A/N: This chapter is best read with pre-knowledge of the Drum Island, Alabasta and Ohara Arcs in canon.

The Supernova Eleven

Chapter 8: The Wronged and the Wandering

"Luffy, do you mean to say that your brother is Fire-Fist Ace? As in the same Fire-Fist who battled the Shichibukai Jinbe to a draw? And you've never even bothered to mention it to me even once?"

Luffy, who was busy stuffing his face full of food the happy villagers had put out to celebrate the fall of Wapol, looked at Bonney as though he couldn't understand what the fuss was all about.

"Ace? Yeah, he and I grew up together back in the East Blue." It was at this point when he realised everyone was staring at him.

"Are you okay, Bonney? You're not eating your food."

"Don't change the topic Straw-Hat," Dr Law spoke up. "I have to admit I'm curious too. How did someone like yourself turn out to be related to someone infamous like the Whitebeard Pirates' Second Division commander?"

"Who's Whitebeard?"

Everyone stared at Luffy again, then burst into hapless laughter.

"Very funny guy, your brother. He had us for a moment there," said Thatch, between gasps for breath.

But there were two people who weren't laughing. One was Bonney. The other was Ace, who got up, smiled and turned to address everyone.

"Excuse my stealing Luffy off for a while, everyone. My brother and I haven't seen each other for years. I'd like to take the chance to catch up." Saying this, he walked over and dragged Luffy off to a quiet corner. Once he was sure that no one was watching, he whirled around and bopped his brother on the head.

"Ow! What was that for, Ace?"

"Luffy, what do you think you're doing?"

"What do you mean? We're doing what we said we would, sailing the Grand Line and looking for One Piece!"

"Well, you're in the Grand Line and looking for One Piece all right, but you've got to stop being so carefree and start paying more attention to important things. I mean look what happened here! You're barely in the Grand Line and three of your crew are already badly hurt and you yourself got pretty beat up too."

"Eh? But Bird-ossan and Bounty Hunter guy aren't members of my crew, only Bonney is."

There was a momentary, stunned silence. "You sailed into the Grand Line with only one other crew member?!" Ace bopped Luffy on the head again for good measure. "You really are an idiotic brother! You can't just do that Luffy! You're only going to get yourself and that girl killed sooner or later!"

"Oh don't worry. Bonney's strong!"

"She's still just one person! Just because someone's really strong doesn't mean they won't get killed!" Ace had raised his voice, much to Luffy's surprise. It was not that Ace never yelled at him, but there was something odd in his tone. Perhaps that was why Luffy didn't argue, but quietly nodded and said:

"Okay. I'm gonna get a doctor from this place to join my crew before I leave."

Ace calmed down a little. "Good idea. If you hadn't said that I would have dragged you off and forced you into joining my crew."

"But I don't want to join your crew!"

Ace grinned. "Who says I'm giving you a choice in the matter, Little Brother?"

Ace and Luffy rejoined the party to find Dr Law in deep conversation with Thatch.

"... so I have to wonder, Mr. Thatch, what are two high-ranking members of Whitebeard's crew like yourself and Fire-Fist doing in this part of the Grand Line?"

"Oh we don't normally hang here," admitted Thatch. "But we're after someone and he decided to travel this way, so here we are."

Dr Law hmm 'ed contemplatively for a moment, then he looked up and asked casually: "Blackbeard the Pirate?"

"Blackbeard," Thatch confirmed, nodding approvingly. "You're a sharp one, doctor."

"He made quite a mess of Drum Country shortly before I got here. I saw the aftermath. Was that why you are after him?"

Thatch hesitated. Before he could answer, Ace cut in.

"I could lie and say that was the case, but it's not wholly true. Teach— he calls himself Blackbeard now, used to be a member of the Whitebeard Pirates." Ace's face darkened in anger. "I was his division commander, and I'm here because it's my responsibility to hunt him down for what he did before he deserted."

"What did he do?" Dr Law asked curiously.

It was Thatch who answered the question this time. "Teach committed an unforgivable crime- the most unforgivable crime a Whitebeard Pirate could ever commit." Thatch took a deep breathe to compose himself before continuing gravely: "He murdered one of his own crewmates."

Dalton was content. The villagers of Bighorn had relocated to Gyasta for time being, and the small town hall there had been converted into a hospital for the Ishii-20 to use. The wounded from the battle of Bighorn had been moved there too, and thanks to the presence of the famed doctors there had been no deaths other than that of Wapol and his men.

Wright the Shipwright and several others had been wounded, but they would live to see the new Drum, one without the shadow of Wapol hanging over it for many years to come.

His animal senses could hear the sounds of laughter and merriment from the party outside. Even though he himself was not part of the festivities the sound was more than enough to make him smile. It had been so long since the people had laughed that way.

"We lost a village, but we gained a country," he said to no one in particular.

Chopper, curled up into a warm ball of fur at the end of his bed, suddenly unfurled himself and looked towards the ward next to them. Dalton nodded at the little reindeer's enquiring gaze.

"Yes, I sense it too."

There was the sound of rustling bedsheets and then a low groan. One of the Ishii-20 evidently heard the sound too, and there was the sound of footsteps and the flapping of the curtain divider.

"Ah, you're awake. Please, you must take it easy."

"Where am I? What is this place? This is not Whiskey Peak..."

"You are in Gyasta and— Hey! Please stop! You shouldn't even be out of bed in your condition!"

"My condition is of no consequence. Where am I? There is someone I must find!"

Dalton decided it was time he intervened. Chopper looked at him with concern as he got to his feet and limped toward the next ward. There he found the doctor pleading with the dark-haired man who had come to Drum with the rubber pirate boy. It was the same man as the one from his dream.

He couldn't remember the name, but he remembered the animal he had sensed.

"You are the Guardian Falcon of Alabasta, aren't you?"

The man turned and stared at him in astonishment. "How did you know...?" he trailed off, as if trying to recall a distant memory. "I have seen you before from somewhere, haven't I? Where?"

"The World Summit in Mariejois. I was part of the Drum entourage."

"Yes. I remember now. That kingdom with the prince who hit Vi—" The other man stopped himself from finishing the sentence, realising it would have been quite rude.

Dalton wasn't offended, however. He himself knew the disdain was deserved, and he himself had apologized to the little girl on his king's behalf, after all. Besides, there were more pressing matters now that Wapol was dead.

"How did you come from being a royal guardian to being amongst the crew of a pirate? What has happened to Alabasta?"

He could feel the other man's wariness. Whatever had happened to him, it was something highly sensitive. But if the Falcon was hoping for secrecy, that hope was promptly killed by the arrival of his companion, the other wounded pirate, who seemed to have regained consciousness as well.

"Eight! Where are we? Where's Vivi?"

"I do not know. The last thing I remember was Whiskey Peak, and now we are here in... Drum?" 'Eight' said, shooting Dalton a questioning look at the last bit.

"The former Kingdom of Drum," Dalton corrected. "This is the village of Gyasta, which holds an ice-skating festival every year at the first frost."

The most obvious question came next. "How did we get here?"

"Perhaps you should ask the one who brought you here," Dalton replied, gesturing at the partying figures outside the field hospital. His timing was impeccable, as Straw-Hat Luffy chose that very moment to burst in the door, saying something that sounded very much like:

"Join my crew!"

This turned out to be directed at Dr Law, who had been on his way to check on his patients.

"As I told you, Straw-Hat, I have too much to do, and important research to take care of," the doctor told the boy with some asperity. Then he noticed the congregation of people in the ward. "What are you all doing out of bed? You, you need the dressing on your burns changed—"

"Oh, I have taken care of that, Dr Law, " said the doctor from the Ishii-20 at once. "We've also seen to the other one and all the gunshot wound victims too. They're all good for the night, so feel free to continue with the festivities."

"I see." Despite the other doctor's eagerness to please, Dr Law didn't seem thrilled at the prospect of having some leisure time. "I should get back to my research on Kestia mutations then."

"Did you say 'Kestia'?" another Ishii-20 doctor asked, perking up. "Ancient diseases are my speciality! I have studied everything you'd possibly want to know about Kestia. I'd be more than happy to share my knowledge with you as thanks for taking care of the people in our absence. You know what? I'll just give you a copy of my entire paper. It's the definitive word on the subject and it will save you oodles of research time!"

"I don't..." began Dr Law, who looked rather taken aback and strangely enough, a little unhappy.

"We'll give you copies of our research as well!" chimed in the other doctors, not to be outdone. "Don't worry Dr Law. We truly wish for you to have it!"

Luffy pouted as Dr Law was duly mobbed by the mass of doctors, depriving him of his potential recruit. It was while this was going on when he finally realised that the other two wounded from his group were conscious and apparently well enough to stand.

"Bird-Ossan! Bounty Hunter guy! You're okay! " he said beaming, his good mood restored.

Eight did not seem as happy however. "Boy, where is the Princess? Why are we at Drum? Did you escort her to Alabasta as promised?"

Luffy suddenly looked serious. "This Skanky-Pants guy and Creepy-Hands woman attacked us. He took Vivi-"

"WHAT?!" The former guardian had turned pale at the mention of the two attackers. At the mention that the girl had been taken, he looked as though he was about to murder someone. "You let them take her?!"

"No! But that stupid Skanky-Pants, he hurt Bonney and I couldn't beat him. Then Vivi said she wasn't important anymore and went with him but said we had to bring this paper thing for her to Aboobama—"

"—Alubarna. What was this thing she asked you to bring? "

"Bonney knows where it is."

"So this thing is a dispatch to be sent to your King?" Six asked curiously as Eight pored over the scroll Vivi had passed to Bonney. The crew and passengers of the Going Merry had moved to a private corner of the hospital to discuss the state of things. "It had better be damned important for her to trade herself to Zero for."

Eight nodded. "Unfortunately it is. She is right, this must get to the King as soon as possible. The lives of many depend on it. But still, Vivi is now in Zero's hands..." He gritted his teeth as he said this, the pain of his failure clearly weighing on him.

"Vivi's tough," Six pointed out. "She won't let herself be killed so easily and she can take whatever Zero throws at her. Besides, she's some princess or something, isn't she?"

"You are right. They will not kill her. She would be more valuable as a hostage to Zero for now. " Eight did not look any less disturbed at the thought.

''Don't worry, Bird Ossan!" Luffy declared, I'm not going to let him get away with it. I'm going to find Skanky-Pants and rescue her!"

Six fingered his katana. ''Boss Zero still owes me a duel," he said, scowling. "If you're going after him, just remember that I got dibs on him first."

"No way! I've decided! I'm going to be the one who beats him!"

"Go find your own opponent! I challenged him first!"

"You selfish jerk! Share!"

The argument was promptly resolved by Bonney, who turned both Six and Luffy into babies, much to Eight astonishment.

"You two, knock it off. This is serious; we need to decide what to do!" she scolded once she had turned them back. "Hey Mr Mayor-Eight-Falcon, what do we do now? Your princess wanted us to deliver that thing, but now that you're here I guess things are different. Do we go after that jerk Mr Zero and rescue her, or do we still follow her orders and go to Alubarna?"

"My every instinct tells me to go after Vivi, but I know deep down that this is not what she would have me do if she were to have a say in the matter." Eight appeared to be steeling himself for something. But with great difficulty, he dutifully resigned himself to what was required of him.

"My priorities are clear. This scroll must get to the king, and I am the one best suited to deliver it. I am capable of flight, and my face is a familiar one to the palace. It will make a great difference in whether the contents of this scroll will be believed or not."

"But what about Vivi? You can't just abandon her!" Bonney looked horrified at Eight's perceived callousness.

"You are correct. I cannot." The man proceeded to surprise everyone present by unexpectedly dropping to his knees and bowing to the ground. "That is why I must make a very dangerous request of you all: Please, go for her in my stead."

Six looked at the kneeling man in slight disappointment. "I hadn't figured you for the type to lower yourself so easily, Eight."

The man he had addressed did not look the slightest bit ashamed. "Mr Eight was a facade. I used him to infiltrate Baroque Works, and he exists no longer. Now, I am Pell, formerly the Guardian Falcon of Alabasta. I have sworn to protect Princess Vivi with my life, and I will do whatever is required of me if it helps her." He turned to Bonney and Luffy again.

"I beg you: do all you can to save her. Name your price, and I will do all in my power to ensure it is met. "

"Aw, don't worry about it, Bird-Ossan! We promised to get Vivi home, but since we didn't get to do it, we'll make sure we get her this time!" Luffy said cheerfully, much to Bonney's consternation. But oddly enough, she did not complain too much.

"Here we go again. Do at least think over these things before you agree, Captain," she grumbled.

"No," Dr Law said flatly.


"Out of the question. You two are recovering from serious burns that will take several days to heal," the doctor stressed. "And that girl," — he pointed at Bonney as he said this — "is recovering from surgery, and will need at least a week of rest before I'll discharge her. I did not bring you all back from the verge of death just so you can go off and die before I am done with you. My reputation as a doctor would be ruined."

"I have a mission that must be carried out at all costs—" Pell began arguing.

"I don't care, Mr Bird zoan! " Dr Law retorted, unintimidated. "I am the doctor here and I call the shots. You have no one with any sort of medical knowledge on your ship, so I can't transfer the responsibility for your care to them. You're staying on Drum until I deem you all fit to be released."

"Dr Law is right. I'm afraid it would be terribly unwise to leave without a medic on board your ship," the doctor from the Ishii-20 said. "There's bound to be medical complications in the future and you might not be fortunate enough to have timely access to a doctor when that happens."

"People will die if we tarry here!" Pell protested angrily.

"Well, technically the problem would have been solved if your Captain had the foresight to ensure he had a medic in your crew," Dr Law pointed out. "Which was something he should have done in the first place."

"Shishishi, you're such a great guy, Dr Traffic Law! Sure!"

"Sure what?"

"You don't have to be shy! You can change your mind anytime. Just join my crew!"

"For the last time, Straw-Hat! I am not joining your crew! I am not going anywhere! I have no intention of leaving! Can't you get that through that thick head of yours?"

"No. I've decided! You're going to be my doctor!"

"No one orders me around, Straw-Hat."

Pell attempted to negotiate instead.

"What would it take to get you to come along with us?"

"An opportunity to perform a dissection on a zoan," Dr Law responded glibly. "Are you offering?" he added as the other man stiffened at the implied threat.

"I think he was kidding," Bonney said hastily. No one quite believed her. No one also paid her any further attention when Luffy said:

"Okay! But only if Bird-Ossan says it's okay too. "

"What the hell, Luffy?! You can't just decide things like that!" Bonney wanted very badly to bang her head against the wall.

Pell surprised everyone by holding up a hand. "We can compromise. I am in agreement with this bargain on the condition this only occurs after my death, which will not be caused by the doctor on purpose."

There was a stunned silence, then Six whistled. "You really are desperate, Eight."

Luffy however, appeared to take it as the conclusion to the negotiations. "See? So it's settled! You're joining my crew! "

Dr Law stared at the boy and the falcon zoan in disbelief. "I was being sarcastic," he said once he got over the surprise at their ready acceptance of his offer. "Can't you even tell? I have no intentions of joining your crazy crew."

"That was what they said when he decided I was going to be part of his crew," Bonney commented wryly. "Look where I am now."

Dr Law shot her a black look at this. Then without saying a word, he turned on his heel and left in a huff.

"So was that a Yes or No?"

"Are you really going to drag your brother along with us if he doesn't manage to get as doctor to come along with him?" Thatch asked Ace as the two of them made their way to the temporary hospital.

They ran into Dr Law, who was on his way out. The doctor, who was visibly ruffled over something, did not even acknowledge them as he headed out.

"It was a 'No', Luffy," a very frazzled Bonney was in the middle of explaining to her captain.

Both Thatch and Ace took in the situation for a moment, then Ace sighed.

"Well, I guess that means your brother is coming with us," Thatch said with a shrug.

Law heaved a sigh of relief as he returned to the castle after a few hours worth of rambling about the forests around the Drum Rockies.

Peace and quiet at last! That rubber boy was really too much, and as tempting as the zoan's offer was, it wasn't worth leaving Drum Island and its treasure trove of information for.

A shame to pass up the chance at a bird zoan cadaver though, but he was sure he could find something else just as fascinating to study. Yes, he had been in the middle of researching that strain of—

Dr Law pushed open the door of his lab and stopped short. Piled about his sacred inner sanctum of knowledge were stacks of papers and reports. Gifts from the adoring doctors of the Ishii-20, no doubt. When had they found the time to sneak up here and leave their overbearing gifts without him noticing?

He raked his eye over the towering columns and came to the conclusion that there was enough material in there to keep him occupied for years. By the time he was finished, he'd probably be the most knowledgeable doctor on this half of the Grand Line. He picked up one of the files and flipped through it. Then he put it down and started leafing through the next before suddenly tossing it aside in irritation.

What the hell was up with him? All the knowledge he'd ever want had just been presented to him on a silver platter and yet he couldn't summon up the interest to go through it. It wasn't as though he had anything better to do.

He was almost relieved when there came the sound of voices from outside the castle. It sounded like the deep one of Dalton-san, and the high-pitched one belonging to the little furry face-strangling reindeer.

"Do you think the Ishii-20 would teach me to be a doctor if I asked them to take me as their student?"

"I am sure they would not refuse the hero of the revolution," was Dalton's amused reply.

"Calling me a hero doesn't make me happy, jerk! But it's going to be an adventure, learning to be a doctor like Dr Hiruluk! Or like Dr—"

The two zoans both stopped short when they saw him. The doctor reflected that the reindeer didn't sound or look unhappy at all, and in fact, was wriggling happily in glee.

"Pardon the intrusion to the castle, Doctor," Dalton said quickly. "One of the men managed to recover the armory key from Wapol's corpse. Recovering the weapons stores would be of great importance to the Island militia's ability to safeguard all our people, especially now that the Ishii-20 are back."

"Aren't you supposed to be recovering in bed?"

"The Ishii-20 allowed some light activity—"

Ah of course. The Ishii-20 again. The inevitable clash of opinions between doctors of differing backgrounds. While Dr Law had no doubt these men were good doctors and more experienced than he was to boot, this was going to be a drag, being contradicted and unintentionally upstaged by a bunch of old geezers. They would probably want to be moving back here into the castle too...

It was then when Dr Law had his epiphany.

He quickly moved to towards the pile of research files, picked out a few that looked interesting, and set them aside. Then he started gathering up the most indispensable of his belongings, tossed Mr Dalton the key to the lab rat's cage, and tipped his hat to the reindeer before making his hasty exit through the half-eaten door.

"Tanuki-ya, I wish you all the best of luck training with the Ishii-20. Mr Dalton, it's been fun, but I think you guys can have your castle back now," he called behind him.

"Dr Law, where are you going?" Dalton's astonished voice carried through from the castle.

Trafalgar Law smirked, then turned to gaze towards the distance. From the summit of the Drum Rockies, the blue expanse of the Grand Line was just visible.

"It's great that you decided to come with us, Doctor...?"

"Law," Trafalgar Law said slowly and clearly to the girl pirate with the pink hair, whom he hoped was going to be better at names than the thick-headed rubber boy. "Just to make it clear, I am offering your crew my services in exchange for transport to an island of my choosing. I am not joining your crew and nor will I be involved in your crazy agendas—"

"But Traffy, we're going to find One Piece! It'll be a great adventure. You gotta come with us to the New World!"

Law turned and gave Luffy a look. "One Piece? You're after One Piece? I thought you were going to Alabasta to rescue some princess or other!"

Luffy grinned. "We're just doing that on the way, 'cos we promised Vivi and Bird-Ossan! There was this jerk called Skanky-Pants and he captured her but—"

"Fascinating," the doctor interrupted in the most bored voice he could manage.

The sarcasm however, was lost on Luffy, who happily proceeded to talk about kicking the ass of the aforementioned Mr Skanky-Pants. The doctor shook his head and tried to block him out by staring after the wake of the Fire-Fist's little boat ahead. He wondered anew how on earth Fire-Fist Ace could possibly be related to the boy. It just made no genetic sense.

He shrugged. A detour or two wouldn't hurt, he supposed. Anyway, both Fire-Fist and Thatch were coming along to Alabasta as they had heard some rumour of Blackbeard being present there. They at least, had sense and would surely have some influence over the madness that was Straw Hat.

Just how much trouble could rescuing a girl from some bandits be, really?

The room was opulently furnished, and filled with the cloying smell of fine cigar smoke. The figure seated in the chair matched the environment— rich, decadent, but with a harsh coldness beneath it all.

"Ms All Sunday."

Ms All Sunday returned his greeting with a demure smile. "I answered your summons as soon as I could, Mr Benefactor."

"And you are probably wondering why I called for only you and not the both of you."

"I had presumed that your sources already informed you of the incident with the Princess and the need for Zero to be present and handling the situation."

"Oh come on now, you didn't really think that."

Without skipping a beat the woman answered: "Of course, but it was the polite thing to say."

"I have to say, I am surprised that you two allowed infiltrators into your ranks. How did that happen?"

"We may have underestimated the Royal family. It is nothing to worry about. We took care of the spies the moment we caught wind of what they were doing. The situation has been contained, and we have Princess Vivi as our prisoner. I have no doubt we can find a use for her in furthering our plans."

"Good. I don't value stupid subordinates."

"You do however, value the knowledgeable ones."

"Especially the ones with forbidden or classified information that could be of advantage to me. You and Zero have been especially valuable in this regard."

Miss All Sunday said nothing and let her benefactor continue.

"The one thing about information is, that some types become less and less valuable as time goes on, while others retain their value even after twenty years."

"Such is the nature of information." But there was an unease in Ms All Sunday's voice even as she said this.

"I'll get to the point, Nico Robin—" (Ms All Sunday flinched at her benefactor's use of the name), "—when I first found the both of you, the information X Drake had was of considerable value, enough to make extending my protection to you for his sake worthwhile. But times have changed, and the usefulness of Drake's knowledge has waned. It is no longer enough to guarantee the both of you protection under my title. Oh don't panic—" he added, casting her a nasty smile, "I haven't forgotten your years of loyal service. I'm still prepared to reward you with that thing you want the most for it, but you are going to have to go just a bit further."

"What would you wish of us, then?" Ms All Sunday asked cautiously.

"What I would wish of you, my dear. Drake has fulfilled his end of being useful. You, on the other hand, have still been holding out on me, scholar of Ohara."

Nico Robin's face had turned white.

"Now, with the welfare of both yourself and Drake in mind, I would like to talk about the Poneglyphs..."

"So Dr Law was convinced to join that pirate crew by the Straw-Hat boy?" Wright the Shipwright asked as he and Dalton sat by the harbor. It had been two days after the departure of the Straw Hats, and the doctors had allowed Dalton and Wright to be on light lookout duty.

"Well, apparently Straw-Hat wasn't quite the deciding factor. The Ishii-20 was."

Wright chuckled knowingly. "Young fella like the Dark Doctor, didn't like not being the only doctor on the island, did he?"

"Or perhaps he did not care for their adulation," Dalton replied with a smile, "It was a bit excessive. Chopper does not seem to mind them, however. He is thrilled to be able to learn from them. In fact, I think he has expressed ambitions to be the greatest doctor in the kingdom one day."

"I'm sure you'll allow it once you become king. Dalton-san", Wright said with conviction.

"I've already told you, it has not been decided."

"Oh yeah, we have to have elections first, just to make it official," Wright conceded, much to Dalton's annoyance. "You know you are going to win it, Dalton-san. The whole island looks up to you, and after what you did when Wapol's men returned..."

"Chopper did more to free the island than I ever did."

Even as Dalton said it, a thought occurred to him. He would take on the burden of leadership, but only to atone for the sins of his past, and perhaps one day in the future, when the country had become stable, and when the people had gotten over their fear, perhaps it would be a little reindeer who would sit upon the throne in the future.

The thought appealed to Dalton, and brought a smile to his face. It quickly faded as his sharp eyes caught the glimpse of something in the distance.

"Wright, alert the sentries. Something's approaching."

The 'something' turned out to be a fleet of ships, breaking through the fog in perfect formation with complete, eerie silence. Defenders of the former Drum Kingdom stood ready to intercept this time, but one thing became clear as the ships glided into harbour: they were not pirate ships. They were uniformly plain for one, and lacked Jolly Rogers, the symbol of pride of any pirate crew.

When the ships pulled within earshot, Dalton stepped up to issue his customary warning. But before he could begin, a solitary cloaked figure appeared on deck.

A feeling of deja vu washed over Dalton. He continued with his speech, regardless.

"Come no further," he began, then stopped short as the figure broke out into a laugh. There was something very familiar about that laugh, and a name, long dismissed, jumped to mind. But before he could speak again, the cloaked figure looked up and pulled off her hood, letting her long while hair tumble out.

"Good to see you alive, Dalton!"

"Dr Kureha!?"

The villagers stared in amazement, for there was no doubt that person was the one and the same as their missing doctor.

"But you were... after Blackbeard's raid you went missing and everyone thought you were dead!"

''Yeah, it was a bit of a sudden decision. But after Hiruluk's death, and then that useless ruler of ours running off like a coward, I decided enough was enough, so I went to get help from some old friends of mine."

"The arrival of this fleet is your doing?"

"You could say, that. Now, where's Wapol?"

''Wapol is dead," Dalton replied, a little at a loss on how to react.

Dr Kureha gave a low whistle. "Looks like I came too late. You mean that tyrant finally got what was coming to him? Who did it? You? I didn't think you had it in you, Dalton, but then you never know what you'd be capable of until you're desperate enough."

''Perhaps that is a tale for another time, Kureha," a second man had now appeared on deck. "But the men are on standby and we would like to confirm that our plans no longer need to be put into motion?"


"We came here to start a revolution and overthrow Wapol," the man explained, throwing back his hood as well. Dalton's eyes widened as he recognised the man's face. Those piercing eyes, the facial tattoos.

He had seen that man's picture before, years ago, at the summit of kings in Mariejois. Before him was the most wanted man in the world:

"Dragon the Revolutionary?"

To Be Continued...