Through the near fanatical hours of watching One Piece, I have come from mid-Arabasta, where I was when I wrote A Dream come True, all the way to the recent arc. Naturally, I was fascinated by the Kuja Tribe and their Haki, and the discovery that Luffy's own Haki is special. That got me thinking: Luffy's already crazy strong. Imagine if he managed to master his Haki early on? Normal Haki made arrows freaking tank shells. Pistol with Haoushoku Haki behind it? It blew my mind. Here's the offspring of this idea. Enjoy!
Fuusha Village was a quiet little town, just another island in East Blue, the 'weakest' of the five seas. In Fuusha, life was simple, quiet, and laid back. People went about their jobs during the day, and still had time to say hey to their neighbors and enjoy a pint or two at the bar. All in all, safe but boring. Unless, of course, the Red-Haired Pirates were in town.
"Sake! Meat! Music! This is Heaven!" Lucky Roo was certainly happy, as he guzzled alcohol by the barrel and ate meat by the carcass. Beside him, Benn Beckman merely shook his head good-naturedly and sipped at his sake while he cleaned his gun. Yasopp was nearby, once again telling everyone a story about his son that everyone had already heard but were too kind to tell him so. Or rather, Yasopp was too stubborn to listen to the protests. And by the bar, Shanks himself sat, laughing boisterously at some remark made by the young, tan boy in a t-shirt and shorts that sat next to him.
"WAHAHAHAHA! You? You can't be a pirate, Luffy! You're too scrawny. Just the fact that you can swim won't help you on my crew. Just get your head out of the clouds and work on growing bigger!" Shanks was somewhere in his mid-thirties, with a hair a shocking shade of red. He had a bit of stubble on his chin, and wore a puffy white shirt, black pants, and a cloak. His sword hung belted to his hip. His face was a tapestry of laughter lines, and three scars ran over his left eye.
He didn't act like one of the Yonkou, the four most powerful pirates in the world. He didn't act like a former member of the Roger Pirates, crewed by the Pirate King Gol D. Roger himself. He certainly didn't act like a man the Marines would send all three Admirals against if they thought they would take him down. He acted like a man who loved to party, and was perfectly fine with the idea with making friends with children.
Therefore, he was perfectly within his rights to tease his newest friend. Who, as you might imagine, did not react very well. "Urusai! I'm not puny! Plus, I've got a punch as strong as a pistol!" So saying, the young boy by the name of Monkey D. Luffy cocked his fist as if it were an actual gun. The boy didn't look like his father was the most wanted man in the world. He didn't look like his grandfather had personally captured Gol D. Roger. He looked like a boy who wanted to impress his idol and was too stubborn to let what he wanted go.
It looked outrageously funny on his seven-year old face, but Shanks couldn't deny the determination written across Luffy's face. The boy sincerely wanted to be a pirate, despite the fact that he was still just a pipsqueak. However, Shanks couldn't just bring his young friend on his adventures like that. The Grand Line wasn't called the Pirate Graveyard for nothing, and the New World was in a whole other league. So, he offered a challenge that would both resolve the issue and do it in such a way that Luffy couldn't complain.
"Haha! You've got a pistol punch, eh! Well, let's test that claim, shall we?" Shanks tapped the counter of the bar. "Put a dent in this bar with a punch, and I'll give you my word that I'll take you on a voyage someday! If you can't, you'll just have to stay here on land!" Shanks smiled with lofty confidence, certain that all his young friend's boasts were hot air. The boy had to learn that you couldn't just say things and expect them to happen.
Luffy flushed, and then yelled "It's a deal!" Everyone paused in their frivolities to watch. They weren't expecting anything, but the look on Luffy's face promised to be priceless. Plus, Yasopp's stories were just that annoying. Luffy closed his eyes and furrowed his brow in concentration. He clenched his fist tight, and seemed to be focusing all his energy into his arm. It was an oddly serious look on such a young face.
After several seconds of suspenseful silence, Luffy opened his eyes, gave a war cry, and punched through the bar, leaving a pile of rubble of what was once firmly-set wood. The sound was explosive in the silence of the bar, and everyone widened their eyes in surprise as they watched a kid, a tiny boy, demolish a good section of the counter with a single punch. Shanks' eyes were the widest, as he'd noticed something no one else had. 'That force… just before he punched… was that Haki?'
Luffy surveyed the damage, gave a triumphant nod, and yelled at Shanks "Hah! I win. Now you've got to take me on a voyage!" Laughter filled with childish exultation filled the bar, while every adult in the place just stared in shock. A boy. A mound of broken wood. A few splinters in the boy's hand. The image simply did not go together. They had sailed the New World. They'd seen sights that would make nightmares have nightmares and make old professors shake their heads in bafflement. And the sight of Luffy's explosive punch still short-circuited the crew's brains as if they'd seen a gorilla dance ballet. Eventually, Luffy took notice of the silence, looked at everyone with their jaws at level with their knees, and asked "What?"
Shanks was the first to recover. He wasn't one of the most feared men on the planet for nothing. "What? What, you ask? Luffy, you just shattered the bar with a punch! What the heck did you do? No child could do that!" At the sound of their captain's voice, the rest of the crew jerked, before going into whispered mutters about the spectacle they had just seen. Luffy self-consciously rubbed the back of his head, while giving a nervous grin. "Do you really want to know?" Luffy asked, curious as to why his idol thought what he'd just done was so special. He said his punch was as strong as a pistol, hadn't he?
Shanks gave a nod of his head, burning with curiosity, and Luffy took a breath before starting with his story.
Luffy was alone in the jungle. As far as scary situations went, it was a biggie. Just a young boy, he'd been left stranded alone with no food, no water, a tiny knife, and the instruction from his quasi-sadistic grandpa to "Survive, brat!" Luffy was just a little kid. Like any other kid, he was afraid of some basic things, like the dark, or animals, or the prospect of no meals to fill his stomach. And his grandpa had left him out, quite literally, for the wolves.
"Crazy Gramps," Luffy muttered, trying to distract himself with the sound of his own voice. "He leaves me in the craziest places, makes me do the craziest things, and for what? So I can 'be a good Marine'? I don't want to be a marine! I want to be a Pirate, dang it! Not just a pirate, but the Pirate King. I want to find One Piece! And he just laughs in my face and tells me to 'shut up, and go survive already'. Uh!" Luffy wasn't a crybaby, but he sure as hell felt scared. He hated it when his grandpa dumped him in the middle of nowhere, because it meant he had to find his own food, his own water, and contend with the predators of the region. He was just a kid, damn it!
'Still,' a small voice in Luffy's head said: his neglected sense of good reason. 'What Grandpa does to you does make you stronger. You're not even ten, but you already know how to fight animals, build a shelter, and find clean water. Some adults can't do that.' "Oh, shut up." Luffy said to himself, unwilling to admit that what gramps put him through actually helped him in some way. Such thoughts were quickly forgotten, however, when a loud growl washed over Luffy. He froze, felt his heart go double time, and turned to face a gigantic, hungry-looking wolf with sickly-colored fur and teeth.
There wasn't any flashes of his short life, no broken record recording in his thoughts. Luffy didn't even have to think. His body did it for him. He ran. He ran as fast as his little legs could carry him, and then ran faster. He ducked, swerved, turned, and officially did everything humanly possible to try and outrun or outsmart the wolf that had given chase. It wasn't enough.
Luffy felt a sharp impact between his shoulder blades, and suddenly he was face down in the mud as something truly massive with bad breath held him down, a crushing weight on his small back. At that moment, something broke inside Luffy. The dam built from adrenaline and physical effort that had prevented panic cracked, and suddenly Luffy was filled with mind-numbing fear. True terror seared his veins as a deep-seated, primal fear, the fear of being eaten rose up in Luffy like a riptide and dragged him away from the calm shores of Sanity into the turbulent waters of Hysteria. To hell with the Will of D. He was a kid, and he didn't want to die.
Luffy felt teeth circle his throat, and could practically feel the shifts in muscle in the giant body above him that indicated the quick jerk of the head that would break his neck like a twig. All of Luffy's fear and pain and weariness coalesced into a single point as he screamed out in a voice he only barely recognized as his own "STOP!!!!!!!!!" As he did, a wave of unseen force exploded out of Luffy, tearing the leaves from branches twenty feet away. The wolf tensed, before collapsing into a heap, its eyes rolled back into its head.
Luffy blinked, and then sat up. He was alive, and the wolf had collapsed. What had happened?
"Anyways, after that I started to try and do whatever I did again, but it was kind of hard since I had no idea what happened." Luffy explained to Shanks as the entire crew listened in, giving Luffy their undivided attention. "I got into a few scrapes with deer, and even ran into a little bear cub. He was fun… until his mom showed up. That was when I did it again. Just when she caught up with me, I yelled at her and felt… something. She passed out."
Luffy grinned, and proudly held his fist up again, the splinters removed by Makino while the young boy continued explaining his discovery. "Anyways, after gramps decided to come get me, I started practicing. Whenever I really, really, really wanted something, I felt like there was some kind of force inside me, just waiting to get out. It doesn't always work, but I've managed to knock out birds and I just learned yesterday how to put it in my punches. That's why my punch is as strong as a pistol!" Luffy grinned and gave his fist a jab forward, happy that everyone liked his new toy.
Shanks was amazed. 'Did this kid seriously discover his Haki at such a young age?' Shanks decided to see if what Luffy said was true. "Luffy," Shanks said, getting the boy's attention instantly. "I want you to try and knock out one of my crewmembers, just so I can see what you're talking about. Any volunteers?" Without even looking, Shanks knew that everyone in the bar moved a few inches away from one unlucky bloke, who noticed and bravely stood up to face the challenge.
Luffy looked uncertain when he saw how big the man was, but put on his game face and closed his eyes. He focused really hard on one spot in the middle of his forehead. He imagined all his admiration for the crew, all his love for Shanks, and all his ambition to become a pirate coming together in that one spot. He felt an odd kind of pressure, but continued to focus until it felt like his gramps was shoving a finger against his forehead. He took a deep breath, opened his eyes, and yelled at the man who'd 'volunteered', letting all his gathered emotions and will come flying out in a burst, directed by his voice in a vague direction.
A shimmer went through the air between Luffy and the member of Shanks' crew. Shanks caught a whiff of the energy, and he choked on the sake in his mouth. 'This Haki! It feels different from mine!' There was no way to describe the feel of Luffy's willpower, other than the fact that it felt… regal, commanding. It was also a hell of a lot more powerful than a burst of the same size would have been from Shanks. Hell, maybe twice the size.
The unlucky crewmate, and about four or five people behind him, fainted on the spot. Luffy was panting as if he'd just run the mile, but he had a grin on his face. He turned to face Shanks and said "See? I'm strong! I'd be a big help on your voyage!" Shanks stared from Luffy, to the half-dozen unconscious members of his crew. 'Those blokes could hang around me in battle without breaking a sweat. Luffy… what kind of power do you have. Could you possibly… have that special Haki I heard about? The Haoushoku?'
If Shanks had been hoping for answers, fate had a twisted way of going about it. The swinging door to the bar blew out with a sudden impact. A scruffy, tall man with dark skin, stained clothes and black hair held partially in a tail walked through the door, making no effort to hide the blade at his side. Filing in behind him were a bunch of men with a get-up that could only be a uniform, including the sneers plastered on their faces.
The man walked up to the bar and said to the now-quiet room "So you bunch are the pirates I heard about. God, you guys look pathetic. Do you guys actually fight the Marines, or do they just let you go out of pity?" Shanks and his crew, if it hadn't become apparent, had gone up against guys that would make this guy go crying home to mommy while he pissed his pants. They didn't even waste the effort needed to give a response. Luffy, however, felt his anger mounting. Why wasn't Shanks doing something? He was the tough guy! He should be defending his honor!
The dark-skinned man turned to Makino and said "We're mountain bandits. Don't worry; we're not here to trash your bar. Just give us ten barrels of sake and we'll be on our way." However, this proved to be impossible, since the bar's entire stock had been consumed by Shanks and his crew already. As Makino gave her explanation, Shanks held up a bottle and said "Right here, chap. We haven't opened this one. It's a pretty good year." The man replied with a small display of swordsmanship that would seem impressive to beginners, but was just sad compared to true masters. The bottle shattered.
"I'm a man with an 8,000,000 Beli bounty on my head. I need far more than one measly bottle of sake!" Shanks was unimpressed. "Now look what you've done. You've got the floor all wet." Shanks bent down to mop up what was really very good alcohol, when another blow from the mountain-man came. It was a feather-tap to Shanks, but he played along, lying quietly as if defeated. The man huffed and puffed his own ego, before leaving the bar in what was supposed to be a dramatic fashion. Not ten seconds after he left, the entire crew burst out laughing.
Luffy was still a child, and a child in the East Blue at that. His simple view of the world simply could not grasp how far Shanks was out of that mountain-man's league. As such, he believed that his idol was being far too casual. QED, "What the heck was that? Have you no pride? You should have pounded those guys to a pulp!" The laughter tapered off at this display of emotion. What was humorous to the Red-Haired crew was blasphemous to Luffy.
Shanks sat up, looking over at Luffy. "It's not like I don't get what you're saying, but they just spilled some sake. They're not worth it." With the pout only a child could produce, Luffy turned his back on Shanks, and conveniently noticed the small chest in which Shanks held the prize of his recent voyage: the Gomu Gomu no Mi, one of the most powerful Paramecia Devil's Fruits there were. To Luffy, however, it was just food, and he was hungry.
Shanks gave Luffy a moment to cool off, and regretted it the instant he turned to see how Luffy was faring and saw the fruit disappearing down his gullet. His reaction was swift, a reflex. "Luffy! Spit that out!" Shanks grabbed Luffy by the ankles and started to shake the boy like a rag doll. However, he was too late. On a downward jerk, Luffy's neck extended until his face hit the floor. As the boy dealt with this new shock, Shanks cried out in frustration. "Luffy, do you know what that fruit was? It was the Gomu Gomu no Mi! You're a rubberman, and you'll never be able to swim again!" Shanks closed his eyes. His friend's life had just gotten very complicated.
It was two days later, and the Red-Haired Pirates were preparing to leave for good. The day before, Luffy had challenged the bandits in a fight for Shanks' honor. He'd been brutally beaten, until Shanks showed up with his crew. The leader had fled to sea and dumped Luffy in the ocean, only to be devoured by the local Sea King in an instant. Shanks had arrived in time to save Luffy from the same fate, but it had cost him his left arm. He was glad for so low a price.
Luffy and Shanks were having a last farewell. Or rather, Shanks was provoking Luffy until he exploded. "Shut up! I don't want to go with your crew, even though I won the bet!" Luffy cried, yelling his true feelings for the world to hear. "I'll start my own crew that will be even stronger than yours, travel the world, and find One Piece. I'M GOING TO BE THE PIRATE KING!" The words seemed to echo faintly, as if they carried the will of fate.
Shanks grinned, and said "Is that so?" With that, he plucked his favorite straw hat off his head and gave it to Luffy. He leaned forward and spoke in a voice only the two of them could hear. "Listen, Luffy. You have a special power, and not just your Devil's Fruit either. You have the King's Disposition. Be careful with it. You have no idea how dangerous it can be." Shanks pulled back, and said in a distinctly softer and brighter tone "That's my favorite straw hat. Keep it safe for me, please. You can return it to me… as a great pirate."
Shanks turned to board his ship, as unashamed tears fell from Luffy's eyes. As Shanks waved the island goodbye and set out to the seas he loved, he thought to himself 'Grow strong, Luffy. With a Devil's Fruit and the King's Disposition… you could become the Pirate King."
(Ten Years Later)
A high-class passenger vessel was making its way along its course. Marines guarded the deck, the captain mingled in the truly fantastic ballroom built into the ship, and the upper crust of the East Blue laughed, danced, and ate tiny tidbits. It was a calm day, with barely a cloud in the sky, and the tides docile for a change. It was a perfect day for napping and having fun.
Two Marines were hanging by the guardrail, chatting away when they noticed a barrel floating in the ocean. That caught their attention. "Oi! There's a wine barrel in the water!" one of them said. "It's probably wreckage from whatever poor soul went through that whirlpool. Aw, well. Won't do him any good now. Let's haul it up!" the other one said. So saying, the two casts out a line and with a bit of effort hauled the barrel up to the deck.
"Ooh, it's pretty heavy. There must be a lot!" The two were grinning at their good fortune to be able to wet their throats. Their smiles withered and died the instant the call came from the crow's nest and the sound of cannon fire came from across the water. "Pirates! I see pirates! It's the Alvida Pirates!" Every marine on the deck instantly broke out into action, their training taking over as Alvida's bombardment continued. The barrel was knocked askew in the confusion and rolled away towards the lower decks. It was barely noticed by the marines, whose efforts were for naught. They'd been ambushed, and the pirate ship pulled up alongside them in a matter of seconds.
On the deck of the pirate ship, a truly hideous woman stood at the forefront. She was the size of small whales, had freckles in all the wrong places, with flat, black hair covered by a cowboy hat and beady eyes. She held an iron mace almost as big as her as a staff, with her crew arrayed around her. This was 'Iron Club' Alvida, the woman worth 5,000,000 Beli. "Men, who's the fairest on all the seas?" Alvida asked. Her crew let out a full, if insincere, yell of "ALVIDA-SAMA!"
The woman grinned, revealing slightly yellow teeth, before yelling "CHARGE!" In a flurry of motion, the crew leaped over onto the other vessel to raid, pillage, plunder, and otherwise pilfer their weasly black guts out (mini-disclaimer: don't own POTC). Alvida stayed behind and surveyed the damage, before noticing a quivering little boy still on the ship. He had glasses and light pink hair. "Coby!" she yelled, instantly getting a frightened reaction from the boy.
"Get over there now! Or face the club!" With a menacing snarl, Alvida prepared to swing Coby over to the other boat like he was a golf ball with her club. The boy broke out in frantic gibbers going far too fast to understand as human speech, and threw himself over to the other ship. He quickly made his way to the relative peace of the lower decks. "Whew! That was close! Now, I got to do something or Alvida will kill me!" Coby, rather meekly, started to look around for something he could actually lift and could count as swag.
"Hmm. This looks like a pantry." Coby surveyed the room, before noticing a large wine barrel lying on its side. "That looks interesting. Maybe Alvida will be okay with that." The boy set himself to the task of moving the barrel, but it proved futile as his weak limbs failed to move it an inch. "It won't move. Maybe I should just go away and find something else." Coby was just about to leave when three of the crew walked in.
"Eh, Coby? What are you doing here, and with that barrel?" Coby went into his panic-mode, but managed to stammer out "T-t-t-there w-w-was this b-b-barrel, s-s-so I-I thought that m-m-maybe I should b-b-bring it up!" The three men noticed the barrel, and what it contained, and got greedy little grins on their faces. Despite Coby's weak protests, the three set the barrel upright and prepared to open it and guzzle away.
Just as they were about to descend on the wine, the top blew outward as a young man with black hair, tan skin, a red vest, blue shorts, and a straw hat burst out of the barrel, his fist stretching out to hit the flunky nearest him, his eyes closed in pleasure. "WHAT A GREAT NAP!" the mystery man yelled, seemingly unaware hat he'd just knocked a pirate unconscious. Alvida's crew members couldn't have been more surprised if Alvida had shown up two hundred pounds lighter whilst performing the can-can.
The man opened his eyes, and then stared at the unconscious pirate at his feet confusedly. "What's this guy taking a nap for? He'll catch a cold." Laws of the universe bent, anatomical features shifted, and suddenly the two conscious pirates had pure white eyes, larger heads, and sharks-teeth. "IT'S YOUR FAULT, DUMBASS!" they yelled, their instincts to Public Displays of Idiocy kicking in.
The mystery man paid them no heed, climbing out of the barrel and turning to Coby. "I'm hungry. Do you know where there's food?" he asked, acting as if he had not burst out of a barrel and clobbered a pirate without conscious effort. The veins in the pirates' foreheads showed, and they drew their swords and charged. Coby squealed in fear and cowered, while the man slowly turned his head to face the onslaught. The swords were raised, battle-cries were yelled… and the top halves of both swords snapped off and flew towards the ceiling as the stranger gave a swipe of his hand.
The pirates' eyes widened in awe as the man before them snapped steel with a flick of the wrist. The man stared at them with slight annoyance. "What are you doing, playing with these things? They're sharp; someone could get hurt!" The men stood gaping for a second, before turning tail and running while dragging their unconscious nakama. The stranger scratched his head. "What was with them? Aw, well, it doesn't matter." The stranger turned to face Coby again. "So, can you show me where the food is now?"
Coby was wide-eyed as he looked up at the man. "Who are you?" he asked, wondering who on all the seas could be so strong as to break metal without effort. The man gave a wide grin and said "I'm Monkey D. Luffy! Nice to meet you!" Luffy paused for a second, before opening the nearest door after smelling the air like a hound. "MUSHI!" he yelled in wild joy, before descending like a piranha among the crates of food in the tiny box of a room.
Coby went into the room and closed the door behind him. "I hope they don't find me in here," Coby muttered to himself, before turning to look at the most interesting thing he'd seen in his short life. A man that had appeared from nowhere, displayed incredible strength, hopping up and down like a kid on Christmas morning while he practically inhaled every scrap of food his hands came in contact with. Coby felt certain that the human stomach couldn't hold that much food, but he refrained from saying so. "Um, Luffy-san?" Coby tentatively asked, drawing Luffy's attention away from a crate of apples. "I don't mean to be rude, but where did you come from?"
Luffy grinned, displaying the numerous chunks of food caught in his teeth. "I was sailing near my village with my pet when that big whirlpool came by. It really took me by surprise! But, I managed to get in that barrel, and I decided to take a nap. When I woke up, I was here!" Coby's eyes widened as Luffy nonchalantly discussed surviving a whirlpool as if it were no big deal.
Coby chuckled nervously, before gathering his courage. "Luffy-san, you have to leave here! This ship is being raided by the fearsome Alvida-sama. Since you hit her guy, you'll get the iron mace! You really need to get out of here!" Luffy's eyebrows went up, pausing in his chewing. "A pirate ship? Does that mean you're a pirate?" Coby blanched, before frantically shaking his head. "No, no, not at all. Well, kinda, I guess. It's complicated. Two years ago, I went onto a boat with the intention to fish, only to discover it was a boat taking pirates back to their ship!" Here, Coby shivered in remembered fear. "They forced me to work for them, threatening me with the iron club. Still, I don't want to see Luffy-san hurt! I just met you, but I wouldn't wish the club on anyone! You've gotta escape!"
Luffy shrugged in a total lack of concern. "Even so, I'm still hungry. Besides, I can just beat up this Alvida person if she gets in the way." Coby's eyes reached dinner-plate size, before near-reflexive mutterings of 'impossible' came out of his mouth. Luffy knocked Coby on the head, knocking him out of it. "What's the big deal? I'm strong, and besides, I can't die here. I haven't become the Pirate King yet!"
Coby gaped in shock. "Pirate King? Then, Luffy-san is a pirate?" Luffy nodded, still chewing on the food. "Impossible! The Pirate King is a man with wealth, fame, and power; everything in this world united in one man! The last King, Gold Roger, was the only man to conquer the Grand Line! Impossible, impossible, impossible! Luffy-san will surely die if he tries to become the Pirate King!" Luffy stopped eating here, his eyes becoming shaded by his straw hat as he stood up.
"It's not about whether or not I can do it," Luffy said quietly, drawing Coby's attention. Luffy plucked the straw hat off his head, looking at it and reliving the memories that went with it. "I promised the man that gave me this hat that I would gather a crew and become a great pirate. It's my dream to be the Pirate King, and I'm committed to my dream. I don't care if I die pursuing it." Coby was shocked into silence by the raw determination behind the statement. Coby could see that Luffy truly would die chasing his dream.
Luffy grinned suddenly, breaking the somber mood, putting the hat back on his head. "Aw, well. Now I've gotta find a ship. Maybe the pirates will give me one! If they're good people." Luffy started for the door, brushing past Coby. Said boy was in the midst of an emotional crossroads. 'My life… or my dream. Can it be that simple?' Coby recalled the two years of work and fear, breeding in him the desire to just stand aside and let others have their way. That impulse was suddenly being chocked by Coby's childhood dream to be a Marine. Coby took the deepest breath of his life, before standing up.
"Luffy-san," Coby said, making Luffy pause. "We've only just meant, but you've inspired me." Coby looked up, and a new light was shining in his eyes. "You've given me courage! I'll run away from Alvida and become a Marine. It's my dream to catch bad guys!" Coby was on a roll now, making his way towards the door with Luffy. "I'll leave Alvida! No, I'll catch Alvida! I'll," Whatever Coby was going to say next withered and died as the roof of the room exploded, leaving wood, metal, and a seriously pissed-off pirate mistress with a big-ass club to fall to the ground. Coby's heart practically gave out, while Luffy turned to watch this interesting development.
"Who're you going to catch? Eh, Coby!" Alvida's beady eyes turned up to glare at the pink-haired boy, who was suddenly a gibbering wreck. Alvida raised her gaze to look at Luffy. "So, you're the guy who knocked out my man. You're not that bounty hunter Roronoa. Who're you?" Luffy didn't as much as blink at the dramatic entrance. "A pirate," he said, internally wondering who the hell this person was. Alvida grunted, before returning her gaze to Coby. "Coby, who's the fairest on all the seas?" Coby jerked before stumbling through "T-t-t-that o-of c-c-c-course is A-a-alvida-s-s-s," before he was interrupted.
Luffy pointed at Alvida and asked Coby "Who's the hag?" Everyone in hearing distance froze, their eyes going wide and their jaws unhinging as they processed the suicidal comment. Alvida's forehead became a tapestry of tic-marks, before bellowing in rage "DIE!!!!" With a minor effort, the obese woman brought down the solid ton of steel down on the spot Luffy had occupied, key word being 'had'. Luffy, as nimble as his namesake, jumped out of the way, grabbed Coby, and hopped up onto the deck, all the while smiling like an idiot.
Coby screamed in unadulterated fear, before he was dropped onto a spot of deck a bit behind where Luffy landed. "Stay there or you'll get in the way." Luffy said, his smile softening the words a little, before turning to face the Alvida pirate crew, who were still in a semi-state of shock. "Who's first?" Luffy asked, cracking his knuckles in anticipation. The crew seemed to gird itself, before a few of them surged forward with a battle cry. Luffy grinned, before implanting his fist in the first one's skull, jumped to avoid the swipe from the second before giving a punishing headbutt, before finally giving a kick to the guy that crept up behind him. All three men went down without as much as a sound.
Luffy grinned and crossed his arms. "Is that all you got?" he asked, as if the whole affair were good fun. The entirety of the crew stared in awe and fear at the effortless defeat of their nakama, while one lone swordsman climbed the deck behind Luffy. With a cry, the man leapt and made to slash Luffy in half. Luffy turned to look at the assailant, before frowning. What happened next left the crew speechless with confusion. In the moments before the blade hit home, Luffy glared at his attacker. The next thing anyone knew, the man was unconscious on the ground in front of Luffy, his sword still in hand.
Luffy glared with disapproval at his would-be assassin. "Didn't anyone ever tell you that attacking from behind isn't fair?" The crew stared for a few more seconds, before adrenaline and mob psychology kicked in and they charged Luffy as a massive horde. Luffy proceeded to run across the deck with a comic expression of fear on his face. "It's unfair to attack with more people too!" The chase proceeded across the deck, somehow avoiding Coby, before Luffy's hand snagged on the mast. Instead of being jerked back, the arm stretched, allowing Luffy to keep on running away while the rampaging crew went into collective apoplexy at the sight.
Luffy turned to smirk at the crew. "Just kidding. Gomu Gomu no Rocket!" With that, the stretched limb recoiled, dragging Luffy bodily across the gap at the speed of a bullet. The crew was hit by the organic equivalent of a cannonball. Just as Alvida managed to reach the deck, her entire crew laid sprawled out across the deck. Coby stared in shock at Luffy. Luffy grinned and said "I'm strong, remember?"
Alvida narrowed her eyes. "So, you have the power of the Devil's Fruit. I thought it was just a legend." Luffy grinned, and pulled on his cheek, the skin and muscle stretching like taffy. "I'm a rubberman!" Luffy proclaimed proudly, before letting the cheek snap back, allowing him to give a sly smirk. "Not only that, but I've got a super-secret thing up my sleeve. There's no way you can beat me!" Alvida grimaced, before charging forward with her massive mace held above her head. "Don't take me so lightly!" she yelled in fury, bringing her mace down on Luffy's head.
Luffy stayed in his exact same position, before a smile spread across his face. Luffy glared up at Alvida, who was sufficiently freaked out that the man's skull hadn't cracked. "I'm rubber. That won't work on me!" Suddenly, out of nowhere, an unseen force seemed to ram into Alvida, knocking her back across the deck. Coby stared in disbelief, as he saw the most terrifying (and heaviest) person he'd ever known getting thrown ass-over-teakettle. Luffy merely grinned, before pulling back his fist, which then went back a few meters as it stretched.
Just as Alvida stood up, looking as if she'd just hopped off a rollercoaster, Luffy brought his fist forward in a truly terrific punch as he yelled "Gomu Gomu no Pistol!" The fist impacted, and Alvida was blown away into the distance, until she was nothing more than a star on the horizon. Luffy turned to glare at the stragglers on Alvida's ship, who were by now ready to shit their pants. "Oi. Get a boat ready for Coby. He needs to join the Marines." The men on the ship started bustling like a nest of bees, preparing a small dingy for Coby's and Luffy's use.
Coby turned to stare at Luffy, his mind unable to comprehend what had just happened. Luffy just shrugged. "What? No enemy can stand up to a King." With that oddly philosophical remark, Luffy made to grab Coby and hop into the waiting boat. However, before that, the sound of cannons suddenly roared like thunder: the Marines had arrived. Luffy grinned at the new arrival, before turning to Coby. "Aren't you going to go over there? You want to be a Marine, right?" Coby's mind went back online at the idiotic remark. "I can't join them now! I'm coming from a pirate ship! They'd lock me up before I could ask!"
Luffy shrugged before grabbing Luffy and hopping into the boat. As they plummeted towards the waves, Luffy yelled out with a voice that rang with an undertone Coby had never heard and made his hair stand on end, as if a living force vibrated with the words. "Thrasher, time to go!" The words echoed across the seas, visibly vibrating the water's surface. As the boat landed on the water, Luffy caught a glimpse through the resulting spray of an orange-haired woman in a boat loaded with treasure. Before Luffy could puzzle the odd sight, his ride appeared.
Out of the water, rising like some biblical sea-snake, a respectably-size Sea King with green scales and blue fins appeared, giving heart attacks to Coby, the Alvida Pirates, and half the Marines. The Sea King turned to face Luffy, who just grinned. "There you are! Let's get out of here!" With that, the Sea King did the last thing anyone expected: it nodded, before grabbing previously unseen ropes around its neck like reigns with its teeth and throwing them to Luffy, who expertly caught them and tied them to the boat. With that, like some twisted version of Poseidon's chariot, the Sea King took off, dragging Luffy and the terrified Coby away faster than you could say "What the heck".
When the warships were out of sight, the Sea King slowed down to the equivalent of a brisk walk instead of a sprint. Luffy was laughing his head off, while Coby was practically in a coma. Luffy turned to face the giant serpent. "Thrasher, where were you? I had to fight a whole pirate crew and their captain because you decided to try and beat that whirlpool!" The Sea King, apparently named Thrasher, turned its head just enough so Luffy could see it roll its eye. That set off a fresh batch of laughter.
When Coby was once again lucid, he turned to face Luffy and asked incredulously "You have a pet Sea King?" Luffy nodded with that giant grin on his face again. "Yep, I've trained him since I was twelve! It was tough to get him to listen, but he reacts really well to my Haki, so now we're nakama! He's my most favorite pet!" Thrasher chose that moment to splash a large quantity of water in Luffy's face with his tail, in a gesture that was supposed to be affectionate.
Coby took a deep breath, before just writing it off as just another rule of nature Luffy had decided to break. Coby then asked in confusion "What's Haki?" Luffy grinned, and that was all the warning Coby got. Suddenly, it was like an earthquake was happening inside his brain, rendering everything he saw into jumbled quadruples and throwing his thoughts every which way across his cranium. When Coby woke up, there was dried foam on his lips and the sun was in a different position in the sky.
Luffy was in the same position as before. He started explaining while Coby sorting everything out. "I don't know exactly what Haki is. I just know that really strong-willed people, when their ambition is strong enough, develop a special kind of power. That's called Haki. I have a very special kind of Haki, called the King's Disposition, or Haoushoku Haki. It's much more powerful, and can do a lot more things than normal Haki. I've been working on it for ten years, experimenting and mastering it. I can do everything from knock people out, to make my fists strong enough to tear through steel, to make animals understand me. I can even make some things move at a distance. Let me tell you, it's really changed what kind of person I am!"
Luffy grinned before continuing. "I'll be honest. I'm fun-loving and gullible. I eat like a family of hungry pigs and come back for seconds. I'm clueless about lots of stuff, and not all that smart. I'd charge through the fires of Hell and back without a second thought if it meant helping one of my nakama. But one thing I'm not is reckless." Here, Luffy's face became as serious as Coby had ever seen it. "If I just had the Gomu Gomu no Mi, all I could do was break stuff. With Haki, it's a whole different story. With Haki, I can turn proud men into quivering puddles at my feet, make buildings crumble without touching them. I can't afford to just go rushing in, guns blazing, or else I won't just leave beat-up bad guys. I'll leave bodies, rubble, and men with broken spirits. This power is more a curse than a blessing."
Coby gave a shiver as the implications of what Luffy said sank in. What it must be like, to live with the knowledge that if you lost your self-control, even for a second, you could shatter and destroy everything around you without trying, without moving. Coby sensed that whatever Luffy had done to him had been akin to a poke on the forehead, and he was still trying to catch his breath. If Luffy went all-out, started going on a rampage… there wouldn't be a battle, there'd be a war zone.
Luffy gave a sudden laugh, and the tension abruptly evaporated, leaving Coby feeling happy and safe once again. "Anyways, I'll just have to be careful on my adventures. What good's a King if he doesn't leave anything to rule over? I'll just focus on the big fish." Luffy sighed, before staring off into the sea, as if imagining the day he would command them. "Hey," Luffy asked Coby. "Who was that Roronoa guy Alvida was talking about?"
Coby blinked, before going pale as a sheet. "Roronoa Zoro, the Pirate Hunter. They say that he's like a demon in a human's flesh. He goes around thirsting for blood, living only for the bounty. He is the terror of the East Blue's pirates. I hear that the Marines locked him up somewhere." Coby chuckled, before wondering aloud "Why do you ask?" Luffy grinned in such a way that Coby suddenly felt afraid of the answer. "I thought I might make him part of my crew. If he's a good person."
Coby gaped, before sputtering "Impossible, impossible! He's been locked up because he's a bad guy! You're a pirate, he's a pirate hunter! He'd kill you! Why would he become a pirate anyway? Impossible, impossible, impossible!" Coby was abruptly bonked 'lightly' on the head by Luffy. "Why'd you hit me?" Coby asked, nursing the knock on his noggin. "Just because!" Luffy said, laughing without a care in the world, as the two sailed through the East Blue with Thrasher leading the way.
Please, review. I need some honest feedback. I'm hoping I didn't alter Luffy's character too much. I promise, he'll still be a loveable idiot. He'll just be a slightly cautious idiot. Please read, be patient about the update, and continue to live a full life. Ja ne!