One Piece: Truly Precious
So sorry for the wait for this chapter to be posted. I've been having some problems coming up with creative ideas here for this arc. I really need to find time to re-watch/reread the major arcs that I'm covering, so please don't judge too harshly.
Disclaimer: Oda-sensei will forever be the one behind One Piece.
As Gin tore through the ranks of the Baroque Works agents, he couldn't help but think back to his days in the Krieg Armada, fighting battles like this one. Ah, the rush of pitched battle, he hadn't felt this for a while. Swinging his left tonfa, he sent an Agent flying through a wall with a broken ribcage, before dodging a sword strike from another, countering said strike by kicking the man to the ground. Noticing that the rest of the Agents were beginning to gather around him, he began to spin his tonfa again as a savage smile appeared on his face as the wind from his spinning weapons began to kick up a small sandstorm. It was time to let the Man Demon of the Krieg Pirates show just how he earned that title.
That night, the desert sand in the port town was stained red.
"We have to hurry," said Vivi as the Strawhat Pirates hurried through the moonlit desert, "if Crocodile knows we're here to stop him, then he'll take steps to ensure that we don't reach Alubarna."
"What kinds of steps?" asked Yosaku.
"Trust me," muttered Zoro, "he'll take effective ones. Just remember what we've taught you and if we tell you to run and leave us behind, do so."
The group continued their trek through the moonlit sands, wanting to make as much progress on their journey as they could in the hopes that they could make it to the capital city before Crocodile could enact his grand plan, especially because his Agents had managed to inform him of the Strawhats' intentions, somehow. Their intention was to cover as much ground as possible by night as so to avoid draining themselves dry by keeping a harsh pace under the equally unrelenting desert sun. Unfortunately, this meant that they had to make full use of the robes they had purchased in order to keep back the chill from the desert night, though Ace seemed just fine in shorts and a hat.
"How much longer?" groaned Luffy as the group continued to march through the sand.
"If we continue at this pace, then we should make it by sunrise tomorrow," said Nami.
"Is what this Crocodile person's doing really that bad?" asked Ace as they kept up their pace.
"Worse than you know," muttered Zoro.
"He's just after the Poneglyph, right?" asked Ace, "I'm guessing negotiation is out of the question."
Robin nodded, "Contained in the Poneglyph's writing is information about Pluton, one of the three legendary weapons of the seas. It's Crocodile's goal to gain the location from the Poneglyph so that he could find the weapon and use its awesome might to control the world. To do this, he hatched a plan to garner favor with the Royal Family while forming a criminal organization with the purpose of setting up the Royals to take the fall for a fabricated crime that would have a rebellion rise up and create Civil War within the nation, allowing him the chance to have me translate the Poneglyph for him and make his escape in the confusion. He even has plans to detonate a bomb that would decimate the capital city."
"Right," said Ace, "so he's a really bad dude and you're gonna stop him."
Suddenly, Sanji held out his arm to stop the group just as Zoro rushed forward and drew his swords, swinging them with precision and speed to deflect a barrage of bullets sent their way.
"Princess Vivi," said a blond man as he walked forward with several men wearing desert garb and carrying rifles.
"Koza!" exclaimed Vivi in surprise, "What are you doing here?"
"I'm leading the resistance against your father," said the man, "we received an anonymous tip that you were back and figured you'd be excellent leverage against His Majesty. Boys."
The men began to advance, but a black blur shot forward and slammed into Koza, sending him sprawling to the ground via a kick from Sanji's shoe.
"What are you doing?" exclaimed Vivi.
"Don't get all worked up," said Sanji as he lit up a cigarette, "he's not who he says he is."
"Oh my oh my," chuckled Koza as he climbed to his feet, "you're a lot stronger than I thought. I guess I'll have to fess up and stop holding back."
'Koza' tapped the side of his face with his hand, transforming him into an older man wearing makeup and eyeshadow, identifying him as an Okama…one that the Strawhats were quite familiar with.
"Bon Clay," said Sanji.
"Mr. 2?" exclaimed Vivi in surprise.
"Oh?" said the revealed Officer Agent as he climbed to his feet, "You seem to be quite well informed for pirates."
"Get Vivi to the capital," said Sanji as he threw his desert robes to the side to free up his movement, "I'll deal with these clowns."
"Oh really?" asked Bon Clay, "Boys, shoot them!"
The Baroque Works Agents raised their guns as the Strawhats made to escape, but Sanji shot forward in a blur, slamming powerful kicks to the diaphragms of the men, dropping them onto the sand, unconscious, allowing his friends to make their escape. Turning, the chef of the Straw Hat Pirates was just able to lean out of the way of a kick aimed at his head from Mr. 2.
"You're stronger than I thought, Pretty Boy," stated the Officer Agent as he threw off his disguise to reveal his swan themed outfit.
"Your men are just pushovers," said Sanji as he blew out a cloud of smoke, "now let's get on with this so I can catch up with the others."
"Oh?" said Mr. 2 before kicking into the sand, sending some flying into Sanji's face, blinding him long enough for the Okama to land a kick to his midsection that sent the chef tumbling back across the sand, the force of the blow causing the cigarette in his mouth to go flying
As Sanji pulled himself to his feet, he couldn't help but look at Bon Clay with eyes wide with surprise, for he recognized the force behind the kick. It was the same force he learned to use during those two years he spent training in hell. The same force he had utilized in his recent battles to help even the odds.
Mr. 2 was using Haki.
"Surprised?" asked Bon Clay as he did a pirouette and struck a pose, "I guess you never realized that being one of the top Agents in Baroque Works meant something. We earned our positions and ranks due to the skill and power we possess."
"I see," said Sanji, "I guess I'll have to take this fight seriously then."
He quickly began to spin on his right foot, trying to build up friction for Diable Jambe, but he found to his horror, that, due to him lacking the strength he had accumulated in the Kamabaka Kingdom, and the fact that the ground beneath his feet was soft sand, all that he accomplished was kicking up a wall of sand that was scattered when Mr. 2's leg shot through it and knocked the chef to the ground again.
"Trying to copy me, Pretty Boy?" laughed Bon Clay, "You'd better pay more attention."
"Damnit," muttered Sanji as he spat some blood onto the sand, "I'll have to do this the hard way."
Utilizing his incredible leg strength, Sanji then disappeared in a blur, only to reappear behind the Officer Agent, aiming a kick at him, but the Okama leaned forward, allowing the blow to pass over his head as he shot his foot out as well, aiming at the chef's midsection, but Sanji guarded himself with Haki, repelling the attack and sending both fighters tumbling across the sand.
"You can use Haki too, Pretty Boy," stated Bon Clay as he rose to his feet and dusted the sand off of his outfit, "I guess you have some surprises of your own. No matter. I have some too."
Mr. 2 proceeded to pluck the swans off his shoulders and attach them to his feet like slippers, causing Sanji to frown, as he remembered the damage those swans could cause and the injuries he had sustained from them.
"I see you recognize the power of my Prima," said the Okama as he struck another pose, "the steel beaks of my majestic swans can pierce stone and mortar. Coupled with my Haki, there is nothing that they cannot penetrate."
Bon Clay then lashed out with a series of lightning fast kicks, causing the swans on his feet to extend out and stab at the pirate chef with their Haki imbued beaks, forcing Sanji to use his skill with Kenbunshoku Haki to dodge the blows, though his diminished conditioning due to the lack of accumulated training caused him to receive several cuts on his body, ruining his good suit. Leaning back to dodge another piercing swan kick, he braced himself on his left arm, moving into a single-arm handstand.
"Côtelette!" yelled Sanji as he aimed a kick for Mr. 2's ribs, before spinning around in the position and aiming another kick for the Agent's lumbar region, "Selle!"
Mr. 2 twisted out of the way of the first kick, but the second kick caught him off guard and sent him staggering across the sand, allowing Sanji to aim another kick, this one imbued with Haki, at Mr. 2's ribs. The Officer Agent saw this attack coming and swung his own leg up to block, coating it with Busoshoku Haki as well in order to strengthen it against injury. When the two limbs connected, the clash of Haki released a shockwave that blasted through the sand around the two of them.
"Hakucho Arabesque!" yelled Mr. 2 as he spun around for another kick aimed at Sanji's head.
"Tendron!" replied Sanji in kind as he swung a powerful kick of his own at Bon Clay's collarbone.
The two Haki imbued limbs slammed into their intended targets, knocking both combatants to the ground, but luckily, they had both guarded themselves with Haki, so the cross-counter injured neither of them in a critical way. Bon Clay leapt to his feet to begin kicking again, but Sanji opted to flip into a handstand and throw several kicks at the Okama before flipping to his feet and barraging him with several more.
The kicks sent Bon Clay staggering back, opening him up for a jumping kick to his chest that sent him flying across the sand, "Mouton Shot!"
The kick slammed home and Mr. 2 was sent flying across the sand, but not before he lashed out with his leg and stabbed the beak of one of his swans into Sanji's shoulder. The chef of the Strawhats staggered back, gripping the bleeding wound, as Bon Clay climbed to his feet and spat some blood onto the sand. Both fighters leveled glares at each other before wordlessly charging again.
"Mascara Boomerang!" yelled Mr. 2 as he peeled off the mascara on his eyes, revealing them to be razor sharp boomerangs as he threw them at Sanji, forcing the chef to bend backwards and dodge out of the way. The Okama of Baroque Works didn't let up and began to throw several kicks at Sanji using his Prima technique, "Bombadier!"
Sanji utilized his Haki to dodge the swan tipped kicks, but their true purpose was not to injure him, but to leave him open for the return flight of the mascara boomerang attack that he had dodged earlier, allowing them to slice through the chef's shoulders, causing him to stagger forward and be left open for a punch to the face.
"Looks like you're a little down on your luck, Pretty Boy," mocked Bon Clay as he did a twirl.
"We're just getting started you crappy Okama," growled Sanji and the battle began again in earnest.
To be continued…