A/N- Hello! I've been away for a while and when I actually did go back to this story I decided to make some changes. Firstly- I put all the 'The Beginning' chapters together, this is because i think it kinda point to separate them into three parts. Secondly- I've been fine tuning the background work on each character so I'll probably end up posting more chapters soon. Lastly- The childhood chapters would be reduced by maybe 4-6 chapters, this is so I can finally introduce the crew and get on with adventures :)

Disclaimer- I don't own One Piece! I only own Terra, her devil fruit and parts of this fic that isn't seen in One Piece!

Chapter 1

Along the edges of a forest, beyond the border of Foosha village-was a small girl. She was walking aimlessly, dragging a large branch alongside her. Her name was Ocello D Terra.

She was a short girl and appeared to be around the age of seven. She had a head of layered brown hair, the ends of it curling in different directions looking like she had just rolled out of bed. Terra was clad in a plain yellow shirt and red shorts. One of her shoes was missing but that didn't seem to deter her, her dark eyes were wide, filled with excitement, as she watched her surroundings.

"Ku-wak-ak-ak-ak~"

A sound caused Terra to pause in mid stride and cease her mindless humming.

"Ku-wak-ak-ak-ak~"

She listened carefully and looked towards the forest. As the sound repeated, Terra tilts her head so that her ear was facing the sky, occasionally switching sides, looking like a curious puppy.

"Ku-wak-ak-ak-ak~"

Terra looked cautiously into the forest and didn't waste another moment as she tried to track the owner of the sound. As soon as she walked a few steps forward, the sound was heard once before it echoed around her and made the forest seem ominous.

"Ku-wak-ak-ak-ak~"

Terra took a deep breath and braved herself as she tracked the sound coming from behind of a large bush. When she reached the bush, Terra peered around it only to see a small puffy figure lying on the ground. Curiosity had long gotten a hold of her, so there was no reason for her to stop now. Terra approached the figure and picked it up. The figure turned out to be a small grey bird no bigger than her hand.

"What're you doing on the floor?" Terra said to the bird that was currently curled up on her palms.

As if the bird understood her, the bird jumped up to its legs and twittered madly and made various gestures with one wing. Terra nodded along and responds with many 'oohs' and 'ahs' as if she understood the chattering.

"Ahhh, so you jumped of your nest because you saw something shiny underneath the bush." Terra asked sagely, eyes closed, while nodding thoughtfully.

The bird nodded.

Terra's eyes popped open as she threw her head back and burst into laughter.

"BUAHAHAHAHAHAHA you're funny! Puff-chan is a BAAAAAAKAAAAA! BUAHAHAHAHAHAHA!"

The bird-or as Terra unexpectedly named 'Puff-chan'- huffed before it prepared itself to jump off. Just before the launch, Terra calmed down enough to address Puff once more.

"Hehe I like you Puff-chan! I want to have you around! My name is Ocello D Terra and you are gonna be my nakama! What'd ya say?" She said cheerfully, her dark eyes wider than ever as she stared hopefully at Puff.

Puff stared warily at Terra then seemed to huff defeatedly and gave her a slight nod.

A large grin came up onto her face, showing a lone dimple on her right cheek. The grin dimmed down as she spotted Puff's crooked left wing and frowned thoughtfully.

"Hey, your wing looks funny Puff." She murmured and brought a finger down to poke at it.

"KU-WAAAAAAAAAAAAAK!"

(-)

After a few laughs (courtesy of Terra) and furious cries (Puff), she pocketed the shiny object-which turned out to be a gold coin-and headed back to Foosha village. As they walked the streets of the village, Puff perched sulkily on Terra's shoulder; they saw a small boy with a knife in hand stomping determinedly towards the docks.

"HEY LUFFY!" shouted Terra as she ran towards him.

Luffy turned around and smiled as soon as he saw Terra. "TERRA!" he shouted back.

"What're ya going to the docks for?"

Luffy's grinning face transformed into a determined one. "Shanks is back, so I'm gonna show him how tough I am!"

"Shanks is back!? WOOHOO! I'm coming with ya!" Terra said with a wide grin as she walked beside Luffy towards the docks.

It wasn't long till they saw a large ship with a red dragon figure head. The pair along with Puff climbed the side of the ship and stood/sat on the figure head while the occupants were distracted.

"Hey Luffy! Terra! What're you guys up to now!" said a red haired man on the ship.

Terra waved at the man grinning widely. "HI SHANKS!" Terra shouted in greeting while Luffy just huffed.

Luffy grit his teeth and shouted, "I'VE HAD IT WITH YOU GUYS! NOW YOU'LL HAVE TO TAKE ME SERIOUSLY! THIS IS HOW TOUGH I AM!" Then he held up his knife.

"HA HA HA! Get it over with! Whatever it is..." Shanks said in good humour.

Luffy took a deep breath and suddenly stabbed himself, under his left eye, surprising everybody on the ship.

"AHHHH! LUFFFFYY!" screamed Terra as she stared at Luffy in horrified awe.

"HUH!?" shouted the pirates.

"WHAT DID YOU DO THAT FOR YOU IDIOT!"

"IT HUUUUUUURRTSS!"

(-)

The pirates and Terra hurried Luffy into a local bar (one of the few places they allow Shanks and his crew inside) to get him treated by the ship's doctor.

"A TOAST, TO LUFFY'S COURAGE AND TO OUR GREAT VOYAGE!"

It wasn't long before the pirates were celebrating, partying like never before and drinking booze with vigour. Various shouts of 'BEER!' and 'THAT'S MY MEAT' were heard coming from the inside of the bar.

"Hi Makino!" greeted Terra cheerfully at the green haired barwoman.

"Oh! Hello, Terra- oh my! What happened to Luffy?" asked Makino worriedly.

"Hehe, oh it's nothing. Luffy-baka just stabbed himself with a knife." she answered before joining Shanks and Luffy, leaving Makino looking shocked.

"It didn't hurt a bit!" said Luffy in false bravado as his tear filled eyes looked at Shanks and Terra.

"BUAHAHAHAHA! Luffy you baka! You have tears in your eyes!" Terra pointed out in mirth.

Shanks however, was not as amused. "LIAR! That was a foolish thing to do!"

"I'M NOT THE LEAST BIT AFRAID OF GETTING HURT! TAKE ME WITH YOUR NEXT VOYAGE! I WANNA BE A PIRATE TOO!" Luffy shouted excitedly as he totally ignored Shanks' reprimand.

"Hehe me too! I wanna have the best adventures ever!" Terra couldn't stop herself from joining in, as Luffy's enthusiasm was contagious.

"YOU TWO?! A PIRATE?! IMPOSSIBLE! DAHAHAHAHA!" Shanks laughed at the thought.

"Luffy, Terra do you two know why we call you both an anchor? It's because you two can't swim-you just sink! What good is a pirate who can't swim!" The red haired captain continued.

Terra pouted, "I've been practicing in the bath Shanks! I can float now!" she said in rebuttal.

"Congratulations, you're promoted to life ring." said Shanks in sarcastic humour.

"As long as I stay on board the ship, I'll be fine!" said Luffy, "Besides! I'm a strong fighter!"

He punched the air in front of him, "I've been training with Terra! My punch is as strong as pistol fire!"

"And I'm as fast as a swooping bird!" added Terra.

Shanks was slouching on the counter, leaning his face on his right hand. "Pistol? Bird? Wow… really?" he deadpanned.

"WHAT KIND OF TONE IS THAT?!" yelled the pair.

"Luffy! Terra! You seem unhappy" yelled one of the crew.

One by one, several pirates in the bar added their 2 cents in and at every word said, Luffy and Terra's eyes were getting wider and wider with excitement. Dreams for adventure and freedom, that's what being a pirate is all about.

"Don't give them these dumb ideas, guys." Shanks said to his crew.

"But it's the truth right?" said one of the pirates.

"Right!" confirmed the other.

"Yeah Shanks, remember when it was your turn for the 'Macking Game'?" said P1 (pirate one).

"Yeah! You almost reached five hundred points that time if it wasn't for that old man!" said P2.

"I've never seen you run so fast in my entire life! HAHAHAHAHAHA!"

The rest of the crew laughed as well as Shanks himself.

"The 'Macking Game'? What's that?" asked Terra.

Ben, a tall, pony tailed man, who was Shanks' first mate, was the one to answer. "It's sort of a game our captain made up. It's where at each island we go to, each one of us takes turns to try and get kisses from girls. The higher the points, the most likely you're going to win."

"Kisses from girls? That's kinda stupid." Said Terra to the pirate crew.

"DAHAHAHAHAHA! You wouldn't understand! Only pirates can play this game! Not little kids!" Shanks said as he laughed off the insult.

"Yeah! After we leave as island, whoever gets the most points would get paid in the same amount in cash. 500 p = 500 beli." explained P1.

"HAHAHAHAHA! Shanks almost always win! Not many people can beat him!" another pirate said making the crew laugh.

Terra subconsciously straightened up her spine, the challenge in that statement was unheard of by anybody but Terra. She stood there akimbo, one hand on her hip while the other was pointing at the captain.

"Oh yeah?! I can beat you at any game! Besides, it doesn't sound too hard! You'll see! When I win this game you'd have to pay me!" declared Terra, staring directly in Shanks eyes as she did so.

Shanks, however, laughed once again. "DAHAHAHAHA! Is that so? How are you supposed to get kisses? You're only seven! DAHAHAHAHA!"

Terra crossed her arms angrily. "LIKE THIS!" she exclaimed.

She started walking towards the bar, head tilted up, arms swinging high as Shanks and his crew watched. Terra climbed the stool and stood on it, looking at Makino intently as the said woman watched the scene.

"Hey Makino! Can you give me a kiss?" asked Terra, her cheeky grin revealing her lone dimple.

Makino looked at the girl in amusement. She decided to play along.

"Sure." Makino said simply, planted a kiss on the girl's forehead and went to the storage room.

As soon as lips touched Terra's forehead, a bright blush bloomed across her face, visible even under her olive skin. Terra turned around and marched stiffly back to the pirates, touching her forehead with a shy smile spread across her lips. The pirates started cheering for her.

"Woo! Way to go, Terra!"

"Nice technique!"

"With such a beautiful lady too!"

"Oooohh! Is that a blush I see! Terra's gone all shy!"

This earned a 'SHUT UP!' from Terra.

"HA HA! But you're gonna have to do more than that to beat Shanks! GAHAHAHAHA!"

At this, Terra pouted. What more does she have to do?

"Captain, Why don't you take them with us one time? It's not a big deal." said a pirate.

"Yeah, I agree." said another.

"YEAH!" Luffy and Terra yelled in unison, fully agreeing to what they are saying.

"Well, then two of you will stay here and let Terra and Luffy take your place." Shanks said simply not bothering to look up from the counter.

"GA HA HA HA HA! We've said enough! Let's drink!" they said in response, and with that they went back to drinking.

"WHAT KIND OF FRIENDS ARE YOU!" the pair yelled at the retreating pirates' back.

Shanks turned to the twins with a spoon in his hand. "The most important thing is that both of you are still too young. Wait at least another ten years and I'll reconsider taking you both out to sea." said Shanks.

The two weren't so pleased with the answer. "Damn it Shanks! Let me tell you!" started Terra.

"We're not kids anymore!" finished Luffy.

"Hey don't be mad. Here, drink some juice." Shanks said as they sat down beside him.

Terra and Luffy agreed cheerfully. "Ok! Thanks!" they said with a grin as they started chugging down their drinks.

It only took them five seconds to finish drinking before Shanks suddenly burst into laughter. "DAHAHAHAHAHA! You two really are just kids! DAHAHAHAHAHA!" said Shanks merrily with tears in his eyes.

"WHAT A DIRTY TRICK!" yelled Terra, her face an angry red.

Luffy turned around with his arms crossed and pouted. "Humph! I'm getting tired of this. I even stabbed myself and he still won't agree."

"Terra, Luffy. You should try to understand the captain's feelings." Ben said to them as he lit another cigarette.

The two tilted their heads in unison.

"Understand Shanks' feelings?" Terra said.

"Yes… after all he is our captain, he knows that being a pirate is interesting, but… he also knows that a pirates life is hard and very dangerous." explained Ben.

"…?"

"Do you understand? He doesn't purposely try to tease your ambitions to become a pirate." said Ben.

"I don't understand! Shanks just take us for idiots!" exclaimed Luffy while Terra nodded in agreement.

"Can't swim~" teased Shanks from his spot at the counter.

"SEE!" yelled Terra, pointing at the perpetrator while Ben sighs.

Ben saw a small grey bird resting on Terra's shoulder. "Who do you have there, Terra?"

Terra looked at her shoulder in surprise. She actually had forgotten about Puff until now. 'Sorry Puff.' thought Terra. "Oh! This is Puff-chan! I found her in the forest with a broken wing, so I rescued her!" said Terra proudly.

"If you were wondering 'Puff' is a male, grey falcon." said Ben.

Terra seemed to have ignored him as she sought out the ship's doctor to fix Puff's wing. When they came back, Puff was now actively perched on Terra's shoulder with his wing wrapped in a sling.

Makino came back from the storage room with a barrel. "Captain, you seem to be happy as always." she said with a smile.

He smiled back. "Yep. Making fun of them is my joy." snickered Shanks.

"He really is happy." Luffy grumbled to Ben while pointing at the red haired pirate.

"Luffy, Terra. Would you two like something to eat?" asked Makino as she walked behind the bar.

"Yeah, just put it on my treasure tab!" said Luffy.

"Treasure tab? You better not be tryna swindle the lady. What about you Terra? Treasure tab as well?" Shanks teased.

Terra huffed haughtily, "Nope not this time Shanks. This time I actually have treasure to pay with!" said Terra as she pulled out the gold coin from before.

"NO! I'm definitely gonna be a pirate… I'll pay her with the treasure I find!" defended Luffy.

"Ha ha ha! I'll be waiting!" said Makino good-naturedly before declining Terra's coin. "You too Terra! I'll expect big treasure when you two come back from being pirates."

Luffy and Terra grinned widely at her response. They sat down on the stools and waited patiently for their food to come. Makino came back with meat on a plate for Luffy and chicken noodle soup for Terra. As Shanks, Luffy and Terra tear their way through their food, Luffy spoke while trying to take a bite out of his steak.

"Shanks?" Luffy said, voice slightly muffled by the meat in his mouth.

"What is it?" replied shanks with a mouthful of rice.

"How long are you gonna stay?" asked Luffy.

"Well… it's almost been a year since we used this town as our base. I plan on setting sail a couple more times then we'll leave this town and head north." Shanks answered while he finished the last bite of his food.

Terra, who silent through the whole conversation fed Puff the last of her chicken and was almost finished slurping down the noodles. "A couple more times…" she muttered.

"Shanks?" said Terra.

"Hm?"

"I'll learn how to swim by then." said Terra with a smile.

"Me too." added Luffy.

Shanks smile at their determination. "Alright! Good luck to you both." he said.

After finishing their food, Luffy and Terra thanked Makino and climbed down their stools. Both Luffy and Terra were looking around for possible food to be dessert. They didn't have to look long as Luffy spotted a small chest at the end of the counter. "What's that?" she asked Luffy, earning a shrug, and opened the chest together.

Inside the chest was two odd looking fruits. One closest to Luffy was melon shaped, blue object with spirals printed all around the fruit. The one closest to Terra was an apple shaped fruit, with blood red colouring, fuzzy like a peach and had different sized swirls on it. When Luffy and Terra took the fruits closest to them and took a bite each. The two off them immediately recoiled as the nasty taste of their fruits hit their tastebuds.

The door suddenly slammed open. "Excuse me!" a voice shouted coming from the entrance.

A man entered the bar. "This is my first time seeing pirates… they look pretty stupid to me." he insulted.

Terra and Luffy momentarily stopped eating to stare at the man as he walked up to the counter and stood next to Shanks.

"We are bandits." the man continued casually.

The man had a topknot. A scar shaped like an 'X' was resided on the right side of his forehead. He had a goatee and was wearing a shaggy looking robe. A sword stuck out at his right hip. The man's name is Higuma, the leader of a group of bandits that reside in the mountains.

"We're not here to cause any trouble. We just want to buy ten barrels of sake." Higuma drawled.

"I'm so sorry, but we ran out of sake." Makino apologised.

"Oh?" he said looking around the bar. "That's strange… What are they drinking then? Water?" he drawled, feigning curiosity.

"It's sake." confirmed Shanks, the bandit turning to him as he did so.

"But that's all we have." said Makino sensing hostility coming from the leader.

"I'm sorry. Looks like we finished all the sake here. Sorry about that." Shanks said.

"Here, if you don't mind, you can take the last bottle." said Shanks as he offered the unopened bottle to the bandit.

Higuma looked at him for a second and took the offered bottle from his hand.

…Only to smash it across the captain's straw hat covered head making glass and sake drip down onto the floor.

Everyone had different reactions. Makino put a hand on her mouth as she gasped from the shock, the bandits smirked cockily at the scene, the pirate crew looked on with indifference and Terra and Luffy gaped, mouths full with their 'dessert', almost chocking on a piece with shock.

"Just who do you think I am? DON'T TAKE ME SO LIGHTLY! One bottle is not enough!" the bandit yelled at Shanks.

Shanks ignored the man as he stared down at the floor, distressed. "Oh no! Now the floor is all messy!" he said.

"See this?" Higuma said as he pulled out a wanted poster with a picture of his face. "My head is worth eight million beli. I'm one of the prime fugitives here and I've killed 56 people before, you cocky bastard…" the leader said slowly and menacingly.

"Now you know who I am, don't mess with us again." Higuma continued now standing over Shanks for intimidation. "After all, mountain bandits and sea pirates don't mingle very well."

Shanks continued to ignore everything Higuma said as he sat down on the ground and started to pick up pieces of glass off the floor.

"Sorry about that Makino. Do you have a mop?" the red haired pirate apologised.

"Ah… it's alright. I'll clean it up!" said Makino as she tried to stop the pirate from cleaning.

Higuma didn't seem to like being ignored. He unsheathed his sword and swiped all the plates and cutlery off the counter and onto the floor. The same spot where Shanks had been cleaning up.

"Well it seems that you really enjoy cleaning. Now you can enjoy doing it more!" Higuma said with a sneer.

The bandit started heading for the door with the rest of the bandits. "Humph. Later, you bunch of cowards." he said making the rest of the bandits laugh.

Once they left, Makino quickly rushed to Shanks to make sure he was fine. "Are you alright Captain? Did you get hurt?" asked Makino worriedly as she crouched down beside him.

While Shanks was reassuring the bar keeper he was fine, Terra and Luffy were breathing heavily as if they were trying to hold something back. They were gritting their teeth and clenching their fists, trying to comprehend what just happened.

Shanks chuckled, "Phew!" he huffed jokingly.

That set the rest of the pirates off. "HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!"

"GA HA HA HA HA! Our captain looked so silly!"

"He fixed you up good, Captain!" HA HA HA HA HA!"

At this, Shanks took off his hat and started laughing with his crew. "HAA HA HA HA HA HA!"

Luffy and Terra however, couldn't find the humour in the situation. "WHY ARE YOU LAUGHING!?" yelled Luffy with clenched fists.

Shanks and his crew turned towards them with confused looks on their faces. "Huh?"

"THAT WAS DISGRACEFUL! WHY DIDN'T YOU FIGHT HIM?! SO WHAT IF THEY HAVE MORE PEOPLE!" shouted Terra, as equally upset as Luffy.

"WHO LAUGHS AFTER GETTING PICKED ON?! YOU'RE NOT A MAN, AND YOU'RE NOT A PIRATE EITHER!" screamed Luffy.

Shanks stared at them both for a while. Then he chuckled and put his hat back on. "Look, I know how you feel, but it's just a bottle of sake. There's nothing to get worked up about." he said.

Terra and Luffy just huffed and turned around, fully intent on leaving the bar.

"I'm leaving! I'm going to find a different role model!" said Luffy.

"I don't want to see you again, chicken!" added Terra.

"Luffy, Terra… aww c'mon, don't be like that." Shanks said as he grabbed one of their arms each.

Terra was stopped from going any further. Luffy however, kept going. His arm stretched as he kept on walking towards the door before realising that Terra was no longer next to him.

The reactions of the bar were comical. The pirates did several spit takes, spitting their beers into the air as their eyes bulged out from their astonishment. Terra's mouth was wide open as she stared at Luffy's arm in shock; feeling pricks of pain down her arm. Shanks looked at the arm his was holding onto, horrified. He looked at it with panic thinking that he was responsible.

"WHHAAA-?!" screamed all the pirates as they gawked at the elongated arm.

"His arm! It's stretching!" the captain managed to choke out.

Luffy looked back at the commotion wondering what was going on. "AAAAHHHHH! WHAT'S HAPPENING TO ME?!" screamed Luffy.

Shanks ripped his stare from Luffy's arm. His eyes travelled to the other arm her was holding. "ACK! Terra! Your arm! Th-there's… feathers coming out of it!" choked out Shanks once again from a different kind of shock inducing situation.

All the pirates, Terra and Luffy turned to stare at her arm. Everyone panicked once again, the pirates did their second spit takes while Luffy and Terra screamed their heads off.

"AAHHH! Terra! Your arm!" Luffy yelled.

"AAAGGGHHHH! WHAT'S HAPPENING TO US?!" Terra shouted out in panic.

Terra finally ripped her hand out of the pirate's grip. She continued to stare at her feathered arm until she felt the small pricking pain from before. The small red feathers slowly receded back inside her arm, leaving it with no marks or evidence to what had happened just recently.

Lucky Roo, one of the pirates walked over to the chest at the end of the counter. It was the same chest Terra and Luffy had raided for their 'desserts'. Lucky Roo picked up the chest and peered inside of it.

"THEY'RE GONE!" he shouted.

"WHAT?!" screamed the pirate crew with bulging eyes.

"THE GOMU-GOMU NO MI (Rubber-Rubber fruit) AND THE HANE-HANE NO MI (Feather-Feather fruit) WE TOOK FROM THE ENEMY IS GONE!" Lucky Roo continued.

He turned to Terra and Luffy. "Luffy! Terra! Did you eat these fruits?!" he asked in a panicky tone. Lucky Roo pulled out a picture of two fruits. They were the same ones Terra and Luffy ate.

"Uhh… yes?" admitted Terra.

"Weren't they desserts?" questioned Luffy, wondering what was going on.

Terra turned to the boy. "It didn't taste very good though…" she murmured, slightly disappointed the fruit didn't taste as sweet as it looked.

Shanks snapped out of his reverie. "That was the fruit of the rubber and the fruit of the feather! It's two of the fruits of the devil and two of the rarest treasures of the sea!" he shouted, pulling at both of their cheeks.

Both Terra and Luffy stared wide-eyed at the captain.

"…!"

"Whoever eats a devil fruit will lose the ability to swim!" Shanks continued.

"WHAAAT?! YOU'RE KIDDING RIGHT?!" screamed Luffy, his jaw literally dropping to the floor.

"NO WAY! THAT'S GOTTA BE A LIE!" yelled Terra.

"YOU TWO ARE IDIOTS!"

(-)

A few days later, Terra and Luffy had a new outlook towards their new abilities. Together, they walked down the road towards the markets holding baskets and had similar grins donned on both faces.

The two stopped in front of a fish store and greeted the man standing behind the counter.

"I want to buy some fish, Storekeeper-san!" said Luffy without loosing his smile.

"Some small ones for me and Puff-chan would be great!" Terra requested.

The storekeeper leaned over the counter, "Hey, you two! You look like you're in a good mood today! So did the pirates leave you again? Either way, neither of you can swim anymore!" he said teasingly.

"That's alright! We'll just be pirates who won't fall off the ship!" Terra said in reply.

Luffy nodded eagerly. "After eating the rubber fruit, I've become more happier! Look!" Luffy said as he pulled his cheeks, making them stretch wider than normal.

"Yeah! Now I can look a lot more cooler after I ate the feather fruit!" added in Terra, ignoring the small pinpricks of pain as she sprouted soft red downy feathers from the length of her arm.

"What's so good about that?" sounded the cynical voice of the village chief, Woop Slap, "Maybe the whole village thinks that's cool, but what good does that do? Having a rubber body or feathery powers." He continued.

Luffy and Terra didn't seem to be listening anymore. They had turned around and plugged their ears while pulling faces as if to mock the chief. This is the fourth time they heard this from him.

(-)

A frantic Makino was running through a path towards a house. As soon as she reached the porch, she grabbed the doorknob and flung the door open.

"CHIEF! HURRY! SOMETHING TERRIBLE HAS HAPPENED!" Makino yelled in distress.

Woop Slap was clearly startled by her sudden appearance. "What's wrong Makino? What's this fuss all about?" asked the Chief carefully, trying to calm the frantic woman down.

She wasn't calming down.

"IT'S TERRA AND LUFFY! T-THE BANDITS!... THEY TOOK THEM!" she yelled.

"WHAT?!"

(-)

In midst of a surrounding crowd, in the middle of the street a group of bandits encircled Luffy and Terra.

"What an interesting body. It seems like kicking and punching won't do any harm to him." Higuma observed with a sneer etched across his face.

"DAMN IT!" cursed Terra as a bandit held her painfully around the neck.

Luffy ran at the leader with his fist cocked back, "APOLOGISE TO US RIGHT NOW, YOU BASTARD!" screamed Luffy, throwing a punch at the offending leader.

Higuma sidestepped him easily and grabbed a hold of Luffy's cheek. "Oh, a rubber man huh? Who would've thought such a thing exists in the world?" he said, stretching the piece of skin beyond human limits.

He tightened his grip on Luffy's cheek and threw the rubber boy over his shoulder. He let go of Luffy as soon as he hit the ground making the boy skid across the hard ground.

"LUFFY!" yelled Terra.

She couldn't take it anymore. The feeling of helplessness was not a feeling Terra favoured. She decided, from then on she would try her hardest not to feel that way anymore. But for now, Terra grasped at the meaty hand clutched around her neck and bit deeply into it, drawing blood.

The bandit yelped and flung away his hand away from her maw. She rushed towards Higuma, fist formed and arms covered in feathers that had sprouted from anger.

"YOU BASTARD!" she cried out, throwing her punch at him.

Before her fist could connect with his side, the leader seized her wrist and gripped it tightly as he held her up to his eye level.

"TERRA!"

"Ah… a different type of human." drawled Higuma with a glint in his eye.

"DAMN YOU! YOU'LL PAY FOR THAT!" Luffy cursed and slowly got back up.

"A rubber boy and a feathered girl… if I sell them to a circus, I'll sure get a lot of money!" Higuma drawled with an evil smirk.

Luffy ran at him with a plank in hand, intent on striking the bandit. At the same time, Terra took hold of his arm and kicked out towards his middle section.

"Hmph… what stubborn…" he drawled and shifted his position, lifting a leg up towards the oncoming Luffy.

"Brats!"

Higuma simultaneously stomped his foot on Luffy's head and gripped Terra by neck in mid-air.

"We were just having a good time talking and drinking. Did we say something to piss you off?" the bandit leader said as he looked at the seven year olds mockingly.

Terra choked slightly underneath the bandits grip as she tried to speak. "Y-YES YOU DID!" she managed to scream.

Luffy didn't have any trouble talking at all. "APOLOGISE RIGHT NOW DAMN IT!" he shouted in anger.

"LET THE CHILDREN GO!" yelled Woop Slap as he finally arrived with Makino, looking at the scene.

"KU-WAK!" screeched Puff when he saw Terra in the clutches of Higuma's sweaty mitts.

"Please… I don't know what Luffy and Terra did, but I'm willing to pay! I don't want to argue with you so please let the children go!" he pleaded as he knelt low on the ground.

"C-Chief!" Terra said in surprise.

The bandit leader looked pleased.

"As one would expect, it's the elders who know how to deal with any situation…" he said slowly, stroking him goatee.

Higuma chuckled humourlessly, "But it's too late! You can't save these brats now because it makes me really angry when weaklings like them insult me!" he growled, emphasising his words by grinding his foot down and squeezing his grip tighter.

"IT'S YOUR FAULT!" yelled Luffy, unfazed by the pressure added.

"LET GO, YOU WILD BABOON!" Terra shouted, face pale from the decreasing amount of air she's breathing.

The bandit leader unsheathed his sword with his free hand.

"Fine, I won't sell your bodies then! I'LL JUST HAVE TO KILL YOU!" he said and raised his sword in the air.

"TERRA! LUFFY!" Makino cried out, terrified of the children's fate.

"P-PLEASE LET THE CHILDREN GO!" Woop Slap tried pleading once more.

A familiar voice washed over the crowd, stilling the descending sword, mid swing.

"I was wondering why no one came to see us at the port… so this is why." said Shanks, appearing from behind Makino and the kneeling Chief.

"C-Captain!" said Makino in surprise, staring wide-eyed at the pirate captain.

"Hey. You guys were the bandits from the other day." he said in recognition.

"Hey, Luffy! What's wrong? I thought your punch is as strong as a pistol fire?" said Shanks calmly.

"S-SHUT UP!" replied Luffy, clearly not wanting to get teased at the moment.

Shanks turned to a pale Terra, who was struggling to breathe, and said, "What about you Terra? I thought you were as fast as a swooping bird?"

"S-SHANKS! Ach! NOT N-NOW!" she yelled, choking mid-sentence.

Ben glared menacingly at the bandit leader. Terra looked close to turning blue, even under her olive skin, as she was deprived from the needed air.

Higuma looked at Shanks with disdain. "What're you doing here you pirate? Come here to clean the whole town? Well I suggest you leave now… before we open fire at you." he threatened with his usual slow drawl.

One of the bandit subordinates walked towards Shanks and pointed his gun at the side of the Captain's head.

"Did you hear that pirate? Don't take another step forward." he sneered.

The rest of the bandits sniggered smugly at the pirates 'misfortune'.

Shanks, however, just sighed. "Well since you pulled your gun out, I guess we have to fight." He said in a calm tone.

The bandit scoffed, "Huh? What was that?" he mocked as he dug his pistol into Shanks' temple.

The red haired captain turned to look at the bandit.

"I said, don't use this to scare people."

Just as Shanks finished his sentence, Lucky Roo came from behind the bandit, a piece of meat dangling from in between his teeth. He pulled his own pistol out and aimed it at the bandit's temple.

A shot was fired.

The bandit's grip slackened as he collapsed, dead on the ground.

"!"

"AH…!"

The Chief, Makino, the bandits, Terra and Luffy all gaped in shock as the bandit tipped sideways and blood pooled under his head. It wasn't long till the group of bandits cried out in protest and rage.

"N-NOW YOU'VE DONE IT, BASTARD!"

"DAMN IT!

"THAT WAS DIRTY!"

The pirates stared coldly at the bandits as they continued to yell and shout like a flock of disturbed birds.

"…Dirty?" said the sharpshooter of the crew, Yasopp.

"Don't make us laugh, do you think we're saints or something?" Ben continued.

Shanks looked at each bandit indifferently. "The people standing in front of you are pirates."

"…S-SHUT UP! THIS IS NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS!" a bandit yelled, breaking out in cold sweat.

"Listen well bandits…" Shanks ignored the protest, "You can whip food or sake at me… or even spit on me, I can laugh it off… BUT!"

Shanks glowered at each bandit, "I DON'T CARE WHAT REASONS YOU HAVE! I WON'T FORGIVE ANYONE WHO MESSES WITH MY FRIENDS!"

Terra felt a slight pressure in the air. She felt Higuma slacken slightly as he tittered faintly. The other bandits – Terra spotted – were swaying on the spot as if a dizzy spell was cast upon them. The bandit leader seemed to have recovered enough to laugh mockingly at the captain.

"HA HA HA HA HA! 'WON'T FORGIVE ME'!?... You, a bunch of pirates who float around on a ship all day want to challenge us!? WE WILL DESTROY YOU!"

Higuma's subordinates took this as their queue and rushed at the pirate crew like a pack of hound dogs.

"RAAAAGGGHHH! GO TO HELL!"

Shanks gripped the hilt of his cutlass as he prepared to take them on. Before he could unsheathe, Ben stepped forward and held his rifle firmly.

"Let me deal with this. I can take care of it." he said in an offhand way.

When the first bandit reached within his distance, Ben took his lit cigarette and smothered it on the bandits for head. The bandit fell back with a cry of pain, his hands clamped shut on top of his seared forehead. This did not staunch the rest of the bandits. Ben took his stance and held his rifle like a bat.

WUH-PACK

Ben put a lit another cigarette in his lips.

There were only two bandits left.

"Don't over estimate yourselves, bandits… if you want to fight us, you better bring yourself a battle ship." He said, aiming his gun at the remaining bandits threateningly.

"…wow."

"Amazing…"

Higuma spluttered, "But! Wait a minute! This little brat messed with us first!"

"It doesn't matter, after all there's a price on your head." Shanks said.

The bandit leader grit his teeth in fear before throwing Terra at his remaining subordinate and throwing a smoke bomb in front of them.

"ACH! SMOKE BOMB!"

(-)

Before Terra knew what was happening, she was hauled away from the others. She was held like a potato sack, draped over the shoulder by the same bandit who she had bit.

"H-HEY! LET ME GO, BAKAYARO!" Terra yelled, thumping her small fists against his muscled back.

"SHUT UP! You bit me really hard back there and, you insulted Higuma-san and us! You deserve every bit of what's coming to ya!" the bandit yelled at her.

Terra could see that the bandit had headed into a forest. He kept running until the path from the village was no longer visible. The bandit roughly threw her onto the ground and started tying her hand behind her back.

"Hey! What are you doing!? LET ME GO!"

When the bandit was done tying her up, he turned her around and faced her to him. He was beefier than the others. He had his hair slicked back and his eyebrows were almost invisible. And when he extended his hands towards her face, his left hand – in the flesh between the thumb and forefinger – was a crescent moon shaped wound, freely bleeding. Terra bit harder than she thought.

All of a sudden she was falling. Falling into a pit that's about three times her height.

"MMPH!- MMMPPPHH!?" Terra tried to scream out.

The beefy bandit had taped her mouth shut and tied a cloth around it to muffle most of her voice. Terra looked up towards the bandit as he chuckled and started to walk away.

"Eheh, you should wish for a quick death." He said, his voice fading as he kept walking away.

Her eyes widened at the implication. The bandit had tied her hands behind her back and gagged her to muffle her voice. The situation started to catch up to her. The bandit left her, in a ditch with no one around but trees, to die.

She struggled against the cloth, hoping to break free. Terra tried this for a couple of minutes straight before she collapsed in exhaustion, tears of frustration leaking down her cheeks as she ineffectively tried to keep them in bay.

"MMMMMMMHHHHHHHPPPPPHHHHHHH!"

Terra tried screaming for help. But she knew it wouldn't help, as her attempt didn't even disturb the singing of the birds.

She stood up – albeit with difficulty – and decided to do a different approach. Terra took her stance and ran towards the wall of the pit. She placed one foot on the wall and attempted to vault herself upwards, only for her to push herself away horizontally instead of vertically.

As time went by, Terra had exhausted herself from attempting to escape. Instead, she settled herself against the wall and curled herself into foetal position. The light being filtered by the trees started to fade as a cloud descended over the forest. This made Terra feel even more isolated, the sound of the birds chirping only reminded her of Puff and to make things worse, her stomach started to grumble loudly. So loud that it seemed to echo around the pit and into the opening.

Hungry, hurt and exhausted, Terra's eyes burned as streams of tears made their way down her cheeks. She also remembered Luffy getting pulled away from her as the bandit leader took him and headed to the sea. Terra felt an overwhelming dread come over her as she thought of Luffy.

Is he dead?

Did he get away?

Did he suddenly learn how to swim and saved himself?

Questions ran rampant through Terra's head, overwhelming her to the point of near hyperventilation. But the sudden sound of footsteps crushing dried leaves stopped her from doing so.

"Hmm… Could've sworn I heard a bear 'round somewhere." A deep and gruff voice sounded from above the pit.

Terra sat deathly still as the unfamiliar voice lingered from above. There was silence until.

BLAARGHBLRRRRAAARRGGGHHBBLARGH~

Her stomach announced their hunger.

"…There 'tis, must be a beauty by the sound of it."

Terra had always known her stomach would be the death of her.

The cloud that had been shadowing the forest seemed to have dissipated allowing sunlight to filter through. The voice crept closer until it reached the edge of the pit.

A scruffy looking old man peered into the pit. He wore simplistic clothing and had a bag 5 times the size of Terra hanging off his back. He was also wearing a black wide brim fedora that looked rather worn down as the brim sagged slightly over his face.

"Ey? You ain't no bear. Whatcha doin' down there?"

(-)

The old man had jumped down into the pit and took Terra from out of there. As soon as he unbound her, Terra immediately grasped at the man as tears flowed freely down her face and his coat muffled the sobs. When Terra has somewhat calmed down, explanations were spoken and in turn, the man had told stories of his adventures.

"Wow! Really Ossan? Is there really an island full of mermaids?" Terra asked eagerly, amazed by his many stories and adventures.

"O'course there is! Many, many wondrous places and things the world holds! And you'll only find them when you start adventuring." He replied.

The glint of excitement that previously resided in her eyes, dimmed down. "I wish I could go on adventures… but I'm too weak! I can't even protect Luffy! What am I supposed to do if I go sailing? I'll be all alone!" she said, sighing in discontentment.

The old man's hand tilted Terra's face upwards until she stared into his eyes.

"Now ya listen here! That ain't nothing that supppose'ta stop ya! Ya think you're too weak? Then train and become strong! Ya don't want to be alone? That's what nakama are for! Do these things and you'll have the greatest adventures ever! WUHAHAHAHAHA!" the old man laughed gleefully.

Terra's spirit came crashing back into her as a grin nearly split her face in half. She thought of all the adventures she could come across. Islands stuck with harsh summer/winter seasons. Monstrous beings lurking in another. And an island filled with beautiful mermaids!

"Do you think I can really do it, Ossan? Do you think I can go on adventures like you?" she asked, hopeful eyes peered widely into his.

"WUHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Course ya can! The only one tha' can stop ya is you!" the old man said as he took something out of his bag.

"Here," he said, revealing a hat similar to his – but newer and cleaner – "This hat's for adventurin'. You wear this and you'll achieve what you want."

Terra took the leather hat reverently and placed it gently on her head. The hat was about 3 sizes bigger than her head and manages to cover her eyes with any slight movement she makes.

She smiled tearfully, "THANK YOU, OSSAN!" Terra said, running her fingers along the brim.

"Hehe. No worries. Now let's get you back to your friends."

(-)

The old man had led Terra back to the path and out through the opening. The first thing she saw was Makino frantically calling for her name. Terra almost ran to her, but was halted by the sudden thought of the wise old man. She turned around, thankful words almost spilling, only to realise that the old man was gone.

Terra continued to peer into the forest to try and see if she could spot the illusive old man, when she was suddenly hoisted up and held into warm arms.

"TERRA! Where were you! I have been worried sick! Are you ok? Where are your injuries? Did the bandit do anything to you? OH TERRA!" Makino rambled on, and gripped Terra tighter as if she would suddenly disappear.

Terra, who was completely disorientated, recovered enough to retaliate the hug and surrender to the warm embrace.

End Ch 1.

A/N- BTW sorry if the updates are a bit messy, I'm kind of a rookie.