This Bites! Omake: Crossing the Streams 2
A New Dawn: Epilogue
Garp pursed his lips, looking at the package that had been delivered to his office. It was about the size of a ring box, and the attached letter had, 'Would you like to play a game?' written on it. The box had been swept over several times before they'd let Garp take it up to his room, and now he was debating whether or not he should risk it—
Garp snorted as he opened the box, being the Hero of the Marines and old enough to have run out of fucks to give years ago, only to cock an eyebrow as there was an actual ring box inside the package. Holding the empty box in his right hand, he held his 'gift' in his left and flipped the lid up with his thumb.
He then blinked at the piece of paper with a series of symbols and one word scrawled on it, sitting where the jewelry should have been. Three arrows shifting from down to the right in a counter-clockwise fashion, followed by a plus-sign, the letter B, and an unfamiliar word.
A small fist launched out of the box in Garp's right hand and slammed into his unprotected chin.
Coby and Helmeppo looked up as a window in Marine HQ exploded outwards. Moments later, the source of the eruption hit the ground nearby and they gasped in shock.
"Vice-Admiral!" The two trainees shouted fearfully as they ran over to where Garp the Fist had landed in a heap, groaning weakly. Coby was the first to check the older man's vitals while Helmeppo blurted, "What happened to you!?"
"—and that's why you never mix electricity with cottage cheese-dotdotdotdot" The SBS, which had started up a little before Garp's failed attempt at human flight and had been surprisingly bereft of substance, paused as Cross' expression morphed into a malicious shit-eating grin and he chuckled wickedly. "Oh, it looks like we have -dotdotdotdot- someone calling in! *click* You're live!"
The voice of the Straw Hats' ship-girl, who'd apparently been alive before turning into a human, triumphantly shouted at the top of her lungs, "K-O! FLAWLESS VICTORY!"
Helmeppo and Coby blinked in confusion at transponder snail that was now cackling madly in Cross, Merry, and Soundbite's voices, wondering why it sounded like there was a distant echo on the line. Garp's assistant however, was looking at the gaping hole where his boss' office was with suspiciously narrowed eyes.
"That's my girl!" Cross crowed while still laughing madly, even as he recovered enough air for coherent speech. "Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to announce that JUSTICE has been served! By way of paying back an old bastard who put a STUPIDLY high bounty on my head, just for telling the truth!"
Garp's assistant blinked as Merry's accompaniment to Cross and Soundbite's laughter ended, and at the exact same time, a seagull flew out of Garp's office. It's *caw-caw-caw*-ing eerily syncing up with where the ship-girl's laughter had left off.
"And on a completely unrelated note," The number of teeth in Cross' grin nearly doubled from how wide he was smiling. "I would like to announce that Garp the Fist, Hero of the Marines…JUST GOT HIS ASS KICKED BY A LITTLE GIRL!"
Coby and Helmeppo stared at the snail in shock, their mentor all but forgotten as they turned their eyes towards each other. "You don't…you don't think he…"
Helmeppo's quiet question was met by a head shake from Coby. "Even for the Grand Line, that's impossible…isn't it?"
At that moment, Garp lifted his head up and blearily murmured, "Tha'ss…tha'ss cheating…" before groaning and letting his head hit the ground with a thunk as he surrendered to merciful unconsciousness.
As such, he missed the too cool voice of Nico Robin asking, "Is it truly that significant that Garp lost to a girl, Cross?"
"Ahh! A-as opposed to a boss-ass bitch of a fully grown female pirate and—wait, what're you doing with those clippers?!"
Figures moved through the crowded streets of Yu-Shan, which was in a state of celebration and panic due to the return of the Sun. Those who weren't cheering from the rooftops for having Ignus Divine take up the reins of power once more were desperately strategizing and planning how to make it through the return to the 'good old days' with their careers intact.
Because many, many members of the Celestial Bureaucracy had been fired or 'downsized' due to incompetence, corruption, or being traitors working for the Yozi and the Neverborn.
The ears of the Gods who'd been closest to where Ryzala had received her dressing down from Saturn herself were still ringing.
But that didn't matter to the sextet who were headed towards the office of the Most High. One was an older man with long grey hair and a slightly shaggy goatee, who was wearing a blue karate gi and kept his wary eyes on the surrounding crowd. Two were women, dark-skinned redheads who could almost have been twins, save for one being bustier and having longer hair than the other along with a fox tail and vulpine ears poking out of her head, while the slimmer woman had the caste mark of a Dawn Caste Solar blazing on her brow. There was another Solar, a Twilight who wore a white robe and a pair of glasses over his blue eyes, while his long blonde hair was tied in a ponytail behind him.
Of the last two members of the group, one wore a dark hooded cloak that obscured their features, their posture making it clear they wanted to disappear and not be noticed by anyone. Strangely, this was made easier rather than harder since he-or-she was flanked by the old man and a very large Celestial Lion, and those who saw the group focused on the lion more than the individual members of the group and wondering why such a motley crew had a personal escort to the Most High.
In the main chamber before Ignus Divine's office, a redheaded woman with glasses and a light tan leaned against a wall, the mark of Mars on her brow. She looked up when the group approached, and scowled darkly at the shrouded figure before focusing her attention on the blond man. The entourage stopped, and the Celestial Lion nodded to the woman before turning and walking away. After a moment of silence, she sighed and said, "Let's make this quick," before nodding her head down the hall to the large orichalcum double-doors.
The man nodded and separated from his entourage, followed by the worried eyes of the bustier redhead and the concerned looks from her twin and the older man, while the hooded figure shifted nervously.
After what felt like hours later for those who were waiting, the man and redhead came back. The former gave his disguised companion a reassuring smile and said, "He wants to talk to you." While the latter grimaced in distaste.
The figure stiffened, before being given a pat on the shoulder by the old man and a quick hug by the busty redhead. Then they moved forward, past the blonde man and his companion, pausing only briefly when the sullen Sidereal softly muttered, "Good luck."
The orichalcum doors opened.
And then they were standing before the ruler above all. The golden king of Yu-Shan and leader of the world, who was looking down at them in stern disapproval.
Then he kneeled. And Ignus Divine rested his arm on his knee as he stated, "Let me see your face."
It wasn't a command, but just the same, it couldn't be denied. A pale hand pulled the hood back, exposing an equally pale face belonging to a teenage girl with raven-black hair and deep, blood red eyes, which were regarding the Most High with abject terror.
Sol Invictus' expression softened. Empathy and understanding emanated from his very being as he asked, "What is your name? Your real name?"
The girls vision blurred and she winced, like some old ache had flared up. "D-Dernelle…"
Seeing her pain, hearing the truth of her words, the Unconquered Sun locked his gaze with his guest. This time, his next statement was a request, rather than a not-command. "What do you want, Dernelle?"
She grimaced in greater pain, and her lip quivered as she returned perfection's gaze.
On Darkmist Isle in the Skullstone Archipelago, the city of Onyx was a hub of activity. Traders from across Creation were meandering among the markets, trading between the living and the restless dead happening in equal measure, as was the nature of the 'egalitarian' society founded by the Bodhisattva Anointed by Dark Water, now ruled by the Silver Prince. All of this occured under the shadow of Mount Vashti, where the Silver Prince's personal manse, The Ebon Skull palace sat watching over the city. In this expanding empire where death and life seem to walk hand-in-hand, all was at peace.
Until a light shined from Ebon Skull, drawing the gaze of people, ghosts, traders, pirates, and everyone in between.
Inside the manse itself, the Silver Prince and Bodhisattva Anointed by Dark Water stared at the twisted, coffin-like structure which was cracking and gleaming before his eyes. The Machiavellian Deathlord, who was both the founder of this island nation of the dead and the current ruler whose arrival had been prophesied by himself centuries ago, could only ask, "What is this?" as one of the Monstrances of Celestial Portion belonging to his personal Abyssals seemed to be breaking.
Then there was an echoing crack and a scream, which brought clarity to the twisted Deathlord that rather than gaping at the macabre holding cell for an inverted Solar Exaltation, he should have run away as fast as he was able. But too late, as the Monstrance exploded with a brilliant energy that annihilated every unholy creature nearby and tore a hole in the side of the Ebon Skull palace. And washed away the Silver Prince in a wave of white.
One year later, the Silver Prince would reawaken at the edge of his master's tomb, as all Deathlords do. He would curse and wonder how the plans he'd made for almost 700 years would be hampered by his temporary death and one year long absence from his kingdom. Though judging by the low, maddening howl of rage echoing from the Well of Oblivion where the Neverborn lay sleeping, he could reasonably assume he had a lot of work to catch up on.
Misho smiled widely, seeing the backlit flare from outside the waiting room of Ignus Divine's office, while Marena covered her mouth and breathed, "Oh Luna…did it work?!"
A low creaking sound brought the attention of Misho, Marena, Ten, Karen and Nemen-Yi to the person coming through the giant, golder-than-gold double doors, silhouetted by the Most High himself as he walked behind them.
And while it is without the faintest trace of hyperbole to say Sol Invictus was smiling sunnily…
The grin stretching across the face of the former Abyssal known simply as Secret, now the Solar Dernelle, was even brighter than his; calling attention to her no longer pale complexion, warm brown eyes, and the golden ring of the Night Caste hovering over her forehead.
Karen returned Secret's grin, but was distracted by a sniffle next to her. When she looked, Ten was muttering, "Damn dust, even in Yu-Shan." While rubbing his eye.
Karen lightly shoulder-checked the old Dragonblooded, letting him know she didn't believe that for a second while her twin sister easily caught the first ever reformed Abyssal, who threw herself at Marena and was cheering gleefully while the Lunar spun her around with ecstatic joyful shouts.
Saint Gabeh Cuod smirked from the prow of his divine vessel as it neared their goal. The untouched nation of women known as Amazon Lily, which had formally and foolishly declared its independence from the World Government.
Casting his eyes to the left, the Celestial Dragon glared at the other vessels flanking his own, which appeared to be closing the distance between themselves and his yacht. Unwilling to be denied the most prime spoils, he turned to the nearest sailor and stated causally, "If we are not the first to set foot in the shores of Amazon Lily, I will personally execute every last one of you miserable insects. Is that clear?"
The sailor locked up, his salute stiff and shaky as he shouted, "Yes, sir!" And turned to relay the Saint's orders to the rest of the crew.
Turning back to watch the jungle-shrouded island grow larger as the boat neared the treasure trove within, Gabeh Cuod gave a satisfied sigh. "Such is the fate of heretics. I almost wish I could feel sorry for them." A wicked leer split his lips as he imagined all the ways he was going to enjoy his loot from this 'treasure hunt'. "Almost."
Sandersonia cocked an eyebrow as she impassively watched as no less than 12 Celestial Dragon ships, guarded by 5 marine battleships, closed in on the shores of Amazon Lily. "Think they have any clue what's about to happen to them?"
"Oh-ho-ho, not a chance in hell," Marigold chuckled darkly at her sister's honestly curious and completely unconcerned statement. "This is going to be so much fun!"
Boa Hancock shared her sisters' confidence in the result of the coming battle. She'd been afraid of the World Government and its ilk for far too long. Even with the six powers, Conqueror's Haki, and mastery over her devil fruit, a part of her was afraid of what could happen if she was ever captured again. The part that sent shivers down her back at the sight of a Celestial Dragon or one of their vessels.
Now, that same piece of her soul was watching the approach of the animals who had the gall to call themselves gods with heady anticipation, eager for the retribution that was going to descend upon the heads of those who needed a very harsh lesson in humility.
"Do you suppose we should give them a chance to surrender?" Hancock asked blandly. She paused for a moment. Then turned to look over her shoulder at the assembled Amazons, most of whom were wielding lances, spears, and assorted polearms, and were all gaping at her in shock. She couldn't stop the sharp bark of a laugh that bubbled up, though she did stop her outburst from descending into the indecent giggling, or perhaps wicked cackling that was sure to follow.
"Come sisters!" Boa Hancock met the eyes of every woman following her with a determined, supremely confident smile. "Let's show these fools that our island is not, and will never be the playground for witless men, or their corrupt leaders!"
"Impressed, Hina is impressed…" the blonde woman said as she watched the carnage unfolding from her ship, which hung back from the rest to 'provide support' for the Celestial Dragons' poaching. She and every other member of her crew who had binoculars or spyglasses flinched as one, and she added, "And very glad we aren't involved in that mess."
"Damn straight!" Rang out a chorus of voices while Hina looked warily at the source of the current curbstomp battle, who was watching with an almost indecently satisfied smile on her face.
"What the hell did you do to them?" Hina asked Tashigi with an expression that said she probably didn't want to know the answer.
After a moment's pause, Tashigi replied without looking away from the distant shore. "Do you know how many martial arts styles there are in Creation, Hina?" At the pinkette's confused head shake, Tashigi replied, "Too many. Not that that stopped one of my 'ancestors' from trying to learn all of them. The best ones mortals can learn are the Terrestrial martial arts, and while the others are much stronger, a normal person would explode trying to learn those."
There was a rumbling boom from a ways off, and a distant scream of, "MY ARM!"
"Kinda like that," Tashigi deadpanned while Hina and her crew winced. "Anyway, do you know how many Terrestrial Martial Arts are as deadly as the 6 Powers?"
Hina shook her head.
"About five. Maybe six." Tashigi looked at the blonde out of the corner of her eye and smiled widely. "The rest are even more dangerous."
For some reason, Tashigi's smile made Hina think the woman needed a red coat, orange-tinted sunglasses, and a red, wide-brimmed hat. Shuddering briefly, Hina banished the image from her mind and looked back at the shoreline. "And you taught them to the Amazons that quickly?"
"Not all of them. I laid the groundwork for a few, told them the concepts and how to learn the moves for the styles that I thought fit them the best, but they practiced on their own." Tashigi nodded pointedly. "Most of them are using Crimson Pentacle Blade style right now, but they also know the Ill Lily, Falling Blossom, and Terrible Ascent-Driven Beast styles—"
A high-pitched squealing that made every man watching gasp in horror and cross their legs came from the shore. Hina paled while Tashigi, for the first time, grimaced uncomfortably at the sight of an old woman with a purple snake staff doing something which guaranteed a particular Celestial Dragon would never be a father. If he survived. "…aaannnd that would be Boulder-Crushing Grasp of the Jade Mountain Style."
As one, the crew of the vessel turned and gave the Junior Lieutenant a look of horrified appall. Jango stated incredulously, "You taught a bunch of man-hating Amazons—"
"—how to do something like that?!" Fullbody finished his friend's comment as an outraged shout.
Tashigi scratched the back of her head uncomfortably. "I didn't know they were gonna use it like that. And it could have been worse," she chuckled weakly. "I could have taught them, 'Orgiastic Fugitive Style'."
Over the sounds of an absolutely glorious curbstomp, Boa Hancock's interest briefly piqued as she heard several dozen people shout, "THAT'S NOT ANY BETTER!" from the remaining battleship far offshore, and wondered briefly what that was about.
Then her attention returned to the task at hand, and lashed out in a bare-handed strike with her fingers curled like wicked hooks. She smirked at the Vice-Admiral who found out his Iron-Body couldn't stand up to 'Five-Dragon Claw' and promptly collapsed with a series of slashes across his chest.
"The survivors among the Marines were picked up by Hina and brought back the nearest base, along with several messages for you."
A vein in Sengoku's temple throbbed at a pace like a telegram operator's fingers as Aokiji finished delivering his report, while the Garp and Tsuru carefully schooled their expressions to not show their discomfort in the presence of the Fleet Admiral's towering temper. They weren't doing a good job of it. "And what messages would those be?"
"First, a warning that if anymore World Nobles or Celestial Dragons attack Amazon Lily, the marines with them will be considered accomplices rather than unwilling guards and there won't be any survivors the next time. The second, is a notice that once the rescued slaves are healthy enough for travel, they will be given safe passage away from Amazon Lily." The Ice-man flipped to the next page. "And there's a bill for stomach medicine."
Sengoku's eye twitched, Garp blinked, and Tsuru cocked an eyebrow. "Stomach medicine?"
"Yes, specifically for Sea Kings." Aokiji replied lazily. "Apparently, the Celestial Dragons didn't agree with them."
Tsuru managed to school her expression appropriately, while Garp covered his mouth, which did nothing to hide his grin.
Which was soon covered by the nearby wall as Sengoku punched Garp half-way through it with a golden roar of, "THAT'S NOT FUNNY, GARP!" Turning his attention onto the Ice-man, his expression forcibly attempting to relax, the Fleet Admiral intoned very slowly and deliberately, "Anything else, Aokiji?"
"Simply a personal opinion, Fleet Admiral, and take this for what it's worth." The Ice-man replied slowly. "Before you call for a Golden Snail, I'd like you to consider what happened when a Buster Call was enacted on Ohara." An eyebrow was cocked pointedly. "And the difference between a…relatively passive Nico Robin, versus Boa Hancock if her island was destroyed in her current, anti-World Government state of mind."
Sengoku contemplated that for a moment, knowing from personal experience on both sides just how dangerous a person could be when the only option they had left was 'fuck it'. Closing his eyes and grimacing in distaste, he gave a calmly resigned, "Dismissed."
Aokiji bowed and left the room, betraying no sign of how worried he'd been that Sengoku would vent his wrath upon him along with Garp the Fist, who came to as the door clicked shut behind the Ice-man. With a groan and a shake, Garp pulled himself out of the wall while Tsuru turned to the Fleet Admiral and asked, "Well, what now? Are you going to enact a Buster Call?"
"No. And not merely because of Aokiji's suggestion," Sengoku replied as he rubbed his eyes. "But because it would remind the 5 Elder Stars of the current FUBAR going on, and annoying them even further isn't worth the headache."
Garp and Tsuru shared blank looks, before looking quizzically at their boss. "What current FUBAR?"
In answer to Garp's question, without raising his head, Sengoku pulled a piece of paper out of his pocket and passed it to Tsuru. "A Golden Transponder snail and it's silver counterpart have gone missing. And that message was left in its place where it was being kept. I have orders, once I find who stole it, to personally end them."
Tsuru's eyes were wide and she took the note. Upon unfolding it, she did a double-take. "It just says 'dear Elder Stars' and there's a picture of a butt."
"WHAT?!" Garp reached across the table and snatched the note out of Tsuru's hand to see for himself. Shortly afterward, another hole was made in Sengoku's wall to silence the Hero of the Marine's unrestrained guffawing.
Tashigi stared at her desk. "Sir. I swear, this isn't what it looks like."
Smoker, standing next to his protégé, was also focusing his attention on her desk. "I believe you. But that doesn't explain what the hell this is."
Lucci, standing behind the pair, opined placidly, "It's pretty obvious what it is. The real question is, how did it get here?"
Smoker sighed and rubbed the bridge of his nose, while Tashigi continued to stare at the Silver Transponder Snail sitting on her desk and looking at her with a dim-witted and arrogant expression. One which made it clear to her that the invertebrate thought she was bottom-feeding scum, despite literally being that itself.
In other words, she wouldn't have been surprised to hear the voice of a Celestial Dragon come out of the egomaniacal little slimeball.
"That's what I'd like to know," Smoker groused as he side-eyed the black-ops agent. "Because if our security is so compromised that someone could sneak one of these onto the ship, there's no telling what else they could have—"
There was green flash and a slight cracking sound, which made Smoker jerk in surprise and Tashigi look away from her unexpected and very unwanted guest. A piece of paper had appeared in the air in front of Lucci, which was caught by the spy with blasé expression of a man who'd seen enough weird shit that he wasn't going to bother questioning it. Holding the sheet in front of him, Lucci said aloud while Hattori cocked its head and read as well. "'Cool your jets, Smokie; the little schmuck is for Tashi, so she can talk to her new 'sponsor', who has its partner F-Y-I'." Lucci cocked an eyebrow. "'Consider it an apology for accidentally letting a fractured god fragment get stuck to your soul'."
Tashigi's eyes widened, and then narrowed as she snarled furiously, "RODA…"
There was another green flash, which left a smaller piece of paper drifting down in front of Smoker. He caught it and looked confused as he read aloud, "'That's my schtick, you ass!'?"
A third flash, and Lucci now had messages in both hands, the most recent one he relayed with a calm, "'She's a freaking Solar and pissed off at me! I'm not getting in melee range of a chick who can punch out ALL of my blood! Do you know how hard that shit is to replace!?'."
Smoker's eye twitched as he read ROB's response off the inevitable fourth note. "'Fair point, carry on'."
With a long-suffering and irritated groan, Tashigi rubbed her eyes and looked at the silver Transponder snail, who continued to regard her as being unworthy of its interest. She mulled over who any sort of 'sponsor' of hers could be outside of the Commodore, when a thought came that utterly blindsided her.
"Lieutenant?" Smoker glanced over at the whey-faced Tashigi, pausing in his systematically ripping the notes from both ROB and RODA into little-bitty pieces. "Is something wrong?"
Tashigi turned to Smoker, eyes unseeing and expression blank. Before looking back at the snail and hesitantly reaching for the phone on its back with shaking fingers.
The joy the Golden Transponder snail felt when it started 'puru'-ing was indescribable. This was it. Simply put, this was greatest moment it could ever hope for or achieve in its life. Screw the Buster Calls or secret correspondence between Celestial Dragons or Elder Stars; if there was any more perfect reason for it to exist, it was here and now with its new owner reaching out to answer the call.
Because while it's cousins had carried the voices of people who called themselves Gods, no transponder snail in all of Grand Blue history had ever transmitted the voice of an actual God. Until now.
Smoker's cigar dropped from slack jaws, its fall to the floor almost synonymous with the 'thump' of Hattori dropping off of Lucci's shoulder in a faint. The CP9 agent's eyes were wide, betraying the raw surprise of witnessing something that had rocked even his jaded soul to the core. And Tashigi…
Tashigi cried, hands locked on the edge of Smoker's desk and vision blurring as The Voice that had saved her life, brought her hope, and given her the power to bring real justice to the world came out of the Transponder Snail that was no longer silver. But instead, it's shell and eyes had become a brightly shining gold that was slowly leeching color out of the wood underneath it, as the creature regarded her with an expression that outstripped noble and regal by an order of magnitude. Eyes watering from the light and the ecstatic relief of hearing Her Sun once again, Tashigi whispered hoarsely, "Yes…Ignus Divine."
"I have been apprised of the situation in the world you call home," the snail intoned, it's voice a conversational tone but also a powerful timbre that slightly rattled loose trinkets, pencils and pens nearby. "For the most part, but I would like to hear more of the Marines and the World Government from yourself."
Tashigi wetted her lips and prepared to respond.
"But that can wait until I learn something even more important." Golden eyes met hers with sincere interest and solemn resolve. "Tell me of yourself, Lieutenant Junior Grade Tashigi, so I may know more about the woman who has become my Chosen." The gold eyes softened as the voice turned gentle, with a bare tinge of regret. "And one who I swore that I would not fail, as I did her predecessors."
Head bowed, awed and humbled from having Her Sun take a personal interest in her life and not only rooting for her success, but promising to help her achieve her dreams, Tashigi spoke.
Hours later, the three humans and one pigeon who looked mildly concussed would leave the room and make people wonder what had happened, due to the inexplicable tans and whitening of their clothes and the interior of the Junior Grade Lieutenant's office. More strangely, none of the three would ask for replacement uniforms. Instead, their discolored suits would be preserved as keepsakes for decades to come.
Sol sighed as he hung up the snail phone, the creature who'd acted as a personal connection to his most distant Chosen appeared to be dizzied as a side-effect of transmitting his voice to Tashigi. But despite its eyes spinning on swaying stalks, there was a huge sloppy grin on its face that puzzled and amused the Most High in equal measure.
"What in MALFEAS DID YOU PEOPLE DO!?"
The sudden shouting from outside his hall made Ignus Divine blink. Broken out of this thoughts, he stood up from his desk but did no more than that before the doors to his office were violently thrown open and what looked like a brass eyeball wreathed in lightning zoomed in front of him, where it hovered at head level and narrowed it's iris at him. "How did you screw it up!? Everything was practically self-sufficient, sustainable, a MARVEL that almost rivals the Games of Divinity in its elegance! And YET it's completely KER-FUCKLED! I want an explanation! I want resources to fix this! I WANT SOMEONE I CAN BLAME SO THAT I CAN DISINTEGRATE THEM ON AN EXISTENTIAL LEVEL!"
The Most High closed his eyes and sighed softly. "Hello Autochthon, it's nice to see you again too…"
-The New World-
The night was just getting into full swing when the door to the bar was opened with hard kick, causing the rough-and-tumble group of buccaneers to halt their singing and dancing as the newcomer strolled in.
The woman, whose straw-blonde hair was tied up in a traveling bun and orange kimono was cinched up around her upper thighs, cast her eyes among the group with a wide smile. "I heard there were a bunch of pirates here who know how to party!" She declared cheerfully. "Can I join!?"
Shanks blinked. Then he matched the newcomer's grin as he waved a bottle of rum in his hand and called out, "Come on in! We're just getting started!" while the rest of his crew greeted her with a cheer.
Mercury didn't hesitate to match Shanks' smile tooth-for-tooth before throwing herself into the mix, where she would proceed to dance, fight, drink and make merry with the Red Hair Pirates until well into the morning.
Yes, the opening bit was inspired by Glorious Shotgun Princess, but DAMMIT that was too perfect for me to ignore! (And Autochthon making an appearance too, whose scene I will credit rightfully to Xomniac. And ain't neither of us apologizing for borrowing either of those two things for this omake.)
Making up names can be a pain in the ass, but when referring to a Celestial Dragon, Gabeh Cuod fits all-too-perfectly. (Hint, take out the space and apply the Zatanna magic principle.)
Marina, Misho, Faen Luif, Ten, Karen, and Secret/Dernelle were mentioned in the last chapter, characters from an awesome Exalted webcomic, The Keychain of Creation. Highly recommended, though it is tragically dead. (You don't have to consider this THE ending to that comic...but I like to think of it as one of the best possible endings to said comic.) And if you're beset by questions about The Silver Prince, I'll summarize thusly; he's a raging douchecanoe who deserved it, the end.
Look me dead in the eye and tell me someone whose entire shtick is Fantastic Travels and Adventures wouldn't hear about Shanks and say, "I LOVE THIS GUY!" and I will call you a filthy liar. (…crap, now I'm shipping Mercury and Shanks just for the Hijinks potential…)
Also, yes 'Orgiastic Fugitive Style' is a thing. Basically consider it Drunken Boxing's badass magical grandpa, where you get stronger the more drunk/high/sexually exhausted you are. (You think Boa Hancock with access to TMA is horrifying? Teach OFS to Shanks and watch him wreck faces all up and down the New World.)
Anyway, that's FINALLY the end of this omake. But there's something…similar coming down the pipe soon, which I'm kinda acting as a consultant on. Trust me, I think y'all are gonna LOVE it!