Another Nakama III
Summary: There's another pirate on board the Going Merry. Follow the Straw Hat Pirates as they continue their voyage along the Grand Line and journey to an island in the sky and take on a God.
'One Eye' Ricky Treasure Hunter Extraordinaire stood in the front of the entrance to an old stone temple and studied the map that had brought him there.
"This is the place," he noted, "Now to find that treasure." Ricky rolled the map up and stuffed it in the bottom right pants pocket and entered the dark temple.
Ricky warily made his way down a dark hallway until suddenly… CLICK! Ricky leapt back in alarm when one of the tiles he stepped on gave way. FWOOOSH! Ricky tensed but relaxed when the wall-mounted torches that lined the hallway suddenly lit up and flooded the hallway with light. Ricky looked down and saw that the tile his right foot was on had sunk downward and had probably turned on the lights.
"Well that's a relief," Ricky remarked. "I've heard rumors that some old temples are outfitted with booby-traps." Ricky continued onward down the hallway.
CLICK! Another tile sank down. CHUCK-CHUCK-CHUCK-CHUCK! Ricky looked around him as small holes suddenly appeared in the walls. CHOO-CHOO-CHOO-CHOO-CHOO! A volley of red-tipped darts came flying out of the opened holes at Ricky. "I hate irony. Speed Step!" ZZOOOOM! Ricky kicked off of the floor and sped down the hallway at an incredible breakneck speed.
CHOO-CHOO-CHOO-CHOO-CHOO! Red-tipped darts continued to fly out of the holes lining the walls but Ricky was moving too fast and managed to stay ahead of the volley of firing darts that couldn't hope to keep up with his fast movements. SKIISSSSHH! A mere second later, Ricky skidded to a stop at the other end of the hallway and dove through the doorway into another part of the temple.
The first thing Ricky noticed about this room was that the lights were on in here too. The second was that there were no darts firing at him. The third was the long flight of steps that was ahead of him and seemed to lead upward.
Ricky began his journey up the stairs. They just seemed to go straight up and seemed unending. The light in the doorway was long gone and now Ricky was left climbing the stairs in almost total darkness.
After going up what felt like three hundred steps, Ricky stopped and looked upwards his eye had grown accustomed to the darkness and he was hoping to see the end of the stairs. But his limited depth perception kept him from seeing anything.
Krek-krek… KROOOSH! The stone step Ricky was standing on suddenly grumbled out from under him. SHOO… Ricky dropped downward but managed to catch himself by grabbing onto the next step. WHAP!
Ricky looked down and he didn't need depth perception to know that he didn't want to fall into the seemingly unending pit below him. Krek-krek-krek… Ricky stared in shock as the stair he was clinging to started cracking. WHING! He quickly flung himself up into the air and landed a couple steps up just as the stair broke and fell downward.
Ricky started running up the staircase. "The stairs must be rigged so they can't support a great deal of weight for a period of time that's longer than a couple seconds," he reasoned. "But if I keep moving so I'm not on any of them for too long then I can keep them from cracking underneath me."
Knowing that he still had to come back out after he found the treasure, Ricky moved as swiftly as possible so he could keep as many stairs intact as possible. There was a light somewhere up above him. Ricky kept racing towards it and eventually he reached the top of the stairs.
Ricky walked off of the last step and found himself standing on a stone platform that was suspended from the ceiling using and using a length of chain from each of the corners. The little bit of sunlight that drifted through a crack in the ceiling told him that he was now at the very top of the temple.
"Well that's a relief," Ricky remarked. "Now I don't have to take the stairs again. I'll just climb up and out."
Ricky glanced around the platform and a sly grin appeared on his face when he spotted a treasure chest situated in the middle of it. He approached the chest, careful not to step on any more triggers but when he reached it he found that the chest was locked.
Ricky scoffed at the weak final attempt at stopping him, he reached into his top left pocket and pulled out his wallet of gem crafting tools and lock picks. He stuck two of the picks in the lock and got to work.
CLICK! The lock popped opened and Ricky lifting the lid of the chest and found a solid gold tablet inside. "This is it." Ricky reached in and turned it over. The tablet read:
'QPython does not own One Piece or any of the related characters just the original characters that appear in this version of the story.'
"There, we've got a disclaimer," Ricky resolved. "Now we can start the story."
How was that for a disclaimer? It's the first installment of a series called Disclaimer Hunts that I plan to introduce this story. Expect a new one every ten chapters or so. If they're well received I'll include them in future stories. If not, just skim through them like any other disclaimer. I still mark the start of each chapter with my usual -x- symbol and the chapter title. Anyway, enjoy the first chapter of Another Nakama III and also the first chapter of original story arc.
The sun was shining down from overhead onto the Going Merry as it continued its voyage along the Grand Line. Ricky stood in front of Chopper with his shirt off and was attempting to teach his newest brother a new technique.
"Go ahead, gimme your best shot," Ricky prompted his younger brother.
Chopper transformed into his big Heavy Point form, "Are you sure about this?" he asked.
"Of course," Ricky replied, "Go ahead. I'm ready for you."
"HEAVY GONG!" Chopper lashed out and swung at Ricky's chest.
"Steel Shield!" Ricky's chest and abdominal muscles tensed as the powerful blow connected. WHAM! Ricky skidded backwards but stopped himself and across from Chopper unharmed. "See? I withstood it."
"Yeah, but you also used it to withstand a bullet," Chopper pointed out. "And now that I think about it… you used that to block that point-blank cannon blast from Wapol, didn't you?"
"That's right," Ricky confirmed, "And that's why I wanted to teach it to you. It's a solid defensive technique."
"But I've got Guard Point for that," Chopper reminded him.
"I remember," Ricky stated. "Those Rumble Balls of yours are pure genius." Chopper beamed. "But they only last for three minutes. What happens when you're in a fight and you run out of time? I think it would be useful to know a defensive technique that you could use in one of your three base forms so you could fight without resorting to using or overdosing on Rumble Balls."
Chopper frowned when he thought of the side-effects of using two Rumble Balls in the span of a day then shivered when he recalled what happened if he used three.
"I guess I can see how it would be useful," Chopper reasoned.
"I taught myself this technique back when I was young out of necessity so I could survive training with Luffy and Ace, who were and still are both a great deal stronger than me," Ricky recounted. "But it wasn't until I became a member of the Whitebeard Pirates and trained with the Third Division Commander Jozu who hits really hard that I developed it to the point where I can withstand bullets and cannon blasts."
"And you think I can do that?" Chopper asked.
"Chopper, I expect you to do more than that," Ricky told him. "To use the technique I tense the muscles in my chest and abdomen and make them hard enough to withstand the attacks. In your Heavy Point form you're bigger than me, heavier than me, and more muscular than I am. If you can harden all those big heavy muscles I fully expect you to surpass me in this technique."
"You really think so?" Chopper questioned.
"Of course," Ricky assured him. "Now here's what I want you to do…"
Across the deck, Nami was sitting on a lounge chair with a book in her lap. Although she hadn't turned a page since Ricky took his shirt off. She tore her eyes away from Ricky and Chopper's training when she noticed their newest Nakama Nico Robin approaching.
"Hey Robin," Nami greeted her, attempting to be friendly.
"Hello Miss. Navigator," came Robin's rather formal reply. "Enjoying yourself?"
"Oh yeah," Nami answered, "It's always nice relaxing with a good book."
Robin glanced at the navigator's book and raised an elegant eyebrow, "You know, I'd be more tempted to believe you if that book weren't upside down."
"Eep!" Nami squeaked and blushed when she looked down and saw that her book was indeed upside down. Knowing that she'd been caught, Nami quickly attempted to flee the scene. She slipped out of her chair and headed for her room.
Robin smiled and claimed the navigator's abandoned chair but couldn't help hearing the girl mutter to herself as she stalked off.
"She takes my room, my clothes, my chair, my books. Why am I loaning out all of my stuff?"
Robin glanced down at the black skirt she was 'borrowing' from Nami. It was actually one of the girl's longer ones. She decided against wearing a short skirt like Nami was currently wearing considering she was a good eight inches taller than the younger girl and for her to wear such a short skirt would be obscene.
"I didn't realize it bothered you so much," Robin called after her. "Perhaps I could borrow some clothing from Mr. One Eye? He appears be a fair bit taller than you, perhaps it would fit better. But then I would have literally gotten into his pants before you."
Nami spun around and looked both embarrassed and angry at the same time, "Don't you dare!" she growled before she turned back around and stomped off to her room.
Robin stared after her for a moment. Apparently, paying her off hadn't convinced the younger girl to be as accepting as she had first thought. She could faintly hear the sound of shouting coming from the galley.
"YOU STRETCHY BASTARD!" Sanji yelled at Luffy who was standing next to an annoyed-looking Usopp. "That was a treat for my lovely Miss. Nami and the exquisite Miss. Robin! You had no right to eat it!"
"But you just left it on the table!" Luffy protested.
"THAT DOESN'T MEAN IT'S FOR YOU!" Sanji snapped then the cook rounded on Usopp, "AND HOW COULD YOU LET HIM!"
"You spend all your time making fancy treats for Nami and Robin!" Usopp complained. "The food you give to the rest of us if practically slop compared to it! And I didn't let him eat it! He always eats everything! He wolfed it so fast that I didn't even get any!"
"Then what am I supposed to eat?" Luffy asked. "You guys put locks on the refrigerator and the storage room where we keep all the meat!"
"We put the lock there because we didn't want you to eat it!" Sanji countered. "If we didn't stop you, you'd eat all our food and we'd starve! EVEN WORSE! MISS. NAMI AND MISS. ROBIN WOULD STARVE!"
"I'm the Captain!" Luffy exclaimed. "I order you to take the locks off and give me meat!"
"Well I'm the cook and I say NO!" Sanji argued. "If you ate it all there'd be nothing left for Miss. Nami and Miss. Robin!"
"I'm not gonna stand here and get yelled at when Luffy's the one who ate it all!" Usopp announced. "I'd gladly accept the blame if I had actually gotten to eat some but not when it's once again Luffy's fault!" Usopp stomped out of the galley and went down the stairs to the deck. He spotted Ricky and Chopper training and Robin occupying the lounge chair that Nami had previously been sitting in.
Usopp climbed the rungs on the main mast up to the crow's nest and found their faithful lookout Zoro… fast asleep.
"HEY! WAKE UP!" Usopp shouted rousing the swordsman from his slumber.
"Huh?" Zoro grunted. "I'm up… I'm up..."
"You're supposed to be the lookout!" Usopp reminded him. "What're you looking out for when you're sleeping?"
"I'm not sleeping now," Zoro pointed out.
"That's only because I woke you up you lazy bum!" Usopp snapped. "You don't take responsibility for anything on the ship!"
"Hey, watch it," Zoro protested. This was not what he needed right after waking up.
"Watch what?" Usopp demanded. "You're not watching anything! I'd be a better lookout than you if I was blind!"
"Then you do it then," Zoro suggested.
"Alright, I will!" Usopp decided.
"Why's everyone so worked up today?" Ricky wondered as he and Chopper stopped training at the sounds of yet another heated conflict between their crewmates.
"How should I know… stingy jerk," Chopper replied. Ricky and Robin both raised an eyebrow at the insult and turned to the reindeer and saw him attempting to glare at Ricky and look tough.
"Chopper, just because the rest of them are arguing doesn't mean we have to," Ricky stated.
"Oh, sorry," Chopper apologized as he sheepishly as he rubbed the back of his head with hoof.
"I suppose some days are better than others with every crew… even this one," Robin reasoned to herself. "Such different people can't be expected to get along all the time."
"I SEE AN ISLAND!" Usopp shouted about an hour later. "LAND HO!" Usopp turned to Zoro who had gone back to sleeping in the crow's nest and grinned. "HA! I've only been keeping lookout for an hour and I spotted an island that a lazy bum like you couldn't even hope to!"
"Yeah, you sure showed me," Zoro half-heartedly agreed without even bothering to sit up and see the island Usopp had apparently spotted. The swordsman stifled a yawn and readjusted his position as he laid sprawled out in the bottom of the crow's nest and promptly closed his eyes.
The rest of the Straw Hats gathered on the deck and stared off the front of the ship at the tiny dot on the horizon that their sharp-eyed sniper had managed to spot.
"Wow, I can't even see an island," Ricky confessed as he stared off the front of the ship once again cursing his lack of depth perception and long distance vision.
"No need to thank me," Usopp boasted. "Just doing what I do best."
"I believe that's Bonsatsu Island," Robin stated from her lounge chair. "It's known for the large temple that overlooks the entire island."
"Gah!" Ricky yelped and flinched when he noticed a now familiar blue eye on his shoulder.
"How would you know?" Nami inquired as she glanced back at their new archeologist.
"Well, I've never been there before," Robin admitted, "but while I was in Baroque Works I made a point to know all the islands around Sandy Island along with their different characteristics. The next island according to the Log Pose heading we're following should be Bonsatsu Island. And I believe I read somewhere that it's a Spring Island so you won't need to dress differently like in Alabasta or Drum Kingdom."
"Oh Miss. Robin, your intelligence knows no bounds!" Sanji swooned. He spun over to Robin and offered her a platter with two fancy drinks on it. "Due to complications in the kitchen…" Sanji glared at Luffy, "I was unable to prepare a snack for you as I'd hoped. Please accept this beverage as a substitute."
"Thank you Mr. Cook," Robin formally replied as she took one of the glasses knowing the other was for Nami.
"I also brought an extra straw!" Sanji added, "I thought that perhaps you'd like to share?"
"Maybe next time Mr. Cook," Robin politely declined.
Sanji turned to face Nami and held out the plate then opened his mouth to give her the same offer but Nami cut him off and took her drink before he even had a chance to say anything.
"Thanks Sanji," Nami said simply before she started barking orders, "Ricky! Usopp! Raise the sails! We'll let the sea currant carry us in. And would somebody wake up Zoro!"
"Aye-aye," Ricky agreed as he headed off to carry out his task.
"What's a temple?" Chopper asked as he hung on the front railing next to Luffy who was as usual in his special seat on the Going Merry's sheep figure head.
"I dunno," Luffy replied. "Maybe it's a place with tasty meat."
"If it were up to you every place would have meat," Chopper felt like he needed to point out.
Luffy's eyes went wide, "THAT'D BE AMAZING!"
A little bit later, the sea currant had carried the Going Merry right up to the shore. The pirates dropped anchor and stepped out onto the shore that was made up of dark rocky sand which soon gave way to grass. It was truly as Spring Island as further inland was a forest of healthy green trees with a handful of them sporting cherry blossoms that made Chopper's eyes go wide in wonder.
The forest surrounded a large strangely-shaped mountain that seemed to be the focal point of the entire island. The mountain side was so steep that it appeared to be a cliff. A set of stone steps had been carved in it and led up to a flat area. Inward from that was another steep cliff-like segment of mountain with a staircase carved into it. This went on for another three segments until the fifth staircase led to the flat top of the mountain on top of the fifth cliff segment.
Built on the top of the mountain was a large temple. The intricate details of the structure couldn't be made out from so far away at the bottom of the mountain but it appeared as though it wasn't made entirely out of stone which meant that the inhabitants of the island weren't completely primitive. In short, it looked like an old Aztec temple. And with the way the large temple loomed on top of the pyramid-like mountain it was clear that the temple's occupants could see everything on the island from up above.
"WHOOOOAAA!" Luffy gasped. "I bet they've got all sorts of fancy food up there!"
"Don't be stupid Luffy," Nami scolded him. "Temples aren't known for their food, they're known for holding untold secrets and treasures." She turned and prodded Ricky, "Right?"
"I do sense a fair amount of valuables up there," Ricky admitted, "but if they're in a temple it probably belongs to the people of the island. It wouldn't feel right taking anything from it."
"Still, there's no harm of going up there to take a look," Nami pointed out. "Maybe they don't want it?" Ricky gave her a look that asked if she actually believed that.
"YEEEAAH!" Luffy cheered. "LET'S GO ON AN ADVENTURE! AND EAT!"
"Right!" Usopp exclaimed, "This'll be yet another great adventure to add to the tales of Captain Usopp Brave Warrior of the Sea!"
"MIIISS NAAAAMIIIII!" Sanji practically sang, "After much delay, your snack if finally ready! I'd be happy to carry you up the mountain and share it with you when we reach the top!"
"Oh, thanks Sanji," Nami half-heartedly replied before glancing at Ricky.
"I don't hold much stake in temples," Ricky admitted, "If it's all the same to you guys, I think I'll just explore the bottom part of the island and see if I can find any villages."
"Perhaps I could come with you, Mr. One Eye?" Robin requested.
"Really?" Ricky asked. "Isn't history your area of expertise? I figured you'd be one of the first to want to explore the temple."
"I would like to see it as some point," Robin replied, "but I'd prefer asking the inhabitants of the island what kind of temple it is so I'd know what to prepare for. Besides, Miss. Navigator has expressed concerns with me wearing her clothing. I thought that perhaps if I accompanied you to a village that I could purchase some clothing of my own."
"Oh, okay then," Ricky agreed. Nami frowned at thought of them spending more time alone but kept from objecting when she thought of the treasures that might be waiting at the temple.
"Like One Eye, I don't hold much stake in temples," Zoro stated. "I think I'll sit this one out and guard the ship."
Usopp leaned over to Sanji and whispered, "I bet the lazy bum falls asleep the second we leave."
"Hey Chopper, what do you wanna do?" Luffy asked the doctor.
Chopper glanced at the groups that had formed. Luffy, Nami, Usopp, and Sanji seemed to want to explore the temple. Ricky and Robin were going to be looking for a village. And Zoro had volunteered to 'guard' the ship.
"I still don't really know what a temple is," Chopper confessed. "And honestly, I'm more interested in seeing those cherry blossoms." Chopper looked over at Ricky and Robin, "Could we travel through the forest to find the village?"
"I don't see why not, Mr. Doctor," Robin told him with a faint smile.
"Right then," Ricky resolved. "Let's try to meet back around here at the ship by sunset."
"BYE GUYS!" Luffy called out. "Hey Usopp, I bet I can beat you to the top!"
"Yeah right!" Usopp scoffed. "There's no way you can beat me without stretching!"
And so the Straw Hats split up with Luffy, Nami, Usopp, and Sanji headed up towards the temple while Ricky, Chopper, and Robin searched for a village and Zoro stayed back at the ship and kept a diligent and careful watch. Anyone believe that? Don't. He went right back to sleep.
High up above them in the temple that overlooked the entire island, a man wearing a loose hooded cloak sat alone in a dark room.
Light spilled into the dark room and a thin man in a pale gray robe stood in the opened doorway, "High Priest Nagai," the man called out to the occupant of the room. "We've spotted a pirate ship on the shore."
"Pirates?" the cloaked man repeated in an oily voice. "Dispatch the patrol into the villages and have the sentries keep a look out. Once we know who we're dealing with gather the others and prepare to depart…" The light from the door illuminated the sinister smile on the man's face. "Then let us go and welcome our new guests."
Chopper stared in wonder at the cherry blossoms as he, Ricky, and Robin journeyed through the forest surrounding the mountain in search of a village. Chopper walked between Ricky and Robin in his Brain Point form with his neck craned back so he could see every pink-coated tree.
"I take it you're fond of cherry blossoms," Robin noted, the reindeer's awe and fascination was plain as day.
"His father's life's work was finding a way to make cherry blossoms bloom in a land of snow," Ricky replied.
"But wasn't it just pink snow?" Robin questioned.
"Hey, don't knock the miracle," Ricky scolded her.
Robin shrugged, an arm sprouted out of one of the branches above them and plucked a cherry blossom from a tree and tossed it downward. Robin deftly caught the cherry blossom then offered it to Chopper, "There you go."
"Thanks," Chopper took the offered cherry blossom and carefully held it between his hooves. He glanced up and saw Robin smiling down at him. Having the still mysterious woman with her attention solely focused on him made him nervous. The reindeer quickly slipped behind Ricky and 'peaked' out from behind him at Robin.
"Eh-hem," Ricky cleared his throat, "Wrong way Chopper." The reindeer quickly adjusted himself so he was properly peaking. Ricky turned to Robin, "Don't worry, he'll come around. And hopefully the others will too. Just give them a chance to get to know you a little."
Robin nodded and the trio continued onward through the forest. Until the silence was eventually broken by Chopper when his blue nose started twitching, SNIFF! SNIFF! "I think I smell something up ahead!"
"It could be the village we're searching for," Robin reasoned.
"Lead on, Chopper," Ricky urged the reindeer.
Chopper transformed into his Walk Point reindeer form and led the way through the trees towards the source of whatever he had smelled.
"I'M COMING FOOD!" Luffy shouted as he practically flew up the second flight of stone steps. He was taking Usopp's challenge seriously and was racing up the mountain steps without stretching.
"Slow… down…" Usopp wheezed. Even without stretching, Luffy was still a great deal faster than him. The sniper had gotten tired trying to keep up with Luffy as they ran through the forest to the mountain. Halfway up the first staircase he'd stopped running and was now lagging behind Sanji who was happily carrying Nami on his back.
"Serves you right for trying to keep up with him," Sanji reprimanded the winded sniper.
"Shut… up…" Usopp gasped.
"Both of you quiet down," Nami instructed as she glanced up at the staircases above them. "We're being watched."
"How… do you… know?" Usopp asked.
BONK! Sanji spun around and hit Usopp on the head with his heel. "How dare you question Miss. Nami! Miss. Nami's always right when it comes to matters like this!"
"Sanji, quiet," Nami hissed.
"Yes, Miss. Nami," Sanji quickly agreed.
"They probably won't be able to hear us over Luffy's screaming but I want to be safe," Nami stated. "I think they've got sentries stations on the upper levels of the mountain. If they're watching us from up there then that means they can see our ship too. Most islands don't exactly welcome pirates. And I think you remember what happened on the island we went to that did."
Despite being asleep for most of it, Usopp and Sanji had been brought up to speed on what had happened at Whisky Peak and now remembered it.
"If they judge us based on Luffy then they'll just think we're idiots," Nami reasoned. "They'll underestimate us and that'll give us an advantage, so don't do anything to make them think otherwise. We'll never get any of their valuables if they think we're hostile."
"I should've known… you had an… ulterior motive!" Usopp accused her. "Greedy…"
"Watch it Long Nose," Sanji growled. "Don't you dare badmouth Miss. Nami or you'll end up taking a tumble down the stairs."
Usopp flinched, he wasn't sure what he was more worried about. Sanji's threat of the prospect of having to climb all the way back up again if the cook carried it out. Of course, he was too proud to actually act intimidated.
"Ha!" Usopp scoffed. "You wouldn't dare… your 'lovely Miss. Nami'… just told to make sure we… don't appear hostile! You kick me… and that goes out the window… and Nami'll get mad at you… Don't mess with the Mighty Captain Usopp!"
"I'M ALMOST THERE MEAT!" Luffy yelled, now a full staircase ahead of his Nakama.
"I guess this is the village," Ricky stated as he, Chopper, and Robin came out into a clearing in the forest where they found a collection of houses and stores. But the odd thing was that the entire village was surrounded by a large wall.
"D-do you think there are scary m-monsters that they're trying to k-keep out?" Chopper asked.
"Maybe they're trying to keep people in," Robin suggested.
"If that's the case, I've got a bad feeling about this," Ricky remarked.
"Should we go in anyway?" Robin inquired.
"I wanna know what's going on here," Ricky admitted.
"Then I'd suggested scaling the wall," Robin advised. An eye grew out of the wall around the corner from them. She spotted two men standing around a heavy metal door. "The official entrance is around the corner. They probably expect people to come from the shore instead of through the forest like we did. But the door's guarded. If we don't want to stand out we'll have to enter from here."
"Sounds good to me," Ricky replied. He hooked his arm around Chopper's waist then leapt over the wall in one big jump. SKISH!
Robin grew a chain of arms out of the top of the wall and grabbed a hold of the last one then pulled herself over the wall and dropped down on the other side next to Ricky. TMP!
"Robin," Ricky said as they stood there and observed the villagers. "I think we're going to be standing out anyway."
"Indeed," Robin agreed. Everyone in the village was wearing uniform gray robes. No one appeared happy and some looked nervous. "Something tells me I won't be able to find any suitable clothing here. They don't seem to have much of a variety when it comes to fashion."
"Why's everyone like this?" Chopper asked as he surveyed the subdue people.
"I don't know," Ricky answered. "But I want to find out. If we're going to stand out anyway, we might as well get some information."
"I thought you said there'd be sentries on the upper levels," Usopp whispered to Nami as he and Sanji made their way up the third set of steps. Luffy was way up ahead of them and was nearly at the top. Each set of steps had over a hundred individual stairs. Rushing up them would result in them being exhausted when they finally reached the top and if the people awaiting them at the top were actually enemies that'd be a bad situation to be in.
"I did," Nami confirmed.
"Then why haven't we seen anybody yet?" Usopp asked.
"That only makes it creepier," Sanji stated. Despite the fact that he was still carrying Nami up the stairs, he was now incredibly serious. "If they're withdrawing their sentries as we get closer then that means they're waiting for us to get to the top."
"Then that means…" Usopp realized.
"An ambush," Nami finished for him.
"And Luffy's running right into it," Sanji pointed out as they stared up the mountain after their wayward Captain.
"I'M ALMOST THERE MEAT! HOLD ON!" Luffy shouted. "All these stairs are making me even hungrier!"
Ricky, Chopper, and Robin felt everyone's eyes on them as they ventured through the village. A hushed whisper of 'outsiders' went through the crowd of warily watching gray-clothed villagers.
Ricky led the way into what appeared to be a bar.
"This isn't the time for a drink," Robin told him.
"Bartenders tend to know the most about what's going on around them," Ricky replied. "I know that I did when I was a bartender. Other than the village outcast, a bartender is the best source for information."
"You were a bartender?" Chopper asked. He, Ricky, and Robin entered the bar and took seats on stools at the counter.
"My mother died when I was three so my Aunt raised me for six years in her tavern," Ricky explained. "Bartending comes easy to me and I was working as one when I first met Nami and Zoro."
Ricky looked across the bar at the timid-looking bartender. He had messy gray hair and a weary look in his eyes.
"Are you just gonna stand there staring at us?" Ricky questioned. "Or can we get drinks?"
"There's no point," the bartender answered, "they'll come for you before you can finish. They're probably already on their way."
"Who's coming for us then?" Ricky inquired.
"The Priest Police," the bartender explained. "They serve High Priest Nagai and his men. The High Priest and his forces capture all the outsiders. And once they've been caught, they're never seen again."
"If he's making people disappear he doesn't sound like a very religious priest," Robin noted.
"He's terrible," the bartender whispered. "He rules on high in the temple at the top of the mountain. He and his men see everything. We can't go against him, he and his men keep getting stronger with every batch outsiders that they capture." Chopper let out a soft whimper.
"Well that's too bad," Ricky said, "Our friends are heading up to the temple right now."
"Then your friends are in terrible danger!" the bartender hissed. "And so are you!"
"You in the bar!" a voice called from outside, "Come out now! We know you're in there!"
"They've come for you," the bartender warned them before he disappeared into the back.
"I suppose we should go see what all the fuss is about," Ricky reasoned.
"D-do we have to?" Chopper stammered.
"These people are all scared of that High Priest Nagai guy," Ricky reminded him. "We need to be brave from them so we can help them."
"We just got here," Robin pointed out, "Why are you already set on helping them?"
"I don't like the idea of people lording power over others and breaking their spirits," Ricky told her. "And if our friends are in danger, then I'm going to fight against it."
Chopper stared at Ricky then suddenly thought of Wapol and how he had mistreated the citizens of Drum Kingdom for so many years. Chopper frowned, he wasn't going to let the same thing continued to happen here. The reindeer transformed into his Heavy Point form and stood up next to Ricky.
"I'm with you," Chopper announced as he clenched his fists.
"Well if you're both determined, I suppose I'll go along with it," Robin decided as she rose to her feet as well.
Ricky nodded then together the three pirates walked to the door and exited the bar.
They were greeted by the sight of a large group of men wearing white robes. But unlike the gray robes that the villagers wore the white robes looked fresh and new. At the head of the group stood a man with a white kimono-style top and loose green hakama pants. His eyes and hair were pale green and etched on his forehead was the kanji for 'Kindness'.
"My name is Jitsu, I am the Captain of High Priest Nagai's Priest Police," the green man introduced himself. "You three pirates will have to turn yourselves in and come with us."
"On what grounds?" Ricky asked.
"Piracy is a crime," Captain Jitsu stated, "But first and foremost, High Priest Nagai wants all outsiders brought to him. It makes no difference to me if your resist us, you'll just be brought before him in a weakened condition."
Robin and Chopper turned to the side as the Priest Police spread out and surrounded them.
"Well since we are pirates," Ricky pointed out, "We're naturally going to resist you." Ricky drew his sword Akaikyuuketsuki, Chopper punched one of his big fists into the other, and Robin crossed her arms across her chest and prepared her Devil Fruit Powers.
Robin stiffened in surprise when she suddenly felt something on her back and looked over her shoulder to see Ricky and Chopper standing with their backs to her each staring in a different direction. Normally in a fight like this, Robin would grow an eye on her back and literally watch her own back. But now Ricky and Chopper had her covered without even being asked.
"So this is what it's like to have friends," Robin thought to herself as she and her new Nakama prepared for battle. "It's nice."
"I'M HERE FOR FOOD!" Luffy shouted as he finally stood at the top of the mountain.
Before him stood a large temple, it was made up of three enormous stories with the upper stories being slightly smaller than the one below. The temple had deep red walls and gray roof that had a high point and four pointed corners on each floor. Out in front, two tall red columns framed a pair of large double doors were each twenty feet high.
Luffy marched up to the doors and pounded on them. BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! "OPEN UP! I'M HUNGRY!"
"Luffy, stop making a racket!" Sanji complained as he, Nami, and Usopp finally reached the top.
"Oh, there you guys are!" Luffy exclaimed as he turned around and spotted his crew. "Hey Usopp, I beat you without stretching!"
"That's because I pulled something while running through the forest," Usopp lied, "I stopped running so I didn't make it worse. If I hadn't hurt myself then I'd have beaten you no problem.
"Then let's race back down once we eat," Luffy decided.
Usopp didn't look like he liked that idea. He quickly turned to Nami and changed the subject. "So where's the ambush?"
"I don't know," Nami admitted. "I thought for sure they'd be waiting for us here."
KREEEEK! Luffy and Sanji worked together and managed to push the giant doors opened. Nami, Usopp, and Sanji all tensed as the doors swung opened to reveal the inside of the temple.
It was empty.
"WHERE THE HECK IS EVERYBODY?" Luffy demanded.
"Zzzzzzz…" Snort! Zoro jerked awake from where he'd been sleeping against the central mast. He glanced around him at the main deck and suddenly realized that he was surrounded.
A man in a loose hooded cloak stood before him up on the front deck.
"Greetings, pirate," the hooded man greeted him in an oily voice. He said the word 'pirate' as if it was something foul. "I am High Priest Nagai, and you'll be coming with me."
Zoro stood up and gripped his swords while eying the enemies surrounding him. Including the High Priest there were five of them.
"Huh, so this is what it's like for Ricky what he takes on all the enemies at once," Zoro remarked, "I can't say that I like it." SKISH! Zoro drew his swords and stood in a fighting stance. "I hope you didn't expect me to come quietly!"
And that's the first chapter. It's just the set up so far but next chapter the action starts and Zoro goes down.
'Till Next Time…