Diary of a Valkyrie, Excerpt 1: Catching Up
by Kaline Reine

Disclaimer: I do not own One Piece or any of the characters/settings. This is just a fanfiction story. I do own Shiori, she is my character.

WARNINGS: This story contains (or may contain) adult language, references to violence, cursing, adult themes, etc. I do not censor my writing, but I do my best to warn people about the subject matter and potential subject matter. You have been warned. Also, I know this doesn't follow canon but it doesn't have to, that's why it's a fanfic. xD

Full Summary: "...I was once a good person, a sweet and kindhearted little girl. Now that little girl is gone. She's finally grown up!" Shiori was once given a diary by her mentor, so she could write about her journey and her feelings about it... This is just one entry from it. It's basically a recap of everything she's been through on her journey thus far, up to chapter 24 or 25 or so of Shivered Timbers... It doesn't contain spoilers if you're caught up with reading her story, it only has spoilers if you haven't read it at all. This is pretty important for the development of her character. I hope you like it. c:


Oneshot:

Rain fell from the sky, like dreary teardrops. Shiori sat under a small awning, on a secluded part of the ship. Her view was partially obscured by the pouring rain. She was holding a book, clutching it close to her chest at first, smiling fondly...

She recalled when she'd first gotten such a precious gift from her mentor. She'd spent nearly two years under the guidance of the famous Pirate, Whitey Bay. It was hard to believe someone of such renown had taught her how to hone her Devil Fruit abilities. She'd also learned many other things. She knew she was very lucky that the Ice Witch had chosen to take her under her wing.

It had been a really long time since she had written in her diary. It had been taken from her, along with most of her personal possessions, when Alvida had imprisoned her as a slave on board her ship. That had happened shortly after she left the safety of the arctic, aboard Whitey Bay's Icebreaker. The girl had been cruelly punished for things she didn't even do, made to serve such a vile woman... She despised Alvida for everything that had been done to her, and all of the wrongs she'd witnessed being committed to others as well. All of the slaves had suffered under the terrible Pirate. Shiori would never accept her as her Captain.

'I'd rather die than to ever serve a person like that...' She thought, as the memories become too much for her, the hatred tainting her senses in poisonous waves.

But here she was safe... And at long last, she could smile once again. She knew the Spade Pirates wouldn't let anything happen to her. Safe with the knowledge that she had plenty of Nakama to back her up, both old and new, she was now free to do what she wanted. It was the first time in a long time that she'd tasted of such freedom. At least she could finally write in her treasured book again.

The petite albino opened the diary and rifled through the pages, until she'd settled on a blank page. Shielded from the rain, nestled away from the brute force of the storm, she began to write once more. She held the quill between nimble fingers, placing the inkwell on the wooden surface beside her, and allowing her mind to drift...

'Dear Diary,' She wrote, rolling her rose mauve eyes at how very cliche' that sounded.

'I know it's been a while and I haven't really written much since I was given this precious gift by my senpai, Whitey Bay. And for that, I apologize. It's still early, so I should have time to catch up on everything. A lot has happened since I took those first few bold first steps and left the Monastery behind for good. I... I'm not even sure where to begin.

I still hold all of the pain from my loss inside... I know that now.

And I also feel insecure being on Ace's ship. I never imagined that somehow I would become part of his crew. Hell, I never dreamt that I would be a Pirate at all... It shouldn't be much of a surprise though, considering it was the Marines who killed my family.

I still remember it so vividly, so clearly in my mind... They mercilessly slaughtered everyone. My dearest and closest friends...

They had taken me in as their own, even though we weren't technically related. Well, there's no proof that we aren't, but there's no proof that we are either. They were still my family, and my true Nakama; my first friends. They made me feel like I belonged, even when I didn't. I stuck out among the others like a sore thumb, but they always overlooked that. I still miss the way Michiko would sing and how Chiaki-sama's smile could light up the whole room. I grew up in a beautiful old Monastery. The Nuns there had a warm and kind demeanor, so different from the rest of the world. It hurt me so much to see them killed, to watch them suffering in such agony before my very eyes.

All because of those wretched Marines! I hate them so much...

I still have nightmares of the day of the massacre. If it happened now, I would have wanted to fight, but back then... None of us stood a chance. Not even with our Baransu Jujitsu, and the fact that our habit was composed mostly of women who were known as legendary fighting Nuns. They still could not stand up to the Marines' brute strength. Fighting styles, however clever, can still be useless against guns and other serious weapons. They came in without any warning, sweeping through everything as if it were nothing at all. It's hard to believe that I was the only survivor. I feel the bitter sting of defeat every time I think about it. I mean... What have I done with my life to make me so deserving, that mine would outweigh that of my mother and sisters?

Of course I always knew we weren't really related. The way some of the other Nuns would sometimes look at me back then, before everything happened... I still don't know very much about my past, but they were the only family that I'd ever known. I still feel the pain of it to this day.

Losses like that weigh heavily in our hearts... And rightfully so. I know I'm not the only one who's lost something. Even so, it still aches, in spite of all of it.

My only clue to where I really came from is the deep blue pendant that I wear around my neck. Michiko, one of the Nuns, gave it to me. She said that I should always keep it safe. There was a strange story behind it... She never told me until I was old enough to understand, although I was still young. Apparently a mysterious woman showed up just outside the Monastery grounds. She'd died out in the freezing cold, before she made it there. And I was swaddled in blankets to protect me from the elements. They found the pendant hung around her neck. It was the same deep blue of the midnight sky, or the darkest depths of the ocean, and it had a single peacock feather embedded inside of it. I wonder what it means... I hope someday I can find out where I'm really from. Even if that happens, they'll always be my family.

Even now I have to close my eyes, often having to consciously block out the horrors that I witnessed back then... My own adopted sister Michiko being impaled on spears... As that wicked man laughed and laughed at her pain while she bled to death! And watching through the cracks in the pantry where I was hidden away, as I was forced to watch a crazed, angry Marine named Akainu kill our head Nun, Chiaki, who had so kindly taken me in as her own... Smelling the aged wood and the faint scent of blood tinging everything, tainting our sacred temple. Defiling it... Just thinking of the vile scent still makes me nauseous. There had been nothing but pain, agony, and suffering, that day... And I still hate thinking about it, to this day.

I've cried so many tears because of that tragedy... The pain of the loss I felt has weighed heavily upon my heart. But I won't cry anymore! I refuse. I was too weak to protect them back then... I grew up being painfully shy, afraid to talk to anyone or do anything. I was helpless to do anything back then. But I'm not helpless like I used to be.

Even if they're all gone, even if the Marines did take them all away from me... It doesn't matter. I've lost faith in the rest of this world long ago. I was only eight years old when our Monastery was attacked. There was nothing I could do to stop the bloodshed. It was horrible and terrifying. It shattered everything, and I knew then that the world was no longer pure... I lost my faith in it all together. And I lost faith in myself as well...'

She paused in her writing, long enough to gather her thoughts... Shiori bit her bottom lip, and chewed on the edge of the feathery quill, stroking it between her lips. She fidgeted with her hair a few minutes and finally put the pen back to the page.

'It took a lot to gain my confidence back. I departed from Drum Kingdom and was able to hitch a ride with an old merchant to Goa Kingdom. Little did I know who I would meet there. The first time I ever saw Ace-kun, he was sleeping deep in the forest just outside of Edge Town, leaning against the trunk of a tree. He was so cute! And he was the first person I'd ever seen with freckles. I couldn't stop staring at this strange boy... Later, he introduced me to his friends, Luffy and Sabo... I'd run into Sabo once before, at a playground I was hiding in when I had nowhere else to go. Funny how coincidences like that tend to happen...

But when that nice old merchant brought me to Goa Kingdom, everything changed. I made real friends again, and started training to fight. Sometimes we would spar together, helping each other grow even stronger. I was still painfully shy, but they helped me, in many small ways. Things were going pretty good until I was kicked out of Edge Town completely and had to go live in the dump, in a place called Gray Terminal. I spent a while living in an old junk car. It wasn't much, but it was my home. I know this probably sounds pretty crazy, but I actually kind of miss those days. Things were crazy, but they were still a lot more peaceful.

Losing Sabo was another painful experience for me. We weren't all that close yet, but he was still a dear friend. His father was a wealthy Nobleman... And he kept trying to keep his son away from the riffraff, which was the three of us. Not because we were bad influences, but just to maintain his image. How sickening... Ultimately, his father's overbearing ways led to Sabo's death. He died because that horrible man wanted to keep him from the people who actually cared about him. If that hadn't happened, he never would have stolen that ship and tried to run away to become a Pirate, and he certainly wouldn't have gotten in the Celestial Dragon's way... And things wouldn't have gone so badly.

The ways of the Nobles are strange to me, and the Celestial Dragons too. I don't understand what makes them so special? And I probably never will. I only got kicked out of their walled city because I wasn't born of nobility... Basically because I didn't have any money. That seems like a very shallow and convoluted reason, to me. And that wasn't good enough, no... They still felt the need to purge all the filth from around their high and mighty little city.

When those awful Nobles even went so far as to burn down Gray Terminal shortly before Sabo's death, I wasn't that worried about myself... My whole life, I have always been afraid of fire. I learned to be afraid, the hard way. The Marines burned down the Monastery while I was still inside... It was a miracle that I'd survived the massacre at all. I know they meant to kill everyone. And much later, when the Nobles destroyed the homes of many of the other people who had also been exiled from their Kingdom... It only pained me to see others in pain. It still does.

I've become well acquainted with the fury of fire and I am no stranger to its destructive power. How ironic, now that I'm grown, it's the one thing saving me; keeping me going... I never would have guessed that my long lost friend would end up gaining such impressive Devil Fruit powers.

If Ace hadn't left us to pursue his dream of becoming a Pirate, I might never have toughened up. Once the Terminal had been destroyed, I'd been living with the mountain bandits for a little while, with him and Luffy. Foosha Village was nice, it was a quiet little town full of people. There were PIrates who traveled through a lot too. I felt another great loss the day he left to follow in their footsteps. It was sad, but it was a sweet sadness... The one kindest sadness that I've ever felt.

It was very strange. My heart was bitter inside, yet I was happy for him. As long as he was able to pursue his dreams, then he should have been free to go after them. I realize that now, but letting go at the time was difficult. I even made another friend in Goa Kingdom who betrayed me, breaking my trust and shattering what little was left of my faith in people.'

She stopped writing, just long enough to narrow her eyes and whisper... "Monet..."

The pen fell back to the paper, and she was writing furiously now, the tip of the quill darting back and forth frantically, rasping across the page.

'Her name was Monet... We were sort of friends at first, even though she acted incredibly jealous of my Devil Fruit abilities. I don't ever remember having eaten a Devil Fruit, by the way... A lot of people ask me how they taste. I wouldn't know. I was probably just a baby when I ate one, if I did at all. That's probably why the Nuns back at the Monastery labeled me a Snow Valkyrie. They never understood it, and I'm not even sure if I fully understand it myself. And that strange woman who died in the snow, just outside... Was she my mother? I'm still not sure who she was, but I can't help but feel partially responsible for her death too. It surrounds me, nagging at me, always trying to tear me down... But it only manages to take away everything that is precious to me.

Oh yeah, back to my friend! She blatantly stabbed me in the back. At first, she was jealous and always starting fights for no real reason. Things were going good and I thought we'd put all of that bad blood behind us, and settled things. We'd even become good friends over the years. She was one of the only people who were there for me after Ace left to pursue his dreams of becoming a Pirate. But one day, she lured me out the beach and tried to shoot me! She cornered me, doing anything and everything she could to win. We fought viciously, but she ended up taking a vial of my blood. I still don't know why she did that or what she wanted with it. I guess there are lots of things I still don't know. But I know for sure that she betrayed me and it hurt me deeply.

Despite all of this, I feel like I should thank her, really... If it hadn't been for the fight that had happened that day on the beach, a certain Pirate Captain would have never spotted me and seen what I could do... And I never would have gotten to train with the famous Whitey Bay. I still want to know why Monet did all of that. I may never know, but I'd still like to know the reason. Someday... If we ever meet again, it will be too soon.

I've always done the best I could with whatever I had. I am nothing, if not resourceful.

Whitey Bay was my senpai, my mentor, my idol... I'm glad that I accepted her offer to go with her. I've grown really fond of the Ice Witch. She taught me to be more confident with my own abilities, and how to protect myself even better with a sword. When I was in Goa Kingdom with Ace, Luffy, Sabo, and even Monet, I'd learned what it meant to have friends. Real Nakama... I used to be so shy that I would stutter on practically every word, but Whitey Bay helped me gain some confidence and overcome that.

I still have slip-ups now and then, but the beautiful Witch taught me to be confident and brave, like her. I even made other friends on board her Icebreaker, like Chouko, a moth Devil Fruit user who knew me since I was in Gray Terminal, and Sam, who seemed pretty normal compared to everyone else. And most importantly, I learned that Pirates weren't as bad as I'd previously believed.'

Shiori paused for a moment, allowing her quill to rest before dipping it back into the ink.

"If only I'd known that lesson back when Ace was leaving..." She sighed. "Oh well. Things happened the way they did for a reason... I guess."

She didn't know who she was talking to. Herself, she supposed... She stopped to read the last paragraph again. Then, full of determination, the albino girl resumed writing.

'I wish I hadn't protested so much back when Ace departed. I was against Piracy and I pretty much stomped all over his dreams. I made a big fuss and a total idiot of myself. I was being selfish back then, I know. I just didn't want to be left behind. Which is probably one reason why I feel so awkward being here with him now. I'm safe, but... Sort of uncomfortable, and I'm not even entirely sure why. I hope I don't wear out my welcome or anything...

I realize it's pretty ironic that I'm so scared of fire, yet so comforted by Ace's warmth... Everything about him is warm and well... I just adore him! I wouldn't be lying if I said that I'd knowingly give my life for him.'

Just then, she was forced to stop yet again. There were faint footsteps echoing across the deck. Someone was coming. Shiori looked up, to see that it was the Captain of the Spades himself.

'Speak of the devil...' She thought.

"Oh, hi Ace-kun..." The Valkyrie looked at him forlornly, wondering what he wanted. It was unusually early for him to be up.

He greeted her with a friendly, warm smile. The way he always had. "Shiori-chan..." He nodded in acknowledgement. "What are you writing?"

"Just catching up with my diary. It's been a while since I was able to write in it. Alvida kept it hidden away with the rest of my things."

"Hey, don't be sad," Ace's sweet smile was infectious, as he tilted her head up to look at him. "That part is over now. Your real journey is only just beginning."

Shiori's frown quickly changed into a smile to match his. "You're right..."

He seemed to understand her need for privacy, and walked away then. They seemed to have a silent understanding, and had no need for words most of the time. It made her wonder why he'd come out to see her. Was he just checking on her? Had he heard what she said?

'Anyway...' She began writing once again. 'I've really learned a lot in my travels. For one, I learned that I actually do have the power to save everyone, in certain situations... Like the battle with some of Captain Ahab's men who went all the way to the frozen tundra of the arctic to track down Bay-sama's crew while I was with them. There was a grand battle and both sides took some losses. But in the end, I was able to corner the Captain of that fleet, and overcome him with my snow Devil Fruit powers. It's kind of funny, I don't even recall his name now, and I'm not completely sure that he ever told me what it was.

The battle seemed to rage on and on forever... It was because of me that we won, even if I did fall unconscious at the end, after everything was said and done... My confidence soared once I woke up, with barely a scratch on me. And my Nakama had bravely carried me back to the ship from the glacier where the last of the fight had taken place. I won, but at the cost of getting my ass kicked. It was really cold and I learned how to better survive the elements after that.

More importantly, I learned that I... I could do anything! Or so I thought... I'd still had all of my comrades there to back me up during that fight.

Bay gave me such amazing gifts after my time with her had ended. She gave me a map that supposedly leads to a legendary ice sword. We'll see about that though... She even gave me my own sailboat so I could follow my dreams and go wherever I wanted... But there was a bad storm, and that all came to a grinding halt when I ran across the dreaded Iron Mace Alvida. She imprisoned me, destroyed what was left of my vessel before she enslaved me, and even took away my peacock pendant, the only clue left to my past...

She made me believe for a while that I really am worthless. To her, I was just a thing that could be bought or sold, no more than an object or a possession. I saw many terrible things while I was there. Slavery is horrifying. I want to eradicate it from this entire world. Even in the midst of all this agony though... I'd managed to make a few friends there, like this old lady Mia and her son. I befriended a girl named Nischela too. She worked for Alvida, but as an undercover agent. I joined up with the same secret agency thanks to her, and they had helped give me the confidence to at least try to break free.

One wonderful thing did happen while I was there... At times, it was my only hope, my one light in the darkness that was my entire ordeal. And that was getting Vanora... I should explain that Vanora is no ordinary cat. When Nischela came into the laundry room carrying a big blue box that she'd managed to smuggle out of the confiscated mail, I knew from the moment when I first unwrapped that silver ribbon... Those adorable blue eyes and her pretty white cream color and unusual markings were so beautiful. I got her when she was just a tiny kitten, but she's been my faithful companion ever since. I was so happy, and for a little while, I was reminded of home... My true home, back at the Monastery in the snowy mountains of Drum Kingdom. I still have no idea who sent her to me or why, but I'm thankful that they did.

I was so quiet and shy that no one suspected me and once I revealed my abilities, Alvida let me get too close... The fat old hag forced me to wait on her, hand and foot! I was the one bringing in her food, keeping her drinks cold, and doing whatever she asked of me. I had to sleep on old blankets on the floor in the slaves' quarters with everyone else. It was really uncomfortable. And sometimes I had laundry duty or other cleaning I was made to do. We all were forced to do things we didn't want to... I got into several fights with other slaves, usually over food, because there was so little of it given to us.

When I'd overcome my fears enough to steal a transponder snail and attempt to radio the Marines with it... That was really scary for me and it was probably the worst part of all. I felt like if I could overcome losing my entire family to them, then I could get myself out of this awful situation.

I was asked to assist Alvida while she made plans with her Admiral and a few other people to attack Drum Kingdom. That made me so angry... I couldn't just stand idly by and allow it! But I knew I had to go about this situation carefully. So I waited until their meeting was finally over, and I stole a small snail that they'd left behind. I also checked through some scrolls and other paperwork I found until I came across what I was looking for... A way to reach the Marines. I also found out the ship's coordinates and wrote both bits of information down on my arm. It was a perfect plan, but it was not meant to be...

It all came crashing down when one of Alvida's guards found me in the shower with the transponder snail and the ships coordinates written almost illegibly on my own skin. I don't hold it against him, after all he was only doing his job and trying to avoid her wrath, just like all of us were. I was brutally whipped in the stocks outside in front of everyone for my insolence, for daring to defy their crummy Captain.

Going through that ordeal shattered my slight confidence once again. It was like I just couldn't win! The things I'd witnessed while I was there broke what was left of my spirit... But more than that, in the end, it made me even stronger.

I still remember the terrible pain I felt, it was the worst of my life... Second only to losing my family. As a result, I am now very wary of strangers. Strangers did all of these bad things to me. First it was the Marines, then it was Pirates... I was wronged by both sides... So maybe it helped to give me more of a neutral perspective, I don't know. I've learned that Nobles certainly aren't the only ones that keep slaves. And it burns me up inside, like nothing else! Slavery is a horrible ordeal that no one should ever have to go through.'

Tears began to flow freely now... They fell from her eyes, staining the pages of the diary while she stared at what she'd just written. Shiori was determined not to let it get to her. Although the ink ran a bit where her tears had fallen, it was still readable. Barely.

"No..." She whispered, and then grew a little more bold. "I won't let it get me down! I'm here, with my friends... And I'm safe now."

With a firm nod, she returned back to what she was doing. It didn't matter whether others could fully decipher it or not. She was desperate to finish, to get everything out somehow. Getting it down on paper would help to calm the chaos that still swirled inside of her, threatening to overtake the frail girl at a moment's notice.

'Then, out of the blue, just after I was brutally tortured in such a way, some new Pirates had appeared and ransacked the Miss Love Duck. They took everything, and showed me the true ferocity of what a real Pirate crew can do.

I thought I'd grown up enough to stand on my own, but... I still needed others to be there for me too, as much as I hate to admit it. With no backup and no real help (since it would've blown Nischela's cover if she'd done anything to outright help one of their slaves), I did whatever I had to do to survive. I was terrified.

It was thanks to these new Pirates that I was able to get my necklace back from Alvida. Only because I was able to strike when she was weak... I feel like I even got my revenge on her, to a degree. I discovered my own darkness that day, when I froze her vocal chords with my snow and strangled her from the inside and outside at the same time... I knew right in that very moment that I would never be so merciful again. This was what being nice had gotten me, and it was only thanks to my ruthless actions and the brave actions of others that I got out of it alive.

The crew that came to my aid turned out to be the Spade Pirates. I'm really stupid sometimes. I should have gone with Ace all along... I always knew that we would cross paths again, eventually. But I never imagined, not even in my wildest dreams, that he'd have such a powerful crew under his command someday. He really is amazing.

Even though I might still be afraid sometimes, I am not willing to let anyone ever walk all over me like that ever again! I refuse to be owned by anyone. I won't allow any person, whether Pirate, Marine, or anyone else, to break my spirit again. I can't afford to let things overwhelm me anymore. I can't wait to see what lies in store for me in the future. Come at me, world... Because I'm ready!

And from now on, I'm done being merciful. I was once a good person, a sweet and kindhearted little girl. Now that little girl is gone. She's finally grown up!

Believe me when I say... I've seen what happens when you let people get too close. I promise that I'll never make the same mistake again. I have seen what happens when you are too merciful and allow your enemies to go free, for their crimes against you and yours to go unpunished...

I've learned that mercy is a thing that should be used sparingly... Or not at all.'

Shiori decided to leave things off there... For now. She closed the little blue book, letting its pages snap shut.