Chapter 63 Getting Famous 101

Captain Jack took Rayleigh to one of Pucci's better restaurants and ordered for the both of them. One of the local delicacies was something called water meat. It was better than chicken and the meat was incredibly soft and juicy.

After filling their stomachs, Jack asked, "So how come I haven't seen you in the Chat? You trying to be sneaky or something?"

Rayleigh nodded, that's exactly what he was trying to do. Since he intended to use the Player's fame to get fame for himself, his presence needed to be a surprise for most of them. "Pretty much. I paid for a background where Mihawk would teach me, but it had conditions. I need to get on the front page of the newspaper as a swordsman."

"Damn. How much did that cost?"

"Twenty thousand Mission points. And that was just for the identity. I had to get to the Grand Line on my own."

"I see. Well, that won't be easy. The Players here are always trying to get on the front page so you're going to have a lot of competition."

"I was hoping I could use that to my advantage. Can you help me out? You still owe me after all."

Captain Jack looked thoughtful for a moment. Although he did spar with Rayleigh a few times, he didn't actually teach him anything and they both benefited from those matches, so he was still in Rayleigh's debt for those Nen and Force lessons.

"Alright, I'll help you with this and we're square, savvy?"

Rayleigh snorted at the line but nodded nonetheless.

Jack continued, "Okay, so there are a few steps needed to get on the front page. First, it doesn't really matter what you do, unless you blow up the Marine Headquarters, kill a few Celestial Dragons, or overthrow a dozen Kingdoms, the newspaper won't put you on the front page if no one knows your name. That means the first step is getting your name known. The second step is getting your name well known. The third step is getting famous. And the last step is getting very famous."

Rayleigh asked, "Could you be any vaguer?"

Jack nodded and replied, "Of course, I can. But don't worry, I'm taking this seriously. I'll help you make a plan for all four steps. First I need to know what you've already done and we can work from there."

Rayleigh considered it before giving a brief description of what he had done so far and his background.

Jack asked, "So you turned in a bounty to the Marines and even got lifted by the Marines through Enies Lobby? Okay. I can work with that. Since you aren't a pirate, you can use the Marines to help you get famous."

Rayleigh asked, "Are there any Players in the Marines?"

"Of course, there are. But they don't get in the way of the other Players. Doing so would make an enemy for life, but you don't seem to care about that kind of thing, right?"

Rayleigh answered, "Not if they owe me."

"Good. We can work with this. Of the guys you taught, who doesn't owe you a favor?"

"Dragon Chef told me everything he knew about Haki, so he's off the list. And Justice taught me everything about the Marine's Six Powers, so he's even with me as well."

Jack whistled appreciatively. He didn't need the Six Powers, but he knew how valuable they were. After thinking it over for a few moments he came up with a plan. "Alright, the biggest target you could face would be either Dragon Chef or Titan, but the former doesn't owe you and the latter works with him, so targeting either may not work. Since you can't use big targets, we can use a couple of little targets."

"First, to get your name known. We can hold a public fight, you and me. I'm not gonna go easy on you so it's your fault if you lose, but I will only use my swordsmanship, so if you can't beat me, you don't deserve to learn under Mihawk anyways. This will get your name known."

Rayleigh could agree to that. He didn't know if Jack had a Devil Fruit but he did know that Jack's Hatsu type was Manipulation.

"Next, you can go to the Marine Base on Gilliad Island. Everyone knows that Wild King has been sending Sea Kings to harass that place every month. Since you don't have a Devil Fruit, you can fight in the water and drive back the Sea Kings. This will get your name well known. That should also get you into the good graces of the Marines and from there, you can find some of the famous Marine Swordsmen and challenge them in swordsmanship. If they accept and you win, that will get you famous."

Jack paused for a moment before continuing, "The last step will have to be pretty big. I just so happen to know that Wonder Woman's Wonder Pirates are going to rob a certain ship in two and a half months. That ship will be guarded by Marine vessels, but they will get their asses kicked. If you join the detachment and successfully fend off the Wonder Pirates, that will be enough to get on the front page."

Rayleigh asked, "What is that ship carrying? If it is slaves or something, I'm not protecting it."

"No, Titan and Dragon Chef are the ones that usually target slave ships. But no one likes hearing about the existence of slaves, so you'll never get on the front page doing anything associated with slaves. The ship has some valuable treasures Wonder Woman doesn't actually care about. She is attacking the ship to get on the front page herself and you can use that to your advantage."

Rayleigh nodded as it was as good a plan as any. He asked, "Can you tell me about the Players and what they are doing?"

"Nope. That's not a part of the deal. Unless you have good information to trade for it?"

"Hmm. Ah, I got one. If you tell me about what the Players have been up to around here, I'll tell you the biggest secret I've discovered in this game."

"Oh? Now you've got me curious. Alright. But I'll be the judge of how valuable this secret is."

That was fine with Rayleigh. If Jack didn't give him information equaling what he gave, that would put Jack back into Ray's debt.

Rayleigh explained some details of his time on Tython and the presence of Easter Eggs, things that were definitely not in the Canon and secretly placed for the benefit of the Players. Rayleigh refused to believe an Adventure filled world like this didn't have Easter Eggs. The catch was that you wouldn't know to look for them if you didn't know they existed.

Jack contemplated the details and already had a few ideas on where such Easter Eggs could be located. Besides Laugh Tale, there was probably an Easter Egg or two on the Sky Islands. If it was similar to Tython, that meant you could use Sky Islands to teleport from one to the other. Or perhaps there would be something equally ridiculous. Yeah, that information was actually very valuable and would make him change a few of his plans for the future.

"Alright, here's everything I know about the Players at the moment.

First, Justice, White Knight, Goddess of Ice, and Mimic are the only Players that are currently a part of the Marine Faction.

Rayleigh replied, "I know about Justice and White Knight, but who is Goddess of Ice and Mimic?"

"Who indeed? Mimic has the power of the Clone Clone Fruit. He can change into a perfect replica of other people. What's crazy is that he can use their strength too. One of the strongest Marines is a guy named Garp. Mimic can turn into Garp and become way stronger than any of us Players. When he changes, he can't use that person's Devil Fruit or special abilities, but he can use their full physical strength. I hear he is trying to copy the physique of some of the strongest pirates in the world right now. As for Goddess of Ice, she has the Chilly Chilly Fruit power and uses a Sword. She and Wonder Woman bicker all the time in the Pirate Chat."

"Mimic seems to be working with the Black Ops equivalent of the Marines while Justice and Goddess of Ice are being trained by the Vice Admirals that have the same Devil Fruit power they do, giving them a serious boost in the skill department. White Knight hasn't revealed his skills to the Marines yet, so he is training in secret. We don't know how strong he is."

"The rest of us fall into one of three groups. The Pirates who want attention. The Pirates who want to change the World. And the Pirates who just want to have fun. I'm in the latter group of course."

"Titan, Dragon Chef, Wild King, and Shadowcat are apart of the smallest group, Pirates who want to change the world. Shadowcat is a petite girl who can move through objects like a swimmer through water. She isn't really a Pirate though, so much as a very skilled Thief. They are basically terrorists pretending to be criminals while shaking the foundations of the World Government until it cracks. The Marine Players have actually been helping them by giving them details through the Chat. None of the Players like the World Government after all."

"The Pirates who want attention are those like Immortal Beauty, Glitter, Wonder Woman, Lightning Lord, and Dyna Might. They are all drama queens and fight over front page stories with each other and brag to everyone for weeks on end every time they get on the front page."

"And the rest are those who are just having fun. Most of these guys are either working for another Player or doing stuff on their own. Invisible Man usually pairs up with Shadowcat. Crow and Stoner usually work for Titan. Sandman and Fire Queen, usually work for Dragon Chef. But that is a give and take relationship and they can leave at any time. Everyone else does their own thing and it's unlikely you'll run into any of them."

Rayleigh doubted that was all of them so he asked, "Anyone who I should specifically avoid?"

After thinking about it for a moment, he answered, "Santa Claus. Stay away from that crazy bastard."

"Dufuq? What can he do?"

"He makes toys."

"How is that bad?"

"He makes them with his Devil Fruit power. From people."

"Okay.. Why are you making that sound scary?"

Captain Jack shuddered for a moment before taking a calming breath and explaining, "According to the Player who got turned into a toy a while back, everyone's memory of that Player was forgotten. Players are somewhat safe from this since we have two sets of memory, but it's still creepy as hell. And after you are turned into a toy, you have to obey the orders of Santa Claus. Thankfully, Santa didn't know that person was a Player at the time, so he didn't think to give him the order to stay off the Player Chat. That Player used the Chat to tell everyone about it and we all threatened to come over and kill him if he didn't change that Player back. He did, but we all know he won't make that mistake again. That means he could turn you into a toy, command you to never enter the Tavern or use the Chat, and you would have no way to escape or ask for help."

"Okay, that's fucked up."

"Yep. So stay away from children you don't know."

"Children?"

"Yeah, the power of that fruit has a downside of eternal youth. Santa Claus got it when he was like eight or so and hasn't aged since. So he is still eight years old."

Rayleigh nodded and decided to keep that in mind. What a freaky power.

The pair ordered a second helping of food and spent the meal discussing the various Players who came and left.

Jack explained, "Plenty of Jedi and Hunter Players show up every once in a while before leaving. You can't use Devil Fruit abilities until you turn on the Pirate Class which requires coming here. Most of them left, but there could be Players like you who came and didn't enter the Chat."

Rayleigh asked, "Any Pirate Players leave and never come back?"

"Just Vash the Stampede. His family was too wicked and he was too nice, so he left for the Jedi Galaxy and didn't come back."

Rayleigh wondered how much the Player using the Trigun Protagonist's name would be like the anime character himself. Something to look forward to in the future.

Rayleigh asked, "So how do you want to do this duel?"

"My crew will contact a few newspapers to make sure they send some reporters with cameras. We'll have it on San Faldo. That island has a Carnival Square that's empty when there are no carnivals and will make a good stage for a fight. We can fight tomorrow."

Rayleigh nodded, "Works for me."

The pair separated and Rayleigh took the Sea Train to St. Poplar. He'd head to San Faldo tomorrow, but for now, he wanted to sample the liquor that the island was famous for. He couldn't get drunk, but that didn't mean he couldn't enjoy a good drink. Rayleigh spent the rest of the day gathering information on Jack's plan, such as the location of Gilliad Island he'd head over to later.

Rayleigh remembered that Wild King's Hatsu attribute was Manipulation, so Rayleigh figured the Player could control animals using a combination of the Force, Conqueror's Haki, and Manipulation Nen. According to Captain Jack, Wild King could control all animals. So he was a combination of Aquaman, Taylor Hebert from Worm, and Ratcatcher 2 from Suicide Squad. A pretty broken set of powers, he had an army that could overwhelm others anywhere he wanted. Jack said that Wild King didn't have a crew or a ship. He didn't need either since he could ride Sea Kings and recruit whatever he wanted.

Rayleigh looked forward to it, but first, he had a duel to win.

St. Poplar was an island that always played music in the background and sold masks and costumes to visitors and guests. The various merchants and workers all wore elaborate costumes which made those who didn't wear one stand out enough to peer pressure visitors into buying them. Rayleigh had no sense of style after living so much of his life in the wilds, but even if he did, there was no point in getting something he'd only wear once.

Near the center of the island was a massive area where the streets were lined with multicolored stones and statues of various grand and historical figures were everywhere. While passing through the center, Rayleigh felt a threat and knew that the show was about to begin.

Rayleigh drew his nensaber handle and extended the electric blue blade. "Open, Babylon."

Captain Jack's cutlass had been aiming for Rayleigh's neck and slid off the Force infused aura blade. Without a word of warning, Jack attacked again, causing Rayleigh to parry. Jack's sword had a phantom black sheen he recognized as a trait of items reinforced with Armament Haki. Rayleigh wasn't sure if his Nensaber's sharpest form could cut such a sword, but now was not the time to test it. Now was the time to show off.

Although the pair called it a match, neither was really using proper swordsmanship. Instead, they were flipping around, doing spins, and deeply cutting into the ground.

Actual swordsmanship does not parry a sword attack with another sword. They just dodge the attack and swing to counter it. This kind of fight that was basically bouncing your sword off your opponent's weapon repeatedly was something you only had the luxury of doing if you had a sword that wouldn't break.

A crowd had gathered around the area as Rayleigh's glowing blue sword and flashy fighting style were fun to watch. Especially since sparks seemed to fly out with every strike against Jack's sword. The pair were still playing around, but as the minutes passed, they eventually got more and more serious. That was just the warm up after all.

Rayleigh and Jack both started to slowly speed up their strikes. Jack neither attained One with the Sword nor possessed Heart of the Sword, so Rayleigh could defeat him in a few exchanges based on pure swordsmanship if they really went all out. Of course, Jack's specialty wasn't swordsmanship, so that didn't mean too much in the end.

Rayleigh only figured out that he had been sporting a smile a couple of minutes into the match. He couldn't help it. There was no prize or trophy, just a pair of teens with swords fucking around in front of an audience for the express purpose of looking cool. Yeah, he could see why a lot of Players put so much effort into getting on the front page. Sure, in the long run, it was pointless, but if you didn't fill your childhood with pointless things, were you ever really living?

Although the pair enjoyed themselves as only teens haphazardly swinging around dangerous weapons could, Rayleigh felt a nudge from the Force and his smile dimmed. He suddenly got the impression that this plan wasn't going to work. He needed something more, something outrageous.

Jack noticed Rayleigh's change and rose an eyebrow as if to ask what he was thinking about. Rayleigh thought of something and his smile returned. He motioned with his eyes to take the fight closer to the innocent bystanders.

Jack knew Rayleigh was skilled enough not to hurt them on accident and did so. He jumped behind some members of the audience and used them to block Rayleigh's sword like the despicable pirate he was.

Rayleigh withheld his sword somewhat while slashing and jumped to the side to strike Jack around the screaming audience members, but Jack did the same trick a few times.

The audience got scared and looked like they were about to run away, but saw that Rayleigh's glowing sword was pulled back and didn't harm anyone, so their curiosity got the better of them and they stayed. Their perseverance was rewarded when the dress straps started falling.

After a three or four second delay, the people Jack used to block Rayleigh's sword had their clothing fall off. Men were rendered shirtless and the dress and outfits that the women wore fell from their forms.

Jack smiled at the perverted idea Rayleigh had and helped by using the hotter members of the female part of the audience as shields.

Rayleigh's sword was capable of sending flying aura blades of great and small sizes, so sending a hair thin aura blade strong enough to only cut fabric wasn't difficult for the sword wielding teen. This technique drew inspiration from Kensei Ma and Shigure KĊsaka from History's Strongest Disciple Kenichi.

The women were screaming, "Kyaaa! Pervert!" And the men were ogling them and cheering.

At one point, a tall librarian big sister looking woman's outfit fell and revealed a set of black lace undergarments beneath. Both Rayleigh and Jack stopped fighting and simultaneously looked her over and gave a strong nod of approval before they returned to their fight.

Rayleigh's Clairvoyance told him that some Marines were on the way so he stopped playing around and started to suppress Jack, forcing the fine hat wearing pirate onto the defensive. Jack then dived into a canal and swam away.

"Don't move! You're under arrest!" Rayleigh turned off his Nensaber and surrendered to the Marines. He didn't have anything to hide and if he had to pay for the damages, he had enough.

The lanky Marines obviously weren't expecting a surrender and cuffed him before taking him to the small Marine Station on the island. They were surprised that he wasn't a pirate, didn't have a bounty, and was actually in the right since according to the witnesses, Rayleigh was attacked first.

Rayleigh's identity was confirmed since he already had all the paperwork when he came through Enies Lobby, so after paying for the damages, he was let off the hook. Instead of leaving, Rayleigh asked, "Hey, do you know how I can get to Gilliad Island? I heard about what was happening there and wanted to test my sword against the Sea Kings."

The Lieutenant in charge of the island's outpost already had the full story from the witnesses of how good Rayleigh was, and since Rayleigh's record included turning in a notorious pirate crew, he had no reason to refuse the help.

Said Lieutenant answered, "There's a company of Marines heading there from Enies Lobby in two days. If you're really interested, I can arrange for you to go with them."

Rayleigh heartily agreed and prepared everything with the Lieutenant. The request still needed approval from the Marine's boss, but considering the skill Rayleigh displayed, he had a good feeling about it.

As predicted, Rayleigh's fight with Captain Jack ended up on the news. It was page 13 out of 20, but it was still news. One of the reporters got a great shot of Rayleigh and Jack slashing at each other with a nearly naked woman in the background. Rayleigh was extremely impressed with the photo. How skilled did someone have to be to take such a picture? Rayleigh's glowing blade covered the woman's chest and the angle of Jack's cutlass covered the woman's waist while her exposed legs, belly, and shoulders were in full view. She was wearing undergarments, but they were blocked by the weapons which made it look as if the woman was actually naked and her mature regions were coincidentally covered up by the swords.

Compared to the other stories on the paper, the fight between a random guy and a relatively unknown pirate was of little importance, but the golden quality of that single photo elevated the story to the point that it would have been a crime not to include it.

The story included some details about Captain Jack and Rayleigh. The latter was called the Clothes Severing Swordsman. Rayleigh chuckled and wondered how Mihawk would feel when the perverted swordsman this article made him out to be showed up at his front door. Oh well. At least he knew exactly how to take down the Wonder Pirates in a way that guaranteed a front page story. Wonder Woman would likely never forgive him, but if he got the angle right, he'd ensure she was on the front page with him, in all her wonderful glory.