Chapter 1: An Odd Arrangement Between Zoro and Robin
"Why the hell do I have to go to shore"angrily questioned the first-mate of the Straw Hats. The green-haired swordsman was being forced to stop his work out routine by the ship's navigator as the rest of the crew secured the ship to the harbor. "Because last time I checked, your blatant bravado on the last island led to Chopper having to use a lot of his supplies," said the orange-haired girl as she pointed a blaming finger at Zoro. Luffy started laughing at his first-mate, saying, "Yeah, Zoro. You need to be in more contr...," being interrupted by two fists upside his head, one from Nami and the other from Zoro. The two responded in sync, yelling, "YOU'RE THE ONE WHO STARTED THE FIGHT, YOU MORON!" Nami regained her composure from the outburst and directed her attention back to Zoro. "So as punishment, you will be joining Robin to resupply of the medical section. Luffy, Sanji, and I are going to resupply the kitchen and pick up other necessities," Nami dictated as she pointed her finger over to her other crew mates, saying "Usopp and Franky will be grabbing tools and stuff for the ship, and Chopper and Brook will stay on the ship for guard duty." Infuriated by her decree, Zoro yelled back, "Why not have Chopper go for the MEDICAL resupply since he's the DOCTOR?!" A swift fist collided with his head, coming from the dainty woman. "Like I said, this is PUNISHMENT. Besides, if you don't, I'm increasing your debt."
Disgruntled by her threats and nursing the welt on his head, Zoro reluctantly headed off of the ship with the raven-haired archaeologist. "Damn that orange-haired harpy. This is completely stupid," muttered the swordsman as he followed next to his crew mate "Well, Chopper was able to write down all of the supplies he needed. Not to mention, him and Brook are the most obscure of our crew, in terms of appearance," stated Robin as Zoro looked over at her while she continued to read her book. She continued, saying, "And since we were told that this island's reset time for the logpose is just a few hours, it would be better to not attract as much attention to us." Zoro made a gruff snicker and said, "So she thinks that pairing the two crew mates with a total of 200 million berries together is a much better idea." Robin paused a moment and looked up from her book. A smile grew across her face and a small laugh began to emit from her mouth, as she said, "That does sound silly when you put it that way." She continued to laugh as Zoro began to laugh too but was followed by a feeling of unease as they continued to walk down the street.
After they picked up the supplies they needed from the medical shops and local hospitals, they began to walk back to the ship. Along the way, Robin noticed a book store. She stopped and turned to her travelling partner, stating, "Let's stop in here. I am certain that there is something in here for Chopper as well." Zoro let out a disgruntled sigh as he wanted to get this day over with. Even after all of their adventures, especially the battle at Enies Lobby, he still had some uneasiness when it came to him being alone with the raven-haired woman. He couldn't put his finger on it, but something about her aways made him feel...different. He felt unsure with how he was supposed to be when they were alone together, but he always chose to be on his guard whenever they were together because of this uneasy feeling. "Fine," he said, letting out a reluctant sigh, to which Robin replied with, "Who knows; you might find something in the shop as well." Zoro grunted as the pair of pirates made their way into the shop.
The door bell chimed as the pair stepped foot inside the shop. It was a quaint little shop but had a series of shelves that were well-stocked and well-maintained. The shopkeep walked from behind a shelf and greeted his potential customers. "Hello there, folks. My name is Ran Shohyo. How may I be of service," asked the storeowner. Robin greeted the man with a smile, asking "We are looking for some medical books for our ship's doctor and some history books for myself. Where might they be at?" Zoro let out a grunt of suspicion, saying, "I knew you weren't coming in here for just Chopper's sake." She turned around and gave him a cheekish glare. "Well, since we're already in here, I might as well take a look too. Just humor me for a bit," the older woman said with slight chuckle at the end of her statement. The uneasiness flustered inside of Zoro once again, causing him to turn around and act defensive and flustered, stating "Fine, whatever. Just hurry it up so we can head back." Robin kept the observation of his actions stored for further study later as she followed the owner to the sections she desired. After several minutes of browsing, she made her selections and paid for the tomes she had found. Before the pair left the store, Zoro had a sly grin appear on his face as he turned and asked the shop owner, "Hey, is there a sword shop on this island?" Robin was caught off guard by the first-mate's request as the shop owner gave the pair directions for their new destination. "Thanks," replied the swordsman as he walked out of the door with Robin in tow. "Why did you ask him about that kind of shop," asked the now curious archaeologist, to which Zoro did a slight chuckle of his own and replied, "Just humor me, okay?"
As the pair made their way into the new shop, they saw the multitude of swords on display, both on the walls and in cases. The storeowner, an old gentleman with a top-knot, came from a doorway in the back, greeting his customers as he entered the main room. "Hello folks. I am Abura Ken. How can I help y'all today?" The swordsman set down the medical supplies and unhitched his three swords from his haramaki. He looked at the swordsmith as he presented them to him. "I'd like a oil treatment done to my swords here and well as a inspection of the sheaths and handguards and make any repairs as needed," stated the swordsman as he handed them to the smith. "Be careful though. Kitetsu here tends to be a little...edgy, and Shuusui is pretty heavy. Wado needs the utmost care when handling," he warned the smith as the smith's eyes widened with each name spouted out. "You ha-a-ave th-th-those legendary swords," asked the astonished shopowner as Zoro nodded and stated, "Yes, and now that you know what they are, you will treat them with the utmost respect, yes?" The swordsmith shook off his astonishment and looked the green-haired man in the eyes with reverance, stating, "Sonny, it would be a great honor to work on these legendary blades. It will take a bit of time, so please look around and see if there's anything you like."
The swordsmith took the three swords into the back of the shop and began to perform his duties. Robin looked at the swordsman with curiosity and asked, "You are going to trust a stranger with your swords? He might try and steal them from you." Zoro continued to browse through the various swords in the shop, replying, "True swordsmiths know what the value of swords are to the swordsman and thus have as much appreciation for swords as well. By me rattling off their names, it allows me to gauge their reactions and base my suspicions on that. Since his reaction was surprised astonishment and not blissful astonishment, he chose this profession for his love of swords and not love of money. Had blissful been on his mind, I would have watched him perform his tasks in person." Robin was taken aback by Zoro's careful analysis. "I'm surprised, Kenshi-san. I never would have guess you have planned this out so thoroughly," she said in wonderment. "Well, it took me a few tries before I got it down pat. I've chased after a lot of sword sellers," he said as he laughed.
The green-haired man walked over to a shelf that had a few books, mostly books on basic swordsmanship and other techniques that he had already mastered before. Robin walked up behind the swordsman and peered at the books as well. She picked up one of the books and began to flip through it, reading the words and studying the pictures. "I thought you weren't into any of this stuff," said the swordsman as he stood in a state of disbelief. "If it piques my interest, then I'll give it a look over. Why? Does this bother you," she said with the same look and chuckle from the book store. Zoro's uneasiness flared up once more, but he decided to turn it into gruffness and replied, "Well, if you wanted to learn how to use a sword in a fight, you should just ask Brook or myself to teach you how." Robin blinked a bit in astonishment at the reply from her nakama and grinned, saying, "I wouldn't mind learning how to defend myself. Alright then, I would like to have you teach me how to use a sword. Plus, it'll be better since I'm learning from the world's future greatest swordsman, Kenshi-san." Flustered by this uneasiness to a boiling point, Zoro turned around hastily and walked over to the doorway that the swordsmith ducked behind earlier. "Hey Ken-san, what is the highest quality sword you have here," he asked through the doorway, calming himself down as he awaited a response.
A bit of shuffling came from beyond the doorway as the swordsmith came from behind the doorway with a katana that was wrapped in a blanket. "This right here is the highest grade sword I have ever came across, aside from your three swords to date. It's of the same grade as your Sandai Kitetsu, a Wazamono," said the old man as he set the sword down on the counter. "You can look this sword over as I continue to work on your swords in the back. It's name is Kodai no Hana," said the old man as he made his way into the back room once again. Zoro walked over to the counter and unwrapped the sword. The sword had a black scabbard decorated with gold plating and inlays with a piece of blue rope tied around the non-blade end of it. The handle of the sword had blue binding while the handguard was similar to Wado's, but it had indents in what would be the four corners of it and had a hole on each side of it near the flattened side of the blade. He unsheathed the sword and saw that its edge had a ripple-like pattern going down the length of it.
Zoro felt the blade and could sense a faint resonance from the blade itself, and it seemed to be the same sort of aura he senses around Robin. He had to be sure of his suspicions. "Robin, come over here," said the swordsman as the archaeologist set down the swordsmanship book and walked over to the counter. "What is it, Kenshi-san," asked the raven-haired woman as Zoro's eye twitched a bit from the nickname. He doesn't mind it for the most part, but he is still one of the only people that she still uses the nicknames on. He let is slide for the moment as this current matter was at hand. "Place your hand on the blade and close your eyes," replied the man as he took a step back, allowing Robin better access to the sword. Perplexed by his request, Robin cautiously placed her hand on the broad side of the blade and hesitantly closed her eyes. "What is going on here, Kensh...," she started to ask but was interrupted by her green-haired nakama's remark, "Relax and tell me what you feel." "What are you talking abo...," she started only to be cut off by Zoro's same command, "Relax and tell me what you feel." A pair of eyes peeked from the back doorway as the swordsmith watched the mannerisms of his two customers. He had just finished the treatments and was about to bring out Zoro's swords when this started.
Robin, still unsure of what Zoro was doing, decided to oblige his request but stayed on her guard. She took a deep breath and began to describe what she felt to Zoro, simply stating, "I feel the metal of the blade." "You're not relaxed. Now try again, and this time, relax. There is nothing to worry about here," stated the swordsman as he watched Robin waver slightly from his authoritative words. She took another deep breath, and as she released it slowly, she felt something other than the steel of the blade. She retracted her hand with a puzzled look on her face as she looked between her fingertips and the sword, asking her nakama, "What was that?" "Tell me what you felt," replied the swordsman as he gauged her reactions, thinking, "I knew it. This sword does have a soul." The swordsmith watched as his eyes widened from what was going on. "I felt some sort of warm tingle. It felt like a...a...," stammered the woman as Zoro walked up to her and sheathed the sword.
"Pulse." This simple statement from the swordsman drew the attention of Robin and the smith. "How did you kn...," started the woman as she was once again cut off by Zoro. "As much of a person of knowledge and reason you are, this is where that will not help you. Do not question me when I say this or write this off as nonsense," he said as he turned around and faced his nakama. "Swords are alive. Every skilled blade that has been brought into the world with the careful strikes and folds of the smith has been forged with the sweat, blood, and breath of its creator. Their essence combines with the sword, and a new "soul" is made. Just like they say with people, these living swords do have a "soulmate" to which they will respond to," he said as he looked into Robin's eyes. "To be a skilled swordsman, you have to be in tune with your surroundings and understand the wills and souls of all things. I noticed when I first touched this blade that it had a soul, but it wasn't responding to me. However, its soul appeared to give off the same sort of aura that I sense around you." Robin stared at him with a look of confusion as they drifted between his eyes and the sword.
The swordsmith stumbled out of the doorway, still in amazement and shock as she witnessed what had transpired. "Incredible," he said and continued, "Never in all of my days working with swords have I ever met a swordsman with such reverance and understanding for them. It truly is an honor to be in the presence of someone so connected with swords, let alone possessing three legendary swords himself." He walked over and handed the three swords back to Zoro, stating, "I could tell while working on these swords that you take excellent care of them. They really sang with your care." Zoro accepted the swords' return and bowed with appreciation to the compliment. "I never would have guessed that this sword's partner would ever walk into my shop," he said as he turned towards the sword on the counter. He picked up the sword and presented it to Robin, saying, "Here. Take this sword. It belongs with you. As a swordsman and swordsmith, it would be downright disgraceful to deny this sword from its partner or even try and profit from it." Robin hesitantly took the sword, feeling a pulse pound in her hands where she held it. The pulse startled her momentarily, but the feeling of surprise left her as she secured it to her waist.
"Ken-san, I would like two shinais and two bokken as well," stated the swordsman as he began to grin. "Why are you getting those, Kenshi-san," asked Robin as she began to pick up the medical supplies and books from their earlier purchases. Zoro pulled out the berries needed for the cost of the treatment and the new supplies he ordered as he turned to Robin with the grin once more. "Don't call me Kenshi-san anymore, Robin. Starting today, you will refer to me as Sensei," he said as Robin's eyebrow raised in curiosity. He lifted all of the supplies that remained to be carried as he looked her right in the eyes. He said, "Congratulations, Robin. I'm going to teach you how to use a sword."
All translations due to Google Translate, so no hating me.
Ran Shohyo – pun on Shohyo Ran, Japanese for Book Page
Abura Ken – pun on Ken Abura, Japanese for Sword Oil
Kenshi-san – Mr. Swordsman, Robin's nickname for Zoro.
Wazamono – A class of Meito (Famous/Excellent Sword) that is the lowest class of named swords.
Heirarchy of Sword Grade:
Saijo O Wazamono – Supreme Grade (ex. Mihawk's sword)
O Wazamono – Great Grade (ex. Shuusui and Wado Ichimonji)
Ryo Wazamono – Skillful Grade (ex. Yubashiri)
Wazamono – Grade (ex. Tashigi's Shigure)
Kodai no Hana – Ancient Flower
Robin's Sword is from Color Walk 5: Shark, Page 70
Shinai – Kendo stick
Bokken – Wooden sword
Sensei – Teacher