Hey guys - sorry it took me so long to update, I've been working on other stories. Anyway, here you go - Chapter 5
Disclaimer: I do not own One Piece, or the characters.
* ~ * Chapter 5 * ~ *
Yohohoho, this sure has gotten interesting! Soul King thought as he stared at the Marines bursting into the open field. "Soul King – or should I say Humming Brook! – You are under arrest for piracy! Surrender now, and we won't kill you!" a Marine Lieutenant shouted with angry venom in his voice.
"Yohohoho," Brook laughed, "It seems you've finally found me out…I assume you can thank Manager for that."
As if on cue, Manager came from the hidden side stage, a pistol aimed right at Brook's skull. "I warned you in the beginning! We could have avoided this if you would have given up on your friends!"
The crowd of shocked Soul King fans started murmuring uneasily, sending scared looks back and forth between the stage and the surrounding Marines. The most prominent of the whispers was, "The Soul King's a Pirate?"
Soul King, or Humming Brook, as his wanted poster deemed him, sighed and addressed the masses in front of him, "My faithful fans – I hoped it wouldn't come to this, but my time as the Soul King has ended. I leave you with a message…THE STRAW HAT PIRATES ARE REVIVED!" Brook screamed his last words into the microphone and readied his swordfish-shaped guitar, "OUR CAPTAIN WILL BECOME THE PIRATE KING!"
And with that, Brook adjusted a dial on his guitar and struck a few chords. Immediately upon hearing the vibrant sound waves, the crowd turned on the marines and started to charge them, while the Marines were helplessly shocked. Not wanting to kill any of the civilians, they couldn't risk shooting any weapons at Brook who was now running from the stage.
Manager shot a bullet from his gun, but Brook deflected it with his sword, which he had concealed in the staff of his guitar. "Sorry it had to end, Manager – but you can no longer exploit my talents. I'm thankful for your cooperation in bringing me to Sabaody to fulfill my promise! Yohohoho!" Brook laughed as he ran as fast as his bones would take him.
Through the maze backstage and the chaos that had blanketed the entire area, Brook managed to escape from the large field, and disappear into the crowds of the amusement park – though of course, the running skeleton still stuck out no matter how crowded a place was.
He escaped from the Sabaody Amusement park, and ran towards Grove 18, ignoring the strange looks he got from all the passersby. Some of them recognized him – because, really, how many walking, talking skeletons are there in the world? – but Brook, now no longer the Soul King, ignored their words and smiles with a wave and a laugh.
He was Brook once again – and he was going home.
"Uuuhh, where is it?" Luffy groaned. He had been swinging from the trees for what felt like a whole hour now, and so far he'd only seen a few fishing vessels and one Marine ship.
The pack was starting to feel heavier on his back, and his arms were getting tired of being used like swinging ropes. Luffy swung himself upwards, and landed squarely on the branch he had been clinging too.
He decided he'd try his Haki to search for them. He closed his eyes and searched the ground for any familiar spirits. His displaced consciousness scoured the shoreline ahead until he came across a spirit that felt familiar.
The downside of the Kenbunshoku was that you couldn't actually see anyone, but only felt their spirits. He knew it was familiar, and could only describe the spirit as being amber-tinted and impatient.
Luffy opened his eyes, grinning from ear to ear. Finally! He found someone!
He raced off again, like a monkey through the trees, towards the familiar spirit. He jumped and swung from branch to branch for another fifteen minutes when his heart jumped in his chest.
There, just ahead of him, was the Thousand Sunny, and on the deck was a red-haired spec pacing back and forth.
He was directly above the ship now and shouted "OOOIII!"
The orange-haired spec looked upwards and waved its hands over its head."LUFFY!" the red-haired Nami shouted from the deck of the Sunny. Soon the deck was filled with more specs with familiar spirits. His excitement was so overwhelming that Luffy lost his footing on the branch he was on. He dropped like a stone and just before he hit the deck and his friends, he grabbed a hold of the mast and dropped with less force into the midst of his nakama.
"LUFFY!" Everyone shouted as his arms stretched around them all and pulled them into a back-breaking hug.
Luffy laughed and held them all tighter. Everyone started complaining about lack of air, and Nami gave him a quick hit over the head – the only one who wasn't bothered by the hug was Sanji, who was squashed in between Nami and Robin. Hearts formed in his eyes as he breathed in their sweet scent.
Nami could tell that he was getting close to a nose bleed and started to pry at Luffy's hands. "Come on Luffy, let go!"
Finally he relented and looked to the changed faces of his friends.
But still one was missing. "Where's Brook?" He asked, searching the rest of the deck to make sure he hadn't just overlooked the tall skeleton somehow.
"He hasn't-" Franky started, but was interrupted.
"Yohohoho – it seems I missed the Captain's grand entrance!" Brook said as he hopped aboard and strode with his long steps towards Luffy.
"Uwahh! Your guitar is awesome!" Luffy fawned. He plucked a few strings, resulting in an unmelodic sound that sent shivers down everyone's back.
"Leave the music to him, Luffy," Franky said.
Luffy turned to the Cyborg and started to fawn over his modifications with stars in his eyes. Franky entertained him with blocky, robotic movements and talked with a choppy voice, "I-am-Franky-2-point-0."
"Can you transform? Do you have lasers? Show me, show me!"
Zoro smirked and looked to Nami, "Told you he hadn't changed much."
She cocked her head to the side. There were a few changes to him physically: he had gotten stronger, his muscles more defined, and a jagged scar now decorated his chest in an X shape. "Yeah…he's still the same."
Finally snapped out of awe of Franky's cool new alterations, Luffy stepped up onto the bench that surrounded the mast. He looked over his friend's faces with a smile plastered on his face and a relieved look reflected in his eyes, "Guys – I'm sorry for my selfish decision to split up for two years…I realized that I needed to get stronger, both for you, and my goal to be Pirate King. It's been two years, so I'll ask you this," Luffy raised his fist into the air, "Will you come with me to the New World? To Fishman Island?"
His nakama stared at him for a moment, emotions reflected in everyone's eyes – except for Brook, who had no actual eyes.
Zoro finally split the silence and raised his fist into the air as well, "As I've said before, Captain – I'll go where you go."
Sanji raised his hand as well, not wanting to be passed up by Zoro, "You'd starve without me, so I guess I'll come along for the ride."
"And you'd all get lost without my navigational genius," Nami said with a raised fist and a smile.
"What kind of crew would this be without a brave warrior of the sea?" Usopp laughed bravely and added his fist to the others'.
Chopper giggled and put his furry hoof into the air as well, "I'm coming too!"
Robin smiled lightly and sprouted a fist from the mast with her Devil-Fruit ability, "And I as well."
"SUPER! I'm still up for the adventure!" Franky ecstatically punch the sky with his metal fist.
"Yohohoho! And I'll be there to sing you some of my new songs!" Brook laughed. He strummed his guitar strings and then raised his fist of bones as well.
Luffy smiled at all of his friends, and they all smiled back. Finally Luffy jumped off the mast-bench and shouted into the air, "SET SAIL FOR FISHMAN ISLAND AND ADVENTURE!"
The eight members of the Straw-Hat Pirates cheered in response to their captain.
Nami took charge after that point, pulling out the instructions for controlling the ship underwater that Rayleigh had given Franky. She skimmed them quickly, smiling with excitement at doing something so new and turned to the Cyborg, "Franky, dive under the ship and release the air from the float bag."
Franky nodded, "Got it." He dove off the side of the ship with a splash.
"Zoro, Sanji-kun – unfurl the sails!" She commanded.
"Aye-aye, Nami-swaaan!" Sanji shouted before jumping into action.
Zoro raised an eyebrow, "If we're under water, why do we need the sails? Aren't we just sinking?"
Nami shook her head, "No, we use the ocean current like we would the wind. As long as we stick to the right currents, we'll make it to Fishman Island within a few days."
Zoro nodded and quickly climbed to release the sail.
"Took you long enough, marimo," Sanji mocked.
"Damare, creepy-beard," Zoro spat back.
Nami rolled their eyes as they bickered while letting the sails fall into place. Their Jolly Roger stood out proudly on their main sail. Nami smiled – she had missed that smiling skull in the strawhat.
Franky must have released the float bag and inflated the coating because the sticky gel-like substance that coated the ship was starting to rise. "The Jelly is moving!" Chopper exclaimed as the bubble coating slowly rose to his middle. The crew looked as if they were sinking in the gel, when really the layer that had been on the deck of the ship was rising. Soon enough the coating had risen enough to create a bubble roof over their heads.
Franky splashed up to the surface and pulled himself into the bubble of the ship. As he landed on the deck he called to Nami, "The float-bag has been removed. We're all ready."
Nami skimmed the instructions that Rayleigh had given her, but realized there was no need. The next step was to sink, and that was what they were doing.
The Thousand Sunny was lowering quickly in the water. With faces of awe and wonder, the ship lowered into the sea and was completely submerged. Clear blue surrounded them as they sunk. They found that the roots of the Sabaody mangroves continued into the blue depths as well, and Nami recalled that the roots were said to reach all the way down to the ocean floor, 10,000 feet down.
"Owah! That's awesome!" Luffy shouted as he pointed to the descending tree roots. Nami looked to where he pointed and saw a gigantic angel fish the size of a shark swimming nonchalantly through the maze of strange roots. "Can we eat it?"
"Sorry Luffy – I don't think that will fit in the aquarium," Sanji said while observing the fish. "Besides, angel fish don't have much meat on them."
Luffy sighed and then remembered his pack, "Oh! Hancock packed us all some food from Amazon Lily! We can eat that!"
"A-Amazon Lily?" Sanji stammered, "Isn't that the legendary Woman's Isle?"
Luffy looked up to him while unpacking all the food from his pack, "Huh? Oh, yeah. That's where I landed when we got split up. It was weird – they'd never even seen a guy before."
At this point Sanji's eyes were flaming and steam was rolling off his body, "WHAT? You got sent to an island full of beautiful women, while I got sent to hell?" Sanji dissolved into tears, but no one paid him much attention.
"They had good food," Luffy smiled.
Everyone ate on deck, watching schools of fish swim past their rapidly sinking ship. Sunlight glittered down on them from the surface, creating fluid patterns that danced on the ship. Nami vaguely wondered how deep they would be able to go before plunging into total darkness.
"So now that we're all here – where did everyone get sent?" Robin asked smoothly, her jazzy voice peeked with interest.
Luffy laughed, "Well I landed on Amazon Lilly – Hancock helped me get to Impel Down and then in the fight at Marine Ford…" Luffy's smile wavered and his eyes reflected a bad memory. Nami instinctively placed a hand on his shoulder to comfort him as he continued, "After that Rayleigh trained me on a deserted island…So what about you guys?"
Sanji interrupted, "When you say Hancock…do you mean Boa Hancock?"
"Uh-huh," Luffy nodded.
Again Sanji erupted into flames, "You befriended Boa Hancock? Gah! She's supposed to be the most beautiful woman in the world!" Sanji slouched and let his head fall into his hands, "Life is so unfair."
"Shut up dartboard-brow," Zoro scowled.
Sanji muttered harshly back, "Shitty marimo."
Usopp rolled his eyes, "Calm down guys – I'll start with my miraculous tale of transformation!" Usopp laughed and delved into his story of Boin Archipelago, the carnivorous islands where gigantic bugs ran in terror of Usopp and his mentor Heracles. Chopper and Luffy were, as usual taking in by his story, and for once it seemed like the truth – Usopp had drastically changed since their separation.
Nami went next, explaining about Weatheria the sky island, and the old weather scientists that she met there. Chopper told of his adventures on the Bird Island, while Robin gave a limited explanation of her time with the Revolutionary Army – she had been asked by Dragon himself not to expose too much of her time there. Zoro told about his training with Hawkeye, his ultimate rival, much to the awe of the others, while Franky described his time on the home island of Dr. Vegapunk. Brook came next, telling about his music career with a guitar accompaniment.
But Sanji refused to talk about his two years claiming, "It is too horrible to retell…just know that it was hell." He shivered and his blue eyes seemed to delve deep into horrid memories.
Everyone shrugged and dropped the subject.
Luffy stood up and smiled down at all of his crew, "It's good to be back, you guys. You have no idea how much I hated to split up – but I had to get stronger."
"We all did," Zoro replied stoically, "It was the right decision."
Luffy laughed and slapped Zoro on the back, "I hope we find something to fight soon! I want to see how strong everyone got!"
Hope you liked it. I'll try to update as fast as I can =)