Chapter 65 The Swordsmanship of One Piece

Although Rayleigh had never trained as a Jedi, he had trained as a Hunter under Kite. Due to this, he intended to show Wild King a very different style of combat.

With half a dozen sense-enhancing effects synchronized under the synergy of the Hatsu Babylon, Rayleigh could observe more details about each creature than most would ever notice, and using the lessons he learned as a Hunter, he could use those observations to his advantage.

Of the dozen tentacles surrounding him, four were from the same cephalopod, making that one his first target. The jagged spikes lined up and down the tentacles had hooks at the end and the arrangement of muscles showed that this was a species that hunted through the use of entanglement and constriction, which explained why those tentacles moved the fastest. Some of them seemed younger with fewer scars than others, meaning that some had been newly grown, implying a strong regenerative factor and the possibility that the creature was willing to sacrifice tentacles in combat to restrain its prey. Cutting off the tentacles of such a creature would not force it back, instead, Rayleigh would need to be more creative.

Babylon had the effect of incorporating the power of the Force into Rayleigh's aura, which meant he could apply Force skills using his aura. With this in mind, Rayleigh applied the Dark Side skill: Inflict Pain, to his Nensaber and slashed out repeatedly. The edge of his blade contained circulating bands of transformed sword aura that he could release at will to create flying slashes. This string of attacks released lines of sword aura that were only the size of hairs and not strong enough to cut through the tentacles. Instead of a single powerful slash to cut it through, Rayleigh's swing released dozens of hair-thin aura blades that targeted the most sensitive areas on the tentacles.

A low-pitched verberation hummed through the night that Rayleigh recognized as a scream of pain. The octopus-like sea king felt that it had received a mortal wound and had to flee as fast as possible to escape. The quick retraction of its attacks confirmed to Rayleigh that Wild King's control over these creatures was not absolute.

The remaining variety of tentacles were unaffected and tried to grab, bash, or smash Rayleigh, but his Hatsu Overdrive allowed him to move and use Moon Walk at speeds that made the hazards around him as dangerous as still-standing trees.

Rayleigh's next target was a pair of tentacles with a pink hue, violent rings on the surface, and spikes that looked designed for piercing. This one was venomous. Rayleigh dodged, ducked, dipped, dived and dodged the various attacks while stabbing specific sections of the tentacles, puncturing the venom sacks which mixed the Sea King's blood with its own venom. This would not kill it, but the Sea King knew that its fight was over as it had to heal or it would become the weakened prey of another.

A few more attacks caused the remaining tentacles to retract, but they were merely the first wave. Bus-sized crabs, train-sized insects, the cousin of the Lochness Monster, building-sized frogs, and various other strange creatures had reached the turtle's shell and began ascending from all directions to attack Rayleigh.

Surprisingly, the only ones that Rayleigh qualified as a threat were the frogs, but only barely. The speed they could shoot out their tongue was somehow faster than a bullet, but Rayleigh's Clairvoyance paid special attention to them to see the attack coming with the assistance of Battle Precognition and Rayleigh just had to use some Telekinesis to change the tongue's trajectory to another creature to take them out.

The rest were practically motionless as Rayleigh identified weak points using Shatterpoint and used a combination of Force Skills such as Inflict Pain, Fear, Electric Judgement, Drain, and Dark Transfer to incite the creature's retreat.

The creatures that were weak to poison fled once Force Drain was used on them since that made them think they had been poisoned. The Sea Kings with hard shells fled when Dark Transfer was used on a Shatterpoint to crack their shells. Those with long bodies ran when lines of sword aura infused with Electric Judgement shocked them. And the numerous cannon fodder fled after being cut with a line of transformed sword aura containing the effect of Force: Fear or Inflict Pain. The best part about such combinations was that the effect would remain until the wound recovered, so they would not stop running for a while.

As Rayleigh fought like a madman, several Wills were reserved to analyze the fight and make notes for potential upgrades to Overdrive. His first Hatsu worked off creating pre-set moves and having his body perform those actions automatically as fast as possible without requiring a mental input. He was not actually thinking at super speed or anything. He was just using his senses combined with Battle Precognition to predict which moves to use in advance. But Overdrive evolved constantly by refining and adding new Motion Sets. Like adding new buttons and new combos to a character in Street Fighter. Right now, Rayleigh was confirming the effectiveness of his various move sets, the ones that needed work, and possible moves he could make in the future.

Rayleigh was so engrossed in the fight that not a single one of his Wills noticed the manic grin he sported as he threw himself from one creature to another in what seemed to be an endless wave.

Wild King noticed it though, and his own expression was getting worse. He had little choice but to bet everything on the third wave. At his command, the turtle started diving again. Once the shell was beneath the water, the remaining sea kings would attack.

Unfortunately for Wild King, the third wave would not help.

The fleeing sea kings delayed the newer ones which prevented Rayleigh from getting attacked by more than ten or so at a time and with his speed, he could handle twenty of these slow moving targets without concern. The giant sea centipede was the last one on the shell and it was being very stubborn, so Rayleigh cut half-way through its body, while sending Telepathy using the Force to essentially say, "Do you really want to die?" The centipede got the message and before the Turtle's shell was even half-way into the water, Wild King was the only opponent left.

Rayleigh was not crazy on fighting the remaining two hundred fish-style sea kings on their home turf and had no intention to wait for Wild King to move to become a third Stage Boss. Rayleigh already patted himself on the back for being nice enough to let Wild King send the first two waves, but Rayleigh had enough fun and now he wanted to digest his gains.

Wild King seemed to sense Rayleigh's intention and the water around him surged into cords of spikes to defend himself, but a few uses of Rayleigh's telekinesis smashed each into a wave of mist and Rayleigh's Nensaber was on Wild King's neck in the next instant.

Rayleigh calmly stated, "I think its time to discuss that favor you owe me."

Wild King sneered, "You're bluffing. You haven't killed a single sea king. You won't kill me."

Rayleigh rose his Nensaber into the air and channeled hours worth of Ren into the handle causing it to hum with power. This was followed by a downward swing.

Wild King remained motionless, but his sneer turned into shock. The swing was not aimed at him, but his connection to the turtle was gone. A line appeared on the shell that split open and a wave of blood gushed out. The island-sized turtle was dead, cut in half.

Rayleigh smiled and said, "Did you think a debt to me was so simple? I'll take back what I am owed one way or another. I probably won't kill you, but if you don't pay back my favor, then I'll take you to the Marines and they'll pay me on your behalf."

Wild King was still reeling from the death of the turtle. The combination of his Conquer and Command Hatsu had a loophole that let him use giant sea kings with weak attack like the turtle to command weaker sea kings with strong attack. Finding such a sea king was not easy since he could not breathe underwater.

It was only when Rayleigh's Nensaber was raised to Wild King's throat again that he realized what Rayleigh said and asked, "Fine, what do you want?"

Rayleigh answered. "Don't attack the Marines for a year."

"And then my debt will be clear?"

Rayleigh nodded, "Yes, the debt for my lessons on Nen and the Force will be cleared for this."

Wild King shouted, "Fine! A year!" He then turned to walk down the sinking turtle shell and to hide his face so that Rayleigh would not see his fear. Wild King jumped into the water and called one of the other Sea Kings he conquered. It was a giant swordfish with a massive sail that he liked to be seen riding because he thought it was cool. It was a lot smaller than the turtle though and he could not use Command through it to order any decently sized sea kings.

Rayleigh did his best to stop himself from laughing before Wild King was out of ear shot. Yes, Wild King's debt of the Nen and Force lessons was paid, but after their fight, Rayleigh had spared WIld King's life, which was a far greater debt. If Wild King had just accepted Rayleigh's terms at the start, this would not have happened, but since he rejected Rayleigh's kindness, the debt would only increase.

Rayleigh's negotiation skills were something even the Jedi would fear.

The remaining sea kings were being commanded through the use of the turtle that was ten times larger than they were. With its death, they were no longer being commanded by Wild King and its bloody corpse ensured that the Sea Kings would have no interest in Gilliad Island.

Rayleigh started dashing through the water back to the island. From start to finish, the fight had been less than ten minutes, though Rayleigh had used over a thousand movement sets using Overdrive. Even taking Tavern Missions into account, this might have been Rayleigh's longest fight to date. Even if he had enough Aura to use at that level of intensity for an hour, his body was going to feel sore. Thankfully he had plenty of means to ensure that he recovered stronger than before, so it was not an issue. He was still young after all.

Rayleigh's dash back to the island was quite noticeable as each step made a giant splash of water that reflected the light of the floating bonfires along the way. The Marines had been waiting for ten minutes for the sea kings to arrive, but they never did, causing a few with telescopes to check out what was happening. A few with better eyesight spotted the sea turtle under the moonlight, but it was much further out than the furthest bonfire, so the details of the fight could not be discerned. What they did see though, was the light of Rayleigh's sword that sliced the turtle in half and they could barely make out the form of the sinking turtle and the sea kings eating it.

After using Clairvoyance to confirm the location of Captain T-Bone, Rayleigh ended Babylon and dashed to the northern shoreline.

Rayleigh called out, "I killed the Sea King that Wild King used to command other Sea Kings. They are not coming back."

After five full seconds of silence, the nearby Marines shouted in celebration. Many ran to those not in earshot and gave the news, causing a wave of cheers to slowly move from the northern side of the island down to the end.

When the prisoners being used as bait heard the news, they collapsed and cried fountains of joyful tears.

Captain T-Bone approached Rayleigh and shouted in his constantly horse voice, "AMAZING! TO SEE A HEART AS YOUNG AS YOURS SO FILLED WITH JUSTICE BRINGS TEARS TO MY EYES! ON BEHALF OF MY MEN AND MYSELF, I THANK YOU FOR ENSURING THEIR SAFETY AND THE CONTINUED PROSPERITY OF THE MARINES!"

This caused more shouts of joy. Rayleigh smiled and returned to the wall to await the rising sun. He knew what would happen next.

When Captain Jack made this plan, he was fully aware that the Marines would give as little credit to Rayleigh as possible, but they would also ensure that the story itself was spread as much as they could since such a thing would be an enormous victory of morale for the Marines. Such a story would require interviews, so with an assurance of acceptance once Rayleigh asked for a spar from T-Bone, Rayleigh just had to wait until the news reporters came and do the spar at that time. The reporters would ask who Rayleigh was and find out he was behind the victory. It would still be suppressed, but they would definitely make sure that he appeared on the paper.

People who forgot about him from the previous issue would be reminded of the 'Clothes-Severing Swordsman,' and he would no longer be a no-name, granting him eligibility to be closer to the front page.

As predicted, the Marines wanted the victory on the paper as soon as possible and quickly got some reporters to Gilliad to do their interviews. The situation was reported by Dauntless who didn't even mention Rayleigh's name, so the higher-ups had no idea about what really happened, just that it was a complete victory, there were no casualties, and that the corpse of the giant turtle sea king that Wild King used to command other sea kings had been brought back to the island to use as a trophy.

Rayleigh kept himself almost invisible, out of sight, out of mind, right up until the reporters arrived and started their interview of Dauntless. They decided to use him for the article since pictures of T-Bone's ghoulish visage would not sell papers.

It was then that Rayleigh reappeared and asked T-Bone, "Hey, since no one was injured, do you have time for a friendly spar?"

T-Bone had been animatedly discussing things with his subordinates before he stopped and shouted, "THAT'S RIGHT! THANKS TO YOU, THE BRAVE MARINES OF THIS ISLAND DID NOT RECEIVE A SINGLE SCRATCH! IT WOULD BE DISHONORABLE NOT TO REPAY YOUR ACHIEVEMENT WITH A REWARD! IF WHAT YOU ASK IS A DEMONSTRATION OF MY SKILLS, THEN I SHALL NOT HOLD BACK!"

T-Bone's subordinate Marines shouted in praise and made a large circle. The reporters noticed T-Bone's shouting and the formation of a makeshift ring. Their instincts chimed in and the cameramen skillfully infiltrated the ring and made it to the front to see who was going to fight who.

"Is that the Clothes-Severing Swordsman?" As a photographer, he clearly remembered the golden photo that appeared in the news a few days ago and recognized the strange glowing blade that Rayleigh used.

One of the Marines was confused by the question and gave a brief summary of the events of the prior night. Captain Dauntless told his men to shut up, but T-Bone never said anything to his about keeping what happened a secret.

The camera-man's eyes gleamed and he got his camera ready. The Marines practically forced them at gunpoint to come as fast as possible and report their victory in the best light. They were not pleased with it, but would not argue over something this small. Still, a sleep-deprived man was a petty man, and he had a few ideas of how to give the Marines what they asked for to the letter, even if it wasn't what they actually wanted.

Although T-Bone knew that Rayleigh had cut a sea king in half, he wasn't worried. Anyone above the Captain Level could kill a Sea King and T-Bone was well above that. The main reason T-Bone was still a captain was that he usually turned down promotions that did not allow him to stay with his current crew mates. T-Bone's moniker as the Ship Cutter was not an exaggeration.

Rayleigh himself was excited. This would be his first encounter with Pirate World swordsmanship. Rayleigh could slice a ship in two by transforming his aura into sword aura, enhancing the sharpness of that aura, and then emitting that aura off the edge of his Nensaber while cutting in a move that somewhat mimicked Ichigo Kurosaki's Getsuga Tenshou. But Captain T-Bone did not have Nen, so what was the machination behind his ability to cut ships?

T-Bone drew a blade that had the look of a longsword used by a European Crusader, though it was even longer than normal and matched the exaggerated proportions of T-Bone's height and limb length. He shouted, "WHAT I HATE THE MOST IN THE WORLD IS CROOKED SWORDSMANSHIP, SO I WILL SHOW YOU THE SKILLS I HAVE POURED MY HEART AND SOUL INTO!"

Using that as his cue, T-Bone made the first move. The arm holding his sword was behind him with his arm raised high and the sword pointed over his other shoulder. T-Bone shouted, "RIGHT-ANGLED SLASH" The tip of the sword moved horizontally while remaining behind him. Then his arm swung all the way down and then back up at Rayleigh, then took a sharp turn to the side. The two jeering turns of the sword slash were somehow perfectly smooth.

The problem was that Rayleigh was standing about five meters in front of T-Bone and the sword had no chance of reaching him. Or at least that was how it should have been using normal physics.

The moment T-Bone's sword started swinging, it was as if the edge started glowing. Not with light, but something else. Thanks to his strong connection with the Force, Rayleigh could sense something similar to mental energy accumulate along the sword's edge and the moment the sword was swung in his direction, that mental energy, something Rayleigh figured was Sword Intent, flew off the edge of the blade toward Rayleigh.

With Babylon already initiated and his Nensaber drawn, Rayleigh was ready to block or deflect the flying sword intent, but the horizontal slash only flew a short distance before it changed into a vertical slash. Rayleigh's Nensaber slashed through it without difficulty, but seeing that sword light change directions like that still made a few of his Wills go, "What the fuck was that?"

A half-dozen skills were simultaneously used to observe every aspect of T-Bone's move and each came to the same conclusion. Dufuq?

Nothing about that attack made any sense. Was that how swordsmanship in this world worked? They didn't have a mechanism, they just directly skipped to having whatever effect the user wanted? And what about that Sword Intent? Was that really how they sent flying slashes? If cutting something was possible just by willing it to cut, would the Jedi and Sith have ever bothered picking up a Lightsaber?

Rayleigh internally sighed and realized he would not be able to use what he knew to decipher this. Besides, he already knew that each class had special abilities that others lacking the class did not have. It seemed possible for humans born here to infuse their actions with their intention to empower them, but humans from the Jedi Galaxy were not biologically capable of doing the same without a medium such as the Force.

Still, Rayleigh had just defended, and now it was time to attack. Three swings of his Nensaber sent three lines of sharpened sword aura at T-Bone. Normal aura was invisible to those without opened Nen-nodes, but aura used through Rayleigh's Nensaber was visible to everyone unless he purposefully used In to hide it.

Rayleigh's slashes had the same color as his Nensaber, blue with a white outline thanks to the color of his Kyber Crystal, but they were clearly different from T-Bone's attacks. The Marine Captain cut the three lines of sword aura without difficulty since Rayleigh was holding back in order to observe. Said observation confirmed that T-Bone's sword intent had gathered along his blade and warded off the lines of sword aura, preventing his own sword from being split in half. Seeing that T-Bone would be fine, Rayleigh started moving side to side while sending slashes of sword aura faster and faster.

T-Bone realized that what Rayleigh used was different from what T-Bone knew, but he could also tell how dangerous it was. If he did not cut those lines, they would cut him in half. Rayleigh could also release them without a flashy, inefficient swing like T-Bone had, so the Captain understood that he was at a disadvantage. T-Bone shouted, "FLYING BIRDS," and made a strong, horizontal slash. His sword intent scattered into a dozen lines that each made a right angle that switched up and down, making each line of light look like a flapping bird.

These lines broke through Rayleigh's net of sword lines and allowed T-Bone to charge forward at a speed far faster than his stance should have enabled him to move. The charge reminded Rayleigh of a Knight's Charge.

Rayleigh poured more aura into his sword to raise the number of transformed sword auras circulating the blade, sharpening and strengthening the edge. Rayleigh used Shū, Kō, and Ryū to strengthen his muscles, but upon receiving the impact of T-Bone's sword, he realized it had been overkill since the frighteningly tall man was weaker than Rayleigh's base stats.

Rayleigh used his adjustable weight set at max load and further enhanced the weight using Divine Script, so he had a far more powerful physique than any who did not devote themselves to an insane amount of training. The only reason he wasn't wearing them now was because the ships would dip and possibly sink if he wore his weights while aboard.

Rayleigh pressed off the Captain's sword and pressed further with each swing. T-Bone realized Rayleigh's strength too late and was forced back with each step until one final swing saw T-Bone's sword thrown from his hand where it spun a few times in the air and planted itself into the ground, outside the ring of Marines.

The audible click of a camera going off was heard beneath the breaths of the encircling Marines, though not noticed by any but Rayleigh himself.

The cheer of the first Marine set off the rest. Rayleigh was not a pirate or an enemy, so it was nothing shameful for him to be strong. He was also the one who saved them the prior night, and they all had a good impression of him, especially after they witnessed such a visually appealing fight.

Dauntless's voice then sounded, "Hey! Why are you still here?! If you aren't off this island in five seconds, I will have you imprisoned for trespassing!"

Rayleigh shrugged and replied, "Alright. I'll leave with the reporters. They are leaving soon, right? I'll just head over to their ship."

Dauntless shouted back, "No! Those reporters are here for the Marines! Not you! You'd better not say a single word to them!"

Rayleigh's Nensaber had not been disabled. He looked at it and said, "How about a bet then? Let's have a friendly spar as well. The first to disarm or draw blood from the other wins. If you win, I won't say anything to any reporters about what happened last night. If I win, you won't stop them from giving me an interview if they want to."

Dauntless had to stop himself from reflexively calling his men to arrest Rayleigh on the spot. They knew he save many of their lives and considering how fast Rayleigh was, they could not catch up to him if he decided to run. He also had no actual grounds to stop Rayleigh from giving an interview. Even if he ordered him off the island, the reporters could just approach him on the ship or on another island. Rayleigh's proposal however was a perfect way out.

Unlike T-Bone who had the strength of a Commodore and refused a promotion, Dauntless used to be a Rear-Admiral, the rank above Commodore. He'd gotten demoted due to killing a few Marines who got in his way and getting caught, but he felt that he was much stronger than Captain T-Bone. The only reason he had not become a Vice-Admiral was that his proficiency in Haki was not high enough.

"Fine! I'll show you what a real Marine is you insignificant little brat!"

Another circle of Marines formed around them and Dauntless drew his sword. Without waiting for a sign or giving a warning, he directly swung his sword while he seemed to shake the handle. He shouted, "Thousand Cuts!" as the man's sword intent filled the blade, shot off, and then scattered into hundreds of thin, confetti-sized fragments. Without even waiting for Rayleigh's response, he swung his sword twice more using the same skill.

These fragments of sword intent would not be fatal even if left unchecked, but each would cause a deep cut and draw blood. If you didn't defend properly, your body would become a bloody mess and you'd quickly die of blood loss.

The reason Dauntless slashed his sword three times was that he knew the fight would end once Rayleigh's blood was drawn. He was invincible in such a match so he had to release as many attacks as possible before the first reached Rayleigh and ended the match. It would be fine if he stopped swinging once the first blood was drawn. It was not his fault that the brat in front of him died or was minced to pieces from the remaining attacks.

Rayleigh hadn't moved. There wasn't a point in swinging his sword a thousand times to deflect all the attacks. This wasn't Ichigo vs Byakuya's Senbonzakura Kageyoshi. Rayleigh wasn't that fast yet, but against an opponent on this level, he didn't need to be.

The hundreds of sword intent fragments struck Rayleigh head-on, causing tiny bursts of light on each collision. Too bad none of them made it through Rayleigh's Ren. As an Enhancer, Rayleigh could easily enhance the defensive aspect of his Ren to the point he was bullet-proof against high powered rifles. These sword intent fragments had less power than a bullet and against his Ren, the quantity did not make up for the lack in quality.

If any of the Marines or reporters present were proficient in Observation Haki, their expanded awareness would grant them the ability to see the aura around Rayleigh's body. But since that was not the case, they only saw the sparks of lights that bounced off Rayleigh's body without causing him a single scratch.

Dauntless had frozen in shock. When he first saw that Rayleigh had not moved to defend himself, he was filled with eagerness at the scene of Rayleigh's mutilated face and bloody body. He already had plans to delay medical attention and ensure he bled to death.

With the same candence as a certain Guy Fawkes mask-wearing vigilante, Rayleigh met Dauntless's gaze and said, "My turn."

Rayleigh seemed to vanish from where he stood and when he reappeared, he was in front of Dauntless with his nensaber already swung. A line of blood appeared on Dauntless's forehead.

A small use of the Force also ensured that a few Cameras were pointed in the right direction and Rayleigh even telekinetically pressed the button at the right time to take the best photo. He wasn't going to leave it to chance this time.

Dauntless was still stunned at the movement and only realized what happened when blood started dripping into his eyes. Thinking that the top of his head must've been cut off, Dauntless promptly fainted through the sound of more camera shutters and pictures being taken.

A Marine ran over to check the fallen man and confirmed that the head wound was barely a scratch. Once it healed, it would not even be noticeable among the many scars the Captain already possessed.

Rayleigh disabled his Nensaber and said, "I guess I win. But since the Captain did say he wanted me off the island, I'll head over to that ship now. If any reporters want to speak to me, they can do it then."

The reporter who had been in the middle of Dauntless's interview before Rayleigh's sparring match started nodded fiercely. He didn't care about Dauntless in the slightest.

"WAIT!"

Surprisingly, Captain T-Bone stopped him. This time when he spoke, he did not raise his voice, but that made the raspy way he spoke even more eerie. "I did not know you were proficient in Haki. There is no point in exchanging skills with someone beneath the level of a Vice-Admiral."

T-Bone was a kind-hearted man, but he wasn't stupid. Although he misunderstood Rayleigh's Ren as Armament Haki, he knew that if Rayleigh did an interview now, it would make Captain Dauntless and the Marines look bad. T-Bone could not let that happen.

Rayleigh turned back and asked, "Do you know of any Vice-Admirals who would be willing to spar with me?"

T-Bone shook his head, "Vice-Admirals are too busy for such things, but I do have a suggestion. You offered a bet to Captain Dauntless, so how about this as a bet to you. I'll arrange for a Vice-Admiral to spar with you using a sword. If you lose, you'll join the Marines."

Rayleigh considered it before adding, "I'll agree only if the one who beats me lets me be his apprentice."

If there was a Marine who could really best him in sword skills, he would accept learning under him or her until he surpassed that person. After that, he'd quit and find Mihawk. It would be a small, but beneficial detour if the Marines had anyone of noteworthy skills.

T-Bone nodded and went back to shouting, "THEN LET ME BE THE FIRST TO WELCOME YOU IN THE NAME OF JUSTICE!"

The reporters were furiously writing everything down so it seemed that this match would help raise his name even further. It also seemed that T-Bone assumed that Rayleigh would definitely lose. He did seem to imply that Vice-Admirals could use Haki, so perhaps that was the reason. Still, it was something to look forward to.

While he was at it, he might as well check out the Pirate World Chat and see the fallout of his fight with Wild King.

*Author's Note*

This chapter was pretty much an introduction to Rayleigh's progress in sword skills. A lot of people complained that it was pointless to make him a Jedi because he doesn't even use the Force, but this is where the Force comes in. I already wrote a base that allows his Aura and Force to mix and match which led to the ability to use Force skills through his sword aura, including skills like Electric Judgement. I also included the traits and insights of a Pro Hunter to show how one would fight in that situation.

Be honest, which is cooler? Sending lightning from your fingertips, or swinging bolts of lighting from your blade?

For those who forgot, I am powered by reviews. I got 45 reviews in two days, so I was able to manifest this chapter.