The WhiteBeard Pirates just stared at Robin's running figure. They were too shocked to react to what happened. Robin kept running until Marco grabbed her shoulders and forced her to face him. He desperately searched her eyes for an answer, but could find none. He wanted to believe that she tried her best to save Thatch and that his death was a mere accident. However, he couldn't help but have his doubts. After all, he had just lost a good friend and comrade.

"He's alive right? You're crying because you're happy that he's alive, right, Robin?" Marco said.

Gaining her cool composure and stoic expression back, she replied, "No. He's dead." Her sudden change in attitude was shocking. She went from distraught to cool-headed within seconds. Sure, she hadn't known Thatch for more than a day, but some sort of regret and sadness should show. Robin had immediately put her stone-walls back up, a skill she had acquired from years of suffering. Never let emotions in or out. Do that, and nothing can hurt you again. It was a defense mechanism of sorts.

"That's all?!" Marco exclaimed. "That's all you have to say!"

Robin stared at him, her expression blank. Then, she slapped his hands away from her shoulders and said to everyone, "His body is still in the medical room. You guys can go see him if you want."

"Of course! And then we have to find an island to bury him." Jozu agreed. "His funeral will be a sad one, indeed."

"Robin. What happened in there, anyway?" Ace asked.

"He lost too much blood and he died. I tried to save him, but I failed." Robin said. "I'm sorry."

Ace strode towards her until they were shoulder to shoulder and he said evenly, "Sorry won't bring him back." Then he continued to walk past her and sat down on one of the tables for her party with a sigh. Everyone fell silent since they had no idea what to say in this situation. Everything was falling apart, thanks to Teach. Then, WhiteBeard spoke.

"Robin, I have a mission for you. One that I think you'll enjoy very much." WhiteBeard said. "And since I know that you have no intention of looking for a burial place and mourning with us, this will be perfect."

At this, Robin looked up and asked, "What is it?"

"You're going to Alabasta. I think that there might be a Poneglyph there and I also want you to investigate Baroque Works for me. Their leader is Crocodile-a brat who has been after my head for some time now. Find out what he's plotting."

"You got it. I'll be ready to leave at midnight."

"So soon?" Marco asked the raven-haired woman.

"What?" Robin replied while gaining her playful nature back. "Is someone going to miss me? I'm touched."

"Not at all!" Marco stammered. "It just seemed like you would need more time to pack."

"I don't have a lot of stuff, so I can leave early."

WhiteBeard began to give orders to wrap up Thatch's dead body in cloth and put him in a coffin. Robin purposely walked past Ace to go get her things to see if he would say anything to her. He didn't. How cold. Robin thought as she frowned. After experiencing the death of a friend, no one was in the mood to party. Let alone celebrate a woman who had let Thatch die. It wasn't her fault, yet they wanted someone to blame and they had too many fond memories about Teach to blame him. Even though he was the one who stabbed Thatch! Idiots. Robin thought.

After they had cleaned up, most of the crew went to bed weary from the events. Save for Robin who was waiting for that clock to strike midnight, so that she could go to Alabasta and find that Poneglyph. She was so excited since she hadn't seen one for a while. She even brushed up on her ancient text reading. However, she wasn't too thrilled that she would have investigate a secret organization as well. It was going to get in the way of her research.

"Hey, Robin."

She turned around to see none other than Portgas D. Ace standing there avoiding eye-contact with her and with his hands in his pocket. She stared at him before turning away to put her books in her rucksack. After she was done, she put it on and faced him once more.

"Well?" She asked.

"Are you really going to Alabasta?"

"Am I really going to pass up chance to see another Poneglyph?"

"I'm serious."

"I'm serious as well."

"Baroque Works is very dangerous and you can't handle them alone." Ace insisted. "Someone should come with you."

"I'm not going to waltz in there and challenge everyone to a battle."

"If it did come to fighting, what would you do?"

"Listen Portgas. I'm more than capable of defending myself. You're not the only one with a Devil Fruit ability." Robin said with an annoyed look on her face.

"Crocodile is a Logia. Physical attacks aren't going to work." Ace replied. "Do you even have a way to get there?"

"WhiteBeard was going to supply me a ship, but-" Robin began.

"I just don't think that it is a good idea to go alone." Ace interrupted.

"Oh!" Robin said as she sat down and rested her chin on her hands. "Why don't you admit it, then? You want to come with me, am I right?"

"Well..." Ace began. "Yeah...but only because I thought Teach might be there."

"Then it's settled. Let's head to Alabasta!"


Sorry if this chapter is a little short, but I wanted to put the arrival to Alabasta in its own chapter, you know?

Stay tuned!