When the group reached the large door, they weren't surprised to find themselves locked out. Of course, the first thing that happened was Luffy tried breaking the door; however, he couldn't because Zetsumei and Robin stopped him from doing so. Instead, the two said they would figure out how to open the door without having to go exhort to such drastic actions. This, though, was a lot easier said than done.
"Do you have any idea what it says?" Zetsumei asked, looking up at the writing above the door.
"I can read a few words," Robin said, crossing her arms and putting a hand to her chin, "but I'm afraid that I don't understand all of it. If only I had my book…"
"Anything is better than nothing."
Robin looked over the words one more time. "I believe it's saying something about a cube."
"A cube…" Zetsumei sighed, stuffing her hands in her pockets as she bit down on her cigarette. "That's a start…" Zetsumei looked away from the door and began looking around the area. There was nothing that looked like a cube.
"Can't we just bust it down?" Luffy grumbled from his place on the ground.
In reply, the two women looking over the door turned around, both having the same straight expression on their faces yet the opposite look in their eyes. Their eyes told Luffy that if he even asked one more time, they would kill him for wanting to destroy such a good piece of history.
"Where the hell are we going to find a cube?" Zoro grumbled, leaning up against a large rock.
Zetsumei didn't grace Zoro with an answer, just continued her search around the area before finding something that resembled a pedestal. She dusted it of all the sand that had piled up on it and looked over the strange engravings and other markings on it.
"Do you guys remember that man that fell out of the tree and startled Long-nose?" Zetsumei suddenly asked, drawing everyone's attention.
"Of course we do," Franky said, "he screamed like a girl."
"I did not!" Usopp shouted angrily.
"Why are you asking, Zetsumei-san?" Sanji asked, walking over to the woman.
Zetsumei pointed to the pedestal, indicating the small marks on the side of the square hole. "I think he might have had friends. The cube most likely sat here, opening the door, until someone came and got it out. And they look like they were in a rush."
"You got all that from slits in a pedestal?" Chopper asked, peeking to see.
Zetsumei shrugged. "Someone must have taken it or these marks wouldn't be here." She pointed back over her shoulder. "Neither would those footprints leading the other stairs over there."
"When were you going to tell us about those?!" Usopp and Nami shouted.
"Either way," Robin cut in before more arguing happened, "I believe Kitsune-san is right. Someone must have taken the cube that opened this door, and we need to get it back to proceed any further."
"So," Zoro said, stretching, "find those people, get the damn cube. How hard is that?"
"You're staying here, Drunkard," Zetsumei said, crossing her arms. "I'm going for the cube by myself. If you come along then you'll only get lost."
"She's right," everyone said waving a hand in front of their faces. This made Zoro snap at them, but soon laid off when finding the arguing pointless.
"But, Zetsumei-san," Sanji protested, "you can't just go by yourself. That's dangerous."
"I can handle myself just fine," Zetsumei said, beginning to walk away, heading towards the stairs.
"Zetsumei-san!" Sanji yelled, continuing to chase after the woman as she made her way through the forest.
"I told you, Cherry Boy," she said, ignoring him, "I'm fine by myself."
"Zetsumei-san, please, it's not safe for you to be walking off by yourself in search of this cube!"
Zetsumei stopped walking when her hand was suddenly grabbed and she was pulled back. She turned around, glaring at the chef.
"I can't just leave you by yourself," he said straightly.
Zetsumei blinked a few times, but so regained her stead heart and snatched her hand away from him. "Fine, just be careful, there might be- Eep!"
Zetsumei had tripped and fell into a puddle of mud before Sanji could even catch her. She sat there momentarily, her hair soaked in front of her face, as she huffed irritably.
"Are you alright, Zetsumei-san?" Sanji asked quickly, taking her hand and about to help her too her feet, but he froze when she moved the hair out of her face. She was pouting with her cheeks slightly red.
"You didn't see anything, alright?" Zetsumei mumbled, sticking out her lower lip just a bit. However, her childishness snapped back to her normal seriousness when seeing the blood dropping out of the chef's nose and the hearts in his eyes. "Wipe that damn look off your face!"
"As you wish, Zetsumei-san~!" Sanji chimed, helping her to her feet and quickly wiping the look off his face. However, the chef's face turned a nasty shade of green when getting a wiff of the stretch coming from the woman, and Zetsumei noticed.
"Do I smell that bad?" she asked with a frown.
"N-No..." Sanji lied, noticing how hurt she looked. "You always-"
"Stop lying," she snapped, making the chef flinch. Zetsumei then turned her back to Sanji and began walking off again, keeping her distance to make sure her 'stench' didn't get to him.
"Z-Zetsumei-san, please wait a minute," Sanji pleaded, chasing after the woman.
Zetsumei wouldn't listen and continued to head forward until she was pulled back. "What the-" Zetsumei stopped her yelling when she realized she had been walking towards the edge of a cliff. Her face was soon flushed when she felt Sanji's arms around her waist, keeping her close to his chest so she didn't fall off the edge. However, her heart wasn't racing from just that.
"T-Thank you…" she mumbled, still not getting her eyes off the long drop she could have taken.
"Are you alright, Zetsumei-san?" Sanji asked, releasing the woman and peeking over her shoulder to get a look at her face, which had paled considerably. "You've been a bit out of it since-"
"I'm fine," she lied, shaking off the nauseous feeling she had. She looked to the ground, turning in different directions before halting and cursing. "Damn it, I lost the tracks…" She crossed her arms, huffing before looking up towards Sanji, who looked quite worried, and then looking down to his now dirty, dark blue, jacket.
Zetsumei smiled, feeling a bit of regret. "Sorry…guess I should have been more careful. Then maybe your shirt wouldn't be smelling so bad."
Sanji looked down at his shirt. "Oh, I didn't even notice…" Sanji looked back, fairly serious. "But I don't care about the shirt"-he soon smiled-"your safety is more important to me, Zetsumei-san."
Zetsumei couldn't keep her cheeks from going red, and she knew Sanji noticed, it wasn't hard to see. Even she knew how red her face had gone.
Zetsumei turned away, putting a hand over her mouth to keep her smile hidden. "We should get moving." She quickly walked past Sanji, ignoring him as she went to find the cube.
Sanji was about to speak up, but he kept himself from doing so. He knew she wanted to be left alone, so he'll do what's best and wasn't going to pester, even if he really wanted to. The chef was satisfied just knowing he might have a bigger place in her heart than he originally figured.
About an hour later:
"Can't we just break it down?" Luffy whined.
"No!" everyone shouted, now getting annoyed with Luffy's pestering to break the door.
"Where are they anyway?" Luffy asked with a frown. "It shouldn't take this long to find a cube."
"They have been gone longer than planned," Chopper said. He looked up to Brook next to him. "Do you think something happened?" Brook shrugged.
"Maybe curly-brows finally got the courage to plant one on Chibi-chan," Zoro suggested with an amused smirk. "For all we know, they could be-" Zoro was knocked against the head, making him fall silent and making everyone look up to see the couple that had been missing was right in front of them again.
"Stop thinking such dirty things, you bastard!" the couple shouted, their faces bright red.
"You mean it's not true?" the other boys asked, all tilting their heads.
"Of course not morons!" Sanji shouted as Zetsumei walked away, ignoring them. Sanji clasped his hands, obviously in pervert mode, and continued with what he was saying. "I wouldn't dare contaminating such a glorious-"
"Will you shut up?" Zetsumei growled, throwing a rock at the chef, knocking him down. She then turned around, heading towards the large pedestal to place the cube.
"Um, Zetsumei?" Chopper said, pinching his nose, his eyes beginning to water. "Why do you stink?"
"You both stink," Usopp and Luffy said, pinching their noses also.
"What happened while you two were looking around?" Nami asked.
"Don't. Ask." Zetsumei answered, putting the cube in its spot, opening the door. Once the door was fully open, Zetsumei stormed off into the large, dark, hallway, leaving everyone behind to wonder why she was so angry.