Well I officially suck at keeping my promises!!!
I really should at least go back and edit my beginning chapters knowing how much they sucked but even that's a big chore!!
Kiki opened her eyes and noticed that she's alone. She stood before her village, outside Makino's place.
"What am I doing back here?"
Kiki took a couple of steps before seeing her younger self run past her. She slowly turned around in shock at seeing herself. She saw her younger self and a few of the village's local bullies.
"That's right…those guys…" Kiki's head lowered, "I didn't really have friends at all…when dad left me here…"
Everything then started to disappear and a new scene appeared, almost like a picture book. This time, she saw herself with Makino.
Little Kiki cried into Makino's arms.
"It's okay, little Kiki…" Makino comforted, "Don't let them bother you. Your mother and father wouldn't want to see you like this, would they?"
Little Kiki shook her head but she kept crying. Especially after what she overheard…
"The Pirate King? You're never going to beat him!"
"What about the Pirate Queen? Is she any easier?"
"Idiot! She died! She was killed!"
"What?! Really?! Since when?! By who?!"
"Uh…I'm not sure. I heard it was Kuro…"
Kiki's eyes widen and almost as if time has stopped, the world seemed to have stopped moving. Luffy always said they were going to search for her mother…but…did he lie? Kiki ran and cried as she ran to Makino.
"Dad lied to me…" Kiki thought as she watched her past self cry, "I remember this...this is why I started to train. I had another reason to get stronger…"
Iris walked around a splitting image of the Baratie's dining room. She noticed she was alone until people started to appear. On her guard, she got ready for a fight but calmed down when she saw the images appearing are people eating. She continued to scan the area until she saw her younger self and a familiar boy.
"I will shove this down your throat!" Young Iris threatened on top of the boy while holding a chicken leg with one hand and her other hand on the boy's collar. Iris smirked, remembering how much the boy deserved that for being a sexist pig. But then she remembered how much trouble she got into with her father…
As if on cue, Sanji came over and literally kicked his daughter off the boy.
Iris flinched, forgotten how much that hurt and how ridiculously-painful she was disciplined back then.
Sanji picked Iris off the ground to put her into a stand and then took her arm, silently pulling her into the kitchen as she stumbled her way there from being dizzy.
Iris watched her former self go, remembering that day so much clearer than before. When Iris wanted to follow, the scene started changing into the Baratie's kitchen.
"Iris! What did I tell you about fighting with costumers?!" Sanji yelled while young Iris folded her arms and looked away, "Look at me!" Sanji ordered.
"No! You're a fool for letting these costumers get away with things!" Young Iris argued back but that earned Iris a hit on the head by Chef Zeff,
"That's no way to speak to your father, young lady! By the way Sanji, you need to get cooking!"
Iris sighed, she kind of hated that she didn't have a close relationship with her father. True, they got closer, but it wasn't super-close.
"Iris…hands not for fighting. They are used for cooking. That is why we have legs," Sanji explained in a gentler tone.
"…Legs are for walking," said Iris.
"They're for fighting too!" Sanji defended with an anime vein, "Listen to me, Iris; never use your hands for violence. And learn to control your temper. Understand? I will teach you everything I know…well, almost everything."
Shol stared at the busy street before him. People walked past him and even through him. Yet somehow he wasn't fazed. He waited for something to happen as he looked at the blurry faces of the many people walking around. His ears suddenly picked out the sound of beating, crying, shouts, and more beating. Slowly, Shol walked forward and kept going until the scenery changed by itself and before him he saw a house on fire. Shol backed away from it and found himself flinching upon seeing it. He heard a high pitched scream, a woman's scream.
Shol felt his legs start to lose feeling as he backed away from it even more. The scenery changed again and he was inside the burning house this time. Shol took in a breath, eyes widening as his calmness completely left him. The blue-haired boy looked around frantically, looking for an exit. He jumped when he almost 'ran into' a little boy…his younger self. Young Shol stared into the open-door bedroom. Shol mimicked his younger-self's actions, memories of this day flooding back to him.
He spent so long trying to forget it all, only to have it all come back in less than 30 seconds. In the burning bedroom was a woman, dead, on the bed and standing by the now-corpse was a man covered in blood and holding a knife. Soon he started laughing hysterically. His crazy eyes suddenly saw Shol and headed towards him. Young Shol screamed and ran but the real Shol stared until the man was merely inches from him until Shol screamed and covered his face; falling to his knees and sobbing.
He didn't know how long he stayed like that while tears fell from his face and fear struck his heart, but he felt like he was losing himself. He felt darkness overwhelm him until he saw a brief light.
"Shol! Come on lad! Lighten up!" it was Shanks' voice.
"Shol! Come on! Lift me up!" came Kiki's. Shol hands were shaking as he detached them from his teary face. The darkness briefly withdraws itself and he sees his younger self again by the wall of a building, battered, bruised, and in rags. Before his younger self was a tall, dark, and mysterious man.
"You poor child…"
"Wh-Who…are you?" Young Shol stuttered as he held his knees.
"Just come with me…I'll make you powerful. Then you can have your revenge…" The mysterious man started walking away and Shol stared ahead. He stood up and kept staring, when the man was almost out of site, young Shol burst into a run and followed the mysterious man.
Shol watched himself go and he continued to stare…
Thina stood in a small house in which she recognized as her old home when she was a child. She was right when she saw her younger self, her hair in two cute pigtails. Young Thina ran into the room to the pink-haired woman knitting in her rocking chair.
"I want to be a pirate."
"Oh? Why is that?"
"Because you were a pirate! I want to be just like you!"
"Oh Thina…being a pirate is a lot of work. And really dangerous. And your father would never approve."
"But Mommy!" young Thina crossed her arms and pouted.
The scenery changed and the dancer found herself in a dark room.
"Hello! Is there anyone here?! Hello?!"
Young Thina hit the wood above her,
"Help! I'm stuck!"
It didn't take long for her to be taken out of the underground hiding place of her house but her house was burned down along with most her small town.
Thina looked away, remembering the day her village was attacked by pirates, taking many of her close friends, family friends, and her own parents away from her. The scenery changed again and saw her town being repaired. She saw her younger self carry a block of wood but stopped when she saw a pirate flag in the distance.
"Pirates!" Young Thina shrieked and turned around to run but collides with someone.
"It's okay Thina, they're good pirates."
"What?! There are no such things!"
Thina watched the scenes quickly shifted again and saw her younger self watching a meeting between the survivors of her town and the red-haired pirate, Shanks.
"What? You're looking for Terra?"
"Yes, I heard her home was attacked and I was hoping she's alright," Shanks replied to the major.
"Well…I'm sorry to say, she's gone along with her husband. Her daughter survived though."
"Oh? She had a child? That's great news! Where is she?"
"How do you know Mommy?!" Thina opened the door, revealing her hiding place.
"Thina! How could you eavesdrop, it's impolite!" the major scolded.
"Thina…You look like your mother," Shanks commented, "Quite cute."
"How do you know, Mommy?!" Thina demanded again.
"Simple: Your mother used to be a part of my crew!"
"What…th-that can't be…"
"Did she know her mother was a pirate?" Shanks asked the major.
"Of course I knew!" Thina answered, "But she didn't say she was part of the famous…"
"Famous? Are we really that famous? Hahaha! Well if Terra is gone then I should go pay respects for her and her husband…" Shanks voice trailed off in sadness and as he stood the scenery changed again. Shanks stood before crosses, a certain two in particular. Thina silently watched this memory unfold itself.
"Thina," Shanks called out to the young girl hidden behind a single tree.
"Come out here, let me talk to you."
Young Thina slowly approached Shanks as he knelt down to her height.
"Would you like to come with me, Thina? I promise I'll look after you. Your mother and I were quite close. I felt almost heartbroken when she decided to retire as a pirate all those years ago…"
"…Mommy says she doesn't want me to be a pirate because it's too dangerous. Neither does Daddy," Thina replied.
"I understand that but I promise that my crew will protect you. We're just concerned there will be another attack on this village and no one will be there to protect you. It's your choice, but I'm just letting you know you have a home on my ship," Shanks stood up and started to walk away, leaving Thina in thought.
"I hate you pirates!" she shouted as she cried, "Pirates are what killed my family! I would never be a part of them! I hate myself for wanting to be one before!"
"…I understand that. Now dear…I'm sorry for what happened to them. But don't go hurting yourself over this. They wouldn't want that, would they?" the red-haired pirate turned to check on the girl, "Oh yes…I forgot to give this to you." He tossed a golden bracelet when Thina looked and she caught it.
"Your mother told me to give it to you if anything were to happen to her. It's her treasure and it holds her memories when she was once a great pirate."
"…A great pirate…" Thina repeated and stared into the golden bracelet with rubies attached to the sides.
Thina closed her eyes for a moment before opening them again to look at the bracelet on her left wrist.
The four saw their memories come alive before them. Memories they rather forget or were hidden in the back of their minds. Slowly, their sceneries vanished and reappeared again. Kiki standing alone in the center of her village, Iris in the dining room that was empty of people, Shol in the burnt out house, and Thina at the gravesite. Darkness fell before them; the blob of black formed itself into a figure before each of them.
"Your worst nightmares…"
"Don't hold back…"
"Or we'll kill you…"
The same message reached all four of them, all staring in shock, fear, and surprise as they stared at…themselves.
"What's the matter, Kiki? Kuro got your tongue?" A sinister-looking Kiki asked, raising her arm and beckoning Kiki to come closer but instead the captain backed away with wide eyes, "Aww don't be afraid little Kiki, you'll join your dear Mommy since I'll kill you!"
Kiki's eyes narrowed in anger,
"Don't you dare…bring her up!"
"Kiki…I'm you. I know your every weakness. I know exactly how to tick you off!" Dark Kiki taunted.
"That so huh? So…" Kiki raised her fists, "All I have to do is fight you?"
"Well…" the dark captain shrugged and took her sweet time in answering, "Not exactly I guess. You simply have to…overcome us."
"Overcome?" Kiki repeated with a raised brow.
"That's right little monkey-girl! Overcome! So I guess we shouldn't have said 'fight' after all?"
"You said 'we' like there's…ah! Shol! Thina! Iris!" Kiki exclaimed, remembering she's not the only one taking this test.
"That's right…they're facing the exact same trial as us, Princess. They're staring at themselves. The very part of themselves that they aren't but are buried deep inside their hearts."
"So you're saying…a part of me…is like you?" Kiki questioned and her darker self only smirked,
"I think I've said too much…come at me, Princess of Pirates, show me what you got!"
Kiki prepared a fighting stance, ready for an attack; but after a few moments of silence, an attack never game. The dark Kiki only stood there playing with her straw hat.
"She wants me to attack first?" Kiki started to question this test. Why must she make the opening move? Or is she not supposed to fight at all? Testing to see what happens if they do fight, Kiki leapt into the air and aimed a punch. Her arm stretched and her dark self only twisted her body to dodge the attack before grabbing her arm and flinging her.
Kiki hit a building and rolled off it, hitting the ground.
"Ah…" groaning and standing up, he shook the dirt or whatever concrete and wood that were stuck to her, "Should've been more careful." Kiki ran to her darker self and the two locked themselves in battle.
Shol grunted and clutched his chest as he found himself falling to his knees.
"Is that really all you got?" the dark Shol questioned and tossed a couple blades up, juggling them with one hand.
"Damn it…" Shol growled and looked up to see his darker self taunted him. Mocking him with his voice and toying with him.
Forcing himself into a stand, Shol launched himself to attack once again. He didn't know why or understood why. But when he looks at that smug face in front of him, he grows angry, scared, and ashamed; despite that fact that he was really looking at himself…
"I should be saying that to you…" his darker half taunted and smirked before dodging to the side and grabbing Shol to knee him in the gut.
Shol felt the hard wood under him when he hit the ground again. He cursed himself, for what, he wasn't sure. Shol only continued to curse himself, hate himself, and it's reaching the point when he fears himself.
Iris fared no better than Shol. When she stares at herself, she grows angry. Not just the typical angry, but she can't help but feel as if she'll grow angrier and angrier the longer she keeps lashing out kicks only to miss or be blocked every time. Confusion and frustration were added to the mix and many times Iris has found herself hitting the furniture and walls of the Baratie.
Looking up from being knocked down again, she glared at her darker half who glared back.
"You'll never be good enough, Iris…"
Iris formed a fist and punched the ground before letting out a scream. For what reason she did not know, but she only hoped that someone heard her…Deep in the back of her mind and the bottom of her heart, she wished that someone could hear her.
She didn't understand why this fight was affecting her so badly, but she didn't think on it. She couldn't, she just couldn't.
Thina stood and leaned her body against a tree, looking at the cut she just received on her right hand. Her brain thought and analyzed as she stared at her other self, who admired her surroundings. It's been like this for 5 minutes since Thina stopped fighting. And that's when she concluded that her opponent will not attack unless attacked first. Thina was glad she could figure it out but she grew concerned for everyone else. Would they continue a hopeless fight until they're killed? Plus it's not just that.
So long as she doesn't make a move, she knows she's safe but…what is it that she's supposed to 'overcome' and how can she pass this test?
She could stand her for the rest of her life if she doesn't figure out what to do!
Closing her eyes, she thought. She was exposed to certain memories of her past and now has to fight herself. Is her opponent representing the dark parts of her past? If that's the case, should she not defeat it? Or is it something else?
Thina opened her eyes again to see her double-ganger admiring the flowers around her and not giving Thina glance. Thina knew she was close so she closed her eyes again and kept thinking.
The rest of the crew grew worried. They tried to talk amongst each other to comfort each other. Though it was harder for some than others. Garret was the only standing as the man couldn't stop pacing.
Nick's leg was fidgeting and he didn't bother to stop it. He just kept staring at his companions, worried they may never come out of that state. He wanted to believe, but it was hard when he doesn't even know what's going on in their minds.
He only concluded that it's a mind game. They're going to kill the bodies by overwhelming stress. That's what worried him. It's highly likely that his friends are probably going to end up fighting a hopeless battle until they die. Unless of course, they pass their test which Nick cannot figure out without more clues.
Sighing to himself, Nick leaned back against the rock he was sitting in front of. Worrying won't do anything. That's one thing he learned from Kiki.
His captain…at the very least, he should believe in her of all people. If anyone can pull through this she can. And if she can pull through, then her crew can too.
Before Nick's thought could linger more on that topic, light shone from the crystal and in a flash, it was gone. After everyone got their sight back from nearly being blinded by the light, Katie was the first to move when she jumped up.
"Thina!" she cried and ran to the dancer who was free of her crystallization, "You're okay!!"
Thina gently hugged back and nodded. Everyone else stood up by this point and quickly approached her; asking for injuries, how she's feeling, what the test was, and how she overcame it.
Kiki fell on her back and continued taking in breaths.
"Okay, this is officially not working!!"
The princess lifted her head just enough to see her darker self playing with the straw hat again. Her head fell back to the ground as he catches her breath.
"She knows EVERYTHING I'm about to do before I do it? Can she read minds? And she won't attack unless I do. So I can rest up before I fight back but…it can't go on like this forever! What is it? What is it that I have to fight?"
Kiki rolled over and pushed herself up and balanced herself as she stood.
"You can still fight, Kiki?" the dark one teased while rolled her had from one arm, over her shoulders, and to her other arm.
"…" Kiki only looked away and didn't reply. That's when she spotted the ocean, where she almost drowned in.
"I saw my past memories while in here…why?"
"You'll never get out of here, little Kiki," the dark monkey girl stated, "Not when you don't know what it is you truly want in your heart…"
Kiki grew worried, it's not just herself that she feared won't be able to get out; the rest of her crew. They need her. She has to come out of this alive. Looking at her hands, Kiki noticed all the scratches and bruises she's received in this fight and how she felt all the pain.
"If this is all in my head…it's too real. So if I die here, I'll die out there I assume. So I won't get out of here unless I know what I truly want huh? So…what is it that I truly want?"
Kiki lightly gasped,
"The memories! Is that what they were shown for? To remind myself of something in the past? I want my mother back…but I can't give myself that. What is it?"
Kiki closed her eyes and tightened her fists. It frustrated her not to know and it hurt that she had to keep reminding herself of what hurts her the most.
What hurts her the most…
Kiki opened her eyes once more and looked up at her dark self again.
"Daddy!" Kiki cried out to the sea every day as the sun set.
Kiki only cried as she cried for her father again.
Kiki wiped her eyes, feeling the water coming up. Her father, mother, Makino…they were the closest people she had…but they weren't enough…Makino wasn't enough.
"So princess of pirates? Have you had enough?"
Kiki only nodded and approached her darker self, making no fighting positions. As she walked, the village started to disappear from behind her. Finally, it's as if she's staring in a mirror as she stared at herself.
"…We're really not that different at all," Kiki whispered and reached out, embracing her other self, "You're me…the part of me that I thought I left behind…"
Kiki felt the body before her start to disappear along with the rest of her village and all she could see was white.
"…Loneliness…" That was the last thing she said as she placed a hand on her heart and closed her eyes.
Okay due to my lack of updates, I've been finishing the story up in my head. Yes, I'm gonna finish up this arc and start on the path to ending this story.
When I first started it, I wanted this to be a long story but didn't know how long it would go. It's not as long as I had hoped but then again, it might be my longest story if I'm gonna write a proper ending.
Please read and review!!