Hi there ^^

so yeah, I might be able to go back to my one chapter per month schedule because I started to write the chapter on paper again, which meant I'm not forced just to work on the story while I am at a pc (because I cannot write longer text on mobile if it should be fluent to read). The only difficulty is that everything I will write with pen and paper will be in German meaning since I then will translate it, there might come up changes which will influence the whole story and then I have to correct in a later chapter which might already be written on paper. So just to give you a little warning up ahead if something will not directly fit because of this, just point it out if you are unsure and I will check if it was intentionally meaning it shall be there or not.

Another point, which will make working possible easier. I will now also write scenes ahead if I have them on my mind how I want them to play out even if they are happening in a later chapter. I still have to see how this will turn out.

But I hope these two changes will make writing easier and quicker so that I might get a little puffer if I'm blocked or personal things happen.

Enough of that, I hope you enjoy the chapter^^

~Chapter 23 – Parental talk, a dream and a decision~

She couldn't sleep. The whole Shichibukai discussion had made her slightly restless. She couldn't shake off an uneasy feeling despite that she had acted calm after her emotional outburst.

Ain sat up in bed and looked over to Conis and Robin who were both asleep. Both looked peaceful. Conis more than Robin. But the black-haired woman seemed more relaxed compared to when she was awake.

Softly, she bit her lip. Then she stood up.

A thought had crossed her mind. She closed her eyes and checked her surroundings. Bartolomeo was on look-out. No one was close to the den-den mushi. Could she…

It would be nice… It might even be helpful. Even if she couldn't give the other the details about the talk.

Silently she left the room in his pyjamas. With naked feet, she tiptoed to the kitchen.

After one last check with Haki, she dialled a number which she had last used when she had been in Logue Town.

She didn't need to wait long before someone answered.

"Hi Binz", Ain greeted him softly. "Ain! You are alright. The team which should pick you up couldn't find you and then we got the information that you became wanted", Binz said.

"It's okay… Is sensei closeby? I … I want to talk to him. About … the situation." Her voice sounded unsure. Nothing like her usual. But luckily, her comrade didn't ask and it didn't take long until she heard the voice of her mentor.

"Ain, where are you?"

Her sensei was direct as always.

"I'm with Luffy… I met him while he was in Logue Town. I got curious why he had gotten a bounty quite high for East Blue standards. So I approached him and well… you know how much of magnet for trouble Luffy is…"

She could hear a chuckle but that died quickly. "That doesn't change that the boy is wanted and a pirate."

Ain leant herself against the wall.

"That is also a reason why I am calling… Is it possible that the horrors of the marine and the whole black and white thinking are still poising our thoughts? I have been on the ship with Luffy since Logue Town and never did he or the others do anything to endanger civilians. Sure, we had a run-in with bounty hunters. But otherwise… Luffy's idea of a pirate is being able to go where he wants and be free… it does sound peaceful. Well at least until you mess with his friends. That is the reason for Albasta and kicking Crocodile's butt. The whole situation got me thinking that maybe the Neo Marine shouldn't focus on destroying all pirates and so on… maybe the goal should just be protecting and helping the people who really need it. I mean many countries aren't able to pay the taxes thus the government ignores them. Also, we can help people who are threatened by the Shichibukai… That is another reason… Sengoku-san called. He wants that Luffy takes the open position… to prevent someone else from getting it. But even when I said to others to wait because of the bounties… there is still this uneasy feeling because of the incident…"

She didn't realize how much she talked. She talked much more than she usually did. But she needed to vent. She needed to tell someone about it. And there was no better person than her sensei who had become more than her mentor. Somewhat like a parent.

"Just by you speaking, I guess that you want to stay and travel with Luffy. Also, you are worried about the whole position and what we will think about you becoming a pirate, right?"

She bit her lip a bit harder before answering with yes.

"I can't say that I am happy losing my right hand to pirates. But I'm proud of the woman you grew into. Because you aren't rushing into things blindly.

The open position. We do have some information on that. Especially on the person who applied. He is the worst scum of the pirate scum. The man is a traitor of the Whitebeard pirates... Probably a reason why Sengoku doesn't want him. To avoid a conflict which would resolve in a hard loss. Because this whole power system is fake. Even with these fake helpers, the Marine isn't strong enough if one of the Emporers really decides to attack with the intention to destroy.

But that is beside the point.

It can be dangerous if you take the position. We don't know much about this traitor but it is possible that he will go after you when Luffy takes the position."

"That way a spot would open and he would present himself as worthy, right?", Ain narrowed her eyes. "So both options have a risk. If Luffy takes the position, we are safe from the Marine and some opponents. But we have to deal with people who would go after him for the position."

"That is possible."

Ain closed her eyes while taking a deep breath. "Thank you, sensei, for everything. I mean it. Even if I now officially decide to leave the Neo Marine, I'm grateful for everything you have done for me. I promise that I will take every secret I know about the organisation into the grave with me."

"Still keeping your honour, little one?"

"Yes. I'm still me. I want to help people, even now I do it with the help of pirates. But I feel that way I learn more. I learn more about people despite their role in the world. I can help them and thus leading to a better world."

"A better world? That doesn't really sound like a pirate." She could hear her sensei laugh.

A small smile hugged her lips. "It really doesn't. But when my captain's dream is to be the freest of all, I can have my own dream of making the world a better place."

Robin watched the crew with slight curiosity. The new bounty posters had arrived. There had been some discussion between Sanji and Zoro because the cook was jealous. Also, Ace seemed to be pouting that his bounty was lower than Luffy's.

It was slightly strange to see an Alpha act like that. Especially if they were a Logia user. She had come into contact with some during her escapes and years on the run. None of them had acted childish. All of them had been dangerous individuals. But the first mate seemed quite different from these attitudes.

Her eyes went to the captain. A young boy still in the presentation stage. But for some reason, he was the captain and despite his naivete, he had the last word. That was something, she had already learned in the short time that she had been on board.

Also, it was surprising how much even the former marine seemed to trust the judgement of the young man.

She herself was still quite sceptical. After all, she hadn't really met people who wouldn't betray her at one point. The first person who didn't have been Bon Clay. The Okama believed in friendship and that he wouldn't follow his way of life when he betrayed someone he considered a friend.

It did feel strange to be considered someone's friend. Especially since she had been on the run when she had been a child.

"Could you stop this childish act and focus on the task ahead?"

Robin looked at Ain. The dark-haired young woman looked quite calm. But it seemed like there was something different about her posture. Normally, the beta carried herself more with an aura that demanded respect. Now it seemed weakened.

But it was quite hard to tell with betas as they only had a very week scent which hinted at their emotions.

"We need to make a decision if Luffy should join the Shichibukai or not", Ain reminded them all.

"If Luffy joins, it could make things easier for us when we dock somewhere with a high marine population. They wouldn't attack us as long as we don't attack them. That would make getting food and other materials easier", Law said. His voice was calm.

"That sounds like are running away from fights", Zoro grumbled with crossed arms. This idea didn't seem to fit him. More muscles than the brain as it seemed.

"We don't run away from fights. We would just avoid conflicts with the Marine for some time. Even if I wouldn't count anyone on board as weak. Only Luffy, Ace, Law and I are able to use Haki. That is something that would have to change. Because Haki becomes quite essential in fights especially for non-devil fruit users. If Luffy becomes a Shichibukai, we would be safe from the Haki users in the Marine. So we can focus on little pirate crews or annoying bandits as training dummies for you to grow stronger. This training can then be useful when we will reach the New World. Meaning we…"

"So the reason, why Luffy should take the position and become a government dog, is training?", Ace asked while interrupting Ain. The vice-captain still didn't seem to like the idea of his little brother becoming a Shichibukai.

The strategist nodded. "The challengers who will come after us when Luffy takes the title should be good training dummies. Most likely, they won't be too strong but also not weak. Therefore, we should be able to take care of them. Earing also some money to upgrade the ship, weapons and also buying other things we need. It would be a perfect job to prepare everything we need to take on the New World and the challenges that are waiting there. Also, with Luffy being a Shichibukai, we should also get some rest in between. Because the marine would not attack us. Which, as Law had said already, would lead to us being able to dock easier on islands", Ain explained.

"Anno", Conis said softly. "Why would people fear the Shichibukai or avoid crossing path with them? Because that is something that Robin-san had told me when I asked about the position."

"It is because of the deal with the world government. By becoming one, you co-operated with them by helping to maintain power balance. But the biggest reason, despite many Shichibukai are quite lax about their duty, many fights with one can lead you to be imprisoned when you lose."

"Huh~ Then this marimo could have been taken to jail? Because he had lost against Mihawk", Sanji broad up.

"Would be nice if someone takes the pervert to jail", Zoro mumbled. It seemed like he 'unintentionally' said it aloud. But his eyes clearly said that he did it on purpose so that the cook would hear it.

"What are you saying, you stupid marimo? I'm a gentleman. I'm born to love ladies and treat them with respect!" "So respects equals being a Peeping Tom. That's kinda low."

"Shut up! Both of you! We don't need you to act like kindergarteners at the moment. We have an…"

"Don't worry, Torao. I already made up my mind", Luffy suddenly said.

The reactions varied from shock to surprise. Because it definitely was one. Even Robin had not expect that. And she could proudly say that she had gotten used to expecting every possible outcome due to her being on the run for a long time. In her mind, Law or Ain would have made the decision. Because these two were the most level-headed ones on the crew.

But it had been the sometimes childish, air-headed captain who brought the discussion to an end.

"I will take the position until we reach the Red Line. That should give everyone on board enough time to learn Haki, even if it is just the basics so that you can prepare fighting someone who will use it.

Also, we can dock in Water 7 and get Shippy checked out if he is up for the New World or not", Luffy explained.

Robin tried to blink without the others noticing. Because she didn't want the others to know how surprised she was to see this young boy so thoughtful when he had screamed for food in such a childish manner not long ago.

Out of the corner of her eyes, she noticed that both Ain and Law look quite proud of Luffy being the one to take the action in this.

"Water 7 would also be a nice place to look for a ships wright. Because none of us knows anything about repairing a ship or maintaining it in high quality. The shipwrights of Water 7 are famous", Ain said.

"I heard that the man who build Gold Roger's ship, the Oro Jackson, did work there", Robin told them.

This seemed to make Luffy's eyes sparkle while Ace looked a bit annoyed. "Then the decision is clear. I will call great-uncle goat to tell him my answer. Then we will go to Skypiae to bring Conis back home and maybe have some great adventures while being there. The next stop after that is then Water 7. The possible home of our next crew member!"