Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto or One Piece.
Punk Hazard III
Naru stared at the broken wood underneath the samurai clenched fists. Even though it was made of one of the greatest materials ever existed, it still managed to break because of him. His strength was no joke indeed.
It wasn't just his physical strength alone, but even his aura was deadly impressive. Not to mention his chakra-like presence of Ryuo that kept flowing out of his body, Kin'emon was truly not just a simple samurai, she thought.
"Oi, you shitty samurai! What are you doing scaring everyone with your scary presence?!" Sanji yelled from above, standing just outside of the galley as he frowned at Kin'emon in disapproval. "You even broke our ship, you bastard!"
"Sorry Sanji-Kun. He's just worried about his son. Isn't that right, Kin'emon-San?" Naru spoke calmly. Despite being the closest person to be exposed to the samurai's overbearing presence, she remained calm and didn't seem bothered by it at all.
Hearing the words spoken by the woman next to him, Kin'emon realized that he had just lose control over his emotion and quickly stopped releasing his deadly aura that he would only use when he was facing an enemy.
Even though he was being yelled and cursed by the pervert man with swirly eyebrow, he wasn't angry at all. He turned his body around, and saw that the children staying on the deck were staring at him with a fearful look. Franky was standing in front of them while looking at him and the broken railing as he frowned.
"…My apologies! I didn't mean to do that." He immediately expressed his regret by bowing his head regretfully to them. In this situation, he was the one at fault.
"Tch." Sanji clicked his tongue in response. Knowing that the damn samurai was just overly worried over the safety of his son, even Sanji couldn't find it within himself to be angry that much. Instead of continuing to scold the samurai, he said "Just don't break anything else while you're still here. Or else you will pay with a lot of money!"
"I understand." Kin'emon accepted his scolding.
Sanji then turned to look at Naru in concern. "Naru-San, are you alright?"
After all, the pressure emitted by the samurai just now was truly scary. He really thought that a powerful enemy suddenly appeared and was ready to head into battle, only to realize that the terrifying presence actually belonged to the damn samurai. The fact that Naru alone was able to stand next to him without showing much reaction was truly impressive. Though he knew that she was probably the least affected among everyone on this ship, his habit to be concerned over beautiful women was hard to break.
"I'm fine, Sanji-Kun. Thank you for your concern."
Sanji nodded before telling Franky to fix the broken railing. Receiving a positive response from the cyborg, he then headed back into the kitchen.
"I am sorry for the trouble!" Kin'emon apologized once again to Franky when the cyborg started to approach them.
Franky just waved him off and laughed in a carefree manner as he said "You don't have to worry about this small problem. With my super amazing skills, I can fix that in no time!"
True to his words, he did fix the broken wood in just a short amount of time. After Franky was done, he then returned back to whatever he was doing previously. The children were also starting to relax once again as they were distracted by the heavenly smell coming from the kitchen.
With only the two of the alone at the same spot, Kin'emon find it awkward for him to say anything after his emotional outburst. He was ashamed for what he had done. But more importantly, he felt great sadness and anger in his heart upon recalling the words said by Naru about Wano and that man!
Sadness for the fate of his proud land.
And anger at the one responsible for the fate of his land.
Before he knew it, Kin'emon was the one who spoke first once he was calm enough to speak.
"Naru-Dono, you must be wondering why I reacted the way I did after what you just said…"
"If my words offended you, then I-"
"Rest assured, Naru-Dono. It is not you that I'm angry at." He cut her off before she could finish her sentence. "In fact, I… I think it's better if I tell you a little bit about myself."
Kin'emon took a deep breath, and Naru was about to tell him that it was fine and he didn't have to say anything that would make him feel uncomfortable, but seeing how resolute he was, she could only give up.
"Actually, my… son and I, along with our other companions have been away from Wano for a very long time." He started with a grim expression. "That Kurozumi Orochi whom you said to be the current Shogun of Wano… he is not the true ruler of the country at all! That bastard is just a traitor! He betrayed our Shogun, caused him his death, and took away the throne from the rightful heir! That traitor has never meant to be the ruler of Wano from the first place!"
He continued with a furious expression. "Oden-Sama… was killed by that bastard and the dirty pirate, Kaido..! Hearing what you just said about the condition of Wano from a few years ago.. it means that Wano has completely fallen because of them! They have ruined our land and causing so much suffering to our people..! I can't bring myself to imagine how bad is Wano today compared to what you have seen a few years ago. Just imagining about it…" He grabbed his chest and gritted his teeth. "I feel my heart ache for our poor people..!"
Naru was silent for a while as Kin'emon closed his eyes, trying to calm himself. Frowning, she then decided to speak. "The Kaido you spoke of... is he a man with a huge muscular body with dark hair and has horns on his head?"
Kin'emon opened his eyes instantly and looked at Naru in surprise. "You know him?!"
"I don't think there's anyone in Grand Line who doesn't know the name of the Yonkos." She stated.
He was confused. "Yonkos? Who are them? And why is that bastard Kaido is one of them?"
Seeing the genuine curiosity in his eyes, Naru was speechless and wondered where had he been this entire time that he didn't even know about the Yonkos. Didn't he said that he had been away from Wano for so long? Then how come he didn't even know anything about them since he was already out of his country? Naru was starting to have doubt about him, but even so, she still explained about the Yonkos to him.
"The Yonkos are 4 strong and powerful pirate captains with their own territories. There are many pirate crews allying themselves with the Yonkos, causing their strength to grow even more. Currently, Kaido is a Yonko that is feared by many, and he is also the one that is considered to be the one with the highest authority in Wano. It can be said that Wano is the base of his crew, and he is also the ruler of Wano today, being above the Shogun himself."
Kin'emon was so angry that veins were bulging across his neck and hands, but at least this time he hadn't lose his temper like earlier.
"Kaido is the reason for every misfortune that happened! If it wasn't because of his involvement, then Oden-Sama… Toki-Sama... everyone..!" Couldn't bring himself to say more, Kin'emon swallowed back every word that was about to escape his mouth.
"Once we returned back to Wano... that day will be the day that his head will be rolling on the ground..!" He swore with determination.
With a deep look as she stared at Kin'emon, she asked a question that she was most curious of. "When exactly did you leave Wano, Kin'emon-San?"
The way he suddenly flinched didn't go unnoticed by her. "...It was soon after the death of Oden-Sama."
"The death of the previous Shogun happened 20 years ago." It was a basic knowledge that she gained after staying in Wano for a couple of days back then. With a comforting smile that hid her calculating nature, she said "It must be hard on you, for not being able to return to your country for such a long time."
Kin'emon went stiff. "...That is true."
The two didn't say anything after that, each with their own thoughts.
Though Naru had perfected her ability to keep a poker face, she still felt a little bit uncomfortable at the strong negative emotions coming from the samurai. Thankfully, he didn't break into another outburst this time. She had no idea what exactly did he experience in the past, but it seemed that his hatred for pirates was caused by Kaido himself.
Regarding the matters of Wano, she knew that the condition there was bad especially when it was under the ruling of Kaido and the current Shogun. However, she didn't feel the need to get involved with that country as there was no reason for a conflict to happen between her and Kaido since the land had already been in his possession even before she went to the Grand Line 12 years ago. She pitied the poor people of course, but that was something that she couldn't help even with her abilities 7 years ago. Back then, she was already struggling to protect the slaves that she had rescued, so there was no way she could handle Kaido at that time. Even if she did have the abilities back then, she still wouldn't have chosen to get involved.
Plus, whatever internal conflicts that happened in Wano, it had nothing to do with her. She was only an outsider with some knowledge of their culture who had stayed there for a couple of days enough to understand the country's poor state, before leaving the country with a fragile sickly baby with her.
As for what Kin'emon had said, she could guess that the power struggle in Wano was so bad that the previous Shogun was killed and the traitor managed to usurp the throne thanks to the involvement of Kaido, who was already known to be quite a terrifying pirate even before he became a Yonko.
For Kin'emon and his companions to escape soon after the death of the previous Shogun, it would be a lie to say that she wasn't curious to know the reason for their action. Based on the emotions that she felt from him as he mentioned the previous Shogun's name, Kin'emon appeared to be quite respectful of the one named 'Oden'.
The samurai didn't appear to be a coward that would run away after the death of his ruler, so there must be a reason why he had to escape and stayed hidden from the rest of the world for 2 decades. Not only that, but he also didn't recognize her nor any of the Straw Hats members.
It wasn't like she wanted to brag that she was famous or anything, but it was very impossible for someone of his caliber who lived in the New World to not recognize her. He also didn't recognize the Devil Fruit that he had eaten!
Weren't 20 years away from his isolated country enough for him to gain the information needed about the outside world? And the fact that he didn't even know anything about the Yonkos meant that he didn't come out of his hiding for so long until recently.
He might be hiding from Kaido and the Shogun.
But why? And why did he choose to appear now after hiding for 20 years?
She also noticed something weird from his story.
He claimed that he, his son and his other companions had been away for a very long time, and that they escaped soon after the death of the previous Shogun exactly 20 years ago. If the son he was referring to was the same son that he was looking for, then how could the child still be a child now? Shouldn't he be an adult by now?
Naru was confused, and she couldn't help but to feel suspicious.
However, it was impossible for a person to hide his evilness and negative feelings away from her. His negative feelings were there like everyone else, but Kin'emon had no evilness within him. Just with this alone was enough to prove that the samurai was a good person, so her suspicions of him were not that strong.
Shaking away her feeling of doubt, she considered that perhaps Kin'emon had another son other than this Momonosuke. Or perhaps she only misheard his words.
But still, she had the feeling that there were some unsaid truths that Kin'emon was trying to hide.
Anyway, that was his business. As long as he didn't implicate her or her precious people, then she wouldn't do anything to him. At least right now, he still hadn't done anything that could cause a conflict to happen between them.
A while later, everyone was enjoying a warm meal prepared by Sanji.
Though the only food that he made was a large pot of hot soup, but it was the most delicious soup that everyone had tasted. Everyone, especially the children liked the soup very much, which caused Sanji to be happy since everyone enjoyed his food.
Like earlier, the smaller children were inside under the care of Nami and Chopper, while the rest stayed on the open deck with the giant children. Thankfully, the ship was big enough to accommodate everyone.
The adults were standing together as they watched over the children. As they were doing so, Luffy's name was mentioned.
"I have already informed Luffy-San of our current situation a while ago, so they should be here anytime soon." Brook said before sipping the hot tea that he liked. Then he turned to Kin'emon and said "Usopp-San also said that they have found a pair of legs at the burning island. I believe that they are belong to you, Kin'emon-San."
"Really?! That's great! I can finally be complete again!" Kin'emon exclaimed excitedly. Compared to how he was when talking about his past and Wano, he looked happier now.
"Then, once Luffy and the rest are here, we shall get back into the facility." Said Naru to Kin'emon.
Kin'emon nodded, before he stared fiercely at the building that had Momonosuke inside, wishing that he could just barge inside at this moment.
Inside of one of the many rooms in the facility, a gaseous-like entity in purple was busy scolding a group of people in yellow suit.
"All of them?! With that many people on your side and none of you managed to capture even one of them yet?! What about the children then?!"
"A-All of them have escaped together with the intruders, M-Master…" Answered one of them, cowering in fear before his master as he did so.
The answer given obviously caused a wave of displeasure over Caesar Clown, the mad scientist who was the master of Punk Hazard. When a bunch of these useless people suddenly barged into his office, thus disrupting his rest, he was annoyed. But when he heard the unpleasant reports of how some intruders that he himself had ordered to kidnap somehow managed to defeat his underlings, and even dared to take the children to escape from this facility, he was enraged.
The children were a part of his important experiment. Without those brats here for him to see the great result of his experimentation, how could he keep up with his works?
He needed those brats back!
Caesar Clown then changed back into his human form, which was a tall man with long unruly hair, pale skin, and a pair of glowing yellow eyes. What would grab anyone's attention upon seeing him would definitely be the pair of horns at the back of his head and the dark-style makeup that he had on his face.
"They managed to escape? Then why am I not informed of this sooner?!" He continued to scold his underlings.
"We have already tried to send someone to inform you of this matter, Master, but those people were just too strong!"
"Too strong..?" Caesar sneered with an unconcealed contempt in his eyes. "Whether they are truly as strong as what you said or not, I don't believe that they can handle as many as of our people with their small number alone! All of you, quickly go and gather many people to chase after those intruders! Kill if you must, but I want those children alive!"
The people in yellow suit saluted him, before they left the room as quick as the wind come and go. As they were leaving, another man came in with a frown on his gloomy face.
He was a tall man with a lean figure. Black hair could be seen underneath his mushroom-like hat, and he was also wearing a long black coat with a Jolly Roger printed on the lower half of his coat. Holding a sword in one hand, he took a brief glance at the retreating people before he went to sit on the sofa in the middle of the room.
"Ah~ It's you..!" The sneer that Caesar had was immediately replaced by a wide smile when the man appeared. "Law."
The man, Trafalgar Law in response, didn't even bother to return his greeting. With a frown, he opened his mouth. "I heard about the ruckus here. Explain to me, what's with these children that I am not aware about?"
Caesar's smile stiffened a little bit. "That is something that you shouldn't concern yourself about, since I have everything under control. In fact, why don't you go ahead and help me to investigate the identity of those intruders. Nee?"
The captain of the Heart Pirates stayed quiet, but the slight displeasure in his eyes could still be seen if one look closely enough. But alas, the shadow caused by his hat did a good job in hiding how he felt at the moment.
Law and Caesar were not exactly buddies, since he was here with his own purpose. He hadn't been here for that long anyway, hence there were still many things that he perhaps wasn't aware of. Like the sudden appearance of some children that he heard of for example. Though he had no clue for what reason there were children here, but considering Caesar's own characteristics, he had a hunch that their existence here was definitely not for a good cause.
Perhaps it was good that the children had been taken away by the intruders.
Suddenly, they heard the sound of footsteps approaching. Looking at the door, they saw a beautiful woman came in. Although she was a beauty with pretty face, white skin, piercing golden eyes, and a beautiful shade of green for the color of her hair, the most eye-catching part of her would definitely be the pair of wings that she had as her arms. Not only that, she also had a pair of sharp talons as her feet. There was also a feathery tail at her back.
The woman's appearance was exactly what other people would describe a 'harpy'.
"I don't think there is a need for us to investigate the intruders' identity anymore." She said, smiling bemusedly as she did so.
"Monet! Where have you been? Are you even aware of what is going on right now?! And what do you mean that that we don't have to investigate those intruders anymore?"
"Ufufufufu, of course I am aware." She responded to Caesar's questioning with a light tone. Only then the two men noticed the newspaper that she was carrying. "If you knew the identity of those intruders, you will be more careful with your actions and planning from now on."
"What do you mean? Have you found out anything useful about them?" Asked Caesar while Law just remained silent as he stared at the winged-woman in curiosity.
"Here, have a look at this." Monet handed the newspaper over to Caesar. "I was back from the burning island by the way, and guess who I saw there?"
The newspaper was flipped open to a certain page. Because Law was sitting, he couldn't see the content, but he did notice the alarm look of the mad scientist who was looking at the newspaper in surprise.
Caesar was indeed surprised by what he saw. On a certain page, there was the recent news of the unexpected comeback of a certain pirate crew not too long ago. Eyes drawn to the picture belonged to a certain pirate captain, he mumbled "The Straw Hats Crew?"
Monet nodded. "It was indeed them. Four of them are there, including the captain himself."
When there was a report saying that there was a pirate ship seen outside of the vicinity of the burning island, Monet had flown herself over there to take a look. When she seen the intruders, she didn't expect to see the infamous Monkey D Luffy among them.
"I thought I should tell you this, but they also managed to defeat Vegapunk's dragon."
"Ufufufufu, considering the fact that their friends are already here, I'm sure that Monkey D Luffy and his group will also be here soon. Also, I just received a report from one of the centaurs stationed at the burning island that they are about to cross the lake. They are probably crossing the lake as we are speaking at the moment."
"What about the other centaurs then?"
"Already waiting for them on the other side of the lake."
Soon after Monet finished her words, someone entered the room hastily and reported another troublesome matter that caused Caesar to almost grab his hair out of frustration.
"What do you mean there's a sighting of a marine ship heading towards here?!" Caesar screamed at the poor man. First the Straw Hats, then the marines! Who else going to show up next? The Uzukage?!
As Caesar was stressing out, he then saw Law who had been sitting on the sofa quietly. A thought suddenly came into his mind. "Ah, Law! Since you have nothing to do, I want you to deal with those marines!"
Law frowned when the attention was now on him. "...You want me to kill them?"
"What? Of course not! I just want you to drive those flies away from this island. Since both you and them are on the same side, you should be able to deal with them accordingly, right?"
Saying that Law, who was the captain of the Heart Pirates, was on the same side as the marines, it wasn't wrong. Caesar was indeed right when he said that. After all, Law himself was now a Sichibukai who was affiliated with the World Government.
Law looked like he was in a deep thought, before voicing out his curiosity. "... How are you going to deal with the Straw Hats?"
At his question, Caesar clicked his tongue in annoyance. If the intruders were other people, he had no problem annihilating them right away, but the Straw Hats were different. Caesar then took a glance at the smiling Monet. It wasn't clear what the two was trying to convey as they exchanged glances with each other, but it seemed like the two had came into the same understanding.
Giving Law an amiable smile, Caesar said "Naturally, I have my own of dealing with them. You don't have to concern yourself with them."
Law didn't respond for a while as he stared between the two with a deep look. Moments passed, in the end, he stood up from his seat without any words, and walked away.
"Then, I'll go ahead and deal with the unwanted visitors." He said.
The remaining two watched as Law's retreating figure completely disappeared from their view. Not long after the Sichibukai was gone, Caesar spoke.
"What do you think about Monkey D Luffy, Monet?"
Not wanting to stand anymore, Monet first went to the counter and sat on the stool. Supporting her own chin with her wing, she said "You must've known this too right, about Monkey D Luffy. Besides his many tales of going against the World Government in Enies Lobby, Impel Down and his participation in the Paramount War 2 years ago, he is also known for his impressive family background."
Letting out a chuckle, she glanced at the newspapers in Caesar's grip with a coy look. "Son of Dragon, sworn brother of Gol D Ace, and most importantly… he is the precious younger brother of the Uzukage. His identity alone is enough to be considered a threat to the whole World Government."
Caesar said nothing, but his gaze deepened as he mulled over Monet's words. Of course he knew about that. He didn't care about a mere rookie pirate like Monkey D Luffy, but if it was his older sister then that would be a different story. After all, Monkey D Naru was a big shot that not even the World Government nor the Yonkos were dare to offend, let alone that person.
Her existence was unexpected, and when she appeared, she automatically disrupted the balance of power in this world. With nobody dared to offend her, wasn't it right to say that she was the one who stood at the pinnacle of power right now?
And as a small figure in hiding who only relied on the power of another person for his current freedom to escape from his early demise, even Caesar had that small hesitation to do something to Monkey D Luffy. If the intruders had no relation whatsoever with the devil-like Uzukage, Caesar had no problem in eliminating them right away this instant.
But wait, he already did send people to go after them. He even ordered them to be killed.
Seeing the complicated look displayed on the man's face, Monet spoke "A matter as big as this, why don't we inform him?"
"Him?" A with bloodthirsty grin came into his mind. Slowly, there came a Cheshire grin. "You're right! If we contact him, I'm sure he will know what to do with those bastards! Shurorororo! Monet! Give a call to Joker!"
Monet smirked. "Right away."
Unbeknownst to the two, there was another person standing right outside of the room, quietly listening to their conversation.
Law had his back leaned against the wall with a dark look on his face. The shadow that fell on his whole person caused his expression to look even scarier as he gripped his sword with a very strong grip, as if he wanted to break it in half with his strength alone. Holding back himself from doing something that could ruin his plan at the moment, he reluctantly dragged his feet away from his spot without making any sound.
Caesar's annoying laugh was the last thing he heard before he completely walked away from the room.
Without any change of expression, nobody was able to find out what exactly the man was thinking about as he made his way to the main entrance of the building. And just in time, he heard the ringing of the bell, and he knew that the people waiting outside were the ones that he had to deal with accordingly, as what Caesar wanted him to do.
Opening the door, he was greeted with the sight of the surprised face of Smoker. Behind him, stood a woman and a bunch of rough-looking marines, staring at him in disbelief as they couldn't believe their eyes that he was actually here.
With a devilish smirk, he spoke. "What business do you have here at my vacation house?"
At the same time.
"Hey, can you walk faster? I don't want to miss out Sanji's tasty food!" Luffy whined.
A tick appeared on Brownbeard's head.
He was a big figure whose lower body was that of a crocodile, complete with 4 legs and a strong tail that was swaying left and right behind him as he walked. Though he looked strong and big enough to scare most people, but compared to the person who was riding on his back and still had the cheek to whine about the speed of his mobility, his guts were really not that big to be arrogant as he was before he suffered a crushing defeat under this tiny pirate.
Beside the guy with the straw hat, he also carried the pirate's other 3 companions on him.
"Why don't you walk with your own two legs then?!" Brownbeard quietly grumbled under his breath, but Luffy still managed to hear him anyway.
"Two legs?" Confused, Luffy then glanced at his back, seeing an extra pair of legs were stuck on his back. "Can't you see? Now I have 4 legs!" He claimed happily.
"Luffy, those are somebody else's legs." Usopp who was sitting behind him, sighed. "Once we arrived at the ship, you have to hand it over to the owner anyway. "
Being reminded that he was not gonna be a 'centaur' for much longer, he instantly became gloomy. "My legs..."
Robin chuckled at his reaction and said "Brook said that the owner of those legs is supposed to be the samurai that we're looking for. What a coincidence hm?"
"Samurai huh?" Zoro who was at the rear, grinned. Ever since Brook had told them via the Den Den Mushi that the samurai they were looking for was now a friend, Zoro was kind of excited to meet the samurai from Wano. "I wonder how strong is he."
"Strong or not, he must be one scary samurai! Don't forget, he was busy killing people before we got here!" Usopp cried out as he imagined in his head, what the samurai was supposed to look like as he slashed people left and right.
"Brook said earlier that the samurai is here to rescue his son, so it's safe to assume that the people he killed were the ones at fault. Also, don't forget that we're in the enemy's territory. Based on what Brook said about the children that Naru and the others have taken away from the facility, Caesar Clown is definitely responsible for their existence in this dangerous place since he is the boss here." Robin said. "And I also believe that Naru will not bring someone who could pose a threat to her side."
"Shishishishi! If Nee-Chan said the samurai is nice, then he's definitely a nice guy!" Luffy butt in.
"Well, that's true." Usopp acknowledged their words, and his fear of the unknown samurai lessened. "Wouldn't that mean that the bad guy is kidnapping children to this place?"
"What else then?" This time, it was Zoro who responded to Usopp. " Just look around, does this place or that burning island look like a good place for a kid to be here? Plus, didn't Naru already said that that Caesar guy is a wanted criminal?"
Usopp nodded at Zoro's words.
"See?" Then he yawned as he was done sharing his own two cent.
"No! You guys are wrong! Master has nothing to do with whatever children you're talking about!" Brownbeard who had been silent suddenly stopped moving and interrupted the Straw Hats' conversation. Disbelief and anger displayed on his face as he glared at them for what they just said. "Master is the nicest person ever, and he will never do something like kidnapping children like what you said! And I haven't seen any brat around here either! So stop accusing Master like that!"
The 4 Straw Hats blinked at him, and only then did he realize that he had just shouted at these 4 people who managed to defeat his whole team without much effort not too long ago, hence why he had been giving them a ride since then out of force. However, although he was afraid of being beaten up by them again, he still held onto the belief that his kind Master had just been slandered unjustly by these people.
"I forgot that he's also one of Caesar's underlings." Usopp whispered quietly to Zoro who didn't seem interested.
As a subordinate of the bad guy, it was natural for Brownbeard to defend his boss. Between the words spoken by a defeated underling of the enemy and the words spoken by their friends, of course Luffy and the rest would believe what Naru had told them about Caesar and what Brook had reported to them while they were still at the burning island earlier.
Though the others just stared at Brownbeard silently, Luffy was the only one who responded to him.
"You must like him a lot." He said.
"Of course! Master was the one who gave me and the rest a hope to live on when we have almost gave up on life. If it wasn't for him, my crew and I would have died a long time ago!"
Seeing the sincerity as he praised the kindness of his Master, Luffy gave a smile before his stomach growled. Then he said "Alright, let's go! We're going to miss out Sanji's delicious food if we arrived late!"
Just like that, Luffy's hunger managed to disperse the air of awkwardness around them, and they continued with their journey to the direction of Thousand Sunny.
Since Brownbeard was a resident of this place, he was familiar with the layout of the island, and it didn't take long for him to bring the Luffy and the rest to the facility. When they saw a building at a distance, the most excited one was none other than Luffy who only had Sanji's tasty food in his head.
"Is that really the place?" Usopp asked. "What if he's bringing us to somewhere for us to get ambushed?!"
"Let them come. I'll handle them." Zoro simple said with no care for danger.
Meanwhile, Brownbeard was offended by the lack of trust. Though he was the their enemy that they had taken as a 'hostage' and even forced to be their living transportation, he was a honest man!
"That is truly Master's main facility!" He said grumpily. "The place that you want to go is not that far, but we have to go around the building for you to be there."
"There are two available harbors where ships can be docked. One is the side harbor that is located right in front of the main entrance of the facility. You can reach that place through a hidden river that is connected to the lake. Another harbor is the main harbor of this island, but it's located on the other side of the building. We are the closest to the side harbor, so we have to go pass that place first."
Brownbeard hesitated for a while, but he still decided to say "I heard a while ago that there might be many people guarding that place since they are looking for the other intruders. Going around the building might take some times, but you will be able to avoid some troubles."
He was the captured enemy, but was still kind enough to give them a warning. How nice.
But since when the Straw Hats members were the type to avoid troubles? If even they tried to avoid it, having Luffy who was a trouble magnet as the captain would still attract troubles to them anyway. For them (most of them), they were not afraid of attracting troubles. Hence, ignoring Usopp's warning of being ambushed, Luffy decided to just use the shortest route.
Since the captain had already said so, Brownbeard brought the 4 Straw Hats directly to the direction of the side harbor instead of going around to reach the main harbor. But who knew the moment they arrived, they would stumble upon the unexpected sight of a destroyed ship floating in the air.
"That's a marine ship! And the marines are here too!" Usopp exclaimed, panicked upon seeing the marines looking so furious as they were holding many weapons in their hands. "Retreat! Retreat! They are here to capture us! I know this centaur is luring us to a trap!"
"I didn't know there are marines here either!" Brownbeard quickly defended himself. He too, panicked when he saw the marines. But when he caught the glimpse of a lone figure facing the marines, he was relieved and quickly shouted for his help. "Hey, Trafalgar! Help me!"
His shout caused the Straw Hats to look at Law. Luffy immediately recognized him as one of the guys that had fought together with him once in Sabaody. Law left a strong impression on Luffy since the other pirate captain also swore that he would find the One Piece and become the next Pirate King.
"It's you!" Luffy waved at him. "I don't remember your name, but I know you!"
His last words caused Usopp and Zoro to sweat drop while Robin chuckled. Then Usopp noticed a familiar man among the marines.
"Isn't that the Smoker guy?" Usopp pointed out, looking curiously at the familiar man who was staring at their way with wide eyes.
"That seems to be him." Zoro confirmed as he recognized the annoying blue-haired woman standing next to the white-haired man. "If that woman is here, then that guy is no doubt him."
"Oh! Smoker is here too!" Luffy recognized both Smoker and Tashigi too, and proceeded to give both marines a friendly smile. "Eh, what are you guys doing here?"
Though Law had no sign of being surprised to see the Straw Hats, the same couldn't be said about the marines. Smoker glared accusingly at Law. "You lied, Trafalgar Law! The Straw Hats are truly here as we have expected!"
With a look of indifference, Law responded "I said the are no Straw Hats inside the building. I never said anything about them not being here."
Smoker gritted his teeth.
"I don't think we should stay here any longer..." Usopp said as they watched the marines sending resentful glare at Law. "Oi Luffy! Let's just go! We should hurry and meet up with Sanji and the rest!"
Luffy looked between Law and the marines for brief moment, before he nodded. "Nee-Chan and the others are still waiting for us. Oi centaur! Let's go!"
Since the marines were here, the Straw Hats decided to retreat and used another route. As they were leaving, they didn't realize that Law was looking at their back with a calculating look.
Smoker gritted his teeth. "Like hell I'm letting you escape!"
But before Smoker could give the escaping pirates a chase, he was stopped by Law.
"Don't forget that I'm still here." Law said and Smoker could do nothing but to continue their battle before they were interrupted by the unexpected arrival of the Straw Hats.
In the end, they still ended up going around the building to avoid the marines, before they eventually arrived at where the Thousand Sunny was located. The first thing that caught their attention the moment they saw the ship, was the sight of the many unconscious bodies spreading across the ground near the ship.
Among the unconscious people, there were also Brook and another unfamiliar figure next to him. When they noticed the lack of legs of the unknown man, they immediately figured out that he must be the samurai told by Brook earlier. Seeing the legs returned to its owner, Luffy became gloomy and disappointed that he wasn't a centaur anymore.
Once everyone was reunited, the Straw Hats plus Naru and Kin'emon went to the galley to discuss of what they should do. Before that, Brownbeard who had been forced by Luffy to give them a ride was once again forced to stay on the ship by Sanji and the rest due to the reason that he was the enemy. At first, Brownbeard still had the desire to escape, but seeing a smiling Naru who he instantly recognized as the terrifying Uzukage, his face turned pale and suddenly became an obedient 'hostage' sitting quietly with the children his size on the open deck.
In the galley…
Kin'emon was just done introducing himself as a samurai from Wano. Though Luffy's group already knew about the samurai thanks to Brook's report, Kin'emon still explained to everyone once again about his circumstance. After everyone had a clear understanding of their current situation, Naru revealed her plan of going back into the facility with Kin'emon to save his missing son while searching for Caesar.
"I want to follow too! You can't just go and have fun without me, Nee-Chan!" Luffy grabbed her sleeve while giving her the face of 'I will follow you no matter what!'.
"Okay." Naru agreed easily.
"Yess!" Luffy cheered as he pumped his fist into the air while the others just stared at him helplessly.
"But umm why do you even want to find Caesar? Can't we just leave this island and continue with our journey to Dressrosa after saving Kin'emon's son?" Usopp suddenly asked. His question brought everyone attention to himself, before they all turned to stare at Naru, waiting for her answer. They remembered she said that Caesar was an acquaintance of Doflamingo, who also affiliated with Kaido.
So why in the world was she so hell bent over finding the mad scientist?
Kin'emon was startled upon hearing the name of the place that they were planning to go and couldn't help but to stand up from his seat, and slammed his hands on the table, causing everyone to be surprised at his unexpected reaction.
"Will you be heading to that place after this, Naru-Dono?!"
Seeing the happiness and expectation in his eyes, Naru blinked, but she still nodded. "Another brother of mine and a friend are there for a tournament. We were actually on our way to see them, before we received the distress call from this island."
"Then Naru-Dono, may I request that my son and I to join your next journey? It's just that, one of my companions is left there when I came here to save my son. I was planning to return back to him once I saved Momonosuke as soon as possible, but I ended up being captured instead."
Naru didn't say anything. She merely sent a glance to Luffy. Following her gaze, Kin'emon understood that the decision this time was not in her hand, but in the hand of captain of this ship, her younger brother. She did say that she was here with her younger brother's crew, and this ship was obviously a pirate ship because of the flag with skull that he saw earlier.
"Please!" To show his sincerity, he bowed his head slightly to Luffy.
Ever since he had been reduced to nothing but a head left, he had begged another person to help him out of his cell, and requesting another desperate help to find someone that he failed to protect with his own abilities. Even though these people were pirates, but they were good people as what his benefactor had said. So what if he had to beg them once again for their aid?
In his current situation, he had nobody else to count on besides himself. He knew that he alone was not able to do everything. It was indeed a blessing that Naru made her appearance when he was in a hopeless situation.
"Okay." Luffy easily agreed. The way he answered truly resembled his older sister's.
Kin'emon was delighted. "Thank you!"
Since the captain had spoken, the others naturally accepted his decision. There was no problem for them to accept another passenger. It was just that, they also had some children that were kidnapped, so how should they handle the matter of the children?
"You said the marines are here, and one of them is Smoker?" Naru asked Luffy and received a nod in response. She recalled the information that she had about the man, and said "Recently, Smoker has been promoted to be a Vice Admiral, and I remember that Grandpa once said that Smoker is a good and responsible marine. Later, I will go and negotiate with him to help return the children to their respective family."
Beside admiring Smoker's capabilities to reach the rank of Vice Admiral in just two years, nobody disagreed with what she suggested.
"And as for your question about Caesar earlier," Naru looked at Usopp. "To be honest, there is a reason why I want to find him, or rather, why I want to capture him."
Seeing the shock and curiosity in their eyes, Naru gladly told them of what happened in Dressrosa. She told them about how Ace and Yuzu were approached by the former princess of Dressrosa and the possible rebellion that had a very high possibility of happening soon after they arrived there.
"A rebellion?!" Nami cupped her face. "Didn't we just go through a rebellion in Fish-Man Island not too long ago?"
"Oh no… Is this going to be another Alabasta episode?! I heard that Doflamingo is even worse than Crocodile!" Usopp cried out with a pale complexion on his usually tanned skin.
"Really?!" Chopper stared at Usopp in fear.
"Alabasta? I wonder how Vivi is doing?" Luffy blinked, staying ignorant to the main topic.
"A princess is in trouble!" Sanji started to day dream of him appearing like a prince in shining armor as he carried a faceless woman in his arms. "As a man, I will gladly help the princess!"
"Yohohoho! A princess! I wonder if she would show me her panties if I were to aid her in her battle?" Brook asked himself, only to be hit on the head by Nami.
"Joining a rebellion means that I would get to fight strong opponents right?" Zoro seemed interested.
"Then, what will you do?" Robin stared at Naru.
Naru sighed, and said "Since I will be there anyway, it's unavoidable for me to not get involved. Other than the fact that Ace and Yuzu are there, and I don't wish for them to be implicated, I also can't push away those who need my helps, right?"
The Straw Hats nodded in understanding. Other than her tyrannical reputation, she was mostly known for her benevolence of saving many lives. More specifically, her taking away the slaves of the World Nobles and turned them into her citizens. Despite the anger of the entire World Government towards her, she wasn't scared and still continued to live her life the way she wanted. Besides her kindness, the Straw Hats were also aware of her abilities. They knew she was strong, but it wasn't until they (minus Luffy and Zoro), witnessed her abilities when she fought the Sea Serpent back in the Fish-Man Island did they really had a high regard for her, other than her being the older sister of their captain.
After all, strength was also important for others to evaluate you in this kind of world.
Kin'emon didn't seem to catch the look exchanged between the pirates, but he knew that Naru was a good person since she was willing to help him despite not knowing who he was.
But at the thought of the rebellion that she mentioned caused him to feel the uncomfortableness in his heart. He had experienced the same thing in his own country, and the result was that, his Shogun was killed and the people had suffered and continued to suffer under the ruling of the sinners!
Kin'emon stared at Naru with a deep look, before a small smile adorned his face. He didn't why, but he had an utmost trust for this young lady whom he just met today. Even though a rebellion against a kingdom is bad, but who was he who wasn't even a person from Dressrosa to say anything? Since the princess was the one who sought out her first, that must be something, right?
"I don't actually plan to get involved, but since we are already here, I might as well just take this chance to capture Caesar." Naru said.
"But what does Caesar have anything to do with the rebellion?" Nami asked.
Giving them a mysterious smile, she answered. "Didn't I say it earlier? Caesar is an important business partner of Doflamingo that he can't afford to lose. Losing Caesar is akin to losing his business, and that business is also important to Kaido."
"You're going to use Caesar against Doflamingo during the rebellion, aren't you?" Robin smiled knowingly.
Inside of one dark secluded room in the Royal Palace of Dressrosa, Donquixote Doflamingo sat arrogantly on his majestic chair that was facing the large window, which gave him the best view of his country. Sitting like a boss he was, he had one leg above the other, and one hand holding a glass of red wine while his other hand was rested comfortably on the armrest.
Tapping his finger on the armrest, he listened to the report given by the Den Den Mushi on top of the table next to him. The snail bore the resemblances with a certain mad scientist who was currently in a certain island, staying hidden from the rest of the world.
The caller was Caesar Clown himself, who was reporting about the unexpected appearance of the Straw Hat Crew in Punk Hazard. Once the snail stopped talking, Doflamingo also stopped the tapping of his finger as he frowned.
"The Straw Hats..?"
"Then Joker, what do you want me to do about them? If they are just random people, I could just deal with them myself!" The snail then sighed. "But you are also aware that Straw Hat Luffy is backed by that Naru."
Doflamingo aka Joker, the infamous broker in the underworld, didn't give any response as he was in a deep thought.
The appearance of the Straw Hat Crew in Punk Hazard, which was the closest to this country was definitely not a coincidence. The image of a certain Devil Fruit came into his mind, and he wondered if they were actually on their way here. Since he had already spread the words that the Gura Gura no Mi shall be given to the ultimate winner of his upcoming tournament, he had already expected that some familiar people would be here.
Among those people, was definitely Gol D Ace. The man who was the commander of the 2nd division of the perished Whitebeard Pirates, and now had resumed his position as the captain of his original pirate crew. Doflamingo still remembered the rage and regret shown by the younger man during the paramount War when Edward Newgate breathed his last.
Since he was the most emotional over his old man's death, Doflamingo was sure that Ace would definitely come here once he heard that Whitebeard's Devil Fruit was in his possession. Not only that, he was also being generous by giving him and everyone the chance to obtain that Devil Fruit. So Doflamingo was very confident that Ace would join the tournament.
The tournament, which was a great source of entertainment of Dressrosa.
Using the Gura Gura no Mi as a temptation to lure many strong people to join the tournament, Doflamingo had no other ulterior motive other than for his own personal entertainment. After all, even though the colosseum was used for gladiators to fight each other to death, towards this kind of thing, he already grew bored of it.
Hence, why he used the Gura Gura no Mi that everyone was yearning for, to bring many new faces as the ones that shall entertain him next. This upcoming tournament, he was really looking forward to it. Especially, when someone like Ace would be coming.
Even though there might be a chance that he wouldn't come, other people that related to him might come instead.
Such as the Straw Hat Crew.
Considering the brotherly relationship between Gol D Ace and Monkey D Luffy, Doflamingo was even more convinced that the Straw Hats were definitely on their way here for the tournament, which also meant that Ace would be joining the tournament. He could be with the Straw Hats, or he might be already here.
Regardless of the reason why the Straw Hats were in Punk Hazard, their next destination should be here. The only question that he had right now was that, would she be here too?
Out of the many people that he expected to come here, she was the one that he wanted to see the most.
Recalling the godlike image of Monkey D Naru as she stood above the head of the legendary Kyubi as both were shining in pure golden light that could even rival the brightness of the sun, appearing like a heavenly being descended from the Heaven, he suddenly felt the surge of excitement throughout his whole body.
Unconsciously, a grin came, causing the Sichibukai to appear more devilish than he already was.
His desire to see her was so strong the he would even hand over the Gura Gura no Mi to her if she demanded him to do so. His interest over her wasn't the likes of a man interested in a woman, but it was more like he viewed the mysterious Uzukage as something interesting that he would like to figure out.
Whether it was about her true abilities, her characteristics, her personality, or her pasts... he wanted to know them all.
Caesar's voice caused him to return back to reality.
"Hmm..?" He forgot what they were talking about for a moment, but when he remembered, he suddenly gave a low chuckle and replied "You said that there are marines over there as well, right?"
"Yes. It seems that Smoker is the one in charge. I heard that he's here to catch the Straw Hats."
The ruler of Dressrosa contemplated for a few moments as he considered the many scenarios that might happen in his head. Considering the person backing up Straw Hat Luffy, he really shouldn't even think of harming him. But if he decided to just let the Straw Hats to do anything they wanted at that place, unwanted circumstance that would put him in an unfavorable situation might happen in the future. After all, beside Monkey D Naru, there was also Kaido that he needed to be careful of.
One could be considered his enemy, while the other one was the person he decided to work for, and both of them had the power to end his life if they wished.
As he was thinking, the light coming through the window suddenly moved due to the movement of the clouds in the sky. Rays of light shone upon him and the whole room. Unknowingly, his eyes that were hidden by his sunglasses followed the movement of that one particular cloud. Each cloud had their own undistinguished shape and form, just like that one cloud. However, slowly, its shape started to change because of the wind, and it eventually became something familiar in the eyes of the ruler of Dressrosa.
It wasn't a perfect shape, heck it might even looked different to others from what he had seen, but he was still able to recognize it anyway.
A head with two long pointed ears and a narrow snout.
It could be a cat, a dog, a wolf, or...
... a fox.
Once again, he felt the surge of excitement within him as his trademark shit eating grin appeared as he decided what should he do.
- End of Chapter 28 -
Thank you for taking the time to read this story. I appreciate it, and have a nice day!