Cross-Brain AN: Greetings to our fans. First and foremost: we have NOT reconsidered our stance on our hiatus. It will be continuing until the manga ends. We cannot count how many times Oda has reinforced the necessity of this choice in the past arc alone; we have only just started to consider drafting the Return to Sabaody Arc.

However, we do have a bit of new material for you. When we started our P-a-t-r-e-o-n, we bit off more than we could chew by offering an incentive wherein we would write an omake according to a given prompt. We are ashamed that we were unable to fulfill the requests we received due to struggling to get the words onto the page, and most of the requests fizzled out. To those we disappointed, we are sincerely sorry.

There was one of our fans who was exceptionally patient with the prompting that he submitted; years passed and he remained more understanding than he had any reason to be. After all this time, despite the struggle to write the request, we have completed his prompting to the best of our ability. And so we present it to you now.

The following omake is set sometime between Water 7 and Thriller Bark, and while nothing contradicts canon, we currently have no ideas nor plans for a follow-up. We hope you enjoy.

Faster. Faster. Faster. Ride the Warp Star past where the too-big finger-foods could get at him. Dodge and weave. Faster. Smack one of them aside. Faster. Gulp a wad of air and fire it off as a deterrent. Still catching up. Faster faster faster faster fasterfasterfasterfasterfa—pop.

Soaring through an infinite black void. He'd hit superluminal? Or the Star had pinged him out of the world. Maybe that meant he could get away, that he could find his friends, smack or gulp them out of whatever new weirdnesses were messing with them this time.

"Mm, no."

A nudge in the darkness alongside an eldritch voice. He's still speeding but not back towards the world. Off to a different one. "Shit, wait."

Another nudge, but he's locked on course now. "Fuck."

A stronger nudge. The world is pulling him in. He's soaring towards the sky, going to break through in a moment. "Fuuuuuck, please don't eat anyone important, you little gumblob," the voice curses as the star pings him back into the world—or at least a world—and he falls through the sky, down towards an island with a big, big building taking up most of the space. He abandons the Warp Star, an excellent ride but not helpful in slowing down, and rotates so he can bounce his way down to the ground on a cushion of air, landing lightly in front of a tall man in a red shirt.

"You will explain your presence here, creature," the man growls, one of his hands going bright and hot, and Kirby narrows his eyes. The man sounds angry and mean, and Kirby doesn't like mean people. He opens his mouth.


Sengoku looked up from his crossword. Garp had a rice cracker half in his mouth, looking out the window next to his desk. "What?"

"B'r'back," he said around the cracker, standing up and striding directly through the exterior wall, two feet to the left of the open window. Gritting his teeth because there were two doors and four perfectly good windows why did he use the damn wall, Sengoku looked out the window to see Garp power walking his way towards a tiny pink blob, maybe a foot and a half tall, standing in the courtyard and… wearing what looked like a baseball cap made of fire? It spat a flaming sphere at Garp, who walked straight through it and punted the little thing into the sky. There was a high-pitched and rapidly receding "Poyoooo…!" as it vanished.

A few seconds later, as Sengoku stared out at the courtyard trying to pick his jaw up from the ground, 640lbs of bewildered and saliva-soaked Admiral landed on his back.

Soaring through the air, down towards the ocean. Lots and lots of ocean, he's never really… seen that much ocean before. Will this be too much water for his fire crown? Maybe he'll lose it. But it's a nice fire crown. Nice shape, nice fire. He doesn't want to lose it yet. Oh. Wait. Little green spot, growing larger. Firebreath in the air so the recoil will push him towards it. Firebreath. Firebreath. Firebreath. Firebr—oh, wait, overshot. Turn, and… firebreath.

Ow. That's very soft grass, but it's been put on top of very not-soft wood. Is this a ship? This looks like a ship, but not. Like if Dedede took one of his resort islands and put it on a ship. Weeeeeird…

There's people. Lots of people around him, in lots of shapes. One not-so-big person isn't a person but an animal, but it's talking like a person. He? He. Nice bandanna. "You'd better start explaining what you're doing here," the nice-bandanna fishy dog says. He cracks his knuckles, and Kirby isn't great at voice tone but he knows what that means. He narrows his eyes. This fishy dog man has a nice bandanna, but he's not nice, and Kirby knows what to do with "not nice." He opens his mouth.


Luffy and a few of his crew all gathered round the strange pink ball. It had left some black burns and dents in Sunny's grass before smacking into the ship's rail, which for some reason, put out the fireball it used to be. Very mysterious.

Then the ball moved, rolling onto its tiny feet and looking around at himself and the nearby Straw Hats. Boss took a few annoyed waddles toward the little pink guy, likely about to tear a strip out of his hide for interrupting his disciples' torturetraining while Luffy suddenly got a weird feeling about the visitor. Maybe he should ask his Commie about it? Soundbite would hear him.

"Hey, Cross," the Captain asked his not-yet-here Third Mate. "You know who this Mystery Ball i—?"




"HEY! Don't eat Boss, I have first dibs!"

"You have what?!"

"Luffy, wait!"

Luffy dove straight for the pink blob, determined to pull Boss back out of its mouth and barely noticing that it now had a camo headband. This was just like that dumb hippo guy again. What he hadn't expected was Vivi to appear in the way, tripping over her attempt to block his tackle.

That sent him tumbling, but then he wasn't falling. Well, falling down into the grass anyway. He looked up and saw the mystery blob breathing in and getting closer, the last thing Luffy heard was a cry of "CAPTAIN!" before it became extremely dark.


Kirby bounces lightly on the deck. His crown is back, and it's swirly now! That girl was nice. He's sad he gulped her on accident. But before that, he'd been springy. He's never been springy before. Maybe he should spit the hat meanie he'd gulped before her, so he can gulp him again? No, there's another nasty person coming for him now. They're all turning nasty, maybe he made them mad? But they could try talking first. Nothing wrong with talking. He shoots up into the air to avoid the "COUP DE VENT!" and turns in a full circle to blast a gust of wind "behind" him, sending him over the blue-haired meanie's head and behind him so he can blast him with wind from behind and send him over onto his face. He lands back on the grass and squares up on the blue-haired meanie's prone-but-rising form before something explodes against his back and throws him forward. The girl in white has a big, big gun and she just hit him with it! And he… doesn't feel so good. He opens his mouth.


Luffy didn't know where he was, but it didn't really seem like a stomach. He knew what stomachs felt like… he tried not too think about it too much though, it made him feel homesick. He was still kinda wet though, and he'd been flailing and punching against the wall in the dark for... well he'd lost count.

There! That small hole of light just had to be the way back out!

Luffy's hands shot out to grab the hole's edge and-

"Gum-Gum Rocket!"

Luffy burst back outside, shooting out of the pink thing's mouth and skidding back onto the Sunny's deck. Getting his footing, he glared at the enemy, and saw its face was showing more confusion and hurt than malice.

"Poyo?" it asked, tilting its… everything questioningly.

Luffy snorted angrily as he took a stomp forward. This thing had a lot of nerve! "Of course we didn't want to fight! If you didn't come here looking for one, you shouldn't have eaten my crew!"


Cross landed on his feet in the middle of the deck, wincing slightly from the impact, and the Straw Hats paused from the panic in his voice. The tactician's eyes scanned over everyone, doing a silent headcount and taking in Luffy's saliva-covered state. He turned to the puffball and spoke with a warmth that was only slightly forced.

"Kirby, could you please spit our friends out? We won't attack anymore, but we need you to let them go."

The now-named Kirby tilted its head innocently at Cross while Soundbite quietly filled in the crew:

"HERO OF ANOTHER STORY, nothing like this one. Mind of a toddler, black hole of a stomach, maybe LITERALLY. He makes Luffy look like a nibbler and never gets any bigger. ALSO COPIES THE POWERS OF ANYTHING AND ANYONE HE EATS. Friendly by default, VERY DANGEROUS IF PROVOKED. So unless anyone fancies being an hors-d'oeuvre, BACK. OFF."

The entire crew watched, either hesitating or readying weapons, while Merry carefully moved to one side of the ship. Then, with a loud yawn—and a resounding belch—Kirby reared back and spat the two Straw Hats onto the lawn.

"Ew ew ew!" Vivi recoiled with a full-body cringe as she took in her saliva-covered state. Almost immediately, Sanji was beside her with hot towels and a comb, which she seized just as fast. Meanwhile, Boss punched his palm with his other flipper as he glared flaming fury at the pink puffball, looking ready to go another round. But before he could give his usual spiel of bravado—


—everyone on the deck, Kirby included, doubled over with winces and rubbed their ears (or where they would be).

"I love this thing," Cross sighed with no small amount of relief.

"WE KNOW!" everyone else yelled with no small amount of fury.

"Poooo-yoooo…" Kirby bemoaned, staggering about dizzily and clutching its… 'head' as its eyes swirled uncontrollably.

"Okay, before we all get into a suck-off that won't end well for… well, at least one side of the fight, how about this... What if we just let him stay as a guest for now?" Cross proposed.


"I—shut up."

"Are you serious, Cross?" Franky demanded. "He hurt my—!"


"Er… our? Yeah, our ship!"

"Which will take you all of five minutes to fix. It's only a bit of damage to the grass, Luffy does worse twice a week, and usually mostly on purpose. Besides, Big Bro Sunny isn't that bothered. It was an accident, after all," Merry pointed out, patting the railing.

"Soundbite did say he has the mind of a toddler, aaaand I haven't seen much to disprove that…" Chopper said, looking at Kirby with more curiosity than hostility, a sentiment which Kirby was returning. "If he really doesn't know any better, being nice seems like the best idea."

Much of the crew seemed to relax, if only reluctantly."And like I said, ANOTHER STORY. HE PROBABLY AIN'T GONNA STICK AROUND FOR LONG, but so long as he's here, WHAT WOULD YOU PREFER: having a walking black hole with a habit of FLATTENING Eldritch abominations ON OUR SIDE, OR SOMEONE ELSE'S?"

"Oh?" Robin perked up. "Eldritch abominations? I knew I thought he looked cute for a reason. Please, do go on."

And those on the crew that still had reservations sagged as the calmest of them all was ensnared.


Two nearly literal mountains of meat were atop the ship's deck. Beside one, Luffy sat cross-legged, a determined frown on his face and fire in his eyes. Beside the other sat Kirby, feet propped up before him, but his own expression betraying just as much determination.

Sanji sighed for the umpteenth time, but raised a flag. "Alright. Ready…set…"

Most of the crew looked in interest. For the first and likely only time, Cross and Soundbite had bet against Luffy's victory. Boss and Vivi were inclined to agree. The rest of the crew, even Nami, thought they were exaggerating.


Luffy started shoveling meat into his mouth while Kirby opened his own maw.

One second later, one of the mountains was half as large as it had been a moment ago, and the other one was flat-out gone.

Meat fell out of Luffy's mouth to the grassy lawn as he stared at the obliviously smiling and chewing pink puffball that remained as tiny as he had been before.

"…what," was the general sentiment.

Chopper's eyes were glowing as he scribbled on a notepad, page after page of ideas flowing from his hooves… right up until Cross chopped him on his hat, hard.

"Not this time, Chopper. Some things, man was not meant to know. And this is definitely one of them."



"You know, I'm honestly surprised. I'd think we'd have to tie down the little walking pit for something like this."

"Eh, believe it or not, Kirby's life doesn't entirely center around eating."

"Not. Hard not."

Cross rolled his eyes as he offhandedly cuffed Merry's head, all the while keeping an eye on the Puffball sitting on the railing a few feet away. "Anyways… for as much as Kirby has a tendency to eat and fight, he does other things too. If there's one thing I can think of off the top of my head that he does that can get him to sit still—besides napping—then it's fishing.

"Poyo!" Kirby nodded in agreement, dangling his feet as he lightly tugged on the stick-and-string fishing rod he'd pulled out of… somewhere that the Straw Hats weren't trying to think too hard about.

Merry scoffed as she worked the levers in front of her. "Yeah, well, that was at his home, this is ours. Without a rig like this," she gave the fishing crane a light tug, to better animate the lure. "Then he's going to go hungry… for once, I mean."

"Wouldn't bet on it…"

Merry opened her mouth, either to give the snail a piece of her mind or take that action, when the crane suddenly jerked forwards, cable line unreeling rapidly. "Oooh, we got us a biter! And hopefully, dinner for the next few days to avoid the hardtack again…"

She yanked on the crane's controls, giving it a tug with all the force her small frame kept well-hidden and forcing the line to retract. Slowly, inexorably, the Sunny tilting slightly to the side, the rope came nearer and nearer—


Before finally, the water disgorged a nice and sizeable critter, porcine in appearance with a tail and gills about it, that was gnawing frantically at the line leading out of its mouth, even as it flailed and tried to break free.

"A sea-boar, nice, nice. This should tide us over for a while, assuming Luffy doesn't intercept it on the way to the pantry…" Merry muttered the last bit under her breath. She then caught sight of Kirby eyeing her catch with starry eyes, and cleared her throat forcefully. "Oi, not for you, you walking gullet. I don't care if your weight in food is negligible, you've already eaten a hundred times that! You want something to eat? Catch it yourself!"

"Poyooo…" the pink maw started to sag pitifully. Then, suddenly, a tug came on his fishing pole, and he refocused on the side of the ship as he started pulling back.

Cross's expression was bland as he walked over behind Kirby and steadied him with his gauntlets. His calm was a stark contrast to Merry as the Sunny began tilting again. This time, however, Merry started clinging to the railing for dear life as the ship tilted so far that it was nearly horizontal. It was close enough that she could see her reflection in the water…and a growing shadow in the deep.

"A little more help, Merry?!" Cross snapped, he and Kirby both visibly straining. Spitting curses between her teeth, Merry leaped over and slipped in front of Cross, grabbing Kirby with her own impressive strength while Cross grabbed her in return.

"And a little GASTRO-PHONY to stack our odds higher! NOW, HEAVE-HO!"

With a tremendous tug, the three of them reared back, the Sunny rocking upright as the biggest dolphin any of them had ever seen flew into the air. Merry's mouth was wide open in shock. And Kirby's mouth was wide open and sucking in massive amounts of air… followed swiftly by him sucking down his afternoon snack.

The second the ordeal concluded, the Sunny rocked back into place, bobbing back and forth unsteadily as he tried to regain his balance.

"What the hell was that?!" Nami demanded, running out on deck.

"…would you believe it was literally that big?"

"I saw it, and I almost don't believe it," Merry whimpered from where she was clutching the railing.

"Poyo~!" Kirby sang, tossing his line back out to sea.


"So, copies whatever he eats, huh?" Franky asked.

"Mostly, yeah. Sometimes there's not enough substance to get power out of, at which point he just swallows it." Cross answered.

"How'd that end up with us, though?" Boss asked. "We didn't get digested or whatever."

"No, but he was blowing a lot of air around after he ate Vivi, for some reason," Conis noted thoughtfully. Vivi looked aside, one hand going to her necklace.

"Guess she's that much of an airhead," Su snickered, earning a glare.

"Oh, yeah, and he stole Boss's headband when he ate him," Luffy recalled.

"Wind and Fighter," Cross muttered. "His Copy Abilities are pretty hard-lined, stealing one attribute and using it for all he can."

"Hmm," Robin murmured, a trail of arms sprouting along the deck to grab a small dumbbell from nearby and start passing it towards Kirby. "So, how would this turn out?"

"Hey!" Zoro objected.

"Could you spare me just one?" Robin asked, her expression falsely innocent, though the dumbbell had paused halfway to Kirby.

Zoro huffed in annoyance and opened his mouth to answer.


And then Robin jumped, her arms dispersing and dropping the dumbbell as she looked toward Kirby. He was now wearing a purple cowboy hat with pink petals lining the brim, and a long cat o' nine tails in his hand. They stared for several moments.

"Variation on the WHIP ability," Soundbite concluded.

"I would be equal parts annoyed and disturbed if this wasn't so fascinating," Robin muttered as she looked over Kirby's new form.


Lassoo, perking up a bit at Soundbite's words, suddenly spat a Cani-Palm towards Kirby. The multi-tailed whip lashed out quickly, and everyone looked in awe as it sustained the flames as easily as a candelabra, the fire not even going out as Kirby parried a cloud of Cani-Cannonballs.

And, notably, knocking them far enough away that the explosions' recoil didn't even rock the ship.

"That much power, huh?" Zoro asked, getting to his feet. "Hey, pinky, up for a spar?"

Kirby looked over to him as he drew his swords. But reading the expression in his face, the creature's own expression slowly mirrored the eager smirk… albeit with more innocent enthusiasm.

"Conis, get your Vision Dials. And somebody get this blob a sword. This is gonna be good," Cross grinned.


Zoro stood with Wado and Kitetsu III ready while a de-whipped Kirby stood on the opposite end of the deck.

"Alright, let's do this!" Cross called from the sidelines where he was sitting on one of Sunny's yardarms. He then drew back the arm with which he was clutching the spare blade and threw it out onto the deck, where it planted itself in the lawn right before Kirby.

"Was that really necessary?" Donny asked incredulously.

"Tradition." Soundbite shrugged.

Kirby, for his part, certainly didn't miss a beat as he eyed the sword with glee, but to the surprise of the onlookers, he didn't immediately inhale the weapon. Instead, he ran up to it, reached up to grab the hilt, and forced everyone to look away with a bright flash. When the light cleared, the crew saw that Kirby had donned a long, green cap, and was eagerly brandishing a perfectly sized broadsword, as opposed to the cutlass that had been offered.

"Huh?" Usopp blinked in confusion. "How come he didn't swallow it?"

"Because that's how he gets a sword whenever he's about to duel Meta Knight," Cross explained with a grin as he jumped down from the mast.

"One of the greatest, IF NOT THE GREATEST swordsman on Kirby's home planet of POP STAR," Soundbite promptly explained, watching Kirby's sword with no small amount of awe. "HE'S KIRBY'S FRIEND, BUT ALSO ONE OF HIS MOST FAMOUS RIVALS. Those two have crossed blades more times than I can count… and more often than not,KIRBY WINS."

The snail shot a wary glance in Zoro's direction. "You're gonna need a bit more steel there, CHIEF. This ain't no featherweight fight you're getting into, it's the prime time."

"Music to my ears," Zoro answered, grin splitting his face. "Leo, lend me one of your swords."

"You got it," the Dugong said, reaching for his katanas eagerly. "Left hand or right?"

"Right," Zoro answered, placing Wado in his mouth as he took in the feel of the new sword. Nothing too special, but nothing cheap. It would do.

As for Kirby, his serious expression faded into one of awe as he took in Zoro's Santoryu stance. Then, again, it turned to consideration, then determination. He inhaled—and the sword parted from him. More than just dropping the sword, he had rejected it along with the cap he was carrying. Then, staring at the cutlass with determination, he inhaled deeply and swallowed it. Light flashed again.

And when it faded, the green cap was back, but the sword had changed anew. The blade shone gold from hilt to tip, and besides the main point, it bore two pairs of tines along the body, with the handguard resembling another pair.

"GALAXIA: META KNIGHT'S GOLDEN BLADE…"Soundbite whispered, almost reverently.

"Please don't accidentally slice our ship in half…" Cross pleaded, suddenly far less enthused at the prospect of the oncoming clash.

"No promises."



But before any of the incensed shipwrights or ship-people on the crew could attempt to interfere, the two masters of the blade lunged at one another, and the duel began in earnest.

"Oni… Giri!" Zoro roared, crossing his arms for his signature move. But just as he unleashed the attack, Kirby darted in and jammed his sword right into the center of the X formed, a move that brought flashbacks to the disastrous fight with Mihawk from those who had seen it.

Zoro, though, had learned from that curb-stomp. Instead of pressing forward, he tried to fall back, open some distance. However, with a metal clacking, his swords refused to disengage. His eyes fell on the prongs sprouting from the blade, widening as he realized how jammed into them his swords were. That distraction cost him, because with a twist of the blade, Kirby wrenched Kitetsu and the borrowed sword clean out of his hands.

Hastily spitting Wado out into his hands, Zoro barely had time to put it in the way of the puffball's blade. He backpedaled, step by step, under the onslaught.

'He's fast, and skilled,' Zoro grimly concluded. 'I can't beat him with just one blade.'

His foot nudged something hard but movable, and he grinned.

'But he's not that skilled, if he let me lead him by the nose like this.'

Hooking his boot under the base of Kitetsu's blade, he kicked the sword up and caught it. "One Gorilla!" he bellowed, arm muscles bulging, and swung.

Amazingly, Kirby disengaged from Wado fast enough to block it. But due to the haste of said block, was thrown entirely off-balance when his guard was shattered by the sheer force hammering into his sword.

The puff-ball was left reeling, teetering precariously on a single foot as his arms and sword flailed wildly in an attempt to regain his balance.

An attempt that Zoro had absolutely no intent of allowing to succeed, as evidenced by his crossing his arms, and blades, across his chest.

"ONI… GIRI!" Zoro bellowed, hammering his trio of blades into the pink blob, dead-on and center-mass.

The puffball distended around his swords, gummy flesh stretching far around his blades… but his skin didn't break.

Rather, there was a resounding snap—


—and Kirby was blasted clean off of his swords with a cry of shock. Clean off of the Sunny even, flying high off the deck with a trail of smoke appearing from… somewhere as he pinwheeled through the air. As they watched Kirby arc into the air, some of the Straw Hats idly noticed his borrowed blade spinning off him to bury itself in the Sunny's lawn in defeat.

Of course, what goes up must come down, and the puffball was no exception, ending his impromptu flight with an impressive splashdown in the waters just off the Sunny's bow.

"Man over—!" Usopp shouted, only for Kirby to bob to the surface of the sea in an innertube he'd pulled from… somewhere, spitting out a small fountain of water. "Um… never mind?"

"Yeah, no, Kirby's tanked way worse than that and walked it right off." Cross waved the concerns off lightly, his words being proven true as Kirby inflated himself and swiftly floated his way back onto the Sunny's deck.

Zoro tensed for combat to resume the second their guest landed… but instead, Kirby slumped forwards in apparent disappointment for a moment, before gleefully dancing from foot to foot with a flurry of enthusiastic "Poyo!"s.


"Wait, what!? Lost? But he's barely hurt!" Zoro protested, equal parts confused and offended at this turn of events.

"Smash Rules, my dude! To ring-out is to wash-out. As far as Kirby's concerned, you won and he lost." Soundbite paused, then grinned wryly. "'COURSE, we could go for STOCK RULE, best of—MMRRPH?!"

The snail's speech ceased suddenly as shipwright and shipgirl smothered him, their severe stares assuring pain if either snail or swordsman strained the Sunny further.

Zoro took all that in, then grumbled in disgruntlement as he took Wado from his mouth and sheathed his swords. He quieted as he looked at the pink puffball that had given him a surprisingly good spar.

"You're not bad. I'm counting on a rematch once you've gotten better."

"Poyo!" Kirby agreed with a grin.

"Gotta admit that that's still pretty impressive," Franky said, walking over to Kirby. "Any chance you could join me in my workshop for a bit? Got a lot of projects I'd like to see how those powers mesh with. Before Doc starts his own salvo, anyway."

"Ohh, I can join you for a start~ I'm in no hurry to finish this experiment!" Chopper grinned.

"You know, IF YOU'RE WANTING A deep look, there's also a DOCTOR ABILITY—"

"LIKE I SAID, HE'S ALL YOURS, FRANKY!" Chopper yelped, diving below deck.


"So, how about this?" Franky asked, hefting a polished cube of metal onto the table.

By way of response, Kirby opened his mouth and engulfed it. The cube—large as he was and ten times as heavy—vanished instantly into his gullet, and in short order, Kirby morphed once more. His body quickly grew encased in jagged, silvery, translucent armor that was, at a glance, very strong and very heavy.

"Metal Kirby. Obvious, I know, but still," Cross listed off, tapping the puffball's flattened top with his own metal-encased digit, and prompting a giggle from the Star Warrior. "This is actually a rare one. Usually, his go-to solid transformation is Stone."

"Wonder if he's real steel ALL THE WAY DOWN, OR IF IT'S JUST HIS SKIN OR SOMETHING?" Soundbite mused.

"Well, only one way to find out!" Franky chuckled, hefting a sizeable drill out of… somewhere and revving it up eagerly. An enthusiasm that Kirby disturbingly shared as he giggled and waved his arms eagerly.


Before anyone could make any observations or remarks, the sound of cannonfire came from outside. Franky grabbed Kirby—stumbling briefly at the unexpected weight—as the Straw Hats ran out and onto the deck.

A formidable-looking galleon with a silver wolf figurehead was sailing towards them from the side. The flag was blood-red, and it bore the image of a pair of cutlasses stabbed through a skull, the bone cracked at the points of entry and exit. A cannon port was visible on the bow, the barrel smoking, and the side of the boat bore five massive letters: GROND.

"No idea. Robin?" Cross asked.

"I don't recognize them either. But most pirate crews don't use a flag that isn't black," she said, frowning. "Based on the corruption of the design, they may be bounty hunters."

"Looks like a good chance for a workout," Zoro said with a grin.

"I'll take out that front gun," Usopp said, lining up a shot and pulling back his Kabuto's pouch. "Special Attack—!"

"Hold on a SUPER! Minute!"

"GWAH!" Usopp jumped, and promptly fumbled to keep from dropping the explosives he'd been about to fire.

"Ah, whoops?" Franky chuckled and scratched his head sheepishly as he watched Usopp juggle frantically before popping a thumbs-up. "Sorry, bro, but while we've got this chance, I've just gotta try this! I've been wanting to rip off Luffy's crazy-ass grandpa for months!"

And before anyone could ask what he meant, Franky's oversized hand dropped onto Metal Kirby's head, and hefted him into the air with about as much effort as hefting an oversized bowling ball. A bowling ball that became a baseball as the Cyborg started pinwheeling his right arm as fast as his modified shoulder would allow.

"FRRRAAAAAANKYYYY METEOR FIST!" he roared, pitching Kirby forward with all the force he could muster.


The Straw Hats stared in some shock as the metal ball burst straight through the wolf's snout and continued into the ship. Nobody moved for a few moments.

"According to my research, METAL KIRBY is usually pretty UNSTOPPABLE as-is," Soundbite said dumbly. "ADD FRANKY'S BRAWN, and…"

"And we have a shortcut to one mean fastball special," Cross finished. He shook his head and looked back at them. "If any of you guys want to get in on the fight, you'd better make your way over before Kirby eats up all the fun. Literally."

"No way! I wanna fight!" Luffy yelled, swinging his arm out and stretching to the boat.

"Count me in, too," Sanji added.

"And me," Zoro continued.

"I wanna see more of what Kirby can do!" Chopper said, his excitement earnest and untouched by madness. For the moment.

"And we're obligated to be the first line of defense. Ain't we, boys?" Boss huffed.

"BOSS, YES, BOSS!" the other Dugongs answered.

"That should be more than enough," Vivi nodded. "We'll come after you if you need any more help."

"Oh, sweet Vivi, your concern uplifts my heart—"


"—I'll be back soooon~" Sanji trailed off as he, Zoro, and Chopper launched over and slammed onto the deck, while the five Dugongs leapt over the side and into the water.


Luffy had been on the enemy ship all of a single second before he was beset by a dozen enemies wielding warhammers. Instinct told Luffy to evade, and so he did, twisting and ducking his way through a veritable rain of hammer blows. These guys were weird: that they were big and buff wasn't a surprise at this point, but the yellow eyes, pointed teeth, and gray skin were way odd.

He didn't see Kirby. But judging from the sounds coming from the hole in the deck, he was doing fine.

Anyway, these guys. Flipping over another hammer swing, he pumped his fists. "Gum-Gum Gatling!"

Pummeled by a baker's dozen punches each, the weird bounty hunters went flying. Just… not very far. Luffy didn't wave his hand, but it was a close thing. What were these guys made of?! It was like punching a boulder!

"Welcome, Straw Hat!"

Oh, hey, the captain! Luffy looked up at the figure. And up. Giant blood? Giant blood. Surrounding him were a lot more of the grey-skinned dudes. About sixty or so, Luffy figured.

"My name is Marnos, and I'll have the honor of taking your head this day," the captain introduced. Nice of him to put a name to the face. "Or rather, my lovely subordinates will."

Reaching down, Marnos put his hands on the men Luffy had punched. The rubber man couldn't see what he did, but when they all roared back to fighting condition, he could guess. That was going to be a pain in the rear.

As Zoro, Sanji, and Chopper finally picked themselves up off the deck, though, Luffy couldn't help but grin. This was going to be fun!


Even from underwater, the sounds of combat were openly audible. Boss admonished these bounty hunters to put up a good fight; they'd need to if he wanted a piece of them, with the so-called Monster Trio in action! Focusing, he zeroed in on a specific source of noise, one clearly deeper in the ship. Had to be Kirby, and from the sounds of things, the pink puffball was making good progress.

Well. They'd just have to give him a hand, wouldn't they? Now, where to enter…

Memories flashed through his mind of the dark last days of the Going Merry, and Boss swum up to the ship's keel. He tapped his flipper against the solid hardwood, nodded, and then lashed out with a Squall Pistol. The attack punched clean through, opening up a hole in the structural member into the bilge. Yech. Nothing for it. Boss shot out, followed shortly by his students.

"What now, Boss?" Leo said, looking a little nervous at the sounds of carnage above them.

"Simple, students," he declared, jabbing a flipper at the trail of destruction. "Follow the destruction!"

Their responses were half "Aw, man," and half "Aw, yeah!"

Ignoring the byplay, Boss set out, taking in the downed opponents. There weren't many; either most of them were still in a running fight with Kirby—not impossible, given how loud the combat was—or most of them were on deck fighting the captain. He hoped it was the former; they'd get in a big fight easier that way. The odd features were noticed and dismissed.

Soon, they clambered out onto the gun deck, where Kirby was bouncing around like a rubber ball. Given he was made of steel instead, this was doing absolutely horrendous damage to both the ship and what few crew were still standing instead of lying around in groaning heaps. To Boss' consternation, it seemed like his second hypothesis was correct. Tarnation!

"Mikey," he barked. "Go poke your head up to the main deck and see what's going on."

"What! Why me?!" Mikey wailed, flippers clutching at his head.

"Because I said so. Now do it!"

Grumbling in audibly, the dugong Rip Tided up to a hole in the ceiling. Almost immediately, he let out a squawk of surprise and panic.

"Boss! They're getting their asses kicked!"


Was this what fighting himself felt like? Briefly, Straw Hat Luffy had a pang of empathy for the many enemies he'd pounded into the dirt over his journey.

Because these assholes just would not. Stay. Down!

"Gum-Gum Bazooka!"

"Party Manners Kick Course!"

Bounty hunters went skidding back, in problem #1: these guys were tough. Blows that sent normal goons flying only sent these guys back a bit, usually to their boss. Which was problem #2: that put them in touch range, at which point they came roaring back. Zoro was doing the best of them, frankly. Whatever the mystery touch was doing, it didn't do anything for sliced muscles and tendons.

The obvious solution to this, of course, was to just go after the bad guy. Thankfully, Chopper was on the case: he'd downed a Rumble Ball and jumped over the melee. He was now in Arm Point, ready to crash down on Marnos.

Of course, charging bounty hunters promptly occupied Luffy's attention for a few critical seconds, and when he could look again, Chopper was face-down on the splintered deck, and Marnos was—whoa, fast! Marnos's hands only brushed Luffy, but it was a close-run thing, and it was followed immediately by a spike of energy. A spike so strong, in fact, that he felt the telltale heat and steam of Gear Second.

So surprised was Luffy by this turn of events that he actually paused, long enough for Marnos to brush his hands over Zoro and Sanji. They immediately experienced a surge of energy, too, and while they promptly laid into the bounty hunters, Luffy saw red. With a cry of "Gum-Gum Jet Pistol!", he punched Marnos into the quarterdeck.

That was a mistake. Immediately, both Gear Second and the extra energy cut off, staggering Luffy. Immediately, one of the piggish bounty hunters took advantage by punching him square in the face. He skidded to the railing, and was promptly dogpiled by several of the way-too-strong bad guys.

He ignored the sounds of splintering wood. He had bigger problems to handle.


Being the first in the hole, Mikey was the first out of it. For a moment, he hung in the air, and then his fellow dugongs burst out beside him. As one, he and his teammates Rip Tided at the obvious big bad evil guy, intent on keeping him away from the downed Straw Hats.

Kirby, he noted out the corner of his eye, was going after the grunts. Good for him.

Of course, the Big Bad Evil Guy knew Shave, too, and so successfully evaded their initial rush. However, they had ranged options now. Mikey, grinning, drew his two pistols and fired into a barrage of razor winds and Boss's rope dart. To his delight, it was his attack that hit home, one of the bullets smacking into the BBEG's shoulder.

"Oh, you're going to wish you hadn't done—yipe!" the BBEG growled, before suddenly jumping an octave when a ballistic metal Kirby nearly took his head off. Grunts flew like bowling pins as Kirby bounced off the ship's side and nearly took Mikey'shead off.

"Hey, watch where you're kicking that!" he snapped as his teammates continued to press Marnos.

"Sorry!" Sanji shouted back. Beside him, Zoro stepped up and swung his swords at Kirby like baseball bats. Mikey tracked the projectile, this time nowhere near him, as it plowed through another knot of baddies. Oh, and there was Luffy, inflated in a Gum-Gum Balloon. Mikey scurried out of his line of fire, which bowled over more bounty hunters.

Kirby bounced again, this time off the quarterdeck, and there, in the air, bleeding from the head, was Chopper, mid-shift from Jumping to Arm Point. With a roar, he spiked Kirby into last clump of soldiers, smashing them into the deck.

Mikey took that in. Took in the downed soldiers in groaning heaps. Took in Kirby, back to normal, shaking off a little disorientation.

"That was so cool!" he shouted, eyes sparkling for a moment before swapping to panic. "And that's not."

"That" was the soldiers getting up again, despite having taken a beating even Boss would balk at.

"What are these guys made of?!" Mikey yelped, hopping a step back.

"Pure, undiluted bullshit," Zoro growled, stepping up. "But if they want pain, I'm happy to keep giving it to 'em."


Mikey whirled around to find Donny and Raphey in the BBEG's hands, hyperventilating like mad. "What's he doing?!" he cried in a panic.

"His Devil Fruit works based on adrenaline!" Chopper answered, already rushing in. "And he's using it to accelerate their blood! Even odds whether they suffer heart failure or a brain hemorrhage first!"

Biting back a curse, Mikey hastily worked to reload his pistols; with everyone around him, they were well covered for melee. Kirby, too, was working his way in, sucking up bounty hunters as he went.

Marnos clearly didn't like that, because he Shaved away from Chopper, dropping the dugongs (whew!) and clamped his hands around Kirby. Mikey tensed. Everyone tensed.

Nothing happened.

Befuddled, Marnos muttered, "This usually works…"

"Six Oceans Gun!"

"Go, Boss, Go!" Mikey cheered, only for his face to fall at the results. Marnos was down, alright, struggling to get up, but so was Boss. No time to think about it. Rip Tiding in, Mikey grabbed Donny and Raphey, trusting Leo to get Boss out of there.

And none too soon. The roars from Marnos and his men he could hear didn't sound human.

Sanji kicked another bounty hunter in the face, grimacing as the impact sent painful quivers up and down his legs.

'I swear, I'm going to break my own legs at this rate,' he groused, falling back. Naturally, that was when one of the bounty hunters tackled him, his ribs creaking ominously. It was all Sanji could do to not fall over, and he had to repeatedly hammer his knee into his opponent's chin to get him off.

The fight was going poorly, overall. Sanji hated to admit it, but without Kirby, they would have been overrun ten minutes ago. As if on cue, Kirby zipped by, in full pursuit of Marnos, fists a blur and very familiar kicks lashing out. Breather over, Sanji unleashed a Party Manners Kick Course that did little but stagger these assholes.

"Guys!" he heard Luffy shout. "The ocean! Into the ocean!"

Of course! Sanji could've smacked himself. In the ocean, all their strength and stamina would be of no use. The only problem would be moving them…

"Gum-Gum Jet Scythe!"

Whoa! Sanji ducked as Luffy passed overhead, sweeping the bounty hunters off the ship and into the water. The sounds of comical ultraviolence followed; it seemed the Dugongs were earning their keep.

"Oh, that does it!"

Slowly, Sanji backed away from a spitting-mad, red-faced Marnos. He remembered the adrenaline spike he'd been inflicted with and was in no mood to go through it a second time. Not to mention he was worn out and bruised all over from the earlier fight. If need be, he'd back up his captain, but—

Wait, was Kirby eating Luffy?

Oh, no, he'd just spat him out again… but was wearing a straw hat of his own? So… Ah, that gave Kirby Luffy's Gum-Gum powers. Sanji smirked. Oh, this was going to be fun.

And it was. Marnos put up a good fight: he was fast, and Luffy, at least, had to be careful not to get touched. Otherwise, though, he was doing a good impression of a pinball in a machine. There went the mainmast… and the foremast… and the mizzenmast… A thought occurred to Sanji.

"Mosshead, get ready to swim," he announced as the two twin-Bazookaed Marnos into the deck.

"Why would we need to—" Zoro protested, right before the ship let out an almighty howl and the bow split off. "Never mind. Chopper, hop onto my head."

Assured that things were handled, Sanji turned back to the fight, where Luffy had just taken a shot of adrenaline to land a good hit. A hit that slammed him into the deck. And prompted Luffy and Kirby to pump their fists in preparation for—

"Mosshead, we're jumping!"

"Gum-Gum Jet Gatling!"

Sanji hit the water, bursting out from the surface just as the Grond split apart and fell to pieces. Luffy could be found floating on Kirby, laughing his head off, and a fond smile crossed the cook's face.

Ropes went over the sides of the Sunny as the crew swum over. Well, most of them swum; Kirby stretched a pink arm over to the deck and pulled himself and Luffy back aboard. The Dugongs leaped aboard while Sanji and Zoro climbed back up swiftly.

"That looked harder than we expected," Nami said by way of greeting.

"Devil Fruit," Zoro, Sanji, and Chopper deadpanned, Boss still unconscious from his final blow.

"Kirby helped us out a lot. Thanks!" Luffy said, beaming at Kirby.

"POY—o," Kirby cut himself off, his own smile fading as he stared back the way they came.

All present looked to see a massive longboat heading for the horizon, Marnos glaring daggers at them as his monstrous crew rowed away. Not dead, but unmistakably defeated. And unmistakably holding a grudge.

"Those guys definitely came from the New World," Zoro grimaced. "We need to be ready for next time."

"I'll look into proper formulae to counteract his powers," Chopper said, grimacing.

"They're bound to have plenty more victims if we don't finish them now, though," Franky grunted, turning his head to eye the helm. "If you want, I can bust out the Sunny's trump card. Seems like a worthy first occasion if they're that tough."

Luffy gained a dark look as he started contemplating that course of action… but before he could voice an opinion one way or another, the air suddenly started whirling past the crew.

"Hey, what the—!? ACK!" Cross yelped in a panic as a sudden yank spun him off his feet and landed him on his ass.

Kirby, meanwhile, inhaled his target with a resounding GULP! and loosed a blinding flash.

"What did he just eat?!" Usopp yelped, cowering frightfully behind a convenient barrel.

"Uh… I think it was…" Cross started patting himself down fretfully, trying to identify what he was missing—before freezing as he clocked onto what exactly had just been swallowed. "Oh, crap."


Kirby paid no heed to the crew's confusion as he waddled past them, his new pair of headphones gleaming brightly beneath the sun.

"My transceiver."

"So… what, broadcast? Headphones?" Vivi inquired nervously, her own trepidation informed by the fact that Cross and Soundbite were now both sweating bullets.

"Mike," Cross whimpered, only two steps away from an aneurysm or worse. "That's Mike Kirby. A.K.A.… one of the most powerful, destructive, and devastating abilities he has."



"Don't tell me that he started the SBS!" Cross yelped.

"Eeeyeaaah," the snail confirmed with a wince. "Aaaaaand I can't shut it off, EITHER."

Cross took a second to process that fact.

One single second.

And then Kirby pulled out a microphone, held it up high, and started to inhale.

"Hang up, hang up, hang up, HANG UP!" Cross yelled at the world, frantically clamping his hands over his ears in a futile attempt to escape the imminent blast.

The rest of the crew had had too much experience with his foghorn to not try finding cover themselves. Some ducked inside, others flew up to the mast, a few mimicked Cross, and the Dugongs even dove overboard.

All in vain.


At the uncharacteristic panic in Cross's voice, most of the world quickly followed the instruction.

Most of the world. One notable exception was Donquixote Doflamingo, who only moved closer to the snail, certain that whatever this was would be something he could easily handle. And then—


—and then he was flying away, crashing through the wall of the throne room and then freefalling hard onto the stone ground below, a small trench resulting from his flight path. As the dust cleared, his expression was unsmiling, but more bemused than anything else.

"…I can admit when I've made a mistake," he said matter-of-factly as he got to his feet.

He then glanced around, and nodded in satisfaction.

"Aaaand nobody heard me say that. Good. Last thing I need to deal with today is fresh bloodstains."


At this moment, Admiral 'Akainu' Sakazuki was taking a rare moment of peace. As his new flotilla embarked for the New World, he knew they would be scarcer than ever going forward. Thus he sat alone in his cabin, his jacket hung nearby, with a plate of his favorite spiced rice and a bottle of well-aged sake before him.

"Don don don don!"

His temper spiked when the snail began ringing, and he was fuming as he walked over to dislodge the receiver—

"—started the SBS!"

He paused, grimacing at the fact that it was Cross saying that.

"Eeeyeaaah. Aaaaaand I can't shut it off, EITHER."

Silence fell for a moment. Clearly panicked silence. Then there was an image of someone breathing in very deeply, into which Cross yelled in naked panic.

"Hang up, hang up, hang up, HANG—KA-LICK!"

The snail looked up at its owner in surprise and relief as Akainu, for what he had every intention of making the only time, obeyed the Voice of Anarchy.

If there was anything of significance from the broadcast, he'd hear about it. If it was something like that damned foghorn, he had done wisely.

Either way, he returned to his meal in comfortable silence and would only learn months later of the destruction in Marineford from the ones who had disobeyed the warning.


Blackbeard looked with an expression of disgust and misery between his now empty hand and the horizon, where the cherry pie he'd been holding mere seconds prior had disappeared. He didn't know his own strength, it seemed, if flailing in surprise from the blast of noise had thrown it that far away.

"What did I do to deserve this?!" he cried. At his crew's incredulous looks, he amended, "I mean, what specifically?"

"Well, you did kill that man for that pie," Van Auger said blandly, gesturing to the still-fresh corpse at his captain's feet.

"Mm… so I did. …well, nothing for it. Check his pockets, yank out his fillings, and let's keep moving."

"Aye, captain."


The Thousand Sunny itself had spirals in its eyes and its tongue lolling loosely out of its mouth as Kirby's shout finished. The Straw Hats lay sprawled out on, throughout, and around the ship, half-conscious and dizzy. A ways away, the only trace that there had ever been a longboat on the water were a few raging waves and a few chunks of flotsam.

And Kirby only smiled and struck a pose, Soundbite just lucid enough to spout a nine-second ditty as the puffball bounced around in a victory dance. A rather… elaborate victory dance, no less.

"Am I seeing triple, or did he actually just split in three?" Robin slurred dizzily.

"Do you really want to know the answer?" I asked rhetorically. "Anyway, everyone all right?"

"Depends on what you call that," Zoro countered, pointing upward.

Luffy fluttered down from the mast, looking more like an autumn leaf than a rubber man, spirals in his eyes and a goofy grin on his face.

"Shishi…shi…shi…IIII love that thing," he slurred.

"Should have known," the crew sighed.

"So THAT's when you were hiding! Alright, puffball, fun's over. OUT!"

With that sudden declaration from nowhere, a small pink device landed atop Kirby's head. He perked up with a smile and unfolded it, the top of it deploying a star-topped antenna.

"I'm going to regret this. But don't you mean 'where'?" Cross asked.

"I know you idiots. Where else would he have landed?"

"Withdrawn," Cross sighed.

Calm returned to the deck long enough for everyone to get back onto it, and a few halfhearted jabs at Soundbite's potency compared to Kirby's were made. Also, the transceiver and satchel were inexplicably back to how they were before. Nobody questioned it.

Then Kirby looked into the distance, where something bright and shiny was cascading towards the ship at massive speed. It slowed to a hover as it neared the deck: a simple glowing five-pointed star, slightly bigger than Kirby himself. The puffball quickly climbed on, looking over them with a sad smile.

"The Warp Star should be able to get Kirby back to his world," Cross explained briefly. "Well, all the rough spots aside, it was fun while it lasted."

"Yeah! Come back anytime!" Luffy said with a grin.

"Poyo!" Kirby agreed. He waved as the star rose up into the air, most of the Straw Hats waving back. As the golden platform accelerated, Kirby stood atop it with total confidence and absolute determination. It flew faster and faster, streaking across the sky and away from the Sunny like a comet.

And then, all at once, the star blipped out of existence, taking Kirby with it.

"Parting is such sweet sorrow," Robin murmured.

"I hope we can see him again someday," Chopper said.

"Oh, I think we will."

Everyone looked over at Cross, who was smirking softly as he carefully tucked a perfectly normal white envelope bearing a red seal into one of the transceiver bag's pockets.