-30 Minutes Before-
"All right, Chopper. The coast is clear," Sanji said while peeking through the little creek of the door.
"Are you sure?" Chopper asked. He felt hesitant to leave the room by himself. What irritated him was how stubborn Sanji was. He wouldn't even tell him what he was up to. As of now, he was clueless to how this will all end up.
"Chopper, come here for a sec." The youngest Straw Hat inched closer to him, still afraid to set foot outside of them room. Suddenly, Sanji grabbed the back of his shirt and yanked him out of the room. There, Chopper was sighted by one guard that was walking by.
"Hey! What are you doing in there!" said the guard. Chopper screamed and ran down the hall.
Before the guard could pass by the room, Sanji grabbed the back of his collar and dragged him into the room. He kicked the door shut while trying to tie him down. The guard squirmed to break free, but to Sanji's surprise, this one wasn't as masculine as the others.
"If you try to escape, I'll make sure you can never use those legs again," Sanji threatened. Of course, he'd never do something that would harm the guy, but he doesn't know that. The guard tried multiple times to get Sanji off of him, but his attempts were futile. He brought his head down and hid his face to hide his shame.
"I'm going to need your help. Whether you like it or not, I don't care. Any funny business, I will break a leg. Understand?"
"You're not giving me much of a choice," the guard murmured.
"Call your boss," was Sanji's first command. The guard under him groaned, but he pulled out his cell and opened his phone. Without doing anything else, he handed it to Sanji. The Straw Hat cook rolled his eyes. He searched through his phone himself until he finally found his name. He dialed his number while sitting on top of his hostage.
In the midst of the conversation, Sanji used his hands to indicate what he needed while still talking to Crocodile on the phone. The guard ignored his request and pretended not to notice. Sanji smacked him upside the head and got off of him. Luckily, the guard didn't move. He knew better. Sanji searched his pockets, then finally pulled out the gun he needed.
The guard was wide-eyed. Sanji was pointing the gun right at him. While in the middle of his conversation, Sanji pulled the trigger, but rather than the bullet hitting his target, it went through the wall just behind the guard. Sanji extended the phone to the guard with a sign of hatred in his eyes. "Talk."
When the conversation was over, Sanji tossed the phone back to its rightful owner. The guard was shaky when he tried to catch it. He was in disbelief at what just occurred.
"Did you really think I was going to do anything to you?" Sanji asked. "Sorry, I'm not that kind of guy."
Nami was overjoyed. She swam over to give him a hug, but Sanji tapped his wrist to indicate the time. Then he pointed to Usopp who was holding his throat while pulling off a pained expression. That was when Nami remembered the key. She pointed to her chains, then pointed to the ceiling. The key still hung on the wall, and if the water has risen high enough, Sanji might be able to get it.
Thankfully, Sanji understood.
He quickly swam to the top and searched the walls. He didn't exactly know where the key was, nor did he have the time to waste. The pressure was on. Meanwhile, Nami swam over to Luffy. She moved his body so it faced her. Nami was shocked for words. The color of his body was draining. His mouth was open, and he wasn't breathing. She helplessly shook him to possibly wake him from his little slumber. If it weren't for the water, tears would be streaming down her cheeks now. Not just tears from the hopelessness, but tears of joy for Sanji's arrival.
Sanji reached her side, key in hand. He was about to unlock her chain, but Nami pushed Luffy in front of her. For now, the others needed to get out of the water as soon as possible. Having no time to argue, Sanji unlocked Luffy's chains. When he was set free, Sanji gave Nami the key before swimming to the top.
Nami quickly unlocked her chains. Next was Zoro. He was about as lifeless as Luffy, which made Nami wonder how long they had been stuck underwater with no choice but to hold their breath. When his chains were unlocked, she brought him to the top. When Nami reached the surface, she took a huge breath. There, she could finally see how Sanji managed to break into the room. It was the vents Smoker mentioned. There was still a good five feet before the water completely filled the room.
Sanji appeared from the vent with his arms stretched out. Nami used all her strength to raise Zoro high enough for Sanji to reach. When he finally grabbed a hold of him, Sanji yanked him into the vent. Just then, Luffy appeared from the vent with his hand held out for her to take. He was coughing uncontrollably and he looked like he was in pain, but Nami was overjoyed to see him awake and okay. She took his hand where he pulled her out of the water. When she entered the vent, Zoro was awake and coughing all the water he took in.
"You guys handle him. I'll go back in and get Usopp," said Sanji. Nami handed over the key, then Sanji dived in. The water was slowly inching towards the vent.
Luffy coughed while clutching his stomach. "We forgot about Smoky."
"He's hidden under the table still chained," said Nami.
"Leave him." Zoro coughed. "He'll just chase after us when we get out of here."
"We can't just leave him here."
Zoro grimaced. He gave his captain one last look before diving back in himself. He met Sanji halfway where he was tugging an unconscious Usopp to the top. Zoro took the key from his hand and continued on. Sanji stared back at him in disbelief, but he remembered Usopp was running out of air.
When the cook reached the surface, he called out for help. Both Luffy and Nami helped the both of them into the vents. At that moment, Nami noticed something odd about the water. It completely stopped when it reached the ceiling. Then suddenly, the water level started to decrease.
"H-Hey, what's going on?" asked Nami. The water was decreasing rapidly.
"If he doesn't come out of there, he won't reach the vent," Sanji said, exhausted. Just before the water was out of their reach, Zoro appeared at the entrance of the vent with Smoker with him. Sanji was taken aback by Smoker appearing out of nowhere. "O-Oi! Where did he come from?! I didn't see him down there!"
"Whatever! Just help us up!" Zoro said. The water was draining, and Zoro and Smoker were pulled into the vent. Inside, everyone was panting heavily. It took a lot of effort, but they were out of there, alive. They'd still be down there if Sanji hadn't came and rescued them.
But, they couldn't rest there. While tugging Smoker along, the Straw Hats crawled through the vents, searching for a new way to get out. Sanji was at front where he led the group the way he came in. He stopped at the first opening he could find and kicked the hatch open. He jumped down first to help Nami. They were in a hallway on the first floor. Without stopping, they continued to run to the main entrance.
"Nice idea, Sanji," Luffy said, approved by his crew mate's rescue. "You could've told us you were in the building though."
"That should be coming from my side," Sanji said. Remembering the thought that he had to sneak in while they just ran straight through the main entrance still irritated him.
"But still, what happened? How did you find us?" Usopp asked.
"This and that happened. It took me a while to find the room you guys were being held in. Explains why I took so long."
"So, Vivi's not with you?" Usopp asked.
"I thought she was with you," Sanji said. He stopped running and pulled Zoro, specifically, by the collar. "Where's Vivi-chan?!"
Nami pulled Sanji off of him before a fight were to break out between the two of them. There was no time to waste.
"Vivi was taken by Crocodile. He's planning to kill her and her father to inherit the casino," Nami explained. Hearing this enraged Sanji.
Just then, Smoker started to gain conscious. He pulled himself off of Zoro, causing the Straw Hats to stop running. He grimaced at their presence. "Why did you drag me out of there, Roronoa?!"
Zoro glared. "Captain's orders."
Smoker turned his attention towards the Straw Hat captain. Luffy glared back at him. "I would have left you down there if I wasn't so nice. We're not that bad, you know."
"Luffy, we're wasting too much time. We need to find Vivi," Nami said.
"Oh, that's right!"
"If its Crocodile, then he'd do it somewhere private and quick," Smoker said.
"Tell me again why you're here," Sanji said with a grimace.
They reached the main entrance of the casino where they were met with the loud chaos coming from the crowds. All of Crocodile's guards and the casino's employees were trying their best to hold them back, so they paid no attention to the Straw Hats. One particular man took notice of them though.
"Luffy-kun?" said a new voice. The Straw Hat captain turned his head, startled to see Igaram and Pell approaching them. Igaram fell to his knees while panting heavily.
"O-Oi, are you okay?" Luffy bended down to his level and patted his back gently.
"C-Crocodile has Vivi!" Igaram said.
"He took her and her father to the abandoned warehouse near the beach! I tried to stop them, but.." Pell's voice trailed away.
Luffy smiled and gave him one last pat on the back. "You did good. Let us take it from here."
"SANJI!" Chopper proceeded towards the crew while tears streamed down his face. "I couldn't stop them! There were so many!"
"Relax, Chopper," Sanji said. "The others haven't arrived yet?"
Suddenly, the crowd started to go crazy. Screams were heard from the back of the crowd along with a roar of an engine. From the back, people were panicked and had to separate themselves in order to make a path. When the crowd fully separated, the Straw Hats got a good clear of the Brachio Tank V speeding their way. Luffy pushed Nami out of the way, but the Tank skidded harshly into a stop just a few feet away from them.
Brook was the first to pop his head out of the huge car.
"Minna-san! I'm so glad you're all all right! I don't know what I would do if-" Robin cut him off by pushing him aside in order for herself to get through. She searched around until her eyes landed on Zoro. She dashed over and landed in his tight embrace.
"Don't go running and causing trouble without letting me know, idiot," Robin murmured. "Why are you wet?"
Zoro chuckled and rubbed her back. "Don't worry about it."
"We still need to find Vivi-chan!" Sanji said, bringing the important subject back into manner.
"Where's Vivi-san?" asked Brook.
"Crocodile has her," Luffy explained. "If what Pell said about Crocodile taking her to an abandoned warehouse is true, then there's only one place he would've taken her."
"At the end of the beach?" Franky asked from the driver's seat in the car.
"At the end of the beach," Luffy said.
"Then, hop in! This baby will take us there in no time!" Franky said while patting the door.
"Wait! I'm coming too!" Sanji said.
"I'm coming as well," Pell said. "I need to make sure Vivi and her father are all right."
"Then, get in!" Luffy ordered. "To everyone else, do the best you can to calm the mob down. Don't let the situation get too out of hand."
"Good luck!" Nami said. Luffy followed Sanji into the backseat of the car. As soon as the door shut, Franky swerved the car, causing a loud screech, and raced away while honking at anyone in their path.
"Now, how are we going to calm these people down?" Usopp asked. "There's way too many people."
"At least prevent them from starting a fight with one another. They'll start a riot all downtown if we don't do anything," Zoro said.
Nami watched as her crew separated and disappeared within the crowd. There was too much going on and it was all happening so fast. Vivi and her father are dealing with Crocodile somewhere alone. The crowd of people are attracting the media and could possibly lead into a riot. Nami could only hope this will all end soon enough.
Meanwhile, as Franky drove the car at max speed, Luffy and Sanji were having difficulty trying to stay in their own seats. Pell was holding on as tight as he could. He was strapped in tight, but he was used to this fast paced speed. As soon as they got in, Franky drove off without giving them the time to put their seat belts on. Needless to say, they were just going to burst into the building once they arrived, but with Franky's driving, who knows whether or not they'll even make it.
"You sure you know where you're going?" Luffy asked.
"Just step on it!" Sanji said.
"Like I'm not going over the speed limit already," Franky said sarcastically.
"Take the next left," Pell said. "Its a faster route and it'll save us time."
Franky considered the idea. As if on cue, the stoplight turned green for their new path. Who knew what could be happening to Vivi and her father at this moment.
When they finally reached their destination, Vivi inspected the area. It was just an abandoned warehouse. From the black ashes on the walls, she could tell the building must've caught on fire. There was a ladder that must've led to the roof. The walls were weak, and it was barely keeping itself together. On the other end, there was a huge chunk of the wall missing, so you could clearly see the sea.
"What are we doing here?" Cobra asked when Crocodile entered the building.
"Don't worry. I will explain everything. I would actually like to speak in private," Crocodile said while eyeing Vivi alone. Vivi could sense what he meant when he said private. Crocodile left them and started climbing up the ladder.
"Vivi, be careful," Cobra warned.
"I will." She gave her father a reassuring smile before climbing up the ladder to the roof. She needed to finalize this. There was no way she was going to hand all their work and effort to this one man. She had a feeling she'd be going through all of this alone. She never meant for her nakama to get involved in any of this. However, this was the best way to end it. When she reached the top, she saw Crocodile standing near the edge. He faced the direction they came from while his back faced her. For now, she couldn't see the expression on his face.
"So, what did you want to talk about?" Vivi asked.
"The future," Crocodile turned around and Vivi could see something odd about his smiled, "mainly yours."
Quick Question: Is Katekyo Hitman Reborn a good series? I've been debating on it for a while and I've seen some awesome fanarts on them. I need convincing opinions!