In thinking up ideas for a new segment for the One Piece Compendium, I got stuck on the idea of time travel and how to make it original. Stuck in a very literal way when one idea refused to leave me head because of how fun it sounded. So behold, here it is. Being a time travel fic…it's more or less a crack-fic for the purposes of speeding along the plot we already know, but will break with its theme of being a crack-fic journal of Robin's experiences time traveling when there's new plot or changes to original plot to cover.
Robin's Insanity Journal
Chapter 1 - Ohara
This is a rather peculiar dream. I haven't revisited my childhood ever since Luffy and the rest of the Straw Hats freed me from Enies Lobby. The last time I can recall it happening was the day before we arrived in Water 7, with flashes of Aokiji freezing my nakama and I just before I woke up in a cold sweat. Except that I'd been an adult the entire time, last time I had this type of dream. Even stranger is that the dream was rather blurry a few minutes after I'd calmed down, but this dream is really lucid. Incredibly so; I don't think I've ever had a dream where I can reflect on the past while in the past.
Waking up to the sight of my horrid aunt demanding that I get to cleaning the house wasn't exactly pleasant; the very first thing I did was use my Hana Hana no Mi powers to bind her to the wall as I walked out of the house rather annoyed. I'd tried pinching myself to wake up but that doesn't seem to be working, so it appears that I'll have to suffer through this until I wake up.
It being a dream, I did indulge myself….just a little. The first boy to try and throw a tomato at me quickly found himself on the ground after an arm slapped him upside the head. After that, most of the children were scared off and ran away, leaving me to calmly walk down to the beach where I'd first met Saul.
I'd contemplated walking to the Tree of Knowledge, but I really did not want to have to revisit some of the most painful moments of my childhood, half afraid that my dream would turn into the day of Ohara's destruction. I instead chose to sit in the surf until this dream was over, figuring that it'd be the less painful out of all options.
With nothing to do, I reflected on what had been happening just before this odd dream. The Ninja-Pirates-Mink-Samurai alliance had split up into teams after Jack's defeat, with Luffy, Nami, Chopper, and Brook leaving to rescue Sanji. I had stayed behind on Zou to guard Momonosuke, awaiting further instructions from my Captain. Presumably, our next move would have been to regroup on Wano and confront Kaido, but I can't really recall the details of the days that followed Luffy's departure…no matter, I assume that once I wake up I'll be able to recall the details.
I spent the entire day there until hunger forced me to leave my vigil by the surf at sunset. I dragged my feet on the way back home, uneager to have to deal with my aunt, frustrated that my dream hadn't ended yet. As expected, she was hostile when I returned. I once again bound her to the wall as I grabbed a few things to eat and turned around, meaning to walk out again when I spotted a journal and pen lying innocuously on the kitchen table which I realized with a shock was the journal I used to write in as a child. Shooting what was surely an unimpressive withering glare from an 8-year old girl at my aunt, I marched out back to the beach. I received a few questioning glances from the villagers of Ohara, confused at my being out so late but ignored them as I made my way to my old spot. I looked through the journal as I ate my apple and to my surprise, found it blank when I've been writing in it since I was 6 years old.
Bored, slightly confused, and with little sunlight remaining, I began to write down in this journal to help me sort out my thoughts on this odd dream. What a frustrating dream…I haven't been this annoyed since Franky made lewd faces in Chopper's body. I suppose I'll just take inspiration from my Captain and sleep out under the stars; surely, my dream will be over once I fall asleep and none of this will matter anymore.
To my great frustration, my dream was not over when I fell asleep, as I woke up to a face full of brine. On second thought, sleeping out on the beach was perhaps not my greatest idea. I barely made out of the surf before it could pull me in in my weakened state. Chalk one down for another idea of Luffy-kun's that I should have thought over very hard before following along with.
After three days of wandering and getting small forms of payback at those who tormented me, I'm now no longer at bored and am instead worried. I've never experienced a dream so drawn out and realistic, with none of the more abstract happenings one can expect in a dream. I should know, as I've been so bored I tried to see if I could perhaps fly, change shapes, or stretch. In my defense, I was very, very desperate. Needless to say, none of these worked out. I'm just glad nobody saw me trying to fly. It would have made Pirates Docking 6: Big Emperor look downright pedestrian. Thankfully, none of my nakama will ever find out about this. Nami, if you're reading through my not-diary right now, I've got two words to say to you, because I'm not afraid of taking you down with me. Bathroom Incident. Put it down and pretend you never saw anything.
After so many years of living, being back in this position is…maddening. I'm about as physically strong as I was as an eight-year old girl but the powers of my fruit seem to match my last memories of me as an adult. I'm legitimately wondering if I've begun to lose my mind, or if there any tropical diseases on Zou that cause delirium. It's just my luck that Chopper's off with Luffy. Hopefully, I'm not a rotting corpse with a brain of mush by the time my nakama return, dereshishishi….ahem. No one must ever know that I actually still laugh like that sometimes unless I catch myself and instead giggle. Nami, I've warned you!
After so many days of this, I've decided to accept that this dream isn't so much a dream as it is a replaying of my life. I'm unsure what to label this. A simulation? A disease-induced coma illusion? Time travel? Regardless, I've realized that this experience is not restricted by my actual experiences in life as I've seen and heard things which I have no recollection of having ever occurred. In particular, an overly amorous pair of locals whom I overheard as I wandered the village late at night…best forgotten. Yes, indeed.
As a result, I'm curious to test the limits of what I can and can't change. I'm not convinced that this is a real, material existence but I must admit that I feel a sense of…agency, to act and change what happened in my past. Call it a burning curiosity to save the figments of my imagination that happen to look like my childhood home and friends, and see the changes that occur. As a historian, the possibilities of what can change…are endless. The first thing that occurred to me is the Ohara incident. The second is the tragedy that was The War of the Best for our beloved Captain…If only I can reach out to him before Kuma whisks me off to Tequila Wolf! But that is to come much later. Right now, my Captain isn't even born yet. Come to think of it, Gol D. Roger still sails the seas. I wonder…anyways, on reflection, it rather shocked me that the second thing to spring to my mind was Luffy's painful moment. I'm no stranger to these, my own life is a testament to this. I suppose I must simply chalk it up to it being the most prominent instance of grief that I can recall in recent memory…I suppose that in a way, I did make peace with the tragedies of my past in the end when Luffy rescued me, hence why they did not immediately jump to mind.
Also, I'm rather regretting acting out now…my, this is embarrassing. Thank Oda my crew will never know.
Looking back at my early reflections on my Captain is so cute, dereshish-damn. Even in writing, I can't escape it.
My plans are proceeding smoothly. I showed up at the Tree of Knowledge and managed to convince Clover to let me take my scholar's exam early, which I passed with flying colors. I was really torn about metaphorically raiding the Tree of Knowledge for all the knowledge I could amass on the Poneglyphs but…I must admit, Luffy's rubbed off on me more than I ever thought possible. Where is the adventure in that? My lifelong adventure has been to discover the True History by my own actions, and the truth is still out there, waiting to be unearthed. And part of that dream is to do so alongside my nakama, sailing with them forever. I will not spoil that dream for myself. On another note, I finally checked the calendar and ascertained that I had approximately 22 days left until Saul's arrival.
My preparations so far have been physical training, nutrition, and preparing an escape route for as many people as possible from Ohara. Early on in my brainstorming, I'd been forced to admit defeat on one front. Ohara was doomed. Simply put, I'm not the demon I've been made out to be at the age of eight. I can't simply destroy the Buster Call on my own, and less so face Aokiji. I may have grown stronger during the 2 years apart from the rest of the crew, but to my frustration, I never mastered being able to consciously control Haki. My tutor, Sabo, had done his best and he continued to coach me to the day I left, believing I was very close to unlocking it, but alas, I failed to do so before the 2 years were up. A lot of that time was spent aiding the Revolutionaries in various operations, admittedly. Part of that difficulty stems in the fact that I displayed instances of both Armament and Observation Haki during the course of my training. Sabo first focused on Observation Haki, but a lack of results meant that we switched the plan around and instead focused on Armament for the second year of training. As of what I last remember, I'm not able to reliably use either, and have been completely unable to access it, even by accident, since this 'awakening' in my younger self. To my utmost frustration.
With respect to nutrition, I hate to admit that I didn't really eat what I should have until I was almost a fully grown woman. Part of that is tied to being constantly on the run. One can't exactly be picky about what they do and do not eat, or how often they are able to eat. Thankfully, I'm happy with both my health and my appearance as an adult, but I've always felt that I could perhaps have been another inch or so taller. Right now, I have the luxury of food being fairly plentiful, and so I'm partaking as I should for a girl my age.
On fitness, I may as well be a common goon in terms of my combat capabilities. I get that I'm an eight-year old girl at the moment…but I'm very frustrated about being an eight-year old girl at the moment. So naturally, I want to accelerate my combat capabilities as quickly as possible. That doesn't mean I'll be facing off against trained Marines any time soon if I can help it but there are still things I can do to stack the deck. So I've been running. Running, running, running. Running so much Usopp-kun's cowardice would be jealous. If enemies can't hit me they can't beat me, after all, and I can see some use in being quick to avoid the worst of Ohara's coming storm. I've also began doing pushups, crunches, and squats when I'm not utterly exhausted by my side project.
Or as I like to call it, The Escape Plan. Which truthfully, is currently planned to just be two large wooden rafts with a crude canopy of large leaves, and two pairs of (very) ugly paddles. Oh how I wish I'd payed more attention to Franky's 'SUPPPPEEEEEER' expositions about the Sunny's features and design. It doesn't help that I don't have any tools needed to do any form of woodworking. Even with a thousand arms at my disposal, I'm unable to do much more than throw together my form of escape for Saul, the historians, and I. Ah, yes. The second nasty realization. There's no way I can possibly save everybody.
Ever since Enies Lobby, I've never accepted an idea as impossible. That's what the Straw Hats taught me. So long as I have the determination and inner strength, things always work out. And to date, I've never seen it fail. Luffy and the rest of the crew have continued to do the impossible, and I've embraced their philosophy completely. Always happy to go along for the latest crazy and ambitious plan of our Captain. Even Luffy's loss of Ace in Marineford wasn't his fault, not that I'll ever breathe a word of these treasonous thoughts to him. It was his brother's fault for letting himself be provoked by Akainu, wasting the sacrifice of so many others that died that day. Again. Not something to ever be shared out loud.
It all came down to Luffy. Half her day had been spent thinking about the possibilities if Luffy, or some of the other Straw Hats had been sent along with her to this odd replay of time, and what they could do to save Ohara. How they would have saved Ohara, without any doubt. But…I'm alone. And there wasn't much of anything I could do other than cushion the damage.
I really didn't want to think about who'd make it aboard her rafts and who wouldn't. Or how much I value the knowledge in the tree versus the life of the villagers.
The crushing exhaustion from my exercise regime plus the labor needed to create escape rafts has lessened…sort of. My mind isn't a hazy, exhausted hell anymore at least. I'm more or less living on the outskirts of town at the moment; I don't trust my aunt as far as I can throw her, and that isn't very far at the moment. I've been sleeping by (not on!) the beach ever since that first day and catching fish for my meals to avoid having to interact with anybody from the village. The one exception is the other historians, who I make a point of visiting regularly. I've tried hinting at Clover that I know way more than I should but he refuses to take me seriously….this would be much easier if I could get the other historians to help me.
In between the crushing exhaustion and failed attempts to get adults to take me seriously, I've been thinking a lot about my crew and how much I miss them and our adventures. I swear I'll unite us again in this life, even if it's the last thing I do. The first raft is complete. And I've also got an idea about how I can persuade Clover…we'll see if it works. It's very last minute. I'd much rather convince him early if I can.
A part of me really, really does not want to admit it. But this diary is the closest thing to regular, normal human contact that I've got, and also the only place I can discuss what I know. And it's not as if there's anything all that incriminating in here; as far as anybody's concerned this diary i-I meant journal. Journal. This journal is the ramblings of a lunatic. So what harm is there in laying out my thoughts here?
All these days with so little mental stimulation…I keep thinking about my crew. Over and over again. And I'm forced to admit something to myself that I'm wondering if it's even something I realized before, subconsciously or otherwise. But my thoughts keep being drawn back to our Captain. Uncomfortably so. As I've reflected on our times together as a crew, I've…noted how close I am to my Captain, and how much he's changed me from the person I was when I first joined his crew, born out of equal parts cynicism and intrigue by the odd rubber boy.
True, my initial interest in him was amusement. He was such an odd character; a boy unlike any other, unique and unbelievable to all but those he interacts with. When I first joined the crew, I was rather risqué in my approach. It was what I'd done in the past, after all. To draw a man's interest to me, I had to be provocative to stab them in the back later. It was all I knew back then. I showed up in my then sexy cowboy suit ( I don't even want to think back on it…what was I thinking?) and told Luffy to take responsibility for me. I got what I wanted, but not because of my outfit or my words. Luffy instead looked me in the eyes, straight into my soul, judged my character then and there, and only then did he let me join the crew, immediately declaring me to be a good person.
I was floored.
My experiences with Luffy's eccentricities didn't end there. I never felt the need to 'act' like walking sex appeal ever again, which I'm eternally grateful for. From that day onwards, I dressed for me and what made me feel happy, and a semblance of that shy girl from Ohara came out again for the first time in nearly twenty years. Luffy and the rest of the crew wormed their way into my heart through their eccentricities and closeness. I'd never been a part of something so wonderful in my life.
Then came Aokiji, followed shortly by Enies Lobby and I made one of the, frankly, stupidest choices in my life when I ran away from the Straw Hats, attempting to martyr myself from them. On reflection, I really don't know what I was thinking. Luffy and Zoro already had bounties. Luffy wanted to be the Pirate King. An Enies Lobby-style incident that lands most of the crew on the map was merely a matter of time. I suppose that a part of me saw it as atonement for my many sins before I joined the Straw Hats. At the time, I felt like the happiness I'd felt with them had finally outweighed the misery of my youth and that my death was an acceptable outcome.
To Luffy, it was not. What proceeded to happen that day in Enies Lobby can still bring unshed wetness to my eyes. Luffy's speech. Him filling me with the will to live. My declaration. Their determination to save me in face of all the odds against them. At that moment, I'd never felt so loved in my life.
After that incident I was…nervous around the Captain for a while. He didn't change his behavior or interactions with me at all. But as much as I'm uncomfortable now to admit it, Monkey D. Luffy had ignited a small flame in my heart for him through his actions and words, which I then promptly buried and did my best to forget about. I was almost 11 years his senior. I'm closer to being his mother in age than I am an eligible woman for his affection. I told myself this over and over again, failing to realize that I was falling into the same trap of martyrdom that I'd fallen into at Water 7, willing to bury my affection for him in the name of his happiness. It didn't help that as far as I could tell, Luffy bordered on asexuality. If it weren't for Nami recounting the story of the Alabasta baths to me, I'd still be convinced otherwise.
As for my feelings…I succeeded, to a degree. Our interactions became as they always were and by the time we arrived at Thriller Bark, all was normal both in my head and my heart. Except for a few things that managed to slip as time went on. How whenever I pictured the unbreakable bonds Saul talked about, Luffy was the first to come to mind. How I'm always laughing at his antics, or always go along with any idea of his no matter how suicidal the old me would have found it. How defeated I felt in Tequila Wolf, when I wasn't able to reach Luffy before Kuma split us up. How saddened I was to hear about Luffy's defeat at Marineford, beyond any degree of sympathy one would feel for a friend's loss. How I adopted the nicknames Luffy uses for other people as my own. Or the slight twinge of relief I felt at knowing that I was no longer the eldest woman interested in Luffy's heart, upon hearing about Boa Hancock's affection for him, or that I'd inadvertently placed myself yet again as a contender, if only in my heart. How content I am whenever he's near. Or how all my efforts during the 2 years apart were for him first of all.
Or more conclusively; I was forced to admit that I was smitten with the b-no, man, for he was no longer a boy. Luffy had certainly grown up since the last time I'd seen him 2 years earlier. He was still the same man that had accidentally stolen my heart, but it was clear from both his physique and his attitude that he was through taking his adventure so lightheartedly to the point of gambling their lives blindly. I had the utmost confidence in his abilities and in his reasoning, however shortsighted or even idiotic they may appear to some. I'm well aware that Luffy is the textbook definition of a savant, which as far as I was concerned was no flaw but only served to highlight what made Luffy so beloved by me.
I had no idea what to think. As much as I tried to ignore the matter, arguing that it was irrelevant for at a minimum, 19 years, or that it was amoral to even be thinking such thoughts about someone not even born yet…I simply couldn't stop my mind from wandering back to these thoughts without any form of distraction or stimuli beyond physical exhaustion.
My default response to these thoughts was to argue about the age gap. When that failed due to the treasonous segment of my mind bringing up Boa Hancock's age, I tried to argue that Luffy was borderline asexual, which my mind brushed aside completely stating that Luffy couldn't be expected to know what he had never had reason to know and that life experience would change this, as it had over the time they'd been sailing, slowly but surely. Next I tried to argue mentally that Luffy would be far better off with someone that wasn't as tainted by cruel deeds or a harsh past. At this point, I truly began to question my sanity when a voice in my head that sounded and talked exactly like Luffy argued that that point was stupid, as though that solved that matter completely. Inner Luffy then argued (poorly) that she was no further behind than anybody else when no one had truly made any progress in earning Luffy's affection. And when in desperation I tried to argue that my feelings for Luffy were sisterly in nature, Inner Luffy and Inner Robin both snorted. I was forced to sigh in defeat and admit that yes…I had some feelings for my Captain.
I'm clearly losing my mind and if Chopper doesn't come soon, my head will be as hollow as Brook's by the time this disease kills me. If it continues on like this, maybe it's best that it kills me.
Addendum: The great turning point, looking back on it. I wonder if I read this section to Luffy now, what he would say…?
The…overwhelming thoughts on Luffy have seemingly stopped. Or rather, they're there, but now that I'm not actively attempting to deny and suppress them, I've stopped hearing voices in my head arguing against myself. I suppose that now that I'm not internally at war with myself, my mind is now able to focus on other things. Like how much I miss Sanji's cooking. Or how sick I am of fried fish. How much I miss a proper bed instead of a poorly assembled bed of leaves. Or what I've got to do to change Ohara's fate, if only slightly.
My mind does occasionally wander back to what exactly I'm going to do about these newly accepted feelings. But I'm thankfully not engaged in a war of attrition with myself anymore. I suppose that I'll figure things out as they come…it's what Luffy would do, no?
Both rafts are finished, and I am oh so glad to be finally finished. I'm also a lot faster than I was at this age, but I'm unsure just how fast I can run compared to myself as an adult. Nothing to do but to keep training…Saul arrives in two days!
I told Clover that tomorrow, a giant would arrive at Ohara. He was exasperated at my insistence over the last month, but what choice did I have? He told me that if it were true, then he'd finally begin to take me seriously. I physically struggled not to grin like a shark. Hook, line, and sinker.
What a long day. But I couldn't be happier…
Robin opened her eyes slowly, before jumping up in anticipation and excitement. Today was the day! Saul would finally arrive today! This was the first day she'd get a chance to change everything for the better! Her heart beat faster as she looked around and…..yes! Only a few hundred feet away was a visible lump on the beach, massive in stature. Robin was so happy that a tear or two leaked from her eyes. Saul would not die. Not this time.
Slowly, she approached him as he slowly began to twitch and lift himself off of the sand and Saul did the same funny face that he did last time he first saw her, making Robin giggle to herself.
"W-water…" asked Saul exhaustedly, to which Robin nodded silently and lead him to a nearby stream. As she watched him seemingly come alive again, she couldn't help but have tears gather in her eyes.
"S-Saul…I'm so glad you're here…dereshishi…..de…reshi…..shi…*sniff* WAHHHHHHH!" cried Robin as she rushed his ankle and hugged him tightly, unable to control the tears or salvage her original plan, as she was overcome by just how much she'd missed the friendly giant. Just how deeply his philosophy on life had impacted her. And how his words had given her the hope she needed to carry on until she met Luffy and the others.
"You s-wha? Do I know you?" asked Saul in confusion as he gently patted her back awkwardly in an attempt to comfort the inconsolable little girl.
He was surprised by the radiant smile she gave him through her teary eyes.
"More than you'd think!"
Convincing Saul actually took surprisingly little time when I told him about recent events only he'd have known. I was amazed at how well my plan was working despite having botched the initial plan that most certainly did not involve me actually telling him that I had some knowledge of the future. It seems like Luffy's strategy of simply hoping for the best is infectious. At first he thought I was a child agent of CP9. Maybe it was the anger on my face when he said that name that caused him to doubt that idea. He asked me for further proof, which I was more than happy to give as I told him the story of how we first met and how he was my first friend. I then told him more, specifically, what was going to arrive in four days and from that moment on, he took me seriously.
He began to almost immediately work on a raft before I told him that it was already done. He was ready to leave, assuming that the Buster Call was being called on him before I managed to slow him down and get him to listen; that the Buster Call would arrive either way, and that it wasn't targeting him but rather my mother. Saul's eyes widened as he put two and two together, before sitting down and listening to my plan in full. By the end…
"Dereshishishishi! Robin! That's perfect!" exclaimed the giant, amazed at the gift of fortune that had fallen onto his ankle. Robin beamed at the praise, happy that her plan now had two conspirators.
"I'll be right back! I'll bring Clover! Then we can get started! Remember, tell him what I told you!" shouted Robin as she sprinted back inland towards the Tree. Saul nodded, content as he tried to process all that his new…or should he say old? Eh, she was a new friend to him. All that his new friend had told him and done. He wasn't happy to have landed in Ohara of all places, but if he was going to be a fugitive, Robin's plan was the best he could have hoped for.
Some Time Later
"Professor Clover! It's time! Come on, follow me, remember you promised!" shouted Robin with far more excitement than she was used to showing. Darn a childlike brain, even if she was a grown woman mentally. But, how could she not be?
Clover sighed slightly, but nodded. Robin had promised that if she was wrong, she'd stop interrupting him with her cryptic warnings. He knew he shouldn't have introduced her to mystery novels, but alas, it was too late. Robin spent most of the previous year devouring those novels, and she was a child. It shouldn't be a surprise that she'd act her age for once.
Walking down the trail that led to the beach as Robin ran ahead impatiently, he was shocked to see that yes, Robin had been telling the truth. Yup. That was a giant, alright. Clover suddenly got very nervous but Robin confidently ran at the giant. Swallowing, he sped up a little to intervene should it come to it.
"You are Clover?" asked the giant wearily? Clover nodded, his tongue seemingly trapped in his throat.
"Dereshishishishi! Excellent! Then Robin is truly telling the truth!" exclaimed Saul. At his questioning look, Saul recounted an abridged version of what Robin had told him. Thanks to his claim of being a vice admiral, Clover digested his claims about the Buster Call and Nico Olvia with relative ease; after all, there was no way he'd known of Olvia unless he was with the Marines. And from what he was telling him….they had much to worry about the Marines.
Clover sighed deeply, knowing that there was no way to save all the knowledge in the Tree. Even if the islanders escaped the Marines' wrath, there was no possible way of saving the books. Or how to save Olvia…even now, he still felt guilt, knowing that it was the mission he'd launched that had led to the death of his comrades and the full force of the Marines threatening to crash down on the one survivor.
"I have a plan, Clover. If it all goes well, we'll be able to save most of the knowledge in the tree AND save Olvia!" At Clover's curious glance, Saul grinned.
"How does taking over a Marine base sound to you?"
Clover gaped, eyes popping out of his head.
My plan went even better than I could have anticipated. It was actually quite simple. The archaeologists, Saul, and I would board the rafts and set sail towards the closest Marine base, thankfully only a day away. It was a rather small refueling outpost to the west of the island, as the West Blue was a relatively peaceful place. I had later learned that in the past, the Marine Base by Ohara had been placed specifically to keep an eye on the historians of the island; it was no secret that the Marines watched us all carefully. Meanwhile, the Buster Call would depart from Marineford two days from the day Saul arrived, and reach Ohara on the 32nd day since my bizarre trip to the past from the Southeast.
Upon hearing word that the Marine base was being assaulted, the Buster Call would be forced to divert itself to aid the Marine base. If their mission was so stringent that they could afford to stop, well, it became even simpler. I would use my Hana Hana no Mi powers and a wig to pose as my mother, Nico Olvia. The Marines on the base would report that they'd spotted my mother, and then their primary mission would then be pointing a bullseye right on the Marine base.
The Buster Call would then sail straight past Ohara in an attempt to capture my mother. In the meantime, our raid would focus on three objectives; the destruction or capture of all communication equipment on the base, the capture of one frigate, and the damaging or destruction of all other Marine ships that could pursue. My primary mission would be the first, as I was more than practiced in stealth and infiltration. The historians would focus on capturing a ship. And Saul would focus on incapacitating all of the other ships. Our plan was completely dependent on the base being manned by at most a Commodore, as Saul was in no condition to face a Vice Admiral despite being one himself.
Clover and I split up, with Clover calling an impromptu meeting of the archaeologists and explaining what was coming. None of the archaeologists were surprised by the World Government's actions, just by the plan. But the news of the deaths of their comrades at their hands had their blood boiling, and provisions, munitions, and arms were quickly gathered. I had been careful to not mention that Saul was somewhat responsible for their deaths, otherwise the plan would fall apart. Meanwhile, I patched Saul up as best as I could using any and all medical supplies I could get my hands on for his massive frame.
We set sail late that night on the rafts I'd built, reinforced by what meager building materials we had, but with a full set of (crummy) oars and a proper mast and sail. Rather than waste time on any potential arguments against me going or not, I hid under Saul's shirt on his shoulder as the archaeologists and the giant took shifts rowing to speed our process.
Our timing was impeccable, as we arrived ahead of schedule, just as the sun was setting behind our backs. Saul got off the raft and began swimming in an attempt to keep us disguised for as long as possible. We got incredibly close thanks to the cover the sun provided before they even noticed our presence, but the only thing they saw was the archaeologists wildly waving white flags and crying for help. I'd been sitting on Saul's head but he sneakily transferred me aboard, to the surprise of all of the archaeologists but it was too late to say anything. Saul's hair being orange did an excellent job of camouflaging his presence as he took a deep breath and went underwater. If I remember right, giants can hold their breaths for approximately ten minutes on average. The Marines opened the gate to their dockyard and our vessels slowly paddled in.
We were greeted by a Junior Lieutenant, and I could hardly believe my luck. It appears that Gol D. Roger really was applying pressure on the Marines, as the base had a skeleton crew to greet us and it was clear that many of the Marine ships rarely went out on patrol from how clean they were. Clover quickly got to fabricating a tale about a vicious giant assaulting their village which got the attention of the Marines. As they turned to lead us into the base for further questioning, we struck.
Saul jumped out of the water, pummeling the Junior Lieutenant as he did so and sending him into the wall, unconscious or possibly even dead. The historians pulled out revolvers, knives, and even a crossbow as they unleashed their first barrage on the Marines whose backs were for the most part, still turned. Saul quickly knocked out all other Marines on the docks as the historians charged the barracks, where the majority of the Marines on base were located and set up a barricade in front from which they let loose their ranged weapons, locking down most of the Marine's manpower.
I had jumped into the shadows in the chaos and was making my way towards the command center. I found to my pleasant surprise that I had the strength to incapacitate and clutch trained Marines, and made liberal use of it instead of a slower full stealth approach. As I neared, I slowed down and hid in an alcove while a few stragglers ran past, focusing all of my efforts into what I was about to do. Slowly, I created my feet on the cold stone surface and my face scrunched up in concentration. I created a segment of my ankle…then created the same segment again on top of my ankle. Then I moved on to the calf. Slowly but surely, a rough mirror of what I had looked like as an adult appeared before me. It wasn't perfect, a few proportions were off, but it could easily pass as an adult version of me if nobody looked too hard. I'd handed my clone a dress that I'd snatched on the way to my rafts as well as the white wig I'd thrown together in anticipation of this day.
At the time, I realized with a jolt how well I mirrored my mother as an adult. Change the hair color and we were basically twins.
My clone smiled softly and nodded as she boldly stepped into the command center. I had smiled and sat in my corner, concentrating.
Inside the Command Center
"W-Who are you?!" exclaimed the terrified Marine manning the comm station as he turned around, hearing the door swing open. My clone smiled demurely as she stepped forward, not saying anything. I could roughly imitate the body of an adult me if I put all of my concertation into it, but vocal chords were another matter entirely. My clone's eyes lit up in amusement as the Marine's hand inched towards the dagger on his belt before eyeing something rather convenient; a freshly printed wanted poster of my mother sitting right by the comm console.
My clone smiled again before pointing at the poster. The Marine's eyes nearly popped out of his head as he dove for the Comm Console Den Den Mushi.
"MARINE HQ, THIS IS THE OHARA-MABAI BASE, WEST BLUE! NICO OLVIA AND JAGUAR D. SAUL HAVE ATTACKED AND CONQUERED THE BASE, I REPEAT, OHARA-MABAI BASE HAS FALLEN TO NICO OLVIA AND JAGUAR D. SAUL! PLEASE SEND IMMEDIATE REINFORCEMENTS!"
Satisfied, her clone crossed her arms and the Marine was completely incapacitated by arms sprouting from his back. The clone slowly dissipated into flower petals as a voice cried out from outside, "MIL FLEUR! GIGANTESCO MANO!"
Saul looked up as a giant fist smashed the entirety of the top floor of the Marine Base and several Den Den Mushi came flying out. All but two landed in the water; one landed right on his nose, while the other landed dab center in the middle of the ship he had claimed for themselves. Saul grinned; Robin was truly the best thing he could have wished for in this crazy, crazy scenario. Moments later, he was gaping as Robin came out of the top floor, flying on what looked like angel wings that on closer inspection were made of her arms. How did such a thing even work…?!
The getaway was equally as successful as our entry. Saul dumped part of the wreckage of a Marine ship he'd ruined in front of the barracks entrance and wedged the debris in deep into the passageway, successfully ensuring that the Marines would be stuck there for a very long time. All but one ship had been destroyed by Saul, and the historians cheered as they boarded it alongside Saul and I. Saul quickly began barking out orders that were more or less successfully followed by the determined historians, and away we went in the dead of the night. Everybody cheered, as the worst wounds received had been a few grazing bullets but nothing critical. It also helped that there were multiple historians whose specialty was medicine. I couldn't do anything but just smile in happiness at how well this crazy plan was going. The Historian-Giant Alliance was going off without a hitch!
We arrived late in the afternoon to the complete confusion of most of the villagers. Clover and Saul gave some speeches that managed to shock and horrify most of the populace of the island. Some refused to believe it. Many others, especially those related to the historians of the island, took the warnings much more seriously. What then began as a warning quickly turned into an exodus as many of the residents of the island took whatever boats were available to them and promptly began to flee. Fishing boats, row boats, canoes, all were drafted into transporting as many people off the island as possible. Meanwhile, Saul, most of the historians and I began to empty out the Tree of Knowledge of every book and manuscript we could manage to the point where half the cargo weight of the Marine frigate was books. What couldn't fit into the frigate was freely given to the villagers to take with them, resulting in approximately 70% of all of the books on the island escaping destruction. The exodus of people and books put peer pressure on those who at first refused to leave, and soon all but the most brainwashed of individuals had left the island save for a few of the more dedicated historians, Saul, and I. We began to clear out as much of the islands' food supplies as we could and load them into the ship without sinking or capsizing it, knowing it would be a long journey. Abandoned homes proved plentiful in providing for us all, and soon we were ready for the next day.
Today, my mother arrived. I….I truthfully don't know how I feel about it. A part of me is still bitter at being all but abandoned by her. Another understands why she did what she did. Most of me just wanted to hug her, which is exactly what I did once she washed up on the beach. Her arrival was far quieter than it originally was, as we saw no sign of Marine ships but our own. After a very quick conversation with Saul and Clover, my mother boarded our ship and we began to sail straight north at maximum speed towards the Calm Belt. If geography hadn't been on our side, we'd have likely been caught in Paradise but the West Blue was on the New World side of the Grand Line. And what's more, we were sailing directly at an island under Whitebeard's protection. We had a chance. Assuming the Sea Kings didn't devour us first, however. Saul letting it slip that Marine ship bottoms were coated in Seastone was going to save all of our lives.
Crossing the Calm Belt was terrifying, even with the knowledge that we were as safe as we could possibly be from the Sea Kings. With the wind dead, they were forced to bring out Seastone-coated oars and row for their lives. They spent the better part of a day and a half constantly rowing before we spotted the first sign of trouble from behind…a Sea King had finally spotted us and had risen out of the water. The gargantuan monster was a blue spotted, reptilian-looking sea snake with teeth that were easily several times the size of the ship. We were all too horrified to panic. As the Sea King reared back, presumably to devour us, its body began to freeze from its head downwards.
'Oh no', thought Robin in horror as she realized the monster that had arrived to replace the previous one. The Sea King let loose a massive roar before diving back into the water, causing the tiny figure on its head to land on the now-frozen water. The ice slowly began to expand, creeping towards their ship slowly.
Aokiji stared lazily at the stolen Marine ship and the horrified looks on the faces of its temporary crew. Robin was too afraid to move, knowing that there was no chance that she could stop him.
"EVERYBODY KEEP ROWING!" roared Saul as he stepped forward to the bow, looking down at his erstwhile friend. The historians snapped back to life and began to furiously row, just barely outpacing the freezing speed of the ice as it continued to creep towards them. Aokiji stood there, watching indifferently.
"Arara Saul, you've led us on quite the crazy chase. Won't you please surrender?" asked Aokiji.
"Kuzan! Let these people go! They've hurt nobody and won't harm anybody! They're just historians!" exclaimed Saul tensely. He was good, and able to give Kuzan a good spar on his best day, but that was with minimal usage of his fruit. If forced to fight him at his full power why he was still injured…the results would not be good. But what could he do? Stall? For what?
"Gomen Saul, but I have my orders. The historians of Ohara have researched the Poneglyphs extensively. Too extensively. They pose a danger to the world, and I'm here to end that."
Aokiji, or Kuzan as his proper given name, was for once not looking particularly lazy or unfocused as he said this. He was sizing up Saul, his eyes lingering on his injuries from escaping the Marines five days prior.
Saul grit his teeth in frustration. There wasn't much he could do, but he would do his best. For Robin, Olvia, and the rest of the historians. They'd come too far to give up now.
The ice began to encroach faster on the ship, outspeeding it completely as the ship was stuck, surrounded completely. The tension between Kuzan and Saul was palpable and quickly rising until...
Everybody but Kuzan and Saul fell over as the ship trembled and the ice shattered, hail falling all over them as the broken ice flew skywards from the force of the quake. As the crew cried out in fear and ducked, Saul and Kuzan were both looking around in confusion, Saul on the wildly shaking ship and Kuzan on a floating piece of ice that resembled a glacier. Kuzan's eyes widened in realization as a deep laughter rang out over the shattered ice sheet.
"Gurarararara…aren't you too green to be sent out to face me, Vice Admiral Kuzan?" rumbled Whitebeard as he landed surprisingly gently for a man his size aboard the stolen Marine ship. From above, a teenage Marco's phoenix flame wings flashed back to arms as he landed next to his father, eyeing Kuzan wearily.
"Arara Whitebeard, it seems like we're throwing a party. I forgot to invite some more friends," said Kuzan neutrally as all tension disappeared. He was good, but he wasn't Whitebeard good, not by any stretch of the imagination and they all knew it.
"That's alright! We've got all the booze you can drink!" exclaimed Robin as she stood up, eyeing both men nervously.
Both men stared at each other, then at Robin, then back at each other in confusion before Whitebeard bellowed another deep laugh that seemed to shake the entire ship.
"Gurarararara! You know how it's done, girl! It's time for a party!" exclaimed the massive man as he sat down heavily, shaking the ship. Kuzan blinked once, twice, before shrugging. He already knew what'd happen if he tried anything. As far as Marine HQ could be concerned, he lost to Whitebeard. No one was gonna give him shit for that one.
"Oi, Nico-mini, pour one out for me. I'm going to be very, very drunk so that when I'm forced to call in and give a report, I sound really, really delirious" said Kuzan lazily as he jumped aboard the ship (scattering everybody nearby but Saul and Whitebeard in fear) and lazily laying back on the ground as though he hadn't been about to murder them all via deep freezing.
"Deroshishishishi! I knew you'd come around Kuzan!"
I can say without a doubt that that party was the scariest, most awkward, and bizarre party I've ever attended in my entire life.
On the one hand we had Kuzan, terror of my childhood, casually drinking and laughing alongside Marco the Phoenix and Saul as though they were old drinking buddies, drunkenly singing and roaring with laughter.
On the other hand we have Whitebeard, strongest man in the world, getting absolutely plastered alongside the historians of Ohara, who after the first hour of terror, had eased into drinking after it was clear that Whitebeard's presence meant a truce, and that getting on his good side was critical. Clover in particular seemed to have hit it off amazingly well with Whitebeard as the two old men laughed to the point of falling over and spilling beer all over themselves.
I sat off to the side with my mother after having finished bringing out the alcohol. The entire stock I'd brought along with us to convince Whitebeard to parley with us, all gone in a few short hours.
Robin stared in horror mixed with nostalgia as Clover danced around with chopsticks in his nose to the roaring laughter of the entire ship. Seeing Aokiji and Saul rolling on the floor laughing was just…what had happened to the past? Was it always full of this much potential for insanity? This is what could have happened instead? Really? Or was this some sort of alternate universe?
Olvia stared with a very similar facial expression in her face as she slowly grasped her child's hand, as though trying to physically reassure herself that she hadn't gone mad. Robin smiled at the gesture, focusing her attention on her mother instead of-oh god is Whitebeard really about t-oh my lord, he actually did it. With sheer force of will, Robin turned her head back to facing her mother.
Olvia glanced at what had caught Robin's attention and burst out laughing before she stopped, smiling gently down at her daughter. Internally, she was cringing at the awkwardness but resolved to follow through.
"So uh…you throw interesting parties, Robin-chan. Are all your friends this wild?" asked Olvia?
"Yes," said Robin with absolute seriousness. This was Straw Hat Party 101 material after all.
Olvia just stared at her daughter in surprise before she giggled, mentally said to hell with it, and scooped her up in a hug.
"I'm so sorry Robin…oh so sorry. It had to be done, but I regretted leaving you behind every day I was gone," said Olvia as her eyes slowly began to glisten with unshed tears. Robin's shock at the sudden hug quickly faded as she too, wrapped her mother in a strong hug, cherishing it as she finally relaxed the knot of tension that had been sitting in her gut for the last month.
"It's okay. I'm just happy we have a second chance."