Standard: One Piece is the creation of master artist Eiichiro Oda. Affiliated organizations who own partial rights include '4 Kids TV' and 'Shounen Jump.' This is a derivative work of hobbyist fanfiction not for profit. These disclaimers will not be repeated and apply to the entirety of this work.
Additional: "Vividness" has late teen-level issues later. Also has in-character vulgarity; not much, but present. Reviews do influence my writing speed. Please, enjoy the story.
The beginning of my path started long, long ago, but even as a child I did not want to be pushed around. My first clear memory is winning a fight. Not what you'd expect from a spoiled princess, whose father oversees an island kingdom of two million people. Specifically, I remember taking a punch to my face. That punch woke me from my life of bliss. It echoed through my forehead, and I found myself on the floor.
It happened in the audience hall of our palace, full of white marble and arid desert breezes. Some bratty village headman's son insulted King Cobra's rule. I accepted his challenge, defending my beloved father.
He wasn't an ordinary child. His gang of village idiots, who he had beaten one by one in earlier dominance brawls, circled us to watch my humiliation. They kept cheering on their leader.
In the back of my mind, I heard Igaram tell my father of the fight, but they dismissed it as a child fight, one where I could not be truly hurt. Whatever lesson they hoped not interfering would teach me, it wasn't what I learned.
Looking back now, I rushed in, angry and hurt at that stupid boy for insulting everything that meant anything in my life. He dodged my flailing hands and let me have it, right in the mouth. And so I fell. On the floor I started bawling, and it was then my heart changed.
It stuck me then, as a child. I could fight for what I believed in, fight with the depths of my heart for what mattered, fight to prove myself to myself. Or I could stay on the floor, crying, and let other people save me.
Maybe in another universe I stayed down and got over the humiliation of calling that stupid bratty bully Kohza 'leader' for the rest of my life. I was dressed in my cute blue little-girl dress that matched my hair. I still remember that, because it allowed that dumb brat to jump over the ankle kick I totally telegraphed.
Seriously, I might as well have written on my underwear 'if you see these, she's a kickin!' That damn ass-brat managed to turn his dodge into a kick in my face. I took it right on the chin.
The white marble felt slick and warm. Looking back on these memories, it's because I was bleeding. Kohza's crappy brown desert sandal split my lip wide open.
Father, headman Toto, Igaram, and Chaka kept yelling and holding each other back with excuses about interfering in our fight. Not Pell; Pell understood me. I heard the jeering laughter of the Suna-Suna brats as they celebrated my fall. Kohza pumped his fist in the air and made condescending comments I don't remember, except they fueled my rage, which gave me determination.
My head spun, and I saw not one, but two leader-brats standing a foot away from me. As much as I hated standing, I hated being a crybaby girl sprawled on our floor ten thousand times more. Then the screaming words came as I moved back into the fray.
"I am Vivi D. Nefertari, and you'll have to kill me before I'm defeated!"
"D? Where did that come from?" My father sounded confused, and stopped calling for an end to the kiddie fight. He wanted to see now too.
I ran forward, right at the wavering two-fold image of my nemesis – five-year-old Kohza. At the last instant, I ducked my head down, putting my entire body into the blow. His fist bounced off the top of my head, and my right knuckle went underneath his stomach into his soft solar plexus, doubling him up.
"I taught her that punch." Pell sounded amused in the sudden void of silence. The Suna-Suna brats had stopped their noise.
I kicked for all I was worth, and connected. Kohza went flying backwards to the floor, and so did I. My butt was a lot softer for landings, compared to the back of his head. When I stood up a third time, the same feeling of certainty deep within me spoke again.
"Girl, if you are going to kick in a fight, learn enough not to land on your ass." It said.
That day I decided I'd become strong, not for Arabasta, but for myself. The consequences were much more than five-year-old me could have dreamed or imagined.
Kohza fell awkwardly in love with me, and called seeing my panties before being kicked unconscious a moment of spiritual awakening. The Suna-Suna clan dubbed me their new leader. I told them to keep calling Kohza 'leader' and that I'd be their Princess-General. Igaram, Pell, Chaka, and I decided I'd be better off with some combat training (OK, that was me going to father and making them do it. That's why I was such spoiled princess… always getting my way.) Finally, I stopped wearing dresses and cut my hair shorter.
My real test came two years later, when a gang tried kidnapping me for ransom.
We, my Suna-Suna minions and I, were exploring an old abandoned construction site only four miles from the castle proper. It was to be a garden maze, before father decided the water cost was too high. I no longer remember our purpose, but it was probably a game of tag, follow the leader, or hide-and-seek. Nothing important, children at play.
Besotted Kohza wouldn't leave me alone, but I'd grown tolerant and we'd worked out a relationship. It involved me telling him to get something, such as food, water, a storybook, flowers, or a weapon when he got annoying. He never complained, and became overjoyed whenever I gave him my attention. I exploited him. But I never treated my minion as less than human, never nicknamed him 'dog', or made him degrade himself.
Still, in my mind, I did think of him as a loyal servant-like animal. A gopher. The job he performed on my behalf.
So a group of over-muscled adults interrupted whatever game little me, Kohza, and a couple Suna-Suna brats had going. I remember thinking they were crap compared to our palace guards, but that didn't matter. Even a wimpy adult man can easily handle a small child, or so you would think.
It's been so long, I can't remember the fight. I remember being terrified and determined. Oh, and infuriated. Half the Suna-Suna brats scattered in the face of the enemy. The other half, ignored my orders involving a calculated attack and charged, only to be battered away with contemptuous fists. Basically, my loyal minions weren't up to snuff, and I decided then and there any group I'd truly belong with needed both fighting spirit and battle intelligence.
So yeah, back to terrified little Princess me. Kohza was brave; he pulled out a knife. Well, I don't remember him having the knife, so maybe he grabbed it from the attackers. Three of the legion of Suna-Suna kids weren't stupid jerkoffs. They pelted my kidnappers with rocks and debris from atop a half-complete stone staircase in the ruins. It slowed them, made some drop weapons and protect their faces.
Yeah I remember more now. It was how I got my first sword.
The kidnappers scattered because the kids scattered, but the biggest baddest one came at us. Why? Because Kohza taunted him, that's why! Did I ever let him have it for that later.
However it happened, Kohza came up with a knife and slashed the lead thug with it. Brave, foolish, and sweet of him. At that point in our encounter, the other worthless men had been driven off with the rocks, or left chasing Suna-Suna girls, being unsure which of us was the real Princess. I sure didn't look the part anymore.
His own blood infuriated the boss thug. He got Kohza's timing down, and kicked him straight in the ribs with full strength. It lifted my minion's pathetic little-boy body up in the air and sent the bloody knife flying.
It also gave me the perfect opening to hamstring the bastard with a short sword I picked up from earlier, when the men dropped weapons to shield themselves from rocks. When Kohza decided to offer his valiance up for my sake, he expected an escape on my part.
What a moron. I'm the leader. That means I don't abandon my idiot minions, however they might deserve it. I used his distraction to sneak around the fight until I'd gotten into a good position.
It would have worked out great if the rest of the gang didn't show up and overwhelm me right after I took out bossman. The Suna-Suna brats proved too smart for them, and they had arrived just in time for my coup de grace. Yeah, they didn't take it well.
I slashed one of them imprecisely with my stolen sword, and he parried with a wooden club. The sword stuck in the club, got yanked out of my hands, and the men started beating the crap out of me. After about an eternity of this, that I'm told last a couple minutes, the royal guard showed up and handled things.
The end of this encounter showed me gaining power the normal way wasn't cutting it. I almost died. So I made up my mind - I'd eat a devil fruit. It took me three months of convincing my father, but as a spoiled brat, I got my way. A devil fruit auction was happening around the next convocation of the World Government kings, and I talked my way into Arabasta's entourage.
I had a feeling father would demand my presence as a future lesson in statecraft, but instead he opposed the idea. Since he knew I wanted badly to go, he attached conditions. For the first time in two years my wardrobe changed into dresses, and I went a month without a haircut. From the perspective of a tomboy princess, it sucked.
The trip over has been shoved into that dark dank corner of my mind reserved for extremely unpleasant experiences. It was worse than being stuck in bed for two months after breaking both my legs by jumping off a building's roof.
The etiquette training, conversational skills, and calligraphy - who knew such horrors existed in the world? In a small cramped cabin, with no escape. I endured; I had to.
The details of the royal meetings flew by in no time. As excited as I was about becoming a power, I managed not to embarrass my father during the talks. I lingered with Igaram while father talked about nothing with ugly and important men.
Night brought me to the auction. I had seriously underestimated the allure of mysterious devil fruit powers, because representatives from every damn kingdom were vying for the fruits of the devil. They were noisy, loud, rude, and bumped into little me in her cute blue princess dress without regard.
Whoever put together the auction during the summit made their fortunes. What island kingdom wouldn't want the military advantage of devil powers?
According to the item guide, thirteen devil fruits were up for bidding. Other odds and ends associated with mysterious powers were in the listings too. The auctioneers had three Marine vice-admirals on hand to keep the order and collect payments. Apparently the organizers had negotiated a deal with the World Government involving a cut of the spoils in exchange for legal enforcement.
I didn't care about details. What I really cared about is some oily man had just oozed past dragging an ugly looking panda-like son. The brat managed a solid elbow into my floating ribs. Doubled-up in pain, I vowed a special, heartfelt promise. If I ever met panda-face again, he would regret it.
A professional looking man in a suit escorted them, and after a minute of scowling at the crowd, he became fed-up with the obstacles in his way. He said 'CP5' in a loud voice, and suddenly the rowdy princes and viceroys scuttled out of his way like beetles crawling away from an overturned rock.
As if their presence was the signal for the auction, the auction started.
The empire of Arabasta was small time in this room full of desperate power hungry fools. As much as it pains me, I must also classify my spoilt self with the rest of the trash. I wanted a devil fruit more than anything in the world.
My government only had a few million beli for their Princess's play money. Daddy was going to have an impossible time hiding even that much. So when the first seven fruits finished in the tens of millions I was appalled. The CP5 jerkoff had bought most of them too.
Some of the people started to leave after the eighth fruit sold. Apparently all the non-paramecia fruits were gone, and the elites thought those devil fruits were weak. Whatever. The bids did start finishing under ten million beli, but we didn't even have that much.
Igaram bid on the Skin-Skin Fruit, the Balloon-Balloon Fruit, the Paper-Paper Fruit, and some silly fruit involving candy syrup. We lost. The other fruits had powers so strange and stupid that even desperate me wanted no piece of them. We could have won the Booger-Booger Fruit, but I certainly didn't want my body to turn into mucus. Yuck.
The people with real money packed up and left. The winner of the Ballon-Ballon Fruit ate it then and there, complained about it tasting like rubber pudding, and floated off. She'd always wanted the ability to fly. So did I, and I still remember my intense jealousy and hatred for that lucky bitch.
Like the rest of the dregs, we stayed behind. Surviving incalculable boredom and mastering useless skills for months had been my price of admission. Damned if I wasn't staying for the bitter end.
The rest of the items were not complete devil fruits. They had weaponized forms of Zoan fruits, such as an elephant sword and doggy guns. They had the rinds of eaten fruits, used for research by interested scientists or mystics. They had sea stone objects for combating devil fruit powers.
Igaram could tell how sad I was my dream went unfulfilled. He offered to buy me an intelligent weapon, but at that point I already had Carue. In my mind he fit that bill perfectly, and I didn't need to bankrupt my kingdom for another object like him. Plus he might get jealous, and it was bad enough catering to my Super-Duck, much less some stupid weapon. No thanks.
That crap went by, some not even getting bids. A gun that wasn't even housebroken, and tended to fire bullets randomly while ruining the carpets was the biggest stinker. Not just because it peed on the auctioneer.
Then the clouds of misery cleared and salvation beckoned. Or was that my damnation? As much as I think the devil himself is myth, who can know such a thing?
Like a thunderbolt across the clear desert sky, it shocked me into action. I still remember the description and back-and-forth the mouse-faced auctioneer rattled off.
"Ladies and gentlemen, we are coming into the final stretch. This next item is the Mystery Mystery Fruit. The good folks at our R&D branch have experimented extensively on it, and while it has the whorls indicative of a devil fruit, it is not classified into any of the known types."
"Bullshit! Why wasn't it on the main ticket then?" Yelled some dude wearing a pink feather boa. I think he was a pirate.
The auctioneer produced the purported devil fruit.
It did indeed have strange whorls on it, but each of the whorls were different colors, and appeared to shift around in a strange rainbow-like hypnotic pattern. The main fruit itself was a shiny, oily wrinkly black, like a huge raisin. More importantly though, half of the Mystery Fruit was missing; it looked to be bisected with a sharp knife. The pulp inside was purplish, with more of the strange shifting whorls.
"As you can see, we couldn't sell it with the other fruits because there is no guarantee you'll inherit power from eating it. The Mystery Mystery Fruit defies classification. We know it is not logia, and the techniques for weaponizing were useless with the samples we cut away for that purpose. It is entirely possible one of those took in some fashion and this fruit is useless."
"What a bunch of crap." Said a man wearing an emerald fedora. He was standing right next to us, and observing the auction carefully.
"You mean this item is a fake?" I asked him, ignoring the auctioneer.
He turned and looked at me; surprised a little girl was in such a sordid place.
"No, you don't want that thing kid, trust me. What you see is one of the true fruits of the devil. It carries an aura of doom and destruction. I'm the one who found it, just like I found the other fruits at this auction. It's killed once, and the last thing a cute girl like you needs is such terrible power."
I don't know if the guy read me as an easy mark, but young stupid me thought terrible powers and doom auras sounded like ass kicking fun. Over Igaram's objections, I made him get it for me. Only 150,000 beli – we bid unopposed.
Then the auction was over, and we had a fight on our hands. The man in the green hat reserved the right not to sell his Mystery Mystery Fruit if he didn't think the winner deserved it. Apparently he expected some stupid pirate would want the prize, not an innocent little girl.
While he and Igaram were arguing, I calmly walked over to the Mystery Mystery Fruit and chowed down by sticking the entire thing in my mouth. Even to this day, I have never eaten anything more delicious and more revolting. Tart and sweet like honey covered chocolate dates, yet firm and consistent like the best baked bread. Stomach wrenching like duck urine mixed with day old vomit, sourness greater than a thousand lemons, charred undercooked meat, spoiled mayonnaise and dirt, earwax. My tongue kept telling my brain I was eating tons of garbage and gourmet foods at once, changing in mid chew. When it settled in my stomach I felt oddly fulfilled. I didn't vomit, had no queasiness, rather my body felt a brief and mysterious tingle. My pact with the devil was sealed.
In later years, I'd ask others how their fruits tasted. The nicest thing they said was 'nasty' except for those who swallowed them whole and didn't get to truly taste. I didn't feel that way about mine; eating it felt 'extreme' - it pushed my taste buds into uncharted territory, and I think perhaps the ordinary person is unprepared. I always tell the curious that I enjoyed experiencing the complex taste. No, it wasn't only nice or pleasant, but nothing worthwhile in life is, especially if you work hard to earn it, like I earned that flavor.
So, I had accomplished my purpose – to eat a devil fruit and hopefully acquire miraculous powers.
Too bad things aren't always what we wish. Right after I finished, Igaram and treasure hunter man noticed what I'd been up to.
Both were furious.
They told me the real reason why only half the fruit was there – the first person who tried eating the thing killed himself because the powers made his body self-destruct in terrible agony. Then a new Mystery Mystery Fruit blossomed in the secret location where they'd found the first. They tried and failed to weaponize the new one. Great. I couldn't care less. I didn't believe in the curse of the devil, and I was floating on happiness from meeting a life goal.
The short version is I had Mystery Mystery powers. I could refer to myself as a 'woman of mystery', which sounds awesome when you're young. Go me!
The long version – I'd regret my impulsive actions for years.
Author's Worldbuilding Notes:
The Will of D may allow fruit users to have benefits regarding their abilities. Marshal D Teach actually stole an additional logia ability, but it's debatable as to whether it was because of the Will or because he (and his ability) is that awesome. (Also in movie 9, Wapol used his Eat-Eat fruit to assimilate another power… ) In order to help fit 'surviving' the MM fruit, I gave Vivi the Will of D. It is not my intention for her to become the story's supreme power; the premise is "for-want-of-a-nail" tiny change cascading onwards (continuing rather than yielding in a child fight).
Two people can have similar devil powers. Marigold and Sandersonia Boa on the Isle of Women both ate Hebi Hebi Fruits (Model: King Cobra and Model: Anaconda). I go with what Oda has drawn in actual story as opposed to what Oda has said (years earlier) in fan interviews. The MM fruit isn't 'stealing' other fruit powers; it's copying them through it's own template at extremely low and localized efficiency without 'safeties'. If it helps, you can think of it as a Clone-Clone fruit, but evil. When Oda has Dr. Vegapunk finally explain exactly what devil fruits are (and for that matter the Will of D), I'll be adapting story explanation to fit context.