AN: W I changed a very miniscule part in the canon-chapter to make this work. I'll also start writing shorter chapters that are easier to bite into, you know?
*Ito-Ito means thread, yard, string.
I fainted, but that's not a big deal. So what if it was Thunderclap Kenny or Ninety Scars Crane? Nothing wrong with that. Absolutely, positively nothing! Uhehe. . .
. . .That hysterical giggle just now was all your imagination.
Once I woke up and buried the mortification for later, I snuck out of Nanik's home and went to my place in the woods so I could pack a few things. Believe me, walking in Opacare forests just after daybreak when the sun is filling the interior with warm sunlight is a world different from night time. I was completely fine, especially after putting on some repellant.
My throat barely bugged me, really.
For next while things go smoothly. . . I mean semi-quietly.
I watch the crew and continue to be amazed at how these different people mesh so well together. What is it that holds them combined? After an hour of wandering about and observing them I think it's Luffy. While the captain seems a little, um, on the dense side, he's got this energy. Kinetic, constantly moving, and magnetic in a pleasant way. Like, though you might bash him in the head with a pan or kick him, punch him- you still like the little guy.
Watching the crew has me starting to wonder how I'll fit with them in the long run. Time will tell.
Little Garden comes into view. Right from my first look at it I'm not sure I'll leave the ship willingly.
The sheer size of this island, with its jungle a dozen times bigger than Opacare forest, is probably natures warning that the bugs here are hell spawn.
Back home there was enough buggy-trouble to last me a lifetime. I will not go have an adventure here just to see any cool animals, prehistoric plants, or to look for anything pretty. . .
Vivi says, "We should be careful. . . I'm worried about what Ms. All-Sunday said about this island."
I have no clue who the heck the Sunday-chick is, but I agree with Vivi and nod vigorously as I stand at the railing to watch the murky waters glide by.
"Y-you don't think there are monsters here, do you?"
Oh, yes. Undoubtedly, Usopp. Huge hungry insects, vicious beasties, and probably an overwhelming number of carnivorous plants. What fun!
Glinting in the water draws my attention. What could it be? A coin? A jewel? If only I was rubber, then I could have gotten it! Or I could have had Luffy get it for me. Oh well.
Someone says, as I'm distracted, "But man, look at this place. . . It's like a land yet to be explored by people. The entire island is a thick jungle."
My head snaps up and I slump. When did we pull so deep into the island? Looking at Little Garden makes me almost miss the furry centipedes. Who knows what could be here! Ship sized spider-millipede mixes?
. . .It's official: I should not be allowed to think. Or brood.
Memories of flitting through forests back home dance in my head. All the fun I'd had, all the adventure, all the training.
Now I think, maybe this island will be a good challenge for someone like me. I've got my spear, my determination to get stronger, and, I think, these people to back me up. I should be fine. Besides that, I left the comforts of my home to grow. To make something big happen. The things I want to accomplish simply aren't done by hanging back because of a little thing like fear. Luffy said I'd grow strong from joining this thing. Part of that is me participating.
While the crew talks about our surroundings I turn and slip back into the ship to grab my backpack, one made by moms Ito-Ito powers, and the notebook and graphite that Usopp had thoughtfully picked up for me. If I am going to risk my so-far-unscarred tush, then I shall have whatever pretty little thing that catches my eye.
I come back out on deck in time to jump violently at an unnerving cry from the forest. Sanji then has a perv-moment at Nami's expense when she gets all scared.
You know, just your average day here.
"Don't worry, it's just a normal bird," the cook says confidently. "And even this island is nothing but your average jungle!"
I hide a snort with a cough. Oh, Sanji. You really don't know jungles very well-
Shadow passes over the ship and my head jerks skywards.
A huge feathered lizard thing swoops by above. I seriously don't like this.
Luffy looks curious. "A Lizard. . .?"
The Thing loops over the Going-Meri. We all puzzle at this, even me. Maybe it likes Vivi and Nami's colorful hair? Thinks it's food? Maybe-
The nose twitches tellingly. I feel a horrible dawning moment of 'Oh shit'.
Lizard Beast swoops.
Damn, the scream I could have made. Probably would have shattered a few windows.
As it is, Fugly-Birdie just swoops by me harmlessly, though it does snap its fanged jaws warningly.
Nami shrieks and Sanji's immediately standing before her like a protective dog, ready to send that thing farther and faster than if I'd taken a swing at it with my spear.
It's like watching something out of a slow film. The Thing goes by again and again, swooping like it's investigating the mysterious creatures invading its jungle. Then it's moving too fast, claws flashing. Everyone thinking it's after them.
Just when even I think it might be after Usopp's nose it veers and dive bombs me.
"!" A sharp squeak tears out of my mouth as I throw myself to the wrong side and tumble head-over-railing, barely managing to grab hold of it. Good thing I'm holding on, I'm sure hungry things lurk in the waters waiting warm prey.
"Rem!" Usopp hurries over while Sanji and Luffy send that feathered beast flying all the way to the Red Line, and Nami's also there to pull me back up.
"You okay?" Vivi asks beside me while I sit on my butt.
My hand lifts and I make an A-okay sign. Truthfully my throat hurts enough for me to ponder the possibility of something torn, but it doesn't matter. I don't taste blood, and besides, I've seen Zoro's scar. That kind of mark is made by a terrible wound with lots of blood. What do I have? I simple sore throat. I'd be a wimp to let it get me down.
And, like that bird-thing isn't enough of a warning to the craziness awaiting everyone, the island and this river we're on shakes like an earthquake, and the distant boom of an explosion hurts my head.
"Does the bird and that sound seem like your average jungle?" Nami says, looking terrified and pale.
"That sounded like a volcano or something!" Usopp looks like a caricature of 'The Scream'.
A tiger as big as my home staggers out of the trees now, bleeding copiously as it collapses. Oh dear.
Nami rounds on everyone. "This is definitely not normal! Otherwise, why would a tiger, king of the jungle, collapse covered in its own blood!"
Right about now I miss that precious gift-of-gab I normally have, or more accurately, Gift-of-Sarcasm.
Usopp sounds sensible when he says, "Alright. Then it's decided. We are not to set foot on this island!" But I have a feeling sensibility won't be used a lot with this crew. . . Nami follows his words by suggesting everyone stay quietly on the ship and then leave when the Log Pose sets. Ha.
"Sanji! Prepare a lunch box!" Good ol' captain probably hasn't heard a word Nami said.
I turn my head and look at a shaking Luffy for a moment, wondering what life will be like from now on. Maybe it's some pitiful form of premonition, but the hairs on my arms and neck raise, sending goose bumps everywhere. I'll take the sudden sensations as Yes, Rem, joining this crew ensures your fall into something unknowable. Probably very painful, too.
"Lunch box?" Sanji says around his cigarette.
"A pirate lunch box! I smell an adventure ahead!"
Really? I think I might smell a bit of doom, pain, and death defying actions instead.
Nami reams him, but Luffy's face splitting grin won't go down one bit.
Okay, now or never. If you chicken out, Kade, you were never worthy of getting your butt saved by someone like Thunderclap Kenny.
I follow Sanji, and I have to say that following someone has never felt more like walking through knee high molasses.
In the kitchen while Sanji prepares an all-meat lunch box for Luffy I pull the notebook and a graphite out of my bag. My note says, 'Can you make me one too? With soft sweet foods, please.'
"But Rem, isn't your throat supposed to be recovering?" Sanji looks sincerely worried, something that surprises me, though I'm not sure why. "You could have died from the damage to your throat."
The look I give him and another note says, 'I'm still here. It's not as bad as you think. If I can't take such a weak wound now, then how can I ever follow my dream?'
Sanji sighs at this, evidently seeing the particular stubbornness I feel. "Alright, but if you get yourself hurt I won't forgive myself for letting you go, you hear?"
I wince and nod.
Nami's freaking out on Vivi as I leave the kitchen and hand Luffy my request to come with him.
"Oh! 'Course, you gotta come along to get stronger, right?" Luffy's grin couldn't possibly get bigger.
Aaand, Nami rounds on me.
"Rem! Come on," Nami says, speaking with me more reasonably since I'm not Luffy. "Do you know what frostbite does to living flesh? It can ruin your throat."
Oh, I've read texts on that. Mom and dad, when I was eight and old enough to keep my mouth shut, told me that if I ever wanted to be a revolutionary I had to be able to take any climate, especially the cold. I know what this temperature or that does to someone half-way normal. Still, I shake my head and smile at Nami, appreciating that she cares enough to even say that.
Moving my lips carefully, I mouth the words, 'If I stayed back just because of my stupid throat, I'd regret it. Besides it does feel fine. I promise.'
Soon enough the four of us, Luffy, Vivi, Carue and I, are on our way.
"Alright, let's go!"
"We'll be back!" Vivi calls, reassuring the ones staying behind.
I send a two fingered salute to those on the deck.
Luffy and Vivi are a little ways away from my position. I'm digging in the dirt beneath a tree because I thought I saw something shiny.
"Oi! Rem, whatcha looking for?" Luffy calls over.
"Luffy, she can't talk yet," says Vivi, partly exasperated and mostly patient.
"Oh. I forgot. Never mind!"
I keep digging. . . Oh! A lump of amber with. . . a worm in it. Damn. Let's take it anyway. I'm sure someone in this odd world wants a frozen worm.
I walk over to Vivi, who sits on Carue, and I see Luffy is holding a very old creature that's extinct everywhere else. It's something I've read about before, but-
"This looks like. . . an ammonite if you ask me. . ."
There we go! Ammonite. Their fossilized shells make for pretty findings.
"A clam-squid, right?"
My eyes wander the area, scanning the trees above. No movement besides the wind. No bugs so far. Not many animals either. Is there something keeping them at bay? I usually get attacked more than just once without repellant on.
When a crash like thunder strikes to our side, we turn and see huge dinosaurs. They're long necks. I've read that they eat plants. Meaning they are mercifully herbivorous.
"Why is there a seaking on land?" Luffy says while my face mirrors Carue's shock.
"It's a dinosaur!" Vivi says, voice bordering on shrill. I'm past stage Shrill and am on stage Whoa-Shit. Mind-blown!
"That means. . . this is a prehistoric land!"
"This island's stuck in the age of dinosaurs!" Luffy exclaims.
I tune the two out, taking in as much detail of the huger-than-life beasts as I could possibly remember. I notice that their necks would make a wicked slide, but I'm not that crazy.
A noise in the bushes to my right catches my attention. Luffy's still with Vivi when I look at the bush, but when I turn back Luffy is on the dino! Either my head managed to move in some other time space, or Luffy teleported.
"Don't ride it!" Vivi yells
"You dumbass!" Is what I would have loved to shout.
Now Luffy is standing on its head and talking about how great the view is. He wants to eat lunch up there? He's a different species of male and human, gotta be. Then again, what does it make me if I'm feeling jealous of him?
"Get down, it's too dangerous! It may seem docile but it's a dinosaur!"
"It's fine! This guy's only been eating plants! I don't think it's even taken notice of me yet! Let's go check out these weird holes ahead!"
Moments after he says this the Long-Neck flips back its head and swallows the captain. I can't help but hide my face when it happens.
"Look, you just got eaten!" Vivi shrieks.
Curiosity gets the better of me. Can Luffy beat his way out? Probably. I look back up in time to see a giant appear- how in the name of Davy Jones someone that big manages to appear from nowhere, I really want to know- and he slices the long-necks neck clean off.
The shock of Luffy getting swallowed and then the giant stepping out of some hammer space has be landing on my butt.
"Gegyagyagyagya! Aren't you a lively one? I haven't had any guests in a long time!"
Down here, Vivi and I hear the giants booming voice answer something Luffy says, "Gegyagyagyagya! I'm Elbaf's strongest warrior, Dorry!"
And wham! The giant spots Vivi, the duck, and I, and then says: "Let me invite you folks to my place!"
"Agh! He spotted us. . ."
Yes, a possible dilemma Vivi. But I can't feel my legs! Stupid giant scared me.
Luffy and Dorry are eating dino-meat and talking and laughing together like old pals.
How did this happen? The world may never know. Perhaps Luffy sends out brain waves that get them to like him in a snap? Or his personality could just be like that.
"T-they're getting along so well. . . "
I snort, smiling. Luffy's lucky, he's eating dinosaur! What a novelty.
Poor Carue looks like he's about to lay an egg he's so scared.
Luffy and Dorry are still talking and I listen while pondering if the meat is tender enough to chance eating. . .
". . .throat was hurt a while ago so she can't talk yet is all." Eh? Oh, Luffy told the giant why I'm Miss Chatty over here.
"Ah, well that's sad," Dorry says. A platform sized hand suddenly rests on the ground in front of me. "Climb on, little boy, I would like to see you a little closer, if you wouldn't mind." I look up and the giant is grinning. Vivi opens her mouth to correct the giant but I wave a hand at her, it's not a problem. So I climb onto the hand and Dorry lifts me.
The sudden vertigo is not pleasant.
We stare at each other for a moment and he chuckles. "You've got a stubbornness about you, boy, you'll definitely talk again!"
I grin and hold up one finger before shifting my bag and pulling out the note book. I scratch GIRL in dark letters on the page and lift it for him to see.
"Oh, my apologies, little lady. You're dressed like a boy, so I falsely assumed." Still smiling, Dorry sets me back down and I send a smile Vivi's way, she smiles back.
Still listening with half an ear as Dorry speaks to Luffy about things, I feel an urge that crawls around beneath my skin. I want to explore. I don't think I'd be stopped, but what if I get lost? The only reason I could pop up everywhere back home like I stepped out of a forth dimension was because I grew up there. Here I'll be walking around for hours and might fall off a cliff. . .
Dorry releases a booming laugh that startles me and throws back his head, "But it's been one hundred years since! We just can't seem to settle our duel! Gegyagyagya!"
I gawk, mouth probably wide enough to house a bird. Ten decades, fighting? I can't imagine it, but joining the revolution will bring that kind of thing straight to me. Pfft, and the giant says all that fighting is nothing to be surprised about! Then again, Dorry says giants live three times longer than us little mortals, so a quarter of a Giants life span is possibly one full human life.
But if that amateur calculation is wrong, well, I don't think math is that important to the Revolutionaries. . .
A butterfly lands on my nose, distracting me, and KABOOM goes a volcano somewhere farther away.
"Looks like it's about time..." Dorry says, voice and face one big grin of anticipation. "Not sure exactly when we decided it, but the eruption of that middle volcano is the signal for battle."
"What. . . !" Vivi says, upset. "You two can't possibly hate each other so much to actually try and keep on killing each other for over one-hundred years!"
Funny though it sounds, I'm not sure if it's about hate. The look on Dorry's face is excited, not hateful. There isn't an ounce of malice, so I have a good feeling that they have no ill-will for one another; it's like when Elan, a boy my parents adopted after his parents were taken on suspicion of harboring fugitives, and I would play fight. It started innocent but always escalated into real flying fists and kicks, but there was never any hate.
Luffy slaps a hand over Vivi's mouth. "Stop! It's not about that anymore."
"Yes," Dorry says. "It's about pride now."
Oh. Well, pride too I guess. Friendship on some level, definitely.
All of us follow Dorry at a distance to see the two giants fight, and when they do it blows me away in a more spiritual-mental sense. Luffy collapses back on the grass, looking boneless all of a sudden. I understand though, I have to sit otherwise my knees will turn to jelly, so I take a spot beside him.
Vivi asks what's wrong and Luffy's answer is one I couldn't have agreed with more.
"I'm beat. They're just sooo huge!"
A minute into the fight, maybe more since I'm a little out there to keep track, it's left at a draw when they both land killer punches into the others face.
Somewhere between the Giant-Fight's end and going back to Dorry's camp, I got lost.
I knew this would happen!
Alone in a forest so thick that the branches overhead strangle out the sun. Alone with bugs. With animals. And. No. Repellant.
Everything about Little Garden, as I'm hiking, makes me miss Opacare and it's mild, pleasant climates.
Here the heat is muggy and makes my clothes sticky. Here, where on Opacare it was fresh and leafy, the air is thick, filled with the perfumes of plants I can't name, the musk of animals I really hope to not meet, and the mucky scent of rotting leaves probably fermenting in this warmth gathering at ground level. Not to mention the weird plants.
I was kidding about the carnivorous ones!
Oh, and the noise. Opacare is never the noisiest place unless it's night. It's what, midday? The place is a low clamour of animals, bugs, plants and the jungle settling.
I'm getting a headache from the noise and the temperature.
In a second I'm crouching, minimizing places to be hit, and am pointing the spear where the noise came from-
I relax. It's Carue. The big duck tumbles out from behind trees, looking confused and scared. When he sees me he bolts over and flails his wings everywhere-
I shrug, universal for 'I dunno'.
Carue slumps and I swear a cloud of gloom descends overhead.
I pat the duck and smile sympathetically. We move together for a while, dodging creatures and running away from predators. Finally when there is a lull in the surprises, the two of us are sitting under a tree and panting from the heat and lack of water.
As if on cue, both mine and Carue's stomachs growl. Heh. I share my lunch with Carue and don't mind giving him the bigger half since I figure his stomach is larger.
I poke Carue, with a quack he looks over. Wondering if he could read lips, since I've seen he understands language to a degree, I mouth: 'Yummy food?'
Carue quacks happily and I smile. Smart birdy.
"Well, how about this. We go hunting for pirates and end up finding a duck and a little boy."
The voice, male and filled with violent intention, sends a cold zing through me. I turn and see two people, a dark skinned man wearing sunglasses and an unpleasant looking woman with a hat and an umbrella.
Carue's on his feet in a moment and dragging me away with his teeth, frantically quacking for me to move. It only takes a moment for me to get on my feet and keep up with Carue in this mad-jungle dash.
"You'll never escape!" Says the Hat-Woman, and her laugh makes the hair on my neck stand in an unpleasant way.
A tree to our right explodes and sends flaming splinters into us from behind. I grit my teeth, worried for Carue and myself. Obviously someone, or both, is a Devil Fruit user and explodes stuff at a distance.
Not good. I'm an up-close fighter, and if I get close I get stuff blown off.
We dodge for several more minutes and seemingly lose the two bastards from earlier. In a moment of breathing room Carue nudges me and points a wing at his back. Without a second thought I hop on and ignore the unfamiliar, uncomfortable feeling of sitting in a saddle. Surprisingly Carue is fast, but not enough.
Pain and a deafening blast explodes against my back, throwing me off the duck and into a short but painful roll through grass, sticks and sharp rocks that end in a collision with a tree. My brain might have been knocked around; my vision is hazy and in threes when it's not going dark and back to light. My back feels tacky and burnt and horrible, and my body refuses to listen.
Carue. . . What's happening to him, did they roast him? Oh, please tell me the duck is still alive!
Moving my head to look for Carue is like, like trying to rip out my nails, but I have to. Carue is important to Vivi, I can't let him get killed by these turd's.
What I see is Carue getting beaten by the dark man. He's telling Carue to call for help so Luffy and Vivi come running, which I find frustrating since they're close and could help.
Hat-Woman steps away from Sunglasses-Man and waltz's over to me, smiling an ugly smile as she speaks, "Are you with the Mugiwara boy and the princess too?"
"Oh! You didn't know Vivi is the princess of Alabasta? Ahahaha! Two for one, I think I'll make you scream for your captain!"
Hat-Woman stops a foot from my face and it hurts my eyeballs trying to look up at her.
I have to move. I still feel my spear in my hand, if I could move, I could take her out. I just need to-
Shaking, my arm and spear rise, pointing unsteadily at the woman. I refuse to look away from her eyes and I glare as hard as I can, putting all the anger I feel it.
Hat-Woman frowns, not liking the face I'm making. Am I supposed to be whimpering and begging for something? Then she smirks at my show of obstinacy.
"Are you suppose to scare me? Pathetic! Ahaha!"
Now, now, now! With a speed I never knew I possessed, my arm shoots out and I get one scratch on her side, tearing cloth. Hat-Woman snarls and smiles demonically.
"I'll enjoy this!"
Too bad I didn't nick anything important.
Waking up, there's pain here, there, everywhere; like someone let a herd of horses tap-dance on my everything.
And there's. . . there's blood running down my face. It flows heavily, seeping through the lid of my right eye. . .
Red and sticky and warm, it smells metallic. I can't stand it. They stand in front of me, bleeding and glaring ahead. They won't move. Why won't they move? Why won't the damn idiots listen! They stare the enemy straight in the eye, snarls on both their faces. They should run and get away. But they're bleeding for me. . .
". . .You!" Someone yells, sounding vicious and angry enough to snap bones.
Who is yelling? My head feels heavy, everything is muffled like the noise is coming from a room away.
An arm looping beneath my waist, I feel like a dead weight. Who has me? C'mon, wriggle, move!
Then I'm flying through the air to land with a roughly on something soft.
"Why did you hurt Carue and Rem? They didn't do anything to you!" Vivi? I feel dainty hands carefully move me off of who has to be Carue.
"Hey! Who are they?" Usopp, that's Usopp!
"I met them in the last town." That voice. . . Luffy.
"You're right. These two didn't do anything."
Everyone talking, it's going over my head. I have to get up, I have to move. All together I'm sure we can fight these two bastards!
"The most dangerous one is that rubber kid over there, and you are always with him. So, to separate you from him we tried to make this bird and the brat cry for your help."
Listening to Sunglasses talk fills my chest with anger. I've heard of incredible things people do through sheer force of will. I'm not them, never will be, but I have to try.
"But they really pissed me off," Sunglasses-Turd continues.
Shudders rake my back, my arms jerk and slide across the grass.
"Anyway," Sunglasses says nonchalantly. "It seems that boy can't move anymore."
A breath hisses from me. I roll and push up, shaking like someone's trying to cut away the connections between my brain and body. I open my eyes and wince at the blood in my right. I look towards Vivi and she seems close to biting her lip. To catch her attention I click my tongue softly and she looks over, slightly startled to see me moving.
"Then we have nothing to do with this bird and the kid anymore." That's right, keep talking. Oil to the flames.
Carue quacks weakly, drawing a cry of his name from Vivi. She quickly helps me move and I'm on my knees, breathing raggedly as she places a shaking hand on Carue.
"Hahahahaha! Silly bird!" Sings Hat-Bitch.
Vivi nearly growls, a furious expression on her face.
"Are you the ones who put the bomb in that rum?"
I push everything else away from my mind and use my spear to stand.
"Is he on the list?" I'm going to turn you into a woman, Sunglasses.
"No. But he's one of their fiends, so we'd better kill him too." And for her I'll ram that ugly hat down her throat.
I see clearer now. I move experimentally, try to stand without the spear. I can, just not without looking severely inebriated. I hop. That ends with my butt against the ground. I climb right back up. Gotta be careful, have to pay attention-
"You did this? I'll crush you to the ground!" Luffy says, growling and struggling against. . .?
I turn to see what has Luffy stuck, and the sight of him buried under the humongous white mountain is very disheartening.
"Prepare to die!" Vivi yells. I turn back to look at her too quickly and topple like a child's brick tower.
It happens so fast, too fast. While I'm trying to get back to my damn feet Usopp's flying back from Sunglasses's explosive power, then I throw myself into a run towards Usopp seconds too late as Hat-Bitch jumps in the air. I'm a few feet short of saving Usopp the pain of her heavy-ass landing.
I have to stab my spear into the grass to not step on Usopp, but I manage to stand tall and snarl at Hat-Bitch.
"You again? You're practically a cripple, little boy! I suppose you want to die though, right?"
Forming the word 'Bitch' on my lips, I swing at her with my spear, but she dodges. I chase and keep swinging, this being all that I can do.
Keep her away from Usopp, don't let him or Luffy get hurt-
"What a simple brain you must have. Ahahaha!" I pause, arms trembling. Hat-Bitch points to her right and I barely move my spear in time to catch Sunglasses foot against the lacquered wood. My eyes catch a glimpse of Sunglasses holding Vivi by the neck before I take flight.
Sunglasses-Turd makes that explosion extra spicy, for I fly, and fly, and hit the white mountain with a crack of something painful.
Unfortunately my body decides it's had enough and I faint.
AN: I think it might be a regular thing with me, to switch with first point of view Rem, to Third just so that we get out of her head and see what's really happening with her. Because, frankly, with frostbite to the neck she will not be 'perfectly' fine a day or so afterwards. I know Frostbite destroys tissues, so she's not peachy keen.
So. . .Chapter 6 shall be 3rd POV.