And with the defeat of Victor...? Enjoy the final chapter!
Disclaimer: If you don't get it by now, you never will...
If I've offended you with this rather mild account…I'm not in the least sorry.
—Edward R. Murrow
141: Epilogue- The Pirate King
For the next few seconds, it didn't seem real. Luffy landed on his back (his rubbery body absorbing most of the shock) while in his child-like form. While lying there, he took a deep breath and stared up at the now massively cracked roof. He heard his crew from a faraway place, yelling and screaming at him with something unintelligible.
Then, it all began to slow seep back into Luffy's mind. The color around him returned, and the sights and sounds began to conceptualize. For sight, he mostly saw the cracking and now crumbling walls (due to the destruction of the Random-Random Fruit, no doubt), and the sounds were much of the same. It's clear the room—maybe even Raftel itself—won't last long.
("though if you do get past me and destroy the fruit, the impact it would cause by the sudden eruption of energy brought on by its destruction would most certainly rip this island asunder")
It was then that his entire crew surrounded their captain. They all had large grins on their faces, and it was then that he began to hear their words.
"You did it! You won!"
"I knew you could do it!"
"Good job, captain!"
"You're the Pirate King!"
Luffy grinned sheepishly as the praise continued to fall upon him. Then, Zoro held out his hand, which Luffy gladly took. With a small heave, Zoro pulled Luffy to his feet, right as he transformed back into an adult. Two seconds after standing, though, he got dizzy, lost his balance, and tumbled forward.
Fortunately, the Straw Hat Crew was there to catch him and carry him out. "Thanks guys," Luffy finally said. "I couldn't have done it without you."
They were about to speak, when a large ripping noise permeated throughout the building, and chunks of gray stone began loosening from the ceiling, dropping on the floor. "Hard to believe a single Devil Fruit could rip a room that's survived for at least a thousand years," Robin said.
"A Devil Fruit composed of several Devil Fruits," Usopp corrected.
Nami looked upwards and asked, "Will they ever be able to be recycled through the earth again like the myths say after being used in such an unnatural way?"
The entire crew looked behind them to see none other than Victor D. Capere, struggling to keep his head up from the top of One Piece. He was just barely keeping consciousness at this point, but he is still able to speak.
"The Random-Random Fruit carried a tremendous amount of power," he explained. "As soon as Luffy destroyed it the energy was released at once, and it's looking to be more than Raftel can handle."
As if to verify his statement, the room began to shake yet again, as the walls cracked even more and the roof continued to loose large gray chunks of stone.
"Luffy, if that's true, then we need to go now!" Boa Hancock said.
Brook seemed to second this statement as a piece of stone fell dangerously close to him. "She's right, captain! What's the point in becoming the Pirate King if you're going to die immediately after claiming the title?"
Zoro apparently agreed with this statement, as he lifted Luffy and held him horizontally across his shoulders, like he was holding a weight-bar when working out. "Alright, Luffy, let's getcha outta here."
"B-B-B-But what about all the treasure?" demanded Nami. "We're at One Piece, for God's sake!"
Sanji grabbed her arm and began to move her towards the stairs. "Leave it; there'll be more treasure in the world. The title's more important anyways!"
"Wait…" Luffy said quietly as the entire crew began to leave the room. When no one heard him, he focused all his energy and yelled, "WAIT!"
A burst of Haoshoku Haki went through him, and the crew felt forced to obey. They stopped on the spot. Luffy looked towards Victor, still lying on his back and staring at the crew, struggling to hold himself up. Bits of the roof began to fall en masse now. Luffy looked directly at him.
"Are you just going to stay here?" he asked.
Victor couldn't help but utter a small laugh. "What else am I supposed to do—I can't move! Are you telling me that one of you is willing to run all the way up here to try and help me?"
There was silence for a second. Then he continued: "Even if you tried, I wouldn't accept it. I'd rather stay here then go out there and be sent to Impel Down for the rest of my life. You've beaten me at every turn, Straw Hat, so just let me die in peace…"
Luffy stared at him in an unsure way, confliction on what do to clearly showing in his eyes. He was about to give an order to his crew, when a particularly bad tremor shook the room, and a large section of the roof came down between Luffy and Victor. After surveying the risk, the decision suddenly became clear to the captain.
Franky yelled, "Come on, Luffy, we gotta go!"
Luffy only nodded.
As the crew went up the stairs and the condition of the room began to worse, Victor gave up the façade of trying to hold himself up and collapsed on his back once again, looking at the crumbling roof.
("one final adventure. that's what he wants for us. to celebrate the pirate life")
Victor nodded and said, "I guess I always knew that it was your final adventure, but deep-down, I didn't want it to end…Although it is fitting that I should die here, on top of your final testament to piracy and its lifestyle."
Then, just seconds before the entire room collapsed upon him, Victor smiled and let out a copious amount of laughter.
— — —
Shanks had just finished putting Big Mom in the infirmary on his ship, the Red Force, when he stepped off the ship towards the group he travelled there with.
"She'll be fine," he said to them.
Marco breathed a sigh of relief and asked, "How's the other one? What's his name…Tobias?"
"Ah, him," Shank said. They had found him and picked him up on the way back, shackling him in a pair of seastone cuffs before putting him on Shanks's ship. "He'll live as well. I suppose we'll drop him off at some Marine base before we get too far out."
Mihawk looked over at the Thousand Sunny, which was only a few yards away from the Red Force, which also was, ironically, a few feet away from the Harbinger. "So now all we do is wait…"
Dragon and Splint, meanwhile, were overlooking Victor's ship, the Harbinger. The revolutionary leader looked at his commander and said, "This will be a good ship for us to leave on."
Splint shrugged. "Sounds good to me, Boss…"
A shockwave ripped through the island, causing everyone to look immediately towards the palace that stood off in the distance.
"The hell is that?" Beckman asked.
"Nothing good, that's for sure," Shanks said with a grimace. "Though I'd imagine that means a winner has been decided between Luffy and Victor. So there's a bit more waiting for us to do before we find out. If it's Luffy and his crew, we greet them with cheer. If it's Victor, we meet him with violence. Agreed?"
The Red-Haired Pirates agreed whole-heartedly…
The shakes and tremors got to be so bad that the trees not-too-far from everyone was beginning to crackle and uproot, collapsing to the floor. No one was sure how much longer they could stay there, but those thoughts disappeared when they saw the Straw Hat Crew running from the forest and towards the beach.
It was Luffy who yelled, "HEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEY!"
"Luffy!" Shanks and Dragon yelled at the same time.
Just then, the den-den mushi Dragon was carrying on him began to ring, and Dragon quickly held it up. Through it came the voice of none other than Ivankov.
"Dragon, do you read me?" he asked through the static.
"I do. What's your status report?"
A few seconds of silence before he said, "Ve've broken through zhe defenses of Island #37 and are in zhe control rooms! Ve'll be ready to connect you to the public vithin a few minutes, but you'll only have a short vindow of opportunity before—look out, Inazuma! Hee-haw!—before ve have to leave to avoid capture!"
"I understand," the revolutionary said. He motioned towards Splint. "Get the ship moving now. We have to reach a spot with clearer signal."
"But what about your son?" Splint inquired. "He just beat Victor and became the Pirate King."
"And he knows I'm proud of him," replied Dragon coldly. "Now move!"
"Roger that, Boss!"
The Harbinger was setting sail as the Straw Hat Crew made it to everyone else. They didn't notice, though, especially Luffy, who was focused solely on Shanks. When he got there, Zoro put him down, and Luffy had regained enough strength to stand up straight.
"Well?" asked the expectant Yonko.
Luffy gave his patented grin and said, "I won, and now I'm the Pirate King!"
Everyone cheered at this, as it looked like a tears began to form in Shanks's eyes. "I knew giving up my arm for you was worth it. I'm so proud of ya, kid!"
Luffy nodded, and then acted as if he had just remembered something. He took off his straw hat and held it out in front of Shanks. "You told me to return this to you when I become a great pirate. Well, here I am, standing before you as a great pirate."
Shanks shook his head almost immediately. "It's not mine anymore. Gol D. Roger gave me that hat when he thought I was gonna be something great and refused to take it back, and I'm going to do the same with you. The hat is yours, Luffy. Maybe one day you'll give it to someone who you think will be great as well."
With that, Shanks picked the hat up and planted it firmly on
Luffy's head. He looked up at Shanks and was about to speak, but the tremors on Raftel got increasingly more violent, as ancient ruins and trees began to crumble and fall.
"We should leave," Marco advised.
Shanks agreed, as Marco, Mihawk, and he clambered onto the Red Force. Shanks looked back at Luffy and said, "We'll meet each other again on the high seas soon, Luffy!"
"I look forward to it!" he said.
Robin looked to see everything falling behind her and said, "All of these ruins and ancient history…gone."
"The island probably won't be destroyed," Mihawk observed. "Over time, nature will take its course and it will rebuild itself. For now, though, there's nothing we can do."
"Come on!" Zoro urged, as they all took off towards the Thousand Sunny.
— — —
Nami easily remembered the path needed to be taken to get through the Sea of Maelstroms, and everyone passed through it safely. There, they made it through Spectrum Island, logged it, and moved on to the Ember Isle. There, Shanks and his crew decided to stay, at the request of Big Mom, in order to memorialize her fallen crew.
The Straw Hats said their goodbyes and continued off towards the Convergence Point. While they were travelling along, it all seemed to sink into everybody.
Chopper dropped onto his back and stared up at the night sky, which was rapidly fading in way of the sun. "So does this mean we're the greatest crew in the world?"
Sanji grinned as he lit himself a cigarette. "Something like that…"
"It's too bad no one knows about it," Nami said with a sigh. "As far as the rest of the world is concerned, no one's even reached Raftel yet."
"They'll find out eventually," replied Franky. "Information like this has a way of getting out."
Brook nodded and took a sip of tea. "Yeah, the news was so shocking to me at first I thought I'd have a heart attack…"
"But you don't have a heart," Robin said with a smile.
Brook muttered something darkly about the archaeologist stealing his punch-line.
Roronoa Zoro seemed to ignore all of this as he looked towards the front of the ship. "Whatever. Like Franky said, once the Marines catch wind of this information, they'll start…"
He trailed off, causing everyone to look at him and towards his direction. As soon as they saw what Zoro was looking at, all of their mouths were wide open. Right at the beginning of the Convergence Point was a massive blockade of Marine ships, headed by Admiral Aokiji and Rear-Admiral Smoker.
"Well this doesn't look to good…" Hancock said.
Nami was on the verge of tears as she said, "After all this trouble to get to Raftel, it all ends like this…"
Luffy just laughed.
The main ship in the front turned on its den-den mushi to the projector, and said (with Aokiji's voice, the crew believed): "STRAW HAT CREW, YOU ARE SURROUNDED AND HAVE NOWHERE TO GO! JUST GIVE IN NOW AND WE'LL…I DUNNO, WE'LL PROBABLY PUT YOU IN IMPEL DOWN, OR WHATEVER…"
"Definitely Aokiji…" everyone said at once.
"IF YOU DON'T COMPLY, WE'LL BE FORCED TO SHOOT YOU DOWN AND SEND YOU TO THE BOTTOM OF THE OCEAN!"
Usopp looked at Franky and said, "Get the Coup de Burst ready! We'll fly right over them to escape!"
"Uhh…about that," Nami said, scratching the back of her neck. "We're kinda outta fuel."
"WHAT?" Chopper, Franky, Brook, Usopp, Hancock, Sanji, and Zoro said at the same time.
Luffy kept laughing even as he said, "Guys, I was the one who used up the last of it to catch up to Victor."
"Well great, now we're dead," Brook said. "Though I already died once…"
Zoro unsheathed one of his swords and said with a wolfish grin, "There's only one way outta this, then!"
Luffy nodded and said, "Get ready to fight! We'll show 'em why we're the greatest crew in the world!"
The entire crew cheered, ready to fight their way back to the New World. Just before the Thousand Sunny got within firing range of the marines, dark storm clouds appeared over the blockade. Then, just as quickly as they appeared, sheets of rain began falling from the sky along with lightning and thunder. The waves around the blockade began to get tumultuous as well, driving the blockade in half, with just enough space for the Thousand Sunny to get through.
The Straw Hat Crew saw their opportunity and took it, speeding right through the wedge that was driven between the blockade. Before they were just out of the firing range (in which the ships couldn't fire due to wet gunpowder), Luffy looked at them and grinned, waving and yelling, "BETTER LUCK NEXT TIME!"
When they were out of sight, the storm stopped, and Rear-Admiral Smoker looked at Aokiji with an incredulous look. "They got away! We need to chase after them immediately!"
Admiral Aokiji shook his head and said, "No can do. They got away. Just leave it at that. Besides"—he motioned towards the three remaining Grand Line islands—"we have some arrests to make, no doubt…"
Later on the Straw Hats would try to dissect that miracle that allowed them to escape, but Luffy dispelled the mystery altogether by looking at the sky and saying, "Thanks, Dad!"
— — —
The Revolutionary Leader Monkey D. Dragon took the Harbinger back to Baltigo, the Land of White Soil. While he was sailing with Splint, he had his den-den mushi on at constant alert. When he wasn't too far into the path he needed to take to get to his base, the den-den mushi stirred.
"Dragon—BZZT—zhe setup is all ready to go. Just speak into the den-den mushi and everyone that the World Government has the ability broadcast to can hear you!"
Dragon grinned, and said, "Thanks Ivankov. When you and Inazuma get back, we'll have a massive party for you two."
"Oh that'll be fun," Splint said sarcastically.
After a few seconds, Dragon took a deep breath and spoke into the den-den mushi: "Hello everyone, my name is Monkey D. Dragon, and some of you may know me as the Most Wanted Man in the World. I'm here to tell you a story—a story the World Government has been desperately trying to keep you from knowing. A story about the Void Century, and what the World Government did to get its power. I tell you this hoping that it will give you the courage and reason to finally stand up against tyranny, and with a little luck, change the world. But after this story is told, it will all come down to you and how you will act. Our tale starts on Raftel with a powerful empire known as the Ancient Kingdom…"
— — —
Sir Crocodile took a long puff on his cigar as he finally saw Donquixote Doflamingo walk through the forest-line of Spectrum Island. He grinned wolfishly when he saw the ex-Shichibukai was covered in blood.
"Took you a bit of trouble to finish him off, I can see."
Doflamingo cracked his neck and said, "Shut up, the guy's done anyways." He looked over towards Raftel in the distance. "I felt some tremors coming from that island. What's happening?"
Crocodile shrugged. "A fight with Victor I'd imagine. If my intuitions correct, it ended with him dead."
"Fufufufu, didn't you say you wanted revenge on Victor personally?"
Crocodile took his finished cigar and dropped it onto the sand beneath him, crushing it in one move. "I did, but in the end, I settled for second-rate goods. If there was anyone else I'd want to take care of Victor, though, it'd be that kid."
"Straw Hat's really somethin', huh?" asked Doflamingo with a grin.
Crocodile broke his gaze away from Raftel and began to move towards their own personal ship in the distance. "Can't do anything about it now—come on, let's get outta here before the Marines show up and start making arrests."
— — —
Trafalgar Law and Jewelry Bonney emerged the next day from Law's submarine, Heartless, to see that Rarkin Island wasn't completely destroyed from the attack. As soon as they reached the submarine, they descended into the depths of the water to escape the lava's wrath. And while the island was indeed horribly burned, it was certainly wasn't destroyed beyond all capacity.
The first thing they saw was the citizens of the island rebuilding what had been destroyed. With a sigh, Law tipped up his hat slightly and said, "Well, that certainly was an experience…"
"Almost dying due to Akainu's lava powers?" asked Bonney.
Law shrugged and replied with, "No. Fitting both crews into my tiny submarine…"
Bonney sighed and shrugged the comment off. After several seconds, she asked, "So what next?"
Law didn't have an answer, although whatever it was, almost all choices involved continuing to travel with Bonney. "We've still got about a week left to stay on this island. Not much we can do at the moment."
Bonney moved ahead and yawned loudly, stretching her arms by bringing them high into the air. "If that's the case, then let's go find a place that's open that serves plenty of food and booze!"
A vein appeared on Law's head as he followed her, saying, "You still have to pay me for skipping the bill last time!"
— — —
It had been two whole hours before Julia Carrison and Beau Daewn were able to breathe again. Two hours of no tremors and earthquakes proved that they had truly stopped. Julia had stayed true to her word and didn't move a spot from her home, and although her house collapsed and Beau thought they should get to safety, he stayed with her.
Julia moved over to the wreckage of her house and began to sift through the wood it was made out of. "Such a shame about the house…" Beau commented.
Julia turned around and had one of the biggest smiles on her face that he'd seen in a while. "It's not too bad. We can just rebuild it again. The most important thing is that I turned out to be right."
"Right about what?"
The smile didn't disappear as she said, "The land we were standing on could take whatever was thrown at it!"
— — —
"No," Fleet-Admiral Sengoku said defiantly.
"What was that?" roared the incredulous Commander-in-Chief Kong.
Sengoku leaned back in his chair and said, "I refuse to give an order to kill unarmed civilians."
Monkey D. Garp was sitting across from Sengoku, nodding at every word he said in agreement.
"Look, it's not my fault Dragon told everyone about the Void Century, and now they're up-in-arms about trying to change the World Government," Kong said, "but it's your job to make sure that they don't get past Marineford and into Mariejois! And you can be damned sure that it's not your job to not follow orders from the Gorosei!"
Sengoku looked at Garp, who stared back for a few seconds, before finally saying, "If that's the case, then you can consider this my resignation, because I'm not going to order my marines to open fire on a group of civilians right outside."
He hung up the den-den mushi.
Sengoku sighed as he got up from his chair. He moved over towards his window, which overlooked all of Marineford, and saw that a countless number of angered civilians were beginning to move onto the base, encountering no resistance from the marines, as per Sengoku's orders.
"You did the right thing," Garp said. "Dragon's story riled 'em up, no doubt, but it's not our job to kill innocent and angered people that want change."
"Change…" Sengoku said. He continued to stare at the scene happening outside. "When those citizens reach Mariejois and the Gorosei, they'll start demanding a plethora of things to be done differently in this world. When that happens, things will change." He looked at Garp. "Some things might remain the same—things the people like right now—but most things will be different."
"The times, they are a-changin'," was all Garp replied with, and then he laughed.
Sengoku surprisingly laughed at this too.
— — —
The Warden Magellan marched the prisoners in line one-by-one into Level Six of Impel Down. Of the new prisoners, there was Daron Arkan, Kenji and Kaede, Benjamin McAllister, Vendrix Confreski, and Tobias. Almost all of them were wearing seastone cuffs as they were walked together in a straight line.
As soon as the Level Six prisoners caught wind of this, they were all roaring and yelling, rattling at their cages about the "new meat" that was coming in. Of the prisoners, Abalo Pizarro, Catarina Devon, Basco Shot, and Shiryu of the Rain saw them and were immediately up and looking.
"Well, well, look who's finally come to join us," Pizarro said.
Devonsmiled at the group as they passed by, saying, "Welcome home, boys…"
Daron yawned as he looked around and said, "This might not be too bad…"
"I've served the Marines for years," Benjamin said, "and let me tell you that the stories that come out of here aren't that nice."
"Kikikikikiki, you hear that Mommy? This is our new home…I say we should make it all nice for everyone so that we can all get along easier…" Vendrix prattled.
"Shut up," Kaede said to Vendrix. "What do ya think of this place, brother?"
Kenji shrugged. "It could have its charming qualities…"
Tobias remained silent. He would serve out his remaining days here in solitude to try and repent for what he has done over the years.
"You'd better get used to this place," Magellan said, "because you'll be here for the rest of your lives…"
The Level Six prisoners continued to rant and rave to the new men that were going to join their big and happy family.
— — —
The sun was coming up as the Thousand Sunny was peacefully sailing through the New World. They would most likely be reaching their next island in a few days, but none of them thought of that now.
Nami rested her head at the side of the ship and sighed. "All that treasure…just gone. We could've been rich."
"Give it up," Usopp said absently as he sat beside her, fishing on the side of the ship. "We wouldn't know what to do with that much money anyways."
"I would!" Nami said incredulously.
"Shh!" Chopper said. "Don't talk about this to Luffy! I think he's a little upset that we had to leave One Piece behind so quickly."
The three of them turned around to see the rest of the crew on the deck of the ship, doing their own things, while Luffy was on the other side of the deck, looking out the other side into the expansive ocean.
Nami shrugged and began to walk over towards Luffy. "Only one way to find out…"
Everyone on the crew strained their eyes on the navigator as she approached Luffy. All eyes were on her when she put a comforting hand on Luffy's shoulder. He didn't turn around.
"You all right there, captain?"
Luffy turned around and had a goofy grin plastered onto his face. He looked at his entire crew and asked, "So what adventure shall we go on next?"
Everyone smiled at this as they all seemed to speak at once.
"We have to go and see Laboon," Brook said.
"We still have to get married," Hancock said.
"This ship still needs to be on the sea for years before anyone can call her the best ship in the world," Franky said.
"There's still so much more history to know about in the world," Robin said.
"We still have to put an end to all the world's sickness," Chopper said.
"There's way too many tasty recipes to find in the world…and seeing a lot of beautiful women is a plus as well," Sanji said.
"I still have a lot to prove before I can be called a 'Brave Warrior of the Sea'," Usopp said.
"We still have to accrue enough treasure to make One Piece look like a joke," Nami said.
"I still have to beat Mihawk to become the World's Greatest Swordsman," Zoro said.
Luffy looked at his crew and laughed. "Then what are we waiting for?" he asked. "LET'S GO!"
Everyone cheered at this, as the Thousand Sunny continued moving forward into the rising sun, taking the Straw Hat Crew to their next great adventure.
Going onward, always...
Well, there ya have it folks! I hope you enjoyed my story as much as I enjoyed writing about it (and that took quite a while, with it being the longest story I've ever written). I'd like to thank everyone who reviewed/favorited and stuck with this story. I knew it would be long (the first chapter I wrote said it would be around 90 chapters-hah!), but I even I didn't think it would be over 400,000 words.
And it's all thanks to you that I kept my motivation to see it through until the end. Thanks everyone, and see you later!