A lone marine dinghy, manned by two, sailed the North Blue. On that clear and sunny day, anyone could tell they certainly didn't work for the World Government.
Sitting at the bow, one was dressed in an impeccable, black pinstriped, three-piece, double-breasted suit. It was further accented with a cream handkerchief in the breast pocket and similarity dyed, Windsor knotted necktie. Strangely, his facial features were mostly hidden by a cream scarf hanging from the bottom of his nose to his shoulders. The rest of it hung off his left shoulder. His eyes were obscured by round, rimless sunglasses. His short and shaggy platinum blonde hair was cut just above his shades. He possessed a healthy skin tone and would stand taller than any average man if he wasn't sitting down. He twirled a black bowler with a white band on his right index finger and starred off at the horizon, expecting something soon.
Sitting next to the rudder was a man with a confident smile and walking a coin along the back his left hand. It seemed to say that he knew more than he was letting on and was completely unworried about the situation at hand. His black duster flared behind him with every cresting wave, and his black tricorner hat protected his eyes from the sun's glare. A cutlass sat on his hip, and a pistol was holstered at his side. His pants were bound at his waist but loose enough not to hamper his movements. A white cat with turquoise spots crawled up from his pocket. It mewled adorably and pointed a paw toward the horizon.
"Ahoy, land-ho captain," Ryan said with little enthusiasm as he put on his derby. Still, he reached into his jacket and pulled out a notepad and pencil. He began to sketch the island on the horizon.
Zerje smiled from ear to ear, even more so then usual, "Good eye Coral. Ahh, there we go! Barrel Island! Finally, we can get some rum! And not just any rum, I'm talking about the rum... Brew! Best drink in all the North Blue!" His eyes darted up and to the left, his face scrunched in serious contemplation, "Scratch that. On second thought, it's the best drink in all the Four Blues! Hands down and bottoms up."
Upon quickly completing his drawing, Ryan slid his pad back under his coat. He then rested an elbow in his hand whiles he rubbed his chin through his scarf, "Should be easy to 'acquire' a ship too. Tons of pirates hang around the island just for the bars even with the Cork in the center of the island. Especially around the Brewery, home of the Brew."
Flipping the coin into his pocket, Zerje grabbed the ropes. He turned the sail to catch the wind that had suddenly decided to blow, somehow still steering the rudder with his foot, "Well, all this gum flappin' is just making me thirstier."
Ryan's stomach decided to join in with the captain's good mood with a word of its own, "And hungry. A big, juicy steak sounds good right about now."
If it was anyone but him, Zerje could swear he heard Ryan smacking his lips.
A few scant minutes later, the dinghy pulled into harbor among the many, many other ships, mainly of the pirate variety.
Ryan let out a sharp, low whistle, "I seriously underestimated the amount of pirates that would be here. It is just like a mini-Loguetown."
Zerje, on the other hand, just continued to smile broadly, "Yep, food, women, fighting and, of course, let's not forget the most important thing, booze! All these things can be had at Barrel Island. Some even at the same time." Suddenly, his smile was gone and replaced by a stern glare.
"So you noticed too?" Ryan asked. Their dinghy was attracting a lot of attention from the less reputable onlookers aboard their own ships. Sailing a marine vessel into an assortment of pirate ships had that affect.
On deck, from a ship in ahead of them, a very homely looking pirate cupped his hand around his mouth, "Oi, ya lap dogs lost or somethin'? The marine's dock be on the other side of the island!"
Coral hissed defiantly.
Zerje looked down at her, "I know you're a cat but you do like lying on laps." He couldn't help but smile, gazing back up at the pirate, "While that's nice to know, we ain't marines. We're just... 'borrowing' this for the time being."
"Though, it would be very hard to return it now and for more than a few reasons," Ryan chimed in, being directed more at Zerje then the pirate.
"Well don't be surprised if that little thing be at the bottom of the harbor when ya get back," he laughed with a high sense of self satisfaction.
Ryan quirked a brow at the statement, before Zerje interrupted the pirate's merriment while moving the dinghy closer to the ship, "In that case, we'll just make sure to borrow yours. Y'know, if that happens." He cheerfully proclaimed while giving the man his patented, toothy grin.
That cause the man to laugh even harder, "HA! Just the two of you? Oh, that's rich!"
"I do not know Zerje. I do not think we want a ship that possess a leak." Ryan said as he laid a hand just above the ship's waterline.
The pirate leaned over the railing, "Leak?" He scanned the ship's hull, "What leak?"
Ryan cocked back his fist before punching a cannonball-sized hole in the ship. "That one," he stated simply.
The pirate's eyes nearly fell out of his head, "You son of a...!"
Zerje smiled wider at his First Mate's antics, "Hey now, this is no time to get angry. You're taking on water there bucko."
The pirate ran off shouting obscenities and calling for his crew to grab the buckets.
Ryan shook his head as he sat back down, "I do not like being looked down on."
Zerje chuckled, "No one does my friend. Still, I did kinda like that ship."
Paying their two bits for a ship of such modest size to dock, both of them made a bee line to the Brewery. While the streets were busy, the two went largely unnoticed by everyone.
Now, the Brewery is just what it said on the tin, a brewery but not just any plain old one. It was a brewery with an inn connected directly to it and a large one at that. All the workers, in their off time, received free alcohol. While Brew was the most popular, it was the not the only drink they made. Alcoholics from all Four Blues moved there when they heard that sweet deal. It was like a dream come true. As long as they didn't drink on the job, they got to their employment. Even they weren't dumb enough to ruin the perfect gig for a bit of the grog. It was owned and run by Benjamin Brew XXIII, his forefather discovered the local sugarcane that lead to Brew's inevitable concoction. It boast the highest proof in all Four Blues.
The double swing doors swung as the two made their entrance, Zerje immediately headed for the bar, slamming down some beli, "Hey Gus, the usual!" Gus was a stout and grizzled barman; scruffy, well-muscled, bald, round nose, beady eyes and chained smoked cigars, "Yo Guv, back aga'n I see. One Brew comin' up!" He turned around, picking one of the hundred or so off the shelves.
"Mau," Coral purred as she leaped onto the bar.
"And a saucer of milk," Gus chuckled. He thumbed to Ryan who joined him at the bar removing his derby "And your mate?"
"Uh, just some of that milk and an orange juice... both on the rocks."
Time seemed to stop for a moment as all eyes were on Ryan. You do not simply go to the Brewery, let alone the bar and not order a drink fitting of its majesty. Undaunted by the onlookers, Ryan continued, "And the biggest steak you have, medium rare and a half dozen eggs, sunny side up."
Nostalgia washed over the seasoned bartender. It was like the first time he met Zerje all over again. The regular customers who ordered a bottle of Brew and large orders were, well... Bigger. Watching Zerje slam a whole bottle of the stuff for the first time nearly floored the bartender. He wouldn't have believed it if he wasn't standing right there when it happened.
Gus shrugged, "You got it chum."
"Normally, I would say it is too early to drink but...," Ryan paused and looked around the bar. "I do not think that matters here."
"Right you are matey. Most of these clowns don't even know what time it is anyway," Zerje remarked before continuing to down his Brew.
After a few minutes at the bar, they were joined by a trio of homely individuals dressed in the typical pirate attire. They mostly gathered around Ryan. "Oi, that be a fancy suit ya got there. Don'tcha ya think yer in the wrong bar? All smartly dressed and not orderin' any grog."
Ryan turned his head to the speaker, his face showing no signs of anything, "No." Then he took a swig of his iced milk.
They were slightly taken back by his indignation but before they could act, Gus returned with Ryan's order and two extra plates, "Brought you some chips too mate. Can't go havin' steak and eggs wif out'em." He placed the other next to the saucer of milk, "And some fish for Lucky." She purred gratefully.
The pirates took a seat next to Ryan, each of them grinning, "That be a lot of food fer a little guy like you."
Gus would swear Ryan was drooling behind his scarf as he raised his fork. His eyes flickered to the side behind his sunglasses. A pirate's hand was a little close to his plate for Ryan's comfort. Zerje watched as Ryan skewered the pirate's hand with his pronged utensil and left it there. He then proceeded to reach into his jacket and took out a fork, "Never touch a hungry man's meal. Ever!"
"Wait, you carry a fork with you?" Zerje couldn't help but inquire with a quizzical smile.
Ryan nodded, "Yes, why?"
Zerje shrugged with a grin, "No reason."
Before Ryan could dig in, the pirate dislodged the fork with a grunt. Then proceeded to thrust it in Ryan's general direction, "You son of a..."
"You kiss your mother with that mouth?" Ryan quickly cut him off with a punch straight to the mouth. The pirate was accelerated into his friends and they were sent spiraling into the wall
Gus slapped his hands on the bar, pointing to a sign behind him, "Oi, can't ya blokes read! Zerje, control your mate would ya? That or I'mma gonna haf to call the bouncer."
No Fighting! Take it to The Pit!
Zerje nodded, gesturing a mock salute, "Can do." He turned to his First Mate, noting that somehow he already cleaned his plate and emptied his cups, polished off his own, "Ah! Man that hit the spot! Now, normally, I would say you have to take any further business likes that downstairs. But, since you already knock them out anyway, I think they'll let it slide just this once."
"Sorry, it will not happen again," Ryan said as he wiped off his mouth behind his scarf with his handkerchief.
Suddenly, the double swing doors were knocked off their hinges, toppling a few tables and drunkards, as a mountain of a man ducked through the door way. Tan trousers, brown boots, and an olive green duster with no under shirt and he shouldered a large wooden mallet. A simple attire, that perfectly accented the look on his face.
An all too familiar face came out from behind him and pointed to the bar, "That's them boss! The one in the suit did it!"
Gus shrugged, raising his hands palm up, "That's it! Callin' the bouncer. Gettin' too old fer this me thinks." He proceeded to press a button hidden under the bar.
In the back, where the actually brewery could be found, a den-den mushi started to vibrate loudly in an office. An old man, dressed in the typical factory attire of a yellow hard hat, blue overalls and white shirt, silenced it from his chair. He stood up, exited his office and approached the guard railing. He took a deep breath before yelling at the top of his lungs over the machinery, "KAITO!"
A much younger man, dressed in the same uniform except he also wore a green boiler suit, safety goggles and respirator mask poked his head above the machines on the ground floor. His soft, green eyes could be seen through the goggles. He lowered his mask, revealing his strong facial features and jaw, "Yeah da... Err, boss?"
His father thumbed behind himself, "Gus has some trash that needs taken out up front."
Kaito grinned from ear to ear as he unzipped his suit while discarding his helmet and goggles, revealing his short, dirty blonde hair, "On it!" With a strong gust of wind, he leaped up to the railing and out the door.
The hammer wielding captain stepped up to the bar, "I'm..."
"Captain Hammer, of the Hammer Pirates," Ryan interrupted without turning around.
"Bounty of 10,000,000," Zerje finished.
Hammer blinked a few times in surprise before trying to continue, "Well..."
"You would like revenge for your ship, correct?" Ryan ended.
Hammer slumped his shoulder, looking a little defeated, "Well, yeah and..."
Zerje pointed over to the trio of unconscious pirates, "Those guys too I'm guessing. They look like the type of wannabes that would follow you around." The Hammer pirates followed his finger to the pile. One tertiary crew member spoke up, "They got'em already!"
"Yes and I must say your men can be very rude," Ryan quipped, the irony of the situation lost on him at the moment. Though, not the face fallen drunkards who heard it.
Practically fuming, Hammer smashed his mallet into two promptly vacated seats at the bar. "Enough!"
Having slipped to the side, Zerje thumbed at captain angry, "I think I see where they got it from."
"It appears that he cannot read either," remarked Ryan next to Zerje, donning his derby.
Finally, having blown a gasket, Hammer fumed, "Oh, that's it!" He motioned his weapon toward the two, "Get'em boys!"
Without warning, a voice rung out, "Bifuu." A large gust of wind knocked all the Hammer pirates end over end, excluding the captain who weathered the storm. Kaito stepped into the light, hand still extended at his target, "Hey now, two versus a lot ain't fair in my book. Either take it to the Pit or take it up with me and trust me, you don't wanna do that." He was already gathering wind between his hands, shaping it into a sphere.
Hammer growled, "Damn it! I don't care if you did eat a devil fruit. I'm gonna bust your head, then I'm gonna bus..."
"Kaze Dama," once again, Hammer was interrupted by what must have felt like a cannonball to the gut as he was hurled out the entrance.
Zerje let out a sharp whistle, followed by a brief applaud, "Nice work." He gave his patented, never fail, winningest smile, "Ever think about being a pirate?"
To be continued...
Next time, on Log of the Grinning Shadow Pirates...
?: What in tarnation?
?: I say, isn't this a bit of a sticky wicket?
?: Look at the scum. Happy that it managed to defeat some other scum.
Put a Cork in It! (Barrel Island, Part II)
Zerje: When we win, we get a ship and the bounty for Hammer. For supplies... and other necessities.
Terms and Attacks:
Bifuu - Obviously Japanese, meaning Gentle Breeze. A simple and quick gust of wind that can reach hurricane force speed! Of course the name is little bit of a joke that his enemies do not find funny.
Kaze Dama - Japanese again, meaning Wind Ball. Compressing wind in into a spiral sphere of... Is any of this sounding familiar? Though, as you read, it can be used at a range and is pretty fast too.
So... first published fanfic ever. Therefore, be as honest as you need to be so I can get better at this.
Is it strange that the two starting characters didn't get any real action? Oh, don't worry, this only part one.
EDIT: Went back, made the tense consistent and cleared some things up (hopefully...)
skatherhead42 - Yay! I got my hooks in someone. It's a good feeling. The chapter four should be up by the middle of July at the latest.