A/N: WOW! Over ONE THOUSAND & SIX HUNDRED REVIEWS as of last chapter! Thank you so much for all of your support! I never thought that this story would become the sensation that it is for you guys and gals and myself! ALSO...MERRY CHRISTMAS! I know this chapter was late in coming out, but I had a lot of workto do, and I needed to let the manga get ahead of me somewhat! Now that it has, I am finally free to continue!
But I digress. Pretty soon, PLENTY will have their turn with him, eventually. Keep in mind that Naruto KNOWS Robin, and she knows him, and as such, she's bound have a bit of an advantage over the others wenches AT FIRST. Poor Sanji. He's going to be so very very jealous when he learns of Burning Will's popularity with the ladies XD I also added some much needed humor in this chappy short thought it might be. I'm terribly sorry for being gone so long and not updating in FOREVER but with this chapter, and another slew of updates, I plan to ammend that!
Now, I know all of you are eager to see the Strawhats arrive at Fishman Island, and to see everyone's reaction once they learn that Burning Will is in town. I promise you, it won't be a dissapointment. You'll soon see just what kind of elegant, flowing tapestry I'm weaving for you here. Now, in lieu of further chit-chat, I present to you, the fruits of my labor! And...long last, another moment you have all been waiting for, taking place in this chapter...some very much needed romance!
...and away we go!
"A man can never die...so long as he is never forgotten!"
The Legend Arrives! Strawhat Luffy and Burning Will! Splashdown on Fishman Island! (Part III)
"You didn't come in through the main entrance, did you?" One of the mermaids asked.
"Are your friends alright now?" Inquired another. "Those pirates who drowned...
"Illegal entry?" Squealed a third. "How wild! I love Pirates!
"Hello!" Chimed a fourth. "Say, they don't look too scary.
Naruto stifled a laugh-and a nosebleed-as he found himself confronted with all these mermaids and their inquistive inquiries. Caimie's tour had been thus far...enlightening to say the least. Literary trope aside, Fishman Island was beautiful. He had to forcibly refrain from getting too excited, lest his flames his flames flare out of control and sear someone. He was in that much awe. He'd long since dreamnt of laying eyes upon this place but to actually set foot upon it shores, gaze upon its wonders...wondruous didn't even begin to describe it.
"Th-This is a paradise!" Sanji sobbed. Naruto was inclined to agree! He'd never seen so many beautiful women in one place! His inner pervert was fighting to get out-it took all he had to stand stock still and allow Camie to introduce them whilst he beheld these vivacious beauties.
"Everyone," Camie began introductions, "This is the captain, Luffy-chin! The crying one is Sanji-chin. The big-nosed one is Usopp-chin, the tanuki one is Chopper-chin, and the whiskered one is um...
She turned toward Naruto, frowning.
"Ano...should I really tell them who you are, Naruto?"
The blonde blanched.
"I...think you just did, Camie-chan."
The silence was deafening. Then the mermaids begain to murmur amongst themselves.
"Did she just say Naruto?" Someone whispered.
"The Uzumaki Naruto?"
Burning Will sweatdropped. That did it. The cat was out of the bag.
"Omigosh!" One of the mermaids cried aloud. "It's...It's him! Look girls! Over here! It's really him! He's...really here!" Naruto blinked in surprise as all eyes in the Mermaid Cove fell upon him. It was overwhelming. Both wonderful and terrifying at the same time. Damn. He should have expected this. He'd freed all those slaves from Mariejoa after all, a feat that only one of their own, Fisher Tiger, could hope to boast of. And he was long since dead! That Naruto'd so-freed all the slaves-on the anniversary of Fisher Tiger's death had been purely accidental. The repercussions of such an action hadn't even occurred to him until just now.
"You are who we think you are, aren't you?" One of them asked. "Burning Will?"
Naruto sweatdropped. Were they seriously asking him this?
"Well, yes, I'd like to think I know who I am...
"BURNING WILL!" Their combined squeal of delight was nearly enough to blow him clear off his feet! Before he could blink, before he could even think to defend himself against this sudden adoration-he found himself all but dragged off solid ground into the waters of the bay, already submerged nearly to his knees and going deeper with each passing second. Whoa! He dug his heels in at the last instant-his boots biting into the shallows of the reef before the eager women could haul him into deeper water. Camie took note of the blonde's sudden increase of strength; the blonde wasn't budging an inch. It was as if he'd turned to stone! Sadly...they took his refusal to move as hesitation.
"What's wrong, Burning Will?" they asked.
"Don't you want to join us in the water?"
"We just want to show you our appreciation...
Behind Naruto's tan skin, the slow flushing of his face looked almost like a growing forest fire, and he seemed literally unable to catch his breath. Dear kami! He could already feel the pressure building in his nose-not to mention elsewhere-ruining his thoughts, distracting him with pleasure. It felt as if his very skin were aflame, threatening to erupt into tongues of holy fire at the slightest provocation. Curses! Curse this infernal damned weakness for the fairer sex that was his!
Camie flushed at the sight of so many women vying for the blonde's attention. Unbidden, she was drawn back to when he'd fiirst kissed
"Sh-Shouldn't we help him?"
Usopp adopted a sagelike expression. "So this is the true power of Burning Will, neh?"
"Neh?" Chopper pantomimed the same action.
"B-Bastard!" Sanji hissed, stiffling a nosebleed. "Its not fair he gets all the attention!"
"Oho!" Luffy was the last to offer his opinion. "Looks like you're having fun, Naruto!"
"Luffy!" Naruto snapped back! "What the hell're you saying?! I coulda drowned just now!" Still glowering, he returned his attention to the mermaids tugging at his belt. "Wait a second girls!" Sputtering he forcibly pulled himself free from their many prying hands. "Let me get in under me own power for crissakes!"
They paused, their enthusiasm momentarily curbed by his anger.
"But, Burning Will-sama...
Gently, he eased himself into the shallows, stopping only once the water nearly reached his waist. Any further and he risked the sapping of his strength. Luffy and the others soon found themselves accosed by the other mermaids of the cove, leaving the charismatic blonde to fend for himself
"There," he nodded, satisfied with himself." This is as far in as I can go, I'm afraid."
"Do you mind if we ask you a few questions, Burning Will-sama?" A mermaid inquired as she pulled herself out of the water and onto the reef beside him. Scarce had she done so than she bagan to runn her fingers across his chest, showering him with droplets. Naruto had expected as much-the questions that is-and had already mentally prepared himself for it. He flashed one of his foxy grins and leaned back against the reaf, content to endure their curiousity for as long as he was able. Tolerating their physical affection would prove to be another matter.
"Not at all!" he grinned. "Ask away!"
"Well in that case...
Almost before he knew it, he had a mermaid on either arm and still another on his lap They couldn't seem to get enough of him.
"Neh, so what was it like, Mariejoa?" One of them, a fine lass with dark, ebony hair asked of him.
"To be honest, I don't remember." Naruto replied, shruggingly. "I was busy setting everyone free, you understand." Well...perhaps that wasn't entirely true. He thought back to the glistening white palace, the gleaming cobblestones of polished silver...and the tenryubito. He'd gone there to free Ayame, true, but instead he'd flown into a rage the moment he laid eyes upon these so called "Celestial Dragons" parading their slaves about as though they were mere pieces of meat, to be discarded as they'd saw fit. He might've burned the entire holy land down if he hadn't been so focused upon evactuating everyone.
"You're so dreamy." purred another mermaid as she pushed up against him, drawing him from his reverie.
"A-Am I now?" Naruto flushed, more from pride than any actual embrassment. Looking back, he hadn't thought it would feel so damn good to free all those slaves...to spit in the face of the World Government and their corrupt policies. They deserved to burn for what they'd done. All of them. But gradually he became more and more aware of the mermaids pressing in around him, each eager to hear him tell his tale; of how he'd single handedly stormed the holy land and rained hell down upon the World Nobles for what they had done. He was also very much aware of their questions, a seemingly neverending stream of verbal intrigue, that demanded he satisfy their curiousity...
"Did you really kill a tenryubito?"
"How many slaves did you free?'
"Will you marry me?"
Naruto was just starting to regret his decision, and beginning to reach the limit of what his body could stand without ravaging someone, when a voice broke through the din.
"Girls! Girls!" Someone cried out. "Give the poor man some breathing room before he suffocates!" Everyone seemed to draw back as one pulling away from his arms and lap, eager to make way for whomever had first spoken. Whoever it was they seemed to respect them a great deal to back off so swiftly...
Intrigued, Naruto turned to regard the voice...and his jaw nearly fell clear off his face!
She was a red snapper mermaid, and she was as beautiful as she was lovely.
A beautiful woman with flame-colored curls, dressed in a simple low cut blue dress, she was the only occupant of the cafe. Her shirt was half zipped down her body, and only her voluminous hair and a thin brazieere stood between her bulging breasts and the open air of the cafe. She looked up at their approach with eyes so incredibly green Naruto couldn't look away. She waited patiently as the blond struggled to regain control over himself; his eyes, his mind, and still she peered at him; staring with wide orbs of brilliant jade hidden behind the bright orange tresses of her hair.
"Hello again...handsome." When she spoke, her voice was everything a man might expect it to be. Low, sultry, full of warmth, and amusement, sprinkled with the faintest trace of the deepest, darkest desire known to mankind. But of the Strawhats that had entered the Mermaid Cove she only had eyes-and words-for one of them. Bypassing an equally stricken Sanji and Usopp she glided across the pool, coming to a halt just before Naruto.
She paused, tilting her head as she regarded him amidst the silence. She reached out and silently ran a slender finger from his exposed bandages up along his chest. His skin shuddered and shivered where she touched and he gulped. It was the only sound, save for that of his own breath.
"H-Hello to you too, Mei." Naruto stammered, suddenly nervous in the prescence of this buxom beauty. "How...have you been?"
"I'm much better, now that you're finally here." the mermaid all but purred, her eyes never leaving his, not even for a moment. "Much better."
"A-Ah..haha..." Naruto laughed nervously. "Is that so?"
Their faces were only inches apart.
Naruto was breathing heavily, every breath wafting past his lips in a thick cloud of steam, and he was beginning to regret his decision to forgo his cloak, but still couldn't bring himself to look away from her. Even her smell was intoxicating, like a rare flower than only bloomed in the darkest gardens. Despite all the time that she must've spent in that cafe, she was enticing and sweet without being cloying.
Then the mermaid known as Mei smiled.
"Ah, yes. I promised my hero a kiss, didn't I?" She winked seductively as Burning Will flushed from head to toe. "How rude of me to have forgotten. How terribly, unforgivably rude of me! I thought you might have forgotten all about that silly little promise of mine, but, ah, here you are! If its a kiss you came here for, you needed only to ask." She wore a subtle expression of amusement on her face as she returned his disbelieving gaze, her grin turning slightly devious as she leaned in and pressed her lips to his.
Naruto's mind exploded into white as he tasted her tongue over his, just for a moment. In that intstant, with every fiber of his being, he willed himself to stand fast. He failed; and miserably at that. His arms took control, spreading themselves across her back. He was so completely taken aback by her kiss that he hardly noticed when his left hand began to cup her firm ass and his right palm took up residence on her jaw. He deepened the kiss as he pressed his body against hers, pushing her back against the nearest wall. Her hands were just as explorative, her nimble fingertips running along his chest and stomach.
'What the hell am I doing?'
Gasping, he tore himself away from her, all but bursting out of the water.
"I-I need to clear my head." he muttered, striding away from the cove stiffly.
"Oh my," Mei smiled to herself, placing a hand upon her chin. "He really isn't honest with his feelings now, is he?"
Gasping, Naruto all but flung himself into the back room of the Memaide Cafe, all but panting for breath. Too close! That'd been much too close! Any longer and he might've...! Bang! He whipped around as the door was all but slammed shut behind him, eyes narrow and intent. Imagine his surprise when he found himself locking gazes with none other Madam Shyarly. Camie had introduced them briefly before bringing the Strawhats to the cove, a factor Naruto found himself most grateful for... then not so much, as she locked the door behind her to ensure the two's privacy.
She was beautiful, make no mistake, he simply didn't understand why she had lock that damned door behind him. He was about to voice that, when she finally spoke.
"I see you're not one for conversation." the slightest of smiles graced her lips.
"They were fawning all over me." Naruto said, by way of explanation. "Who would be comfortable with that?"
Shyarly peered at 'Ace's Phoenix' as she regarded the blond-and she had to confess that Fire Fist knew what he was doing entrusting his powers and spirit to be inherited by such a successor. The prime example on Fishman Island was in how he treated the natives. His vision was...selective...with fishmen and Merfolk. Everything that the damn Tenryuubito saw about her and her people, which was only the aquatic features the people of Fishman Island have, he was willingly blind to. He didn't look at what a person was, only at who they were as a person and judged based on that.
"You know...I owe you for saving my best friend from Mariejoa," she said at length, "and quite a few people see you as the heir of Fisher Tiger's unconquerable willpower against slavery and the World Nobles."
She watched him bite back an audible sigh. Doubtless this subject had been broached before, and he wasn't willing to go there.
"I said it once and I'll say it again: I'm not Fisher Tiger, even though I have the deepest respect and admiration for him even through I can never truly hope to measure up to him. The thing at Mariejoa was all just timing. I would've done it even if it weren't the anniversary of the Dawn of the Sun. When I saw how miserable all those slaves were, how they were suffering and being misttreated as less than living beings, I just couldn't leave all of them like that." he shrugged.
Shyarly smiled "Good to know. But timing or not, you still did it, and that's what counts."
Naruto scratched the back of his head "Yeah...I just couldn't help it. I utterly loathe anything and everything about the slave trade with everything I have been, everything I am, and everything I'll ever be."
"And the Tenryuubito?" she prompted.
Naruto scowled, "I killed three of them as well as that "prodigy enforcer" of theirs, along with a number of their other lackies... and I would have whiped out the "bloodline of the twenty kings" if the damned Marines hadn't shown up. As it was, I settled for using their own Hoof of the Flying Dragon brand on the faces of the survivors of those bastards. All that I had time for before I stopped Kizaru and his men from rounding the escapees." he said with distaste.
Shyarly looked interested "And by the Tenryuubito's own rules, the world goverment and anyone loyal to it considers anyone who bears that mark not to be seen as a human being but as an item or a possession. You scarred them in a way that taints their sense of supiroity."
Naruto snickered "Yep...wonder how much the "blood of kings" is worth on the market? From what I've heard, slavers have been hounding the survivors like starved, rabid wolves since then. And I know it's wrong, but I actually enjoy that since they're on the receveing end of that disgusting trade."
Shyarly nodded, she felt simarily, all the people of Fishman Island did. The idea of the World Nobles getting a taste of their own medicen was something they enjoyed.
Looking around the room, Naruto spotted a large crystal ball.
"You can see the future?" he asked, approaching it.
Shyarly nodded. "I read the timeline and inform on what I see. Although, It's better not knowing the future."
Naruto didn't take kindly to those words. "Excuse me?" He stepped forward, bringing himself eye to eye with the merwoman. "I fail to see just how you can be so certain about that, if all you get is a hazy image and an impression, how can you propperly interpert the meaning? Seems more to me that time just gives you a riddle, all due respect, prophetess." Recognizing their sudden proximity, he flushed, and spun away from her-not so swiftly as to be rude, but enough to make it clear he wasn't entirely comfortable with the lack of distance between them.
"That's just what I think." He said at last.
Shyarly's eyes widened at that remark. She've never thought of things that way before, since all of her visions had actually come true.
"You're saying that all your visions are of negitive events, so I'm asking you something: Why even look for what hasn't happened yet rather than finding happiness in the present? Rather than looking at things with this third eye that lets you read the timeline, look at events with your own eyes and make your own opinions and judge based upon that? The future's never pre-determained, with a strong enough will, someone can rewrite it however they choose. The question, then, is what kind of future do you want to make? One where you depend on that ball, or another, of your own volition?"
The shortfin mako shark mermaid eyed the blond, at a loss for words. Then she smiled. With a strong enough will, someone can rewrite the future and the question is what kind of future do you want to make? She had never thought of that before. Why would she?
But...she had to confess that what the young man was saying made sense. And that was what clinched it for her.
Swimming over on the life preserver-like bubble she sat on using momentum from her tail to do so, Shyarly neared him, a needy look on her features.
In the next instant, Naruto felt his head start to spin as the fortune-teller threw herself against him, pinning him against the wall behind them. She clapped her hands over the Supernova's cheeks, causing him to pucker as his lips began throbbing as he felt the mouth of Alrong's younger half-sister smashed against them in a chaste, but still interesting, kiss on the mouth, her lips all but smothering his own as she roughly brought her mouth down onto his. Her tongue entered his mouth and she savagely used it. Her kiss was passionate and desperate.
"Wha-what was that?" Naruto asked when they seperated, his voice broke and seemed to crack. While he had a weakness for women and he'd expected something like this since arriving on this island, he was still caught off-guard by it.
Shyarly ignored him. Her eyes looked deeply into his and she bit her lip as she cressed his face and whispered. "Don't move…darling."
The blond pirate was blushing just as much as she was, her face was so close to his and she, dispite what most people assumed about the people of Fishman Island, smelt amazing. Her hands worked across his chest and she could feel the hidden power underneath that annoying outfit he wore. As for Naruto, he could feel his heart doing backflips in his chest, and it made him nervous.
Shyarly gazed at him with a desire like blood in the water, she couldn't control herself. She wanted to taste him, wanted to suck him in and consume him. Utterly ravinous, she only had eyes on her goal, her prey, her beloved.
No way was she going to let him escape her, nor allow anyone else to clame him as theirs.
He had gone out of his way to help save her best friend from the Wourld Nobles...he treated her people as equals and saw them for who they were...and he had even encouraged her that there was a way that even the future wasn't set in stone just now...she had to confess that he was impressivly good-hearted.
He was, as far as Shyarly saw him, very much like fire. Appropriately enough. He could be warm, comforting, and welcoming, and yet he could also be ruthless, raging, and dangerous just as easily.
She liked it about him.
She had nothing against merpeople/human hybrids, her own twin nephews and former boyfriend had been proof of that, and she was practically salivating as she tried to imagin what her pups would look like with a mix of Naruto's genese and her own.
Yes...that was a future she wanted. That was a future...
...she planned on making reality right now!
A/N: And there you have it! After such a long time, I've finally returned to this story! As you can see, I've been on one helluva updating spree! Once again, we see Naruto's quite the ladies man in this story! Not just Mei, but Shirley as well! You'll have to forgive the spelling with her name, it keeps confusing the hell outta me! And with that, I'm off to work once more! I sincerely look forward to reading your reviews when I get back!
So...in the immortal words of Altas...
...Review, would ya Kindly?