Hello! I'm sorry it took so long for this update but I have a good excuse: Procrastination! Also an announcement! There are currently challenges posted on my profile for any who wish to view them, one is directed at certain authors but all is open to anyone. As well as some dead fics that I would like to see revived or adopted. I consider dead fics to be ones that are inactive for over a year or I'm just really impatient. Anyway, on with the show! Also there will be very little character description unless the character is OC, because you wouldn't be here if you hadn't watched/read the original.
The Straw-Hats will eventually find a challenge, probably against Crocodile.
"Hello" – talking
"Hello" – thinking
Chapter 8 – Whiskey and a Whale
Zoro woke up groggily and almost passed out again as a giant eyeball focused on him.
'AHHHHHH! WHAT THE HELL IS THAT!?' Zoro screamed, waking up the other 3 sleeping crewmembers.
And cue the synchronised death scream,
Ben walked over to the terrified crewmembers and promptly whacked them all in the back of the head.
"Calm down! It's just Laboon.' Ben explained, chuckling. 'He's an Island Whale from the West Blue that got caught on this side of Red Line when he followed his crew over here.'
The Straw-Hats looked over and saw Luffy getting charged up and ready to fight the massive whale.
'SANGO!' Luffy let loose a blast of electricity that bathed the whale in a blue light, but didn't seem to damage it that much.
"What was that?' Zoro asked, 'That attack was so weak, that's not even a 10th of Luffy's power.'
Usopp spoke up, 'And why does the whale have a Straw-Hat symbol on his face?'
Ben explained, 'The captain's not trying to hurt Laboon, he fights him whenever he crosses over the Red Line. When he first came through here with Red-Haired Shanks, Laboon was trying to break the Red Line. By bashing his head against it over and over, eventually he would have died. Luffy hated that, he attacked Laboon and forced it to a tie, then promised to fight him again when he finished sailing the Grand Line. He painted that symbol to stop Laboon from bashing his head against the rock.'
'Wow. So what happened to the crew? The one Laboon came here with?' Nami asked.
"Crocus, that flower man over there, heard that the crew actually ran away from the Grand Line, that was 50 years ago. I just hope they're dead. Anyone who abandons a promise like that deserves nothing less.'
"You mean they just left Laboon? They didn't even try to come back?' Usopp asked, shaking with rage.
"No, they didn't even try to come back.' Ben said stoically.
"All right! It's another tie Laboon! You've gotten stronger to haven't you?' Luffy said with a grin. 'Hey guys! Get over here and meet Laboon!'
The Core Crew got off the ship and walked over to Laboon.
'Laboon! Here's the new members of the crew I went to get! There's Zoro, Nami, Usopp and Sanji. We're going back to the Grand Line together! Then after I find One Piece and come back here I know I'll beat you then!' Luffy yelled at the enormous whale.
Laboon roared happily as Luffy walked towards the Lighthouse, 'Hey Crocus! Long time no see.'
'Not that long Luffy. Or should I be calling you Raiden now?' Crocus asked with a grin.
'The Marines gave me that name; we'll always be the Straw-hats no matter what the world calls us.' Luffy replied.
"Hmph, whatever kid. Still it hasn't been that long, I saw about a month ago when you crossed through the Calm Belt to the East Blue.'
As the others walked over Nami spoke up, 'Yeah Luffy, how did we make through the Calm Belt?'
"I used the ship's engine to move without the wind or currents.' Luffy replied a little smugly.
"Yeah we know that. But how did we get past the Sea Kings?'
'Well believe it or not Sea Kings have a pretty good memory; our symbol is painted to the bottom of the boat and after I fried and haki-ed away the Sea Kings the first time through they mostly left us alone.'
"Really? That's actually pretty clever Luffy.' Usopp said a little surprised.
'Yeah I may act like doofus for fun, but when I ate the Goro-Goro no Mi, it sped up the electrical impulses in my brain, making me a bit smarter. And as an even cooler side effect if I concentrate hard enough I can read the impulses in other people's heads to. That's how I know that Crocus here sailed with Gold Roger.'
For some reason Nami's face went a little red when Luffy mentioned he could read minds, but nobody noticed as they were all staring at Crocus after Luffy's little speech.
'WHAT!? You were on the Pirate King's ship?' Usopp yelled his eyes getting stars.
'Yes I was, but keep it down! The government is still trying to wipe us all out. And Luffy that was supposed to be a secret!' Crocus said to Luffy a little peeved.
'Oh, yeah. Nobody say anything then.'
And the crew face faults.
'Oh yeah Crocus, the reason we stopped by here, apart from Laboon. We were wondering if you have any spare Log Poses that we could borrow.' Luffy asked hopefully.
"You sailed with Red-Haired Shanks for 10 years and he didn't teach you the importance of a Log Pose? Or are you just an idiot?' Crocus asked a little perplexed.
"No. I have some Log Poses, I have Eternal Poses to Sabody Archipelago, to Shank's little island and one for Alabasta. But since we have some new crewmembers, I figured the scenic route would give them some experience before we go back to the New World.'
'That actually makes sense Luffy; yeah I have a spare Log Pose you could borrow. Stay here I'll go get it.' While Crocus walked back to the Lighthouse, Ben came over and spoke to Luffy.
'Captain, we caught some people that were trying to kill Laboon. You might want to talk to them.'
Suddenly Luffy was all business, in case this wasn't mentioned before; Luffy really doesn't like it when you fuck with his friends.
Luffy walked onto the deck of the Raijin and saw the two culprits tied up against the main mast. One was an odd looking idiot, wearing a crown and a green suit with two iron baseball bats strapped to his back and the number 9 tattooed under his eyes. The other was a young girl with odd blue hair and a very spirally dress.
'Mr 9. These are pirates.' The girl whispered to her partner. Unfortunately Luffy had very good hearing.
'Oh, damn! And we were trying so hard not to be noticed as pirates! What with big skull and crossbones on the sail and pirate flag! But I guess you're just too smart for us.' Luffy said sarcastically.
The crew roared into laughter as the two prisoners just sat there a little put off by the Straw Hat captain.
Luffy crouched down to the two people's height to question them.
"So, who are you? And why did you attack Laboon?'
The two looked at each other silently deciding that the best option would be to talk. The blue haired girl spoke up.
'I'm Miss Wednesday and he's Mr 9. We attacked the whale to feed our town. That whale's meat would feed our town for years.'
Luffy concentrated, using his electrical abilities to read the strange person's mind.
'She's telling the truth. But there's more to it, hmmm. Baroque Works? That's interesting. And a missing princess along with a country in peril and one of the 7 Warlords, Crocodile huh? What did Ivankov say about him? Something about someone called Lizzy I think. Whatever, he is a Warlord so this is going to be fun.'
"Very well, I believe you. And since we destroyed your boat, we'll take you back home. Our Log Pose has locked to the magnetic signature of Whiskey Peak. Where are you two headed?' Luffy asked.
'Actually, that is our home island. Thank you.' Miss Wednesday replied.
'All right, we leave as soon as Crocus gives us the Log Pose.'
Luffy jumped off the ship and walked toward the Core Crew shouting over his shoulder to the people on the ship.
"Untie them and prepare some extra rooms! It will take a couple days to reach Whiskey Peak!'
"Hey guys, looks like we've picked up some travelling companions for a little while.'
"What? Who? And why?' Nami asked very quickly.
"Calm down Nami. We're taking the two people who tried to kill Laboon to Whiskey Peak with us. They live there. Their called Mr 9 and Miss Wednesday.' Luffy explained, 'I read their minds and discovered something interesting.'
The crew exchanged side glances; anything Luffy found interesting could only mean pain for others.
'They're part of bounty hunter organisation known as Baroque Works' Nami opened her mouth to argue, 'let me finish Nami. Their boss is currently trying to take over the desert kingdom of Alabasta, and Miss Wednesday is in fact that country's currently missing princess. It turns out she infiltrated Baroque Works to discover the identity of the boss. We are going to help her out when they ask for it, partly because I want to see how I fare against one of the 7 Warlords but mostly because Nami here will beat us all up if she doesn't at least get a chance for a royal family to owe her something.'
Everyone edged away from Nami as her eyes turned into Berri symbols only for them snap back to normal in a slight panic.
"Luffy what did you say about one of the 7 Warlords?'
"Oh yeah, the boss of Baroque Works goes by the code name Mr. 0 but is actually the Warlord Crocodile. He has the abilities of the sand logia fruit.' Luffy calmly explained.
Zoro spoke up a little concerned, 'Sand huh? Your lightning won't affect him then.'
"Relax Zoro; I beat up that Smokey guy didn't I? My lightning didn't work on him either.'
"All right Luffy, just be sure you know what you're doing.'
Crocus walked over to the Straw Hats, 'Here you go Luffy, one of my last Log Poses. Don't break it! You were always a clumsy little Anchor.' Crocus said with grin.
Luffy muttered under his breath, 'Damn it Shanks.' Then spoke louder so that people could hear him. 'Give the Log Pose to Nami, she's the navigator.'
"All right here you go miss.'
'Thank you Crocus, but what is this?' Nami asked.
"Luffy, you brought a navigator to the Grand Line without telling her what a Log Pose is? You really are an idiot.' Crocus said in a slightly disapproving tone.
"It didn't seem necessary while we were in the East Blue, and they all passed out during the Calm Belt.' Luffy whined back at him.
Crocus turned back to the young navigator, 'Take a look at your compass miss.'
Nami took out her compass and screamed, 'AHHHHHHH! The needles not pointing anywhere! What's going on?!'
Crocus started to explain, 'Well you see miss, here in the Grand Line, each island has a unique magnetic field, so normal compasses don't work. You have to use one of those' he said pointing to the Log Pose on Nami's wrist, 'this Log Pose records and island's magnetic signature and then locks on to the next island. At this point on the Red Line, 7 different magnetic signatures begin, so it's a good place to start your journey.'
Nami looked down at the Log Pose again, thoughtfully. Then Usopp spoke up, "Hey Luffy, have you ever done that mind reading thing to any of us?'
"No, I try not to do it too much; it takes away the fun of getting to know someone. I usually only do it when I think someone could be a threat to the crew.' Luffy replied. 'Oh and before I forget, don't mention Crocodile or Alabasta or anything while those two are on the ship, they can't know that we know. Not yet anyway. All right, goodbye Crocus, I'll see you once I become the Pirate King.'
"I know you will Luffy, good luck.'
"All right! Let's go back to the ship.' Luffy yelled out to the Raijin, 'Gentlemen! We make way for Whiskey Peak!'
(2 days later)
"Ben! Get someone down to the storage room and bring up some shovels and warm clothes, it's going to start to snow soon. Oh and prepare some food, Whiskey Peak's going to be having little party in our honour. '
'Sir? Oh, you did that mind reading thing didn't you?' Ben asked.
"Yep, oh, don't have too much fun at the party; we may to leave in a hurry.'
"Aye sir, I'll tell the crew to stay close to the ship.'
"Good man, Ben.'
(10 minutes later)
The two 'guests' were beginning to complain.
"Why do we have to shovel? This isn't even our ship.' Mr. 9 said.
"Because Mr. 9, Miss Wednesday. Like it or not for time being this is your ship. If you don't like it then we can drop you off here.' Nami said.
"Were in the middle of nowhere! And it's freezing!'
"That's the point you cosplay king. Stop complaining, we'll be at Whisky Peak in one more day, so just suffer until then. '
(The next day)
"All right people, we're coming up on Whiskey Peak, prepare to dock!' Luffy shouted to his crew.
'Aye sir!' was the chorused reply.
As they pulled up to the village a thick layer of mist rolled in making so you could barely make out the buildings, let alone the villagers. As the mist cleared, it seemed as if the whole population of Whiskey Peak was at the docks to greet them, a large, curly haired man holding a trumpet stepped forward to address the pirate ship.
"Welcome! Welcome to the town of Whiskey Peak, brave adventurers! Welcome to the town of spirit brewing and lively music. We take pride in our hospitality. My name is Igarappoi; I am the Mayor of our town. Tonight we will have a great feast to welcome you to the Grand Line and to thank you for returning Mr 9 and Miss Wednesday to us.'
"I am Monkey D. Luffy, captain of this ship; I thank you for your welcome. But you do not have to empty your food stores to simply entertain us. Ben! Roll out the spare stores, tonight we're gonna party!'
This was met a roar of approval from the crew of the Raijin.
About two hours later, Ben, still sober, walked up to Luffy. "Captain, should I start moving the crew back to the ship now?" he asked quietly.
"Not yet', the Straw Hat captain replied, 'wait until they make their move. I'll get Zoro to take them out, he can use the workout and he needs to get used to his new swords. I think one of them is cursed. After they're all down, organise a raiding party. I'll send Nami with you; she's the best at noticing valuables. Grab everything, anything we can sell, food and drink. We're going to need their stores to restock after this night. Wait another hour, then pretend to pass out, they'll probably make their move after we're all 'passed out'.'
Luffy walked over to where Nami was currently drinking 3 guys under the table.
"Ahh! I win!' Nami said, finishing off her last mug of sake.
"Hello Nami, having fun?' Luffy asked with a grin.
"Hello Captain, and considering I just won 10,000,000 beri, yes I am having fun.
"Good, don't have too much fun though. In about an hour pretend to pass out, remember, this place is a bounty hunter base. Me and Zoro will take care of the agents; I want you to lead the raiding party. You're the best at spotting the valuables and finding the hidden caches. Grab everything you can, take Sanji with you if he's sober enough. He'll be good for picking out the food stores. Understand?'
(1 hour later)
"Finally they're all out Mr 8. If they didn't supply most of the food we wouldn't have anything left in the stores by now." A large muscular woman said in a surprisingly high voice.
"Indeed Miss Monday. I wish all the brave warriors a pleasant evening for tonight, the dancing moonlight is illuminating the cactus rocks."
"Well aren't you the poet Igarappoi? Or should I say Mr 8 now?"
"Call me what you will Mr 9, just be careful. Their captain may not look like much, but he commands a ship of 100 men and managed to earn himself a seventy million beri bounty in the East Blue of all places."
"What?! That little runt is worth 70,000,000?! How can that be?"
"Calm down Miss Wednesday, now that the crew is passed out we can simply hand him over to the Marines. If he's dead they cut 30% off the bounty, they do love their public executions after all."
"Well I can say that I'm a bit surprised." Zoro said smugly from the roof. "With all the mysterious rumours about a bounty hunter organisation so complicated and secretive that nobody knows anyone else's real identity, I expected a bit more finesse or elegance to your plan. But I guess 'get them drunk' is the best you could on such a short notice."
Everyone looked up the roof top panicking.
"When did you get up there? You're supposed to be knocked out!" Mr 8 exclaimed.
"Well apart from the fact that my Captain warned me about your little group, a true swordsman never allows himself to be overcome by drink. Especially in an unfamiliar place. I counted about 100 people in this town. I'll gladly take you all on, is that okay with you...Baroque Works!?"
"How do you know that name!?"
"Well like I said, my captain warned me, but even if he didn't a few years ago you people sent me an invitation to join your little group. I declined and the Agent, Mr 7 I think it was, became a little hostile. I had to put him down just to get him to leave me alone."
"Well.' Said Mr 8, 'now that you know our secret, we can't let you l-' Mr 8 looked around wildly, 'Where did he go!?"
Shlick. The sound of metal sliding on leather filled the air as a katana blade slowly slid itself over Mr 8's shoulder and through his hair.
"You should more attention to your opponents Mr 8." Zoro said threateningly.
Mr 8 turned around quickly preparing to fire, but Zoro had already vanished to another spot.
"Let's see how my new blades handle against the Grand Line." Zoro whispered as he drew Sandai Kitetsu and Yubashiri.
Kitetsu felt free, the first time it had been wielded by skilled hands in years! Slice! Cut! Bleed! Parry! Slice! Blood dripped from the blade once again and the sword felt ... rabid. Kitetsu heard its new master reprimanding him for cutting too deeply. Kitetsu didn't care, sooner or later it would turn on the swordsman but for now it was free.
Luffy opened his eyes as he sensed someone coming into the room. He smiled slightly as they prepared to stab him. Unfortunately for the hapless grunt given this task, when you poke a metal sword into a mass of electricity the end result is quite painful. As the would-be-assassin collapsed to the floor Luffy got up and walked over to where Nami was currently 'sleeping'.
"Nami.' Luffy whispered, gently shaking her. 'Nami, get up. It's time to go find money."
Nami immediately shot up, her eyes transformed into beri signs.
"That's really creepy you know.'
"What is?' Nami asked, her eyes returning to normal.
"Nothing. Start organising your raiding party. I'm going to go see how Zoro's doing. There are some stronger people heading towards the not-so-evil Miss Wednesday. He can handle himself but protecting someone that's being attacked by devil fruit users he might find a little difficult."
"All right Luffy. I'll see you back on the ship.'
"Mr 8. Are you really having trouble with some rookie from the East Blue?'
"Mr 5, Miss Valentine. Cough, cough, that beast is no rookie. He fights like a demon and he's not even the captain! But with you here to assist us-' Mr 8 was cut off as Mr 5 interrupted him.
"Help you? We weren't sent out to the front lines to help you capture some rookie. No, we were sent because someone found out Mr 0's secret. It seems that certain members of the Royal Court of Alabasta have infiltrated our organisation."
At this point Mr 9 started to panic, because let's face it - he's an idiot.
"Nonononononono! I'm not a real king! This is just my style!" he shrieked in an extremely unmanly voice."We know it's not you, you idiot!' Miss Valentine yelled. 'Princess Nefertari Vivi, next in line to the throne of the sand kingdom and Captain Igaram of the Alabasta Royal Guard. We've come for your heads."
"IGARAPPAI!" Mr 8, the now revealed Igaram yelled as a large amount of bullets shot forth from guns concealed in his hair. 'Run Vivi! I'll hold them off!'
"Doubtful.' A cheery voice said from the rooftops. 'They are much stronger than you and you don't possess a Devil Fruit like them. If you try to fight them, you'll most likely die. Shihihi!'
The Baroque Works agent's heads all swiftly turned to the source of the annoying laughter. Mr 5, the cocky bastard that he is decided to speak up first.
"Who are you? What are you doing here?"
"I'm Monkey D. Luffy, captain of the Straw Hat Pirates, but I think the government's calling us Thunderchasers or something else stupid like that now.' Luffy said this while sporting his trademark grin, severely pissing off the officer agents of Baroque Works. 'Hey, Igaram was it? Grab Vivi and head back to our ship, we'll escort you to Alabasta, most of my crew is already onboard and know of the situation, you'll be safe there."
"Why would you help us? What's in it for you?' Vivi asked.
"Yeah, what is in it for you Straw-Hat?' Mr 5 repeated.
"For me? Nothing much. My navigator wants a royal family to owe her something and I want to see how I do against this so called 'Mr.0'."
Mr 5 chuckled at him, "You're a fool boy! No one can stand against Mr 0!"
"Well that's just your opinion, Igaram? Vivi? Get going please, this may get messy."
"Come on Princess, we don't have much of a choice, we need this pirates help." Igaram spoke softly to Vivi who was still in slight shock at this sudden change of events.
"Oh you're not going anywhere Princess! Nose Cannon!" Mr 5 flicked something small at the two former agents when Zoro jumped in and sliced the projectile in half, causing the two pieces to fly to the sides of the shocked passengers. As the objects impacted they each released a powerful explosion, throwing Zoro, Igaram and Vivi to the ground.
Zoro got up first, a very pissed look on his face.
"Luffy! That guy's mine. He made me cut SNOT!'
"That's fine Zoro, I'm going to take down that floating lemon over there. Now can you two please get back to the ship?"
As Vivi and Igaram ran away, Miss Valentine floated after them, propelled by smaller blast from her partner.
Zoro put a little bit of haki into his blades, not wanting them to be damaged by the exploding man's body.
"Oni Giri!" Bringing his two handheld swords into an 'X' shape and the one his mouth to a vertical point in the center of the cross, Zoro rushed his opponent, disappearing and in an instant reappearing on the other side of Mr 5. Blood sprayed into the air as slashes and cuts appeared on his body and he fell to his knees.
"Ahhhhhh! Cough Damn! You got in a good hit there, Swordsman. Cough But, I'm a Bomb Man, you've just given me some more ammo." Mr 5 swung his arm at Zoro, sending droplets of his blood towards the first mate. Zoro leapt out of the way, realising what the Baroque Agent was about to do.
"BLOOD BOMB!" The air was filled with explosions as Mr 5's blood ignited and exploded in an instant. Zoro was thrown away and crashed into the descending Miss Valentine's Day just as she was going to land on Vivi.
"LUFFY! You're supposed to be taking care of the weight girl!" Zoro screamed at his captain.
"Sorry Zoro! I got distracted by your fight! Seizure Shock!" A small streak of electricity left Luffy's finger and headed towards the dazed girl's head, as it hit she started to jerk and shake for a few moments before passing out.
"What did you do?' Zoro asked.
"I sent my electricity into her brain, disrupting the electric impulses that makes her stay conscious and able to move, it's pretty dangerous, if I mess up it could leave her in a permanent coma. I don't really like the 'delicate' way of attacking anyway, I'm more into power. But sometimes you have to use strategy." Luffy got a faraway look in his eyes as if remembering something that caused him pain. Snapping out of it, the sombre look on his face was replaced by his usual trademark grin. "Anyway, you have fun with the bomb man, I'll take Igaram and Princess Vivi back to the ship."
"Aye captain" Zoro said with a grin as he got his headband and tied it around his forehead.
"You think you stand a chance against me, Swordsman?! I have the abilities of a Devil Fruit! A normal human can't stand up to me!" Mr 5 boasted, his voice a little slurred from the blood loss.
"You're a fool. Against true swordsmanship, a devil fruit is nothing. The only defence is a replying sword. Let me show you how weak you are." Zoro whispered the last part as he ran up Mr 5, his eyes shrouded in blood lust. "Gazami Dori!" Zoro held all three swords parallel and suddenly clamped down on Mr 5 in a guillotine like movement that sliced the opponent's stomach and knocked him off his feet into the air. While Mr 5 was still falling Zoro quickly twisted, angling his blades so that a powerful slicing wind was summoned, sending the poor man into the sky while being continually cut from the sharp air flow.
"Tatsu Maki" Zoro whispered as the winds finally died and Mr 5 was sent hurtling back to the ground. "Never meet a challenge unprepared for the outcome." Zoro said to Mr 5 as he lay on the ground slowly bleeding, unable to move due to the fractured spine from the impact of the ground.
Luffy headed back to the ship with Vivi and Igaram when he sensed that Zoro had defeated the agent.
"All right. You two head to the ship, I'm going to go tell the raiding party to hurry up. Bzzt." Luffy zapped away to where Nami was, causing her shriek and then hit him rather hard.
"BAKA! Don't do that!" Nami screamed at her captain.
"Ouch! Nami that hurt." Luffy whined at his navigator. "Anyway, I'm here to tell you to finish up, we've defeated the agents and Igaram and Vivi are on board the ship. We're escorting them to Alabasta to help stop a war."
"All right Luffy but I want to hear what's going on from the Princess's mouth myself. Okay?"
"Sure, I don't really mind. Just don't torture them; they are our guests after all."
"I wasn't going to torture them baka!" Nami yelled at the captain right before she hit him on the head.
"Owwww! Nami! Stop hitting me! I'm going back to the ship before you get any scarier." Luffy almost whined at his navigator, before zapping away to the ship.
(20 minutes later)
Ben stood on the rail, holding on to the rigging facing the town.
"LAST CALL! FINSIH LOOTING AND GET BACK ON BOARD! WE'RE SETTING OFF IN 5 MINUTES!" Ben shouted, cupping his hands so that the sound carried over the town. As the last of the men got on board and the ship got underway Ben turned to the captain. "Will we be giving them the usual send off Captain?"
"Why not? Call it a celebratory salute for the journey back through Paradise. Don't aim at the town though, aim just over it. It's always more fun to scare than to harm."
"Aye sir, we'll be ready soon." As Ben headed off to prepare to main cannon Luffy walked over to Usopp.
"Usopp, come with me. As a gunner you're going to want to see this." Luffy said with slight grin. Curious Usopp followed his captain to the main cannon.
"What are you going to do?" Usopp asked his voice a little apprehensive.
"Something shocking." Luffy said with a grin as he ran his hand over the largest cannon in the arsenal, causing it glow a slight blue with the electricity running through it. "Would you like to fire it, Usopp?"
Usopp grinned, prepared to go into another "I am so great" speeches but stopped as Luffy held out a box of matches.
"You'll need these to light it right?"
His grin fading, Usopp took the matches and lit the fuse on the cannon, as the fuse hit the cannon Luffy yelled out.
A blue sphere, crackling with the electrical charge, shot out of the cannon at break neck speed, launching up over the town before detonating in a massive shockwave, breaking what few remaining windows there were in the town and knocking out those that had started to come to. As well as killing the two animals that had just flown in to check on the Baroque Agents. Usopp just stared in shock as the after images slowly faded away from his eyes.
"Why'd we do that?"
"I thought it could be fun. Blowing up things for little reason usually is."
"Well I can agree with you on that."
"Come on Usopp, let's go up on deck. I think someone new is going to show up."
Back on deck, Nami was vowing to beat the shit out of her bolt brained captain for pulling that little lightning bomb when a very female voice spoke up.
"Careful of the shoals on the right side. You don't want to run aground."
"I got it thanks." Nami suddenly has a sinking feeling in her stomach as she realised that she didn't recognise the voice. "Luffy? That wasn't you was it?"
Luffy was just coming out of the hold when he heard Nami's question.
"No Nami. That was our guest, Miss Nico Robin. Would you show yourself Robin? I think your scaring the new members of my crew."
"Ahahaha." Robin giggled as she stepped out from the shadows. "But it's so much fun to play with Grand Line newcomers." She almost pouted at the young captain.
"Enough of that. I forgave you your last little incident because I realised you had no choice. But you haven't said yes or no to my question yet. Will you join my crew? Will you become a Straw Hat?"
Vivi being in shock up until this moment snapped out of it at the sound of the question Luffy had just asked the dark haired women.
"Luffy! Do you know who this is?! Miss All-Sunday! What are you doing here?!"
Luffy looked slightly confused at Vivi's outburst.
"Miss All-Sunday? Don't tell me you're with Baroque Works, Robin. I told you before, if need to join a group for protection, then join me. You shouldn't be scared of what your past could do to us."
Luffy words seemed to have a double meaning, but no-one knew what. They were all staring at the exchange hoping to make sense of this.
Miss All-Sunday, now revealed as Nico Robin appeared to be suffering some internal conflict, when her face cleared and she looked almost serene.
"Very well, captain I will join your crew. But you know what that means. You know who will come after you. And then you have to deal with my current employer before this can become official."
Luffy looked at Robin with small, sad smile on his face.
"Robin. We came here to deal with Crocodile anyway, and you know I alone am as strong as your nightmare. I warn you, if that comes do not sacrifice yourself. You may not feel like it now, but eventually you will become one of us. Truly."
"All right Luffy. If it comes to that, I swear to not sacrifice myself. I was supposed to give an Eternal Pose to Nanimonai Island, but I know you won't use it. I'm heading back to Alabasta. See you there, captain."
Robin jumped off the ship and onto a somehow unnoticed giant turtle, smoking a cigar. As she moved away from the ship Luffy spoke up.
"Unhitch the Merry! And someone find the Intel Group!"
There was a scramble and chorusing of "Aye sir!" as the crew went about their tasks.
Luffy turned to the direction Robin had left, a serious look on his face. "Robin. What have you gotten yourself into this time?"
"Intel Group reporting Sir!" A high pitched female voice said from behind Luffy. He turned around to address the four individuals before him, a small pink-haired girl with a lollipop constantly in her mouth, a medium built thin man that always wears an old fashioned cloak with a hood no matter the weather and sometimes let his cat sleep in the there. A fit woman with red hair and a shy disposition that always seemed to try to hide from the light and a tall lanky man with piercing black eyes and mop of navy blue hair that was always under a bandanna.
"Good. I want you 4 to take the Merry and follow Robin. We're going to take the long route to Alabasta, so we'll meet you in about a week. Try to find us in Nanohana, we'll be there. While you're in Alabasta, try to find out as much as you can about Baroque Works. And pay attention to the current unrest. I don't want you injured in a battle before we show up. Understand?"
"Very well. See you in a week." Luffy dismissed his officers as they jumped down to the Going Merry. Speaking in a loud voice to the rest of crew Luffy faced towards the bow of the ship. "All right! Prepare for a good fight! We're stopping by Little Garden on way to Alabasta! Nami! Set course in whatever direction the Log Pose is pointing." He finished rather lamely. Not noticing that his Core Crew were sneaking up behind him...