Disclaimer: One Piece belongs to Eiichiro Oda. Any other none original concept belongs to their respective owners. It's also fitting that the longest chapter I have ever written is for a One Piece fanfiction. Curiously enough, it's probably the fastest none one-shot chapter I have ever written too. My muse works in strange ways, I tell you.
Chapter One: And Now It Begins
There was once a great pirate who possessed everything this world had to offer. Fame. Wealth. Power. He had it all. His name was Gol D. Roger. His were all the treasures that existed. Such was his influence that his last words sparked the start of a new era.
As he kneeled on the execution platform, Gold Roger grinned uncaringly as he looked at the gathered crowd. "My treasure? If you want it, you can have it! I left it all in that place! Find it! Everything this world has to offer, One Piece…"
That day the world entered the Great Era of Piracy.
Monkey D. Luffy was a seven-year-old kid with jet black hair and dark gray eyes that looked black if you weren't looking closely. He was standing on the deck of a ship as he glared at the grown men in front of him, all of which were looking at him with amusement. That angered him since he felt that they were always mocking him, making fun of him and didn't take him seriously.
He might be a kid but he was strong enough to shatter wood with one punch. His grandpa had taught him how to train his body before he left to do whatever it was that he did about one year ago and with nothing better to do, Luffy spent most of his time exercising. That meant that at the very least they shouldn't dismiss him in so carelessly.
With a growl, Luffy picked up a knife that was laying around and walked until he was standing a few feet away from red haired man that was wearing a straw hat and had three scars going across his left eye. Luffy glared up at him with determined eyes. "I've had enough! I'll prove to you that I'm tough enough to become a pirate and head out with you!" He declared, raising the knife above his head.
Shanks, the red-haired man, eyed the knife wearily for a second before he laughed and grinned down at Luffy. "Dahahahaha! Go for it! Let's see what you are going to do!" Despite his words and the grin on his face, Shank's eyes never left the knife that Luffy was holding.
"Oh, look. Luffy is going to do something funny again!" Said one of the crewmembers loud enough for everyone to hear which resulted in all the other men laughing as they turned towards Luffy with expectant look on their faces.
Luffy gritted his teeth at the sound of their laughter before his hold around the handle of the knife tightened and he twisted his wrist and brought it down towards his face. He closed his eyes in preparation for the pain, ignoring the abrupt stop of the laugh of the other pirates as he did so, only to not feel pain exploding from his face. Instead, he felt a calloused hand wrapping firmly around his wrist and he opened his eyes, flinching when he saw that the knife was just a few inches away from puncturing his eye, surely to damage it irreparably forever.
"You idiot!" Shouted Shanks as he quickly took the knife away from Luffy's hand and then punch him over the top of his head, sending him sprawling to the floor of the deck and making a huge bump appear where he hit him. "You could've gouged your eye out, you know? What possessed you to that, Luffy?!"
With tears gathering at the corner of his eyes, Luffy looked up at Shank from his position on the floor. "I just wanted to show you that I have what it takes to become a pirate like you! I'm tired of being scooped up in this good for nothing island!"
Shank's expression softened and with a sigh he picked Luffy up by the scruff of his neck and set him on his feet. "You are still too young, Luffy. Maybe in a few years down the line, if you are strong enough, I'll take you with me if you still want to, deal?" He proposed, carefully hiding how impressed he was with the kid. Not even members of his own crew were willing to harm themselves in such a manner just to prove a point. 'Say what you want about this kid, but he's got guts alright.'
Luffy perked up at that and he nodded his head vigorously as he tightened his tiny fist and flexed his arms. "Deal! I'll be sure to train extra hard from now on! And if you don't take me with you then I'll set out on my own and become a bigger pirate than you, Shanks!"
Shanks could only laugh at this, the rest of his crow joining in.
Luffy only glared at them in anger and indignation. "Oi, shut up! Stop making fun of me!"
A few hours later Luffy, Shanks and his crew were at Party's Bar, the only bar in Foosha Village. They were all just having a good time, with Shanks and his crew eating, drinking and teasing Luffy who, despite hating how they made fun of him, genuinely enjoyed their company. Other than Makino, the pretty dark-green haired girl that tended to the very bar whom he would occasionally help with her chores in exchange for food, he had no one else to spend time with.
Luffy was currently grumbling and pouting petulantly as he sat on a stool. He had to deal with Makino scolding him for attempting to do something as reckless as stabbing himself. He promptly ignored Shanks once again making fun of him, this time about the fact that Luffy was not that good of a swimmer yet. When Shanks was finished, Luffy turned towards him with glare. "So, what if can't swim yet?! I'll just stay on the ship! Besides, I'm plenty strong! I've been training a lot! My punch is strong as a pistol fire!"
"Dahahahaha!" Laughed Shanks as he looked down at Luffy. "Is that so? Are you willing to prove it?"
"Of course, I am!" Shouted Luffy, gathering the attention from everyone else, before jumping down from his stool and getting into a fighting stance as he nodded his head. "I never say that I can do anything without being able to back it up!"
With another laugh, Shank set his glass of booze on the counter and stood from his stool and crouched down so he was at a similar height with Luffy. He raised one hand and showed him his open palm. "Go ahead then! Show me if your punch is strong as a bullet. I'll be the judge to that!"
Everyone looked on as Luffy got a serious expression on his face as he stared hard at Shanks' hand. After a short moment he cocked his fist back and shouted at the top of his lungs as he brought his arm forward, his fist in a direct collision path Shanks' palm: a precision that Shanks noted to be oddly high for a kid his age. His eyes widened, however, when for a second he felt Luffy's arm being coated by Busoshoku Haki just before it connected with his palm.
Shanks expertly hid the wince of discomfort that threatened to show on his face. No matter Luffy's age and current strength, being hit by a punch powered by armament haki without being enhanced himself hurt. It also didn't matter that even without enhancing himself he was still quite tough. 'He is only seven years old and he is already showing signs of being able to use the Busoshoku! He said he's been training but what are the odds of him somehow performing the kind of training needed to unlock it?' He exchanged a look with his crew, all of whom looked a bit more serious now, and they nodded to confirm that they also felt what Luffy obviously unknowingly did. With one look, he told them to leave it to him. They promptly went back to goofing around as if nothing had happened.
"Oh, that was quite the punch, Luffy! I actually felt that!" He said with laugh, downplaying it easily and enjoying the annoyed expression on Luffy's face. "Who taught you how to do that by the way?" He asked nonchalantly.
Luffy jumped towards his stool before answering. "Eh, gramps taught me how to train my body before he left. He told me to do everything on the instructions books he left me and that I better be stronger by the time he comes back or he'll introduce me to his 'Fist of Love', whatever that is."
Shanks almost made a double take. 'Is Garp really teaching Luffy how to use Haki?! No. That can't be. As crazy as that overpowered old man is, he wouldn't dare teach a seven-year-old Busoshoku. It being a thing of chance and proof of Luffy's innate talent makes more sense.' He quickly schooled his expression and laughed. "Then you better start training harder! I've heard about your gramps. He's supposed to be very scary, that Monkey D. Garp."
Luffy nodded his head. "Will do! And yes! Gramps is very scary! Everyone except for the mayor and Makino-nee hides away whenever he is in town. It's pretty funny, actually," said Luffy with a laugh before perking up in happiness as Makino put a plate full of food in front of him along with a glass full of juice. "Thank you!" He beamed up at her brightly which resulted in Makino giggling and ruffling his hair fondly.
Shanks laughed again. "Dahahahaha! You are such a kid! It's hilarious!"
Luffy was too busy devouring the delicious food in front of him to pay attention to Shanks. So focused was he that he didn't even noticed when the door of the bar was forcefully opened by a tall dark skinned and black-haired man with a scar on his forehead and a goatee who began to mock Shanks and his crew. Instead, after finishing his meal and still feeling hungry, Luffy opened the chest that Shanks had brought with him knowing that it contained more food, and he perked up when he saw a big, yellow fruit that was vaguely pear shaped with jagged blue lines going down its length.
Luffy promptly shoved the entire thing into his mouth and grimaced when the incredibly sour flavor hit his taste buds. He bravely continued to chew since his hunger more pressing than the foul taste of the fruit and swallowed after a few seconds. He made a disgusted face. 'Yuck! That tasted worse than Gramps' soup and that's saying something! At least I'm not hungry anymore.'
Luffy's thought were interrupted when he heard the sound of glass shattering and he turned towards the source only for his eyes to widen when he saw Shanks covered in sake while a man sneered at him. Makino gasped and she was looking on with wide, shocked eyes.
"Just who do you think I am, you dumb pirate?!" asked the man mockingly. "Don't make fun of me! One bottle isn't enough!"
Shank completely ignored the man, instead focusing on the floor. "Oh, man… why did you do that? The floor is all wet now." He ignored how the man pulled out his wanted poster and began to brag about his bounty, the amount of people he has killed and the things he had done in the past, picking up a piece of the bottle and turning towards Makino, an apologetic expression on his face. "Sorry about the mess, Makino-chan. Do you have a mop?"
"Ah! It's alright! I'll clean it up!" She stammered nervously.
The man, Higuma, clicked his tongue in annoyance and he pulled out his sword. Luffy saw this and his eyes widened when he saw that Shanks wasn't apparently paying attention, meaning that he was going to be killed by this bandit. So, not wanting for the person he looked up to the most to get hurt, he jumped forward to stand in front of Shanks as Higuma brought his sword down in a diagonal arc. "Don't you dare hurt Shanks!"
"Luffy!" The red-haired pirate shouted and his eyes widened in horror when he saw the sword approaching Luffy's shoulder. He knew that even with his skills he would have been unable to stop it before it was too late since he had not expected for Luffy to jump in front of him like that. Not even Higuma, whose eyes had widened in surprise as well, had expected it but he made no motion to stop his attack either showing that he cared not about the fact that he was about to murder a child.
So, everyone was understandably shocked speechless when they saw Higuma's sword go through Luffy, yellow arcs of lightning appearing as the sword apparently cut him clearly in half only for the two halves to join back together pulled back by snapping tendrils of lightning. Luffy also noticed this and he screamed in shock at the sensation of being cut in half and it not hurting only to feel how he was put back together. This resulted in him released a blast of lightning in Higuma's direction. Higuma's eyes only had time to almost bug out of his head before he screamed in pain as thousands of volts of electricity shocked him at almost point-blank range.
Even Shanks was shocked a bit, but he was made of sterner stuff and he barely flinched, and that was because he was wet in the first place, as a few arcs of lightning reached him. 'Oh, please don't tell me…' he trailed off in shocked horror as he turned towards the chest that contained that Devil Fruit they had found in Birka when they were exploring the Sky Island as they were making their way to East Blue in order to take a break from the ridiculously and absurdly dangerous waters of the New World.
The smell of burnt ozone filled the bar along with the smell of cooked meat as Higuma fell to the ground on a heap. His skin darkened many shades further and his entire body twitching as his eyes rolled to the back of his head. The other bandits could only look on in horror as their leader was beaten and most likely killed if how his body suddenly stopped twitching and laid eerily still on the floor.
Shanks gave his crew a sharp look as he stood up, seemingly ignoring Makino's horrified gasp as she looked at Higuma's body. His crew nodded back at him and they quickly moved to incapacitate Higuma's minions before they tried to escape, or worse, attempt to harm Luffy in revenge for him accidentally killing their leader, which Shanks knew that it would only end in them sharing Higuma's fate.
There was no way in hell that smalltime bandits like them had access to Kairoseki (Seastone), much less Busoshoku Haki, which were the only ways to physically restrain and/or harm Luffy now that he ate a Logia-Type Devil Fruit.
Luffy stared at the burnt and very dead body of Higuma. His expression was blank but his entire body was trembling. He raised his hand and he looked at them, flinching when sparks flew from them. "What… I didn't mean… no… this…"
Shanks put a comforting hand on Luffy's shoulder, making sure to coat it with Busoshoku Haki so as not to get hurt by Luffy's new power, and he smiled grimly at him. "Calm down, Luffy. It might have been an accident but what is done is done. Even thought it was unintentional, you killed him in order to protect me. You want to be a pirate, right? Killing is a fundamental part of it, but remember, it only should be done in order to protect what's important to you, be it a person, something you cherish or your dream. It get's easier the more times you do it, but it should never be enjoyed. Do you understand, Luffy?" He squeezed his shoulders, trying to convey the seriousness of his words.
Luffy had a few tears in his eyes and he gulped when he realized that Shanks was being one hundred percent serious for perhaps the first time since he met him and nodded his head. Shanks smiled at him and nodded, ruffling his head. "Now, I want you to be honest with me Luffy. Did you eat the fruit that was one that chest?" It was obvious that he did, but he still needed Luffy to come clean about it.
Luffy shuffled nervously from one foot to another, not noticing how Shanks' crewmates swiftly dealt with the other bandits and began to take them away and out of the bar. "Uhm, yeah. I did. I was still hungry and I saw Lucky Roo putting that fruit on that chest and bringing it down. Why do you ask? Does it have to do something with what I did to that guy?" He asked before pointing at Higuma's body but refusing to look at it.
Shanks sighed in annoyance. 'That fat-ass will be on twenty-four cleaning duty for the next decade! Still…' He trailed off as he looked down at Luffy, remembering what he had seen today, and an excited grin appeared on his face. The sight of it scared Luffy for some reason. 'If this kid's potential was huge before, I am pretty sure now it is nigh immeasurable since he ate the Goro-Goro no Mi (Rumble-Rumble Fruit). I can't let this opportunity go to waste!'
Shanks waved him off. "It does but don't worry about it for now, Luffy. I'll tell you tomorrow. Meet me at the docks at eight o'clock in the morning. I'm going to teach you how to control your new powers so you don't accidentally kill someone you don't want to. And we don't want that, right?"
Luffy paled and rapidly shook his head. Even that resulted in a few small arcs of lightning flying away randomly from his body. After seeing this, Luffy stood perfectly still.
Shanks laughed and he again ruffled Luffy's hair. "Go home, Luffy. Make sure to have a good night's sleep. Tomorrow's gonna be tough so it would be in your best interest to get as much rest as you can!" Shanks laughed again when Luffy wordlessly nodded and bolted out, a few arcs of lightning leaving his body to strike against the street harmlessly as he did so. When Luffy was out of sight, Shanks sobered up and he turned towards Higuma's body. "Now, what to do with you?"
A few seconds later he grinned.
Said red-haired pirate looked up and grinned when he saw Luffy running towards him and sparks were flying from his body as he approached him. He waved at him in greeting. "Hiyah, Luffy! Did you sleep as much as you could as I told you to do? Remember, it's gonna be real tough for you from now on."
Luffy stopped running once he reached him and grinned up at Shanks, who noticed that his smile wasn't as wide as usual. "Eh, I think I did. I couldn't sleep at first because of… well, you know. But I eventually fell asleep when my body couldn't help it anymore. I don't feel tired to be honest. I feel with more energy than usual now that I think about it."
Shanks nodded in understanding. "That's good," he said and then pulled out a bag from behind him that was almost as tall as Luffy and twice as wide. The sound of metal clinking against metal was heard as Shanks threw the bag at Luffy who caught it with a blink of his eyes.
Luffy opened the bag curiously and his eyes widened when he saw that it was filled almost to the brink with beri bills and coins. "Shanks! What is this?"
Shanks laughed at Luffy's shock. "Dahahahaha! That's your reward for killing Higuma. That guys had an ฿8,000,000 bounty on his head. Since you offed him, albeit on accident, it's only fair that you get it."
Luffy looked at the bag with a conflicted look on his face and he turned towards Shanks. "It's really okay if I take it? Won't it make me a bad guy for receiving money after killing someone even if I wasn't meaning to do it?"
Shanks smiled softly, and he put a hand on Luffy's head. "You want to be a pirate, Luffy, and as such, you will learn that there is rarely such a thing as a good guy and a bad guy. We are all people with ambitions and dreams willing to do almost whatever it takes to accomplish them. Make no mistake, evilness and cruelty does exist, and those are the things you have to despise and fight against. Always remember to judge others by their actions and never by their words and/or appearance."
Luffy's eyes gleamed with understanding and he nodded his head. "I get it Shanks. I promise to never be cruel or evil and to always fight against it if I get the chance. In that same note, I promise to do whatever to takes to accomplish my dreams as long as it doesn't go against my first promise!"
Shanks nodded, pleased. "That's what I like to hear. Now, let's take that money to Makino-chan so she can look after it for you until you get back. We are heading into the forest and I believe we are likely going to spend the whole day there."
With a grin, Luffy, with his bag full of money, followed Shanks.
"Alright Luffy, I want you to pay close attention to what I am about to tell you. It's very important you never forget this, okay?" Shanks spoke seriously once they arrived at a clearing in the forest big enough for what he had planned. They stood right in the middle of it facing each other. When Luffy nodded his head attempting to mimic Shank's seriousness, with some success much to the red-haired pirate's hidden amusement, he continued. "Yesterday, what you ate wasn't an ordinary fruit, but rather, a Devil Fruit. More specifically, one of the strongest Logia-Type Devil Fruits: The Goro-Goro no Mi, which gives you the ability to create, control and transform into electricity at will. With me so far?"
Luffy nodded. "That means that the reason why… Higuma… couldn't harm me when I jumped in between his sword and you was because I turned into electricity, right? And then I created it when I, erm, blasted him?"
Shanks nodded, glad that Luffy could at the very least use basic logical deduction going something that he had already seen. That was going to make things easier. "That's correct. Before we get further into what you can do with your fruit, I will explain the different types of fruit there are and their characteristics, okay?" When Luffy nodded, Shanks proceeded to do just that. "There are three types of Devil Fruits: Paramecia, Zoan and Logia. The first one, Paramecia, are the most common ones and give you some sort of ability that can range from being able of sectioning part of your body to allowing you to cause earthquakes!"
Luffy's eyes widened. "Earthquakes?! Are you for real?!"
Shanks grinned. "That's right. The one known as 'The Strongest Man in the World' is the user of that fruit!"
"Woah," breathed Luffy.
Shanks chuckled. "Next we have Zoan-Type Devil Fruit. They are less common than paramecia and they give you the ability to transform into a beast or an animal, along with given you certain traits of that animal, like increased hearing range for example." Shanks paused and when he saw that Luffy both understood and committed the info to memory he continued. "And finally, we have the type to which your Devil Fruit belongs to: Logia. This type of fruits is the rarest and is considered generally stronger than the other two because, as I said earlier, they give you the ability to create, control and transform into an element, a force of nature. Yours is especially strong since it's lightning, an element that burns hotter than the sun and moves faster than sound."
"Hotter than the sun?!" screamed Luffy in disbelief.
Shanks shrugged. "That's what scientists say and since they know their stuff I'm willing to take it at face value," he laughed uncaringly, making Luffy sweatdrop at him. A few moments later, Shanks was serious again. "That doesn't mean, however, that you are suddenly invincible just because you can transform into lightning. As it is one of the strongest forces of nature, it's also one of the most difficult to control. Not only that, but there are methods that can be used to hurt you."
Luffy gave Shank a skeptical look. "Such as…"
"When you consume a Devil Fruit you lose all ability to swim in the ocean. You are weakened to the point of being unable to move if you come in direct contact with it. That means that anything with the same properties as sea water is a weakness to you. There is a type of stone called Seastone that can be used as cuffs or to forge weapons that can harm you," he said, mero serious than before, making Luffy gulp before he nodded his head vigorously, showing that he understood. With some hesitance, Shanks continued. "Another method would be through the use of Busoshoku Haki, which is a special technique that allows you to hit even Logia type devil fruit users when they are transformed into their element."
Luffy watched with interest as Shanks raised his hand and his eyes widened when it was suddenly covered by a black substance that was shiny. His eyes gleamed in delight. "That looks so cool! Do you think you can teach me that?!"
Shanks laughed as he dismissed his armament haki. That confirms it. Yesterday was just pure dumb luck mixed with the results of Garp's likely ridiculous training methods and Luffy's own potential.' His thoughts were not on his face, however, which instead was pulled into an amused expression. "If you manage to get enough control over your lightning powers and you impress me enough I'll se about teaching you about Haki and its types, alright?" He grinned down at Luffy. 'Something tells me that he will be able to also use Kenbunshoku and Haoshoku too. This brat…'
Luffy matched his grin as he tightened his fist and locked eyes with Shanks. "Bring it on! I'll show that I have what it takes to be recognized by you, Shanks! I'm not about to let you down you hear me!"
And Shanks wholeheartedly believed him.
Almost a year passed with Luffy meeting with Shanks on that clearing every day, except for the relatively short periods of time when Shanks and his crew would set sail to the ocean for weeks on end. Genuinely desiring to be acknowledged by Shanks, Luffy threw himself into his training with all he's got and he succeeded on his task of impressing the red-haired pirate. Not only did he manage to get enough control over his lightning powers that he was no longer afraid of accidentally electrocuting someone but he also devised quite a few different attacks with those same powers.
Because of that, Shanks taught him about the three types of Haki and they discovered that Luffy had the potential to use the three of them a few moths ago. With that in mind, Shanks taught him methods of training that would help Luffy develop Kenbunshoku and Busoshoku Haki. Haoshoku Haki was all about state of mind, instinct and will power and its development was different for everyone, so the only thing he showed Luffy was how to reach within him to bring it forth but training it was up to Luffy.
Now Luffy stood at the docks, an upset look on his face as he watched Shank's crew loading their ship with provisions while Shanks himself shouted orders at them from a few feet away. "Are you leaving for good this time?"
Shanks turned towards him, an amused grin on his face. "Yeah. We have stayed long enough here. It's time we finally went back to the New World." Shanks had also taught Luffy about the Grand Line and the things he could find there and instead of dissuading him, it only made Luffy more excited about sailing a sea filled with such wonders. And not only was it time to go back, but he had gotten intel that Monkey D. Garp was on his way here. Even though he was a Yonko and he was the Hero of the Marines, they were not in bad terms personally. That didn't mean, however, that Garp wouldn't attempt to capture him and Shanks was not going to let him do that easily. There was no need to rearrange East Blue's geography after all so avoiding him was the best course of action. Shank's grin turned teasing. "Are you upset?"
Luffy shook his head rapidly, dismissing the tears that had been about to leak out of his eyes. "Pffft! Heck no!" A few moments later Luffy sighed and turned away, a sad expression on his face. "I won't force you to take me with you anymore, you know? I decided that I'm going to become a pirate by myself!"
Shanks snorted. "As if you could force me to do anything! Dahahahahaha!" He laughed before he grinned. "So, you decided to eventually head out yourself, huh? I'll be honest, Luffy. You have tons of potential but there is still a lot you need to do before you are ready to become a pirate. Right now, you are barely scratching the surface."
Luffy scowled and turned towards him with determined eyes. "I'll show you then! I'll become better and stronger pirate than even you! I'll even find myself a crew stronger than yours! And then I'll find the world's biggest treasure and become the Pirate King!"
Everyone stopped what they were doing and turned to look at Luffy fondly. Even Shank's face softened as he looked down at him. "You want to be bigger than us, huh…" He trailed off before he smiled softly and reached for his straw hat. "In that case then…" He took off his hat and put it on Luffy's head. "This hat is my gift to you. It's my favorite one, you know?" He smiled as Luffy began to cry in earnest, gritting his teeth as he tried and failed to stop his tears. Shanks began to walk towards his ship and he turned around to give Luffy a grin. "When you become a great pirate, you'll return that hat to me."
Unable to form words, Luffy just nodded his head in agreement. He then watched as Shanks and his men set sail towards the horizon, not moving until he couldn't see them anymore. Luffy finally walked away when it was only him and there was a determined look on his face as he headed into the forest. He had a promise to keep and the first step into fulfilling it was to become as strong as he could until he became old enough to become a pirate.
"Rise and shine, brat! What's this I'm hearing about you mingling with good for nothing pirates, huh?!"
Luffy suddenly woke up with a scream of pain as he tenderly cupped the top of his head where he had been hit in an extremely painful manner. "Gah! That hurt!" He shouted and turned towards the source of the voice only to see a tall and muscular old man with gray hair, blue eyes and a beard that matched the color of his beard. He was wearing a tropical shirt and shorts and he was leering at Luffy malevolently with a grin on his face. Luffy paled in horror. "Gra-gramps!"
"The one and only, brat," he replied, inspecting his grandson and nodding mentally to himself as he noted that Luffy has indeed been training hard in the past year and a half. Makino had also told him of what happened with Higuma and what happened with Luffy. He had quickly deduced that his grandson was now a Logia-type. Even though he was angry at Shanks for being so irresponsible, the fact that Luffy's immense potential had skyrocketed could only be a good thing. He was going to be an exceptional marine.
It was then that Luffy realized that his grandfather had been able to hit him and he pointed at him with wide eyes. "Oi! Do you know how to use Busoshoku?! Or do you have a sea stone mallet hidden somewhere, huh?!"
Garp's eyebrow twitched in annoyance. 'That good for nothing Akagami taught him about Haki! I should hunt him down and break his neck! But I suppose it was sensible considering that Luffy is now a Logia and he needed to learn about his weaknesses so I guess I can't be too angry.' He thought before he grinned, showing his fist to Luffy. "That's correct brat. So, don't think that just because you are a Lightning Man now you are going to be able to escape the 'Fist of Love', ya hear me?"
Luffy gulped and nodded his head rapidly.
Pleased, Garp put his fist on his waist and he looked down at Luffy. "So, what else did Akagami teach you?"
Luffy quickly deduced that Akagami was Shanks since he was the only one with red-hair that he knew and promptly answered. "He helped me control my lightning powers and develop a few attacks. He also taught me the basics of using a sabre and a flintlock. Then he taught me how to train in Kenbunshoku and Busoshoku Haki since he told me I could use the tree forms of it. He told me that only I could figure out how to train Haoshoku."
Outwardly Garp just nodded. Inwardly, however, he was thinking furiously. 'So, he can use all forms of Haki, eh? That's good, excellent even! I think I should teach him the Rokushiki too. It would make him learn how to use Kenbunshoku and Busoshoku far more easily. Not only that but if he becomes strong enough, he can help me clean up the Marines from the corrupt fools that are at the top…' Garp was loyal to the marines and the World Government but he was not blind to their faults. One of the reasons he wanted Luffy, and the other two, to join the marines was because he knew that they had enough potential to become incredibly strong, to the point the could start the much-needed revolution the marines needed to be the true force of justice he knew they used to be.
"Man! I can't wait until I am strong and old enough to become a pirate!"
Garp paused and he turned towards Luffy with an angry expression on his face. "What did you say, brat?!" He shouted as he hit Luffy over the head with his fist, sending Luffy sprawling to the floor with a smoking lump growing from the top of his head where he had been hit. "If you think you are going to become a good for nothing criminal then you have another damn thing coming!"
With a growl, Luffy stood up and he glared at his grandfather with tears of pain gathering at the corner of his eyes. "Hell no, you crazy geezer! I'm going to become a pirate! I'll find the biggest treasure and become Pirate King, the freest and strongest man of them all!"
For a moment Garp saw the outline of Gol D. Roger staring at him with that smug grin of his that he had every time he managed to escape Garp's grasp, which he hated to admit was more often than not. He growled in anger and he lifted Luffy by the scruff of his neck and raised him until he was eye level with him. With an artery throbbing on his forehead he raised his fist and cracked his knuckles by tightening it. "Hm, is that so? I guess that I will have to educate you until you see the error of your ways."
And that was how Luffy's education- read torture disguised as training- under his grandfather, Monkey D. Garp, known as 'Garp the Fist, and Vice-Admiral of the Marines, began.
Ten years passed ever since Garp began Luffy's tortur- I mean, training. Garp spent most of that time teaching Luffy how to fight, both with his fists and legs and using his lightning powers and also toughening him up so he could survive there.
Garp tried his best to make Luffy decide to join the marines in the future. He even taught him the Rokushiki to tempt him to join but it was all for naught. To this day Garp was cursing both Shanks for influencing Luffy and his family's well known stubborn streak. In the end, Garp had to give up on that endeavor but he did his best to at the very least make sure Luffy was a passably decent man with an uncorrupted sense of justice. He was… successful… to put it in the simplest of terms.
If Luffy was honest with himself he didn't really like using the Rokushiki because they were developed by the World Government. Even though he had mastered the techniques to a degree that even his grandfather was pleased with, he couldn't deny they were very powerful and useful in a fight. Because of this, he had used them to base off a few techniques of his own using his lightning powers, improving them to a degree that surprised Garp when he showed them to him, which was saying something.
Luffy stood on his dhoni, a sailboat with a lateen sail he had bought with some of his money which had grown to ten million beri after he used the time he was not training doing odd jobs around town, knowing that he was going to need the money in order to procure the things he was going to need for the Grand Line, which were not cheap. He could always steal them of course, but he was at least going to try and be a decent person about it. If the marines as much as looked at him funny all bets were off though.
Luffy had changed a lot in the past ten years. His hair had grown to the point it reached the nape of his neck and almost framed his face. He had grown to height of six foot one inches thanks to the amount of physical training he did on a daily basis and the amount of food he ate, which was actually more of a necessity than something he did for pleasure since using his lightning powers required a lot of energy, which he got through eating. He was also quite muscular, but with a lithe build, since he leaned for speed rather than power. He was wearing a red button-up, sleeveless vest, black jean pants, brown boots, a yellow sash around his waist that held his sabre and a flintlock pistol. His straw hat was, as always, on top of his head.
"Thanks for everything, everyone!" He shouted as he waved at those that had come to see him off, which included Makino, mayor Wood Slap, along with other inhabitants of the village, and Curly Dadan and some of her bandit minions.
He smiled in melancholy as he saw that Curly Dadan was fighting back tears as she looked at him finally setting out on his own. He was extremely grateful to her for taking him, Ace and Sabo in, feeding them and giving them a roof for all those years whenever Garp was away on marine business. He knew that despite her rough exterior, she truly cared for them, and she wouldn't change what happened in the past, the good and the bad, for anything in the world.
Luffy stopped waving when he could only see dots in the distance and he turned around and sat down, his hand grasping the tiller almost absently as he stared straight ahead. "Let's see. I have enough provisions to last me for about one week. That should be enough to last me until Shells Town, where I should be able to restock again. Yosh! And if I'm lucky I'll run into "Iron Mace" Alvida. She's rumored to sail the waters between here and Shells Town. I'm sure she's got a lot of useful things I could steal and her bounty could be a nice addition to the amount of money I already have. Shishishishi!"
Luffy then used his compass and map in order to set his sailboat in direction towards Shells Town. When he was done, he leaned back and closed his eyes to take a nap only to pause and sigh annoyance a few moments before the boat was suddenly rocked violently as the waters churned. There was a roar and Luffy opened his eyes to see a brown scaled Sea King that vaguely resembled a barracuda and could easily swallow him and his boat whole leering down at him with hunger in its intelligent red and yellow eyes.
It lunged towards him, its maw opened wide as it made to eat him, and Luffy was about use one of his many lightning techniques to easily off it when an idea occurred to him. This Sea King, or as it was better known by the inhabitants of Foosha Village, the Lord of the Coast, caused a lot of issues for the many fishermen, eating the fish and occasionally the fisherman when it was feeling particularly hungry.
Still, as intelligent as it was, the Sea King was still an animal and Luffy couldn't bring himself to kill it just because it was following its instincts. So Luffy decided that he should make something useful out of it.
Locking eyes with the incoming sea monster, Luffy glared at it as he brought forth his Haoshoku Haki, pining it in place with the force of his will. After a few moments of clashing wills, which Luffy won easily due to the Sea King being an animal despite its intelligence, the monster seemingly calmed down and it slowly approached Luffy, bowing its massive head in submission the moment it reached the boat.
Luffy laughed as he roached forward and rubbed the Sea King's head affectionately. "Shishishishishi! I think I found myself a new pet! What should I name you, hm? You a boy?" Luffy asked and the Sea King shook its head, clearly understanding the question. "A girl then." The Sea King nodded almost eagerly. "So… how about Nina as your new name? I think it's a cute, yes?" The newly named Nina purred in apparent agreement and happiness.
Luffy laughed and he patted Nina in the head. "It's settled then. From now on you are Nina and the first member of my crew. Your job is going to be to make sure that we are always on course, okay?" Luffy said as he pulled out a thick rope from one of the many chests that contained what he had taken with him. He wrapped it around Nina tightly, who looked on curiously at her new master. Luffy then pointed in the direction he was supposed to be headed. "Make sure I'm always headed in that direction and stay submerged unless I tell you otherwise or call you, alright?"
Nina crooned and nodded before diving to the water and Luffy laughed in delight as his dhoni began to move almost twice as fast as before. At this pace it was going to take four days instead of a week to reach Shells Town. Opting to tame Nina instead of simply killing her turned out to be best course of action he could have taken. With a laugh, Luffy settled back, putting his feet on top of the chest that contained his money and tilted his straw hat down until it covered his eyes. Finally, he could take a nap.
"Hm, so "Iron Mace" Alvida's base is indeed here," muttered a beautiful orange haired girl with brown eyes. She was wearing white and blue shirt that strained against her big and perky chest and a tan skirt that barely covered half of her thighs. She was sitting in a small boat as she looked at her map and compass. "Judging by the wind and where I am I should be reach the island in which she is at in two days and I have more than enough food to last me that long."
She then grinned as she looked up, her brown eyes gleaming with greed. "I know I'm no match for her but I'm skilled enough to sneak in and steal all her money. After that I will head to the marine base at Shells Town and steal a map on how to get to the Grand Line, where I should be able to get what I need to reach the ฿100,000,000 I need," she said to herself with determination as she stared straight ahead, her hand unconsciously tightening around the map she was holding.
Two days later and a grinning Luffy watched from the distance as a small island appeared on the horizon. The reason why he was grinning was because he could see a large pink ship anchored pretty close to the shore. It had four sails, one higher than the other three. Each sail had a pink heart and the ship itself had two hearts on each side. The figurehead was of a duck and its flag had a jolly roger of traditional design with the exception being that the skull was depicted from the side and it had a heart on it.
'That's got to be Alvida's ship. The rumors about her being here are true. I hope that the rumors about her appearance are exaggerated though,' he thought with a grimace as he recalled the many unflattering things the people that had seen the female pirate said about her.
He shook his head and cupped his hand over his mouth. "Nina!" He shouted and waited. A few seconds later, his pet Sea King gently emerged from the ocean and stared up at him almost adoringly. "Take me around that island over there so I can get in without being seen, please," he requested. Luffy learned that the more affectionate and kinder he was to Nina the easier it was to get her to do something. Feeding her was of no issue since she could easily snatch the many fishes that strayed too close to her.
Truthfully, he wondered why more pirates didn't get Sea Kings as their pets…
…Oh, yeah. That's right. Almost no one had access to Haoshoku and even fewer were crazy and uncaring enough, which obviously Luffy was, to attempt to tame a Sea King to make it function as a pet and a glorified towing submarine.
With a croon and a nod, Nina submerged back into the ocean and followed Luffy's instructions perfectly. She towed him around the island and keept him at a distance at which those that were currently there had to be specifically looking for something in the horizon to spot him. After he was facing the island at an angle at which he could still see the sails of Alvida ship but was practically behind them, Luffy ordered Nina to get him closer to the shore.
When he was only about a hundred meters away, he commanded Nina to stop and she raised her head to look at him curiously. He grinned at her as he patted her head. "I'll go into that island and beat the pirates that are there and take their treasure. That means that it's highly probable that we are going to change ships, since there's barely enough space for me in the dhoni as it is. I want you to slowly go back around the island and approach the pink ship while I deal with them."
Nina nodded in agreement and Luffy, after patting her head once more much to her pleasure, gave her a two-fingered salute before his body suddenly began to spark with yellow electricity. His body turned into a bolt of lighting that in the blink of an eye, and with the muffled sound of cracking thunder, closed the distance between the boat and the shore before it turned back into Luffy. All of this happened under the interested eyes of Nina, who, after a few moments, gave the Sea King equivalent of a shrug before she submerged and began to swim around the island slowly in direction of the pink monstrosity.
Back with Luffy, he was whistling a jaunty tune as he uncaringly walked through the light forest that made up the inside of the island, looking around in a bored fashion. 'To be honest, this island is perfect for a pirate to set base. It's unassuming and out of the way. I ran into it due to pure luck. Now if Alvida would paint her ship in colors that were less… eye-catching… I would call her smart…' He thought in amusement.
As he got closer to the where he had seen the ship anchored at, Luffy came across a crudely made and quite ugly boat. He grimaced a bit at the sight. 'Damn, whomever built this coffin doesn't even know the basics of carpentry. I'm pants at it but even I could build something nicer looking than this,' he thought with some derision and shaking his head as he continued to walk forward.
Eventually, he reached the edge of the forest and he peered in interest to see what he's got to work with. He saw two warehouses, the two of them made out of wood, probably procured from the trees of this same island, but only one of them was painted. As he watched on, he raised an eyebrow in interest when he saw a beautiful orange haired woman with quite the buxom figure that looked to be around his age, perhaps a year older. As she looked around, obviously looking for someone that could spot her, she caught sight of him and her eyes widened in alarm when she saw him.
Luffy just grinned pleasantly at her and waved almost cheekily. When he saw her visibly calm down and wave back at him, a wary look on her pretty face, he proceeded to point at her, then made the universal motion for money with his hand, did the universal motion for stealing with his hand and finally pointed in the direction of Alvida's ship. It seemingly took a moment for the girls to understand him but she eventually slowly nodded with narrowed eyes.
Grin widening, Luffy pointed at her then made the motion of with his hand of her sneaking in and then pointed at himself, then at Alvida's ship and did the 'explosion' motion with both his hands, with facial expression and all, which seemingly got a chuckle out of her. This time she understood immediately that he was telling her that he was going to make a distraction while she sneaked in and took the treasure. She nodded almost eagerly. When he requested for the loot to be split in half between them, however, she looked almost angry, but she surprised him when she reluctantly agreed.
Luffy watched as the girl got inside the unpainted warehouse through a window and he took that as his cue to act. He confidently walked forward going through the small 'alley' created by the two warehouses and he stood in front of them, grin in place and hand insides his pockets. He idly noticed that Alvida's ship looked even uglier up close. "Oi! I'm here to steal Alvida's treasure and to see if she is as ugly and fat as she is rumored to be! Can someone please tell her to come out?!" He shouted at the top of his lungs.
Eerie silence was his initial answer.
Inside the warehouse, as she quickly put beri coins and papers along with some precious jewels too, the orange haired girl snorted in amusement as she heard the voice of the strange and very handsome, might she add, man that had spotted her and seemingly teamed up with her to steal from Alvida. She knew that she could've have been able to easily pull this hit off without any help whatsoever but she deduced that him functioning as decoy was a very welcomed help. Besides, half of this treasure was even more of what she was hoping to get and though she was tempted to run away with all the money, she had given her word that they were going to split it and unlike pirate scum, she was true to her word.
Back with Luffy, he only had to wait for a few moments before a high-pitched scream of rage was heard from the ship and he watched on in amusement as about two dozen men came from the ship and four came out of the painted warehouse that was on his right side. They all had angry and, curiously enough, horrified expression on their faces. Well, all of them except for a scrawny and small pink haired boy wearing round-frame glasses. That one just looked horrified.
"Who the fuck do you think to you are to speak such lies about me, huh?!" Bellowed the same voice that had screeched and a big and round blur shot from the ship, somewhat impressing Luffy with its nimbleness despite the amount it obviously weighted. The blur landed right behind the conglomeration of pirates and Luffy grimaced as he caught sight of Alvida. If anything, those rumors about her where understated.
She was a was a tall and very obese woman with long wavy black hair, and freckles on her cheeks. She wore a white cowgirl hat with a large red plume, a red neckerchief, a pink plaid shirt, and a blue captain's coat over it. She wore rings on her fingers and her long sharp fingernails had red polish. She had a purple sash with a flintlock pistol tucked in it and some jewels. She also wore graying pants and red shoes with gold buckles.
Luffy just smirked at her. "Me? I'm just an honest man who wants your treasure and cash in your bounty. I was only morbidly curious about your appearance, since it was spoken of so much when you were mentioned but after seeing you myself, I can only say you are even uglier than I thought you were! Shishishishishi!" He laughed merrily.
Jaws hit the floor at Luffy's words and a vein popped across Alvida's forehead and back of her hand as she brandished her spiked mace threateningly. "Why you?! I am the most beautiful woman in all the seas! Men! Teach this idiotic fool what we do to those that dare speak lies about my beautiful self!" She bellowed, pointing at him with her mace.
Without hesitation and war cries, Alvida's crew, with the notable exception of the pink haired boy wearing glasses, charged at Luffy brandishing swords, knifes and many types of blunt type weapons. With a menacing grin on his face, Luffy grasped the handle of his sabre with one hand and reached for his flintlock pistol with his left. As the pirates approached him, Luffy slowly began to unsheathe his sword.
The orange haired girl, hearing this, curiously peered outside from one of the windows and her eyes widened in horror when she saw the entirety of Alvida's crew charging at the man that was supposed to just distract them, not get himself killed. Before guilt over the fact that she had basically agreed to send him to his death, even though it had been his idea, could settle in, she was forced to gasp again when in the blink of an eye, he pulled out his sword, stabbed the two pirates that closed in him first in the gut in quick succession before ducking under another that swung a bat at his head, only to get shot in the face at almost point-blank range.
The girl then watched, almost in a trance, as the handsome black-haired man singlehandedly fought and defeated the entirety of Alvida's crew, laughing as he dished out pain, suffering and death in a manner that was almost beautiful to watch. He was graceful and quick, slashing them with his sword or striking them down using his elbows, knees or feet when he could after dodging their attacks and sometimes retaliating with a lethal shot of his pistol that always caught its target in the head or the chest, killing them instantly as their brains or heart respectively got damaged irreparably.
Luffy, meanwhile, had gotten bored pretty quickly when these guys proved to be not even worth being called a warm up. So, it was with a disappointed look on his face that he buried his right fist into the face of the second to last pirate, caving it in and sending him to la-la land only to turn around and kick the last pirate across the face with such strength that he broke his neck and killed him instantly. With a dull look on his face, Luffy locked eyes with Alvida, the members of her crew either dead, dying, groaning in pain or in blissful unconsciousness as they laid on the sand of the shore. "Was that all?"
Utterly shocked, Alvida could only take a step back as she growled in anger. She then noticed that one of her crew had not moved in to attack him when gave the other and she turned towards him and saw that he was giving the black-haired man that had made short work of her crew with almost contemptuous ease a look of utter shock and awe. She gritted her teeth. "Coby! What do you think you are doing standing there! GO and kill him for your beautiful captain, you little shit!"
Coby, the pink haired boy with round frame glasses, seemed conflicted as he looked between the bored looking Luffy, the defeated member's of Alvida's crew and Alvida herself. After repeating this for a few times, Coby's eyes hardened and he turned towards Alvida with a furious glare on his face. "No! I refuse! I'm sick and tired of the way you have treated me in the past two years! So if you think that I'm going to willingly walk to my death you have another damn thing coming, you ugly bitch!"
Alvida's jaw hit the floor.
Luffy laughed. "Shishishishishi! I like you kid! Even though you are scared shitless of this woman you still are brave enough to tell her what is what!" He declared, noticing that despite the vehemence of his words, Coby was still shaking in terror as he paled after realizing exactly what he just said.
Alvida, after a few moments of shocked anger, bellowed in rage. "Coooobyyyyyy!" She screeched as she jumped toward him, her spiked mace raised over her head ready to kill him one blow for having the nerve to insult her like that, even after she had allowed him to serve under her for two years.
Coby yelped and froze, only able to close his eyes in preparation for his death at the hand of Alvida.
A moment later the sound of metal smacking against flesh was heard.
At Alvida's incredulous shout and the fact that he had felt no pain, he opened his eyes only for them to widen when he saw the black-haired man that had defeated Alvida's crew effortlessly holding back Alvida's mace with his bare hand, the spikes not even harming him. His eyes, which had been dull before, now had a gleam of interest in them.
"Hm, this hammer's weights approximately… half a ton, I would say. And you are swinging it around with ease and you can also put some strength into it. It seems like there's a bit of hope for you yet, Alvida! Shishishishishi!" Declared Luffy with a laugh, not noticing the incredulous look Coby was looking at him with nor the fact Alvida had blushed slightly at his words. "In any case, however, I'm still going to cash in your bounty. I do need the money, you see. So, no hard feelings, eh?"
Then, under the widening eyes of Alvida and Coby, Luffy seemingly disappeared in a blur of motion, which made Alvida lose her balance for a second as she fell forward a bit and making Coby yelp as she jumped backwards so as to not get hit by her mace. In another blink of an eye, Luffy appeared above Alvida with his right fist cocked back. "Night, night!" He sang cheekily before he lashed out with his arm, clobbering Alvida over the head with enough strength to send her splattering to the sand, kicking it up in a cloud and rendering her blissfully unconscious with probably a concussion. If her physical strength was anything to go by, she was going to be fine.
"Well, that takes care of that," said Luffy with a chuckle as he clapped his hands lightly as if cleaning them after doing good job.
Coby stared at him with his mouth open, shifting his look from the unconscious Alvida to the grinning man that couldn't be too much older than him before he spoke hesitantly. "Just who the hell are you?" He had come out of nowhere and beat Alvida and her crew with an ease that was scary and if that wasn't enough, he was also physically strong enough to stop one of Alvida's strikes, which he knew were capable of easily destroying one of the warehouses in one blow, with his bare hand.
Luffy turned towards him and grinned widely as he pointed at himself with the thumb of his right hand. "My name is Monkey D. Luffy. And I am the man that's going to become the Pirate King!" He declared with such conviction that for a moment, Coby believed that this wasn't his ambition but rather an already given fact.
"You are a pirate?!" Luffy and Coby heard the seething voice and they both turned towards only to see the orange haired girl glaring at Luffy with barely repressed scorn and anger as she held two bags thrice her width and half her height that were obviously filled to the brim with money and other valuable things. "I thought you were just a bounty hunter, a mercenary or something like that but you are just scum?! I bet you are not even going to let me keep my cut, right?!" She shouted at him. She was angry at herself as well for not even considering that the handsome and interesting looking man could even be a pirate.
Luffy stared at her with a serious expression, actually making her feel a bit self-conscious, before it softened much to her surprise and he gave her an understanding smile. "You have had some experience with the scum that thinks that just because they had a ship and a jolly roger on their flag they are worthy of being called a pirate, yeah?" When her eyes widened, he nodded. "I get that. I have dealt with worthless men like that. And let me tell you… they are not real pirates!"
The orange haired girl gritted her teeth and glared at him. "How could you possibly understand?! There's no way you would know if you still decided to become a pirate!"
Luffy smiled in sadness. "Scum that called themselves pirates were indirectly responsible for the death of one of my sworn brothers," he said, which resulted in the instant evaporation of Nami's anger as she gasped and covered her mouth with one of her hands. Even Coby was looking at him with wide eyes. "Also, it was a man that called himself a pirate that humored me when I nagged him to take me with him on one of his voyages, taught me that cruelty and evilness should be fought and despised and also gave me a purpose," he said, fondly remembering his time spent with Shanks. "A pirate is not a man who just sails the seas, pillages and kill. That might come with the job because of how unforgiving this world is but it is not what defines us. A pirate is someone who is free. Someone with very few things that they won't do to accomplish their dreams. And I want to be freest of them all. I will find One Piece and become the Pirate King!"
"You want to find One Piece?! Impossible! Impossible! Impossible! It's been two decades ever since Gold Roger was executed and no one has yet to find it! Do you want to die or something? To become the Pirate King in the Pirate Era is utterly impossible! And- Ouch! Why did you hit me?!" Cried Coby as he crouched down and held the smoking lump that rose from the place that Luffy had hit him.
"You were being annoying," answered Luffy simply. "Besides, I ain't afraid of dying fighting for my dream. If I die before accomplishing it then that's all I was worth and I am okay with that. And the only reason no one has found it is because I have yet to start looking for it."
'Such drive and conviction…' thought Coby admiringly
Even the orange haired girl was giving him an admiring look, which she couldn't help since her previous world view had been shattered by his words. Also, she was pretty good judge of character and she could tell that this man, Monkey D. Luffy, was a good person. And he was pretty strong. Maybe… she shook her head immediately, not even letting that thought form completely. She was almost done gathering the money she needed. Asking for help after all this time would be pointless.
"Luffy-san!" Shouted Coby, getting the attention of the other two, as he stood up. "Then that means that even I could also accomplish my dreams if I'm willing to die for it? If I'm willing to put my life in the line for it, could I become a marine?!"
"A marine?" Asked Luffy, cocking his head to the side thoughtfully.
For a moment, the orange haired girl wondered if this boy was stupid, telling a man that wanted to become Pirate King that he wanted to become a part of the sworn enemies of the pirates. She was going to be shocked by him once again.
"Yes! Luffy-san, I know that would make us enemies in the future but joining the marines and catching bad guys has always been my dream!" He shouted.
"Is that so?" Mused Luffy before he grinned at Coby. "Then, if you are willing to put in the hard work and not mind dying for it, then I'm sure you can become a great marine, Coby!" He paused before shrugging his shoulders. "That is, if you don't mind the corruption and the overall cruelty disguised as absolute justice that most of them are spouting nowadays."
Coby's eyes widened. "What?"
Even the orange haired girl was giving him a curious and a bit scandalized look.
Luffy laughed in amusement. "Don't tell me that you thought all marines were just and benevolent, right? To tell you the truth, there are more evil and cruel marines disguising their selfish acts as justice than there are scum calling themselves pirates if you look at it in a ratio based analysis." He paused and a dark expression appeared on his face. "I should know considering that the marines did nothing to stop a part of the island I used to live in, the one in which the poor lived and that was also used as a dumpster by the wealthier ones, to be burned down just because they wanted the approval of someone one from the World Government."
His audience gasped in shock and he smiled wanly at them. "The world ain't black and white only. There are also shades of gray abound. And you don't judge people by what they are or what they say. You judge them by what they do and it's up to you to decide whether you agree with them or not, which would then tell you what kind of person you are after you answer that question. That was what that pirate taught me."
Coby gaped at him in disbelief before he shook his head and he tightened his fist, glaring at him in defiance. "I don't care! And if that's the case then I'm going to change the marines! If their truly only a corrupted bunch of evil guys sanctioned by the World Government then I'm going to go there and revolutionize it if I have to damnit! My dream is to become a marine, a symbol of true justice!"
The orange haired girl gave him an incredulous look while Luffy laughed in delight and grinned so widely at him that it looked almost ready to split his face. "That's what I like to hear. You know, gramps could use someone like you. He is also trying to change the marines back to how they were before the current administration of the World Government… encouraged them to become what they are today."
"Gramps?" Questioned the orange haired girl raising an eyebrow at him. "Your grandfather is a member of the marines and yet you decided to become a pirate? What gives?"
Luffy laughed. "Yeah. Drove him up the wall every time I told him I wanted to become one. I think it was the reason why his training consisted of pummeling me and my brothers, who also wanted to become pirates, to the ground using his patented 'Fist of love', throwing me off cliffs, tying me to flying balloons and leaving me for months to survive in a jungle with only the clothes I was wearing," he said before laughing again.
"What kind of grandfather does that…"
"Wait a second… your name is Monkey D. Luffy… and your grandfather is on the marines…" As Coby trailed off, Luffy grinned as realization slowly settled in him and laughed at the absolutely shocked expression on his face as he pointed a shaky finger in Luffy's direction. "You… you… you are the grandson of the Monkey D. Garp, the hero of the marines?!" He screeched.
Even as the orange haired girl also began to gape at him, Luffy simply nodded. "Yup. That's him. The craziest and most sadistic old man if you'll ever seen. Love him to death though," said Luffy with a shrug. He then turned towards the orange haired girl and peered at her curiously. "I never caught your name now that I think about it."
"It's… Nami…" she said weakly as she tried to wrap her head around the craziness that was now surrounding her after meeting this man.
"Nami, huh? That's a cute name," he grinned at her and laughed as she blushed and looked away mumbling something that he couldn't quite catch. "So, where are you going? I'm headed to Shells Town. I need to cash in Alvida's bounty at the Marine base over there and Coby also needs to head there since he wants to join the Marines."
Feeling oddly comfortable around him, which had nothing to do with the fact that the first compliment he had given her had been about her name instead of a physical aspect of her, Nami nodded. "I'm also headed there. I am a thief, you see. Marine bases have a lot of money laying around in case someone goes there to cash in a bounty. Also, there is a rumor that they have a map on how to get to the Grand Line there."
When he heard that, Coby turned incredulous eyes on her. "The Grand Line?! Why would you want go there if you are only a thief?! Haven't you heard the horror stories about that place and the monsters that sail those waters?! You'll be killed!"
Nami shrugged her shoulders. "I need to go there if I wan to reach my goal. I've pretty much robbed everyone worth stealing from in East Blue. I need to go to a place where it's a sure that I'm going to find the amount of money I need in one go. If that place is the Grand Line, then so be it."
"The money you need, not want, you say?" Asked Luffy, giving her a knowing look. He chuckled when her eyes widened, and she smacked a hand into her mouth after realizing how much of herself she revealed. "I don't care about that, Nami. But I sure as hell like your guts and your willingness to put your life in the line for your goals, whatever they might be. Tell you what. I know how to get to the Grand Line and I also know that as you are now you are going to get killed before you set sail in those waters. In exchange for, let's say, twenty percent of what you steal, I'll take you to the Grand Line, help you with your stealing and train you up until you are strong enough to at least have a fair chance at surviving. I also kind of need the money, you see. Deal?"
Nami locked eyes with him and she was surprised to the amount of sincerity she saw in his eyes. "If I say yes, do I get to keep eighty percent of this haul instead of only fifty percent of it like we originally agreed?" She probed him. She didn't know why she was even humoring him, but there was something about him that called out to her, and it had nothing to do with his handsome face and delicious looking and ripped arms. Her gut told her that this Monkey D. Luffy could be trusted and she trusted her instincts quite a lot. They have saved her life more times that she could count.
"Sure! Keep all of it if you want, as a matter of fact," Luffy said with a laugh before he nudged Alvida's prone body with a foot. "I'll get enough money out of this bit of excitement when I cash her bounty. I need the money, sure, but I'm not that greedy."
Nami laughed with him, feeling strangely elated. "Then in that case you just found yourself a partner in crime!" She declared and extended one hand towards him and she hid the pleasant shudder that rand through her entire body when she felt his calloused hand wrap almost gently around her smaller one as he shook her hand firmly, sealing their deal. "Do you have a boat big enough to carry us three and all our things? Because I don't."
"Nope… but…" he trailed off as he smiled slyly as he looked down at Alvida before he pointed at her ship. "I don't think she is going to be using that ship much in the future, right? It's gonna need a complete makeover. I refuse to sail on a ship that ugly and with a duck with hearts for eyes as a figurehead of all things."
"And Alvida's ship is pretty well known around here, so we would surely be fired at before we even get close to Shells Town," she said dryly before she regaled Luffy with a beautiful smile as she put her hands on her hips. Her smile widened when she noticed that he blushed as he looked at her. "I like how you work, Luffy. You are not that bad, even if you are a pirate. I think we can make this partnership work."
Luffy laughed as he nodded in agreement. "Shishishishishi! Likewise, Nami, likewise!"
As the two of them laughed out loud in a moment of comradery, Coby hoped that relating with these two, even if it was going to be just for a few days, wouldn't ruin his chances of joining the marines.
It took them almost the rest of the day, but with the… forced assistance… of the Alvida pirates that were not dead and could still move, Luffy managed to turn Alvida's ship into an inconspicuous one. He accomplished that by changing the painting where it been pink to a standard tanned color and where it had been white to a deep red one. He had also gotten rid of the sails with hearts and the flags that had Alvida's jolly roger and changed them for blank ones.
He tied also their boats to the starboard and port of the ship since there was no way they were going to leave them behind so the surviving members of Alvida's crew could use it to leave the island. They could use Coby's ugly boat for all Luffy cared.
It had been pretty funny for Luffy but horrifyingly shocking for Nami and Coby, when Luffy had called Nina who towed his boat towards them so he could tie it to the ship's port. While the two of them had gaped in shock and horror, Luffy went, tied his dhoni to the ship and retrieved his things from it and put them away. When Nami got her senses back after seeing a Sea King obeying a human and behaving like a puppy, she told Luffy where her own boat was, and he had Nina go and retrieve it so they could get her things on board as well.
Luffy removed the figurehead of a duck and the two hearts that the ship had at its sides. Despite only doing that, the ship looked completely different than before and was actually decently looking. After they were done, Luffy had them load the ship with all of their provisions before knocking them out and leaving them on the shore next to the bodies of their dead crewmates.
They tied up the unconscious Alvida up in a way that she couldn't get enough leverage to use her impressive strength to set herself free and put her in one of the cells that were located in the hold of the ship.
The sun was starting to set when they were ready to leave and Luffy was standing in front of the helm with Nami and Coby after he and the pink haired boy brought down the sails in order to allow the wind to push them forward. Nina, as was her job, was also helping moving the ship forward, this time using thicker rope of better quality that Alvida and her crew had laying around in one of the warehouses. He tied it to the ship using the windows for the cannon that were closer to the bow of the ship.
He looked at the map and his compass before he spoke musingly. "I think if we keep this speed, all thanks to Nina, we should be able to reaching Shells Town in about two days more or less."
In a move that surprised Luffy, Nami took the map and compass from him as she shook her head. "While that might be true in most circumstances, I'll have you know that I am also a master navigator. At this speed I can get us there in just a day and a half at the most. I still can't believe you somehow tamed a Sea King, named it Nina and are using her to tow the ship and keep it in the right direction at all times but that's a godsend for all navigators."
Luffy stared at her profile blankly for a few moments before nodding resolutely. "I have decided. You are going to be the navigator of my pirate crew," he announced with a grin.
Nami turned towards him with a glare. "Oh, hell no! I'm willing to travel with you because of this partnership that's going to help me get money and because you are going to take me to the Grand Line but the moment I get my money, we are going on our different ways." She might have realized that maybe not all pirates are scum, but there was a big gap between that and willingly joining a pirate crew.
"I don't care. I have already decided that you are going to be my navigator, Nami. How much money do you need anyways?"
"One hundred million," she stated bluntly.
Coby spluttered to the side as his eyes widened in disbelief.
Luffy whistled at the amount. "Damn. That's quite a lot. How much have you gathered including today's haul?"
Nami replied immediately and still bluntly. "Including what I stole today, I'm short around fifteen million beri."
Luffy grinned. "Tell you what. If you agree to become my navigator, you get to keep everything you steal. You don't have to give me twenty percent of it."
"I refuse," replied Nami instantly.
"And I refuse your refusal."
Nami turned towards him with a comically angry face with blank eyes and shark like teeth. "That's not how it works you moron!"
Luffy just laughed while Coby shook his head at their antics.
After Nami made the modifications to their course and Luffy told Nina to always listen to Nami when she gave instructions about the direction they were going and then having a very hearty dinner, the three of them decided to go to sleep.
Since Luffy was going to train her, and Nami was aware that it took a lot of energy considering that she had trained herself to wield a staff in the past, she knew that she needed to get as much sleep as she could if she wanted to make the most of it. Normally, she preferred running over fighting, but she also knew that the more tricks she had up her sleeve the bigger the chances she had at survival so she was going to at least put some effort to it.
Coby for his part just wanted to go to sleep now because Alvida always forced her crew to go to sleep after midnight and wake up before dawn. Now that he was free of her, he wanted to spit on his time with her as much as he could. Sleeping for a longer period of time was doing exactly that in his mind. He had gone to the first mate quarters to sleep, since Alvida's first mate had been his main tormentor when it wasn't Alvida who was doing it.
Once again shocking Nami, Luffy told her that she could use the Captain's quarters, which had also been given a makeover after removing everything that had 'Alvida's touch'. His reason had been that he saw her shivering when they were outside, and he knew that the crew's quarter was no better. The captain's cabin was warmer and there was also a king-sized bed that she could use. Luffy didn't mind the cold and he actually preferred sleeping under the stars. So, after a grateful Nami thanked him and moved inside, he quickly made himself quite a big and comfy hammock with some of the unused blank sails by tying its ends to the main mast and the foremast. He went to sleep that night with a content smile on his face.
Nami woke up the very next day feeling refreshed, something that had not happened in a long time, and she once again thanked Luffy in her mind for giving her the captain's quarters to her. She didn't like cold temperatures.
As she began to do her morning routine of showering and brushing her teeth, which she could do thanks to the utilities of Alvida's (No longer) ship, she thought to herself, 'Huh, that's a first. I didn't even think of escaping with all the money here. Luffy has enough for me to almost reach the amount I need. But I couldn't do that to him. Despite him being a pirate, he's a genuinely nice guy and I only needed yesterday to see that. Besides, it's not like… Nina… was going to let me go very far if I did that,' she thought to herself dryly as she put on red shirt, jean shorts and boots.
She stepped put of the cabin and she smiled as the rays of the sun hit her face directly. Judging by its position the time should be about eight, give it or take it a few minutes. It was after that that she heard a few grunts coming from the main deck and she went down the stairs towards it, only to blush pink as she saw Luffy doing handstand pushups without his shirt on.
Nami subconsciously licked her lips as she saw the muscles, all of them she idly noted, rippling with his movements. 'Oh, Nami likes very much,' she thought to herself. Even though she had yet to have sex, Nami was not a stranger to the matters of the flesh, having using her body and attractiveness to distract and lure in her targets. So, she had no issues with appreciating something attractive when she saw it and Luffy was definitely the most attractive male she had ever seen, period.
"… and 2000!" Declared Luffy, his voice barely strained, before he pushed himself towards the air with his arms, flipping in a motion that when he landed had him facing Nami, giving her a look of his front, which was as ripped as his back, with six-pack abs and all that. The fact that he was glistening with sweat and his damp hair was sticking to his forehead and neck only made him look hotter in Nami's very objective and truthful opinion. Luffy grinned when he saw Nami standing there looking at him intently. "Good morning, Nami! Sleep well?"
After a few moments she shook her head and nodded at him. "Yeah. Best sleep I had in a while, to be honest," she said as she approached him. She tried to not show how disappointed she was when he dried his body, face and hair with a towel before putting on his red button-up shirt. "So, how are you going to go about this training me thing?" She asked with a raised eyebrow.
Luffy grinned. "First we are going to spar so I can see just exactly at what level you are. After that we'll see. There are a few techniques you'll definitely need to learn if you want to survive the Grand Line. We'll start with that as a base and build up from there."
Nami blanched as a nervous expression appeared on her face. "I have to fight you?!" She almost squeaked, remembering how ruthless he had been when facing Alvida's crew yesterday. Watching him kill, maim and break them so effortlessly had been as horrifying as it had been awe-inspiring. The thought of fighting Luffy was one that terrified her.
Luffy, looking at her expression and quickly deducing what she was thinking, was quick to assure her. "Hey, don't worry. I'm not going to fight you like I did with those guys yesterday. That was a real fight to the death. They were trying to kill me, so I had to respond in kind. This is just a spar. I'm just going to be testing your skills. I won't even be using my sword and my pistol, so relax."
Visibly sighing in relief, Nami nodded. "Okay. Let's do it then," she said before she walked back a bit and making sure that she was considerably far away from the main mast. The ship that used to belong to Alvida was big, so there was enough space at the main deck that they could use for the spar without fear of getting close to something that might make it more difficult for them to spar. She pulled out her retractable bot staff and held it in the natural stance she felt more comfortable in.
Luffy took one look at her and smiled in approval. "You were self-taught?" She nodded at his question. "I can see that because of your stance. You look very at home standing like that and holding your bo-staff. While not having a formal style would normally be detrimental, I find it that instinctually doing what feels best coupled with actual fighting experience beats any kind of formal training. You have fought a lot in the past, haven't you?"
Nami scowled, recalling the many things she has been through in the past, both before and after Arlong. She simply nodded her head. "Yes."
Giving her another smile, Luffy slowly slipped into a defensive stance seamlessly. "Alright then. Come at me with everything you've got. I want to test your strength, speed, reflexes, flexibility, defensive ability and dodging ability. Be prepared for anything!"
Nami tightened her hold around her staff and she went on the attack. It didn't take long for Luffy to determine at what level she was as he evaded, blocked and parried her attacks. For someone without the training required to become truly a force to be reckoned with, meaning within what could be reached by a normal human, Nami was above average in strength, being comparable to Alvida's own strength. She fell a bit behind in the speed department but she made up for it with her decent reflexes, flexibility and dodging ability. She wasn't that good when it came to her defensive abilities though.
Honestly, she was better than he was expecting her to be. In comparison to yesterday's guys, Luffy estimated that she would've been able to take on three or four of them at the same time, which would have been more than enough to survive here in East Blue. However, since she was planning to go to the Grand Line, she needed much more than that. Luckily for her, Nami had ran into him and he knew more than enough to get her up to snuff.
He ducked under the swing that was coming towards his head from the right side and after following the momentum of her swing into spin which she used to get her staff in position to stab the end of the end if it towards his core, he simply grabbed it before it could hit him. He was grinning widely, not even sweating, meanwhile Nami was panting harshly and was starting to sweat. The spar had gone for about five minutes or so but it had been enough for Luffy to see all that.
"You have a very strong foundation, Nami. You are actually better than what I expected you would be," he praised her, laughing when she smirked and almost preened. "However, you are still far from where you need to be if you want to survive in the Grand Line. First of all, you need to increase your physical abilities way beyond where they are now. In second order, you need to learn a few techniques that will increase your combat ability. I'm going show you those techniques in a short moment, so you can see what your goal is. And lastly, but not as pressing, the bo-staff is a very good weapon but you might want to look into getting a weapon that is more… prone to cause permanent damage… like a glaive or a spear."
Nami nodded in understanding. "That seems sensible enough. As long as I don end up like a walking hulking mass of muscles, I'm willing to do whatever," she said honestly. There were few things she was not willing to do to increase her chances of survival, and one of them was jeopardizing her wonderful and sexy figure.
"Wouldn't even dream of it," he joked after giving her an appreciative look, both pleasing her and making her blush at the confirmation that he indeed found her attractive enough to at least take notice. Luffy laughed at her and shook his head before backing away a bit. "Now, pay close attention. These are the techniques I feel you should learn which lean more towards your set fighting style. The first one, and easiest to learn, is Soru," he said before disappearing only to reappear on forecastle deck in a blur of motion. In the same blur he went back to where he was.
As Nami gaped at him, he grinned. "It consists of having enough leg strength to move at extremely high speeds by kicking off the ground at least ten times in the blink of an eye. Then we have Geppo," he said before he jumped up… only to continue jumping up as he kicked off the air itself, causing Nami to gasp as she saw this. After a few moments. Luffy allowed himself to fall back to the deck. "After you have achieved enough leg strength use Soru, you only need to take it a couple of levels above that in order to be capable of using Geppo."
Luffy then walked back towards her and stopped when he was at a distance that she could strike at him with a staff. "And finally, we have Kami-e. This technique allows you to dodge attacks by making your body extraordinarily flexible, enough that it would seem like you are floating or bending your body like paper. Attack me as fast as you can." After a few moments of gathering her wits, Nami began to attack Luffy again and this time he only dodged, and she immediately noticed the difference from before, as his moves were now even smoother and more graceful than before, his body looking exactly like he said it would when he explained what the technique did. After telling her to stop when he deemed that she had seen enough, Luffy smirked at her. "So, what do you think?"
"Do you really think I will be able to do that?" She asked him dubiously. She was all for learning them, immediately seeing how those techniques would both increase her abilities in a fight and her chances at survival, but being able to move faster than what the normal eye could follow, jumping from the air itself and become flexible enough to move your body like it was made of jelly was way above of what she considered to be possible before. 'Perhaps he… No! It looks too good to be true.'
Luffy nodded his head, easily waving off her concern. "Of course. With enough dedication, time and the correct type of training anyone can learn those techniques. So, as long as you do as I say and don't slack off, I'll you'll be able to use them in about six weeks' time if you don't skip a day of training, that is."
With a sigh of acceptance, Nami nodded and visible braced herself. "Alright then. I'm ready. Let's get to it. I have to check the course and then count the money I stole to get an exact amount of how much it was that I stole."
Luffy's answering grin was foreboding enough to make Nami shudder and not in a good way.
A few minutes later, Coby joined them and Luffy managed to convince him to join Nami in training. The poor boy did so with some eagerness at first but later was regretting it both because Luffy was an absolute bastard sadist when it came to training and because it turned out that Nami was even more terrifying than Alvida when she was angry. She was none too happy with Luffy after he put them through strenuous leg exercises and evasion practice that consisted in him throwing pebbles continuously at them.
That day, Nami only managed to check the course before she had to lay down because of how sore and tired she was. She fell sleep cursing Luffy to kingdom come and Coby passed propped against the main mast and without even eating as he was too tired to even move. Luffy, in contrast, was no different in how content he was feeling the moment sleep claimed him as he laid on his hammock.
"So that's Shells Town," said Luffy musingly as he stared at the island from where he stood leaning against the railing of the forecastle deck of the ship. They were about four kilometers away from the island that housed it. It was mostly completely flat and there were very few threes from what Luffy could see. The tallest buildings there were the two main ones that made up the Marine base and they were surrounded by the buildings that made up Shells Town proper. "We arrived exactly in the time Nami said we would. That's my navigator for you alright!"
"I'm going to kill you," she growled from where she stood at his side wearing a long-sleeved thin shirt and jeans to hide the welts and bruises that were the result of her not being able to dodge the pebbles Luffy threw at them yesterday and today. She had been angry at him yesterday for the torture masked as training he had them do but the fact that he forced the same thing on them today had her wanting to strangle him and drown him. "And for the umpteenth time, I'm not your damned navigator!"
"Of course you are, silly," he said with a laugh. He ignored her snarl-of-anger/whimper-of-pain as he turned towards Coby. "What can you tell me about Shells Town? I only know that there was a marine base stationed here."
Coby groaned, and with visible effort, he raised his head to look at him. "Not long ago that was the only notable thing of this place, but a few days ago there were rumors that 'Pirate Hunter' Roronoa Zoro was seen here."
Luffy's eyes gleamed in interest. "Oh! I've heard of him. He's supposed to be the strongest bounty hunter here in East Blue. I wonder if I should recruit him for my crew," he spoke thoughtfully.
Coby's eyes widened in disbelief. "Are you for real?! It's been said that he's like a monster and that he's evil! It would never work out for you!"
"You don't know that for sure," he said with a laugh. "If he turns out to be a decent enough guy I'll definitely recruit him. It's guy like him that I want for my crew after all." He then turned back towards Nami, ignoring Coby's mutters of him being crazy. "So, this what we are going to do. I'll go first and cash in Alvida's bounty. After that I'll return to the ship with the money and go back to make a ruckus to make a distraction for you to sneak into the base and steal as much money as you can."
Seemingly forgetting her anger and soreness, Nami smiled brightly as she gave him a thumb up. "That's plan I can easily fall behind."
Luffy chuckled at her one-track mind when money was involved. "Besides, I need to start making a name for myself as a pirate. Raiding a marine base should be a good way to start, right? Shishishishishi!"
"Um, guys," spoke Coby hesitantly as he raised his hand. "You do know that I am planning to join the marines, right? I am afraid I can't allow you to do that now that I know you are serious about it. We might be friends, but that's something I can't condone in good consciousness."
After he finished speaking, Luffy and Nami exchanged blank looks before they turned towards Coby with identical evil grins on their faces.
It at this moment… that Coby knew… he fucked up.
A few minutes later he was whimpering and struggling against his bonds as he was being lowered to the sea in Luffy's boat. There were a few barrels with food and water to make it seem like he had set out on his own towards Shells Town. By the time he managed to untie himself and set the sails to make it to the island, Luffy and Nami would be long gone.
As they made distance between them, Nami waved merrily at Coby. "You are a nice guy, Coby, but I won't allow you to prevent me from getting my money!" The fact that she was going to steal the money from whom it actually belonged wasn't brought up. As far as Nami was concerned, all money belonged to her and she was just allowing everyone else to have it until she decided to take it back.
"And I am a pirate! This shouldn't come off as a surprise for you!" Added Luffy while grinning like a loon. "Besides, this actually works for you. Now no one would suspect you are even related to pirates since no one is going to see you get off the same ship as me so you should be thanking me!"
Since he was gagged, Coby's answering shout was just muffled gibberish.
After that, Nami took control of the ship while Luffy had untied Nina from it and relieved her from her work, telling her that she could do whatever she wanted as long as she stayed within hearing range and submerged. After an affectionate pat and a loving purr, Nina disappeared to the depths of the oceans to do what Sea Kings did when they weren't terrorizing humans or, in Nina's case, towing a ship and keeping it on course.
When they were just about to dock, Luffy went to the lower deck and retrieved a pouch of money just in case and took out Alvida who was still passed out, which told Luffy that either he hit her harder than he thought he did or that she wasn't as resilient as her physical strength would suggest. They both lowered the anchor and tied the ship to the dock using some of the rope they used to tie Nina to the ship and when they were set after folding the sails and lowering the flag they stepped towards the dock. Luffy, who was dragging an unconscious Alvida who had her head covered up with a bag, and Nami approached the dockmaster.
"How much for leaving our ship here?" He asked simply.
The dockmaster gave him and his cargo a weary look before he leered perversely at Nami, which ended when she grinned threateningly at him and made as if she was going to reach for some kind of weapon. He hurriedly turned towards Luffy, his face pale. "For… for how long you are going to stay?"
"We should be leaving by midday more or less."
"Then in that case it's going to be four thousand beries. One thousand per hour."
Nami looked ready to argue but Luffy had no issues with it, knowing that the price was about the same, perhaps a bit cheaper, back in Foosha. "Here you go," he told him after holding Nami back and passing him the amount it was required. The man quickly took the money and ushered them away after giving Nami a fearful look.
"That was a complete scam! That's almost double the amount of what I usually have to pay!" She complained, not mentioning the fact that she would always flirt with the dockmasters to get them to lower the prices for her.
"The larger the ship, the bigger the amount that needs to be paid to use the docks," said Luffy in a way of explanation. He ignored the shocked looks being sent his way as the inhabitants of the town noticed that he was dragging what seemed to be an unconscious 'Iron Mace' Alvida, who despite having her face covered, was still recognizable because here in the East Blue she was the only woman with her dimensions. "Besides, we have to keep as low as profile as we can until I can cash in this one's bounty and then attack the base if you want to get away with stealing from the base with no one being the wiser about it being you."
Nami hated the fact that he was right. "Fine! But from now on any time that spending money is involved, then I'm going to be the one calling the shots, is that clear?"
Luffy raised an eyebrow at her. "Does that mean that apart from navigator, you also want to be the treasurer of my crew?"
"Yes," she replied instantly. A moment later and noticing Luffy's grin, she began to rapidly shake her head. "I mean no! I just don't want to pay more than what it's needed for stuff. Money is important you know? And for the last time! I am not your navigator, Luffy!"
"Whatever you say, Nami."
After a few minutes, Luffy and Nami split up. Luffy made his way towards the marine base while Nami, to kill time more than anything else, decided, on Luffy's suggestion, to gather information on what kind of marines inhabited the base and to confirm whether or not 'Pirate Hunter' Roronoa Zoro was actually here.
It didn't take long for Luffy to reach the marine base and after stating his business at the front door, and showing them Alvida's face as proof, he was quickly ushered inside. The marine that was leading him towards the building kept giving him suspicious looks because of his get up and his weapons but thanks to Luffy's goofy grin he didn't do more than that. While they were on the path and passing a wired fence Luffy took notice of a figure tied up to a wooden cross.
'He's got an aura of true strength and intimidation around him,' thought Luffy to himself as he looked at him. The man was wearing black trousers tucked into black boots, a plain white t-shirt with three buttons undone at the collar, a green haramaki around his waist and a black bandanna tied around his head. He also looked pretty scuffed up, his body covered in bruises, scraps and dirt. 'He obviously looks strong and the way he is tied up it wouldn't have been too difficult to set himself free. So, why is he still there?'
Despite his curiosity, Luffy continued following the marine. He first took him to a holding cell in which he deposited Alvida after he took the bag that covered her head and the ropes that kept her tied up away. Just because he didn't like Marines, he neglected to tell them that without her being tied in the manner in which she was, it was going to be a piece of cake for her to escape from the cell using her strength.
After that, Luffy was taken to the treasurer of the base who blandly thanked him for turning the bounty of a known and dangerous criminal before he proceeded to count the money, all of it in paper format, in front of him. After that was done, the money was put in a suitcase and they gave it to him. Luffy just grinned at them and told them that it was a pleasure to make business with them before he merrily began to make his out, five million beries richer than he used to be when he had come in.
As he was making his way out, Luffy once again turned towards again towards the man tied up against a cross only to raise his eyebrow in interest when he saw that he was joined by a little girl with brown hair that looked to be pretty scared and a skinny and lanky-looking young man with light blonde hair shaped like a sideways oval on top of his head and a cleft chin that was wearing a purple tuxedo and white shoes who was being flanked by two marines in their standard garb. From where he was standing, Luffy could see what was happening and hear what they were saying.
"Well hello, little girl. These rice balls look pretty tasty," said the blond man with a nasally voice as he snatched the rice balls the girl had been presenting to the man that was tied up, who now Luffy noticed was glaring daggers at the blond man.
The little girl lost her scared look and she glared up at the blond. "Hey! Stop that! Those rice ball aren't for you! I made them for Zoro-oniichan!"
'Eh? So that's 'Pirate Hunter' Roronoa Zoro. That's one mystery solved, I guess. I'm still wondering why he has yet to set himself free if he is as strong as he looks and also supposed to be. There's more to this than him being captured and put in display like that to humiliate him,' he thought as he continued to watch on.
The blond man ignored her as he took a bite of one, only to grimace as he spat them back out. "Blegh! You put too much sugar in it! You are supposed to put salt in these things!"
The girl visibly teared up. "But… but I thought they would taste better if they were sweet…"
"How could someone eat something like this?! Damn it!" He threw the rice balls to the ground and began to stomp on them. Luffy scowled at this and he noticed that Zoro's glare had also intensified as his lips curled into a snarl of anger.
"Aah! Stop it! Stop! He won't be able to eat them anymore!" cried the little girl in distress as she knelt on the ground to try and stop the blond man from stomping on the rice balls, which was moot, since they were pretty much ruined at this point.
After he finished stomping on them, the blond man smiled mockingly down at her. "Don't worry. The ants will surely eat them," he said before laughing in a condescending fashion.
Even though this man was quickly earning his ire because of how cruel he was being, Luffy still kept enough wits about him to remain in control of himself. It was because of this that he also noticed that the ropes were straining against Zoro's muscles even if he was visibly restraining himself from breaking them so he could beat up the blond man if the glare on his face directed towards him was anything to go by.
Now crying, the little girl looked up at the blond man. "… That's so cruel. I… I worked really hard to make them…"
"Aww, don't cry! It's no wonder why hate brats so much!" He mocked her before he pointed at a sign that was right next to the cross to which Zoro was tied to. "It's all your fault, you know? Didn't you see what's written here? 'Anyone who helps a prisoner will be charged with the same crime. -Marine Captain Morgan-.'" Luffy took notice of how the two marines in standard garb and the little girl flinched when the blond man read 'Captain Morgan' aloud. The blond then knelt down in front of the girl and cupped her chin as he leered malevolently at her. "You know how scary my dad can be, right? You would've gotten the dead penalty if it was him who found you here."
When the girl paled, he laughed a loud and stood after patting her head condescendingly. He turned towards one of the marines that was flanking him. "Oi. Throw this brat out."
"Huh?!" The man looked shocked and appalled as he looked at the blond man.
The blond man quickly got in his face and grabbed him by the collar of his uniform. "I'm telling you to throw her out of here! Are you trying to disobey me?! I'm telling my dad! And you know what will happen to you if I do!"
The man, now visibly scared, just nodded his head shakily. "A… aye sir!"
Luffy watched as the man knelt down in front of the girl, who was now shaking, and whispered something to her that had her calm down a bit and nod minutely to him. He watched as the man allowed her to brace herself before he grabbed her by the scruff of her dress and threw her with only enough strength to make her cross the wall. Taking note of this, Luffy quickly used Soru and in a blur of silent motion he appeared at the other side of the wall just in time to catch the little girl by gently stopping her momentum and tucking her into his chest.
She looked up at him with confused and tearful eyes for a moment before she realized what had happened. She smiled happily at him as he set her down. "Thank you, onii-chan!"
"You're welcome!" He responded with a grin before he pointed towards wall. "Hey, did you sneak in to give that tied up guy some food? If he is being held up by the Marines then that means that he is a criminal and a bad guy, right?" Luffy knew that this wasn't the case but he was curious to know what happened.
"No, he's not!" Denied the girl vehemently with a shake of her head. "Zoro-oniichan didn't do anything wrong. It's just that the people of this town are afraid of him because of his reputation and because he looks scary. He got arrested because of me. He killed Helmeppo's pet wolf because he was letting it run around town and it was scaring everyone. It was about to bite me when Zoro-oniichan put it down."
Luffy raised an eyebrow at her. "So, he got arrested because he killed someone's pet wolf?"
The girl nodded. "Yeah! Helmeppo is Captain Morgan's son and everyone is afraid of them because disobeying them will get you executed and Helmeppo takes advantage of that to do what he wants in this town."
"I see," replied Luffy before he grinned and ruffled the girl's hair earning a cute and annoyed pout from her. "Thank you for telling me that. Now, go home and stay away from here, alright? We don't know what that Helmeppo guy will do to you if he sees you lurking around here after he ordered you thrown out like that, do we?"
The girl hurriedly nodded, thanked him again and scurried away further into the town. Luffy then turned towards the wall and using Soru again he found himself standing a few feet away from Zoro in blur of motion. Helmeppo and his two marine guards were nowhere to be seen at the moment. Luffy stared at Zoro for a few moments and he grinned when he saw Zoro raise his head to look at him with some surprise in his eyes.
"Who in the fuck are you?"
Luffy's grin widened. "My name is Monkey D. Luffy. And you are 'Pirate Hunter' Roronoa Zoro. And I have decided you'll be joining my pirate crew!"
Zoro scoffed. "Pirate? Heh. So you just gave up on life and became a crook huh… ?"
"Nope," replied Luffy, grin not lessening. "It's my dream to become the Pirate King and there ain't nothing wrong with it!"
"Your dream, huh? I can't judge for that even if you are surely a fool because of it!" Said Zoro before he grinned nastily. "So? You gonna set me free and force me to join you then?" He challenged him.
Luffy shrugged his shoulders. "If that's what you want then I can set you free now. You'll be joining my pirate crew in any case though."
"You are really a fool," chuckled Zoro before he shook his head. "I'm not going to join you. I have unfinished business here. I just need to stay alive here without food or water for twenty-one more days and that bastard kid promised to let me go afterwards. I'm going to stay alive no matter what! Because if I can't overcome something as simple as this then I might as well give up on the path I have chosen and kill myself!"
After hearing those words and the conviction behind them, Luffy's grin threatened to split his face in half. "You are definitely going to become part of my crew! I'm going to wait for you to finish your businesses, even though I wouldn't put my trust in the words of trash like Helmeppo. Besides, it's not like I am in a hurry or anything," he laughed, momentarily forgetting that he was not travelling alone and that he was going to make a ruckus later so his travelling-partner-who-was-still-in-denial-about-being-the-navigator-of-his-crew could steal this base dry of money and other valuable things.
Zoro shook his head. "You might as well go and find someone else to join because it ain't gonna be me," said Zoro. When Luffy just laughed and turned to walk away he spoke again. "Wait! Before you go… can you pick up those rice balls and give them to me?
Luffy's grin softened into a smile for a second before he knelt down and picked up the ruined rice balls. "You want to eat this? They are all muddy but I guess you can't be picky about food when you are hungry…" he trailed off as he turned the ruined rice ball into an actual ball.
"Shut up! Just give it to me! Let me eat all of it!" Said Zoro, opening his mouth wide. His eyes teared and he got a strained look on his face when Luffy threw the rice ball directly into his mouth and he began to chew. After visibly struggling to swallow it, Zoro panted in exhaustion and coughed. "… tell that little girl… 'Thank you for the food. It was delicious. The best thing I have ever eaten.'"
Luffy's smile widened. "Will do."
Now he definitely wanted Zoro to be a part his crew. A man willing to throw away his pride to make a little girl that tried to help him happy after watching her being verbally abused while been denied of the chance to help him was a man that even Shanks would approve of. His reputation and supposed strength were truthfully just an added bonus. With a grin on his face, Luffy slipped into Soru so he could take the money back to the ship and find Nami as quick as possible so he could tell her of the change of plans.
Hopefully she wouldn't be too angry with him for it.
Nami had a scowl on her face as she listened to the little girl that was the owner of the restaurant in which she had gotten something to drink after she spent some time exploring the town and gathering information on the marines here. She had been disgusted on how the leader of the Marines stationed here, a Captain Morgan, and his son Helmeppo, treated the inhabitants of the town as if they were their subjects. The fact that this confirmed Luffy's words about not all Marines being the paragons of law, order and justice only showed her that his temporary partner was someone sincere.
"… and that was when this tall onii-chan wearing a straw hat caught me. I also told him what happened with Zoro-oniichan before he sent me off."
Nami nodded before she perked up at her words. "A tall onii-chan wearing a straw hat?"
"Yeah," the girl nodded before cocking her head to the side. "Do you know each other?"
Nami nodded with a strained smile on her face. "You could say that," she simply answered. On the inside was another story. 'If that idiot has gone and done something ruin my chances of getting my money, I'm going to strangle him!' She thought, not noticing that the little girl had taken a step back because she was giving off an aura of death and a vein from her forehead was pulsing.
That was when she heard an annoying laugh and she turned towards it only to see everyone else making a path and quickly kneeling down and bowing for a thin blond-haired man with a cleft chin and wearing a purple tuxedo who was swaggering through the street as if he owned it. He was also being flanked by two marines who looked like they wanted to be anywhere but there. "Who dares raise his head? I'll tell my dad!"
'So that's Helmeppo… it's the first time I see him, but I have the urge to shove my staff up his ass,' she thought to herself as she surreptitiously moved herself so she was out of sight from anyone. There was no way in hell she was going to kneel and bow before this fool even to mix in with the crowd.
"Do you want to be like Roronoa Zoro? I'm going to publicly execute him in three days! I'm going to use him to set an example for all of you! It's going to be pretty interesting…" he bragged with a disgusting grin on his face.
'That fucking bastard!' She thought angrily as she glared at him from her position. The little girl had told her about what happened with Zoro, Helmeppo, his wolf and the deal between them. She had been surprised to hear that Zoro, other than his scary appearance and foul temper, was actually a decent guy who would sacrifice himself like to protect a little girl. To think that Helmeppo tricked him and was planning on executing him after making him spend nine days tied up to a cross and starving had her wanting to put nails on her staff before shoving it up his ass. She was conflicted, however, as she didn't want to go and call attention to herself before she moving in to steal their money, which would be a form of sticking up to him too to be honest.
Thankfully, there was no need for her to decide.
"Oi," said a serious voice and all eyes turned towards it and Nami's eyes widened when she saw it was Luffy who was slowly walking towards the smug looking Helmeppo. The bill of his hat shadowing his eyes and the corner of his mouth pulled down in a scowl. It was the first time Nami had seen him this angry and it honestly had her feeling a bit nervous because she knew what he was capable off when he wasn't being serious. "Didn't you say you'll give him a month and then you'll set him free?"
Helmeppo didn't noticed the danger he was in and just laughed in derision. "Who are you? How rude. I was only joking with him! Only an idiot would believe that!" He said before he began to laugh, not noticing how everyone turned to scowl at him.
Nami only saw Luffy gritting his teeth before he was sinking his fist into Helmeppo's face making it mold against it and likely breaking his nose if the cracking sound she heard was anything to go by before he was sent flying away. It was only because of his guards catching him that he didn't smack into the building at the other end of the street.
"I have decided!" Luffy declared as everyone began to mutter in shock about who he was and the fact that he had just signed his death warrant by hitting Captain Morgan's son. "I'm going to ask Zoro to join me crew!"
When Nami saw Luffy's eyes flickering towards where she was, she understood this was the 'ruckus' he was going to cause. She grinned before slipping away in the direction of the Marine base, momentarily ignoring the thought of how hot Luffy looked in her opinion when he went and punched that bastard right in the face.
Luffy glared at the back of Helmeppo's head as he was being taken away by his guards who Luffy noticed were trying to hide their grins from their charge as they did so. When they disappeared after turning around the corner of the street, Luffy turned towards the little girl he had caught and sent away a few minutes ago. She was looking up at him with even more awe than before and he grinned at her. "You know, Zoro ate your rice balls. He told me to give you his thanks and that they were delicious and the best thing he has ever eaten."
"Really?!" The little girls' eyes lit up as she heard this.
Luffy nodded his head. "Really."
She smiled widely at him. "I'm so happy!"
Luffy just grinned at her before he began to make his way back towards the base. He was going to take it slow since he had to give Nami enough time to get into position to get in before he started the distraction in order to give her as much time as he could. Even though this had turned personal the moment Helmeppo declared that he was going to kill Zoro anyways and sooner than what he told Zoro he would set him free, there was no need to take advantage of the situation. The only difference now was that he was going to take a bit of personal pleasure out of it and hopefully get another crewmember.
Luffy arrived at the Marine entrance and with another application of Soru he was standing in front of Zoro again. "Yo."
Zoro looked up only to frown when he caught sight of him. "You again? Not even ten minutes have passed. Can't you even wait as long as you said you would? No matter, I already told you that I'm not going to become a-"
"Helmeppo just told the entire town that he was going to execute you in three days. He told me directly to my face that he was just joking with you and that just a fool would believe him. I told you that you couldn't trust trash like him," he told him seriously. There were moments for joking around but this wasn't one.
One look at Luffy's face and hearing the seriousness of his voice and also knowing that doing something like that was well within what that bastard could do made Zoro instantly believe him. "That motherfucking piece of shit! I'm going to kill him!" He declared with a snarl as he began to struggle to free himself.
Luffy nodded. "I didn't expect anything else," he said before he raised an eyebrow as Zoro continued to struggle. The ropes were straining against his strength but it was clear that Zoro couldn't muster the strength to set himself free. "Do you want help?"
"No! I can do it myself! I'm just a bit weak since the only thing I have eaten in the past nine days were those rice balls that girl brought. It's going to take my body a little longer to assimilate them and give me some of my strength back but even like this I can set myself free. It's just going to take longer," he said without stopping in his struggle to get free.
Luffy nodded, knowing that you didn't mess with a man's pride. "I take it that your sword was taken away from you, right? Where is it? I'll go look for it while you set yourself free. Then you'll show me the strength of my new crew mate."
"I already told you that I ain't gonna be a damned pirate you moron! I haven't done a single thing I have regretted in my life and I'm sure as hell not going to start now!" Shouted Zoro at him. "But I'll be grateful if you could get me my swords. Helmeppo took them with him when he tied me up. He has to know where they are."
Luffy nodded at him. "Alright. I won't take long. I expect you be free by the time I come back with your swords," he said before he seemingly disappeared in a blur of motion from Zoro's perspective much to his shock.
'What the hell was up with that speed?! That's unreal!' He thought before another thing about their recent interaction came to mind. "And who the hell does he thinks he is to be ordering me around like that, huh?" He muttered in annoyance before went back to trying to set himself free.
Back with Luffy, he now stood on the flagpole that was on top of the main building of Marine base, looking down with his arms crossed and his expression blank as a bunch of marines used to rope to bring up a statue of the taller and more muscular man that was watching on with a smug look in his eyes. He had tanned skin, blond hair and a steel jaw. His right hand had been replaced by a huge steel axe with its handle going straight through his forearm and sticking out of his elbow without breaking his skin. He was wearing a billowing coat over a black shirt and blue stripped pants.
Helmeppo, who was also there, stood up in front of the tall man with an axe for a right hand while holding a napkin to his bruised face. "Dad! That kid that hit me! Why won't you help me take revenge?!" He screamed. His was voice even more nasally than before because of his broken nose and the tears of pain that were slowly trailing down his completely bruised face. "Even you haven't hit me before!"
"…" The man, apparently Captain Morgan since Helmeppo had addressed him as his father, slowly turned his head towards his son. "Do you know why I never hit you?" He asked, speaking around the cigar he was smoking.
"That's because I'm your son!"
Morgan nodded as he slowly stood up. "Yes, because you are a bastard son that's not even worth hitting!" He ended the sentence with a shout before hitting Helmeppo with his left fist and sending him sprawling to the floor with a scream of pain. "Why do I have to clean up your messes?" He asked rhetorically as he began to caress his axe almost lovingly. "You can do a lot of things in my name but I only punish those who oppose me!"
He then leaned down and got in his son's face while pointing at himself with his thumb. "Don't misunderstand. You are not the great one here! It's your father! Me!" He declared to Helmeppo who could only look at him crying while bleeding from his nose and mouth. Morgan stood up and looked away from him. "Rumors says that a little mouse went into the execution site. Is it true?"
"Huh..?" Helmeppo stammered. "You mean that little girl… I have already…"
"Have you executed her?!" He interrupted him with his question.
"Eh?! No! I mean, she was just a little girl that didn't know what she was doing! I didn't think it warranted an execution!"
Morgan ignored him and pointed towards a marine that had a goatee. "Hey, you! Go into town and kill her! I don't care how old she is! Whoever opposes me will die!"
"But… but… Captain!" Stammered the Marine as he paled. "She is just a little girl! I couldn't possibly do that to her!"
"Couldn't do it, huh?" Questioned Morgan as he began to approach the man he had addressed and who had just responded in the negative to his direct order. "You are a marine lieutenant, right? And the rank of lieutenant is lower than the rank of captain… isn't it?"
"Y… yes, sir!" Answered the man while slowly backing away from Morgan.
"Then you have no rights to go against my order!" Bellowed Morgan angrily. "If I order you to go do something, you go and do what I ordered you to do!"
"Traitor!" Shouted Morgan as he cut down the captain with his axe, leaving a deep gash across his back and flank. The other marines, even Helmeppo to an extent, were horrified to see this. "Never mind… for the sake of reminding the citizens… I'll go there myself." He said before he once again caressed his axe lovingly. "With this arm I rose to the rank of captain. Rank is the most important thing in the world. I am the highest-ranking officer in this base, which means that I am the greatest one here! Great men don't make mistakes! Do you all agree?"
"Yes, sir! You are absolutely correct, sir!" Replied the terrified marines saluting, all of them knowing that they weren't strong enough to do something against Morgan.
"Behold! This is the symbol of my power!" He declared, turning towards the statue of himself which was being slowly pulled up. "A statue that has been finished today after years of work! Now stand up my great statue! At the highest point of this base!"
Luffy had seen and heard enough.
"So… that's the symbol of your greatness, huh?" He spoke up, alerting everyone of his presence and sending Helmeppo into terrified screaming when he caught sight of him. Everyone else was looking at him with wide eyes. "If that's the case, allow me to show you just how great I think you are." He slipped into Soru and appeared crouched on the chest of the statue, which was possible since it was at a thirty degrees angle off the floor. With his index finger extended, Luffy's arm lashed out. "Shigan!"
Nothing happened for a few moments but then the entire statue cracked before it blew up into thousands of pieces. As everyone gaped in horror, Luffy slipped into Soru and appeared next to Helmeppo who yelped as he was grabbed by Luffy by the scruff of his neck. "Now you are going to take me to where you put Zoro's swords," he said simply before he slipped into Soru again and headed into building using the door that was located there at the rooftop.
"Capture him! I'm gonna kill him!" Screamed Morgan in rage as he pointed at the door.
"Yes, sir!" Shouted three officers before they grabbed their muskets and hurried into the building in direction of Helmeppo's room, since that was where Helmeppo had put Roronoa Zoro's swords and that was what the man that had destroyed Morgan's statue was after.
"Captain! The criminal at the execution site is attempting to get free! He's halfway done!"
"What?!" He bellowed, turning around and leaning over the edge of the rooftop to see that Zoro had someone freed his right arm and was now working on doing them same to his left. "Was this a conspiration between those two traitors?! No matter! Both of them are going to be executed personally by me! How dare they disobey and go against me?!"
Nami had sneaked into base quite easily around the time Luffy was talking to Zoro for the second time.
She quickly hid away in one of the storage rooms after she saw that there were a few marines moving around. She stayed there, kneeling behind a barrel in case a marine suddenly entered so he wouldn't see her and only had to wait a few minutes before the distraction started. She heard the sound of something made out of rocks breaking on the roof before there was a commotion. A few moments after that there the sound of a flintlock being shot and then silence for another few moments before she almost literally felt all the marines exiting the base.
After she was sure that everyone had moved out, Nami quickly exited the storage room and began to make her way up towards the treasury, where she was sure were going to be the money and anything else of value she could take. "Luffy does know how to make a distraction. Now, let's hope it last long enough for me to take everything there is that can get me closer to my goal!" She told herself as she sped up, ignoring the ache from the training she had performed that morning and yesterday morning. 'Just wait everyone! In no time I'll buy our village back from Arlong and he will be out our lives forever!'
Luffy stepped out of Helmeppo's room holding Zoro's sword under his left arm and a dizzy Helmeppo with his right hand by the scruff of his neck. "I would leave you here but Zoro's got unfinished business with you, trash," said Luffy with some of the disgust he was feeling towards Helmeppo to leak out of his voice.
"Don't move! Raise your hands above your head!"
Luffy turned towards the origin of the three voices saying the same thing and he raised an eyebrow at the three marines pointing their muskets at him. "Really? I'm planning to do you guys a favor by getting rid of this guy and his father and pointing your guns at me is how you pay me? Damn. How ungrateful can you be?"
The three Marine's hesitated for a moment when they heard those words but that was more than what someone like Luffy needed. Before they could realize it, Helmeppo had been thrown at them with enough strength to send them to the ground. Luffy then used Soru and grabbed Helmeppo's body before it fell on top of the three marines. Luffy saw window at the end of the hall and knowing that it faced the execution site, just like the one in Helmeppo's room, Luffy broke through it.
He ignored Helmeppo's cries of pain as crystal shards dug into his flesh and instead focused on what was happening with Zoro at the moment. He was holding his shoulder, where had been obviously shot at, as he leaned against the cross to which he had been tied to. Dozens of marines were pointing their muskets at him while Morgan stood behind them watching and bellowing something, more than likely more bullshit about his supposed greatness.
When Morgan pointed his axe-hand at Zoro, Luffy knew he had less than a second to act. He used Geppo to chance direction in midair and while still in the enhanced state of Soru he used the speed to appear in front of Zoro just before the marines pulled on the trigger.
"Tekkai," he said simply as he put Helmeppo behind him. He was Zoro's to deal with as he pleased after all. The marines fired their weapons and under the shocked gazes of Zoro, Morgan, Helmeppo and everyone else there, they simply bounced off his body after the sound of bullets hitting metal was heard. Some of the bullets even found their mark in one of the marines that had shot, hitting them in different parts of their bodies but not in a place that would result in instant death.
Zoro, who had been thinking about his promise to Kuina and his dream of becoming the world's greatest swordsman, could only stare at this man who had randomly decided that he was going to become a part of his pirate crew. He had heard the conviction in his words and had heard about his ludicrous dream, one even more crazy and impossible than his own. And yet here he was, taking a volley of gunfire meant for him and somehow not being wounded by them.
"Who… just who are you?!" Bellowed Morgan in rage as he saw this, completely ignoring the men that had fallen to the ground screaming in pain and the fact that the bloodied form of his son was being held by Luffy.
"My name is Monkey D. Luffy. And I am the man that will become the Pirate King!" He declared simply before he turned towards Zoro and presented him with his swords. "There you guy. The bastard had them in his room. It was a bitch to get him to tell me where they were since he couldn't handle the speed at which I was moving. What a weakling," said Luffy as Zoro stood up and took his swords from him. "You know, after seeing you allied with me, they are going to see you as a pirate."
Zoro snorted as he put his swords where they belonged, at his right side being held up by his haramaki. "You did that on purpose didn't you, you bastard?" He asked him with a grin as he stood at his side, facing the marines who were scurrying to reach for their swords after they saw that their bullets weren't going to work. "Oi. I'm going to become the world's greatest swordsman! I don't care if I am an outlaw or not. I just want my name to be known as such worldwide! If you do something that ends up in the way of my goal, I'll cut your stomach open!"
Luffy grinned as he took a step back. "The world's greatest swordsman, huh?" He said, thinking about the monster that was the current holder of that title. A man so strong that he was on par with Shanks who was a Yonko. And Zoro said he wanted to be stronger than that guy. Luffy grinned in approval. "Good. As the First Mate of the crew of the future Pirate King, I'm not going to hope for anything less! If you can't accomplish something like that then I would be embarrassed as well!"
Zoro smirked. "Well said," he said before he unsheathed his three swords in a smooth motion, holding one in each hand and one in his mouth. "Then, allow me to take care of this rubbish, Captain," he said before he moved forward at speeds that surpassed by far of that of the marines that were running towards them their own swords in hand.
Luffy watched with a grin as Zoro made quick work of them, his overall fighting ability being way beyond of that of the marines. If Luffy had to make and accurate estimation, Zoro's abilities were enough for him to survive at the Grand Line and just beneath the level they needed to be to start learning the Rokushiki, which was extremely impressive for someone in the East Blue. Luffy also noticed that Zoro didn't kill even one of those marines, only shallowly cutting them or rendering them unconscious by hitting them in the head with the flat of his swords, which spoke of his already high level of skill.
Zoro dispatched the last of the marines and he turned towards Luffy, a grin of his own on appearing after he pulled out the sword that was in his mouth. "Were you impressed enough by your choice for a First Mate, Captain?!"
Luffy laughed. "You bet I was, Zoro. You are truly strong! Now, allow me to show you just under what kind of strength you are going to be serving," he said before disappearing and appearing behind Zoro, who turned around just in time to see Luffy catching the axe blow from Morgan that was meant for him with his hand, the blade not even cutting into it. Zoro jumped back to give the two of them space and so he could see the fight better. The ground cracked under them but Luffy's grin didn't even falter for a second as he held Morgan's axe without strain. "Attacking your opponent from the back is cowardly and impolite. Allow me to educate you. You seem very attached to this axe of yours too…"
Luffy tightened his hold around Morgan's axe and the sound of metal groaning was heard before the head of the axe was broken in a hundred pieces. Morgan backed away, now looking at the grinning Luffy in fear, before he shook his head and threw himself back towards Luffy this time attempting to hit him with his left hand curled into a fist. "I am 'Axe-Hand' Morgan! I am the greatest!"
Luffy scoffed. "No, you are not," he said simply as he ducked under Morgan's strike, putting a hand on top of is straw hat to keep it in place since Morgan's attack generated winds strong enough to possibly kick it off his head. With the same motion Luffy lashed with a kick towards Morgan's left knee, the result of which sent him down with a scream of pain. "You are just a cruel fucker in a position of strength with delusions of grandeur. Shigan," he said as he stood in front of a kneeling Morgan. Before the Lieutenant could as much as speak, Luffy's finger found itself buried in his forehead, killing him instantly.
Morgan fell limply towards the ground face first and Luffy leaned down to almost idly clean up his finger from blood and gray matter on his coat. He turned towards Zoro to see him stabbing Helmeppo through the chest with two of swords.
"Thought you were so smart by tricking me, huh? This what you get you blond shit," he said before he pulled out his swords from Helmeppo's body. Zoro watched dispassionately as he fell forward and stood eerily still. He had died the moment his swords had pierced his heart and lungs so it had been quite merciful actually. Morgan's death had also been quick. It was way more than what the two of them deserved if what the two of them did to the inhabitants of Shells Town was even remotely true, which they knew it was.
"Oi. Zoro. Let's get something to eat. Since it's going to be your first real meal in nine days and to celebrate you joining my crew, it's going to be on me. The drinks too," he said with a grin as he began to walk towards the entrance of the base. His grin widened when he heard the marines start to celebrate the death of Morgan, apparently not caring one way or another about the fate of Helmeppo.
"I already like you more than anyone I currently know, Captain," replied Zoro with a matching grin as he sheathed his swords and fell into step next to Luffy, the two of them laughing a they discussed what they were going to eat. One would look at them and not think that Zoro had just escaped custody and killed the son of the captain of this marine base and that Luffy had just killed said captain.
"Man… that hit the spot…" said Zoro as he patted his full belly before he began to drink from tankard full of bear. He, Luffy and Nami were sitting inside the restaurant named Food Foo, which was owned by Rika's, the little girl that had gone to give Zoro the rice balls, mother Ririka.
When the news of Morgan's and Helmeppo's death had reached the inhabitants of Shel's Town, a town wide party had begun in earnest. Ririka had somehow learned that Luffy and Zoro were responsible for that and she had invited them to her restaurant to eat for free. Luffy and Zoro had of course accepted, knowing that you didn't refuse free food when offered since it was rude and dumb in equal levels.
"You tell me," said Luffy with a satisfied sigh as he leaned back into his chair and putting his hand behind his head. He turned towards the other occupant of their table. "Oi, Nami. Aren't you going to eat more? It's free food after all."
Nami just shook her head at him. "I already ate enough. I'm not a gluttonous pig unlike you two," she sniffed at them with mock disdain before she gave Luffy a serious look. "We really should be going, Luffy. I only left enough money there to make it seem as if they weren't robbed until they check for real. Also, I found something of interest in Morgan's secret safe. And it's going to take us about a week and a half to get there. We must make haste if we don't want to waste this chance."
Luffy saw the seriousness in Nami's voice and nodded in agreement. "Alright then. Zoro, you heard our navigator. Let's go," he said before standing up. He grinned at Rika and her mother, who just smiled widely and gratefully at him in return.
They did the same towards Zoro, the only difference being that Rika hugged him around his leg and thanked him when he waved at her much to his embarrassment. That had everyone who saw the interaction laughing.
As they stepped out of the bar, they encountered the marines who were not too injured to move. Nami stiffened almost imperceptibly at his side but Luffy kept his head cool as he nodded at them. "Good day gents. We were just about to leave. There's no need for a confrontation."
A marine with a goatee stepped up. "If you are going to leave, then that's good. We are grateful for you disposing of Morgan and his bastard son, but since we are marines and you are pirates, we can't allow you stay here any longer. To show our appreciation, we won't tell HQ of your appearances when we report this incident."
Before Nami could deny the fact that she was a pirate, Luffy nodded at them. "It was of no issue. We will be out of your hairs in a few minutes. Nami. Zoro. Let's go. We don't want to bother these fine gentlemen any longer."
Nami and Zoro nodded before they followed after him.
A few minutes later, the ship that Luffy and Nami stole from Alvida and had its appearance modified was sailing away from Shells Town, with the group of marines seeing them off and saluting. It was to this scene that Coby finally arrived. He stood on the boat gaping as he saw marines saluting whom the surely knew to be pirates. Weren't they also aware of the fact that they had been robbed by the people they were saluting? Needless to say, he was at a loss of words.
The same man who had spoken to Luffy a few minutes ago peered down at him. "And who might you be, young man?"
Coby snapped into a salute. "My name is Coby, sir! And I would like to join the marines, sir!"
The man nodded. "You can join but keep in mind that we have just saluted a group of pirates that helped us get rid of our previous captain and his son because of their cruelty. Without them, all of us and this town would have been dead before the next new moon. As such, we just established a punishment of a week without food. Are you still willing to join our ranks now?"
Coby's eyes widened at that. What he was seeing was making sense. 'If that was the case then, I'm not going to tell them those same pirates robbed them of their money since it seems they don't know about it. I'm going to let them find out on their own and feign ignorance, which is going to be easy since they don't know I knew Luffy and Nami were going to do it. As such, I deserve the punishment!' Coby nodded his head resolutely. "Yes, sir! I would like to join now! Becoming a marine has always been my dream. A week without food is nothing comparing to realizing my dream!"
The man nodded, smiling tightly. "Good. Men! Let's head back to our base. We have bodies to burn and a lot of thrash to throw out!"
All of them, including Coby who was still standing on the boat, saluted and responded, "Yes, sir!"
Back in the marine cells, deep in the prison portion on the base, a hulking figure that was propped against the wall stirred.
A few moments later, dark green eyes opened.
"Monkey D. Luffy…" muttered the owner of those green eyes in a daze before they focused on her surroundings. Despite knowing that he was the man responsible of her being in this cell, she still blushed at the thought of him. "Wait for me! I'm going to become strong and beautiful enough to be by your side!"
Alvida had awakened and she had a new purpose.
So… this happened. After reading finally getting up to date with One Piece and reading a bunch of fanfics with Luffy having a logia as a fruit, or knowing Haki and/or the Rokushiki at the beginning, I knew that I had to try my hand at of my own. So, in true I Ate Your Muffin fashion, I went and gave my Luffy the Rokushiki, knowledge and a rudimentary use of Haki (Meaning, that while he is far from being at the level he is at this point in canon, he is further than what he was before the time skip) and the Goro-Goro no Mi as his Devil Fruit. Future results? Canon will turn in on its head, I can assure you. And we saw that on this very first chapter.
The idea of using the Lord of the Coast in this manner was inspired by the story "D de Destino" by FxRobalino. If you understand Spanish, you should go and check it out. It's quite good, if a bit silly at times. Also, everyone keeps saying that when authors get Luffy to start with a Logia, they mostly give him Enel's fruit, but I only saw that in "Nine Minutes" by serpentguy and the story didn't even begin in East Blue. It's probably because they are so old and have not been updated in more than two years or so, which means that this would be the most modern story with Luffy having lightning powers. Eh, I'm cool with that.
Fair warning. Since chapters are going to have more than 20k words, don't expect updates in less than a month. Next chapter we are going to have some training, the stuff with Buggy, more training, Usopp and depending on whether or not I have reached the 20k mark, the first movie ordeal with El Drago, which I decided to include after reading it in Vimesenthunsiast's "Stallion of the Line", which you should definitely go read, like, right now.
Oh, the next chapter for AHWA should be out in a few days at the most.