Another Nakama III
Disclaimer: One Piece is owned by Funimation, Toei Animation, Fuji TV, Shueisha, Shonnan Jump Manga, and Eiichiro Oda. No money is being made from this story.
White Barbed Death Match:
The few survivors that remained in the survival game on Upper Yard had all gathered at the Upper Ruins that were midway up Giant Jack and had to deal with the sword-weilding Priest Ohm and his dog Holy. The most recent development was that the giant snake that Eneru's warriors had called the Lord of the Sky had swallowed Nami, Aisa, Gan Fall and Pierre.
"BAA!" Eneru's four warriors bleated as the stood on the ruins around the battle. One of them spoke up for the bunch. "We're behind you, Ohm."
"Quite the gathering," Ohm remarked, "How many players remain in our little game?" Ohm casually scanned the Upper Ruins with his Mantra, "Four Divine Squad members, those two Shandians are still alive after getting hit by Holy so that makes five Shandians and two Blue Sea Dwellers." Ohm glanced up at the giant snake, "Counting the Lord of the Sky and Holy, twelve people and two animals. Very soon we wull cut that number in half just as God Eneru predicted. So, there we stand, let the game commence."
"Zoro," Ricky addressed the swordsman as he finally stood up after he took Ohm's surprise attack to defend Zoro. "The snake didn't chew when it swallowed them. That means they're still in one piece in there. You wanted something to do while I fought baldy, we'll now it looks like I've got an important job for you. See if you can find a way to cut that snake opened and get Nami, the Sky Knight, his horse and the girl outta there."
Zoro looked up at the massive snake that towered over the ruins, "I guess that'll kill time."
The first of the three other Shandian warriors who had a battle ax as a weapon glared at Ohm, "You will pay," he growled.
"For harming Wyper and our comrade Kiko!" the third Shandian continued for him as he pulled an arrow out of the quiver on his back and fitted it into his bow.
"Is that so?" Ohm challenged him. "You'd forfeit your life away for this sad speck? Mind who you throw you loyalty to, savage."
"HOW DARE YOU!" the third Shandian yelled. "Wyper is our leader!"
"You have now broken one of the most sacred of Shandian Laws!" the first Shandian added.
"We're here to reclaim our homeland, and our honor!" the second Shandian finally spoke up. He was smaller than the other two, had a bald head and wielded a large slingshot-like staff.
"You and all servants of the abominable Eneru will settle your debt," the third Shandian insisted as he adjusted his loaded bow, "With flesh and bone!"
"You are savages," Ohm stated, "No more worthy or reparations than the weeds crushed beneath my feet." The third Shandian blanched while Ohm hefted his sword onto his shoulder. "Who wants to die first?"
"RAAH! BACK TO HELL DEMON!" the third Shandian shouted as he aimed his bow at Ohm.
SHOOM! One of Eneru's Warriors leapt towards the Shandian just a he fired his arrow. SHOO!
WHAP! Ricky's hand shot out and he caught the arrow by the shaft then tossed it away. Klak!
SKISH! The Shandian leapt out of the way of the goat warriors attack and landed on some ruins. "DAMN YOU BLUE SEA DWELLER!"
"It was going to miss anyway," Ohm pointed out.
"Maybe, but first of all," Ricky stated, "you new guys came late and missed the fact that I called dibs on fighting baldy. Second, you need to find a better bow because that arrow didn't fly half as fast that arrows I'm used to back on the Blue Sea." Ricky turned back to Ohm, "And three, baldy, quit picking fights with other people. I'm the one that's gonna beat you. If you keep pulling that crap, I'll start to think that you're scared of me and are just stalling for time."
"I'm not scared a mere Blue Sea Dweller," Ohm insisted, "Holy, it's time for your Mad Dash."
"RUFF!" Holy barked as he started to bounce back and forth on his hind legs. SKISH! Then he shot off into the ruins.
The third Shandian fitted another arrow into his bow and aimed it at the warrior that had distracted him seconds ago. SKISH! Holy suddenly lunged in behind the Shandian and drove his paw into the winged man's face. POW!
"WAAAAH!" The Shandian cried out as he fell off the ruin and crashed to the ground. KRASH! He rolled and then ended up seated against another ruin. Klick! A loose tile sank down under his weigh. BANG! Seven string of white barbs shot out after being triggered by the booby-trapped tile sliced into the Shandian before he could move away. SLA-SLISH! SLA-SLA-SLOSH!
"DON'T STOP!" Ohm yelled to his dog. "FINISH IT!"
"RUFF!" Holy barged as he started to run around the outside of the Upper Ruins. Klick! Klick! As the large dog ran, it purposely stepped on the rigged tiles which caused countless strings of the white barbed wire to shoot out of the ground in his wake. BANG! BANG! BANG!
"AAH!" BANG! BANG! The two other Shandian warriors gaped as the white lengths barbed Iron Cloud crisscrossed and shot up overhead.
"He's building some kind of fence!" the first Shandian realized as the crossed lengths of white barbs formed cage-like walls all around the Upper Ruins.
"Damn," the second Shandian cursed, "He's using more of his tricks! This could be trouble!"
The lengths of barbed Iron Cloud eventually met up above them and formed a large dome-shaped cage around the Upper Ruins.
"It's not a trick," Ohm announced before one of the goat warriors could speak up. "This is my Ordeal of Iron. I call this the White Barbed Death Match."
"Oh boy, now it's a cage match," Ricky remarked as he eyed the white dome.
"So he can put up a fence, big deal," Zoro scoffed. "I wasn't planning to run."
"You might not have," Ohm said, "but your friend escaped my grasp in our battle yesterday. However, this time the three bumbling idiots that kept me from killing him are gone and now there's no way for him to run away and escape." Ohm turned his attention back to Ricky. "Now I'm going to prove why I'm God Eneru's strongest warrior when I finish you once and for all."
"BAAAH!" one of Eneru's warriors chimed in, "The purpose of the barrier isn't just to hold you."
"Yes," another warrior continued, "There's a reason why it's called 'White Barbed'."
"What's that?" Zoro asked.
Wyper pushed himself up to his feet and shot up into the air. SHOOM! "SHOW US!" he yelled. THWAK! Wyper kicked the second warrior in the face and knocked him back into the wall. KLANG!
"BAAAAAAHHH!" the warrior screamed out in pain as the barbs on the cage dug into his back. The warrior dropped to the ground unconscious. THUD!
"I guess the barbs are painful," Wyper noted as he eyed the cage while Kiko got up behind him. "Thanks for the warning."
"So how do we get outta here once we're done with all of you?" Zoro inquired.
"You can worry about that later," Ohm told him, "That's assuming you manage to survive."
"You don't seem to understand, I'm not locked in here with you," Ricky pointed out with a grin, "You're locked in here with ME!"
(A/N: Today 3/6/14 marks the five year anniversary of that reference, felt right to make it.)
Meanwhile, Laki sped along the Milky Road so she could get Kamakiri's warning to Wyper.
"Wyper," Laki thought, "I still remember the story you told me when we were children…"
-Wyper and Laki Childhood Flashback-
Late one night Laki and Wyper sat together a large leaf that overlooked the Shandian village. Child Wyper wasn't as angry as his adult self, he had a full head of wild black hair and wore a red bandana around his forehead.
"Our ancestors weren't born in the sky," Wyper told Laki as she sat quietly beside him in a tribal-looking dress, "They originally lived the Blue Sea World, in the sacred city known as Shandora. It was protected by the Great Warrior Calgara. Until four hundred years ago… the entire city was torn from the ground and lifted up into Skypeia by the Knock Up Stream. Our people were left stranded. It must have been really hard on them but at least they had a place they could call home."
Wyper frowned and his eyes narrowed as he began to show a hint of the anger he had as an adult. "But then on one fateful day, the Skypeians bared their vicious fangs and revealed their true intentions. Without mercy, they seized Shandora, claiming it as Sacred Ground. Our ancestors were driven off the land they had nourished and cared for since the first setting sun."
Wyper let out a faint growl, "For four hundred years now we have suffered the humiliation of being driven away from our birthright. Never forget Laki, the Upper Yard belongs to us. We will take back what is ours. Our homeland. Our pride!"
-End W and L Childhood Flashback-
Laki continued to speed along the Milky Road towards Giant Jack. She knew that Wyper planned to take Eneru's head and was headed for God's Shrine so that's where she was headed.
Wyper's anger built up inside of him as he grew and he eventually became as the leader of the Shandian Warriors/ After all these years he was even more determined to reclaim their home.
Laki remembered the conversation she'd had with Kamakiri.
"Once we kill Eneru, there will no longer be a need for you to sneak around obsessing over a single bag of Vearth," the defeated warrior told her as she knelt over the bag of dirt that Wyper had spilt. "We will return after four hundred years of exile, to the true home of the Shandians."
That led to the pre-battle speech that Wyper had given the other Shandian Warriors before they had set off on their attack on Upper Yard.
"If you don't think you're up to it, stay behind," Wyper addressed the other warriors. "I won't hold it against you."
"Come on Wyper," the Shandian with the large battle ax insisted, "Don't say that. You know we're up to it."
"Are you up to abandoning anyone who falls during the battle?" Wyper asked in return. "If you can step over the bodies of your dying comrades and keep fighting, then follow me. Now, I swear, Eneru's head will be mine."
But as Kamakiri had warned her, trying to take Eneru's head was a suicide mission. "Wyper…" Laki exited the forest and spotted Giant Jack up ahead of her.
Laki paused for a moment and locked her Dial-powered skis together to make them one board. KLAK! Then she began to race up the beanstalk. SHOOM!
Thanks to her Dial-powered board and the fact that she didn't have to slow down and stop to fight a red-haired Blue Sea pirate, she managed to make it up the beanstalk to the clouds that led to the Upper Ruins in a mere minute.
WOOSH! Laki passed through the clouds and made to continue her journey up the giant beanstalk but she skidded to a stop when she spotted the white barbed dome that had been raised around the Upper Ruin.
Then she noticed the giant snake in the middle of the ruins. Wyper was in front of it.
SKISH! Laki leapt off of the beanstalk and abandoned her board as she landed on the clouds and ran towards the white dome. "WYPER!"
"Huh?" Wyper grunted/ It sounded like someone had just shouted his name.
"WYPER!" Laki yelled again.
"Laki?" Wyper questioned as he lowered his Burn Bazooka and looked back at her.
"QUICKLY!" Laki hollered "THERE ISN'T MUCH TIME!"
"What's wrong?" Wyper asked. "Why are you here?"
"I had to come and give you Kamakiri's warning!" Laki exclaimed as she neared the cage.
"Nobody can beat… Eneru…" the charred and defeated warrior had lamented.
"YOU MUST RUN AWAY!" Laki shouted her warning. "THERE ISN'T MUCH TIME! ABANDON THIS FIGHT!"
Laki reached the cage and slowed to a walk now that she was within talking distance.
"She does realize that we're in a cage, right?" Ricky asked out loud as his and Zoro's attention turned to the new arrival.
FWOOOSH! Kiko swung a whip of fire at Holy to keep the giant dog at bay then looked back at Wyper. "Laki shouldn't be here, Wyper."
"Eneru… he's in the forest," Laki told Wyper as she reached the cage.
"ENOUGH!" Wyper yelled.
"Eneru is lightning itself!" Laki continued anyway, "He truly has the powers of a God!"
Klak! Wyper dropped his Burn Bazooka and ran to the fence. He grabbed onto the wall and yelled at Laki, "STOP! LEAVE! AT ONCE!" His hands were cut opened by the white barbs on the Iron Cloud but he ignored it.
"…he can not be defeated," Laki needed to finish her warning.
"LAKI! SHUT UP!" Kiko finally hollered. "IF YOU KEEP SHOUTING HIS NAME YOU'LL BRING HIM RIGHT… to you…" Kiko trailed off and his and Wyper's eyes widened in alarm
Laki stiffened when she heard the now terrifying sound of cackling electricity behind her. Bzzt! "Wyper…" Laki whispered as she slowly turned to look over her shoulder, her eyes widened in horror when she found God right behind her.
"Did I hear my name?" Eneru asked as he towered over Laki.
"Eneru…" Laki gasped as she stared up at the monster that she'd come to warn her leader about.
"Take a look Zoro, there's God," Ricky announced. He kept his eye trained on Ohm. "You're not gonna get another lucky shot in, baldy."
"I don't need luck to kill you," Ohm insisted.
CHINK! KLANK! Wyper shook the cage wall and ignored the red stains on his bandaged hands as he yelled out at his enemy, "ENERU! LEAVE HER ALONE! LAKI'S NOT HERE TO FIGHT! I'M THE ONE YOU WANT! SHE HAS NO PART IN THIS!"
"LAKI!" Kiko shouted, "RUN!"
But Laki was scared stiff. She trembled as Eneru took a step towards her. She raised her rifle but Eneru ignored the gun like it was a toy as the end pressed into his chest.
"LAKI! NO!" Wyper hollered. "PUT THE GUN DOWN! LAKI! RUUUUN!"
BANG! BANG! Laki opened fire and blasted two shots straight through Eneru's chest.
"BAAA! You're a fool!" one of Eneru's warriors bleated at Wyper. "I'd forget about her and worry more about myself!" SHOOM! He leapt off the ruins towards Wyper who remained focused on Laki, and Eneru, and the two holes going through his chest.
Bzzzt-zzzt… Electricity sparkled around the two holes that Laki had shot through Eneru's chest. But God still stared down at her with the same bored expression.
Now that she was face-to-face with such terrifying power, Kamakiri's earlier words seemed even more horrifying.
"Laki, hear me," Kamakiri had told her, "He comes as lightning. An element that man has feared from the beginning, and rightly so, he can't be conquered."
TMP! Eneru's warrior landed behind Wyper and pointed the Ax Dial on his hand at Wyper's back. Wyper completely ignored him. His focus was still locked on Laki and Eneru.
"You've sealed your fate, Wyper!" the warrior taunted.
SKISH! Kiko landed beside them and lashed out his leg. THWAK! The goat warrior was knocked backwards with a hard kick. Wham! Kiko drove his elbow into his side and ignited his Flame Claw. FWOOM! Kiko swung his arm and slashed the goat warrior with his fire claw. FWOOOSH!
"BAAAAAHH!" the goat man screamed before he smashed through a ruin. KRASH!
Kiko turned and stared passed Wyper at Laki and Eneru.
"You damn fool…" Wyper whispered.
Laki trembled as she turned to look back at her leader and comrade. "Please survive…"
BA-ZAAT! There was a bright flash.
Wyper didn't even hear Kiko's screams as memories of the girl that he'd grown up with played through his mind like a slideshow. He'd watched as that girl grew up into a woman. And now he'd watched as that girl got electrocuted.
Klak! Laki's rifle fell to the ground followed by her charred body. Fwump!
Eneru grinned as he stared over his latest victim at Wyper. "Yahahahahaha! Yahahahahahaha!"
"Eneru…" Wyper growled at the God.
"HOW DARE YOU!" Kiko yelled. "SHE WASN'T A PART OF THIS!"
"You didn't actually think I'd spare her?" Eneru asked. "Wyper the Ruthless Shandian Warrior, surely you understand the concept of no mercy? She opposed me and now she's dead. You two will join her soon enough."
Eneru's body sparkled and there was another flash of bright light. Ba-ZOOT! Then he was gone. Laki's burnt body was left alone on the white clouds outside the cage.
Meanwhile, the two of Eneru's warriors that remained had continued to fight the other two Shandians.
The massive snake known as the Lord of the Sky had been surprisingly inactive after its latest meal and had left the others alone. Ricky also hadn't moved as he stood ahead of Zoro and kept his eye locked on Ohm and Holy who had returned to his master's side while Zoro looked back at the two Shandian warriors by the cage wall.
"So that's him, that's God," Zoro realized.
"But you've seen Ace, Smoker and Crocodile all together in the same room," Ricky reminded him, "So hopefully you're not as terrified as them at seeing God demonstrate his Logia Powers on a defenseless woman."
"Still got your special boots?" Zoro inquired.
Tmp! Ricky tapped his foot on the ground, "Yup," he answered. "So when God actually decides to come out and play with the big boys, we'll see if he can do the same thing against people who aren't helpless to fight him."
"You dare say such blasphemous things about the Almighty Eneru?" Ohm growled.
"If it'll get you to finally attack me, sure," Ricky agreed.
"I don't need to rush killing you when I can do it at anytime from anywhere," Ohm threatened.
"Yeah, yeah, you're special sword can take any shape you want," Ricky retorted, "How's here and now sound to you? I'm started to get tired of just standing here."
"You've been threatening to kill me to avenge your furry brother for a while now," Ohm stated. "I was going to allow you to make the first move."
"So you can use your Mantra to try and predict it?" Ricky questioned with a grin. "Remember, I not only fought Shura, but I beat him too. I know how you priests operate. You go first."
"Fine then," Ohm agreed. "I'll finally let you find salvation."
Belly of the Beast:
Laki's body was left lying outside the cage in the wave of Eneru's brief presence while Ricky's fight with Ohm finally got underway.
"EISEN WHIP!" Ohm slashed his sword and the blade extended at Ricky. SLISH!
"Zoro, the snake, go," Ricky instructed before he jumped on his 'acquired' Sky-Board and sped out of the way. SHOOM! The white blade of Ohm's sword changed direction and followed after him. SHOOM! Ricky shot himself up onto a ruin but the sword curved upward to follow him.
"See what I said about running away," Ohm noted. "No matter where you run in this cage, there's no escaping from my blade."
"I'm not running," Ricky insisted, "I'm positioning myself." SHOoom… Ricky skidded to a stop then spun the board around and launched himself off the ruins and slashed his sword downward. "Red Storm… AVALANCHE!" WOOSH! A red air blade flew off of Ricky sword and streaked towards Ohm. But with the same swing of his sword, Ricky continued to drop down and slammed his red sword down on top of Ohm's white one. KLANG! Ohm's Iron Cloud sword was designed so the blade could change shape while it stayed hard like iron but was still light as a cloud. But Ricky's hard hit to the end of the blade threw the now thirty-foot sword off balance and caused the blade to drop downward and sink into the ground. SHUNK!
Ohm was left with his sword stuck in the ground while Ricky's air blade flew at him. SKISH! Ohm jumped to the side to avoid Ricky's attack and simultaneously shrunk his sword down. SKISH! Ohm jumped up onto a ruin and stared across the road at Ricky.
"I'll have to commend you Blue Sea Dweller," Ohm admitted, "I had planned on killing you without moving from that spot. When my sword finally pierces your heart so you can find peace, you'll be able to rest knowing that you at least managed to achieve that."
"Oh, I'll achieve way more than moving you, baldy," Ricky insisted, "When I'm done with you, your own mother won't even be able to recognize you!"
Meanwhile, Zoro had heeded Ricky's warning and had moved away from his Nakama's battle. He stared up at the massive snake that had swallowed Nami, Aisa, the Sky Knight and his bird. "I've gotta get Nami outta there," Zoro resolved, "Or at the very least I've gotta help that old guy that saved Ricky and Chopper from that other priest."
Over by the dome wall, Wyper had finally removed his bloody hands from and turned to Kiko. "Kiko, deal with the dog," he ordered. "I've got a personal score to settle." Wyper ran and picked up his Burn Bazooka, "WITH THE SNAKE!"
Wyper and Zoro took off at the same time from different spots but met on the main road of the Upper Ruins as they charged across towards the snake. "TIME TO COUGH UP WHAT'S IN YOUR BELLY!" Zoro yelled up at the snake. "SHE'LL GIVE YOU INDIGESTION!"
"Watch it Zoro!" Ricky exclaimed. For a second Zoro thought it was about the insult towards his almost-girlfriend but then the red haired pirate on the Sky-Board landed in front of him and Wyper and swung his sword upward. SHOOM! KLANG! Ricky knocked Ohm's long sword up and away from the other two.
"GET OUT OF MY WAY!" Wyper snapped as he aimed his Burn Bazooka at Ricky.
KLANG! Zoro smashed the barrel with his sword and knocked it to the side. BA-ZOOOOM!
Ricky had stopped but Zoro and Wyper kept going and dashed right passed him and continued towards the giant snake.
"HOLY! THEY NEED A HUG!" Ohm called out to his dog.
SKISH! SKISH! The dog dashed through the ruins toward Zoro and Wyper.
SKISH! Kiko appeared between the dog and the other two, "HUG THIS!" Wham! FWOOOM! Kiko ignited his lone fire blade and swung it at the dog. FWOOOOSH!
"RUFF!" SKISH! Holy jumped out of the way to avoid the blade of fire.
"Now your buddy's in my way!" Zoro pointed out as he swung his sword at Kiko.
THWAK! Wyper kicked the blade to the side with this ski.
SWISH! Kiko ducked under Zoro and Wyper then jumped off after the dog. "GET BACK HERE, BEAST!" SKISH! Zoro and Wyper continued their dash down the main road.
SWISH! One of Eneru's warriors ducked on an attack from the second Shandian's staff then flipped and landed in front of Zoro and Wyper with his hands outstretched. TMP!
"BAAAH! BOTH OF YOU DIE!"
The only problem, there was no one to deflect an attack for the hapless goat man. SLA-SLISH! Zoro slashed the man with his two swords and he flew backwards as Wyper fired his bazooka and vaporized what was left. BA-ZOOOOOM!
"The numbers dwindle," Ohm noted as he stood on the ruin above Ricky. "Four Shandians, two Blue Sea Pirates, one warrior, me and two animals remain," Ohm stated, "That's ten."
RRHHHOOOOAAAAHHHHH! The Lord of the Sky roared as it eyed the pirate and Shandian that had charged all the way across the Upper Ruins to reach it.
"Uuugghhh…" Nami groaned as she staggered back up in the ruin-filled inside of the snake.
She spotted Pierre sprawled out on its belly nearby with Aisa on its back. The noble bird had not only saved the girl but had cushioned her fall into the snake's stomach with his own body.
"Good sign," Nami noted while the bird groaned, "By the looks of it, I'd say she wasn't injured."
Klak-klank! Nami heard the rustle of armor and turned around to see Gan Fll stand up.
"Where in the world is this place?" Gan Fall wondered as he took in their odd surroundings.
"We're in the belly of a giant snake," Nami answered him, "We got swallowed up, remember?"
"Ah, yes, of course," Gan Fall replied. "The beast seems even larger from the inside."
Nami noticed that Aisa had started to move and went over to the girl and cleared the rocks off of Pierre's wings. "Aisa, are you okay?" Nami asked.
"Mmm…" Aisa whimpered. Then her eyes opened and she gasped as she looked around her.
"PII!" Pierre crowed as he woke up as well and seemed just as surprised as the girl.
"What happened?" Aisa questioned.
"Right, once again, we've been eaten… by a snake," Nami had to remind her one of her companions.
"A SNAKE!" Aisa yelped.
"Calm down, we'll survive," Nami assured her. For a moment she stopped to consider why she was taking this so well, then she remembered that she'd once been swallowed by a whale and found an island with a house on it in the whale's stomach. "That is, if we can escape before it digests us."
"What were you two doing out there?" Gan Fall questioned them. "You should be on the ship."
"Tell that to the giant snake and the creepy goats that were chasing us," Nami retorted as she knelt down to check on her Waver. "We had to run for our lives."
Gan Fall finally recognized Nami's companion. "Isn't that little girl a Shandian?"
Aisa turned and finally recognized the former God. "Gan Fall! It's you! RAAAAH!" The girl drew her Dial-on-a-stick weapon and charged at the Sky Knight. "I'll smash you into pieces!"
Nami turned away from her Waver and grabbed the back of the girl's dress as she went by. YOINK! The fact that Nami was able to stop her in her tracks with one hand showed that the little girl didn't really have any strength behind her aggression.
"Stop, just calm down," Nami calmly scolded the girl as she gently pulled her down on her back.
Aisa sat up and waved her weapon but Gan Fall smiled at her and let out a chuckle which caused her to give up on attacking him. Nami smiled and shrugged at the Sky Knight.
"Anyway," Gan Fall said as he walked over to the wall of the cave and prodded it with his lance, "Why don't we just carve our way out?"
"ARE YOU INSANE, OLD MAN?" Nami snapped at him. For all her talk of 'calm down' she'd blown her lid very quickly at Gan Fall's suggestion. "SUPPOSE THE SNAKE STARTS GOING WILD? YOU'RE GONNA GET US ALL KILLED! YOU KNOW FOR A KNIGHT, YOU'RE PRETTY DENSE!"
"I… uh… was kidding…" Gan Fall nervously explained as he pulled his lance back and sheepishly rubbed the tip of it.
"Do you think this is a joke?" Nami demanded. "Take a look around you! We're in a stomach! A snake's stomach! I don't know how much you know about anatomy but it won't be long before we're bathing in its metabolic acid!" Tmp, tmp, tmp, tmp, tmp, tmp… When Nami finished her tirade it was quiet enough for her to notice the sound of approaching footsteps. Tmp, tmp, tmp, tmp, tmp, tmp…
"Those sounds are…" Gan Fall realized while Pierre let out a squawk of terror and Aisa grabbed onto Nami's arm.
"They're footsteps," Nami finished for Gan Fall. "What else is down here?" A figure appeared between the broken ruins further down the stomach from them. Tmp, tmp, tmp, tmp… Gan Fall raised his lance and prepared to defend the two girls from the newcomer if he had to.
"WHO GOES THERE?" Gan Fall called out.
Tmp, tmp, tmp, tmp, krek… krek… The figure climbed over the broken rubble at the base of the ruin and finally stepped passed it to reveal… LUFFY!
Nami, Aisa and Gan Fall stared in surprise at the Straw Hat Pirate.
"NAMI!" Luffy exclaimed when he recognized his navigator. "Weird Knight Guy!"
"It's you…" Gan Fall noted.
"Luffy?" Nami asked.
"I was starting to think I was the only one here!" Luffy remarked, "Isn't this the strangest cave?"
"Huh, that's an understatement," Nami replied, "How'd you end up here?"
"I don't know," Luffy whined, "I just got stuck here and I can't get out!"
"Incredible," Nami commented, "What are the chances that each of us would get swallowed. This snake's turning out to be a serious problem."
"Huh? What do you mean swallowed?" Luffy questioned, "A snake?"
"Who'd you think this stomach belong to?" Nami inquired.
Luffy looked puzzled. "But... how could you be here talking to me... if you were swallowed by a giant snake?"
"Like I keep saying…" Nami growled as she reached out and grabbed Luffy's nose and yanked on it. Yoink! "BIG BLUE REPTILE WITH MILE-LONG FANGS! IT ATE US AND NOW WE'RE STUCK IN ITS BELLY!" Nami let go of Luffy's nose and it snapped back. BOING!
But Luffy's nose remained stretched out a good three inches and looked a lot like Usopp's. "Ooww, come on Nami! That hurts!" Luffy complained. But then he smiled and called out, "Usopp Impression:" Luffy took on a raspier voice that reeked of fear, "I'm scared of everything!"
"Ugghh…" Nami, Gan Fall and even Pierre groaned at the imitation before Luffy's nose shrunk back down to its normal size.
"Is he a… jester?" Aisa asked as she stared up at the strange stretchy man.
"That job would suit him best," Nami admitted, "But he's actually Captain.
"PPIIIEEE!" Pierre shrieked in surprise.
"He's your Captain?" Gan Fall questioned. Both the Sky Knight and his steed seemed surprised that this buffoon could be the Captain of a crew of Blue Sea Pirates. "My word! What's this world coming to?"
"Yeah, that's pretty much the reaction everyone has," Nami admitted.
Then Aisa thought of another question, "Is this guy your boyfriend?"
"WHAT?" Nami yelled. "DON'T BE CRAZY! YOU SAW MY GUY OUTSIDE!"
"You mean the green haired guy with the swords?" Aisa sought to clarify.
"EW! GROSS!" Nami shouted. "THAT BLOCKHEAD WAS ZORO! HE WAS THE RED-HAIRED GUY COVERED IN A BLOOD!"
Aisa's eyes widened, "YOU MEAN THE SCARY GUY WITH TWO VOICES?"
Luffy cocked his head, "Nami, are you telling people that Ricky's your boyfriend again? You did the same thing back in that bar where you fought that other girl. Does he know about this?"
"SO NOT THE TIME!" Nami snapped at him.
Aisa turned her focus to Luffy, "You sure are calm for someone who's been eaten by a monster."
"WAAAAAAHH!" Luffy screamed in response. "WAIT A MINUTE! I THOUGHT NAMI WAS ONLY JOKING! YOU MEAN WE'RE BEING EATEN BY A SNAKE?"
"I've been trying to you," Nami reminded him, "It's stomach acid is melting your clothes."
Luffy looked down at his clothes and finally noticed that his sandals had disappeared and his vest was in tatters. "GAH! What're we waiting for? We need to find its butthole right away!"
SWAK! Nami smacked him across the face. "NO WAY! THAT'S DISGUSTING!"
"Ridiculous," Gan Fall stated.
"Why?" Luffy asked as if Nami hadn't just slapped him. "Maybe we can get out the next time the snake goes to the bathroom?"
"NOO!" Nami yelled. "I'M NOT GOING OUT THAT WAY! I'D RATHER BE DIGESTED!" Nami reared back and smashed her fist down on the top of Luffy's hat. BONK! The rubber pirate was squished and shrunk down to Aisa's height.
"Nami's scary…" Aisa whispered.
"I know, child," Gan Fall agreed, "She's meaner than the snake."
"Phew," Nami sighed, "Hardly. When the snake gets in a bad mood it starts eating people. And speaking of, we'd better think fast. Its temper was wild enough on the outside."
Boing! Luffy snapped back to his full height two inches above Nami. "Wait, the snake was in a bad mood?" he inquired.
"Yeah," Nami answered him, "It was all hisses and fangs. Before it attacked us it was writhing in pain."
"Hmmm…" Luffy mused, "That's weird. I wonder what was bothering it."
Ding! Nami, Aisa and Gan Fall all came to the same realization as the regarded the annoying pirate that had already been in the snake's belly when they'd gotten here. "AAH!"
"Luffy… what have you been doing in here?" Nami questioned.
"Oh, I was trying to bust through a wall," Luffy replied, "Didn't work though. Shishishishi!"
"Ah, so this is all your doing!" Gan Fall realized.
"Throwing all those punches burned up a lot of energy," Luffy remarked as he rubbed his hat and completely missed Nami's clenched fists and the look of fury that had spread across her face. "Say, um... did any of you guys think to bring some food?" But then Nami started to shake. "Hey, what's wrong with you?"
"HOW 'BOUT YOU EAT MY FIST!" Nami yelled before she punched Luffy into next week. KA-POW! Luffy flew across the stomach and smashed through the ruins that he'd climbed over earlier and reduced them all to rubble. KER-RASH!
Outside, the snake also felt Nami's wrath as Luffy smashed into the wall of its stomach. The massive beast let out a pained roar as it coiled around itself. RRHHHEEEAAAAHHHHHHH!
Inside, the snake's stomach started to shake. Rmble, rmble, rmble! SHOOM! The entire stomach lurched and Luffy, Nami, Aisa, Gan Fall and Pierre screamed as the fell further down the pained snake's stomach. "WAAAAAAAHHHHH!"
RRHHHHEEEEEEHHHHHRRRRR! The snake roared as tears ran down its face.
"Heh, what's the matter? Got a belly ache?" Wyper taunted the snake when he and Zoro finally made it across the Upper Ruins and reached it. "It serves you right!"
"Heh heh," Zoro chuckled, "See, I knew eating Nami would give you indigestion. She's rotten. Hold still and I'll cut you opened and get her out."
RRRHHHAAAAAH! The snake roared in response to their taunts and lunged at them.
SHOOM! Wyper shot to the right, "It won't be long Aisa!"
SKISH! Zoro dodged to the left, "Spit that out, you have no idea where she's been!"
KROOOM! The snake slammed down in the spot where they'd both once stood.
FWIP! Wyper flipped up overhead and aimed his Burn Bazooka down at the snake. "OPEN UP SERPANT!"
At the same time, Zoro slashed his two swords through the air in a circle, "Two Sword Style… SEVENTY TWO CALIBER PHOENIX!" BOOOOM! BOOOOM!
BOOOM! BOOOOM! Zoro's double Flying Blade attack blasted into the snake's side like a cannon blast while Wyper's blue fire blast struck the top of the beast's head. BA-ZOOOOOM!
RRRHHHHHRRR! The snake growled as it was left with scratched scales and a dark ring on top of its head. The snake pulled itself up and let out a roar. RRHHHOOOOOAAAARRRR!
Tmp! Wyper landed and fired at the beast again, BA-ZOOOOOOM! The snake weaved back and the blue beam of fire missed the side of the snake's head but instead burned the end of its forked tongue.
Tmp! On the other side of the snake, Zoro landed on a ruin. "It barely scratched it," he noted. "Let's try with three then!" Zoro drew his final swordand put the handle in his mouth. SKISH! Zoro leapt off of the ruin and launched himself at the snake. "TIGER HUNT! SLA-SLISH! Zoro's three blades slashed the snake's side in the same spot he had blasted it and managed to scrape off a layer of the snake's thick scales but he had been unable to penetrate its thick skin.
"Damn it," Zoro cursed, "I thought I could cut steel now, what's this snake made of?
CHOMP! The Lord of the Sky clamped its mouth shut as it nursed its burned tongue then flailed to the side. WHAM! The snake's body slammed into Zoro and smashed him through the ruins behind him. KER-RASH! The now angry snake turned and glared down at Wyper.
Across the Upper Ruins, Kiko slashed all four of his fire blades at Holy. FWA-FWOOOOM! SKISH! But the amazingly limber dog had managed to avoid the flames.
"HOO!" Kiko howled as he slashed his fire blades to the side. FWOOOSH! "SIT! STAY!"
SKISH! Holy jumped over the fire blade and slammed both paws into Kiko's chest. PA-POW! The double punch caused the wild Shandian to go flying backwards.
SKISH! Holy appeared behind Kiko and swung his paw upward. POW! The uppercut launched Kiko up into the air overhead.
SKISH! Holy shot up off of the ground and flew up over Kiko then slammed both paws down onto the reeling Shandian. WHAM! Kiko crashed through a ruin and made a crater. KRASH!
"RUFF!" Holy barked as he landed and punched the air.
Nearby, Ricky sped towards Ohm on his Sky Board. SHOOM!
"EISEN WHIP!" SLISH! Ohm swung his sword and the white blade shot out to meet Ricky.
SHOOM! Ricky swerved to the side and avoided the tip of the blade then sped alongside it towards Ohm.
"You know," Ricky remarked, "for someone whose sword can take any shape he wants it to, you're being awfully uncreative with it."
SHOOM! Ricky sped up to Ohm as he yanked back on his sword. "Then maybe you'll like this, EISEN BACK!" SWISH!
At the same time, Ricky reached Ohm and started to spin as he lashed out with his own sword, "Red Blade… HURRICANE!" KLANK! KLANK! Ricky's eye widened as he smacked his blade into the large white wall that Ohm's blade had formed.
"My sword can attack as well as defend," Ohm stated, "Not only can I hit you from anywhere but you'll never even touch me. EISEN FAN!" The square wall flattened into a wide fan. Ohm turned the fan sideway and slammed it into Ricky. WHAM! Ricky was knocked off his board and slammed into a ruin. KRASH! But instead of being smashed through it, Ricky was left embedded back-first in the old rock
Ohm's sword shrunk back to normal as he turned to face the pirate he'd smacked into the wall. "Now that I've gotten you to stay still," Ohm said as he pressed his finger into his sunglasses, "It's time for Final Judgment."
Ordeal of Iron:
RHAAAAAHH! The Lord of the Sky roared as it slithered around a ruin and lunched at Wyper.
SHOOM! The Shandian Warrior stayed up in the air and rained down a volley of blue blasts from his Burn Bazooka.BA-ZOOOOM! BA-ZOOOOM! BA-ZOOOOM! BA-ZOOOOM!
Nearby Zoro had been knocked into a ruin by the snake. Whump! The swordsman quickly rolled to the side to avoid the debris that fell as a result of Wyper's burning blue blast barrage..
SKISH! Zoro shot to his feet and ran through the ruins in an attempt to avoid the chunks of broken stone as they fell from above him.
"I've gotta find a way to take care of that snake," Zoro thought to himself.
Wyper stood on a ruin and surveyed the some-covered body of the giant snake. "Did it work?"
RHHHOOOOHHRRR! The massive snake roared as it shot out of the smoke at the Shandian. SHOOM! Wyper launched himself up into the air and avoided the snake while the snake smashed the ruin he was on to pieces. KROOOOM!
"Not enough," Wyper realized as he floated up above the snake. "I guess I'll just keep trying!" The snake reared up and looked up at Wyper. It's yellow eyes took on an angry glint to show that it was really mad now. RHHHOOOOAAAHHHHHH!
Down below and on the other side of the snake, Zoro spotted something. "That's the spot!" The snake had lost a chunk of its scales from when Zoro had blasted and then slashed it earlier. "Maybe if I keep attacking that spot I'll be able to do some actual damage." Zoro slashed all three of his swords through the air, "Three Sword Style… ONE HUNDRED EIGHT CALIBER PHOENIX!" BOOOM! BOOOOM! BOOOOOM! The three concentrated air blasts flew out and shot into the snake's exposed side while it was distracted with Wyper. BOOOM! BOOOM! BOOOOM!
RRRRHHHHEEEEEHHHHHHHRRRR! The massive snake let out another pained roar as Zoro's blast tore through a layer of its thick flesh and actually made the monster bleed.
"Yes," Zoro praised himself, "I finally did some damage. But who knows how deep those cuts actually are."
"What is that Blue Sea Swordsman up to?" Wyper wondered. SHOOM! Wyper shot to the side and his eyes widened when he spotted the damaged that Zoro managed to do to the snake's side. "He actually managed to hurt it while my blasts have done nothing. But now that I have a spot that I can actually shoot it, I'll be able to blast my way into that thing."
Both Zoro and Wyper failed to notice the snake's large tail as it flashed through the air behind them. SWISH! WHA-WHAM! The massive snake's tail slammed into both Zoro and Wyper and they both crashed down into the ruins below. KRASH! KRASH!
"You think you scare me?" the second Shandian called up to Holy as the dog advanced on him. "I'm a mighty Shandian Warrior!"
SHOOM! The last of Eneru's Warrior landed behind him. "BAAH! Maybe you were!" he bleated, "But now you're dead! AX DIAL!" FWOOOOSH! A long blade of fire arched in out of nowhere and slashed the goat warrior across the side. "BAAAH!" They warrior flew to the side and slammed into a ruin. WHAM! Then he dropped to the ground and laid still. FWUMP!
"Kiko!" the second Shandian exclaimed as the wild pink-haired Shandian staggered over to him. "You're still alive!"
"I just got mauled by that dog," Kiko growled, "HOOO! NOW ITS TIME TO PUT IT DOWN!"
"And now another voice is silenced," Ohm noted as he eyed Ricky while he where he was embedded in the side of a ruin. "That means there are seven people and two animals left." There was a pause and Ohm's grip on his sword tightened before he said, "No, make that six."
"OHM!" the first Shandian yelled as he charged in and swung his ax.
"HEY! DON'T DO IT!" Ricky shouted to the Shandian.
Ohm spun around and lashed out his sword, "EISEN WHIP!" SWISH! The blade streaked outward and slashed into the warrior. SLASH! The sword continued to grow and carried the already unconscious Shandian with it before it smashed the man through a wall. KRAASSH!
Ohm turned back to Ricky, "Now it's your turn," he announced as he threw his sword forward, "EISEN RAPIER!"
SWISH! The momentary distraction from the Shandian had given Ricky enough time to free his legs and he managed to flip up out of the hole and onto the top of the ruin.
SLISH! Instead of the long wavy blade that Ohm usually used the sword shot straight out and plowed into the ruin and came out the other side. SWISH! Then it shrank back down to its normal size and left the ruin standing with a hole through it.
"Hah-ha, you missed again," Ricky taunted from on the ruin, "Better luck next time, baldy."
"You keep calling me 'bald' like that's supposed to upset me," Ohm noted. "I shave my head. I'm bald by choice. You won't make me angry, Blue Sea Dweller and you'll never pass my Ordeal of Iron"
"Hmmm… so the bald thing isn't getting under his skin," Ricky realized, "Time to change tactic. He and those other three were all super competitive. And they're all really devoted to Eneru. Let's see if I can exploit that a bit."
"You know, that fight from yesterday is finally coming back to me," Ricky announced, "You guys only had me on the run because the four of you had me outnumbered, kept using your strange Sky Weapons on me, and I had left my own weapons back on my ship. How'd that fight end again? Oh right, I got away. Since your goal was to kill me and 'pass judgment' and my goal was to escape and stay alive, I guess that means I won and you guys lost."
"I didn't lose!" Ohm insisted, he took a breath and calmed himself down. "I never lose. Those three fools kept getting in my way. With those three gone, now I can finish you once and for all."
"Then I guess I'll need to beat you again," Ricky remarked. "Tell me though, how did Eneru react when his four strongest warriors came back to him with their tails tucked between their legs after they all lost to one measly Blue Sea Dweller?"
Ohm's grip on his sword tightened.
"Don't answer, I'll tell you how he reacted," Ricky continued, "Eneru came to me and asked me to join him. He said good help was so hard to find and offered to make me a priest. Clearly he just sees the four of you as easily replaceable incompetents."
"I'm not replaceable!" Ohm insisted, "Those other three might be, but I'm the Almighty Eneru's strongest warrior! He'd never be able to replace me!"
"You sure?" Ricky prodded him. "How'd he react when my Nakama beat Fatso? Did he bat an eye over the fact that one of his 'greatest warriors' had fallen? How'd he react when I beat Flyboy? You and I both know that Spider-Head probably beat himself since he's so stupid. That's the standard that your leader holds you to, baldy. You four are just toys that serve a minor purpose but are useless once you're broken. You know what happens to broken toys, baldy? They get thrown out. That's what he did with them and that's what he'll do with you."
"No He won't!" Ohm snapped. "I haven't lost! I'll always be His—"
"You already have," Ricky cut in.
"I HAVE NOT LOST!" Ohm yelled. "DIE BLUE SEA SCUM!" SLISH! Ohm slashed his sword and once again the blade grew as he shot out at Ricky.
"Perfect," Ricky thought to himself just as the blade reached him. SKISH! Ricky jumped up AND LANDED ON THE BLADE! "Speed Step!" ZZZOOOOM! Ohm was caught off guard as Ricky became a blur and ran down the blade of his sword towards him then lashed out his leg. THWACK! Ricky's foot slammed into Ohm's face and he was knocked backwards as Ricky flipped off of him and landed on his Sky-Board. TMP!
"Uuggh…" Ohm groaned as he staggered backwards and struggled to stay upright on his feet. "I'm… I'm bleeding…" Ohm held his hand to his mouth and felt the small patch of blood that Ricky's kick had drawn. "He made me bleed. My Mantra… I didn't see that coming. He taunted me and got under my skin which made me lose control of my temper, that why I lost control of my Mantra. That must be how he beat Shura. I need to stay calm. I can't let him get in my head."
"Hey look, free sunglasses!" Ricky called out.
Ohm blinked. Everything was much brighter which allowed him to see quite clearly THAT RICKY HAD STOLEN HIS SUNGLASSES!
Ricky grinned as he put the sunglasses on. The thin frame did nothing to hide his eye patch. "Nah, these things are way too thin," Ricky remarked as he pulled them off, "What a waste." Ricky clenched his hand and crushed the sunglasses in his fist. KRACK! "Oops."
"YOU BASTARD!" Ohm yelled at him. "THAT WAS MY FAVORITE PAIR! EISEN WHIP!" Once again, Ohm lashed out with his sword and the blade shot out at Ricky like a whip. SWISH!
SHOO-WISH! Ricky shot forward on his Sky Board but dropped down and laid flat on it which allowed him to sail right under Ohm's extended blade and passed the Priest. SKISH! Ricky skidded to a stop then grabbed then board with one hand and planted his sword hand on the ground as he swung his legs around and smacked the board into the back of Ohm's legs. "Quarterstaff… BOARD SWEEP!" WHACK! Ricky knocked Ohm's legs out from under him and he flew forward.
WHING! Ricky continued to spin after the sweep but he shifted his weight from his sword and to the board on his feet and stood up straight again. SHOOM! Ricky used the board to boost his spin speed and slashed his sword as he spun in circles, "Red Storm… TORNADO!" WOOOSH! The circular red-tinted air blade flew off of Ricky's sword and slammed into Ohm's back. SLISH! Ohm was knocked to the ground. THUD!
"See baldy," Ricky said, "I told you I'd pick you apart."
Ohm slowly got back up. With his sunglasses gone, it was easy to see the anger in his eyes. But then the Priest took a deep breath, centered himself and looked deadly calm again.
"Now I get it," Ohm announced, "You taunt your opponents in battle and do everything you can to get under their skin so they get emotional and make mistakes. Now I understand. You use mental warfare and exploit your opponent weaknesses to make up for the fact that your attacks lack any real strength. In terms of power both your swordsman and the Shandian Warrior Wyper are both stronger than you. But now that I know how you fight, I won't let you fool me again."
"Oh, is that so?" Ricky challenged him, "Well in that case, HEY, WHAT'S THAT!" Ricky pointed at nothing behind Ohm then sped off on his Sky-Board. SHOOM!
"And now you're running away since I know your game," Ohm noted as Ricky swerved around a corner. SHOOM! "There's no escaping from my Ordeal of Iron. You can't hide from me. When I use my Mantra I'll be able to follow you anywhere you go."
SHOooom… Ricky skidded to a stop on his Sky-Board and ducked around the corner.
"Okay so getting in his head won't work anymore," Ricky thought to himself, "He'll probably ignore everything that I say now. That sword of his is a problem, even if he doesn't use it very creatively it means that this will be a long range battle. I can't beat him unless I get near him."
"Oh crap!" Ricky cursed as he dove to the side. KROOOM! Ohm's sword smashed through the wall he'd ducked behind a second later. Ricky hopped back onto his Sky-Board and sped off. SHOOOM!
Ohm sheathed his sword as he stepped out into the street and watched Ricky as he raced off, "Run all you want, it's impossible to escape from my attacks, just as there's no one who can escape the reality of death. It would be futile to try, those who don't accept that, are foolish."
SHOOOM! Ricky continued to speed through the ruins.
"You're pathetic," Ohm said as he focused on Ricky and drew his sword again, "You don't even have enough sense to realize that you're about to die. You're so focused on the gold you seek and your petty revenge that you can not see anything else. Not even the inevitable fate the lies before you. How sad."
SHOoom… Ricky skidded to a stop again and glanced warily around him. "That guy's Mantra is getting to be a real pain. He can see me everywhere I go so that means I won't be able to surprise him and catch him off guard. I guess there's no other option, I need to draw him out and follow his sword back to him."
"EISEN WHIP!" KROOM! Ohm's sword smashed through another ruin. SHOOM! Ricky sped out of the way of the end of the blade then raced alongside it back towards Ohm.
Ricky spotted the Priest ahead of him and slashed his sword through the air, "Red Storm… LIGHTNING STRIKE!" WOOOSH! The red air blade flew off of his sword towards Ohm.
"EISEN BACK!" SWISH! Ohm's sword shrunk down and formed the wall again and blocked the attack. WOoooshhh… "Finally stopped hiding, Blue Sea Dweller? Did you finally realize that you couldn't escape my attacks?"
"Escape?" Ricky repeated, "Yeah, but I think I've done a decent job at avoiding them so far."
SWISH! Kiko dodge to the side of avoid another one of Holy's punches. The dog's fist smashed through the ruin behind it. KROOM!
"You don't scare me, you flea bag!" the second Shandian exclaimed as he shot up into the air. SHOOM! The Shandian raised his staff up over his head. "DOWN DOG!"
"RUFF!" POW! Holy shot his fist out while the Shandian's weapon was still over his head and plowed it into the man's chest. THUD! The Shandian dropped to the ground and Kiko was once again left alone as he faced off against Holy.
"DAMN YOU, DOG!" Kiko howled.
"And now another warrior has fallen," Ohm reported. "That leaves you and your swordsman friend, the two Shandians, Holy and me, and the snake. That's seven. The Almighty Eneru has prophesized that there will be seven survivors at the end of the Survival Game."
"Well your count's wrong," Ricky informed him, "I left one of my Nakama down at the bottom of the beanstalk. Since all the other survivors are in this cage I guess that means that one of us is going to have to fall to meet your God's quota."
"So it would seem," Ohm replied as he stared hard at Ricky. "I've got the perfect candidate."
Zero Percent Survival:
"You don't seem to realize the situation that you are in," Ohm commented, "You may be the leader of your little band of Blue Sea Pirates but I have my sword pointed directly at your heart. You can't escape and if you try to attack me, you'll die in the process. That's my Ordeal of Iron. There's no escaping it, there's no beating it. You may have defeated Shura yesterday but his Ordeal of String has a three percent survival rate. My Ordeal has a zero percent survival rate. There's no way you can win."
"Well isn't that interesting," Ricky remarked, "I guess that means that your Ordeal is unpassable. But you know, there's only one thing to do when you're faced with an unpassable test… Cheat!" Ricky reached up and flipped up his eye patch to reveal his red eye.
"What… what that's? What are you doing?" Ohm questioned as his eyes widened in surprise.
"You're not dealing with a saint here, baldy," Ricky informed him, "I'm a pirate and we don't play by the rules." SHOOM! Ricky sped towards Ohm on his Sky-Board.
"Then come and die!" Ohm exclaimed. "EISEN WHIP!" SWISH! Ricky swerved to the side and avoided the strike. "EISEN FORK!" SWISH! Ohm sent a two pronged strike at Ricky but he avoided them both. "EISEN RAPIER!" SWISH! Ohm shot his sword forward but again Ricky avoided the attack as he drew in close. "EISEN FAN!" SWI-SKISH! Ricky jumped up off of his board and avoided the flat fan.
"Jumping… AX KICK!" THWAK! Ricky heel slammed down onto Ohm's shoulder.
"Ugghhh!" Ohm moaned as Ricky flipped over him and landed on his Sky-Board which had sped between the Priest's spread legs. Ohm spun around and swung his normal-sized sword at him. SWISH! Ricky ducked under it then spun around and lashed his leg out behind him.
"Machete… BACK KICK!" THWHAM! Ricky's foot slammed into Ohm's stomach and he was launched backwards. SHOOM! Ricky sped after Ohm on his Sky-Board, caught up to him, then jumped up and drove his board into Ohm's stomach, "Flying… ARROW BOARD KICK!" WHAM! The second consecutive hit caused Ohm's speed to increase as he smashed through a ruin and brought it down on top of him. KROOOSH! "See baldy, I told you I'd pick you apart."
"Im…possible…" Ohm groaned as he pushed the debris off of him and staggered back up. "Somehow he managed to predict all my attacks and avoided them. This is the same thing he did when he escaped yesterday. But how could his Mantra be stronger than mine? I'm Eneru's strongest warrior. This can't be possible."
"Hey baldy, think fast!" Ricky called out. SHOOOM! Ricky shot towards Ohm on his board.
"EISEN WHIP!" Ohm's blade shot towards Ricky.
Ricky slashed his own sword in two circles, "Red Storm… HURRICANE!" WHA-WHOOSH!
SHOOOM! Ricky shot up into the air over Ohm's sword but there was only one problem, Ohm's attack had gone straight, Ricky's red-tinted air blade was a corkscrew. Ricky's air blade spiraled around Ohm's sword and sliced into the Priest. SLA-SLISH!
"AAAHH!" Ohm screamed as he reeled backwards and dropped his sword.
"Red Blade… AVALANCHE!" SHOOOM! Ricky dropped down from overhead and slashed his sword down Ohm's chest. SLA-SLISH! Ohm's blood spilled as Ricky started to spin on his board and swung his sword around him then he jumped upward. "Red Blade… VOLCANO!" SHOO-SLA-SLISH! Ricky's upward spinning slash launched both of them up into the air.
TMP! Ricky dropped down and landed on his feet. KRASH! Ohm didn't.
"That was for you, Chopper," Ricky said as he lowered his eye patch and sheathed his sword.
"WAAAAAHHH!" Luffy screamed as he, Nami, Aisa, Gan Fall and Pierre fell further down into the Lord of the Sky's impossibly long stomach.
"AAAAAAHHHH!" Nami wailed as she fell downward and reached out to grab a falling piece of debris. But her wail turned to a scream when she realized that what she grabbed WAS A SKELETON! "YAAAAAAHHHH!" She struggled to push the skeleton away from her, "EEEWWWW! YAAAAAHH! GETITAWAY! GETITAWAY!"
"YAAAAAHHH!" Aisa cried as she fell helplessly down the snake. Gan Fall saw the girl in distress and launched himself towards her. SWISH! He quickly reached out and caught her. WHAP!
"AAAAAHHHH!" Nami hollered when she saw the end of the 'cave' blocked by a wall of ruins. "IT'S A DEAD END! WE'RE ALL GONNA DIIIIEEEE!"
"Oh no!" Luffy insisted, "GUUUMMM… GUUUMMM… BAALLOOOON!" FWOOOSSHH! Luffy inflated himself into a large round balloon and smashed into the ruins. WOING! Nami, Gan Fall and Aisa and Pierre and the Waver slammed into Luffy and bounced off of him safely. BOING! BOING! BOING!
Luffy deflated and brushed some chunks of rock off of him, "Okay, this Mystery Cave is getting really annoying…"
"I don't you this isn't a cave," Nami corrected him. "We're in a snake's stomach!"
"Where are you?" Luffy wondered as he glanced around for his Navigator. He spotted a familiar-looking yellow t-shirt on a skeleton, "YAAAAAAHH! NAMI! NAMI? ARE YOU OKAY?" Luffy reached down and shook the skeleton.
BONK! Nami came up behind him and hit her idiot Captain on the back of the head.
"I'm right here you idiot," she scolded him.
Aisa finally opened her eyes after the fall and found herself in Gan Fall's armor-covered arms. "AAAH! LEGGO! YOU'RE GONNA SQUEEZE ME TO DEATH!"
Gan Fall loosened his grip on her and smiled at the girl, "I'm glad to see you're unharmed."
"LET GO!" Aisa shouted as she pull herself then surprised Nami when she picked up Gan Fall's lance and pointed it at him.
"STOP IT!" Nami scolded her, "WHAT ARE YOU DOING, AISA!"
"This man is our enemy," Aisa said as she pointed the Sky Knight's lance at his throat. "He's responsible for taking the Shandian's homeland. So I'm gonna take his head."
"I don't get it," Nami attempted to reason with her, "How is taking the head of the Sky Knight going to fix anything?"
"He's not just a knight," Aisa insisted, "He was the leader of the Skypeians before Eneru showed up. The Skypeians were the ones that drove all of us Shandians out of our homes."
"The Shandians were driven out of their homes four hundred years ago," Nami reminded her. "So there's no way he had anything to do with it."
"If taking my head would satisfy your people, I would gladly sacrifice it," Gan Fall replied much to Aisa, Nami and Luffy's surprise. "Unfortunately, just my head wouldn't be enough. The level of hostility between the Shandians and the Skypeians hasn't changed. And with good reason, our ancestors took your homeland away. What a horrifying thing to go through. I don't think I'll ever be able to find a way to apologize for that. Time alone will not heal this wound. Therefor I regret my helplessness in this situation. If at all possible, I would like to apologize to the Shandians who have spent the last four hundred years searching for their homes. I would like to apologize to them all, one by one." Gan Fall looked up and decided to start with the Shandian girl that had his lance pointed at him. "I am truly sorry."
"Listen to him," Nami urge her, "He's been trying to make sure that everyone's getting along. He wants the citizens to live peacefully in the sky. So you really shouldn't…"
"We will never be able to get along peacefully!" Aisa exclaimed. "Not with the bad guys!"
"That's just it," Nami tried to reason with the girl. "They're not bad. What's bad is when people can't coexist peacefully because they belong to different races." She had her own issues growing up due to 'race' issues. If Arlong and his fishman pirates had just come to her island to settle there and had been intent on living peacefully, then they would have all gotten along and no one would have died. She wouldn't have spent eight years of her life stealing from pirates. "Right?"
Aisa gritted her teeth and let out a whimper as she stared at Gan Fall. The old man sat up but made no move to defend himself from the lance that was less than an inch from his nose. Aisa's eyes began to tear up and she let out a loud scream. "RAAAAH!" Aisa pulled back the lance and started to lash out with it.
"AISA!" Nami yelled out to her.
WHAP! Someone grabbed the lance and it was instantly brought to a halt. Aisa struggled but it wouldn't budge an inch. Aisa looked up in surprise and found Luffy in front of her with the end of the lance clutched in his hand.
Aisa's surprise was replaced by anger, "WHY DID YOU STOP ME?" Aisa demanded.
"He was apologizing," Luffy answered, "Probably not the best time to kill a man."
Aisa's eyes began to tear up and the girl let go of the lance and dropped to her knees and cried.
Down in Shandora the City of Gold, Robin stood at the base of Giant Jack.
"Shandora," Robin stated out loud, "the City of Gold. And if the golden bell said to be in the center of the city isn't here… where is it? The belfry is probably engraved with Poneglyphs." Robin turned away from the beanstalk and began to walk through the city again. "If that's the case, then the city probably fell to protect them. Even after all this time, the belfry and the Poneglyph should still be here. They're hidden… somewhere. Hey what's that?" Robin walked under an archway and spotted something odd… railroad tracks. "A rail used to run through the city… but this is new." One half of the railroad tracks was old and worn, barely intact. The other looked like it was in perfect condition and could still run today. "Something must have been moved out of here. I wonder what it was."
"Yahahahaha," came a laugh from behind her. Robin looked over her shoulder and saw Eneru seated on a worn wall as he casually tossed an apple up and down in his hand. "Isn't it amazing? Even after being shot up into the sky, the City of Shandora still exists in this way. Yahahahaha… Even if it's a city that everyone knows about, how can it show off its lovely figure if it's covered by clouds." Eneru smiled. "I'm the only one who could see it. I discovered it. The former Gods never even noticed."
"And who are you?" Robin inquired.
"I'm God," Eneru answer simply.
"…" Robin stared silently as Eneru casually took a bite out of the apple. Chomp!
"You're quite intelligent," Eneru remarked, "One might guess that you're an archeologist from the Blue Sea World by how fast you found this city of ruins. I can see why your Captain stayed with you when your little group split up after being attacked by the snake. It took us several months to find the same thing. I suppose its easier if you can read the letters on the ruins, right?"
Robin blinked. "Captain?" she repeated. "You mean, Mr. One Eye? Were you following us?"
"I'm God," Eneru reminded her, "I didn't need to follow you. I know everything that happens to everyone on this island. The gold you and your crew are looking for isn't here anymore? I'm afraid you're a few years too late for that."
"Gold?" Robin asked. "Well you're right about that. I couldn't find any. You must have been the one who removed it."
"Gold is a wonderful thing to have," Eneru stated, "And that glittery metal suits me well, don't you think?" Eneru took another bite of the apple. Chomp!
"Then you must also have taken the golden bell that was here," Robin reasoned.
"There was a golden bell?" Eneru questioned.
"He doesn't know," Robin realized.
Chomp! Chomp! Chomp! Eneru finished off his apple with another three quick bites. He was left with the core but he ate that too. Chomp! Chomp!
"I'm very intrigued," Eneru announced once he was finished, "What did you learn by reading those letters on the bell?"
"Actually, it's too bad, I never got to read them," Robin admitted. "If you say it wasn't here when you arrived then it must not exist. I guess the huge golden bell and belfry that were the pride of Shandora were only a legend. It's a shame that I'll never be able to lay my eyes on them."
"No wait," Eneru said, "It's actually right here. It's here in the sky. When this island was blown into the sky four hundred years ago and the Upper Yard was born, or when Godland was born. It was said that the loud chiming of a bell could be heard ringing throughout the entire nation."
Four hundred year ago, the Skypeians stared in shock as half of Jaya was blasted up into the sky. DING! DING! DING! DING! DING! The loud chimes of a bell rang out from the island.
"The elder inhabitants of this land called it the island's singing voice," Eneru continued, "But that wasn't it. It was the bell. The bell made of gold. Amazing!" Eneru smiled. "Soon the entire game will be over. Only eight minutes left. That's not long at all, in fact it gives me plenty of time to look for the golden bell. Yahahahahahaha!"
"So the golden bell is in the sky," Robin thought, "which means the Poneglyphs are too." Eneru continued to laugh to himself while Robin continued to think about the missing golden bell. "Where is it?"
"At some point I'm gonna climb that," Ricky – the Treasure Hunter who could sense gold –decided as he stared up the enormous, seemingly unending beanstalk above them.
"Could it be?" Robin wondered.
"Yahahahaha…" Eneru's laughter trailed off when he noticed someone unexpected in his forest. "Interesting. It sounds like… there's a maggot on the island."
"Ah…" Robin gasped.
A strange man ran through the giant trees… towards the sound of a loud of a bugle-like horn and the Going Merry.
Conis rang out a rag and placed it on Usopp's head. She'd already put one on Sanji's forehead. "There you go," Conis said, "You two are going to be just fine. I promise."
Pagaya walked in and surveyed the two Straw Hats. "Hmm, they're still unconscious," he noted.
Conis nodded, "They are. But they'll wake up soon. Their condition has been improving."
"Yes dear, I'm sure," Pagaya agreed. "You've taken such excellent care of them and good things happen to good people. They'll be better in no time. Conis, when the sky finally becomes peaceful I'd like to be able to show everyone the hospitality they once knew to my heart's content, including you."
"Thank you, father," Conis replied.
"SUUU! SUUUU!" a loud cry came from the normally quiet Cloud Fox outside. Conis and Pagaya left the storage room and found Suu still on her post. "SUU! SUUUU!"
"What's the matter with you, Suu?" Pagaya asked. "Did we forget to feed you?"
"Oh, Suu, are you in pain?" Conis questioned, "Did something happen?"
"Suuu! Suuu!" Suu replied. She had been given a job to keep watch.
They looked passed Suu in time to see a man crawl out of the woods.
A moment later, Pagaya and Conis had left the ship. Pagaya was on his knees next to the man while Conis was behind him. The strange man was in a white robe but looked like he'd seen hell, or more likely God.
"Are you…" Pagaya attempted to ask.
"Yes, I'm one of the men who used to serve Gan Fall when he was God," the man answered.
"So you're one of the Divine Warriors," Pagaya realized.
The man let out a groan, "We were in a closed off area," he revealed, "And then… they…"
"What's happened to you?" Pagaya asked then he looked back at his daughter, "Conis, he needs your help right away."
"Yes, of course father," Conis agreed as she turned to run back to the ship for medical supplies.
"No wait!" the man called out. "My family's on Angel Island. Please… please help…"
"I will," Pagaya assured him, "I know everyone's worried about you."
"Let everyone know…" the man said cryptically, "Eneru… he's planning to return everything."
"What?" Pagaya questioned.
"Skypeia will be dropped back to the Blue Sea World," the man continued, "And this nation will no longer exist!"
"NO!" Pagaya and Conis gasped in alarm.
"There's no time to lose!" the man insisted as he grabbed Pagaya by the collar. "You must tell everyone! Do it now! Our lives will soon be over! Eneru's planning to eliminate every single person from the sky!"
"Eliminate everyone from the sky?" Pagaya repeated. "But wait! If he succeeds in that… then… He'd have no place to live. It doesn't make any sense. Why would he want to do that?"
HE BUILT A SHIP!" the man shouted. "THE ARK MAXIM!"
"Ark Maxim?" Pagaya restated.
Eneru stood up and raised his arm up in the air as his entire body sparked with electricity.
"Hey!" Robin called out, "What are you…"
Conis looked up and saw a terrifying bright light appear in the sky overhead.
"WE WERE FORCED TO SPEND THE LAST SIX YEARS OF OUR LIVES BUILDING THAT SHIP!" the man yelled as he shook Pagaya by the collar.
WHUP! Pagaya lashed his arm out behind him and shoved Conis backwards.
"AAAH!" Conis screamed as she fell off of Upper Yard. "FAATHEEEER!"
"When the sky finally becomes peaceful I'd like to be able to show everyone the hospitality they once knew to my heart's content, including you."
Her father's words echoed in her ears as she fell down onto the Going Merry and watched the bright light shoot down out of the sky and engulf the strange man and her father.
"FAAAAAAAAATHEEEEEEEERR!" Conis screamed in horror.
I managed to get this chapter done quickly because I was on paid vacation last week and had a lot of extra time. I'm not sure when I'll get the next one out but I'll do what I can.
Next chapter, the Survival Game ends and Eneru is faced with the final seven.
'Till Next Time…