Hey everyone! Glad you all enjoyed the last chapter.
Now, I do want to clear something up. The intention for Vivi's 'see the future' scene was the same as when Luffy did it against Mihawk in the War of the Best. It was NOT Future Sight. I was my usual wordy self and some of you mistook it. It was supposed to be a very high-speed event, not a full "I am 13 Parallel Universes ahead of you" moment.
Huge thanks to Epsilon110 for helping me with Chopper's section!
"You fucking cocky little rookie." Crocodile snarled, uncaring of his image at the moment. He was a mess. His right eye was missing. His normally coiffed and greased hair was hanging limply like wet fur, except it was even worse because of blood and sand caked onto it. His fancy, expensive clothes were a mess. The two bitches who had done all of this to him had actually managed to escape him. And worst of all?
His cigars were wet, sandy, and now unusable. He glared hatefully at Luffy, "I'm almost glad you survived, because now I can kill you myself."
Luffy cracked his knuckles, "You hurt my nakama." He growled out, "Time to-"
"Nakama?!" Crocodile snapped, "NAKAMA?!" His right arm started disgorging sand, "Desert Spada!" He roared, and the sand erupted. The grinding wave of sand raced towards Luffy, cutting everything in its path. It left a heavy scar in the stone of the plateau the palace sat on. Luffy calmly took two steps to the left, and the attack missed entirely. It continued onward, and cut straight through one of the guardhouses before the sand rained off the plateau. "All my plans, all this work for sixteen years, and on the eve of my victory I'm being challenged by fucking dreamers?!" He raised his hook and sped forward.
But Luffy had enough of standing still, and he vanished from sight. Crocodile's Kenbunshoku warned him of the attack, as it had for Vivi and Nami's attacks, but Luffy's speed was on a whole other level. "Shigan." He said darkly, his finger piercing through Crocodile's heart before the man even comprehended what his Kenbunshoku was telling him.
But Crocodile had been on guard this entire fight. He had already turned into sand. His chest slightly blew apart as the grains rained down onto the ground. "So, it wasn't a fluke. You're the one who taught those bitches these Marine moves. You know all six of the fucking things." He said, swinging his golden hook with a snarl.
"Tekkai!" Luffy called out just as the hook caught him in the face, failing to penetrate even a millimeter. In fact, Crocodile let out a groan as the hook rebounded from the impact, throwing him off balance. Luffy quickly followed up with a punch that blew Crocodile's sandy head off. "Grrr! Rankyaku!" He yelled, cutting Crocodile in half, before leaping back. "Tch, so this is how annoying it is to fight a Logia. Shitty Croc!" He muttered to himself, watching as Crocodile reformed. "Smoky had nothing on this guy."
Crocodile smirked as he saw the annoyance on Luffy's face, "Little shit. You were so confident too. You rookie dreamers are all the same. Wide-eyed and excited until the real world punches you in the throat."
Luffy remembered Zoro's bout with Mihawk, and smirked, "Like what happened to you?" Crocodile's smile vanished, an infuriated vein appearing and beginning to pulse on his forehead, "You're nowhere near as strong as Hawky."
"Hawk-" Crocodile swallowed his tongue, "If only you had called him that to his face." He said as he realized who Luffy had to be talking about. "I would have paid to watch him cut your head off."
"What, because you don't have the guts after Whitebeard made you his bitch?" Thank you, Robin. Luffy hadn't known a damn thing about Crocodile before she filled him in and even gave him some insults to use! All these little details that were making Crocodile go purple in fury were going to make him laugh! Maybe he could even make that little, pulsing blood vessel on his forehead pop!
"DIE!" Crocodile roared, "Barján Pesada!" He swiped his arm forward and an absolutely titanic, crescent-shaped sickle of sand raced forward. It swiped through a couple palm trees on its way to Luffy, and the second it touched them, they turned into dried out husks. Luffy's eyes went wide as the extremely fast attack caught him in the chest… and then his form wavered as if it were a mirage. "What?!"
"Kami-e 'Zanshin.'" Luffy grinned widely as he appeared behind Crocodile, holding his arms up in a strange position behind the man's back. He looked like he was holding some sort of wheel in tight fists, "Rokuōgan!" He roared, and his arms seemed to pulse.
Crocodile exploded. He quite literally blew apart into tens of thousands of particles of sand, which rained down on everything. "That hurt you little shit." And it actually had. A very small amount. The shockwave had been almost like what Fishmen Karate could generate and had affected him very slightly through his Logia defense. If there had been more moisture in the air, it might even have hurt a lot.
A clump of sand turned into Crocodile's hand, which touched the stone they stood on, "Ground Secco." Immediately, the ground started to change color, with cracks appearing all over it as though it was drying out. Which was exactly what Crocodile was doing. In fact, a giant circle all around the limb was turning to sand before Luffy's very eyes, threatening to swallow him in a quicksand trap.
"Damn it!" Luffy snarled, leaping into the air, and continuing to stay airborne with Geppō. The ground was obviously no longer safe. "Even Rokuōgan didn't work! What the heck can I do without water?!"
"Face it, Straw Hat!" Crocodile rose out of his sand pit with a wicked smirk on his face, "You're too weak! Too weak for any of your dreams! Too weak to save this country for that bitch! You're going to die here!" He raised his palm and a small sandstorm started to swirl above it, "But not before I make those two bitches of yours watch me carve you like a pumpkin! Sables!" He threw his arm forward, and the sandstorm rapidly grew into a sandy tornado. The sand obscured his sight of Luffy…
And then night turned into day. "Enten no Koen!" Luffy's voice roared, and Crocodile howled as his retinas were seared from the bright light directly in front of him. His Kenbunshoku was screaming at him to get the fuck away from where he was, and he skated back rapidly on a bed of sand.
The sun traveled down rapidly, melting sand into glass everywhere, before expanding and perfectly melting a crater inside of Crocodile's sand pit. Molten glass rained down on the palace, causing the dry grass nearby to catch into flames immediately.
Crocodile rapidly cleared his vision, rubbing his eyes, before he looked at the result: the molten, glowing, visibly distorted crater due to the heat haze above it. The crater wasn't the same size as his sand pool, and they could both see the sand surrounding it glowing red hot and beginning to melt from the radiating heat.
The two stared, with a bead of sweat starting to appear on Crocodile's brow. Luffy stood stock still for a moment, looking at the glowing crater, and then Crocodile (who developed another bead of sweat), before looking back at the crater. And then back at Crocodile, who was really starting to perspire for reasons that had nothing to do with the heat. And then a wide, silly smile slowly started to appear on Luffy's face. "Shishishishi-"
"Shi-" Crocodile started to swear, immediately focusing as hard as he could on the fight to give his Kenbunshoku the best possible chance to defend him. It almost wasn't enough as Busōshoku covered his left arm.
"SHISHISHISHI!" Luffy laughed gaily as his glowing, golden leg smashed into Crocodile's hastily raised defenses and almost completely ignored them.
"GRAAAHH!" Crocodile howled in agony as he dispersed, reappearing thirty meters away and clutching his left arm, which was a mistake as his fingers started to burn too. He hurriedly created a sand hole with Ground Secco and scooped the sand to the wound, drawing the heat away. He trembled as the pain radiated through his arm, and he was forced to tear his clothes even more by ripping off his sleeve. With a furious growl, he stood and glared at Luffy, "What the hell are you?!" He asked through gritted teeth as he let the sand fall away, revealing that his limb had a huge, red, blistered splotch all over it.
"Ehehehehe!" Luffy's shit-eating grin was back on his face, "LO~GI~A~~~~~" He sing-songed, wagging his tongue at the man, whose fury and now actual, legitimate fear of defeat was palpable. "I'm Monkey D. Luffy, the man who's going to kick your ass and save this country." He said, all traces of amusement gone in an instant, "And the man who's going to become the Pirate King."
"Damn." Nami said, looking at the remains of her Clima-Tact. Forget repairing it, Usopp was going to have to make her a whole new one once this was all over! She didn't even have enough length left to use it as a short staff, much less her usual long one. With a sigh, she replaced the last remaining piece under her skirt, really hoping she wouldn't need the two broken bits again.
"We have to stop this!" Vivi was still in pain. The hurt her body felt after Crocodile was one thing, but the pain her heart was feeling was way worse. "There has to be something we can do!"
"We're not going to be doing anything without some water first." Nami grimaced, "My Clima-Tact helped, but my arm still hurts. And now I don't even have much of it left to fight with! Damn that sandy fuck!"
Vivi shook her head, taking Nami's arm and pulling her to the left. Nami sighed in relief as Vivi led her to a small well, and they wasted no time getting the bucket out of it filled with the life-saving liquid. "Never thought I'd ever force a Shichibukai to take me seriously." She mumbled after getting some water in her.
"Ha!" Nami barked out a laugh, dribbling water all over her weakened arm after taking a few gulps herself, "Honey, a few months ago I thought I'd never even be free of a guy who Crocodile makes look like a child. This is all insane!" Their strength regained, they both started to run towards the fighting.
Vivi was having to fight just to stay standing. The headache she had was utterly piercing from all of the pain and suffering she was sensing all around her. Then, her eyes widened as she saw a small group running towards them, "Kōza!" She shouted, elated at having found her old friend, "You have to STOP THIS! This can't go on!"
"Princess?!" Kōza shouted, his jaw dropping momentarily.
Besides said Princess, Nami frowned. The way Vivi had talked made it seem like she and this Kōza were closer friends than that. Wasn't that too formal?
"Yes, it's me! Vivi!" Vivi shouted at him, picking up the pace, "Our people can't keep killing themselves like this! We have to end this now!"
"How can we?!" Kōza yelled at her, "Your father is a traitor! He stole the rain from all of the neighboring towns! And he just went and burned Nanohana! We were willing to talk! Why would he do that?!"
"It wasn't him!" She slowed, "There's an imposter going around with a Devil Fruit! He can-" Her burgeoning Kenbunshoku warned her of an attack, and she ducked under a kick she knew full well her old friend wasn't flexible enough to pull off. "Impersonate anyone." She growled, glaring at the man.
"I knew it!" Nami said, before vanishing. 'Kōza' gasped as his men were quickly dispatched, with Nami utilizing Soru to beat them all unconscious with punishing strikes as Vivi stood stock still, allowing her girlfriend to defend her. "There was no way her old friend would call her 'Princess.'"
"Stop joking arooooound~!" The imposter cried out, "My babies! What have you done to them?!"
Vivi and Nami both cringed, "Ugh, you talk weird." The mikan-haired woman growled at him, and then blanched as he touched his face with his left hand while simultaneously changing clothes with a flourish of his coat. Immediately, he became a man with a hideous-looking, balloon-shaped pair of shorts that stopped at his thighs. They were connected to a shirt with an enlarged collar, which was unbuttoned and showed off his chest. His legs were hairy, and he wore ballerina slippers. His pink overcoat had two swans on either side of his head, facing outward. And his face was caked in makeup, with a stylized lipstick design covering just a small part of his lips. "Oh my god, I never thought I'd see someone dress worse than Buggy!" Nami cried out.
"How did Robin stand it?!" Vivi was equally dumbfounded.
"Stop joking aroooooound!~" Mr. 2 yelled at them, "That's insulting, you know!"
"THAT WAS THE POINT!" Vivi and Nami yelled at him, "FIND A FASHION SENSE!"
"Oh, but it's you lovelies that need new eyes!" Mr. 2 lifted one of his legs into the air behind his head and started to twirl, "A ballerina is the height of fashion!"
"At least shave, damn it!" Nami snarled, before shaking her head, "What are we doing!?" She grabbed Vivi by the arm, "Go, Vivi! I've got this!"
"What?!" Vivi's gaze snapped to hers, "We can finish it quicker if we stay together!"
"You're no use here! Only YOU can stop the fighting and find that damn bomb! Get going!" Nami snapped at her.
Vivi bit her lip, "Don't you dare lose!" She turned and dashed away.
"Heh, who the hell do you think I am?" Nami smirked, glaring at Mr. 2.
"Stop joking aroooooound!" he cried out, "I'm here to capture Vivi, not you! Stand aside!" He rushed after Vivi, but Nami stood in his path. "I'm not normally one to hurt a pretty face, but a job's a job!" He yelled, swinging his leg in a flash straight at Nami's nose!
Nami raised her leg in a kick Sanji had taught her, catching his kick with her own. She grimaced at the impact, but was successful in repelling it away. "Damn, he almost kicks as hard as Sanji." She muttered to herself, twisting her foot left and right. 'This is going to be tough…'
"Hooo, those are some strong legs, little lady." He grinned as wide as Luffy ever did, "This might even be fun! Prepare yourself for my Okama Way Kenpo!"
"Well, you have a theme at least!" Nami snarked, getting into her combat stance and really wishing she could find herself a damn broom handle if nothing else.
Vivi ran. She could hear the fighting; the sounds of clashing blades, firing guns, and the cacophony of the screams of agony. She could still feel every death. Each and every one of her people vanishing in her mind, feeling like little needles being driven into her brain. She tumbled, holding herself up against a wall and trying to keep from retching. She swallowed it, and continued on.
When she finally came into the main area, it was a mess. With Chaka dead and Pell away to find her father, someone needed to take command of the Royal Forces and negotiate with the rebels. It could only be her. She needed to find Kōza!
She ducked, a bullet whizzing by where her shoulder had been a second ago, and she grimaced. With all the smoke, and men throwing themselves at one another, there was no possible way she could find Kōza like this! She jumped, using Soru to hop her way up a taller building since she couldn't really manage Geppō.
She got to the top, grimacing as she realized that she still wouldn't be able to find Kōza like this. It was too chaotic. Too many people moving. Too many noises. "Stop it." She said, tears beginning to leak from her eyes. "STOP IT!" She yelled, starting to sob, "STOP FIGHTING! YOU'RE ALL GETTING TRICKED!" She screamed, "CROCODILE BETRAYED US ALL! STOP IT! STOP FIGHTING! THIS FIGHTING IS SENSELESS! WE CAN'T KEEP KILLING EACH OTHER!"
But no one could hear her. Her shouts only caught a few nearby fighters' attention, and all it did was serve to distract them, stabbing Vivi in the brain as they took heinous injuries at best. Everyone just continued fighting.
Vivi closed her eyes, "STOP IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII-" She roared, and this time, something else erupted from her. A ripple through the air that radiated out for hundreds of meters. As it engulfed the fighting Rebels and Royal Army members, hundreds of them just keeled over and fell limply onto the dusty, blood-splattered ground of Alubarna. It wasn't all of them. It wasn't half or even a quarter of them. But it was enough of them that they stopped and took notice, and they all turned to bluenette kneeling above all of them on a tall building. "IIIIIT!" She gasped for air, panting heavily as she opened her eyes and took in the sight of the stunned fighters before her. 'Huh? They stopped?!'
"Vivi?! Nefertari Vivi?!" A very familiar voice called out, and her eyes snapped to it. Immediately, both the Rebels and the Royal Army members started to murmur, several of them even recognizing their Princess.
"Princess Vivi?!" The rumblings of her name rose into the air.
"Kōza!" She leapt from the building, landing easily, and rushing over towards him.
"Vivi, what was that?!" Kōza demanded of her as she reached him, looking warily at the downed men around them.
"What?!" Vivi blinked owlishly, "What was what?"
"What do you mean, 'what was what?'" Kōza asked her incredulously, opening his arms and gesturing at all the unconscious warriors, "How did you do this?!"
For a moment, Vivi looked around, dumbfounded. She looked like the hamster in her head had fallen off its wheel. "Wait, I did this?!" She said incredulously, remembering Ace's explanation from the day before, "Does this mean I have-" She cut herself off, shaking her head. "Stop distracting me! We don't have time for this!" She yelled, "We need to put a stop to this, now!" She told her old friend firmly.
"Stop this?!" Kōza asked her incredulously, sweeping the other thing under the rug for the moment at the urgency in her tone, "You've been missing for three years!" He yelled at her, "You don't know anything of what the King has been doing! You don't have the authority to order anyone here to do anything!"
"Yes I do!" Vivi snapped back at him, "Chaka is dead!" She declared, getting strangled gasps from the Royal Army, "My father is missing, and Pell is out searching for him! That makes me the highest authority in Alubarna right now, and I am ordering the Royal Army to STAND DOWN!"
Still, the army hesitated to follow her orders. Only some of them recognized her personally, and she had no proof that their Commander was dead… though the fact that he was currently missing was pretty strange. Kōza himself wasn't impressed, "Missing?! MISSING?! YOUR FATHER JUST BURNED DOWN NANOHANA!"
"NO, HE DIDN'T!" Vivi screamed back at him, "IT WAS AN IMPOSTER USING THE MANE MANE NO MI! HE CAN TAKE ANYONE'S FACE HE WANTS! HE EVEN ATTACKED ME A FEW MINUTES AGO USING YOUR FACE! MY FATHER HAS PROBABLY BEEN MISSING FOR WEEKS!"
Immediately, murmurs increased in volume, with both the loyalists and the rebels looking at one another in shock, confusion, and a small amount of dread. "The Mane Mane no mi?" Kōza no longer looked angry, and now just looked skeptical. "That's an awfully convenient story!"
"It's the truth!" She said, before addressing everyone in earshot, "This entire farce of a war has been orchestrated from the very beginning by an organization called Baroque Works!" She declared, "The Dance Powder appearing in Alubarna, the droughts, the convenient weapon deliveries, and fomenting unrest, EVERYTHING is their fault! I've been missing because I spent the last three years infiltrating them! THEY ARE OUR ENEMIES!"
"Who has done this, my Princess?!" One of the Royals who recognized her asked before Kōza could speak, "Who has been undermining the King?!"
Vivi grit her teeth, turning back to the palace and seeing the building sandstorm around her home, "Everything can be laid at SIR CROCODILE'S FEET!" She pointed, "LOOK!"
As one, everyone turned to look where she was pointing and saw the erupting sandstorm above the palace, followed by Luffy's sun powers turning night to day. "Sand? Sir Crocodile?! The country's hero?!" Kōza clenched his fists, "He has no reason to be in Alubarna right now! You mean to tell me that HE'S behind all of this?!"
"He's no hero!" Vivi spat hatefully, "He's been behind everything! He defeats pirates in public to make himself look good, but the entire time he's been here, he's been plotting behind our backs! He built Baroque Works in secret in order to take Alabasta over for himself! Every time we called him a hero, he was laughing in private! We never suspected a thing! Please Kōza! We fought as kids to see who would lead the Suna Suna clan! We've been friends for years! You have to trust me!"
"I want to!" Kōza said, "By Ra, I want to. But all you have are words! I can order the rebels to stand down, but Nanohana isn't going to accept words! Yuba isn't going to accept words! All of the destroyed towns buried in sand aren't going to accept words! We need proof!"
Vivi opened her mouth, before it snapped shut and she vanished from before Kōza's eyes. Everyone gasped, before a commotion drew their attention. One of the rebels had raised his rifle, taking aim at Vivi. He had been sliding towards the two leaders through the crowd as they spoke, trying to get into a better position. But Vivi had sensed his ill intent, now that her burgeoning Kenbunshoku wasn't trying to split her skull open.
She dashed over to the man and grabbed his gun's barrel with her left hand, jerking it to the left and into the air, where he shot harmlessly. With lightning-fast movement, Vivi jabbed him in the throat with a web strike, compressing his larynx and causing him to choke and drop his gun. She followed up with a jab to the liver, which bent him over. Showing off her incredible flexibility, her heel crashed into his jaw as he bent, throwing him onto his back, jaw shattered, liver bruised, and throat hurting like hell. "…What the fuck, Vivi…" Kōza gaped at her back.
She casually lowered her leg before their stunned gazes and stepped over the man, before reaching down and ripping his sleeve. "Bingo." She grinned, "LOOK!" She moved to allow the rushing Kōza to see the man's arm, which had the Baroque Works logo tattooed on it for… reasons. The logo itself wasn't a Jolly Roger per se, but everyone knew it was essentially the same thing. It was a skull distinguished by rapiers in place of crossbones surrounded by a set of light-purple wings. Robin had never quite figured out what possessed the band of morons to think getting their secret logo permanently stamped over their bodies was a good idea.
"That logo!" Kōza gasped, "It was plastered all over the arms freighter that crashed into Nanohana harbor!"
"This is Baroque Works' logo! Anyone wearing this or who has it tattooed onto them are traitors and must be arrested!" Vivi declared.
Immediately, a commotion erupted from both the Rebels and the Royal Army as, knowing that the jig was up, the Baroque Works plants attacked. Immediately, the fighting started back up, but it was quickly subdued as there weren't that many Millions and Billions left. They had drastically cut down Baroque Works sailing into Alabasta, and the fighting had taken yet more of them out. Rapidly, the armies cut down the traitors, finding the tattoo somewhere on every single body.
"They played us all for FOOLS!" Kōza screamed, sinking to his knees, and punching the ground, bloodying his knuckles. Several rebels dropped their weapons from limp fingers. "DAMN IIIIIT!"
Vivi stood tall, "I'll say it again! I am Nefertari Vivi and in my father's absence, I am taking control here! Royal Army, STAND DOWN!" She yelled, and this time, they didn't hesitate to stand to attention before her. She smiled for half a moment, before yelling, "EVERYONE, BEGIN THE EVACUATION OF ALUBARNA!" And with that, everyone froze, "My friends discovered the depths of Crocodile's treachery! He's been buying materials that can create a bomb capable of wiping us off the map! GET OUR PEOPLE AWAY FROM THE CITY! TAKE ONLY WHAT YOU CAN CARRY AND ANY NECESSITIES! FOOD AND WATER SHOULD BE PRIORITIZED! ANYONE CAPABLE OF SEARCHING, JOIN ME IN FINDING THAT DAMNED BOMB!"
"Rebels, follow her orders!" Kōza took her warning incredibly seriously this time, "We'll find it." He promised her as they all started running to follow their orders, before sighing, "You know this isn't over, right?" He asked her, sadly.
Vivi's narrowed gaze snapped to him, and she snarled, "If anyone still wants to fight, they can deal with me!" And another small ripple radiated from her, and a shiver went down Kōza's spine. A small number of people fell over, unconscious. Vivi immediately panicked, "Waah! I didn't mean to do that!" She hurried over to one of the downed men and tried to shake him awake. "I'm so sorry!"
Kōza could only choke down an incredulous laugh as she shook the insensate man, "Vivi, the bomb?"
"Crap! Let's go!" Vivi gave up on awakening the man and took off, quickly getting onto a roof to begin her search.
"CAN WE FUCKING SWITCH ALREADY, VALERIE?!" Usopp roared, his eyes practically popping through his goggles and his tongue zigzagging outside of his mouth. "NEITHER OF US ARE GETTING ANYWHERE WITH THIS!" He was dirty, his clothes were scuffed, and he was covered in soot from the damn exploding baseballs!
"NO WAY!" Valerie yelled back, equally matted with sweat, though she was otherwise pristine. She may not have hit Miss Merry Christmas yet, but she hadn't been hit either.
"This is just sad now, dearie." Miss Merry Christmas taunted her, "You fight as bad as your chocolates taste."
Valerie's face was covered in a mass of angry veins, pulsing angrily, "DIE!" She leapt into the air, aimed her parasol at her enemy, and then raced down for a piercing attack.
"You're not even doing anything differently." Miss Merry Christmas rolled her eyes behind her sunglasses, before retreating into a hole made with her Mogu Mogu no mi.
Valerie once again penetrated the ground with a thunderous bang, rocking the ground and throwing up a huge plume of sand. She even created a large crater from her impact, but that was all it did as she panted furiously. Her enemy once again popped out of another hole, completely unscathed and laughing her head off.
"Oh, for crying out loud." Usopp groaned, dodging yet another ball. "She's just too damn predictable for the stupid mole lady."
"IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII'mmmmmm yyyyyyyoooooooo-" Mr. 4 was saying, and Usopp rolled his eyes.
"Yeah, yeah. I got it, I got it." He growled, not really in the best of moods either. "We need to take ONE of them out. Just ONE!" But that was easier said than done. "I don't even know if the stupid spear could take the dog gun or the idiot out after all the mods I made to it." The useless thing was still on his back, but he was reluctant to use it with the damn exploding baseballs.
"I'm getting tired and my back hurts!" Miss Merry Christmas yelled, "Time to finish this, Mr. 4! I want a massage after this!" She ducked into the sand once more, avoiding another strong whack from Valerie. Only this time, she immediately popped back out and grabbed Valerie's ankles.
"Let-" Valerie started to yell, before she closed her eyes from a burst of speed she was not expecting at all, windmilling her arms as her feet pulled out from underneath her and the rest of her lagged behind.
"Molehill Highway!" The fat old lady yelled as she swam through the sand, dragging Valerie along with her. "Mr. 4! Grab your 4-ton bat! It's time for the Moletown Cleanup Hitter!"
"Valerie!" Usopp yelled, aiming his slingshot. He fired a pellet, one small enough that the 155 mm dachshund couldn't intercept. It hit Mr. 4, creating a smoke cloud.
Mr. 4 swung his bat early because of Usopp's attack. His eyes went wide as he spun foolishly in a circle, having put all his strength into the attack with nothing to hit.
Valerie wasn't idle either, "10,000 Kilo Shortstop!" She yelled, smiling in elation and she heard audible creaks and cracks from beneath her as the sudden stop wrenched Miss Merry Christmas' entire body. Unfortunately, the smoke also meant she barely saw that Mr. 4 was spinning, and almost couldn't get her arms up. "KYAAAA!"
Valerie was flung backwards from the thunderous impact of Mr. 4's 4-ton bat. It hadn't even been a full swing! Just barely a backswing from him spinning like an idiot. And yet Valerie's left arm broke like a twig, leaving her screaming in pain on the sands a dozen meters away. "Four?" The man said cluelessly.
Miss Merry Christmas wasn't much better off. "MY BACK!" She yelled, crawling out of her hole on her hands and knees, holding onto her back. She was lucky she could even do that. Her entire torso had been tweaked, shoulders included. "Oooh, my back! My back! Mr. 4! Help me!"
"Four!" Mr. 4 hurried to his knees, starting to massage the old broad. An audible crunching and cracking rang out, making Usopp cringe even as he hurried to the dog, glad that neither were paying much attention.
The dachshund was, however, and it began barking. And then it sneezed, spitting a ticking baseball out. Usopp dodged it as he ran closer and closer, dodging explosions and showers of sand as he raced to the dog while the other two were out of commission. "Finally!" He yelled, "Hissatsu!" He yelled, "Pocket Pepper!" He flung a handful of chili powder at the dog, who immediately went wide-eyed and started sneezing like a machine gun.
Usopp almost got blasted, but managed to jump over the gun dog and land beside it as it kept sneezing madly. Grunting from the strain, Usopp wrapped his arms around its neck. His lanky muscles from hard training aboard the Merry strained to the extreme as he aimed the massive cannon at Mr. 4 and Miss Merry Christmas.
"FOUR?!" Mr. Four yelled as a baseball struck him in the face. Miss Merry Christmas' eyes popped out of her glasses as she looked up. She stuck her arm into the sand as the other grabbed at her partner.
A massive conflagration engulfed them, rocking the entire 'arena.'
Usopp let out a sigh of relief, slumping against the dog. Which was a mistake. "GRRRRRR." His eyes popped open as he realized the sneezing had stopped, and the dog had turned its head to him.
"…" They stared at each other, with the dachshund glaring at him. "…Good doggy?" The dog snarled and whipped towards him. Usopp screamed and dodged, but the dog still latched on, biting him as hard as it could. "LET GO YOU MANGY MUTT!" Usopp screamed in pain as it drew blood from his arm even with the relatively weak bite force of a Dachshund. "POCKET PEPPER!" The second it opened its mouth to sneeze again, eyes watering, Usopp wrenched his arm away. "Usopp Expanding Plug!" He improvised another attack, throwing a pellet into the dog's mouth. It immediately expanded into a hard-ish foam plug that jammed its mouth open.
"!" The dog had panicked eyes as it sneezed, and then immediately exploded. Flames burst from the ruptures that formed in its body, throwing smoke everywhere. When it cleared, the dachshund was charred and unconscious.
"LLLLLLLLAAAAAAAAAAAASSSSSSSSSS-" Mr. 4 looked apoplectic, leaping forward with all the rage of 'my baby would never hurt a fly!' dog owners everywhere. "SSSSSSSSSSOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!"
Usopp screamed in fright, trying to use one of his few Soru for the day to get the hell out of dodge. He really needed to train his legs more. This would have been simple if he could use them as often as Sanji or even Nami! But Miss Merry Christmas had other ideas. She popped up, slower than before for sure, but she was able to grab his legs anyway. "Shit!" Mr. 4's bat smashed square into his face, smashing bone, flaying skin, throwing blood into the air, and flinging him away.
"Usopp!" Valerie flashed forward and grabbed him before he could crash into the dirt. "Usopp! Speak to me!"
He coughed out some blood, groaning, "…Th-that hurt."
"Damn it, I'm sorry Usopp! I should have listened!" Valerie laid him down and let out a pained grimace, her left arm limp as she held herself up with her parasol on trembling legs.
"How dare you hurt our dog!" Miss Merry Christmas hissed out, radiating fury, "We're going to send you bastards to hell to meet your Captain!"
Usopp and Valerie froze. "…What did you say?" The blonde asked, her face shadowed.
"What, are your ears as bad as your eclairs? Your dumbass Captain is dead!" Miss Merry Christmas grinned viciously as Valerie did not react, "Drowned beneath Rain Dinners just as Mr. Zero planned! That's what you get for involving yourselves with Baroque Works!"
"That's a lie!" Usopp found his second wind and sprang up to a sitting position, unminding of his injuries, "You shut your mouth, penguin lady!" He ignored her angry protest that she was a mole, "There's no way Luffy is dead! He's going to be King of the Pirates! There's no way he's dying in this sandy kingdom!"
"Pirate King?" She sputtered, "AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! PIRATE KING! OH, MY SIDES! MY HIPS! PIRATE KING! DON'T MAKE ME LAUGH! AHAHAHAHAHAHA!"
Usopp got to his feet, "Don't you dare!" He snarled, glaring at her with blood pumping from his face.
"Usopp." Valerie's face was shadowed, "Get that bitch." Mr. 4 was rushing towards them, before Valerie vanished.
"F-FOUR?!" Mr. 4 wheezed as her parasol's point crashed into his sternum, launching him back a dozen feet.
"Mr. 4!" Miss Merry Christmas yelled, before diving into the sand and digging towards Valerie, who was stomping toward her partner. "Don't take your eyes off me, missy!" She burst from the sand, ready to carve up Valerie's pretty face with her Moletown Banana. Instead, she erupted from the sand facing Usopp's slingshot. "Wh-?!"
Usopp fired a pellet straight into her mouth, and it burst into a noxious looking red liquid that steamed.
Miss Merry Christmas crashed to the floor and didn't move for a second. And then she twitched. And twitched again. And then she threw her head back and screamed. "AAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!" She squealed as fire burst from her mouth. Her eyes burst through her sunglasses, shaped like chili peppers. Tears streamed from her eyes and snot dripped from her nose as every single pain receptor in her mouth was stabbed over and over by the capsaicin in Usopp's Hissatsu: Sasori Boshi. Alarm bells were ringing in her head as she flailed.
"Listen well." Usopp stood over her like the reaper himself, dripping blood. "There are certain things one must never do." He raised his spear, which looked fairly different. It wasn't as stupid-looking for one, and held much less of a punch due to his modifications. But it was still enough. He brought it crashing down on her face, and an explosion even bigger than Lassoo's baseballs erupted around them. When it cleared, both of them were covered in soot. Usopp was trembling in pain, but she was barely conscious, "Never insult a man's dream! You got that, you penguin hag?" Miss Merry Christmas fell over, smoking.
"Four?!" Mr. 4 yelled, swinging at Valerie.
She ducked under it, "That thing is four tons, huh? I believe it. It hurt like hell even with my 10,000 Kilo reinforcements. You broke my arm." She clenched her parasol tightly and brought it down harshly on the bat when he tried swiping again, which immediately slipped from his grasp and crashed to the sands below.
"Four?!" His eyes popped out.
"So, here's a question for you, Four; if 4-tons hurts like hell?" She raised her parasol as he ducked down to grab his bat, "What does 11-tons feel like?!" She yelled, swinging the parasol. It crashed into his face and broke every tooth in his mouth. The huge man flew off his feet, crashed through the nearby ruins, and continued on until he was a twinkle in the sky.
"We-we did it!" Usopp finally allowed himself to fall over. "Can you please not fly off the handle next time someone insults your desserts?"
"I promise, Usopp! You got hurt because of me! It'll never happen again. Kyahahaha!" She let out a nervous, but cute, little laugh.
"You sure?" He asked blandly as he raised an eyebrow.
"Of course! I wouldn't lie to a nakama!" She glared at him.
"What are you doing now, then?" His eyebrow rose higher.
"Anger management!" She shot back cheerfully, once more punting Miss Merry Christmas in the ribs.
"I really must recommend you just give up, Tanuki." Miss Doublefinger took a drag from her kiseru, "Make it nice and easy, or else you'll just die tired."
"I already said I'm a reindeer, didn't I?!" Chopper growled back at her, righteous anger overpowering his fear for a moment, "How do I look like a tanuki, huh?! I don't even have a long fluffy tail!"
She smirked, "Not going to comment on your pending death?" She blew out a plume of smoke.
Chopper's fight left him and he took an unsteady step back, "Y-you won't hurt a cute little reindeer, would you?"
Her smile turned predatory as she looked down on the smaller animal, "I wonder…."
Chopper shook his head, remembering just what was on the line. He couldn't get intimidated by this woman. How would he look his crew in the eye after that? "I-I'm not scared of you…" he huffed, steeling his resolve. "I won't let you go past me!"
She pocketed her kiseru, "We'll see that won't we?"
He was regretting not getting enough time to train with Luffy before they landed on Alabasta. He hadn't really managed to learn any of the Rokushiki yet! Growling, he turned into his Heavy Point, towering over his opponent. It did little to make her less dangerous, but it did make him feel much better. Miss Doublefinger looked unimpressed, but Chopper didn't let that get to him, rushing forward with his fist pulled back, ready to punch her lights out.
Just like Doctorine trained him to do.
She returned his raised eyebrow, "Really?" She drawled, "I feel bad for you and give you a warning, and you rush me anyway? You really aren't very smart, are you?" She raised her hand, "Stinger Finger."
"Woah!" Chopper rolled to the side, crying out in a little bit of pain as her index finger turned into a two-meter-long stinger, intercepting his charge, and slicing a thin cut onto his cheek. He rolled to the side, but she didn't do anything else.
"Good reflexes." She applauded mockingly, having returned to normal.
Chopper panted, his chest already feeling tight as his first lesson of what a gun could do replayed in his head, feeling his blood trickle down from his wound. He grunted and pushed back against the fear, getting his senses in check. "N-needle powers… huh?"
"Close." She raised her arm again, and this time a ring of spikes erupted from her wrists, "I ate the Toge Toge no mi, making me a Human Spike. Again, feel free to just give up and hold still. I'll make it quick and painless."
"Scary…" Chopper mumbled, taking a step back, eyes still locked onto the woman's spiked hands, all of his instincts were screaming at him to run away and not let her get close to him again. "But…" his body hunched over, memories of what Carue had told him about Alabasta and Vivi's desperation resurfaced. He thought of what would happen if he backed down now. He could only imagine his father again. "I can't heal this country if you assholes kill it." He declared.
"Heal a country?" Miss Doublefinger blinked in confusion, "Have you gone mad with fright already?"
Chopper shook his head, glaring back at the assassin, who had disappeared from her previous position. His eyes bulged as he saw her shadow on the ground, squeaking and looking up. She was bearing down on him from the sky.
"Honestly now, are you a child? You shouldn't take your eyes off your opponent in a fight to the death!" Doublefinger chided him, both of her arms turned into spikes, "Double Stinger!" She aimed for his head and started thrusting her arms at him. Chopper quickly shrunk down into Brain Point, making her miss her attacks. "That form is so tiny!" She exclaimed in irritation. She had misjudged how small he was due to the massive increase of his large form.
"I'm only fifteen!" He yelled at her, turning into his Walk Point. With the close proximity, she was actually caught on his antlers, and he whipped his head skyward, flinging her up. "How about tha- what the heck?!" Doublefinger was standing upside down on an arch above them, "Why is that so freaking cool?!" He whined, looking up at her with starry eyes. "You're like a ninja!"
"Ahaha!" Doublefinger couldn't help but chuckle. It was a simple application of her powers, after all. All she was doing was stabbing into the concrete with spikes coming from her feet. "I guess you really are fifteen! How cute." She teased, smiling lightly. "Have to say… that does make me feel bad. I'm not a huge fan of hurting little kiddies."
"You don't have to." Chopper breathed, thinking that someone as cool as a ninja couldn't truly be evil, right? "Uh, since the stupid Croc is going to kill you all anyway!"
"You think I'm going to believe that?" She asked him, raising her eyebrow, "I've never failed a mission, and neither has Mr. 1. Mr. 0 has no reason to kill me."
"Oh! They told me about that one! You know who he is now, which is against your organization's bylaws!" Chopper recounted holding one of his hooves up, "Also, you know too much." He raised the other hoof, "And finally…" He chuckled, thinking that it was fun knowing things others didn't. "I imagine he didn't tell you about the bomb he rigged to blow Alubarna up, did he?"
Doublefinger blinked, humming softly, "You're not bad at this whole 'mind game' thing, kid." She smirked, "But you went too heavy-handed with it. I don't believe that for a second."
"Ehh! But that's what Robin told me! It must be true!" Chopper whined, unable to believe she would lie to him.
Doublefinger stared blankly at him, tilting her head slightly "Who?"
Chopper blinked "Huh? She told us she was working with you guys!" He paused and scratched the back of his head. "Wait no- hold on. What was her cool secret agent name again…? Miss something Sunday?"
That took Doublefinger by surprise. Her eyes widening in shock for the first time the entire battle "Sunday? She betrayed us? To a Tanuki?"
"I'm not a Tanuki!" Chopper screeched, chopping the air.
She harrumphed, now a little upset. She'd had a good relationship with Mr. 0's partner. She had even thought they might have been friends one day, after their victory. "Enough." She pulled one of her feet from the archway, "Stinging Spear!" She pushed off hard, flinging herself at Chopper and turning the right-way up. Both of her legs were transformed into a single large spike, and Chopper was forced to jump away. Doublefinger landed, and immediately rushed out of the dust cloud she had kicked up. "Double Stinger Barrage!" She rapidly punched with her arm-spikes, throwing a flurry of attacks at the reindeer. Each missed attack pierced through anything and everything in the way.
"Ah!" Chopper gasped, taking steps back and watching the attack, slowly noticing the small lull in the pattern as he switched to Heavy Point, "Heavy Gong!" He swung at his opponent's face.
She puckered up like she was going to kiss him, and instead a smaller spike extended from her face.
"AGH!" Chopper rapidly backed away, cradling his fist. Her spike had pierced clean through, and he was lucky she hadn't torn through a tendon when the spike pierced through his fist. "Damn it! That hurts!" He turned and ran.
"What, after all that talk, you're just going to run?" Doublefinger extended spikes from her feet, and started walking after him at a fast clip, exaggeratedly shaking her hips in a "sexy" manner.
"Dammit!" Chopper cursed as he took out a roll of bandages to take care of his hand. . He was probably going to have a hole in his hoof! That was going to hurt! He quickly and expertly wrapped the wound up, putting pressure on the wound and hoping the bandages would be enough to stop the bleeding for now. He'd take care of it properly after she was defeated. "I can't even hit her! How am I going to-"
He choked on his words as he heard her voice, "That's right." Miss Doublefinger had basically spider-walked on the buildings, leaving tiny, miniature holes with every step. "You can't touch me." Chopper immediately reached for a Rumble Ball. "-And you're not going to win. Double Finger Stingers!" Both of her hands grew spikes out of every finger.
"Rumble!" Chopper crunched through the pill.
"Die!" Miss Doublefinger launched herself at him from above, before he changed. "What?! A fourth form?!" She couldn't abort her attack and had to follow through. Her fingers pierced through Chopper… and did absolutely nothing.
"You won't be able to hurt me now!" Chopper squeaked… his head sticking out of a mound of floof. "Guard point!" All that was visible of him were his face and legs. The rest of his body was surrounded by what looked like a cloud of fluffy fur. Which she was stuck inside, the fur constricting around her hands tightly.
Miss Doublefinger tried to pull her arms back, the fur had tangled around her hand, not even budging. "What the hell are you?! Zoans only have three forms!"
"Why could I tell you, baka?" Chopper squeaked before he started to spin in a circle and buck like a bronco.
"Waaah!" Miss Doublefinger yelled as she was whipped up and down while being spun. Her vision started to swim from the disorientation before Chopper abruptly switched back to Jumping Point. With the fur no longer gripping her, she was flung away and impacted one of the buildings. Chopper launched himself after her, and immediately swapped to Arm Point, "Kokutei Roseo!" His hard hoof smashed right into her gut.
Miss Doublefinger gagged, spittle flying from her mouth as she broke through the wall. Immediately, the building collapsed, burying the woman.
Chopper fell back, panting from the fight, "I… I did it?" He got up and cheered, "I did it! I won!" And then dozens of spikes erupted from the rubble, lifting it all off of the woman or just breaking it up. Chopper's jaw dropped as a panting and visibly injured Miss Doublefinger stumbled out. "Aaah! Zombie!"
She was dusty, her luscious blue hair was matted and covered in grime, and she was bleeding from several places. Even her clothes were torn and frayed. Her eerily calm expression had been left behind with the debris; tendons and veins bulging on her face with the sheer amount of rage her expression was trying to convey. "I'm going to kill you slowly." She promised as she tore her ruined jacket off, leaving only her stripperriffic, skintight number left... Her fingers extended into spikes which she stabbed into her shoulders. Chopper's eyes widened in confusion, before they almost popped out of his skull as her arms bulged in size, her musculature becoming just as heavyset as Heavy Point. "Spike-U-Puncture!" She roared, flexing.
"W-wh-what the hell?!" Chopper pointed a hoof at her, "How the heck did you do that?! Is that a ninjut- EEP!"
He rapidly rolled out of the way as she charged, her arm raised in a picture-perfect Lariat. She continued without stopping, and upon hitting the pillar that had been behind Chopper, she completely broke through it. The pillar was flung upwards from its spot, before crashing on its destroyed base and starting to tip over. It shattered in midair, and continued to crumble around her.
Chopper stared with wide eyes and a gaping mouth, before he abruptly turned into Walk Point and ran in the opposite direction, "Ninjas are scary!" He panted, knowing his time with the Rumble Ball was dwindling.
"GET BACK HERE!" Doublefinger had even gotten faster. She tucked into a spiked ball and rolled after him like a demented hedgehog.
"WAAAAAAHHHH!" Chopper screamed as he ran, "NO THANKS! I GOT MY RABIES SHOT ALREADY!"
"Too bad!" She yelled as she rolled past him, stuck to the ground, and unfurled herself in a hurry, turning as Chopper tried to stop himself from running into her, "Stinger Rampage!"
Chopper turned into Guard Point, seeing no other alternative. Her forearm hit him in the fluff and launched him backwards. "WAAAAAAAAAHHHHHH!" He screamed as he flew backwards from the impact. He hit a wall and rebounded off of it, before hitting an arch above and ricocheting off that too, and then hitting the ground.
If Miss Doublefinger hadn't been so mad, she might even have been laughing at the reindeer bouncing off everything like a pinball. As it was, it just made her madder because she couldn't hurt him in that stupid form.
After a final bounce, Chopper reverted to Brain Point and landed up above. "I need to find her weakness! Scope!" He made that diamond with his hooves.
"Get down here!" She rushed up the side of the building with her Stinger Step, and even in her anger, she still swung her hips like an idiot as she walked. If anything, it just looked funnier due to her faster pace.
"That's it!" Chopper dropped his hands and leapt down with Jump Point, before switching to Arm Point. She jumped and flipped down to the ground, before rushing him again, "Kokutei Roseo!" He yelled, knowing that her arm spikes lacked the penetrating power in this muscular form that her slender form had.
"Don't underestimate me. Stinger Rampage!" She threw her fist at him in a wild haymaker…
Which he dodged completely by switching back into Brain Point and sliding between her legs. She whirled around, and her eyes widened at seeing yet another new form. Chopper's body had grown again. His human arms were bulky, but his feet were still hooves. He was bent over in a running start stance, and his antlers were massive. He was already charging, and Doublefinger gagged as he gored her with his antlers. She screamed in pain and fear as he pounded her into another pillar, breaking through it as easily as she had earlier. Blood flew through the air as she went unconscious for good this time, and not a moment too soon as his Rumble Ball ran out and he reverted to Brain Point.
He staggered as the building shook around them, and pieces of stone that had lasted generations crumbled around them. Chopper turned into Heavy Point just in time to punch away a bit of falling rubble, but then another hit him in the shoulder, and he howled in pain as it broke. Knowing he needed to get out of there, he quickly grabbed his opponent and ran from the building. He dropped her to the floor once they were both out of danger, and took one last, relieved look at her, before he limped away. "I…I won! I won!" He said to himself.
He didn't make it a hundred feet away before he fell over, unconscious himself.
Sanji lit up his cigarette with a small flourish, letting out a cloud of smoke after a deep, nerve-settling inhale. "You're big." He put his zippo away, quirking a grin, "Fought bigger."
"Never one like me." Mr. 1 stared at him dispassionately. Indeed, he was an incredibly tall and very muscular man, who had longer limbs than normal. His arms at the very least were on the thinner side for his bulk, making him look rather lanky. His head was shaved, he had a dark unibrow, and bigger-than-average lips.
"Ah yes, Mr. 1, right?" Sanji grinned, "Or should that be Daz Bones, legendary West Blue assassin?"
Mr. 1's eyes widened, before he glared at Sanji hard, "I see. It isn't that you defeated Miss All Sunday. She betrayed us."
"Oh, I wouldn't say that." Sanji pulled his cigarette from his lips, tapping on it lightly to get rid of the spent ashes, "You have to be loyal to something to betray it. It's a pity you all are too stupid to realize that Crocodile will kill you once this is over. She wasn't."
"Failure must be punished." Mr. 1 retorted, "And you are an imbecile if you think I did not consider the possibility, once he revealed his face. Our plan will go off without a hitch, and you all will be dead. Mr. 0 will have no reason to dispose of us. He'll need loyal soldiers, after all, or else the World Government will simply waltz in and do away with him."
"Hoo, you aren't too bright, are you?" Sanji shook his head, tutting in pity, "You all know too much. He can make himself look like a hero and reluctant ruler, and continue operating in secrecy while getting himself new patsies. You all aren't-"
"Enough of this." Mr. 1 declared, before rushing at Sanji with surprising speed. "Die!" He swung his arm, which was transformed into a frighteningly sharp blade, at Sanji's chest. Sanji immediately reacted, kicking upwards, and meeting the strike with his shoe.
Mr. 1 raised an eyebrow as his blade dug right through the bottom of Sanji's fancy shoes, and yet stopped cold on his foot. Sanji looked irritated, "These were nice shoes." He said blandly.
"Then why wear them?" Mr. 1 asked blandly, turning his arm partially back to human form to grab Sanji's foot. He yanked the man towards him, his other arm flashing. Sanji raised his knee to block while in midair, and a rather metallic-sounding clang rang through the air. "Hmph, metallic bracers, soles, and likely vambraces won't save you. You can't armor your entire body."
"A sous chef must always be immaculately dressed." Sanji grinned, reaching down, and lowering his pants where it was cut, revealing pale skin. "And guess again."
"What the…" Mr. 1 narrowed his eyes, "So, you have a Devil Fruit of your own. No wonder you are not afraid of my blades. Which is it?"
"None. I'm quite an accomplished swimmer, you know." Sanji's grin widened as he saw Mr. 1's unibrow twitch in irritation, "And afraid of your blades?" He scoffed at the thought, "What kind of a chef would I be if a little knife could frighten me?" He prepared himself, knowing that it was time to get serious now, "Prepare yourself, Daz Bones, or else I'll sauté you." He vanished, making Mr. 1's eyes bulge as he was kicked in the chest, hard.
'Fast!' The assassin thought to himself, feeling himself sliding back, his feet transformed into blades and sinking into the rock beneath to slow himself down. Mr. 1 smiled, "But weak." He casually brushed his chest off nonchalantly. "I hardly felt that."
"Guess I'll have to try a little harder!" Sanji vanished again, appearing above Mr. 1, who was able to track him this time. "Rankyaku!" He swiped his leg through the air, and it noticeably churned, turning into a visible wave that raced towards his enemy.
Mr. 1 raised his left arm just in time for the air blade to reach him. It screeched on his metallic skin, before he parried it away from him. It hit the ground, dicing clean through it, and carving a small trench as it went. He smiled, "Ho, maybe this will be fun. I see you've got some tricks of your own!" He kicked back, his leg transformed into a sharp point.
Sanji reappeared behind him, and his eyes immediately widened as he jerked his head to the side. A thin cut appeared on his cheek, even as he raised his leg with a quick swipe and unleashed a second fast Rankyaku. It hit Mr. 1 between the legs, but merely screeched against him as even that could be transformed into steel. The air blade dissipated as Mr. 1 lowered his leg.
"You dodged that." Mr. 1 grinned viciously as he looked at Sanji, "And you're bleeding. Looks like your trick is just a trick. Or perhaps you have to time it well." He immediately attacked again, his leg screaming through the air and meeting Sanji's once more. But he didn't stop with just one attack, seeing it ineffective. He revealed an acrobatic fighting style, one that was perhaps even more so than Sanji's. He quickly retracted one leg and spun in midair, launching the other as a sharp, pointed blade. It hit Sanji square in the chest, knocking him stumbling back. He flipped forward, landing on one palm and swinging his leg downwards towards Sanji's head.
Sanji dodged back, before springing forward and launching a roundhouse kick at his opponent.
But Mr. 1 wasn't idle, and raised his other hand, "Supā Kurō!" He clawed his fingers, revealing his entire palm to have been turned into blades.
Sanji clicked his teeth and stopped his kick short, backing away.
"Heh." Mr. 1 got back on his feet, "You've given yourself away, cook." He rubbed his chin, "Every time you've blocked my blades, you've stiffened up. Your defense must be a technique. One which you cannot use while moving much, meaning your counterattacks lack that defensive property."
Sanji clenched his teeth around his cigarette, "Smart little bastard, aren't you?"
"After seeing it so many times, only a monkey wouldn't figure it out." Mr. 1 bent his knees, "You can't hurt me with your pitiful attacks. I wonder how long you can defend for. Atomikku Supāto!" He dashed forward, both feet, arms, and every finger turned into blades. He swiped at Sanji's head, who merely swayed, and dodged with a preternatural flexibility, simply flowing around the blades.
"Kami-E." Sanji muttered, focusing up. He was rapidly backpedaling, dodging Mr. 1's attacks by the barest of margins. The man raced after him, the street becoming pockmarked with holes from being stabbed by his sharp feet. A claw swipe, a roundhouse, a spinning, jumping back kick, a jab, a spinning backfist, a compass kick. That one almost brushed Sanji's chin. He grinned, "I wasn't looking for a trim, you shitty razor."
Mr. 1 saw how strangely Sanji was moving, and was rapidly becoming frustrated by his sheer inability to land a blow. So, he changed the parameters. Without Sanji noticing, he turned them slightly, changing the blonde's trajectory.
Sanji only realized his mistake when his back hit the wall of the building. "You should pay closer attention." Mr. 1 chided, planting his right leg into the ground and thrusting forward with both palms splayed open, "Supākuringu Deijī!"
"Shit!" Sanji raised his right leg and activated Tekkai again, blocking the attack. "Guh!" He cried out as just the force of the attack was enough to put him through the wall. The cuts extended far past the physical blades, and the entire building was diced through ten times, one for each finger. It was almost as if each individual digit released the equivalent of a Rankyaku.
It collapsed, burying Sanji in the rubble. A small cloud of dust, sand, and bits of rock rose into the air, with Mr. 1 turning and walking away. "You were amusing, cook. Only amusing."
A rumble behind him stopped him in his tracks, and as he turned, he swiped through a large bit of the sandstone building that Sanji had just kicked at him. The blonde was a mess. His suit was tattered, and now covered in dust and grime. "Where do you think you're going, you shitty filet knife?"
"Hmph. You could have lived, fool." Mr. 1 responded, ignoring his question. "But you're irritating me now. You have nothing to harm me with, and yet you keep standing and getting in the way of my mission. Supairaru Horō." His arms sprouted many, many blades, almost overlaid over each other. And then they started to spin so fast that they were whirring audibly.
Sanji vanished, appearing behind Mr. 1, who immediately launched a spinning backfist at the blonde. Sanji raised his leg and activated Tekkai, gritting his teeth as many metallic-sounding dings rang through the air. His pants shredded off of his leg, and Mr. 1 used his superior strength to push harder. Sanji let out a cry of pain as his defense failed, and Mr. 1's buzzsaws of death started taking chunks of flesh away, coating himself in blood.
Sanji was launched back, and Mr. 1 followed, thrusting his other arm forward. Sanji had no defense this time, and got his chest completely carved up. His suit was chewed through, and then blood spewed in rivulets through the air as he crashed into a stone pillar.
Slurp. Mr. 1 licked Sanji's blood off his arm. He was rather coated in the stuff now. "Hmph." Mr. 1 shook his head as Sanji's labored breathing rang through the air, "Stay down this time, fool." He turned, "Just stay down and bleed out while you rue the day you heard my name. I am going to go and accomplish my mission. Mr. Zero asked me to present Miss Wednesday's head to him."
Sanji coughed out a small plume of blood, and fought to get to his feet. "Not…" He groaned, "While I still draw breath."
Mr. 1 stopped, turning around with an angry vein pulsing on his forehead, "Very well then." He said, turning around fully, as he watched Sanji stumble to his feet, "I'll cut yours off first."
Sanji rasped, his vision wavering from the blood loss. But he straightened up and glared at the approaching assassin. "A man should never touch a hair on a woman's head." He started to spin, his body whirring before Mr. 1's sight.
Mr. 1 scoffed, "Is mimicking me all you can do? You won't be able to hurt me no matter how much you spin." He glared, "In fact, you're reminding me of that fool Mr. 2 and his idiotic twirling." He stomped forward.
"Don't you know?" Sanji continued to spin faster and faster, "A knife that is overheated will lose its temper!"
Mr. 1 jerked to a stop, watching as a spark ignited near Sanji. Then another. Then another. "What? It's glowing?!"
"Diable Jambe!" Sanji snapped to a stop, his mangled leg glowing white-hot and raised before him. "A leg glowing with heat not only gains extreme speed-" He vanished, and Mr. 1 howled as Sanji's foot plowed into his midsection. Immediately, the sizzling of flesh filled the air as the heat started to cook Mr. 1 from the inside out, "But also the destructive power of the devil! Flanchet Strike!"
Mr. 1 flew backwards accompanied by flames, blood spurting from his mouth. He flew into the air, Sanji having directed the kick upwards.
Sanji vanished from sight, utilizing Geppō and Soru to get behind and above Mr. 1 with his leg raised high, "Flambage Shot!" He flew down, his foot meeting halfway with Mr. 1's face. More heat buffeted the man and flames erupted around them as Mr. 1 was sent hurtling to the ground like a comet. He impacted with a loud crash, slightly cratering the ground beneath him, and shaking everything in the immediate vicinity. When the dust settled, he was revealed completely unconscious on the ground, his face and stomach blackened with burns.
Sanji landed, stumbling to his knees. He panted as his legs returned to normal, but they were red, and one had dried blood caked all over it. He tried to get up, but his legs screamed in pain, completely covered in cuts and microfractures from all of the fighting. He panted, but pulled a fresh cigarette from what remained of his suit with a trembling hand. "God may have created cooking…" He struggled to light up, eventually managing it and taking a deep drag to settle his nerves. "But the devil created spice." He managed to get up and limped/hopped over to a wall to slump by. He chuckled ruefully, "Looks like this dish burned your tongue, huh?"
And that's a wrap! Hopefully the next one will maintain this trend of not taking a year! Just…
As always, if anyone is interested in early access to future content, you can find me on Pat re on under the same name. If any of you are old fans of my old HP fic Breath of the Inferno, I just posted the first chapter of the re-imagining for that fic a few days ago.