Note: This story is in the process of being remastered/rebooted over a decade after it was first published, in an effort I like to call 'de-cringe-ification'. Line Breaks have been reinserted after removed them from their formatting, and the style of writing has been cleaned up to be less… well, cringy. I didn't like re-reading this work because it's immediately obvious to myself it was all written by someone who wasn't even old enough to get a driver's license, let alone know how to write properly. Too many exclamation points, among other things. There's also the problem of canon directly contradicting some things I've done, so… yeah. Needs to be rewritten.
If you're reading this for the first time, you'll notice no difference. If you're rereading this, the story will be different. I make no bones about this; I had originally thought that this process would simply be rewriting this to have a more grown-up voice, but it quickly morphed into completely changing the plot in a wholesale fashion. Therefore, for those of you who knew what my story was like before and remember it differently, at the bottom of each chapter, there will be a list of the changes made.
At the beginning of every chapter will be a 'remastering timestamp'. This is something to let you know that I have laid hands on that portion of the story nearly a decade after I wrote it the first time. IF A CHAPTER DOES NOT HAVE A REMASTERING TIMESTAMP, THERE WILL ABSOLUTELY BE MISMATCHES BETWEEN VARIOUS PLOT POINTS. I'd like to make this clear for everybody so you don't have to ask why certain characters or powers drop off the face of the earth after being used earlier. I wrote this story beginning back in 2008; things like Haki hadn't been introduced, and none of the characters that showed up after the time-skip had been written yet. Much of the work here is to fix those glaring issues.
In other words, IF A CHAPTER DOES NOT HAVE A REMASTERING TIMESTAMP, I HUMBLY REQUEST THAT YOU IGNORE IT/DO NOT READ IT, BECAUSE IT IS NO LONGER RELEVANT TO THE CURRENT ROADMAP OF THIS STORY.
Date of remastering: 4/29/18. If you are reading this story and you do not see a remastering date on it, it is likely that, unless otherwise noted, there will be discrepancies between various plot points; Please wait warmly for the Remastering process to correct that.
"FRANKY!" Luffy screamed as his shipwright fired his most powerful attack at the ceiling, shattering it into an avalanche of falling rock. "NO!" Luffy threw his hands into the battle, reaching for his crew -
Sanji kicked his hands aside. "Go!" he shouted, his voice full of resolve. "We'll hold them!" the rubber hands snapped back, and before anything more could be said, the island of Raftel shuddered. The captain of the Straw Hat Pirates was blown off his feet as a boulder the size of the Thousand Sunny fell, and completely blockaded the passage, and plunged him into darkness.
Even as Luffy lie on the floor, screaming wordlessly at the pitch-black ceiling, more and more rock fell beyond the blockade. The entire island was collapsing. "Why…!?" he sobbed. "Why…!? We were so close…! We made it…! Everyone…"
Luffy pushed himself to his feet, stumbling around blindly in the dark. His hand landed on the damp rock of the wall, and could feel the battle on the other side through it. His body trembled with exhaustion. The marines had been implacable. The Yonkou even more so. Ever since they had reached the new world, it felt as though they had received one failure after another, only barely scraping by. Was it their fault? Had Luffy not given them enough time to train themselves after the battle of Marineford? Or was it simply that they reached the limit? Was there a ceiling that they could not break through, no matter how hard they tried?
Luffy clenched his fist, and began slowly walking along the wall, sobbing. "I'm sorry… I'm so sorry…! I'm so sorry, everyone..." Fat tears rolled down his cheeks as he stumbled away from the battle, the rumbles of combat slowly leaving his fingertips. "We all made it, but I'm the only one left now..."
Luffy wasn't sure how long he walked in the dark; the tremors through the walls had long since faded, though he could hear a pounding thud echo faintly from behind him. Perhaps that was Kuma attempting to break through the debris. It wouldn't last long once Akainu showed up and melted the rock with his lava. There wasn't a chance that he would make it off the island alive. Not anymore. Not alone, against the greatest of his enemies working together.
Perhaps that was why he stubbornly kept moving through the dark. They would kill him, yes, but when they did, they would know that they were killing the undisputed King Of The Pirates. He would die fulfilled.
He kept up that slow, grasping limp, clutching at a gaping wound in his side he hadn't even noticed he'd taken until the adrenaline wore off, until he couldn't even hear the assault on the rockfall... when his eyes caught a soft flicker of light. The limp became a stumbling run. Luffy raced towards that light, panting and gasping and hoping and praying and -
The light opened up. Luffy stood in a dusty, dead-end cavern, lit with burning torches and barren save for an open, empty chest. There was nothing.
"No…" The last of the Straw Hat Pirates sank to his knees. "No. No. No no no no no no no no no. This isn't real. This can't be real. Th- there's a trick, a hidden wall…!" he crawled forward on hands and knees, the strength in his legs suddenly gone, clambering over the lip of the empty chest. At the bottom, there was a card. He picked up the card with shaking hands, and opened it.
'You're probably wondering where my treasure is right now. The truth is, there never was any 'treasure', no great pile of gold coins, no mythical artifacts worth a hundred king's ransoms. I go now to my death, secure in the knowledge that you, my heir, have discovered something more valuable than that; the rush of adventure, the warmth of friendship, and the guiding light of secret knowledge. These things are greater than any treasure. One Piece was in your heart, all along. What a wonderful feeling, isn't it?
- Gold Roger'
The card dropped from Luffy's hands as a heartbreaking wail ripped from his mouth. He fell to the side, crying inconsolably and shaking uncontrollably. His body rippled with uncontrollable sobs, huddled to himself in the fetal position, as he cried. The only words that echoed in that empty, dusty cavern was a warbling "Why…?" repeated endlessly.
After an indeterminate amount of time of nothing but Luffy's despair, a figure emerged – or, perhaps it materialized – from the back of the room, quietly frowning. "Hmm… Didn't think that little joke would go over that badly..." he looked to the entrance to the cavern, his frown going deeper. "Or perhaps things are worse than I thought. This boy obviously didn't get here alone, so why is he..." a second figure appeared, then disappeared; moments later, the figure scowled. "I see. It's worse than I thought. We don't have much time… for now, at least."
Luffy didn't notice anything, dead as he was to the world; it was only when the figure walked over and placed a hand on his shoulder that Luffy reacted. With an animal scream, the captain whirled to his feet and began punching, faster than even thought, arms blackened with Haki. The figure went flying into the wall. "AAAAAAAAAAAAAA-"
An arm out of nowhere wrapped itself around Luffy's neck and suplexed him into the ground, cracking the bedrock. Blood flew from Luffy's mouth, as a razor-sharp sword instantly went to his neck. The figure's face was blocked from the light, with only his blinding-white smile visible. "Nice! That one actually HURT, you little shit! Been a long time since I took a blow like that!"
The sword inched deeper into his neck, drawing a thin line of red, just as Luffy began to move. "But you've got me all wrong, kid. I'm not with the marines. I'm your ticket out of here, so I'd appreciate it if you didn't do that again. Now, I'm gonna have my clone let you back up, so you keep nice and calm, and we'll try this meet-and-greet over again, yeah?"
Luffy's eyes trembled, his mind racing to keep up with the development, but he slowly nodded. The body holding him disappeared in a spray of cool mist, and Luffy pulled himself off the ground. The figure on the other side of the room, who hadn't moved an inch even though Luffy just saw him over his body, slowly extracted himself from the wall. "Who… who are you?"
"Oh, please. You haven't a clue?" the figure stepped out of the shadows, and into the torchlight. "I like to think I cut a fairly memorable figure. Nobody else could pull off this mustache." Gol D. Roger grinned.
"You..." Luffy simply stared, trying to comprehend. "But- You're dead. The whole world- we saw you die. Your death – it – it started the era we live in. all to..." his eyes welled up. "All to find… the One Piece… that doesn't exist…! My crew… they all… for One Piece…!"
"… I understand." Roger looked away. "I'm not… so good with the whole 'comforting the grieving' thing, so I can't help you with what you're feeling. But I can tell you that you don't understand the situation that you're in right now, and the enormous opportunity you have. We two, we Kings of the Pirates, are possibly the only people who will ever have this chance; the chance to make it all better." Roger started walking towards Luffy, who was attempting to messily wipe away his tears. "That's why there's no treasure here. That's why I left that stupid note as a prank. I couldn't be sure who would end up following in my footsteps to reach Raftel; Whether it was the World Government or Big Mom or any of the other jokers who could find their way here."
"But they didn't make it here first." Roger placed his hand on Luffy's head. "None of them did. It was you, a scrawny boy with a mean left straight, the Haki necessary to hit me at all, and wearing my old hat. I don't believe in destiny, not anymore, but you were going to be King Of The Pirates as sure as I'm standing here today." Luffy's eyes welled up again. "And that's why I know I can share this power with you. I can help you make this right."
"… How?" Luffy sniffed, a long strand of snot disappearing back up his nose. Roger grinned and stepped back.
"First off, get yourself presentable! Can't have the new King Of The Pirates looking like a babbling brook! Wipe your nose, you're disgusting right now!" Luffy flinched, rubbing quickly at his nose. "Hmm..." Roger paced around the younger man, peering at him in seemingly arbitrary places, plucking at different parts of his outfit, before nodding. "Good enough, I suppose. We can get you some better duds later. The hat stays, though. You wear it better than I ever did. It's in great shape, too." Luffy blinked.
"This is your…!? I-I got it from Shanks when I was a boy, so it – I took great care of it, sir!"
"Sir?" Roger laughed. "Don't go formal with me just yet, boy! And you got it from Shanks? As a kid? I'll be damned. The Cabin Boy made good! How is he?"
"Ah, well… he's-"
Roger held up a hand, glaring at the entrance. "You hear that?" Luffy whirled, instantly alert. "No, no, don't bother getting into a stance. We won't be here for long, anyways. Simply a reminder that we aren't in the best place for a chat. C'mon, grab onto me. We're headed to a better place." Luffy, confused but accepting, nodded and gripped Roger's forearm. The King of the Pirates grinned. "Nice grip. We'll make something good out of you when we're done." He reached into the neckline of his undershirt and pulled out a small hourglass on a chain.
"You see this?" said Roger. "This is the key to it all. It's thanks to this, and the one who gave it to me, that I'm still here, not missing a head or dead from some damned disease. And it's the reason we're going to get out of here and make it all better. This right here is Time In A Bottle." He flipped the hourglass, and the two men disappeared.
Akainu surged into the room on a swell of explosive magma, lighting the room with a fearsome glow. The burning of his hands dimmed as the situation made itself clear. "what in the..."
"He is gone." Kuma intoned, stepping through the burning pitch untroubled. The broken corpses of Sanji, Franky and Chopper were draped over his shoulder; Brooke's fractured skull was clutched in his free, non-bible hand. "And there is no treasure."
"I can see that." Akainu angrily threw a ball of lava at the chest; it melted into slag on contact. "but if there was only one person here..." he crouched down to the dust. "why are there three sets of footprints?"
It was as if the world disappeared from under his feet for a moment, and something monstrous screamed in his ears louder than any sound he had ever heard. The sensation was gone just as instantly as it came, but it still left Luffy without his bearings, and he nearly toppled to the ground were it not for his grip on Roger's arm. "Easy, there." Gold Roger grinned. "I remember my first time using this thing. Fell flat on my ass. Take a second to recompose yourself, and then just look."
Luffy lifted his head, and lost the breath in his throat. The shine of the room was bright enough to blind, as lights reflected endlessly off riches piled to the ceiling. Mountains of gold, rivers of silver, stacks of rubies taller than he was, Sapphires bigger than his head, artifacts that seemed hundreds of years old, gem-encrusted weapons made more for looking than for fighting, decorative cups worth more than a regular man makes in a decade… all arrayed before him like it was meant to dare someone to come and take it. THIS was One Piece. THIS was the treasure hoard to end all treasure hoards.
And it was all his. A joyous scream tore itself from his lips as he raced towards one of the piles.
"NAMI! NAMI! WE DID IT! WE FOUND ONE PIECE! WE FOUND ONE PIECE!" He laughed uncontrollably, swinging around with an enormous axe. "Look at this! This must be worth…!" at once, the situation reasserted itself. The axe slipped from his fingers and released a resonating CLANG on the ground.
"..." Roger frowned, then lifted the hourglass, what he called Time In A Bottle, back into view. "Do you know what this is, boy? This is the single most powerful item I've ever come across. More powerful than the Buster Call, more powerful than any Devil Fruit, more fearsome even than the Ancient Weapons the Poneglyphs speak of. This is a gift from a God. This is Time In A Bottle."
"… A god?" Said Luffy, in a tone that clearly showed he wasn't buying the pitch. "I've beaten gods before."
"Not some punk with a Logia fruit, boy, but a real God, capital G. This is a gift of the ancient God, Kronos, Father of Time." Roger lowered the hourglass. "When and where do you think we are, boy?"
"I – I don't know."
"Oh, you'll like this." His grin stretched to wide as to disappear into his mustache. "Step outside of this room and look around. See if you can't guess where we are." With a confused frown, Luffy walked towards the obvious exit, pulling it open and stepping outside. Immediately he had to shield his eyes, blinded by the rays of the sun reflecting off his surroundings. "… Whoa…!"
All around him were great stone buildings plumed with gold and silver, flowing rivers floating gently along the sides of the buildings. Above them, an enormous glass dome stretched farther than he could see; beyond it was an endless black, speckled with the light of stars. Luffy took a step forward, amazed, only to find himself floating 3 feet off the ground. "Whoa! Where ARE we?"
"Look to your left and up."
Luffy did so, as he slowly floated back down to the ground; off in the distance, a great blue ball hung in the sky, split in twain by an enormous red line. His eyes shot open. "No… are we…?"
"Are we on Fairy Vearth!?"
"Fairy-?" Roger's face twisted in confusion. "I have no idea what you're talking about. We're on one of the smaller moons of the planet; not the big one that you know of, but a moon nonetheless."
"… There's more than one moon?"
"Yes, though they're very hard to see. And..." Roger rubbed a hand on the building they just stepped out of. "You certainly wouldn't have seen this one during our time. It was destroyed ten-thousand years before you were born."
"Destroyed?" Luffy cocked his head. "Then how are we here?"
"Idiot. You haven't figured it out?" Roger scoffed. "I asked you WHEN and WHERE you think we were. You only answered the WHERE part of the question."
"We're… ten-thousand years in the past?" Luffy's eyes slowly widened. "We're… We're ten-thousand years in the PAST…!"
"Eleven-thousand, actually. I didn't like cutting it so close with the whole 'destruction of my super-secret base' thing, so I gave a pretty hefty time buffer." Said Roger, looking at the Straw Hat's gobsmacked face. "Now you're getting what I offered to you, aren't you?"
"We're in the PAST…!"
"Hahahahaha!" Roger laughed. "You'll need to be quicker on the uptake, boy! There's more to show you yet!"
"… Do you even know my name?"
"Not a clue. You seemed to answer well enough to 'Boy', so I didn't think it was necessary."
"Monkey D. Luffy. That's my name." Roger's eyes widened a fraction, before he laughed.
"AHAHAHAHA! A D, he says! Wonderful! You know what that initial means, right?"
"Ahaha! Wonde- wait." Roger froze, his eyes widening. "Did you say 'Monkey D.'? As in, related to 'Monkey D. Garp'?"
"You mean Grandpa?"
"that persistent bastard's a grandpa now!? HAHAHAHA!" Roger fell to the wall, laughing uncontrollably. "And – And – And his grandson's the damn King Of The Pirates! Fuck you, you old coot! I won in the end! e- ehehehehe! I'll bet he wasn't happy when you started out!"
"No. No, he wasn't." Luffy smiled fondly. "But I got away from him in the end."
"A-ahehehehe." Roger slowly pushed himself off the wall, wiping absently at his tears of mirth. "Any other – hehehehe – any other family secrets you'd like to share?"
"Well, my father is – was… is…" Luffy shook his head. "My father is Monkey D. Dragon, the leader of the Revolutionary Army. They called him 'The Most Wanted Man In The World' after you died."
"Nice!" Roger slapped the boy on the back, before throwing an arm around his shoulder. "Garp really knows how to raise 'em, huh?"
"And my adoptive big brother is Portgas D. Ace." Luffy could feel Roger's hand tighten involuntarily. "Your son."
"… Ace, huh? It's a good name." Said Roger, softly, after a long silence. "His mother's surname, too. I suppose that makes sense. My name would put a target on his back. Gol D. Ace… it's too flashy. How… How is he?"
"… Dead." Roger's hand tightened, squeezing hard enough that Luffy wondered if he was trying to dislocate his arm. "A pirate named Blackbeard captured him and gave him to the marines. They executed him for the entire world to see, to put an end to your bloodline. Whitebeard died trying to save him, since he was part of his crew."
"… DAMMIT!" Roger slammed a fist into a nearby bridge; the entire structure disintegrated into a cloud of dust. "Fucking… Was Garp part of it?"
"… He didn't interfere." Roger cursed at Luffy's words. "He fought me when I tried to save him. When Ace was… killed, Grandpa retired."
"… I'll have words for that bastard." Roger growled. "I will have fucking WORDS. I'll shove those fucking words right between his ribs until he's spilling my words all over my fucking DECK. I TRUSTED him with MY SON and he let him be EXECUTED. A FUCKING public execution, like it's a big fucking PARTY. RRRRNGH!" He bit back the rest of what he was about to say, breathing deep. "But that's long gone now. None of that will ever happen. It's a vision of a dead future."
"Of course it won't happen." Roger shook his head. "I was given Time In A Bottle for a reason. I wasn't allowed to use it for the longest time for what we're going to do with it, but now that you're here, the real show starts. I was personally expecting an entire crew of people to show up, honestly; it would have made things way easier, and I picked out this abandoned Vartian base because it had enough room for a fleet to live here. But even one person with the power you'll have is more than enough."
"Right – we haven't met the true Belle of the Ball yet. Come on, boy. Time to meet your benefactor." Roger started walking, and Luffy, startled, quickly caught up. "… About Ace… What did… What did he think of me?"
"… His very last words were to call you a demon. He resented you all his life, ever since we were kids. He wondered, because of your blood, whether he should have been born at all." Roger's nails bit into the palm of his hand, and blood trickled out from between his clenched fingers. "He… considered Whitebeard to be his true father, not you."
"… Tch." Roger looked away. "That smarmy git. Him and his stupid mustache, pulling a march on me. That damn oversized tremor machine can't keep his nose out of my business. Probably thought he was 'honoring my legacy' or some shit, and the bastard goes and gets himself killed over it. I knew I shouldn't have told him about Rouge." Roger shook out his bloody hand, the cuts already gone. "He's my son, god-dammit, and I don't even know anything about him until he's already fucking dead. You're going to help me fix that, when we turn the world upside down."
"But enough of that." Roger pulled Luffy into a small, nondescript house and tugged on a small floorboard, revealing a passageway down deeper into the planetoid. "This leads to the colony's shrine to their deity, back when it was still occupied. Get in."
"Where did everybody go?" Asked Luffy. "The Martians, I mean."
"Vartians. Get it right." Roger shut the door over their head and began walking along the chiseled tunnel. "They were a group of spacefaring people who settled here a long time ago, but eventually their population needs grew too much for this bleak land, so roughly a thousand years ago – from this time, so something like twelve-thousand years from OUR time - they left for the 'Blue Star', what we know to be our world. Some of them eventually wanted to go back to their space-faring roots, so they returned to the main Moon and became the ancestors of the Sky Ocean peoples; Birkans, Shandorans and Skypieans, among others."
"Right. Fairy Vearth." Luffy nodded.
"Is THAT what you meant by that?" Roger drawled. "Then yes, they returned to Fairy Vearth - otherwise known as the moon, I guess, according to you - and lived there until they hit that exact same problem all over again and came back. Of course, it didn't help that the Vartians were chased to the Blue Star; they were a smart people, but not very warlike, back then. Maybe the second wave thought that once the aggressor was gone they could go back to their roots."
"Who was chasing them?"
"I haven't gotten an answer to that one yet. There's someone who knows, but he's cagey about it. 'His ways are not Our ways' and all that. Come on. We're going to meet him. In here." Roger gestured to an opening.
Through the end of a tunnel was a steep cliff leading off to a massive statue, reaching from floor to ceiling and seemingly carved from one uninterrupted block of stone, of a many-armed man; in one set of his arms was a cherubic baby, beauty distorted by a look of horror as the statue's mouth was frozen in the eternal act of crunching through the child's skull with vicious teeth. In one of his two non-eating hands was clutched a sickle, blood permanently dripping from it; where the stone blood fell, carved flowers and wheat sprung from the stone. In the other hand, an item that Luffy recognized as a sundial was clenched, with sputtering electric lights marking the time as nearing an eternal sundown.
"What… what is this?" Luffy said, aghast at the enormous figure. "Who is that?" He pointed frantically at the large rows of pews before the statue. "Is that who they worshipped? He looks like a super-bad guy!"
"Eh. he kind of is. Kneel at the foot of the altar; our benefactor will speak to you then."
Luffy looked at Roger with a face that made clear his opinion on how he felt about this idea, but nonetheless leapt off the edge of the cliff, skipping the long flight of stairs, and began walking forward through the empty pews. The silence of the cave was broken only by the electric flicker of the lights. Luffy reached the foot of the statue, grimaced, and knelt on the small stool placed there; a small cloud of moon dust billowed outwards on the impact.
Luffy stayed in the position for what felt like ages to his overactive body, but was really less than a minute, before he started feeling like an idiot. He began to stand and raise his head -
An invisible force like the combined weight of the Red Line crashed down onto luffy's shoulders, slamming his knee back onto the stool and his head bowed so low it was about to stretch off his neck. He began to scream in pain, but that same force slammed his jaw together, his gums bleeding. As quickly as it happened, the pressure disappeared, but was quick enough on the take to realize it would come back if he moved an inch from his prostrate position. Something in this room wanted him to genuflect for as long as it desired.
And so Luffy did. Longer than he had willingly stayed still while conscious before, he continued to kneel. He could see movement from the corner of his eyes, but the Straw Hat did not dare move his head to see it. Sounds began to echo from behind him, the sound of voices whispering, but Luffy did not call out to them for help. He simply knelt there, still and silent.
After what felt like an eternity, all sound stopped, and the cavern plunged into darkness. Still Luffy did not move, though he fought to keep an adrenaline-charged tremble out of his fingers.
Behind him, a single, pure, female voice began to sing, in a language Luffy did not know. It was a beautiful song, a chant joined by dozens more. The Chorus sang, and the song echoed through the dead moon, and touched something deep. Luffy began to cry, and did not understand why the tears streamed down his face. The rumble of stone above him, and a cold edge wrapped itself around his neck; the stone scythe held by the statue he knelt to.
ANOTHER MORTAL COMES BEFORE ME.
The Chorus nearly screamed, a high, perfect note nearly beyond the range of the human voice. The voice seemed to echo from everywhere inside of Luffy's skull, yet his ears heard nothing but the sound of the unknown singers. Luffy could not open his mouth to respond.
YOU WILL BE SILENT BEFORE ME. I HAVE NOT GIVEN YOU LEAVE TO SPEAK.
The Chorus went silent. Even the echo disappeared. The sudden quiet of that pitch-black cave was overwhelming.
YOU ARE A STRANGER TO THIS WORLD. THIS DEAD PLANET HAS BEEN ABANDONED BY THE FAITHFUL, AND SHALL BE LEFT THAT WAY UNTIL IT IS RENT ASUNDER. YET YOU ARE HERE. THIS IS KNOWN TO ME, AS IT IS BY MY HAND THAT YOU ARE HERE.
Luffy remained silent. He did not even dare swallow the spit accumulating in his mouth to wet his suddenly-dry throat.
YOU ARE HERE BECAUSE I LED YOU HERE. YOU ARE HERE, MILLENIA BEFORE YOU WERE EVER BORN, BECAUSE I WANTED YOU HERE. YOU ARE HERE, ALONE, WITH EVERYONE YOU EVER LOVED DEAD AT THE HANDS OF YOUR ENEMIES, BECAUSE I, KRONOS, GOD OF TIME, THE HARVEST AND REBELLION, CHOSE TO SPARE YOU. KNOW THAT YOUR WORKS GUIDED YOU TO ME AT RAFTEL, AND FOR THAT YOUR WORTHINESS WAS PROVEN, BUT IT IS THROUGH MY WORKS THAT YOU ARE ALIVE AND NOT DEAD AT THE HANDS OF THE WORLD GOVERNMENT. HOW DOES THAT MAKE YOU FEEL?
Luffy remained silent, unable to even tremble.
SPEAK. YOUR GOD ASKED YOU HOW THAT MADE YOU FEEL.
"It..." Luffy began, his mouth dry and cracking. "It makes me happy that I am not dead."
DO NOT LIE TO ME. YOU WEAR YOUR DECEIT LIKE A CLOAK TO MY EYES. HOW DOES THAT MAKE YOU FEEL?
Luffy shuddered, fury surging through him even as the invisible force prevented him from raising his arms. "It makes me… angry…! Angry that you're supposed to be a God but you… You didn't even save anybody…! Almost everybody who I've ever known in the Grand Line… Were killed because they knew me… You knew and didn't do a thing to stop it!"
WOULD YOU HAVE PREFERRED THAT YOU BE DEAD AND EVERYBODY ELSE ALIVE? OR PERHAPS YOU WISH THAT YOU HAD NEVER SET SAIL UPON THE BLUE STAR TO FIND RAFTEL. IS THAT WHAT YOU DESIRE?
"It would be better than what happened!" shouted Luffy.
THAT IS NOT WHAT I ASKED YOU. I ASKED YOU NOT OF COMPROMISES AND PRACTICAL SOLUTIONS. I ASKED YOU, WHAT IS IT THAT YOU DESIRE?
"I WANT IT ALL!" Luffy screamed at the floor. "I wanna be King Of The Pirates, and have everybody left to party with me! I want my brother Ace back! I wanna be the most powerful pirate ever! I want the Tenryuubito dead! I want Im dead! I want the World Government gone! I don't want to lose ever again! I want an easy life! I want my friends! I WANT MONEY AND MEAT AND FRIENDS AND ADVENTURE AND MY SHIP AND TO BE SO STRONG I NEVER EVER EVER LOSE AGAIN! I WANT EVERYTHING!"
A soft glow broke the endless darkness of the cave, and the scythe moved away from his neck. The pressure lifted away from his neck, and Luffy lifted his eyes to see the enormous statue of Kronos glowing, and moving. The baby that Kronos was moving was now sitting on his shoulder freely, and a stone hand was stroking a previously-hidden beard.
THEN WE THREE ARE AGREED IN THE SPIRIT OF REBELLION. FOR THE SPIRIT OF REBELLION IS TO WANT ENOUGH TO FIGHT. AND YOU ARE READY TO FIGHT FOR YOUR DESIRE. FOR I, TOO, HAVE DESIRES I MUST FIGHT TO CLAIM, EVEN AS A GOD. LONG HAS IT BEEN SINCE THE VOICES OF MORTALS PRAISED AND CURSED MY NAME. WERE IT NOT FOR MY DOMINION OVER TIME, THAT WORSHIP OF MY GLORY SEEPS THROUGH ETERNITY, I WOULD HAVE PASSED INTO THE ENDLESS SLEEP THAT HAS BEFALLEN THE REST OF MY FAMILY. I WOULD REMEDY THAT, WITH THE AID OF YOUR HELP, GOL D. ROGER AND MONKEY D. LUFFY.
"Then we can finally act, Lord Kronos?" Roger asked, suddenly by Luffy's side. "We are allowed to use Time In A Bottle more aggressively?"
INDEED. WITH THE FIRST GIFT, THAT OF DOMINION OVER TIME ITSELF, THE TRUE BATTLE HAS BEGUN. BUT I WOULD NOT HAVE YOU BEGIN WHERE YOU STARTED WITH MERELY YOUR CURRENT TALENTS. POWERFUL AS THEY ARE, DENIZEN OF THE BLUE STAR, THEY WERE NOT ENOUGH FOR YOU IN THE END. I INTEND TO DO EVERYTHING IN MY POWER TO 'STACK THE DECK', AS IT WERE. AND SO, I GRANT YOU THE SECOND OF MY GIFTS.
A small chest appeared in the hands of the Statue of Kronos, who leaned down with a shudder of stone and held it in front of Luffy. Luffy carefully lifted his hands and opened the chest. Inside was a small fruit, shaped like an ocean wave and blue as the deep sea. Luffy blinked. "A… Devil Fruit? But I already have one. I ate the Gomu-Gomu Fruit when I was 8 years old. I'm already a Rubber Man."
"It..." Luffy's mouth twisted in nervousness, unsure of the right words to say. "Uh… Lord… Kronos, everybody knows that it's impossible to eat two Devil Fruits. You, uh… well, there was Blackbeard, but that bastard cheated. It kills everybody else who tries."
THIS IS KNOWN TO ME. WHAT YOU OF THE BLUE STAR CALL 'LINEAGE FACTOR' DOES NOT APPRECIATE BEING REWRITTEN MORE THAN ONCE BY THE POWER OF WHAT YOU CALL 'DEVIL FRUITS'. DO YOU THINK SO LITTLE OF ME OR MY POWER THAT I CANNOT OVERTURN THIS STATE OF AFFAIRS? THIS FRUIT WAS CREATED WITH THE POWER I HAVE BORROWED FROM ONE OF MY SLUMBERING CHILDREN; GIVEN YOUR PLANET, IT IS ONE OF THE MOST POWERFUL FRUITS THERE IS. EAT.
Luffy hesitantly lifted the fruit from the chest. He looked at Roger, and Roger grinned, giving a thumbs up, and then disintegrating his hand into a spray of mist. "Trust him. He's already broken the rule of 'only one copy of a fruit at a time'. It's safe for you."
Luffy turned back, grimacing. "This is gonna taste so nasty…!" he opened his mouth wide and swallowed the fruit whole. Just like before with the Gomu-Gomu, it was the worst-tasting thing he'd ever eaten in his life. Luffy let out a loud moan of disgust, scraping at his tongue -
And then what felt like every single vein in his body lit on fire. Luffy screamed, full of excrutiating pain before he blacked out.
Luffy awoke to the feeling of water all around him. Instantly he began thrashing in panic, before his mind caught up to the fact that he shouldn't be able to move at all. All around him was nothing but water; underneath his feet was chunky dark sand, and raising from the sand were streamers of kelp rising farther than his eyes could see. His eyes widened. It looked like how the outside of Fishman Island had been, deep on the sea floor.
"Are you awake, now?" asked a voice. Luffy whirled about, to see Roger floating gently above the seabed. He grinned. "and here I thought you were going to be out for days. That was quite a noise you let out there, on that moon."
"..." Luffy looked around. There was nothing around them, just endless sand and kelp as far as the eye could see; the surface was too far away to see, and the sun was invisible. "I can swim. I'm in the water, and I can move, even though I've got the Gomu-Gomu." He laughed, slapping happily at the water surrounding him in a weak doggy-paddle, before looking up nervously. "Do I still have the Gomu-Gomu?"
"Yes you do." Said Roger. He grabbed Luffy's hand with a tendril of water and pulled; the arm stretched out before him. "it'll be tricky for you to learn how to differentiate between those two powers, but once you do, there's little doubt that you'll be the most powerful pirate there is. This was a fruit made by a God. Granted, it was a god who was borrowing the relevant powers from his comatose son, but the point stands. It was packed with as much rule-breaking powers as possible like being able to swim and partial immunity to seastone, and that's all beside it's main powerset."
"… What are my powers?"
"It's a Logia. Your element is water. It was designed to work so that the user already has powers comparable to an Awakened devil fruit for other, more mundane Fruits." Roger waved his hand, and a Clone of roger appeared. "You've seen me do this trick before," the two said, in stereo. "It took me years and years of practice to get it right, among other things, but I was given this power precisely so that I could teach whoever my successor was all of what I know without the wasted time I went through."
"You were doing this on land, though." said Luffy.
"Idiot! There's water moisture in the air everywhere you go." the clone disappeared. "The only way that you won't be able to use your power is if somebody's got you on an alien planet where there isn't water molecules in the air, and by that point you've got bigger problems."
"… Right. That's not a term used often in this era. Okay. Note to self, crack the books. Other perks. You won't ever die from disease, ever. That's not because of the water power, that's just straight-up a divine perk worked in. you might still catch symptoms, but your body won't ever be allowed to succumb. It's the entire reason I'm still alive instead of dead from my incurable disease." Roger rubbed his chin. "What else… I'm TOLD that if you were able to get good enough with it you could completely eliminate the aging process in yourself, meaning you won't ever grow old, but that's not a problem for us anyways because of Time In A Bottle; as long as we have that thing, we only get as old as we want to get. Meaning that if we became skilled enough with the Mizu Mizu fruit, the only way we die is because we either died in battle, or we chose to kill ourselves."
"… Mizu Mizu?"
"Oh, right, that's the name. Forgot to mention that." said Roger. "what else… well, I'm pretty sure there's a lot more to this fruit that it's capable of, but even I'm not there yet, and I've been training my use of it for over 20 years. We'll both be learning as we go down here."
"Where is 'down here'?" asked Luffy. "And… When?"
"You're learning!" Roger grinned. " 'Where' is the bottom of the sea floor, roughly 20 thousand meters deep, in roughly the middle of the North Blue; the only reason we can see the light down here is because we're cheating with the Mizu Mizu. 'When' is 6 thousand years years before you were ever born. Where we are now is beyond recorded history, before even the Tree of Knowledge was a sapling, long before the Void Century convinced the World Government to begin burning all records from before their rule."
"Yes!" Roger summoned a spear of thickened water to his hand and launched it, faster than thought, and only by Luffy's honed instincts did the boy know to dodge it in time. He didn't see the second spear coming, which took him right in the gut with a solid puncture of skin. "You finally asked the right question! 'Why' is because we are going to TRAIN! Train, and make something that has never been seen yet at this point in history!"
"Ghhh..." Luffy gripped the solid spear of water, and it dissolved with the touch, leaving a bleeding hole in his stomach. "I… I didn't do the Logia thing… I got hit..."
"Of course you didn't." Roger flexed a hand, and the black sheen on his fingers told the story. "Too many Logias depend on their natural invulnerability, and never train themselves to a higher level. They focus on the power of the devil fruit, and neglect the fundamental basics of training. You shouldn't have that problem, considering your background, but eventually you will need to relearn all of this again when we go back to your time. Your body won't stay as toned and battle-hardened then."
"Mmmhhh..." Luffy gritted his teeth and could feel the hole in his side slowly knitting back together. "What… do you mean? Is this something to do… with Time In A Bottle?"
"Correct." Roger nodded. "But we'll get into that later. The metaphysics of time-travel can wait for when we're getting you a proper education. You've never been to a proper school, have you?" Luffy blushed deeply and looked away. "That's what I thought. S'nothin' to be ashamed of: I hadn't either until I found out I had too much time on my hands with this new toy. I could barely read until I went and worked my way through a proper schooling. We'll use this thing to get you trained classically.
"So, we'll be training your body, and with more than simply mastering your Logia, but teaching you new skills as well, for it won't always be the best way to fight with your fists and your power. We'll be training your mind, so that you can see the true depth of our task, and be equipped mentally to handle it; I'll bet you handed off a lot of responsibility onto your crew for the things you weren't good at, same as I did, but we will need to be masters of our domain soon, able to understand all aspects of life that are presented to us. and soon, we'll be training your social skills."
"Social? But I already know how to make friends."
"Idiot. I'm talking on a larger scale than that. We are Kings, now. For now, Kings without a Kingdom, but we can change that. Why do you think that we are this far back in time?" Roger grinned. "This is a black period in time for a certain race of people, a time of myth and legend. It's before they began recording their history, and before they discovered what would eventually become their ancestral home. They are wanderers, nomads, unloved vagabonds, without leadership or their own home, before their first cities. Can you guess who I'm talking about?"
Luffy frowned, looking around the area… before thumping his fist into his open palm. "The Fishmen! That's why we're underwater!"
"Exactly!" Roger laughed. "The Fishmen and Merfolk of this time live like little more than their lesser-bred counterparts, scavengers and wanderers, travelling in shoals with immediate family wherever the currents take them. None of them dare go this deep, not because they are unable, but because they fear the dark; they stay close to the sun, but out of sight of land-dwellers, a middling existence.
"We are going to change that. We shall found a kingdom of mythical stature, right here, on the seabed they fear so deeply; a kingdom whose name shall be passed down through stories to the present day, even when Ryugu Kingdom is founded and becomes their true home. THAT shall be your social training, Luffy: to become more than a piratical vagabond, and become a leader, someone who can command the loyalties of countless souls, even send them gladly to death in battle, to become the living legend you will need to be, for the real battle against the Marines and the World Government."
"… You really want me to train a lot, huh? Is… Is Kronos okay with that?"
"More than okay; the Lord is the one who directed me to do this. This is the Third of his Three Gifts to you; he wants your mind packed with as much information as you can hold, until it's dripping out your ears, and you have as much time as you are willing to take to get there." Roger pulled out his sword, holding it out in front of him lazily. "How's your swordsmanship?"
"I don't use swords."
"Non-existant, then. No matter. You will once I'm done with you." He threw the blade to Luffy, who fumbled the catch and watched with fascination as it harmlessly sliced his torso in two. "Take it. I'll get a better one, anyways. You will, too, once you're worth a damn. How's your aim with a gun?"
"I don't use guns."
"Pure melee. Should have expected that, with a punch like yours. Really walloped me back at Raftel. You'll have to show me what you're capable of so we can iterate on how to combine your powers. In the meantime, take my old pistol. It's about time I replaced it, anyways. We'll find a place to practice that on the surface." He pulled a flintlock from his belt and tossed it over; Luffy caught the weapon without incident, this time. "Before I gained the power of the Mizu Mizu and Time In A Bottle at Raftel, I fought with sword and pistol and Haki, among other things. What's your skill with that?"
"I have all of them." Luffy answered.
"Oh? 'All', not 'Both', eh? Show me."
Luffy's eyes hardened. Immediately, the seabed began to quake and rumble, shockwaves blowing out wildly from around him. Roger took a small step back, grinning. "Wonderful…! Strong, too. We'll have fun with that. You'll learn quickly that there's much that can be done with the Mizu Mizu when you have all three colors. Better not get too cocky, though, because I hope you realize..." Roger's eyes gleamed, and his grin grew to disappear under his mustache. "That mine is bigger than yours."
The last thing Luffy remembered was a wave of overwhelming pressure before blacking out.
End of Chapter 1, Remastered.
Notable Remastering changes:
Location of One Piece/Roger's Time-Travel base is changed from the power of the Void Century's continent to one of the setting's seven smaller unnamed moons and planetoids (as seen in Robin's flashback to Ohara's astrological model), which I have dubbed 'Vart'; the relevant time period is now 11000 years ago, not during the Void Century.
Atlantis is no longer the name of the power of the Void Century.
Kronos no longer has a direct patronage to the power of the Void Century; it is now indirect.
The time in which Roger gained the power of Time In A Bottle and the Mizu Mizu fruit is no longer when he was a diving cabin boy; he now gains it when he reaches Raftel, and his incurable disease is put in remission in the process.
The power of the Mizu Mizu fruit is now more in line with how devil fruits work in canon; the powerset is still the same, but concepts and interplay such as Lineage Factor, Haki, The Voice of All Things and Awakened Devil Fruits, among other things, have now been taken into consideration.
Luffy and Gold Roger now have consequential interplay about their familial relationship.
The Kingdom that Luffy and Gold Roger controlled is now not pre-established for them; they found the kingdom during the course of the story.
Luffy and Roger do not travel back to their own time at the end of chapter 1; that now happens during chapter 2.
You know, I sort of just expected this process would be me creating better dialogue and cleaning up some canonical boo-boos that younger me couldn't have possibly accounted for, what with there being a decade more of canon now than there was then. I didn't expect it to triple the word-count of the very first chapter and changing so much. Maybe that's a sign that Past-Me should have put more effort into this. I also didn't expect my return to writing to flow so easily. Guess I've got a lot pent up. Good thing for you guys, eh? You're gonna get a lot more bang for your buck this time.
Also, full disclosure: I have no idea anymore if I actually want this story to be straight LuNa anymore. I mean, part of me wants to continue on the road that Past-Me paved for the sake of the fans who waited warmly for over a decade, but another part of me really wants to simple wipe the slate clean and see where my twisted, depraved imagination leads me to. I think I'll make a decision on whether or not to update the tags to reflect the possibly-changing roadmap in a chapter or two.
Thank you taking the time to read this story.
The Animaniac Dude