She threw two new knifes. They scratched his cheeks. He stopped and turned.
"You and I have still unfinished business Naitsu."
He morphed into his hybrid form and rose into the air. She threw her knives, but he dodged them and attacked her by biting her arm. She turned it into wood, and all he did was chip some of it off.
"Have you forgotten already Naitsu?"
He rose into the air again. Cedar got ready to manipulate the trees standing by and capture him, when she heard Nami scream from pain.
Cedar turned in fear towards the battleground. If Nami got hurt because of helping her. If someone else died because of her… Watch out.
She suddenly felt an intense pain in her back as Naitsu claws dug in. She screamed.
"Still attacking from the back Naitsu."
"This isn't the time to worry about others Cedar."
She twisted herself out of his grip, ripping up more of her skin. She could feel how her entire backside was stinging from pain and turned warm from her own blood.
"I guess that always was the difference between you and I. I care too much about other. You didn't care enough."
She threw a new knife as he dug his claws into her shoulders. The knife hit him in the wing, but none the less he started to flap them, and thou his claws didn't hurt was he now lifting her into the air. Cedar formed a new knife in her hand. They where already high into the air.
"Now don't do anything stupid Cedar. Remember the biggest weakness of the devil fruit. You will never be able to swim ever again, and the sea will swallow you whole and kill you."
She looked down and realised they where flying over the ocean.
"If you're nice I'll drop you on a boat and you can sail off with your little friends."
"You should know by now that I'm not nice."
She twisted in the air and flicked herself onto his back.
She raised the knife high into the air.
It plummeted threw the air.
She forced it into his back. He made a shriek of pain. He still flapped his wings, but slower now. A confused stupid look on his face.
"You killed my brothers. My mother. You made my father stop loving me. You betrayed me in the worst possible way. Just tell me one thing. Why?"
He looked at her as the two of them fell down to the water below them.
"I was leaving. I wanted to travel the world and study devil fruits. I wanted to take you with me. She just laughed. She said it was stupid and that you would never do it. That she would stop you from leaving with me. Your brothers saw me. I had to shut them up."
Cedar just looked at him as they hit the water.
"I would have followed you to the end of the earth Naitsu, no matter what my mother said."
Then the water claimed them both.
The first thing she noticed as she opened her eyes was a wooden sakura flower. Then the pain from her back. She screamed and instinctively sat up. That only made it worse.
"You mustn't sit up Cedar."
She looked surprised as Chopper suddenly was standing next to her, looking at her bandaged back.
"You fell in to the sea. Zoro jumped in after you. Then Sanji jumped in after you. Then Zoro and Sanji started to fight about who got to save you, then Luffy jumped in the sea after you, Nami jumped in and saved Luffy and Franky jumped in and pulled you out of the sea. Then Nami yelled at Zoro and Sanji for fighting at a time like that. Franky carried you on board and I fixed you."
Cedar laughed, seeing it quite well in her head, then she started to breathed heavily so not to scream. She hadn't felt this much pain since before she ate the devil fruit. At least physically.
"Why does it hurt so much?"
"You fell in the ocean and are still too weak to heal yourself with your devil fruit powers."
She nodded. That made sense. She got to her feet.
"Wait, you shouldn't walk about like that so soon. You need rest."
"I'm fine Tony Tony Chopper. You're an excellent doctor."
"Jerk giving me compliments doesn't make me happy."
But Cedar knew it did.
"You like your gift."
"How? Did Zoro…"
"No. We all heard. We followed you to the island. We walked into a tavern, and saw two pirates, when we came in they went crazy and started to babble about underling and Straw Hat and not speaking another ill word. Robin finally found out they where talking about you, and they told us where they had sent you. We came just as that man was about to attack you."
"He fell into the ocean next to you."
She nodded again. He was gone. She was free. A smile formed on her face and she sighed of relief.
Her eyes fell on the necklace on his desk, and her smile lowered. Chopper followed her eyes with his.
"Robin came with it. She said a person should never leave her treasure behind."
Cedar walked over and grabbed it, taking it on, before turning to Chopper again.
Then she walked over to the door, breathed in and out, and opened it. Nami and Sanji came running towards her as quickly as she set foot outside, but she motioned to them that she would talk to them later. She walked across the ship, past everyone, knowing they where looking at her. She walked as firmly as she could, but every step sent pain up and down her spine, making her want to just stop. But she couldn't. She had left the crew.
She stopped right behind the figurehead where Luffy was sitting, where he was always sitting.
He didn't even give her any acknowledgement, but she couldn't stop.
"Thank you. Thank you for coming after me. Thank you for saving my life. Thank you for letting me fight Naritsu. Thank you for jumping in the sea after me."
She could barely breath, half from the pain in her back, half from how she was shaking.
"Luffy. I'm sorry."
Her legs where still weak and she fell to her knees.
"I'm sorry I didn't trust you. I'm sorry I didn't tell you the truth. I'm sorry I left. I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I'm sorry."
Tears where now running down her face, but she was still looking at him.
"I don't deserve it, but please let me come back to the ship. Let me be a Straw Hat again. Please. Even being your underling is greater than being captain over the rest."
Finally her face fell to the deck.
Cedar looked up as someone placed something on her head. It took her a moment to realise it was in fact the straw hat. Luffy had risen and was now looking at a huge black and blue sea king.
"Don't have that pathetic look on your face, remember you're a nakama of the future pirate king."
Cedar just watched in shock as he stretched out his hand behind him and attacked the monster. She could feel Zoro, Sanji and Franky walk passed her to aid their captain. Out of the corner of her eye she could see how Usopp was shacking with fear, but acting cool. How Chopper believed every word coming out of his lying mouth. How Robin was sitting in her chair, reading. Nami came up next to her and helped her to her feet. Cedar leaned on her for a moment before standing on her own. Looking at how the boys where loving what they where doing.
"Yes I am. I'm a nakama of the future pirate king."
"And where do you want it?"
"Blossom Masaki. Hana Ki. South seas."
"Okay. That's seventy-five beli."
Cedar paid him the money and gave him the rolled up wanted poster. Then she turned and walked out to the street outside. Nami looked up as she came up.
"You want to go shopping now?"
Cedar smiled and grabbed her arm.
Then they and Robin walked off.
He is dead.
I can never undo what he did. I can never bring mom or the boys back.
I'm sorry for the pain you have felt, but it was not my fault.
I'm travelling the grand line as a pirate while I study plants and trees, and especially devil fruits.
And don't worry about the bounty. I can take care of my self, and the times I can't I have some wonderful nakamas who will protect me to death.
I can't bring back the dead, but will always carry them with me. Honour them and my nakamas. Honour you, and when we one day meet again maybe you can find it in your heart to love me again.
But if you can't I will still live on. I will still be loved.
I am a botanist.
I am an artist.
I am a pirate.
I am the nakama of the future pirate king.
I am your daughter.
I am happy.
I am free.