A/N: This is a [Gamer] story taking place in the world of One Piece. It assumes you are at least somewhat familiar with the premise and workings of [Gamer] stories in general.
Kivuruk Island, South Blue
On a small island in a remote corner of South Blue a young man of 25 years sat atop a hill reading a book underneath the shade of a large tree. A light breeze rustled the leaves overhead and blew a few locks of his hair from side to side.
'Despite their small size a typical blue-ring octopus carries enough venom at any given time to kill over two dozen adult humans or even a small Sea King. Their bites are often small and painless meaning many victims do not even realize they're in danger until paralysis or respiratory failure arises. There are four known species of blue-ringed octopus with rumors of a fifth in the form of an Octopus Fishman that can be found on the fabled Fishman Isle in the Grand Line.'
Skill Lv. up! South Blue Zoology Lv. (12/50)→ (13/50)
-Your knowledge about the animal life of South Blue.
With a simple thought I dismissed the blue pop-up and went back to reading the book I was immersed in. The wildlife of this world was bizarre to the extreme. Some species -like the blue ring octopus- held a lot of familiarity to the animals I remember existing back on Earth whilst others here were so cartoonish and comical that it baffles the mind how or why they would ever evolve in the first place. Then again, if there's one thing that 'One Piece' spits in the face of more than anything else, its basic biology.
In the end it's probably best just not to question it.
I make it through a few more sections of the thick tome of South Blue fauna, earning another three levels in the [Zooology] [Skill], when a much different notification appears overhead.
Quest: Read 100 books on Kivuruk Island within one year of your arrival. Progress (89/100). Time Remaining: 00:00:00.
Reward: +10 INT, +10 WIS, and ?
I click my tongue in mild annoyance. 'That was today? Shoot. Thought I had another week on that..oh well..No big deal.' With a heavy yawn I stand up and stretch my arms overhead. The [Quest] failure doing absolutely nothing to change my blissful mood of lazily wasting away another day. My only regret, if any, is that I didn't get to find out what the '?' reward was.
A Consolation Prize: For completing more than half of an extensive optional quest you have received the following.
Reward: +3 INT and +3 WIS.
'Oh! That's neat I guess. Never had that happen before.' I internally voice as I toss the book back inside the window of my [Inventory].
Another yawn escapes my throat and a hand scratches my chest as I start the slow trip of meandering back towards town. 'So today marks the one year point huh? Time certainly does fly.' At the visual reminder of my anniversary in this world I couldn't help but reflect on my time here as I descended down the grassy knoll.
One minute I was closing my eyes while splayed in a pool of my own blood- Or..at least I think I was? Those last memories are hazy on the best of days- and the next clear moment I can recall is washing up on the shore of this tiny island in South Blue coughing seawater out of my waterlogged lungs. Then, just to compound the bizarreness of the situation, I had somehow come into possession of the infamous powers of [The Gamer] as well. At least a weakened version of them that is.
Was my being here the work of some higher power? A bored deity? A ROB? A group of multiverse traveling [Gamers] that decided to bring me into the fold? I haven't a goddamn clue. Whatever puppet master may be at work here has elected to remain completely silent on the matter.
Although, if I had to be perfectly honest with myself? I stopped caring a long time ago. I'm here and it seems like I'm here to stay.
I'm not quite sure exactly where I am in the timeline of canonical One Piece, but much like my reason for being dropped here in the first place, I just stopped worrying about it after the first few weeks. I know that I'm somewhat near the start of the manga story. The four Yonko and seven Shichibukai are the same ones they started as in Pre-timeskip 'One Piece' and according to the town mayor Gold Roger was publicly executed "around 20 years ago". A calendar showed me that the year I arrived in was the end of 1519 but honestly.. that doesn't really do me much good. I can't recall reading any specific dates from the story.
I suppose, in hindsight, I could've put more effort into finding out if Luffy was a wanted man yet or not, but once again... I just don't see the point. Why does it matter? I'm literally half a world away on some backwater little isle in South Blue that only gets a single News Coo once a week. Hell, the only town on the island -if you can even call it that- isn't even 400 people strong. The chance of me interacting with the Straw Hats in any capacity at all seems to quite literally be zero. Not that I'm not disappointed about it mind you. I am perfectly content to be well away from all the big names in the world and their special brands of insanity.
The edge of town comes into view and I'm greeted by the sight of a deliriously happy man in a yellow shirt and blue overalls updating the population counter that sits at the outskirts of the village. Even from a distance his cheer is practically infectious and I can feel the mirth grow on my face as I approach. "Good news I hope?" I call out.
Raymond, Humble Farmer, Lv. 6
"Jack!" he turns to me with a glowing expression. "They're boys! Twin boys!" he exuberantly cries, revealing the placard as changed from '352' to '354'. "I'm finally a father!"
"Congratulations Raymond! Is your wife doing alright?" I answer back with a genuine smile, all the while silently thanking the blue writing over his head that reminded me of his name. When I first arrived in this universe the titles hovering over everyone was incredibly distracting, but now having been here a year, I barely notice them anymore. Unless I focus on one in particular it all just becomes part of the background.
"Marie is doing just fine! Doctor was worried about nuthin'!" the farmer replies with giddiness. "I'm finally a daaaaaadddyyy!" he bellows to the world before sprinting back into town, presumably to his newly expanded family.
It's not too much longer that I've truly made it back to civilization myself. The whole town is abuzz with the news and many folks are out and about celebrating. A new birth seems to be the only exciting thing that can happen in this usually sleepy village and the people are always happy to commemorate the occasion. All I did was stroll down the main street on my way home and everyone was eager to greet me with a smile.
Rika, Baker's Daughter, Lv. 4
"Morning Jack! Isn't today just lovely?" A chestnut haired woman in an apron greets from an open window.
A roguish grin worms it's way onto my face. "Any day's lovely when you're smiling Rika."
The woman laughs off the weak flirtation with a warm smirk. "Careful Jack. A girl might actually think you're interested if you always carry on like that."
Saul, Retired Marine, Lv. 11
"Jack." A sour old man grunts from the rocking chair posted in front of his house.
"Saul." I reply with a simple head nod.
"Pleasant day." he mutters.
"Yes it is." I agree.
The interesting thing I found about Saul was that even though he looked to be quite literally as old as dirt he was shockingly the third highest level on the island. In fact, when I first got here I'm pretty sure the old timer was actually Lv. 13. It's somewhat sad to see someones body slowly fall apart on them due to age but that thought is overshadowed by the realization that in his youth he was probably a terrifying figure.
I should probably ask him for some sea stories sometime before he leaves us for good.
Barker, Teenage Punk, Lv. 5
An annoyed sigh escapes me as I spot the town delinquent spray painting his personal symbol on the side of someones house. I know that later the mayors inevitably going to grab him by his ear and force him to clean it up like always but I can't stop myself from speaking out. "Barker! You know what I told you about marking other people's property! It's just rude. Plain and simple. This is strike two. I catch you again and there's going to be real consequences."
"Aw hell Jack. Ease up a little." The teenager whines, rubbing the back of his head sheepishly at being caught. "Besides. It's an improvement! This town is so dull! It needs a little more color."
I rolled my eyes and continued on my way despite the fact that internally I agreed. This town was kinda dull -current celebration notwithstanding-. But I don't consider that a bad thing! Dull was good. I like dull! Dull means stability. Dull means safety. And safety is paramount considering that when I first arrived in this world I was about as durable as the foil around a baked potato. Thankfully my stats had increased by leaps and bounds since then.
"[Status]." I murmur to the air.
Jack Parker, The Gamer, Lv. 15
Money: 122,470 Beri
Points to spend: 0
Click here to see list of [Skills]
-Current number of [Skills]: 34
Click here to see list of [Perks]
-Current number of [Perks]: 0
I sported a small grin at the now increased INT and WIS scores from the earlier consolation prize. I hadn't originally meant to neglect the mental traits in favor of the physical ones but it is what I eventually landed on. Maybe if I had been dropped in a different world I would have chosen otherwise. Perhaps a world with mana and spellcasting or possibly even chakra. But alas, this was 'One Piece'. And here the main forms of strength were mostly limited to either eating a magical fruit or asking yourself the question 'how hard can I hit things?'. Once again, I'm not complaining. I mean. Who doesn't like hitting things?
My gaze scrolls upward and I can't hide the proud satisfaction that gleams in my eye as I look again at my physical scores. Would you believe that I had to start with every stat but the last at a measly two? A two for gods sake! Honestly. I could have been killed from someone patting me on the back too hard.
In fact, I blame that last stat for how it was I somehow managed to avoid dying in a horribly comedic way early on. LUK. A 14 may not seem like much, but when taking into account that most everyone else on Kivuruk was running around with 3's or 4's in the stat then..well..14 begins to look like quite a bit. Incidentally, this was the only stat that I had found no way of improving. I had tried allocating points into it after my tenth level up but I received an error message saying that a persons luck may only be changed through special events or encounters.
An unfortunate downside of being in such a small community was that I didn't have a good way of measuring my own growth. My highest stat was STR at 86. And I am damn proud of that 86. It was a stat that I'd put considerable effort into increasing.
But is 86 good?
For Kivuruk island it certainly was. The strongest here besides myself was a burly man who ran the town saloon that sported a respectable 32 in the category. But what is an 86 compared to the truly dangerous people out there? Are they in the hundreds? The thousands? The ten thousands? Are Kaido and Big Mom in the hundreds of thousands? Or perhaps the [Game] would just crap out and give an error message if it tried to calculate the power of those seemingly immortal titans. There was simply no way for me to know.
"Oi! Jack!" a voice called out, breaking me from my self-reflection.
I stopped in the street and swiveled my neck around to the sight of a middle-aged man in a stained white coat running towards me with arms waving about dramatically.
Dan, Merchant Ship Captain, Lv.6
"Jack! I'm so glad I found you. I need a favor!" The man breathed out as he finally caught up, his voice somewhat desperate and panicked. "Olly busted his leg real bad and I was already shorthanded before that. I could really use an extra pair of hands on the ship. Just for this big trip to Caeba Kingdom I swear! I'll pay you fair and we can be back home in three weeks time. Please!" Dan pleaded as he clapped his hands together and bowed.
New Quest Alert!
Quest: Take Dan up on his offer and leave the safety of Kivuruk Isle for the small Kingdom of Caeba. Is this the start of a brand new adventure or really just a simple mercantile trip? The only way to find out is to say yes.
Reward: +1 to every stat but LUK, 440 Exp, and 15,000 Beri.
With a small mental command I select [ACCEPT] and the blue screen vanishes. "No problem captain. When do we set sail?"
"You'll do it?" Dan's jaw gapes in clear surprise. "Yes! Yes! You're a lifesaver Jack! We're leaving in just under four hours. If you need anything from your place I'd run home and get it now!"
Without another word Dan turned on his heel and sprinted in the other direction, presumably to take care of some other important task that needed doing. Meanwhile, I ran through a mental checklist to see if there really was anything worth grabbing at home. My small cottage for one was admittedly pretty barren. A chair, a table, a bed to sleep in. Not really much of note. When you could store pretty much everything you own in an [Inventory] there really wasn't much reason not to just keep everything on your person at all times. Food? Check. Clothes? Check. Wallet? Check. Toothbrush? Che- oh wait... Not Check.
'I guess I do need to run by the house.'
Four Hours Later
I watched Kivuruk Isle start to seemingly shrink in the distance as the ship pulled further and further out to sea. The humanoid forms of well-wishers standing on the beach seeing us off were barely discernible now.
I have to admit to feeling a little spot of apprehension now at accepting the [Quest] so quickly. In the moment it had just seemed so harmless. And logically I knew that I could just do this one thing, this one little side-quest, and then sail right back home to Kivuruk.
Just continue on this lazy simple life on the tiny island where no real troubles were ever found.
Maybe I could even settle down with a nice girl. The bakers daughter was pretty cute and Rika had often implied that she was interested in more than just the little bouts of teasing we hit each other with every week.
Yet somewhere in my mind I had already accepted that this trip wouldn't be that simple. Nothing ever is in the world of One Piece.
I'm overdue for a bit of adventure anyway.
With one last look a part of me bid farewell to my adopted home of the past year. Hopeful that I'd find the time to come back and visit...someday.
'Look out World. My name's Jack Parker. And I am [The Gamer].'
A/N 2: READ ME. A final note before we embark. One of my goals in this story will be for Jack as a character to feel human. As such, like all humans, he will be flawed. Mistakes will be made. His emotions will color his decisions and he will not always choose the smartest path. If you can accept that, please proceed onward. If not, this may not be the story for you.