UPDATE (22/11/20): And the muse is gone. As if that wasn't enough, life isn't going spectacularly at the moment either. Not a health issue, don't worry. More of a... socio-economic issue. Probably won't be updating for a long long time. If ever. I hope I do though. I liked writing this story at the time.

Any reviews posted will still be read by me and I'll still try to respond to PMs. Just don't expect updates any time soon. I'm really really sorry.


Chapter 8 – Twists and Turns

The evening of the day the fishmen invaded, Genzo led a group of armed villagers back to the house on top of the hill.

Once they arrived, they stared silently at the destruction the place had been through. While the house itself remained intact, most of the area in front of it was filled with cracks and craters. And that wasn't even mentioning the long trench-like trail of destruction leading away from the house.

"So much power in one so young…" One of the villagers muttered and Genzo couldn't help but agree. He'd seen the two boys Ace and Sabo fight the fishmen but he was now sure that if it were the other boy Luffy who was fighting the dozens of fishmen instead, he'd probably have decimated the crew by himself without any trouble.

The group followed the trail cautiously, the many torches in their hands being the only source of light besides the stars above.

At the end of the trail, they found their target lying unconscious. His head was bleeding, his face swollen, his previously long nose not even present.

Dr. Nako who was part of the group stepped forward and assessed the fishman's condition. "His chest has caved in." He said pointing at the crater in the fishman's chest. He continued "He's alive. Barely. I have no idea how he's even breathing but he definitely won't be waking up any time soon. Fishmen. Ugh." He shook his head in disgust.

Several gulps were heard in the torchlit darkness. Genzo nodded his head "Right. We'll do as decided then."

"You mean keep him drugged enough that he won't ever wake up? Oh yes, I plan to do just that." Nako sneered at the fallen fishman, his eyes glinting with malice.


Ace, Sabo and Luffy jogged through the village, dodging and weaving between the various people going about their day but keeping an eye on every person they passed.

"Hey, you three brothers! You wanna try my new recipe?" A thin old man sitting at his shop asked.

"Not now, gramps! We'll come by later!" Ace yelled as they passed.

"Luffy-kun! You shouldn't run when you're covered in bandages like that!" A young woman admonished as the trio weaved around her.

"Shishishi. Sorry! We're looking for someone! It's really important!" Luffy laughed carelessly.

The three continued to make their way across the village, Ace and Sabo deflecting well wishes and Luffy just laughing his way through.

"There she is! That's the one, Luffy!" Ace suddenly exclaimed, pointing at someone ahead.

Luffy ran ahead of them and jumped in the way of the woman who was just leaving the grocery shop, carrying a bag filled with fresh vegetables.

The woman stopped and stared in surprise. Then her face lit up as she set her bag down and gently grabbed Luffy's face, turning it this way and that.

"Ah! You must be Luffy-kun, right? I'm glad to see you're up and about. So filled with energy!" The woman said with a smile on her face.

Luffy stared at her. She looked normal. From her face to her braid to her colorful dress to the way she held herself. Everything about her looked normal.

And yet, this normal person had saved his life.

"Don't pull ahead so suddenly, dammit…" A grumble came from his side as Ace stopped next to him, Sabo arriving leisurely afterwards, his arms behind his head.

The woman turned to the other two brothers and gave them a smile as well "And I see you two are fine as well. I'm glad."

Ace could only scratch his head in response, too flustered internally to give a proper reply. Sabo was much the same.

Luffy put a hand into his pocket and pulled out an item covered with cloth. He gingerly opened it up and offered up the seastone bracelet it contained.

"Thank you." Luffy said, not knowing what else he should be saying. He continued awkwardly "I mean, for saving me."

The woman had not only provided the seastone necessary to treat him, she had also donated some of her blood for a transfusion. Twice she had helped him. Luffy thought he should at least show his gratitude.

She stared at the bracelet resting on a cloth in his hands. A family heirloom. She hadn't known what it really was until the day she'd given it away to save a young boy's life.

The woman slowly reached toward it then paused. Her eyes were filled with complex emotions as she slowly reached out with both hands and covered the bracelet with the cloth once more. Then she closed the boy's hand around it.

She smiled at his bewildered face "Consider it a gift from me, yes? Something to remember me by… To remember our village by."

Luffy and his brothers could only look at his closed hand blankly.

Sabo suddenly spoke up "Excuse me but… what's your name?"

The woman blinked and opened her mouth reflexively. But a moment later, she closed it shut and ducked her head slightly.

A moment later, she placed her hands on Ace and Sabo's heads and beamed at the three "I'm just another person you boys saved. That's all you need to know."

Luffy frowned slightly, his gut telling him that there was something wrong in her smile, in her eyes.

Unfortunately, he didn't get the chance to find out.

"Marines!"

The shout rang through the village and everyone turned towards the sea and saw three ships in the distance, their sails adorned with the mark of the Marines.

"Hurry. Go and hide. You know the plan, yes?" The woman said urgently.

The three brothers nodded as Luffy put the bracelet back in his pocket. With a quick goodbye, they ran back to their room in the inn.


Genzo, the sheriff of the village who had sent a message to the closest Marine base many days prior, stood straight as several Marines marched up to his office. The people around made way for the group and watched quietly.

The leading Marine, a man in a brown suit and fedora with a coat on his shoulders stopped in front of him and saluted in a professional fashion. His eyes were shadowed by the hat on his head and the sheathed katana on his hip gave off a silent pressure on anyone who stared too long.

"The fishmen?" He spoke quietly.

"All sedated and in custody. Ready for immediate transport, mister…" Genzo trailed off.

The Marine said nothing and just motioned the sheriff to take the lead.

Genzo complied and brought the group to the holding cells. All of them were filled with unconscious fishmen, some still bleeding from their untreated wounds.

The Marine officer nodded to his subordinates and they scrambled to secure every fishman and bring them back to the ships.

As Genzo and the officer stood by, the latter spoke again "We saw the pirates' ship at the docks. Did your people find anything we need to secure?"

"A meager amount of Bellies. We donated it to the families of those who were killed." Genzo answered steadily.

They continued to watch as the fishmen were all carried out by the rookie Marines. Even after the area was cleared out, the two still stood silently, the dim lights barely illuminating the area.

"Who defeated them?" The officer's question was straightforward.

Genzo said nothing. He turned around and followed the last Marine up the stairs.

The officer tilted his head and followed.


Back on the ship, the officer saluted at his commander who was sitting on a crate and munching on a cracker.

"Sir. The fishmen were thoroughly beaten by an unknown party and have later been sedated by the villagers. Nothing of value has been found in their ship and I have sent some men to board it and follow behind." The officer said, his words quick and concise, his demeanor professional.

His commanding officer on the other hand was not at all professional as he took another bite of the cracker and hummed. He then devoured the entire snack in one go and dusted off his hands.

The man suddenly jumped off the ship and started to simply walk through the village, his companion officer following silently behind him.

Everyone he made eye contact with turned away immediately, all of them mutually agreeing not to say anything to the Marines.

The commanding officer continued to walk down the street until he suddenly stopped.

He squinted at the air and rubbed his chin, turning his head this way and that before he abruptly shot into the air.

The man crashed right through a wall on the second floor of a building and landed on his feet, debris flying around him. Screams were heard from outside but the man focused on the scene in front of him.

Three children looked up at him in wide-eyed horror.

Monkey D. Garp leveled a narrow-eyed stare at them.

His eyes roamed over to the large sack in one corner of the room but Luffy suddenly leapt towards it and covered it with his body as he glared, all but hissing at the old man.

Garp glared at the three for another few moments before he spoke "Bogard."

"Yes, Garp-san." The officer from earlier appeared silently next to him.

"We're taking these three with us." Garp said no more and turned around, jumping out of the hole he'd made in the wall.

Bogard turned to the three and waited silently. He caught sight of his commander's grandson in the room and raised an eyebrow, internally feeling quite incredulous as he realized who might have beaten the fishmen.

Ace and Sabo's eyes looked around wildly, looking for a way to escape. But a ringing sound suddenly rang out and they looked at the sharp blade that was pushed slightly out of its sheath and slumped.

Luffy sighed. He grabbed the sack behind him and walked glumly towards the hole in the wall.

Ace and Sabo also sighed and did the same, feeling that there wasn't a point pretending anymore.

As they walked through the village silently, the people around them looking saddened that their plan didn't work, Sabo nudged Ace's shoulder "Hey, Ace."

"Hmm?" Ace said, feeling down at their current situation.

"That old man. Is he maybe…" Sabo trailed off, having a guess in his mind.

"Gramps, yeah." Ace confirmed.

Sabo shut his mouth, truly not knowing what to say when even the loudmouth Luffy was keeping quiet about their situation.

As they reached the docks where the ships were preparing to leave once more, Luffy stopped and turned. He looked at all the villagers who had gathered at the port and were looking guiltily at the scene.

Luffy took a deep breath.

"EVERYONE!"

His voice echoed across the entire village. The villagers all looked up at him. The Marines on the ships stopped their work and looked at him. Ace, Sabo and Garp looked at him.

Luffy gave them all a bright grin.

"Stay safe, okay?"

There was a moment of silence.

No one said anything. The calm waves of the sea were the only sounds audible.

Then the dams broke all at once.

"You stay safe too, kid!"

"Come back and visit, alright!?"

"Luffy! You better eat well and become a big strong man, you hear!?"

"I hope I see you again sometime, Ace!"

"Do your best, Sabo! I'll be cheering for you!"

"We'll be waiting for you guys!"

A storm of cheers erupted from the villagers. Tears were shed, voices became hoarse and emotions flowed out like a torrent.

The Marines could only stare with open mouths.

Ace fell on his butt as he watched everyone scream support at him. He could do nothing as his eyes numbly took in the scene, his ears ringing with the voices echoing around him as he slowly processed the people cheering.

For him.

Not his father. Not for something he didn't do. Not for his birth heritage.

They were cheering for him.

His eyes were blurry with unshed tears, he belatedly realized.

For Sabo, he took in the cheers silently, feeling overwhelmed by it all. His thoughts were fixed on how the people weren't cheering for the Marines who were taking their invaders away but for him… one of the people who fought them instead.

He briefly thought of how nobles had to throw money to people to be cheered for but were never celebrated in any other situation except when the people's lives were at risk, being subtly threatened to make supportive noises.

The cheers felt nice, he thought distantly.

Luffy simply grinned at everyone. His sack tied to his back, Luffy waved his arms in goodbye as he climbed up the ramp leading to the ship, his brothers following behind him with their own thoughts.

As the ships began to move away from the port, the villagers all waved their arms, their cheers still echoing from afar.

Nami stood beside her sister as she waved goodbye, a big smile on her face. Genzo stood behind the two as he silently said his farewell to the three saviours of their village.

Garp looked at the cheering villagers in silence. He turned to his grandson who was standing on the railing of the ship and waving like a madman, without any care for his possible death by drowning as a devil-fruit user.

Garp smiled bitterly.

You could be such a great Marine, Luffy.

His gaze went to Ace who was quietly staring at the village as it got smaller and smaller, his eyes unreadable.

And Ace as well.

He considered the blond boy for a moment and looked away, having an idea of who he was already but didn't bother saying anything.

Garp heard whispers from the other Marines speculating on who the three kids were and why the villagers were cheering for them.

Well then. Garp thought, cracking his knuckles. Seems I have some mouths to shut.


The three brothers were given a room on the ship and strictly ordered to stay there and not come out. Since food was brought to them in a timely fashion and there was an attached bathroom already, neither of them felt the need to leave anyway.

It was a silent few days spent sailing through the East Blue. Ace and Sabo were deep in their own thoughts and Luffy guarded the sack he'd brought with him carefully.

In actual fact, Arlong's ship had contained quite a bit of money. 3.4 million Bellies to be exact.

At first, Genzo had offered the entire loot to the brothers but Luffy had flat out refused to take it and despite Ace and Sabo looking at the money longingly, they made the same decision.

Later, Luffy had thought of giving it all to Nami but the girl had refused – which had made the rubber boy recoil in shock and terror – saying she did not want to be paid for her mother's death.

A lot of back and forth happened between the three brothers, Nami and Genzo but in the end, Luffy and co had agreed to take three million and split it between them while Genzo split the remaining loot and gave it to Nami and the few villagers who were injured.

Luffy considered the entire argument a failure. Ace and Sabo thought the exact opposite.

Finally, they had just put the loot into a sack and let Luffy carry it.

In the present moment, the three brothers looked out the porthole in their room as the ships all stopped at what was obviously a Marine base.

A day passed as the Marines all went about their business, some of them having suspicious looking bumps on their heads. Since no one came to get them, the three brothers remained in their room.

Eventually, the ship they were in started to move again, this time being the only ship to do so.

And so, another few days passed in relative silence as they travelled once more.

Finally, the ship came to a stop and when they peeked out the porthole again, they found the familiar scenery of Foosha Village outside.

And right on time, the door to the room opened and Bogard motioned them towards the exit.


"YOU STUPID FOOLISH BRATS!"

"AAAAAH!"

Garp, who had kept his feelings about the matter bottled up the entire time, released them all with a vengeance.

The result of this was boulders bashing through trees and bushes alike as Luffy, Ace and Sabo ran for their lives while an irate Garp pursued them from behind, flinging giant boulders or sometimes even animals at the three.

A large bear crashed through a tree next to the running trio, startling them into smacking face first into a large knocked out snake in their way.

As they groggily stepped out of the squishy snake's hide, Garp stood menacingly next to them. He blew a breath on his fist.

Three bonks sounded out followed by three pained moans.

While the three children sat on the ground and cradled the bumps on their heads, Garp crossed his arms across his chest, his white Marine uniform slightly dirtied by the forest chase.

"I was just about to go back to headquarters when I got the call to collect a group of defeated pirates. And when I come to get them, what do I find? You!" Garp glared at them.

"How about you brats tell me why I found you three halfway across the East Blue?"

Neither of them answered, stubbornly looking away from him.

Garp waited a minute. Then two. Then three.

Then he abruptly turned to Luffy.

"Luffy! You're behind this, aren't you?!"

"I didn't even say anything!" Luffy yelled in disbelief.

"That's exactly how I figured it out!" Garp replied smugly.

He does have a point. Ace and Sabo thought silently, knowing that usually Luffy tended to be a loudmouth and him staying silent was the first clue.

Luffy just gaped incredulously.

Garp let out an explosive breath "So? What was it then? Why and how did you three get all the way there? And how long were you there?"

Garp didn't even bother asking if they were the ones who defeated Arlong and his crew. He knew his grandson's strength very well and if Luffy had improved since the last time Garp had seen him, it was entirely within reason for him to have defeated Arlong. Ace and the other one probably helped out here and there.

For that matter…

"And who are you?!" Garp shouted belatedly at the blond boy.

"Oh, uh – I'm Sabo, gramps! I mean, sir! Sabo, sir!" He said, correcting himself midway.

"Aaah?!" Garp glowered at him and Sabo practically sank into the snake behind him.

"Well, whatever. Luffy! You still haven't answered me!" The old man shifted back to his grandson.

Luffy stayed defiantly silent. While he could tell his grandpa about the dreams, he just didn't want to.

While Luffy usually thought of himself as having been reincarnated, he knew the truth that it wasn't quite that simple.

The first five years of his life had passed in a haze of headaches and fluctuating personalities, shifting between that of a baby with no knowledge of the world and sometimes that of an adult who had sailed the seas.

The additional memories that he had were more equivalent to inherited knowledge than reincarnation because in those first five years, the memories of his adult self had come to him in the forms of daydreams, sleep dreams and nightmares despite all the memories already being present in his psyche.

Although his personality had settled into one more mature than his age – at least, as mature as Luffy could ever reasonably become - the result of all those were the headaches. Because as a baby, he was not getting enough rest. It was also one of the factors on why he immediately went into a depression after it all stopped.

His lethargic brain had finally got its chance at rest and made his entire self feel weak as a side effect. His lethargy had ultimately given him more time to look back on his past and mope, which had lead to depression.

Garp dropping him into a ravine had basically jumpstarted his refreshing mind and brought his conscious thoughts back up to speed.

So in a very broad sense, Luffy's knowledge of events truly were thanks to dreams. The only difference was that they were old dreams and not recent ones like Ace or Sabo thought he had.

Luffy hadn't exactly lied to Nami when she had asked how he knew of her plight.

But even though Luffy didn't know all this in the proper words, he had an instinctive understanding of his situation.

And this was also why he didn't want to tell Garp the reason he and his brothers went out to sea. Because Garp was someone who had seen much of the world and would definitely get too involved in Luffy's life if he told him.

Perhaps even hide him away from the world, like he tried to do with Ace.

Or force him into the Marines despite Luffy's protests.

Although he wasn't usually one to think of the future too much, Luffy was still scared of the possibilities.

Which was why he remained stubbornly silent in the face of Garp's menacing question.

Eventually, Garp gave up and sighed. "Fine then. I won't ask you anymore. But know this!" He gave them all a scary look once more and the children cowered in a huddle "I've given Makino a transponder snail. She'll be checking up on you every now and then."

"And if she finds that you three have left the island again, she'll call me right away! And I…" Garp cracked his knuckles ominously "… will find you."

He didn't bother to elaborate his words and turned around, shouting a farewell as he marched away.

As he silently walked through the underbrush, Garp remembered seeing how badly the head fishman was beaten by his grandson. In his heart, Garp was proud. How could he not be? His nine year old grandson had beaten someone who hailed from the Grand Line after all.

But it was precisely because of this that he refused to let them go out to sea so soon once more. Garp would not let Luffy get a big head and recklessly charge into the Grand Line at such a young age while still being so weak.

Because even though Garp had acknowledged that Luffy would never be a Marine and that he would most probably become a pirate in the future, Garp wouldn't just sit back and let him run to his death.

The old man remembered the scars he'd seen on his grandson's chest when he was replacing his bandages.

Garp's eyes sharpened and he clenched his fists. They reflexively turned a shiny black.

Seems someone needs to be taught a lesson.


Garp's thoughts revealed themselves two weeks later.

Luffy, Ace and Sabo had gotten back into their rhythm of spending time on Mt. Colubo. The sudden increase to their pirate funds saved them a lot of time and allowed them to focus more on training and having fun.

It was one day two weeks later that Luffy ran up to their hideout and found Ace and Sabo staring intensely at something between them. As he came closer, he realized that it was a newspaper.

"Hey guys! What are ya looking at?" He asked as he stopped in front of them.

They didn't reply, too immersed in reading the paper.

Luffy squinted in confusion then twisted his head to look at the paper.

He almost jumped in horror when he read the headline.

MARINE HERO GARP ASSAULTS WARLORD JIMBEI!

The article talked about how the renowned Marine hero had suddenly showed up at Fishman Island by himself and had suddenly started attacking a flustered Jimbei out of nowhere.

In the end, the Warlord was predictably in a bad condition by the time Garp had stopped attacking and left. Although he didn't have any life-threatening injuries, the Warlord was thoroughly beaten down.

When asked for an explanation, both of them had refused to comment.

Luffy read the entire article, dumbfounded.

"What happened to gramps all of a sudden to go and do something like this?" Ace asked in shock.

Sabo shook his head, having no answer to the question. Luffy was similarly speechless.


Meanwhile at Marineford, Fleet Admiral Sengoku was busy chewing out his most able Vice Admiral.

"Damn it, Garp! Why did you have to go on your own and cause trouble?! This could have been solved through talking!"

Garp said nothing and furiously munched his way through a packet of crackers.


The next day, another significant occurrence was announced in the news.

WHITEBEARD PIRATES SEEN MOVING TOWARDS THE RED LINE!

Luffy gulped and looked away, feeling apprehensive. He peeked at Ace who was looking at the description of the world's strongest man in interest.

Another few days passed in silence before the news blared out another eye-catching headline.

WHITEBEARD PIRATES SPOTTED GATHERING IN FISHMAN ISLAND!

MARINES SEEN MAKING PREPARATIONS FOR BATTLE AT HEADQUARTERS!

Luffy almost had a heart attack, his mind playing flashbacks of his misadventure in Marineford. He comforted himself by taking a day off from his training to spend more time with Ace and Sabo.

As the world watched the rising tensions in apprehension… The next day, a very different headline was printed on the papers worldwide.

WARLORD JIMBEI APOLOGIZES TO EAST BLUE!

And suddenly, Luffy understood why his grandpa had attacked Jimbei.

The article spoke of how Jimbei wished to publicly apologize to the citizens of East Blue for carelessly letting a known human-hating radical fishman get into the East Blue. He expressed his regret for being so soft towards his former comrade and allowing him to do as he pleased.

Finally, he expressed his deepest condolences to the families of those who lost their loved ones because of his inability.

While the honest and sincere tone of his message wasn't as well portrayed in the newspaper, Luffy knew that his words came from his heart and that he was seriously apologizing to the masses.

"Huh. So that's why…" Sabo muttered while Ace nodded in comprehension.

WHITEBEARD PIRATES STOP THEIR ADVANCE TO FISHMAN ISLAND!

TENSIONS DEFUSE! MARINES APOLOGIZE FOR VICE ADMIRAL GARP'S RECKLESS ACTIONS!

The Marines themselves gave apologies for the reckless actions of one of their own and causing a panic. But having finally found out why the Marine hero had assaulted the warlord, the media expressed subtle praise for Garp being willing to step up and take measures, despite the consequences of his recklessness.

Just like that, the entire fiasco came to an end.

And Luffy was silently happy that it did.


Time passed once more.

Days turned into weeks. Weeks turned into months. Months turned into years.

The three young boys who lived on the mountain grew taller and stronger as time passed, slowly transforming into splendid men.

Due to her newly assigned role, Makino the bartender became a regular sight to the three and Ace and Sabo took the opportunity to learn proper language and manners from her. Sabo had a head start in this aspect since he had lived part of his life in a noble household.

Luffy stood aside and laughed at their efforts, after which he was always chased across the jungle by two very annoyed brothers.

Eventually, the time came when Ace and Sabo were both seventeen years old.

And at that time, Sabo suddenly dropped a bomb on his brothers.


"Eh?" Ace sat in stunned silence.

Luffy scratched his head, having not quite expected this turn of events.

Sabo sat cross-legged in front of the two and looked down guiltily.

The three were perched on a cliff overlooking the sea, the wind blowing gently across the area. However, none of the three were in a mood to care about the nice view.

Ace heaved himself and stumbled forward, grabbing Sabo's collar and lifting him to eye level. The freckled boy growled "What did you just say?"

Sabo sighed and repeated his earlier words "I don't want to become a pirate."

Ace's grip on his collar tightened but he suddenly let go and took a step back, sitting on the ground once more. Sabo also slowly sat down after him while Luffy just watched the byplay happen.

"Explain." Ace said, his voice betraying nothing.

Sabo nodded and started to speak. He spoke of how he'd felt after the incident of the Gray Terminal burning, the visit by the World Noble, the implication by the fishman they'd once fought that the Marines were a corrupt organization and various other smaller incidents that happened throughout the years. Some of which he experienced in Goa Kingdom and some of which he read about in newspapers.

"I gave this a lot of thought, you know? I really really wanted to become a pirate and sail the seas with you, Ace. I really did. But…" Sabo paused for a moment then gulped and continued "I want to do more."

Hearing no replies, he continued once more. "Being a pirate is… fun, yes. It sounds fun. But I want to do more. I want to fight against the nobles. I want to reform the Marines. I want to… make this world a better place, you know? Just… a bit less dirty." He finished awkwardly.

Ace stayed silent, digesting his brother's words with crossed arms. The wind ruffled his hair for a while before he asked "Then what do you want to do?"

Sabo slumped and ducked his head again "I… want to join the Revolutionary Army."

Ace suddenly let out a gusty sigh of relief, catching Sabo by surprise. Ace gave him an annoyed look "From your words, I thought you'd join the Marines or something. But it's just the Revolutionary Army."

He sniffed in annoyance before he got up and smacked Sabo across the head, knocking his top hat off. "Say that first, you fool. I didn't need the speech."

Sabo's lips twitched into a smile at his response. His smile widened when he saw Luffy rolling on the ground in boredom, paying the minimum amount of attention as needed and looking not at all surprised.

Sabo wasn't put off. His youngest brother was strange like that. He probably already knew that Sabo was wavering in his decision to become a pirate for a while but just left him to it. 'Your secret is yours to tell' was a code that all three usually adhered to. So it wasn't surprising Luffy hadn't spoken up about it if he knew.

The blond couldn't help but start laughing. Really, he loved both his brothers and their strange behaviours all included.

Ace shook his head with a smile. He spoke after Sabo stopped laughing "So how are you gonna go about this?"

Sabo stood up and dusted off his top hat. He put it on his head and spoke "I've already found a contact in the city that can get me in touch. I grilled him a bit for more info and he spilled the beans on a small base they have on the island."

"What, in the city?" Ace asked incredulously, imagining the Revolutionary Army being so close to the nobles of Goa.

"No, it's in a secluded cove away from the city." Sabo answered him as he tightened his black gloves.

"I never thought there'd be a place on this island that we haven't found by now." Ace muttered, impressed with their hiding place.

"We actually did find it when we were much younger. But at the time there wasn't any tunnel or cave or any way to access the place easily. The Revolutionaries built themselves one."

"Huh. Well then, you –" Ace started but suddenly stopped talking as he felt a chill go down his spine while Sabo felt a similar feeling.

They both slowly turned to look at Luffy who had been silent for way too long.

They found him grinning and cracking his knuckles.

"Let's go say hi."

Suddenly, Sabo felt like his chances of getting into the organization plummeted drastically.

Ace squinted his eyes, feeling like he was forgetting something.


In a large dimly lit cave next to a secluded cove, roughly a dozen people roamed around, busy with their own work. Some moved crates of supplies from one place to another while others were busy writing documents. Some just sat around and looked menacing.

All of this was interrupted as a teenage boy with three mean looking scars on his chest and wearing a straw hat strolled right in, whistling a cheery tune while two older boys followed behind him cautiously.

Luffy stopped in front of his gawking audience and beamed at them "So who's the leader here?"

An apprehensive looking man stood up from his seat behind the table. Though he looked rough, the simple shirt and pants he was wearing still made him look more professional than the rest of his colleagues.

"Who might you be?" His eyes darted towards one of the guards who kept a hand on his sheathed sword.

"I'm Luffy! I wanna talk to your boss." The boy in the lead stated cheerfully.

One of the men who was looking intensely at the three new arrivals since they entered suddenly recognized the style of dress Luffy was wearing. Straw hat on his head, shorts on his legs and shirt tied around his waist, Luffy had still stuck to it since he didn't get his clothes dirty as often with his intense training.

But that just made it easier for the man to remember.

"Ah!" He suddenly exclaimed, Luffy jumping away from him in surprise. He gave an apologetic glance to the boy and turned to his tense looking comrades.

"Guys! It's them! The three brothers who saved us five years ago!" He shouted happily.

Everyone there blinked and took a closer look at the three brothers. Then they burst out in shouts as they realized the same thing.

"It really is them! Whoa, they've grown."

"Grown? They've practically shot up like a tree."

"They definitely look stronger than before."

Sabo and Ace looked around in confusion, wondering how they were recognized all of a sudden. Luffy shook his wet feet from having landed on some water.

The leader from before stepped forward and gave them a welcoming smile "It's good to see that you three are still safe."

"Do we… know you?" Sabo spoke slowly. Ace looked like he had the same question on his mind.

The man scratched his head "Probably not me or us specifically but… We used to live in the Gray Terminal five years ago."

Luffy, Ace and Sabo blinked then soon understood how they were recognized.

Former residents of the Gray Terminal. Five years ago, the three brothers had warned them and helped them evacuate when the place was set on fire.

Sabo held his chin in thought "I see. So you guys joined the Revolutionary Army."

"A lot of us did. Those who didn't were ferried over to different islands in East Blue. We couldn't all live in the forests, right?" The man said, taking a humorous jab at the boys' instruction back then to run into the forest.

Sabo smiled in response and was about to speak again when Luffy suddenly got in the leader's face.

"Hey, hey! If you're the leader guy, you should have some kinda way to talk to your boss, right?" Luffy asked with a grin.

"Um, I really shouldn't…"

"So you do! Call him for me. Please~?" The rubber boy pleaded.

The man began to sweat "Like I said, I really shouldn't –"

"I'll kick your ass if you don't."

No reply.

The poor man looked like he was going to cry.

In the end, he led the three brothers over to his work desk and took out a deceptively simple looking transponder snail from a drawer.

He looked at the straw hat boy again and slumped when he saw the expectation on his face. He dialed a number and held the mouth piece gingerly.

"Yeah?" A voice came from the snail's mouth.

"Send me up. Need to speak to Dragon-san." The man replied, his voice apprehensive.

The leader of Goa Kingdom's base was one who was picked personally by Dragon and thus had more authority and priority than many other base leaders when it came to getting a direct line to their commander.

There was a moment of silence from the other end before a grunt came through followed by a dial tone.

A different, deeper voice came from the snail afterwards.


UPDATE (22/11/20): And the muse is gone. As if that wasn't enough, life isn't going spectacularly at the moment either. Not a health issue, don't worry. More of a... socio-economic issue. Probably won't be updating for a long long time. If ever. I hope I do though. I liked writing this story at the time.

Any reviews posted will still be read by me and I'll still try to respond to PMs. Just don't expect updates any time soon. I'm really really sorry.


A/N: I edited the summary to better suit this story after some reviewers came forth holding up canon like a holy grail that must not be defiled. Yeah, no. I don't like cluttering the summary box with tags but I'll do it just so more of these people don't read this story and post the same opinion, even if it's at the cost of losing some views.

To all of you that expressed support and gave useful criticism though, thank you! And know that even if I don't reply to you guys with PMs, I still truly appreciate the feedback. Also I try not to put specific reader's names in author notes because it seems... rude. I dunno.

Now about the chapter. To those readers who suggested a time skip, there you go! Oh don't worry about the last scene. Its continuation isn't long at all.

And I'll say this right now. 3 million really isn't that big an amount. I have my suspicion that Ace and Sabo already had around half a million when Luffy came along in canon. That entire loot part was just meant to address the question 'what happened to any treasure Arlong had'.

Also, the dream thing. Originally, I'd used it as an excuse for future knowledge. But then I thought 'why not make it real?' It doesn't really play a big role in the story so no need to spend too much time on it.


Reader's Answer

Q: How is the pacing of this story?
A: Good pacing. Could be slightly faster. Time skip recommended.

And here you go. One time skip served hot and fresh. I'll try to keep this pace in mind. Thanks for the answer!


Question to Reader

How in-character would you say the characters are so far? (With some leeway for time travel shenanigans)
Warning: Nami WILL be OOC in the future because her backstory has changed.