, suddenly remembering the giant attack he'd used earlier. Suddenly, Luffy spoke calmly, "You can't do that."
She sneered, putting on a brave face full of false-bravado even as she tried not to tremble, "Oh? And why not?"
Luffy stared at her intensely, deep into her eyes. Nami started feeling even more uncomfortable, "I'll die!" Luffy said.
Nami and Coby slumped to the wooden floor of their boat in loud crashes. Nami mumbled, "This…this guys a moron…"
"Shishishi!" Luffy laughed, having successfully diffused the situation.
"And why would you die?" Nami managed to ask after getting back to her sitting position.
"I ate the Akuma no Mi!" Nami and Coby gasped, "I became a Sun Man! Or I guess a Star Man would work too. Shishishi!"
"Waitwaitwait! You mean those actually exist!" Nami stammered in shock. "I thought they were just a myth!"
Luffy chuckled, "No, they're real alright." He grinned, "A Pirate crew had used my town as a base and they brought it with them after one of their voyages." He smiled gently, looking at the sky and remembering the memory, "I thought it was just a dessert that they had brought with them, and when this asshole Mountain Bandit showed up I ate it while I was distracted." He laughed, "Man, that thing tasted so bad. It was like someone had mixed ashes and hot coals into a fruit that would burn everything going down, except it wasn't spicy. Maybe throw in some long-expired milk too. Blegh!" Nami and Coby turned green.
Nami shook herself, "Man, what did those Pirates do to you when they found out you had eaten it? Even though most people thought they were just legends, I still heard that even a single Devil Fruit can go for hundreds of millions on the black market. I just never though they were real, otherwise I definitely would have been hunting for them. They must have been so angry…" She whispered, "I'm surprised you're even still alive."
Luffy snorted, "Yeah, they were pissed alright. Pissed I had permanently given up the chance to ever swim." Nami and Coby gaped in disbelief. Luffy grinned at them, seeing the utter shock in both their eyes, "Not all Pirates are scumbags you know. We were all good friends. We even had a great celebration afterwards. And before they left for good, their Captain even acknowledged my dream, and told me they'd be waiting for me in the Grand Line." He looked back at the sky, "I miss them a lot." He drifted off to sleep, not seeing the look in Nami's eyes.
She turned her head away, not wanting Coby to see her gritting teeth and glinting eyes.
What were supposed to say to worldview-shattering statements like that? What were you supposed to say to the knowledge that you'd just had shit luck?
When Luffy next awoke, it was already in the dead of night. The boat was calmly sailing onward, but both of the other two members of the boat seemed to be asleep. Coby was sleeping like the dead, while Nami was shivering and tossing around. Luffy smiled and took off his shirt before walking over to her. He draped the shirt over her form in an attempt to warm her.
He turned to go back to his spot, when he heard her voice behind him, "You're awfully brave, sleeping like that near someone who threatened to drown you." He turned and stared at Nami, who apparently had been awake. Despite her hatred of Pirates, she was still cold, and the day's earlier conversation had shaken her.
Luffy grinned, "You didn't seem like a bad person." She averted her eyes, "You've had some bad things done to you by Pirates, haven't you?" She looked away fully. He sat right beside her, "I hate Pirates like that too." He said seriously, getting her eyes to snap onto him, "Picking on the weak. Lording it over others. Hurting others. Hurting their comrades." He growled, heckles raised high. All he could see in his mind's eye were those mismatched teeth, tanned skin, and those cornrows, "I hate bastards like that too. That's not what being a Pirate is about."
Nami sneered halfheartedly, "Of course it is. That's how all Pirates are."
Luffy grinned, "Sure they are. Next, I suppose you'll tell me all Marines are good, right?" He laughed at the girl. "You saw what those Marines back there-" he jerked his head in the direction they came from, "-did when they found us. They just started blasting away, uncaring if they hit the cruise ship. Anything to catch Pirates, right?"
Nami looked away, biting her lip. He sighed and got up, "You can't paint everyone with the same brush. Are there a whole load of Pirates out there destroying things and giving the rest of us a bad name? Yeah, there are." He said seriously, "They're the ones who will never make it anywhere. The ones who have to bully others to make themselves seem strong. To make them feel better about themselves."
With that, he fell back where he had originally been and was out like a light. Nami stared at his direction for a moment, before clutching his shirt tighter and trying to fall asleep herself.
The next day dawned bright and beautiful, getting a pleased moan out of a no-longer-cold Nami. She stretched like a cat and a large smile, enjoying the sun starting to shine down on them. She and Coby shared a small breakfast in silence, each stealing glances at the still sleeping Luffy. Finally, Nami sighed before going and shaking the man awake, "Hey, wake up. We have some breakfast here."
The snot bubble he'd been unconsciously blowing popped, and he went from fully asleep to fully awake in the blink of an eye. He sprang up, just barely missing Nami's head with his own as he stood and looked around wildly. Nami had fallen to the boards as she dodged Luffy's head, and glared at him from her seat, "What the hell was that!" She roared at him with a trembling finger pointed in his direction, "You almost hit me!"
Luffy rubbed his head sheepishly, "Sorry about that. I'm kinda trained to wake up instantly and attack."
She scoffed, "Why the hell would you do that?" Coby looked interested in his answer.
Luffy chortled out loud, "Shishishi. Well, if I didn't get up instantly like that I was usually in for a whole world of hurt. My grandpa certainly didn't pull any punches while he was training me." His eyes were far away, and some purple showed on his countenance. "If I didn't wake up when called the first time, I'd find myself falling into a canyon. Or put into a weather balloon and sent into the sky. Or tossed into a tiger pit."
With each listing, Nami and Coby paled, "Wh-wh-what the hell! Who does that! Why would he do that to his own grandson!" They both screamed in horror. Luffy's smile dimmed and he looked out at sea, recalling the events that had led up to his first truly serious request for training. Coby and Nami could instantly read the mood, and Nami's teeth ground inside her mouth as she recognized the look on his face. How could she not? She had the same look whenever she thought of her mother, "Luffy, if you don't want to tell us-"
"Nah, It's fine." Luffy sighed, "Unfortunately, the awesome Pirates that stayed with me for a year and ended up giving me my Devil Fruit weren't the only Pirates I met. Their actions indirectly led to the death of one of my sworn brothers." His audience gasped, "After that, I begged my grandpa to train me for real, the next time he came around. The old guy was ecstatic." He laughed, "He always wanted me to be a Marine, and he thought I had finally cracked."
Coby gasped, and Nami's outlook of him seemed to darken, "You tricked your own grandpa!?" He yelled, "How could-"
"Nah." Luffy waved him off with a laugh, "He knew full well I still intended to be the Pirate King. I made sure he knew that. Old fart probably thought he could change my mind, even though I constantly denied it."
Nami sighed and smirked, "So, who is this grandpa of yours anyway?"
"Monkey D. Luffy." Luffy grinned.
"That's your name." Nami deadpanned.
"Think about it." His grin grew wider. Nami looked confused, trying to think up a reason for him giving her his own name. A loud noise – like a body had fallen – drew her attention.
Coby had fallen to the wooden floor of the boat in a thump, "N-no way." He trembled and stared at Luffy in utter shock.
"What is it Coby?" She asked curiously.
Coby stood and pointed a trembling finger at him, "There's just no way!" Luffy laughed heartily in response, "Your grandpa is Monkey D. GARP? The Hero of the Marines!"
Nami's brain stopped working as she worked her jaw. She stared at Luffy but didn't see him. Finally, she rebooted and stared at the black haired-boy who was howling with laughter, "NO WAY!"
"You better believe it!" He chuckled, before realizing he was hungry, "Hey, what's for breakfast? I'm starving!" He immediately grabbed one of the pieces of bread on the plate Nami had set out and started munching away.
Nami shook her head and formed an X with her arms, "No way! You're not allowed to switch gears like that! You don't get to drop a bomb like that and then just go stuff your face!" Luffy continued his weird laugh even as he stuffed his third loaf of bread into his maw. She shook herself and fell back onto her bag of treasure, "Ah, what do I even care? I'll never see you again after we get to this next island anyway." She muttered, before tearing a chunk out of her own piece of bread.
"Why not?" Luffy asked seriously, getting her to look at him in surprise, her mouth slightly open showing a bit of the bread, "We should be friends! Shishishi."
She scoffed, but didn't look sure of herself anymore, "No way. You're a Pirate." She muttered weakly.
Luffy ignored her, grinning that infectious grin of his, "Yeah, that's a great idea actually!" He pointed his finger at her, "You should be my navigator!"
"I already said no!" She yelled with her shark teeth out.
"I refuse your refusal!" Luffy declared as if the matter was decided, and before she could get another word in edgewise he suddenly asked, "Hey, where are we going anyway?"
Nami shook her head with a bemused – and chagrined – look, "Well, we're headed for Shells town."
Coby stiffened, "Isn't that where Pirate Hunter Zoro is?"
"Huh, the whale mentioned that guy too." Luffy mused. Nami stifled a snicker. Alvida had been quite large, hadn't she? "Is he weak? Must be if he got captured."
Coby shook his head frantically, "Nononono! Pirate Hunter Zoro is said to be a monster in human skin! He's never missed a mark!"
"Shishishi." Luffy grinned brightly, "I wonder what he's like."
"What are you thinking in that head of yours?" Nami frowned, not quite liking the glint in his eyes.
"Well, I was thinking." Luffy's grin grew, "If he's a good guy, I'll recruit him!"
"We made it!" Luffy cheered with his arms in the air.
"Of course, we did." Nami scoffed arrogantly, "I said I was the best navigator around, didn't I?" Still, Luffy's legitimate excitement was kind of amusing, "You still determined to go through with that hare-brained scheme of yours?"
"Let's go eat!" Luffy declared, ignoring Nami's question, which ticked her off.
"We just had breakfast an hour ago." Coby stammered.
Nami sighed as Luffy just took off, "What a glutton. He better pay." She followed with Coby pulling up the rear. Around forty-five minutes later, Luffy was contentedly patting his own stomach, while both Coby and Nami had pleased grins. "That was good food." She sighed in contentment.
Luffy grinned, "Yeah it was." He turned to Coby, "So, this is where we'll part ways, coward." Once more, a figurative arrow of cowardice speared into the boy's back and dropped him, "You do your best to become a Marine!"
Coby smiled, "I will!" He had tears in his eyes which he hid with his arm, wiping vigorously, "I owe you so much! Thank you Luffy! You'll have to become a great Pirate too! Even though we'll be enemies!" He finished.
Nami had a surprised look on her face, "Marine? Enemies? I thought you two were together." She stated.
"Nah, coward here wants to become a Marine. He was captured by the whale and forced to be her cabin boy." He stood, getting the other two to do the same, "I wonder if Zoro is still at the base." He mused. Pandemonium erupted in the quaint little restaurant as every other patron practically started climbing the wall in their fear. "Oro?" He looked confused.
Coby whispered to the two, "Looks like we can't mention Zoro's name around here." He stopped whispering to relay another bit of info, "Anyway, I saw a notice on the streets before we came in. Apparently a 'Captain Morgan' is the commanding officer here." This time, people actually did scramble up the walls in their rush to get away, knocking over tables and smashing glass. One of them even was digging into the ceiling like a cat. Coby looked shocked at their reactions, "Wha-what's going on? Why would they be afraid of a Marine Captain's name too? I could understand Zoro! He's a criminal and could escape at any time!"
Luffy shook his head, "I told you the world isn't black and white." While he said it to Coby, the one that actually had the statement resonate was Nami, who bit her lip. "Let's go to the base!" He sped off, leaving them behind.
Nami groaned, "He's lucky I have to scope the base out myself, otherwise he'd never see me again." She ran off after him.
They found Luffy at the entrance of the Marine Base. Luffy grinned, "Well, here you go Coby! It's your time to shine!"
Coby poked his index fingers together, "B-but I'm not ready yet. Plus, the incident at the restaurant got me thinking…" He was saying, only to realize neither Luffy nor Nami were listening. Both had climbed up onto the wall, each looking for entirely different things. "You won't find anything like that.' He declared.
"Actually, I saw someone tied up that way!" Luffy countered his statement and ran off. Coby sweatdropped, seeing his not-navigator follow him.
He found them a ways away, looking into the courtyard. He slowly climbed his way up to them, struggling to get up the edge, but as soon as he did he fell off with a gasp. "Th-that's him! That black bandana and the cloth around his waist! It's him! It's Roronoa Zoro!"
The monster in question was tied up to a cross-post. He had light-green hair which was mostly covered by a really dark-green bandana. He wore a white shirt and black pants with a fat green haramaki over his stomach. He had three identical piercings on his left ear. His arms were over the post's arms, and he was secured with rope. His feet were merely dangling. Luffy rubbed his head, "That's Zoro? Those ropes look pretty easy to break to me."
Coby gasped as he quickly hauled his way up in his panic. The boy seemed to have some hidden strength when he actually wanted to use it, "Don't joke like that! He could escape and even kill you!"
Luffy snorted, "I'm way too strong for that." He didn't sound arrogant as he said it. His intonation was one of a person stating facts.
Coby almost fell off once more, 'He's hopeless.'
Both Coby and Nami jumped slightly when the sound of wood hitting stone sounded off near them. They looked over along with Luffy and saw that a ladder had been placed near them. A small, black haired girl shushed them when she made it to the top of the ladder. She then made her way over the wall clutching something. Coby panicked, "Luffy! Get her before he hurts her!"
"You get her." Luffy threw back, getting a glance and a frown from Nami. Luffy ignored them both and watched in interest.
Zoro eyed her in confusion, "What are you doing here?" He asked roughly, as if he hadn't used his voice in ages. "You want to die? Get lost." He grunted.
"Ah!" She squeaked, before revealing what she was carrying. They were rice balls! "I made you some rice balls, Zoro-aniki! You haven't eaten in a long time, right?" She looked at him shyly, "This is the first time I've made rice balls so-"
Zoro interrupted the girl angrily, "Get out of here! I'm not hungry!"
The girl looked sad, "But-"
"Go! Or else I'll kill you!" Zoro threatened.
All three of the teens near the wall were frowning heavily. Nami scoffed, "Still want to recruit this guy?"
But before Luffy could get a word in, someone else appeared inside the base. It was a tall, skinny, lanky looking boy in a purple suit. He had this very strange, oval-shaped bowl cut with the bangs parted, "So rude. You better not pick on little kids, Roronoa Zoro, otherwise I'll have to report you to my father." The insincerity in his voice was practically oozing, and it made Nami's skin crawl.
"Someone from the Marines." Coby sighed in relief, "She should be safe now." Even Nami tore her eyes away from the scene to give Coby an incredulous look at that one. Hadn't he been paying attention to anything since they arrived in this town? Didn't he see this guy was practically the definition of a sleazeball?
Zoro apparently agreed, "Tch. If it isn't the Captain's bastard son?"
"Bastard?" The blonde looked unimpressed, "My dad's a Marine Captain. Don't get cocky." He turned his attention to the child in the situation, "Hello little girl. Oooh, a rice ball! Don't mind if I do!" He grabbed one of the onigiri from the girl and bit into it, ignoring all of her protests. He choked, spitting out all the rice, "Blergh! What the hell is this? Sugar? You put salt into onigiri, you dumb brat! Salt!"
"B-but I thought it would taste better if it was sweet!" She stammered sadly.
"How could someone eat something like this?" He grabbed the other rice ball and threw it onto the floor before stating to stomp on it!
"No! Stop it! He won't be able to eat it anymore!" She got to her knees to reach for the balls but was afraid of getting her fingers stomped and pulled back with tears in her eyes.
Nami and Coby gasped at his treatment of the poor girl. "How cruel!" Luffy's eyes were shadowed.
She started crying, "That's so cruel." She sniffled, "I tried so hard." She whispered brokenly.
The asshole gripped his face, "Don't cry. Pff, it's no wonder I hate brats." He pointed to a sign, "It's all your fault you know." He sneered, "Can't you read? 'Anyone caught helping a prisoner shall be charged with the same crime.' You know how scary my dad can be, don't you?" he leaned over and grabbed her chin in fake sympathy, "If you were older you'd have gotten the death penalty, you know?" He let her go and turned to one of the Marines with him, "Toss her over the fence."
"B-but she's just a little girl, sir!" The Marine stammered in shock.
The blonde brat grabbed him by the lapel of his shirt, "Are you questioning my orders? Throw her out of here or I'll tell my dad!" He roared, spittle flying from his mouth.
The Marine walked off, saying, "Yes Helmeppo sir!" He reached the girl and gently picked her up. He whispered into her ear, "Just tuck into a ball and try to roll. It should minimize damage." And with that, he felt the girl steel herself with renewed tears before he tossed her.
Nami gasped as she saw the girl sailing over the fence. She wanted to catch her, but she had been tossed too far away. Suddenly, Luffy blurred into existence in her flight path and caught her without a word. He dropped gently to his feet and steadied the saddened, crying girl, before mussing up her air. The girl's watery grimace widened, before she burst into tears and wrapped her arms around Luffy. "Hey…" He said gently, "Don't cry. You're a strong girl, right?" He started tickling her, getting watery giggles from her, "Go on home."
Nami had a somewhat stunned look as she watched the interaction, but as soon as she was gone Luffy's kind look vanished. He had this dark glint in his eye as he glared over at the wall. Helmeppo was gloating to Zoro, "Man, I didn't think you would have this kind of endurance."
Zoro sneered at the boy, "This is nothing. I'll last out the whole month. You better keep that promise."
Helmeppo laughed as he and his escort walked away, "Yeah, I'll keep it alright. If you can survive the whole month, that is."
Zoro closed his eyes and growled, "I hate that bastard." When he opened them again, Luffy was in front of him, "Who are you? Leave. Otherwise that brat will go cry to his daddy."
Luffy snorted, "You say that like it's a problem." Zoro smirked back as Luffy crouched down, "So, you're here for a whole month without food eh? I'd probably be clocking out after a couple days."
Zoro chuckled darkly, "That's why we're different. You need willpower to fulfil your dreams."
Luffy grinned, "Don't I know it." He measured the man up, "I'd like you to join my crew." He said with that wide grin of his.
"Crew? You a Pirate?" Zoro asked in surprise.
"That's right." Luffy crossed his arms, "The future Pirate King, in fact."
Zoro laughed, "Not interested. Why don't you go find someone else to join you, you crook."
Luffy frowned, "There's nothing wrong with being a Pirate."
Zoro grinned darkly, "Pirates are bad guys, aren't they? I'll never join you. I have my own goals to accomplish."
"Just like Marines are good guys eh?" Luffy raised an eyebrow, getting a slight quirk of the lips from the green-haired man, "Well, if you change your mind, I'll be here for a while." He walked away with a wave behind his back.
"Wait!" Zoro called out, getting him to turn around with a questioning look on his face. "That onigiri. Can you pick it up for me?"
Luffy did so, frowning, "What's wrong? Where did all that talk about willpower go?" He grinned, "This thing is mostly dirt now anyway."
"Doesn't matter." Zoro called, "Give it to me! I'll eat all of it." He opened his mouth wide. Luffy tossed it in with an eager look. Immediately, the man grimaced as he started chewing, visibly distraught. He broke out into a flop sweat and was clearly disgusted, a look mirrored by the watching Nami.
Luffy watched in interest, "You trying to kill yourself?"
Finally, he swallowed, looking like death warmed over, "'It was delicious. The best thing I've ever eaten.' Tell that little girl that, for me."
Luffy broke out into a wide grin and laughed his way over the wall. "That looked disgusting. I cringed even watching it." Nami looked a bit green at the gills.
Luffy smirked, "I want him on my crew. He's awesome."
Nami shook her head, "You're some kind of idiot, aren't you? Didn't you hear what he said?"
"Oh, I heard fine." He laughed, "Let's go find that little girl and cheer her up." He walked off without another word.
Nami shook her head, "Cheering up little girls. What weird kind of Pirate is this guy?" She mumbled to herself before following. She already had the base scoped out, so she didn't really need to be here right now.
Back in town, they found Luffy talking with the very animated girl inside the restaurant, "Ah! He ate everything?" She looked so happy.
"He did Rika." Luffy confirmed, "He told me to tell you it was delicious."
"I don't understand." Coby said as they reached the pair and sat down, "Isn't he supposed to be some kind of monster?"
"NO!" Rika screamed in his face, getting the coward to recoil from the young girl, much to Luffy and Nami's amusement, "Aniki is the nicest! He never did anything wrong!"
"Why is he locked up then?" Nami asked over from her seat.
She looked down, "It's because of me." She teared up, "That jerk Helmeppo had a wolf that he used to terrorize the town!" She exclaimed angrily, "It came here to mom's restaurant with him and started scaring all the customers! It almost attacked me before Aniki sliced it up! But he told Aniki he would have me and mommy executed for it and made a deal with him!"
"That's horrible!" Nami exclaimed, "Why haven't the Marines done anything about him?"
Rika growled and balled up her little fists, "He's Captain Morgan's son. Everyone's too afraid of him." She looked down and let her tears spill, "And now aniki is starving there because he saved me. And stupid Onion-head he punches and kicks aniki while he's tied up! I hate the Morgans! They're all bad! But everyone's too scared to fight them!"
The door slammed open then, revealing the golden-haired bastard himself. "I'm sure hungry." He sneered at Rika's mother, "We'll be eating here for free, got it? Hurry up and bring some alcohol! What's taking so long?" He looked directly at Rika's mother then, "Oh, and since I'm bored, I've decided to execute Zoro tomorrow." Little Rika gasped. "Look forward to it, everyone!" He then began laughing raucously.
But Luffy had enough. He stood up with his hat shadowing his eyes. "O-oi Luffy…" Nami whispered and tried to grab his arm, but he moved away too quickly. She and Coby tried to make themselves seem small.
Luffy ran forward at Helmeppo's laughing form and – before the two Marines escorting him could even react – he buried his fist directly into the blonde's face. Helmeppo's head whiplashed so hard that the rest of his body lifted clean off the chair and he rocketed into the wall before breaking right through it and rolling into a heap outside of the restaurant. Everyone else inside the restaurant stared at him in utter shock as he grabbed the faces of both the Marines and flung them bodily right through the newly remodeled exit.
Helmeppo was seeing stars. The earth was spinning. He was having to grip into the dirt to make sure he didn't fall off the earth. That was how punch-drunk he was. When everything steadied, he saw a few of his own teeth, blood, and his men on the floor. The one who had punched him walking towards him silently, "Wh-who the hell are you!" He roared, before wincing at the pain it caused, "Do you know who I am?"
"You're garbage, that's who you are." Luffy snarled.
Helmeppo looked to be near tears, "I'm Captain Morgan's son!" He yelled, "I'll have you executed for this!"
Luffy looked like he wanted to unload another punch into the brat's skull, but Coby wrapped his arms around him in an attempt to keep him from doing so, "Why don't you do something about it instead of running to daddy, you little brat?" The Marines groaned and grabbed Helmeppo before running off in terror.
"Man, you're sure a hasty one." Nami whined as she came to stand with the two, "Now the base is probably going to be crawling with Marines. How am I supposed to get in now?"
Luffy snorted, "Oh, you'll be fine. I'll probably break in just to break this Morgan guy's jaw."
"You will?" She perked up, smiling at him.
"Of course." He walked off, "I'm not leaving without my swordsman, after all."
She chuckled, "If you can even get him to agree."
"I will." Luffy said, full confidence in his voice. Nami couldn't sense even a trickle of self-doubt in him. If she was honest with herself, she would say it made her a little excited. "We'll make sure to find you before we leave."
Nami's head snapped towards him, "Woah, hold on a minute. I never agreed to go anywhere with you after this!"
"Why not?" Luffy looked at her "We're friends, aren't we?"
She snorted and blustered, trying to hide her blush, "Don't get ahead of yourself, Pirate." She sneered, "You'll probably never see me again."
"Nah." Luffy grinned at her, "We will. You're our friend, after all."
"Just…just get out of here, you idiot." She mumbled, before splitting off from the main group.
"I am great." A very large, muscular man stated from his comfy leather chair. He was covered in bulging muscles and had a large metal jaw replacing his human one. His blonde hair was cut very short.
"Y-yes! That is correct, Captain Morgan sir!" A hapless Marine confirmed his boss's words as he saluted.
"Then why…" The hulking man growled out, "Have the tributes to my greatness decreased these days?"
The Marine hadn't let go of his salute, and started stammering, "W-well sir, the incomes of our people have decreased lately."
"The problem isn't money." His voice was gravely, like two bricks sliding together, "The problem is they don't respect me! Isn't that right?"
But before the Marine could say a word, Helmeppo burst into the room panting like he had run a marathon, "D-dad!" He was audibly holding back tears, "There's someone I want you to kill!'
Zoro was in the courtyard, eyes downcast and shadowed. But he wasn't worrying about his current situation. No, he wasn't even paying attention to his current situation if he was honest. All he was thinking about was long behind him, but never forgotten. His mind filled with the sounds of bokken slapping and crashing against each other and flashes of a blue-haired girl.
"Weak as always, huh Zoro?" The girl laughed brightly. She was holding her bokken out, tip near the downed Zoro's chin.
'I made a promise.' He growled out to himself, 'I can't die in a place like this!' His eyes snapped open wide, before narrowing, "You again. You have too much free time."
Luffy looked serious, "I'm going to untie those ropes." He declared, "You're going to be my comrade!"
Zoro snorted, "Didn't you hear me last time, brat? I refuse! You want me to be a bad guy? You're annoying!" He looked away.
"What's wrong with being a Pirate?" Luffy asked with his head tilted.
Zora looked back, "Pirates are scum. Who the hell would want to be one?"
Luffy grinned, "Why does that matter? Aren't you already known as a vicious, evil Pirate hunter?" he asked slyly.
"I don't give a damn about what society says about me. Nothing matters except for my dream. I've never regretted anything." Zoro said calmly. He smirked viciously, "I will survive! I will do what I set out to do!"
"Is that so?" He crossed his arms and had a silly look on his face, looking at the sky, "Yeah, but I've already decided you'd be my comrade."
"Idiot!" Zoro roared, "You don't decide that for others!"
"You use a sword, right?" Luffy asked, glancing at his from the side.
"That's right." Zoro confirmed, "I'm going to be the Greatest Swordsman in the world!" He declared his intentions out to the world.
Luffy looked at him with that huge grin of his, "Well, that's good. The Pirate King would demand no less from his crew, right?"
"Pirate King?" Zoro burst out into laughter, "Yeah right!" He chuckled, looking at the still confidently-grinning Luffy, "Thanks, but no thanks. I already said I have no intention of joining you." He relaxed, "I'll last out the rest of this final week and leave on my own."
"Oh, how you going to do that if Egghead is planning on executing you tomorrow?"
Zoro choked on what little saliva he had, "What was that?" He asked dangerously.
"You should know better than to trust sleazeballs like that asshole." Luffy chided, "He declared out to a fully loaded restaurant in the middle of the day that he was going to publicly execute you tomorrow. Because he was bored."
Zoro's head dipped and his eyes shadowed, filled with a dark rage, "Is that so. That bastard."
"So, where's your sword, Mister Greatest Swordsman?" Luffy grinned.
Zoro growled, "That bastard brat took them. They're in the base."
Luffy grinned, "Good. I was looking forward to breaking daddy Morgan's teeth too." Zoro's smirk matched his, "I'll go get it and set you free. We'll be friends then, won't we?" Luffy turned to run at the base.
"Them." Luffy froze, and looked at him questioningly, "You'll find three. All are mine. I use Santōryū."
Luffy grinned in elation, "I knew you were badass!" He laughed before crouching.
He exploded forward, and Zoro's eyes bugged out as he started hopping on the god damn air as if he could fly all the way up to the tallest tower. Zoro stared for a moment before slumping, "Kuina…what the hell have I gotten myself into?"
"Good! Good! Now lift the statue! It's in the correct position! Lift it with one pull!" Morgan roared to his followers.
The Marines were struggling with the ropes and trying to haul the massive statue of Morgan to its feet. Helmeppo was behind his father still clutching his aching face, "Dad! Why aren't you helping me get revenge?" He whined at his far larger father, "He punched me in the face! Not even you have done that!"
Morgan didn't move, "And do you know why I've never punched you in the face?"
Helmeppo stopped, "We-" He swallowed somewhat nervously, "Well, it's because I'm your-"
"That's right." Morgan stated, "The reason I've never punched your face…" He suddenly whirled round and his fist rocketed towards Helmeppo. The younger boy went spinning through the air, spittle flying from his mouth before hitting the top wall of the base and crashing to the floor, "IS BECAUSE YOU ARE NOT WORTH HITTING."
Helmeppo sat in disbelief, tears leaking from his eyes. Morgan approached and hauled him up by the shirt with his axe hand, "Do not mistake yourself, my worthless son. I am the one who is great here! Not you!"
"Y-yes!" Helmeppo yelled in shock, before being dropped.
"There seems to have been a runt out in the execution field earlier." Morgan turned back to his statue.
The terrified Helmeppo trembled, "Y-yes! I took care of her!"
"She was executed then?" Morgan growled out.
"Wh-" Helmeppo shook, "No! She was just a little kid! Didn't even know what she was doing!"
Morgan growled and pointed to a hapless Marine, "You there! Go into town and finish the job!"
Everyone stared in shock, "But, but she's just a little girl, Captain!"
"It doesn't matter." He raised his axe hand and started walking to the Marine. His every step sounded like a tiny crash, "Anyone who disobeys me is a traitor!"
"I can't! She's just a little girl!" The Marine said as firmly as he could.
Morgan's eyes flashed, "You are a Lieutenant are you not?" The Marine nodded in affirmation, "And the rank of lieutenant is below the rank of Captain, isn't it?" The Marine nodded once more, "Then you have no right to go against my orders! If I tell you to go, you will go!" He roared!
"I will not!"
"YOU TRAITOR!" Morgan's patience finally went, and he raised his axe, bringing it down on the terrified Marine. Blood gushed from the wound and stained the floor as his former subordinate crashed down and did not move.
Helmeppo gasped, "Y-you didn't have to do that dad!" he stuttered while the rest of the Marines stared in shock at the fallen lieutenant.
Morgan scoffed, "I became a Captain because of this arm! Rank is everything! I have the highest rank in this base, so I am therefore the greatest person here! That is why everything I do is right! GREAT MEN DO NOT MAKE MISTAKES." He bellowed, "I will go down there myself. It has been too long since the citizens have had a reminder of that." Morgan relaxed amidst the salutes from everyone else, "But I shall do so later." He eyed his statue, "It took many, many years to create this magnificent statue. It is a symbol of my greatness! SO PUT IT UP AT THE TALLEST POINT OF THIS BASE!"
The Marines roared in their unwilling approval and redoubled their efforts to haul the statue up. One of the unfortunate men scratched the statue up against the side of the roof entrance, "I'm sorry!" he yelped in terror.
"You scratched my statue." Morgan said dangerously. "That means you don't respect me." He growled to the terrified man, "DIE!"
"Man, who cares if he scratched this ugly ass statue?" A new voice rang up. Luffy had heard every word and knew he had to mess with the power-mad idiot.
Jaws dropped all around as a vein bulged in Morgan's head. "WHAT WAS THAT!" He howled as he turned to look right at Luffy, who was standing on the stone Morgan's chest.
"Shishishi!" Luffy laughed at Morgan's impotent rage, "You must be some kind of stupid. Everyone knows you don't use stone for statues." Morgan was shaking in his rage and Luffy's grin widened under his straw hat, "Everyone knows you should use BRONZE!" With that final word yelled out, Luffy raised his right foot and slammed it onto the statue's chest. Everyone gasped in horrified shock as cracks started forming from the impact before the entire thing shattered from the waist up and started crumbling down to the courtyard.
Every single person wearing Marine colors on that roof gaped in shock, their faces purple and their eyes pure white. Helmeppo suddenly shook himself and pointed, "I told you dad! I told you he was a bad guy!"
But he didn't get to say any more as Luffy grabbed him by the face as started dragging him into the base, "Yeah, I'm going to need to borrow you. Come with me." He cackled in glee as they disappeared into the doors.
Morgan was apoplectic, "FIND HIM. FIND HIM AND BRING HIM TO ME. I WANT HIS HEAD!"
One of the Marines stammered out, "Captain, there's someone running into the courtyard!"
Morgan's veins were bulging. He growled darkly, "Traitors. More traitors! They just keep appearing!"
Inside, Nami was picking the lock of one of the doors when she heard a commotion. She looked over as saw Luffy dragging Helmeppo while being pursued by Marines. "Idiot." She muttered and continued trying to get the lock open.
"STOP DRAGGING ME!" Helmeppo cried out.
"I need Zoro's swords." Luffy said.
"They're in my room! We just passed it!" Helmeppo pointed behind them.
"Passed it? Why didn't you say so earlier?" Luffy shoved him into the wall, getting another cry from the blonde wimp. He turned and saw the Marines holding them at gunpoint. He smirked and put Helmeppo in the way, "Go ahead and fire if you want."
"No, don't do it!" Helmeppo screamed. Luffy laughed and used Helmeppo as a battering ram to knock the Marines right over.
Nami almost had the lock picked when she was forced to scream in fear as a leg bowled past her head and kicked the steel door clean off its hinges. "Luffy you idiot! I almost had that open! There was no need!"
"Shishishi, well that was quicker wasn't it?" Luffy grinned, "What were you trying to get here anyway?"
Nami followed him in while they left the catatonic Helmeppo outside the door, "A map to the Grand Line." She smirked, "I'll be able to make a killing robbing people there." Luffy grinned as they turned to look at the safe on the wall, "Drat." Nami snapped her fingers, "That'll take me a while to open. It's a decent model."
Luffy looked at her dully, before pointing a finger. She gasped as it ignited into a blinding golden light. Luffy jabbed the finger at the safe's opening. Immediately, tiny sparks started flying out at them, forcing her to back away and shield her eyes. She gaped as he dragged it down the crevice as easily as if he were using a hot knife on butter. He pulled his finger away and she saw there was very little slag, as if he had been hot enough to simply cut through it. Luffy popped the now-permanently unlocked safe open, "One open safe, at your service."
Beli marks replaced her eyes, "I think I may actually keep you around." Both of them started lining their pockets with the cash inside.
Luffy laughed as she started quickly sorting through the various papers in a growing panic, "It's not here!" She yelped as she held up a single sheet of paper. It read, 'It's my map now.' There was an image of a Pirate Jolly Roger on it; A grinning skull with star-shaped cuts on the eye holes and a huge red nose. Nami growled, "The Buggy Pirates."
"Well, we have our heading then." Luffy grinned, already turning to break down Helmeppo's door directly opposite to the room they were just in.
Nami stared at him in surprise. "What's this we business?" She mumbled to herself. She ran a hand down her face, "He's a Pirate. He's just faking." She continued mumbling to herself, but she had no confidence in her words.
Luffy grabbed the three swords and looked out the window. His eyes bulged as he saw Coby and Zoro being held at gunpoint. "Shit!" he yelled before grabbing a panicking Nami by the waist.
"Luffy what are you doINGGGGGG!" Her final word was a shrill screech as she and Luffy simply vanished from the room.
"If you help me, they'll kill you." Zoro said.
Coby had tears leaking from his eyes, "I don't care. I want to be a good Marine, and good Marines don't do this kind of thing!" Coby screamed as he struggled to untie the ropes. "I'm going to be a real Marine and fight for justice! Just like Luffy is determined to be the Pirate King!"
"So, he was serious about that?" Zoro smirked lightly.
"I was shocked when I first heard him say it." Coby confirmed as he finally loosened the rope slightly, "But he's determined! He'll bet his life on it!"
"Bet his life on it huh." Zoro's eyes were shadowed, but he was grinning. But then he grit his teeth and his eyes bulged in shock as Coby fell to the dirt screaming and clutching his bleeding shoulder. A split second later the tell-tale crack of gunfire hit their ears.
"AHH, I'M SHOT!" Coby cried.
Zoro growled, "Get out of here kid! They'll kill you!"
"No!" Coby yelled back as he struggled to his feet, "They'll kill you if I leave you here! And if I let you die to these scumbag Marines then I may as well give up on my dream! This isn't justice! Luffy is risking his own life for us; for people he hardly knows! I have to do the same!"
Zoro dipped his head in acknowledgment, 'So, this is the kind of person that Straw Hat attracts huh?'
"You don't have to become a Pirate, but please help Luffy! You'll all be able to escape!" Coby screamed as he got back to the post and forced his trembling hands to resume their work on the knots.
"That's enough!" Two men roared as they cocked their guns, "You've betrayed Captain Morgan!" More men arrived with Morgan himself at their heels. All of them pointed their rifles at the two.
Morgan was walking forward with his loud steps echoing. He had his giant axe over his shoulder, "Roronoa Zoro. I've heard of you." He breathed. "But do not underestimate me. Before my strength, you are nothing.'
Zoro grit his teeth, 'No, I can't die here! I still have things I need to do! I must keep my promise!'
"Kuina wins! Zoro – who uses two swords – loses!" The match's proctor announced. "Kuina leads 2000-0!"
Kuina giggled, "How pitiful. You're a boy and you lost…again."
Three other boys screamed out in rage, "Zoro is the best! He's the strongest in our dojo! He can even beat adults!"
"Is that so?" Kuina smirked. She had her sword over her shoulder and was looking back at them, "He's still weaker than me. Even with two swords, it's useless."
"Kuina you fiend! You really make me angry!"
"Just because she's master's daughter, she likes to show off!"
Zoro was gritting his teeth in anger. Their sensei was looking amused, "Lost again, Zoro? What a pity." The other boys were screaming at him and claiming that he had secretly trained her.
Zoro threw his two shinai down to the dirt, "Damn! Why can't I defeat her!"
Their sensei chuckled, "Kuina is older than you, Zoro."
"That's bullshit! I can beat adults!" He closed his eyes and screamed out, "I want to set sail and become the number one Swordsman in the world! I'll never lose to anyone again!" The declaration made, he stomped off.
Later that night, Kuina was in the courtyard by herself practicing. She pushed herself to her limits under the watchful gaze of the full moon. She was panting with every swing, putting her all into becoming the best. Suddenly, she stiffened. "Zoro?"
Zoro was there, gripping two live blades, "Kuina! Have a duel with me! I brought real swords this time!"
She grinned, "Fine. Come on!" Both leapt at each other and clashed. The sounds of singing metal rang through the night, before one of Zoro's swords were knocked clean from his hands and flew through the air. Kuina swept him and her sword buried itself into the dirt near his head. She panted with a smile on her face. "That's 2001-0."
Zoro covered his face, "Damn it!" Tears leaked from his eyes, "I can't believe this!"
The two parted and sat at the steps of the dojo in silence, "Actually, the one who should be sad is me." Kuina said suddenly. Zoro's head snapped to her in shock. She had a bitter smile on her lips, "When a girl grows up, she'll have less physical strength than a boy." Her eyes started to well, "Don't you always say you want to be the world's best swordsman?" A single tear dripped, "Papa says a girl will never be the best. It's good that you're a guy. I'll never be able to do it." The floodgates finally opened. She clutched at her chest, "My boobs have started to grow. You're so lucky you're a boy."
"THAT'S BULLSHIT!" Zoro roared, almost shocking her off her seat, "You say this crap after you beat me?" He grabbed the shocked girl by her shirt, "That's unfair! You're my idol! My dream! I want to beat you! Does this mean that if I beat you someday it won't be because I'm stronger?! Doesn't that crap make us all look like idiots?" He shook her, "Let's make a promise! No matter what, we will always fight to be the best! One of us MUST become the world's best! We'll fight for that goal together!"
Kuina rubbed her tears away, "Idiot." Her voice shook in joy, "You lost to me. You can't be saying stuff like that." She grasped his hand in a firm shake, "I promise."
But they never got to keep that promise. The very next day, Kuina tripped on a stray sword some idiot had left at the top of the stairs and broke her neck. Zoro had been beside himself in grief, cursing her name to the heavens for leaving him behind. All he had left to remember her was her blade, Wado Ichimonji.
"Fire!" Morgan roared.
"Rankyaku!" Another voice roared. Luffy and a still-screaming Nami appeared in the sky above the Marine. Luffy grunted as he swung his leg, unleashing a devastating blade of wind with his kick. Every single rifle there split at their chambers and were rendered useless. The blade continued and gouged right into the ground.
They landed in front of a gaping Coby and Zoro. Nami had finally stopped screaming and stepped away from Luffy in awe, 'No…no way! He cut them from far away with a kick! But that wasn't his Fruit's power? How strong is he! Maybe…' She shook herself of that though. He wasn't that strong.
"Shishishi, that's my swordsman and my coward you were trying to shoot." Luffy laughed. Coby slumped to the floor in depression and relief.
"What was that!" Zoro roared in shock.
"Shishishi, I'm the man who will become the Pirate King!" He turned to Zoro and quickly tore the ropes off the post. Coby slumped even further at his ease in doing it. "Here are your swords! Shishishi." Zoro grabbed and holstered them eagerly.
Morgan growled, "This Straw Hat isn't normal." He cracked his neck, "He must have eaten one of those Devil Fruits." Captain or not, Morgan was a weakling. He knew nothing of the real techniques of the Marines. "Anyone who defies me must perish! CHARGE!"
The men drew swords and did so with loud battle cries. Zoro's eye glinted, He stepped from the post and drew all three blades, two in his hands and a single blade in his mouth. The three clashed with and easily blocked every single Marine blade, "None of you move if you want to live." He growled darkly. He eyed Luffy while the Marines trembled, "With this resistance, I'm officially an outlaw." He growled out, perfectly clearly despite the handle in his mouth, "I'll join your crew!" Luffy grinned and pumped his fists in the air. "Good guy…bad guy…it no longer matters! I'll be the world's greatest Swordsman! If you get in my way, I'll have to cut you until you apologize!"
"Shishishi, that's my line. I'm going to be the Pirate King! If you can't manage something that small I'd be embarrassed." He grinned confidently.
Beside them, Nami smiled and shook her head. 'Bell-mere…what have I gotten myself into?'
Zoro twisted his blades and flung every man trying to kill him away. They all lost their blades as they hit the floor and rolled. One of them clutched his aching shoulder, "We can't beat these two Captain! They're too powerful!"
Morgan growled, "This is an order…any who had those thoughts will turn their guns on themselves and pull the trigger! I DO NOT NEED WEAKLINGS UNDER MY RULE." The trembling Marines shakenly pulled their pistols with tears in their eyes and held them to their heads.
Luffy's eyes were shadowed. Nami took a step back, "Oh shit!" She exclaimed, and Coby gulped. Zoro looked at them strangely.
Luffy vanished in a burst of speed and before Morgan could even react, he took a monstrous right fist to the kidney from behind. He flew forward with a pained groan and his body dug a trench straight into the ground, coming close to the Straw Hats and Coby. Luffy appeared in front of him this time and stopped his momentum with a jaw-shattering kick. Even Morgan's metal jaw cracked. "Scum like you don't deserve so much as a pet to rule over." He said darkly.
Morgan hauled himself to his feet, panting as if he had run a marathon. "YOU DAMN BRAT!" He roared as he drew his axe up and sent it screaming towards the floor.
"LUFFY!" Nami, Zoro, and Coby screamed in shocked horror as the axe cleaved straight through their friend and split him right down the middle. Tears sprang to their eyes as the halves separated and started falling in opposite directions.
"No…" Nami whispered brokenly.
But something happened then, that they did not expect, "Shishishi!" Luffy's signature laugh sounded through the silent clearing. Morgan drew himself up roaring madly in hysterical pain. His axe – and part of his arm – were gone. Savage burns licked up his arm and the already cauterized wound dripped no blood. Luffy's two halves stopped falling as golden flames erupted from them. The flames connected and drew back into a single body, reforming into the Straw Hat wearing boy, "Sorry, Molken, but that won't work against me." He pulled back a fist, "Enten Enten no…Tekken!" Luffy's elbow ignited in that golden soup and pushed him forward almost like an afterburner before extinguishing.
The punch landed square in the now-kneeling Morgan's chest. Ribs broke, and blood flew from the huge man's mouth. He fell to the floor – some horrific burns on his chest just from the residual heat and his Captains Coat beginning to smolder – and did not move again. Luffy pulled his fist back and raised it in front of his face, holding his bicep with his other hand. His eyes were shadowed but his grin was wide.
"What are you?" Zoro gasped.
Luffy turned and grinned brightly, "Oh, I'm a Sun Man! I ate the Enten Enten Fruit."
Nami rushed to him and his eyes bugged as she raised her hand. BAM. Nami slapped him square across the face as hard as she possibly could. Luffy even spun once before crashing to the ground, "YOU ASSHOLE!" She screeched, "How could you do that to us?" Tears started licking at her eyes.
Luffy stared at her in shock, a red handprint across his face, "Nami I-" He reached for her to apologize – though he didn't really know for what – but she didn't let him.
"Don't touch me!" She screamed before stomping away from them. Luffy looked entirely lost.
Before another word could be said, a hysterical cheer rang through the base, "Captain Morgan has been defeated! We're FREE!" Every single Marine there found another member to hug in celebration.
"Everyone here hated Morgan!" Coby realized and smiled happily.
Both he and Luffy gasped when Zoro keeled over, "Zoro!"
"I said I was sorry." Luffy mumbled as best he could through his busted-up mug. He'd been apologizing to Nami for the past half hour while feeding the black hole in his gut. "I did tell you I was a Sun Man though, didn't I?"
"Idiot!" Nami's shark-face drilled a hole into him, "I didn't even think Devil Fruits were real until a day ago! How was I supposed to know that meant you could get cut in half and laugh it off!"
And that had been the gist of the past half hour. A lot of groveling and a lot of anger.
"MAN, I'M FULL!" Zoro stretched happily, "After three weeks, I was starving!"
"What happened to lasting the whole month?" Luffy poked fun at his swordsman.
The mint-haired man growled, "How the hell are you eating more than me? You're so scrawny." Indeed, Luffy was still stuffing his face, much to the hidden awe of practically everyone in the vicinity.
Coby was rubbing the back of his head ruefully, "Even I ate a lot…sorry."
Rika's kind mother simply smiled gently as she continued to clean the plates, "It's no problem! You're the town's heroes! Eat as much as you like!"
Rika herself was staring at Luffy in awe, "You're so strong, onii-san!"
Luffy grinned, his face magically repaired, "Yep. I sure am! And I'll only get stronger!"
Zoro put his drink down, "Oh right. What are we planning on doing next?"
"Grand Line!" Luffy pumped a fist into the air in excitement.
"Idiot!" Nami's fist bopped him in the back of the head for the hundredth time that day, "We're nowhere near ready for the Grand Line! We don't even have a ship or any of the other essentials! Plus, we don't even have a map yet!"
Luffy had an 'o' of realization, "Right! We need meat!"
"And booze!" Zoro pitched in.
Nami slumped in her seat in depression, "Why me? What did I do to deserve these two idiots?" She wailed, 'Why does the one Pirate I've ever met who isn't a complete scumbag have to be such an idiot?'
"We're heading for One Piece." Zoro said calmly, "It wouldn't hurt to head in that direction, right?" Coming like that, it almost sounded logical. Almost.
"Not you too, Zoro!" Coby moaned, "That sea is incredibly dangerous! All of the world's strongest Pirates gather there! You can't be unprepared!"
Zoro sweatdropped as the body got closer to him, "Why are you so worried anyway? It's not like you're coming with us."
"So?" Coby asked heatedly, "That means I can't worry? Even though we just met, we're friends, aren't we?"
"Shishishi, yeah, we're friends! And even though we won't be together, we'll always be friends!"
Coby looked incredibly bashful, "I never had friends growing up. But you guys taught me to live for my own dream! Even though we'll be enemies, I'll never forget that."
"And that's why we're heading for the Grand Line." Luffy affirmed.
"Too reckless." Coby bemoaned.
"You should be more worried about yourself." Zoro said before bumping his sword's hilt against the boy's forehead.
"Zoro's right." Nami sighed, "The Marine's intelligence agents are incredibly thorough. Even though you were kidnapped and forced into it, you were still a member of Alvida's crew."
The door banged open before they could get another word in. A bearded Marine was standing in the doorway, arms behind his back stiffly. He was clearly following regulations for whatever was about to happen and did not look too happy about it. "Good day. I am sorry to interrupt, but we must know. Are you Pirates?"
"Yep." Luffy confirmed.
Nami slapped her hand to her face. "Idiot. You're too blunt and honest." Despite herself, a small smile formed.
"I see." The Marine said after a deep sigh, "You all are this town's heroes! We will be eternally grateful for that!"
"I sense a 'but' coming." Nami mumbled. Luffy snickered in response.
The Marine nodded, "Indeed. As you are Pirates, we cannot allow you to stay here any longer. We will not report you to Marine HQ, but you must go." The townspeople erupted in fury at the Marines! This was disgraceful! They couldn't kick their heroes out!
Luffy got up, his chair scraping. "That's fine." Zoro and Nami got up and followed without as much as a glance at Coby. "We were just leaving anyway."
"Hold on." The Marine said, "Isn't this kid with you?"
Luffy stopped before turning back, "Him? Nah. I know what he used to do though." Coby and Nami's eyes widened, "I saw him on this reaaaaalllyy fat whale's ship. I think her name was Albida or something."
'What is he doing!' Nami screamed in her head, 'Why is he doing this!'
'Stop!' Coby screamed in his, 'I'll never be a Marine if you don't stop! If they know I worked on a Pirate ship, they'll never let me join!' "Stop…" He trembled.
"It was this really fat Pirate's ship. This guy here spent two yea-"
"SHUT UP!" Coby roared, punching Luffy as hard as he could in the face. Luffy flew back, but Nami was tall enough and close enough to see the grin on his face under his Straw Hat. Neither she nor Zoro said a word, but they smiled in realization.
Luffy righted himself with that roguish grin on his face and retaliated. "You deserve a beating for that!" His fist rocketed into Coby's jaw and sent the poor boy spinning through the air.
Nami's smile became strained, 'Idiot. He's going overboard again.'
"STOP!" The Marine yelled, "It is clear this boy is not with you! Please leave this town immediately!"
'He did it for me. He wanted to make me mad! Wanted to make me hit him!' Coby had to fight very hard not to tear up as his friends left the building, 'Even now, he's watching out for me!' He sat up, 'I'm such an imbecile! I'm so damn useless! I can't waste this chance they've given me!'
Zoro grinned menacingly at the Marines around the building, "What's wrong? Didn't you want to arrest me?"
Inside, Coby got up and bowed, "Please! Let me join the Marines!"
Another man in uniform chimed in, "Commander, I am against it! His past is unclear, and Pirates have been known to plant spies!"
"NO!" Coby yelled, "MY DREAM IS TO BE A MARINE!"
The Commander stared at him intensely, "Don't think we don't know of your past as a Pirate. You underestimate our power!" Coby's heart broke and his face sagged. It was all for naught, "But I will still allow you to join us."
Coby's face lit up, "SIR! YES SIR!" He stood stiffly and saluted with the back of his hand facing outward.
The budding Straw Hat Pirate crew reached the docks with grins on their faces, "Nice act Luffy." Zoro clapped him on the back as Nami went about getting the ship ready to sail.
"Shishishi." Luffy merely laughed. "It'll be a good lesson for Coward. Pirates won't take it easy on him."
Nami yelled, "We're ready to go! Get on already!"
As they sailed away, Coby's voice rang out one last time, "Luffy! Thank you! I'll never forget you for the rest of my life!" He saluted them. Nami was stunned as more Marines materialized behind the boy, their stances mirroring his.
"Coby! We'll meet again someday!" Luffy waved as the group of Marines shrank more and more.
"Marines saluting Pirates." Nami mumbled.
"Now I've seen everything." Zoro finished.
"You have great friends." The commander said to Coby. He only got a shaken nod from him, "MEN! We have just saluted Pirates and violated the code of the Marines! As punishment, we shall not eat for the rest of the week!"
"Sir! Yes Sir!"
Well, I hope everyone enjoyed the changes I made! If it has been such a long time that you're not sure what the big one was; The entire scene with the bandits was completely redone. No contrived asspull of a 8-million Beli head randomly having a Seastone cuff to counter Luffy. Luffy got a heart to heart with Shanks and had to confront how dangerous his powers are. And most importantly… Shanks still has both arms.
Also, as stated, Luffy looks a bit differently. I find it pretty strange that he is so short and scrawny – all things considered – when his dad and grandpa are pretty tall themselves. (Dragon has an official height of 8'4" and Garp sitting down and hunching over is as tall as Makino is standing as tall as she can make herself. I find it odd he has no official height.) I have to assume that was due to the Gomu Gomu no Mi. We know Fruits can affect your body. As it is, he's about Ace's height and just a tad less broad.
Now, since I first started this story, I did take a small number of courses on Japanese. And with the power of GOOGLE TRANSLATE, various wikis from anime I like, some basic knowledge about the language, I did actually decide to keep the Enten name for the Devil Fruit. It follows the two-syllable rule and I actually like it. Enten 炎天 (Scorching Sun) is the full name of the fruit. Or the Enten Enten no Mi.
Engan 炎天銃orEnjū 炎銃: Luffy's "Blazing Pistol." Admittedly I am not as confident in these translations as I am in the first one. According to google, 炎天銃 translates to Enten Jū (Blazing weapon) and 炎銃 reads as Honō jū (Flame gun). I am choosing to read it the ways I stated, though I'm not sure if it actually can work out that way in proper Japanese (Engan or Enjū). Then again, the kanji for Bleach's Engetsu (剡月) read as "A month," so maybe google is just fucking with me.
Enten Enten no Kōen (Scorching Sun's Brilliant Flame) 炎天の煌炎
And those were the three I used this chapter. If anyone who is actually fluent in Japanese would care to correct me, it would be great. :D