The Quest for the Gomu Gomu no Mi
Disclaimer: I don't own One Piece
Chapter 1: Capture and Escape
Rewritten and hopefully a bit better guys. I've been watching the Japanese one piece for a while now, and I hope I do a better job this time around. Apologies for any mistakes and for taking so long to get this done.
A cold wind swept through the dark and silent night, the only sounds coming from the quietly crackling fire as the flames dances amongst one another, twisting and turning to their own music, lighting the small camp set up on the shorelines of the small island with their flickering glow. A large ship lay beached on the sand, its heavy anchor buried in the pale specs should the tide come in before they set sail again. Another ship, a smaller caravel, bobbed slightly in the small waves lapping against the beach, trapped against the larger ship by a thick chain, almost like an owner with its dog.
Further along the beach a little way away from the dancing flames sat six dark figures, bound side by side around a thick post embedded in the sands. Every few minutes, one would shift a little, a barely visible movement, but a movement nonetheless. Moving closer, one would notice the sour and worried looks on their tired faces as they each threw a glance from time to time in the way of the tent a few feet away. The smallest figure among the bound group breathed in deeply before sighing silently, but it seemed even that small action was enough to aggravate one of his partners already frazzled nerves.
"Gees, Chopper, now my arms all twisted in the ropes!" Usopp whined, frowning the little doctor's way.
"Sorry Usopp…" he mumbled back, lowering his head, his pink hat now shadowing his eyes.
Usopp sighed slightly, eyeing his young friend for a few seconds before awkwardly, he managed to take the tiny creatures hoof into a couple of his fingers. The only show of comfort he could muster in their current situation.
"Hey buddy, I'm sorry." The sniper apologised meekly "You know I don't mean it."
A small nod was his only reply and Usopp turned his gaze back to the tent, his mouth set in a grim line, eyes narrowed in worry.
"Tell me how we ended up in this mess again?" Nami grumbled beside him, tugging slightly at the bonds that held her
"It's the shitty swordsman's fault" Sanji mumbled angrily in reply as he craned his neck to glare at the swordsman in between Robin and Chopper before eyeing his jacket pocket that held his precious cigarettes longingly "If he hadn't have fallen asleep on watch, we wouldn't have been ambushed!"
Zoro stayed silent, not even bothering to defend himself – what was the point? Sanji was right … for once. His eyes remained closed, his tanned face blank of any emotion. Save for the light twitch of his eyebrow from the blonde's words, one would think he hadn't heard. The small group fell silent again, save for the random sigh or shuffling against the tight, thick rope holding them. The silence remained, leaving the air thick with tension among the six crewmates. Zoro felt Robin shift to his left, obviously trying to get more comfortable, however impossible that may have appeared. Maybe if that seastone net wasn't wrapped around her wrists as a makeshift pair of handcuffs they could somehow get free, but as things were, nobody could move enough to help themselves, let alone any of their comrades.
The swordsman's eyes scanned the area lazily, taking in his surroundings for what felt like the thousandth time since they had been left here, and sighed knowing he would find nothing new that would help them get out of this situation. They had been captured and that was that. It wouldn't have been so bad if they had been captured by a challenging crew, but this … this was pathetic.
The crew holding them captive were, according to Zoro, a bunch of weaklings. From the looks of things they had never lifted a weight or wielded a weapon in their entire lives, preferring instead to use more sinister and tactical methods of defeating their enemies. Thus bringing us to how the straw hats had managed to get themselves captured by such a 'weak' group of pirates.
It had been Zoro's shift to keep watch in the crows nest and as the hours had slipped by, the swordsman had felt himself slowly drifting off. Idly, as his last strands of consciousness slipped away, he wondered if maybe he shouldn't have drank so rum that evening. Apparently, their captors had been watching them for quite some time, with advanced, high powered telescopes to watch their actions and learn their weaknesses. They called themselves the shadow pirates, lurking in the darkness and watching their prey until the time came to strike when their victims were at their most vulnerable.
For the Straw Hats, that moment had been when they were sleeping, tucked up sound in their cabins with their swordsman on watch. They knew he would wake up as soon as they drew too near, but by then it would be too late, and they would have the infamous straw hats in their grasp. As predicted, Zoro had arisen when they sailed close to the Going Merry, which had been anchored for the night. The swordsman, used to midnight attacks like this from other pirate ships, hoping to steal any treasure they may have on board, had smirked, expecting a fight. His instincts, for once, had been wrong and as he moved to jump over the side of the crows nest, the Shadow Pirates had shot out a small dark, landing it square in the green haired man's neck, and within 3 seconds, Zoro flopped back, boneless.
With Zoro out of the way, the sneaking pirates now had full reign of the ship and had quickly slunk into the cabins, injecting the unsuspecting crew with the same paralysis drug they'd hit the swordsman with earlier, rendering them helpless. They had then been dragged onto the deck none too gently, where the enemy pirate crew had started celebrating their easy victory over the straw hats. It seemed that this crew weren't as experienced as they first appeared though.
They were so wrapped up in their celebrating that they had failed to notice that one of the crewmembers was missing.
Zoro struggled as best he could with the drug they had injected him with coursing through his veins but found at best he could only twitch his fingers slightly – whatever they had used had been strong The only part of his body still fully functioning, like the rest of the crew, was his eyes. He desperately searched left and right along the Going Merry for something, anything that would turn the tables on these amateur pirates before it was too late. He strained his eyes to try and get a better look at the rest of his nakama, to see if they were okay, but unable to move his head, he could only see a few of them. Nami was probably going to kill him for looking at her butt when they got out of this, but it wasn't as if he has placed her on the deck in front of him with her butt practically sticking in his face. Trying to focus his gaze on anything but that, he returned to scanning the deck for some means of escape.
Sharp green eyes suddenly widened as they locked gazes with somebody else's. From the slightly ajar door of the galley two orbs stared back at Zoro and the man smirked having a pretty good feeling who it was. A quick glance around him confirmed his suspicions and the swordsman would have grinned if he could have. The captain was nowhere in sight. He couldn't see everybody, but he was pretty certain that Luffy would have been whining and protesting by now if he had been there with them.
Sanji wouldn't be happy when he found out that their captain had been raiding the food supply at this ungodly hour (again), but all that could be sorted when the rubber man got them out of this mess.
The swordsman started slightly at the mention of his name but when he realised it was just the small doctor by his side, he calmed.
"Yeah Chopper?" was his grunted reply
"Are you okay? You look kind of pale…"
"You know we don't blame you for what happened right?"
"Speak for yourself." Sanji spat, but again was ignored by the swordsman as he chose to remain silent replying to neither Chopper nor Sanji.
A few moments passed.
"Do … do you think he's okay?"
"I don't know."
Silence filled the night air once more. Zoro turned his gaze to the fire and slowly felt his eyelids growing heavy; not only did the drug in their systems paralyse them, but it also made them drowsy, weak and sluggish when they did regain any movement. Little by little, his eyelids slipped closed and sleep claimed him.
Zoro couldn't help but wonder what their Captain was waiting for. It had been a good 3 minutes since he had spotted him hiding in the galley – Luffy could have flattened these pirates in that time! As far as he could see though, the boy hadn't moved an inch. It couldn't be that he was afraid, because Luffy simply did not get afraid. The only time he had ever seen fear dance across the boys face was when they were in danger … oh shit.
Zoro growled slightly as realisation dawned on him. Glancing to his right the plainly obvious fact hit him in the face, literally, when the man sitting guard over them smacked the butt of his gun against his jaw. Luffy wouldn't attack whilst they were in danger – but if he didn't act soon they would be taken onto the other ship and then it would be too late. Sighing, Zoro glanced back to Luffy. Judging from his eyes, he could see the rubber boy was watching carefully or a moment when he could attack without his nakama being harmed. He may be able to bounce back bullets, but none of the others could.
The dark irises locked once again with Zoro's and the two friends stared at each other for a moment, a message of trust passing between them. Zoro trusted Luffy to get them out of this alive, and Luffy trusted his nakama to stay alive until he could get them out of this. Before another breath could be taken he rubber man burst from the galley sending the majority of enemy pirates flying with his 'Gomu Gomu no Gatling' before quickly sending out a flurry of attacks to the remaining men sat along Merry's deck, rum in hand. The immobilised crew watched in relief as their captain sent hordes of pirates hurtling from the ship and Luffy laughed loudly as he stood proud and tall amongst the now empty deck.
But then something quite unexpected happened.
Suddenly, from the shadows of the larger ship floating along side the Going Merry, came a light 'poof' sound and in a flash, Luffy was sent tumbling across the deck in a heap of limbs and net. The rubber boy struggled weakly for a few seconds before slumping in exhaustion, panting slightly, his eyes half lidded. The straw hats watched with wide eyes as their captains struggles slowly died and a dark figure from the enemy ship appeared in their view. The silhouetted pirate quickly moved from his own ship to the straw hats and stood tall over Luffy's slumped form, teeth shining in the moonlight as he smirked at the fallen devil fruit user. He was obviously the captain.
"Did you think we didn't know about your devil fruit powers Monkey D. Luffy?" he laughed, delighting in the fact that such a wanted pirate and devil fruit user to boot, was now lying helpless at his feet. "Did you think we would be so stupid as to come unprepared?"
"I … don't even know you!" the rubber boy stated, glaring weakly up at the man leaning over him.
"Hn, I suppose you don't." the man replied, a malicious glint in his eyes, and without another word, he pulled his leg back and kicked hard into Luffy, sending him tumbling over the edge of the ship and into the murky night waters. The shadow pirates floating in the sea all released a rowdy cheer as several dove down to collect the rubber boy. After all, they had caught him for a reason.
After pulling Luffy up from the sea bottom, he was first to be hauled onto the other ship and taken away, and after the Going Merry was securely fastened to the Shadow Pirates ship the rest of the crew were dragged and dumped in the dungeons beside their Captain. For a moment, Zoro had thought that Sanji might have actually have been able to overcome the drug in his system, for when the cook had seen one o the enemy pirates hands roam along Nami's legs and up to her rear, his eyes had darkened furiously. If looks could kill, that man would have been a smouldering pile of ash on the deck. But as things were, all he could do was glare until they dumped him, along with the rest of the crew all together in a cell on their ship along with Luffy.
Half an hour later found the crew finally regaining some of their movement. Zoro, being the physically strongest practically dragged his body to his Captains side, checking to see that he was ok. Once sure, he reassured the rest of the crew and a collective sigh of relief was released. It was short lived though, as only moments later, a soft bump confirmed they had reached an island and beached the ship on the sands. Nami had quietly whispered that island was deserted, as it had been the only one within miles of the area they were in. She had been planning on asking Luffy if they should stop there tomorrow morning to pick up some fruits. That didn't really seem important now though, as once again, the bulky pirates from before returned.
Though the crew had regained some of their movements and speech, they were still very week from the drug and didn't manage much of a struggle as they were dragged from the cell. Luffy, still unconscious from his 'swim' was carried ahead of them into a small tent that had already been set up on the beach. The crew had been bound to a post side by side forming a circle. Save for a select few, the majority of the Shadow Pirates then seemed to head back to their ship for a night of rest, leaving the crew to wonder what was going on with their captain in that tent. They had not actually seen the rubber boy taken in there, and for a brief moment, dared to hope that their Captain had escaped, but that notion had been quickly crushed when they had spotted a very familiar straw hat sitting on the ground nearby the tent. After all, Luffy would never leave his hat or his crew behind.
"Zoro? … Hey Zoro … wake up …"
The swordsman blinked awake as Nami's voice reached his ears. For a moment he forgot where he was and turned to snap at the navigator for disturbing his nap when he realised that he couldn't actually turn to her and it all came rushing back.
"What is it?" he asked gruffly
"Look … something's happening inside the tent" the navigator replied, nodding her head in the tents direction.
By now the winds had picked up, and the flames in the campfire had dwindled to almost nothing. The thin material of the tent flapped in the brisk breeze and Zoro narrowed his eyes, trying to see what was going on inside. As if on cue, the Captain of the Shadow pirates came hurtling out of the tent, landing on the ground in what must have been a painful heap. He was soon followed by two others before finally Luffy shot out, shirtless, bending down to grab his hat before dashing towards his crew. Snapping the ropes binding them easily, Luffy reached down to help his crew up before turning around to face the few Shadow Pirates that had remained awake to stay watch over them.
With the effects of the paralysis drug almost out of their systems the straw hats smirked, readying their weapons and preparing to fight. With a series of battle cries they flew into attack and within a matter of seconds the fight was over, with the obvious victors as the straw hat pirates.
"Way to go Luffy!" Usopp cheered "I knew you could do it! I didn't doubt you for a second!"
"So is that why you were crying for mercy a little while ago, screaming that it was hopeless and we were all going to die?" Zoro asked with a smirk
"Well" Usopp stated clearing his throat "That was just a plan to distract them from Luffy with all my yelling so that he could attack!"
"Whatever you say" Sanji smirked "Come on guys let's get back to Merry and set sail before these weirdoes wake up again"
"Right" the crew replied
They started making their way back to ship, but the short trip was all too silent for their liking. Usually after a fight like that Luffy would be chatting away laughing and boasting about their victory and how they were the best, but instead the Captain kept his face down and hidden behind his ever present straw hat. His walking was fast and forceful as if he wanted to get away as soon as possible without seeming too obvious and his hands were balled into fists. His ever present smile was replaced with a frown.
By the time they had made it back to Merry, there had still been no word from Luffy and by now that had made things a little more than uncomfortable. The crew had tried on several attempts to start up a conversation with their Captain but their only response was a positive or negative grunt depending on what they had been talking about. It was very unlike their rubber Captain to stay quiet and still for so long. They continued on, releasing their ship form the chains hold and quickly preparing to set sail, moving quietly so as not to arouse the sleeping Shadow Pirates. Before an hour had passed, they found themselves gazing back at the small dot on the horizon that was the island they had just been on. Sanji set to work on fixing them a nutritious meal to help boost their strength and Chopper quickly fixed some medicine to help flush the paralysis drug completely from their systems.
Lunch was even more tedious, as each member of the crew continued to send worried glances their captain's way. Unlike usual, the boy wasn't stealing from his nakama's plates, nor laughing and joking, stuffing inhuman proportions into his mouth. He sat there, sulking as it seemed, picking at his food, much to Sanji's aggravation.
For as long as the cook had been a part of the straw hats, he had delighted in each meal he had served. Though it had been chaotic and hectic, not one meal passed by where food would be wasted, or his efforts were not appreciated. Luffy made sure to make a big deal out of each meal that was made, complimenting the fine flavours and practically licking the plate clean (if he didn't end up eating it along with the food!).
"Oi, crap captain," the cook muttered angrily, though the crew could hear the underlying tone or worry mingled in there, "Why aren't you eating?"
"Not very hungry…" Luffy sighed, setting his plate down and pushing it away slightly. "I'll eat it later."
Needless to say, that had stunned the crew to silence. Even Robin had looked up from her meal to glance worriedly at her young captain as he slowly walked out of the cabin. Chopper had been the first to move, stuffing his remaining food into his mouth before trotting after Luffy to give him a check up, but when he had returned, stating that there was nothing physically wrong with Luffy, the crew were as baffled as ever. Luffy continued to mope for the next couple of hours as the sun started to rise and one by one the straw hats started up with their daily chores and hobbies, but Luffy remain slumped against the railing of Merry, his expression hidden under the shadows of his faithful straw hat, not saying, or doing a thing. Before long Nami couldn't take it any more and turned on Luffy.
"Listen here Luffy!" she yelled, slightly startling the crew with her loud voice after remaining quiet for so long "If you want to mope around here that's fine with me, but you could at least make yourself useful – stretch your way up to the crows nest and keep watch!"
Luffy mumbled something unintelligible and turned away from his navigator. Nami's frown deepened and she spun Luffy back around to face her, though his face still remained hidden by his straw hat.
"What did you say?" she demanded angrily
Luffy sighed and looked up to face Nami, who was shocked by the anger swirling in those dark depths.
"I said you're just the navigator, so you don't tell me what to do." the Captain repeated calmly, his tone sounding more resigned and tired than angry "So why don't you go and do your job and set us a course?"
The crew's jaws fell open as Nami fumed. Luffy had never been so blatantly rude to her in all the time she had known him. Anybody who knew what was good for them knew when they should obey the woman, but obviously Luffy was dumber than they thought – or he had a death wish.
The navigator pulled back her arm, before launching it forward again with a frustrated scream, punching her captain square in the jaw and sending him flying through the galley wall. For a long moment nothing happened. Nobody dared to move when the captain didn't rise, not even Nami. Had he been hurt more than they thought? Had they done something to him in that tent? Finally after what seemed like forever Luffy, who was still lying in the remains of the wall clutching his jaw, spoke.
"Wow" he mumbled, laughing humourlessly as he looked up at Nami with a smile, his eyes closing as he forced a grin. The crew remained silent, each knowing that something was very wrong here.
"Wow," he repeated, "That hurts a lot more when you're not made of rubber."
Everything silenced as it seemed as if even the waves couldn't believe what they were hearing.
Well, that's the new version. Hope you guys like the changes. More chapters will be coming soon! If you wanted to see anything happen in chapters to come, now is the time to let me know, as I may be able to incorporate it into the plot whilst revising. Thanks for reading, don't forget to review!!