A/N: Thank you for clicking today! Go ahead and curl up, get cozy, and try to enjoy the little tale I'm trying to spin.
So… I've had a weird day...
Let's start off with an introduction. My name is Romeo. Romeo Versace Romano. I'm 20 years old, I was in my second year of general studies in college, I'm single, I don't have a lot of close friends, I and came from a family where I was the only child.
I know, I seem like a normal person, and I am... I think. But strange things have been happening to me lately. Strange, incomprehensible things. Things that I was far from ready for.
Let's start with the day that I was sent to the world of One Piece. Usually, when a person is sent to another world, they have some sort of direction on where to go, what to do, and are almost always given an overpowered ability to help them find their way through the unfamiliar world. That's just the Isekai genre for you. Well for me? Apparently, someone didn't get the memo. All I was met with was sheer. Deafening. Silence.
No one thought to tell me what was happening. No voice told me what to do, I was just plucked from the hall outside my dorm, then warped a whole universe away from the life I built into a whole new dimension.
And Hoo boy is it a weird dimension to be in.
Let me start out with a little background on my current predicament. In the year 1999, a young Japanese comic book artist (Or Mangaka) Named Eiichiro Oda began to write a story about a boy made of rubber searching the world for an epic treasure in a magazine called "Shonen Jump Weekly". The comic, or more properly "Manga" Was called One Piece, and it grew to be one of the most popular mainstream manga in Japan. It was so popular that it even managed to garner a fan base in foreign countries through the translated versions of the manga and anime.
Apparently, the world of One Piece isn't just an idea made by an insanely creative man. It is also a place that you can visit (assuming that you have it within your means )And I was just the sop unlucky enough to be dumped there.
One morning, when I woke up early to head to the dining hall for some breakfast, I was assaulted with this… presence, I guess the word would be. It was similar to that prickling sensation you get when you feel like you're being watched, only it was so intense it felt like someone sent a colony of ants to trample along my spine. I reacted, to it I think, but I was so overridden with adrenaline that what happened next is just an incomprehensible blur of blinding colors and unfamiliar sensations that blended into an incomprehensible mess...
Next thing I know? Boom.
I'm not in Colorado Springs anymore.
I regained my coherency to find myself resting on a hardwood bench in a room filled with paintings, flintlock pistols, swords, cannons, and many, many other artifacts that were securely mounted out of reach, or safely sealed behind reinforced glass cases. I sat there breathing deeply for a few seconds trying to regain my composure. Anxious though I was, I almost felt normal.
And then I heard it. Bells. The sound of a clock tower hitting noon.
The ambient sound of people swelled through my brain overriding all my panicked thoughts. Even though I could only see the empty exhibit, what I heard was the sound of a crowd of people surrounding me. Each person's muttering overridden the other's making it impossible to make out more than a handful of words.
"They really caught-"
"Is that actually?-"
And then, a hush fell over the people.
Someone was climbing a set of stairs, each echoing step was accompanied by the jingle of chains.
And then, someone spoke. A man with a powerful yet scratchy voice. Even though what he said was essentially a whisper, it echoed over the mob like the boom of a cannon.
"Destiny.." He began
And then he stopped. He had reached the top.
"As long as there are people that seek freedom in this life, these things shall not vanish from the earth."
There was the sound of weapons shifting nervously in someone's hands.
Another voice, while authoritative, sounded nervous and juvenile next to the man in question.
"Do you have any final words to say?"
"Would you mind taking these off? They are beginning to chafe, you know."
"N-no, I won't do that."
"What? Where am I going to run?... Eh..."
I could hear the rustle of clothes, and the rattle of chains as the man sat down.
"That's all right. I guess that I'm on my own for this one..."
I heard a nervous gulp from one of the soldiers.
"*Sigh* Well alright, let's get this over with."
The sound of blades being shifted into position.
Silence, then the spell that seemed to fall over the crowd was broken by one small voice that echoed over the crowd,
"HEY! PIRATE KING! TELL US WHERE YOU PUT YOUR TREASURE! IS IT IN THE GRAND LINE OR SOMETHING?!"
"You there! Shut up!" The voice of a soldier interrupted him, but an excited muttering began to fill the air with questions similar to the first man.
"YOU FOUND IT DIDN'T YOU?! THE LEGENDARY TREASURE! WHERE DID YOU PUT IT? WHERE DID YOU HIDE ONE PIECE?!"
I jumped in my seat, the implications beginning to whir through my head as the clouds in my brain began to clear,
Silence fell over the crowd again, the atmosphere thick with some heavy emotion that couldn't be put into words.
"Heh… Heh Heh... AH! HA! HA! HA! HA! You want my treasure?!"
"Hey, shut it-"
"You can have it! I left it all in that one place, now all there is left to do is find it!"
The wet sound of blades piercing through something echoed through the air for what felt like minutes.
More silence, as the implication of his final words began to fill the minds of everyone who heard him speak, then-
A deafening roar filled my ears whoops of joy, excitement, and cheer invaded the environment with an electric atmosphere like nothing I've ever felt before.
The call to adventure had been sent via the lips of a dead man, and the way they echoed across the globe spurred the birth of a new age.
I was frozen on my bench. The final words of Gol D. Roger echoing around in my skull like the ringing of a gong. What the hell was that? Only a few minutes ago, I had left my dorm to get breakfast, then something happened, there were those voices in my head, and now I'm in- I looked around.
"A museum? What..."
It was a cavernous Marble building that looked like it could rival the Louvre in size. It was generously lit by the sunlight streaming in from a glass-domed roof that looked like it spanned at least a half-mile
I was too spaced out to notice at first, but I wasn't the only one there either. Crowds of people ranging from couples on dates to field trips of young students milled about paying me no mind. Weapons of historically important pirates and soldiers weren't the only thing there, there were also plaques lining colorful exhibits showing artistic renderings of battles, truces, and islands before and after duels between factions. Models of famous ships of all sizes filled an area that was lit with rippling blue light creating the illusion of them still sailing. Sepia tone photographs and bounties lined the walls detailing colorfully dressed men and women with a king's ransom worth in bounties underneath their snarling faces. Old uniforms adorned mannequins that once belonged to the Marines of past eras lining a corridor to my left. I turned to the right to see life-sized wax figures of important people that had to be at least 8 feet tall. Above me hung the fossilized skeletons of titanic sea creatures that once would have been able to bite a megalodon in half from reinforced scaffolding along the ceiling (The biggest stretched around the entire length of the complex three times) I read the plaque with a picture of the whole skeleton next to the silhouette of a galleon for scale. It read:
"The remains of the ancient sea king ''Mouk". In life, it weighed 60,000 tons, and its natural length from nose to tail was 9,600 Meters. In the time when Mouk still prowled the West Blue, it's diet consisted of island whales, merchant vessels, and entire schools of titan tuna, until it met its end by the crew of the Oro Jackson, who killed him, then proceeded to eat the end of its tail for the celebration feast celebrating their accomplishment of sailing across the world through the Grand Line. The legendary crew then sold the remaining meat to the nearby commercial fishing village Furusato where it was packaged into enough Sea King Meat tins to still be able to find a sample at a local grocery store today. Its bones were eventually recovered by the East Blue History preservation guild- a feat that required 13 clipper sized vessels to deliver. Here in the museum, they were carefully arranged, assembled and mounted for display over the course of 3 years. Records of Mouk haunting the West Blue have been found dating back over 480 years,(There were grainy pictures depicting ships that had been bitten in half, photographs that were only able to capture the enormous fins of the creature, and even one that was only able to show an impossibly wide mouth filled with way too many rows of jagged teeth to count. Each one had decreased in quality until there were only detailed drawings of a terrifying hybrid between a coelacanth, an eel and a goblin shark with wide, red, haunting fish eyes.) The plaque continued, "Deep analysis of its bones have shown it to be at least a century older, however.
Reports of Sea king attacks with similarity to Mouk are still being sent out to this day, though none have been confirmed to be related to the legendary monster, or it's brood. "
"Is this a dream?" I breathed out in quiet shock. I continued to wander the museum in a sort of numb awe reading through the comically badass feats of the pirates of Roger's crew, and seeing the proof of the past with my very own eyes.
Blending in with the crowd surprisingly easy, as everyone else had similar expressions to me walking through the history of the most legendary man to sail across the world. (Though everyone else had significantly less existential terror written across their faces.)
Is this really One Piece's world, though? I wondered, If the world government is a dominating force in this place as well, then would it really allow a museum with this much information about the Pirate King to exist? Surely, a world Noble would have collected most of Roger's artifacts as a sort of victory prize to display over their swimming pool-sized bathrooms by now…
And sure enough, it turned out that this section of the museum wasn't meant to display the history of pirates. In reality, it's purpose was meant to show the glory of the marines that caught them. The more that I read plaques detailing the feats of the past's pirates, I realized how most of their feats were minimized, and how their personal flaws were being put to the forefront of their miniature dossiers (Which is understandable as most of the pirates from that era were recorded to be thieves, murderers, and morally corrupt bastards by default).
While Pirates were given exhibits, all of them showed the name of the Marine who ended up catching them at one point or another with Roger supposedly being the exception. Further along, I could also see even grander displays and exhibits showing artifacts from the Admirals of the past in well designed, gloriously lit parts of the building that practically screamed, " Look at me, I'm what you're here to see!"
I guess that in the end, the only reason why the museum was even allowed to display artifacts from Roger, his crew, and other relevant Pirates from that time was to act as a sort of propaganda machine for the Marines of this world. "Look at them, they were really dangerous and powerful, huh? Well, guess what? The Marines are even stronger! We took them down to make the world safer, and you can too!"
Every exhibit seemed to have subtext similar to that silently screaming into my ear throughout my stunned tour throughout the facility. It became abundantly clear that this portion of the museum was a sort of recruitment machine for the military force of this world, and if the awed whispers of the kids on a field trip were anything to go by, it was an effective one as well.
The museum was too big to solely be occupied by pirate history however, it bled into the history of the colonization of settlements all across the four main oceans, the political climate created by the World Nobles (Heavily edited to make them look like saints, of course), An art gallery filled with masterpieces the likes of which I've never seen (My favorite was a renaissance-esque still life depiction of the winged people of a sky island simply milling about in their day-to-day activities.)
The halls of the museum continued to branch out into exhibits that proudly chronicled the progression of many cultures across the world over the centuries, some even held blurbs about settlements found in the Grand Line, though most of it was conjecture, rumor, and interviews that were written down from… Transponder snail calls. Huh, those are actually a thing… with civilians that lived in the many populated islands that existed there. It was pretty neat to see a globe of this world in person as well, showing the grand line essentially spanning the entire circumference of the planet from east to west like the equator, while the red line, an unfathomably tall formation of plateaus, and mountains spun all the way around from north to south, though the grand line was drawn as a sort of blank blue smear since no one has managed to accurately document the geography of the ocean to date.
Apparently, the cost to commission the transportation of historical artifacts from the Grand Line was too expensive for the Historical guild to pay as well. (The presence of absurdly strong pirates dominating that ocean made it a nearly impossible endeavor without risking the crew's lives, and the cargo being stolen on the way over) so the curators of the museum just filled that exhibit with large photographs that had been sent over, plaques with generic information about the few documented islands, and far too many propaganda ridden blurbs about marines that patrolled the impossibly dangerous ocean. It was easily the smallest exhibit I passed through, mainly serving as a warning for people to avoid the ocean more than anything else.
Well, I know that this isn't a prank, because it would be the most expensive prank in the history of man… I know that I'm not asleep, because everything is too vivid, and I would've woken up by now if this was a lucid dream… I passed by a greasy man wearing a tri-corner hat who forgot to shower today… and the week before that… and the week before that.
*GAK* ugh. Yep, can't imagine BO like that even in my nightmares… So… What should I do now?
Wiping my burning nostrils on my sleeve to clear the scent out of my nose, I checked my pockets. Everything I slipped into my jeans before I left my room that morning was still there. My cracked phone (I tapped the on button) It had 50% battery, no signal(obviously), and nothing really useful on it to help me out right now. My wallet, which contained my Driver's license, debit, credit, gift cards left over from Christmas (no cash, I always forget to carry some on me.) and my car keys (useless) I was wearing my most comfortable clothes: the one pair of jeans that fit me perfectly (which is hard to find at the local clothing depot when you're 6'5" and skinny.) A pair of red Adidas sneakers, a flannel jacket, a soft vintage Star Wars T-shirt, which had the retro design of a TIE fighter on it, and finally the watch that my dad gave to me on my first day of college. So in short, I had nothing useful at all… In an insanely dangerous world overrun with piracy and corruption.
I stood there for a moment with a small smile on my face, as I silently screamed into the uncaring void.
Despite the atomic level internal freakout I was currently having, I still see myself as something of an optimist, holding on to the small miracle that whatever brought me to this dimension brought me here after I put on my glasses, otherwise I would have to find my way through another dimension half-blind on top of everything else.
Small miracles, y'know?
So… I have no local currency, no means of defending myself, no idea what year it is, no shelter, no references, no skills in sailing, and no clue on the current progression of the main plot… So what do I have? I continued to leisurely stroll through the cavernous marble halls of the museum, weaving through the patrons as if I had somewhere to be until I reached the point where I first arrived at the museum. Gol D. Roger's exhibit. Lined with replicas of his weapons his trademark red coat, and of course pictures of the platoon in charge of his capture and execution.
To my left, a couple was ogling a Buick sized model of the Oro Jackson in a glass case (for good reason, it was a stunning ship) and to my right was the wax figure of Roger's first mate "Dark king" Silvers Rayleigh, in his prime, long blonde hair and everything- holding a longsword at the ready with a menacing scowl.
The main event, however, was a wall-sized portrait of a picture taken at the exact moment of Roger's execution. Frozen in time I could see a tall man with shaggy black hair and a glorious handlebar mustache wearing a red captain's coat and an ear to ear grin. This was in spite of the fact that he was brutally stabbed clean through the chest by two men with spears. His eyes were hidden by the shadows of his bangs. He was on a tall wooden platform surrounded by a mob of people frozen mid celebration like it was New years eve. On either side of the wall were long naginata like polearms tucked behind reinforced glass cases. On a small plaque in front of the scene were these words:
Death of The Pirate King
Taken 15 years ago by Photographer Crowell Dean at the moment of execution shortly after his capture at the hands of Vice Admiral Monkey D. Garp.
Wow. He's an actual person. I mean, I guess that it would be obvious, but from my perspective, I only saw him as a cartoon, but the actual flesh and blood person was a sight to behold even in the form of a picture. Even though he was being publicly executed like a common crook in front of a mob, he wore this smile filled with abundant savage joy. It was kind of chilling, actually, seeing a person like that at the moment of his death.
I read the plaque again. "-taken 15 years ago…" Hang on… One Piece's story starts at the time when Luffy started sailing about looking for crew members. I think that the timeline said that was about 20 years after Roger's death, right? That means that I've got about 5 years (give or take) until the Straw Hats pass over reverse mountain into the Grand line right? Well, that is assuming if the story's canon is gospel to this reality... But I need to know where I am on the planet. Judging by the exhibits all across the museum, I should be in the East Blue which is supposed to be the weakest of the main four seas (In terms of the Pirates currently active) so I guess that I'm in a somewhat safe location…
...But that also raises a ton of other questions like: How closely does this dimension parallel the manga anyway? Why am I in a period where a 12-year-old Monkey D. Luffy is still supposedly running around his home island with his brothers? Is Gol D. Roger the only character that mimics the manga, furthermore- do the rest of the Strawhats, along with the canon and filler characters even exist here? Who else am I going to have to worry about? I know that there are more crews of pirates than what Oda chose to show the audience. Am I going to have to deal with those bastards too?
I rubbed my temples. Whatever questions I had, I couldn't find anything pertinent about my knowledge regarding the main plot within this museum. Even though this place held some useful information about the history of the East blue and its culture, it was still drenched with propaganda and misinformation from corner to corner.
I locked eyes with one of the employees currently milling about the crowd. A man with… Purple hair? ( Is that natural or dyed?) dressed in a curator's uniform."Fitzroy" was the name scribbled on his nametag.
"Hey, sorry, silly question, but can you point me towards the exit?" I asked.
Fitzroy squinted at me for a second. While I wasn't the weirdest person in this area by a long shot (There was this one lady with a head strongly resembling Stewie Griffin's) I was just different enough from the rest to gain just a cursory look or two. Thankfully for the sake of my sanity, the people here strongly resemble people from my dimension- that is to say, they didn't look like 3d cartoons, even though they did sometimes have rather odd proportions.
"You can follow Mouk's skeleton to the end of his tail. It isn't far."
"Thank you very much."
"Thank you for choosing to visit the Loguetown Museum of world history today! Kyokyokyo!"
I waved, then turned to walk in the direction he pointed, my eye twitching. If there was any doubt about me being in an alien dimension before, then hearing this kooky guy laugh was enough. I mean seriously how does one instinctively laugh like that? Was baby Fitzroy giggling like that in his crib?
I followed Mouk's skeleton, (which was still terrifying beyond belief) to his massive tail fin that hovered over a tall set of glass doors.
I exited, ("Come again!") with a sticker that held a cartoon picture of Mouk's skeleton with its open jaws spewing out the words "Loguetown Museum of World History '' stuck onto my jacket by a bubbly woman greeting the patrons coming in and out.
The sun agh- damn that's bright! Nearly fried my eyes out as I walked out of the cool shadowy building into a bustling town with pale stone streets that reflected the sun into my eyes like a mirror. Sun-bleached buildings with pale yet colorful roofs built a European style towered above providing the only shade to be found, though none went over six floors. Marines in white uniforms patrolled up and down the streets with flintlock muskets slung over their shoulders...
I blinked heavily, rubbing my eyes from under my glasses. Yep, still not waking up...
The smell of the ocean town washed over me like a heavy blanket accompanied by the aroma of fried food and freshly caught fish filling my lungs. The air here was a lot cleaner than what I'm used to, which is nice, I guess... It isn't like these people have a lot of use for motor vehicles or any of the other millions of devices that emit industrial pollutants in this world. The loud hum of people chattering away accompanied by the occasional bell of a ship surrounded the town with a warm harbor-y vibe that I haven't been exposed to before in all my life. It was warm, intimate, yet the rough-looking pirate types swaggering through the streets added just a hint of danger and unpredictability. Sure marines were patrolling the streets, but in a way that almost made the sense of danger worse.
The island that Logue Town was built on curved up and down steeply making it hard to walk uphill. In a way, it was similar to the hills of San Francisco. The chaotic streets leading from the district I found myself flowed to the town's docks where I could see a wall of sailboats stretching for miles being loaded, prepared, and cast off by burly sailors of all types.
Shops, restaurants, and street vendors with a dizzying array of shapes and colors spanned the length of the street I was on alone. I could even see the occasional Fishman pass me by and- I did a double-take, holy shit that was a fishman. FISHMEN EXIST?! Damn, that's so cool...
So… This is Logue town, huh? Yep, that sign over there says so. Not a bad place to set up at all, I suppose… It's the closest island to reverse mountain (The most accessible entrance to the Grand Line) The Strawhats pass through this town for supplies in the story for about a day, and I guess that would be a good opportunity to try and join them…
I facepalmed. Wait, no, that's dumb. I have no skills applicable to sailing across this world's most dangerous ocean (I was mainly taking general studies classes in college to qualify for my desired major at that point), The straw hats would have to be idiots to hire some hapless schmuck with no real skills onto their crew. All I'd be able to do is scrub the deck, and eat a portion of their valuable rations. Luffy has a habit of picking the most ridiculously skilled individuals for his crew, and I doubt that saying," I'm from another dimension where you were all characters in a story." would go over very well would it?… Hell, would I even be able to remember One Piece's plot that long from now? I don't even remember the names of the supporting characters from the last comic I read that long ago!
I sighed, taking a seat on the long stone steps leading out of the museum. About 5 years, huh? In that amount of time, I should've graduated college, then earned my license as a registered nurse traveling across the country- well assuming things had gone according to plan. Will I even be able to remember One Piece's story that long from now? Hell, can I even survive here that long? As far as this place is concerned, I'm broke! Homeless too. This goes without mentioning that I don't have any references that I can use to get a job either…
I looked up. The sun was still high in the sky. I had a whole day ahead of me before I was left alone in the dark. No references? Well, everyone has to start somewhere. When My Ancestors immigrated to America to get a new life, I'm sure that they felt the same way. Unsure, lost, maybe even a little excited? My skin was tingling at the thought of it.
I'm sure that there are millions of people from where I came from that would kill for a chance to start over like this. I pretty much have a blank slate here. I have no debts (except maybe the cost of a museum entry ticket) no roots and no enemies here. All that I have is the clothes on my back, the skills learned from three years of working in soul-crushing customer service jobs, two years of college education in my brain, and obscure lore knowledge of this world that could only be gained from spending way too much time on Youtube.
I cracked my neck, stood up, and began to wander the winding streets of this wacky unfamiliar town, my eyes scanning for anything resembling a "Now hiring sign". No job? No home? Well, screw it, not a damn problem! I'll just work as hard as I can to build myself from the ground up all over again! Isn't that the American dream anyway? I'll build my own destiny, start from scratch, and maybe have a goddamn adventure! No time to feel sorry for myself, the proverbial fire had been lit under my ass, and now was the time to see what I was truly capable of!
" The journey of a thousand miles… Begins with a single step." I said to myself through a tentative smile as I truly began my first day in this strange world.
A/N: That's the end of chapter one! My original draft of this story started with Romeo (Still unsure about the name) starting on an abandoned island with an amphibious Sea King and a beached submarine. It all felt a little too unsurvivable for the average joe, though, eventually, I couldn't figure out what to write next, so I decided to start over and give Romeo another chance on an easier difficulty setting instead.
Don't get me wrong, Romeo is still in a ton of danger, (Loguetown is a sort of pseudo pirate town.) but at least he's somewhat more in his element here.
Criticism is appreciated! If you have anything to add in terms of story structure, world, grammar, or character building that I missed, feel free to speak up.