Another Nakama II
Disclaimer: The following is a fan made work of fiction. One Piece is owned by Funimation, Toei Animation, Fuji TV, Shueisha, Shonnan Jump Manga, and Eiichiro Oda. Please support the official release.
Summary: There's another pirate on board the Going Merry, follow the Straw Hats as they reach the Grand Line and embark on a journey to save a Princess' Kingdom.
Rating: This is One Piece so it's TV-14 (T), NOT 4-Kids, rated for language, blood, and violence.
Welcome everyone to part two of my story 'Another Nakama'. I broke up the story so it didn't get to be ridiculously long. I don't like the idea of having a story that's over a hundred chapters. This section of the story will cover 'season 2'. That means, the Cape Promise Arc, the Whisky Peak Arc, the Little Garden Arc, the Drum Kingdom Arc, and the Alabasta Arc. With the length of the Alabasta Arc and some of the filler, it should be about the same length as my last story. Enjoy!
The Grand Line:
"I CAN SEE IT!" Luffy exclaimed, "THIS IS THE GREATEST SEA IN THE WHOLE WORLD! IT'S THE GRAND LINE!"
Ricky smiled as he stared through the clouds at the legendary ocean that was awaiting them and whispered, "I'm home."
"LET'S GOOOO!" Luffy cheered as the Going Merry continued on its path downward and took them closer to their dreams. New adventures, new friends, and new enemies awaited the Straw Hat Pirates in the Grand Line.
The Going Merry continued down the canal from the peak of Reverse Mountain and started on its way into the Grand Line. The Merry plowed through a cloud and kept going.
"Whoa! This is great!" Sanji exclaimed as he hung onto a rope ladder on the mast and stared down the canal ahead of them. He was still wearing the same black suit and tie from last story and was still smoking the same cigarette.
"Ahahahaha!" Usopp laughed as he enjoyed the ride while sitting on top of the rigging of the main sail. He had his special goggles down over his eyes so he could see through the clouds and mist better.
"WOOOHOOO!" Nami cheered, who was wearing a sleeveless blue shirt with a darker blue heart on it, her usual fancy sandals, and a one of her usual skirts, this one was black and had two white rings on the sides. She was leaning against the front railing of the front deck staring down the canal, "HEHEHEHEHE!"
Zoro smiled and stared around him in wonder as he stood behind the front railing on the other side of the front deck. He clutched the white handle of Wado Ichimonji.
Ricky used his hand to keep the black cowboy hat on his head as he leaned back against the back railing of the front deck. A seemingly out of place smile was on his face as the Merry continued its descent into the Grand Line.
Luffy sat on the sheep figurehead clutching his treasured straw hat to his head. He stared in marvel down at legendary ocean that awaited them. This was the ocean that he had to conquer to become King of the Pirates.
As the Straw Hats got further down, a loud noise could be heard coming from the bottom of the mountain. BWAAA!
"Did you guys just hear something?" asked Zoro, he nearly had to shout to make sure his voice was heard over the rushing wind and the spray of the waves.
"Unfortunately," Ricky muttered as he cleaned out one of his sensitive ears with a finger.
"Huh? What's that?" questioned Nami, who couldn't hear anything with the wind rushing passed them.
"THAT GROANING SOUND!" Zoro called out a bit louder, "Didn't you hear it?"
"It was probably just the wind!" Nami replied. "At this speed everything sounds distorted!"
BWAAA! The sound came again as the Going Merry passed through another cloud and got closer to the bottom.
"Huh, what's that?" Usopp wondered as he adjusted the lenses of his special goggles and spotted a large shadow in the mist at the bottom of the Grand Line.
"Miss. Nami!" Sanji called out from his high spot on the rope ladder. "I see a mountain up ahead!"
"What? That's impossible!" said Nami.
"But it's right there!" Sanji insisted. "I can see it!"
"I can't," Ricky commented, "But then I again, barely have depth perception."
"WHO CARES? LET'S GO!" Luffy cheered as he enjoyed the feeling of the wind blowing passed his face.
"Once we pass the Twin Capes up ahead there should be nothing but ocean!" Nami exclaimed.
"There was no mountain there last time I went through," Ricky stated. "And there's one problem with your mountain-theory Sanji, mountains to let out loud wails."
The Merry charged through the last layer of the clouds and spotted a dark object up ahead, seemingly blocking their path.
"WWAAAAAHHHH! IT'S A BLACK WALL!" Luffy screamed.
"No… Ricky was right!" Nami realized.
"I was?" questioned Ricky, "I couldn't even see it."
"It's not a mountain, IT'S A GIANT WHALE!" Nami shouted.
The was MASSIVE and made the Going Merry look miniscule. It had big sorrowful eyes that were fifty times the size of the Merry, huge pointed teeth, and countless nasty-looking scars on its snout. But the worst part was that the whale was blocking their path.
"It is a whale," Ricky realized. "Island Whales are the only ones that get that big. They're supposed to only live in the West Blue."
"What should we do?" asked Luffy. "Should we fight it?"
"YOU IDIOT!" Nami yelled. "HOW ARE WE SUPPOSED TO FIGHT A HUNDRED TON WHALE?"
"WE'VE GOTTA DO SOMETHING!" Usopp screamed, "OUR PATH IS BLOCKED!"
"Should I try tickling its nose?" Ricky offered.
"DON'T YOU DARE!" Nami shouted, she didn't approve of his methods for escaping from 'Ned' and the other giant Neptunians from the Calm Belt.
"Calm down!" Sanji called out. "If it looks like a wall to us, we must look like a speck!"
"That's right," Nami agreed, "It's possible that it hasn't noticed that we're here."
"But we're gonna crash right into it unless we change course!" Zoro realized. He spotted an opening, "LOOK! We can get by on the left! PORT! HARD TO PORT!"
"THE WHIPSTAFF IS STILL BROKEN!" Usopp shouted as he pointed to the broken whipstaff in the galley that they had snapped off while trying to steer in the extremely strong current that let into the canal they'd taken up Reverse Mountain.
"Do SOMETHING!" Zoro snapped as he hopped over the back railing of the front deck and ran to the galley to figure out how to help Usopp and Sanji steer the ship around the whale.
"HEY! I'VE GOT AN IDEA!" Luffy suddenly shouted. He got off of his special seat and hopped railing of the front deck, then went into the anchor room.
"Luffy what're you doing?" Nami called after him. Nami turned around and glared at Ricky, "DO SOMETHING!"
"Panicking never accomplishes anything," Ricky replied calmly. "And I'm pretty sure I can't telekinetically move this entire ship. Brace yourself and be prepared for anything."
"Unnggghh," Usopp grunted as he, Zoro, and Sanji attempted to turn the ship using the tiny stump that was left of the whipstaff. "THIS IS POINTLESS! IT'S NOT WORKING!"
"WE CAN'T GIVE UP!" Sanji shouted.
Nami stared wide-eyed as the massive whale got even closer, they couldn't turn, they were gonna crash right into it and drown. "Is this the end?"
KA-BOOOM! The front cannon suddenly fired and blasted the whale at point-blank range. The Merry lurched and Nami was thrown backwards.
"THE CANNON!" Zoro, Sanji, Usopp, and Nami screamed all together.
"That was your brilliant idea, Luffy?" questioned Ricky. "Are you trying to kill us even faster?"
"Shishishi!" Luffy laughed, "Did it work? Well, did the ship stop?"
Ricky turned and glanced in front of them to answer, only to see the ship plow right into the whale. KRACK! Ricky's eye shot opened as the sheep's head broke off completely and was about to come crashing down on Nami.
Nami saw the sheep's head coming down on her, she dropped down and put her hands over her head. Something heavy landed on top of her and knocked her to the ground. KLUNK! That was followed almost immediately by the sound of the sheep's head crashing down to the deck. "This is bad…" mumbled Nami as whatever was on top of her pressed her into the deck. "Am I dead?"
"I hope not," said the thing on top of her as it rolled off. Nami glanced to her side and saw Ricky sitting up, then she looked over her shoulder and saw the sheep's head tumbling across the main deck. Nami grabbed onto Ricky and held onto him tightly.
"MY SPECIAL SEAT!" Luffy screamed in horror as he peered out the opened anchor room door at the sheep head that was on the deck.
The six straw hats stared in shock at the whale, but it didn't even flinch after being hit with a cannon and a caravel.
"New plan!" Ricky called out as he pulled away from Nami and leapt down to the main deck. "Paddle like crazy! Zoro, over here on the port side with me, Sanji, Usopp, you take starboard, but don't paddle as hard, we wanna go left not in a circle."
"RIGHT!" the other three agreed as they grabbed oars and manually turned the ship and paddled around the whale.
"Let's get out of here!" Zoro exclaimed.
"We can't go too far," Ricky told him. "We have to stop at one of the Twin Cape Lighthouses once we get around the whale. If we go any further without preparation we could all die."
"Would someone mind explaining what the heck is going on?" Usopp shrieked as he continued paddling.
"It's so big that the cannonball didn't even make it flinch!" Sanji reasoned. "Either that, or its reaction time's really slow."
"Who cares!" Zoro replied as he paddled as fast as he could. "At least we're alive!"
BWWWAAAAAA! The whale made the same loud noise they had heard from half way up the mountain. Only this time they were right next its mouth and heard the whale's wail at full force.
"GAAAHHH! MY EARS!" Sanji screamed.
Ricky clamped his hands over his sensitive ears and shuddered. "Keep… paddling…" he groaned.
"We've gotta… get out of here!" Zoro exclaimed.
They managed to get around the whale and everyone quieted down as the Merry passed under the whale's massive eye.
"Luffy…" said Nami when she spotted Luffy standing on the front deck, he was seething.
"YOU DESTROYED MY SPECIAL SEAT!" Luffy screamed at the whale. "TAKE THIS!" KA-POW! Luffy stretched out his arm and punched the whale right in the eye.
"YOU MORON!" the rest of the crew shouted.
The whale might not have noticed the cannon, but it noticed getting punched in the eye and stared down at the tiny ship. "Well… crap," Ricky cursed as they stared up at the whale's giant eye.
"I'M NOT THROUGH WITH YOU!" Luffy hollered at the whale, "THERE'S A LOT MORE WHERE THAT CAME FROM!"
"SHUT UP!" Zoro and Usopp shouted as they ran over and kicked Luffy in the back of the head, THWAK!
BWAAA! The whale let out an angry wail and opened its mouth revealing its giant teeth that were each a fifty times the size of the Merry.
SHWWOOOOO! The water started to get sucked into the whale's mouth, pulling the Going Merry along with it. The Merry floated between two of the whale's giant teeth and Luffy went flying off the ship.
"LUFFY!" Nami and Sanji screamed as they saw that captain go overboard.
WOING! Luffy stretched his arm out and grabbed onto the tip of one of the whale's teeth, then yanked himself over to it, SWHOOOM! Luffy leapt up off of the whale's tooth and grabbed onto a top tooth, then climbed up onto the whale's head. "I'M NOT GONNA DIE HERE!" Luffy used the multiple scars on the whale's head as hand holds and climbed up onto the top of the whale. WOOOOOSSHHH! The water and the Going Merry were all sucked down the whale's throat, CLOMP! The whale closed its mouth and swallowed the Going Merry and all the pirates on it.
Luffy found himself sitting in top of the whale's head panting for breath. Huff… Puff… "Oh man… everyone's been swallowed whole…" Luffy realized.
Luffy stood up and started punching the whale on the head, POW! POW! "HEY YOU!" he yelled at the whale. "GIMME BACK MY NAKAMA! SPIT 'EM OUT DAMN YOU!" It didn't seem like Luffy's attacks were doing anything to the whale that was so many times his size.
SPLOOOSH! In response the whale started sinking into the water. "YOU JERK! ARE YOU TRYING TO ESCAPE?" Luffy demanded as the stomped on one of the whale's scars, WHOMP! STOMP! "GRRRR… LISTEN YOU BIG BRUTE! I'M NOT GONNA ASK AGAIN! STOP SINKING AND GIMME MY NAKAMA BACK! WE'RE ON AN IMPORTANT ADVENTURE! I CAN'T LOSE 'EM!"
Luffy glanced around the sinking whale and spotted… a door? "Huh?" questioned Luffy. Call him stupid, but he wasn't sure that whale's had doors on their head. But with nowhere else to do and the whale sinking, Luffy opened the hatch to the metal door and went inside.
SPLOOOSH! The whale disappeared underwater and swam away.
"What do you think?" asked Nami as the five straw hats stared up at the sky above them in different degrees of shock.
"I don't even know what to think," Zoro answered.
"Is this even real?" Sanji wondered. "Cause I know exactly what I saw and I felt. We were swallowed by the whale.
"Is this a dream?" Usopp asked.
"This looks nothing like one of my dreams," Ricky stated.
In front of them was a small island with a small house, a clothesline, a palm tree, and a lounge chair on it.
"Then what's with this island… and that house?" questioned Nami.
"A hallucination?" Zoro offered.
"Sanji, what was in that grog we drank earlier?" Ricky inquired.
"No clue," Sanji replied.
SPLOOOSH! Suddenly a giant squid rose up in front of the Going Merry, looking to eat the pirate inside.
"Oh cool, a Neptunian Squid," Ricky commented.
"A NEPTUNIAN SQUID!" Usopp and Nami screamed as they jumped behind Ricky and used the six foot tall First Mate as a meat shield. Zoro and Sanji stepped forward to fight the squid, but they didn't have to.
BOOOM! BOOOM! BOOOM! Harpoons were launched out of guns on the house and shot the squid in the head. It was dead before they could do anything to it.
BOOOM! BOOOM! BOOOM! Another three harpoons were shot into the squid's head and pulled it over onto its side.
"Looks like someone's here," Zoro observed as he stared at the house the harpoons had come from.
"Let's hope it's a person," said Sanji.
"I've had it, let's go," Nami whimpered as she and Usopp clung to Ricky.
"Giant squids… guys with harpoons…" Usopp whined, "and where's Luffy?"
"Why would you wanna go?" Ricky wondered. "We just got here. And now we've got lunch… anyone up for calamari?"
Luffy currently found himself standing in a metal hallway with a lamp overhead. "I don't know much about whales," Luffy admitted, "But since when do they have doors and lighted hallways?"
"A ship, eh?" questioned a man as he peered through the door of his house.
"Should we fire the cannon at the house?" asked Usopp.
"No, wait a minute," Sanji replied, "someone's coming out."
Laboon the Whale:
The Straw Hats stared in surprise as they watched the figure in the house pull on the ropes attached to the squid and reel it in.
"It's a…" Sanji stammered.
"…flower," Zoro supplied.
The 'flower' was an old man with crazy hair. In the back it was grayish white and matched his beard, but on the front it was purple and yellow flower petals. The old man wore a red and green collared shirt, blue shorts, sandals, and a pair of glasses.
"No… it's a person," Ricky corrected him.
"Are you sure?" asked Usopp as he stared at the strange man in surprise.
"Crazy hairstyles like that are common in the Grand Line," Ricky replied.
"That old man just killed a Neptunian Squid like it was nothing," Nami realized.
"The question is: why?" Sanji wondered, "did he mean to save us, or was he just fishing?"
"He's stealing our lunch is what he's doing," said Ricky.
"…" The old man dropped the rope and stared at the Straw Hats.
"…" The Straw Hats stared back.
"…" The old man wordlessly walked over to his palm tree while glaring at the five pirates. Whip! The man then opened a newspaper and sat down in his lounge chair.
Sanji eventually broke the silence, "WELL… YOU GONNA SAY ANYTHING?"
"HEY! IF YOU WANNA FIGHT WE'LL FIGHT!" Usopp bravely called out… from back in the galley. "WE'VE GOT CANNONS BACK HERE YOU BASTARD!"
"…" The old man wordlessly glared at them.
"…" The Straw Hats silently stared back.
"You try that, and someone's going to die," the old man said cryptically.
Ricky once again had to deal with Usopp and Nami clinging onto to him while Zoro and Sanji got ready for a fight.
"Yeah, and who's that?" Sanji challenged.
"Me, of course," the man answered.
"YOU'RE PISSING ME OFF!" Sanji shouted.
"Does that mean we can have the squid?" Ricky inquired.
"WOULD YOU STOP THINKING ABOUT FOOD FOR TWO SECONDS?" Nami snapped as she hit him on the head, WHAP!
"Ease up there," said Zoro as he put a hand on Sanji's shoulder.
"That bastard's mocking me!" Sanji growled as Zoro stepped forward and addressed the old man.
"There's a couple things we need to know," Zoro called out. "Where are we? And who are you?"
"And can we have the squid?" Ricky added.
WHAP! "STOP THAT!" Nami scolded him after hitting him on the head again.
"…" The old man glared at Zoro.
"…" Zoro stared back.
"…" The man was silent.
"…" The Straw Hats were silent.
"Isn't it proper etiquette to introduce yourself before you start asking questions of someone you just met?" asked the old man.
"Alright, fair enough," Zoro replied, "My name is—"
Zoro was cut off when the old man introduced himself, "My name is Crocus. I'm the Lighthouse Keeper of the Twin Capes. I'm seventy-one years old, and a Gemini."
"I'M GONNA KILL HIM RIGHT HERE!" Zoro shouted.
"Alright my turn," said Ricky as he grabbed Zoro's arm and pulled him back. "I'm used to dealing with eccentric people in the Grand Line."
Ricky took his cowboy hat off and stared at the old man, "…"
The old man stared back, "…"
"…" Ricky kept staring.
"…" The old man stared back.
Neither Ricky nor Crocus moved, both of them stared at each other while the rest of the Straw Hats stared in confusion.
"…" the flower-man glared at Ricky.
"…" Ricky stared at the flower-man.
"…" Crocus continued to stare at Ricky.
"…" Ricky stared right back.
"…" Crocus' eye started twitching, but then… BLINK!
"You blinked," Ricky stated, causing the rest of the crew to face-fault.
"You seem to have me at a two-to-one disadvantage," Crocus observed with an amused smile.
"Nice to meet you, old man," greeted Ricky. "I'm 'One Eye' Ricky Treasure Hunter Extraordinaire. I'm the First Mate of the Straw Hat Pirates. I recently turned nineteen, I'm a Gemini too, and at the moment we have no clue where we are. Do you think you could answer some questions?"
"…" Crocus stared at Ricky.
"…" Ricky stared back.
"…" The other Straw Hats sweat-dropped.
"Fine," Crocus agreed.
"Alright, first, where are we?" Ricky asked. "I remember being swallowed by a giant Island Whale but there's a sky overhead. And are you gonna eat that squid?"
"You want to know where you are?" Crocus repeated. "I'd think it's fairly obvious since you were eaten. Now you're at my one-man resort."
"Wait, so you mean we really were eaten?" Usopp asked. "Since when does a whale's stomach have clouds in it?"
"What's gonna happen to us?" questioned Nami. "I don't wanna be digested!"
"…" Crocus glared at her.
"STOP DOING THAT!" Nami yelled.
"What's wrong? Never heard of a running gag?" questioned the old man.
"THAT WAS A GAG?" four of the Straw Hats shouted.
"She makes a good point," Ricky commented, "Is there a way out of this stomach?"
"The exit is over there," Crocus answered as he pointed to a large metal double door off in a distance.
"Okay, even if I believed a whale's stomach could have a door," said Nami, "There's nothing there but sky."
"Hold on, those seagulls aren't moving!" Usopp realized as he spotted a still bird up in the air. "THEY'RE PAINTED ON! IT'S A GIANT MURAL INSIDE A WHALE'S STOMACH!"
"It's a hobby of mine," Crocus explained.
"YOU'RE NOT MAKING ANY SENSE YOU CRAZY OLD FOOL!" Usopp yelled.
"Forget him," Zoro advised. "There's the exit, let's get out of here."
THOOOOM! The entire… stomach… suddenly started lurching. "WHAT THE HECK WAS THAT?" Sanji shouted as the Going Merry and Crocus' Island bounced up and down in the waves.
"It's begun," Crocus said to himself.
"LOOK!" Nami suddenly shouted as she pointed to the Crocus's island which appeared to have a metal bottom. "That's not an island! It's some kind of ship!"
"Then this isn't water!" Usopp realized. "This a sea of gastric acid!"
"And our wooden ship won't fare too well if we stay here," said Sanji.
"I don't think I want that squid any more," Ricky commented, he turned to Crocus, "Hey old man, what's going on?"
"The whale is very angry," Crocus answered, "These aftershocks are a result of him hitting his head against the Red Line."
Outside, the whale barreled through the water and then rammed head-first into the solid rock Red Line, WHAM!
"What?" Zoro and Sanji shouted at the same time.
"That explains the scars," Ricky realized.
"That's right!" Nami exclaimed. "I saw them too. And there was something mournful about his cries."
"Why's he do it?" asked Usopp.
"It's because he's suffering!" Nami told him.
THOOM! The whale once again rammed its head into the Red Line.
Everything lurched again and the Going Merry bobbed up and down.
"So that's what the old man is up to?" questioned Usopp.
"More than likely he's trying to kill the whale from the inside," Nami reasoned.
"Don't be stupid," Ricky scolded her. "He wouldn't do that."
"How do you know?" Nami snapped. "You just met him!"
"Look at him," Ricky told her as he pointed at the old man who was standing on his island staring down at the water in concern. "That doesn't look like the face of someone trying to kill the whale. He looks worried about it."
"We have no right to judge the old man or to save the whale." Sanji resolved. "Let's just get out of here before we lose our ship."
Ricky frowned and looked like he didn't agree with the idea of not helping the whale, but he relented and nodded his head. "If we stay here much longer our ship will be digested. Let's paddle over to the door and get out. We see if we can do anything about the whale once we no longer have to worry about our ship."
WHAM! WHAM! Again and again the massive whale rammed his head into the Red Line, causing everything inside it to shake and lurch.
Somewhere inside the whale, a mysterious man and woman were holding a pair of guns.
The man was wearing a fancy green suit and a crown on his head. He had orange hair and had swirls that looked like '9's' drawn on his cheeks.
The woman had her long blue hair pulled up into a high ponytail with a gold band. She wore a green coat with a furry white neck and a blue and gray diagonally striped sleeveless shirt underneath. Finishing off the outfit was a pair of white shorts.
"Hmph," the man grunted as the two of them held up their guns. They looked like they were up to no good.
"With all this sloshing we can't reach the exit!" Usopp shouted as the Straw Hats struggled to get to the exit and get through the waves of stomach acid.
"If we don't get out of here we could be killed!" Zoro yelled. "Luffy too, I saw him get tossed out of the whale's mouth!"
SPLASH! Crocus suddenly dove into the stomach acid and started swimming towards the exit. "The old man just jumped in," Ricky pointed out.
"What's he doing?" Nami demanded. "Is he insane?"
"That stomach acid will eat him alive!" said Zoro.
Crocus swam through the digestive acid, ignoring the skeletons that were at the bottom of the whale's stomach. He looked intent on doing something only he knew.
"WWWAAHHHHH!" Luffy screamed as he bounced from wall, to ceiling, to floor, to other wall of the metal hallway. The whale's suddenly lurching had caused him to lose his balance and since he was made of rubber he couldn't stop himself from bouncing after he hit the first wall. "I'm so dizzy… I'm gonna hurl…"
SWOOO! WHAM! Luffy went flying out of the hallway he was in and ended up in a metal plated sewer. There was a water way in the middle and two metal sides running parallel to it.
"Uhhhhh…" Luffy groaned as he sat up and attempted to regain his balance, "That's weird, a whale's a got a river inside of it too?"
THOOOM! The entire room started to tilt downward as the whale dove, Luffy couldn't keep his footing on the metal plates and ended up falling sliding down the tilted metal plates to who-knows-where.
"Things are looking up Ms. Wednesday," said the man with 9's on his face as he and his partner 'Ms. Wednesday' leaned against a metal door, "We've been successful so far. Behind these doors lie the beast's stomach, and that troublesome geezer as well. He must be eliminated before he can interfere again. Remember, it's all for the whale."
"Indeed, Mr. 9," Ms. Wednesday agreed. "This whale's a precious creature, one that holds the sweet promise of life for our town."
"Guys, the old man just resurfaced!" Usopp called out as he spotted Crocus climbing up a ladder to a smaller door on the big doorway.
"Forget about the old guy," said Zoro. "Our focus should be on getting to those doors and getting them opened."
"Once he's gone I'll do it," Ricky offered as he pointed to his eye patch.
"Alright, here's the plan baby," Mr. 9 told Ms. Wednesday as the continued leaning against the door to the stomach. "Three… two… one, then we kick through the door and start shooting."
"Roger that, Mr. 9," Ms. Wednesday agreed. "Let's do it!"
Suddenly a scream that started out faint but then grew in volume and got really loud broke out. "AAAAAHHHHH!"
"What's that voice Mr. 9?" asked Ms. Wednesday.
"I don't know, Ms. Wednesday," Mr. 9 admitted.
Mr. 9 and Ms. Wednesday looked up to see Luffy come sliding towards them. "AAAAAHHHH! I CAN'T STOP! I CAN'T STOP!"
"AAAAAAHHHHH!" Mr. 9, Ms. Wednesday and Luffy all screamed as the rubber pirate plowed into them and sent them all flying through the door and out into the stomach. KRASH! "AAAAAAHHHH!"
Crocus stopped climbing momentarily when he spotted three figures flying overhead, "They're back," he grumbled before he resumed climbing.
"NOT GOOD! WE'RE GONNA FALL INTO GASTRIC ACID!" Mr. 9 screamed as he, Luffy, and Ms. Wednesday went flying.
"Luffy?" questioned Zoro when he saw the Captain go flying passed.
"Zoro!" Luffy exclaimed. "Is everyone okay?"
"We're fine bro," Ricky informed him. "We were actually just leaving. I tried to get us lunch but the whale got stomach acid all over it."
"Oh man, I was getting hungry," Luffy complained, but then he remembered his current situation, "Um… if everyone's okay, THEN HELP ME!"
SPLASH! SPLASH! SPLASH! Luffy, Ms. Wednesday, and Mr. 9 all went splashing into the stomach acid around the Going Merry.
Crocus cast a glance over his shoulder then quickly ran off to do whatever it was he was doing.
"Looks like Luffy's not alone," Usopp realized as he stared down at the three figures in the water.
"Where'd that old geezer get to?" Nami wondered. Crocus had disappeared while everyone was caught up with Luffy's sudden reappearance.
"Zoro, dive in and get Luffy," Ricky instructed.
"That's stomach acid! Why do I have to dive in?" asked Zoro.
"The old man survived it, so you'll live," replied Ricky. "Luffy can't move once he's underwater. Usopp, drop the anchor so Zoro can climb up it."
Usopp ran to drop the anchor while Zoro reluctantly dove in to save the captain. SPLASH! Ricky picked up his oar and held it over the side of the ship towards the other two who had resurfaced.
"If you don't want to get digested, grab on," he told them. Mr. 9 and Ms. Wednesday grabbed onto the end of the oar and Ricky pulled it up out of the water onto the ship. Ricky grinned and turned to the cook, "Hey Sanji, look what I caught." THUD! Sanji had hearts in his eyes when Mr. 9, and more importantly, Ms. Wednesday hit the deck.
"GOOD CATCH!" he exclaimed.
"Throw it back," Nami muttered.
WHAM WHAAM! The whale continued ramming its head into the Red Line, there would probably be a few new scars on its head by the time this was over.
"You've got to stop it Laboon," Crocus seemingly lectured the whale as he marched through the metal hallways he'd made inside the whale with a purpose. "You can't afford to beat yourself up any more."
Crocus reached a metal room with syringe the size of a cannon pointed out a square hole at a piece of the whale's soft skin. "There's only a tiny amount of sedative left," Crocus continued as he pulled back the plunger on the huge needle, "and until I can make some more, you'll have to make nice!" SQUISH! Crocus pushed on the plunger and injected 'Laboon' with the sedative.
The sedative was clearly very potent because Laboon immediately stopped ramming into the Red Line. "I've told you before," Crocus scolded the whale. "That wall divides the world's oceans. I doesn't matter how many times you hit it, it won't break, not even for someone as mighty as you."
Laboon passed out and went to sleep and was now floating in the water in front of the Red Line. Crocus had successful prevented the whale from hurting itself. He wasn't hurting the whale, he was helping it.
"I don't claim to speak whale, but it seems to have calmed down a bit," Nami observed.
"Now, who exactly are you?" asked Ricky as he and the other Straw Hats turned their attention to their two 'guests'. Luffy was sitting safely on the railing behind.
"We saved your lives, you'd better talk," Zoro told them.
"Mr. 9," Ms. Wednesday whispered, unsettled by the fact that Sanji was staring at her with hearts in his eyes. "These people are pirates."
"That's obvious Ms. Wednesday," Mr. 9 replied. "But if we explain ourselves to them, maybe they'll understand."
"YOU PARASITES ARE STILL HERE!" came Crocus' angry voice from the doorway. "AS LONG AS I'M STILL ALIVE, I WILL NOT LET YOU HARM THIS WHALE!"
"He's back again," Usopp observed.
"Who's the flower?" asked Luffy.
"Hahahaha!" Ms. Wednesday laughed as she and Mr. 9 grabbed their weapons and stood up. "You can't bully us into abandoning our mission."
"We were sent here to hunt this whale and that's exactly what we're going to do," said Mr. 9. "And this time we won't let you interfere." CLICK! Mr. 9 and Ms. Wednesday aimed their guns at the side of the whale's stomach, "WE'RE ABOUT TO GIVE THIS WHALE A NEW BLOWHOLE! FIRE BABY!"
"ROGER!" Ms. Wednesday replied. BOOOOM! Ms. Wednesday and Mr. 9 fired a pair of cannonballs at the side of the whale's stomach.
"NO GOOD HOOLIGANS!" Crocus growled and he dove out of the doorway and into the path of the cannonballs, KA-BOOOOM!
"That old man took the blasts from the whale!" Usopp exclaimed.
"Was he… protecting the whale?" Sanji wondered.
"Hahaha!" Ms. Wednesday laughed, "Your defiance is pointless!"
"You can't stop us!" Mr. 9 shouted, "this whale's going to be food for our village!"
"Luffy," said Ricky as he gave his brother the thumbs down sign.
"What's going on?" Nami wondered.
KRACK! Luffy reached out and smashed Mr. 9 and Ms. Wednesday's heads together, knocking the two of them out cold. THUD! They hit the deck and everyone stared in surprise.
"They had it coming," Ricky stated. Down in the stomach acid, Crocus was relieved to see the pirates take out the two whale hunters.
A little bit later, the Straw Hats and Crocus were on Crocus' island. The two would-be whale-killers were tied together.
"Thank you for saving me life," Crocus said, "but I must ask, why did you do it?"
"Ricky told me to," Luffy admitted, "I have no idea what's going on."
Ricky merely shrugged, "I don't pretend to know what's going on here either, but if you took cannon blasts for the whale, I figured we'd side with you over the whale hunters."
"I think it's time we got some answers," Nami decided. "Who are these guys and how did you end up inside this whale?"
"These two are thugs from a nearby town looking for whale meat," Crocus explained. "If they caught him, Laboon could feed their village for at least two or three years."
"Laboon?" Nami repeated.
"That's the whale's name," Crocus clarified. "He's an Island Whale from the West Blue, one of the largest species in the world. I won't allow them to slaughter him for food. It's a shame he's stuck here so far from his domain. There's a reason he keeps hitting his head on the Red Line and howling at Reverse Mountain."
"There is?" asked Nami. Now that Crocus was willingly giving up information, the other Straw Hats were content to just let Nami ask the questions.
"To put it one way, inside Laboon beats the heart of a human," said Crocus. "He has most impatiently awaited and is eternally devoted to a certain band of pirates. He's been waiting for them for fifty years now."
Ricky's been to the Grand Line before, so he was used to dealing with eccentric people. That's why he was the only one that Crocus didn't drive crazy. Next chapter the Straw Hats learn Laboon's story and solve his problem with a promise at the Twin Capes.
'Till Next Time…