One Piece: My Version
Hey all you readers and writers out there! Sorry this was late, but I've suffered a bit of writer's block here and there which resulted in me being too lazy to write, but hopefully the next chapter won't take as long.
Loguetown Part 2: Sailing Towards Our Dreams
Luffy stood at the center of town square, amazement evident on his face. He had been glued there for at least a good 10 minutes, but to him it felt timeless. His eyes were fixed onto a view of what he considered it to be a historical landmark; the gallows in town square where the legendary pirate, Gold Roger, the very first Pirate King, took life by its haunches and let his infamy spread across the world like wildfire. It was here that he made his declaration and challenge to the next generation by announcing that he had buried treasure hidden in 'that' supposed place. Of course, those who personally knew the Pirate King automatically knew what location he was speaking of. As for the rest of the populace, they merely spread rumors that the location of the treasure was in Raftel, which was also said to be the last stop in Grand Line.
Now Luffy didn't care if there was any treasure or not, although he knew that a certain navigator in his crew would probably contemplate castrating him otherwise if there happened to be an empty treasure chest with a note saying, "The greatest treasure of all is freedom.", then promptly barge into whatever afterlife Roger was in and throttle the Pirate King for all eternity.
He laughed to himself before continuing his thoughts. He didn't care about finding treasure, conquering the world or making a name for himself (the last part was actually a half-lie; he really wanted to). He simply believed that the person with the most freedom in this world should deserve the title of Pirate King.
Suddenly, an idea popped into his head. 'I wonder if the view up top is just as cool?' he thought to himself. Naturally, Luffy being a young man whose natural curiosity went hand-in-hand with his mischievous nature, did what came naturally and climbed up to railings of the scaffolding.
(Back on the Going Merry)
Hawkins eyes were closed as he meditated on deck with several tarot cards spread out before him in a neat circle. His hand raised over them, Hawkins allowed the hand of fate to show him the next step in his journey. He felt his hand grasp one of the cards and opened his eyes to see what fate had in store for him.
The Wheel of Fortune: This card entailed luck and change. It symbolized a change that just happens and with it brings great joy.
All his young life spent as an acolyte, the mystic had not been one to defy or deny his fate created by a higher existence as that superpower always kept the universe running, thus satisfied with that answer. But when Hawkins had met Luffy, he honestly had no idea that he would be lumped in with a captain whose survivability would not reach zero, and a crew that manifested their own destiny. As such, he began to question his place here with his nakama as he felt like the black sheep of the bunch. Hawkins remembered how the hand of fate had deterred the Shadow of Death from claiming Usopp when he was run through by Kuro's blades and came back reborn anew. He also recalled the duel between Zoro and Mihawk, surprised that the Shadow of Death had not claimed him either. Hawkins continued to hold his endless stare on the card, he could not help wondering, 'What sort of impact will this crew have on the world?'
Afterwards, he organized his cards and put them away in his coat pocket. No sooner than that, a strong gust of wind enveloped the ship and the waves began to crash heavily against it. Hawkins suddenly felt a dangerous presence approach the island. Ryoku raised his slightly above the water so as to not freak the locals and began to whine and whimper when he sensed a huge storm was coming.
Hawkins noticed the Sea-King's strange behavior. He saw trepidation and fear in those red eyes unlike any other animal when they sensed a storm, as if it knew what lied in that storm. Checking the cards for the fate of the crew's outcome, the survivability still did not reach zero.
The raggedy old man hobbled as fast as he could to get away from the blonde-haired young man who spotted him. He passed through crowd after crowd for a few minutes, until he cut around a corner to a back alley he recognized. Yes, soon he would be in his house and get some much needed rest for his aching body.
Eventually he had reached his residence which was a small shanty. He shakily reached for the handle, the suddenly paused. The old man turned halfway around to see Sanji leaning against the wall with his arms crossed and holding a piercing gaze to the old man.
The two shared moment of silence until the old man spoke up again. "Would you like to come in?" Sanji nodded and stepped inside the rundown abode. The pirate chef took a minute to analyze the interior: no windows, a leaky roof with a few crevices, the only bed available was a dirty mattress on the floor and lastly, the only pieces of furniture was a wooden table with two chairs and an old rusty stove with an equally rusty kettle on top brewing tea.
"I've prepared some tea if you're interested."
The blonde chef accepted his offer and put out his cigarette in the ashtray on his right-hand side. He sat in one of the chairs while waiting for the tea. After a few minutes, the teakettle whistled loudly signifying that the tea was ready. The old man handed him his cup and sat opposite from his guest as they both drank their tea silently. When they finished, the old man cleared off the table and sat back down, looking Sanji square in the eye (no pun intended).
"It's been too long Sanji…" said the old man.
It was then Sanji gartered a haunted look on his face and replied back, "Yes it has… grandfather."
The tension in the room rose for a few moments before the blond spoke again.
"Why did you run?" Sanji asked.
The old man released a weary sigh he didn't know how long he held as his weary eyes became interested in the ground, his hands clutching his knees despite the arthritic pains he was feeling in both areas. He tilted his head up slowly to face his one and only heir and spoke in a slightly raspy voice, "I couldn't bear to face you, not after everything that's happened." Tears slid down his wrinkled cheeks, his eyes showed nothing but pain and loss as he continued. "My poor old heart can't bear to withstand anymore torment."
"You know nothing of the torment I went through." Sanji replied with no emotion.
The elderly man let out a somnolent laugh, wiping away his tears. "Probably not." he said. "So why don't you tell me what your story and I'll tell you mine…" he paused, suddenly his demeanor changed to a more serious attitude. "And then… I'll reveal the truth to you…"
"Sugei!" Luffy yelled his excitement aloud, taking in the wonderful view from atop the gallows. The town was huge as he could see rows of buildings as far as the eye could see. But while the view itself was impressive, it wasn't what Luffy was interested in. He reveled in the fact that he was the first person in recorded history to stand in the same spot the Pirate King parted left this world with parting words to instill the Golden Age of Piracy.
"So this is what Gold Roger saw just before he died!"
His moment of happiness was cut short when the voice of the police chief blared over the megaphone. "Hey, you! Get down from there immediately!"
The scarred teen snapped out of his thoughts and looked down to see a group of policemen surrounding the scaffold. Luffy pointed to himself to see if they were acknowledging him.
"Who, me?" he asked innocently.
"Yes, you! Get down from there now!" the police chief replied.
"That is a special execution platform under the control of the World Government! Trespassing on it is illegal, so get down ri-" the officer was cut-off by a large, spiked club smashing the side of his head, sending him flying back into the crowd.
"~Ara~, don't by so mean ~Mr. Policeman~." The hooded assailant spoke with a sultry voice. Luffy turned his curious gaze to the crowd when he spotted the attacker with the female voice wearing a cowboy hat with a large red plume.
Throwing her cloak off, all of the townspeople present suddenly had hearts in their eyes as they were in the presence of possibly a new candidate for 'The Most Beautiful Woman in the World' title. They took in her full hourglass figure that most women would kill for and men would fall for, starting from her long, slender legs covered in her tight, red/white striped Capri pants to her slim, toned waist and finally to her open button-up purple coat revealing what most men were focusing on, her buxom, E-cup breasts barely supported by her white, spaghetti-strap, bikini top. Her face was perfectly sculpted, with her luscious ruby-red lips, her enchanting forest-green eyes and her long, wavy, ebony-colored hair that reached just past her shoulders. But the most noticeably and highly attractive trait that everyone had their eyes on was her smooth, shiny, porcelain skin that reflected the perfect amount of light from the sun; a true vision of beauty indeed. The policemen weren't even paying attention to their unconscious leader who was bleeding profusely from his facial wounds.
She peered up, and saw Luffy, making her smile, revealing her beautiful pearly whites.
"~Luffy~, it's been awhile! How have you been, I heard you've made quite a name for yourself." she spoke with lust and admiration in her eyes.
Naturally, in his oblivious and confused state of mind, Luffy asked, "Who are you?"
The woman smiled seductively, making a handful of men approximately close to where she was standing to suffer simultaneous nose-bleeds burst making them fall back onto the ground, their heart-shaped eyes still throbbing. Not noticing them, the woman spoke again. "Now don't tell me you don't remember this face."
Luffy scrunched his face in concentration as he wracked his brain trying to remember if he had met supermodel on his journey.
The mystery woman giggled amusedly when she saw his expression until he gave her a blank stare with half-lidded eyes.
The gears in Luffy's head turned and turned, but, "Yeah, I got nothin'." he said.
The woman smirked to herself before replying, "Well I never forgot about you." she raised her hand over her toned stomach and rubbed it lightly. "You were the first person to ever strike me, Luffy."
"Huh? I hit you lady?" he responded, still confused at the whole situation, not even caring that the vengeful glares of the townspeople in the square were directed at him when they heard that he struck this beautiful woman.
"Yes. And your powerful fist…" she spoke in a sensual voice. "…~was so hard~." The last part of her sentence had a sexual overtone to it as the crowd gasped and back up slightly, their enamored states returning full force.
Luffy just scratched the back of his head in awkward silence, thinking of a way to get out of his situation and back to the ship since he saw what he came to see.
Then the ravishing beauty spoke up again, this time her attention was to the crowd of people surrounding her. "Now tell me…who is the most beautiful woman in the world?"
All the townspeople got on one knee and gestured to her. "~YOU ARE~!"
She giggled once more. "That's right, I am. There isn't a man in the world that won't grovel at my feet. But I'm not interested in small-fries." she lifted a finger and pointed to Luffy the lust in her eyes ever-present. "I adore strong men, and you are in my sights, Monkey D. Luffy."
The straw-hat teen said nothing for a few seconds until he spoke again. "So…who are you…?"
"You still don't know?" she yelled, exasperated by this boy's sheer denseness.
Before the conversation could go any further, a resounding explosion from the public fountain occurred. Small, shattered pieces of stone were narrowly avoided by the people as they jumped out of the way from the path of falling debris. But one, large piece of the ornate fountain flew straight towards the woman, who just stood there calmly. People began crying out in fear of her becoming a bloody smear on the ground. Then something amazing happened…the piece just bounced or rather slipped off its intended target and went right past her and crashed into the corner of a building.
The people gasped as the woman was still standing, like nothing bad had happened to hear. There wasn't even a scratch on her flawless skin.
Luffy's eyes shot wide open in astonishment. "Whoa! What was that?" he yelled, greatly impressed by what he just witnessed.
Before his question could be answered a familiar cackling he had not heard since Orange Town reached his ears.
"Don't bother with him Alvida. He isn't going to do much remembering except in the afterlife!"
Luffy had a flashback of while looking out for the obese ogress. "Alvida? Where is she?" he asked
"IT'S OBVIOUSLY ME YOU IDIOT!" the attractive woman yelled, her face comically changing to angry, white eyes and sharp teeth.
Luffy looked back down at the woman in front and was taken aback at her revealed identity. "You're Alvida?" his expression of disbelief did not go unnoticed. "You look kinda different." he said, scratching his head and chin in thought and his brows furrowed.
She regained composure once more before speaking, "Ah, yes I'm glad you noticed. I ate the Devil Fruit and transformed." adding emphasis to her transformation by swaying her hips to one side and protruding her ample bosom which made more of the male half of the crowd suffer explosive nosebleeds. "I ate the Sube-Sube no Mi(Slip-Slip Fruit) and now I not only have the most beautiful-looking skin, it cannot be marred by any attack or blemish at all! Sadly, my beauty was barely enhanced aside from my freckles sliding right off."
Luffy sweat-dropped at her narcissistic attitude when he found fault in her logic while murmuring quietly, "I don't think that was the change I was thinking of."
"DAMNIT, STOP IGNORING ME, YOU SHITTY-GOMU!" everyone's attention turned to the hooded man with the large red nose giving away his disguise.
Luffy noticed it right away. "Oh, it's you Buggy. How've you been?" he asked in a casual-friendly tone.
Buggy's anger suddenly faded and replied politely. "Oh, I've been alright...went on quite an adventure to find my limbs and rejoin my-" the pirate-clown made an awkward pause before his anger came back full force. "DON'T CHANGE THE SUBJECT STRAW HAT!" he roared, smoke was practically coming out of his ears. "OH, SCREW THIS!"
Buggy and several cloaked figures behind him threw off their cloaks and posed in a very strange formation. "I've dreamed of nothing but killing you in the most flashily way possible to get my revenge against you for humiliating me in Orange Town! That resolve alone gave me the strength that I needed to get back to my crew!" he said with a malicious grin.
As Buggy continued with his rant, Luffy paid more looked at the new and improved Alvida before giving her a wide, toothy grin. The woman noticed his stare was on her and blew a kiss in his direction.
"Okay, Alvida. You can join my crew!" he told her.
At Loguetown's Marine base, sat a man with white hair in his mid-30's sat in his quarters, smoking two cigars at once, stacking a bunch of rocks as a means of disciplining his mind. He had been reassigned from his base in Grand Line to small, but historically important island-town in the East Blue. Apparently, the Fleet Admiral needed a Marine with skills and experience from the Grand Line to stop pirates in their tracks when they are about to reach the entrance to Grand Line. This was the duty he was the duty he was charged with and he upheld it naturally, but not because of some higher ups in the chain of command, but because he upheld his own brand of 'justice'; to catch those who willingly and deliberately break the law and harm the innocent.
"Captain Smoker!" a marine foot-soldier yelled just before bursting into his quarters, causing the pile of rocks to topple and clatter to the floor.
The marine captain's expression was a stony, hard gaze that came from years of experience from fighting and capturing pirates on the Grand Line. His subordinates never dared questioned his authority in fear of being severely punished.
"What is it?" he spoke in a gruff voice that held slight irritation for his soldier's outburst, his hard gaze now on the foot soldier who was sweating quite a bit.
The grunt gulped in fear before giving his report. "We've just received word that the rookie-pirate Monkey D. Luffy is causing a ruckus in town square!"
Smoker blew out an abnormally large puff of tobacco. His stern expression never leaving his face, he put on his white, fur-rimmed Marine jacket that had the kanji symbol of 'Justice' on the back and a large jutte strapped to it. He opted to exit out of his office, but not before his blue-haired second in command came rushing in, or rather falling in. (Get it? Falling in?)
Straightening herself up, she saluted her superior officer.
"Reporting for duty, Captain Smoker!" she said.
Smoker growled in annoyance. "Tashigi… How many times have I told you to show up on time?" he yelled at his subordinate
Tashigi cringed slightly at her captain's scathing tone before answering, "Ah, S-Sumimasen! I ran into a couple of low-life pirates and then I went to pick up my sword." she explained to her superior, hopefully to quell his anger. The white-haired man merely scoffed and headed out with the petty officer trailing behind him.
"Well shape up, sergeant! We're going after a rookie pirate-captain by the name of Monkey D. Luffy."
Sanji's stood up while his uncovered eye involuntarily twitched with unbridled rage to the horrific truth that his grandfather had just revealed to him. His arms were at his sides shaking violently with clenched fists. The elderly man held his gaze to the ground as to not let his only grandchild see the pain on his face from reliving memories of the past.
There was a tense silence in the air between them before Sanji spoke up.
"All this time… our home, our island, our people, our family were needlessly taken from me because of this?" Sanji gritted his teeth, his voice seething with rediscovered hatred.
The old man held back tears and nodded. "Yes…" he said before he began coughing violently, each one sounding worse by the minute. The old man lost all feeling in the lower half of his body and dropped to the floor.
Sanji snapped out of his thoughts when he saw his grandfather on the ground in pain. He rushed to his side and helped him up. He carefully shuffled him over to his bed and placed his grandfather on the bed of hay. His eye widened a bit when he noticed a lot of blood coating the old man's beard. He was dying.
Once the old man stopped coughing, he opened his eyes to see his grandson kneeling beside him, concerned for his health.
"Don't talk, you need to rest." said Sanji.
But the elderly man shook his head sadly indicating his grandson's futile efforts to stall the grim reaper. "Don't worry about me Sanji, I'm already dead inside. I'll let God judge me accordingly. But the one thing I regret, is not finding you sooner Sanji." The old man wheezed a bit louder before continuing. "Sanji, underneath the floorboards there is a gift I want you to have."
Sanji looked over the floorboards and noticed one was tad looser than the rest so it easily slid out from its place. Sanji pulled a long object wrapped in a dusty, white sheet. He slowly removed it and discovered that it was actually a pair of beautifully ornate sabers in black scabbards. The handles were made of pure gold shaped into the form of angry-looking snakes with their mouths hinged all the way out. He unsheathed the blades, surprised by the weightlessness of them and looked upon the stainless metal with a tint of green color. He gave them a swing he could hear the sound of the swords slicing the air so smoothly.
"This is…" Sanji said.
"Kairoseki(Sea-Stone)…" the elderly man interjected before coughing a bit. "These swords are our family heirlooms, forged purely from Sea-Stone by the legendary blacksmith, Muramasa. They are one of the greatest swords in existence because they are the only pair of blades that do not rust or tear from excessive use. The name of the swords are Hebi no Shikon(The Serpent Fangs)."
Sanji put the swords aside for a moment before going back to the ailing old man, whose condition worsened with every hack and wheeze. "Why give these to me?" he asked after his grandfather's breathing lessened a bit. The elder shakily raised his wrinkled hand and placed it on his grandson's shoulder, clutching at his collar with his remaining strength.
"Because you…are the only one…who sees the World Government for what it is…and the lines they'll cross to make their laws absolute." he coughed in violent gasps, struggling to take his last breath while the tears flowed freely down his face. "I don't know where your path will lead to, but…all I ask of you is…"
And with that his grandfather breathed his last choked whisper before his hand relinquished its grip and fell limply at his side, his weary eyes closing for the final time. The blond chef stayed quiet for a long period of time before the initial shock wore off and was replaced with anger. His hands clutched gripped one of his newly acquired swords tightly before his entire body trembled with rage.
The World Government and the Marines had taken everything from him when he was just a child, and the things they performed on him afterwards were abominable. For the past decade he had nothing but countless nightmares of his home and family destroyed mercilessly and in those dreams he could see the Marines and World Government officials mocking him. But no more, for this was the straw that broke the camel's back. Now things were different for Sanji: he had the skills and now the tools to fulfill his desire and his grandfather's, no, his family's plea.
He took up his swords and tied the scabbards to the sides of his waist as he silently walked out of the hut with a heart full of vengeance. No cry of outrage uttered from him, only a single dark-red glare could be seen from his shadowed expression.
Thunder could be heard from the gathered storm clouds…and with it a silent wrath.
Nami and Usopp ran as fast as they could to get back to the Going Merry. The rain poured heavily down upon their heads. Soon they crossed paths with Gin and Zoro.
"Gin, Zoro!" Nami called out to them, getting their attention.
"Oh, hey you guys." Zoro greeted nonchalantly.
"Where were you guys?" exclaimed Usopp.
Zoro opened his mouth to explain but Gin cut him off. "Sword-boy here was busy trying to score with some sword-enthusiast chick." he spoke with a smug grin.
The swordsman glowered at the helmsman, threatening to unsheathe his swords, but the red-haired navigator prevented the fight.
"Where's Luffy?" she asked.
They both shrugged nonchalantly. "Dunno." they said in unison.
"Well, where's Sanji-kun?" she asked again.
By that time her temper started to flare as a dangerous aura surrounded her. "Well go and find him! And so help me, if you two come up empty-handed, I WILL FEED YOU BOTH TO RYOKU!" she roared, her fangs snarling viciously. Not wanting to piss off Nami any further, Gin and Zoro made a turnaround and ran to the location Luffy was going to be in, the gallows.
That same moment, Alvida had just finished taking care of Buggy and his crew. Each one lay bloodied and broken from her weapon. It was painfully obvious that the Devil Fruit did not tamper with her brute strength. Now she was both beautiful and deadly.
She made her way up the scaffolding to meet Luffy, who greeted her with his usual large grin. She winked flirtatiously in return and asked, "What now my captain?" Before the straw hat wearing teen could answer, Buggy regained consciousness.
"Straw Hat…you bastard! Alvida…you traitor!" he seethed. "I WILL HUNT YOU BOTH DOWN 'TILL THE ENDS OF-" Buggy didn't get to say anymore as a blast of Luffy's Haki hit him and he dropped to ground. His eyes rolled back and mouth frothing.
Alvida nearly fainted when she felt a small wave of power radiate from him. It was as if it signified that Luffy was the alpha male. She swooned with delight when she made an excellent choice in joining up against a strong man like Luffy.
Once the clown was out, the scarred teen faced the ever-growing crowd. During the entire ordeal, he began to recap the range of emotions shifting back and forth on the people's faces. All the commotion that had taken place here for the past half-hour or so had brought in more people to see what was going on. At first it was Alvida who had gotten their attention with her new looks, then Buggy and his men had the people in a state of panic when they threatened their lives, which soon ended when the crowd nearly lost it after Alvida gracefully handled her mace and decimated the entire crew, the pirate-clown included. But as much as Luffy held back on his power of authority to silence Buggy, it was enough to send a thoughtless command through every townsperson's mind, letting them know that Luffy had the floor. The crowd went silent, listening intently on what he was going to say.
Luffy took a deep breath through flared nostrils and began, "To those who think dreams are unattainable or are impossible to achieve, then they obviously haven't even made an effort to take the first step." he paused for a moment as his eyes darted from side-to-side making sure everyone was paying attention before continuing without delay in his speech. "Do you all know what dreams are? They are born from the desire and natural curiosity to see it come true. But right now, I see a lot of fear and doubt in everyone's eyes. I bet you're all thinking that it's impossible to go the distance because you're afraid of failure. I can tell you right now, that those are nothing but a bunch of stupid excuses! Dreams aren't something you choose because they're easy to fulfill; they're something that you hope for just so you can see it come true. Doesn't anyone have any dreams they wanna see come true?" he yelled the last sentence, a crack of lightning and thunder emphasizing his resolve.
The crowd stood in shock and awe when Luffy's words were directed at them.
In a nearby balcony set across from the town square, Smoker narrowed his eyes at the young pirate after hearing his speech, feeling a strange sense of nostalgia from his childhood when he heard Straw Hat's speech. Tashigi stood by him listening to the speech as well, while a small squadron of marine foot soldiers stood back waiting for their captain's orders.
No one uttered a word in response until an average-looking guy raised his hand high, getting everyone's attention, "I-I always wanted to sail the seas." he spoke with a little trepidation in his voice.
All eyes were on him until Luffy spoke up again. "Why don't you?"
The man tried to think up an excuse but then his shoulders slumped in defeat and gave his honest answer. "I'm afraid." he replied, feeling even lower. But then the next question surprised him.
"Why do you want to sail the seas?"
The civilian recovered from his initial shock and answered a bit more confidently than before. "I want to become an explorer!"
The crowd's tension lowered significantly before another person raised their hand and shouted, "I want to be a historian so I can pass on the true records of history to the next generation!"
"I wanna be a chef!" cried another.
"I want to own a successful bookstore!"
Suddenly, more and more people began raising their hands shouting out their dreams. Some wanted the same thing but they didn't care, they just felt proud of themselves for saying it. They could feel a sense of courage burning in the pits of their stomachs.
When they finished, Luffy gave them each a small grin and spread his arms out. The townspeople's chatter quieted down.
"So now do you understand? Dreams aren't about what you can do, it's about what you want to do! Then do your absolute hardest to try and accomplish it! So long as humans have free will and the ability to dream, anything is possible in this world. For me, I seek to become a person with the most freedom!" he exclaimed with the largest death-defying grin possible.
Smoker's eyes widened. 'He smiled with no regret or worry!'
Luffy took in a deep breath before making his declaration, "I'LL DEFINITELY BECOME THE PIRATE KING!"
The spectators looked up with unshed tears of happiness, not even noticing the rain had drenched them completely. This young man stood proudly before them and inspired them to go raise their heads high and live life how they wanted to by accomplishing their dreams. He had an air of confidence around him that convinced them that he would actually be able to fulfill his dream.
Alvida smiled and clapped at Luffy's proclamation. Others soon joined in and evolved into full-blown applause and cheers. The people laughed wildly and danced in the rain, unsure why they felt the need, but couldn't suppress their outbursts.
Luffy turned his towards Alvida, his former enemy/nakama, and extended a hand to her, his grin not leaving his face, and she graciously accepted. The young pirate teen quickly pulled her up into a makeshift piggy-back ride with one stretched arm which resulted in Luffy's hand firmly planted on her newly, rotund and toned butt.
'~Ahn~! ~Luffy~!" Alvida moaned lightly at the rough touch as a tint of red heated up her cheeks. But unfortunately, Luffy being completely dense thought nothing of it and shot another outstretched hand all the way across the square until his hand grappled the edge of the roof on the third building down.
"Hang on! Gomu-Gomu no…Rocket!" and they launched over the cheering crowd as he bade them a fond farewell.
Smoker was lost in thought on what just happened. 'He managed to make the people laugh and cry with joy. He's won the hearts of the people!'
Tashigi called his attention snapping him out of his stupor. "Captain Smoker! The Buggy Pirates are still on the loose! What are your orders?" she asked.
Smoker's eyebrows scrunched further before addressing his subordinate. "You and the rest of the second squadron go down and arrest the Buggy Pirates! Straw Hat couldn't have gone far! He went west so that must be where his ship and the rest of his crew might be! Contact the base for reinforcements and relay orders to cut him off!"
Smoker stormed off ahead, feeling the dreaded sense of déjà vu. 'Twenty-Two years ago, another man inspired a large of group of people from that spot, laughing in the face of death with no fear! As a result of that… The Golden Age of Piracy happened! I cannot allow Straw Hat Luffy to go out to sea! I'll put both my reputation and title as "The White Hunter" at stake if it means not letting him and his crew leave this island!"
Back on the Going Merry, Hawkins felt another disturbance in his meditation. This time, he could feel more dark emotions pouring out from it. The source came from Sanji; the darkness within him had intensified and encompassed his heart since the crew had encountered him on the Baratie. From what Hawkins could surmise, something or someone caused a breaking point and now it seemed to fuel the emotionally distant cook with nothing but anger and hatred.
It was at that moment that he felt the presence of several voices vanish one by one. Their bloodcurdling screams could only be heard before they were silenced forever.
His concentration broke when he heard the sound of mad grumbling. Hawkins walked over and leaned a bit over the railing. The sight alone made him feel a tinge of amusement, though he did not show it; it was an oddly dressed man wearing a hat with bunny ears on top, a white lion's mane that covered his upper body, and to top it off, a pair of animal slippers. Beside him was a lion with a purple mane with a headlight tied to his head.
"Damnit! Where'd all this rain come from? It was nice and sunny 5 minutes ago!" Mohji cried desperately, Ritchie gave a growl in agreement, while thinking of eating a plate of meat. "This is bad Ritchie! What're we gonna tell Captain Buggy when he finds out that we failed to burn the ship because of a stupid storm that appeared out of nowhere?" he yelled out to the stormy sky.
"Why not tell him that you have a flight to catch?"
The so-called beast tamer and his lion tilted their heads up and saw an unfamiliar addition to the Straw-Hat crew. "Who are you?" asked Mohji. But instead of responding, Hawkins lifted the two up with ease using his powers and tossed them away until they were out of sight.
That same moment, Hawkins saw Nami and Usopp carrying several bags while running up the deck to the ship until they were onboard.
"Hawkins, prep the sails but don't set off just yet, we need to wait for the others." ordered Nami. Hawkins nodded and rushed to the mast and hurriedly climbed up to the crow's nest and untied the ropes, letting the mainsail unfold and unfurl as the winds blew ferociously from behind.
"Usopp, any sign of Luffy or Sanji-kun?" she yelled.
The sniper leaned over the railing, using his new goggles to enhance his line of sight and get a more detailed view of the area despite the harsh weather conditions. He looked for any sign of the captain or the cook, but sadly could not seem to find them.
Usopp was about to give Nami his answer until he saw a black shape walking towards the ship. The sniper magnified his view and saw Sanji.
"Oi, Nami! It's Sanji, he's back!" At the mention of the cook, Nami rushed over to where Usopp was standing, nearly bowling him over in the process, and used a telescope to see if what Usopp was saying was true. Nami smiled broadly at the sight of the returning chef and waved, "Sanji-kun!" she called out to him. Sanji walked slowly up the railing to the ship, his head lowered, and his eyes shadowed. Nami's smile was replaced with a look of concern as she slowly approached him, taking note of the swords strapped to his sides. "Sanji-kun? Are you okay?"
Sanji lifted his head and gave her an eerily polite smile.
"Oh, I'm just fine Nami-san." he replied calmly.
Luffy laughed as the pair smoothly hit the ground. "Shishishi, Looks like we got away ok." he said while taking Alvida off his shoulders to let her stand.
Alvida was slightly disappointed that the piggyback ride had to end, but was bemused by her captain's optimistic attitude. He seemed to be the type that was mostly hardheaded and jumps into the fray at the first sign of danger.
She broke out of her thoughts when she heard footsteps rushing behind them. Alvida wondered if it was more marine foot soldiers coming after them, but saw Luffy relax when they both saw a scruffy-looking helmsman and a green-haired santoryu user.
Luffy resumed his guffawing when he saw his comrades. "Hey Gin, Zoro, where've you guys been?"
His answer came with a punch and tonfa to the head, resounding with comedic sound effects.
Zoro and Gin were glaring at their idiot captain's still form for a few seconds before he snapped back up rubbing his ailing head.
"Maa, that hurt! What'd you guys do that for?" Luffy whined.
"FOR MAKING NAMI FORCE US TO HAUL YOUR ASS BACK TO THE SHIP!" they both roared.
Luffy blinked a few times before responding. "Sorry."
Before they could berate the captain any further, Alvida let out an amused giggle at the comical scene before her. This gained the attention of both Zoro and Gin, as they turned their attention to her for a few seconds then back to their captain.
"Who's the chick?" asked Zoro.
Luffy smiled brightly. "This is Alvida. She's a pirate that I beat up when I started out."
The two looked at him like he had just grown a second head and looked back at the stunning beauty and nearly face-faulted when they heard the next words come out of Luffy's mouth.
"She's joining our crew!" he proclaimed.
Before either of them could interject, a familiar woman called out Zoro's name.
The group turned their attention to a blue-haired Marine woman standing before them, glaring intently at the swordsman.
Gin smirked. "Hey Zoro, your girlfriend's back." Zoro tossed him a glare before facing Tashigi.
"Oh hey, you're that girl from the sword shop right?" said Zoro.
"You never told me you were a pirate!" she argued. "How dare you deceive me and use Wado Ichimonji for evil?" she yelled disdainfully.
"Well you never told me you were in the Marines, so I think that makes us even don't you think?" he told her.
Tashigi unsheathed her sword and got into a kendo stance.
"I'm going to take that sword away from you, Pirate-Hunter Zoro!"
Zoro smirked devilishly before unsheathing Wado. "Go ahead and try." he turned to look at the others and said, "I got this, you guys go on ahead and I'll catch up!" he told them.
Luffy nodded, and ran ahead with off the others. Alvida called for his attention, "Luffy, was that really Pirate-Hunter Zoro?" she asked curiously, to which Luffy grinned.
"Yep, he's my first-mate!" he told her.
Alvida's eyes widened in disbelief as she began to think what kind of crew Luffy had made since their last encounter.
The swordfight between Zoro and Tashigi did not last long for his monstrous strength and skill with multiple swords outweighed her standard sword style. Tashigi lost her handle on her own blade as Zoro disarmed her with but a flick of his wrist.
Having pinned her against a stone wall, Zoro smirked, "I win." he said. He sheathed his swords and walked away, leaving her in the slumped in the rain.
"Why don't you finish me off?" she asked, making the green swordsman halt in step and look over his shoulder back to her.
"Is it because I'm a woman? She yelled.
That struck a chord in Zoro's memory as he recalled nostalgic memories of his childhood friend.
"A woman may not be as strong as a man, but to go easy on me is an insult! I don't carry a sword around for looks you know!"
"WOULD YOU SHUT UP?" roared Zoro.
"Eh..?" Tashigi uttered, taken aback by the pirate-hunter's outrage.
"I can't stand you!" Zoro pointed his finger at her face, "You have the exact same face as a friend of mine who died years ago, and now here you are mimicking her personality by saying exactly what she used to say!" he yelled.
"N-Nani…?" she screamed.
The entire second squadron of Marine soldiers sweat-dropped as the argument went back and forth between their superior officer and the pirate-hunter which turned into a comedy routine.
Luffy and the others were just about to make it until a white-haired man on a large motorcycle was blocking their way.
"You gotta be fucking kidding me!" Gin yelled, annoyed.
Smoker's steel gaze fell on Luffy.
"So you're Straw Hat Luffy." he said.
Luffy blinked. "Yeah, and who are you?"
"The name's Smoker. I'm the captain of Loguetown's Marine base. I'm in charge of making sure that no pirate ever escapes from this island, including you and your crew."
Luffy gave him a challenging smirk before responding, "Okay." He cracked his knuckles, before turning to Gin and Alvida.
"You two go on, I'll take care of this." he said to them. The other two nodded and ran past Smoker, who didn't make an attempt at capturing them.
"You do realize that once I defeat you I'll be going after your crew next."
Luffy executed a fighting stance, all the while smiling. "See that's where you're wrong. You seem to be confusing me with an ordinary, run-of-the-mill pirate. But the only one walking out of this fight is gonna be me, smokestack!"
At that moment, Smoker gathered white smoke coming from his entire being revealing his Logia Devil-Fruit power, the Moku-Moku no Mi(Plume-Plume Fruit).
"Then show me if you've got the strength to back up your words, Straw Hat!" he roared and jetted forward at high speeds.
Luffy held his guard up as Smoker was speeding towards him and immediately sensed his enemy's movement. In the midst of time slowing down, Luffy could see Smoker's attack behind the mess of smoke and saw him wielding a large jutte that shined at the tip.
'Hmm, Sea-Stone, huh?'
Not wasting any time, Luffy shifted his entire body to the right, allowing him to find an opening and give hard kick into Smoker's abdomen. The result of that attack launched the marine through several houses before resounding in a large crash.
Luffy could tell that the fight had only begun when Smoker reappeared moments later after reconstructing himself from wisps of smoke. He was now sporting a red sandal imprint on his stomach.
Blowing a few puffs from his cigars Smoker said, "I guess the rumors about you using Haki are true, but I doubt that you have the power of two Devil Fruits."
Luffy smirked as he activated his darkness powers, raising a hand and pointing it at Smoker. "Kurozu!" The marine captain was taken by surprise and off-guard as a powerful force raised him slightly off-ground and was pulled into Luffy's dark hand as it clasped on top of his shoulder. Smoker tried to activate his powers but to his shock, he discovered that he couldn't. 'What the hell? A Devil Fruit user that can cancel out another's powers? Impossible!' Smoker thought.
"Well… I guess I'm the exception then aren't I?" Luffy retorted.
Smoker's thoughts were broken when he felt a punch land into his stomach; the only difference was that this boy's attack proved to be more effective as he felt that similar gravitational force that involuntarily pulled him digging into his entire torso. It felt like a getting hit by one of Vice-Admiral Garp's 'warm-up' punches.
The force of the blow nearly made all the air in his lungs and diaphragm knock right out of him, making his cigars drop out of his mouth and cough up a few blotches of blood at the same time as Smoker was sent flying back until he hit the side of his motorcycle, making it tip over and the marine tumbling over the floor.
Smoker shakily got up onto his feet, still getting over the after effects of Luffy's heavy, gravity-punch.
'This rookie is holding back I can tell!' he thought angrily, 'But I'm still not letting him get past me! If I can't win by conventional means then I'll try a little strategy.'
He dispersed into small streams of smoke and made a beeline towards Luffy. But the wisps did not strike the rubber-man; instead, they began circling around him and transformed into a large spiraling column of smoke with no way out.
Luffy had his arms crossed and his eyes closed. Sensing a Logia-type while they were in their intangible forms were a bit tricky as having no physical form can make it very difficult to use his Observation Haki. Thankfully, he recalled what his father had said when he trained both him and his brother a trick he developed that made the situation a lot easier.
'Remember this boys, when crossing paths with a Logia-type, you can't just focus on your opponent's movements like you would against a regular enemy, because the difference is that they can activate their intangibility which compromises their physical form and masks their presence within their element. However, that does not necessarily mean that they cannot be overcome, for there is another way to use Kenbunshoku Haki. Now the question remains, how do you find an enemy that can disappear into thin air? The answer is…the air itself. The key is to focus on the air that surrounds you and being able to notice a certain 'shift'. And that will be your moment to strike.'
Using Kenbunshoku Haki, Luffy focused his power, this time toward his surroundings. The rubber-man could instantly feel and hear the rain and wind around him. Now all there was left to do was to wait patiently sense the 'shift' in the air. Much to the Luffy's fortune and Smoker's chagrin, his smoke-related powers created a huge change in the air, making him an open target and his presence made known.
"You won't escape from me, Straw Hat! Take this! White Spark!" several large tubes of smoke from within the column burst forth and jetted towards their intended target.
Time slowed down once more as Luffy remained glued to the spot, cool as a cucumber until he took in a deep breath of air. His cheeks puffed out and his entire torso inflated like a Haki-coated balloon.
"Gomu-Gomu no Fusen (Gum-Gum Balloon)!"
Luffy's defensive measure proved to be effective when Smoker's attack rebounded and just as quickly as his attack dispersed so did the plume surrounding the young pirate. When the smoke cleared, Smoker stood panting heavily. A trickle of blood flowed from a gash in his right temple, down past his tightly closed eye. Luffy felt a surge of pride when he saw Smoker's damaged form that resulted in the rebound of the attack.
"I see…" Smoker tried to speak while catching his breath. "So there's more to you than meets the eye, eh?"
Luffy blankly stared at him before fastening his hat with one hand and made a turn to leave. But Smoker wouldn't allow that. He used his fruit powers to appear directly in front of him, preventing his escape.
"The fight's over… You know you can't win against me as you are." Luffy spoke.
"This fight will end only when I defeat you and bring you in." replied Smoker, his voice steeled with resolve.
Smoker's harsh glare did nothing to break Luffy's calm. But just before he could do anything else, the sound of harsh buzzing reached his ears and he felt a small vibration in his left shoulder pocket. Without taking his eyes off his enemy, he reached in and pulled out his standard issued Baby Transponder Snail.
He held down on the transmitter and spoke. "What is it?"
The voice of second squadron's leader rang. "Sir, we've followed your orders and Buggy Pirates have been arrested…" he paused.
"But..?" Smoker assumed there would be complications given today's hectic circumstances.
"Well… We contacted the base for reinforcements but no one's answering, it's just static. Maybe it's this storm? It's like we're in some tropical storm or a hurricane." he said.
Smoker refused to accept that. These transponder snails were designed by Vegapunk to carry out and receive transmission signals clearly, no matter how harsh the weather conditions were.
"Take Buggy and his crew to be processed before shipping them off, then return to base. I'll be there shortly."
"Yes sir." the soldier answered back, ending the transmission.
Smoker lowered his arms to his sides, still keeping a locking stare on Luffy before walking over to his motorbike and flipped it back up on its wheels. He climbed up on it and looked over at the young pirate again.
"Mark my words Straw Hat Luffy, I will find hunt you and your crew down until the ends of the earth and bring you to justice."
Revving up his motorbike, he rode off, heading back to base.
Now that Luffy had taken care of business, he made a turn to leave until a familiar voice rang through his ears.
"I'd say you handled the situation quite well, Luffy." spoke a deep, mighty voice.
Luffy stopped to look up to one of the houses to see a cloaked figure and smiled widely. "You taught me well…tousan."
The lightning crashed revealing that same grim, tattooed face sporting a proud smirk.
"So why are you here?" asked Luffy.
"Do I need a reason to see my youngest son off to go and follow his dreams? I heard your speech back in the town square, Luffy. I couldn't be prouder." confirmed Dragon.
"Thanks tousan." Luffy grinned wholeheartedly.
Their conversation was cut short when the rubber-pirate heard Zoro yell out his name trying to find him.
"It's time…" said Luffy.
"Indeed." Dragon agreed. "You're a man now my son. You and your brother will go far in this world representing the true freedom all on your own terms, which is why I ask you to give me your bracelet."
Luffy nodded and slipped off the black bracelet/transponder snail, and tossed it to his father.
"I gave you this bracelet to communicate with you for two things; to record your journey up until this point and to give you information on getting your ship. Coincidentally, Merry volunteered to give his ship to you should you two meet." Dragon explained. "From here on out, you must carve your own path and be ready to endure what this life throws at you."
Luffy smirked. "You don't even have to tell me that, dad. I want to see the rest of this world with my own two eyes and share them with my crew. That's what makes the adventure worth exploring, right?"
Dragon chuckled softly. "I had a feeling you would say that, my son." and just as quick as he appeared, he vanished from sight, leaving Luffy on his own until Zoro finally caught up with him.
"Let's get going, captain."
Luffy grinned from ear to ear and continued running west with his first-mate.
Up on the high-tower, Dragon spread his arms forth embracing the winds of change.
"Go forth my sons, realize your dreams and bring this world out from the darkness."
As Gin and Alvida were nearing the docks, Alvida raised a question.
"So, what can I expect from being a part of the Straw-Hat crew?" she asked jovially.
Gin answered her in serious tone. "Don't think that just because you have the captain's 'ok' doesn't mean you have the rest of the crew's approval. You'll have deal with us when you board on deck, so be prepared. And if you try anything, consider yourself Sea-King meat."
Alvida just smiled flirtatiously. "I should be lucky as meet such strong men like you to take care of little ol' me."
The grimly helmsman scoffed, ignoring the slight blush from his cheeks.
Both their heads turned to see Luffy and Zoro coming up behind them.
"What took you guys so long?" Gin told them.
"Shut up, mutt. We're here aren't we?" Zoro remarked.
A tick mark formed on Gin's head. "What was that, moss-head?" he yelled.
Before either could get into a brawl, Luffy interrupted with a yell, "There's the ship!" the four had made it to the docks, but it was too late. The Going Merry was unfastened from the port and was drifting away.
"How are going to get on?" asked Alvida.
Zoro and Gin looked at each other with dread and dismay.
"Wait for it." they said in unison, making Alvida look at them oddly before an outstretched arm pulled all three of them tied together. She looked to see Luffy's trademark grin which proved that he had a mischievous idea.
"Eh? Wait, Luffy what are you…?"
She didn't understand what her captain was up to until her eyes widened in horror as Luffy's other arm had stretched far up until he grasped the top of the crow's nest. She looked down to Gin and Zoro who were respectively buried into her large 'assets'.
"Aren't you two going to do something?"
The pair mumbled curses before Luffy relinquished his foothold and they were all shoot into the sky.
"Where are they?" screamed Nami. Usopp tapped her on the shoulder.
"Nami, look up." she looked him confusedly and did what he said. She peered up at the sky, and saw two things; an outstretched arm and large mass consisting of four people was coming in fast.
"Of course." Nami stated blankly, before ship rocked from the resulting crash.
Smoker's cigars had fallen completely out of his mouth, his eyes taking in the carnage that ensued in the Marine Base. Tashigi stood right next to him, examining the brutality with horror-filled eyes and a hand clamped over her nose and mouth. The place reeked of blood as the blue and white interior of the base was soiled in it.
Each and every one of their reinforcements that was supposed to show up was dead; each of the soldiers died from sword slashes, some were decapitated, others were mutilated by having their limbs chopped off and split in half from their midsection or straight down the middle.
Smoker's eyes blazed with unfathomable rage and could only utter one sentence.
"Who…? Who did this?"
End of Chapter 14, Finally! Merry Christmas!