Monkey D. Luffy, Captain of the Straw Hat Pirates, was sitting on the deck of his ship, the Thousand Sunny, with his fishing line over the side. He was accompanied by his friends Usopp and Chopper. Zoro was up in the crow's nest training as usual, Nami was off either drawing charts or counting money, Sanji was busy in the kitchen, Robin had her nose stuck in a book, Franky was down in his workshop, and Brook was playing the usual soothing songs on his violin. Moments of peace like this were very rare in the New World; with bizarre weather conditions popping in and out without a moment's notice, other pirates, and the marines hounding them across the seas. Luffy knew this was just a short break before their next adventure, and he hoped it could come soon, because so far he hadn't caught a thing all day.
Being at sea with his friends on days like this was almost enough to make Luffy forget about the battle at Marineford two years ago. Though he'd never admit it to his crew, there were nights when all he could think about was that dark hour when he held his dying brother in his arms. He promised himself he would never let what had happened to Ace happen to any of his friends. That is why he spent two years getting stronger, and now he was so powerful that he could take out 50,000 men without even lifting a finger, but he knew better than to get cocky. The New World was home to the most feared pirates in the world, all of whom were looking for the legendary treasure of One Piece, and the bravest and most powerful marines were here in the New World to combat them. But on the outside Luffy was still as ambitious and confident as ever. After all, he wasn't going to become King of the Pirates just by sitting on his hands on some island.
"Everyone on deck!" bellowed Zoro "Ship off the starboard bow!"
All the other members of the crew were quickly on the deck of the Sunny.
"What is it?" asked Chopper "Marines, other pirates, what?!"
Nami looked through the telescope. It didn't look like a Navy ship, and it wasn't sailing with a pirate flag. But she did notice some distinct markings on it.
"It's a slave ship, and from the looks of things their cargo is for the Celestial Dragons."
Even though it was prohibited over two hundred years ago by the World Government, slavery still survived in some places in the world. Two years ago at Sabaody Archipelago, the Straw Hats learned this too well. The Celestial Dragons, the descendants of those that founded the world government, kept famous pirates as pets, and other people were made to be servants and trophies.
"What are your orders Captain?" asked Robin.
Luffy despised the Celestial Dragons, because of what they had done to his friends. At Sabaody Archipelago he had actually done the unthinkable and punched one, something which was punishable by a very public and painful death, but Luffy didn't care, all he cared about was his friends. With this slave ship in the distance he thought of Keimi, and of Hancock and her sisters.
"Run out the cannons and prepare to board, we're sacking the ship."
"Are you nuts?!" exclaimed Usopp "You heard Nami, those slavers are working for the Celestial Dragons! Everyone knows that defying them means death!"
"In case you've forgotten, we've already defied the Celestial Dragons and the World Government in the past." said Zoro.
"Then let's not put more fuel on the fire!"
"Well… I for one… agree with Luffy."
"Nami, you too?!"
"Anyone who works for the Celestial Dragons is bound to have some money onboard their ship. Something we desperately need."
"You're kidding me, what happened to all the money that we had."
"Unfortunately, some of us pissed it away."
"We'll sack the ship then!" exclaimed Sanji, ever eager to please Nami.
"Any ship sailing in the New World, especially one with cargo for the Celestial Dragons, is probably heavily armed." said Nami.
"We'll be okay." said Franky "Don't forget, the Sunny is SUPER! I'd like to see those racial bastards try and even scratch us."
"Let's just make sure this is done quick and clean."
"Don't worry, they won't even know what hit them."
"Usopp, Chopper, prepare to fire."
"Okay… here we go… I just know we're gonna regret this."
After taking a blast from the Sunny's cannons, Franky sent the Sunny flying with a confined Coup De Burst which landed it right in front of their target.
Between Luffy, Zorro, and Sanji alone, the enemy crew quickly fell to pieces.
"Whatever they're paying you guys, it's too much." said Sanji standing atop the overweight goon he had bested.
"The same could be said for your bounty." said Zoro "Making a reputation off easy wins."
"You're one to talk Moss Head! If it wasn't for those oversized pocket knives you couldn't cut your way out of a paper bag."
"You wanna go ashtray?! Anytime any place!"
"Do you maggots know who you're stealing from?! You're all seven kinds of dead meat!" bellowed one of the captive crew members.
"I think they'd have a very hard time turning me into any kind of meat." said Brook "Particularly because I'm nothing but bones… YOHOHOHOHO! In any case I'm afraid you're bosses will have to get in line."
"There must be something worthwhile on this ship, search every cabin down to the bilges." said Nami.
"And find out where the food is!" exclaimed Luffy "I'm hungry!"
The Straw Hats all split up to search the ship.
"We're sacking a ship that works for the Celestial Dragons, and all he can think about is food?" asked Nami "And this guy plans on becoming the Pirate King?"
"Where would he be without us?" said Robin laughing.
"Assuming his story is true; I imagine he'd still be adrift at sea in a barrel."
Nami and Robin's search quickly led them to the cabin where the would be slaves were being kept.
"Everyone stay calm!" said Nami "We're taking over the ship!"
The would be slaves consisted mainly of able bodied men and young women.
"We should start looking for the keys."
But Robin's thought were immediately distracted by one of the slaves, who was wearing a very large pendant around her neck.
"Where did you get that?"
(To be continued)
The Straw Hats have kicked the hornet's nest. Upon hearing that one of their ships have been sacked, the Celestial Dragons decided that they've had enough, and dispatch their personal assassin, someone who was able to fight to a standstill with the three admirals.
Next time in Chapter 2: Enter the Reaper