Deeper Than the Sea
"And you really can't move any faster?"
"My neck. Is sliced open. Other people would display some amount of concern."
"But you ran our annual race this morning."
"It's not annual till we've done it two years in a row."
"Usopp, since when were you Luffy?"
"He's wrong anyway."
"Annual means something that reoccurs every year."
"Right! It's our annual weekly race!"
"No, Luffy, she said annual means once a year."
"Yeah, so I said weekly."
"You said annual weekly, which makes no sense."
"Usopp, get back to fixing the shack. I want to sleep without the sun in my eyes."
"Oh, you have no right to talk, moss-head! You sleep every hour of everyday! You're an abomination to working people!"
"Sanji, is there a reason why you're not at work?"
"Because I had to see your face, of course, Miss Vivi!"
"I didn't know that that was a reason why you could miss work."
"It isn't, Chopper. Don't believe him."
"I want the shack fixed now!"
"Shut up, Luffy, it doesn't work like that!"
"Well, it should!"
"You can argue with the laws of physics, then. Good luck."
"Perfect! Get out your physics homework."
"Na-mi! You said you'd let me be till I said I wanted to do physics homework!"
"And you just asked me what the laws of physics were. Your break is officially over."
"That's not fair, I didn't know!"
"Exactly. Zoro, you too! Up, now!"
"Damn it, woman!"
"And that's five ninety-three forty-five. Do you really want to keep this up?"
"How dare you refer to the beautiful Miss Nami as woman as if that word were an insult! And don't swear at her, she deserves better than that!"
As the sound of another argument began, Robin Nico smiled to herself and quietly walked away from the clearing. It was good to know that peace was so easily restored among this particular group of friends.
"Hey, did you hear something move in the trees just now?"
"It was a squirrel or something."
"What if it was a lion? Or a panther? Or a dinosaur?"
"I can assure you that it was none of those."
"But what if it was…never got to see it?"
And then she could no longer make out any words at all as the happy gang fell further behind her in the woods.
Author's Note (edited in on the 18th of October): Thanks so much for all your encouragement and support in this story! I know that it started out rather slow, but it was great to know that people loved the fun interactions between the characters that had nothing to do with the plot! In fact, those reviews in later chapters that asked for more fun when the story was getting serious—those made me quite happy! I update slowly, so I feel wonderfully accomplished that I've finally finished Deeper Than the Sea. I started turning the concept over in my head more than three and a half years ago!
Just in case you don't remember from the prologue, this is the first installment in a trilogy. You don't have to read the rest if you're not interested—I'm trying to make each story perfectly comprehensible even as a stand-alone. But if you're interested, the second installment is titled Deeper Than the World—you can find it via my profile, if you haven't already.
If you decide to follow the sequels, thanks for all your support so far, and I look forward to more wonderful, encouraging reviews! If you choose to stop here, thanks so much for all your support in the writing of this story!