Hello Everyone, and welcome to the retelling of Coby's Choice! I'm your humble host and author SwordOfTheGods telling you to buckle up and hunker down, because this ride spiraled out of even my expectations!
Well, this isn't quite a retelling. For new readers out there, I have written everything up to the Canon Timeskip and am taking this hiatus to correct mistakes I made in previous chapters as well as combining earlier chapters so they're longer. At first, my chapters averaged around 2K+ words, which I thought was a respectable length, but now that I've created Fanon for some of the extra members that joined, I'm slipping some of that into these earlier showings. If you are reading this and reach a point where the chapters suddenly get shorter and/or something doesn't quite add up, I simply haven't reached that point in my revision yet. I'm quite the busy person, so please bear with me!
Also, I have a P atreon, now! If you want new chapters of this rewrite and the sequel when it comes out an unknown amount of time earlier than everyone else, skedaddle on over that'a way! I have the same penname as here.
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The Choice, Shells Town, and Buggy the Clown
Opening (if you so desire): either Departure (from HunterXHunter, cover by Studio Yuraki) or This Game (from No Game No Life, Cover by Amalee)
Wealth, fame, power.
Gol D. Roger, the King of the Pirates, obtained this and everything else the world had to offer, and his dying words sent countless souls to the seas:
"You want my treasure? You can have it! I left everything I gathered together in one place. Now you just have to find it!"
These words lured men to the Grand Line in pursuit of dreams greater than they'd ever dared to imagine. This is the time known as the Great Pirate Era!
"For a guy with so many muscles, that captain person was really weak!" a pirate laughed through a mouthful of food. He sat at a table in a restaurant in Shells Town, a small city on an island in the East Blue. With him sat his newest crewmember, the famous bounty hunter 'Pirate Hunter' Roronoa Zoro, whom he had recently rescued from a Marine base with the help of the table's third occupant. That was Coby, a young boy of 16 years who looked no older than 12.
Monkey D. Luffy was a wiry 17-year-old with black eyes, a mop of black hair, and a small scar under his left eye. The teen's wardrobe consisted of a pair of open-toed sandals, jean-shorts, and a red vest. Finally, atop his head was his greatest treasure, the hat for which his pirate crew was named.
His only other crewmate was the infamous Roronoa Zoro, a man with short green hair and black eyes. Covering the swordsman's form were a plain-white, dust-covered shirt and dark-green pants with the bottoms stuffed into black boots. A bandana the same color as his pants was tied around his left bicep and around his waist was a light-green harimaki with three swords stuck in the loop placed on the man's right side.
The boy in question, Coby, was short and pudgy with large round glasses, blue eyes, pink hair, and a white and blue shirt with blue shorts. He sat, staring at the older teens as they ate without stopping to breathe. Zoro he could understand considering he'd just gone nine days without food, but Luffy was so scrawny, Coby couldn't understand where all that food was going!
"L-Luffy!" Coby stuttered, raising his hands across the table as if to stop the pirate. "Slow down! We can't eat all of the food here!"
"Wh' not? " Luffy blinked, cheeks puffed like a chipmunk. "I's all free, in't it? Then shouln' we eat a lot while w' can?"
"That's taking advantage of their hospitality! They have to buy all the food even if we aren't!"
"Calm down, shrimp," Zoro waved off, pushing his empty plate away. "I don't get how he's eating more than me, but they offered."
"Ok, fine," Coby sighed, setting aside his feeling on the matter since there strongest people here disagreed with him.. He had gotten good at that, ignoring, pretending, accepting, but he still didn't like it. He took a breath before shifting his focus to more immediate concerns. "Then what's your plan from here?"
"Our plan?" Luffy asked, swallowing. "You sound like you aren't coming along, Coby."
"Did you already forget why we came here?!" Coby demanded, aghast. "I said I wanted to be a marine! Marines are the heroes of the world!"
"Is that what you think?" Zoro asked, one eyebrow raised. "You just helped take down a corrupt marine, and you're still saying they're the good guys?"
"I... Well..." Coby floundered, his words dying on his lips. He wasn't wrong. 'Ax-hand' Morgan was only a Captain, a small rank in the grand scheme of the Navy, and yet he'd let that modicum of power go to his head and went unchecked. Was that what the Marines stood for...? "Th-That doesn't change the fact that you don't have a plan! For one, I know Luffy doesn't have any navigational training!"
"Nope!" Luffy smiled. "Shishishi!"
"Do you have any navigational skills, Zoro?"
"Who needs them?" Zoro replied with a wave. "I just let the wind take me where it wants. It hasn't killed me yet."
"See, Coby?" Luffy smiled. "It works! Besides, I hear navigation doesn't work in the Grand Line."
"The..." Coby blinked, his brain resetting. "The...?"
"Great idea," Zoro nodded. "We'll fight a lot of strong people there."
"You want to go to the Grand Line?! That's the craziest sea in the world! It's called the Pirate Graveyard because so many people die! If you two go without any help or someone to guide you, you'll die, no question! That's impossible! You can't become the Pirate King of you're dead! That's just impossible! Totally im-!"
"You done yet?" Luffy asked, raising his hand from Coby's head where the boy could feel a knot forming. Coby nodded, a couple tears in his eyes as his hands came up to cradle his abused scalp. "Shishishi! Thanks for worrying, but we'll be fine!"
All motion within the restaurant paused, shadows filling the doorway. All attention shifted as a platoon of marines filed inside, led by a man with a deep tan, a black mustache/beard combo, and a green ascot on his uniform. He stood at attention, facing the pirates and Coby who had grown tense.
"We thank you for your help in freeing Shells Town from Morgan," the marine began, looking over the pirates' heads rather than in the eyes. "We are in your debt, but that does not change the fact that you are self-proclaimed pirates! In consideration of your actions, we will turn a blind eye to your status and ask you to leave quickly and quietly!"
"But sir!" Coby all but yelled. "You can't even give them the evening to rest?"
"I cannot. Pirates are pirates, so we must ask you to leave at the very least."
"Yeah, ok," Luffy shrugged, polishing off his plate before rising from the table and collecting a bag of food as thanks from the bar's owner. Zoro followed his lead, the two passing the marine on their way to the door. Coby watched with a tumult of emotions inside him, not knowing how to feel.
"Hey, you!" the marine called as he turned to look at Coby. "Aren't you part of the crew as well?"
As Coby froze, racking his brain for a response, the people around the room remained focused on him. The two official members of the Straw Hat Pirates, as well as the marines that had come to kick them out of Shells Town, paused.
Behind the bar's counter were the female owner of the establishment and her daughter, Rika. The little girl, who could be no more than seven, was like a miniature version of her mother. Both had brown hair, a fair complexion, and big brown eyes. And both were waiting for Coby's answer just like everyone else in the building.
"Well... I, uh... I," he stammered. Should he deny even knowing Luffy, the man who had rescued him from the torment that the Pirate Alvida had put him through for more than two years? Or would he say yes? Doing so could brand him as a criminal, a wanted man, someone who could never work for the Marines unless he obtained the title of Warlord. By the door, Luffy turned away to exit, a bag of food resting over his shoulder offered by the owner. He was quiet, waiting to see if the boy's answer would happen before he left.
"Hold it," the Marine man ordered, turning to the young captain. Luffy stopped. "Is he with you or what?"
"What I can tell you is what he's been busy doing up to this point," the teen pirate responded in a happy tone. Coby turned with a shocked look on his face. "Yeah! There was this fantastically-fat pirate lady! I think her name was Al-"
"Stop!" Coby yelled, coming to one conclusion. If Luffy was going to tell them about his past, about Alvida, then there was no way he would ever be allowed to join the Marines. But would that be such a bad thing? Everyone looked at the pink-haired boy as he steeled himself before continuing, memories coming to him of his life before running into Alvida.
It has been a tough few days for young Coby after the last pirate raid. The horror of the ashes and rubble of Mowan Island's outlying district a sign that the next few months would be a struggle. That meant little to the boy, however, as he sat on the grass, staring at a pair of simple stones. He'd been evacuated with the rest of the children, but...
"Why?" Coby sniffed, whispers of the village's people pitying him on the edge of his hearing. "Why did you stay? Why did you have to fight? Mom? Dad?"
Coby could feel his tears flowing freely now, borne from the pang of loss. He wasn't old enough to know much, but he knew no one would take him in. His parents' friends had too many kids of their own and his godmother had left on a ship not long ago. He had no one.
But rather than blame the world, something his father had once said echoed in the young orphan's mind. "Don't hate the sea when no fish bite, for that means there are more to catch tomorrow. The world is the same way. Don't lament your loss, but celebrate your chances."
His father had always been an optimist.
Even so, Coby wiped his tears away and stood, making a choice there.
"Mom. Dad. I've decided. When I grow up. I'm going to make sure no one else feels this. I'm going to be a hero!"
Coby kept that ideal for four years, fighting for survival until he ended up on Alvida's ship and got a taste of what real pirates could be like.
'Mom. Dad. Would you support my decision here?' Coby wondered, his memory and thoughts coming in the blink of an eye. 'I'll do it! I'll do the impossible! The Grand Line is a place where I can get strong enough to fulfill my dream! ...Assuming I don't die.'
He sucked in a breath.
"I... I am part of their crew!"
Zoro blinked in surprise while Rika and her mother gasped in shock. This boy had been talking about joining the Marines not five minutes ago and now he was claiming to be a pirate? What had changed?
The marine raised an eyebrow. "So you admit to being a member of this man's pirate crew?"
"Yes," Coby nodded, trying to ignore his shaking legs. "I-I had always wanted to be a marine to fulfill my dream, but after seeing what Morgan did using his authority as a Marine Captain, I don't want any part in that! Not anymore! So instead of being a marine, I'll follow Luffy to see him become the King of the Pirates!"
Luffy smiled. "Shishishishi. That's assuming I want you on my crew."
"You don't want me?" Coby whimpered, tears starting to form in his glasses-covered eyes. He'd risked his future. Was it over for him already?
"Shishishi. I'm just joking, Coby. No need to cry. I'd love to have you on my crew." Luffy smiled again, but the marine spoke once more.
"Then I'm afraid I must ask you all to leave. We will not report you because of what you've done for our town, but we cannot have you stay." Luffy and Coby took their cue to exit and joined Zoro at the door before making their way through the streets.
The people of Shells Town thanked them as they passed, showing their happiness over the defeat of the wretched 'Ax-Hand' Morgan. Luffy smiled and waved, laughing at the peoples' exuberance. Zoro stayed passive while Coby considered what he had just done to himself. He had only known Luffy for a day at most and he'd already pledged his life to the energetic, hat-wearing teen. Though he'd still known him longer than Zoro, for whatever that comfort was worth.
"Hey, Captain Luffy?" Coby asked, getting the rubber-man's attention. "Where are we going next?"
"To the docks."
"And after that?"
"I don't know," the captain answered, causing Coby to trip in surprise. They're talked about not having a plan, but Coby didn't think it would bite them this soon.
"You don't know?" the boy yelled as he rose and caught up to both the Devil Fruit user and the swordsman. "How can you not know? You're our captain, aren't you?" Coby stumbled, Luffy's fist punching the top of his head. "Ow. Why did you hit me?"
"Felt like it. Plus you were asking too many questions. It was giving me a headache." By then, the three-man crew had reached the docks where the tiny sailed lifeboat that Luffy and Coby had taken from Alvida's crew sat bobbing in the water. Zoro stepped in as Luffy undid the rope holding the craft to the shore and threw it into the dingy. They set off without fanfare.
The boat was making its way out to sea, the slow waves bobbing the craft up and down. Behind them, the marines had lined up on the dock and were saluting the three. In front of them were Rika and her mother waving at the group and telling them to return some day.
"Men!" the man with the green ascot yelled. "Because our salute is in clear violation of Marine Protocol, we will not be allowed to eat for three days! Understood?"
"Yes, Sir!" Luffy and Coby waved to the men and women until the island was out of sight.
"Alright," Zoro yawned. "Now that we've set off, we've got some important things to do."
"Like finding out where we're going," Coby agreed.
"And finding a musician," Luffy nodded.
"We don't need a musician!" Zoro and Coby yelled in unison.
"Shishishi. Isn't this fun?" Luffy asked, smiling out into the distance. "This is our first voyage as a pirate crew!"
"It does look like it's shaping up to be one Hell of an adventure," Zoro commented, leaning back.
"And I'm going to become the Pirate King!"
"You keep saying that. Any reason why you want to?"
"Nope, but I made a friend a promise." Luffy reached up to hold his hat. "I promised to gather an amazing crew and to return this hat to him once I become the Pirate King, so that's what I'm going to do. Heh, it's funny, Coby. I'd meant to rile you up so you'd slug me and be allowed to join the Marines, not become a pirate, too."
"Really?" Coby questioned.
"Either way," Zoro sighed, "it seems we'll all need to become stronger if we want a place on your crew. Isn't that right Coby?"
"Th-That's right! I'll become strong! I'll help Captain Luffy achieve his dream. That or we'll all die trying!"
"I don't know about you two, but I don't plan on dying anytime soon. I need to become the world's greatest swordsman."
"The world's greatest swordsman?" Coby cried out in shock. "Then you would have to defeat Hawk-Eye Mihawk! That's impos-!"
"Any reason for your dream?" Luffy asked.
"Same as yours," Zoro shrugged, ignoring the small roset. "Made a promise, now I've got to keep it."
"We still need to gather a crew first," Luffy pointed out, turning to the horizon. "Just wait. Grand Line, here we come!"
"I'm hungry," Luffy whined for the 15th time in as many minutes, much to the ire of the boat's other awake occupant. They had been traveling for nearly two hours and their captain had eaten all the food they'd had from the village within half of that time. It only took that long because he was 'rationing'. Coby glanced at his compass and adjusted the sail's angle.
The young boy was the only one of the three of them with any skill at navigating, reaffirming their talk in Shells Town. Luffy had never bothered to learn while Zoro was completely stupid when it came to directions. This was proven when he claimed that they needed to move away from the sun because it was 5 o'clock and the sun rises forward and sets behind. Luffy then tried the argue that the S on the compass stood for Sun, so the sun was always in that direction. Their squabbling had lasted for a good ten minutes before Zoro decided to take a nap and Luffy started to whine about boredom. The conversation started to sound a little something like this:
"Coby, where's the food?"
"You ate it, Captain Luffy."
"Ate it? When did I-"
"An hour ago, Captain."
"But now I'm hungry again. Coby, do you know how to cook?"
"Not really. I can cook fish, but that's about it."
"If I caught a fish, could you cook it?"
"We're in a boat."
"Boats are made of wood."
"Wood burns. The boat would catch fire and we'd either drown our burn to death."
"That doesn't sound fun."
"No, it do-"
"HEY LOOK! A BIRD! COME HERE YOU!" Luffy stretched his arm, latching onto the large, pink bird flying over the boat in an attempt the bring it down and eat it. What Luffy didn't anticipate was the size of the bird. It was larger than their dingy and barely registered Luffy grabbing on. The captain in question was lifted from the boat. "CRAP! HELP ME!"
"CAPTAIN LUFFY!" Coby cried out. Zoro, who had been woken by Luffy's initial call to the feathered animal, could only stare as the man that claimed he was going to become the Pirate King was carried away.
"Should we do something about that?" Zoro yawned.
"Alright, alright. Geez, calm down, Shrimp. Grab an oar." As Zoro said this, Luffy lost sight of the boat. Not that he was aware of the fact or truly cared. He was riding a bird, for Roger's sake. Thoughts of both his tiny crew in a tiny boat and eating his transportation were overridden by the excitement of the wind whistling through his hair. There was a moment of panic where Luffy nearly lost his hat, but it was rectified by a single stretch of his arm. Back on the boat, Zoro and Coby were rowing as hard as they could.
And they weren't going anywhere.
Logically, when two people row together at the same time, a boat moves forward, but this is with the assumption that both are about the same size and with the same strength. Coby and Zoro were about as far apart in that regard as Reverse Mountain is from Fishman Island. The large strength gap caused them to move in one big circle.
"Dammit," Zoro cursed. "We lost him."
"I'm sorry," Coby whined, tears once more beginning to leak from his eyes. "It's all my fault. I knew I was just going to hold Captain Luffy back and now we've lost him because I'm so weak. I should just throw myself overbo- OW! Why did you hit me?"
"You were being too loud. Now calm down and give me that oar." Zoro grabbed the outstretched paddle and moved to the front of the ship. "Which way did he go?"
"Uh. If I remember correctly, the bird was moving northwest, so that way." Coby pointed over the port side. The swordsman began rowing at a speed Coby had thought impossible. The boy took hold of the mast in order to keep his footing and not fly off the speeding ship. They stayed that way for a few minutes.
Directly in their path were three men. The first was a ginger with hair that looked like a flattened afro. The second was a muscular, dark-skinned man. The third, who seemed to be the leader, had multiple ear piercings and was missing a couple of teeth. He also wore a black bandana with a skull-and-crossbones that had a large red nose and a flashy hat.
"You in the boat!" the man with the bandana called. "Help us!"
"I'm not stopping!" Zoro called back. "If you want in, grab on when I pass!" The men screamed as Zoro rowed past, grabbing the side of the boat lest they be swept up in the boat's wake and left behind in the middle of the ocean. They pulled themselves up and into the boat and came to rest on the deck, breathing heavily and dripping seawater. As soon as they had caught their breath, they pulled their swords from the sheaths on their belts.
"Heh, thanks for the save," the bandana-wearing man chuckled, "but we are taking this ship now. You see, we're with Buggy the Clown."
"B-B-Buggy the Clown?!" Coby screeched. "One of the most feared pirates in all of the East Blue?!"
"The very same," the man chuckled. He and his cronies advanced on the terrified boy and the impassive swordsman.
"Who's this 'Buggy the Clown' guy?" Zoro asked.
"You don't know who Buggy the Clown is?" Coby gasped. Zoro remained unmoved with the exception of his arms which were still rowing at his ungodly (for the East Blue) speed.
"No I don't. Is that a problem?"
"It might be for your health," the man sneered, "if you don't give us the boat."
"I'd like to see you try," Zoro shot back.
"Zoro, maybe we should give them the boat. Better to live and find Captain Luffy later than to die here."
"Not a chance, Shrimp."
"Did he say 'Zoro'? As in R-Roronoa Zoro?" the ginger man stuttered.
"The infamous Pirate Hunter?" the other man muttered fearfully.
"Oh, so you've heard of me?"
"Shut up, you fools," their leader hissed. "This can't be Roronoa Zoro. Why would he be out here looking for this 'Captain Luffy' guy? Plus any real Pirate Hunter would have heard of Captain Buggy."
"You're starting to piss me off," Zoro growled. He stopped rowing and prepped his swords. The men advanced.
(One short not-really-a-fight later)
"We're sowwy, Mr. Zowo," the bandana-wearing man apologized through a busted lip. Beside him, his partners had taken up rowing the boat. Luckily they could still use a paddle when both of their eyes were swollen shut. "We didn't thwink it wath you."
"Yeah, yeah," Zoro waved off. He was disappointed in the fight and was itching to cut something. "Just listen to the Shrimp's directions and you won't find yourselves stranded at sea again."
"Are we headed the right way, Shrimp?" Coby, who was hung up on seeing such threatening men beaten with so little effort, snapped out of his thoughts.
"Oh! Y-yes. I'm not sure how far it is to land, but we are moving in the direction we saw that bird take Captain Luffy."
"Good. I'm going to take a nap. Shrimp, if any of these morons make any suspicious moves, wake me up. I'll cut first and ask questions later." With that, Zoro sat on the deck and leaned against the wall, his arm wrapped around his swords protectively. Zoro gave the men one last glare before he closed his eyes and was soon snoring softly, leaving a scared Coby with the three terrified Buggy pirates.
'Is this strength?' Coby wondered as he watched Zoro nap. 'He's strong enough for men to fear him even when he's asleep. If I could be that strong...'
"AAAAAHHHH!" Luffy screamed. One moment he was flying high, the next an explosion caused his ride to plummet. He landed in a street in the middle of four people, kicking up an impressive cloud of dust. All four looked at him, expecting to see his mangled and broken body. What they did not expect was for him to stand and pat the dust off himself as if he fell from the sky every other day.
"Aww man," Luffy whined childishly. "I was having so much fun on that bird."
"Captain!" one of the figures exclaimed. She was an orange-haired girl dressed in a blue-and-white striped shirt, an orange skirt, and heeled sandals. She grabbed Luffy's arm, batting her eyelashes at him. "I'm so glad I found you! These men were trying to kill me! Could you take care of them?"
"Huh?" Luffy questioned.
"Thanks, Captain!" The woman scampered away, fully expecting the men to kill the dim pirate.
"So this is the captain of the bitch who stole our map?" one of the men wondered aloud.
"Doesn't look like much to me," another muttered. They advanced on the pirate with a straw hat...
And the first man was promptly thrown away by his extended fist. He collided with a building and slumped to the ground, unconscious. Luffy looked around, wondering where he was.
"What is this guy?"
"Who cares? Kill him!" The remaining two advanced with swords raised, only to be stopped short with a call of "Gum-Gum Pistol!" They fell like sacks of potatoes.
"I don't know who these guys were, but they're weak!" Luffy laughed, standing alone in the street.
"Hey, you," Nami called from a rooftop where she had climbed to watch the fight she had been expecting. "Uh, thanks. You're really strong. My name's Nami, by the way. Do you wanna team up?"
"Uh, no thanks, lady," Luffy waved off in a bored tone. "I think I'll pass." He turned and started to walk off.
"Hey wait!" Nami called as Luffy's stomach growled, giving the orange-haired thief an idea. She smiled. "Can I invite you for a meal?"
"Oh, uh..." Luffy paused, giving the woman the time she needed to make a few hops down to the street where she linked her arm with Luffy's.
"Nice ta meetcha! I'm Nami! I'm sure we'll be the best of friends!"
"Captain!" a random pirate in a circus outfit shouted. "The bird has been shot down. We are sending men to retrieve the corpse to use it as part of our feast just as you ordered."
"Good," Buggy the Clown smiled menacingly. "It should have known what was going to happen, trying to be flashier than me with all those pink feathers. Bwaahahahaha! Now men let's-"
"You do you think you are, flashily cutting me off! That's punishable by flashy death by Buggy Ball!"
"I'm sorry, Captain," the man cried out, "but I just received word that our map of the Grand Line has been stolen by a woman with orange hair!" Buggy's hand shot away from his wrist and locked around the crewmember's neck.
"What did you say?" Buggy questioned in an eerily calm voice.
The man was gasping for air, his legs kicking the air uselessly. "A-a woman... w-with orange hair... Sh-She stole our map." Buggy dropped the pirate who curled up on the ground and took great heaving breaths.
"MEN!" the clown pirate roared. "FIND THAT WOMAN AND THE MAP! AND BRING ME THE FOOLS WHO LOST IT IN A CAGE! WE'LL HAVE A FLASHY EXECUTION!"
Monkey D. Luffy sat at a table in an abandoned house in Orange Town, an empty plate sitting before him. Across from the rubber-man was Nami, the orange-haired thief he was trying to recruit to be his crew's navigator.
"Join my crew."
"I told you; I am not a pirate, I hate pirates, and I will never be a pirate."
"Come on! It'll be fun."
"No. Now listen here-"
"I want you on my crew, so you're on my crew."
"That's not how it works!"
"I! Said! No!"
"Fine," Luffy huffed, sitting down and crossing his arms as he pouted. "Your loss." Nami walked over to the window. Outside, some men were arguing about finding a thief. A plan started forming in her head, one that just might rid her of this idiot pirate and get her away from Buggy along with all of his treasure.
"How about this?" she began slowly, turning from the window. "I'll agree to be your navigator if you agree to certain conditions..."
Half an hour later
"What have we here?" Buggy the Clown questioned. Before him stood the woman who had stolen his stolen map of the Grand Line, said map clutched in her hand, and a black-haired boy tied up with rope and wearing a familiar straw hat. "What are you doing?"
"I'm tired of working for this guy," the girl answered, giving the boy a hard shove that caused him to fall on his face. "He's childish, immature, and treats the world like it's a game. I want to work for you instead."
"Really now?" Buggy's facial expression was unreadable. "What do you call yourself?"
"Well... I guess this calls for a celebration to welcome our new member Nami!" The next few minutes flashed by far too quickly for Nami to follow. Music was played with off-key singing, food and booze were passed around, and the teen in the straw hat was thrown into a cage. The party stayed that way for a good ten minutes more, Nami still reeling, before something truly interesting happened.
"Let's get this party amped up!" Buggy called, a flagon of alcohol raised and a blush on his cheeks to match his nose. "Bring out the cannon!"
The pirates cheered as a trio of them wheeled out a larger-than-average cannon from one of the crew's tents. They aimed it out over the town and loaded a red ball with Buggy's symbol on it into the weapon.
"Now bring out the idiots!" Next, the three men Nami had knocked unconscious when she'd taken the map were pulled out in a cage not unlike the one Luffy was currently in. They were placed in front of the cannon, their pleas for mercy unheeded by Buggy or his men. Nami waited as one of the crew lit the fuse with a match. They backed away and covered their ears as the cannon fired with a massive BOOM. The girl from Cocoyashi Village could only watch in absolute horror at the destruction caused by the Buggy Ball.
One second there were three caged men and a row of houses. The next, nothing but rubble remained.
"W-What was that!?" she cried out.
"One of my special Buggy Balls," Buggy the Clown explained with a cruel smile. "With these and my Devil Fruit powers, I will flashily conquer the Grand Line!"
"No way!" Luffy whined from his cage. "I'm the one who's gonna conquer the Grand Line!"
"And then I'm gonna to become the King of the Pirates!"
"Bwahahaha!" Buggy laughed. "Not if you're dead, Straw Hat boy. Now, Nami, fire the next one at your ex-captain. Kill him to prove your loyalty to me." The terrified thief was handed a box of matches as the oversized weapon was reloaded and repositioned, now pointing at Luffy.
"Fire~! Fire~! Fire~!" the crowd chanted.
"What are you waiting for?" Buggy prodded.
"Go on," Luffy ordered, startling the shaking teen. "Do you have the pirate's resolve?"
"To do what?" she demanded. "To kill without giving it a second thought?"
"No, to put your life on the line for your dreams and your morals." There was a tense silence between the two while Nami debated with herself internally. A greasy-looking pirate snatched the matches out of her hand, his patience for waiting gone.
"Here, little girl," the pirate smiled suggestively. "Let me show who how to have fun." He lit the match and time seemed to slow down for the navigator. In an instant, she made her decision, pulled out her personal weapon, a bo staff, snapped all three pieces together, and slammed it into the top of the man's head. He went down, stars clouding his vision.
"So you chose your old captain after all," Buggy growled, not surprised but disappointed all the same. "Fine then. I'll just kill you both. Or, I'll just kill you. Your captain is done for anyway. Bwahahaha!" True to his word, the pirate had lit the fuse before Nami's surprise attack.
"Are you going to save me then?" Luffy perked up.
"Don't be stupid," the girl replied, glancing over her shoulder at the teen. "I'm not doing this for you. I just won't lower myself to the level of these inhuman pirates. Pirates took the life of someone I cared for; I'll never forgive them and never join them!"
"Get out of the way!" a gruff voice ordered. Nami chose not to question it and dove away from the lit cannon. A second later, a slash of air cut through the fuse, leaving it to burn out on the ground harmlessly. The pirates and thief turned to the origin of the attack to see a man with short green hair and three swords, one of which was out, and a boy with short pink hair and a white and blue shirt standing on the edge of the building.
"See?" the man questioned, showing that he had given the order, "I told you we would make it in time."
"You started out going the wrong way!" the younger of the two shouted back.
"Zoro!" Luffy called, the name causing whispers in the crowd. "Coby! You made it!"
"Did he say 'Zoro'?"
"The Pirate Hunter?"
"Is he here for the captain's head?"
"It can't be that. He'd never win against the captain's Devil Fruit power."
"Girl, are you hurt?" Zoro asked.
"N-No," Nami responded.
"Good. Luffy, what did you do? I thought you were smarter than to get stuffed into a cage. Of course, you did get carried off by a bird first." He began walking over to Luffy's cage before the voice of a clown stopped him.
"So you're the infamous 'Pirate Hunter' Zoro. If you're here for my head, you have quite a struggle before you."
"No thanks," Zoro waved off. "Not interested."
"Oh, but I am. Killing you would boost my reputation."
"L-Let's just grab Captain Luffy and g-get out of here," the pink-haired boy stuttered.
"Shrimp," Zoro ordered. "Grab Luffy and pull him through the bars. Buggy the Clown, I'm warning you. Back away now or I will kill you."
"Funny. I was going to say that last part." The two men prepped themselves for combat.
"Be careful, Zoro," Coby warned. "It's said that Buggy the Clown has a power that makes him immune to swords."
"Good to know, Shrimp." Zoro placed his favorite sword, Wado Ichimonji, in his mouth and put himself in a loose, offensive stance. Buggy sprung forward with a cry of "Die!" and Zoro lunged. They were frozen for a second before the pirate captain split, his right arm and leg separating at the joints and his body cut horizontally. He fell.
"Well that was boring," Luffy commented. Coby ran over and began yanking on the rubber-man, pulling his head out easy enough. "He was really weak."
"I don't think it's over yet," Zoro started, keeping his guard up. "Shrimp seems to know more about these pirate captains than I do. He recognized Buggy's name when I didn't." Zoro turned on a dime, blocking a knife with the sound of metal-on-metal contact filling the air for half a second. The knife spun away, taking with it the floating hand of Buggy the Clown.
"What the-?" Zoro questioned before coming to a realization. "Oh, I get it. You ate a Devil Fruit, didn't you?"
"How very observant of you, Roronoa Zoro," Buggy commented, his body fusing back together. "You are correct. I ate the Chop-Chop Devil Fruit, so now I am a Chop-Chop man. Since I can separate parts of my body, I cannot be bested by the sword!"
"We'll see about that." The two collided in a flurry of blades. It was obvious that Zoro was better with weapons and had the longest reach, but the clown's ability nullified both of his advantages. They separated when Buggy actually managed to get a hit on Zoro, a shallow but rather painful gash on his left side.
"Zoro!" Luffy called. The swordsman glanced at his captain to see that their other crewmember had pulled most of his body out of the cage and was yanking on his shoulders to get his pelvis to bend. "The cannon!"
"Aye, captain." The green-haired man ran at Buggy who swung, but the man ducked under his attack and kicked him in the back. Buggy was thrown into the crowd as his opponent was propelled past the cannon. The former bounty hunter made his way underneath its barrel and began lifting, making his wound worse, but not life-threatening.
"Nami, matches!" Straw Hat called as he was finally pulled out of the cage by Coby, ending both tumbling to the floor. The girl grabbed the box the other pirate had dropped when she attacked him and made her way around as Zoro flipped the cannon with a burst of strength. She struck a match and lit the fuse, which had been shortened considerably when Zoro had cut it.
"No, wait!" Buggy cried. "That still has one of my special Buggy Balls in it!"
Luffy (still with his arms tied), Zoro, Nami, and Coby (being dragged by Zoro) ran as if their lives depended on it. Behind them, parts of the rooftop crumbled, falling into the street below. Luffy was laughing his head off, Zoro was silent, and Nami was staring at the hat-wearing pirate thinking he was insane. After all, he has just ordered her to shoot the infamous Buggy the Clown with his own cannon.
And, she realized, she'd done it, too. She had just shot one of the most wanted men in all of the East Blue on the whim of an energetic teen in a cage. She was just as crazy as he was!
Buggy shoved the now-dead pirate's charred corpse away from him, glad that he had shielded himself in time for the blast. Beside him, his two most devoted followers did the same.
"Well that sucked," the one with long dark-green hair commented. He moved to retrieve his unicycle from a pile of moaning survivors and unresponsive casualties. Afterward, he tsked at the layer of soot on it. "They almost broke my unicycle."
"Screw your unicycle," the other man, who wore a fluffy white hat that looked like a pair of bear ears, spat. "They almost killed Ritchie." He walked over to a large, white lion with various bright colors dyed into its main where it was cowering behind its own blackened meat shield. He began whispering consoling words to the giant feline.
"Mohji," Buggy called, catching the man's attention, "as soon as Ritchie is better, I want both of you to track down those insolent fools that dared to try to flashily blow us up and kill them painfully. Cabaji, find out how many survived and can be healed. I have no need for a crippled pirate."
"Aye, Captain Buggy!"
Eventually, the group stopped by a pet food store where Zoro cut Luffy free from the ropes that still had him pinned. The store had no name as far as they could tell, but the sign clearly said Pet Food. In front of the store sat a white dog, still as a statue. It eyed the newcomers, but otherwise did not move. That was, until Luffy ran up to the dog.
"Doggy!" Luffy cried like a little child, kneeling before the immobile mammal and reaching out to pet it. The swordsman, thief, and boy sweatdropped when the dog bit his hand. As Luffy ran around trying to shake the dog off, the green-haired man turned to the orange-haired girl.
"So I guess you're Nami, then?"
"You know me?" There was a waiver in her voice. If Roronoa Zoro knew her name, did that mean she was wanted? Was there a bounty on her head?
"Don't worry, Miss Nami," Coby soothed, recognizing the scared quiver he'd heard in his own voice far too often. "Captain Luffy called out your name earlier when he told you to fire that cannon."
"So what was Luffy doing in a cage?" Zoro asked, tearing a strip of cloth from his shirt and having Coby wrap his wound.
"He agreed to help me steal Buggy's treasure and in return, I'd be the crew's navigator for a little bit. It's only a temporary thing, but Buggy thought it would be a good idea to have me shoot my 'former captain'," Nami answered, using air quotes.
"Does that mean we're going to need a bigger boat?" Coby questioned.
"Nah. We can take the one I, uh, commandeered from some lovely fellows."
"Let me guess," Zoro grunted, wincing as Coby finished tightening the makeshift bandage. "Three pirates you left at sea in a storm."
"You met them?"
"Picked them up, beat them up, then forced them to row."
"Huh. Neat. Wait... How did you get Luffy out of that ca-"
"Get away from Shoo-Shoo, you filthy pirates!" an old man yelled, running up to the group where Luffy had still not stopped trying to shake the dog off his hand. The man was dressed in old armor that might withstand one swing of a decent sword, two if the first the first hit just right. His hair was white and his skin tan. He had a short spear on his back.
"Who're you calling a pirate?" Nami cried the same time as Zoro growled, "Who you calling filthy?"
"You blasted Buggy Pirates!" the man shouted angrily, pulling the spear off his back to appear menacing. "It wasn't enough to run us out of town and take all our money, so now you're stealing from dogs, too? Just how low will you pirates stoop?"
"Wait, mister!" Coby exclaimed. "We're not with the Buggy Pirates! We were actually f-fighting them a few minutes ago. Didn't you see the big explosion?"
"I saw a row of houses I'd help build get blown to rubble!" the irate old man roared. He swung his spear.
"Listen, old guy," Luffy said, holding Shoo-Shoo out where the dog was chewing on his hand like a hanging chew toy while catching the sear with his free hand. "We don't like the clown guy any more than you do. That's why we shot him with his own cannon."
"Y-You did what?!"
"It was pretty fun, too! Shishishi."
"Well," the man hesitated, taking his spear back as Luffy let go. "I guess if you're an enemy of Buggy, then you're a friend to this town. I'm Mayor Boodle," -Luffy snickered at the name.- "and the dog there is Shoo-Shoo. We're the only two left in this town since those pirates came. Everyone else is hiding in the forest."
"That was a quick turnaround," Nami commented.
"Why are you still here?" Coby asked.
"I come back once or twice a day to feed Shoo-Shoo who refuses to leave the food store his owner ran. He was a good friend of mine, but he died of a disease a few months ago. Poor Shoo-Shoo; I'm sure he knows his master's gone, but he won't leave his treasure."
"Treasure?" Nami questioned excitedly, her body practically vibrating with greed.
"The store," Boodle elaborated, much to Nami's disappointment. Off in the distance, the quiet sound of approaching footfalls made itself known. "Oh no!" the mayor panicked. "It's 'Beast Tamer' Mohji! Run!" He bolted faster than the younger generation would have thought possible for such an old guy.
Down the road came Richie the Lion, his master Mohji riding atop. The lion caught the smell of the food and began eyeing the store, obviously wanting to tear the place apart and devour its contents. Mohji, on the other hand, eyed the group of four humans and one dog that stood in front of the store. Of them, only two seemed afraid. A pink-haired boy he remembered seeing with the swordsman and the thief that had stolen their map. The other three, a teen, Roronoa Zoro, and a dog, remained still.
"Finally," Mohji smiled darkly, "I've found you. Are you ready to die, Straw Hat? Roronoa? Nami?" The large feline made a growling sound that almost sounded like a question. "Oh I suppose, Richie. If you finish them off quickly. Attack!"
The lion pounced with gusto, causing the four humans to scatter. Boodle poked his head out from around a corner to watch just as the fight began while Shoo-Shoo would remain neutral until his treasure was threatened. Mohji turned Richie toward Coby, deeming him the lowest-level threat.
The pre-teen panicked and began throwing whatever he could get his hands on, the majority of which was small debris from the houses that had been destroyed two streets away by the first Buggy Ball. The small chunks of rock bounced off of the lion with little to no effect until Coby managed a lucky hit. Richie roared as a piece of stone nailed him in the eye. He shook off the pain, nearly shaking Mohji off as well, and charged the ex-marine wannabe.
"Help me!" Coby cried, finding his voice. That was all the other two official members needed to come to his aid. Mohji found himself flying forward when his mount's momentum was halted by a fist and a sheathed blade. The beast tamer landed roughly between two pissed, adult pirates and a scared teen who looked like a child.
"Never touch my Nakama," Luffy muttered darkly, "or I'll make you regret it." Next to him, Zoro stood silent like a demon ready to reap souls. Mohji did the most sensible thing. He tried to run. Unfortunately for him, Luffy could stretch himself. The captain's extended arm latched onto the Beast Tamer's shirt collar and dragged him back, much to Nami's surprise.
"We aren't done with you," Luffy grinned, his fist connecting with the Beast Tamer's nose shortly afterward. The force threw the man away from the younger pirate and right into the waiting arms of the so-called Pirate Hunter. Mohji audibly gulped.
"Shishishi," Luffy laughed at the sounds of Mohji whimpering and screaming alternating as Zoro used him as a punching bag. His laughter stopped, however, as the orange-haired girl grabbed him by the shirt.
"What the Hell was that?" she demanded, shaking the raven-haired teen. "People aren't supposed to stretch!"
"I'm... a... rub... ber... per... son..." Luffy got out through the shaking. "I... ate... the... Gum... Gum... Fruit."
"What's that supposed to mean?" Despite her question and the expectation of an answer, Nami did not stop shaking the teen captain.
"Ah," Coby tried, tapping the woman on the arm. She turned her glare on him, leaving Luffy dizzy in her grip. "Devil Fruit!" the boy squeaked, trying the shrink himself.
"What the shrimp means," Zoro began, throwing a black-and-blue Mohji over his shoulder without a care to his pained moaning, "is that our idiot captain ate some weird fruit when he was younger that turned his body into rubber."
"You people really expect me to believe that?" Nami demanded.
"Course we do!" Luffy laughed, grabbing the inside of his mouth and pulling. "Look! See? I'm a rubber-man!"
"But Devil Fruits are just a myth," the girl tried to protest.
"Well here's your proof," Zoro grunted, punching Luffy over the head. The hit did nothing.
"Thank you!" Mayor Boodle cried, running over from where he'd been whacking Mohji with a piece of wood. "Thank you so much!"
"We aren't done yet," Luffy smirked. "I still have to kick that clown jerk's ass."
"No, I can't ask that of you," Boodle denied with a shake of his head. "Buggy is this town's problem, and even if I'm the only one to fight, this town must resist him. So thank you for everything!" After thanking the quartet, Mayor Boodle took off toward the bar where Buggy had set up his base, filled with courage (read stupidity) at the strength shown by Luffy and Zoro. The others had followed after tying up Mohji and Ritchie, knowing that the old man would die if he tried to take on the Buggy Pirates alone.
"Has Mohji not returned yet?" Buggy asked, annoyance filling his voice.
"No, sir," the lookout responded.
"Gah. Fine. Load the cannon again. I want to flashily blow this town to smithereens as soon as he returns."
"Buggy!" Someone shouted, alerting the pirates to a fingure running up the road toward them. Boodle kept shouting as he approached his destination, attracting the attention of the people on the scorched roof of the bar. "I cannot stand around and watch you destroy this village anymore! Come out and fight me!"
"Bwahahaha!" Buggy laughed. The Chop-Chop man's right hand shot out, latching on to the mayor's throat and lifting him up from the ground. "Look at this! An old man thinks he can take me on!" The surviving crew laughed at the old man's futile struggles until their captain cried out in shock. Now standing between them and Boodle was Luffy with Buggy's hand in his grip.
"Sorry, Big Nose, but I like this guy, so I'm not going to let you kill him," Luffy muttered.
"What?" Buggy asked. "I can't hear you!"
"I said!" Luffy yelled, "Sorry, Big Nose, but I like this guy, so I'm not going to let you kill him!"
"Who you calling Big Nose?!"
"Uh, you!" Luffy stated as if it was the most obvious thing in the world.
"That's so rude!" Buggy exclaimed, yanking his hand free from Luffy's grip. "Wait, where's Mohji? I sent him to kill you all."
"And you were just complaining about our manners?" Zoro sassed as he, Nami, and Coby caught up to the captain. "I'm pretty sure that's ironic coming from you."
"Or hypocritical," Coby offered.
"We left him and his lion tied up where they attacked us," Nami answered, acting like she had done more than just watch.
"And now we're here to kick your ass!" Luffy declared.
Buggy looked at them in disbelief. They thought five people including an old man and a child could have a prayer in Hell of defeating him and his crew? He'd show them.
"No!" Boodle shouted. "This fight is mine!" In response to this, Luffy punched Mayor Boodle in the back of the head, knocking him into a wall and causing him to lose consciousness.
"What the Hell did you do that for?!" Nami screamed.
"Actually," Zoro grunted, "that's for the best. If he fought, he'd probably die."
"It won't matter," Buggy butted in, "because all of you will die anyway! Men, fire the Buggy Ball!" There was the now-familiar sound of a cannon firing as a red ball of death raced toward the small group.
"I've got this," Luffy declared as the bomb drew closer. "Gum-Gum balloon!" The teen's body expanded and would have scared Nami had she not forced an explanation out of him after the fight with Mohji. His inflated stomach caught the cannonball, slowing it to a stop before launching it back at the rooftop. Pirates screamed, two of them diving off the side of the building to avoid the subsequent explosion. These two were Buggy the Clown and Cabaji the Acrobat.
"You Straw Hat bastard!" Buggy roared. "Look at what you've done to my crew!"
"Look at what you've done to the old man's town!" Luffy retorted.
"Wait. Why does that straw hat look familiar?" Buggy asked himself, squinting as his hand reattached. "It reminds me of that Red Hair bastard."
"Red Hair? Oh! You mean Shanks? Yeah, he gave me his hat."
"I hate him and anyone associated with him! Prepare to die, Straw Hat! Cabaji, get Roronoa!"
"But captain," Cabaji protested with some measure of hesitation. "Wouldn't it be better if I took on Straw Hat and you took Roronoa?"
"Shut up and do as I say. I will kill this little brat personally."
Cabaji silently accepted his orders and hopped on his unicycle, pulling a sword from his mouth in the process. "Roronoa Zoro. Prepare to die."
"A fellow swordsman, eh? Let's go."
The Acrobat sped forward on his unicycle, a very fearsome way to charge into battle indeed. Despite this, Zoro was unfazed, placing his white-hilted sword into his mouth. The two clashed as their swords sparked. Zoro's black eyes met Cabaji's, both refusing to waver or give an inch. They were locked in this stalemate until Cabaji called out his next attack.
"Take this! Fire breath!" He blew a plume of fire from his mouth, giving Zoro some light burns and searing away parts of his ruined shirt.
"That's a coward's trick!" Cabaji disengaged and peddled away as Zoro recollected himself, the Buggy pirate speeding up the side of a building before taking to the air.
"Festival of a Thousand Deadly Tops!" From his jacket, the dark-haired man released a multitude of spinning tops that flew toward Zoro.
"Streaming Wolf Swords!" the Pirate Hunter countered, his blades flashing up to cut the first several tops down with an almost bored expression. If he had been injured, stabbed for example, it may have been much harder. "How many damn tops do you have?" Zoro demanded, cutting though another top as he leaned out of the way of a trio that were aimed at his head. There was a steadily growing pile of tops building up behind him. Even so, Cabaji continued to fling the spinning projectiles at the green-haired man, even past the point of what he should have been able to hide in his clothing.
"Like I'd tell you!" Cabaji retorted, throwing one last top before landing and peddling forward. Bringing his sword up as he approached, the acrobat swung downward to cleave the former bounty hunter in two.
"Not good enough," Zoro taunted through his sword, catching the downward strike with Wado Ichimonji. Cabaji pulled back to attack from a different angle, but Zoro deflected each of his opponent's slashes with ease. "You can't beat me."
"We'll see about that!" Angered, the long-haired man sped up his attacks, his swords seeming to blur. Zoro smirked, his own weapons speeding up in response. Cabaji grit his teeth, both swordsmen locking their swords in a show of strength before separating, the one on a unicycle flying comfortably through the air.
"Is that the best you've got?" Zoro remarked, enjoying the look of rage that covered his foe's face at the jab. "I thought I was fighting a swordsman, not some two-bit sideshow."
Cabaji landed with an ease that spoke of years of practice and charged the green-haired man with a battle call. Zoro took a stance, placing two of his swords perpendicular to his third and held behind it.
"Demon Slash!" The cyclist fell off his one-wheeled mode of transportation behind the infamous Pirate Hunter, a look of complete shock on his face and three deep cuts in his chest.
"I... can't believe... the Buggy Pirates... were defeated by... such trash."
"We're not trash," Zoro told him firmly. "We're pirates."
"Now, while Cabaji takes care of Roronoa, I'll have fun killing you slowly!"
"You're annoying," Luffy stated. "Shut up."
"Don't you talk down on me!" Using a slight of hand, Buggy produced four knifes in each hand. "Chop-Chop Cannon!"
His hands shot forward, blades aimed to kill. Coby cried out for his captain, only for the teen to roundhouse kick both hands as they drew closer. His opponent flinched, the pain transferred to him considering the separation didn't prevent his nerves from feeling pain.
Seeing all the pirates either unconscious or preoccupied, Nami grabbed Coby and snuck off to look for Buggy's treasure. Neither of the dueling captains or swordsmen seemed to notice their disappearance. The clown-themed pirate separated his torso from his legs and launched his upper body forward, reconnecting his hands in the process.
"Die, Straw Hat!" Buggy roared, bringing fists full of knifes down on the younger pirate.
"You say that a lot," Luffy responded, sidestepping the attack. He threw out his hand, grabbing Buggy's face. While the man was surprised, Luffy wrapped his other arm around his first and latched onto a handful of the man's blue hair. "Gum-Gum Hammer!" Buggy's head came off, spinning faster than Cabaji's tops due to the unwinding of the rubber-man's arms before coming to a sudden stop a few inches below where the road had been before. Luffy took a moment to see what he'd done.
"Oh no! I killed him!" Luffy wailed.
"I'm not dead, you Straw Hat bastard!" Buggy's head yelled, floating up from the small crater Luffy had made with it. His headless body connected to his lower half and started moving, slashing at the stretchy human while his floating head watched. The two duked it out with hand-to-hand combat until Buggy threw an uppercut. Luffy shifted backwards, but his hat was cut with the blade and fell off his head, shocking the younger man.
Buggy froze as he realized what he did. He'd just cut The Hat, the one that had been passed down to Shanks first, if the boy's story was true. What would his captain have said?
"My hat," Luffy muttered in a much-too-calm voice, bending down to lift the headwear. "You cut my hat. I'm going to kill you, Bastard! Gum-Gum Gatling!" His arms shot out quickly, hitting Buggy hard enough to send whatever part of his body they came in contact with flying. Finally, one fist hit Buggy's face, causing it to tumble into the pile of parts several dozen feet away. The only things spared were the clown's feet.
The clown captain put himself back together while sporting multiple bruises including a very prominent one on the right side of his face. Buggy pulled out eight more knives and flung his upper body at his foe, all thoughts of his former captain forgotten. Luffy responded like he had at the start of the fight, kicking him as he passed.
Buggy's upper half rose into the air again, but his eyes locked onto something behind Luffy. With a cry of "give me back my treasure, you bitch!", Buggy forgot about the annoyingly-strong Devil Fruit user he was fighting and charged Nami and Coby who were sneaking toward the port.
"Crap, he saw us," Nami breathed, the larger of two bags on her back.
Coby was more vocal, dropping his smaller bag in fear. "He's going to kill us!" Suddenly, Buggy froze, a look of excruciating pain on his face. Behind him, Luffy had taken the chance to kick Buggy between the legs for getting distracted. Luffy threw Buggy's lower body at his upper parts where he reconnected out of instinct.
"Hey Buggy!" Luffy yelled, stretching both of his arms behind him. "This is for the old guy and his treasure! Gum-Gum Bazooka!" One second Buggy was there, the next the clown's screams were echoing through the air as body faded from sight.
"That was awesome, Captain Luffy!" Coby called as he ran over to the teen, a barely-winded Zoro wandering over. The three laughed together before leaving, Nami following behind and awed by their display of power. Despite this, she was still sure to have Coby grab the other bag of loot as they made their exit.
Unbeknownst to them, the townspeople had seen most of the fight and were now praising their courage…
Reaching the docks, the quartet found their respective boats tied up next to each other, the three men that Nami had conned and that Zoro had beaten up lying unconscious on the ground. Nami's boat, the one she had taken from the unconscious men, was slightly bigger than the one Zoro and Coby had arrived in. It had an additional one-person cabin and a black flag emblazoned with the symbol of the Buggy Pirates. The girl ordered the three men to tie the boats together while she loaded the gold they had taken from Buggy into the cabin.
"Thank you!" someone shouted, causing the three males to turn their heads. A group of the younger townspeople were running towards them with a bag hefted between them. "Thank you for saving our town!"
"What's in the bag?" Luffy asked, purposely ignoring the thanks he was receiving; he didn't want to be a hero. Heroes shared their meat!
"Food for your trip," Boodle answered, staggering over with the help of some middle-aged men. It appeared Luffy's punch had done a little more than just knock him out. "Please, take it."
"Don't mind if I do," Luffy smiled, taking the bag. Zoro and Coby snatched it from him before he could stuff the whole thing in his mouth, something he was likely to do if the look in his eye was any indicator. Pouting slightly at being denied his "snack", the three men and one woman pushed off from the dock and began sailing away toward their group's next adventure.
End of Chapter
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