Chapter II: Buggy Doesn't Know
"Oi, Luffy." Zoro called out, "You said you were a Sun Man, right?"
"Yeah?" Luffy looked confused at the random question from his swordsman. The trio had been sailing for roughly a day, and Nami had already started wanting to pull her hair out. Zoro ate a lot, but Luffy was like a black hole. She had packed enough provisions for what she thought would be two weeks back in Shells Town, but they were already starting to run low. It was absurd!
"So how did you do all those other things? I didn't know being the Sun let you cut things with a kick." Zoro deadpanned.
"Shishishi! Oh, that was something my grandpa trained me in!" Luffy chuckled and started snapping his fingers with a look of strain on his face, "It was the…err…roku…roku-something." Finally, he snapped one last time with a happy look, "Right! The Rokushiki! They're the advanced techniques the higher ranked Marines know! I'll be teaching my crew how to do them, starting with you two!"
Zoro smirked in anticipation, but Nami formed an 'X' with her arms, "Hey, remember that I'm just a partner. Once I have ฿100,000,000, I'm out." Even if she liked Luffy – which at this point she knew she couldn't deny anymore. He wasn't a bad guy – She knew she was too close. She almost had enough, and a few more trips would do it. The thought of asking for his help hadn't even crossed her mind. Too many failed attempts and crushed hopes.
Luffy looked at her dryly, "Oh, and how do you plan on getting that gold?"
Nami simply smirked, "Same way I've been doing it! Stealing from Pirates!"
Luffy sighed, "Nami, could you have beaten Melgo?"
She looked surprised, "What, Morgan? Of course not!"
"Then how are you planning on stealing from Grand Line Pirates if you couldn't even beat that idiot?" He eyed her in a bit of disappointment, "You're really, really underestimating the Grand Line. Here in East Blue you didn't even think Devil Fruits were real. In the Grand Line everyone and their dog has one. And I probably mean that literally." Hitting Luffy with bamboo wasn't the only thing Shanks had done in his extra time in Luffy's village.
Nami looked stricken, "Well…" She blustered, "That's where you two come in!" She crossed her arms and nodded smugly.
"And what happens when we're not around?" Zoro asked dryly, "You think everyone on that sea is going to have a three-member crew?"
Nami deflated, "Fine…" She mumbled, defeated.
Luffy stretched, "You know, I may as well show you guys the techniques now. We don't have much space, so you'll only really be able to practice one of them, but you should at least see them." He got up and motioned for his two crewmates to do the same, "Okay, Nami, take out that staff thingy you have under your skirt."
The girl's face instantly flamed red and her fist whizzed forward and crashed into Luffy's nose, "PERVERT! HOW DID YOU KNOW ABOUT THAT!"
Luffy groaned and clutched his face, "I felt it when I was carrying you when we got out of the base."
Nami huffed but took her staff out, connecting the pieces until it seemed seamless, "Alright." She said waspishly, "What's this about?"
Luffy got up with a snicker, "Hit me. In whichever way you like."
Nami smirked. An excuse to beat on a Pirate? Even one as nice as Luffy? "Can do."
She swung the staff with all of her strength, looking to clock Luffy good, "Kami-e." Luffy said the word and – just as the staff neared him – he seemed to flow around the blow almost like air. She stumbled from the overextension but recovered admirably. She swung again, and the same thing happened. She thrust out at him with the butt of the staff, but again, she just barely missed as his torso turned sideways and it sailed wide. She unleashed a flurry of strikes but couldn't connect a single time. Soon, she was using the staff as a pole to hold herself up and panting heavily. "Kami-e." Luffy repeated with that large grin of his, "You allow your body to go limp, so that you can simply flow around attacks. Shishishi."
"Wow." She breathed, "That one does sound pretty useful." And it seemed perfect for her. She was already very nimble and agile.
Luffy chuckled, "Now, we don't really have enough space to practice any techniques other than that one, so I'll just be showing you guys the next ones." And with that, he back flipped clear off the boat.
Nami screamed, "You idiot! You can't swim!" She whirled around to Zoro, "Go get him!" She ordered in panic.
Zoro merely pointed with a look of awe. Nami turned and felt her jaw drop. Luffy was hopping up and down on the air, as if he was on a trampoline. "Geppo. I don't think this one needs any explanation, right? Shishishi."
"You're flying!" Nami screamed in shock, "How are you doing that!"
"I'm not flying. I'm jumping so strongly that the air becomes a platform for me to jump off." Luffy yelled at them.
"That's amazing! Can humans really learn these things?!" Nami looked dumbfounded. None of the Marines who had bothered to give even a token effort at freeing her village had ever done anything remotely like these techniques.
"Of course." Luffy called, "The next one I'm going to show you is actually the easiest of the six to learn. It's called Soru!"
"Shave? What does it do?" Nami looked confused, which was exactly how Luffy wanted her.
He vanished from their sight and Nami yelped as she heard a sound behind her and then screamed loudly as she felt arms pin hers to her side, "Gotcha!" Luffy grinned menacingly, before he started tickling the poor woman.
"Kya!" Nami burst out into laughter as the boy took her down and started making her laugh, "Ahahahahaha! Stop! Luffy! I'll kill you!" She sputtered as he just continued tickling her and her face started turning red. She squirmed under his attack before she finally managed to trip him, and he fell on her, laughing. His hands were around her head and holding him up. Her face was a bright red as she turned and saw him on top, "Idiot! Get off!" She yelped, though her face's color didn't change at all.
"Right, you're up Zoro!" Luffy called out as he stepped towards the middle of the dinghy as though he hadn't just tickle-attacked his navigator, "I want you to hit me as hard as you can!" Zoro's face didn't change at all, even if Nami's did. Zoro grunted as a fist flashed forward directly into Luffy's gut. "Tekkai!" Luffy seemed to steel himself as Zoro's fist impacted, and nothing seemed to happen for a moment. Then Zoro fell to his knees and cradled his hand, having been completely unprepared for the pain. Luffy made sure he was okay, before saying, "Tekkai allows you to harden your muscles into iron, allowing you to take heavy physical attacks."
"You're telling me." Zoro had gotten up and was waving his hand around, trying to get feeling back into it. "I definitely felt like I had tried to punch iron."
"Shishishi, then there is the Rankyaku, which you've already seen." Luffy grinned but raised a leg anyway. He kicked out at sea, and they watched in awe as the very ocean parted a couple meters. The water quickly rushed back into the gap created with a loud clap, and then a large column shot about two meters into the air.
"That's amazing." Nami said as she their dinghy was gently rocked by the light wake that formed. "Are we really going to learn these? There's just no way humans can do stuff like this, right?" She glared at him suspiciously, "You're not really a Fishman, are you?" When he looked predictably befuddled, she just shook her head, "Never mind."
"Probably not all of them." Luffy said as he sat down and lounged out, "I can't see you trying to tank a punch with Tekkai. Shishishi."
Nami huffed, "Yeah, you can cross that one out." She smirked, "But Kami-e and Soru look like they're right up my alley."
"Shishishi, well get to it!" Luffy cheered.
Zoro looked like he wasn't going to say anything, so Nami did, "Wait, that was only five! What about the sixth?"
Luffy's grimaced a bit, "I…don't like the sixth technique. I don't think it fits either of you two either, so I'm not showing it."
Nami glanced at him in slight worry. "Okay." She said hesitantly, "So, how do we do Kami-e?"
"Shishishi." Luffy was back to all smiles, "I already told you. You let your body go limp to make it easier to dodge."
"Yeah, but how?" Nami asked in irritation.
Luffy looked at her, before grinning with his eyes closed, "Not a clue!"
Nami's foot impacted his face, "What the hell do you mean you don't know?!" She roared with her shark-teeth out.
Luffy pushed her foot away and rubbed his nose in irritation, "Grandpa usually just hit me until I figured it out. It's instinct by now."
Nami clapped both hands to her face, "Why me?" She grabbed her staff and tore one of the sections off and threw it at Zoro, who caught it with a questioning look on his face, "Okay, let's do this." She steeled herself in determination.
"You're supposed to dodge it, not block it." Luffy said unhelpfully while picking his nose with his pinky.
"I KNOW THAT!" Nami roared. She closed her eyes and took a breath, 'Right. Limp. Flowing. Like water. I have to be water. I have to let everything just flow around me. I love the ocean. I know it like the back of my hand. I can do this! Flow!' She opened her eyes and let the shortened staff she carried fall to her side, "I'm ready."
"KYAAA!" Luffy's laughter did not help matters at all.
"Oww…" Nami moaned pitifully as she tried not to move much. She was covered in welts from her staff from earlier in the day, not that Zoro was much better. She had tried to give as good as she got, even if she wasn't anywhere as strong as him. Night had fallen but it wasn't too dark thankfully. The full moon was high in the air and there wasn't a cloud in the sky.
"You okay?" She hopped a little at the thump next to her. Luffy had taken a seat, "You did pretty well today." Luffy grinned at her.
She threw a dirty look at him, "That was well?" She didn't look amused in the slightest.
"Shishishi, yes it was!" He confirmed with that wide grin of his, irritating her, "You managed to do it a couple of times. I never even came close for about two weeks, and every time I did it wrong I got hit by grandpa."
She felt a shiver run down her spine. "Well…" She said nervously, "It couldn't have been that bad. He's your grandpa. He wouldn't hurt you right?"
The dead look he gave her made her shiver again, "Do try to remember what I told you about him the day we met."
Oh. Right. Tiger pits and canyons. "You poor thing." She giggled helplessly at his pouting. They sat in companionable silence for a few minutes, with Nami's look darkening by the minute. She just couldn't escape. Every time she felt happy she remembered that he was a Pirate. And then she remembered what Pirates did to her.
Luffy saw her worsening mood and tightened shoulders and decided to intervene. He wrapped his right arm around her and grabbed under her thighs. She stiffened, "What the hell are you-!" Luffy lifted her up and plopped her down between his legs, before reaching for her shoulders, "DoiIINNNGGGmmmmmmm!" She moaned helplessly as Luffy started to massage her shoulders.
"Jeez Nami, you're so stiff. Your muscles are so tight." Luffy commented as he started kneading her shoulders and back. Despite herself, she felt herself melt and relax as his fingers worked. "I'm sure glad Makino-chan showed me how to do this. You were soooo stressed."
"Makino-chan?" Nami stiffened again momentarily. She was defensive but didn't really know why.
"Yep. She ran the bar in my town. She helped raise me before I went to live in the mountains and then got taken for training by gramps." Luffy confirmed, ignorant of her sudden mood swing, though he did wonder why she tensed a bit again. She relaxed and allowed him to continue working her over with a pleased groan. A few minutes passed, with Nami turning into an increasingly docile puddle of goo, before Luffy spoke up again, "Hey Nami?"
"Hmm?" She was in too much rapture to vocalize much more than that.
"How come you want a hundred million Beli?" He asked.
And just like that, the mood came crashing down, "None of your business." She closed up again.
Neither moved for a moment, before she felt Luffy's forehead on the back of her neck. His arms wrapped around her waist and pulled her closer to him, "We're friends Nami." The slight hurt in his voice was worse than any scream could have ever been. "If you ever need anything, don't hold back on asking. You're my nakama." Nami sucked in a large breath, "I would do anything to make you smile." Critical hit.
Nami felt her face flame red. What was this idiot saying? Why was her heart beating so fast? She could feel his sincerity and lack of any ulterior motives. She bit her lips as tiny tears started forming in her eyes. She shook her head minutely.
He was silent for a moment, "It's okay if you're not ready right now." He said before starting to lean back, "Just know I'll always be here for you."
He almost missed her watery, whispered, "Thank you." Almost. The two sat in silence, nothing more to be said as he continued massaging and comforting her. Eventually, she leaned back into his chest and fell asleep. He followed soon after.
"Man…I'm so hungry!" Luffy moaned. He was draped over the side of the dinghy. Nami and Zoro weren't doing much better. It had been two days since the food had run out.
"Maybe if you didn't eat everything, we wouldn't be hungry!" Nami yelled at him.
Luffy snorted, "Haven't you ever heard the proverb, 'Eat when thou art hungry?'"
"You made that up!" She screamed at him from her own slump. She keeled over and stared at the sky, "Ugh, I'm sore from training and my stomach is eating itself. We need to find land soon."
"You mean like that land?" Zoro groaned over from the front of the boat.
"Oro?" Nami and Luffy both sat up in shock. And indeed, it was land. A smallish island could be seen in the distance. "Land." Nami had tears leaking down her face, "FOOD!" Luffy roared and got up, seemingly revitalized. "Gepp-" He looked like he was about to fly ahead of them when Nami growled and latched on to him like a vice.
"You're not going anywhere!" She screamed as she suplexed him. Zoro stared at them in shock, "You ate everything here! You're not getting any until my plate is full!" She bopped him.
"Nami is so mean." Luffy was staring up at her with big doe eyes, causing her to falter momentarily.
"No. If I take my eyes off you you'll probably eat the entire town." Nami scowled, before sitting on him to make sure he wouldn't try to run away. "You're staying right here with us." Her cheeks were red, and Zoro's sly looking glances weren't helping. After roughly half an hour of listening to Luffy whine and their stomachs growling, they finally hit land. They had noticed the large ship moored off to the side, and all of them took note of the Jolly Roger on the sail. It looked like someone had set up a circus tent.
Buggy the Clown was here.
But curiously, no one else was. The entire town seemed deserted. It was a ghost town. Nami was really glad she had already changed all of her treasure into Beli. She had all of it tucked away in her hidden pockets, so they were safe in leaving the boat unattended. As they explored, the eerie feeling of abandonment sank in. This town looked fairly well kept together, except for the demolished houses they saw every once in a while.
They all slumped over as a synchronized hunger pang hit them hard. Nami – ever the pragmatist – decided to speak up, "It leaves a bad taste in my mouth, but we don't have any other options. We'll have to break into one of these houses." Her head dipped, "Not like there's anyone to miss the food here…"
Luffy growled, "If they're all dead, this Buggy is going to regret it." He stomped off and practically broke the door to one of the houses down. Nami was in full agreement, as was Zoro. As Nami was fixing them food, Luffy was talking to Zoro, "Me? I've just been wandering. You did that too right? While you were hunting Pirates?"
Zoro shook his head, "I didn't live completely off of bounties. I've always been searching for someone. That's why I left my dojo, but now I can't find my way back."
"Shishishi, so you're lost?" Luffy laughed as Zoro yelled at him. "Relax, we have a Navigator." He hugged the passing Nami, who just smiled lightly and placed the food on the table. Everyone's mouth was watering. They dug in with gusto.
"Sorry it's not very good." Nami said through bites, "I'm not a cook. I know simple things but…"
"It's delicious." Luffy moaned with tears sparkling in his eyes, "Best thing I've ever eaten."
Nami smirked, "Well, don't expect this all the time. I'll charge you next time." She blew a raspberry in his direction.
Luffy laughed, "We'll need a good cook who can fight then. Plus, a musician! It's really important!"
"Priorities, idiot!" Zoro roared at him with a scary face. "We need more important things than a musician. We're heading to the Grand Line!"
"But Pirates love to sing!" Luffy looked legitimately confused. Nami shook her head, utterly exasperated at Luffy's… Luffyness.
But their merriment was cut off by the sound of an explosion. Everyone jumped to their feet. "That came from the docks." Nami said blandly as they left the house.
Luffy frowned, and his form blurred before vanishing. They waited for a moment, before Luffy appeared again, "Our dinghy is gone." He announced in irritation, "Some jerk sank it with a cannonball."
"Buggy." Nami sighed, "Looks like he's as much of a jerk as we thought. What are we going to do?"
Luffy snorted and pressed his hat firmly on to his head, "We're going to walk in, kick his ass, and take his treasure and a ship." They started walking away from the house and Nami's jaw dropped as she saw the devastation. An entire row of houses had been utterly demolished.
She started to sweat, "I gathered that. How are we going to go about it though? What's our plan?"
"Plan?" Zoro looked at her like she was stupid, "You think this guy has a plan?"
Said guy was picking his nose with his pinky. Nami slapped a palm to her face, "Right. What was I thinking?" She chuckled, "I could pretend to capture you to lure them into a false sense of security."
Luffy looked confused, "Why the hell would we do that? Me and Zoro are more than enough for these idiots." Pot, meet kettle. You're both black.
Nami slumped in defeat. Clearly, she couldn't expect anything other than 'charge in' with these guys. It certainly wasn't her usual modus operandi. But before she could chide them on their overconfidence, a voice rang out, "Hey, who are you kids?" The speaker was a fairly old man with glasses and a puffy mullet. He had brown leather armor strapped to him over a yellow striped shirt and a fairly poor-looking spear on his back.
"Eh? Who are you, old guy?" Luffy questioned while ignoring the old man's own query.
"I'm Mayor Boodle! I'm this village's chief!" The old man said, trying to look important, "I came by to feed ChouChou."
"Eh?" Who was that? They old man led them over to a stiff, statuesque dog sitting proudly in front of a store saying PET FOOD. "Why is he over here like that?" Luffy asked, "Didn't you all evacuate? We couldn't find anyone here earlier."
Boodle's head dipped, "My friend used to own this store. ChouChou was his pet. They opened this store together ten years ago and loved each other very much." He raised his head, "The store is filled with precious memories for the two, and the owner always confided in ChouChou. He let him guard the store when he was away."
Nami suddenly gasped, "Oh this poor thing. He's covered in wounds."
Boodle growled, "The Pirates come here occasionally, trying to take food from the store, likely for their own pets. ChouChou tries to fight them away. He's actually been surprisingly successful."
Luffy smiled and pet the dog, "You're a good boy aren't you! Keep protecting your treasure!" Nami couldn't help but smile warmly. Any lingering doubts about Luffy had been vanishing slowly as she interacted with him, and she finally let them go. There just wasn't a malicious bone in this kid's body. She giggled. Plenty of idiot bones though.
The quartet left after getting a bark from the dog, and started following Boodle as he continued to speak, "Unfortunately, my friend and ChouChou's owner passed away not three months ago. He came down with a sickness that claimed his life." Tears sparkled in the old man's eyes, "His last orders to ChouChou were a request to guard the store while he was hospitalized."
Nami teared up, "That's horrible! Why won't someone come take him away! He's just waiting there for someone who won't come back!"
Boodle smiled lightly, "No. That may be what most of us thought, but not me." He shook his head, "ChouChou is intelligent! He knows his owner won't be coming back!"
Nami gasped, but Luffy had understood, "That store is his treasure. His and his owner's. He won't stop guarding it for as long as he has strength in his body."
Nami's head dipped as Boodle nodded, "That's right. Those two had a bond like any other! He won't stop guarding their treasure."
But their talk was interrupted by a heart-struck cry of canine pain! "ChouChou!" They yelled before spinning on a dime and racing back toward the store. The poor dog sounded like it was in agony. They turned the corner and Nami gasped. She clapped a hand over her mouth. Tears prickled at her horrified eyes.
ChouChou was on the ground covered in claw marks. He was struggling to get to his feet and was barking piteously. The store had been ransacked. Even the PET FOOD sign was laying diagonally, as if it was only held up by a single nail. It gently swayed side to side with creaking sounds emanating. An absolutely massive lion was exiting the store with a carton of food in its mouth. It had green fur with a purple mane and was almost too tall to get into the door, which probably explained why the building looked so damaged.
A man with what looked like fur covering his body was there, waiting for the beast. He looked like he had this weird furry hat that went around his chin with teddy bear ears. His midriff was bare, but his chest and shoulders were covered in that same fur. It was all white. He was heard snidely saying, "You shouldn't have bit me, you damn mutt!" He tossed a lit match behind the lion. The store went up in a fiery blaze.
The quartet stared in horror as ChouChou struggled to his feet and started barking in agony at the burning building. The lion and the weird guy started walking away, taking no note of Luffy or any of the others. Luffy appeared in front of them with that look in his eyes. "Eh, who the hell are you?" The guy with the weird hat asked. "Appearing in my way was a grave mistake! I'm Mohji the Beast Tamer of the Buggy Pirates! Kill him Richie!"
The lion roared and swung a mighty paw in Luffy's direction. Luffy stopped it cold with a single hand, "That store was ChouChou's treasure." He said quietly as the man and the lion started to perspire, "You damn bastard with weird ears!"
"THIS IS MY HAIR YOU ASSHOLE!"
Normally Luffy would have bantered with the idiot. He liked to have a little fun in his fights. This wasn't going to be a fight. A single fist in the guy's face knocked him off the lion. He dematerialized again and appeared directly underneath the beast. With a grunt of rage, Luffy threw a vicious uppercut directly into Richie's ribcage. The lion was heard hacking as it lifted clear off the dirt and flew ten feet into the air, its maw gaping and its eyes popping out.
But Luffy wasn't done. He appeared right above the lion in another burst of speed, before gravity even started slowing the monstrous lion down enough to start falling. With another scream, he flipped forward and dropped a devastating heel into the lion's nose. Its path reversed, the beast hurtled toward the floor hard enough to bury itself into a crater, its rear sticking straight up into the air before it slumped as much as its position allowed.
"RICHIE!" Mohji screamed in shock, clutching his aching face, "What are you?" He hissed in fear. "Wait! I'll give you anything you want!" The man trembled, "I-I'm sorry!"
Luffy stalked forward, more of a predator than the lion had any hope of being, "I don't need your apologies! It won't bring back ChouChou's treasure!" All of the man's pleading and begging was hopeless as Luffy reared a fist back and shot it forward like a cannonball. The impact was so hard even the dog winced. Mohji felt at least half of his teeth breaking for one agonizing second before he completely lost consciousness as he flew backward. He hit the bottom of a house at the end of the street which started to crumble on top of him, completely burying the man under rubble.
"You're going overboard again…" Nami mumbled with a hand over her face. Boodle could only stare in awe at the sight.
But Luffy hadn't heard her or even seen the result of his punch, because he had raced into the burning building much to the growing shock of the watching four. He broke out, not looking even slightly singed or even smoldering. He walked sadly over to ChouChou and placed a single box of food in front of the dog, "Sorry ChouChou. This was all I could save for you. Everything else was gone, if you can believe it." ChouChou barked weakly, before taking it into his mouth and starting to hobble away from them. "Yeah, you be strong too!" He smiled at the shrinking image of the dog.
Nami had watched in growing admiration of Luffy's actions. The beating of the lion and the idiot with the weird hair hadn't done much. His strength awed her, but it only made her wish she had been strong enough to do that herself. No, it was the act of jumping into that inferno for a dog he didn't even know that truly spoke to her. Why couldn't Luffy be the shining example of a Pirate? Why couldn't they all be more like him?
Boodle was heard growling, "I'm done with this!" He shouted in rage! "I CAN'T STAND IT ANY MORE!" He started to shake, "Over forty years ago, I was forced to abandon my village when Pirates came and destroyed it! We were forced to watch as our homes and lives burned! But we persevered! We rebuilt, and Orange Town has only grown since then! What right do these blasted Pirates have to come and ruin all of our work! All of our dreams?!"
"Don't call them Pirates." Luffy said dangerously. The three watching even shivered from the amount of ice in his town. "These aren't Pirates. These are scumbags. They're cowards and weaklings who aren't brave enough to do anything for themselves. They can only feel good about hurting others."
Nami shook her head, "Sadly, that's what most Pirates are like, Luffy; irredeemable scum."
He cracked his knuckles, "Well, they're about to get a taste of their own medicine." Nami jumped as he called out to her and Zoro, "We're going to go make sure this clown eats his own teeth." They nodded in resolution but were stopped by the Mayor.
"I'm going too!" He screamed, "You children and ChouChou are all fighting! I have to fight too! There are some things a man has to fight for, right kid?"
"You're right." Luffy said, causing his crew's eyes to bug out, "But sometimes, it's better to rely on friends. You're all ChouChou has right now. If you die as well, he'll be alone." The Mayor deflated helplessly, the fire he had managed to build extinguished, "Determination needs strength behind it. We'll take care of things, old guy. You just make sure you and ChouChou survive."
He turned and walked away, Nami and Zoro following. She looked at him strangely, biting her lip, "Luffy, what does Pirate mean to you?" Zoro perked up as well in his own interest.
Luffy smirked, "A Pirate isn't someone who goes on raids or sails or who likes gold. He isn't someone who lords it over others and hurts people. They're weaklings." He stopped and turned to her, "A Pirate is someone who is willing to put his life and everything he is on the line for his dreams and his friends! A Pirate is someone who wants freedom more than anything!"
When he turned around and stepped away with Zoro, she didn't follow for a moment. She stood stock still, his words ringing like a bell in her ears. Her head dipped as tears prickled up in her eyes, "Maybe I'm the idiot…" She whispered. When she looked up, she had a steely look of determination on her face. She wiped the tears away and ran after them, all doubt in her mind gone.
The raucous noise coming from the large building could only have been caused by the Buggy Pirates. Nami growled, "Look at them, partying while they're destroying lives. They don't even care, and they're dancing on the ruins of the town." She turned to Luffy, "All of the treasure is mine. I'll be robbing them blind."
"Leave a little. This town will need some money to rebuild." Luffy said. Nami almost rejected him but stopped to think. That would make her no better than these Pirates, if she was denying them the money needed to get back on their feet.
She sighed, "Gotcha. I won't take all of it. I'll see you when you're done."
He looked at her with that damnable grin of his, "Oh no, you're fighting too." Nami balked, "You have to get the practice in, and it is better you do it now against these guys than later in our journey against guys who could give me or Zoro trouble."
"Wha- but!" Nami stammered. She wasn't ready for this! He had only started teaching her Kami-E a few days ago! "I'm not a strong fighter though! I was just a thief a few days ago!" She yelped in fear.
"Relax. I won't let you get hurt." He gave her a quick, one armed hug. "I promise. Besides, you're really good with that staff! You could probably give Ace a run for his money, and he was better than me at it!" That was a slight exaggeration. Luffy didn't know how good Ace had gotten, but despite her skill - which definitely matched Ace's skill - her strength was low. Still, it did the job in raising her confidence as it got a momentary smile from the girl.
It didn't last too long, as her look turned confused, "Ace?" She asked cluelessly, "And I didn't know you could use a staff."
"Shishishi, I don't anymore. And they were never staffs." He chuckled, "We used old pipes and bamboo sticks back home. We were bad boys." She laughed, mind off the oncoming battle for a brief moment, "Ace is my older brother! He set out three years ago. I haven't used one since. No one else in Goa could really use one well."
Zoro twitched, "Luffy…what is your brother's last name?"
"Eh? His name is Portgas D Ace!" Luffy grinned widely. Zoro slowly keeled over. "Eh? Zoro! What happened!" He started shaking the swordsman franticly while Nami looked on in bemusement.
Zoro stood and yelled at him with shark teeth is full view, "Portgas D Ace!? Whitebeard's Second Division Commander!? That fucking Ace?!" The name finally clicked in Nami's head and her jaw started dropping.
"Yep! Shishishi." Both of his crewmates stared at him with their jaws on the floor and white eyes.
"Fire-Fist Ace as an older brother. Garp the Fist as a grandfather. Who the hell is this guy? What's with all the fists?" Nami muttered to herself in disbelief. She shook herself as they reached a really out-of-place gate in front of the building. Her eyebrow twitched, "Did these guys really build a fake gate in front of this pub?"
"Shishishi. Let's say…HELLO!" Luffy kicked both of the large doors right off their hinges with a thunderous bang. The doors clanged and crushed as they flew through the air, impacting the roof with loud cracks. They took out at least seven men before finally coming to a halt near the entrance to a big tent.
Nami giggled and stuck her tongue out at the gaping Pirates who were swarming to the edge of the partly-ruined roof, "Housekeeping!" At her words, Luffy began to chuckle to himself. At the very least, she could fake confidence like nobody's business.
Finally, a man dressed in an orange, fur-lined captain's coat stood at the edge of the roof, "Who the hell are you flashy bastards?" He roared angrily. He had blue hair which was partially covered by an orange captain's hat with his Jolly Roger on it and a huge, flashy red nose. He had crossbones painted across his face and was wearing a red and white shirt with a purple scarf around his neck. His light ocean-green pants were held up by a darker green sash. His striped socks, pointy clown shoes and white, puffy gloves completed the clownish look.
Nami cringed, "Was your fashion designer colorblind?"
The clown's face was shadowed, "These flashy nobodies come in, ruin my party and insult my clothes. I'm so mad words fail me."
"Buggy-sama, how about I go down there and teach those kids a lesson?" A man with long dark hair asked. His black hair covered half of his face, with the other half being shaved in three strips across his skull. He wore white pants and shoes with no shirt, though bandages covered his ribcage. He had a large, long white-and-blue checkered scarf.
Buggy didn't get the chance to answer because Luffy roared out, "Hey, you stupid clown! Get that big fat Red Nose down here so I can kick it in!" Every single member of Buggy's crew had their eyes grow long and pointy in their shock. Their mouths were open impossibly wide and snot dribbles from their noses and tears from their eyes.
Buggy trembled for a moment, his own mouth on the ground along with his crew. He regained his senses and roared out, only the whites of his eyes showing in his rage, "FIRE THE BUGGY CANNONBALL! FIRE!"
A cannon was rolled up near the railing and pointed directly at Luffy. It fired with a thunderous boom. Nami panicked, "Oi Luffy! Get out of the way!" She dove for safety while Zoro stared at his captain in disbelief, his brain not engaging and forcing him to stand still as well.
Luffy grinned, "Cannonball?" He raised his hand and allowed the massively powerful weapon impact it with a loud crack. His arm bent towards his chest to help absorb the shock, though he didn't even slide back an inch. "You think this tiny thing will make me move back? Grandpa threw pebbles heavier than this at me!"
Buggy's eyes bulged out, "What the hell is this flashy bastard?!"
With his signature laugh, Luffy wound up for a pitch, the ball in his hand slightly cracking from the force of his fingers and ruining the Buggy Pirates Jolly Roger embosomed on it. "Why don't you have this back!" With a mighty heave, he hurled the Buggy Ball right back where it had come from!
The large explosion was even louder than the one they had heard before meeting ChouChou and the Mayor. The building began to crumble into a pile of mortar, wood, and stone. Nami nearly had a conniption, "LUFFY YOU IDIOT!" She wrapped his neck with her arm in a textbook headlock and started punching him in in the head with her left, "What if they had the map and treasure up there!"
"Shishishi, sorry Nami." Luffy was entirely unconcerned with the dainty knuckles impacting his head.
Zoro smirked, "You know, I'm just going to stop assuming you can't do things. That way I'll never be surprised when you pull it off."
Luffy's snickering turned into outright laughter as he effortlessly freed himself, "Nami, you're up first. Unless I took them all out with that, but I doubt it."
Nami gulped, "You sure I have to fight?" She grinned slyly and slinked over to the Sun Man. She draped herself over his shoulders, making sure to press her breasts to his back. She let her hot breath drift across his ear as she spoke and was pleased when the slightest tinge of pink – barely visible really – showed under his scar. She whispered in his ear, "You know, if you let me just go rob them, I'll make you some delicious food again~!"
Luffy stiffened, before raising a trembling fist, "You're evil Nami." He whined with tears streaming down from his eyes, "The meat will…" He twitched, "-have to…" He looked like the words were causing him physical pain, "-forgive me." Nami's jaw dropped. Luffy fell to the ground in horror at what he'd said. He looked like he wanted a teddy and a binkie, "These guys should be perfect…for getting your feet wet." He choked out.
Nami once again reevaluated her captain. She pouted, "I was sure that would work." She bent over and smacked him, "Get up you idiot." She rolled her eyes when he started sucking his thumb, "I'll make you your food. Just don't expect to get any of the treasure."
Instantly, Luffy was on his feet and hugging her tightly. He even lifted her off the floor, making her squeak, red faced. "You're the best, Nami!"
'Wait a minute! I'm supposed to be the cute, manipulative one here!' Nami protested in her mind.
Suddenly, he dropped her as her ears picked up a whizzing sound. She then heard a light thump behind her head, and she turned. Her eyes bugged out. Luffy's thumb and middle fingers were inside the holes of still-lightly-spinning shuriken. 'Those were aimed at me! I could have died!' She realized as she trembled for a moment.
Luffy's eyes were dark and cold as he eyed the young black man with the yellow-and-purple pointed hat and huge lips. The trembling man's outstretched arm was trembling and he himself was shaking. "Did you just try to hurt my precious Navigator?" Luffy's hand slowly closed and the metal shuriken bent and creaked and deformed as if they were made out of soft clay. He dropped them to the floor and the black man keeled over in time with them, foaming at the mouth.
Nami turned her head back and buried her face into his neck. Her quivering lightened as he rubbed her back. Slowly, her composure returned, and she gave him one last squeeze. The smoke from the collapsed building was clearing and they let go of each other. "Look at these flashy kids, acting as if they aren't afraid of us." Buggy was holding two of his burned crewman outward with disembodied hands. His arms were crossed in front of him, while his hands were simply floating.
Nami's eyes widened, "A Devil Fruit!"
Luffy's eyes hardened further, "What the hell are you doing, you bastards!" He roared angrily, "How could you just use your nakama as shields?!" He was ignored.
The black-haired man was holding yet another crewman, this time a very fat one, in front of him as well. "This is the biggest humiliation our crew has ever faced, captain." The rest of the men who weren't unconscious roared in agreement. They all pulled out weapons; hammers, swords, ropes, knives. They raised them in the air with howling battle cries!
Luffy seethed at the Pirates. He was really tempted to take them all out himself, but he knew Nami would need this. She needed to realize that she had her own potential to be strong. For more than just thieving. Luffy trusted her to take out these nobodies and even if he didn't, he was still going to be keeping an eagle eye on the battle. Luffy patted Nami's lower back, "Don't worry. I'll jump in if you can't handle it. I'd never let them hurt you." He grinned at her, "Besides, your reward after we finish up will be most of their treasure. Shishishi!" Her eyes turned into ฿!
"WHAT DO YOU MEAN OUR TREASURE, YOU FLASHY THIEVES?" Buggy roared with his eyes bugging out.
She took a deep breath and steeled herself, pulling out the three sections to her staff and assembling it with a stiff upper lip. The roaring Pirates charged! But Nami instantly was able to see what Luffy had been telling her all along. These Pirates were weak. Sloppy. Nothing like her captain or even Zoro. The doubt that had been clouding her mind vanished and she smirked confidently. The first one to reach her swung at her head with a pretty large Morningstar. She merely bent her knees slightly and the heavy spiked ball whished over her head harmlessly, throwing him off balance. The Pirate had this comical shocked look on his face, as if he honestly expected her to just take it in her pretty face. Said pretty face flashed with irritation. Her staff whistled through the air and impacted right in the middle of his face. Teeth flew in bloody spittle and the sound of cartilage breaking rang through the air as he collapsed like a marionette with its strings cut.
The next Pirate didn't even get a chance to swing his Warhammer at her. She stepped over the bandit she'd just laid out and thrust the butt of her staff directly into his throat. His eyes bugged out as he backpedaled, clutching his neck with raspy gasps escaping him. A quick swing to the skull had him spinning through the air and landing in another heap. The Pirate running next to him tripped over his dropped Warhammer and fell. Nami cracked his skull for good measure as soon as he face-planted. She rushed forward, staff spinning and instantly smashed it into the temple of one of the shocked Pirates. His head whiplashed and bowled straight into the last-standing Pirate's nose. They both fell much to Nami's growing confidence and pride, "Man, Luffy was right. You guys suck."
But that confidence had turned into overconfidence. "Behind you!" She heard Luffy roar. She whipped around, just in time to see the man she had first dropped swing at her with a kanabō. There was no time for her to move or even get in position to try to block with her light staff. In her panic, she defaulted into the training mode Luffy and Zoro had been trying to smack into her for the past couple of days.
Her body went limp and tried to flow around the weapon. She mostly succeeded. The barest amount of metal grazed her skin. It wasn't enough to seriously injure her. More like give her a friction burn than anything serious. But it was enough to shock her out of that state. Her legs twisted, and she fell onto her back. The Pirate completed his swing and brought it around over his head. Blood dribbled from his mouth as he roared, four of his bottom teeth missing.
He swung downward with all the might he had in his large, muscled body. Nami quickly rolled backward like a ball and onto her knees. The kanabō crashed into the dirt, throwing up a plume of dust and grit. Adrenaline was practically dancing throughout her system. With a battle cry of her own, she flashed forward. He tried to lift his weapon, but he'd gotten it stuck in the ground with his last attack. Nami was in front of him to his right, her left. Her staff swung upwards, crashing into his chin like the hoof of a bucking bronco. What teeth remained in his mouth clacked together, some of them even cracking and shattering. His body lifted clean off of the ground, pushed by the weapon in the girl's hands.
But Nami wasn't done. She was angry that she'd been caught off guard by such a weakling. It was no wonder she could barely help her village! It was no wonder she'd needed eight years to scrounge up ฿84 million. Growling angrily, she stepped forward with her right leg and changed the direction of her staff's momentum. Muscles straining as she followed through, she slammed the man downward and crushed him against the dirt, falling to her hands and knees in exhaustion as she did so, dripping in sweat. She'd put too much into that.
"YOU DAMN BITCH! I'LL AVENGE THE PAIN YOU'VE CAUSED MY CREW!" She heard a roar above her. She strained to look, eyes widening in terror as she beheld the dark-haired man crashing down towards her with a sword aiming to kill. She tried to move but winced in pain as her muscles screamed. She closed her eyes, forgetting about her two friends and screamed in her mind, apologizing to her sister for failing.
She trembled for a moment, before opening her eyes and smiling in relief. Zoro was in front of her, casually holding the blade away from her with one of his own, "Oi, oi! Don't you think that's a little much for our little lady?" A tick mark appeared over her right eye. She just beat those Pirates and he calls her a 'little lady?' And who's 'our?'
"Shishishi." She 'eeped' shrilly as arms slipped under her legs and around her back, "You did awesomely Nami! You're even better than I thought you were! I don't know what you were so worried about!" Luffy smiled brightly at her. "I told you that you could handle it! You just have to believe in yourself!"
She smiled demurely, "Thank you Luffy." She snuggled into his neck tiredly, not really caring that she was getting him wet with her sweat. He clearly didn't mind.
The black-haired man jumped back, "You…you're…Roronoa Zoro!" They all finally took the time to notice that the weirdo was riding a unicycle. He smirked broadly, "My name is Cabaji, Chief of Staff of the Buggy Pirates. As another swordsman, I look forward to taking your head." He sprang forward, racing towards Zoro on his unicycle. "Acrobat Technique: Old Man's Flame!" Zoro looked shocked and unfortunately got a few embers on his shirt, which started burning. The rest of the flame was thankfully dodged, and it splattered and burned on the dirt. Cabaji's shoe flashed, its pointed toe impacting directly into Zoro's ribcage.
Nami – who was still in Luffy's arms, though she was standing again – gasped, "He has a Devil Fruit too!"
Luffy sniffed, "No." He said. Nami turned to him questioningly, "That idiot put oil in his mouth and had a lighter under his scarf. He did it when he moved the scarf out of the way."
She looked surprised, "How did you know that?"
"I can smell it." He wrinkled his nose, "He reeks of that stuff we use to keep the street lamps lit."
"What a moron." She exclaimed, "One wrong move and he'd light himself on fire!"
Zoro had gotten back to his feet, glaring at the man, "What the hell was that? You kicked me. Have you no honor as a swordsman?" He growled lowly.
Cabaji laughed darkly, "Honor? What kind of a fool needs that. All I need is victory! Acrobat Technique: Murder Case in the Hot Spring's Steam!" He started spinning and hopping like an idiot, kicking up a dust cloud.
Zoro's eye twitched, "This guy…" Suddenly, a blade shot out of the cloud which Zoro blocked with his left blade. Then came the shoe again, punting Zoro directly in the same area that he'd hit last time. Zoro had enough. He dropped his right blade point-first into the ground and clenched his fist. Cabaji didn't know what hit him. He fell to the floor dazed, front teeth knocked out and his nose flattened. Zoro's eyes looked dark under his bandana. "You bring shame to swordsmen everywhere, you cowardly weakling." As Cabaji struggled to his feet – having lost his unicycle – Zoro drew his pride and joy, Wado Ichimonji. Placing the handle in his mouth, he grabbed his fallen blade once more, "Facing my three swords is more of an honor than you deserve, scum."
Cabaji growled, "I'll kill you, you smug bastard! Face my strongest trick! Acrobat Technique: Theater of One Hundred Kamika-GRGH" Zoro hadn't even given him the chance to finish the technique's name.
A horrified, "CABA-CHAN!" Came from the red-nosed captain himself.
Cabaji's shoulder, side, and the arm opposite to the shoulder wound opened up in geysers of blood. Zoro appeared behind the falling man who was rapidly losing consciousness. The last thing he heard were Zoro's words, "Oni Giri. I'm tired of being the opponent of someone so unskilled. Go join a circus, you flippy idiot."
"Shishishi, nice job Zoro." Luffy held his hand up for a high five, as did Nami.
Zoro obliged them, though he did so with a snort, "That wasn't even worth my time. What a coward."
"You flashy bastard thieves." Buggy's face was shadowed. "How dare you do this to my crew. I'll kill you."
Luffy snorted, "We're not thieves."
"I beg to differ." Nami raised a hand up with a smile and her tongue waggling.
"We're Pirates, you big ugly Red Nose." Luffy finished as he stepped away from Nami and started walking towards Buggy.
Buggy's rage instantly ignited again, "DON'T TALK ABOUT MY NOSE, BASTARDS!" The man growled, "What is your goal? Why are you here?"
Nami smirked, "We're here for your treasure and your map, scumbag."
"So hand it over, Red Nose."
Buggy's teeth ground, before he started laughing uproariously, "Gyahahahaha! The Grand Line isn't a place for you no-name rookies. What are you planning on doing there? Sightseeing? Don't make me laugh."
"I'm going to become the Pirate King." Luffy said confidently.
Buggy's eyes bugged out and his head tilted to the left. He had this big stupefied open grin on his face and white eyes. He twitched, before coming to his senses and screaming at Luffy, "YOU FLASHY IDIOT! YOU, THE PIRATE KING? THEN I'M GOING TO BE GOD! THE PERSON WHO WILL ACQUIRE ALL THE WORLD'S TREASURES IS ME!"
"Shishishi, like I'd listen to a lecture from an ugly Red Nose. Let's just start your ass kicking." Luffy chuckled as he got into his fighting stance.
Buggy ground his teeth some more, "Watch your mouth, you stupid brat." He took out a bunch of knives from…somewhere. "Seeing that Straw Hat of yours… it's reminding me of that flashy Red-Haired bastard."
"Oro?" Luffy's head tilted this time, "How the hell does a loser like you know Shanks?"
"Hoh?" Buggy raised an eyebrow in interest, "You look like you're considerably interested. I know him, but why would you want to know?"
"Where is he now?" Luffy even stood straight, entirely unconcerned about Buggy much to his crew's surprise.
"Where? Well, if I know I know. But then again…" He took his chin in his hand, with this strange, smug look on his face, "-if I don't know, then maybe I don't know anything at all."
Luffy just stared at him dully, "What are you, an idiot?" He smirked at Nami's scream of 'that's real rich coming from you!' from behind him.
Buggy screamed, "WHAT DO YOU MEAN 'IDIOT,' YOU UNCIVILIZED BUFFOON!" He got into his own battle stance, knives between each of his fingers, "I'm saying that I'm not a nice guy. I don't have anything to say to you, even if it's your dying wish." He stomped his feet, getting knives to pop out from under the toes, "Even if I tell you, you'll be too busy being dead to hear it. Bara Bara Windmill!"
Luffy eyed him in interest as Buggy kicked forward and is leg detached and turned into a whirling sawblade flying directly at him. Luffy laughed and jumped up into the air with a large grin.
Buggy cackled in response as dozens of blades surrounded the Straw Hat wearing boy from above and below, "What kind of idiot jumps up into the air! There's no escape for you, Mugiwara!"
"Shishishi!" Luffy smiled broadly as the knives closed in, getting a gasp of total shock from Buggy. He could only remember one man to laugh at death! Those thoughts slipped from his mind as Luffy threw his right leg out in a kick. Buggy's eyes popped right out of his head as a shockwave seemingly appeared around the boy's foot before he was propelled to the left, completely dodging every single blade.
'So he wasn't laughing at his death…he just knew he'd be able to escape.' Buggy thought silently to himself. It was a bit of a relief to see that, "It doesn't matter if you can dodge, all I have to do is BARA BARA EMERGENCY ESCAPE!" His smug tone turned into one of sheer panic as a massive lance of energy started cleaving the ground in front of him. Buggy's body split length-wise, allowing the blade of wind to pass him harmlessly. Buggy combined his halves once more as Luffy landed. He mumbled to himself, "You…how does a no-name brat like him know the Rankyaku?" Oh yes, Buggy knew that attack. He'd certainly faced it plenty of times on the Oro Jackson.
Off to the side, Nami and Zoro were watching in interest, "You know, it's one thing to see Luffy doing his stuff, but it's another to see him fighting another Devil Fruit user." She commented, "I'd probably think I was having a bad dream if I hadn't met Luffy before."
Zoro merely smirked in irritation, his eyes closed, "My swords would be completely useless against that guy. I guess this stupid-looking clown really is an anti-swordsman." A vein twitched on his forehead, "That's a blow to my pride…"
"Hmm?" Luffy raised an eyebrow, "Huh, hadn't expected you to know what that was, red nose." He grinned lightly, "You know, I think I am remembering you now. You're the same Buggy who sailed with Shanks when he was a cabin boy, aint-cha? He told me a story or two. You sure ain't what I was expecting!"
Buggy snorted like a bull, "That damn red hair. You met him huh? I knew that ugly hat looked familiar. And what the hell is that supposed to mean?"
Luffy's eye shrank to pinpricks and he glared at the clown, "What did you say about my hat?" He took a step forward, and Buggy jumped when a tiny crack formed under his feet, "Don't you dare insult this hat! It's my treasure! I'll pound you if you do it again, red nose!" He growled at his enemy, "And I expected you to be a big shot, seeing as you served on the same ship he did. I never expected you to be an actual clown getting his rocks off on tormenting innocent people!"
Buggy started to roar with laughter, "Treasure?! That ratty old thing? Don't make me laugh, you flashy idiot!" He raised a hand and started rubbing two fingers together with his thumb, "Treasure is Gold and Silver! That stupid hat can't ever be one! I couldn't even buy a single drink with that thing!" He grinned victoriously as his deception had gone unnoticed. When he had separated earlier, he had surreptitiously sent two of his fingers sneaking behind his opponent. Each digit had a blade sticking out. With a mental command, the two appendages rose and rocketed towards the back of his opponent's head. "And you should really watch your mouth when talking to your betters, brat!"
"Luffy watch out!" Nami screamed, momentarily forgetting that her Captain could just let the attack pass through him.
Luffy threw himself to the side immediately upon hearing her voice to avoid the projectile. Luffy fell down, a horrendous ripping sound ringing inside his head. His face was shadowed and angry as he took his hat off his head at gazed at it. There was a small rip in the straw. "How dare you." Luffy stood, clutching his hat angrily, "HOW DARE YOU MESS UP THIS HAT!" His eyes were pools of shadows and his teeth were grinding with his mouth open in a furious grimace.
"Gyahahaha!" Buggy started to chortle, "You look so angry, you shitty brat! If that hat is so precious to you, maybe you should protect it better! BARA BARA FESTIVAL!" Buggy segmented and dozens of knives started to slip from his parts, each having a blade stick out in some fashion.
Nami turned green as she realized what that meant. Buggy's fruit made him immune to blades to the point he could literally hide them in his body, as long as they could fit inside of him. He could potentially literally turn himself into a human pincushion. Buggy's body parts started whirling around in a dervish around Luffy, speeding to and fro in an attempt to pierce the much younger man. Luffy was calm and began swaying, displaying a mastery of Kami-E that left Nami envious.
Buggy saw that and began to growl, "So, you know that move too? Pretty flashy for a rookie, but it won't help you!" His disembodied voice rang around Luffy, "You might as well just stand still and let me hit you, brat! You can't flashily dodge forever! Gyahahaha!"
"This is pretty easy, actually." Luffy deadpanned, before smirking as one of his own hands flashed out and grabbed onto a leg as it passed by. Immediately he squeezed until Buggy started to howl. After a second of dodging more increasingly-frantic limbs, he let go, "Stop flying around like an idiot already! I still have to squish that tomato on your face! Shishishishi!"
Buggy saw red and decided to hit Luffy where it would hurt. "I won't kill you! Oh no, by the time I'm done with you, you'll wish I merely killed you!" He slipped his Captain's Coat off of his torso chunk and slipped his upper arms into the sleeves. Both of his calf chunks stabbed into the bottom of the coat and together, the four limbs sped forward and opened the coat wide. Then, they reversed direction and sped upward, creating a gust of wind that swept Luffy's precious hat right off his head.
"Crap!" Luffy jumped into the sky, stretching out to reach for it.
Just as his fingers were about to reach it, Buggy's fist sped by and impaled the hat on three daggers, "Gyahahaha! I told you to protect that shitty hat better, Straw Hat!" Buggy roared with laughter, as he reformed near it. He threw the hat away from him just as Luffy landed, his eyes shadowed and his arms shaking from how hard he was clenching his fists. "Good riddance to bad rubbish. Maybe I'll mail this shitty hat to that shitty red-headed bastard Shanks after I'm through with you." He then spat on it.
Instantly, the atmosphere became oppressive as Luffy's whole right arm turned golden. Small tongues and arcs of plasma were springing off his arm and dispersing into the air. Every single person there, including Nami, Zoro, and the unconscious members of Buggy's Crew broke out into a savage sweat as the heat became sweltering. Light smoke started wafting off the pieces of broken wood strewn all over the place as moisture inside them started evaporating. "ENGAN!" Luffy's voice roared, and Buggy the Clown made the best decision of his life. He segmented himself into dozens of pieces as fast as he could and sent each part away as fast as he could. The beam of plasma passed right where his shoulder had been – Luffy's aim was off with his anger – and plowed into the dirt, throwing up a plume of magma as the earth itself superheated and liquified almost instantaneously.
Buggy howled with agony as his feet weren't able to move away nearly as quickly as the rest of him and the radiating heat started searing his flesh. He forced them to move as quickly as he could to get away from the heat. He panted as he came back together, growling in agony, "Flashy fucking hell, what kind of Devil Fruit is that?" He wildly started looking for an escape route. There was no way he could face somethinglike that! He didn't know if it was a Paramecia or a Logia, but either way he was just straight up dead if he got hit. Even if he just got hit in the arm or leg he'd still be crippled for life! Luffy visibly restrained himself and reeled his powers in. The second his arm returned to flesh, the heat started to vanish.
Shanks' grin grew to the widest Luffy had ever seen it, "Hoh? You're going to be bigger than all of us huh? Well then…" Luffy stared at the ground, trembling and trying not to cry. Shanks' eyes were shadowed by his straw hat up until he removed it with his remaining arm, "I'll leave this precious hat of mine to you."
Luffy looked apoplectic as he took a stomp forward. The ground roiled and cracked under his feet. Buggy felt an increasingly larger amount of panic with each step forward from his nemesis, and he started to backpedal rapidly, "W-w-w-wait a m-m-minute, Strawhat!" He waved his hands side to side in front of him in a warding gesture, "W-we can talk about this, r-right?"
Off to the side, Nami snorted in disgust, "Typical Pirate. They act all big until they realize they bit off more than they can chew, and then they start begging and pleading."
Luffy took one last stomp and vanished, the earth under his foot practically pancake-flipping as he vanished, "TALK TO THIS!" Buggy didn't even have time to react before the hardest punch he had taken in over two decades buried itself into his ribcage. Blood and spittle flew from his mouth as he felt his bones crack and splinter. He couldn't even get a pained grimace out before another first flattened his nose and indented his face, "Don't ever touch our hat again!" Luffy said quietly, dangerously. Buggy writhed on the dirt in obvious agony, before Luffy leaned down and grabbed him by the scruff of his furry lapels, "I don't ever want to hear his name leave your mouth again either, you ugly red nose!"
Buggy growled as his fear was momentarily forgotten in favor of his own damn pride and the fact that Luffy was practically slamming his fist down on his triggers. He really should have just kept his mouth shut, "I don't know what relationship you had with him, but I can speak of him the way I wish! Bara Bar-"
"STAY DOWN!" Luffy roared and he slammed Buggy bodily into the dirt. The clown's legs kicked up into the air from the impact, even as a crater appeared under him. Luffy got up and wandered over to his hat, "Great, your stupid spit dried on my hat." He wrinkled his nose in disgust as he tried to scrape some of the grime off it.
The newly conscious Buggy Pirates were laying very, very still, desperate not to attract any attention, "Captain Buggy is…losing?!" They gasped as quietly as they could as they watched on.
Nami smiled, thinking the fight was over, "Luffy…he's so strong." She looked awed, "He hadn't even been using his powers until Buggy pissed him off, and then it was right back to fists!" Zoro smirked beside her. She shook herself and stretched like a cat, letting out a pleased moan as her back popped, "Well, I'm off to do what I do best!"
"Hoh, what would that be?" Zoro asked with his arms crossed, not turning to look at her.
She smirked, "Robbing scumbag Pirates blind." And with that, she walked away, scouting for any storehouses that the Buggy Pirates could have stored their treasure in. She didn't notice Buggy struggling to his feet.
Buggy finally got up, rasping slightly and clutching his side, "Throughout my entire life…" He panted, "Including today… There isn't even a single person who has ever made me as mad as that Red-Haired Bastard! He took a tremendous amount of treasure from me! I'll never forgive him!"
"Hahaha, they're fighting again!" Sounds of laughing Pirates rang through the air.
"North pole!" A younger Buggy was grasping the shirt of a younger, scar-less Red-Haired Shanks. Buggy still had his gigantic red nose.
Shanks was as mad as the blue-haired boy, gripping Buggy's lapels tightly, "South Pole!"
"There you go again!" Buggy howled in his face.
Shanks spat back, bringing Buggy closer, "I'll say it as many times as I have to, because I'm right!"
"You have a lot of guts!" The two sprang together, punching and kicking wildly at each other.
"I'll beat the crap out of you!" Shanks roared back.
That was until a much larger man got in between them knocked them straight to the floor with twin punches, "Idiots! Stop this now! I don't see why any of this matters to either of you, but if it's that important go to both places and find out for yourselves!" He was wearing a dark purple shirt and round glasses. His blonde hair was slicked back, and he had this strange striped beard.
Buggy and Shanks only glared at one another. Suddenly, a call came down from the crow's nest, "A ship coming in hot!"
Buggy grinned and got his knives out. Shanks grinned, "Getting excited huh, Buggy?"
"Of course. Enemy ships are like floating treasure boxes. I'm going to loot everything I can! Treasure is the most important thing to a Pirate!"
Shanks smiled blandly, "Well that's one thing, I suppose."
"Not one thing! The only thing!" Buggy glanced over at his fellow cabin boy, "You're too nice. You and the rest of the crew don't treat treasure seriously enough! You don't know what a Pirate really is!"
The fight wasn't long really. The enemies were rookie Pirates who had no business challenging even a fledgling Gol D Roger's crew. But just because they were weak didn't mean the spoils weren't good. Buggy found a map with an amazing amount of treasure displayed firmly on it! He grinned and laughed to himself darkly, "Gyahahaha, no one saw. Who wouldn't keep it to themselves?" He hid it inside his shirt. Buggy's obsession with treasure was grand. No one knew why he was so obsessed with it, especially since he was on a highly lauded Pirate Crew, but his ambition started to overreach his grasp.
"Victory! Drink and party to your heart's content! Raise your voices and sing!"
The party had been going on for ages now, and Shanks surprised Buggy when he kicked his door in, "Hey Buggy! Come celebrate with us! We found a weird treasure too!"
Buggy instantly panicked, "Treasure? What treasure? I didn't do anything? Nothing at all!"
Shanks had a big question mark over his head, "The hell are you on about?"
Later, the two were relaxing on deck and having a drink as comrades, "We'll be off this ship one day." Buggy said with a large grin.
"Eh, of course we will." Shanks chuckled, "One day I'll have my own ship and go see the world. As a Pirate of course."
"Talking nonsense as usual huh?" Buggy cackled, drawing Shanks' ire, "You're a skilled fighter. I'll accept those skills. Too bad about your crazy way of thinking. I'd take you on as a follower otherwise."
Shanks snorted before knocking back some more Sake. He was lounging lazily on his chair, "Like I'd want to be your follower. We're too different, you and me. We need to travel the paths we think are best."
"Like I want to hear anything about a Pirate's life from you. That'll mean that we'll meet as enemies next time, won't it?" Buggy grinned, looking to browbeat the red-haired man.
Shanks was entirely unconcerned, a line of Sake dripping from his mouth, "Yep. That's a Pirate's life, huh?"
"The hell you on about?" Buggy asked, before shaking himself, "Anyway, you said something about some weird treasure?"
Shanks perked up and sat correctly, "That's right! We picked up an Akuma no Mi! If you eat it, you'll never be able to swim again, but you'll gain a special ability. Captain said whoever wanted it could eat it."
Buggy chuckled as he patted the treasure map that was in his shirt, "No one would ever want one of those. Who would want to never swim again?" He smirked, 'Yeah, whoever eats one of those is a real idiot! If there was a treasure at the bottom of the sea, no one could ever grab it if they ate one of those stupid fruits!'
"But that odd Fruit." Shanks continued, heedless of his 'friend's' plotting, "Somehow those weird things sell for ฿100,000,000. To start." Buggy spat out all of his Sake.
"There's no way that's true!" Buggy screamed with his eyes popping out, '฿100,000,000! That's insane! That's as much as ten class 'A' treasure boxes! The treasure Goddess must be smiling down on me!'
Buggy quickly worked on a master plan to acquire the fruit. He spent all night working on a fake, replica fruit and switched it out with the real one. The next day he loudly proclaimed that he would eat the fruit himself, much to the cheering of his cohorts! And eat the fake fruit he did, standing proudly. His acting was top class, as the rest of the crew quickly left him alone, thinking the fruit must have been a fake, 'It was a fake alright!' Buggy cackled while hiding later that day.
He was holding both the Fruit and his map, "It was a total success!" He cheered.
And then fate declared that a happy Buggy was not a good thing, "Hey, so this is where you were hiding!" Shanks popped up behind him. Buggy muffled a scream by stuffing the fruit in his mouth in panic! Shanks gained a weird look as he stared, "Man, your face sure is weird today. Don't steal too much food or the cook will get mad!" Shanks started walking away.
Buggy sighed in relief, 'The danger has passed…' Just as Buggy was about the remove the fruit from his mouth, disaster struck. Shanks had come back, trying to tell Buggy about something the captain had said, and he scared Buggy enough to cause him to swallow the entire Devil Fruit. There was no getting it out! Screaming in rage, he grabbed Shanks' lapels and roared, "YOU! YOU BASTARD! I!"
"Hey, what's that paper?" Shanks ignored the threatening posture. It wasn't at all uncommon after all. He pointed toward the map that had fallen from Buggy's hand. Instantly, Buggy panicked and leapt from the deck, diving right after his precious map. Initially, everyone though Buggy's panicked flailing was just for show. Shanks even called out, "What are you doing Buggy? Swimming is your specialty!" But as Buggy sank, seemingly unable to move, Shanks panicked and dove after him.
"100,000,000 Beli. Gone!" Buggy's face was shadowed as he finished his tale, "And because I could never swim again, I missed out on the treasure too!"
Luffy growled, "So Shanks saved your life and you hate him for it? You idiot! Maybe if you hadn't tried to rob your comrades you wouldn't be stuck in the situation in the first place!"
"Because of that idiot, my plans were set back for decades!" Buggy roared at Luffy, his earlier fear dwarfed by his rage. He really should have just tried to escape in any way he could.
"It was your fault in the first place, you ugly red nose!" Luffy roared right back. He was not in a good mood after his hat was stabbed by this bastard clown.
Buggy leapt into the air, five knives in each hand, "Shut up Mugiwara! I swore that if I couldn't have the treasure under the sea, I'D HAVE EVERY TREASURE ABOVE IT!" But Buggy didn't look at Luffy, "Whoever dares touch my treasure…is never left alive!" He rocketed forward, racing to impale Nami who was carrying a large, heavy bag full of treasure. She felt a shiver go up her spine as she spasmed momentarily. Her eyes hardened, and she dropped the bag and reached under her skirt, assembling her staff once more.
But a few feet from her, Buggy gasped and dropped all of his knives, his hands reaching downward, grasping at 'items' that were not currently there. She smirked as she clocked him a good one, flattening his nose once more. He hit the ground hard and rolled away from her to the left. She looked over and saw a smirking Luffy lowering his foot from in between Buggy's legs. She broke out into giggles as Buggy rolled around hysterically in pain, "This…this bastard dared kick my lower half…while this flashy bitch hit my upper half." Nami's eye twitched.
"Who are you calling a bitch, you ugly Red Nose!" She roared, shark teeth in full display.
Buggy twitched, "BARA BARA FESTIVAL!" He roared and broke into dozens of pieces, all flying like a cyclone once more. Nami screamed in fear and started frantically trying to dodge. "Protect her now, Mugiwara!" Nami picked up the treasure and ran, even as Buggy chased her. Luffy perked up as he realized Buggy's feet weren't flying, and he used Soru to grab them. He then used Soru once more, away from Nami. Buggy had this comical look on his face as he panicked, "No wait-!" The rest of his parts vanished as his body struggled to keep to the maximum distance from his feet.
Round and round Luffy went, up and down, back and forth, using Geppo and Soru to their fullest. All in the effort to make Buggy wish for death. Nami smirked and readied her staff and pulled another burlap sack from…somewhere. Each time the clown passed by, Nami smacked a part of him down and tied it up. Luffy caught her doing so out of the corner of his eyes and grinned brightly. When he finally stopped, he threw the feet and turned around. When Buggy's torso and head passed by him, he cackled and wound up, "GRIT THOSE TEETH!"
A huge plume of smoke blasted up from where Luffy had buried Buggy's head into the floor, a large indentation in the shape of Luffy's fist on his face. Luffy stepped back with a laugh and waited for Buggy to get up. If nothing else, the man could take a hit or ten. Buggy struggled to his feet, dizzily dropping back down multiple times before finally managing to levitate his body once more, arms spinning in an attempt to keep his balance. His eyes had swirls in them, which he struggled to will away, "You flashy bastards. I'll flashily kill you." He mumbled, even as he air-stumbled around, swiping at the birdies wearing straw hats around his head.
Finally, after around a minute of amusing the Straw Hat crew with his drunken-looking stumbling, he managed to regain his composure. "Wow Bummy! No…" Luffy looked like he was confused, "Muppy…no, that's not it either. Dummy…No… Buffoon! Yeah, that's it! I'm surprised you didn't throw up after all that, Buffoon!" Nami and Zoro burst into laughter behind him.
"I can't tell if he's just playing it up, or if he honestly thinks that's his name." Zoro cackled happily.
Nami rubbed a tear away from her eye, "It's Luffy! That was so not intentional, which makes it even funnier!" She held her ribs as she giggles.
"Shishishi!" Luffy didn't know what they were laughing at, but he was happy his crew was amused.
"You flashy bastards. How dare you do this to me." It looked like his spinning and twirling had finally caught up to Buggy, who was looking slightly green around the gills. He growled, "I'll kill you all, flashily! Bara Bara Gather!" His body parts started swirling around him, before recombining into a single body. "DAH!" Buggy had a comical look of shock on his face. His mouth was practically bigger than his head, his eyes were white, and he had snot dripping from his nose. His hands were sticking directly out of his torso with no arms to speak of, and his legs consisted of only feet and ankles. He had lost his entire lower body and much of his stomach.
Luffy, Nami, and Zoro practically collapsed in laugher, "Oh, you wouldn't happen to be looking for these, were you?" She had the smuggest 'cat-that-got-the-canary' look in history on her face. Zoro was beside her, his foot on a wiggling bag of body parts, making sure none of it would escape.
"MY PARTS!" Buggy yelped in terror, realizing that there was now no possible way for him to escape. Even if he tried, he would be stopped by the distance limit to his other parts! 'Why the hell did I not just run when this flashy bastard revealed his powers?!' He screamed in his own head.
"Looks like you're half the man you used to be!" Luffy howled in laughter. Nami did actually collapse then, using the giant bag of treasure behind her as a lumpy bean-chair.
"I'd say that's a little less than half, Luffy!" Zoro was slightly bent over while clutching his gut. His foot was still on the frantically wiggling bag of body parts, making sure none of it would escape.
"No…no more!" Nami giggled, legs in the air joyfully as she tried to calm herself.
"Shishishi, well Buffoon-" That set Nami off again, "I'd say it was nice meeting you, but that'd be lying. I'll make sure to tell Shanks what a clown you are when I see him!" He waved cheerfully with his eyes closed before windmilling his arms a few times. "Bye Bye!" His fist cracked into Buggy's face, breaking teeth and squishing his nose one final time. The clown's humiliation was complete.
Buggy went rocketing off into the distance, becoming a tiny pinprick in the horizon and disappearing as a twinkle. Seconds later, Zoro finally let go of the increasingly-straining bag of body parts and they hurtled off after him. "Shishishi, great job you guys!" Luffy high fived Nami and bumped fists with Zoro. He pulled Nami into a tight hug, "You did awesomely Nami." She blushed but wrapped her arms around him too with a happy little grin.
"THANK YOU!" They were startled apart when a voice they recognized rang through the air. It was Mayor Boodle, and it looked like he had every single member of the village with him! Boodle dropped to his knees, "THANK YOU! From the bottom of my heart, thank you! You saved this village! If there is anything we can do to thank you, our heroes, please let us know!" The villagers all bowed their heads with their elder amidst much cheering.
"Hold up!" Luffy said seriously, "We're not heroes! Don't call us that! We're Pirates!" Nami facepalmed behind him.
Boodle looked confused and sputtered, "What, but of course you're heroes! You saved us!"
Luffy looked serious, "I love heroes, don't get me wrong, but I don't wanna be one! Do you even know what a hero is?" The townsfolk looked incredibly confused, "Say you have a chunk of meat. Pirates would have a banquet and eat it! A hero would share that meat with everyone! I want all the meat for myself!"
Nami had both her hands clapped to her face, "That's how he describes a hero?" She shook her head in bemusement, "Of course he does. It's Luffy."
Boodle suddenly chuckled, "Then we'll have to make sure you guys have plenty of meat for your journey, won't we?!" The townsfolk cheered in amusement.
Luffy had stars in his eyes, "Really? You're awesome, old guy!" His fists were pumped in excitement.
"And booze. It's important." Zoro said seriously, though he was smiling.
Nami shook her head, before addressing Boodle, "As much as it hurts me to do so, I left some treasure back in that warehouse over there." She pointed behind her, "It should be enough for you guys to rebuild somewhat."
Boodle had happy tears in his eyes, "Thank you all." He bowed. The elated town rounded up the rest of the Buggy Pirates and slapped em in irons. The town jail – which previously had never had more than one criminal in it at a single time – was almost bursting. Then, the town broke for a massive party, with tons of meat for Luffy and Sake for Zoro and Nami.
Later on in the day, Luffy approached the mayor, "Hey old guy, do you happen to know where I could get a pipe?"
"Eh? Like this one?" Boodle pulled out his smoking pipe and showed it to Luffy.
"No, like one of those metal pipes that go in the wall." Luffy snickered, "I tossed my old pipe away when my brother left on his journey because there was no one to practice with. I need a new one to help train my crew. Shishishi!"
Boodle laughed, "Like a staff huh? Well, that monster Buggy destroyed plenty of our homes." His tone was sad, but his gaze was firm, "I suppose you could dig around and find one you like."
"Shishishi, thanks old guy!"
Luffy, Nami, and Zoro were on the open seas once more. Nami was happily counting the amount of treasure she had managed to collect and checking their quality. "Amazing, this is at least eight million Beli!"
"Shishishi!" Luffy sat behind her and wrapped her closely in a hug. She snuggled up against his chest, "You happy?"
"Of course!" She exclaimed, pumping a fist, "This trip has been excellent! I've gathered over ten million on this trip! I'm so close now!"
"We'll have to make sure you get enough then, won't we?" Luffy squeezed her gently. She smiled and nestled against him, relaxing. Not even the thought of Arlong could bring her mood down any longer. Not when she was so close and especially not when Luffy had effortlessly beat one of East Blue's terrors. If he hadn't gotten pissed off at the clown he probably wouldn't have even used his Devil Fruit!
Hope. It was a foreign emotion. An emotion that Nami had experienced very little of in the past near-decade. It had been a long time since she had felt any. But she could still recognize it…and she couldn't deny her own feelings. She felt it bubbling up behind her breast, in her heart. Hope had started breaking through the cracks in the ice wall she'd erected around her heat. Hope in the form of the idiot she lay against.
She smiled softly and started rubbing gently against him, almost like a cat, but jerked up as Zoro lazily called out to them, "Boat!" She looked over where Zoro was lazily pointing before smirking.
Indeed, there was a much larger dinghy coming close to them. They eyed it curiously as it came close, making out three men who were clearly the dumb muscle. The larger boat had Buggy's Jolly Roger raised proudly. "This is Buggy-sama's turf! We'll be taking all your valuables. Now.' They ordered, bearing weapons. Zoro, Luffy, and Nami smiled brightly.
CRACK, SHING, SMACK
A few minutes later, they were happily sailing away on their much larger dinghy. The three men had been dumped over on the tiny boat they had acquired from the villages, each beaten worse than the last. Nami grinned, "Too bad for them." She smirked as she counted yet more treasure that had been on the boat with ฿ in her eyes. "Dark clouds approaching from the south." Luffy and Zoro looked on in interest, "When it hits that low-pressure area, a storm will develop." She grinned madly and singsonged, "All small boats should watch o~ut!" Instantly, the sky above the beaten Pirates and their old small boat darkened. The waves started to roil, and the boat capsized. "Bingo!" She threw out a thumbs-up with a grin, "See ya!"
Luffy grabbed the laughing Nami from behind and pulled her into her usual seat, laughing all the while, "That was awesome! You're amazing Nami!"
Nami flushed, "Ah, it wasn't that big of a deal." She said bashfully. She grinned then as she snuggled into him, "So…we probably need to get ourselves an actual ship now. I don't want to sail under this ugly sail forever."
"Damn right." Luffy huffed, glaring at the Buggy Jolly Roger, "If it wasn't the only sail we have I'd rip the whole thing down."
Nami grinned and patted him on the head, drawing her attention to the ripped straw hat on his head, "Here, give me that." She swiped his hat, "I'll fix it up for you. Why is this hat so important to you anyway?"
She felt him stiffen right when her hand touched the brim and for a moment she worried that she had overstepped herself, but he relaxed again. He hugged her tightly as she got out a sewing kit. "Thank you Nami. That hat belonged to Shanks. It was his precious hat…his treasure! He got it from his own Captain back when he was just a cabin boy with that idiot Buggy!" He smiled lightly, "After he saved my life, I swore to him that I would become the Pirate King!" He chuckled, "I expected him to laugh and tease me, just like he always had."
"I'll leave this precious hat of mine to you."
He smiled as he accepted the newly fixed hat from Nami, giving her a tight hug once more, "Instead, he took the hat off his head and put it on mine. It was our promise together! He believed in me!"
Nami sighed, wrapping her arms around his, "He sounds like a great person…" She thought, her smile turning a bit bittersweet, 'If only he could have dropped by Cocoyashi before leaving…'
Luffy seemed to sense her slightly down mood, so he whispered in her ear, drawing a shiver from the girl, "Just remember Nami, you're my precious friend. Anything you ever need, and I'll do it for you. You just have to ask."
She smiled, "Thank you Luffy." She tried to push the dark thoughts from her mind, "So…where to, Captain?"
He pumped a fist up, "ADVENTURE!"
She laughed gaily. Well, adventure wasn't quite a heading, but it'd have to do.
And there we go! This chapter had some grammatical errors fixed and a part of the fight with Buggy (as well as a bit of Nami's fight) was rewritten. Not anything big on this one. Like I said, the biggest change probably was the one in chapter one.
Now, I'm sure some of you are wondering why I decided to re-write it at all when I didn't have Luffy just vaporize parts of Buggy by letting him stab his Logia body. Let me take the time to explain something to you all. The Logia Defense is NOT automatic. Logia users who do not have Kenbunshoku Haki CAN be caught off guard and not activate their defense. And that's the key. It has to be activated. The reason it SEEMS automatic even for the lowliest of Logia – like, say, Kenbunshoku-less Smoker in the earliest parts of the story – is that they've turned it into an instinct. What exactly has Luffy been doing for a large part of his life?
The exact opposite of that. He could hardly even use his fruit for the most part. He could never use it against Ace when they were training. He'd straight kill his brother. The only one he could actually use it on was Garp, and that was like a snake trying to bite a dragon immune to its venom. He quite simply does NOT possess the Logia defense instinct yet! Every single time he has used it to this point has been a fully conscious decision. His instinct is to dodge more than it is to let something slip through him.
It was that kind of thing that I was talking about when I claimed that Luffy was pretty shit with his powers in the earlier versions. It's also why he's so sparing with using his powers in the earlier chapters. He's WAY more used to using his fists, feet, and the Rokushiki than he is used to using his Fruit. He will have to improve as the story goes on and he gets into situations that demand their usage.