Marie D. Suesse And The Mystery New Pirate Age!

A Deconstruction, in which an army of skeletons come tumbling out of the closet.


Chapter 31: The Mystery Of The New Pirate Age


"...Madelyn?"

Mar was doing a magnificent impression of a pufferfish, that was, gaping at The Disinfector with her mouth hanging half-open. The idea of her mother being Monkey D. Madelyn was so ludicrous that her mind pretty much rebelled and slowed to a stop.

It took the memory of Gurnarde making a similar confusion to jump-start her thought process again. Once she thought of it, she was filled with relief because it all made sense. Of course, St. Magda was Madelyn, and Mar's mother was the mirror image of St. Magda, so it was the most natural mistake in the world for The Disinfector to make.

"Disinfector, that's not Monkey D. Madelyn, it's my mom. She's been impersonating St. Magda, who's actually the real Madelyn, that's all..." Mar trailed off when she realised that Law's eyes were narrowing. He was not buying it. Not the slightest bit.

Realising a change in tactics was in order, Mar turned to her mother: "Mom, he thinks you're Monkey D. Madelyn, the Pirate Queen. I mean, it's just a case of mistaken identity. Tell him who you are!"

"Yes, Madelyn... why don't we tell the truth about who you really are? Or should I call you 'Blake-Ho Seau' or whatever name it is you go by now?" Law's tone was mocking.

"I told you, my mom's not Madelyn!" Mar persisted. "Her name's is Blake, and she's always been from our world, not this one."

"Always? And just how would you, with your paltry sixteen years of age, know that?"

"Hey, what's going on?" interrupted Mr. Suesse in bewilderment. "Disinfector, why are you heckling my wife?"

"Because that woman isn't who you think she is. How long have you known her? I'll bet it wasn't for more than twenty years."

Mr. Suesse looked surprised, but said nothing, which in itself, said plenty.

"Ah. And you've never met her parents, have you? Or did she just so conveniently happen to be an orphan? Did you fall for her sob story?"

Perhaps it hit a little too close to home. Mr. Suesse's face darkened. "Hey! I don't know what's come over you, Disinfector, but I've had enough—"

Unfortunately, Law was way ahead of him. There was a flash of blue light and in the next moment, Mr. Suesse's gun was in the doctor's hand and pointed back at its owner. Everyone present froze.

"Keep your distance," Law warned. Then seeing the shocked look of betrayal in Mr. Suesse's face, he added: "You're a good man, Suesse. A far, far better man than that witch deserves. I haven't forgotten that you saved my life back when the Sunny went down, but I have been waiting for this moment for twenty years, and no one, no one, is going to stand in my way, understand!?"

Despite being held at gunpoint, Mr. Suesse bristled at this. "Since we've been dumped in this god-forsaken world, I've had my family threatened and kidnapped time after time. If you think I'm going to just stand by let it happen again, you've got another think coming along!"

"Garreth, stop it."

The attention of both men turned to Mrs. Suesse, who seemed to have recovered from her panic. Her face was still pale, but there was a set, controlled expression on it, the kind that one assumes when the worst has happened and the only thing you can do is put on a brazen face and make the best of things.

"Please, put away the gun. There's no need for that. Garreth's no threat. He can't possibly do anything to you."

"I beg to differ, Madelyn. I have too high an opinion of Suesse here to underestimate him."

"Law, I beg you... please."

For a moment, a strange, glazed look crossed Law's face. Then it abruptly disappeared, replaced with a cold, indignant rage.

"How dare you," Law hissed, his irises seemingly contracted into little dots. "How dare you even think of trying that on me again!"

Mar shook her head in confusion. For a moment, she'd been overwhelmed with a comforting feeling of conviction that her mother was right, that everything would be fine and...

... then her head cleared and it was also then when she realised her mother had called Law by his true name.

"I never called him Law in front of you," Mar blurted out in horror, reeling from the implications of the slip. "How did you know his name? I never called him— Oh gawd it's true? You're Madelyn? No, you can't be Madelyn!"

"Marie..."

"You can't be her! She's a monster! You're my mother and you care about people! You were brave and wonderful and saved me and freed Red and... you can't be Her! That witch just uses people and throws them away when she's done with them. You're not like that!"

"Isn't she?" Law commented dryly. "I doubt X. Drake would have agreed."

There was a period of dumbfounded silence. Mar did not want to believe it, but the ugly sense the comment made was undeniable.

"Red... y-you were only using him to escape," Mar breathed in horror. "Then when he became a liability you just killed him..."

"That's not true!" Mar's mother burst out. "Marie, I did it to save you! I didn't want to do it, I had no other choice!"

Mar was backing away from her mother, a familiar figure now-turned into a stranger. No, worse than a stranger... the one person she despised the most in the world.

"...it was what Red wanted. You heard him say it himself..."

"That means precious little, Madelyn," Law scoffed. "You just tried to charm us with your devil-fruit powers earlier, didn't you? A dose of that on poor, mind-controlled Drake and I'll bet he became just like the New Heart Pirates, eager to die for his beloved queen."

For the first time in the confrontation, her mother looked furious. "Don't you dare insult the memory of that man! I never even used any of my powers—" Mar's mother cut herself off, then took a deep, calming, breath. "No, not on him. I only did what I did just now because my family was in danger, and because I knew what you were capable of."

It was as good as a confession to Mar.

"Wh-who are you? Where's my mother? What have you done with my real mother?"

Mrs. Suesse turned back to her, and said gently: "Marie, I am your mother." She reached out a reassuring hand to Mar, but Mar recoiled from her touch.

"No! Stop lying! You're not my mother! Stay away from me!"

That thing that she had thought to be her mother flinched at the rejection, but she did not give up just yet.

"Marie..."

"I don't want to hear it! My mother isn't a monster! My mother isn't a monster like you!"

"Mar, that's enough." Mr. Suesse's reprimand stopped her ranting, but it did nothing to stop Law from continuing his.

"So that's how it was, Suesse? A life built on lies. I can't imagine it worked out very well for either of you."

"That's none of your business."

"Oh yes it is. Before she came out of nowhere, latched on to you with her 'love', and then wrecked your life with her mountain of lies, she had already done the same to me. I was her first. You were just the follow-up."

This stunned the other man for a moment.

"Blake, what is he talking about?"

Mrs. Suesse turned from the pleading gaze of her husband, then at the angry, tearful one from her daughter, then back at the dark doctor, who was smiling in cruel triumph.

Then she clenched her fists. "I'll bet you're happy now, Law. You've turned my family against me."

"No more lies, Madelyn. Tell them the truth. If you don't, I will."

"I don't have a choice now, do I?" she said bitterly, tears forming in her eyes. "Fine! Since you're so determined to make me say it, I'll say it. Just point the gun away!"

Law lowered the weapon so he no longer held Mr. Suesse at gunpoint, but from his stance Mar could tell he hadn't let down his guard.

"Say it."

Mrs. Suesse took a deep breath.

"I'm sorry you all had to find out this way. But what he says is true. Marie, Garreth, I wasn't from your world originally. I was born here in Mariejois, as a Tenryuubito. My true name is Magda— St. Magda, but at one time I was also known as Monkey D. Madelyn, the Pirate Queen, the wielder of the Human-Human fruit, Model: Faerie."


Dear Diary,

The last weeks of my life have been wonderful. After leaving Mariejois I made my way to Sabaody. The freedom... it is beyond words, diary.

Spent my day in the park. Then I hung out at a pirate bar, like a real pirate. The pirates here are still buzzing about the admiral incident and some huge war they had.

I'm kind of disappointed that I haven't run into any cool pirates yet. The ones here all have small, petty dreams and the ones that do have bigger dreams have no chance of making them come true because they are loser pirates.

Some of them tried to bother me, but I transformed and after a little bit of 'pushing' they were pretty much not an issue anymore.

Where are Law and the other cool Supernovas? If they all left for the New World already it would be such a pain to have to go after them. I don't know anything about sailing.


Dear Diary,

Good news, I managed to get some news about my Law. It seems that he didn't leave for the New World yet. I have a chance of catching up with him.

I have to meet up with him no matter what. It is our destiny to be together.


Madelyn felt her heart racing in her chest. Finally, after months of searching, Trafalgar Law was finally there and in front of her. Well, not strictly true, he was a little to the side and had his back to her (not that she was complaining about the view from that particular angle). But he was there, in the flesh, and that was the important thing.

"He looks even better in person," she murmured faintly to herself, her breath coming in fast as the object of her pursuit turned around to look for something and she caught a glimpse of his glorious face.

Of course, now that she had finally caught up with Law, there was a different kind of catching to do, namely his attention. She figured it wouldn't be difficult; she knew she was gorgeous to begin with. In fact, she'd already attracted too much attention from unwanted quarters (mainly horny pirates) because of it. Fortunately, her devil-fruit ability could sense their intentions from a mile away, and allowed her to avoid situations she didn't want to be in.

As for the cases where she couldn't avoid them, there was still the Faerie Aura. She had called it that after discovering that in her zoan forms, seeing the wishes of people also gave her a certain aura and an easy way to sway their thoughts to suit her. It was strange, how effortless it was. The more eager these people were to achieve their dreams, the more they could sense her ability to potentially realise them, and in turn they developed a subconscious reverence for her, the embodiment of their wishes.

"We're all ready to set sail, Captain!" the furry polar bear that was one of the Heart Pirate crew announced. Madelyn hurried forwards. If she didn't manage to join the crew here, tracking them down again would be such a hassle.

"Wait!"

The Heart Pirates didn't seem to realise that she was addressing them, they went on with their work.

A wave of irritation washed over her. True, she had not transformed (not that anyone could tell when she did because she tended looked very similar to how she did in her human form) and her faerie aura was not in effect, but she was already beautiful to begin with. Surely even the sight of her as she was should turn some heads?

Maybe they just hadn't heard her. So she raised her voice and tried again. "Captain Trafalgar Law! Wait!"

That did the trick. Every hand on deck stopped and stared, some with wary expressions on their faces. She paid them no mind, her attention was solely focused on Law's face, which was even more mesmerising up close.

"Yes?"

She had to tear her eyes away from the gorgeous curve of his lips. As it was, her voice came out more breathlessly than she would have liked.

"Tra-trafalgar Law? I'm Monkey D. Madelyn, sister of Monkey D. Luffy. You saved his life, so I wanted to thank you in person."

She felt a thrill run up her spine as his stormy grey eyes swept over her. But just as she had stoked herself up with anticipation for his declaration that he had fallen in love with her at first sight, his eyes narrowed. She felt her heart drop as he looked over her suspiciously.

He's not falling for it. He knows it isn't true. He's too clever for that.

Madelyn's dazzling smile wavered as Law seemed to frown before speaking. But instead of flat-out asking her what she was up to, he simply said: "So you've thanked me. You can go now," and turned his back to her before resuming what he had been doing earlier.

For several minutes she stood there staring dumbly, stunned at his rudeness. The man had not only snubbed her, he was not even bothering to hide the fact he didn't think much of her. Then her pride erupted into indignant anger. She had given up her former life for this? She was a Tenryuubito, he was a pirate, he had no right to disrespect her like that! Well, she wasn't going to give up just like that. No, she would go into battle with all flags flying. Seething with anger, Madelyn subtly transformed into her full zoan form, and projected her aura at them full force.

The effect wasn't even subtle. The crew had been busy minding their own business before and thoroughly ignoring her. At the blast, they whirled around and to a man gaped at her as though she was the one person they had been looking for for all their lives.

Her Law too, was gazing at her as though he was finally seeing her properly for the first time. Gone was his cool composure and trademark smirk, and Madelyn was disappointed to find that the loss of this expression and his mysterious aloofness reduced how attractive he seemed by quite a lot.

But any reservations she had about what she had done were immediately forgotten as to the cheers of the crew, Law dropped on one knee and asked her to join his crew.

Just like it always happened in her dreams.


Madelyn smiled at her reflection in the dressing mirror of her luxurious private cabin.

Everything was wonderful. It was all going so well. She had joined the crew, and in the space of a few weeks, managed to get herself a bounty and a reputation. And even better, the dreamy Captain Law was in love with her. Everyone absolutely adored her and agreed with everything she did or said.

But as she tied her gold-patterned silk sash around her waist, she frowned. By all rights, she should be contented. Yet something felt missing. She'd thought things would feel different now that she found her soulmate and true friends who loved her.

If it had all changed, then why did it all feel so similar to being back in her father's house in Mariejois?

"Madelyn! Madelyn! Pirate ship on the horizon!" Bepo had burst into her room in a panic. "The jolly roger looks like Eustass Kid's!"

"Have you told Captain Law yet?"

"He's busy in his laboratory, so we all thought it would be more important to let you know first. After all, you always know exactly what to do."

Madelyn was flattered and laughed. "Well, tell the others I'll be right there."

"Right away, Madelyn!" The bear bowed deeply before reversing out of the room.

Madelyn was left staring at the empty doorframe with an eerie sense of deja vu. That had been the exact same way her servants had used to exit a room occupied by a Tenryuubito.


"Well you know what they say: 'A worthy friend is a precious treasure and a worthy foe the next best thing*'", Killer said as he sipped his beer through a straw.

Eustass Kid laughed jovially. "So that means Madelyn here's the next best thing to treasure. So true!"

The ship of the Kid Pirates was anchored next to the Heart Pirate sub and a lavish party was in full swing. Less than a day ago the two ships had been in a similar position, except that they had been on the verge of boarding and slaughtering each other then. In fact, if it hadn't been for Madelyn's charisma, all that certainly would have had come to pass.

Instead, Kid had fallen head-over-heels for Madelyn and almost instantly offered the Heart Pirates a pirate alliance (which was rejected because they wanted to remain rivals). Amazingly Kid hadn't even been the slightest bit offended or jealous of Law, and had insisted on throwing a party to celebrate their official rivalry. He also said something about how Madelyn would leave Law and fall for him once he became the Pirate King.

Madelyn found this flattering, but found it unsettling that Law hadn't seemed even the slightest bit jealous at this. In fact, now that she thought about it, his behaviour had been downright off for the past few days. While she was sure he remained devoted to her, there were moments when he seemed not quite there, almost as if lost in a daydream. He spoke only when spoken to, and did not contribute to the conversation. Madelyn couldn't help but feel a bit disappointed. After all she had gone through and finally achieving her dream of being with him, she had never figured her soulmate would be well... boring.

On the other hand, Eustass, while ax-crazy, exuded manic charm and fierce longing for her. Briefly, Madelyn wondered if perhaps she had made her choice a bit too early. But as soon as the thought entered her mind, she dismissed it. No, she wasn't some cheap floozy like the disposable women who hung around her father. She was utterly faithful to her one true love: Law.

Perhaps his listlessness wasn't his fault. Yes, he was just overworked, what with holding both roles of ship's doctor and captain. Thinking it over, Madelyn promptly decided that what he needed was a lightening of his workload.

"Kid, we shouldn't party too long. Don't forget that Straw-Hat's gotten a lead on us already." Killer swapped his empty glass for a filled one and transferred his straw into it.

"Yeah, shame about that. Don't you just wish it was just both our crews going for One Piece, Madelyn? Imagine if something happened to delay them and we could get to One Piece before they do. Now that would be something! Where are the Marines when you need em? Pft, good for nothings!"

A sudden thought occurred to Madelyn. Perhaps the workload wasn't just it. Perhaps her Law had calculated and figured out Luffy would get to One Piece before them and had given up on his dream. Maybe if Luffy was out of equation, it would stir up his spirit again and she would have back the exciting Trafalgar Law she wanted.

And as fate would have it, Eustass Kid had given her the means to do it.


"Captain! Did you hear? They're executing Straw-Hat Luffy in Loguetown!" Shachi yelled, wildly waving the paper the news coo had just dropped off.

Captain Madelyn of the Heart Pirates tried her best to looked shocked and horrified. "What? But how?"

Inwardly, she knew what had happened, of course. It had required some creative use of her faerie power to grant Eustass' wishes. But she had succeeded, and if things went according to plan, Luffy would be delayed for quite a while, leaving the Heart and Kid Pirates with a clear path to Raftel.

"We're ready to go in, Captain!" Bepo reported. "Just say when!"

"Very well men! Make your preparations, we sail for Raftel!"

"Raftel?" Dr. Law's voice cut-in, a note of confusion.

"Yes my love. No doubt Eustass will use this opportunity to go for One Piece. We musn't let him get away with it!"

"But isn't Luffy your brother? Aren't you going to rescue him?"

Madelyn started. Law was questioning her choices, something that normally didn't happen. In fact, the only other time this had occurred was when she had suggested taking over the captainship of the Heart Pirates and expanding the crew roster. Law had surprised her with how fiercely he had fought against the suggestion. It had taken a lot of charisma and pushing with her Faerie Aura to sway him over to her will again.

"Yes, and that's exactly why we must honour my brother's wish. He would want us to stop Kid."

"Luffy stormed Marinford to rescue his brother, Ace," Law persisted. "He—"

"—will be all right," Madelyn said firmly, projecting her faerie aura as much as she could. "Luffy has strong nakama and he would never forgive me if I embarrassed him and his crew like that. Trust me, my love."

Inwardly Madelyn was quaking with fear. The resistance Law was showing his time was unprecedented, and she wasn't quite sure what she would do if he truly rebelled against her orders.

For what seemed like the longest time she saw the struggling conflict in his eyes, then thankfully, the look faded away and he was her submissive Law again.

"Yes. Yes, you are right."

His tone lacked conviction, but Madelyn was so happy to get an agreement out of him that she didn't care.

Besides, it wasn't as if she had lied. Luffy did have a powerful and capable crew. They certainly wouldn't have any trouble rescuing their captain from the inept Marines. Luffy would be free and back on the hunt for One Piece soon enough.

Just a little delayed, that was all.


Dear Diary,

Luffy is dead!

Luffy. Is. Dead!

They've executed him and displayed the head on the broadcasts... it's so terrible I can't write any more.

This wasn't supposed to happen. I never meant for him to be killed.

I don't understand, his crew was on their way to save him. There were supposed to be all those other people who were going to save him. How could they have failed? What were they doing?

...

Why didn't they save him?


Dear Diary,

I didn't feel like facing the crew today, so I pretended to be ill and stayed in bed all day.


Dear Diary,

I told the crew I was ill again today.

Jean-Luc reported that Kid called our den-den mushi but I didn't feel like talking to him. Jean-Luc reported later that Kid stopped racing us and went on a rampage to slaughter the nearest Marine base.

I wish people would stop talking about the execution and the war.

I wish people could just forget about the whole thing and move on.

I wish this would all just go away.


Eustass Kid would continue on his deranged rampage for years after the execution. Ultimately he met his defeat and demise at the hands of the youngest commodore in history, a fifteen-year old Lance D. Imba, but then again you guys know all you need to know about Imba already so I won't elaborate any further.

I suppose it was a reflection of how badly affected Madelyn was that it took her almost another half-day before she realised something else was amiss. Namely, she, the captain, was supposed to have been ill for the second day in a row and the ship's doctor had not come and attended to her 'illness' even once.

When this realisation occurred to her, she immediately sat up in alarm. Why hadn't Law come to see her? He should have been at her side from day one. Not only was he the doctor and it was his responsibility, but surely he would have been concerned about his lover? Had something happened to him? Not even bothering to change out of her bedclothes, Madelyn jumped out of bed and bolted out of the room.

"Captain! You've recovered!"

"I'm so glad you're up, Captain! We're getting all these pirate crews coming up and wanting to join us. We didn't know what to do!"

"Captain Madelyn..."

Ignoring the happy cries of the crew, Madelyn charged straight into the doctor's office.

It was deserted. And as a thorough search of the sub soon revealed, Law had disappeared, and everyone had been too worried about Madelyn to notice exactly when.


Of course, we already know what really happened to Law, what Madelyn did next and how it all culminated in a very disasterous showdown on the Heart Pirate sub.

Very few would however, come to know how those events turned out and eventually led to the greatest mystery of the new pirate age: The Disappearance of Monkey D. Madelyn.


"... When Squall stabbed you, I was so sure you had died. And the words you said to me, I couldn't get them out of my head. Until that moment, I never realised that my actions could be seen that way, what I had done..."

"If only that were true." Law did not attempt to disguise the disgust in his tone. "Considering you just ran away from the mess you created."

"I—you wished that I would get the hell away from you. Well, I did. I granted that wish. I wished myself away to a whole new other world, where no one knew of my name or what I had done."

"How incredibly nice for you. Why did you even bother to come back?"

"I never intended for that to happen," Mrs. Suesse, or rather, Madelyn, mumbled. "I never meant for my husband and daughter to get caught up with this."

"So that's why you made contact with that sack of bile Squall and sent him after those two," Law said contemplatively. "You were using him to get them back. Stupid decision, given what happened the last time he disobeyed your orders. Imagine what would have happened if he'd known who Suesse really was."

Mrs. Suesse shuddered. "I know that now. I was desperate then, sick with worry and cooped up in my father's mansion, not knowing if they were dead or alive."

Mar finally found her tongue. "Wait, so St. Magnus, he really was— you really are his daughter." Then another thought seemed to strike Mar. "Oh gawd, that means St. Magnus is my freaking grandfather. I'm actually from this world and a half-Tenryuubito. I'm related to that monster? Mom, how could you keep all this from me? Why? WHY?"

"It doesn't matter, Marie. We can't help who we're born to, but it doesn't change who we become."

"It changes everything! Everything I thought I knew about my life, it's all based on lies! How can I ever believe anything you tell me again?"

Her mother responded haltingly.

"I lied to you, Marie, it's true, but I only wanted to protect you from my legacy. None of it was your fault, you shouldn't have been involved."

"How very noble. I suppose it had nothing to do with your being ashamed of your past, Madelyn?" Law mocked.

There was a heavy silence, broken only by Mar's agitated muttering.

"I-I've been so blind. I should have noticed the signs all along. How you never had problems getting people to do things for you. And when we ended up here you weren't even confused about how things worked in this world like Dad was. You knew exactly what to do and how to act like a Tenryuubito, but all this time I thought you were just the best actress in the world.

"Why couldn't I see it? Gurnarde knew the moment she saw you that you weren't faking, you were the real thing and and—

"—and you... you always knew, didn't you?" Mar turned and said accusingly to Law. "All this while... you let us think that you were in on helping find my mom but you were really using me to get close to her because you knew she was Madelyn. From the very beginning, you already knew, didn't you?"

"I suspected," corrected Law. "The moment I saw you on Sabaody I was convinced there had to be some connection between you and Madelyn. Didn't you ever stop and wonder why you just so happened to look exactly like a complete stranger to the point you would be consistently mistaken for her? Did you honestly think it could just be mere coincidence?"

"Well, yeah, actually. I just presumed it was kinda common for stuff like that to happen in this world," Mar admitted truthfully, thinking of Kuina/Tashigi, and Duval/Sanji's wanted poster.

Law simply gave her the kind of look one would give someone whom they suspected had been dropped on their head as a child.

"No, Mar. Such things are not impossible but they are not commonplace either!" he said with a kind of exasperated patience. "And I don't believe in coincidence. It was far more likely you were related to Madelyn, even if you didn't know it. As it turns out, I was right. You are a direct throwback to your mother, in looks, at least."

Then a horrific thought occurred to Mar. "Wait, if you and Madelyn were involved, that means..."

Mar did a quick mental calculation and much to her relief, was able to reassure herself that thanks to a gap of several years, she could not possibly be the biological daughter of Trafalgar Law.

"Never mind," she finished quickly.

Law however, appeared to have guessed what she was thinking.

"Absolutely not," he said flatly. "You're definitely his." He jerked his thumb at Mr. Suesse for emphasis.

Meanwhile, throughout the entire narrative and ensuing exchange, Mr. Suesse had been staring at the three of them, the same look of shock and utter betrayal still on his face.

"Did you get all that, Suesse?"

"Yeah..." the beleaguered man exhaled slowly before continuing curtly. "You're my wife's ex."

"I can see you focused on the important details."

"Well, you could have at least mentioned this fact once or twice before springing it on me out of nowhere! All this time we were working together and organising the raid, and not a single word... You're as bad as she is!"

"Garreth..."

Garreth Suesse turned his attention back to his wife. "I wasn't that dense, Blake. I always knew you were keeping something big about your past secret. I just figured, since we were married and all, you'd get around to telling me in time. Maybe I should have said something, and maybe it did bother me more than I let on when that time never came. I just never figured all this time the word 'Law' you'd mumble about in your sleep wasn't because you were some wanted fugitive or something, but the name of the guy who told you to 'get the hell away from' him."

"Oh you know about that bit, do you? What else did she say about me, pray tell?" Law's eyes glinted dangerously.

"It was an off-hand comment from twenty years ago. He doesn't know anything else. I never told him," Madelyn interrupted. "I never told anyone. You were right, I was ashamed of my past. I wanted to leave it all behind and start afresh.

"But no matter how you try, some memories just don't go away so easily. The more you try to forget, the more you keep thinking about why you want to forget. There could never truly be a happily ever after that way."

"Oh, how sad for you, the poor misunderstood Tenryuubito. Such a difficult life you must have had." Law voice was dripping with sarcasm.

At this crack, something seemed to snap in Madelyn.

"Would you have done any better if you had been in my place?" she retorted bitterly, her eyes flashing. "I grew up in this screwed-up hellhole of a gilded-cage! From the day I was born to the day I ran away, I was constantly being told I was perfect just the way I was and no one had the right to criticise me or anything I did. I was Tenryuubito! I was special! Everyone else was trash! We formed the world government, we owned the world and therefore we had the right to do anything we wanted!

"Over and over and over... nothing but people who would tell me what they thought I wanted to hear. Every single time there was anyone in my life who could have set me right, they were made out to be wrong, punished, humiliated, and destroyed in front of me."

A tear trickled down Madelyn's cheek as she said this. Anyone else might have dismissed it as crocodile tears, but Mar, who had read Magda's diary, wondered if the tear was for her old bodyguard Cree.

"How could a child, any child, have a chance of growing up right in that kind of environment? Tell me, Law: if you had been the one who was born a Tenryuubito, do you think you would have turned out any better?"

There was a ringing silence. Law took a moment to consider the question before answering.

"It's impossible to say what might have happened, but I will admit it the odds would have been against it," he said grudgingly. "All that said, that doesn't change what you did do in the end, Madelyn."

"I was sixteen then. I didn't know any better. I've reformed since. I know I've made mistakes, but I've learnt from them—"

"—mistakes?!" It was Law's turn to snap now. "Mistakes? The world doesn't exist as a testing ground for your mistakes so you could learn how to be a halfway-decent human being, Madelyn! Straw-Hat Luffy! Bepo! Jean Bart! Penguin..." Law then proceeded to name every single Heart and Straw-Hat pirate, dragging out every single syllable of every single name. "...they weren't 'mistakes'! Those were real lives, Madelyn. They were people! And because of your actions: They. Are. All. Dead!"

"I know," Madelyn said softly. "I still see them in my nightmares."

Law was unmoved. "Remorse? That's very nice and all, but you don't get a free pass just because of that. The fact remains you made a royal mess of this world and then ran away from the consequences. While you were away having your new life in that other world, everyone else here suffered for twenty years!"

Madelyn hung her head. "I didn't know just how much until I came back. I am so sorry."

"If weak apologies are all you have, Madelyn, you can keep them and stop wasting my time."

"They're not enough, I know. But I didn't tell you all that for your sake, Law." Madelyn turned and gestured at Mr Suesse and Mar. "It was for them.

"I said all I did just now because I wanted them to understand why I did the things they say I did. I know what you came here for. That's why I want them to understand what's going to happen next and why your vengeance is well-deserved, and why they shouldn't think of doing anything stupid like try to stop you or avenge me."

"Blake!"

Madelyn continued speaking, ignoring Mr. Suesse's protest. "One thing I will beg of you, Law: my child and husband are innocent in all of this. Please, confine your vengeance to me alone, and let them go."

Mar's breath caught in her throat as she realised Madelyn— no, her mother, was bartering for their safety with scant regard for her own life. And it was at this point when Mar finally felt a twinge of guilt at her earlier treatment and rejection of the woman. For all her faults and horrific deeds, it could not be denied Madelyn still knew how to be a mother.

"In return, you can take your vengeance on me as you wish— how you wish. I won't resist or try to escape. That is all I ask of you. Please, Law... my life alone will be enough, won't it?"

But if Madelyn had hoped to pacify him in that manner, she failed. Law's response was a single, monosyllabic word:

"No."


End of Chapter 31


Footnotes:

[1] A worthy friend is a precious treasure and a worthy foe the next best thing*= This line paraphrased from the character Emeth from C.S. Lewis' 'The Last Battle',


A/N: Sorry for the long time it took to write this chapter. I fell sick for about four weeks running, which kind of dampened my focus on writing. On the mend now, so hopefully I'll be up to speed for next chapter. Thanks so much for all your wonderful reviews and words of encouragement :) To those of you who reviewed signed in and I haven't replied to your reviews yet, I beg your patience. I still owe you guys PMs, but I figure you would prefer getting the next chapter faster over a PM from me :)

As usual, apologies for all mistakes you may see, tried best to proofread but head not co-operating. Feel free to point my errors out so I can fix.


Q and A:


QUESTION 10/9/12 . chapter 30

So I had started doodling your characters (Mar, Disinfector, Walker, etc.) a yearish ago when I first started the story and been slowly expanding and developing them since. They look seriously different than the ones that you drew. Would you mind me continuing and eventually uploading it in DA?

A: I would seriously love to see what you came up with :) Alternate versions are always fun. Do send me a message when you're ready, I'll be sure to link it up in my profile page.


Dawn of Destruction 10/11/12 . chapter 30

I do not need to mention your ability to make me very, very sad. You can look on TvTropes for that. The tear-jerker section is nearly half of your YMMV page for this fiction and that it barely even covers the exact emotions for all of the people on the 'dead' list. RIP, everyone.

A: I have to admit, I went to have a look at the YMMV tropes page after you mentioned it. In retrospect, I am slightly disturbed now about how long that list is despite the fact that the list itself, like you said, quite incomplete. Whoa, the tropers are going to have a field day updating that section when I finish this fic.


Mikan 9/27/12 . chapter 30
I think Gurnarde is my favourite original character. My favourite original one would naturally be the Disinfector, even if he changed so much due to dreaded Madelyn that he's also practically your own character by now. (and that was not meant to be insult!)

A: You know, as canon characters go, Law wasn't one of my favourites, but after writing this fic I have to say I gained an appreciation for the Post-Apocalyptic version of him. I may be biased, though.


Happy Reader 9/11/12 . chapter 30
...Walker and Gurnarde. I always pictured her as a sort of lone warrior who had nothing left to live for except revenge and her brother, so her end is bittersweet because she died having fulfilled her goal but never got a chance to find another purpose. And she was sheer awesomeness and reminded me of a female/mermaid Chuck Norris. And Walker was oddly sweet, like a deadly, giant puppydog with gills.

A: That's a pretty accurate assessment of Gurnarde, actually. With Walker gone and Fukaboshi avenged, she really didn't have much left to live for. Also, "female/mermaid Chuck Norris" and "a deadly, giant puppydog with gills" may be my new favourite descriptions of Gurnarde and Walker ever! XD