Chapter 1

Saku village was burning, crimson flames erupting from the old wooden houses, screams of the dying ripping through the night air. The young Haru stood, watching his home crumble to dust; not long ago, a pirate crew had come to the island, and the naïve villagers foolishly gave them sanctuary. It was their last act of kindness. The salty wind stung his bloodied back as he tried to crawl towards the village well so he could hide in their; he felt anger, hate, fear, sadness; confusion… was this really happening? And why! Why…..

"Huh…" They spotted him!

"Hey, there's a survivor!"
"Kill 'em!"

He looked back as he saw a small group of four pirates coming towards him, brandishing fierce weapons, hideous looks of glee on their faces, horribly illuminated by the firelight.

"Come 'ere boy, we don' 'wanna hurtcha!"
"Heh heh heh…" They came closer slowly, enjoying the sight of him helpless, paralyzed with fear; tears flowed down his tan faced, and he tried to crawl backwards, but he could not move. Please move. He said inwardly I don't want to die… move…move…move…

A shadow crept forward, towards the pirates, a man cloaked in a thick and ragged black shawl, his feet glided on the ground softly as he approached. "Hey, what are you doin' here!" Howled one of the pirates; the man said nothing. He stood before the pirates, towering over them menacingly, emotionless.

"Ah he's nothin'; we just get to have more fun."

"Heh…" The man chuckled darkly, "No," he began, his voice deep, dark, throaty and booming. "Youuu will see that Hellll is not what ones such as you shall enjoy, soon…"He said pointing a shiny black finger towards them; its texture was like that of ink.
"KILL 'EM!" The pirates charged toward him, one who was ahead of the others thrust a dagger towards his chest. The man caught his wrist and twisted it violently; causing the man to cry out in agony, before spinning and throwing him into the air face first, where he lifted his fist straight up, and let the pirates own weight and gravity propel him onto the fist, snapping the mans spine. He tossed him aside like a rag-doll before carefully approaching the other pirates in a low, cat-like stance, with his fingers spread out like talons. The other three were not fazed by their allies' death, and assumed that it was his own fault for his carelessness, and continued to attack. One charged towards him, but was hit in the side of the face with a swift and savage palm swipe, his feet tripping over his assailant's outstretched foot, causing him to flip over and spin in the air until his skull crashed against a rock with a sickening thud. The other two were now worried, but hoped to still defeat their strange foe. "Who are you!" Screamed one of the pirates.

"…I… am the devil … and you… are myprey!" They both charged at the same time as he widened his stance, they both came at him with a sword strike straight down, but he neatly side-stepped at break-neck speed, and punched the one on his left in the gut, doubling him over, while simultaneously back-fisting the other pirate in the face, blowing him away. The one he had just punched staggered backwards, fighting to suck in air and to not puke. "S-stay back!" He yelled in a quivering voice "I'm warning yo-" He was cut of as the man shoved his fingers, which he shaped into a sort of spear, into the mans throat, killing him instantly.

"Hah! You're dead now!" The last pirate had gotten up from his injuries and was pointing a rusty pistol at his enemy, holding it in his trembling hand, a look of yet unsettled terror and glee on his face.

"You think you can kill me, Asmodeus Akuji with such a primitive weapon-" He was cut off. A shot rang out, loud and clear into the night sky, as the man caught the bullet.

"N-no way…" The pirate and the boy thought simultaneously. The pirate was about to reload, but before he could, the man flicked the bullet into his fingers and, shifting his body weight, hurled the bullet back at the pirate, where it lodged inside his head.

The strange man walked towards Haru, who laid quivering, and shivering in only a pair of loose, tattered shorts. "P-please…help me!" He whispered.

"Hmmm? Why? ….Do you deseeerve to live boy!" The man asked sternly, almost as if testing him. Haru thought back to his earlier days, his mother, she was so kind, his father, so wise and strong. He asked this question of himself once. Why do I deserve to live? He didn't quite understand the answer himself, but he remembered what his parents taught him

"E… everyone deserves a chance…to live…"

Four years later…

It was a hot, humid evening on Candlewick Island, the sky a deep orange as the sun fell deep into the horizon. Life was at a standstill. All except for four boys…

"Come on men! We'll be rich for sure!" A short, scruffy voiced, dark messy haired boy of twelve years proclaimed as he tried to rally his 'troops' to press onward. "We'll be at that creeps house in no time! And when we steal his treasure, I'm gonna get the biggest ice cream sundae ever!" He shouted triumphantly, grinning widely as he stood still with his first finger pointing straight up, still trying to catch his breath. He wore a black 'cat burglar' sweater and black pants with combat boots.

"Koru… you said that half an hour ago…" A younger, shorter boy with massive round glasses and similar features, Yuto, said bluntly. He wore a white polo shirt and shorts. The other two, a thin, spiky haired athlete Shogi, and a large, round bellied giant with brown hair, Doku, looked at each other, and hastily agreed.

"We're not really going anywhere." Mumbled Shogi. He wore a white tank-top and shorts.

"I….have to agree Koru…" Said Doku softly, looking down, as if apologizing. He wore a white tee-shirt and blue pants

"WHAAAAT!" Koru said loudly. He was furious, and his red face showed it. "You guys are gonna chicken out nooooow!"

"Koru," Yuto began, "it's not called chickening out, it's called being sensibl-"

"CHICKEN! BAK BAK BAK!" interrupted Koru, performing an undignified 'chicken' dance.

"I…have to agree with Yuto…" Doku added quietly. You could see the smoke coming out of Koru ears

"…..FFFFFFFFIIINNNEEE! Go run home to yer mommies! And Yuto, you're supposed to agree with me!"

"No, that's just what you want me to d-"

"After all I do for you! My only little brother!"

"YOU JUST TELL ME TO DO STUFF!" The two brothers continued bickering for some time, both of their faces gradually getting redder and redder until they ran out of steam and just glared at each other.

"Well, I'm gonna go invade that creeps house, slay the demons, steal his plunder and maybe rescue a damsel or two!" Koru shouted angrily at his 'treacherous' men.

"Aren't you overestimating what will happen?" Yuto protested to his brothers' uncaring ears.

"I'M OFF! You women can join me if you want a share of the plunder!" He said to his fellows as he began striding off in no particular direction, hoping that even though he had no idea where he was going, that if he went their confidently enough, they would follow him anyway. He kept walking purposefully, leaving his men to weigh their options… until he tripped over a root. He simply lay their, with his face in the dirt, silently fuming.

"Koru…are you alright?" Doku asked quietly.

There was silence for a moment.

"!" Koru slammed his fist onto the ground and stood up walking slowly back towards the group, his face twisted in a contorted grimace, red with sunburn, filthy, covered in bruises and scrapes and dripping with sweat; he was the picture of abject frustration. "AAAAA'IGHT! I AM SOOOOOOOOOOO DONE WITH THIS CREEP! SCREW TREASURE! SCREW THE SUNDAE! WHO NEEDS EM! LET'S GO HOME MEN!" He said letting out all of his steam. He than stood for a moment. And then he stood for another moment.

"Don't tell me…" Yuto said eyes wide with horror.

"…Which way is home…?"

Again there was silence. Until Yuto began strangling Koru, and Shogi was forced to try and pry him away.

"YOU IDIOT! YOU BROUGHT US ALL THE WAY OUT INTO THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE AND YOU DON'T KNOW HOW TO GET BA-"

"I think I see his house…" Doku said softly

"THAN WHAT ARE WE WAITIN' FOR MEN! LET'S GO!" Koru said triumphantly as he charged forward…in the wrong direction.

"So quick to change his opinion…" Shogi mumbled

"IT'S THIS WAY MORON! YOU'RE NEVER LEADING AN EXPEDITION AGAIN!" Yuto screamed as he pulled his brother in the right direction by the collar.

"Alright alriiiiiight! I get it!" Koru struggled free of his brothers grip and dusted himself off before allowing Yuto to lead. "And soon, WE'LL ALL BE RICH OFF OF THAT CREEP!"

"So loud…" Shogi mumbled.

"I can't let that happen I'm afraid." A voice said from the trees. The boys were all startled and looked around, trying to find who was spying on them.

"S-S-SHOW YOURSELF COWARD!" Koru Shouted, his knees trembling slightly.

"Alright" The voice said, and behind them, they heard a soft thump on the ground, and quickly turned to investigate.

"IT'S THE CREEPY EVIL GUY!" Koru shouted, terrified, and jumped into Doku's arms. Than, from behind a tree came a boy, about thirteen years old, their age, with shortish blond hair, black pants, black leather boots and a white tee shirt, and had a flat-topped baseball cap on his head, similar to a marines but pure black. He looked at himself.

"I'm not creepy, am I?" Koru quickly leaped out of Doku's arms and cleared his throat.

"Ahem. Citizen, stand back, for we strong young boys are embarking on a dangerous and valiant journey to steal from a helpless old man! Interfere…"

"Didn't he just contradict himself?"

He looked down, and put his right hand forward for dramatic effect "At your own peril!" He said, looking up with a 'brave' and 'fiery' look in his eyes.

"I'm sorry, but I can't allow that, you see, that 'creepy guy', is my master." The boy said coldly, sliding his right foot back and widening his stance. "I hoped that you would just give up and go back home. You still can, it's that way." He said, pointing to his right.

"Hah! Koru of the Flamen Skullz NEVER passes up a chall- Wait, you were following us! HOW SKETCHY! And how is that even possible with our Tiger-like stealth?" Koru asked, taking up a 'ninja stance'. The boy looked at him with a bored look in his eyes.

"I could smell you." Koru face grew red with embarrassment. He looked back at his men, who were standing a good distance away from him, and Doku even had a clothes-pin on his nose. Koru grew even more embarrassed, and lifted up his arm smelling his armpit. "Ewwww… ANY WAY! I'M GONNA BEAT YOU UP AND THAN ROB YOUUR MASTER AND EAT THE BIGGEST ICE CREAM SUNDAE I CAN BUY! HYAAAAAA!" Koru began charging at his opponent, swinging his arms wildly in every direction.

"Koru is a great boxer! This should be over fast!" Yuto said, proud of his older brother. Just than, he side-stepped Koru, who ran directly into a tree, and fell backwards with X's in his eyes.

"…Yep, it was." Mumbled Shogi.

"Aah! Koru! Rrrgh… TAKE THIS!" Yuto shouted as he threw a rock towards his brothers' assailant. The rock was aimed perfectly for his face, and was going towards him at incredible speed, until the boy caught it with his bare hand.

"My name is Haru, and I guard this place. Don't ever come back!" He stated seriously. The boys looked at each-other, and than to their fallen leader.

"Th-this isn't over! We will be back for a rematch when we are stronger, and we'll beat you!" Yuto said with fire in his eye as Shogi and Doku picked up Koru and headed off in the direction of home.

"Mmhmm. Good luck with that." Haru said coldly as he walked towards his master's house.

A few minutes later, he was at the entrance of the huge, gothic cathedral that his master was using as his home, and swung the doors open. Than he heard a gong. His master was calling him

Haru's journal, Entry 1 June 11th

Master gave me a journal today, I don't really know why. He said I needed to pass the time. I guess it might be nice. He said I could write anything in it, and no one would know. Well, I guess it's worth a shot.

Something's really been bugging me. There are all these people calling Roronoa Zoro, the legendary pirate swordsman, Zolo. I guess they must have an accent. But, when I think about it, if they had an accent, shouldn't they call him, Lolonoa Zolo?

Ah this is dumb.

Haru.